Pastor Dan Meader
Next worship service: 11:00am on Sunday May 9th, 2021

Making Disciples to Transform the World

9/18/16

Category

I want you to hear about some amazing technology. In this age of computers and memory storage and IPADS, listen to this. You may find it interesting.

It’s called a ‘BOOK’.  The book is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are all held together in their proper sequence by what is known as a ’binder’. These sheets can store information on both sides thus saving money. The way it works is that each sheet is scanned with the eye and the scanned information is sent directly to the brain. It never crashes and never needs rebooting. It requires no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, and nothing to switch on. It has a browse feature that allows you to move instantly to any sheet simply by running your finger over the pages.  An optional ‘BOOKMARK’ accessory allows you to open the book at the exact location you finished the last time you read and you can even use more than one bookmark. You can even make personal notes and text entries directly on the page using another accessory called a ‘PENCIL’. These books can be identified by ‘TITLES’ to help you locate those of interest to you. Some examples of book titles and their authors are: Animal Illnesses by Ann Thrax, Downpour by Wayne Dwops, House Construction by Bill Jerome Home, Why Cars Stop by M. T. Tank, and Unemployed by Anita Job.

Well that was one way to get started about talking about a great book. This particular book is just jammed packed with knowledge, past history and future prophecy, good news, bad news, advise, encouragement, rules for living, and even better than ‘The Fountain of Life’ – eternal life.  Of course I’m talking about the Bible. Now I enjoy reading but I am very selective in what I read. I certainly am not a scholar when it comes to knowing of all the various reading material that is available out there somewhere.

But when I consider the Bible I find things written in there which make me wonder, ‘if I didn’t have any idea what the Bible really was, what would I think about it?’ There are things in there that I don’t know how I would begin to class this book. Actually, I might consider this book to be a BIOGRAPHY about two different personalities. At first glance I might even believe that this is a very biased and prideful expectation on the part of these two main personalities. I would also  have to see it in light of these two separated personalities being somehow connected. In the first part of the book I would see ‘God’ as the primary personality and in the second part of this book a man called Jesus as the second personality.

So as I begin reading, I would discover that each part of the book begins with something that sets apart these two personalities from absolutely anyone or anything else. The first part begins with, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  In the second book I would discover words such as, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

I would also  find the story of a Child whose name was to be called Emmanuel. Which means: (God with us.)

Together then these two books outline and present how this God and this person called Emmanuel expect to be accepted by those who know them. So looking then at these expectations makes this book something very special and the relationship they define something unique only to them; God and Emmanuel.

Both speak of some of these expectations and listening to Jesus words expresses to us just how unique this relationship is because it is expressed in words we would not ordinarily hear in everyday communication. Listen to the words Jesus used as was recorded in Matthew 16:24-25:

Then Jesus said unto his disciples,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Wow! Let me read that again and pay close attention to the words.

Then Jesus said unto his disciples,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

You see, we just don’t talk that way. It is not the kind of language we would use. But we must also keep in mind, this is the first time we are reading this book.

So, first of all, why would this man Jesus expect that anyone would come after Him. Why is He so different or unique? And then! If someone does come to Him they must deny themselves. What does that even mean? Why would someone even want to do that? And then, finally, take up his cross!!   What is a cross? How do I , take up a cross?

So from a purely innocent, ignorant, uninformed, and for a first time critique of this book called the Bible, how do we interpret and understand what it is saying when we are reading these words for the first time? But there is even more. Continuing to read the same passage we now find these words:

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

How do you lose your life? And why are you going to lose it for someone else? And explain to me how, if I lose my life for someone else, am I then going to find my life? WHAT IS THIS BOOK REALLY ALL ABOUT. These words just don’t seem to make any sense.

This book just seems to be all about these two personalities and their attempts to have, followers. But what is the reason, what is the point of following them? Well, let me ask you a question. Is there such a thing as life after death and a second question, is there a heaven?

What if you didn’t know? What if you didn’t know? Where would you go to find out?

Well, think on this question. If you don’t know what the word dictionary means where would you go to find out? The very answer you are seeking is contained in the question. The dictionary. When you discover this you will find your answer.

Back to the question, ‘Is there life after death and is there a heaven? You need to realize that that book you discovered for the first time, that book called the Bible has the answer to these questions. Those words that just didn’t seem to make any sense actuall make all the sense in the world when you understand what they mean. And more importantly, you will discover that those two personalities that are spoken of in this Book are the only way you will ever get the answers to the questions of life after death and heaven. There is no other way.

So Jesus says, “If any man would come after me, he must deny himself… .” Jesus wasn’t simply looking for people to literally follow Him and walk around with Him. Nor was He looking for people to be members of His club or organization. We must remember Jesus is The Word, Jesus is the Way, Jesus is the Truth, Jesus is SALVATION. When we come to these we come to Jesus. This is what Jesus was hoping for.

But what about the words “Deny Himself”? Ok it is one thing to Go After Jesus, BUT, deny oneself. Yes that is exactly what you must do. If you are going after Jesus  and Jesus is the Way, then you must live your life His Way and deny your way. Otherwise you are not truly going after Him. And remember, He is the Truth and therefore well, you can’t go wrong if you do things His way.

But then we still have to deal with what Jesus said about the cross. “Take up YOUR cross and follow me.” You see Jesus never said it was going to be easy. To follow Jesus means we often need to deny what we might want to do because it is not what He would want us to do. Sometimes we might have difficulty with this, we may need to suffer through things and endure things. Jesus refers to this as our cross. He knew He would have to suffer and endure the cross in order to save us and He is relating the small suffering and endurance we may have to face as OUR CROSS.

Finally, we hear Jesus say, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it.” The only way you can truly save your life to eternal salvation is to lose your life in denial of self and come to Jesus. So you save your life buy losing your life. And, Jesus goes on, “Whosoever will lose His life for my sake will find it.” We will lose our life  but the life we find in Christ is so much better.

So. This Book we call the Bible may sound different. Words may be used in a way that we don’t ordinarily speak or in a way that we would not normally use them. But this is not an ordinary down to earth Book. It is the Bible. It is God’s Book and God does speak a different language than we do. Remember, it is the truth and it speaks of God’s way, which is the only way.

Read this Book. If you don’t understand something, ask. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you because like I said, this is God’s Book and it can only be understood when interpreted by God through the Holy Spirit.

We receive a summary of what this Book is about from the Apostle Paul’s letter to Tomothy.

1 Timothy 2:5:

For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ who gave Himself as a ransom for all.