End-Times Times - June 15th, 2001

David M. Williams

The End-Times Times
June 15th, 2001
T H E   E N D - T I M E S   T I M E S              June 15th, 2001
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Dear friends,

Welcome to this issue of The End-Times Times.  For some this
will be your first issue, for the others, I am terribly sorry
that it has been well over six months since the last edition!

This newsletter is being sent to you at your request,
and your name will not be made available to any other
person or organisation.  You may request to be removed
from this list at any time by simply writing to me.

  Please feel free to write to me at

      davidmwilliams@oocities.com

and visit my Web site at

      http://www.oocities.com/davidmwilliams

Good quality theological books can be purchased from
the Web site, through Amazon.Com.  Previous issues of
this newsletter are also available.

In this issue some projects are outlined that I hope
you will prayerfully consider supporting.

Regards,

David M. Williams

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G O D ' S   E F F O R T S   T O   S A V E   H U M A N I T Y

Introduction

1.  It is important to recognize that in response to humanity's sin,
    God, being God, had all alternatives open to Him.  He could have
    rightly destroyed man immediately and completely, enforcing the
    "you shall surely die" clause on the spot.  He could have abandoned
    man on the earth to suffer the consequences of his sin without
    extending any divine help.  

2.  But to see and understand the option God chose is truly amazing. 
    God chose, and had actually chosen "before the foundation of the
    world," to curb and control sin, and to rescue man from its
    clutches.  The Biblical text is largely occupied with the record of
    God's efforts to save humanity from sin.

3.  To grasp a bit of the whole scheme of God's efforts to save is to
    be humbled and moved to repentance and faith.  If you read and
    study the Bible very much and hear preaching and teaching from it
    for very long, at some point the light comes on in your mind and
    you are able to put much of it together into a coherent whole.

4.  This sermon is my effort at "putting it altogether" and helping the
    light of the gospel to come on in our minds.  I hope you'll sit
    back, relax  and try to piece together the truly amazing
    and inspiring story of God's efforts to save us from sin.

5.  Though the story may be told in several ways, we will consider four
    portraits of God that mark out the major acts of God's saving
    humanity.  All I am actually doing is noticing and bringing out
    before us the four major ways God is described in Scripture.

I.  THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB:  GOD WHO CHOSE

    A. Gen. 1-11 records the creation of all things by God's power and
       providence and the distortion of all things by man's sin.  

       1.  From the beginning, there was an international concern and
           a universal vision.  God created all--"the heavens and the
           earth" (1:1), and cares for all--"God saw all that He had
           made, and behold, it was very good" (1:31).  Man and woman
           occupied a prominent place in creation, being made in the
           very image of the Creator (1:27).

       2.  But creation was substantially and adversely affected by
           human sin which disfigured and distorted God's good
           handiwork.  The opening chapters of Scripture document the
           proliferation and progression of sin.  There was an
           avalanche of sin that put humanity in a dangerous and
           depressing situation in the world and before God.

       3.  The tower of Babel incident (11:1-9) represents man's
           sinful, selfish ambition to make a name for himself, to be
           God for himself.  God intervened in this attempt, prevent-
           ing man from destroying himself by his sin, and providing
           a means of redemption.

    B. Instead of man making a name for himself, God chose one man
       (Abram) to make his name great.  Abram would be blessed and
       would be a blessing to the world.  In him "all the families of
       the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:1-3).

       1.  This universal promise of divine blessing is extremely
           significant.  It was given covenant status and form (Gen.
           15) and memorialized in man's flesh by circumcision in the
           succeeding generations of Abraham's descendants (Gen. 17:7-
           11).

       2.  God's covenant with Abraham was cherished and transferred
           from generation to generation--to Isaac (17:19-21; 26:3,
           24), Jacob (28:13-15; 35:9-12), Joseph's sons (48:8-20).

    C. God came to be known more specifically as "the God of your
       father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
       Jacob" (Ex. 3:6).  This designation, prominent throughout
       Scripture, captures and expresses the fact of God's choosing
       these men and purposing to bless the world through them.  God
       of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is God who chose.  Don't miss the
       significance of the fact that of all the alternatives open to
       God, He chose a man and his family through whom He would bless
       the entire world.

II. GOD WHO BROUGHT YOU OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT:  GOD WHO DELIVERED

    A. The generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob sojourned, for the
       most part, in the land of Canaan.  The next generation,
       however, became enslaved in a foreign land, the land of Egypt. 
       The people cried out to the Lord for help in their bondage (Ex.
       2:23).

       1.  "So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His
           covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (2:24), and took
           measures to deliver His people from their slavery.  The God
           of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was beginning to act on
           behalf of His people and would be known by them in a new
           way.  They would know Him especially in connection with His
           delivering them from slavery.

       2.  God did this delivering through the leadership of Moses,
           bringing the Israelites out of Egypt by means of a series
           of plagues, the final one being the death of the firstborn. 
           God preserved His own people by means of the blood smeared
           on their houses.  On the fateful night of His striking the
           firstborn of the Egyptians, God would pass over His own
           people who had faithfully obeyed Him (Ex. 12:12-13).  

       3.  As a memorial of this ominous and awesome occasion, the
           Lord established the Passover observance:  "Remember this
           day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of
           slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out
           from this place" (13:3).  And future generation were to be
           reminded of this powerful deliverance (13:14-16).

    B. Because of this new act of redemption, God became known by a
       new designation.  The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would
       now be known as "the Lord your God, who brought you out of the
       land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (20:2).

       1.  This became "the" significant feature of God's actions
           toward His people.  He is God who delivers and this made
           the relationship between God and His people all the more
           significant.  Following the deliverance from Egypt and just
           prior to the nation's entering the land He would give them,
           God set forth the terms of proper covenant relationship
           with Himself which we know as "the Law" given at Sinai. 
           These terms of relationship would protect and preserve the
           nation so the people could participate in and enjoy the
           blessings of their God.

       2.  It is significant to notice that in both presentations of
           the law, God who set down these terms of proper relation-
           ship with Himself was God who brought them out of the land
           of Egypt, out of the house of slavery (Ex. 20:2, Deut.
           5:6).  We must not miss the force of the fact that God who
           directed their lives was first the God who delivered them
           from slavery.  This same principle is active today in the
           way God deals with us.  He directs us because He delivers
           us.

       3.  Throughout the Old Testament, God is referred to again and
           again as God, who with a mighty hand and an outstretched
           arm, brought His people out of Egypt, out of the house of
           slavery.  This deliverance or redemption was the one
           significant action of God toward His people.  This assured
           them of God's grace toward them while at the same time
           demanded their faithful obedience.

III.   THE GOD OF YOUR FATHER DAVID:  GOD WHO LED

    A. Israel was in the land of promise, and God made provisions for
       the nation to have a stable and favorable existence there.  As
       the nation developed and existed in a world of other nations,
       and as His own people were persistently unfaithful to their
       God, God began to narrow His focus to a representative who was
       to lead the nation in God's ways and through whom He could
       accomplish His ultimate purpose for them and the world.

       1.  This representative was Israel's king who was to be the
           "Lord's anointed" (1 Sam. 16:1, 3) and a man after God's
           own heart  (13:14, 16:7).  And many of you will recognize
           that God found a man like this in David (Acts 13:22).  The
           character and faith of David were such that, despite his
           occasional weaknesses, he became God's representative in
           the true sense of the word and led the nation to God and in
           the way of God.  And he did so in a way like no other king
           before or after him.

       2.  God became known as "the Lord, the God of your father
           David" (2 Kings 20:5, 2 Chron. 21:12, Isa. 38:5).  The
           kingship of Israel ideally represented the kingship of God
           Himself, so the throne of David emerged in Israel as the
           vehicle of God's blessing the nation.  Ideal kingship was
           an expression of divine leadership.  God was leading His
           people through the kings, and the kings' responsibility was
           to lead the nation in the ways of God. 

       3.  This ideal kingship was formalized in a significant
           covenant God made with David (2 Samuel 7:5-16).  God would
           make for David a great "name" (9), he would grant Israel a
           "place" of rest (10-11), and He would make a "house" for
           David (12-13).  You will notice in this covenant and
           David's response that follows striking similarities to the
           covenant God made with Abraham.  Notice what's happening: 
           now it would be through David that the blessings made long
           ago to Abraham would be realized.
       
    B. In the course of God's fulfilling this covenant and granting
       these blessings, the line of Davidic kings was eventually cut
       off due to the kings' blatant unfaithfulness to the Lord.  In
       spite of this, however, the ideal surrounding the throne of
       David was pursued by psalmists and prophets as a hope developed
       of future restoration and blessing beyond judgment.  This hope
       is frequently expressed in terms of the kingship or throne of
       David (Jer. 23:5-8).

       1.  The human kings never lived up to the Davidic ideal and in
           a national sense Israel never enjoyed the full blessings of
           God.  But this did not stop God from pursuing His purposes
           for His people.  The ideals remained and were pursued.  God
           would continue to lead those who would follow, but this
           shows us that God's leadership would always have to be
           redemptive in nature.  

       2.  And as time passed, the throne of David as a blessing to
           the nation and the world was ultimately expressed in terms
           of a "Coming One" who would lead, save, and bless the
           world.  We know this Coming One as the Messiah, the Son of
           God, the King of kings.

IV. GOD THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST:  GOD WHO SAVED

    A. With the long history of promise and covenant, deliverance and
       direction, blessing and cursing past, Jesus came into the
       world.  The dramatic opening statement of the New Testament is
       "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David,
       the son of Abraham" (Mat. 1:1).  

       1.  In His own Son, God bridged the centuries to fulfill
           ancient promises and save the world from itself.  Jesus
           Himself had a keen awareness of doing His Father's business
           (Lk. 2:49, Jn. 4:34) and filling the role of Messiah (Lk.
           4:16-21), though this was largely unrecognized by people
           while He was on earth.   

       2.  Jesus was the climax of His Father's efforts to save
           humanity from sin, but it would only be later that most
           recognized what Paul called, "the summing up of all things
           in Christ, things in the heavens and upon the earth" (Eph.
           1:10).  What God planned, promised, and pursued, He finally
           administered in Jesus (Eph. 1:10, 3:9).

       3.  So, God became known in yet another way, emphasizing the
           last and fullest efforts God made to save:  "the God and
           Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Cor. 1:3) "who accord-
           ing to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a
           living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from
           the dead" (1 Pet. 1:3) and "who has bless us with every
           spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Eph.
           1:3).

    B. Jesus was heaven's ultimate effort to accomplish our redemp-
       tion.  In Him--the God-man--sin was fully dealt with and its
       effects were cancelled for all those who will take advantage of
       His salvation.

       1.  This, for Paul, was of first importance, "that Christ died
           for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was
           buried, and that He was raised on the third day according
           to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

       2.  It was, according to Peter, "by the predetermined plan and
           foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23) as "announced beforehand
           by the mouth of all the prophets" (3:18).  Notice how all
           these strands are brought together by Paul as he spoke in
           the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia in Acts 13:16-41.

       3.  The facts of God's redemptive activity in Christ are
           interpreted and developed throughout the New Testament
           documents, but none of them get very far away from the fact
           that Jesus came as the God-man, lived, died, and rose for
           man's redemption.  As Paul puts it, "In Him all things hold
           together" (Col. 1:17).

       4.  So, it is no surprise that we are called to Christ to be in
           Him, and in Him have salvation, a right relationship with
           the Father, and the hope of eternal life with God.  Indeed,
           "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other
           name under heaven that has been given among men, by which
           we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).  Jesus is it!  God's
           redemptive efforts from beginning to end are brought
           together by Paul's dramatic statement, "And if you belong
           to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs accord-
           ing to promise" (Gal. 3:29).

Conclusion

1.  Here, then, is the reach of God's redemption.  It stretches "before
    the foundation of the world" into eternity.  In the final analysis
    it is "the summing up of all things in Christ" (Eph. 1:10), "the
    eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ" (3:11).

2.  And you can be involved, you can have a part in it all, you can be
    His and have His salvation.  All God's efforts to save humanity
    from sin are freely and fully available to us in Christ Jesus.

3.  The ultimate issue for us is the same as for all those before us. 
    As with Abraham, Israel, the kings, and the Jews and Gentiles of
    the first century, we must come to God in faith, want His forgive-
    ness and follow His will, being in Jesus Christ.  Having now put it 
    all together, will you do this now?

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B E L A R U S   P R O J E C T S

Dear friends, you will recall previous issues of the End-Times
Times, where I wrote about my missions trip to Belarus in
Eastern Europe.  God is at work in this country and I hope to
return soon.

The Lord has very much laid some areas for support upon my
heart, and these are the projects I am working towards.

In particular, I would like to take funds with me for the
purposes of buying food and clothing, for buying village
Churches (just $US 3000 can buy land, and provide for a Church
to be built!), and to support several Bible College students
(the fees at the Minsk Theological Institute, where I taught
on the Kingdom of God, are 400,000 rubles per month -- which
equates to about $US 4.00).

Won't you ask the Lord about being involved in His work in
this country?  Please do contact me should you be interested
in contributing.  Perhaps you would like to donate money
towards a Church, or to sponsor a student, or even towards
the purchase of food, clothing or books.

I am now able to accept credit card payments through a
completely secure internet site.  Please e-mail me for more
details on this.

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B I B L E S   F O R   C H I N A

In late June I will be heading to China for two weeks.  I will
be speaking in one state-run Church and also teaching at an
underground Bible College.

There is a drastic shortage of Bibles in China.  The Government
only permits a small number to be printed per year, on its own
printing presses.

Won't you consider sending a Chinese Bible to those who can't
get one?  It is sad to think how, here in the Western world,
there are Christians who ignore their Bibles, when over in
other countries there are people who would so love to have one!

I am able to purchase Chinese New Testaments for $2.50 each,
or ten for $25.00.  A good quality study Bible is also available
for $25.00.  I would very much love to be able to give as many
Bibles or New Testaments as possible to the Bible College
students.

Please consider making a gift towards this cause.  Your gift
of $2.50 can send out one New Testament to someone who otherwise
would not be able to receive one.  Your gift of $12.50 can send
out five New Testaments, and your gift of $25.00 can send out
either ten New Testaments or one study Bible to help Chinese
Pastors preach God's Word.

I can take cheques in Australian or US funds, or even credit
card payments securely over the Internet.  Please do contact
me if you would like to support this cause.

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T H E   E N D - T I M E S   T I M E S              June 15th, 2001

[End-Times Times] davidmwilliams@oocities.com

David M. Williams

Note! The following advertisment is provided by GeoCities, which allows them to provide free Web pages such as this, a service that is appreciated. However, the advertisment is not necessarily harmonious with the values of this Web page

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