By Sue Moye, Assoc. Director of Discipleship for Midsize Groups & Strategic Initiatives at MBC Tysons
My awe for who God is and His plan for me has grown through reading Part Four of Multiply, “Understanding the Old Testament.” I took Old and New Testament Surveys during my four years at a Christian college and have some seminary under my belt. Even so, I have never before been positioned to take in the whole panorama of God’s plan to relate to His people like I have through studying Multiply. Let me share what reading Part Four of Multiply is doing in my life.
If you are like me, you have set out to read the whole Bible in a year numerous times, and have made it for a few weeks, even months, before failing. Because you keep trying, you have read Genesis numerous times. Beginning Part Four of Multiply, I felt like I was wading in to all-too-familiar territory. I encourage you to hang in there even if starting out seems like the beginning of a mountain climb, an uphill path without a rewarding view.
By Chapter 3 on the Abrahamic Covenant, I began to see glimpses of the symmetry in God’s call to people throughout the ages. God’s message to Abraham was to “go”, and Abraham went. God tells Abraham that He is going to make him a father of a great people, but Abraham and Sarah were infertile until God gave them a miraculous son. God also promised that He would be with them.
As I studied this, I could not help but notice that in Matthew 28:18-20, God commands us to “go.” If my life were in a book, would it say “and she went?” God calls me to make disciples, but like Sarah, I am powerless! I cannot create a new life in Christ. I can only be obedient to go, and to invest the Gospel in others. New spiritual offspring will be the result of a miracle in response to my obedience!
Lastly, in Matthew 28:20, Jesus promises, “For lo, I am with you always.” That is the same promise God made to Abraham, that He will be with them! Wow! Jesus’ command to us is a continuation of what God began with Abraham!
From there, in the chapter on sacrifice and atonement, Francis Chan continues to build the story. He focused my understanding of the seriousness of my sin. It really took Jesus’ blood, (not just His love toward me) to forgive my sin, to cleanse me daily. I understood the cross, but I didn’t like to embrace the bloodiness of it. Reading this chapter has changed my perspective forever. I will never sing another hymn about Jesus’ blood without it cutting in to my heart.
I have always loved John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Wow! God chose to become a man, to do all that Philippians 2:5-11 captures so beautifully. But never before have I seen the story of God’s presence on earth so powerfully laid out as I did in the Chapter 7 of Part 4. By studying that chapter and the referenced Scripture, I saw the view of God’s relating with His people in a whole new way. It was like getting above the tree line and seeing the view from a whole new perspective. You don’t want to miss it.
Chan has presented the whole of God’s story in a way that I have never studied it before. The more I read Multiply and the passages of Scripture it requires to answer the questions, the more my view of God expands. The bigger my God gets, the more confident and compelled I am to tell everyone God brings into my life. And it is not just me, I am hearing these same themes echoed all over the church. I praise God for that!