In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
I had every intention of beginning a new series this morning. I had a three part series, I could not wait to share with you, but God had other plans. I guess the series will have to wait because I started something last week when I started talking about the word that God wants me to finish today. Last week I told you that in the world that we live in we need to BYOB. You need to bring your own Bible and in order to bring your own Bible. In order to bring your own word you must lear the word, you must labor with the word, and you must love the word. Bottom line you have to know the word for yourself. I am going to stay in that same vein this morning by letting you know that I am betting on the book! Let’s go to work!
In 1978 Kenny Rogers came out with a song called the gambler. The song tells a story of a late night meeting on a train bound for nowhere between Rogers and the gambler. The Gambler tells Rogers that he can tell that Rogers is down on his luck by the look in his eyes and offers him some advice for his last drink of whisky. After the Gambler takes a drink he give Rogers the following advice. You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run. You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table. There will be time enough for counting when the dealings done. The Gambler goes on to tell Rogers that the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and what to keep and the best that you could hope for is to die in your sleep.
I think it is interesting how this song parallels to everyday life. Because in our every day lives we need to know what to hold on to and what to throw away. We need to know when to fold, to let it go. And when definitely need to know when to walk away and when to run. Why are you looking at me like you don’t know what I’m talking about? Let me show you what I mean.
The pains of life should we keep them or throw them away.
The bad relationships
The forgiveness and/or unforgiveness
What about the mistakes
The would of’s, could of’s and should of’s of life.
The so-called friends
In the game of life you need to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away and know when to run!
And I know talking about gambling is a strange way to introduce a sermon for the simple fact that we as Christians do not gamble. We do not play the number or the lottery. We do not shoot craps and hang out at the slot machines. Well at least we should not be gambling, playing the lotter, shooting craps, and hanging out at the slot machines. We don’t need to gamble. We don’t need to rely on luck. We don’t have to hope the odds are in our favor. We don’t need a bookie. We don’t need a sure thing.
Because we have the real thing.
We have Jesus.
We have God.
We have the Alpha and the Omega.
We have the first and the last…
But if I were a gambling man, I would bet all I have on the book. If anyone ever asks you, what I am betting on. Let them know that I am betting on the book.
The word of life.
The B-I-B-L-E. That’s the book for me!
Basic instructions before leaving earth.
Everything that I want is in the book.
Everything that you need is in the book.
The solution to my problems is in the book.
The remedy to my sickness is in the book.
The answers to my questions are in the book.
The rights to my wrongs are in the book.
The role models of righteousness are in the book.
The directions to my life are in the book.
The plan of action is in the book.
Everything is in the book.
It’s like that spaghetti sauce prego… whatever you need, it’s in there.
That is why John tells us that in the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. Now in this passage when John is talking about the word. He is referring to Jesus. Who else could the “He” in John 1:2 be? Let me prove my point. In Genesis 1:26 God said let us make man in our image, in our likeness. Now I was taught in my English classes that the pronouns us and our refer to more than one person. And I cannot think of another person that would be with God in the beginning other than His son, Jesus. Now to illustrate my point a bit further allow me to reread the passage and substitute Jesus for word he and him. In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. Jesus was with God in the beginning. Through Jesus all things were made, and without Jesus nothing was made that has been made. In Jesus was life and that life was the light of man. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. There is no doubt in my mind that John was referring to Jesus in this passage. Now that is a great Pastor Brian, but why are you telling me all this when the title of your sermon is betting on the book? What an excellent question. 9 out of 10 Christians refer to the Bible as the word. and if John is saying that the word is Jesus. Then in essence the sermon is about betting on Jesus. The bible is the representation of God’s actual words to His people. Men wrote down what God inspired them to write. So if you are going to bet on anything bet on the word. Bet on Jesus!
Listen to what happened to Jesus in Mathew 4. Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]” Now if Jesus is using the word and is stressing the need for the word, which is himself when tempted by satan. Why do we think that we can get by without the word? Why do we think that we can make it without word when Jesus can’t even make it without word? In other words, how can we make it without Jesus? When Jesus can’t even make it without Jesus. I will give you three reasons why we should be betting on the book and bid you good day.
The first reason that we should be betting on the book is that there are lessons in the book. Just like I told you last week that we need to learn the word. One of the ways that we learn the word is by the lessons that are taught in the word.
In the old testament, we learned from Adam and Eve how sin entered the world and what happens when we sin against God.
We learned from Noah the Judgment of God.
We learned from Abraham the faithfulness of God, and that He always keeps His promises.
We learned from Gideon that God will and can use anybody. We learned from Moses that God will use you despite your disabilities or where you come from.
In the new testament, we learn from the apostles that faith without works is dead.
We learn that nothing is impossible for God.
We learn that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
We learn that we are more than conquerors.
We learn that all things work together for the good of those that love God.
We learn that greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.
There are lessons in the book.
First we can bet on the book because there are lessons in the book. Secondly we can bet on the book because there is love in the book. I told you last week that we should love the word. We also need to know that there is love in the word. John 3:16… God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for us. I love my Second Community Church Family, but I have to be honest I would not let Elijah or Noah die for any of y’all. And here is the beautiful thing about God’s Love. It is unconditional. He loves us no matter what. There are no conditions on His love for us. But we have conditions on our love. Don’t look at me in that tone of voice…
I’ll love you if you do this.
I’ll love you if you do that.
I’ll love you if you sleep with me.
I’ll love you if you do what I say.
I’ll love you as long as you’re rich and successful.
I’ll love you as long as I’m in your will.
But God’s love is not like that. The Bible says, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
While we were getting high.
While we were getting drunk.
While we were sleeping around.
While we were gang banging.
While we were slanging dope.
While we were cheating on our taxes.
While we were taking office supples from work.
While we were having our co-workers stamp our time cards for hours we didn’t work.
While we were playing the numbers.
Christ died for us.
In spite of our most hideous actions He loves us.
In there are hundreds of examples of His love for us in the book.
There is love in the Book.
First we can bet on the book because there are lessons in the book. Secondly, we can bet on the book because there is love in the book. Thirdly, we can best on the book because there is life in the book. I began the previous point with John 3:16 and I am going to begin my last point with John 3:16…EVERLASTING LIFE! This is the main objective of the Bible. Bringing God’s people back into relationship with him. God desires to be reconciled to His people for eternity, for Life. That is why He sent Jesus. Time and time again in the Old Testament God tried to get us back but nothing seemed to work.
He tried covenants, but that didn’t work.
He tried the ten commandments, but that didn’t work.
He tried judges, but that didn’t work.
He tried kings, but that didn’t work.
He tries sacrificing animals because without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, but that didn’t work.
So then He tried Jesus.
His one and only son.
And we know that that shedding of Jesus’ blood works. That same blood that Jesus shed when He died is the same blood that gives us life.
It is the same blood that makes us new creatures in Christ. It is the same blood that gives the righteous eternal life.
It is the same blood that reaches to the highest mountain.
It is the same blood that flows to the lowest valley.
It is the sam blood that gives us strength from day to day.
It is the same blood that will never ever lose its power.
Does anyone in the room want the lessons found in the book?
Does anyone in the room want the love that is found in the book?
Does anyone in the room want the life that is found in the book?
If so you need to be betting all you own on the book.
You should be betting your life on the book.
It does not matter what your circumstance is, if you are betting on the book I can guarantee you will be victorious because I already know the cards that you have been dealt. I know what’s in your hand.
You are holding all aces because an ace equals 1 and you serve the one true and living God.
You are holding a full house, because your father is rich in houses and lands, and he holds the power of the world in his hands.
You are holding four of a kind because the trinity, the father, the son, and the holy ghost plus you equals four and the bible says that we are created in his image and we shall be like him.
You are holding a royal flush because you are serving the
King of kings!
The lord of Lords!
The alpha and omega!
The beginning and the end!
The great I am!
Let me share with you a short story called The Bible versus mobile phones.
I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phones?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
What if we used it to receive messages?
What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it as we travelled?
What if we used it in case of an emergency?
What if we upgraded to include 24/7 tech service from the Holy Spirit?
This is something to make you go…hmmm…where is my Bible?
Oh, and a couple more things. We don’t have to worry about our Bible losing power because the Bible is powered by God. So there is not need to carry around a charger and constantly look for an electrical outlet. And unlike our cell phones, we don’t ever have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!
Jesus paid it all.
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain.
But He washed it white as snow.
Is there anybody here excite about the fact that Jesus paid it all.
Is there anybody here excites about the fact that you Bible can do more than you than you iPhone, Galaxy note, or Lg whatever.
Is there anybody here excited about the fact that when you bet on the book you are guaranteed victory.
So just bet on the book and I promise you that you will find all you need in the book.
You will find lessons in the book.
You will find love in the book.
You will find life in the book.