“The Bible is so full of negativity,” you’ll hear people complain, especially with the Old Testament God. He’s full of wrath, warnings, judgements and so forth — it hardly makes for a casual evening entertainment. Why on earth would anyone want to come out on a Saturday night to a Bible teaching about the Old Testament God?
Actually, it’s not negativity at all, I would say. It’s simply The Real World. Despite our mutibillion-dollar entertainment industry, we live in a Real World where lives are shattered, the best dreams are dashed, people clash against each other, murders, rapes, wars and all the rest fill the planet everywhere. It persists, despite our great technologies. Not even the iPod can eliminate or reduce any of it!
“The Rape of the Sabines” – Luca GIORDANO. ‘O, the glory of Roman civilization!’
The Bible reduces the painful shock of life, however. It holds the promise of eliminating it altogether. This is why God wrote it, it’s why He wants so desperately for us to read it: God wants us to avoid so much carnage and suffering. Only death itself brings full release, yet even now suffering can be mitigated by the joy of new life that grows without failure which has been planted by God’s Word.
You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding Word of God. For,
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER.”
And this is the word which was preached to you. (1Pe 1:23-25)
God, who is the Creator of the Real World, wants us to build in a Real World which cannot fade away.
Thus, Central Teachings
So we spend Saturday nights studying the Bible, unlike everyone else at that time! How do we explain that?
Hebrew 6:4-6 explains it: for those who have “been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come,” it not only makes sense, but life is so drab and inconceivable without it! That’s why it’s not a waste of a good Saturday night.
Our time spent together reaches far beyond the motivational seminars held in secular space. It is not wishful thinking. It is the Real World. Christians assemble to study and share something in which “God has given us both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie.”
Spending the time together in His Word is the purging of negative, the apposition – it is a life of power and unshakable confidence in the midst of the Real World:
We who have fled to him for refuge can take new courage, for we can hold on to his promise with confidence. This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. (Heb. 6:18-19)
- The Dream
- Paul’s Loneliness