Great Chapters in the Bible – New Chapters in Our Lives
Study Guide, September 15, 2019
Pastor Clay Olsen
As Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are also ‘Discoverers’. Even the life of discipleship is to be a life of discovery…discovering more and more about our great God, about His great plan, and about nearly everything else. And all for the purpose of glorifying God and blessing others, which will also bless us as well, remember. And one of the things we discover is that our life is really like a story…with different ‘chapters’ in our life story. Thankfully, since we are born again children of God, our story is an eternal life story that is going to keep getting better and better forever. Amen? But the point is, we are writing our story every day. And we often refer to our lives as beginning new chapters, as with new experiences or new understandings, and such.
And so, because of that, we are going to embark on a discovery journey through some of the great chapters of the Bible, for the purpose of adding new chapters to our lives of deeper understandings and higher experiences with our great God and Savior. Sometimes the discoveries may not be as much ‘new’, in the sense they are new for the first time, but perhaps ‘new’ in the sense of a new focus or a new perspective or a new passion. You can decide that part for yourself.
Actually, we ought to remind ourselves about the absolute wonder of the Bible over and over again anyway, because it is the very revelation of our God to God’s world, and personally, to each of us. And so our love for learning the Scriptures and our appreciation of the Scriptures ought to grow stronger and stronger throughout our lives. Just think about it: As described in an article on the ‘Unity of the Bible’ on the Answers in Genesis Web page, the author pointed out: “Among all the books ever written, the Bible is absolutely unique. Actually, it is not just a book—it’s 66 books. And one of its most remarkable qualities is the complete unity of the overall message despite having so many different authors writing over many centuries on hundreds of controversial subjects. Natural explanations fail to account for the supernatural character and origin of Scripture.
The Bible was written over a period of roughly 2,000 years by 40 different authors from three continents, who wrote in three different languages. These facts alone make the Bible one of a kind, but there are many more amazing details that defy natural explanation. Shepherds, kings, scholars, fishermen, prophets, a military general, a cup-bearer, and priest all penned portions of Scripture. They had different immediate purposes for writing, whether recording history, giving spiritual and moral instruction, or pronouncing judgment. They composed their works from palaces, prisons, the wilderness, and places of exile while writing history, laws, poetry, prophecy, and proverbs. In the process they laid bare their personal emotions, expressing anger, frustration, joy, and love.”1 And still, all with the theme of God’s love and His redemptive plan for man.
Yes, absolutely unique and amazing. Plus, since the Spirit of God attends His Scriptures, this is why God can speak to us through His Scriptures. How often do you hear others say, or you have said it yourself: “You know, I’ve read that passage many times, but I just saw something in it I’ve never discovered before.”
So again, of the things we regularly thank God for, remember to thank God for His wonderful Scriptures, and pray for more and more people around you and around the world to not only have access to these wonderful words of life, but to also let them change their lives for now and eternity.
Speaking of chapters, you probably know that the Scriptures were originally written without any dividing sections in them. Chapter divisions were introduced into the Bible in the early 13th century, and verses were introduced into the Bible in the mid 16th century. So really, chapters and verses are fairly recent to the Bible, as far as world history is concerned. But they were done so for the purpose of being able to more accurately reference and quote the Scriptures. And that surely is a great help for us all.
So let’s go to a chapter in Isaiah where it’s clear that the Lord wanted to make it perfectly clear to the whole world that the whole world needed to be clear about the fact that not only is this world not filled with other gods, or with many gods, but to be clear about the fact that no other God even exists! God is the only God that exists! Isa 44:6-8- “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'” NASU
God is pretty adamant about this! Plus, since God is also ‘omniscient’, meaning that He knows all things, when God, who knows all things, says that He does not know of any other god, well, again, that makes it crystal clear that we and the whole world ought to know that there is no other god except for the God of the Bible, the Creator and Lord of all.
But here’s the thing…throughout history humanity has had a really bad habit of insisting that there are other gods. In fact, God’s own chosen people of Israel picked up this bad habit themselves from some idol worshiping nations around them. And they even made images of these so-called gods, just like these other nations had been doing. But listen to God’s own comments about the foolish irony of what they were doing. Isa 44:13-19- “The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” NLT
Again, how utterly foolish. And God is pointing out to everyone how foolish this is. God points out that the idol worshiper uses half the wood to make a fire to roast his supper and uses the other half to make a god, but never stops to think: “You know, this is actually pretty foolish.” But therein lies the problem: How strange that people usually insist that things in life need to be logical or reasonable before they will believe them. But when it comes to religion, mankind tends to throw logic and reason out the window. Why is that? Well, here’s the reason, and it’s very important to understand. Part of the reason for this is something that we should clearly understand about human nature, and that is this: Ever since the rebellion against God’s Word in the Garden of Eden mankind has always had this rebellious habit of wanting their god or gods to be made more in their own image…more in their own likeness, rather than bow to the authority of God’s Word alone and worship the One God that made mankind in His own image.
Mark it down, the human heart is an idol factory. The sin nature of man is an idol factory. According to recent statistics they have concluded that there are now 4,200 religions in the world. And many of these religions have their own god or set of gods. That’s why witnessing is so hard with some people groups. Since they are so accustomed to having many gods that they worship, they don’t mind adding Jesus, or some facsimile of Jesus to their growing collection…such as with Hinduism. Although some Hindus believe that there was one god that began all creation, still they believe that this god then created a pantheon of gods to assist him. And that number of gods is now somewhere about 300 million. So what’s one more?
But remember what God said? God is not one of many gods. He is the only God in existence. Oh yes, there are certainly many spirits, many unholy spirit beings that people think of as gods, and that deceive people into thinking they are gods, but there is only one God, one Holy God. And so what we have to be perfectly clear about is understanding that, yes, other people or people groups may have a different religion, but they do not have a different god, because there are no other gods beside the one true God. All of mankind has only one God…but what many in mankind do not have is that they do not have a saved relationship with their one and only God.
Again, the question to be settled is not; is the God of the Bible the one God of all people? Of course He is the one God of all people, because the God of the Bible is the only God that exists. He is the only Creator that has given life to all things that have life. People of other religions might insist that they worship someone or something different than the God of the Bible, but it’s not a god at all that they are worshiping, because no other god exists. The fact is, they only have one God, who is Creator and Lord of all. They may not worship Him, but He is the only God there is!
So the question to be settled in every person’s life on Earth’s is not do they have a God…they do…everyone has a God…we all have one God. The question is: Do they have a saved relationship with the One God of all mankind? The issue is: Have they repented toward the one God of mankind and placed their faith in the only Savior of mankind?
And that is the other point that God wants all the world to understand, and that is: Neither is there any other God in existence than the God of the Bible, but also there is no other Savior in existence than the Savior of the Bible; the Messiah. Notice what God says about that: Isa 43:10-11- “…Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no Savior besides Me.” NASU
Think about it: Hindus don’t have a different god to whom they will one day give an account. Muslims don’t have a different god to whom they will one day give an account. Universalists do not have a different god to whom they will one day give an account. No, regardless of whatever religion a person claims or whatever name they have given to a so-called god that doesn’t even exist, the fact remains that every person on Earth has one God to whom they will one day give an account, and this one God’s name is ‘Jesus’. Phil 2:9-11- “Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ESV
Jesus is the only Messiah that mankind has, for He is the only God that mankind has, regardless of what anyone claims or whatever name someone has come up with that he or she claims is the god that they worship. Again, there are no other gods in existence. There is no such thing as another god besides the God of the Bible. Yes, there are deceiving spirits. And yes, there is a devil, who acts like the god of this world (a ‘little g’ god), and who wants to be worshiped like God, and who is the ‘pusher’ behind every false religion.
But when you hear of other religions and other gods, we have to think clearly and we have to clearly realize that these people are being deceived by some some spirit that is working for the same spirit that deceived mankind’s first parents in the Garden of Eden.
And not only are they being deceived, they are also being held captive and they need to be rescued. And we are the rescuers. God has appointed us to be His rescuers of those being held captive by the devil and false beliefs. They need to be rescued by the Gospel of truth and be saved by the Lord of truth, the one and only God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And how all of this should affect us is the same way that it affects God. 2 Peter 3:9- “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” NIV We don’t want anyone to perish either. We should have compassion on people around us…on people around the world, who may be caught up in false religions and false beliefs, who have not yet been born again into a saved relationship with Jesus Christ.
The world around us needs to know that there is only one God, and there is only one Savior, and there is only one way to have a saved relationship with the one God and one Savior. And that is to give your life to the one God in repentance and to receive the one God, Jesus Christ, into your life as your Savior.
So let’s each find ways to help others find out how they too can have this saved relationship with the one and only God and Savior in this world.
1. Tim Chaffey, Unity of the Bible, answersingenesis.org