"The Message of the Bible"

Preached by on November 10, 2019
— From the series,

The essence of the Bible is communicating to mankind that there is a God and He is alive. The reason is because deep within us, most of us know we need something greater than ourselves.

The Message of the Bible

(Acts 17:22-34)

 

Intro:

A.  The struggle was real.  It was not that he didn’t believe in God and the saving grace of Jesus, it was just that he struggled to keep that faith real enough to make a difference in his life.  He was considered by many to be a good kid, a religious kid, but his teen years brought questions into his life and his church dismissed them as a lack of faith.

B.  Paul read his bible, prayed, and attended worship but it seemed empty and hollow to him.  He really wanted to believe, but now he questioned if everything was true or if religion was simply the “opium of the people.”  What was he to do with a life where his parents had a strong faith, but he was facing a crisis of faith?  Did he still believe?  Each day brought more of the same doubts, and each Sunday worship was simply a show so that everyone around him was happy.

C.  College gave him freedom to explore different views.  At least in college he felt comfortable surrounded by others who didn’t care about the whole religion thing or only did when parents came to visit.

D. Then Paul’s world fell apart.  One night he was out at a party with his friends and everything was great.  Then on the drive home, the weather was bad, the laughter was loud and his friend Jim, who was driving didn’t see the deer until it was almost too late.  With a quick reflect to miss the deer the car went off the road.  It rolled several times.  Everything was in slow motion, yet Paul wasn’t clear what happened.  One of his friends was gone from the back seat and Jim, who was driving, was pinned against the wheel of the car.

F.  Paul just sat there, stunned.  What just happened?  The police and ambulance came.  Then he was at the hospital, but everything was dark.  When Paul saw his parents he was overjoyed, but could see sadness on their faces.  He asked about his friends.  One was hurt when he thrown from the car, but his best friend in college, Jim, was dead.  Of the three of them, he had the least amount of injuries.

G.  Paul went to the funeral of Jim.  He wanted to talk to Jim’s parents, but didn’t know what to say.  He sat and listened to a preacher talk about Jim as a child and promising young man whose life came to end too quickly.  Paul wanted to believe Jim was in a better place, but right then, he didn’t know if God was real or what happened after death.

H.  The story of Paul is not the story of one single person, but what many have struggled with over the years.  It’s not just the college kids, but I have been with people of all ages who want to believe, but just feel like they can’t anymore.  Is faith simply a game or is God real?

 

I.  Paul Describes God

A.  When Paul got to Athens he was stirred up inside him.  The reason was that Paul walked into a culture that believed in a higher power, but didn’t really know what they believed.  They loved to hear new stories about the gods and how they interact with man.  But Paul’s story centered on Jesus and his resurrection.  For some, it was nonsense to think that God came in the flesh and then died on a cross.

B.  Paul had an opportunity to talk to people who were religious but didn’t know God.  The believed, but didn’t really have a conviction in what they believed.  Where do you start with a group of people who attest to a higher power but don’t accept Jesus as the Savior?  You start at beginning.

C.  Many people, deep within, either believe or want to believe there is something more than just this life; and something greater than just us.  Paul started with their desire to know that there is a God and He is alive.  (Read vs 24-26)

D.  His point is that creation points to a creator.  That the universe declares a greater power than mankind.  As wonderful, intelligent, and powerful as humans are, we are not creators of planets and galaxies.

E.  By definition, God doesn’t need anything to be God.  You believing or not believing in Him doesn’t change who God is or decrease His existence.  In fact, instead of needing you, God gives to you.  This is a fact many don’t understand today.  God is not in need of you, but longs to give to you.

F.  God created this world; created you, because inside of you is a longing to know Him.  I want you to see one phrase in several different versions (ESV, NIV, NASB – vs 27).  It’s not strange when a person has some struggles about God.  In fact, it’s the norm according to Paul.  The fact is, God is not far away.  It is not that God moves around in the dark so we don’t find him, it’s that we live in a dark world, surrounded by all sorts of stories, myths, religions, that finding God is not easy and it requires for us to seek him.  This idea of feeling, groping, reaching out is that inside of us we want to be in a relationship with God, yet have trouble learning how.

 

II.  The Message of the Bible

A.  The message of the Bible can even be found in the writings of uninspired poets of Paul’s day (Read vs 28).  Paul’s point to the people is God is not an idol that we make and then worship, God is the creator of all life and wants to give you a life that goes beyond this physical world.

B.  The message of the Bible is that even though you and I walked away from God, we sinned, but God has a plan and path for us to come back.  (Read vs 30-31).  It’s not intended to be harsh, it’s intended to help us know how to “feel, grope or reach out” to God.  The message is not that you are a messed up person – you already know that.  The message is you have Heavenly Father who gave His Son so that you could live.  But you have been bought with a price and God wants you know the price so that living by faith becomes your spiritual eyes to see the pathway home.

 

Conclusion:

A.  The message of the Bible is sung by children all over the world, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  Jesus loves you.  He’s not angry with you because of doubts.  God is alive.  Jesus is alive.  The Spirit is wanting live and move in a powerful way inside you.

B.  That message of love is one that I need to hear.  If you are here today and need to be reminded of how precious you are to God and us, then come as we stand and sing.

 

Because of Jesus,

Jeffrey Dillinger, minister