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First Impressions of the Bible and the Gospel
by Alex M. Lindsay
Reference: I Peter 1:3 – 2:3

Our Scripture reading starts with blessing God for His great salvation which He has given us through Jesus Christ. Here's what we can glean from I Peter 1:3-9:

  • We have a living hope because Jesus is alive - risen from the dead.
  • We have an incorruptible inheritance - reserved in heaven for us.
  • We are kept by the power of God through faith - by God's salvation which is going to be revealed in plain sight at the last time.
  • Presently we are being refined by sufferings and trials, but this will give way to a glorious eternal end.

The entire Bible is dedicated to this message. Yet people often get a wrong impression about the Bible. They see it as a book of old stories about people with strange names. They see a book full of rules / do's and don'ts - mostly don'ts. They think of the Bible as a book of religious rites and ceremonies. They feel smothered with oppressive rules and religion. The Bible appears, to many, as a book of "poetic fluff" that is irrelevant to the life that they want to live. Religious people don't help the matter either. Their ignorance of the Bible, their lack of loving spirituality and their inconsistent living adds to the confusion about what the Bible is actually saying.

  • Our text tells us that the Bible's heritage originates with the Spirit of Christ speaking through the writers of the Old Testament (I Peter 1:10-12).
  • God's gracious desire is to free us from the corrupting power of sin and make us free to be like Him (I Peter 1:13-16).
  • We need to humbly call upon the Father and receive the salvation that is provided for us by the death of Christ on the Cross and His resurrection from the dead (I Peter 1:17-21).
  • This will result in a purified soul (mind, heart, spirit) - a child-like faith that loves to obey God's ways and loves other believers as brothers and sisters. The Word of God will bring about a new birth! But the Word of God must be explained in the context of the Gospel of Jesus Christ / the Gospel of Grace - not a code of laws and rituals (I Peter 1:22-25).
  • With a pure and sincere desire, like a hungry babe, we need to feed on God's Word and learn how good and gracious He is (I Peter 2:1-3).

The Bible is a collection of sixty-six books which have been written over a period of about 1500 years. Around forty people wrote these books. Most of them did not know each other. They lived at different times and lived in different places. They did not collaborate. The writers of Scripture did not claim to be the author of what they said. They knew that they were writing, under the influence of God's Spirit. They said things that they could not know on their own. Prophecies were made, that they did not fully understand, but later were fulfilled.
See II Samuel 23:2; I Peter 1:10-12; II Peter 1:16-21.

The teachings of the Bible, when put together, tell us the story of:

  • God creating us.
  • Man losing his relationship with God because of sin.
  • God promising to restore that relationship, to believers, through a Savior who would:
    • Pay for the penalty of our sins.
    • Make us free from sin's power and Satan's deception.
    • Organize us into a working force of ambassadors, to spread the Gospel to others, making more disciples (followers) who will love and serve the Lord.
    • Create a new world - free from Satan, sin, and death.

The Bible is a book about Jesus Christ. It teaches us who He is, what He has done for us, and what He will yet do for us. See John 1:1-17; I John 1:1-4; 5:9-10; John 5:37-47; Romans 1:1-4, 14-17; I Corinthians 1:18-2:5; 15:1-4, 20-26; Galatians 1:3-4; 4:4-6; Colossians 2:1-10; Acts 17:30-31.

The Bible is a book about Salvation from our sin. We receive the forgiveness of sin. This also gives us freedom from fear, and from the bondage of sin. Sin should no longer control us.
See II Timothy 3:15-17; John 3:16-21; 8:30-36; Luke 24:44-48; I Corinthians 15:1-4; Acts 26:13-20; II Timothy 1:7-12; I John 1:4-10; 2:1-6; 4:7 - 5:5; Psalm 119:9-11.

The Bible is about knowing and loving God. We should have a fruitful life of love, joy, and peace. See Deuteronomy 6:4-6; Jeremiah 9:23-24; Psalm 1:1-3; 23:1-6; 37:1-11; Matthew 5:3-9; 22:36-40; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 4:4-9.

The Bible is about loving each other and working together.
The church is like a family and becomes a team, serving the Lord in the work of the Gospel. See Matthew 28:18-20; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:1-5; 15:1-7; II Corinthians 5:14-21; Philippians 2:1-16; Colossians 3:1-17.

Originally delivered October 29, 2017
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