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 , Part 2 and Part 3 ]


Let me share with you two other secrets 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 #3

Ezra obeyed the Word of God.

It’s ridiculous to think that knowledge will ever substitute for obedience. There can be no success in Christian counseling without absolute obedience to God’s Word.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

Being a leader and counselor in Christian circles does not automatically make you a spiritual success.

King Saul was the chief leader and counselor of the nation of Israel. He had prestige and position, but he lacked spiritual power. Saul tried to substitute sacrifice (a creation of the mind) for obedience (a condition of the heart).

Samuel told Saul –

“And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22

If we want to have God’s blessings on our counseling, we must be obedient.

“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:25

Secret #4

Ezra counseled others to obey God.

Ezra poured his life into other people. He invested himself in making others a success.

We find the ultimate example of this investing principle in the person of Jesus Christ who “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28)

The word ‘minister’ comes from the Greek word diakoneó and means ‘to serve, to wait upon.’

The Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus “made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7).

In Romans 8:29, Paul wrote that God has marked out each of His children to be ‘conformed’ to the image of Christ. What was the ‘form and image’ of Christ? A servant.

The highest position in the Kingdom of God is that of a servant.

“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” Matthew 19:28-30

Jesus had every right to be ministered to and ‘get,’ but instead He took on the form of a servant and ‘gave.’

If we are to be effective in our work as teachers and counselors, we must literally invest our lives in others.

In Conclusion

  • Prepare your hearts before the Lord …
  • Go deep into the goldmine of God’s Word …
  • Obey every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God …
  • Invest your life in the lives of others …

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3

[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.]