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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - What the Bible is All About

Chris Hodges - What the Bible is All About

Chris Hodges - What the Bible is All About
TOPICS: The Holy Bible, Bible

And welcome today to week number two of a four-part series called, "The Holy Bible". And I want to take a moment and look into the camera, as I always do, never get tired of doing this, just think of you every single day, pray for you every single day. Our different locations, campuses, our churches all across Alabama and into Columbus, Georgia, and to the men and women in the Alabama Department of Corrections, we love you dearly, pray for you every day, believe in you in every way, and we have so many people that are watching online, right here in our own area for a variety of reasons; and, of course, those are all the way around the world that are joining us right now. Grants Mill, do me a favor and welcome them like you've never done it before. Come on, everybody. That's awesome.

We're also in day number eight of 21 days of prayer and fasting. And if you've not jumped in with us already, it's not too late to jump in. It's perfectly fine to join us tomorrow morning. We'll have day nine right back here at 6 a.m. In fact, I'm leading tomorrow morning. Our prayer services, we have them Monday through Friday at 6 a.m., Saturday at 9 a.m., all Central time, wherever you are around the world. I'd love you to join us. You can stream those live at home, on your devices, or on the different platforms. And then also we archive those prayer services for 24 hours, and then when the 21 days of prayer is done, we put all 21 of them on our website for you to have in perpetuity, just let you have those for as long as you want, so that you can go back and have different prayer times together, but it's a wonderful time to really declare to God that he has first place in our lives, declare our dependence upon God.

And as the campus pastors led you through what the pastoral care update cards, it also lets us focus on what we're believing God for in 2022. And whether you do it digitally or with one of our printed paper cards, please take a moment. It's very important. I think it actually, it moves your faith, and I think it works, actually, for you to write a prayer request down or something you're believing God for in 2022. Those will show up right here in front of the stage tomorrow, unless you mark it confidential, and that stays with me and our pastoral team. But we'd be just delighted to stand with you and believe with you for great things in the year of 2022. Notice that the card is perforated, by the way, so that your prayer request and your personal information are separated. So, no one ever sees that. That stays with our team in a secure place.

So, I'm very excited about this installment of this series. We're talking about the Holy Bible. And the word "Bible" means book. And so, but this is not just the Bible. This is the Holy Bible. This is a book that is set apart. That's what the word "holy" means. It's special. It's the most translated book in the world. It's the most read book in the world. It's the most important book in the world, and it is set apart as special, and we're to set it apart as special in our own lives. I believe the Bible is under great attack. In fact, next week I'm gonna bring you a message on how you can defend the Word of God as true and right and living and alive. And I'm gonna bring you convincing proof, both from scientific and scriptural standpoints to show you how the Bible is reliable and can be trusted in every single way.

You don't want to miss next week. But today, we're gonna get into a thought with you that just stems from one verse. And if you'll remember last week, we ended with the thought of it's important to not only read the Bible, but that the Bible reads you, and then memorize it. Get it deep down on the inside of you. And we memorized a verse last week. Does anybody remember our verse last week? Some of you do. Let's try it together, for those of you who were here. If you weren't here, no pressure but "Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a..." Well, give yourselves a hand, everybody. That's pretty weak. Give yourselves a good hand, everybody, yeah. You did pretty good there. Yeah, "Your Word is a lamp to my feet. It lights up my path". In other words, it helps me make decisions.

Today, I'm gonna give you another verse. We're actually gonna start the message off with memorizing a verse, and here it is in Colossians chapter 3, verse 16, and it's very simple. I'll read it to us, and then we'll read it together. It says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly". Let's say it all together, every voice. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly". One more time, read it out loud. "Let the word... in you..." I'm gonna get a blank screen here right now, and let's try it one more time. Every voice, "Let the..." Yes, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly". And I want you to notice the first word is you've gotta let it.

So, it's there. It has power. And honestly, what I want more than anything else for you in the whole wide world is this is dwelling inside of you, and dwelling inside of you richly, and that's the message today. I'm gonna help you get this Bible not just in your life at some level. I want to get it in you at the deepest level because I know what this Word can do on the inside of you. And to do that, I have a little prop, a little illustration here. Bring me out my little illustration, everybody. This is Harrison. He helps me out backstage. Give him a hand, everybody. Thank you, sir. All right, so I've got a cup of hot water here. And, of course, I've got a teabag right here, and this is just water. This is your soul. This is who you are, this is your life, and this is the Word of God.

And for a lot of us, we're getting into the Word of God through these amazing dynamic special none like 'em messages on a Sunday. Taking a little dip, and it does some effect. Look what it's already done to this water in just a couple of seconds. I don't know if you can call it tea, yet, or not, but it's got some tea in it. But that's not dwelling inside of it richly. What Christians do that want the Word of God to change your life, to take on the aroma of this thing, to actually not only just be water, to become something else, to become tea, you know, we've gotta take a few more dips into this. Today, I'm gonna help you take some more dips into the Word of God, okay?

So, this is a very practical message. If you like it practical, you'll like this. If you like it more preachy, well, that's coming, everybody, all right? The last installment, there's gonna be some shouting and some fun, but today I'm gonna educate you. I want to train you. I'm gonna put my teacher hat on, and I'm gonna help you with three different dips into God's Word, so he can dwell inside of you richly. And I'm gonna ask you, I'm gonna put you on assignment. I'm gonna ask you to actually do these things. And the first is I want you to get a paper Bible. I'm grateful for the digital platforms, but I want you to get a paper Bible in a translation you like.

And what I'm gonna do today is help you understand the different translations and really based off of a question somebody asked me just a few weeks ago: "Hey, PC, what's up with all the translations"? There are so many different people who are writing the Bible in a different way. And he was almost suggesting that, "Well, then, it can't be accurate if it's actually different from different translation to translation". And I said, "Well, first of all, you would need to know that the Bible wasn't written in English, so it has to be translated".

The Bible is written, actually, in two, primarily two languages. The Old Testament, Hebrew; and the New Testament, Greek language. And those were written thousands of years ago, and one of the misnomers, one of the lies that the devil loves to spread into society is that over the thousands of years, all the translations have diluted the Bible, and now we have it, and it can't be trusted, it's not accurate. And that would mean is if this one was translated, and this one, and this one translated, and this one, this one translating this, but that's not happening. We still have original manuscripts, and all the translators are going back to original manuscripts. They're not translating from the last one somebody did. We have, thank God for the discovery even of the Dead Sea Scrolls that even more validated the fact that the Bible is true. It is accurate. Can I hear a good amen, everybody?

So, that's just a bunch of lies, right? But we have translations because we live in America, and because we're English speaking, and we're blessed. There are dozens and dozens of English translations of the Old Testament and New Testament Bible today. There are 3,752 languages who don't even have one version in their language, and we are on assignment, as a church, to not only be a part of that changing in our lifetime, but we're also using the influence of our church. For every pastor who's watching me right now, I'm inviting you to join us in the Illuminations Project, so that by at least 2033, maybe 2035, we're gonna get, for the first time in human history, every language on earth is gonna have a Bible in their language.

We're going to have translated it into all 7,000 languages that exist on planet Earth. But for you English speaking people, you have a lot of choices. That's because you're blessed. You're blessed. You get to read it in various forms that helps you understand it all the better. I put them in three categories. There are some in what they call formal equivalency or exact equivalency translations of the Bible. An exact or formal equivalency is the Bible, when it was translated from the original manuscripts, was translated word for word. For instance, the King James Version, written in 1611, translated word for word, but the problem is that over the hundreds and hundreds and thousands of years, the words didn't change, but grammar has, and sometimes it's hard to read.

But an example of these formal equivalencies would be the King James version, the New King James Version, which is the King James Version without all the thees and the arts, okay? And then the New American Standard Bible and the English Standard Version, which is a very reliable, I highly recommend it, translation that is a formal equivalency. The second type of Bible that are in the translations that we have options to, 'cause we're blessed, are those that are what we call functional equivalency, or some call it dynamic equivalency. And these are not word for word. They're thought for thought.

So, they took the whole verse and translated the whole verse as a thought, and these are examples, are the New Living Translation, the Good News Translation, the Today's English Version. And I put the New International Version on that list, barely, because what the New International Version really did was the combination of the two. It really is a functional equivalency that used word for word translation at the same time. More than 100 scholars over decades, around, that internationally got together. And I personally believe it is one of the most accurate, if accuracy is your, you want something very accurate and easy to understand at the same time. To me, it's the most reliable, which is why we use it the most.

Since 1987, it has outsold all other translations, not even a close second, the New International Version. The third type are what we call paraphrases, and paraphrases actually are not ones that use the original languages. They took our English Bibles and used them to make it even easier to understand. So, these are paraphrases. And so, an example of this is The Living Bible, written by Dr. Kenneth Taylor. Actually, he didn't even write The Living Bible to be used by other people. He wrote it for his children to understand the Bible. So, parents, if you're looking for a Bible that your children can understand, The Living Bible.

And, of course, The Message, in the last, really, two decades, has been one of the most popular paraphrases, and it clearly is a paraphrase, never trying to be a word for word exact or functional equivalency. It's trying to make it come alive and easy to understand, which to me these make great devotional Bibles or just secondary reads. I actually use all of these types in my study, but these are great. It's like in an exact equivalency the psalmist would say, "Let us enter his gates with Thanksgiving and into his courts with praise". You know, "This is the day the Lord has made," right? This is what it would say, something like that. And The Message would say, "Dude, it's time for church, let's go".

You know, it would say it something like that, all right. In fact, I'll give you an example. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13, in the King James Version, the Bible says, and you've heard this at weddings. It says, "Charity suffereth long". And the word "charity" there in the original language, which now we're in the New Testament, so that's the Greek language, the original language, the word in the Greek is agape, and actually the exact translation of the word "agape" is unconditional God kind of love. That's the exact definition of the word "agape," so the King James decided, because it really tried to be very poetic and called it charity. And then "suffereth long," those two words in the English is one word in the Greek, and it's the word "patient" in the Greek. But they wrote it, "Charity suffereth long, and is kind, charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, and puffeth not itselfeth upeth". All right?

There you go, all right. So, yeah, yeah, and that's fine. I love this, I revere it. In my opinion, some revere it too much. They'll even fight you over it, saying you can't read any others, as if God was from England. God was not from England, everybody. Okay, he was not. I love you loving your Bible, but the other translations are fine, as well. In fact, the New International Version would read it this way: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud". Maybe not as poetic, but probably a little bit more clear. Then you bring The Message along, same verse, and it says, "Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled-up head".

I mean, there you go, someone. It just has a little attitude with it. I like it, you know, it just has a little fun and just helps you understand it a little bit better, but it paraphrases it, expands it, so it understands it. But that's one of the dips I want you to take is get a Bible. Read your Bible, and I would love for you to read it every day, and I'm asking you, I'm giving you permission not to get caught up in reading programs that get you bogged down, and now you have 1000 chapters to get caught up, and you look at your app, or you look at your own paper Bible, like, "Man, I'm six weeks behind, y'all".

Everybody else is in November, and you're still in July. Don't do that, all right? Read the One Year Bible. Read today's readings. Just get it in your Word. Get the Word of God in your life every day. And if you think that's a good thing to do, say a good amen, everybody. All right, read your Bible. Second is you want to go a little bit deeper? You want to take another dip? Study it. Get a study Bible. Now, this is for those who are serious about the Bible. If you're serious about the Bible, get one that not only has the translation but has commentary on the same page. So, if you've never seen a study Bible, they'll actually give you footnotes and at the bottom will explain it more historically, where it was in history, and it helps, it just helps that Bible just come alive.

And there are ones like The Life Application Bible. There's a Spirit-Filled Life Bible I highly recommend. And then you've got the John Maxwell Leadership Bible, business guys. This is God's Word with a leadership lesson on the same page that fits into God's Word. I mean, you can take it to your office. You can mentor others with it. It just gives you another little dip. And then the third thing, if you want to go a little bit deeper, so I'm gonna read it every day. But you know what? I'm gonna be one of those people that just isn't satisfied with kind of barely having a little tea in my water. I want to become a new person. I don't want to be the same kind of person. I want my life to be literally changed.

Well, you're going to have to let the Word of God dwell in you richly. There's a third way you can do it, and we talked about it during Highlands News, and that is get in a small group. Get in a small group, and not only read it, not only study it, but discuss it now. And now I'm in a place where we'll start these in three weeks, where whatever type of group, whether it's a marriage group, or a student group, or a financial group to help you get out of debt. Or if it's a freedom group, or you're serving. Maybe you're mowing somebody's lawn. Whatever type of group, there's gonna be a moment where you can at least read a Scripture and study the Bible, or have some discussion, or ask some questions. And now, because I have the dynamic of what Proverbs says, I have iron sharpening iron.

Now I'm with others who are interested in the Bible, and now we're growing together, and we're becoming sharper, and it's dwelling inside of us even more deeply. And this is really a precursor to what's coming up in just a few weeks. In three weeks exactly, we start our winter-spring semester 13-week semester of small groups, February 6th through May 7th, and I want you to get ready for it. I want you to get ready to be in one. I'm gonna talk a bunch of you into considering hosting one. And notice I didn't say lead it. You don't have to be smarter than everybody else in the room to host a small group. You just have to open up your door and have a bowl of Doritos. And how many of y'all think Doritos sound really good right now?

All right. So, okay, so just, but just to have an opportunity for there to be discussion. You say, "Well, Chris, how do we know what to discuss"? We provide you the questions. We have hundreds of curriculums in any topic that you can bring up. And then the most holiest, most incredible, most perfect small groups in our entire church are the ones who study my messages every week, everybody. No, but, you know, we seriously give you discussion questions from every Sunday so that we can go a little bit more deeply inside of God's Word, and we're training leaders today. And when I say training, training does not sign you up to be one. It gives you the information to know if whether you want to be one, and that's gonna happen today at 11:15 at all of our Alabama campuses and at 12:15 over, on Eastern time at our Columbus campus.

But stick around and just be a part of this training today. At least get the, at least find out if it's for you. I'll tell you this. I'll make this a promise, that if you do, if you bite that apple, you go into it a little bit deeper, into what God's trying to do inside of your life, you're going to experience growth this year like you've never seen it before, and I make that promise to you. And then this is what's gonna happen. I didn't even touch this thing, but I just left it alone for a while, and now we don't even have water anymore. We have tea. We have a life that's been changed. Y'all, it's taken on the aroma. It has become what it allowed in its life. And you will become what you allow in your life. And this is my hope and my prayer for you today.

So, today, I want to finish this message by helping you just understand the Bible. So, I need eight hours to do what I'm gonna do in about 10 or 15 minutes, okay? But I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do it. I know I can do it. But I want you to understand the Bible because I don't think you can truly love it and want to do what I'm asking you to do unless you have a basic understanding of it. I think understanding is the key to relationship. I mean, when Tammy and I first got married, it's been coming up on 36 years ago, we've been married a long time, y'all. And I know we're so much better now than I knew her then; and the more I know her, the more I love her. She's the most amazing person, and I'm still discovering, somebody wants to clap for my wife back in the back.

All right, I'll allow that. All right, thank you. But I'll tell you what. I'm still trying to understand her. Can I get better amen, all the men? All right. Y'all heard that story about the guy who walked on the beach in California, and he found a genie bottle, and he rubbed it, and a genie popped out. And the genie says, "Hey, I'll give one wish. My wish is your command". He says, "Awesome because I've always wanted to go to Hawaii, and I'm afraid of flying. I'm deathly afraid of flying. And if you would build me a bridge from California to Hawaii, I'll drive across it, and I'll get to go to Hawaii for the first time in my life".

And the genie said, "Do you realize what you're asking? I mean, my goodness, can you imagine the concrete, and the steel, and the rebar, and the time, and the labor that it would take to put a bridge all the way from the coast of California to Hawaii? You're gonna have to think of something else". He goes, "Okay, well, help me to understand my wife". Genie says, "You want one lane or two"?

So, anyways, I've gotta help the men out every once in a while, y'all. So, there you go. By the way, help is on the way. If you don't understand your spouse, we've got the marriage conference coming up in just a few weeks. Hang in there. But all right, okay. But let me give you my, help you with my understanding of God's Word in the simplest way. The first thing I would like to tell you is that it was written over a period of 1600 years, and over a dozen countries, on three continents, by 40 people, about 40 people 'cause there's a few books we don't know who translated actually.

So, we don't know who the author is, but it's at least 40 people in three different languages. And the Bible was written by poets, prophets, farmers, kings, soldiers, shepherds, princes, priests, historians, fishermen, tax collectors, scholars, businessmen, and doctors. The Bible was written in caves, ships, palaces, prisons, and deserts. And I've got a great question for all of us today. How in the world, with all of that, that I just read to you, how in the world did they come up with the same story without contradiction? And more on this next week. I will show you there is no contradiction. I will prove to you that the Bible can be trusted. I'll tell you how.

There is only one author of the Bible, and his name is God. I said there's only one author or the Bible, and his name is God, everybody. There is no way what I just read to you could even happen. There's no way. You couldn't get authors together and say, "Okay, we're going to take 1600 years to do a writing project, and we all end up talking about the same thing without control", can't happen. It physically can't happen unless there was one author, and there is one author of the Bible, and it's God. All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, training, and righteousness, so that you and I can be thoroughly equipped for every part of our life. It speaks to your marriage, your children, your money, your time, your wisdom. It'll help you with your decision making, your rest, every part of your life.

And I'll show you places that God's spoken even before science knew it to be true. I'll show you that next week. The Bible actually works because the Bible is alive, everybody. And this is why I'm warning you so deeply because it's not just for church on a Sunday. I want you for everything. I wanted to help you with every part of your life. In fact, the way I live my life, I'm encouraging you to do the same. And any time I'm faced with something in my life, I ask myself, "What does the Bible say about this"? And then I'm going to follow God's way and not my way. Amen, everybody? I'm gonna follow my way.

Years ago, in four years, I did a lot of work, didn't tell you a lot about it because for security reasons, but did a lot of work in China. I made several trips, two a year for about ten years in the earlier parts of our church. We can't go right now because we actually, it began to put the missionaries there in jeopardy for someone who was not Chinese to go over. But we literally planted thousands of churches in China, and we helped train about a million new leaders in China, and we did it in a network of the underground church, so the church that was meeting technically illegally against the government.

So, these are underground churches because the government has an above ground or a government-sanctioned church, but they control a lot of it because they're so afraid of crowds. And so, they allow Christianity but at the level that they control it. It's called the three self church. Well, I actually got invited to go train leaders and speak in the three self church, as well. And in the three self church, in the audience was the man who leads the MBA program at Beijing University. And I was there with Dr. John Maxwell, and he said, "Would you please come to Beijing University and teach these biblical principles"?

And we couldn't believe what he was asking for. I said, "Are you serious"? I said, "You want us to come teach you about Jesus"? He goes, "Oh, no, no, no, don't teach me about Jesus. Just come teach me Jesus's principles". I said, "Why"? He says, "Because we have come to the conclusion, after years of study, that the most prosperous people on earth are those who have the Judeo-Christian ethic". He says, "This actually works for business, and we think you should be teaching, we should be teaching the Bible as a business practice in the MBA program at Beijing University. Would you come"?

And so, John Maxwell and I went and taught the MBA students at Beijing University and built a relationship with this dean over Beijing University MBA program. And three years later, he gave his life to Jesus because you can't just, come on, give God praise if you think that's awesome, right? Because these aren't just principles that you can bring into business. They're there to change your life. They will thoroughly equip you for every good work. That's the first thing I would tell you.

The second thing I would want you to know about your Bible is that some people find it difficult to understand because the way it's grouped. So, the Bible is not a book, really. It's a collection of 66 books, and the books are organized and categorized not chronologically. So, it doesn't read like a book that you can begin at the beginning and end at the end, and you've read it through, because it's grouped, and they don't always group chronologically; in other words, in time. And I didn't know that for years when I was even reading the Bible in church as a young person. I love telling people that. Really, the Bible is organized, and I'll go through it very quickly, and you can watch this later, but the Bible has law books first, the first five books of the New Testament.

Then it gets into 12 books that are all history-based. And then you get poetry books, books that are all just all poetical in some form, beginning with Job. That's the Psalms, the Proverbs, Song of Solomon. And then it gets into the prophecy books. They call them major prophets and minor prophets, and only major, the major prophets are grouped together just 'cause they're long. That's what makes them major. And the minor just 'cause they're short, but not major and better, or minor not better, just major and minor, long and short. And then you have 400 years of complete silence. You have the Greek conquest. This is Alexander the Great. You have the Roman conquest. And then you have Jesus comes on the scene, and you get the Gospels.

And I didn't know this. A lot of people, I've met people recently who didn't know that the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, or they're not the story of Jesus. It's one story with four different accounts of the same story. And so, I was speaking to some lady that just didn't know that. I love telling people that. And then you've got the Acts of the Apostles, the historical record of the New Testament church, and then you get this next section that if you put it in chronologically would fit all up in here. In fact, if you took the prophets and the poetry books, they would fit in the historical books. Like, you could be reading through 1 Samuel, and I've actually read a chronological Bible. You can get it on the YouVersion app, The Chronological Bible. And it'll put like the Psalm where it fits into 1 Samuel in that part of David's life.

But that's what the epistles are. Now the church is being planted; and while the church is being planted, letters were written. That's what epistles are. An epistle is not the wife of an apostle. Anyway, I don't know why that's funny to me, but anyway I've tried that for a couple of services now. But anyway, I think that's funny. But they're letters. That's where we get our doctrine, our way of living as a local church. And then, of course, the last book of the Bible, the Revelation, the last days of eternity. "So, Chris, okay, that helps me understand how it's put together, but what does it mean"?

Let me close this way. I think you'll enjoy this. So, the best thing I've ever found to show you what it means, what does the Bible mean? What does God want? What does he want? What's it all about? I found years ago this and put this together. It's called The Mirror Image and how the Old Testament and the New Testament actually mirror themselves. Watch this, you'll love this. If I had an hour, I would teach it to you, but I can't. This is so good. It all began with God and righteous people in paradise. That's the Garden of Eden. And then Satan and sin entered into the world. This is Genesis chapter 3. And every time Satan enters, two things happen. Watch this 'cause some of you need this 'cause you're in this right now.

When Satan and sin enter, there's separation from God and chaos in your life every time. So, if you're in chaos, you should be asking the question, "Am I separate from God"? So, Satan and sin enter; and when all the chaos happened, God said, "I can't have this". So, he sent Noah and the flood, and he destroyed the earth. And then the chaos ensued again, and so humans tried to put the chaos together. This is the Tower of Babel. "We'll become a god to ourselves". And so, they tried to actually reach to God so they could be god. They wanted to be in charge. And God says, "No, we're not gonna do it that way. We'll actually put together my system". And he put together the 12 tribes of Israel, God's holy people. The problem with this was he gave them laws that were all external, nothing on the inside.

So, it didn't work. Even the Bible says it didn't work. It just didn't work. So, you enter in Jesus. And I put Jesus at the top and at the center, because I'll give you the clue, he's what the Bible's all about. So, Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and after Jesus came and lived his life, God established a new order called the local church to the 12 disciples, God's holy people. And what's gonna happen next, this is where we are right now in history, Revelation tells us that once again, and I think we are in the beginning pain, might not even be in the beginning. We might be in the middle of man trying to say, "No, God, we can do this without you, and we'll create our own world, and our own system, and we don't need you".

And this is the growing thought of humanity right now, which will cause the world to be judged and destroyed again. You can read about it, and we are soon going to do a book of Revelation study together. And when God destroys the world this time, Satan and sin are going to exit. He's gonna be thrown into the bottomless pit, and we're going to rule and reign with King Jesus, and not God and righteous people, but God and redeemed people will live in paradise. This is the Bible. This is what the Bible is all about, yeah. I see some of you with your phones. Yeah, take a picture of it, or you go back and watch the message. But I want you to notice the bottom, the two bottom, and I want you to notice the top.

So, God wants paradise for you. It's clear. It starts with it, ends with it. By the way, do you know what the word "paradise," the closest word to paradise is, if you were literally to translate it? You're gonna love this. It's resort. I love saying that because most, even Christians, have a warped view of heaven. We even call heaven the afterlife. Because this is life, and now I've gotta go up there. It's after life. I had life, and now it's after life, and I guess I'll go haunt people now. Like no. No, this is the before life, and that's life. It's a paradise. It's way better. It's way better.

You say, "Okay, Chris, help me understand". Let's go a little deeper. If this is what it's all about, then what's the subject of the Bible? It's gotta be us then, looks like it's us. You ready for this? Not even close. We're the object, but we are definitely not the subject. I already have the subject up here, and his name is Jesus. The subject of the Bible is Jesus. And so, when you read the Bible, this is gonna help you, watch this, find Jesus. Just find Jesus. You say, "Chris, is he in the Old Testament"? Watch this, you'll love this. Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures".

Now stop. What were the Scriptures at this point? The Old Testament. We didn't even have a New Testament yet. So, the only Scriptures so far are the Old Testament. "So, you search the Old Testament because you think by studying the law and the Old Testament, you're gonna get eternal life. But the Old Testament points to me". Every book, Jesus is in it, every book. So, let's close with this. So, we're the object; he's the subject. He's the subject. What's the verb? And people usually say love, and that's actually close, but not right, 'cause there's something better than love. You say, "Nah, Chris, can't be anything better than love".

There is, and that is when that love is given. "For God so loved that he..." This is the verb. "For God so loved..." He didn't just have it. He gave it. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that if you just believe in him, you will not perish. You'll have eternal life". The verb of the Bible is give. Last slide. And that's why that's our response. So now we know what to do. So, I'm reading it to find Jesus 'cause he's the subject. The verb is give. That's what we do now. We give our lives, we give our money, we give to dream centers, we give to church. Today, right now, I'm feeling for them 'cause they're probably doing their altar calls right now. Two brand-new ark churches planted today. One in Syracuse, New York, is happening right now, everybody, a brand-new church. And we gave them the training, we gave them the money, we helped them out.

There are people hearing the gospel of Jesus in Syracuse, New York, right now. 'Cause it's funny, John 3:16, the most famous verse in the Bible, look what 1 John 3:16 says. "This is how we know what love is". Jesus gave it. "He laid down his life for us". And then here's our response. "And now we lay down our lives for others". And God's people said, This, my friends, is what the Bible is all about. Amen. Let's pray. Too much material for too short a time, but I loved every second of it. Bow your heads for prayer. So, if you're in chaos, and you're separated, you're one heartfelt prayer away from your life being changed, and I'll lead you right now. Pray this. Say:

Jesus, I'm in chaos. My life's a mess because I've been living it my way. And today, I give my life to you, to you. Forgive me. Be the Lord of my life. I believe you died and rose again. Today, I put my faith in you. Thank you for bringing the chaos into order and setting me free. In your name I pray, amen and amen.

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