February 2010


 

     A few of the young couples in our church joke that every one of my sermons must have two things: a sports reference and a quote from The Jesus Storybook Bible.  There is much truth in their observation.  I love sports and I love The Jesus Storybook Bible.

     The Jesus Storybook Bible is the best children’s Bible available.  My wife and I have three children.  The two oldest have heard the stories in this Bible so many times, they can recite many of them from memory.

     Why is The Jesus Storybook Bible so good?  There are many reasons, but I will share three.

   First, this Bible correctly understands that Jesus Christ is the lens through which we are to read and understand the Bible.  I love how Sally Lloyd-Jones weaves in the terminology of rescuer, redeemer, savior throughout the Old Testament stories to point to the true rescuer, redeemer and savior.  My oldest son now recognizes types and shadows in the Bible because of this introduction that is both clear and age-appropriate. 

     Second, the illustration is amazing.  Our family loves the pictures.  The pictures for the David & Goliath were brilliant.  For the longest time, one of my boys would ask for “Goooooliath” every night.

     Third, this Bible has depth.  I find myself picking up things about the narratives that had never crossed my mind.  For example, in the story of Noah and the Flood.  Lloyd-Jones makes the comment that the rainbow was like God’s giant war-bow pointed away from earth and toward the heart of heaven.  Wow!  What a way to describe God averting his wrath from sinful man towards Jesus Christ, the God-man.

     If you are looking for a baby shower gift, buy a copy of this book.  If you are a pastor, parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, friend, please buy one for yourself and another to pass along as a gift.  This Bible will help children (and adults) get a sense of what Jesus was explaining on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:27).

Calvin:  I’m afraid of being upstairs alone.

Teddy: I’m coming Calvin, I’m not afraid of anything!

     The Bible tells us that sinful desires wage war against our souls (1 Peter 2:11).  So, do you have a battle plan? 

     In the book of Judges, Samson is presented as an amazing warrior.  He rips apart a lion with his bare hands, breaks new ropes as if they are masking tape and kills a thousand Philistine warriors with the jaw of a donkey!  On the surface, you may hold Samson up as the warrior extraordinaire. 

     But a closer look at the account of Samson (especially Judges 14-15) reveals a flawed battle plan.  Samson was called by the LORD to be his agent who begins Israel’s deliverance from Philistine oppression.  Samson totally disregards God’s call on his life and pursues his own passions.  He fights the Philistines, but for his own selfish reasons (14:3; 15:3, 7, 11b, 14-16, 18). 

     The nation of Israel presents a second flawed way in which to engage the enemy.  They attempt to keep the peace with the Philistines (15:9-12)!  Why?  Because they didn’t want to rock the boat.  They had grown comfortable with the Philistine oppression.

     The final character in this narrative is the LORD.  In 14:4, the narrator tells us that the LORD was the cause behind Samson’s interaction/confrontation with the Philistines.  Why?  Because the LORD was seeking an occassion to confront the Philistines!  The LORD would not let the Israelites remain comfortable with the Philistine oppression.  He used Samson to stir the pot.

    How does this relate to the Christian?  The Christian is in a constant battle with sin which wages war against our souls.  We need to have an approach, a battle plan, for our war with sin. 

     Some of us choose to fight like Samson.  We battle sin, but only for selfish reasons.  For example, we fight against gossip and slander, but only gossip and slander against us.  We refuse to wage war against our gossiping hearts and lips.  Or we are so concerned with ‘other sins’.  So and so’s patience, pride, lust, greed, laziness, etc.

     Others take the way of Israel and try to negotiate peace with sin.  Just leave me alone and I will do the same to you.  Sin doesn’t rest or negotiate peace.  Sin seeks to destroy 24/7!  Don’t make the mistake of trying to be Switzerland.  There is no neutrality in the war against sin!  Ask yourself this question: Am I comfortable with my sin or the sin that surrounds me?

    The godly person wages war against sin by God’s Spirit for His glory.  If the Holy Spirit dwells in you (and he does if you have placed your trust in Christ and his work on the cross) you have gospel power to wage war against sin.  Power that defeated sin on the cross.  Power that defeated death by the resurrection.  Power that has freed us from slavery to sin and made us slaves to righteousness!

    The last line of the movie Braveheart says, ‘They fought like warrior poets, they fought like Scotsmen, and they won their freedom.’ 

    How will you fight?  A crownless community fights for what is right in their own eyes or not at all.  A community changed by Christ fights as Spirit-filled warriors against sin.  They fight behind the Warrior King Jesus who has already won their freedom!

Preached at Manchester Creek 2/14/10

     How are you doing on your Bible reading for 2010?  Thus far, I am right on track with the chronological read through in a year.  I just finished Exodus (Genesis, Job & Exodus so far…) and beginning Leviticus.

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