Week 1: One Story
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Introduction: Let’s open our Bibles together
Happy New Year. God’s world runs in cycles. Every 24 hours we get a new day. Every 365-1/4 days we get a new year. We measure our life seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, and months that turn into years. Each new year should bring us to a point of assessment and planning. We should look back and gauge our progress… or regress. We should be honest about our success and failures.
My prayer is that this year will be one that is spent in service of God and His kingdom. I pray that we will be on mission this year to love God and others, to bring God glory in all that we do, and to share the gospel in our daily lives. If we want to be successful… truly successful as God defines success, we are going to have to live life His way. We are going to have to be led by the Holy Spirit. God has given us something that is necessary for our growth and success in 2023. Without it, we will not be what God wants us to be or achieve all that He has for us to do in this New Year.
Transition - Our lives are connected to stories… Everything we did this past year was connected to our beliefs and goals which spring from our story.
What would it mean for you and your family if you woke up one day and realized everything you believed was a lie?
This happened to Moses. He was raised believing he was the grandson of Pharaoh. He was educated in Egypt. He was taught to worship their gods. He was indoctrinated with the customs, culture, and beliefs of the Egyptians. He had access to wealth, comfort, pleasure, celebrity status, and respect as and Egyptian.
We don’t know when or how, but at some point he learned who he was. He learned that the ones he called family were the enemy. They were enslaving and oppressing his true family. He found out that the man he was raised to believe was his grandfather had ordered his death when he was an infant. This Pharaoh was personally responsible for murdering thousands of newborn baby boys. Everything Moses believed to be true about his own identity, his own history, and his own God was a lie.
Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
A Metanarrative—which literally means “grand narrative”—is a story that provides context and meaning for the lives of an entire group of people. All cultures have stories that define their existence.
If you believe the wrong story, you will behave the wrong way.
In WW2, people fought and died for Hitler because they believed the story that he told his nation. People in the American colonies shed their blood on battlefields because they believed a story… they believed they had a God given right to liberty from tyranny.
Stories are powerful.
God gave us a story. It is a grand story that defines our reality. God wrote a book. It contains the truth about our existence.
Today, we are beginning a series through that story. We call that story, The Holy Bible. The Bible is made up of 66 books by around 40 different authors - over the period of 1500 yrs - who lived on 3 different continents - from many different walks of life.
These 66 books are not random, disjointed, or unconnected stories. They tell one story. They reveal God’s One Eternal Plan and Purpose for our world. This is miraculous. How could all these authors across 2 Millenia from 3 different continents who were shepherds, kings, slaves, carpenters, generals, farmers, priests, prophets, fishermen, politicians, assassins, and government agents who spoke 3 different languages tell one unified story?
It is a supernatural book! I hold a miracle in my hand. It was miraculously written and preserved. The Holy Spirit inspired the human authors to tell one cohesive story (2 Peter 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.).
2 Timothy 3:16 says - All Scripture is breathed out by God . . . & THAT is the Only Way this book is possible.
Only God could tell this story.
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
God is the only one who could have written this. He is the only one who was there. God is eternal and self-existent. He is the Lord of time, existing above and apart from it, but free to enter it to accomplish his purposes. Rom 11:36: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
God does not have a beginning or end. God does not change. God is all-knowing, all-wise, and ever-present. He possesses all power. He exists as Father, Son, and Spirit. He is the Triune God. 3 in 1.
He is perfect in all he does. He is Holy, righteous, just, He is love, He is merciful, compassionate, and kind. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
And He wrote a book. His book is without error, incapable of failing, and authoritative. The Bible is a self-revelation of God. It reveals our Creator, the fall of man, the way of salvation, and God’s plan and purpose for the ages. He wrote this book for us… for our benefit. So that we could know Him, understand our problem, receive salvation, and find peace and purpose in our lives.
The Bible tells One Story.
The Bible is not primarily a book about morals. Though Scripture has a lot to say about how we live and act, it’s not primarily a manual for moral living. The Bible is not about us. It’s about God.
Edmund Clowney, who was a professor and theologian, said that if we read a particular story without putting it into the bigger story about Christ, we actually change the meaning of the particular event for us. It becomes a moralistic exhortation to try harder rather than a call to live by faith in the work of Christ.
In the end, there are only two ways to read the Bible: as if it’s all about us or all about Jesus. In other words, is it basically about me and what I must do, or about Christ and what he has done? The Bible is not a collection of fables; it is not a book of virtues. It’s a story about how God saves us. That story works out in the four movements of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. [https://graysonpope.com/2019/03/18/the-importance-of-reading-the-bible-as-one-big-story/]
“Nothing is meaningful without a context.” We must understand the context of Scripture if we are to properly apply it to our lives.
Herman Bavinck gave one of the greatest summaries of The Holy Bible that I’ve ever read: “God the Father has reconciled his created but fallen world through the death of his Son, and renews it into a Kingdom of God by his Spirit.” That’s the story of the Bible in one sentence.
Let’s examine these 4 Movements of The Holy Bible:
Genesis 1-2 communicates God’s creation of the world. Seven times in these two chapters, the Bible states, “And God said . . .” When He speaks, Immediately, something comes into existence. Light, water, sky, earth, plants, sun, moon, stars and animal life under the sea and on land. The eighth statement of God in this creation narrative begins with “Then God said . . .” Man and woman are created at that moment displaying the image and likeness of God. The creation story reveals God’s infinite power, his purposeful intentionality and his majestic creativity. Man and woman are listed last as the pinnacle of God’s creation and are given divine rulership over the rest of creation. It is a picture of God’s great goodness and provision. This part of the story provides us with purpose.
Genesis 3 records the Fall. Sin entered the world and wreaked havoc on God’s creation. Mankind fell from their relationship with God and all of creation that was perfect and in perfect harmony with God was cursed. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. They rebelled against their Creator. They committed cosmic treason. Genesis 3 provides us with a portrait of God’s grace. God sacrificed an animal to cover Adam and Eve. The innocent died for the guilty. In Genesis 3:15, we see our first glimpse of God’s rescue plan as a child is predicted who will vanquish our great enemy. This part of the story shows us our deep need for a savior and gives us hope and faith in God’s plan.
So far, we have covered 3 chapters…
The largest thematic section of the Bible, from Genesis 4 through Revelation 20, tells the story of redemption, God’s pursuit of us to provide a way of salvation.
Old Testament: Anticipation
Adam, Seth, Noah, Shem, Terah, Abram - God makes a covenant and promises to send the Messiah through his offspring and in this promised one all nations of the earth would be blessed, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Judges rule on God’s behalf until the people reject God’s rule and want a king like the pagan nations, Saul is the first and one of the worst kings… David, Solomon, Kingdom Divided, Exiles, All the while, the Prophets speak and write on behalf of God. God reveals his will through them… Silence 400 years
Jesus - God who became flesh, Born of a virgin, Lived a perfect, sinless life, fulfilling all the Law, Died a sacrificial atoning death, rose from the grave, commissioned the disciples, ascended to Heaven, all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him! He who came as a servant and humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross, has been highly exalted and given a name that is above every name…
Acts: Proclamation -
The church is born. It grows. Persecution begins. The gospel spreads. All who hear the gospel, repent of their sin, and believe in Jesus as the risen Savior and Lord are saved, born again, and reconciled to God. The more God’s plan is resisted, the more it drives out the darkness. The most vocal enemy of the Gospel becomes the greatest evangelist of all time. God uses the chief of sinners to write 13 or more books of Scripture.
Paul explains the doctrines of the Church, the inner workings of our salvation, and teaches us how we should live in light of our new Identity in Christ.
Creation, Fall, Redemption, and finally…
And finally, Revelation 21-22 describes God’s total restoration. This is the conclusion of Christ’s work and the biblical narrative that shows how every aspect of creation is brought back into perfect harmony with God and the rest of creation. Shalom - Everything as it was meant to be.
The Bible reveals our heavenly Father’s loving, merciful, and gracious work through the Son, Jesus Christ, to restore relationship with his creation. It reminds us that this holy God will one day bring justice and righteousness to the earth, to all people. When we stand before the Judgment, we will either be declared righteous through the Blood of Jesus Christ or we will be condemned to eternally pay for our own sins in Hell.
How You Fit in this One Story?
You must believe this story! You must become a part of the story. You must identify with the death and resurrection of Jesus for your sin. You must receive His salvation by grace through faith and you must live by faith. We are called to live holy lives. We are called to share the good news with others. We are called to live in liberty and to be more than conquerors. In Christ, you have been given everything you need for life and godliness. We have His story and His Holy Spirit to help us live the redeemed life.
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
You can not be what God wants you to be in 2023 without The Holy Bible.
I am going to be teaching and preaching an overview of different book of the Bible every week this year and we will make it through most of the Bible together in 2023. What we don’t make it through, we will finish in ’24.
Read the Bible every day this year.
Read ahead through every book of the Bible each week.
This year, Walk in obedience to the truth God reveals in His word.
Jesus said the wise men and women are those who hear His words and obey. Matthew 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.