Summary: As a Christian, your life is part of the continuing story of God’s people. Live obediently. Live with the determination to bless others.

A lot of people think the Bible is a book of rules. A lot of people think of the Bible as a source of

doctrines - of right teachings about God. A lot of people consider the Bible, because it is inspired

by God, to basically be God. And that’s the people who respect the Bible.

There are others think that the Bible is almost too outdated and irrelevant to even bother with. They’ve seen the Bible used to support racism, war and the oppression of women. They’ve seen people fight over it and argue about it in a way that just doesn’t seem Christian. So they don’t bother with it.

Both of these views are at least two things. They are commonly held by a lot of people. And they are quite far off the mark. As we give more and more thought to what it means to be a church, a faith community and a covenant people, it’s important that we figure how to relate to the Bible.

The first lot of people I described have it sort of right. In the Bible we do find a recommended way of living- the Bible does tell us how to live well together, with strangers and with God. In the Bible we do find truth - we find God’s revealed will and God’s revealed truth.

But we also find that God created everything, and that God is a Spirit. He made the world, but he is other than the world. He is above it. Nothing created can be said to be God. That’s why it’s important to state that the Bible is not God. It contains His thoughts, but it cannot contain his mind. It contains his will for us, but it cannot contain Him. Period.

The second lot of people have perhaps some good reasons to have gotten it wrong. They have seen the church misuse the Bible in some cases and along with that misuse they have seen anger and unloving attitudes that make it very hard to take the Bible seriously. Because if people who take the Bible so seriously can be so seriously unpleasant and unloving...well that’s doesn’t make any sense.

What is our relationship to the Bible? How does this book, God’s Word, relate to us. How should we see it? How should we respond to it? How do we avoid some of the mistakes others have made?

The most obvious fact about the Bible that is often overlooked is that it is a collection of stories. Real stories. Actual things that happened to actual people. For that reason the Bible is pretty untidy. There are parts of the Bible hat still make me shudder or groan at times.

Nearly all of the “heroes” of the Bible are messed up people who are given gifts. Abraham was a fairly confused and not overly honourable fellow who let fear get the better of him once too often. Yet he was given the gift of nations {Gen 12:1-3).

David was a shepherd and apparently an ok king, but he was also an adulterer and a murderer. Yet he was given the gift of being called, in the end, “a man after God’s own heart”. And Jesus Christ came from the line of David.

And the list goes on. Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament, had been a murderer who sincerely thought that every Christian he killed brought a smile to God’s heart.

Eventually in one of the most bizarre turn-arounds in history, he became the guy that God used the most in the early church to spread the gospel, and he himself was killed by others who were pretty sure they were doing God a favour. Paul understood that life and faith and Jesus Christ were gifts to be cherished.

So the Bible can sometimes contain messy stuff. Human stuff. Stories about people and their friendship with God, people and their mistakes. People at their lowest points. People when they were hopeless. Scared. People when they had done some really, truly stupid and self-destructive things. But also, people who’s lives changed when they encountered...God. The Bible is the story of people encountering God.

It contains their dramatic highs and lows, their fallenness and their redemption by God. And it also contains the story of one unique life that never stumbled, one perfect human life that actually showed us what it really means to live as a human.

One life that showed us that even though life is messy and our lives can be a terrible mix-up, that’s not the way it has to be. One life that points to a new drama, a new humanity, a redeemed humanity: Jesus

The name I’ve given this sermon is “Your Role in God’s Drama”. I could have called it your role in God’s story. Same thing. We are God’s people. We are people of God’s covenant. A covenant is an agreement.

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