What are the stories we tell ourselves, and how do these stories shape what we believe and how we live? When we discover ourselves in God’s story, we come to understand that God is with us through pain and pleasure, confusion and confidence, doubt and dependence. God is the one who is at work in the world to save it. God is the one who has promised to gather a people from all over the world, from every tribe, tongue, and nation to know him and be known, to love him and be loved, and to worship him forever.
On this program, we begin a new series, taking a look at four D’s: drama, doctrine, doxology, and discipleship. As we unpack these key concepts, we’ll help us to see that every belief system is rooted in some kind of narrative or story that ends up forming a person’s core values, goals, and habits. That’s our focus as we begin our new series “Finding Yourself in God’s Story” on the White Horse Inn.
“The Christian faith is grounded in an unfolding drama. It’s God’s story and yet it also includes us. We’re accustomed in our narcissistic and consumeristic society to think that we’re the stars in our own life movie. Even God can have a supporting role as long as he keeps to the lines we’ve given him. This is God’s story. It includes us but it is not about us. It’s about the faithfulness of the Father in his Son through the Holy Spirit from the creation to the consummation.
“It’s not just the greatest story ever told. It’s also true. It gives rise to certain doctrines. The drama tells us that God has acted in history to rescue his people, time and time again, even from their own sin and rebellion. Then, the same script tells us what this means. God is loving, compassionate, merciful, all-powerful, and all-wise. He tells us who we are as created in God’s image and yet fallen sinners, rebels for no good reason against a good Father. He tells us what God has done to rescue us from our treason and to make us his own justified and adopted children in his Son. From this unfolding drama and doctrines, we enter into doxology – rituals of lament, confession, praise, and thanksgiving. At this point, we are no longer spectators or fans. We are on the field, joining the other players as the great cloud of witnesses – those saints who have gone before us – are cheering from the stands. And now living in this story, we take on the character of those who are no longer enemies of God but his friends and coheirs with Christ to a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Drama, doctrine, doxology and discipleship – these all shape our lives.” – Michael Horton
Term to Learn:“Turning Your Gaze Away From Yourself”
If you want health for your souls, and if you want to be the instruments of bringing health to others, do not turn your gaze forever within, as though you could find Christ there. Nay, turn your gaze away from your own miserable experiences, away from your own sin, to the Lord Jesus Christ as He is offered to us in the gospel. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Only when we turn away from ourselves to that uplifted Savior shall we have healing for our deadly hurt.
It is the same old story, my friends—the same old story of the natural man. Men are trying today, as they have always been trying, to save themselves—to save themselves by their own act of surrender, by the excellence of their own faith, by mystic experiences of their own lives. But it is all in vain. Not that way is peace with God to be obtained. It is to be obtained only in the old, old way—by attention to something that was done once for all long ago, and by acceptance of the living Savior who there, once for all, brought redemption for our sin. Oh, that men would turn for salvation from their own experience to the Cross of Christ; oh, that they would turn from the phenomena of religion to the living God!
That that may be done, there is but one way. It is not found in a study of the psychology of religion; it is not found in “religious education”; it is not found in an analysis of one’s own spiritual status. Oh, no. It is found only in the blessed written Word. There are the words of life. There God speaks. Let us attend to His voice. Let us above all things know the Word. Let us study it with all our minds; let us cherish it with all our hearts. Then let us try, very humbly, to bring it to the unsaved. Let us pray that God may honor not the messengers but the message, that despite our unworthiness He may make His Word upon our unworthy lips to be a message of life.
(J. Graham Machen, “The Importance of Christian Scholarship,” What Is Christianity? [Eerdmans, 1951])