Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Story

You can listen to this sermon here.

[This sermon was based on the booklet The Story by Spread the Truth Ministries.]

The Bible Is the Story

This past December I watched the classic Christmas movie White Christmas. I had seen the ending a couple of times, but had never watched it from start to finish. When I watched the whole movie, the ending made sense.

“Many people know stories from the Bible but do not know the story of the Bible. That’s like having a handful of pearls with no string to link them together.”—Colin S. Smith, Unlocking the Bible Story

The way you view the Bible determines the way you look at life. Christians tend to view the Bible one of two ways: the reference book perspective and (2) the one single story perspective.

“And [Jesus] said to them [two discouraged disciples], ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27). The disciples had the wrong story. Jesus had to show them that the whole Old Testament told the story that the Christ would suffer first and then be exalted.

“The Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done…. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne—everything—to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life! You see, the best thing about this Story is—it’s true. There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.”—Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible 

The Bible’s story answers four crucial questions: How did it all begin? What went wrong? Is there any hope? What will the future hold?

How Did It All Begin?

1. The Creation 

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Ps. 90:2).

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).

Adam and Eve were created in God’s image. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:26-27).

“God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). At the beginning, Adam and Eve were in perfect harmony with God, creation, and each other.

God’s purpose for mankind: to fill the earth with worshipers. 

But something tragic happened… 

What Went Wrong?

2. The Fall

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate (Gen. 3:6).

Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned (Rom. 5:12).

The entire world is guilty before God (Rom. 3:19 NLT). 

None is righteous, no, not one (Rom. 3:10).

Humanity is now broken spiritually (disconnected from God), physically (disease), socially (conflicts in families and marriages), emotionally (skyrocketing need for anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication), and morally (overflowing prison system).

God’s purpose replaced: man chose to worship other things. 

Can anything be done? 

Is There Any Hope? 

3. The Rescue 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).

Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world (Gal. 1:4 NLT).

“Religion is man’s attempt to make things right with God and takes on infinite forms, but ultimately it translates into man’s independent effort to return to right standing with God.”—George Robinson

The first mention of the gospel is in Genesis 3:15. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The Bible is one long detailed answer to one short and crucial question: Who is that Seed who was promised to come?

God’s purpose made possible: Jesus rescues man from the bondage of sin. 

“The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.”—Timothy Keller, The Reason for God 

But the story doesn’t end there… 

What Will the Future Hold?

4. The Restoration 

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.... God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:1, 3-4).

“Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

God has promised a complete restoration for humanity. We will be restored spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, and morally. 

God’s purpose fulfilled: to fill the earth with redeemed worshipers. 

Your Part in the Story

The question for each of us is this: Am I living my life from the story I’m crafting for myself, or am I living life based on God’s redemption found in Christ and the story He is crafting through-out history?

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