Teaching Notes are Bible studies we taught before GraceLife Ministries began publishing articles online in 1995. Some were presented as sermons, others as group studies.

Our hope is that these older studies will be a blessing to you in your life and ministry. Please use them in any way God leads you.

These teaching notes are from a sermon about counseling.

[These notes are from a sermon series taught more than 40 years ago. Click here to read Part 1


Let me share with you the secret of success in Christian counseling from the ministry of Ezra.

Turn to Ezra 7 and let’s read verses 9 and 10 together –

“For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.” Ezra 7:9-10

Secret #1

Ezra prepared his heart. There can be no success in Christian counseling except the heart of the counselor has first been prepared before the Lord. We spend so much time preparing our minds. We read all the right books and attend all the right seminars and compile all the right charts and practice all the right methods — but — we spend little time getting our heart right with God.

Jesus said “Without me ye can do nothing” and that includes counseling. (John 15:5)

Our spiritual advice will never be life-changing and life-lasting unless we counsel from a heart that is prepared before the Lord.

How do we prepare our hearts for the work of Christian counseling?

    • The Preparation of Prayer — we must spend much time before the Lord admitting our unworthiness as counselors and seeing success as coming only from the Lord. We must tell the Lord that He and He alone will receive the glory for any success in our counseling.
    • The Preparation of Confession — during our prayer, we must identify our sins (naming each sin that finds life in our hearts and minds) and then confess our sins (truly repenting and turning from that sin to the things of God). 1 John 1:9
    • The Preparation of Purity — heart repentance is not completed until it has matured into living holiness. (Ephesians 1:4) To direct others in the ‘paths of righteousness’ while living unrighteously is a mockery to God.
    • The Preparation of Love — an attempt to counsel a brother or sister without true love is like sending a man to empty the Pacific Ocean equipped only with a bottomless bucket. No matter how hard he worked and pleaded and begged, his efforts would be useless. So is the Christian who does not have love, compassion and understanding. He or she can plead and beg, but to no avail. A knife without a sharpened edge may look like a knife and even feel like a knife, but when put to the test it is dull and useless. And so the Christian counselor without a heart of love may look like a counselor and even act like a counselor, but when put to the test their advice is dull and useless. (1 John 4:7-8)
    • The Preparation of Joy — one of the saddest sights in the church is to see a gathering of Christian counselors who only claim to fame is their 30-foot chins dragging the floor of sorrow. King David (a counselor of some measure) was once heard to say, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (Psalm 51:12-13) If we want to be effective in counseling lost souls into the Kingdom of God and counseling wayward brothers and sisters into the fulness of God, we must first be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit.

Next Time

We will look at the second ‘secret’ of success in Christian counseling when our special series continues.

[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from more than 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]