Our winter retreat has now come and gone, but I’m praying and hopeful that the relationships formed and strengthened would continue on and that the seeds of the gospel-word planted in us would continue to grow and bear fruit for the rest of our lives. Our speaker was Trent Hunter, who joined us from Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was a great privilege to have my (Drew’s) brother join us for this weekend. The following is a note from Trent for the group as a followup to the retreat:
It was a great honor to share the weekend with you during the College and 20’s Winter Retreat. God gave me great joy in opening His word and in doing so with you. I was delighted to have to slow down on a number of occasions, aware that many of you were taking notes. That is a testimony to God’s grace in your lives and to the powerful working of His word in you. I thank God for that.
Our theme was, “Putting it Together,” and we set out to see the gospel in all of Scripture by reading the Bible on its own terms. The story of the Bible is the the true story of everything – the story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and New Creation. The message of the Bible is the good news that sinners can know God through faith in Jesus Christ and because of his life, death and resurrection for us.
As we traced God’s plan of redemption across the Bible, we said that the covenants were God’s vehicle for carrying the promise he made in Genesis 3:15 across history to its fulfillment. In Genesis 3:15, God promised that a son of Eve would crush the head of the serpent. As the story unfolds, we find that the entire Old Testament is the story of God clarifying our need through various images and people and institutions and events, and magnifying His grace as He faithfully works out his purpose to bring people to Himself. In deed, God is making a people for His own possession and bringing them into the place of His presence through Jesus Christ.
Praise God, Jesus Christ has come, “the son of Abraham, the son of David” (Matthew 1:1). Praise God, he “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Praise 3:18), and that he was raised “according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Praise God that Christ sent us the promised Holy Spirit, that we might be witnesses to his glory, “in Jerusalem…and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). His purposes in everything that took place in Jerusalem – the temple, the sacrifices, the coming of Jesus Christ – were for the purpose of spreading His glory in Christ to the “ends of the earth.” We praise God for these things because God has done all of this “to the praise of His glorious grace,” as we are told three times in Ephesians 1.
As promised, here are a few resources in follow up to what we discussed:
For an introduction to Christianity and the Gospel:
For an introduction to the nature and purpose of the Bible:
For a survey of the story of the Bible:
- God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible, Vaughan Roberts
- According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible, Graeme Goldsworthy
For a survey of the story of the Bible for children (and for all of us!):
- The Big Picture Story Bible, David Helm
- The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, Sally-Lloyd Jones
For thinking and living as Christians between the comings of Christ:
- Life’s Big Questions: Six Major Themes Traced Through the Bible, Vaughan Roberts
- Dual Citizens: Worship and Life Between the Already and the Not Yet, Jason Stellman
For an explanation of how the Bible and early Christianity developed:
- Breaking the Da Vinci Code: Answers to the Questions Everyone’s Asking, Darrell Bock
- The Missing Gospels: Unearthing the Truth Behind Alternative Christianities, Darrell Bock
For a thorough, geeky, explanation of the manuscript history behind our Bible:
In future weeks I will make some of the charts I shared available at my blog, Above All Things.
I thank God for a weekend to think on, marvel at, rejoice over, and believe in Jesus Christ in all of Scripture more fully with you.
Thank you for your hospitality. Thank you for your friendship in Christ.
With you for the gospel,