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Lighting The Way To God
(The following is from Chapter 5 of Lighting The Way To God. The chapter title is "Why is Chronological Bible Study Needed in Evangelism?")
Try and put yourself in Steve's place for a moment. He attended a Discovering God study from the beginning. So he first learned about God's greatness and sovereign power in creation. Then he saw God's purity as we looked at the Fall, followed by His justice and grace in the Flood. After tracing the providence of God in the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, a taste of deliverance and redemption was provided Steve through looking at the Exodus from Egypt.
Then we looked at the tabernacle, that wonderful object lesson for teaching the holiness of God. It is such a clear picture of how God, who deigns to dwell in the midst of His nation, is still completely set apart from them because of His purity and their sinfulness. So we spend considerable time showing how God buffered Himself from the nation through the curtains and courtyards and layout of the tabernacle and camp of Israel.
This lesson closes with a discussion of the burnt offering, which reinforces the fact of man's sinfulness separating him from God. So we detail how the Israelite brought his sheep to the courtyard and pressed his hand on the sheep's head, symbolically identifying himself with the animal as his substitute and "transferring" his sin to the animal. Then we relate how the sheep's throat is cut, the blood caught and splattered on the altar, the carcass cut up and burned completely on the altar.
One principle we conclude from our study of the burnt offering is that sin's penalty is death, either the death of the sinner or the death of a substitute. A second principle is that, if the substitute sacrifice is acceptable to God, the sinner becomes acceptable to God.
When I ended the session after discussing these principles that evening, I said, "Okay, I'm done."
Steve jumped from his chair in the back of the room and waved his arms above his head shouting, "Hold it! You can't stop now! I don't have a sheep!"
He was dead serious. Why? Because the cumulative impact of everything he had learned about God, sin and himself through this chronological approach made him keenly aware of the issues involved. He saw his desperate need of a substitute sacrifice, and here we were ending the study for that evening! When we told Steve privately about the Lamb of God who had been sacrificed at Calvary, there was no confusion in his mind about what that meant or what he needed to do about it. His response was a direct result of God working in his mind and heart by means of the theocentric, chronological Bible study.
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