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The Old Testament Lesson

The Old Testament lesson is how easy it is to become separated from God and how difficult it is to be restored to God without Jesus the Christ.

The Bible is divided into three sections. The first section is "Someone Is Coming!" - Genesis to Malachi, "Someone Is Here!! - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and "Someone Is Coming Again! - Acts to Revelation.

While each of the three sections contain many life physical and spiritual lessons, each section has a chief lesson. As we read each of the sections from beginning to end we see the main lesson unfold.

We see the Old Testament beginning in Genesis with God creating the heavens and the earth for a home for the family that He intends to bring forth. The family He brings forth looks like Him, the family, mankind, carries His Image. It is not a physical image because God is a spirit and has no visible shape or boundaries, it is a spiritual image, the soul, housed in a specially constructed discernible body.

The created man has all the same characteristics of God but on a much lesser scale. He can love, he can hate, he can create, he can destroy and so on. And man is also sin free. Sin is any act against God, other men, or oneself. When Adam and Eve were "born" they were sinless, in complete fellowship with God. God spent time in with the man in the glorious garden He had created for the man.

But in order to be in the "image" of God man had to have the power of choice, the power to make decisions. To give man the power of choice He put ONE tree amongst all the other trees in the garden and told the man, "Do not eat of that tree, for in the day you do, you will die."

Man could choose not to be with God and enjoy God's fellowship and blessings. If man chose to not be side by side in fellowship with the Creator of everything seen who met their every need all they had to do was simply avoid the one tree out of many the Creator told him to not touch. The Bible says God looked at everything and declared it "VERY good." There was no evil in the garden, no sin, everything was pure and completely righteous.

Then Satan came into the Garden and guided Eve into eating of the tree.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6 NKJV)

22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24 NKJV)

Since they chose to separate themselves from God's fellowship they lost the blessings of God and by being denied access to the tree of life they lost eternal life on earth, they physically died and they lost fellowship with God, they spiritually died. The Bible tells of the two kinds of death, physical and spiritual. Since God is a spirit, John 4:24, he has no lungs, no need to breathe, what God breathed into man's nostrils to give him life had to be a part of God Himself. Being a part of God Himself, man will never cease to exist, he will always exist somewhere. Man will either exist with God or without Him and His blessings. Existing without God is unimaginably horrendous, Luke 16:19-31.

This period of God's interaction with man from creation to man's removal from the Garden is generally referred to as the Innocence Dispensation. Since man had committed no sin he was innocent of sin. By disobeying God, man went against God and became guilty of sin. Since God has no sin and cannot be in the presence of sin, sin separates man from God.

The Dispensation of Innocence shows how little it takes to separate our fellowship with God.

The Dispensation of Innocence was ended at the moment God began explaining the consequences of their disobedience. At that point they were no longer innocent. They then knew sin and its wages, Romans 6:23. In essence, they were saying by their actions, "We can make our own decisions!" God then left them on their own to do just that. God left them to do what seemed right to them, whatever they accepted as right, or to please their conscience. This next period of God's dealing with His creation is commonly called the "Dispensation of Conscience."

Left to his own devices in the Dispensation of Conscience with each person doing what seemed right to him mankind became more and more evil until one man, Noah, found favor with God and God regetted creating man.

13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.” 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did. (Genesis 6:13-21 NKJV)

The flood came and destroyed every living thing on the earth and a new creation began with Noah.

And The Flood ended the Dispensation of Conscience. The Dispensation of Conscience shows how our conscience cannot maintain our fellowship with God.

O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. (Jeremiah 10:23 NKJV)

A new dispensation began as well, commonly called the Dispensation of Human Government. In this dispensation, families, or groups directed man. Like the dispensations before this one also showed ineffective. Nations arose who were constantly at war with other nations.

The Dispensation of Human Government was followed by the Dispensation of Promise. The Dispensation of Promise began when God promised Abraham, a faithful seeker then known as Abram, that he would have a son in his old age. This son would be one "in whom all nations of the earth would be blessed." The descendant of this son, Isaac, would be Jesus.

15 Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

The Dispensation of Promise continues on with the descendants of Abraham becoming Israel, a great nation, under the bondage of Egypt. God sends 80 year old Moses who fled Egypt for fear of his life 40 years before because killed an Egyptian who was beating an Israelite to bring them out of Egypt. Moses and Aaron his brother, under God's direction and miracles, bring the Israelites out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses and Aaron toward the Land of Promise God gave Abraham many years before.

The Dispensation of Promise shows that God will redeem His people.

Once God has redeemed His people from Egypt the Dispensation of Law begins. God delivers the Law of Moses to Moses. It is called interchangeably the Law of the Lord, the Law of God, or the Law of Moses. It contains many absolutely required spiritual commandments, judgments, and directions on daily life on how to be in fellowship with God directly from God Himself. While requiring absolute obedience there is no way anyone could completely obey the Law. The Law also contained provisions, mandated sacrifices, for putting off punishments to a later time. The Law could not take away sin.

The Dispensation of Law showed that the letter of any specifically detailed law could not bring about fellowship with God. Once sin was committed it could not be removed.

This brings us to the end of the Old Testament and its teaching about how easy it is to lose fellowship with God and how difficult it is to get it back. It only takes one sin to separate one from the blessings of fellowship with God.

God is under no obligation to forgive transgressions against Him and His. He is not the One who needs forgiving. Yet, He does as He has promised Abraham. Now we come to the Dispensation of Grace where God shows His unmerited favor to those seeking Him.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John, the gospels, cover the Dispensation of Grace. Nowhere in any of the 4 books is anyone condemned for their sins. They stand together as their own section of the Bible as the life and death of Jesus. They are either the conclusion of the Old Testament pointing to the need for Jesus or the foundation and blueprint for the New Testament Kingdom. You cannot have the Old Testament or the New Testament without the gospels.

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Galatians 3:24-25)

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16 NKJV)

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

I Corinthians 15:1-4 defines the "gospel" as the good news about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His sinless existence, sacrifice and resurrection all prove His position as the Son of God.

So, how do we appropriately respond to this great news?

In Romans 1:5, Paul explains that the Apostles were given authority "to bring about obedience of the faith." Later, in Romans 6:17, he expresses relief because the Christians he was writing to had "become obedient to the standard of teaching." In this, we see that salvation, while certainly an act of grace on God's part, is not passively obtained.

Instead, we must obey the Lord's instruction to:

1. Hear the Good News. Romans 10:13 shows us that we must hear the gospel so that we know how to obey. We must first receive the good news through the teaching of God's word.

2. Believe the gospel. A personal belief in the gospel is essential to God's plan of salvation: "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). We must believe that the one true God of the Bible sent his son Jesus from heaven as a once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world. We must believe in Jesus' sinless life, death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead. This is the gospel, as defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

3. Confess (Proclaim) Jesus is Lord. Romans 10:9 states that "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Many teach a confession of sins prior to the point of salvation. However, the Bible teaches that we are to confess Jesus as the master of our lives.

4. Repent. The Christian walk requires a complete 180-turn away from a life of sin to a life of righteousness. The Bible calls this act repentance. The word repentance literally means "a change of mind and of action." When a person commits his life to Jesus, he must turn away from their old ways and habits in order to follow a new Master.

5. Be Baptized. The Bible is very clear regarding the necessity and role of water baptism in the plan of salvation. We are told: "repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38). Through our submission in waters of baptism our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ, and we put on Christ like a garment (Gal. 3:26-27). We do so to share in Jesus death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5).

6. Rise to walk a new life, "be born again." Just as Jesus was buried and rose from the dead, we must also rise from the watery grave of baptism to walk a new life in Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:27, Rom. 6:3-4).

Have you obeyed the gospel?

Why hesitate to submit your life to Jesus Christ? If you would like to talk more about the gospel or are ready to be added to the Lord's church in baptism, please contact us. We can study more with you or help put you in touch with a church in your area!

If we can be of assistance in any way, feel free to email or call, 706 816-7190

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For Further Information Contact Marv Walker 706 816-7190
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