It’s Just a Book, Right?
When I was in grade school, my parents decided to send my brother and I to private school. It was a Christian school, sponsored by a Baptist Church in the Holmesburg section of Lower Northeast Philadelphia. It was a great school, small, but good.
It was in this school that I learned to read and write. I learned my 1, 2, 3’s, how to add, subtract, and even some multiplication. I learned about the planets and the solar system, dinosaurs, and Creation. But I also learned a great deal about the Bible.
Every year, we learned more and more about the stories of the Bible. But more than the stories of the Bible we learned that this book, contained the Words of God. In fact, this book was so important to them, they used treat it as those the book itself was holy.
For instance, we we’re allowed to put the Bible on the floor. And if we dropped our Bibles, we’d have to pick them up and kiss the cover. We had to treat it with respect. We we’re allowed to toss to a friend if they asked for it, nor toss it on a toss if we were putting it down. We had to lay it down, gently and with reverence.
And I guess that it was good for us to consider this book to be something special. But I wondered if they went to far.
And what about the church. The church was a place I went to on Sunday morning. The church was the building we gathered in every week to learn about God. I shared with you last week that I went to Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church. It was my church from birth till I left it when Amy and I married in 1996. The church for me was almost as special as how I saw the Bible, something holy. I saw the leaders, my pastor, my Sunday school teachers as these larger than life men and woman. They were like giants of the faith.
A book and a building. Two things, that if we’re not careful we could place the wrong emphasis on, and miss complete what these two things truly represent.
WELCOME to Harvest Church…
Last week we looked at the first three parts of the the Harvest Faith Essentials; What we believe about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Before that, we were reminded of how and why Harvest Church was started and what we believe God is calling us to do.
This week, we are going to look at our next two essentials; What we believe about the Bible and What we believe about the Church. Why are we taking the time to consider these two Essentials? Because it’s important for us as a church and as believes to know what we believe and why we believe it. So let’s take a look at our first one tonight; the Bible.
Our Essential Belief of the Bible…
The Bible is the Living Word of God, infallible, inerrant, spoken through the hearts of faithful men. Made up of sixty-six books given to us by the Holy Spirit constituting the inspired Word of God. It is good and right and applicable for all people. It is our source of Truth, direction, and accountability. It is the complete written revelation of God for His people, and to it alone do we look for wisdom as we pursue our relationship with Him. (Matthew 24:35; John 10:35; 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:7,13-14; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
For us here at Harvest, we want it to be clearly known, that the Bible is the bottom line in all matters of Life and Faith. This is no ordinary book. Sure, it’s got a cover, and pages, and words, and type setting. But it truly is more than that. When you open the cover, you reveal the truths about God. When you turn the pages, the story of God is told. When we read the words, we’re exposed to the love that God has for us.
I am often amazed at how many people put little to no importance on the Bible. Sure they have one. They may even carry back and forth to church. But owning a Bible, keeping it with you doesn’t help you to know what’s stuffed between Genesis 1 and Revelation 22. Our statement is meant to remind us that the Bible the source of life for believers. It’s the google of our lives! You need to know something? Don’t google it. Open up the Bible and discover what real truth is. As a church we’re staying that this book is what directors us. It’s what we teach from. It’s what governs us. It’s what disciplines us. It’s where we go when we have a question. It’s where we find God’s words for his church. And because we are his church, the Bible is our only source for God’s words, his direction, his discipline, and way of salvation. In other words, if it’s not in here, if it can’t be backed up by what’s in here, if we can’t cross reference with what’s in here, than we’re not buying it. Like wise, if it is in there, you can bet we’re going to teach and that we need to be living by it.
So if I preach on teach something that you might not like, then you’ll have to take it up with God, because this is the book I am teaching from. I might use the greek text, or a couple trusted commentaries to help explain some of the deeper, more difficult passages, but for the most part, I’m a black and white kinda of guy. If the Bible says it in black and white, then we need to be living it obediently.
*This was an excerpt from Jay’s week 3 message at Harvest Church on Saturday, June 02. This is one of two posts that will make the full length message. To learn about Harvest Church, visit our website at; http://www.HarvestChurchToday.org.