The Big Story

The Bible is full of stories of people who sometimes got it right as they followed God and who sometimes got it really wrong! But the Bible was never meant to be read as individual stories of people’s attempts to get right with God and whether they succeeded or failed – the overarching story of the Bible is much bigger than that. The Bible is one big story that tells again and again of God’s deep and abiding commitment to humanity – He is faithful, He is constant and He is incredibly patient, inviting humanity to join him over and over again. Over this series, beginning in Genesis and finishing in Revelation, we will follow the arc of Scripture, discovering the faithfulness of God through many different stories and over many generations and we will find along the way that we have been woven carefully into that narrative. We have been welcomed into a rich and rewarding relationship with God and are invited to participate in His work to bless and make disciples of every nation.
Let’s allow the flame of God’s love for us rekindle our commitment to him and reignite a passion to live faithful to the calling He has placed on each of our lives.

1. Introduction


- 11 Apr 2021

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2. Creation & Fall

 Genesis 1:26-31, 3:1-10

Zak Robb - 11 Apr 2021

When we read the account of creation we see that it was always God’s intention to establish an intimate relationship with humanity; humankind was the crowning glory of all that he had created, it wasn’t just good, it was very good. We also see here that right from the beginning not only did God provide for humanity, he also gave responsibility and authority over his creation! It was meant to be a perfect symbiosis of relationship and responsibility. However, we know what happens next; the ‘fall’ created a gaping chasm between God and humanity; our relationship with God was broken and subsequently all of creation was impacted. We begin our story here, with a realisation of all that was lost but more importantly we know that God’s saving plan for humanity also began here. Over these next few months we will discover the deep and lasting faithfulness of God displayed through many different stories and we will see the lengths he went to just to bring us back to him; to restore that relationship, to reinstate that responsibility through his son, Jesus Christ.

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3. Abraham: Covenant

 Genesis 12:1-9

Zak Robb - 18 Apr 2021

The promise that God gives to Abraham begins the restoration of the relationship that had been lost in the garden, the process of divine rescue has begun. It’s a personal promise for Abraham and Sarah – they received a commitment from God, he is committing himself to them, speaking a promise over their lives. There is also a calling on their lives too – they have to go, they have to choose trust in God and leave their country for one they do not yet know. We are invited into that narrative too; the promise was for them but the ripple effect of that promise is much larger, it filters down through the generations, God’s faithfulness is the marker and it ultimately finds its fulfilment in Jesus (Matt 28). The ask of us is, do we trust God in his promises to us? Do we trust him more than circumstances and situations? Do we trust that he is faithful generation to generation?

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4. Moses: Courage

 Exodus 1:15-20, 2:1-10

Naomi Black - 25 Apr 2021

Moses is a central figure in the continuation of God’s restoration plan, but his beginnings were aided by the bravery and courage of five different women. These five women (the two midwives, his mother and sister and even Pharaoh’s own daughter) showed faithfulness and courage in the face of opposition. The Hebrew women showed total commitment to God, they feared God more than the oppressive and violent rule they were under and Pharaoh’s daughter chose compassion, going against the very law that her father had instigated. Moses’ beginnings were birthed out of courage and faithfulness and in turn he (and these women) experienced the faithfulness of God in their lives. For us, we don’t operate on the basis of exchange – if I am faithful then God is faithful. No, the faithfulness of God will always outstrip any faithfulness of ours! However, the conviction and commitment that these women demonstrated in the face of opposition is a key lesson for us, leaning into our God-given calling and exercising our God-given responsibility will require great courage.

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5. Moses: Calling

 Exodus 3:1-14

Naomi Black - 2 May 2021

The account of Moses and the burning bush is a significant moment both in Moses’ journey with God and in God’s rescue plan for humanity. Not only is it in this moment that Moses receives his calling from God but it is here that God reveals himself. This account tells us some important things about who God is and who we are in relation to him. Firstly, God hears – he heard his people’s cry. Secondly, God acts – he came to their rescue. Thirdly, God uses us in the process – Moses was his chosen instrument to enact his liberation, despite his own doubts and uncertainties, he was called by God. This is something we see reflected all over Scripture and especially through the life of Jesus – God hears and God acts and we have a part to play.

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6. Moses: Liberation

 Exodus 14:10-20

Andy Harding - 9 May 2021

God fulfils his promise to release his people from slavery by miraculously rescuing them from the Egyptian army. This account will become the narrative which the Jewish people not only look back on as their covenant history and celebrate yearly, but look forward to in expectation that God will again, as promised, rescue his people through His chosen Messiah.

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7. Ruth & Naomi: Commitment

 Ruth 1:1-18

Kay Cathcart - 16 May 2021

When Ruth gives her quiet and determined commitment to Naomi that she will go where she goes, worship the God she worships and die where she dies, she has no idea the inheritance that will stem from these words. We see mirrored in Ruth’s commitment to Naomi a similarity with God’s constant commitment to his people; to be their God, to be with them in the highs and lows, to commit to them. Ruth’s quiet commitment leads her to the fields outside Bethlehem where she meets and marries Boaz, her son Obed will be the father of Jesse who will be the father of King David and Jesus Christ the Messiah is born in that line too. Her quiet and unsure ‘yes’ to commit to her family and commit to a new God lands her in the lineage of the Saviour of the world. We never know where our quiet commitments could lead us and we never know how the faithfulness of God will work its way out in our lives, but we do know the beginning. It starts with Yes.

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8. Samuel: ‘We want a King!’

 1 Samuel 8:1-9

Steve McLeister - 23 May 2021

We want a King! The Israelite people, in another act of faithlessness, ask God to give them a human King, like the rulers they see in the tribes and culture around them. Despite this rejection and lack of trust in God’s commitment to be with them, God chooses to accommodate the people and their wishes, and allows himself to be represented through these Kings, but warns that a King will not give them what they seek. As we discover, the extent to which the King chooses to worship God determines the extent to which the Israelites live faithful to God and to his calling to be set apart. Time and time again God offers himself to them and forgives them. In fact He even promises that through one King (David), God will bring a Messiah who will usher in a new way.

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9. Hosea: Faithful

 Hosea 1

Stuart Cathcart - 30 May 2021

As we move from Kings to Prophets in scripture, we find this same dynamic at play between God, through his chosen prophet, and His people. God speaks through the prophets to call His people back to himself, back to the covenant relationship he made when He said back in Genesis “I will be your God and you will be my people”. Over and over again the Israelites fail to respond to this commitment and call from God and chase after idols and other gods. Hosea presents this image powerfully as he, with God’s leading, marries someone who he knows will betray him over and over again. The book of Hosea finishes with a promise that we find consistently through the prophets. God himself will commit himself in a new way, by a new covenant, that will no longer depend on the faithfulness (or unfaithfulness) of His people, but will offer a new eternal calling as God’s people.

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10. Jesus: Incarnation

 Isaiah 9:2,6-7; John 1:1-18

Eddie Backler - 6 Jun 2021

Every story of God’s faithfulness and commitment to his people had been leading up to this moment – when God stepped into his humanity. This was the only way; the people had tried and failed to remain faithful to God, the law had tried and failed to make people right before God, the relationship was fractured. In both the prophecy from Isaiah and the opening of John’s gospel, we see the hope that finally arrives through the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. Throughout the generations, God had kept his promises to his people even when they had broken them and here in Jesus we see the greatest promise, given and kept once and for all. In the big story of God’s rescue plan for humanity, this is the seminal moment. The incarnation of Jesus was about to change everything; the relationship we were made for would be made possible forever through him, the responsibility we are called into is opened up again through him.

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11. Jesus: Fulfilment

 Mt 27:27-56, 28:1-10

Eddie Backler - 13 Jun 2021

The death and resurrection of Jesus means that the distance that once lay between God and humanity is finally bridged. We read in Matthew’s account how the curtain was torn in two, symbolising that the access that had once been reserved for only the high priest was now open to all – because of Jesus we can do what we never could do before, we can boldly approach God. This restoration of intimate relationship was what Jesus came to redeem for us. At the end of Matthew’s gospel we read the charge that Jesus gave his disciples and consequently to us as well. We are not just able to live in beautiful communion with God; we are called to participate in the establishment of his Kingdom here on earth! We have a responsibility as followers of Jesus and our lives are now caught up with his. All of the stories we’ve read throughout this series have been leading to this moment, the new covenant of God’s grace is here.

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12. Church: Hope of the World

 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Andy Harding - 20 Jun 2021

The Church is one of the most beautiful things ever created. The Church is God’s plan A for seeing His Kingdom established on earth. The Church is the body of Christ. And yet, the Church is hard, and broken and messy. However, it has not stopped being the Hope of the World. So how do we as God’s bride, as the body of Christ live more truly and fully into being that hope? It begins with living into the promise of relationship with Jesus and it continues with us living out the responsibility we are called to and it hinges on our commitment to one another, our commitment to unity across borders, disagreements and divisions.

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13. New Creation: Eternal Life

 Revelation 21:1-8

Andy Harding - 27 Jun 2021

The plans God has for us don’t finish when we take our last breath here on earth, we have always been those with an eternal perspective. God’s Kingdom is now, but it is also not yet. We are living in the now and hoping and praying and rejoicing in the now but we must not forget what is to come as well. The not yet, the new creation is still coming. In these passages we read the incredible promises that await us when we are united finally with God, and we also see echoed here the very same promises that were given to Abraham generations ago. God has remained faithful to his people, as we’ve journeyed across this one big story we been confronted at every turn by the incredible grace of God. But, there is a warning too, it’s for those who choose to place their trust in Jesus. That is the clincher – we need to choose to place our trust in him, to rest our souls in him alone. For those who follow Jesus, our call is to live like those who will enter eternal life, to live with an eternal perspective and for those who have yet to make that decision, the welcome is to come home to Jesus today. ‘…that whoever believes in him, will not die but will have eternal life’.

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