If you can remember the name of your first grade teacher
in school, raise your hand. If you can remember the
name of a high school coach, raise your hand. If you
can remember the name of an elementary teacher in one of
your Bible classes, raise your hand. If you can think
of a Bible class teacher in the '90s who taught you, raise
your hand. A poet said: “Why God created teachers, in
His wisdom and His grace, was to help us learn to make our
world a better, wiser place” (K. W. Huff). Someone
else said: “One hundred years from now, it will not
matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived
in, how much money was in my bank account, nor what my
clothes looked like. But will the world may be a better
place because I was important in the life of a child” (Witcraft)?
Oh the powerful and lasting influence of those who teach us!
Our congregation has been blessed with some wonderful Bible
class teachers! But some of you aren't even attending
their classes! “Well preacher, it's a hassle to get
the whole family ready.” “It may be a hassle to deal
with law enforcement officers about 10 years later.”
“But preacher, I'm not the student type and classes bore
me.” “Has that excuse got you out of any training
classes for your job required by your company?” “But
preacher, I like to relax on Sunday.” “Is that really
worth starving your soul and feeding your cancer of
indifference?' Today's bulls eye is: Make the most of
our Bible classes! Make the most of this great
opportunity! Before looking at why, let me explain
Nehemiah was the civil governor, and Ezra was a scribe who
was an expert in the Law. These men had both led
groups back to Jerusalem after their 70 years in exile.
The year is 443 B.C. Physical renewal is seen because
the people had just completed rebuilding the city's wall.
Now spiritual renewal is seen as thousands gather to hear
the reading of the Law. As you heard in our reading,
the law was read aloud clearly by Ezra, and the Levites
explained the meaning of text so that it was clearly
understood. In fact, the people's first response was
one of sorrow because they realized their sins, but since
this was The Feast of Trumpets, the people were to
celebrate, and they were told, “Do not sorrow, for the joy
of the Lord is your strength.” So then, they greatly
rejoiced! The point to see is this: this was the Jews'
largest Bible class since the exile! This text teaches
us four reason why we should make the most of our Bible
classes. “Thus, Bible class is likely the most
evangelistic & important program in every congregation.
When it grows spiritually, the attendance grows, the
collection grows, the benevolent & mission programs grow, &
evangelistic work grows” (Webster). Here's another
idea. Jesus tells us in the Great Commission: “Go,
therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have
commanded you; ...” (Matthew 28:19-20). We must
continue to teach converts. One of the best places we
can continue teaching others is in our Bible classes.
Do you see how important Bible classes are? Another
brother puts it this way: ““Jesus emphasized the importance
of the teaching of both 'conversion' and 'conservation' in
the Great Commission ... The Bible school both recruits for
Christ and then also retains in Christ”
(Webster). Help your children get to heaven!
Make the most of our Bible classes!
Another reason to make the most of our Bible classes is to
learn more about God's will. Ezra platform may be the
prototype of our pulpits. We see that the book was
opened in verse 5. This was really a scroll
Someone has noted that the people hit “a turning point”
during this experience, and they become a “people of the
book.” They do not worship it but want to obey its
precepts. The people's gestures in verses 5-7—standing
up at the reading, saying Amen to Ezra's blessing, and
bowing down—show that the people are worshiping God!
In verses 7-8, several Levites “helped them to understand”
what had just been read. This is what our Bible
classes seek to do as well. They help us to understand
God's word and God's will. We have some of the finest
teachers for all ages here at this congregation. Why
not let them help you to understand God's will better for
your life? We also need to be a people of the book.
Hosea 4:6 states: “Because you have forgotten the Law
of your God, I also will forget your children.”
Timothy was encouraged in 1 Tim. 4:13: “... give attention
to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” These are
all activities based on the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15
admonishes: “Be diligent [or study] to present yourself
approved to God, a worker that needs not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth.” Peter encourages
us: “Desire the pure milk of the word, that you may
Consider these ideas on the importance of Bible class.
“The benefits of Bible classes are indeed many: to study
God's Word, to ask questions, to share knowledge, to be
encouraged, to know God's will! Yes, I believe very
strongly in the value of attending and actively
participating in Bible classes; it is a key element to truly
"Serving The Lord With Gladness"...!” (Copeland).
Someone else has said: “Think of Bible Class as deep-sea
diving lessons. The Bible runs so deep, but you can’t
experience that depth by 'swimming in the shallows'” (author
not stated). Someone else observes: “The person
represented by the good ground both hears the word and
understands it. That implies a lot of diligent study! You
don't gain understanding by hit-and-miss attendance at
classes” (Hamilton). Do you realize that if you and
your children come to our Bible classes each Sunday and
Wednesday, you will receive about 60 hours of instruction to
bless your life and strengthen your faith each year?
And in 10 years, that's 600 hours of coming closer to
knowing and doing God's will! What is so all fired
important that you will neglect 60 hours which can benefit
your eternal soul? In Bible classes, you learn more
about God's will. Make the most our Bible classes!
In verse 9, we see that the Jews wept for their sinfulness.
Leaders remind them that they should be joyful because it
was The Feast of Trumpets, when they were to remember God by
fasting and resting. They say in essence: “Don't focus
on your weakness, but on God's goodness!” They
actually affirm: “Do not sorrow for the Lord is your
strength!” The people were spiritually sensitive, and
they could both weep and rejoice. Their spiritual
temperature was high! What about us? Are we
keeping our spiritual temperature high? There was a
farmer who hadn't been attending Bible classes very well,
and an elder went out to visit him on an brisk Fall day.
H e found him in his garden, and the farmer told the elder :
“Brother, I can feel close to God as easily in my garden
alone than in a church pew.” Later, both went into the
house and sat by an open fire. The elder reached and
took the tongs, lifted a single glowing coal, and placed it
alone on the hearth. In just a little time, it lost
its glow and became a black ash. The farmer who saw
all this took what he had seen to heart and told the elder:
“Thank you, I see very clearly now: I cannot glow alone any
more than I can live alone” (Webster). Doesn't our
lack of attendance show that our hearts are not
burning and we are not hungering and thirsting for
righteousness? Notice what Jesus tells some members in
Rev. 3:15-16: “I know your works, that you are neither cold
nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So
then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I
will vomit you out of My mouth!” “When you thought I
wasn’t looking, you gave me a sticker, and I knew that
little things were special things. When you thought I
wasn’t looking, you put your arm around me, and I felt
loved. When you thought I wasn't looking, you dropped
me off at Bible class, but did not remain yourself, then I
knew that this time wasn't really important to you.
When you thought I wasn't looking, I notice you never asked
me about the things I got in Bible class, and I learned that
Bible knowledge was not something you really valued”
(modified Korzan). If you're committed to sports,
you'll attend the games. If you're committed to the
arts, you'll attend the concerts and plays. If you're
committed to politics, you'll attend the rallies.
Someone has noted: “The way one attends classes can be seen
as a barometer of one’s dedication and commitment to the
Lord. It too, can show a lack of the inward peace and
fellowship with God” (Cooper). Bible class can help
you to keep your spiritual temperature high! Make the
most of our Bible classes!
Note how the Levites helped again; they quieted and
encouraged the crowd. So the people went away, ate,
sent things to the needy, and rejoiced! Now notice how verse
12 shows that their motivation to action was the
proclamation of God's word and their comprehension or
understanding of God's will. This had been a very
productive Bible study; it went from teaching to taking
action. Our Bible classes will enhance your
comprehension and your subsequent actions! Imitate the
Jews and early Christians. The early Christians set
good examples of studying the Scriptures: Acts 17:11 states:
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in
that they received the word with all readiness, and searched
the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were
so,” and Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:15 that from
childhood, he had “known the Holy Scriptures, which are able
to make you wise for salvation which is in Christ Jesus.”
Members who attend Bible classes: are showing a good example
to others (1 Timothy 4:12), are showing that Jesus'
teachings are very important to them (Acts 2:42), are
showing love and consideration for other members (1 John
4:13), are redeeming (or wisely using) the time (Ephesians
5:16), and are respecting their elders, who have planned
such opportunities (Hebrews 13:17). The Jews
participated greatly during the reading at the Water Gate;
their gestures show us that they were alert and actively
engaged in learning. That should be our attitude as
well. How well do we approach our Bible classes with a
readiness to participate? Someone has noted that a
healthy church grows and wins the lost in direct proportion
to how its members mature. What could God do with a
church that was totally committed to Him? ... Many think
that Bible classes, like school classes, require little
participation. With that attitude, they will always be
disappointed (Adams). The apostle Paul told the
members at Colosse that after they had read his letter, they
were to pass it along to the congregation at Laodicea, and
then they were to take the letter that he had written to
them, and then read it in their own congregation. It
seems that Paul wanted his converts to be constantly
learning about how to live their Christian lives.
Let's be lifelong learners in God's kingdom! Imitate
the Jews and early Christians in their love for the
Scriptures! Make the most of our Bible classes!
Here's a tribute to our Bible class
With God's special guidance, with
prayer to be kind,
You prepare for each class, the
truths we will find.
Thank you for giving us a lesson week
Knowing it is God's word and His will
that we seek.
Yes, “Thanks a million” for
everything that you do.
Our souls have been nurtured and
enriched all because of you!
Make the most of our Bible classes!
Let's pray: “Father, we thank you for those who have taught
us and influenced our lives. Help us to be lifelong
learners of Your Word. Help us to see the value of
time spent in Bible classes. In Jesus' name, Amen.”
“A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of
understanding will attain wise counsel” (Proverbs 1:5).
A Bible class is a good place for you to put into practice
this verse. If you haven't been making the most of our
Bible classes, determine to do so today. You really
hurt your own soul by missing out on all those good 60 hours
of instruction annually (not to mention other souls in your
family)! Could we pray that you'll start being more
faithful in your attendance?
If you've not obeyed the Gospel by believing in Jesus as
Gods' Son, repenting of your sins, confessing Him publicly,
and being immersed in His name, what's hindering you?
Become Jesus' disciple today and continue to grow as a
disciple through the Bible classes that you will participate
in. The Master Teacher calls you to learn from Him.