Big Idea: What is God's plan to restore this messed up world? To call a people.
OR God's plan to restore a messed up world is to call a people.
Purpose: To live like we are God's plan to restore a messed up world.
I'm sure you've been to one of those movies in which you can't keep track of the plot or the characters. No matter how hard you try, you can't keep track. You spend most of the movie whispering to a friend,"What just happened?" If it's really bad, you leave.
That's the way I sometimes feel when reading large parts of the Bible - specifically, the Old Testament.
- It can be confusing.
- It's hard to get a sense of the plot.
- Large parts of the Old Testament can seem irrelevant and strange, disconnected from everyday life. What do laws on mildew in houses have to do with anything?
- Some parts offend us. Example:"However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them." (Deuteronomy 20:16-17)
The result is that we don't read the Old Testament, or if we do, we're confused.
Yet we also know we're missing something:
- This is the Bible of Jesus and the early church
- It's by far the biggest part of the Bible
- All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God's people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
But that doesn't solve our problem. How do we read the Old Testament without just picking over our favorite stories, or losing our place?
The answer, I think, is to see it as one act in God's ongoing drama. Not multiple acts, but multiple scenes in one act of one overarching story.
Act One: God establishes his kingdom: Creation (Genesis 1-2)
Act Two: Rebellion takes place in the kingdom: sin has wrecked everything (Genesis 3-11)
First families, first cities, but also the first murders, the first drunkenness, humans overstepping their boundaries, God starting again - but still a big mess.
The question is: what is God's plan to restore this messed up world?
Act Three: God chooses a people.
- God calls a people
- He does something in them to show what happens when people are blessed by God
- Through them, he blesses the world
Everything - the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures from Genesis 12 to Malachi 4 - is commentary.
- History of the people of God (God raises up a nation, gives them a land, they fail and lose that land, are brought back into it again)
- Wisdom literature of the people of God
- Evaluation of how faithful they were to the call, and prophetic teaching to the people of God
What does this have to do with me?
- God's primary plan for dealing with a messed up world is still do call a people. You are part of that people.
- We're going to see that we as a people are different, because Jesus is with us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
- We exist as a demonstration of what God does when he calls a people.
- Their story is our story.
- We can have the faith that, like Abraham, God will make something of our lives.
- Realize that God has not chosen me because of how great I am.
- The Gospel is bigger than"Jesus came to forgive my sins." We get to participate with him in the redemption of the world.
What is God's plan for a messed up world? To call a people.
- Read this book. It's our story too.
- Answer the call. God is tapping you on the shoulder asking if he can bless the world through your involvement in the people of God.