As I continue to make my way through memorizing passages of Scripture this year, I come to a prayerful act of praise by the Apostle Paul in Romans 11:33-36. However, you can’t really understand someone’s outburst if you don’t have the context. Yes? So in order to truly grasp what you may be memorizing with me, if you are following the Fighter Verse program, you need to step back a few pages and listen to Paul’s heart in Romans chapters nine through eleven.
For it is there that Paul has reflected upon his desire for his kinsmen to be saved, as he has been gloriously saved by God through Christ. He has poured over the nature and progress of God’s salvation project through the history of his people and the nations, a project that is at once simple and complex. Paul's work takes time, and effort. He is drawing conclusions and connecting dots that have immensely significant implications for very real people — immortal souls every one of them. The meditations of his heart and the words of his mouth are earnest, zealous, passionate, compassionate, thoughtful, energetic, and extensive.
And such thinking, though difficult and demanding, produces dividends.
For as Paul has been scraping his way up the mountain of God’s providential plan, and begins to ascend the summit near the end of Romans 11, what he discovers at the top is not that he has arrived, but that he now has a view of the endless vistas of God’s extraordinary grace in the good news of the kingdom of God that has come in Jesus Christ. So that he stands there atop his one, theological mountain, and exclaims,
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to himthat he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version; Romans 11:33–36)
I am so grateful for the dividends of delight that God has produced in my own heart through meditation and memorization of this passage of praise from Paul! Oh how I love the Bible, and how I love the good news - this gift from God that keeps giving and giving. Spend some time climbing the mountain today, and looking on the vistas of God's extraordinary grace with our friend, the Apostle Paul.
I believe that you won't be disappointed by the investment.
I had a class on preaching once, many years ago, from a pastor and a professor. And here is what he argued was the key question the preacher must ask of every text of Scripture:
2 Corinthians and The Whole Story
The reason that we began the Whole Story sermon series in January of last year was for the simple reason that we wanted to inspire you to read the Bible.
In the unsearchable counsel of God's will for the world, he has so designed that salvation will come through the church, that body of people gathered by the power of his Holy Spirit.
Why Should I Read The Bible?
Most days I love waking up, coffeeing up, praying up, and then gobbling up the Bible. But not every day. I’m just like you in that. I need reminding about why the Bible — God’s Whole Story — is an important part of my day, for every other part of my day.
One of the dangers of reading the stories of those followers of Jesus that we find in the Bible is we can treat them as if they are almost super-human.
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The Whole Story
On Sunday, January 7th, we will begin a year and a half exploration of the whole story of the whole Bible...
1 Corinthians (part two)
This last Sunday in our Gathering, we studied the book of 1 Corinthians together. The week of preparation leading up to that moment in the pulpit was deeply encouraging, as I sat at the feet of Paul, and watched him apply the reality of Jesus and the fullness of the Good News to four main issues in the lives of Christians in the church at Corinth. I discovered that each issue was a case study in the application of the good news to the very practical matters of our lives.