New ABC Sermon Series
The B – I- B – L – E
Yes, that’s the Book for me
I stand alone on the Word of God
The B – I – B – L – E
This old Sunday School song is a strong affirmation, in the words of young children, of the great truth of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation — that the Bible is the only dependable source of a Christian believer’s faith, comfort and instruction. This was a move away from the previous emphasis on the Church’s traditions and leaders as the final authorities for religious teachings. In our day, this total dependence on the Bible for spiritual truth and guidance is the universal teaching among Evangelical churches in America.
Ironically, however, the average Christian doesn’t go directly to the Bible for spiritual sustenance. There are many authority figures — TV evangelists, megachurch pastors, authors of the latest Christian best-sellers — ready to give us answers in a simpler, more digestible form.
The Bible itself is, surprisingly, less accessible than it was in my childhood. Sixty years ago, for people whose first language was English, the King James Version was the Bible. The development and mass production of new translations made the Bible easier to understand, but seemed to make its words and phrases less memorable. Sunday School teachers who wanted their students to learn “memory verses” had to ask themselves, in which translation? Within a few decades, the practice of memorizing Scripture has withered dramatically.
In my childhood, it was common to see people carry their own personal Bibles to church. Today we save them the trouble, not only by having Bibles in the church pews, but also by projecting the passages for the week’s sermon on a wall screen. Also, there are a few people in every worship service who refuse to read the Bible anywhere but on their own smart phones.
The fact is, there are a lot of regular church attenders who wouldn’t know where to start if the preacher said, “Please turn to Jeremiah 6:23 in your Bible.”
Pastor Connie and I are not satisfied with that. We want to see the average ABC member be a lot more Bible-literate. We think every individual in the congregation should be able to verify what we preach and teach by looking in the Bible for themselves. If the Bible is God’s Word, you need to hear his message more directly than through our interpretations and opinions alone.
Our new sermon series is designed to introduce you to each of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament, that part of our Bible that has come to the church through the spiritual journey of the Jewish People. We believe that we can’t fully understand the New Testament, the latter portion of the Bible, which tells about Jesus Christ bringing his salvation into the world, without also knowing about the foundation of faith God laid down earlier, as recorded in the Old Testament.
This Sunday we’ll be starting a sermon series entitled “God’s Family Album.” Beginning with Genesis, we’ll look at one Old Testament book each week, giving an overview of what God is saying through that book and focusing on a particularly important passage. You will get more from the Sunday sermon if you read that Sunday’s book in advance.
Happy journey in Genesis these next few days!
— Pastor George Van Alstine
A video describing the series with Pastors Connie and George can be viewed at http://youtu.be/EH9fSdREM1U.