Christian young people in today’s world face numerous obstacles and demanding decisions. Most will readily admit the need for guidance and believe that ultimately God is the Guide. But the question then arises, how do we know God’s will?
In Discovering God’s Will. Sinclair B. Ferguson answers this question by showing how we must discover what the will of God is for us in His Word – the Bible. To come to a clear comprehension of God’s will, we must have knowledge of His Word and know how to apply it, we must often times possess patience, and we must desire to do God’s will as it is revealed to us.
Sinclair B. Ferguson does an excellent job at explaining the basic principles through which God reveals His will to us. He then goes on to apply them to several practical situations such as marriage, career choices, and lifestyle.
For us young people facing the decisions that could shape the direction and path of our lives, this clearly written, easily understood book brings understanding in knowing how God reveals His will to us – His chosen people.
In all walks of life and occupations today, one must look to Christ as the ultimate and final example. It is after Him that one must fashion his lifestyle and behavior. However, although this imitating of Christ is crucial for all persons in all areas of life, it is especially important for the teacher to follow Christ’s example when examining his leadership responsibilities. For it is the teacher and his leadership that positively or negatively influence the young, naïve children who are in such desperate need of proper guidance. A correct assumption of leadership responsibilities by a teacher will ultimately lead to a positive growth and learning by his students. The truths that lead to this correct assumption of responsibility can be discovered only by using Christ as an example.
In Proverbs 3:1-4 God points out to believers how to win prosperity, favor and a good name for many years. A Christian is able to accomplish this by keeping the commandments of God and by never allowing love and faithfulness to leave him. A teacher must take these words of guidance seriously. For during His stay on earth, Christ continually demonstrated His love for His people. In fact, Christ loved His people so much that He died on the cross for them. He remained faithful to His people to the very end even unto death. As a teacher, one must also always allow his love for his students to be known along with a type of faithfulness—a dedicated, un-relinquishing faithfulness to teach to the best of his ability. A caring teacher creates an atmosphere of genuine concern among his students. In turn, the students will pick up on this and, on the whole, attempt to do their best in the classroom.
However, along with this love and faithfulness, Christ was also inherently just. His love for His people never got in the way of His teaching and illustrating the correct walk of life. He daily pointed out the consequences of rejecting God and living a life of sin. He showed those who followed Him the errors of such things as materialism to the extent of instructing a young rich ruler to sell all he had and follow Christ (Luke 18:22). Christ was extremely and perfectly honest about how to follow Him and what had to be done. Furthermore, Christ followed through with the instructions and consequences when He said He would die and rise again in three days, one could depend on Him doing it. When He spoke of what had to be done in order to gain acceptance into heaven, one could depend on this being the case. So, also must it be with the teacher of today. Just as a church fails and becomes useless without discipline and justness, so shall a classroom. Without proper discipline being continuously carried on as previously warned, the students will rule the classroom. The teacher will have failed and no learning can possibly be carried out. A structured set of disciplinary rules are essential for an effectively run classroom or chaos shall reign. As Christ explains the process of excommunication (Matthew 18:15ff), so must the teacher have a structured set of rules that are explained immediately to the students which, when infringed upon, are met with the promised disciplinary actions. This promotes order in the class. The students will follow the rules set by the teacher because they comprehend what will happen should they do otherwise. Because of their depraved human nature, many students will do exactly what they have explicitly been told not to do simply because they know they can get away with it if the teacher does not follow through with discipline.
Christ took His leadership responsibilities very seriously. He realized how much depended solely on Him as the Son of God. Every day thousands of people listened carefully to His every word and accepted His words as truth. He never spoke unthinkingly or rashly because of this. So also must a teacher weigh his words and take his leadership responsibilities. As a teacher, one influences young children daily, and should this be done erroneously, the teacher shall answer for it on the final judgment day.
“Suffer little children to come unto me,” Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 18:16. How can this be possible unless there is proper instruction and leadership responsibility by those teaching the children? Teachers have a grave responsibility that must be taken seriously or they will have to answer for it before God.
Having the knowledge of God is of extreme importance, for without this knowledge, the people of God are utterly destroyed. God’s own people come to lack this knowledge because they openly reject it instead of diligently striving toward it.
The truth of Scripture which makes known who God is constitutes the knowledge of God. It is the Truth that God has graciously revealed to us in the Protestant Reformed Churches – the pure, sound Reformed Faith set down in the Three Forms of Unity. This Faith glorifies God as Triune, sovereign, holy, and gracious in Jesus Christ. We have this knowledge only as a gift of the Holy Spirit, but the Spirit uses teaching and hard study to give the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God, then, is an intellectual knowledge of God alongside of love and fear for Him – it combines the mind with the heart. Those who possess both aspects – and therefore the true knowledge of God – will show themselves as such in two ways.
They will, firstly, worship God rightly and will not turn away from Him as the Israelites turned to the idols (vs. 12ff).
Secondly, they will serve Him by obeying His law in their lives and not fail to do this as the Israelites did (vs. 1,2).
The teachers of Israel were to blame for Israel’s rejection of the true knowledge of God, because they were not faithful in their teaching. Calvin writes: “God then does here, in the first place, attack the priests. . .for teaching prevailed not, as it ought to have done. . . .” (Commentary on Hosea 4:6).
The children suffer because of this dreadful failure of the adults and teachers. The church is cut off by God in their generations when they reject the truth of God’s Word. When, however, this truth and knowledge is correctly taught and passed along from generation to generation God continues His covenant with His people.
Because of this the Church must make as its top priority the teaching and imparting of the knowledge of Truth and of God to the people. The main means of God to give this knowledge is through the preaching of the ministers.
However, in the covenant, the faithful teaching of the children by parents and school-teachers is also necessary. What a responsibility is thus laid upon the Christian school-teachers. Through their teaching the children must come to a correct worship of God and keeping of His commandments. They must grow academically and also spiritually.
In himself a teacher is unable to correctly carry out this calling. Only when he turns to God Himself can he it in such a way that God continues His begin this awesome task and complete covenant with the believer’s children.
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