Modern Christian teachers and preachers often approach Scripture in a way God didn’t plan. The purpose of Scripture is to see God; it is God’s self-revelation.
We modern people tend to approach Scripture as though it’s about us: for our inspiration, or for our morals, or for our intellect. And of course Scripture has much to say about inspiration, behavior, and a new way of thinking. But Scripture’s primary purpose is to reveal to us the real God.
Listen to what great Christians have said about Scripture through the ages:
- ”We come to Scripture not to learn a subject but to steep ourselves in a person.” (CS Lewis)
- “The test that you know the Bible is that you understand what it is driving at, it is expounding Christ, giving the exposition of what he is after.” (Oswald Chambers)
- “The New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New. A person touched by the Spirit of God suddenly says, ‘Now I see who Jesus is!’— that is the source of devotion.” (Augustine)
- “Paul read the Psalms from a Christian perspective and saw Jesus. In this, he was following the lead already set by Jesus. Jesus himself was conscious that the Psalms anticipate his work.” (Tremper Longman)
- “The Old Testament never fails to add new depths to my understanding of Jesus.” (Christopher Wright)
- “Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” (St. Jerome)
Scripture is about Jesus.
In the following sermons, my goal is to help us see Jesus; and in seeing Jesus, to worship.
Most of us read the Psalms from the perspective of our own lives. But there is another way to read them; to read them from the perspective of Jesus. Jews in Jesus’ day read the psalms morning, noon, and night. Most Jews had the entire book of Psalms memorized. Imagine how Jesus would read them.
And let the Psalms teach you about God. We are learning who the real God is by the way he reveals himself in the prayers that he wrote. Ps. 49:3-4 says it lik this,
My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre. (Ps. 49:3-4)
We can solve the riddles of life through the reading of the Psalms.
Eavesdrop on any couple in love, and you will hear them say, “I will swim the deepest ocean, climb the highest mountain, and love you in sickness and health, and for better or worse. Because we are made for this kind of committed love, we are made for biblical hesed. We just need to remember His commitment to us, we need to remember.
These sermons are designed to see the God who loves us in so seeing, come to know his unending love.
We modern people have lost the power of the resurrection in our daily lives; we remember the cross (some of the time) but we fail the grasp the centrality of the resurrection, a life-changing power we can experience today.
When the plagues swept through the cities of the Roman empire, the citizens fled while the Christians picked up oozing bodies and cleaned and cared for them. Why did they do this? How could they do this? The power of the resurrection. And God says we can experience that power today.
The Story of Joseph
Perhaps no other biographical story has struck me as much as the story of Joseph. He begins as a spoiled brat (let’s be honest), and he ends with a spiritual greatness that saves his family and forgives his brothers.
We can enter into that story, see God himself at work, and find a spiritual strength that forgives and brings life to those around us.
The Glory of Your Life
We long to see God’s work in our lives, but we fear it may be too late. Listen to the plans of God, amidst successes and failures, fires and detours:
Even as I type this, the idea of “practicing” faith seems strange. But why is that? We learn to speak by practice (at least imitation), as we learn sports and musical instruments. Practice is an investment in a priority.
Christian practices have been with us since the early Christian church. They include meditation, forgiveness, “Practicing the Presence of God” and more. Here are a few, including a strange but moving one, the last:
Essays on Knowing God’s Love
When Christians think of the parable of the Treasure in a Field, we normally think of it as an inspiring story (look at all we get for such a small price) or as a call to give up more. But this parable expresses something deep and rich, it shows us a picture of Christ that can change our heart.
Read this: The Treasure in a Field
I wonder, sometimes, how mixed up we can be when we think of what we need. We usually feel we need answers, or reprieve (or romance or success!); but I believe we most deeply need friendship.
Read this: Friendship
Repentance powers the process through which we restore relationships. And repentance in our relationship with God is important. But God has been teaching me about the confession before empowering repentance. God has been teaching me the value of pausing in the moment of confession.
After confession, we need repentance; and yet true, deep, lasting repentance seems elusive. We feel badly for a time, but our heart hasn’t changed. What do we need deep in our heart to bring deep life-giving change? God has been teaching me the riches of life change.
Read this: Repentance after Confession
How do we handle the wounds and troubles of our lives? Is there a hope we can own which transforms our lives and gives us inner strength to face the day? In this essay we can come to know a truth which can make the feeblest strong:
Read this: Judo Wounds and Glory
The world is filled with horrible, unspeakable injustice. And all of us, at one time or another, have been treated unfairly. How do we deal with the injustice of the world and with the bitterness we experience from personal injuries:
Read this: Our Heart Cry for Justice