Summary: Striking the balance between studying the Bible, but keeping your relationship with God just that... a relationship.
Good morning and welcome to the second in a three-part series entitled Who We Are and What We Do. Before we get into the nitty-gritty today, I’d just like to say a personal thank you for all of the emails and video comments we’ve received this week. We have been really encouraged your comments and best wishes.
I’d just like to draw on a few points that came from that. The first was a video comment asking what gives the team and myself the right to preach? The answer lies in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” As Christians, it is not just our right but our job to tell unbelievers about Jesus, and the function of the church is to support other believers and continuously speak God’s Word into each other lives. So, the answer to that is, Jesus gives me the right because it is what He has commanded me and every other Christian to do. And you have that right and responsibility too, because what you have to say is just as important, which is why me and the rest of the team all want to hear your comments in our forum, on Facebook and YouTube, or via email. The more people who share their insights and relationship with God, the richer and fuller all of our composite understandings will be.
A second question that Darren raised in the Midweek Remix was regarding what I said about how church isn’t a building or a specific organization, but a community of believers interacting with each other, ergo this is church. He said Monday Morning Study doesn’t have a pastor, and it doesn’t have a worship band – how important are these to church? The answer is, obviously, they are extremely important! We need all of these things as part of our lives. Having that pastor in your life, that mentor, that person who looks out for you and pulls you in line, is crucial and Jesus Himself talks at length about its importance. You will have that person in your life, and no, that isn’t me. But remember, there is one church, one leader and that is Christ Himself. Wherever we are, whatever we do we are still church; we are still the body of Christ.
Not Called To Be Academics
Today, and you can put up the first slide, is entitled Not Called To Be Academics. This is something God spoke to me about last year, and I remember it really clearly. I had decided that I was going to be really closely examining one book of the Bible really closely for 12 months, every 12 months, until I’d finished Revelation at the age of 87 and probably wouldn’t really be able to see any more without binoculars. And I’d gone to a worship service in Glasgow and God said He hadn’t called me to be an academic. Those seven words – and, as you know, seven is the number of perfection! I learned that through my academic study.
So, what does that mean? Well, last week we talked about how being part of church made us “called out”. But called out for what, exactly? We know we’re called, but we’re not called to be academics.
That doesn’t mean that we’re not to be academic. There is a subtle one – being academic is a verb, being an academic is a noun. Which is a very academic way of putting it across!
It’s the crucial difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing them. Everyone who reads this teaching will know about me, but only my friends and family actually know me.
In the Bible, not once do we see Jesus sitting in his office reading His scrolls. Now, does that mean He didn’t read any scrolls? Seriously, answer in your head right now. Did Jesus read the Torah? Yes, I’m sure He did. He was called ‘teacher’, and in order to teach, He had to know what He was talking about! He must have read the Scriptures!
So why, in the four accounts of Jesus’ life, does nobody feel the need to ever mention Jesus reading once? Because, even though he was a carpenter’s son, I think Jesus probably was able to read although that is just an opinion. Why is it never mentioned? For the same reason we never hear about Him shaving, brushing His hair, washing His clothes, doing the loo. It just wasn’t the most important thing He did in His life.
What we see is Jesus speaking to people, praying to God, telling God his worries, taking God’s direction in His life – everything about Jesus’ ministry was relational! He told stories, most of them completely fictitious, to illustrate a very pertinent point about tax, salary, quest for meaning in your life. He also spoke about theological issues, of course He did.