Summary: This sermon was given at a Presbyterian Church when they invited the Church of Christ to visit and share about our community wide 90 Day Bible reading adventure.
Thank-you so much for welcoming us here as guests and for your generous hospitality.
Having been in this community for 10 years, I have crossed paths with many of you, followed a bit of your churches narrative, and have been deeply moved by the courage God has bestowed on you to stand for biblical principles against a current that is sweeping so many into immoral chaos. Back in May of this year I sat in Bill’s office as we discussed this 90 Day Bible reading plan and he told me your story. Someone needs to write a book on that. My prayer for you is that the Lord will guide your steps and lead you in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
We are here today to consider our mutual adventure through the Holy Scriptures called: The Bible in 90 Days.
How many of you here are doing the 90 Day Bible reading? Raise your hands. Are you seeing a bigger picture of the story of scripture? Are you seeing a bigger picture of who God is? I hope you didn’t get bogged down in the legalize of Leviticus. Two things are most striking to me so far as I read this time: first is God’s faithfulness and second is man’s fallenness and failure. Also I have been impressed by how God’s presence comes upon us in blessing or in punishment depending on our response to him.
As we begin, turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 1 where Paul writes a letter to a church struggling with division and moral issues. Beginning in verse 10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
11 My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.
12 What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas "; still another, "I follow Christ."
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?
In light of this passage of scripture I want to begin by asking you to do something with me. Envision a time where all name brand Christianity is no more… Envision a day when all who call in the name of Jesus Christ are one body, moving in one Spirit, under one Lord, with one faith, having one baptism, just as there is one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all, as Paul writes in Eph. 4. I’m not talking about simply a unified church, but also faithful one. Just imagine with me for a moment that happening in our lifetime, maybe even beginning in our community.
You say, “Preacher, you’re dreaming!” Yes, I am. When the church was born on Pentecost and the Holy Spirit came down, Acts 2 records that Peter stood up and explained what was happening to the crowds that gathered there. He quoted the prophet Joel saying: In the last days I will pour forth my Spirit on all flesh… your young men shall see visions and your old men will dream dreams.
That’s it. I’m just an old man dreaming dreams: Dreams about what God can do, dreams about bringing whole communities together to read God’s word and follow Christ together. I’m just an old man dreaming kingdom dreams about God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. Something Jesus taught us to pray for and dream about and work toward. If we who call on Jesus are to be unified God’s way, it will be unity in the truth of God’s word. Can you think of a better book to guide us than the Bible? Can you think of a better message to accomplish God’s will than the one God inspired? I can’t. That’s what excites me most about this adventure of reading the Bible together.
Remember, Jesus prayed for unity in John 17, that all God’s people be one even as he and the Father are one. Jesus also prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.” Just imagine this vision of Jesus for all of us.
May I ask us all some probing questions? Do we dare to move toward the vision imagined by this prayer of our Lord? Do we dare to dream for and to work toward something so seemingly impossible in human terms? Will we?
What would it take for this to come about? How can such a vision begin to be accomplished in this chaotic fallen world where even those who call on the name of Jesus Christ are splintered and divided? One thing is sure… for this to occur it would be no less than the work of God. Amen? Do you say amen here? But… Where might such a work of God begin?