I get another opportunity today to post from Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. This book has much much more than I am blogging about and I highly recommend it to anyone.
One thing in chapter 2 that caught me off guard was the comment “If I handle Scripture topically, I will miss the overarching themes at the heart of everything else God wants to say to me.” Paul David Tripp (PDT) speaks about the opportunities that we get in everyday life to speak to people about the word of God as being more influential than when someone preaches. Because the opportunity has direct life applications immediately. Like taking a sermon and using it “hands-on” in real life implications! But, PDT says we need to be careful how we “counsel the word” because we have a tendency, when searching the Word of God topically, to use scripture to satisfy our self-centeredness. When we take the overarching themes of scripture then we have the Word of God not sprinkled on top of our everyday issues, but the Word of God is applied directly to the root of the problem and real life-change takes place.
PDT says, “We cannot use the Bible as a divine self-help book! We will always try to use it to get the things our hearts are set on, though this is precisely the bondage that sabotages our relationships.”
He considers the three grand themes of scripture:
1) God’s Sovereignty (Dan. 4:34-35)
“In response to humanity’s deepest, heartfelt questions, God sweetly speaks of his sovereignty. ‘Take heart, I am in complete control. I am the definition of holiness and love. All of my ways are right and true, all of my decisions are best, and I will not rest until my plan has been completed.'”
2) God’s Grace
“In all the drama of the story of redemption, one reality repeatedly bursts to the surface: we live in a world where there is grace to be found. God is not only sovereign, he is also abounding in grace.”
“God’s grace is most powerful and effective at the moment of my greatest weakness.”
3) God’s Glory
“Sin makes us glory thieves. There is probably not a day when we do not plot to steal glory that rightfully belongs to the Lord.”
“Any attempt to put ourselves in his place puts us in a war with him. It is an intensely vertical war, a fight for divine glory, a plot to take the very position of God. It is the drama that lies behind every sad earthly drama. Sin has made us glory robbers. We do not suffer well, because suffering interferes with our glory. We do not find relationships easy, because others compete with us for glory. We do not serve well, because in our quest for glory, we want to be served.”
“Our mission is to teach, admonish, and encourage one another to rest in his sovereignty, rather than establishing our own; to rely on his grace rather than performing on our own; and to submit to his glory rather than seeking our own.”