Summary: Knowing the main theme of the Bible, God reaching out to sinful man to bring him to forgiveness and eternal life, will help you understand the Bible.
The Bible’s Main Theme (You Can Understand the Bible - 4)
John 20:30, 31
INTRO.: Let’s Review. As we began this series in an effort to help you understand the Bible, we tried first to define the Bible as the Word of God, the Christian’s most important tool, and the seed of the Spirit. Then we examined the Biblical story in the light of its three divisions or epochs, the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian eras. Last week we discussed the Bible’s main character, Jesus.
Today, I want us to look at the main point of the Biblical revelation, which is to bring fallen men back to God for forgiveness and eternal life.
Mankind has a serious problem - sin. Sin is the source of suffering, toil, and sorrow in this world. It is because of sin men must earn their living by the sweat of their faces. Sin introduced guilt and death into the human scene. "The wages of sin is death." Rom. 6:23.
Worst of all, sin separates men from God. "Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." Isa. 59:1, 2 This separation is the cause of all other woes.
I. Just what is sin? How is it defined and described?
A. "Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness." I Jn. 3:4.
1. Does not refer to just man’s law, but to God’s.
2. Every time we violate the law of God, we sin.
3. Avoiding sin sounds easy, but just examine the Ten Commandments, the most basic summary.
4. It’s easy to avoid murder, idolatry, theft, but consider lying, cursing, coveting. Much harder.
B. Another meaning for "sin" is literally, "missing the mark."
1. It pictures an archer who cannot hit his target.
2. We always fall short of God’s mark.
3. We seldom even satisfy ourselves with our behavior, let alone others or God.
C. "All wrongdoing is sin." I Jn. 5:17
1. This is referring to all kinds of injustice.
2. Any time we mistreat our fellow man, we sin against God.
D. "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins." Jas. 4:17
1. We can sin by simply doing nothing.
2. If we ignore the needs of our fellow man.
3. If we allow anything to interfere with our worship or prayer life.
4. It’s very easy to sin!
II. How did sin enter onto the human scene?
A. It was introduced by Satan: John 8:44
1. We have a deadly adversary. There is a spiritual conflict going on.
2. The enemy is an accomplished liar. A deceiver.
3. Every lie, murder, theft, etc. is his work.
B. The story of the first sin is in Genesis 3
1. Satan lied to Eve, then to Adam through her.
2. Their sin was in disobeying God. Gen. 3:19.
3. The wages of sin is death. Death became the common lot of all who sin.
C. From the first sin, things went downhill.
1. The next recorded sin is Cain’s murder of Abel.
2. Soon, the entire earth is so corrupt God destroys all people with a flood. Gen. 6ff
3. It seems as though sin is at its worst in each generation. As life goes on, sin increases.
III. How has God handled sin? Rom. 8:1-3
A. Sent Jesus to make atonement.
1. Predicted in Gen. 3:15
2. First substitute sacrifice was made by God. Gen. 3:21. He killed animals to cover the shame of man’s sin.
3. Many other predictions and foreshadows are scattered throughout the Bible.
4. Finally, He sent His Son when the time was right. Gal. 4:4. "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons."
B. God provided for us to share in Jesus’ death & resurrection.
1. Through these events we find redemption.
2. There is no other way. Acts 4:12
3. We participate in these events by repentance and baptism. Rom. 6:3-5
C. Six things concerning sins destruction, according to pioneer preacher Walter Scott:
1. The love of sin is destroyed by faith.
2. The practice of sin by repentance.
3. The state of sin is destroyed in baptism.
4. The guilt of sin is destroyed by forgiveness.
5. The power of sin is destroyed by the Holy Spirit in His indwelling Presence.
6. The penalty of sin is destroyed by the resurrection.
CONC.: all through the Old Testament, God called upon His people, saying "return to Me." Before His death, Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also." Peter wrote, "you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."
From beginning to end, the Bible’s theme is God calling out to man in love and grace providing reconciliation. If you are separated from God, will you return?