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.

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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.

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