Before we get into the final blog, in this series on the Bible, we need to thank Pastor Matt Chandler from the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, for His guidance. Pastor Matt’s teachings have penetrated to the core of the Bible to bring us the Truth in a very unique way. We are indebted to him and grateful for his diligence.
Here is a brief summary of the story God tells us in the Bible:
God tells us He created everything, which gives Him the authority, and the unique perspective required, to advise us on how to live the most fulfilling life. It is foolish for us to correct or ignore God, Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” and following opinions regarding His Truth, rather than the Bible itself, are merely our vain attempts to justify our actions in defiance of His advice, Prov 18:2, “A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.”
He not only created everything He told us He created everything, so that we might know there is something greater than His creation, the Creator. His revealed existence, Ex 3:14, " And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you" leads us to the greater self He has seen for us. This life provides us with the time we need to choose whether we want to become the person God has seen, or an alternate version, created by the choices the devil offers. The devil's choices lead us to an impatient self, one that prefers now over eternity, one that uses people as disposable stepping stones instead of the selfless version of ourselves, which God prefers.
In the beginning, God gave Adam and Eve only one commandment, and they chose to break it, Gen 3:8-9, “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” This defiance led them to feelings of guilt and shame. So, they tried to hide from God. God's creation was designed to work together in a way that provides perfect peace, harmony, and joy for all. He gave Adam and Eve eternity to enjoy each other; food and wine were plentiful, nature and all its beauty abounded, it was a simple life providing purpose and fulfillment. But were they satisfied?
Apparently not, as Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie, which led them to disobey God and destroy all that He had given them, Gen 3:4-5, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” They became ashamed of being naked, Gen 2:25, 3:7, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed…And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” Can we not see how our disobedience has changed everything He created good? Wine turned into alcoholism, food into gluttony, work into pride, and everything has only gotten worse over the years. Instead of running the race God has called us to, Heb 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” we now are pawns in a rat race.
We have bought into the devil's lies, and it has led us to think we would make a better god than God. Somehow, we believe we could find a better path than the one He created for us. God gives us the Bible to help us find the path He has prepared, 2 Tim 3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” How foolish is it for us to think we might know better, Prov 12:1, “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.” Merriam-Webster defines “brutish” as: “showing little intelligence or sensibility.”
God gave us the Old Testament, so we might reflect on our own depravity and His prophecies to provide us with hope and a path to salvation. Within it, we see what dwells within each of us, as we witness even the Bible's heroes defying God. Each time we see Israel or an individual defy God, there are consequences. After we had proven we wanted laws, rather than a direct relationship with God, He sent Moses to give us ten simple ones, Ex 20:18-19, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” however, our guilt and shame, again, caused us to try and hide from God. Hiding did not work in the garden, it did not work in the desert, and it will not work today. An honest evaluation of our world shows we are still trying to hide from God, and our world echoes all of the consequences we witness in the Old Testament. We should not be fooled into believing we can live in defiance of God's Will and have a happy ending.
Our continued fear of God, coupled with our inability to follow a few simple commandments, has led us to create our own laws, Matt 19:7-8, “They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.” This is not God’s way; it is man trying to build structure around what we believe a god would want from us. However, His way is simple and filled with love, not blind obedience. We are blinded because we find it difficult to believe anyone, even God, would be selfless. He is not offering us a contract; He is freely giving us a covenant relationship, unconditionally. This means He gives 100% of Himself, expecting nothing from us. The only way we can avoid this relationship is by choosing to walk away from it.
Man’s way leads us to our flesh and requires God’s sacrifice, leaving us only one way to cleanse ourselves, Rom 8:3, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” Our inability to understand God’s love leads us away from Him, because we fear Him, instead of returning His love. He wants us to love Him, Heb 3:8, “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:” and He continually tells us to soften our hearts, so we might feel His love and return it, 1 Jn 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.”
The New Testament begins with John the Baptist preparing the way, Is 40:3, " The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." John introduced Jesus to this world and started Jesus on His path of fulfilling all of God's Old Testament prophecies, which is leading our world toward the completion of God’s plan. It is Jesus who makes a way for us to obtain salvation because we are incapable of doing it for ourselves. He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins, opening the doorway to His eternal family. We need only follow Him unto the path He created, which leads us through the doorway to heaven.
Jesus also calls us to help Him complete God’s plan by going into this world and making disciples, not just converts, Matt 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” We are God's cure being dispensed in this infected world, which is filled with the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life, 1 Jn 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Jesus told us He will return to take us home, Jn 14:2-3, “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” and 1 Thes 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This home Jesus will take us to will be perfect, Rev 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
When we ignore the Bible, we are allowing this world to tell us what will make us happy. This world's version of happiness is temporary, trapping us in a maze without providing the joy it promises. We are left with a feeling of angst. However, it is the Bible that speaks the Truth, which many of us do not want to hear. We want what we want, in the moment, more than we want the eternity God has promised. God tells us He created us to be part of His eternal family, but since God is love, 1 Jn 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” He has to give us the freedom to choose for ourselves. He asks and then answers the question of how He feels about the choice He has given us, Eze 18:23, 32, “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?... For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” He would have us pick eternal life with Him, and that is why He left us His Word, the Bible.
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