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Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. -- John 20: 30-31 (ESV)
From the opening words penned by Moses in Genesis until the closing from the Apostle John in Revelation the Bible is a grand cohesive story. Spanning 66 books, written by 40 authors, over a period of 1600 years, on three different continents and in three different languages. Such cooperative precision is simply not possible for man. Realize also that none of the authors knew at the time of their writings that they would be incorporated into a book to establish a new religion that would guide the people of the Lord. In the Old Testament days there would be no clue of the eventual inclusion of the Gentiles. When God was breathing out these Scriptures He knew full well but they did not. They were merely trying to preserve their cultural and historical heritage. The Gospel writers all had specific audiences in mind. The Apostle Paul wrote epistles for the purpose of being read to various churches that he had established. The eventual construction of the book we know today as the Bible would not be agreed on for a few hundred years after the Apostolic Age. God has also told us how the Bible is to be used:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. -- 2Timothy 3: 16-17 (ESV)
God wants people called by His name to be equipped for every good work. His Word trains us in righteousness. It should be used to teach and to correct. It is the plumb line we as Christians use for guidance through this world we are to be pilgrims and sojourners through. Yet why did God make sure that the Bible was written over this period of time? What was His plan? The reason is provided for us in the key verses today. These things are written down for us that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ. That He is the Son of God. That we might have life in His name by our belief in these truths. Beloved this is the redemptive plan of Almighty God. This is His plan to reconcile His creation unto Himself. God is not merely speaking about John's Gospel. His declaration here is not just about the New Testament either. No beloved. The entire Bible is one story about one person. Now for the next revelation I want to share you may want to sit down.
That person is not you. Seriously.
I know that is a difficult truth for many today because the purpose driven church system that is corroding the bride of Christ teaches you otherwise. The purpose driven theories of church growth focus the church on drawing goats instead of feeding sheep. The problem they face is that the actual Bible cannot draw them into the church because the things of God are utter foolishness to them. The poetry might be moving but they cannot understand the Psalmist. The history might be interesting but the stories are simply implausible. The sun stopped? They marched around the walls seven times and then blew their horns? What do you mean the Red Sea parted? A slingshot? C'mon. Remember it is the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth and they do not have the Spirit indwelt. They can be called and convicted by the Spirit but the presentation of the uncompromised Gospel cannot be marketed to them. So the purpose driven model teaches pastors that they need to "meet people where they are at." In order to meet the unchurched people where they are at they must gear their messages to be "relevant" somehow to their lives. So the pastor-CEO-dude crafts sermon series to meet their needs, as guru Rick Warren is fond of saying. So you will see a five part series on improving your marriage or a three part series on improving your self-image. The problem is that without the Bible these topics are nothing more than a self-help or motivational seminar. So to provide the illusion of piety, the purpose driven pastor then strip mines the Bible for any verses that deal with his pre-decided topic. Well what's wrong with that you might ask?
First of all it eliminates seeking the Holy Spirit. God has not dictated what the people will hear that week, the pastor has. If you want to get up every Sunday morning to hear what sayeth the pastor go right ahead but do not pretend that because there are Scripture fragments thrown in that you are hearing from the Lord because you are not. That is not His plan. Secondly, this schema eliminates the power of God:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - Romans 1: 16 (ESV)