Summary: First in a sermon series designed to enable us to see ourselves in the biblical story; the curtain is raised in the dawn of creation.



Finding where we are in the big picture


2009 is well underway now, and there are fewer ‘Happy New Year’ greetings. The holiday break is over and most people are back to their routines. But we have a whole year ahead.

• Do you have hopes and dreams for 2009?

• Do you have spiritual ambitions for yourself in the development of your faith as a child of God?


In preparing to speak this morning, some of the ‘Coming of Age’ rituals came to my mind – particularly the one practiced by an African tribe in which the children of the tribe are blindfolded, taken into the jungle at night and left there on their own. As part of the process they are given several difficult tasks to do. And after they have succeeded they return to the tribe as men.

APPLIC – There come a time when each Christian must go through a ‘coming of age’ experience.

I’m not speaking of Bar Mitzvah or Confirmation – not even baptism and church membership. I’m speaking of the phase in our lives when we graduate spiritually and no longer look to others to feed us, lead us or guide us, but have learned by ourselves to access the word of God, to pray and to share our faith with others.

How mature have you become in your faith?

What do you rely on in order to be sustained in your faith and to grow as a Christian?

The Bible teaches us that God’s intention for us as Christians is that we become mature in our faith.

James 1:4 ‘that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything’

And the essential part in the whole of this process is our being able to understand and make good use of the Bible.

So I intend that by June of 2009 as many of us here as possible will be confident that we have ‘come of age’ in our faith and have developed the capability to sustain and feed ourselves from God’s word, the Bible.

And so I am going to give you some handles for doing this.

Have you reached a plateau in your spiritual development?

Is your spiritual life becoming gradually atrophied? (like an apple that has fallen from a tree and has been lying on the ground through winter)

Let’s make 2009 a year of growth in spiritual maturity.


• Each of our lives has a story.

• God intends our lives be shaped by God’s greater ‘story’

Every good story has its plot.

The scene is set, then something goes wrong.

Then something is done to solve the problem of what has gone wrong.

e.g. Superman; Finding Nemo; Mission Impossible; The Matrix, the outline plot is the same.

The Bible is God’s greater story:


It is helpful to think of the Bible as an unfolding drama in six acts, with an interlude.

ACT 1 God establishes his Kingdom – Creation

ACT 2 Rebellion in the Kingdom – Fall

ACT 3 God chooses Israel – Redemption initiated

INTERLUDE – Between the testaments: (The kingdom story waits for an ending)

ACT 4 The coming of the King – Redemption accomplished

ACT 5 Spreading the news of the King – The mission of the church

ACT 6 The return of the King – Redemption completed


If we are not shaped by the Bible’s story we will be shaped by another story (e.g. atheistic evolution: that shaped the thinking of Nazis; that treats the unborn child as just a piece of jelly; that considers apes to be our ‘closest relatives’ rather than seeing humankind as the crowning glory of God’s creation – made in the image of God.

We are part of the ongoing story that has yet to reach its conclusion through time. It has a past, present and future, and we are all a part of the story.


Over the next six months my prayer is that we will see the big picture of God’s story in Scripture. That we will be able to stand back and see how we fit into the big story of the Bible.


When Leslie Newbigin was serving as a missionary in India a Hindu scholar of world religions once said to him:

I can’t understand why you missionaries present the Bible to us in India as a book of religion. It is not a book of religion – and anyway we have plenty of books of religion in India. We don’t need any more! I find in your Bible a UNIQUE interpretation of universal history, the history of the whole of creation and the history of the human race. And therefore ea UNIQUE interpretation of the human person as a responsible e actor in history. The is UNIQUE. There is nothing else in the whole religious literature of the world to put alongside it.

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