Good afternoon. If you have your Bibles, go ahead and grab those. We’re going to be in 2 Timothy, chapter 3, and then we’ll bounce over to Hebrews in a little bit. There is a lot of change going on in our church. I don’t know how much of that you’re picking up on. It’s actually happening all over the place. Let me give you some illustrations of that.
The Village Church Plano on Easter Sunday actually hung up new signs that said “Citizens Church” because they have voted to roll off. They have been doing live preaching. Then our Dallas Campus, The Village Church Dallas, is actually Northway Church now, and then we have four church plants that have gone out. This thing that God put in our hearts a couple of years ago is happening, and it’s happening quickly.
One of the things that’s happening in the middle of that is The Village Church Flower Mound, here where you and I are, is dreaming about the future. We’re believing some things about the future. That means there are a lot of things that are in the air. Many of you know we actually voted to purchase land. We’ll have an update on that tonight at Member Meeting. We have some things that are changing here.
In that season, as I’ve considered all that we’re thinking about and working on, it became apparent to me that no matter what changes, there will be some things that can’t change because they’re so woven to who I am. As long as I’m the lead teaching pastor, these things will have to be points of emphasis, because I can’t be here if they’re not. That has never been a threat; it’s just the reality of I burn for these things, and I’m the one with the face mic. If I’m up here the most consistently, these are things that just come out of me. I can’t help but get fired up about them and get excited about them.
There are a few buckets I’ve already communicated, but the one I want to talk about today is that The Village Church, whatever form and function is in our future, will be a place that’s serious about the Word of God. It’s not just that it’s an add-on or a caveat. We’re going to be a biblically serious people. I get so fired up about it that I’m surprised I still have a voice. I breathe it. I love the Word of God. I love the God of the Bible, and I’m convinced that I’m not trying to convince you about a book today, but I’m trying to invite you into the very heart of God.
Did you know that Avengers: Endgame has made $2 billion the last nine days? All of the uber geeks just celebrated out of their minds. Now here’s what’s fascinating: 21 movies that are telling one story. You don’t have to watch all 21 to get the point, but that’s what they did. Over the course of the last 10 years, 21 movies are telling the same story, and it all culminates in Endgame.
Now here’s the reality. I don’t know how many of you actually know this. There were 40 authors who wrote the Bible. Actually one, the Holy Spirit, but 40 men penned the Word of God on three continents over the course of 2,000 years, and it’s just one story. Did you know that? There’s one story in the Bible, and I love you enough to say this: it ain’t about you.
The Bible is not some kind of self-help book. It’s not a book of advice. It’s not a road map of life. It is God’s self-disclosure of himself. The Bible is about Jesus. Genesis: Jesus. Exodus: Jesus. Leviticus: Jesus. Numbers: Jesus. Deuteronomy: Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. It’s God redeeming and saving from the ends of the earth those who are far from him because of sin and redeeming them and ransoming them from death.
This is the point of the book. It was written by priests and farmers and prisoners and fishermen and a military general and a cupbearer and a priest and shepherds. They wrote this book and gave it to us via the Holy Spirit that we might come alive. I’m not trying to convince you that this is a good book you ought to get into.
If you want to know a good book, I’ll give you a couple. Shoe Dog is an amazing book about Nike. It’s Phil Knight’s memoir about how he started Nike. It has father and son stuff. It has entrepreneurial angst. It has risk. It has business. It has leadership, father/son dynamics. Amazing book. Gates of Fire, a historical fiction about the battle of Thermopylae. Amazing books. I’m not inviting you into a book; I’m inviting you into the heart of God for us. That’s what this is.
So if you leave here today and are like, “Oh man, the Bible sounds like a cool book,” you’re missing it. It’s 66 books telling one story, and it’s an invitation into life. You can reject this and go by your gut or you can surrender to it and find your way into life. The Bible answers all of the questions. Not some of them…all of them. If you’re thinking, “Really? All? What should I have for lunch?” I’m talking about those questions that lie at the real heart of every human being.
What’s real? What is ultimate? Where do we come from? What’s the matter with humankind, and what hope is there for us? The Bible is the only one that answers all of those questions. So what I want to do is dive in, and here’s the flow. What is the Bible? What does it do? And how does it work? That’s my plan. With that said, let’s look at this. Second Timothy, starting in verse 16 of chapter 3.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” All Scripture is breathed out by God. It is God’s self-disclosure of himself. That means our Creator has not left us in the dark trying to figure things out. We are not people in a dark universe, groping for what might be true, groping for what God might be like, trying to figure out what this is all about.
God has revealed himself to us. He has shown us who he is and who we are and how he has designed the universe to work. We are not deists. We don’t believe God fired this thing off and then he just doesn’t care. We believe he’s right in the midst and that he has designed and built and invited into life, and that’s one of the things going on in the Bible. I would also like to say it’s not one of many of God’s revelations. It is his revelation. Period.
I am not saying, and I don’t want you to hear me say, that God does not still prompt and speak, because I believe he does. I’m saying all of that, then, is filtered by and defined by the very Word of God. We’re weird about this. We’re so weird about this. I have a friend. He’s actually in this room. He was doing some evangelism among some Muslim refugees, and he met a man from Syria. He sat down and just wanted to talk to him about Jesus.
This man had had a dream since he was little of Jesus coming to him and saying, “I’m real. What you’re being taught is not real. You need to come to me.” It has been a dream that has haunted him his whole life. Now how easy is evangelism if that’s how it works? “Hey, I want to talk to you about Jesus.” “Oh my Lord! I’ve had a dream of that guy.”
So that guy was from Syria. Then a couple of days later, he sits down with another guy from Iraq. Same dream. Same Jesus wearing the same thing making the same invitation. If you approach that with “Well, where’s that verse in the Bible?” you strangle the life out of what it means to be children of God. He prompts. He speaks. He motivates. He encourages. He gives word to. The Bible defines it.
Here’s what I would say. If you came to me and said, “Hey, I had a dream, and Jesus was wearing the same thing he was wearing in those Muslim things, and here’s what he said. He said to me, ’Man, you need to get as high as you want and beat your wife,’” here’s what I’m going to do: “Yeah, that’s a demonic, wicked, evil dream. You need to repent of that, and you need to get some counseling.” How do I know? Because the Book said your dream wasn’t legit.
But someone who says, “Jesus has beckoned me into life,” that dream is legit. How do we know that? Because of the Bible. The Word of God is the revelation of God. We get quirky about that, specifically in the West. When missionaries give these kinds of things that are going on globally, I see so many people like, “That is incredible! That’s amazing!” But if your neighbor was like, “I feel like I got this word from the Lord,” you’re like, “Oh, wait. Did you read the Word or do you have a word?” Now all of a sudden it’s not cool. Now all of a sudden it needs to be squashed.
What is that? What is in us that if it’s happening in Iraq, if it’s happening in some country that, God help them, because they’re being killed for their faith, we can just embrace it and celebrate it and rally around it and get so pumped about it, but if it’s that crazy lady in our small group, that weird guy, that guy that always feels like he wants to bless us or he has oil in his pocket and he’s just waiting to pounce on somebody and demand healing in the name of Jesus, now we have some struggles with that, but we don’t have struggles with it as long as it’s far from us.
That’s more indicting on us than it is on them. If your mindset is, “Well, once they have the full counsel of God, then they don’t need those things anymore,” you’re strangling the life out of what the Holy Spirit has brought to us. But the Word of God is his revelation to humankind. Period. Then he prompts and speaks and the Word of God filters and informs and shapes.
I love this quote. This is from Graham Cole. He’s actually summarizing B.B. Warfield. If you’re a theology nerd, that dude has cred. Here’s what he says about Warfield’s chapter that he called “Christian Supernaturalism.” He says, “Once supernaturalism is allowed to slip, Christianity becomes yet another example of the human search for transcendence, rather than a response to the divine search for us.”
I love this idea. I want to clarify what I’m saying and what I’m not saying and what Warfield is saying and what Cole is saying. He’s not just saying that if you don’t believe in the sign gifts you don’t get Christianity. He’s saying understanding the Bible is supernatural, that you don’t understand the Bible without the Holy Spirit doing illumination. If you don’t believe me, get on Netflix and watch The Gospel of John.
See what happens when blind scholarship approaches the Bible without the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. They can’t see the story. They think a book stands alone. They don’t get that it’s actually 66 books telling one story. They don’t get it. They can’t see it. You have to have the Holy Spirit do the work of illumination to get the Word of God in your guts. This means all sorts of things, but let’s get to what this self-revealed Word of God does for us. Let’s look at it.
It teaches. Let’s have a chat. This should not be controversial, yet it is. Truth is not inside of you, and it is not fluid. Did you hear me? Truth is not inside of you, and it’s not fluid. Truth is outside of you, and it’s fixed. God help us if truth isn’t fixed but it’s fluid. How are you going to navigate if the touchdown always moves? How are you supposed to navigate life if truth is whatever you feel like it is? Do you trust your feelings when you’re 19, 20, 30, 35?
I’m about to be 45. I don’t trust my feelings. My compulsions most frequently are not toward the Lord but against him. After 20 years of faithfully following him, I still have compulsions in me that are counter to God’s revealed Word. I bow before those in submission, not rail against them like my truth is my truth. You don’t have any truth; all you have is lies. The truth is fixed, and it’s not inside of you. Going exploring inside of yourself is not going to lead you to life; it’s going to enslave you.
I’m not saying we can’t learn some things about broken places, but we’re asking the Holy Spirit to bring the Word of God to bear on those places. I’m not saying there’s not a critical journey of looking at wounds and broken places and things that are in history. I’m saying the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to illuminate and heal those places. Are we together on this? I know you’re confused, because you’re like, “Well, it’s Bible, but it’s charismatic.” It kind of wigs us out. Let’s keep going. It teaches us.
I love this. It reproves and corrects. It’s important that both of those are held in the same light. If you know Greek… You don’t care about this. This is such preacher stuff. “Well, the word here in Greek is…” These two are tied together in a significant way, and here’s what it means: God is the best player-coach ever. He’s a player’s coach. He reproves (“No, not that way”), and then he corrects (“More like this way”).
The Word of God via the Holy Spirit is reproving. He’s saying, “No, no, no. Not like that.” But he doesn’t stop there. He then corrects. He comes alongside and says, “More like this.” He reproves, but he doesn’t stop at reproof. He reproves and corrects. Praise God that we don’t just have a reproving God but a correcting God. It’s not just, “No, that’s not the way to life.” It’s, “No, that’s not the way to life; this is the way to life.” Praise God that he fills in that gap, that he doesn’t leave us grasping, because there’s a way that seems right to man, and in the end it leads to death. He knows.
The Word of God trains us in righteousness. I want to chat about this. It’s funny, because if you read studies and articles, they always like to pick on a generation. Whatever the next generation is, they’re always the one that’s going to destroy the earth. Gen-Xers, remember when we were going to be it? We were the ones who were going to destroy Christianity, and the church was going to fold, because these Gen-Xers are lazy and self-absorbed and tech-obsessed. Thank God for the Millennials, because we were just going to destroy everything before they showed up, and now it’s not even the Millennials; now it’s Gen Z.
The next generation is always like the worst thing that ever happened to humanity. Regardless of which generation is responsible, here’s the reality of our day across the generations: we are very idealistic with an extremely low pain threshold. “I want to change the world…as long as it doesn’t hurt.” I want to say this to you. Virtue is forged, righteousness is created in pain. It happens in pain, not in comfort. What we want is a faith where there’s no sacrifice, no self-sacrifice, no pain involved. There’s just Spirit-sprinkle happiness. That’s not how virtue is formed.
I was on the phone with a guy even earlier today who’s in a dark season, and I was like, “Hey, I love you. Get up! God is up to something. Apologize to your wife. Get back in the game. God has blessed you with his Spirit. You can do this! You’re becoming a man. This is what it looks like to become a man. It hurts. It’s not a cake walk into manhood. It’s not a cake walk into womanhood. Get up! You can do this, because the Holy Spirit is inside of you and his Word is shaping you. You’re being formed.”
This is what James means when he writes, “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of various kinds.” He says, “When life stinks, consider that pure joy.” Why? Because God is up to something. He does not waste our sorrow. He never wastes our pain. Ever. If you have some crazy, absurd notion that you can use Jesus for a life without pain, you have the wrong guy. News flash: there isn’t anyone out there who can give you that, especially your own inner compulsions about what you think is going to satisfy you.
To get into this requires self-denial. Is there any greater sin in 2019 than self-denial? How could we ever be happy with self-denial? Well, I don’t have a lot of time, but praise God in the first seven years of my marriage when it was absolutely awful, like lie in bed, “Oh my God! Is this the rest of my life?” awful… Praise God that we leaned into the covenant, because these have been some of the best years of our lives.
That wouldn’t have happened if at year six, worn down, exhausted, no idea how we’re ever going to get out of this, I was like, “Forget it. I’m punting. Forget what the Word of God says. Forget the covenant promise I made. I’m out!” No, no. We stayed. I’m so grateful, because I would just get home and she would be there. I’m still kind of grateful for that. “Is she going to be home when I get home? Yay! She is.” It’s being formed by fire.
If you’re in it right now… I’m telling you, I was on the phone today with a guy who’s in it. I love him, and I want him to make it. I want him to push through. But self-pity in pain, numbing in pain, running in pain… No, no, no. God is at work. He’s not wasting that. He’s calling you up and into something. He’s doing something. You haven’t been abandoned; you’re being worked on. I’m not trying to lack empathy. That can be dark and difficult and painful.
That’s why we need the saints, and that’s why you need to belong to a church and not go to one. It’s why you need to be known. It’s why you need to know the Word of God. The Bible is so grimy. Gosh, if they made a movie, like, a legit, straight-on movie, you would not let your teenage children see it. It is more grotesque and crazy than anything out there. The Bible is grimy, and it’s filled with primal emotion from its writers. I mean, rage from its writers, despair from its writers, desperation from its writers, loneliness from its writers. He’s forming virtue in us.
I want to redeem this word. I want to take it out of the world of crazy theology and establish it. This last sentence here where he says “…that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” He’s saying that the Word of God working via the Holy Spirit in our souls is actually forming us for our destiny. That’s that word I’m trying to redeem. I feel like there’s so much quirky, wild theology out there that uses the word destiny in a wrong way.
Here’s what I’m saying to you. The Bible is clear. You’ve been uniquely designed by God. You have been uniquely placed by God. Not the fake you, that projected “I never struggle with anything. I’m the best mother on earth…” Not the Instagram version of you…you. Weak, confused, broken, angry, struggling you.
God has a destiny for you…good works, things he’s calling you into, and it’s beyond your imagination. It’s beyond what you think you’re capable of. This is what God is up to. This is what the Word does. So, that’s what the Word is. That’s what the Word does. Now let’s talk about how it works. Let’s look at Hebrews 4:12-13.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
It’s important to note what’s going on in the book of Hebrews. We don’t want to pull out three or four verses and make it say something it’s not or take away from what it’s saying. Starting in Hebrews 3, the writer of Hebrews is reminding the church of God’s deliverance of the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt.
God shows up in Egypt, introduces himself, “I Am Who I Am,” and with great power delivers his people from some of the harshest oppression ever. He leads them through the Red Sea, gets them right to the cusp of the Promised Land, and then the people of God stopped listening to his voice, and a generation then walked in the desert and died out so that their children might inherit it.
In the midst of that warning, we have this passage: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…” Let’s talk about this. What does it mean to be living and active? Well, it means it’s not just living but it’s providing life also. Maybe this would help. I think everybody has had this experience if you get into the Bible.
The Bible is living and active, and that means it’s not static, which means you don’t memorize a verse and move on like you don’t need that verse anymore. “I got it. Check. I’ve read the Bible in a year. I’m done.” You don’t move on from the Bible, because the Holy Spirit is going to continue to do the work of illumination in the Bible, meeting you where you are. I’ll give two illustrations.
I met with a long-time faithful member of our congregation. She’s 86 years old, was married to her husband for 63 years. Her husband died a year ago, and she came into my office this week. The meeting was really sweet. She was like, “I was reading in 1 Corinthians this morning. Everybody has told me I’m going to meet Tiff in heaven, but I was reading 1 Corinthians, and if Jesus tarries, Tiff actually is going to meet me down here in a remade heaven and earth. I knew that passage. I’d just never seen that before.”
What happened? She’s in a season of life where the Word of God, that same text that she has known for 40 years… It’s like the diamond turned, and now she’s seeing another aspect of it. Let’s just mutually encourage one another if it’s true. If it’s not true, don’t worry about it. If you have known a verse for forever, and maybe “forever” for you… You’re a new Christian and I’m just talking about three months, but maybe you’ve been in this game a long time and you’ve known a Bible verse for 20 to 30 years.
You stumble across it, and one day it jumps off the page to you in a unique way. Anybody have that? Do you know what that is? That’s the living, active Word. That’s why you don’t memorize a text or read a text and move on. It’s living. It’s active. It’s going to meet you where you are. It’s going to punch you in the face. It’s going to chisel off your rough edges. It’s going to lift up your spirit. You don’t move on from the Bible. You root yourself in it. You keep going back to it, you keep going back to it, you keep going back to it, and you let it build life into you.
I love this. Look at this. It says it penetrates the deepest parts of us. He says “soul and spirit.” This sword of the Word of God penetrates soul and spirit. This is talking about that immaterial part of us that animates us…our soul, our spirit. The Word of God is doing work at that level, but then he also says “joints and marrow.” The Word of God actually affects us physically. “Wait. What? You can read the Bible and that has physical benefits?” Yeah.
So how would that work? Great question. It’s actually what I had next in my notes. Stop and imagine. If internally you feel like this… Do you know what I’m saying? Does that resonate with anybody? You’re like, “Oh my gosh! Marriage, kids, family, work, bills, summertime. How am I going to keep them off their devices? How am I going to…?” If you feel that way internally, what’s it like just to go, “Oh”?
Are you hiding secret sin, feeling guilt and shame? What would it be like to step into the light? Do you know the Bible says that those who trust in the Lord sleep? King David said, “When I kept quiet about my sins, my bones wasted away.” There’s something to be said about the peace of being fully known. There’s something to be said about the peace of being honest with others about what’s really going on inside of us.
There’s something that actually happens to you physically when the stress of trying to be your own god, trying to manage your own world is surrendered into the sovereign hands of God. I’m not saying that’s always easy. I’m not saying that won’t be a fight for many of us type-A-ers, firstborns. I’m saying for the rest of your life you learn to trust that the God of the Bible is for you and not against you, and you learn that by knowing his Word in difficult seasons.
The other thing I see here is there’s this connection between God and his Word, and I think it’s staggering. Here’s what the text says at the end of this. Do you remember the part where it says, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account”?
I have said for as long as I’ve been pastor here that church is a really dangerous hobby. Sometimes I use the word lame. I just think this is a dangerous thing to do if you have no real intention of loving the Lord, following the Lord, being a doer of the Word rather than a hearer of the Word. Why? Because the Bible says when you hear it, whether it’s sung or read or preached, you immediately become accountable for what you’ve heard.
You are now naked in the sight of God because he knows you know. This is why being a doer of the Word and not just a hearer of the Word needs to be the natural progression of the Christian. In fact, here’s something I’ve noticed that really is heartbreaking. I have found that people who view the Bible as like maybe Shoe Dog… Just want to read a good story, want to find some bumper-sticker theology, some little proof text.
One of the ways you can find out whether or not somebody really knows their Bible is how terribly they’ll use some Scriptures. There’s this great Old Testament passage that says, “Behold, I’m going to do something in your day that even if you were told about it you wouldn’t believe it.” People love that verse. Do you know that verse is about the destruction of Israel? It’s like, “God is doing a new thing in our day, and even if somebody were to tell us about it… That’s how awesome it’s going to be.” No, he’s talking about judgment and destruction and death. You should keep reading.
There’s something about knowing what’s happening in the text that roots us in his goodness and grace. This is saying to hear the Word of God is then to be held accountable for the Word. Now let’s chat. Here’s what I know. My dad dropped out of high school in the ninth grade or so and joined the military. My dad is a hardworking, blue-collar, old-school American, and I have never seen him read a book. I know he can read, but he is not a reader. My father would not describe himself as an intellect. He is powerfully emotive, but again, nobody who knows my dad…
And I’m not dogging. He worked his tail off to get us out of a lot of muck and mire and, by the grace of God, broke some bonds that go back hundreds of years in our bloodline. So I’m not dogging my daddy. I’m saying my daddy is not reading Calvin a lot. But God has not given the deep things to the smartest people; he has given the deep things to the eager people. Did you hear me? God has not given the deep things to the smartest people; he has given them to the most eager people.
If you’re like, “I’m not a good reader…” There are so many tools available to you right now to just saturate and soak in the Word of God. One of my favorites… I was so tempted to even put my phone in the pocket so I could let you listen to it. About three or four months ago, I downloaded an app called Dwell. Dwell is a Bible app. It’s really beautiful to look at. It’s aesthetically pleasing. It just reads the Bible.
There are four voices. I have Felix. Felix is African, so he has this African dialect. Then you can choose what kind of music you want in the background or no music. I don’t know if you’re picking it up, but I’m emotive myself, so I have ambient music to an African reading the Psalms, and I’m ready to punch the Devil in the face. I’m ready for whatever is coming to me that day.
That’s not me at 5:00 in the morning exegeting Greek phrases. This is me in my truck with Felix, the African, reading the Psalms to ambient music in the background, and I’m ready. Let’s go. There’s a connection to the Lord I feel just by having the Word of God read over me. Listen. You can do this. This isn’t school. This is life. This is not “know this information to pass.” There’s this “gaze upon the beauty of God.” That’s the command.
My favorite testimony coming out of our classes in the Training Program is not, “Oh my gosh! I have answers to questions now.” It’s, “I love God more than I thought possible when I joined this thing. I came into this with great trepidation. I was not a good student. I don’t feel like I have a lot of margin in my life.” There are hundreds of people now who have signed up for the Training Program, got into women’s Bible study, men’s Bible study, and there has been this trepidation. “Can I do this? Do I have space for this?”
They’ve all come out going, “I’m so glad I understand the exegetical nuances of 1 and 2 Samuel.” They’ve come out and gone, “Gah! He’s so much bigger and more beautiful than I ever fathomed. Why hasn’t anybody told me about this? Why am I just now learning about this?” I want to, like the Bible, invite you into God’s self-disclosure of himself. Not for your exegetical prowess (some of you are like, “I don’t even know what that word means, so you don’t have to worry about that”) but just so you might know the God who created you, who loves you, who’s for you, who has created you with a destiny in mind. In fact, we’re going to cover that at length next week.
What does it look like for you to grow into how God designed you and what he has for you? What does it look like for your whole life to be formed around this story? You can know the God of the Bible. Read it slowly. If you have a Bible reading plan that has you reading like 40 chapters a day, that’s probably not helpful. But here’s the thing. I don’t know if you know this. It’s not a race. It’s just not a race at all. Volume doesn’t equal blessing.
God is not going, “Oh, man. This guy read the whole Bible in a year. Uber blessings. This guy just read four chapters. I’m going to be a little stingy with blessings.” In fact, I think you can plumb the depths of two paragraphs in a way that’s transformative in a way that just blindly reading through the entire Bible as fast as you can will never bring. Let’s just breathe. Just get in the Book. Listen to it in your car. Read a little bit of it in the morning, but read it slowly and deliberately. What does it look like to apply it? Get into men’s Bible study or women’s Bible study when space is open.
You really are hungry for this. I don’t know if you know this, but we had Training Program on Wednesday night, and we just added another one for the fall on Tuesday night, and then that one sold out. We have these waiting lists for a nine-month, cohort-based theological study program that actually is given seminary credit at both DTS and Southern. You want to know the Word. I’m so pleased with that, so excited about the fruit that’s going to bear in season. But right now I’m like, “Okay. In a year and a half when it opens up, sign up.”
For now, get in men’s Bible study. Get in women’s Bible study. Get in the Book yourself. Gosh, you know this. It hasn’t just been given to me. Do you know what I’m doing? I’m just reading the Bible to you and talking about it. So read the Bible. Take notes on what you’re seeing. Pray through it. Wrestle with it. I love the way Luther was preaching on the book of Romans. He wrote in his commentary that he laid hold of Paul and beat him until he submitted.
I love the idea of reading the Bible like that. “What does this mean? Get down there! I’m going to figure it out.” I love that. It’s made available to you. If you think the treasures of Scripture have been given to guys like me who do this for a living, you’re only robbing yourself of pleasure and joy. You’re only robbing yourself of the life that’s found in the Word of God, illuminated by the Holy Spirit in the deepest part of us.
Move toward. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what you’re doing right now. Just move toward. Saturate your life in the Book, in the Word of God. You can do this. This is not beyond your grasp. “I only have a GED.” Look at who Jesus picked as his disciples. Do they come across as readers or competent? That’s how God champions his glory: by giving you insight and wisdom into the deepest, most ultimate reality in the universe.
I loved Endgame. No spoilers. It was a fun six- to seven-hour movie. I don’t know. It just kept going. “Okay. It’s over. No? Okay. It’s over. Okay, no. It’s over. Golly! I have to…” Right? But 21 movies over the course of a decade telling one story is nothing compared to 66 different books all telling one story about ultimate reality, not make-believe reality. Marvel Universe is fun, but it’s make-believe. The reason we need those stories is because we’re rejecting the supernatural story we’re caught up in. I just think if you would embrace that via the Word of God what might be unleashed among us and through us and with us. Let me pray for us.
Father, we lift you high. We thank you, Spirit of the living God, that you have revealed to us your triune nature. We thank you for Jesus. We praise you for the Word. We ask that you would give us a hunger and a desire for it. Father, remind our hearts that every renewal movement in Christian history started with a move back to your Word, back to loving and treasuring and feasting on your Word. We thank you that it is the fuel we were meant to run on. Draw us back to it. Spirit, do the work of illumination. Captivate our hearts. It’s for your beautiful name I pray, amen.