I listed a few resources on the bottom of the sermon notes page that I believe compliment Nehemiah 8. Mark Dever’s book “What is a Healthy Church?” has entire chapters on both the importance of biblical theology and on expositional preaching in the local church. Donald Whitney’s book “Family Worship,” goes with my challenge to parents to lead a daily time to read the Bible, sing & pray with their kids. And of course, for my last resource listed, who wouldn’t love listening to Alistair Begg preach a much better sermon than mine today on Nehemiah 8 entitled “Assembled Under the Word?” View this message or listen to the audio here.
But in the crush of a busy week, I forgot to mention a resource that I believe is one of the most helpful books in terms of reminding us what God’s Word is all about. It’s actually a children’s Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones called “The Jesus Storybook Bible.” Now those who know me well are already are aware that I’m NOT a fan of most children’s Bibles. I have thrown away more of them than I’ve kept. Way too many of them send the message that the Bible is simply a collection of smaller stories that are mere morality tales about good people & bad people.
In fact, whenever I look at a children’s Bible, the first thing I do is turn to the story of Noah to see the approach it takes. Most of the time, the gist of that story is pitched as God looked around the world and only found one good guy (Noah) and so God spared him & his family and he’s the hero of the story. So the message ends up being “Be a good kid and you too can be liked by God and be your own hero.” Well, that’s just nauseating & it’s not true. The Bible only has one hero and His name is Jesus and the Scriptures unfold God’s great rescue plan of sinners like you, me and Noah from the judgement that we all rightly deserve exactly like those who perished in the flood. Noah’s story points forward to how God, in His grace, provides the ark of Jesus in which sinners can take refuge from the judgement we deserve and be spared. Noah is not the hero, Jesus is. When he landed on dry ground, Noah’s heroic next step was to get drunk and naked, but you don’t find that part in most Children’s Bibles.
The Jesus Storybook Bible is different and it beautifully captures the larger story arc of the Bible. It’s not just for kids. My family spent several months going through it at our family worship time and I believe it is one of the best resources I have found for both adults and children in a long time. I just gave away my own personal copy to our translator on our Peru Mission trip. My family and I spent a went at a Joni & Friends Camp this past summer and the young woman who was the “buddy” for our boys all week was a fairly new believer, so we recommended The Jesus Storybook Bible to her. If you’ve ever gotten bogged down or lost in the individual stories found in the Bible, TJSB keeps you focused on the main point of the Bible, Jesus.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, I recommend this resource to you. I get no kick backs from Sally and TJSB shouldn’t replace your own study Bible, but it is a great tool for family worship and it is a helpful resource as you study your Bible. There will be moments as you read it that you will have the same response to God’s Word as the people did in Nehemiah 8. You’ll weep just like they wept because you’ll be reminded of God’s great rescue plan for sinners made possible only by Jesus, the real hero of the Bible.
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