Mark  Broadus
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Phote by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash. Used with permission.

 

Our World Belongs to God 32

We continue on with Paragraph 32 of "Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony." 

Paragraphs 1-6: Preamble (April 11-29)
Paragraphs 7-12: Creation (April 30-May 8)
Paragraphs 13-17: Fall (May 11-15)
Paragraphs 18-22:Redemption (May 18-22)
Paragraphs 23-27: Jesus Christ (May 25-29)
Paragraphs 28-30: Holy Spirit (June 1-2, 5)

Paragraphs 31-33: Revelation (June 8-10)

Paragraph 32 (Today)
The Bible is the Word of God,
the record and tool of his redeeming work.
It is the Word of truth, breath of God,
fully reliable in leading us to know God
and to walk with Jesus Christ
in new life.

[For the nature of Scripture, see Luke 1:1-4, John 20:30-31, Acts 8:26-39, James 1:18, and references in paragraph 31.]

 

I was interested to see that the writers of this Contemporary Testimony, in discussing "the nature of Scripture," point us to Acts 8; I would not have thought to go there. This story reminds us that Scripture's most significant reflection on Jesus' suffering was written hundreds of years before it happened. So Philip, like all of the first evangelists, preached the message of salvation in Jesus entirely from the only Bible they had, what we call the Old Testament. This is a good example of how our entire Bible is one story of God's redemptive work in this world. 

Jesus' final words to his disiples was that they should be his witnesses "in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).  This story in Acts 8 tells of the very first place the gospel went after Samaria: Ethiopia.  Just yesterday I heard T.D. Jakes, in a video which Peggy shared entitled "The Church & Race Featuring Leading Voices of the Church," making this point from this passage: how the 2000 year experience of African Christianity must dispel any notion of a "white Jesus." On the contrary, the consistent message of the Bible is that all people, regardless of divisive societal constructs, are called to humility because God saves us all in the same manner.  Bernadette, in response to yesterday's post, points us to Acts 15:9—because we have all been saved by faith, the differences between us are irrelevant. "Then what becomes of boasting?" Paul asks. "It is excluded" (Rom. 3:27).

The other thing Paragraph 32 reminds us is that Scripture is a "tool" of God's redeeming work. We acknowledge with shame that Scripture has, and is, also used as a tool to deny that others are made the image of God just as we are, or to build and support systems that perpetuate injustice. Of this we repent.

"Lord, we thank you for your word in the Bible, and what it tells us of your salvation in Jesus. May we only, ever, use it as a tool of your redemptive work. Our souls ache to know that it has been used to repress others.  Help us to share your good news freely as we have received it freely."

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

Our benediction today is our song, "Benediction" by Stuart Townend. Sing loudly!

Pastor Mark

PS - The pastor's office will be open Wednesday from 11am - noon and 1 - 2 pm.

 

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