GOD HAS A BEAUTIFUL PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us . . . " (John 1:1, 14).
The word "Word" in the preceding scriptures, comes from the Greek word "logos" and literally means "something said, including the thought or idea behind what was said." From this scripture, and many others, we understand that before God ever created one thing, He had a thought, an idea, a divine plan and purpose. The Bible reveals to us what that plan is:
"...He has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Ephesians 1:4).
Paul informs us in his letter to the Ephesians that in the beginning--before God ever created one thing, he already had a divine plan and purpose. That plan involved you and me. The plan of God was to bring into existence a group of people (His bride, His church) who have willingly chosen to love and serve Him.
"Us in Him" speaks of the close relationship that God wants to have with us. Because "God is love" (I John 4:8, 16), He loves everybody. But because He is holy, it is necessary "that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."
Isn't it exciting to know that God loves you? That you are so special to Him that He desires to have a close relationship with you--to be your best friend, to be your loving Father!
The Bible becomes a new book to us when we realize its purpose. For instance, the book of Genesis gives to us the beginning of God's plan of action: to bring into existence a group of people who would willingly chose to love and serve God, while the book of Revelation gives to us the fulfillment of that plan.
The first few words in the Bible are: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1).
God has no beginning, because He is the beginning (Revelation 21:6). What is meant by the words "In the beginning" in this verse, since He has no beginning? It simply means that in the beginning of God's plan of action, He created the heaven and the earth. The Bible does not give to us the history of God. It gives to us the history of His plan to choose a special people for Himself.
During the creative days, God created everything for man: the sun, moon, stars; the atmosphere; land and water on the earth; all of the vegetation and animal life (Genesis 1:1-25). All of these things were created for mankind. Only on the sixth creative day did God create something for Himself--mankind!
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:27).
Man did not evolve from other animals. He was created in the image of God. Angels are also created beings, but only man was created in the image of God. Man was created: body, soul, and spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23). Angels are spirit and soul, but possess no body. However, they have the ability to take on the appearance of human beings, and were often mistaken for them.
God took Adam, the man he created, and placed him in a beautiful garden. Everything he needed could be found in the garden. He gave man an occupation, because it is not good for man to be idle. So Adam was given the task of caring for the garden (Genesis 2:15). Though man was created to have fellowship with God, God also knew man's need for a wife:
"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should
be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused
a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his
ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the
LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the
man" (Genesis 2:18, 21-22).
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17).
Forced love and obedience is not love and obedience at all! God did not make man to be as a puppet or robot. Remember, His plan was to bring into existence a group of people who would willingly choose to love and serve him. The presence of the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden gave man the power of choice. Adam was warned that if he made the wrong choice, he would die.
Adam had everything he needed in the garden of Eden: food, a beautiful home, a wife--and most important, fellowship with God. God would come walking in the garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8).
The absence of negative things also was evident. No weeds, thorns,
thistles, because God had not yet cursed the ground (Genesis 3:17).
No sickness, sorrow, guilt, fear, because man still had a perfect relationship
with his Creator. The only negative factor in the garden was--Satan.
Satan, or Lucifer as he was called before his fall, was perhaps the most beautiful of all God's angels, but he became proud and rebellious. We read of this in Ezekiel 28:13-17 and Isaiah 14:12-15.
Probably each of the chief angels were given authority over one third of the angels of God. Satan was not satisfied with his high position. He said, "I will be like the most High." But God said, "Thou shalt be brought down to hell." When Satan was cast out of heaven, his angels were cast out also, because they evidently joined him in his rebellion against God. These fallen angels are the demon spirits all over the world today. These spirits are all a part of the organized kingdom of Satan (Matthew 12:26). The chief purpose of Satan and the millions of demons under his control is to defeat the plan and purpose of God. That is, to keep people from surrendering their lives fully to Jesus, and having a beautiful love relationship with Him. That is why when you and I want to live for God, Satan or one of his demons trys to hinder us. (In fact, the devil is not happy about you taking this Bible course, but Jesus is!) The demonic spirits, led by Satan, hinder people by:
1. Stealing the word of God out of the minds and hearts of people: "Then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12).
Sometimes people will hear the truth and be almost ready to receive it, but the devil will send people to discourage them from obeying God's Word, or he will put thoughts in their mind to discourage them from obedience to the Word.
2. Keep them from understanding the word of God: "The god
of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,
lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of
God, should shine unto them" (II Corinthians 4:4).
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:1-5).
Remember that Satan himself wanted to be like God. Now he promised Eve what he himself wanted, but never acquired: "ye shall be as gods." His promise, "Ye shall not surely die," was Satan's first lie to mankind, and he has been lying to us ever since!
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes,and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (verse 6).
Of the two, Adam's sin was worse. The woman was completely deceived by the serpent. She believed that what he said was true. Adam was not deceived--yet he partook of the forbidden fruit. Because of that:
"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).
"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
God had warned Adam, "The day that you eat of the fruit from
the tree of knowledge of good and evil you will surely die." Until
their sin in the garden, Adam and Eve remained the same age. From that
day, death begin to work in their body. That is, they began to grow
Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness after they ate of the forbidden fruit, so they sewed fig leaves together and made aprons for themselves. This was man's attempt to cover his own sin--a type of self-righteousness. But God covered them with the skins of two animals that had to be slain for this purpose. On that day, God instituted the substitutionary sacrifice system. If a man sinned, he was required to kill an animal, and offer it as a sin offering unto God. The Bible declares: "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). But God made a way for a man to be saved by killing an animal. The animal was actually his substitute. The blood of the animal was shed, instead of his blood.
The blood of animals does not take away sins. Only the blood of Jesus
Christ can take away our sins! (Hebrews 10:4-10). The Jews in the Old
Testament all understood that their sacrifice did not take away their
sins, but was a temporary substitute until the true Lamb of God came
into the world to offer His life as a sacrifice for the sin of the world
(John 1:29). Their faith was not directed toward the animal being offered,
but toward the One who would come and shed His blood for all mankind.
They demonstrated their faith in the coming Messiah, and the sacrifice
He would make, by offering their animal sacrifice.
To offer a thanksgiving offering when a person had sin in their life
was the same as saying, "I don't need to repent. I'm all right
like I am!"
Jesus came to demonstrate His love for us, and woo and win us to Himself: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die" (John 12:32-33).
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us" (I John 3:16).
When God wanted to prove to you and me how great is His love towards us, He didn't just drop pretty words from heaven, "World, I love you." He demonstrated that love by taking on a body of flesh and blood and coming into this world in the person of Jesus Christ. Then, as the Lamb of God (John 1:29) and the Son of God (John 3:16), he offered that body for the sins of the whole human race--from Adam's day until the end of the world. He was nailed to a wooden cross, and suffered the terrible pain of the crucifixion.
You and I should have suffered and died, because like everybody else we have sinned, and have come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But Jesus took our place. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed instead of our blood.
There is no salvation outside of the blood of Jesus. We cannot save ourselves. "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6).
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (life-style) received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18, 19)
The word "redeem" means "to buy back." Because of our sins, we were the property of Satan. But Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21), and buy us back from the devil. He purchased us with His own blood (Acts 20:28). This is the actual meaning of "redemption," and this is why we call Jesus our Redeemer!
If we understand how great is His love, we will want to surrender our lives to Him. We will want to love and serve Him. He loves us so much. He wants to be our heavenly Father, and at the same time our best Friend. He wants us to be among the group that someday will gather around His throne in heaven and sing a new song:
"Thou art worthy . . . for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Revelation 5:9).
Jesus died for everybody--including you. If you were the only person in the world, Jesus would still have died for you. He loves you personally. He wants to have a love relationship with you. He wants to be your best Friend. He wants to fill your life with love, joy and peace. He wants to give you power to overcome your sins. He wants to give you a new life! ds
2. Before God ever created one thing, He had ________________________.
3. God's plan of action is to bring into existence____________________________.
4. The Bible does not give us the ____________ of God. It gives to
5. On the sixth creative day, God created something for Himself: ______.
6. Man was created ___________, ____________, and __________________.
7. God did not make man to be a _________ or a ______. He wanted man
8. The most important thing Adam had in the Garden of Eden was:
9. Satan was not satisfied with being a chief angel. He wanted to be like ______________.
10. When Satan was cast out of heaven, his ________ were cast out also.
11. These fallen angels are the ___________________________ all over
12-13. Name two ways Satan hinders people:
14. God allowed Satan into the garden so that man would have the power of _________.
15. Why was Adam's sin worse than Eve's sin?
16. What did God do instead of killing Adam and Eve?
17. Only the blood of _____________________ can take away our sins.
18. Why was Cain rejected by God?
19. How did Jesus show His love for us?
20. If we truly understand how great the love of God is for us, we
will want to