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What does the Bible teach? Sad to say, most people have not read the Bible in its entirety and many have no idea what it really teaches. Though much more detail could be provided, what follows is a brief summary of the Bible’s teaching.

What does the Bible teach?

1) That the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – created all things good, including man, as described in Genesis 1-2, and that He still preserves all things. It is as the Bible says in Nehemiah 9:6: “You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.”

2) Though God created man to honor and respect God as his Maker, to love Him and to trust Him, the first man and woman fell into sin as described in Genesis 3 and, as a result, all of mankind is fallen and no longer loves, trusts and honors God above all things. Instead, people are born into this world turned in upon themselves and seeking their own will and ways which are selfish and sinful. People do not and cannot keep all of God’s commandments as God requires. It is as the Bible says in Genesis 8:21 and Jeremiah 17:9: “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” and “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Ecclesiastes 7:20 says: “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.”

3) In order to redeem and save mankind from the just and eternal punishment we all deserve on account of our sinfulness and disobedience to God and to restore us to fellowship with Him, God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, a true man, that He might fulfill all that God’s holy law requires of us and bear our sin and suffer our punishment by dying on the cross to atone for the sins of the world. This God did through the incarnation, birth, life, sufferings, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is true God and true man. The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament pointed ahead to the promised Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) who would make atonement for the sins of all and undo the work of the devil when he tempted Adam and Eve and brought sin and God’s curse upon God’s creation.
John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures … He was buried … He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Hebrews 2:14-17 says: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

4) The forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God which Christ Jesus won for all when he suffered and died upon the cross and then rose again on the third day becomes ours through faith in Jesus Christ and not by our own works or merits. Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Romans 3:21-26 says: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” And, Romans 5:1-2 says: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

5) God desires all people to repent of their sinful and rebellious ways and trust in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins and life everlasting. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). For that reason, He commands that His Word be preached to all people (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47), and His Holy Spirit works through the Word and Baptism to create saving faith in the hearts of hearers and to regenerate them, giving them new life in fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

On the day of Pentecost, Peter told the people (Acts 2:38-39): “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Titus 3:3-7 says: “For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

6) As Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, we are saved by God’s grace alone and through faith alone in Jesus Christ, and even that faith is the gracious working of God the Holy Spirit in us, but God also desires that we amend our ways and live for Him: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). 2 Corinthians 5:15 says: “And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” And, since the fruit of true faith in Christ is the desire to live for God and be pleasing to Him, those who refuse to amend their lives and willfully continue on in their sinful ways demonstrate their unbelief and lack of saving faith in Christ.

7) Christ Jesus will return to this world on the Last Day and carry out God’s just judgment upon all. Those who believe in Christ and are baptized into His name will be saved and those who do not believe will be damned (Mark 16:16). John 3:36 says: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Conclusion

Yes, much more can be said. And, indeed, it is said in the Bible. The Bible reveals the sad results of man’s sinfulness and how God judges sin even now, in this world. It tells how God carried out His plan to send His Son to be our Savior, and it reveals how God continually calls us to repent of our sinful and erring ways and look to Christ Jesus in faith. It points out the terrible judgment of God which will come upon all who remain impenitent, and it offers a glimpse of the glories of heaven which await all who believe. The Bible warns the impenitent and unbelieving and gives comfort to those who acknowledge their sins and look to Christ and His cross.

Some parts are difficult for our sin-darkened minds to understand, but other parts are so simple the smallest child can, by God’s grace, grasp its message. So, don’t be discouraged. Pick it up and read it. The Bible is a book of books (66 books and letters) and doesn’t have to be read in chronological order from Genesis to Revelation. I usually recommend reading the first chapters of Genesis and reading in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) before studying the sections on Old Testament worship. It’s a book to study for a lifetime, and there is always more to learn and to understand, so keep reading.

Writing to Timothy, a young minister, the apostle Paul said (2 Timothy 3:14-17): “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The Bible was given us to teach us the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and to guide us in living for Him. As such, reading and studying its message is the most important reading a person can ever do — indeed, your eternal destiny depends upon heeding the Bible’s message! I hope and pray you’ll read it.

— Pastor Randy Moll

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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“I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord GOD. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” Ezekiel 34:15-16 (Read Ezekiel 34)

God lays much of the blame for the fact that His people of Israel had turned away and came under His judgments upon the shepherds who should have been feeding and nourishing God’s sheep with His Word.

Had they been preaching and teaching God’s Word, admonishing and bringing back those who were erring and wandering from the fold and comforting those who were overwhelmed with guilt and the problems of life, God’s flock would not have been scattered and carried away by their enemies. Instead, those who should have been shepherds to God’s people were busy feeding themselves and taking advantage of the sheep under their care.

The same, of course, is true today in regard to the pastors who have been given a charge to shepherd God’s flock over which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers (cf. Act 20:28). Instead of shepherding the flock and using God’s Word to feed and nourish the souls entrusted to their care, pastors take advantage of the sheep and seek worldly gain at the cost of those they should be nourishing. Instead of watching over the flock and protecting it from false doctrine, pastors are often the ones advancing false doctrine and erring views which destroy faith (cf. Rom. 16:17-18). Instead of admonishing the erring and giving God’s comfort to the penitent and suffering, pastors say nothing against the sinful lifestyles of our day and offer false comfort to the impenitent and erring.

What does God say He will do? “I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them — My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken” (Ezek. 34:22-24).

God promised to send His only-begotten Son into the world, born a descendant of David, of the Virgin Mary. He would be the Good Shepherd who would gather God’s sheep from all the nations where they had been driven. He would give His life for the sheep to redeem them and restore them to God’s flock. He would feed His sheep with His Word and protect them from the assaults of those who seek to destroy and devour God’s flock, and He would judge the shepherds who took advantage of God’s flock and failed to be true shepherds to them (cf. Isa. 40:10-11; Jer. 23:1ff.; John 10:1ff.).

What does this say to us today? To pastors, it is a stern warning to shepherd God’s sheep with God’s Word. It is a warning not to abuse or neglect God’s flock but to preach the whole truth revealed in the Bible and to faithfully apply God’s Word to recover the straying, to admonish the indifferent, to comfort and bind up the weak and injured and to gather the lambs to their Savior. Those who don’t fulfill their duties will be held responsible for their failures to shepherd God’s sheep, but those who do the work entrusted to them will receive a reward (cf. 1 Cor. 4:1-2).

Peter writes (1 Peter 5:2-4): “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

And to the sheep, it is a reminder that the Good Shepherd continues to watch over our souls. He feeds and nourishes us with His Word and Sacraments. His Word reveals to us our sinfulness and comforts us with the good news of forgiveness and life through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice on the cross (cf. 1 John 1:7 — 2:2). He gave His life for us, His sheep! Cf. Isa. 53:6. With His Word, He admonishes us when we go astray, He comforts us when we repent and look to Him for pardon and peace, He encourages and comforts us when we are weighed down with guilt and overwhelmed by the troubles of this life.

When His called ministers are faithfully doing their duty, He commands us: “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17).

And, of course, the ultimate goal is that we, God’s sheep, dwell with the Lord Jesus forever. The goal is that expressed in Psalm 23:6: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

“Savior, like a shepherd, lead us; much we need Your tender care. In Your pleasant pastures feed us, for our use your fold prepare. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, You have bought us; we are Yours. Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, You have bought us; we are Yours.” Amen. — Lutheran Service Book, Hymn No. 711, Verse 1.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” Ezekiel 18:30-32

Ezekiel was a priest and a prophet sent by God during the years of the exile to call upon God’s people to repent of their wicked ways and look to God for mercy at a time when the judgment of God was falling upon His people for their turning aside from true worship and service to God into idolatry and disobedience. He warned of, and illustrated, the judgment of God which was coming upon the people for their evil doings – a judgment they would not escape unless they repented and returned to the Lord God!

So also, in chapter 18 of Ezekiel, he warns a people who considered God unfair in His judgments, saying they were suffering for the sins of their fathers and not for their own rebelliousness and sin. They accused God of injustice rather than acknowledging their own wickedness and sin.

Ezekiel’s message? “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20). The father who rebels against the Lord and lives in disobedience and sin will die for his sin. So also the son. But those who repent of their wicked ways, whether father or son, will be pardoned and live!

And these words certainly apply to us today. Every one of us will be judged by God according to our ways. If we turn aside from the Lord God and His Word, we will die in our sins and be judged by God. Even if we have lived good Christian lives all our days but then turn aside and live in sin and disobedience, we will die in our sins. All the good we have done will be forgotten!

If, on the other hand, we see the error of our ways and the sin and disobedience in our lives and turn unto the Lord God for mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus and then, as a fruit of faith, seek to live for Him, all our sins will be forgiven of God and we will be counted righteous and holy in God’s eyes for Jesus’ sake.

Therefore, God also calls out to us, warning us that God will judge each of us according to our ways and there will be no escaping His judgment.

But God also tells us: “‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,’ says the Lord God. ‘Therefore turn and live!’”

God does not desire to condemn us to eternal death and suffering in hell. Rather, He desires that we repent of our sinful and rebellious ways and look to Him for mercy and forgiveness for the sake of Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for the sins of the world! God grant that we heed His voice!

You are holy and just, O God. We have sinned and gone astray. Forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake and move us to walk in Your ways. Amen.

[Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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