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25 Words

2 Timothy 3:15, “Since you were a child you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise. And that wisdom leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Picture your favorite scene from your favorite movie.

Whether it's action-packed (‘I’ll be back’); dramatic (‘We’ll always have Paris’); or outright hilarious (‘Doth mother knoweth you weareth her drapes’). Just the title or one scene doesn't sum up the entire plot, it fits into a larger story. To appreciate the scene, you really need a good idea of the overall storyline, right?

Now, can you quote your favorite Bible verse? Maybe your favorite storylines (If I perish, I perish’, ‘I'll go with you, your God will be my God’, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’). Can you think of some more? Yes, there are great many stories, quotes, passages found in the Bible, but you need to know the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation to understand the entire narrative to understand God completely.

The Bible tells one magnificent story of God's love for mankind and is woven throughout each of the 31,102 verses, tying them together as a whole.

Yet, sometimes when you hold the Bible in your hands looking at all 783,137 words, it can feel a bit daunting. What's it all about, what is the Bible’s message? Every word in the Bible is important, it's God's word to us and the Bible makes that clear- 2 Timothy 3:16.

The essential message we all need to grasp can be summed up in 25 words; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In 25 words God tells us everything that we need in order to receive eternal life and avoid death. We simply need to believe in Him.

Of course, if this was all we read we'd be left with a lot of questions. Who is God? Why would I die? What is eternal life? Who is the Son and why did He save me? What do I need to believe in?

When we read the entire story, we learn how God made us to know Him and find eternal life in a relationship with Him. We learn what our sins are and that we cannot stay in such a state. We learn who Jesus is and why He came to save us. We find our Savior and who we believe in.

I've grown up in the church, gave my heart to Jesus when I was 13 and have read and studied the Bible countless times. Yet, it hasn't been until the last several years that the Bible has become more and more beautiful to read and God's message has become more alive in my heart. I think we can knock out 21 of those words and some of God's message in four heartwarming wonderful, astonishing words.

‘Jesus died for ME!’

Four beautiful words to eternal life.

Now, that we brought God's message down to four words we can go into our Bible reading and studying it and putting it in our hearts, as God reveals the entire story through all passages in the Bible. As we do that let's also look at how the Bible breaks down into four main concepts that convey God's message to us.

- Creation: In the beginning God created…. Genesis 1. God is the main character in this story not us. He created the entire universe and made us in His image. When I think of creation I am reminded about my identity. We were created for a reason and with a purpose. Our identity is wrapped up in this story. We are created in God’s image. It’s who we are. It’s a reminder that God created humankind with a purpose in mind. We are the center of his creation, His prize possession. That’s our identity.

- Fall: It was humankind that chose to rebel and fall into sin. Not only were the consequences devastating to this world, but it separated us from God.

- Redemption: God sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus came to ‘redeem’ us so we could be set free from the penalty of sin. Placing our faith in Jesus and believing in our redemption, we are no longer separated from God. We can now find peace and fellowship with Him.

- Restoration: It's easy to forget our story is far from over. We read the Bible, set it down, know we are saved, and go about our day. Yet, it's far from over. One day, Jesus will come again. He rose from the grave showing that not even death could defeat God's plan. Jesus is coming again and at that time will fully restore this fallen world back to its creation state and once again we will dwell with God forever- Revelation 21:3.

25 words, for God so loved the world… four beautiful words, Jesus died for me! Satan has tried to destroy God's people but, from creation to our restoration, Genesis to Revelation, God has shown He is the Author and finisher of this story.

Among all the books and movies this world offers, God's Word is the book, and its stories are the movies we should fall in love with, memorize, and hide in our hearts. All through the pages we find God's message of love for His creation and it's with God we want our story to end. Believe and find everlasting life. Follow this world and well… let's not end there.

These concepts show me three things.

1. We need salvation. This comes when we live through our faith in Jesus. The Bible must become part of who we are because it breathes of who God is.

-Ask yourself: Have I truly placed my trust in Christ?

2. We have a meaning and purpose. Our life is not meaningless. Jesus invites us to play our part in this story. At work, home, and play, we need to infuse Jesus into all we do as we serve Him.

-Are you following Jesus with a purpose in your daily life?

3. We need to share the story. If you generally believe the story is true, (and I certainly believe it is), then joyfully and boldly proclaim it to the world. Share your story, share God's redemption story, share the Bible. Share the good news because it's the best news we have.

-Are you sharing God's love to those around you or hiding in the background?

Overall, the message in the Bible is about God's work to save His people. It shows us God's character. It's about God's grace toward sinners (us) and how He continually cares for us, is patient with us, and wants to save us. Understanding the Bible is understanding who God is, what He's done for us, and what He'll do for us one day. Start with God as your centerpiece and all else will fall into place and you will believe and find everlasting life. From Genesis to Revelation, we can see everything come together in a unified message; God so loved the world. Throughout the Bible we can learn and see God's redemption plan unfold.

Open your Bible today and allow God to live in your heart.

For our Bible studies we are going to start something new. We have gone through most of the New Testament and probably will pick up the Old Testament sometime down the road. But for now let's start studying some things in the Bible we can learn from the people and from God. We're going to begin a study called Learning to Walk with Jesus. We will cover nine studies and go on a walk with some people in the Bible. Our first study begins with Noah.

Study 1, Walking in Obedience -

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