What The Bible Is All About
Theme: The Bible is the key to life. Therefore, we must seek to understand the Bible. A key to understanding the Bible is learning the 5 great themes that appear again and again in the Bible, and acting upon them.
ILLUS. - A young soldier who was fighting in Italy during World War II jumped into a foxhole just ahead of some bullets. He immediately tried to deepen the hole for more protection and was frantically scraping away the dirt with his hands. He unearthed something metal and brought up a silver crucifix, left by a former resident of the foxhole. A moment later another leaping figure landed beside him as the shells screamed overhead. When the soldier got a chance to look, he saw that his new companion was an army chaplain. Holding out the crucifix, the soldier gasped, "Am I glad to see you! How do you work this thing?"
Many of us want to understand God and the Bible. We would like for there to be a key, something shiny and silver that we could just "work" to unlock the mysteries of the Bible, much as this young man thought about the crucifix.
I. The Bible Describes the Person of God.
QUOTE- John MacArthur "Scripture is God's self-disclosure." (This theme is repeated throughout the Bible!)
A. It begins with a declaration of His existence.
NOTE that the Bible doesn't defend or explain His existence, as we might do if we wrote it. It just simply states the existence of God as a fact.
(Gen 1:1 KJV) In the beginning God...
B. It paints a picture of His personality and attributes.
QUESTION - Name some. What are the attributes and characteristics of God that are described in the Bible?
1. God is eternal.
(Psa 90:2 KJV) Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
2. God is unchanging.
(Mal 3:6 KJV) For I am the LORD, I change not;
(Heb 13:8 KJV) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
3. God is perfect and holy.
(Hab 1:13 KJV) Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:
(1 John 1:5 KJV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
NOTE - The Lord is called "the Holy One" some thirty times in Isaiah alone.
4. God is the creator.
(Gen 1:1 KJV) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
5. God is just and the righteous judge:
(Acts 17:31 KJV) Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness…
6. God is good.
ILLUS. Childhood prayer - God is great, God is GOOD!
ILLUS. Jesus explained that ONLY God is truly good: (Mark 10:18 KJV) And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
(Nahum 1:7 KJV) The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
7. God is truth.
8. God is merciful.
9. God is gracious.
Grace is simply the undeserved and unmerited favor God shows us just because He wants to!
SONG - Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
SONG - Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be.
10. God loves us.
(Eph 2:4 KJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
(Jer 31:3 KJV) The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love…
ACTUALLY, this one attribute sums up all the others!
C. When we read the Bible, we come to understand who God is. GOD HAS SPOKEN, and revealed Himself to us.
(Heb 1:1 KJV) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son
II. The Bible Describes The Promise To The Obedient.
QUESTION - What are some verses of scripture that come to mind about this? What does God promise to the obedient?
A. God Loves You!
(Jer 31:3 KJV) The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
(John 3:16 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(Rom 5:8 KJV) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
B. God wants to give you everything!
(Psa 29:11 KJV) The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
(Psa 115:13 KJV) He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.
When we read the Bible, we learn over and over again that God desires to bless His people. There is a Promise To The Obedient.
III. The Bible Describes The Problem Facing Mankind.
NOTE - God has a law which man violates, and as a result of that he suffers the cursing of God. Violation of God's law, disobedience toward God, brings cursing. (This theme is repeated throughout the Bible.)
A. It started in paradise.
QUESTION - What is the sin that occurred here? Did it have anything to do with fruit? An "apple?"
(Gen 2:16-17 KJV) And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
(Gen 3:6 KJV) And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
B. It is described throughout the Old Testament.
(Psa 51:3 KJV) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
(Ezek 18:4 KJV) Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
C. It is further explained in the New Testament.
(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
(Rom 6:23 KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
D. When we read the Bible, we learn over and over again, that there is a Problem Facing Mankind.
E. Some believe it doesn't apply to them.
ILLUS - Responding to a pastor's sermon one Sunday morning, a man said, "Pastor, I'm as good as the next guy." The pastor replied, "True, but the next guy is a sinner, too."
(1 John 1:8 KJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
AFTER ALL, WE CAN'T EVEN LIVE UP TO THE VERY FIRST COMMANDMENT!
IV. The Bible Describes The Provision Of The Savior.
A. Let's sum up what we've learned so far.
1. There is a God, and He has revealed Himself in scripture.
2. He loves and wants to bless His people. (That's you and me.)
3. We have disobeyed Him, though, precluding His blessings, and necessitating His judgement!
4. It would seem that number 3 precludes number 2 from ever happening!
B. There is a Savior - the scarlet thread which runs from Genesis to Revelation.
C. The Savior is promised and described throughout the Old Testament.
QUESTION - Can you think of any places in the Old Testament where a Savior was promised and spoken about?
1. The savior is promised as the solution to the fall of man from Eden.
(Gen 3:15 KJV) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
2. The savior is described as the coming king who will gather all to Him.
(Gen 49:10 KJV) The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
3. The savior is described as the sacrificial lamb of God.
(Gen 22:7-8 KJV) And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
4. We read of the scapegoat, which bore the sins of the children of Israel; a picture of the coming savior.
5. We read of the day of atonement, which pictured and foreshadowed the true day of atonement when the Savior would bear our sins.
6. The psalmists and prophets described in great detail:
(Isa 53:1-2 KJV) Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
(Psa 41:9 KJV) Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
(Isa 53:5-6 KJV) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
(Isa 53:7 KJV) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (He was silent before His accusers.)
(Psa 22:1 KJV) A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me
(Psa 22:16 KJV) … they pierced my hands and my feet.
(Zec 12:10 KJV) And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
(Psa 16:10 KJV) For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
D. The Savior is the theme and subject of the New Testament.
(Mat 1:21 KJV) And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
(1 Tim 1:15 KJV) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
This theme is repeated over and over and over and over again throughout the Bible - THERE IS A PROMISED SAVIOR WHO SOLVES THE PROBLEM FACING MANKIND!
V. The Bible Describes The Perpetual Kingdom To Come.
QUOTE- John MacArthur "A great sweeping reality of the Old Testament is that history will end with God establishing an earthly kingdom in which His glorious Savior will rule and reign."
(Hab 2:14 KJV) For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
A. The question we must ask is, WHO WILL BE INCLUDED IN THAT KINGDOM?
NOTE - The question is asked throughout the Bible - (Psa 15:1 KJV) A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
QUESTION - What is the answer? Who will be included in the kingdom? Any verses to support that?
B. The answer is, ONLY THOSE WHO KNOW THE PROMISED SAVIOR!
1. Explained in the Old Testament.
(Hab 2:4 KJV) Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
2. Explained more fully in the New Testament.
(Acts 16:31 KJV) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
(Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Eph 2:8-9 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
ILLUS. "As you travel along I-10 in Louisiana there is a large billboard which catches your eye. It stands high above the city just as you start up the Mississippi River bridge. On it is a picture of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross of Calvary, head bowed. The caption underneath says in bold letters, "It’s Your Move!"
What a powerful thought. God has already taken the initiative in salvation. Christ died for you. Now—it’s your move!"
Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright © 1998 William E. Johnson.