Bible Study Plans — DiGangi

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Vocation

Vocation

06 Vocation.mp3 (transcribed by Sonix)

Introduction: Lesson 6 vocation.

Dr. DiGangi: Jesus Christ is sent by God, to draw us back to himself. There's a very fascinating passage of Scripture found at the beginning of the gospel according to Mark. Let's take a look at it. It's the basis for this particular study. The Gospel of Mark Chapter One at verse 14. After John was put in prison, That's John the Baptist Of course. Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, He said. The Kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news. As Jesus walked beside the sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake for they were fishermen. Come. follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men. At once, they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat preparing their nets. Without delay, He called them and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. Now in this passage of the Word of God. We find some great lessons. We need to consider them carefully. Here we have a sample of the message of Jesus. Jesus declares, the Kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news. Jesus says that the Kingdom of God is near and that men must prepare to enter that kingdom.

Dr. DiGangi: How do you enter that kingdom that is drawing near? How can you participate in its blessings? Well, you need a passport to get into that Kingdom. And that passport must be stamped in two ways. It must declare that we have repented for sin and that we have believed the good news. In order for you and me to enter the Kingdom of God and share the blessings of that kingdom, our passport must be stamped with these words. This individual has repented, This individual has believed the gospel. In other words repentance and faith must be written into our passport before we are eligible to enter the kingdom that is drawn near. It matters not if we are rich or poor. It matters not if we are university trained or have barely gone through elementary school. It matters not if we're blue collar or white collar in our work. It matters not if we are male or female, young or old. It matters not if we are sick or in very strong health. We cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless our passport is clearly marked and shows that we have repented for sin and believed in the Gospel.

Dr. DiGangi: The first Mark then is that of repentance. Jesus says repent. Notice that Jesus does not say do penance. There is some people who feel that the way for them to earn the forgiveness of God is to do penance. To starve themselves to do without food or drink, to mutilate themselves to go up a pair of sacred stairs rung after rung until their knees are red with blood. Or to have themselves whipped across the back. Or to sit in an uncomfortable posture for days on end reciting and mumbling prayers. Jesus does not say do penance, he says repent. What is repentance? Repentance is not a mere set of external actions that penance. Repentance begins in the human heart. When we really repent we have a conscience that has been stabbed by the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. When we repent we feel pain in our heart because we have broken God's law and we have been less than what we know we should be. When we repent we confess our sins. It is easy to recognize somebody else's sins. It it's easy to say that somebody else should confess his sins, but when I repent, I feel uncomfortable for my sin and I acknowledge my sin before the Lord. Repentance must be a very personal business. Moreover I must not only confess my sin but I must feel sorry for my sin. Some people are sorry because they have been exposed as sinners. We are to feel sorry, not because we've been caught, but because we have sinned. To feel sorrow for sin is not quite enough. We must also hate our sin, be disgusted with our sin, turn our back on our sin, and turn ourselves toward God, seeking his forgiveness, asking for his mercy, open to receive his grace, and praying that with the help of God, we will go and walk in the path of obedience from this day forward. In the old testament book of the prophet Joel who must have lived more than 26 or 27 hundred years ago. we find him delivering a message from God which can be expressed like this. I don't want penance I want repentance. Don't rend your garments but rend your hearts in the sight of God. Jesus says that we cannot really enter the Kingdom of God unless we have repented.

Dr. DiGangi: In the second place. Jesus makes it crystal clear that we must not only feel sorrow for sin and hatred for sin and experience a break with sin and turn to God but we must dare to believe the gospel. we must believe the good news. Those who went to the kingdom are not only a people of repentance but a people of confidence. They have confidence in the good news. They believe the gospel. In the opening chapter to the gospel according to John, John 1 starting at verse 10, we read some very interesting words. We're told that Jesus came to his own and his world, the world that he had made, didn't even recognize him. He came to his own people and his own received Him not. He was despised and rejected. But to those who receive him, to them God gives the right to belong to his family and be known as the children of God. Why? Because they believe on Christ's name. They have confidence in all that his name represents. They trust his person. So we see that to receive Christ, is to believe in him, to trust him. Faith is receiving Christ. How do you receive a guest? Well that guest comes to your home. He may knock on your door and then you open the door. Jesus said, Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door. I will come into him and we'll have supper with him and he will have fellowship with me. To believe is to open your life to receive Christ. It also means that you rely on him, and on him alone, to deal with your basic problem, the problem of sin. You must rely on Christ 100 percent for your salvation. You must not dare to add anything to what Christ has done to save you from your sin. Either he paid all of your debt or there still remains some part of that debt for you to pay. The Bible says that Jesus paid it all and we owe everything to him. We must let him be our savior from start to finish. In fact the work of our salvation is finished. What we have to do is rely on Christ, rest on Christ, and let him do for us what we could never do for ourselves. To believe means to receive Christ, to rely on Christ, and to reject any idea of having merits of our own. Our self righteousness must be crucified dead and buried. If you and I have any standing in the presence of God it's not because of our goodness, but because of the goodness of the Lord Jesus. If you and I have access into the presence of a holy God, it is not because we deserve it but because Christ has deserved it. And he introduces us to the father. We must have faith. Believing the gospel. Receiving Christ. Relying on Christ and rejecting and renouncing any idea of human merit and certainly self-righteousness.

Dr. DiGangi: The message of Christ then can be summarized very briefly. The kingdom is near. Get ready to enter it. Have your passport stamped with repentance and faith. But in addition to the message of Christ we have the call of Christ. Jesus issues a call to discipleship. He calls two sets of brothers Simon Peter and Andrew and also James and John Jesus called them to be his followers. He asked them to go after him. He asked them to leave what they were doing and entrust their future to him. To put their destiny in his hands. That is the call to discipleship. Now you and I are not by the sea of Galilee and our name may not be Simon or Andrew or James or John. We may not be fishermen either. And yet Jesus still issues his call and he invites us to be his followers and entrust our destiny into his hands. He calls us to be his disciples how does Jesus do this? I traveled to the land of Italy several months ago and met a man who said I was sitting in a bar in a tavern and your radio broadcast was on and I listened to what you had to say. And at the end of the broadcast they gave an address and a telephone number and I contacted those people and they visited me and because of that I have heard the call of Christ. And today I am a follower of Jesus and saw all the members of my family. Some people hear the call of Christ through a radio broadcast. Some may hear it through a cassette recording. Some may hear it through a record. Others may hear it through a noted evangelist in a great crusade or campaign. Some hear it through the preaching of the word by the pastor of a church. Some hear the call of Christ through a friend. Some hear the call of Christ when God speaks to their conscience and reminds them of his word. Our Lord has many ways of calling people, but he always calls us to follow him. Christ calls us to discipleship and he does it by means of his Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who convinces us of our sin and causes us to see are in need of turning to the Savior. It is the Holy Spirit who enlightens our mind and enables us to see the attractiveness of Jesus. But we should leave everything to follow him. It is the Holy Spirit who enabled us to be born again. Who takes away the rebellion of our hearts and wills and encourages us to turn to Jesus and follow Christ. It is the Holy Spirit working in our heart in our mind in our will. Who persuades us to come to Christ, to choose Christ, to embrace Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who tells us that if we go to Jesus he will not cast this way, He will not turn us aside, He will welcome us into his fellowship and into his family. And once we have come to Jesus, then we ourselves are meant to be the means through which others will be called to repentance. Others will be invited to believe the Gospel. Others will be drawn to become followers of Christ.

Dr. DiGangi: Jesus wants us to follow him. Jesus wants us to become fishers of men. We are to come to Christ and through us. Others are to be attracted to him. By the words of witness that we speak, by the kind of life that we live, in our families, Through our daily work, as citizens of the country to which we belong, we can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world and attract others to follow Christ. Repent and believe the good news and follow me. These were the words of Jesus then. These are the words of Christ, today.

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Mediation

Mediation

05 Meditation.mp3

Lesson Five: Mediation

Sin is a description of what has gone wrong with the human race. Grace is God's wonderful merciful, kind disposition in dealing with sin and giving us a remedy for it. Sin is a disobedience to the law of God. Sin deserves the judgment of God. Sin brings corruption into human character. A humanity that has sinned is a humanity in a state of misery and death. In a letter to the Romans Chapter 5 verse 12 the apostle Paul says that by means of one man, namely Adam, sin entered into the world and because sin entered into the world deaf also came into the world like some evil cloud sin and death cover the human race and blot out the beautiful warm clear light of the sun. We call Jesus the great physician because he knows what has gone wrong with human nature and he examines us and he tells us what is wrong. He says out of the heart of sinful man come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, all other forms of sexual unfaithfulness, robberies, false testimonies, evil speakings, these are the things that come from a sinful heart and infect all of life. Sin brings misery and it brings death.

Those who sinned in the book of Genesis in the Garden of Eden lost their fellowship with God. God wanted to be their friend. They made themselves God's enemies. They broke company with him. Their fellowship with God was fragmented. Instead of drawing near to God they ran away from God. They sought to hide from his presence. They lost paradise on earth. They became subject to the condemnation of God. What we earn by our sin is death. The wages of sin is death. And in the final judgment Jesus will say Depart from me into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Now this is a very terrible picture. Sin enters the world, sin ruins human character. Sin separates us from God and from each other. Sin deserves the judgment of God. Sin ends in spiritual death from which in the next world there can be no resurrection. Now that is all there was to the story. That would be bad news for modern man. But the story doesn't end there. There's good news. There's the gospel there are great tidings of great joy. God was not willing to leave mankind to perish in its state of sin and misery and judgment.

God reveals his gracious purpose to save sinners to set us free from our sins. To get us out of our misery. To suspend and even cancel the sentence that hangs over our heads. And he reveals his plan to do it through a very special person. A person who will come between us and the God against whom we have sinned. A person who will lay one hand on us and another hand on God and bring us together. God's plan is to save us through a go between, through a mediator. What is the name of this mediator? The Bible tells us very plainly. His name is Jesus Christ. He comes to Earth from God in order to lift us and draw us back to God. It's as though God were on one side of a very deep valley and we were on the other and we had no way of getting to God. So God has come to us and built the bridge. And over that bridge we can then crossover and get back to God. The name of that bridge, the name of that mediator or Go-Between is Jesus Christ. He is absolutely necessary for our salvation. We cannot be saved a part from this mediator, Jesus Christ.

Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me. He used the one mediator between heaven and earth between a holy God and sinful people like us. Now in doing his work as a mediator Jesus Christ is a prophet, priest, and king. And just what do these terms mean? Let me try to explain them very briefly very simply and I trust, clearly. Our mediator Jesus Christ is a prophet. He is a spokesman for God. He reveals to us the will of God for our salvation. He does this in various ways. He does it for example through storytelling. He tells us that we are like a young son who wanted to see the world and decide matters for himself. He wanted to get out from under the shadow of his father, so he asked for his share of the inheritance and he went into a far country and there he wasted his inheritance in wild living. It felt good while it lasted but finally he was reduced to poverty to rags to misery and he had to do a job that nobody else wanted in order to survive to look after pigs in a foreign country. But one day, he saw how wrong he had been and he decided to go home again. And as soon as he started out for home his father saw him and his father ran toward him and his father threw his arms around him and his father forgave him and his father took him back. Why did Jesus tell the story of the Prodigal Son and The Merciful Father? To reveal to was God's will for our salvation. To make plain to us the fact that if we turn to God, God will not reject us, God will receive us. Jesus is a prophet revealing to us God's will for our salvation, assuring us that if we come back to God, God will more than meet us half way, he will come out to us and receive us to himself.

Jesus is not only a prophet who reveals God's Will and Way for our salvation to encourage us to get back to God. He is also a priest. What did a priest do in the Old Testament? A priest would serve as the representative of a sinful people who wanted to get close to God but felt that their sin was a barrier, a block in the way. People had sinned and yet they wanted to draw near to God and they could not draw near to God unless that sin were to be taken away and the only way for sin to be taken away is for it to be punished. A God who is holy a God who is just cannot tolerate sin. He must punish that sin. If God were to punish the sin of sinful people they would all die. God was not willing that people should perish so he provided his own sinless son, to take the lead burden of our sin on himself and to offer God a sacrifice that would be punished in our place so that we could then go to God without the barrier of sin. In between what was the sacrifice that Jesus our high priest offered to God. It was the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish and without spot. It was the sacrifice of himself. Christ died for our sins. He was innocent and yet was considered as though he were guilty because he took our place and was punished for us. That is why John the Baptist said of Jesus, behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus Christ is our high priest and our sacrifice. He offers his own life on the altar of Calvary to satisfy the justice of God to remove the barrier of sin, So that God now can look upon us and be reconciled and we can go to him and be forgiven. In order for us sinners to draw near to God the barrier of sin must be taken away and the one who removes that barrier and absorbs our punishment baring our sins in his own body on the tree is Jesus Christ. That's what the prophet Isaiah had predicted more than 700 years before Good Friday. He said that someday there would come a marvelous person who would be absolutely sinless and would be willing to sacrifice himself for those who were sinful. He would be wounded for our transgressions bruised for our iniquities on him would be the chastisement of our peace and with His stripes we would be healed. All we like sheep had gone astray we had selfishly stupidly turned every one to his own way but the Lord laid on him. The iniquity of us all.

Jesus loved us and gave himself for us. This priest Jesus not only all frees himself once and for all in sacrifice at the cross but now he has risen from the dead. He has ascended to heaven. He is it God's right hand and he hasn't forgotten about us. And he pleads for us and he prays for us and he intercedes for us. And whenever Satan would accuse us in the sight of God Jesus says my sacrifice has already covered that situation. Their debt has been paid by me in full at the Cross lay not this into their charge, I have already atoned for it. How wonderful it is that when God planned to save us, he gave us the mediator Jesus to be our prophet making known to us God's will to save us. Our priest who offered us sacrifice for sin and now lives to intercede for repentance sinners a Christ who is not only prophet, not only priest, but also King. The Christ of the Bible is not only a victim who is despised and rejected of men he is also a victor who has defeated death and destroyed the works of the devil. And we need to recover this concept of the kingly Christ. Too often we think of a sweet sentimental Jesus who like a little baby is everlastingly cradled in the arms of his mother. Well that certainly was the case at the beginning of his human life story. But where is Jesus now? He is no longer a little sweet sentimental baby in the arms of Mary. He is on the throne of the universe and he has the whole world in his hands. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is at the right hand of the majesty on high exalted to be a prince and a savior. And we need to recover this biblical picture of a Christ who not only reveals and redeems but reigns. Christ is Lord. He has defeated all our enemies and so when Satan tempts us, we must remember that he has been defeated by Christ and if we rely on Christ we too shall overcome. And so when we face death we know that death is not the last word because Jesus has defeated death which is our final enemy and therefore death for us is not a dead end but a door through which we pass into the nearer presence of God. Jesus is Victor and not merely victim. Christ has conquered and we can be more than conquerors through him that loved us because he lives, we too shall live. And so we see that through one man, Adam, sin entered into the world and sin brought with it moral corruption and moral corruption deserved the judgment of God. But now through another person who the second Adam through Jesus Christ who kept God's will perfectly, righteousness has been made available and instead of death, life. The Gospel invites us to put our confidence in this prophet, this priest, this King. Jesus our mediator, Jesus our Savior and Lord.

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Incarnation

Incarnation

04 Incarnation.mp3

Incarnation

When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they began to experience the consequence of their disobedience. They began to die. Their personality began to deteriorate. They became subject to God's punishment. And yet in the midst of condemnation and punishment God gave Adam and Eve a wonderful promise and the promise was that some day the paradise they had lost would be regained. And the satanic serpent that had brought about their downfall would himself be defeated. This wonderful promise of God is found in Genesis 3 at verse 15. God says I will put enmity between you that is the serpent and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring. The offspring of the woman will crush the serpents head. Even though the serpent would strike at this child's heel.

That prophesy, that promise, took centuries to find fulfillment but it was brought to pass by the Providence and the power of God. And the story of how Genesis 3:15 became a reality is found in the gospel according to Matthew Chapter 1 starting at Verse 18. There are two stories of the birth of Jesus in the New Testament. One of these is found in the opening chapter of The Gospel According to Luke. Luke of course was a physician by profession and he retells his story from the viewpoint of the Virgin Mary. It is likely that Mary would have confided in Luke as a physician and that Luke, with her permission and with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would then put that story into the opening chapters of his gospel.

In the Book of Matthew, However, we have the story of the birth of Jesus. From the viewpoint not of Mary but of Joseph. Listen to it this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, before they lived as husband and wife, She was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her betrothed husband engaged to be married was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to terminate the arrangement to divorce her quietly, but after he had considered this an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said Joseph Son of David do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. Why? Because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet. The Virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel which means God is with us. When Joseph woke up he did with the Angel of the Lord had commanded him took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union no sexual relation with her until she gave birth to a son. And then he gave him the name Jesus.

Now there's a short story but it has a very long meaning. Let me share with you some of the things that I find in this passage by way of Christian teaching. Right off let me say that what we have here is a miracle. It's not a mere story. It is not a parable. It is certainly not a fable. It is presented as history, involving real people, Joseph and Mary and a real pregnancy by the power of the Holy Spirit and the real birth of a genuine child named Jesus. And all of this happens not in the usual way of procreation and conception and birth but by a miracle a direct divine intervention on the part of God. We speak of the virgin birth of Christ. It was not the birth of Christ that was virgin but his conception, and this by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now what's the meaning of it? Is this given in the Bible as a biological curiosity? Not at all. This is the Bible's way of describing the fact that when the savior was to come into the world he would not be the product of the procreative power of Joseph, lest mankind should take the credit for producing a savior, God wanted to make it clear that the Savior was not the result of man's power but of God's gift. So the story of the virgin birth of Christ is really the dramatization the acting out in the history of that tremendous statement in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. The Savior is not man's achievement but God's gift. What we do is not earn our salvation but receive it from the hand of God.

Notice also, that the child who is born to be our savior has a real human nature. He is conceived. He lives within the womb of the Virgin Mary for the full term of nine months and then is born as a child is recognized as a son. The New Testament tells us of his humanity. He is not only born but he grows, and he learns, and he walks, and he rests, and he gets tired like we get tired, and he can fall asleep as we fall asleep. He eats bread and broiled fish and a honeycomb. He drinks water by Jacob's well. He knows the pain of hunger and thirst in the wilderness. He can go to a wedding feast and Cana of Galilee and has a very social being had a good time. He can go to the funeral of his dear friend Lazarus and outside his gravestone he can weep tears of sorrow. He knows what it's like to face temptation. Being tempted or the devil in the wilderness. He knows what it's like to be deserted by one's friends, betrayed by a trusted follower, falsely accused. He knows all about Joy, all about sorrow, all about pain. He knows the meaning of suffering. He knows what it is for his body to be broken in his blood to be shed. He knows what it is to give up the spirit and die. He has a real human nature and we've got to take that seriously. We need to understand that to assure ourselves that Jesus understands us. In some religions people are discouraged from going directly to God in prayer, because the argument is God is too big, God is too severe, God is too distant and you have to approach him through all sorts of mediators up the ladder until you finally reach heaven because God is too big and important to be concerned with the likes of you. What is slander. What a distortion. What a misrepresentation of the character of God. We can go directly to God. He understands what it's all about. He has visited this planet in the person of Jesus Christ. He knows all about hunger. He knows about thirst, he knows about joy, He knows about sorrow, He knows about temptation, He knows about suffering and therefore he can understand or he can sympathize with us and we should be confident of this when we turn to him. Our God is not remote Our God has come to us nearer than hands and feet closer to us than breathing, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh. He became man. We have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. We need to remember that, it will give us comfort when we need it most.

But the child who is born of Mary after the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit is not only a man just like us in every respect except sin. He is also God manifest in the flesh. I hope it hasn't escaped your attention that he is known as Emmanuel which means, God has come down from heaven to be with us. Jesus Christ is truly human. He is also truly divine. He is Emmanuel. He is God, living with us, in the closest possible way. Here is a close encounter of the best kind. Emmanuel, God with us.

Jesus is aware of being a man. Jesus is aware of being God manifest in the flesh. That's how come he has such great moral authority. He can interpret the law of the Old Testament. He can say with a very authority of God in the Old Testament murder was forbidden, but I say to you that even if you've never wielded a switchblade if you hate in your heart you have committed murder. In the Old Testament and the law of God it was said You shall not commit adultery. But I tell you that if you look upon a woman with sexual desire which is not your wife, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. Only God could reinterpret the moral law that way. And Jesus did it. The people of Jesus day said, who can forgive sins but only God? And yet Jesus dared to forgive sin. He was aware of being God. And that is why he could do the work that only God could do. Sin is breaking God's law and only the god whose law we have broken can forgive us. And yet Jesus dares to forgive, telling us that he regards himself as being God. God alone is the author of life and God alone raises the dead. And yet this is precisely what Jesus did in his days on earth and what he promises to do on the last day at the end of human history. The resurrection of the dead like the creation of life is only God's work and Jesus does it. Moreover only God can give final judgment. You and I can look at outward actions, only God probes the thoughts and the intense of the human heart. Only God knows motives which are hidden in the secret places of the soul. Jesus knows what is in our hearts. He knows our motives as well as our actions. Therefore he can judge us righteously. He can do what only God can do because he himself is God. True humanity, true divinity.

One final word. He has a saving mission. He has come into the world to save his people from their sins. That is the meaning of the name Jesus, it means Jehovah saves. God saves. This is a faithful saying worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world, sinners to save. Not merely to teach parables wonderful as they are, not merely to heal sickness great as that work of mercy is, but to save sinners. How Jesus saves us from our sins will be the subject of our next in the series of studies.

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Transgression

Transgression

03 Transgression.mp3

Transgression

If God is good and God created the heavens and the earth and looked at his handiwork and pronounced it to be good. How come there is so much disorder in the world? How come there is ugliness? How come there is moral evil in the created universe? Now you know the Bible does not speculate on the origin of moral evil in the world. It puts all the emphasis on the remedy for this moral evil. It puts the accent not on man's disgrace but on God's good grace. And yet the Bible does tell us something as to how sin entered the human race. It has to do with the story of Adam and Eve recorded in the first three chapters of The Book of Genesis. And we need to get the facts clearly fixed in our minds in order that we might see the seriousness of sin in order that we might discover traces of sin in our selves and come to repentance in order that we might look to Jesus alone for our salvation. If we have a shallow view of sin we will not really sense any need of a savior. What then does the Bible teach on the subject of sin on the entrance of sin into the mainstream of the human race?

The Bible tells us that God made Adam and Eve He made Adam and Eve for each other and for himself. He created them with freedom freedom to act in conformity to the will of God. Freedom to disregard the will of God. Freedom to rebel against the will of God. They were not compelled or coerced to obey him nor were they under obligation to continue sinning. The freedom of choice was theirs. But God also gave them along with their freedom a word of commandment. We read in Genesis 2 at Verse 15 that the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Incidentally I can't resist the comment here that our doctrine of work is based on this passage of the Word of God. It wasn't after Man sinned that God told him from now on you must work, before man fell into sin as part of God's original intention from man something that was good for humanity, God put man in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Work is one of the greatest blessings that God ever gave us.

It is our sin that turns work into drudgery and frustration. And the Lord God commanded the man. You are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For when you eat of it you will surely die.

Now do you see what God is saying? He is saying, If you disobey my commandment you will die, implying if you keep my commandment you will live. God makes a covenant with man, obey me and live, disobey me and die, obey me and you will win the prize of life, disobey me and you will be punished by death. God gave the commandment and then Satan the adversary of God through the instrumentality of the serpent spoke to the woman saw that through her he might reach Adam and cause both to sin. Sin is a transgression of the commandment of God. Sin is the failure to fulfill the demands of the commandment of God. We sin by doing what God has forbidden we sin by failing to do what God has required. Here in the book of Genesis God gave Adam an order. Later on in the book of Exodus in the 20th chapter God is going to give the people of Israel an order. He's going to express his will in ten tremendous commandments. And incidentally, nine of those ten commandments, only the one on the Sabbath being an exception,

nine of those Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament letters as binding on the believer on the Christian. So we had better pay very careful attention to them. What does God require of us? What does the revelation of His will for our life? You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make to yourself a graven image to bow down and worship that image in the place of God who is Spirit no idolatry. You must not take God's name in vain. You must use one day in every seven for rest in worship. You must honor father and mother. You must not commit murder. You must not commit adultery because otherwise the structure of the family would be utterly shaken and caused to collapse. You must not steal regarding the rights of private property. You must not bear false witness, God hates a lying tongue. You must not covet.

You must not look with greed and envy and jealousy on the possessions of others. God reveals His will in terms of commandments. If we do what God asks we live, if we disobey we are subject to punishment

And death. The essence of sin is disobedience to God. What about the consequence of sin?

The Bible tells us in the third chapter of Genesis that as soon as Adam and Eve had disobeyed God as soon as they had broken God's covenant or commandment they experienced a sense of shame, they experienced fear, they felt themselves to be guilty. Their conscience accused them, they ran away from God, they sought to hide from God, they tried to cover their nakedness by making for themselves a covering or apron of leaves. How many people there are in our day who are committing sin experienced the very same things? Shame, fear, guilt and accusing conscience running away from God trying to cover themselves no longer with fig leaves but with excuses of all sorts blaming somebody else for what they have done. Sooner or later, God who made us in His image and made us to live in fellowship with him and in obedience to him, will stir our conscience and convict us of our sin. For some that happens in this life and they are converted for others it will happen at the judgment before God's throne and then it will be no more time for repentance but only condemnation.

When God confronted Adam and Eve with their sin. What did they do? The Bible tells us what they did.

Adam blamed eve. Eve blamed the serpent. Neither Adam nor Eve were willing to confess their own fault and take the responsibility for the decision that they had made to disobey God. How is it with us? Sometimes people blame their heredity. I am the way I am because of what I inherited from my parents. And so we shift the blame from ourselves to them. Sometimes we blame our environment. It wasn't that we were bad but we were in bad company and bad company prevailed upon us as long as we shift the blame to our environment or to our heredity. We will never find the secret of forgiveness and inner peace. We must come to the point where we realize our own personal responsibility and in humility and with honesty we say God be merciful to me a sinner. When we sin there is no sense shifting the blame to somebody else. We must acknowledge our personal guilt. If we would receive God's personalized offer of pardon and peace. Adam and Eve sinned against God then ran away from God made excuses for themselves sought to blame others. But God is not mocked. God sees through our excuses God sees through our disguises God sees through our outward actions to our inward attitudes and he judges accordingly because Adam and Eve sinned against God,

the paradise they might have enjoyed became Paradise Lost and the infection of sin which entered into their lives now through successive generations has spread to the ends of the earth and there is no tribe. There is no society there is no nation which is not afflicted with sin or infected by moral evil. And that is why when you die are aware of what is wrong on the inside of us. We must go to God confess our faults and ask of him create in me a clean heart to God and renew within me a right spirit. I must dare to believe that if I confess my sins he is faithful and just to forgive me my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. The Bible reveals to us God. The God who is revealed in the Bible is a God of creation. He made us in his image. We abused our freedom from the very beginning by rebelling against God instead of submitting to him. But God is merciful, God is gracious, and he offers us to the word of the Gospel the forgiveness of sins.

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