I’ve been traveling throughout the UK this past week and speaking at a number of different events. As I go from place to place, I’m finding the same thing over and over again: God is speaking to people through His Word. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord is able to take a single message given to a group of 100 people and speak something unique to each one of them. I have had the privilege this week of hearing story after story of how the Lord, through His Word, has ministered to people, giving specific counsel and direction regarding the issues of their lives. It’s as though the messages were designed exactly to answer the questions and meet the needs of the listeners. How do we explain that? I think it’s succinctly summed up in the Hebrews 4:12: “For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” When we read, preach, or teach the Scriptures in faith, God honors that by bringing His Word with power to the hearers.
On Sunday morning, I spoke from Isaiah 40 on waiting upon the Lord. After the service I spoke to several people who told me in great detail how they had come to church that morning weighed down with many burdens and cares; in each case those were lifted off of them through something said in the message.
In Scotland an elderly lady approached me and told me that the message I had given last year had so impacted her life that she had taken it and shared it over and over with family, friends, and even some ladies Bible study groups!
Many other similar types of things happened over the past week, but I’ll share one more testimony that really stands out. After I had taught for an hour-and-a-half, doing an overview of the entire book of Revelation, a 17-year-old boy from Germany came up to me and said, “That was the longest Bible study I’ve ever heard, and I loved every minute of it. I didn’t want it to stop!” When I asked him if he attended the church regularly, he said, no, that it was his first time. He had been told about the church by an acquaintance and felt like he should come check it out.
So here’s what I’m getting at. Quite often today, we hear people say that just getting up and teaching the Bible is not enough to impact people in this generation, especially young people. They say things like, If you’re going to try to teach from the Bible, then make sure you keep it short—10 or 15 minutes at the most. People don’t have the ability to concentrate today like they used to. And make sure it’s positive and going to leave people feeling good about themselves, etc.
I couldn’t disagree more. What is really needed (and I’m thinking specifically about Great Britain, although this applies beyond it) is for men (pastors, teachers, evangelists) who believe the Bible to be the Word of God to devote themselves entirely to prayer, to study, to preaching and teaching the Bible, for it is through the Bible that God has spoken, and it is primarily through the Bible that God still speaks today. It is only if and when we do this that things will change for the better both in the lives of individual Christians and in the church collectively.
Let God speak, and you might be surprised at how many are ready to listen.