Well, for those of you who don’t know, I am currently writing a second Bible study. My writing time has been primarily focused on that, so today I just want to give you a little taste of what the new Bible study is about.
Inside Out and Upside Down is a two-part Bible study that lasts seven weeks. The first part, Inside Out, looks at the difference between religion and a relationship with Jesus Christ. The second part, Upside Down, is a comparison of our culture and the kingdom of God. Most of the Scriptures come straight from the Gospels. I really wanted to dive into the red letters and see what Jesus had to say on these topics.
I have found over the last several years, that many in the church are just playing church, enjoying their social club, with no reality of the power of Christ in their lives. In the following passage, Paul is describing the Church:
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NIV).
On the other hand, I’ve seen many churches abandoning the foundation of the Gospel in an effort to reach the world. Instead of impacting our culture for Christ, we have allowed the culture to invade the Church.
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:13-15).
Salt is used for flavoring, which means making something palatable and tasty. But salt is also used as a preservative, which means keeping something from spoiling. We have to shine for Jesus in such a way that brings flavor and taste to our world while still preserving the message of the Gospel without compromise.
Jesus had much to say about legalistic, external righteousness as opposed to following Him. He also had a great deal to say about the kingdom of God, especially in light of the culture of His day–a culture characterized by religious disunity (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots), spiritual apathy, and a corrupt, oppressive government.
Inside Out and Upside Down explores these Scriptures in the Gospels through seven weeks of five daily lessons, each followed by a weekend devotional. My hope and my prayer are that God will use this Bible study, not to condemn, but to challenge each of us to kingdom-living, in love with the King, changed from the inside out, and turning our world upside down.
By the way, the picture is not the actual cover, just a mock-up I made. The picture only shows the top half of it, but you get the idea. What do you think? Leave me a comment!