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The Old Testament (Part One)–1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 1, 2024 1:00 am

The Old Testament (Part One)–1 of 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 1, 2024 1:00 am

Our sins have separated us—all of us—from God. But our Lord put in motion a plan to redeem all who believe in Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection. In this message, Pastor Lutzer leads us on a whirlwind tour from Genesis to the book of Daniel. We’ll not only see the seriousness of sin but also the redemptive power of God’s grace.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

The sins of mankind separated us from God, but he was not content to let his finest creation die without hope. He put in motion a plan to redeem those that believe in the value of a great sacrifice, that of Jesus on the cross. Today, the drama begins. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, when people attend a play, the program they're given outlines the sequence of that play.

What's the overall direction you'll be taking in this series? You know, Dave, when most of us read the Bible, we do it in piecemeal, don't we? We may begin in the New Testament. We might begin with the book of Luke or the book of John or the book of Romans. But when you look at the Bible as a whole, it is really one story. Now it has different stages, it has different developments, but the story has to do with going back to Genesis chapter 3, where God promised redemption. So when you look at the Bible as a whole, you discover it is a redemption story.

And the purpose of this series of messages is to simply give a quick overview so that we are able to see the big picture. So as you listen, listen for that truth which is found everywhere in Scripture. It has to do with Christ. Differences in location, differences in experience, but at the same time, as I like to emphasize, it is all about Christ.

Listen carefully. The Bible is a very remarkable book. On the one hand, it's rather simple. I mean, we know all of the promises and the favorite passages of Scripture that we have, and we go back to those again and again. On the other hand, the Bible is very complicated, especially the Old Testament because neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament, the books of the Bible are not in chronological order. So if you begin to read it, it becomes a formidable task to put it all together. It's something like a puzzle and you have all of the pieces.

But if you don't have the big picture on the box, you don't know where they fit and you might benefit from it. But how much better if you can see the whole picture, the whole drama of redemption. There are many reasons why most Christians have never read through the Bible.

One is they begin and oftentimes this is done at the beginning of the year, though it doesn't have to start at that time. And they say to themselves, I'm going to read the Bible through and they get through Genesis, they get through Exodus. Exodus is very difficult because all of those chapters about the priests and the temple and it becomes so difficult and then they get to Leviticus. And in Leviticus, many a well intentioned Christian has decided to stop. It's never going to happen again after this message, I assure you, you'll never stop in Leviticus again. And so they don't go on. Another reason is because if they miss once, they say to themselves or they get behind and they're not reading the Bible for a week, they say, well, you know, I have to wait until next year to start again.

Don't do that. Pick up where you left off. And if you do that, you, even if you take two or three years to go through the Bible, go through it, read it all. And the best way to do it is to read five chapters a day.

And if you read five chapters a day on some days when you have to skip or you forget or it doesn't work out, you're not going to be far behind because actually four chapters a day would get you through it perfectly fine. Now, the Bible is such a remarkable transforming book. I don't have this, but you ought to take notes right now. Grab your pen because I'm going to give you three questions you should always ask as you sit down to read the Bible, because when you're finished reading it, you should take something from it, something that you can think about all day.

And now that you have your pan handy, let me give you the three questions. Question number one is, does this teach me anything about God? What does it teach me about God? Number two, is there a promise that I must believe? And number three is, is there a command that I must obey? What does it teach me about God? Is there a promise I must believe?

Is there a command I must obey? And you ought to be able to answer at least one of those questions, hopefully all three after you've had your morning reading. Now the Bible is going to change you. Some of you, one day I was struggling with my thought life and I said, Lord, why do I struggle so much? And just like that, the verse of scripture came to me from John 15. Now you are clean through the word, which I have spoken on to you. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way by taking heed there to according to thy word.

And it dawned on me I wasn't in the word because the word cleanses, the word keeps us, the word guides us. This is what the Bible says about itself and how true it is. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.

The commandment of the Lord is pure and righteous altogether. More to be desired than gold. Yea, then much fine gold, even at $1,100 an ounce. More are they to be desired than gold.

Yea, then much fine gold, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them as thy servant warned and in keeping them, there is great reward. You are going to be changed. You're going to be transformed because everybody, unless you're a child, everybody, let's just all agree that we're going to read our Bibles from cover to cover. How many of you say, yes, we are agreed?

Could I see your hands please? All right. And the rest of you, may you not sleep well until, until you agree. Now what I'm going to do in the next two messages is to cover the entire Old Testament. Today we're going to look at more than a thousand years of interesting history, not boring history, but interesting history. And in order for us to do it and in order for us to have all the books of the Bible put together for us, you have a chart today in your bulletin and I want you to take it out at this time. This chart was lovingly prepared by the pastoral staff.

It is a very special chart. It has been worked on for hours and this chart will enable you in your reading to know where the various books fit. Please don't leave it in your bulletin, put it in your Bible and bring it for the next three Sundays after this Sunday because we're going to spend two on the Old Testament, two on the New. The last one on the New is in 30 minutes I'm going to take you through entirely the book of Revelation.

In 30 minutes we're going to dissect it, put it in its context and you will be blessed. So today we begin the Old Testament. We begin with the book of Genesis. Now many of you may not have realized that the book of Job is one of the oldest books of the Bible and that's why on your chart you'll notice it is concurrent with Genesis. The way in which to read this chart is to understand that there are books that carry the Bible storyline forward and then there are lots of supporting books.

They support the storyline and it's all worked out for you on this chart. So let's begin with the book of Genesis. Genesis 1, 1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In those 10 words the whole basis of science is evident. In the beginning time, God personality created is force. The heavens refer to space, the earth matter. Everything is there and what does it tell us about God? It tells us that he is self-existent. It tells us that he is sovereign. He created out of nothing.

It also tells us that everything is created by God and is going to be for his glory and we're going to see that we are part of the Bible's story, the bigger story of the glory of God and his purposes. The other day someone asked me who created the devil? The answer is God. Now he wasn't the devil when God created him. He was an angel but he fell and became the devil but there is nothing that exists that doesn't exist under God's sovereign control and it's not about you and it's not about me, it's about him. But thankfully because of his grace we fit into the picture.

So first of all you have creation. Then you have the fall in Genesis chapter 3 and what a tragedy that is. If you don't understand the fall of man into sin you're going to be off base as you read the rest of the Bible. God takes sin seriously and because it is against him he has been grievously offended. Steve Mason, one of our pastors, uses this illustration.

If you throw a snowball at your brother you probably won't be arrested but if you throw a snowball at the President of the United States you're in trouble. The sin of the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve opted for independence, that sin is grievous and as a result it was as if they hit a string of dominoes and you think of all of the things that happened because they decided self-determination. And you see the rest of the story of history and of psychology is basically mankind finding some way to minimize and manage the grievousness of his sin. And sin is going to be the issue that God is going to deal with in the rest of the Bible so that we can be reconciled to a holy God. What a story it is.

That's why I'm so glad you're listening. Now I am going to ask you to turn to one verse of scripture, only one, and that is in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15. I won't refer to it, that is to say I won't turn to it because I think I do know it by memory, but in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 God says this to the serpent. You remember Satan came to Adam and Eve in the guise of a serpent. God says I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed, and he shall crush you on the head and you shall nip his heel.

What Jesus is saying there, what God is saying is that a redeemer is going to come through the seed of a woman who's going to crush the serpent's head and who is going to be the means of our reconciliation. And now the rest of the Bible storyline is going to be the outworking of how all that is going to happen in history. So what we have now is creation. We have the fall, which is huge, and then comes the flood because God said I will not endlessly strive with man in his wickedness.

Man left to himself will perform every imaginable kind of evil. And that's what the Bible says happened there in the book of Genesis. And God decided to drown everyone except Noah.

And Noah and his family is there in the ark, and that ark really becomes already a picture of redemption. The scripture says in Genesis 6 14 that when Noah built the ark, he had pitch put on it. Pitch is tar.

And what he did is he tarred all of the boards so that it wouldn't leak. And the word pitch in Hebrew has the very same root it means to cover. It has the very same root as the word atonement because you see it is the pitch that prevented the judgment of God, namely the water from coming into the ark and drowning them as well.

And it is the atonement that God is going to provide that is going to keep us from his judgment so that we will not fall into condemnation but can be reconciled to a holy God. And so you have the flood. After that, as you look in the book of Genesis, and now we're in chapter 12, you have the call of Abraham. Abraham is in Ur of the Chaldees. And being in Ur, he comes to the land that we call the land of Israel. This land is going to be the one that is going to be the place where the whole drama of redemption is going to be acted out.

It's the most important piece of real estate in the whole world and still is because here eventually the Redeemer is going to be born and salvation is going to come. Now God said to Abraham, he said, Abraham, I'm going to make of you a great nation. And he says also through you all the families of the earth will be blessed. So the seed of the woman is now being clarified that it's going to come through the lineage of Abraham by God's sovereign choice. So you have Abraham and he's in the land. You have Abraham, you have Isaac, and then you have Jacob. And Jacob has a number of sons. And one of them by the name of Joseph goes into the land of Egypt. And eventually as Joseph goes into the land of Egypt, and I assume you know the story, Joseph now becomes the means that God will use to get the whole family, the whole family of Jacob into the land of Egypt. And there over a period of 400 years, they will become a nation and they are going to experience hardship and the Pharaoh is going to work against them.

But God is developing them and God is leading them. So that leads us now to the end of the book of Genesis. Exodus is the next book. In Exodus, God raises up a deliverer by the name of Moses. And Moses comes and in the book of Exodus, there are two marvelous examples of redemption that God has. The first example of redemption is of course, the Passover. As they come out of Egypt, the Passover is going to become now the type of God's spiritual deliverance.

And so they leave Egypt and they come into the promised land, though it takes them a while to get there. And that Passover is going to become critical in the life of the nation. And centuries later, Jesus is going to have the Passover with the disciples and then he'll invest it with new meaning and say, this cup is the cup of the new covenant in my blood.

This drink in remembrance of me. And he will take the symbolism of the Passover and he will explain it in a new way because he is the fulfillment of it. And then in addition to the Passover, you have the tabernacle. Now the tabernacle during the day, they were led by a cloud.

At night, they were led by a pillar of fire. And as you see, what happens is all of the tents were around this tabernacle explained in the book of Exodus and the tabernacle had in it the ark because God was going to be localized in the ark. And if you get hung up in the book of Exodus, then it's important for you to realize that God is saying, number one, sin is serious and you can't handle it, but sin is serious.

I will provide the way by which you can access me. People say, well, you know, I don't like this idea that there's only one way to God. I'm sorry, but God has not consulted with you as to what your view is. All that we can do is to say that this is the way in which God worked it out. And thankfully Jesus becomes the fulfillment of the whole thing. And so we have the book of Exodus. Now we get to the famous book of Leviticus, the place where people diligently read and then they come across offerings and sacrifices and priestly requirements and hygiene ideas and commands.

And they come to a certain kind of cloth, you know, don't mix different fabrics together and they're saying, what is this? So I'm going to help you with Leviticus right now. First of all, always remember never open the Bible to read it unless you have, first of all, prayed Psalm 119 verse 18. Always pray that before you open the Bible, you pray it, Lord, open thou mine eyes that I might behold a wondrous things out of thy law. And there's no time when you need that more than when you enter the book of Leviticus. Now I need to tell you that it is okay. It is okay for you to speed read some sections in the Bible.

Now for years I was bound. I was thinking, well, you know, this is God's word. I have to read every chapter in every line.

When you get to books like the book of Leviticus, it is okay to read it quickly and get the gist of it without pausing to try to understand it all. I have seen Washington DC on the ground. My wife and I have been there and we looked at the different buildings as we walk through most of Washington DC, but I've also seen Washington DC from an airplane.

And when you see it from an airplane, it is not disrespectful to say, I'm not stopping to look at all of the buildings. I'm not trying to figure out all of the things and the symbolism of what the buildings mean. I'm just getting the general plan. And when you come to the book of Leviticus, what you want is the general plan. And you say that there were sacrifices and there were requirements and so forth. Always remember the bottom line.

The bottom line is this. God is giving rituals in Exodus and Leviticus. He is giving rituals that enable him to dwell with his people without being contaminated with their sin and without compromising his holiness and justice. That's the whole point. And then when you read it, thank God for Jesus because he fulfills it all. And that's why we no longer practice these rituals. These were intended to be a picture of the real thing.

You know, there's a big difference between having a picture of someone and then the real person showing up on the stage. God says in the old Testament, I'm going to show you how holy I am. The word holiness occurs 87 times in Leviticus. The word sin occurs even more times than that. You have to understand that I am holy and you're sinful and I'm giving you a way by which you and I can exist together without me being contaminated by your sin or compromising my holiness. All right, so much now for the book of Leviticus. It is a manual for the priests. That's what it was. And notice according to your chart, Leviticus does not advance the Bible storyline. Why?

It supports it. Numbers, they're getting ready to go back into the land. Deuteronomy is a recap. It's a recap of what happened and it's Moses farewell speech. So that doesn't really advance the storyline either.

So notice in your chart, it occurs at the bottom. Now under Joshua, in the book of Joshua, they reenter the same land. They'd been in the wilderness for 40 years. Now they're over the Jordan river.

They enter into the land and the land is conquered and it is divided up. Well, my friend, I'm sure glad that you joined us today for this 30,000 foot flyover, if I can put it that way, of the scriptures. But what we're trying to do is to help you to understand that the Bible actually is one story.

It is the story of redemption. But we are so glad that we have the opportunity of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in so many different countries in different languages. Why?

Because of people just like you. If you've been blessed as a result of the ministry of Running to Win, would you consider becoming an endurance partner? In a moment, I'm going to be giving you some very easy info as to how you can connect with us. But for the moment, I'm holding in my hands a letter from an Arabic listener, Running to Win is in Arabic, that says this, as this person received Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the truth and the only way. Please forgive my sin and my ignorance. Forgive that I have been blind to the truth and thank you for accepting me no matter my sin. I accept you as my savior. That gladdens my heart and I'm sure that it gladdens yours as well. But the reason that we are able to get the gospel to so many people, including the Arabic world, is because we also have those who are endurance partners, those who stand with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

Of course, the amount that you give is entirely your decision. Here is what you do. Go to That's and when you're there, you click on the endurance partner button or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337.

Now, because this is so critical, I'm going to give you this info again, hope that you have a pen or a pencil handy. You can go to When you're there, you click on the endurance partner button or you can pick up the phone and call us at 1-888-218-9337. Thanks in advance for helping us because you are a part of this ministry. Together, we're getting the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Next time we pick up where we left off in our survey of the Old Testament. Don't miss our next program where we'll find out what the book of Numbers is all about. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-01 02:50:50 / 2024-03-01 02:59:44 / 9

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