You would be not very smart to step on the football field without reading the rulebook or the playbook. In fact, the coach would be not very smart for letting you walk in the field in that condition!
The Bible is our instruction manual for life. Everything we need is in there! If we do not know it, how then can we live by it?
We live in a society that has greater access to the word of God at lower cost and in more formats than any time in history, but are potentially one of the most Biblically illiterate societies in History!
For crying out loud, we can get a bible for a dollar at the Dollar store, load it on our smart phones, access it on the internet (with study helps), get it in various audio formats in case we can’t read, get it as a comic book (not joking here…), send it to third world countries as a solar-powered audio device, but most of the general population has no stinking clue what it really says!
Greg Stier of Dare2Share Ministries describes the Bible like this:
· The Bible was written by over 40 different men from three different Continents
· The Bible was written over the period of 1500 years
· The Bible is one fourth prophecy
· The Bible is not a science, history, or archaeological book. But it comments on all of these in one way or another
· The Bible is completely without any errors whatsoever.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (New International Version)
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a] 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
The Pharisees placed a heavy burden of laws on the Jews. Christ fulfilled the law. Paul spent a large portion of the New Testament explaining to the early church that they are not bound by the Old Testament law, but live under a covenant of grace. This life of grace can be summed up in two commands, Love God with all you are, and Love your Neighbor as yourself.
If you’re truly living out these two passages, can you hold a grudge with another Christian?
If you’re truly living out these two passages, can you avoid the ministry that God has called you to join?
If you’re truly living out these two passages, will you be sharing Christ with your friends, neighbors, and anyone else who will listen?
If you’re truly living out these two passages will you be growing as a Christian?
You cannot get in the game without understanding teammates and opponents
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
The enemy is not people in your own church, the church down the road, or the neighbor across the street! We battle against Satan who wants to see you distracted and ineffective because you are focusing on stuff that doesn’t mean squat in terms of eternity.
Satan wants you to completely miss that while you’re worrying, you’re not doing the job that God has commanded you to do – Going, Making Disciples, Baptizing, and Teaching. That’s what makes an eternal difference.
Psalms 133:1 (NASB)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
We may not all be best friends, we may have different views, different hopes and dreams, but when it comes to being the Body in this church, we have to be on the same page.
A pastor friend of mine from Missouri puts this well:
Discussion does not equal division, but without some ground rules, it can quickly transform into something unhealthy and unhelpful. Discussion produces Disunity when PRIDE takes over.
We need to be determined to diffuse conflict before it begins whenever possible. This begins with understanding our place in the universe. That is, we are here to serve the Lord
You cannot get in the game without knowing the coach
On the field the coach is in charge. Period. What he says goes. He has that respect by right of his position. He leaves no question to his authority.
Jesus leaves no question to His Position and Authority. In the Gospels He makes this clear. Those that say that Jesus never claimed to be God must have some pages missing from their Bible…
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
The significance of the claim in John 14:6 can sometimes be missed unless you do a little word study. Hang with me because this is BIG!!! I AM in this passage is translated from Greek “eigo eimi” This was a term reserved by the Greek speaking Jews solely for reference to God, relation to the Hebrew “Ehyeh asher ehyeh” (I AM THAT I AM- a reference to Exodus 3:14). If that’s not enough, Jesus makes a very similar statement (same wording) in John 8:58 – It’s at this point the Pharisees were picking up stones and screaming Blasphemy!- this guy’s claiming to be God!!
58″I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
He has Established Authority without question, but set it aside so that the debt for our sin could be paid. He chose Death so that we might live. It’s the major theme of the Bible. In fact the message of Salvation that the Bible brings can be summed up like this:
We were created for fellowship with God (Genesis 1), and when sin entered the picture in Genesis 3, that fellowship was broken. The rest of the Old Testament is the story of the separation and attempted redemption through the observance of the Jewish law (Genesis 3-Malachi). The Gospels tell us the story of Jesus coming to die so that the price could be paid for our sin (Matthew-Luke). The rest of the New Testament shares the message that all can have eternal life by trusting in Jesus as Savior AND Lord (John-Jude). Eternal life means forever. With Jesus Forever (Revelation 22). That’s a happy ending! (see Dare2share.org/gospeljourney for full explanation)…
You cannot get in the game without commitment
We have many commitments in life.
They demand much of us, but which one is most important?
The French philosopher Voltaire is quoted with the saying “The Good is the enemy of the Best” – we do a lot of good things as Christians, but is what we’re doing God’s best for us?
If we’re so busy doing “good” things, we can completely miss what God really has for us to do!
Is our devotion completely to God, Is HE the number one commitment on our priority list, or does HE simply get the leftover crumbs on the table?
23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Are we giving God all we have, even when it burns, hurts, or makes us uncomfortable?
Are we quitting because we know that no one will question when we stop on the 50 or 60 yard line because it was a good effort, but it wasn’t our all? Jesus was made “more than a little uncomfortable” on the cross for our sins to pay that did He did not owe that we could not pay.