Just last week I saw a sermon by a minister named "TD Jakes." I'm writing because of the message of his preaching. But before I get to that let me say that this man has a gift for preaching.
I've seen a few of his sermons, and this most recent one struck me very much like a nicely composed piece of orchestral music. There was the main theme, but he went off on tangents and explored the variations, leaving the setting of thousands of years ago, and talking to believers in his congregation as well as viewers. Then he would bring it back to his main theme (set thousands of years ago).
Repeat that a few times and you have the skeleton for much orchestral music, as well as this man's sermons.
The particular sermon I saw was given, I think I heard right, in Australia. His theme was that we need to be like Abraham who listened to God. Not just to the message God gave in the past, but to the message the living God gives to us as we live today.
To illustrate this he uses the story of Abraham.
For the folks who are not that familiar with the Bible, Abraham and his wife were very old, and had no children. But God told Abraham that not only would he have a child, but he would have so many descendants it would be hard to count them, like the stars. So Abraham and his wife had one child when they were in their 90's.
It's written that God told Abraham to go to a mountain and offer his son as a sacrifice. Obviously this troubled Abraham, to kill his only son, and how did that fit in to God's plan of using his offspring to "create nations"? However, Abraham went ahead with what he was told.
Abraham set off to the place to perform the sacrifice, they climbed the mountain, set up the altar, put brush and kindling all around, to burn it up, and Abraham's son asked him, "where is the animal for the sacrifice?" Isaac had the answer not long after that, IT WAS HIM! So he was tied up and put on the altar.
However, right as Abraham was about to bring his knife down and kill his son, God sent an angel to him and told him, "STOP!"
So the point TD Jakes made was that if Abraham was the kind of guy who thought God only spoke in the past, and the only stuff God said that's worth following was what God said in the past, Abraham would not have listened to the angel telling him to stop, he would have gone ahead and sacrificed his son. But instead, Abraham realized that God is alive and speaks to us in the here and now.
I am very sorry I have not done his message justice, the message is outstanding, and so is the delivery.
For a while I've wanted to say something similar and have started a few essays, but nothing as powerful as this man's sermon.
My complaint is that it seems too many Christians (and probably other religions too) are in to "Bible worship" as opposed to "God worship". They don't seem to realize that God is alive now. They don't seem to have faith in their own ability to converse with other Christians and winnow out the best, sharpening each other's iron. It seems many folks only have faith that their answers are in the Bible.
Don't get me wrong, I love the Bible and think it's an awesome book.
I think this passage (the last part where Jesus speaks) has to do with Jesus talking about scroll/Bible worship, as opposed to worshipping Spirit.
Luke 23:27-31 (NIV)
A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.
Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.
For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'
Then "'they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"
For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
"The tree is green" is representative of Jesus being there, in the flesh, talking his words. Jesus clearly knew, that like the prophets of old, his words would be written down, and passed down.
"The tree is dry" is representative of Jesus' words written on paper. His living words written on dead, dried out trees, i.e. scrolls, paper.
Jesus knew that in the same way many of the religious leaders of his day (the ones he criticized harshly) "believed" in Moses and the prophets, there would come people who cling to the "dry tree" where some of his words are written. Those folks, like the Pharisees (and other Jewish religious sects), would be more interested in taking passages from scripture to suit their own desires.
There are some other passages from Jesus I think are relevant, but I have not been shown how to write about them yet.
With regard to the above tree reference, I feel there is another parallel interpretation with regard to Nebuchadnezzar's dream, but it has not yet been fully revealed to me. [Daniel 4] In other words neither interpretation will contradict the other, only offer support.
Be sure to check out: Beware Bible Worship! Listen to God, Don't Worship Paper!