Summary: What is it all about this Christianity, blessed with a relationship with God Himself, the creator of the universe. To internalise that and keep it there or could there be more, drawing others into a realtionship with Him could that be it.
Witnesses and Magnets: Our role!
This sermon is based on the illustrations and teaching from ‘The Bible’s Big Story - Our Story’ a visual roadmap for the biblical journey, by Dr Harry Wendt.
As a lead in, we have used this material as a Bible teaching tool for the last three years, as weekend seminars, as well as Dr Wendt’s material ‘See through the Scriptures.’ Dr Wendt as a bible scholar comes from a Lutheran theological back ground while the Salvation Army has a Arminian - Wesleyan theology, some adjustment to fit theological perspectives from the original teaching has occurred for this sermon.
“The Bible’s Big Story – Our Story’ and Dr Wendt’s other teaching materials can be sourced through Crossways International, Minneapolis, USA.
It seems in life that everyone is looking for some sort of recognition some sort of attention. Lord Byron said that, “Fame is the thirst of youth”, Albert Eisenstein said, “It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.”
I like these two, Madonna the singer said “I won’t be happy until I’m as famous as God.” And Erma Bombeck the humorist said “Don’t confuse fame with success, Madonna is one, Helen Keller is the other.”
Talking about famous it was great to see our music team leader Greg on ‘Praise Be’ this morning.
You may be wondering why I’m talking about fame and recognition. Well God in his rescue strategy for the human race had a plan for the nation of Israel to have this nation set aside recognizing his sovereignty as their ruler and in doing so have them act as “Witnesses and Magnets” who attracted the rest of humanity into a relationship with him. This race of people was to stand out, this from Leviticus 20:26 “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”
1) Using ‘The Bibles Big Story” material starting with frame two and those of you who have taken part in one of these seminars will know this, the frame is an illustration of God’s original plan for humanity, as the earth was part of God’s creation, He had intended that people should live to serve Him and one another living in community. Looking at the slide we see that the earth is a place where people are servants of God and one another two people kneeling) and around the outside of the earth people male and female holding hands in community.
In the Western world today we have considerable emphasis placed on the individual, this conflicts with the Bibles emphasis on community. Biblically people are to see themselves as “Made and owned by God, Managers of a planet that is made and owned by God, Entrusted with powers of will, emotion, body, and intellect which they are to develop to glorify God and serve others, by helping others develop their powers of will, emotion, body and intellect.
Success was not meant to be measured in terms of the material goods that people might acquire and enjoy. The winner at the end of life is not the person with the most stuff. This is evidenced by the fact that you can’t take it with you. Real success is measured by how much a person conforms to God’s original plan for humanity and helps others to do the same.
So we have a situation that arose wit the human race our ancestors bless them decided to step out side God’s plan and suit themselves, sin entered the world and God had to do something. Engaging the Hebrew people he took them to a place of being his people, “Witnesses and Magnets” who would establish a place where his plan was lived out, where the rest of humanity would see this plan and want to live in this way. This all started with a man by the name of Abraham, who you will be familiar with. His descendants ended up living in Egypt in slavery, before God had a gent by the name of Moses lead them out lets take a look at frame six of ‘The Bibles Big Story.”
2) Looking at this frame we see the symbol for God the circle with the four arrows, intervening in Egypt where the people are in chains, opening the waters guiding the people to Mount Sinai (there is some dispute over the location) where he made a covenant with them, the cloud and flashes of lightening being God’s presence on the mountain The law is given to the nation (the red tablets) and they are lead through the desert to the promised land, a land that was promised to Abraham four hundred years earlier.
This is not just about the giving of the law this is about the people understanding that God is “The Lord their God”, that God tells the people that it was he who took them out of the land of Egypt and out of the house of bondage.” The law is given with Ten Commandments and a collection of stipulations for living.