MONDAY – 1st Day of Class
I began with “The 5-Minute Bible”.
What God is doing in the world. THE BIG STORY if you will.
When a person understands GOD’s BIG STORY, they can more easily discover how their LITTLE STORY fits purposefully into the larger scheme of things.
So I began, “From GENESIS to REVELATION, what is the unifying theme of the Bible?”
What single thread manages to weave sixty-six books–written by dozens of authors, over a period of fifteen hundred years, situated in several different countries, using dramatically different literary styles, in three different languages—into a beautiful tapestry revealing to us the heart and intentions of the universe’s Creator?
Here’s the thread:
Out of a heart of love and with an intention of love, Bible-GOD created the entire universe and everything in it.The Father imagined, designed and planned it—the Son oversaw and directed its implementation—the Spirit in a micro-second did it. BAMM!!! Everything–all space, matter, time and energy—from nothing suddenly was.
And near the center of this stupendous universe (billions of light years in width), GOD perfectly hung in space our beautiful little world. And then he filled it with every imaginable (and unimaginable) form of life.
Then finally as the crown of his creation, he created humanity—male and female–unique in our identity because GOD created us alone in his own image.
That we are created in GOD’s image means many things, but fundamentally it means we are hybrids. We are hybrid beings designed to live and function simultaneously in the visible PHYSICAL universe and in the invisible SPIRITUAL universe.
And we are designed for a specific purpose.
For it is from within humanity that GOD is creating a PEOPLE for himself. A PEOPLE called by his name. A PEOPLE filled with his light, life and love. A PEOPLE in whom he can come to dwell, now and forever.
That’s it. That’s THE BIG PICTURE.
From GENESIS to REVELATION the unifying theme of Scripture is that GOD will create and is creating—from every nation, tribe, race and tongue–a PEOPLE for himself. He is resolute and will not waiver until his PEOPLE are complete.
Among all the world’s peoples, GOD’s PEOPLE are unique. We are a PEOPLE who
- Know him
- Worship him
- Love him
- Obey him
- Serve him
- Represent him, (and who)
- Enjoy him now and forever.
The GOSPEL OF JOHN testifies to this reality in un-ambiguous and non-negotiable terms.
The GOSPEL tells the reader how GOD is accomplishing his purpose and how each person can and should find their place and function in this astonishing drama of Love.
And what would our place be?
First, we are recipients of the ministry of Jesus. In his Mission Statement, Jesus tells us what the Father sent him to do (Luke 4:16ff). GOD the Father ‘messiah-ed’ Jesus to do FIVE things:
- Announce to the poor the GOOD NEWS that GOD Country is breaking in and is accessible
- Heal the sick (give sight to the blind)
- Make broken hearts whole (send away having been crushed ones in release)
- Peel the Darkness off people (set the captives free), and
- Declare the acceptable year of the Lord, i.e. an open season on GOD’s grace and favor.
But there is more.
Jesus was faithful to this GOD-calling, and within a year began delegating this ‘life in the Holy Spirit’
- To his twelve disciples (Luke 9)
- To seventy-two disciples (Luke 10)
- To ALL of us in Christ: “Whoever has faith in me will do the things I have been doing….” (14:12a) Whoever.
As beneficiaries of the ministry of Jesus, we are also privileged and accountable for the ministry of Jesus.
More about this next time.
Right now I want to wrap up this bog with a two TESTIMONIES from among scores:
How did 42 Bible School students chance to come together for the study of THE GOSPEL OF JOHN this week? Their stories are varied and interesting.
One pastor told us he heard about the school and at first was interested and even had the impression he should attend. But the more he thought about it, the more he concluded he didn’t really want to study THE GOSPEL OF JOHN.
So after preaching in his church on Sunday morning, he made the final decision to skip the JOHN class.
In the afternoon as he was walking, the ground gave way and he fell into a deep latrine. (Millions of people in Kenya still use outhouses–each is constructed over a deep pit.)
He could not climb out of ‘the miry pit’ and no one heard his cries for help.
Time passed and he began to fear for his life. After five hours he began to wish he had decided to attend the Bible school. He determined he would do so if he were still alive by Monday.
At which point he was discovered and rescued. He arrived EARLY Monday morning ready for class.
I was encouraged by this testimony—encouraged to know that at least one of my students prefers my teaching to death in bottom of an outhouse.
A woman in the class told us until recently she had been unable to walk or even feed
herself for seventeen years!
Recently a local pastor dropped by her house and shared the Gospel with her. After receiving Jesus with joy, she got up from her wheel chair and has been fully functional since.
Note: Jesus does such beautiful work. He is so good at what he does.
Anyway, she considered afterward that her knowledge of Jesus was quite small. So she began to pray for an opportunity to study the Bible and get to know Jesus better. Someone told her of the Bible School and she cheerfully joined us.
By week’s end she could testify that she had come to know the JESUS WHO IS.
(to be continued)