Last Sunday's message was really Bible 101! We looked at how Genesis shapes how we read and understand the Bible. I tried to give a brief, but sweeping, overview of the structure of the Bible, its acts, sections, chapters and episodes. So fun. . . .
- The sovereign rule and power of the Lord God, who promises the Seed. In the garden at the Fall, God's sovereignty is challenged. The rest of the Bible serves as an assertion of God's Sovereign rule and a demonstration of His awesome power. God must and will show that He is the true Sovereign. Even our lost, blind, dead hearts must be turned by Him to Him. What God requires we cannot do ourselves. Salvation is a work of God's sovereign grace.
- The character of the Lord God, who promises the Seed. The Bible is an ongoing display of God's manifold character. His holiness and justice appear counterbalanced against his grace and mercy. How will these be reconciled and preserved? The cross is the ultimate and final answer. The Bible reveals who God is. Look for it as you read.
- The scope, impact and ongoing consequences of sin and our universal and deep need for the Seed. The ravaging effects of sin are seen throughout the bible in the lives of just about every character. Even the heroes of the faith are marked by brokenness and often gross sin. See through the gloss, get past the idealism. Don't put any of these characters on a pedastal. Though sometimes examples of faith, the story really isn't about any of the individual characters, but about the Lord God who is acting in history to accomplish His sovereign saving, plan and purposes. God must intervene to bring us back. Someone must live the life that we should be living and die the death that we deserve.
- The necessity of faith in receiving the seed promise personally and living out of the Seed promise practically. Those who lived before the coming of the Seed, Jesus, looked forward to His coming by faith. We who live after the coming of the Seed, look back on His coming by faith. The righteous live, not by and because of their own righteousness, but by faith in God's righteousness. Faith is the only way to a relationship with God. We cannot earn it and we don't deserve it. We can only receive the salvation that God offers in Christ . . . .by faith. Every page of the Bible challenges us with the question, "Do I believe and trust the Lord God? Am I living by faith in Him?" Salvation is and has always been by grace alone through faith alone in the Seed (Christ) alone. Our faith need not be perfect, but it must be in the right direction and in the right object. There are two humanities in the world: those who trust themselves and live for themselves and those who trust the Lord God and live for Him. Faith is the defining mark of the people of God.