The Need for Living Bibles

How to Be a 'Living Epistle'

2 Corinthians 3:1-6

DATE: 28 July, 1996   AM          PLACE: BBC Blarney

DATE: 10 Jan, 1999 PLACE: BBC Mallow

 

I.         Introduction - Acts 17:23

 

A.      There has always been a lot of confusion about God - He is unknown (Acts 17:23). People may know a lot about Him, but their lives demonstrate they really donít know Him: by the way they disrespect and hate His name; by the way they reject Godís word; by the way they create their own gods. Demonstrated most of all by the way they crucified the Son of God. People just do not know God!

B.       So God has built into this universe three things that work together to reveal Himself - to point people back to him:

 

1.        Obviously we know that the heavens themselves declare the glory of God (Ps 19:1) - it all reveals a Mastermind Creator!

2.        We know that God gave His Son to reveal Himself as Saviour!

3.        The world has never been able to get over the effect that a Book has had on the hearts and minds of its people - the Bible. A perfect book that God inspired and preserved.

 

C.       Many years ago, some ďChristiansĒ came up with the idea that people needed new Bibles (realized that people werenít living the Bible). So they developed new meanings and angles on God, and called them new translations - 200 translations! They called these works Ďbiblesí but the world already had a Bible. What the world needed to see was a Bible being lived - a Living Bible, that matched the written one

 

1.        The Old Testiment - the record/testimony of how God dealt with people before Jesus came (Adam, Abraham, David)

2.        The New Testament - the record of how God dealt with people after Jesus came (Paul, Peter, Martha, Timothy)

3.        God wants to have some living Testaments - the personal record of how God deals with me!

 

D.      Our goal this morning is to become living testimonies of Christ Jesus - to become a living Bible, that people can read, examine, and believe. This is because many people don't want Bibles, so God says for you and me to LIVE it, right before their eyes! That's how people get saved, and get drawn to Christ, even in ungodly homes, and communities - living Bibles!

E.       We turn to the book of 2 Corinthians, who themselves are our example of the open life that God wants the Christian to have - living epistles!

 

II.       Message - How To Be A Living Bible (2 Cor 3:1-6)

 

A.      Forget Manís Approval (3:1,2a) - Seeking for approval from people will cause you to adjust and modify the message that God gave (like the modern translations do, 2:17). Whether people approve of the message or not, is not our concern. Our concern is to present what the Lord thinks and says!

 

1.        Donít be like newspapers... Claim to present the truth, but they only present truth that gets read, and gets ads

2.        Donít be like universities... Claims to teach truth, but you cannot disagree with them - especially if you happen to believe the bibleís record of creation - and are able to prove it!

3.        Listen, we are dealing with what GOD said (John 17:17), and have to decide whether we believe it enough to live it like he said it, or like people expect us to live it (only oin Sunday mornings, and only in moderation - not Ďfanaticalí and living it everyday)!

4.        That we may please HIM (2 Tim 2:3,4; 1 Thes 2:4), and so that people get saved BY hearing HIS WORDS - not OURS!!!! Leads to the next point!

 

B.       Live Godís Word from the Heart (3:2a)

 

1.        It is easy to learn the facts and events of the Bible - the ďletterĒ - and then try and live those facts from the mind instead of the heart.

2.        Godís word pierces to the heart, and transforms the heart FIRST, because it is the most trouble - facts are neutral. People donít need to just meet ďChristiansĒ who know the facts of Scripture (its scientific superiority, literary superiority), but rather know the Author of Scripture

3.        Rom 6:17; Eph 6:6; Col 3:23

4.        People can always tell the difference - they are looking for something that comes from the heart - just as we were when we got saved!

5.        Same is true in relationships - no one wants a superficial relationship - people want a depth of life

6.        If you want people to want to know Christ, they are going to need to see a depth in your relationship with Him! From the heart!

 

C.       Be Aware That People Read You (3:2b) more than they listen to you - they watch Christians - how they talk, react, handle things

 

1.        Donít think that people donít know that you are different - they can tell. The issue is whether they see you trying to HIDE your differences, or are open about it - makes you vulnerable!

2.        People love to read people! Thatís why there are so many worthless magazines! All bout PEOPLE - but none of them are really TRUE!

3.        People who may never read a Bible, can still read it in your life - but you have to be open, vulnerable, real! Risky! But it is part of being a Living Bible - capable of being examined, and explored, and exposed!

4.        This is what can save an unbelieving husband (1 Pet 3:1-4). A womanís life can either portray Christ, or the devil! The same is true with everyone in this room - go ahead and let your life portray Christ! Leads to my next point...

 

D.      Present Christ (3:3) Go ahead and live life just as Jesus would if He were in your shoes!

 

1.        Donít worry about presenting yourself well (that is the aim of modern education - pride and arrogance) - be a servant (Dan 6:20) who represents a King of another country, as an ambassador (2 Cor 5:20).

2.        Peter failed at this in Matt 27:60-f

3.        Just present Him from the heart! People need to see that the words on a page DO have an effect on a heart - your heart! And on your life, when fully believed, and trusted by faith!

 

E.       Minister the New Testament (3 6) - serve it out to those who need it

 

1.        The world says:

 

a.       People are starving - so, minister food

b.       People are ignorant - so, minister knowledge

c.       People are dying - so, minister medicines

 

2.        God says people are lost, without Christ, headed for hell - minister the New Testament! What Christ said was in His blood on the cross! ETERNAL LIFE (Heb 9:15; 10:10-14)

3.        We have got to take the NT to the world - they won't come to it. The written word was given so that people would believe. If they will not read the written word, then they should be able to read a living word - again, all so that they can believe and be saved!

4.        What if you were with a group of people, and a bomb exploded nearby hurting most everyone around. One of the people was a Doctor, who came and revived you - wouldnít it be expected, that you would quickly find out from the Doctor how you could help save some lives? He would give you something to give to them and you would do it - right? Same should go with Christianity!

5.        THIS WORLD NEEDS CHRIST! Letís minister the Good News, by our words, by our lives, by our families, by our church, by our personal witness, by our prayers - by all our efforts

 

Together, these things will develop us into Living Bibles, that will be known and read of all people!

 

III.     Conclusion -

 

A.      Forget Manís Approval Our concern is to present what God thinks

B.       Live Godís Word from the Heart (3:2a)

C.       Be Aware That People Read You (3:2b) more than they listen to you

D.      Present Christ (3:3) live as Jesus would if He were in your shoes!

E.       Minister the New Testament (3 6) - serve it out to those who need it