My Brain Is Done. I Canít Read Another Thing . . . This Is The Kind Of Mental Exhaustion . . .
- By 7 Mile Road
- Published 11/21/2007
7 Mile Road7 Mile Road is a church that is being planted in the city of Philadelphia.†† We long to plant a Jesus-centered, Gospel-driven, missional church that redeems the lost and edifies the redeemed.† To hear more about our story and vision, check out our blog at www.phillychurchplant.wordpress.com
“This has been one of the hardest sermons I’ve ever had to prepare. My brain is done. I can’t read another thing. Shainu, I have to warn you that this is the kind of mental exhaustion that will probably require 6 hours of mindless football watching just to recover. And that’s not something I want to do, but for the sake of the church, I guess I’ll suffer through it.”
Those were the opening lines to my sermon this week. I got to preach on the wonderful but complex idea that the Bible is completely trustworthy. In theological language, we call it inerrancy or infallibility (which is similar but different). Getting ready these past two weeks has been an exhausting joy. What an incredible idea that the Bible we hold in our hands can be trusted, completely trusted.
This week, we talked about how our tendency, when it comes to the truthfulness of the Bible, is to always run straight to the edges, to the margins, to the periphery. It’s like we blow right past Jesus and the Gospel, forgiveness, salvation, hope, heaven and the stunning realities of redemption and head straight for the details. And so the conversation about whether the Bible is true or not always starts with: Well did the rooster crow 1 time like it seems to say in Matthew and Luke, or 2 times like it says in Mark? If the Bible’s really true did 24,000 people die at Shittim like it says in Numbers or 23,000 like it says in 1 Corinthians? If the Bible’s really true, did Judas hang himself like it says in the Gospels, or did his guts spill out like it says in Acts? If the Bible’s really true, why did Jesus say that the mustard is the smallest of all seeds when modern botany shows that it is not?
Those are important questions (all of which have reasonable answers)…but you see how we ignore the heart of the Bible and evaluate truthfulness on details, secondary details. It’s like you’ve got this massive, majestic mountain, but we spend our time staring at a molehill. Or you’ve got this glorious city, but the battle is always over some playground at the edge of town. By focusing on the periphery, we’re inviting people to see if they can disprove a detail about Judas’ suicide rather than encountering the message of Jesus and His Gospel. Like inviting folks to stand on our sidewalk but failing to call them to come into our home and settle at the center.
And so we began at the core of the Bible - the redemption of God that has been revealed. We found how from Genesis to Revelation, there is one central message. That God created and man fell and from the beginning, God has been pursuing sinful human beings. That He did so through Israel and ultimately through Jesus Christ and now even through the ministry of the Church. That all of history is moving towards the consummation when the redeemed will spend eternity with their Redeemer.
That’s the message and there are no wholes, no lies, no errors, no discrepancies, no mistakes. Its true. So it’s not like you get to Genesis and it says God created but Matthew says we just appeared. Its not like you read Leviticus and it teaches that man is sinful but you get to Romans and it’s says we’re not so bad. It’s not like you get John and it says Jesus is the Lamb of God who died to take away sin but Acts tells us that he was just another teacher in Jerusalem and we’re not sure how He died. Sure we have questions about the details, but even the critic and the Christian, the skeptic and the simpleton acknowledges that there is an incredible consistency, harmony, and unity in this book.
And so, only after considering the truthfulness of that, did we work our way out towards the edges and the details. We dealt with the sidewalk, and the playground, and the molehills; but only after we found rest in the home, only after we defended the city, only after we marveled at the mountain.
Ultimately the point of the Bible is not to tell you whether the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds. The point of the Bible is to tell you that there is a God and He has been at work since the beginning to redeem us.
And if I could take a guess, I’m guessing the deepest question of your heart and the deepest longing of your soul isn’t to know how many times a rooster crowed that night. But maybe it’s things like – I’ve messed up, can I be forgiven. I’m broken, can I be restored. I’m ashamed, can I find honor. I’m screwed up and my world is screwed up. Does the Bible have anything truthful to say to that?
Yes. Yes it does.
So then, let’s wrestle with the details because they’re important, but lets rest in the Gospel because it’s TRUE.