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Summary: At look at what happens when we come to the Bible with a preconceived agenda.

[Drama: Having a big cardboard jigsaw puzzle, with a piece missing. The piece that fits is “sacrifice.” But what you want to fit is “comfort.” So they tear away at “comfort” a little to make the piece “fit” into the puzzle.]

A COMMON APPROACH TO THE BIBLE: You know what you want to do and then go reading for facts to back it up.

- Mark 14:55.

- So often we come to the table with preconceived ideas of what we want the truth to be. Then we do contortions and acrobatics to get the facts to prove that what we said was actually true.

- We do this when we have something we don’t want to give up or that we do want to pursue, so we come to the Bible looking to prove.

- I know what I want to do – now find me a way to get there.

- Sources of the pre-conceived ideas:

a. Our desires.

b. Childhood church.

c. Emotional inclinations.

d. Personal agenda.

- Tie into that drama: “God, do whatever you want in my life. . . that fits within these pre-existent boundaries.”

WHAT THAT GIVES YOU: You end up with a bumper sticker theology.

- Mark 14:56.

- What do I mean by a bumper sticker theology? I mean a shallow understanding of faith issues that’s tied to simplistic one-line phrases.

- “God loves you.”

- “God will forgive.”

- “He wants you to be happy.”

- Examples of how we do this today:

a. Living together.

- “We’re living together because we don’t want to get divorced.”

- It’s commendable that you don’t want to get divorced and it’s clear that God doesn’t like divorce, but He also expects us to follow His instructions on sexual issues, including not having sex outside of marriage.

b. Exorbitant lifestyle

- “I’ve been blessed.”

- It’s wonderful that God has brought financial blessings into your life, but that’s not so that you can live a ridiculous lifestyle. Those dollars belong to God, not you. He’s given you those resources so that you can impact the world for the Kingdom of God.

c. Forgiveness.

- “God will forgive.”

- Yes, we can be thankful that God will forgive our sins, but that doesn’t mean that I’m free to go wildly sinning and presume that I’ll be held accountable for none of it. Forgiveness should include genuine repentance for my sin and a desire to change behavior.

- Oprah example: seeing spiritual guru on there mentioning Jesus but teaching something that sounded good but had no Biblical backing.

WHAT YOU MISS: There are deeper truths you will never know because you’re not seeking God’s full truth.

- Mark 14:57-59.

- We need to come wanting the truth: what’s easy and what’s hard.

- Do we want to know the inconvenient truths?

- Nicholson movie quote: “You can’t handle the truth!” Actually, for us it’d be more like: “I don’t want the truth!”

- vv. 57-59 – This was a difficult thing that Jesus was throwing their way with this saying. The larger point that needs to be made is that they had no desire to seek out the truth. They simply rejected it out of hand.

- The way of the Kingdom of God is dramatically different from business as usual. It’s dramatically different from the American Dream. It’s dramatically different from conventional wisdom that we hear every day.

- It’s not something that we’re going to naturally come to understand. It must be sought.

- That’s true of the basic truths of the Word, but it’s much more true of the deeper truths of the Word.

- The pattern over the long haul of my Christian life has been: I’ve become more certain of the central things and less certain of the peripheral things.

- These were things too deep for them.

- There were deeper truths that they didn’t understand because they hadn’t sought God.

- If you don’t want all His truth, there will come a moment when you reach for Him and He’s not there.

- vv. 61-64 - Sometimes simply telling the truth is enough to get people angry at you.

- Not just picking and choosing, but actually angrily rejecting the truths that don’t fit what they want.

- Some truth is not self-evident (despite what Jefferson might suggest to the contrary), but must be sought.

- And we often actively don’t want it.

Where Are You This Morning?

1. If your thoughts and the Bible disagree, which needs to change?

- We need to come with a willingness to follow wherever it leads.

- No pre-conditions.

- There is a need to acknowledge that the Bible is smarter than me.

- I need to come to the Bible presuming that it has the whole truth, not part of the truth.

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