Hello friends, and welcome back to the 'Bible Basics' Course from Hope&Grace.
Thanks for being here - it's so lovely to have you join us for this conversation!
As you guys know, this course comes out of the conversation we've been having lately about our relationships with the Bible, and what gets in our way. In this course I want us to address those barriers, and be equipped to approach the Bible with a lot more confidence. Today we are back with part 7 - How to start... breaking down some barriers & learning how to approach the Bible with confidence.
Today we are getting straight to the point.
Here are some expanded notes from our seventh video:
We ask 'where do I start!?' a lot. This is a book full of strange words, odd people and a lot of stuff we can't relate to. We all struggle to know where to start.
Here is a basis for our conversation going forward. Please here this:
There is an enemy to our souls. There is an enemy to our faith. If he can't stop us from hearing and responding to the GOSPEL, then he can and will do everything in his power to stop us coming into the fullness that God has for us. A huge part of that is us knowing and understanding the word of God and bring transformed by it. There are real reasons that you struggle to open this book. So let's talk about them.
The aim: Stop you from opening this book. full stop.
Why? All of HELL understands the power of this book.
HOW? By distractions and lies, the enemy will keep you from opening this book. Like what?
Fear... of what might be in the Bible. Fear that we won't understand it. Fear that we might do it wrong (whatever that means). Fear. Just fear.
Unworthiness... 'I don't deserve to understand this'. 'I'm not worthy to try and understand who God is'.
Shame. Just shame. And Guilt.'I've done too much wrong... I can't go to the Bible.' 'I'm not clever enough'. 'God won't want to talk to me'.
Most of these are simply lies. Where they are based in some truth here's the thing: God has already done the work of redeeming you.
You are chosen. By God. (1 Peter 2:9, Colossians 3:12)
You are loved, just as you are. (1 John 4:10, Colossians 3:12)
You are covered. By Jesus' blood. (1 John 4:10, Romans 4:7)
You are free. (John 8:36, Romans 8:2, John 8:36)
Let's remind ourselves that there is nothing we could ever do to make God love us less than he does right now.
And there is nothing you could ever do that would make God love us more than he does right now.
God's whole being is FOR YOU. He is on your side.
Let's remind ourselves that we do not and could not ever earn our salvation. There is no way that we could be good enough to earn our own freedom or salvation. Jesus chose it. We didn't earn it.
Our freedom from the weight of shame & condemnation has been bought and paid for by the body and blood of Jesus and that the proof of that freedom from the weight of sin and shame and death is Jesus' resurrection. IT IS DONE.
So, let's get practical. Ways to help us open this Bible: Pray.
When we feel guilt that we've done something we shouldn't have done, shame makes us want to turn away from God. Guilt can be ok. It can be correction: an opportunity for repentance and growth. Shame is not. Shame is a prison sentence.
Repentance means to change direction, to turn away from one thing and turn back to God. So let's pray. Ask God for forgiveness for whatever it is that causes you to feel guilt, or that causes you to feel you are not good enough.
When we feel guilt, pray about whatever it is that makes you feel like you are not worthy of opening this book (because it has all already been handled by Jesus on that cross)
Let's say: 'Lord I'm sorry. I want to do this better. Thank you that you love me. Thank you that you've forgiven me.'
Sit there for a moment.
Now. Open your eyes.
And open your Bible.
The antidote to every thing that you feel stands between you and the Bible has been bought, redeemed, paid for & made powerless by the work of Jesus on the cross. All that is left to hold you back is lies. The enemy will shout them at you as long as you listen. So, let's stop listening. Say no to the lies. Turn your eyes to Jesus. Pray. And open that Bible.
Do the praying.
Do the opening.
Pick a reference from today's blog post. Maybe start there.
Listen to the song below. I get the sense that there may be healing in it for us today.
Friends, this is SO important.
If you have deep sin issues, shame, unworthiness, or anything else* touched on in this video then bring someone else into this conversation with you. Friend: pray. Seek God. Reach out to your pastor or small group leaver or friend and have them pray through it with you. Do the sensible thing.
*If you are a victim of abuse, if you carry trauma, do what you know you need to do - reach out to your people, your counsellors, your pastors - and get the support that you need. Have them pray with you. We can seek God and human help at the same time.
Save the date: On Saturday (20th June) We're going to have an Instagram Live at 7:30 - it'll be a space to ask questions, have a chat, have a little review & dig into some things further if we want to. Come follow us on Instagram so you don't miss it, and feel free to message me any thoughts/questions ahead of time if you like.
Alright then friends. See you on Friday for part 8! We're gonna get real and talk about some stuff. Stay with me. It'll be worth it.