Verity Training's Big Picture
It’s the time of year when the Verity team starts thinking about details for Verity Training. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the content that goes up on our website about Verity Training. I explained our name change (Verity Training is what used to be called Exposition Training Weekend). I defined exposition. I jotted down ideas about the practical training women will receive when they come. I made sure that readers will know that Verity Training is a friendly, safe place to learn to teach the Bible well. You can read more about these nuts and bolts of Verity Training.
Yet, as I wrote down those important points explaining what we’ll be doing, my sight become myopic, too focused on the details to see the big picture. I lost sight of how God has always used his Word – given to us in the Bible - to reveal and to change. And I forgot that he has chosen to use weak people like you and me to communicate his life-giving Word to others. Here’s the reminder we all need.
God Uses His Word to Reveal and to Change
God is a God who speaks, and his voice is omnipotent. At creation, God spoke, and the universe was formed out of nothing. He breathed, and life came to his first image bearer, Adam. His voice - his breath – has power in and of itself. I can yell until I’m hoarse, but my dogs won’t come back if they are dead-set on running away. God whispers, and the dead are raised.
God could do anything he wants with his all-powerful Word. What he has chosen to do is to reveal and for that revelation to change people.
God revealed himself in Scripture. You and I live in a time in redemptive history when we have access to God’s self-revelation in Scripture, which he inspired (literally “breathed out”). God is compassionate and gracious. He doesn’t get angry quickly. His love never fails. He is forgiving. And he does justly punish sin (Exodus 34:6-7). God has made himself known most fully in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Everything you know about Jesus reveals more of who God is.
God also revealed his plan of redemption in Scripture. When Adam and Eve sinned, their transgression separated them from God. They died spiritually and would one day die physically, as would every one of their descendants. God promised that a Messiah would come to redeem them from sin; Jesus is that promised Savior. His death atoned for sin, offering forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and eternal life to all who believe in him. Jesus is not only the fullest revelation of God; he is the one who rescued humanity from hell.
This revelation of God and his plan of redemption, contained in the Scriptures and applied by the Spirit, has the power to change people. It is God’s Word that raises the dead to life. When the gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ, to which all of Scripture testifies – is heard, and someone responds in faith, that person is brought from death to life. The Spirit accomplishes this task through God’s Word. Stop and think for a minute. The omnipotent God brings about eternal life, by his Word alone.
God Uses People To Communicate His Word
God’s omnipotent speech is incredible to think about. But there’s something else just as amazing. God has chosen for his primary means of accomplishing this work through the speech of people like you and me. Let me explain what I mean.
The Bible contains all of the content of God’s authoritative revelation. All that he wants to be made known about himself and his plan of redemption is contained in those 66 books. Moreover, he’s made it clear that it all points to Jesus in some way.
However, his plan for the content of Scripture to change people is not only – or even primarily – accomplished through reading the Bible. God’s plan, instead, is to give spiritual gifts that enable people to explain and apply the Scriptures. This includes expositors. To exposit, those gifted to do so study passages of Scripture to examine what God is saying and to see how he wants to apply it to you and others.. From that study, you, if you are called by God to do this, create a message to communicate what God intends with structure, application, and illustration. Finally you proclaim – you speak – that explanation and application to others.
When you do, the Spirit works, because it is God’s Word. He changes people, you and others. Although some will ignore the message, some will be saved and Christians will be made more like Jesus.. People are changed – they are encouraged, they grow in knowledge, they are convicted – as the Spirit applies God’s Word to their lives through people. And it’s an astonishing thought that it could be through people like you and me.
What a crazy plan that seems like from the outside! God knows my weaknesses; he knows we all have them. He knows that no message we ever put together will perfectly convey his written Word. He knows we’re sinners in need of great grace every day. He’s very aware of the fact that we often need to hear what we’re proclaiming even more than our listeners. He knows me. He knows you. And yet he’s chosen his servants like us to accomplish this great task! Moreover, he’s given his Spirit to empower and speak so that Jesus is known. This is such amazing grace!
Is This You?
Do you see the big picture now? It’s like lifting your eyes from gazing at your shoelaces, only to find that you’re staring out over the Grand Canyon. At Verity Training, you will gain the tools you need to write and deliver an expositional message. You will figure out memorable ways to communicate God’s main point in your passage and how to organize it and illustrate it. And you will have fun doing it.
Yet, as you consider coming – and when you’re there – don’t lose sight of the majesty of what the Lord will accomplish through his servants who proclaim his message. His Word – contained in Scripture and explained by your spoken word – is omnipotent. As you work hard to exposit it, God’s Spirit will use it to reveal himself and to change you and others forever. This is his grace to you.
Is he asking you to come and learn to do it well?
We hope so. If he is, check out our event page to learn more. There is limited availability of only 20 spots for our Portland event, so don’t wait too long.
And if he’s not, then you still have essential roles to play. Since this is his Spirit’s work, you can participate by praying for others and using the gifts he has given you. Please take a moment now to pray for those in your life who exposit the Scriptures. And, if God is not asking you to exposit the Scriptures, he has still gifted you in a way that is just as necessary to the body of Christ. Please join us at Forum to be further equipped in the ministry he’s called you to do. We need each other. And it’s all for the glory of Christ.