The Hebrew people interpret the Bible through four levels. Pashat is: simple; plain meaning - the cleanest, plainest meaning of the text. Remez is a hint, or an allusion, to something before before it. Drash is a life application, that whatever you find in the Bible, if you cannot apply it, then don't talk about it. Sod is mystery, a realm of Bible interpretation that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you.
Science tells us that no matter how good I speak tonight, by Tuesday you'll only remember four per cent of it, unless I put some graphic image around it, that'll help you remember. So a couple of ground rules for the night... Number one, we have to have fun. Number two, we have to admit that if we're going to get the most out of this, we have to admit that we're wrong about God. If you define right as without error, wouldn't you agree with me, that all of us are all wrong? That actually God is too big to get our heads around?
I want to give you principles from God's word that makes Him even bigger than ever before, and not just that. I want not just to make Him bigger than ever before to you; I want it to change our lives, to where we more and more and more will partner with the leadership team at this church, to build the kingdom of God right here. That's what we're looking to do and I want us to change our life.
Christianity lost a lot of its credibility in the Middle Ages, because there was a shift in Christianity. That shift in Christianity made it all about going to heaven one day. It all became about: hey, come to an altar, pray a prayer that we made up, and when you do that you're born again, and you'll get to go to heaven one day.
Now is there truth in that? Sure, there's truth in that. Should that truth be celebrated? Sure. Is it the main thing? No. It's the start of the main thing. See God wasn't just looking to get a group of people into heaven. God was looking for a radical new culture; that is going to show the whole world what life would be like if He was in charge of it today. It's about bringing a kingdom to earth, not waiting to go to heaven one day; and so we're going to explore a lot of these thoughts.
If we're not careful, we teach the cross as primarily a mode of forgiveness. Is it a mode of forgiveness? Of course: behold the lamb of God, He takes away the sins of the world. Of course it was. Is it just a mode of forgiveness? No.
In the First Century if you asked people: why did Jesus die on the cross; this is what their answer would have been: Jesus died on the cross to defeat the devil, the enemy of our soul, and his entire way of living; that the cross was an in-your-face confrontation to a way of life. It wasn't just a method by which we put our faith in something, so we can suffer and then one day die and go to heaven. The cross was an in your face confrontation to an entire new way of living. It was the defeat of one way living in favour of another.
The writer of Hebrews calls Jesus' death on the cross the culmination of the ages. Does that sound like somebody died, and you put your faith in Him, and say a prayer, then you suffer and then you'll die and it'll all get better? The culmination of the ages, that sounds like a rock concert doesn't it? Where'd you go last weekend? I went to the culmination of the ages! It was awesome! [Laughter] You should have been there man - it was the culmination of the ages.
See we aren't just meant to wear the cross around our neck. We're not just meant to put the fish on our car, or to wear the armbands. You know what, it's Thursday night. You're giving a Thursday night to come to church and seek the face of God. I have no doubt in my mind that you're a believer in Jesus Christ. My question isn't: are you a believer in Jesus Christ. That's not my purpose tonight, my purpose is: now what?
So you've been recreated in righteousness and true holiness. Okay, now what? So you're learning your identity in Christ. Great, now what? I'm not so interested in: are you going to heaven one day. I'm interested in: are you saved when your husband leaves his underwear on the floor? I'm interested in: what that does to your life.