Sometimes the things we read in the Bible can be difficult to understand or accept. The Bible’s teaching can at times be counter to the values we have inherited from our culture. So what are we to do when we come across passages that make us uncomfortable?
In our sermon this past Sunday Pastor Bobby gave a brief answer to this question, explaining that we shouldn’t be surprised that encountering God in the words of the Bible makes us uncomfortable. Read an edited excerpt from that sermon directly below, or listen to the whole sermon at the bottom of the page.
Why preach hard passages?
In our series in 1 Corinthians we are looking at what it means to learn Christ, that is, how we apply what Jesus has done to every single aspect of our lives. This is part of our definition of a disciple, someone created by the gospel to learn Christ and lead others to do the same by the power of the Holy Spirit.
An important way that we learn Christ is by paying attention to his word, the Bible. We are about to enter a 4-week stretch in this series in 1 Corinthians where we’re going to encounter some challenging passages and some things that might make us uncomfortable.
We don’t teach these things because we are obsessed with these issues and want to make people uncomfortable, but we teach these things because this is what Paul is teaching at this point in the letter and as people who want to learn Christ we want to pay attention to all of the teaching in the Bible.
Some Bible teaching patterns or lectionaries leave out these chapters, but that is not how we teach the Bible at NSCBC. We work our way through passages and deal with the challenges as they come. So we brace ourselves for the challenges, and please pray for me as I preach from these passages!
You see, part of drawing near to the real living God is an expectation that you’re going to be challenged. I can’t imagine any of us encountering God as he is and saying “that was totally comfortable for me and everything went according to plan.” If you are actually getting closer to the genuine God you should expect to be challenged and a little uncomfortable. Perhaps if you’ve never been uncomfortable with anything in the Bible, I wonder if you’ve ever encountered the God of the Bible, because God is not who we make him, that would be an idol, rather God is who he is, and any real encounter with him is bound to be challenging as it calls us to be transformed through Christ.
God challenges us because he loves us
As Bobby went on to explain in his sermon, God’s challenge to us is because of his love and grace towards us. God loves us too much to leave us as we are, he wants us to know the joy of being made more like Jesus. Pray that you will know this grace and love of God as he challenges you to learn Christ in every area of your life.