The purpose of the information contained in the Bible is to produce actual, lasting, tangible change in your life. It’s to change the condition of your soul and your heart and your Spirit, so that you live differently than you did before.
You don’t always get to choose what happens to you. But you do get to choose 1.) what you focus on, and 2.) what story assign to what you’re focusing on. So focus on eternal truth. Focus on Christ and his love. Focus on people. And repeat biblical stories about yourself, about God, and about others, about your past and about your future.
You can open your Bible to any book, chapter, and verse, and God will have spoken. It’s all God’s perfect word. And at the end of the Bible there stands a giant exclamation point carrying the message, I have spoken.
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There are no “good” people in the Bible – at least not in the theological sense – except for Jesus. Everybody else is wrecked and ruined by sin and desperately in need of a Savior. So the way we have traditionally approached character-based sermons has a tremendous flaw. Here’s the traditional approach…
- Tell the story of a Bible character.
- Highlight the good stuff they did.
- Challenge people to follow their examples.
I’ve done plenty of that kind of preaching in my life in ministry, and I wish I could go back and re-preach them all from a totally different perspective. There are some major flaws with this kind of preaching. First of all, it’s moralism. It gives the idea that we can, in our own power, actually DO the good things we see the characters doing. But we can’t. We don’t. We fail repeatedly.
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