A Message of Hope

THE BIBLE

The Bible is a collection of 66 books divided into the Old Testament (39 books) and the New Testament (27 books).

 

OLD TESTAMENT

The Old Testament was written before the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world from heaven and it points forward to His coming.

There are some wonderful subjects described in these pages.

CREATION

The Word of God begins by telling about God's creation of the world.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1v1)

It then focuses in on the creation of the human being, the first human created by God was called Adam, he was placed at the top of this creation with the animals under him. God gave him a wife, both were placed in a garden called Eden (meaning "Paradise").

Man then fell from his position because of disobedience and sin, he rebelled against his Maker. As he was the Head of the human race his sin affected us all.

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5v12)

All humanity, with the exception of the Lord Jesus, are linked to him and we have a sinful nature in us (i.e. we cannot stop sinning).

LAW

God gave the 10 Commandments to Israel, they promised - "all that the Lord says we will do!" their history shows failure after failure, they were discovering that they couldn't reach God's standard by their own efforts.

God is righteous, people because of their sinfulness are unrighteous, nothing we can do can possibly reach the standard He demands in man. This is why religion, good works or self improvement cannot earn a place in heaven, we fall far short of God's standard of right.

"By the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3v20)

Not the labour of our hands,

Could fulfil God's Law's demands,

Could our zeal no respite know,

Could our tears forever flow,

All for sin could not atone,

God must save and God alone!

SACRIFICE

The Old Testament then pictures God's remedy to our problem. Lambs and other animals were taken, the person who was sacrificing confessed his sins over the animal and its blood was shed in his place.

All this pointed forward to the Son of God who would come and would die as a sacrifice for sin.

John the Baptist exclaimed about the Lord Jesus Christ - "Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1v29).

It wasn't possible that the blood of animals would take away sin, they just pointed forward to the death of the Lord Jesus. He died that our sins would be completely taken away.

"The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1v7)

There was none other good enough,

to pay the price of sin,

He only could unlock the gate

of Heaven and let us in.

JUDGEMENT

Thoughout the pages of the Old Testament is the fact that God will judge people and nations for the sins that they commit. He is described as the "Judge of all the earth".

Large passages are dedicated to this as God is warning people to turn from their sins and accept His mercy before they are judged.

The New Testament develops this, a time is coming when God will judge the world righteously, and any who have not repented of their sins will be judged for them. A search will be made at the Great White Thone for their names in the Book of Life but because they have not trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour their names will not be found.

 "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20v15)

Those that trust in the Lord Jesus will never be judged for their sins, the Saviour Who bore the judgment for sin in full on the cross has become their Shelter and Hiding Place!

Each person who is truly saved can sing,

The Judgment that on Jesus fell,

It would have sunk a world to Hell,

HE bore it for a ruined race,

And thus becomes MY Hiding Place!

FAITH

A great truth running throughout the Old Testament is how various people from different backgrounds took God at His word - believed Him and trusted Him - Noah, Abraham, Rahab and David to name but a few. They recieved blessing from God. Others didn't believe God and missed His blessing.

Noah believed God. God told Noah that he would destroy the world because of all the sin and wickedness of people, he told Noah to build a large boat (the Ark). 

The people probably thought Noah was mad! He was building a large boat and there wasn't any rain about! But Noah believed God's word and acted on it for God had said He would destroy the earth with a flood.

Noah escaped God's judgment, safe in the Ark with his family, but those who refused to believe perished. 

The New Testament comments on this.

"By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Hebrews 11v7)

Judgment is coming. Men laugh and scorn (as they probably did to Noah) but some believe God and have prepared by taking God's Way of Escape - the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you?

He said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14v6)

Safe in Christ, the weakest child,

Stands in all God's favour,

By His death they're reconciled,

He's their only Saviour!

PROPHECY

The Old Testament is also full of many prophecies which were literally fulfilled.

The Prophets (i.e. men who spoke God's words to people) warned of Judgment on Israel because they had turned from God. That judgement came. They also spoke of great world empires which would come before they ever existed (including the Medo-Persian empire, the Grecian empire and the Roman empire).

The greatest prophecies of all spoke about the coming of Christ to this world!

They were written long before He was born but they tell us about His greatness!

"Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9v6)

The One Who would come would be the Son given by God and yet would be the Mighty God Himself!

They tell us more! He would be born of a virgin, and be born in Bethlehem.

"Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7v14)

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5v2)

The prophets tell us that the Saviour Who would come would be rejected and nailed to a cross.

"He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53v3)

"They pierced My hands and My feet" (Psalm 22v16)

They tell us that on the cross, He (voluntarily) was punished for the sins of others.

"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisment for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned, everyone, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53v5-6)

They even tell us of His Resurrection from the dead!

The One Who died will "prolong His days" and God would not allow His "Holy One to see corruption" (see Isaiah 53v10 and Psalm 16v10).

These are only a few of many prophecies fulfilled literally in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is God's answer to your need, trust Him and you will know the blessing of sins forgiven and a place in Heaven after this life.

The Old Testament says

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psalm 32v1)

NEW TESTAMENT

The New Testament deals with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, His life, death and resurrection. It also tells us about how Christians should live and unveils the future happiness of any who is truly saved, also warning of the awful consequences of rejecting the Saviour.

THE GOSPELS

These are four books at the commencement of the New Testament. They depict the historical facts about the Lord Jesus Christ. There are four gospels because they each show different things about Him.

Matthew shows Him as the promised Messiah to Israel, the rightful King. He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies and worked wonderful miracles but still the people rejected Him. They nailed Him to a cross of wood and above it was the accusation "This is Jesus the King of the Jews" (Matthew 27v37). This shows the heart of humanity.

Our Lord is now rejected, and by the world disowned,

By the many still neglected, and by the few enthroned,

But soon He'll come in glory,

The hour is drawing nigh,

For the crowning day is coming by and by.

Mark writes about Him as the Perfect Servant, who wouldn't fail. The One who was equal with God from everlasting came into the world and took upon Himself humanity, he came to be God's Servant - to accomplish the work of redemption by His death on the cross. He did this and now at God's Right hand He works with those who spread the good news of peace to others.

Jesus is the Servant, He did the work of God,

Down He came from heaven, and on the earth He trod,

On the cross He suffered, and "It is finished" cried,

Jesus, Perfect Servant, For all sinners died.

Luke shows Him as the Man who receives sinners and saves them. They said of Him "This Man receives sinners" (Luke 15v2). He welcomes them!

This is still true today. He hates your sin and His Holiness cannot allow you into heaven unless your sins are forgiven, He must punish you for them. But He is the Person who died that your sins might be taken away and now will receive you if you only trust Him.

John depicts Him as the Son of God, the One Who came from heaven and went to heaven. The only One you can rely on to save you from eternal judgement in the Lake of Fire.

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3v18)

THE ACTS

The next book develops the spread of the Gospel of Christ across the world as many people were saved. The apostles and other preachers told about a Risen Saviour in heaven who could meet anyones need.

Peter preached "To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission (forgiveness) of sins" (Acts 10v43)

Paul also announced "Through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified..." (Acts 13v38-39)

THE LETTERS

The Letters of Paul, Peter, John and others follow. These are written mainly for believers in Christ. They are called by God to live in a different way.

To be obedient to the Lord's commands. His commands include believers baptism, a dipping under the water publically as a symbol of the fact that we are linked to a new Leader and a picture that as Christ died, we died to sin and are now living a different life linked to His Resurrection. (Read Romans 6)

To be holy, as God is Holy (Read 1 Peter 1). Holiness means to be separate from the world, it's standards and sin, and to live in purity. Not to  be characterised by cursing, foul jokes or immorality.

To be hopeful, for there is a great future ahead of every believer. They can never be in hell, and will forever enjoy heaven. For "If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?". Paul continues to write inspired by the Holy Spirit "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Read Romans 8)

To serve the Lord having presented ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice and asked His will for our lives (Read Romans 12)

To gather with other Christians in local churches (the word means "assemblies") where the Bible is followed and is the sole authority. (Read the start of most of the letters). Meeting for the Lord's Supper, the teaching of God's word and helping one another (1 Corinthians 11, 12, 14).

To be helpful to other believers in the Lord Jesus and develop our spiritual gifts. (Read Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4)

To witness to others about the Lord Jesus Christ. (Read Philippians 1)

To wait for God's Son from heaven, who is coming back again. (Read 1 Thessalonians 1)

THE REVELATION

The Revelation of Jesus Christ concludes the New Testament. This book shows the final victory of God and His Christ (see Psalm 2). God will see to it that His Son is vindicated and honoured and that sin is judged.

One of the most solemn verses in the Bible is here. As God speaks at the end, he says "He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” (Revelation 22v11). This verse is teaching that there is no coming back. There is eternal happiness for those who are righteous and holy (having been declared righteous through trusting Christ and set apart as holy by God.) There is eternal judgement and punishment for those who have refused Christ and His remedy for their condition.

Even at the end of the New Testament, God's heart still goes out to you, whoever you are, for a final invitation is given. It rings down the ages. "Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22v17).

God's House is filling fast,

Yet there is room!

Some soul will be the last,

Yet there is room!

Yes, soon salvation's day,

For you will pass away,

Then grace no more will say -

Yet there is room.

Come, we plead with you - repent of your sins and trust Christ as your Saviour now, and you will be able to join the call of John as the Bible draws to an end "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22v20).

All  bible quotations on this page are from the NKJV, New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Inc.