OceanSide church of Christ
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The Bible and the Real World
By David Thurman, The Gospel Minutes
As a preacher, I often speak about God, Jesus and the Bible. But I often hear non-believers question the relevance of those things. That is, they wonder, “What does the Bible have to do with the real world?” There seems to be a disconnect between what people consider their everyday lives and the message of the Bible. So, we will spend some time looking at the relevance of the Bible. Is it relevant in the 21st century?
It’s Relevant if Love Matters
We live in a culture that is in love with the idea of love. It is in our music. It is in our movies, our television shows and other entertainment. It is rare to find a film or play that does not have a story line which centers on a love relationship. And, moreover, we can see love all around us. We can see it in our families, with our children and grandchildren. We can see and feel it in our marriages. We know love is real because we even see love when it comes to our pets and our sports teams! Love is all around us.
The Bible is relevant because it defines love for us and takes love to a whole new level. “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:8-10). God is relevant to your everyday life because God is love. And His love is unconditional. That is, God models a love for us that has no strings attached. He loves us even when we are at our worst. “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). If you feel love, if you experience love (and you do) then God and the Word of God are daily relevant to your life.
And, notice what the love of God does, what love does. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19) . The love of God removes fear. We do not have to be afraid of God because his love is so proven that we can know how he feels about us. That is what genuine love does, it removes fear. So, when I feel loved, I am not afraid of that person. If I can extend that kind of love, I can insure that the people I meet are not afraid. Would you like to spend a day without any fears, any dreads, any worries? Love can do that for you. The Bible is relevant if love matters in your life.
It’s Relevant When Pain Happens
Do you ever experience pain? All of us have some aches and pains, and and the older I get the more often and the more serious they become. Right now I have a strained neck that hurts constantly along with a toe I broke about eight weeks ago. That is on top of the ongoing issues of tendonitis and migraines. We all know life is full of pain. Some of it isn’t physical. We all have experienced emotional pain, brought on by family or relational stress. We all need a place to go where pain is removed.
Interestingly, God and the Bible offer that place. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every ear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” Rev 21:1-4). God promises a time when tears, death and even pain will be eliminated. What a great promise, knowing that all the things that afflict us will be taken away.
And, on top of that, the Bible offers us a new way to look at the adversity we face right now. The struggles we face are doing more than bother us; they are accomplishing some good somewhere. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28). Paul doesn’t say bad things will be good for me. He says that bad things will work toward a higher, bigger, more important purpose. So, the struggles of my life, my pain, may be a hardship. But, in some ways God will take my pain and turn it into blessing for someone somewhere. The Bible is relevant if pain happens.
It’s Relevant if Life Ends
We all know that death is a reality. Many of us live our lives as if we will not die. Some refuse to make wills, others avoid funerals and cemeteries to pretend death is not going to happen to them. But one thing we all know to be true is that life ends in death. And death will happen to every person. I will die one day and so will you. Because death is a reality, the Bible is totally relevant to your life and death.
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Heb 2:14-15). God knows we fear death. The dread that comes with contemplating the end of life is real. So, God sent His own Son to live with us and like us to remove from us the fear of death. If you are in Christ, death loses its power and you can live free from the doubt, the uncertainty and fear of dying.
The Bible is Relevant
As we have seen, the Bible is relevant if you feel love, if you experience pain, if you feel guilt, if you know you will die and if you wonder why you exist at all. Only the world of God addresses these issues so perfectly. “For the world of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12) The Bible still convicts, still convinces, still applies to your every day life.
Are you in Christ?
That is the only question you need to answer. The Bible says you can find relief from pain in Christ. You get into Christ in one simple way. Put your faith in Him. Study His word. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12) Turn to Him in repentance. “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). And finally, be baptized into Him. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life.” (Rom. 6:3-4) These are not complex or difficult. But, when you respond to the Word of God in this way, you will discover first hand all that the Bible can do for you. And, when you are saved, and remain faithful in Christ, you will gain all that the Bible promises. The only question for you is simple: “Are you in Christ?”