Anyone who has been part of this church family for any length of time will notice that the Bible is important to us here. In fact, the Bible is our standard of faith and practice, not just at church services, but in every part of our lives. At least that’s what is taught here. Is that fair to say?
We actually believe, or at least we say we believe that the Bible is God’s word. There are some pretty amazing books in this world. I have no idea how many books have been written, or how many authors there have been throughout history, but I know that if any one book stands above them all as the Book of books, if you will, the Bible is that book. When we listen to its words we soon realize that it is calling us to believe its message, not as a good message among other good messages, or a great work of literature among other great works of literature, but this book, the Bible calls us to believe it to be words given to us by God. The writers of scripture, all as in a huge chorus of writers, recorded for us these words and were moved to write them by some motive or purpose. What was it? What moved them to write? What moved them to record what we have here in the pages of our Bibles? A better question is, “Who moved them to do so?” And, “Why?” The Bible itself addresses these questions throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Let’s just look at five New Testament passages that speak about this:
2 Timothy 3:15-4:5
1 Peter 1:22-25
2 Peter 1:16-21
When we read the words of the Bible, it doesn’t take long to figure out that it is claiming to speak with the authority of God. Jesus refers to scripture and says it speaks of Him, and that not one jot or tittle will pass from it till everything is fulfilled. If we take seriously what these words say, we must conclude an amazing thing: God wrote a book. John Piper does a great little presentation on this.
He used about 40 writers over a period of 1500 years in three languages, but He did it. He is the author of the Bible. I believe this. I have spent my life dedicated to the message of this one God given book. The God who is eternal, who created the universe by speaking it into existence, who has revealed Himself to us in the Bible as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, this God who so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life, this God wrote a book.
That is an astounding claim! It is staggering to think that we hold in our hands a message from eternity that calls us to come, calls us to see ourselves as created in the likeness of the creator of the universe, calls us to recognize our fallen condition in sin and rebellion, poverty of spirit, separated from our Maker, our Master, our Father. This book says we are not accidents that occurred out of chaos over eons. This book says that we have God given dignity and God given responsibility. This book says that we are not masters of our own destinies, but this book tells us that we ARE choosers of one of two ultimate pre-established conditions. God wrote a book! It invites it’s hearers to faith in the God who authored it. It invites us to come to Him, look to Him, listen to Him, learn from Him, link our lives to His life and let Him restore us to His image and likeness to share everlasting life together, reigning and ruling together with Him forever, and ever, and ever. There is a happily ever after in the book that God wrote! There is also a horrible condemnation beyond our understanding for all who reject it.
Next year, 2017, Lord willing, our elders are leading this church into a journey together through this Book that God wrote. It is a journey to hear God’s voice and build our lives closer to God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness.
Jesus, when He gave His Magna Carta to His disciples in the great Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, gave us a charge in the very heart of that sermon. Matthew 6:33. Jesus said, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… Seek how? First. Seek what first? The kingdom of God and His righteousness. Where do you go to look for God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness? Well, God wrote a book! And in that book, we have all we can know about God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness. If Jesus told us to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, then what do you think we should do first? How about seek God’s kingdom and righteousness? Where? How about where He wrote about it? Make sense?
I hope over the next three weeks of December to help prepare us for this adventure together through the Book God wrote. We will be listening for what God says about His kingdom and His righteousness as we read. May God help us all to put on our seeking spectacles and let God open our eyes to His royal majesty and divine glory where He rules over all things in wisdom, power and authority. May God open our hearts and minds to discover the depth and height and length and breadth of God’s amazing righteousness.
May He help us see all that He who reigns in righteousness would have us discover as we set our priorities according to what He has written in His book.
Here’s your assignment, your take home from today’s lesson:
Begin praying daily for our elders as they lead us into greater devotion to God and His word.
Pray for this church family to devote ourselves to obeying Jesus charge here.
Plan on scheduling times with your family to share each day in God’s book.
Pray that God will reveal to you His kingdom and righteousness and help you keep this commitment to put this first in your life as Jesus instructed us.
Pray for greater faith, greater hope, greater love in Christ.