October 22, 2011

The Bible’s Story – Terry Starling

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:49 pm by sranderson0103

The Bible’s story is about God, Creation, and man’s fall and redemption. Every book penned by inspiration has something to do with this central theme. The Scriptures affirm god’s existence and reveal all we can know about Him. They tell us about His nature, character and work in Creation, and what He expects from us. The Bible discloses man’s sin and his helpless condition. From the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation God makes known His plan to save.
Some have calculated the book of Genesis covers about the first twenty-three to twenty-four hundred years of man’s life on this earth. During this time man sinned (Genesis 3) and grew more evil (Genesis 6:5 and Genesis 18:20). A few remained righteous and faithful before God (Genesis 6:8 and Genesis 15:6). Abraham received a Divine promise about salvation (Genesis 22:18).
The next four books, Exodus through Deuteronomy, reveal God’s special bond with Israel. God freed the Jews from Egypt, gave them a law and protected them on their journey to Canaan. We also see that even God’s people can rebel, and when they do there are Divine penalties.
Joshua took the people into Canaan, beginning with the great conquest of Jericho. From this story we learn that God gives victory to His people. However, we also see the devastating effects of sin in the story of Achan and the battle of Ai. By the end of Joshua God had fulfilled many of His promises to Abraham. His family had grown to a great nation and inhabited the land of promise, but the most important vow was yet to come.

The book of Judges records Israel’s fickle nature as they wavered between faithfulness and rebellion. Samuel was the last judge because the Jews desired a king to be like the other nations. God warned them about the result of having a king, but their heart turned against Him. First and Second Samuel, first and second Kings and first and second Chronicles report the deeds of the kings and the events resulting in a divided kingdom.

Prophets warned the people about apostasy and encouraged them to remain faithful. The Northern Kingdom, Israel, rebelled to a point that God destroyed them as a nation of people. Judah was only a little better in that they were loyal at times, but God tired of their wavering and allowed the Babylonians to conquer them. Prophets continued to work during the captivity and in the Jews’ return to Jerusalem. You see, a remnant of the Jews had to survive for God to carry out His plan to save. They also foretold of Christ and His kingdom, all of which came about exactly as stated.

The books of poetry praise God’s wisdom and power. We’re reminded of our place and dependency on the Most Holy One, and the fact He will protect us if we are faithful. The only sensible response is to trust and serve Him.
As we come to the New Testament and the four gospels we read more about how God intended to fulfill His final promise to Abraham. God the Son came to this world in the flesh. Jesus lived among men, endured temptation without sin, and suffered physical death as we must. The purpose for all of this was simple; to redeem man’s soul by the blood of Christ. So the gospels record His ministry, teaching, and sacrifice. They also tell about His choosing of the apostles and their preparation.

During their time with Jesus, the apostles did not fully understand His teaching or the nature of the coming kingdom. God would make these matters known after Christ’s ascension. The Holy Spirit would real the mystery to the inspired teachers of the New Testament. Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for this power.
The book of Acts tells us how God kept His promise to Abraham that “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” Genesis 12:3). After the apostles received power from the Holy Spirit on Pentecost they taught the people about Christ. (Acts 2:4) They affirmed Him to be the Chosen One and that His death was exactly according to God’s plan. (Acts 2:21-24) Those convicted asked the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37) Peter told them to “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:40) He urged them to “Be saved from this perverse generation.” (Acts 2:40) “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” (Acts 2:41)

As one studies Acts it’s clear the plan unfolded exactly as God said. “And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Due to persecution Christians scattered throughout the world and they went everywhere preaching the gospel. (Acts 8:4) In Acts 8 Philip preached in Samaria. In Acts 10 Peter took it to the first Gentiles. Paul’s missionary journeys begin in Acts 13. So the book of Acts records God’s work to forgive man.
We have the epistle to keep us strong and faithful. Christians need to know how to live and worship. (1 Timothy 3:14-15) We need an encouraging word to remind us that salvation is worth the price. (Romans 8:18). The Bible is all about our needs and wellbeing. From the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation God tells us what we need to know to please Him. What are you going to do with the book and its message?

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