T H E E N D - T I M E S T I M E S June 15th, 2001
Welcome to this issue of The End-Times Times. For some this
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that it has been well over six months since the last edition!
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David M. Williams
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
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-
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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?
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
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.
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
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
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.
T H E E N D - T I M E S T I M E S June 15th, 2001