Take 5 (March 17-21, 2014)

take5Bill Tanzey • Associate Pastor of Community Ministries

The Drama of the Bible in Five Facts

Monday: Act 1 – Creation

Genesis 1

From where you believe you came has everything to do with where you are going. The first four words of the Bible (three in the Hebrew language) form the foundation of the Bible’s story. The divine record starts there: God’s intention was to have a relationship with His highest created being, humans. The setting for this creation is stunning: God created a beautiful garden and created man and woman to enjoy His presence there in that peaceful place. The Bible has a name for those who choose to deny the existence of the God who created us. That name is fool  (Ps. 14:1 and 53:1). Just as the Bible begins with God creating us, so should He be first in our lives.

For Today: Read Genesis 1 and pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

Tuesday: Act II – The Fall

Genesis 3:1-6; 23-24

Tension is introduced into the story when Adam and Eve rebel against God and decide to go their own ways. God’s enemy, Satan, enters the story and starts to have his way with Eve, then Adam, while in the beautiful garden.  Eve took specific steps that will plunge the human race into sin: First doubting God’s Word (“Has God really said?”); then touching the tree (bringing them closer to the forbidden fruit); then a threefold yielding to temptation. That yielding happened like this: The lust of the flesh (“good for food”), the lust of the eyes (“a delight to the eyes”), and the pride of life (“you will be like God”). Adam followed Eve in the same plunge. After their rebellion, God expelled them from the garden. The consequences of the Fall are still present today.

For Today: Ask God to keep you strong in resisting the pull of temptation in your life.

Wednesday: Act III – Israel

Genesis 12:1-3

In calling Abram and promising to make him a great nation, God narrows His focus and concentrates on one people group for a period of time. But the ultimate goal remains the same: To bless all peoples on earth, remove the curse from creation, and restore the original relationship that existed in the garden.

When His people are later enslaved in Egypt, a central pattern of the Bible story is set: God returns to His people, spares them by the blood of a lamb, and restores them to the promised land. Those events in the life of Israel give hints of a New Covenant that will take place: The appearance of the Lamb of God in the Person of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

For Today: Write a note of thanks to God for allowing you to be part of His mighty plan.

Thursday: Act IV – Jesus                                                              

Luke 1:31-33; John 1Mark 1:15

For centuries, God’s people had suffered under the boot of the Roman Empire. Those who knew the Word of God understood they would be liberated by a Messiah. Little did they know how expansive God’s plan was: At the pivotal point of all world history, God Himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ, came to earth as the ultimate Lamb of God.  He lived with us. He healed the sick. He took the sins of everyone (not just the Jews) on His shoulders. He was despised and rejected by men, and underwent sacrificial crucifixion for all of us. Then to conquer death He rose from a sealed grave. There, death changed to life ­— as a preview of what His believers will all experience.

The Bible’s account of Jesus is the focal point of all 66 of its books. He is the one and only Hero of the story.

For Today: Read John 1 aloud to yourself.

Friday: Act V –The New Kingdom of God

1 Corinthians 15:24-25; Revelation 21:9-22:52

If the key victory has already been secured by Christ, why is there an Act V? God wants the victory over death to spread to all nations of the world. As Jesus ascended, those were His final instructions. Build my Kingdom. Jesus’ followers are being built into God’s new temple, where God’s Spirit lives. God is gathering these people from around the world and forming them into His church. The foundation of this new kingdom is being laid in this day.

Act V is taking place both in our time and in the future. The message of Christ and His kingdom has now come to us. What will you do with it? If you believe the story of the Bible to be true, you will be a part of the final act; a final act when the world, as well as you and me, will become new. (If you don’t have that assurance, call me at 304-346-0431.)

For Today: Thank God that He will make all things new.