This past week I lost something very important to me. What you might ask is that? My notebook. Not just any notebook, but my everyday, everything, notebook. It’s also happens to be a Moleskine notebook (don’t worry, I only purchase them when they’re on sale). Why was this a big deal? Because I have everything in that notebook, project notes, ideas for future talks, weekly to-do lists, notes from important meetings, etc. I don’t wanna lose those things. My memory isn’t good enough for me to afford losing that information. Just so you know, this story does end well, I found it at chapters. They had it behind the counter. (Phew) Luckily they didn’t restock it and sell it to someone else. (now that would be a fun story)
If you’ve followed along thus far, you know that we’ve been talking about stripping down to our essentials as a church. Taking off the layers that are (or may be) less important, and focus on the things that have kept us going since the church launched, in and around the first century.
One of the things we consider essential around here, because we are part of a long and rich (and messy) church tradition, are the notes, records, writings, we have about faith, God, people figuring out why and how to follow him, and of course Jesus. We also value the conversations that proceed from those notes.
Le’s phrase it like this: What conversation, message, theme, emerges fromthe notes, records, writings that we have in the scriptures?
By using this language, we’re not making light of the scriptures. No. It’s the opposite, these notes are treasured…not because the paper they’re on is special, or because the writers were holy in some way, but because they lead us to Jesus, who is the clearest picture of who God is.
Now, why do we teach these scriptures, and keep the notes and the conversation floating around?
1) Teaching the story of God, that leads to Jesus, assures us of Jesus’ presence…
In Matthew 28, the great commission, we read these words… “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
These final words from Jesus do a few things:
– talk about the importance of discipleship
– reminds us about the Trinity
– urge us to TEACH & FOLLOW Jesus’ commands
– assure us that as we do this, disciple, baptize, teach & obey, Jesus will be present.
God is with those who converse about him. Too Simple? Maybe. Profound? Definitely.
2) We teach the scriptures because they are practical and useful…
Paul wrote these words to Timothy about why we teach and converse about the scriptures… “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings…Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them…. as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Paul see’s teaching as something we say and something we show. Show & tell. Never just tell!
Paul’s main idea here is verse 16. All Scripture is inspired by God (that’s what ‘breathed’ means). This doesn’t mean that the writers were controlled and under the influence of some trance when they wrote. This does mean that God breathed life into these stories because God was always the main character, coming in and out of the scenes of the narrative.
Paul is at least saying that we shouldn’t approach the scripture like some approach tourist spots or historical sites – “That’s nice” “Wow, what a beautiful structure” “So glad we visited this place”.
The scriptures are alive, because the God of whom the writer’s spoke about was and is alive.
Paul doesn’t end there. He goes on to say that the scriptures are useful.
– for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training in right living.
– being acquainted with the scriptures will equip us to do good work.
Now, we have to be careful that this is not all we see it as, that said, the scriptures are and should be used for this. Practical, Useful, Helpful.
Our Canadian friend, Bruxy, said this recently, “The gospel is not just the message that people get saved by, it Is the message that saved people live by.”
3) We teach the scriptures because it is the story that leads us to Jesus…
Paul says this in Colossians 1…
I have become its (the church’s) servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
Paul is passionately committed to teaching the WORD of GOD. But for Paul, the WORD of God is JESUS.
(John 5:39) You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me…
(John 1:14)The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We get caught up in the book, and forget that the purpose of the book is to introduce us to its main character.
How many Christians have gotten in trouble by focusing more on the Bible, and less on Jesus?
Who is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12)? The Bible or Jesus? JESUS!
Think about these quotes from Brian Zhand,
“I believe in the infallible, inerrant word of God. And his name is Jesus.”
“When we speak of the ‘word of God’, Christians should think of Jesus first and the bible second”
Paul says a few other things in Colossians:
– The word of God is Christ
– Christ, the hope of glory, is in us
– We proclaim Jesus, teach about Jesus, help people grow and mature in Jesus
For this reason, and many others, teaching (the scriptures and the gospel) is an essential of what it means to be the church!
So…why do we continue to teach and continue to keep this conversation going?
– To immerse ourselves in the way of Jesus.
– To slowly, but surely be defined by the values and teaching of Jesus.
– To live out the ways of Jesus.
May we continue the conversation, share the notes, live out the gospel.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Questions to consider…
Do we value the notes (that have been passed on to us)?
Do we continue the conversation (we have been invited to be a part of)?
Are we talking about, and listening to, Jesus, the WORD of the GOD?