Subnautica - Terrifying - Fascinating.
I don't play a lot of video games, but occasionally I turn on my xbox, search for a game, buy it, and then play it.
Well recently I found and purchase a game called 'SubNautica'. The idea is that your space ship crash lands on this alien planet that is almost completely covered in water. And the object is to survive and hopefully even some day to get off the planet and back home. But since basically the entire planet is under water, you end up finding all your resources, and food and supplies all under water. And so you end up building oxygen tanks and eventually you get to where you're going incredibly deep in these waters and at first it's completely terrifying. Because there's strange looking fish, and you're hearing weird noises and you're just thinking 'Get me outta here!!!'. Well a little time passes and you start to familiarize yourself with your surroundings andd before you know it, you're thinking 'Let me play 10 more minutes, I know I can grab just a couple more things before bed!'.
So what starts out as terrifying, becomes fascinating.
Really what we’re hoping to accomplish to just to wet your appetite for learning to read the Bible the way Jesus wants us to.
Jesus says whole bible is about him.
Modern preacher: OT 10%
According to some recent research, the modern day sermon comes from the Old Testament approximately 10% of the time. If you take our psalms and proverbs it’s more like 4%.
But what’s interesting is that the Old Testament comprises about 73% of our bible. - Yet we only spend 10% of our time there.
The modern preacher tends to spend MOST of his time actually reading Paul. Second is the gospels, and then the entire OT at 10%.
And in a way, I actually can’t fault them. I mean, we are Christians. Christ-ians. Little Christs. And sometimes you read the Old Testament and you think “Where is Jesus in any of this?”
Well the answer to that is this: Jesus is everywhere in the Old Testament. You just have to learn how to see him.
B.B. Warfield (19th century theologian) once described the Old Testament as “a room fully furnished but dimly lit.”
What he means: There are all kinds of things there, but you really can’t see them unless you open a window and let light in from the New Testament.
From the standpoint of the New Testament looking back on the Old Testament you see all kinds of things you wouldn’t otherwise see.
We talked this in week 1 in the creation story.
The context for all the Old Testament law is Covenant. God blesses Israel with Covenant first and the laws are a follow-up.
And that really makes a lot of sense, outside of a covenant, covenant law makes no sense.
Lady on street. If I was to walk up to a strange woman on the street and say ‘Do you promise to love and cherish me till death do us part? B/C I do. For better or for worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. And this women doesn’t even know me. That would be creepy!
Covenant in very close to Christs heart.
Jesus would speak of the new covenant of his blood.
It has always been the heart of God to take care for us, and that we care for each other.
I won’t go too much into that one, b/c we’re going there in the coming weeks.
In story, revealing God’s character.
That’s where we’re going today.
Me - storyteller.
Part of who God has made me is a storyteller. So not only do I often speak THROUGH story, often times it’s story that speaks TO me.
Written by probably 40 authors, over thousands of years.
And the product is this life-changing, inspired library.
History / poetry / letters / apocalyptic literature.
And contained in that 66 are books of history, and poetry, and letters, and apocalyptic literature.
In fact, let’s look at the breakdown (pic).
One thing that’s amazing is this: It’s all telling one big story.
Listen to the following words: Cute, warm, sweet.
Did those words create any sort of emotion in you? You might be thinking… ‘Uhhh…. I guess?’
Now look at this picture of baby Grace. (Pic)
Pictures have a way of making an impression on you that words alone often don't.
Me - Bible came alive - story. For me personally, I can say that one of the times in my life where the Bible really came alive to me was when I started to understand it’s story.
Summed up :
“Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9)
Entire bible is summed up in the Old Testament scripture of Jonah 2:9 (when Jonah is praying from the belly of the fish). “Salvation comes from the Lord.”
And even that scripture, written 700 years BC - is a foretelling of the salvation of the Christ, who is: Jesus.
That’s the idea of the bible
And every book of the Bible read correctly moves that story forward.
And you can learn A TON about Jesus through the stories of the Old Testament.
And so because this is a sermon and not a 4 semester class, the best I can do in one sermon is to give you 2 quick examples of finding Jesus in the story of the Old Testament.
We see the forgiveness of Jesus in Joseph. (1650 BC)
We see the redemption and generosity of Jesus in Boaz (1280 BC)
This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, (Genesis 37:2a)
How many girls wished they had those names?
and he brought their father a bad report about them. (Genesis 37:2b)
Me - Nark.
Growing up, I was always a pretty good tattle-tale. Narking on your older sister is not a bad way to procure favors from your mother. However, it’s not a great way to get your siblings to like you.
This isn not a great idea for Joseph.
Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. (Genesis 37:3)
Huge parenting mistake
When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. (Genesis 37:4)
And it just keeps getting worse. - Joseph has dream:
Bundles of grain.
One morning Joseph wakes up and goes and tells his brothers that he’s had a dream. He said “Here’s the dream: We were out in the field, and we all had bundles of grain. and then my bundle of grain stood up and all your bundles bowed down to my bundle. Isn't that weird?!”
His brothers are thinking : “Yeah that’s pretty weird. So weird that we might have to kill you.”
And then Joseph says it gets better! I had a second dream:
Sun / moon / 11 stars - 11 brothers.
“The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed down before me!”
Keep in mind that Joseph is telling this story to his 11 brothers.
And so he says ‘Isn’t that a crazy dream?!’ And they’re thinking ‘Yeah it is crazy. So crazy you might lock the door to your bedroom at night.'
And so Joseph’s brothers conspire to kill him.
But then at the last minute they decide: “What do we have to gain by killing him? Let’s sell him as a slave!”
So they do. They sell him to some slavers passing through on their way to Egypt.
He ultimately ends up in Potiphars house - Potiphar is one of Pharaoh’s officials. A big uppity-up.
And everything is going good until an unfortunate encounter with Potiphars wife. She tries to get him in bed, he rejects her, so she accuses him of rape. It’s a whole thing. And Joseph ends up in prison.
But he still continues to rise to the top and in a very short time Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of all of egypt! - Joseph is 30 years old at this time.
And then huge famine hits the entire region. And the only place that has food is Egypt.
So Joseph’s brothers (who betrayed him, conspired to kill him, and ultimately sold him into slavery, and actually lied to their father that he was killed) go to Egypt to buy food and they find themselves in the presence of the leader of Egypt, who they don’t realize is their young brother who they sold in slavery.
And so they bow before him, and Joseph thinks about his dream and thinks “Well well well… Not so far fetched now is it.”
There’s this whole thing about “Well maybe you guys a spies and I should kill you!” And they’re saying “WHAT?!”
Ultimately he reveals himself to his brothers with incredible kindness and forgiveness.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! (Genesis 45:4)
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. (Genesis 45:5)
You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. (Genesis 45:10)
And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. (Genesis 45:15)
He goes and tells Pharaoh, (his boss)
“You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. (Genesis 45:19)
Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’ ” (Genesis 45:20)
And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. (Genesis 45:23)
So what you have here in Joseph, 1600 years before Jesus would be born, is one of the clearest pictures of the forgiveness that Jesus offers us on the cross.
The brothers who would betray Joseph represent humanity who would reject Christ and ultimately murder him.
Only to have Jesus return, not in vengeance, but still offering a word of forgiveness, still committed to caring for us as his own family.
Of course Boaz is found in the book of Ruth
And the book of ruth is the closest thing the Bible has to a Nicholas sparks romance.
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. (Ruth 1:1)
Ok so famine has hit, so this husband and wife along with their 2 sons leaves Bethlehem and head to Moab.
There they set up shop, eat some food, and live for about 10 years.
Both of the sons marry local girls - One’s name Orpah (the name sake of Oprah, put her family kept misspelling and mispronouncing it so eventually it just became Oprah) and the other named Ruth.
Everything seems be be going great.
One by one, all 3 men die.
This leaves the mom Naomi alone with her two daughters-in-law.
Naomi decides it’s time to head back to Bethlehem, but she tells her to daughters-in-law to stay behind in Moab and find new husbands.
Orpah says yeah that’s fine, see you later.
But Ruth, loyal to her mother-in-law says :
… “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. (Ruth 1:16)
Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:17)
So this is a seriously good daughter-in-law.
So Naomi and Ruth arrive back in Bethlehem and they’re poor. They have nothing.
Luckily they’re still able to glean from other peoples fields. We talked about that last week. Basically it’s picking small amounts of barley left over and reserved for the poor.
So Ruth is out in a man’s field picking barley to eat. And the owner of the field Boaz happens to come along.
When he sees Ruth he thinks ‘This woman is beautiful!’ - And so he starts giving her all kinds of great stuff.
He says she’s welcome in his field, that she can drink from the water that’s reserved for the workers, she’s allowed to take non-charity grain.
When she goes back and tells her mother-in-law about this guy that clearly seems interested in her, Naomi says ‘Wait… BOAZ? That guy is related to my dead husband. He’s obligated to marry you and has to provide for us.
And so Ruth says “Well great! How do I get him to marry me?”
Naomi goes on, “Here’s what I want you to do, you sneak into his house and when Boaz is sleeping, and lie down at his feet."
And so Ruth is thinking “Yeah, that sounds like the opposite of a good idea."
But Naomi insists, so Ruth does it.
And here’s the real shocker, it works.
Boaz wants nothing more than to marry Ruth.
And now the drama hits, there’s actually another man in town. Who’s a closer relative to Naomi, so he gets the right to marry Ruth before Boaz.
So Boaz goes to check it out, and comes back and says ‘Good news. This guy doesn’t want to marry Ruth, (that would be disgraceful, Moabites were not highly regarded) he just wants Naomi’s land. So if Naomi gives up her land, then we can get married.”
So Naomi gives up her land and Ruth and Boaz get married.
And just a little icing on the cake, they have a son named Obed, who is Kind David’s grandfather, whose line would continue on to Jesus.
So that’s one of the things that makes this story significant, is that this had to happen in for Jesus to be born.
And so what you have here, 1200 years before Jesus is born, is a beautiful picture of the redemption and generosity of Jesus.
Takeaway: Jesus is still making appearances. Just as he did in the Old Testament, Jesus is still making appearances today, through his body, the Church.
If we were to zoom out of all of history and see the beginning from the end and ask ourselves ‘Where was Jesus in 2018?’
Well the answer would be ‘Right there. In that thing called the church.’
You might be thinking “I’ve met the church. Sounds like a stretch.” - I agree, we do it imperfectly.
But that’s the incredible calling the church has. To be the appearance of Jesus Christ to the world in our lifetimes.
By living out the Kingdom of God in the here and now.
How do we act out our calling to be like Jesus?
Forgiveness, Generosity, and service.
n fact it can all be summed up in this one phrase: Self-Sacrificial Love
Washing disciples feet
I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (John 13:15)
And what did Jesus do for us? He laid down his life.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
As we close, here’s the question:
If someone were to look at my life, would they be able to see Jesus at work in the world?
Is self-sacrificial love at work?