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All quotations are taken from the New American Standard

Version unless otherwise indicated.

© 2013—For republication please contact
For more booklets in this series go to

Personal Study
Perhaps you would like to study the Bible for yourself and are
looking for a tool to help you dig deeper into God’s Word.

Let me encourage you to jump right in to this booklet. And
don’t feel like you need to get through an entire lesson in

one sitting—take a section at a time if you would like. Or,

perhaps you are a person that likes to go quickly through a
study, you could easily finish this booklet in just two
sittings—Part 1 and then Part 2.

With a Friend
Did a friend ask you to study this booklet with him or her?

I’m glad you took time out to study the Bible together! This

is one of the kindest concerns a friend can show to you and it
is such an enjoyable experience to study the Bible together.

Let me encourage you to try to do a lesson each week or two
as outlined in the table of contents. It may be helpful to

review what you have covered or survey what you are going
to cover next by looking at the table of contents each time

you move on to the next lesson. That will help you to keep

current with the flow of the whole book even if it takes you a

month or two to get through the entire study.

Small Group
Perhaps you are part of a small group that is going through
this booklet lesson by lesson. Try to read and answer the

questions for the week before you meet to study together.
You may want to jot down a couple questions or highlight

things that interest you as you read the text the first time.

As the group meets you will have the opportunity to share

some of these insights as well as answer some of the group
questions. Try your best to make it to each of the group
meetings so you don’t get behind.

In whatever way you use the booklet I pray that the Lord will
bring you to a deeper and more wonderful relationship with
Him. A close relationship with God is the most enjoyable

thing you can experience—and it is why we were made in the
first place!

For His Glory,
Pastor Tim Richmond

Question 1 – Who is God? (LESSON 1)


What God Does

He created all things.


He upholds all things.

He is bringing all things to His climax.

What God is Like (LESSON 2)
God is Holy.


God is Good.
God is Love.

What is God’s Perfect Picture?

Jesus is the climax of God’s revelation.


Jesus is God’s very essence.
Question 2 – Who am I? (LESSON 3)

You are an image bearer.


You are sinful.

Question 3 – Who Needs Rescuing? (LESSON 4)


Question 4 – What is God’s Rescue Plan?


The Person of the Gospel

The Content of the Gospel

The Gospel Summarized

The Gospel Personalized
Question 5 – How Can I be Rescued?

Believe in the Gospel.
Repent of your sin.



Do You Know
Have you ever purchased a new electronic gadget? Perhaps
you had no knowledge at all about some new technology—
your first computer or cell phone, or your first television for
that matter. How do you learn to use it? Well, some just play
with it until, after making enough mistakes, they learn the
right way to use it. Others will take time to read the book that
was designed to help them learn the gadget.

Perhaps an

instruction booklet was included in the box in order to walk
you step-by-step through the introductory process.
What if someone ignored the instruction book they were given
and tried to learn how to use their phone by looking at an
instruction manual for a kitchen appliance? They would get
nowhere fast, and they would soon be lost. Why? They are
using the wrong source of information. No matter how long
or hard they search, they will still wind up short of a proper
Many people try to understand God by following the wrong
sources. They rely on the source of human experience, world
history, or a contemporary religious smorgasbord. These are
all sources of knowledge and understanding, but they are the
wrong places to go if you want to understand God correctly.
God has given a guide-book to help you understand Him. It
is more of a letter of love than an instruction manual. But the
truth is that He chose to reveal His purposes and truths to us
through a written source, and that source is the Bible.


Your understanding of God is of vital importance. We are not
talking about your view on a political theory or a professional
sports team. Rather, this is a topic of eternal significance. The
sad truth is that many people do not consult the right source
when it comes to this extremely important aspect of their lives.
They may consult their roommate, a blog, or a popular book.
Please don’t fall into the error of leaving your understanding
of God to a “pooled ignorance.”

Instead, search the Bible

God wrote you the Bible to help you understand Him and relate
to Him.

This study booklet will help you find different

passages in the Bible where God will speak with you. If you
are just beginning to understand God or are still skeptical as
to whether the God of the Bible exists, then let me encourage
you to read these verses carefully.

Let God speak to you

through the source that He has determined to use. As you do,
and as you open your heart to Who He is, your heart will be
warmed, your life will be changed, and you will learn the true
meaning of living life with God. That is my prayer for you as
we study this booklet together.
Before we start, let’s clear up one thing. When you think of the
title of this booklet, “Knowing God through His Word,” you
naturally think of gaining an understanding of God through
the Bible. However, we are not just talking about a factual
knowledge about God. Don’t read this booklet thinking that
it will merely give you the correct answers to a test. This study
is not primarily about “book knowledge.”

Actually, we are

pursuing knowledge of God as a person.
When my wife and I had just begun dating we wrote many
letters back and forth. At times we wrote a letter every night,
and that was after eating lunch or dinner together that day!
Why did we do this?

Was I just trying to get to know the


different facts that were true about Sarah so I could get
something from her? Was I studying her in the same way I
studied for my seminary exams? Absolutely not! I took delight
in (and still do) getting to know my wife—not just the facts
about her, but her as a person. This is similar to any healthy
relationship in life, and it is true of your relationship with God.
You must read the Bible as God’s letter to you about Himself.
He is disclosing Who He is in His Word.
So as you begin to know God through His Word, don’t just
study and read so you can fill in the blanks or get something
from Him.

Realize that God is telling you about Himself

through His Word—He wants you to know Him and to talk to

This booklet will outline how.

We will answer five

questions in our study. In Part 1 we will answer the questions
“Who is God?” and “Who am I?” In Part 2 of the study we will
answer three questions relating to God’s rescue plan.


starting here in Part 1, let’s begin with our understanding of
God. Who is God?


This is a big question to answer.

Many books have been

written on the study of God (Theology) and a comprehensive
answer to the question is not only beyond this booklet but
really beyond any book. Listen to what John tells us about the
earthly life of Jesus in the final verse of his Gospel:
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did,
which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the
world itself would not contain the books that would be
written” (John 21:25).
Nevertheless, what we will endeavor to do is to survey some
of the major ideas that God communicates about Himself in
the Bible. We will do this through looking at what He has done
(actions), what He is like (attributes), and finally His perfect

What God Does (Actions)
We will examine three of God's actions below. He made all
things, upholds all things, and is bringing all things to His

God Made All Things
The first part of a book is usually key. This is true of the Bible.
In the first verse of the Bible, God tells you something about
Him that is extremely important—He made everything. The
first verse of the Bible states this fact, and many other verses
from the Bible do as well:


“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”
(Genesis 1:1).
"For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh
day” (Exodus 20:11).
“God who created all things” (Ephesians 3:9).
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens
and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or
dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been
created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).
Here are four very clear statements of God creating the
heavens and the earth, and these are just four of at least fifty
that we could read together.

This is something that God

repeatedly recorded for us to learn about Him—He created
Knowing this about God makes other truths about Him evident
as well. Consider below the truths that flow out of the fact
that God made us.
1. Because God is Creator, He is all-powerful
“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the
earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm!
Nothing is too difficult for You” (Jeremiah 32:17).
2. Because God alone is Creator, He alone is God.
“For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD
made the heavens” (Psalm 96:5).


3. Because God is Creator, He is creative.
“To Him who made the heavens with skill, For His
lovingkindness is everlasting” (Psalm 136:5).
“For thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they
are and were created” (Romans 4:11—KJV).
4. Because God created all things, all things belong to Him.
“O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have
made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions (Psalm

God Upholds All Things
The Bible teaches that God is not only the Creator of all things
but also the Controller of all things. The passage we read
above which taught that Jesus created all things (Col. 1:16)
goes on to say that, “in Him all things hold together.” This
concept “hold together” or “consist” has reference to all the
parts of an object being held together tightly. If you take a
rubber band off of a deck of cards and then throw the cards
to the floor you will have a mess of cards because the cards
were being held together by the rubber band. This verse is
teaching that Jesus actually holds together all thing—every cell
in your body! This is amazing power! Here are a few other
passages that teach this same truth about God:
“For in Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:38).
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact
imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the
word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3—ESV).


SIDE LIGHT: Holding it all together.

According to cell research done by Nobel Prize winning
scientists, the adult human body contains approximately
(but who’s counting) 100,000,000,000,000 cells (that’s
one hundred thousand billion)!1 And, scientists estimate
there are 50,000,000,000,000,000 (5x1014) atoms in an
average cell.2

That is an incomprehensible number of

small moving parts in your body. And yet, it gets more
complex still. Each atom is made up of different particles—
protons and neutrons in the atom’s nucleus with electrons
revolving around them. What has baffled scientists is not
just that we cannot understand the complexity of each
particle but how these particles are held together.


know what happens when the atom is split (Atomic Bomb),
but how do they stay together? Why don’t they spin apart
into trillions of particles?
Science is just now proposing theories of how these
particles work together—and yet man can only describe
what is happening. The Bible, however, actually tells us

how it works. How is everything held together? They are
upheld by the sustaining power that comes from God’s
speech—He upholds these particles by the word of His

According to a press release by Nobel Prize, 8 October, 2001:

"The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2001" awarded to
Leland H. Hartwell, Tim Hunt, and Sir Paul Nurse.

Jay Newman, Physics of the Life Sciences (New York: Springer

Science+Business Media, 2008), p. 12.


power (Hebrews 1:3). You don’t even have to consciously
think about what any single cell is doing or needs to do in
your body; it is placed on autopilot by the Creator and
Sustainer of all. If you can trust Him to watch over each
particle in your body and if the birds of the air and the
flowers of the field trust Him for their food and clothing,
don’t you think you could know God enough to trust Him
with your future?

God is Bringing All Things to His Climax
So far, as we have looked a bit at God’s works, we have learned
that God made all things and sustains all things. We need to
go beyond this and learn that He is actually working behind
the scenes to bring all things to His purpose.
The story of history of the earth is really God’s story of
bringing all things back to Himself. We will examine this more
carefully throughout this booklet. But if you want to know a
summary of the Bible up front, it is the story of how God’s
creation thoroughly enjoyed God (Genesis 1-3), how God’s
creation disobeyed God and was separated from Him (Genesis
3), and how God is working to get His creation back to
thoroughly enjoying Him again (Genesis 3 to Revelation).
Read a picture of that future time when the Lord has finished
His story (History):
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will
dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God
Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every
tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death;


there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;
the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).
There is something in all of us that longs for those verses.
That desire is something God put into you. And it is drawing
you to His Word where He will share with you how you can take
part in His story and come back to thoroughly enjoying Him—
forever! Keep reading and studying so that you can be assured
of this future.




What are some sources that you or friends of yours
have used to find out more about God? What is God's
one source?


What are four truths that we derive from the fact that
God is Creator?


What does the verse mean when it says - "by [Jesus]
all things consist"?


Do You Know

There are certain times when the Bible gives us direct
statements of what God is like. God is holy. God is love. God
is good. These help us know God in a personal way. If you
were to say, “You would really like Jim; he is such a helpful
person,” you are telling us something that will help us know
more about Jim. In that case, however, what we say about Jim
may or may not always be true. Perhaps if you asked Jim’s
younger sister if Jim was always a helpful person, she might
have a different answer.
When the Bible tells us something about God, we know that it
is completely true and always true. These blanket statements
about God are reassuring and help us understand Who God is.
Below we will examine three of these; God is holy; God is good;
God is love.

God is Holy.
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts. The whole earth is
full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3).


God’s holiness is often misunderstood, or at least understood
in a narrow way. It often is used to refer to God’s sinless
nature. God is sinless—that is true. In fact God hates sin and
cannot look on evil (Habakkuk 1:13). However, holiness goes
beyond that. It refers to God’s separateness or otherness. It
really refers to God’s uniqueness. There is no one else like
God. He alone is God and only His nature is like this. So He
is completely separate from His creation, and from any
defilement of any sort.
This is why some theologians will state that God’s holiness is






perfectness, His all- truthfulness, and any other attributes
flow out of and are part of his holiness. His holiness, in one
sense, is the degree or extent to which God’s other attributes
are true. How knowledgeable is God? He is unique (holy) in
the extent of His knowledge. How sinless is God? He alone
(holy) is as sinless as himself.3
We learn from this that we cannot make our own way to God.
He must provide the way. We also learn that we cannot come
to God in our current state. More will be said about that when
answering the next question, “Who am I?”
3 We can take one more step from this to say that because
God, in His holiness, is the highest form of a particular
attribute, then only He defines what that specific attribute is
totally. He defines what that attribute is in its highest form.
What is just? You would have to define that by the nature of
God. What is truth? That would have to be defined by the
nature of God. Because He epitomizes these attributes at their
purest, only God is the true representation of what these
attributes are.

He alone is pure love, truth, justice,

righteousness, etc.


God is Good.
Another character trait of God that we learn from Scripture is
that God is good. This is God’s perfection in morality.
“Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way” (Psalm 25:8).
“O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him” (Psalm
He is always good and will always act in goodness. We don’t
need to be afraid that God is conducting some large hoax to
fool a bunch of people into following Him so that He can take
advantage of them. He is not like a bully at the park burning
ants with his magnifying glass. God will bring history to a
good end. In fact, He will even take the bad story of man’s
sinfulness and gain the ultimate good of His own glory and His
creation’s gladness in delighting in Him.
Several truths flow from God’s goodness: God made all things
good (Genesis 1:31). Only God is always good and without
fault (Psalm 53:1-3). Every good gift comes from God (James
1:17). In one sense, God is our highest good and only delight
(Psalm 16:2).

God is Love.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have
eternal life” (John 3:16).


“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is
love” (1 John 4:8).
We could define God’s love as His goodness in action. Because
God is good in all He does, He is continually demonstrating
mercy (not giving us what we deserve), grace (giving us what
we don’t deserve), loving-kindness, and forgiveness. We must
not think of love primarily as a feeling or attitude but as an
action. Because God is good, He acts in love toward others.
That love is demonstrated in activity.

The above passages

teach how God has demonstrated His love. Biblical love is not
static. Your love is always demonstrated by doing. Part 2 in
this booklet outlines “God’s Rescue Plan” which will deal with
how God’s holiness, justice, and truth can be upheld
consistently with His goodness and love.
We have learned a little about Who God is and what He does.
Before we move to our next chapter, let’s examine a perfect
picture of God:

What is the best way we can learn Who God is? How has God
chosen to reveal Himself to us in the highest and best
communication? He sent us Himself—His Son, Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at a few passages that teach this truth.


Jesus is the Climax of God’s Self-Revelation.
One passage that clearly teaches that Jesus is the climax and
final installation of God’s self-revelation is found in the first
verses of Hebrews.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets
in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has
spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all
things, through whom also He made the world...
“For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what
we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.”
(Hebrews 1:1-2; 2:1-4).
According to verse one, the author is telling us that God has
spoken many times in the past and He has used various
methods. You may remember once God even used a Donkey
to speak to a prophet!

As God's revelation progressed, it

climaxed. He saved His final and greatest revelation for last that was His Son, Jesus. "In these last days He has spoken to
us in His Son." Because this is the climax it is even more
important to listen to Him as God's Son (2:4).
So the revelation of Jesus is God’s final message to earth. God
sent Himself. We must take heed and listen to this message
of salvation through Jesus. Please consider taking a moment
to pray about this matter before you go to sleep tonight. If
you have never come to know God’s self-revelation through
Jesus Christ, then ask the Lord to lead you to this message and
give you the conviction in your heart of what is true relating to
God and His Son.


SIDE LIGHT: God’s Facebook

As persons, we relate to one another by disclosing things
about ourselves.

Our global community has gone

overboard in this aspect of life. Incessantly, millions of
people are electronically throwing out as much personal
information about themselves as anyone would care to
know through various social networking sites.

As you

peruse someone’s thoughts, likes, and dislikes, you learn
a bit about them, or at least you learn a bit about who they
want to be. As you continue to read what they write and
what they like, you gain more understanding of them as a
person—not just facts like where they were born and what
their relationship status is, but what kind of things they like
talking about, and who they admire or what type of humor
they enjoy. That is getting to know their person.
God’s Word is the way He discloses information about

The first step in understanding God’s self-

revelation is to realize that God’s perfect summary of
Himself—perhaps we could say His perfect “Facebook
page” is His Son, Jesus Christ. If we wanted to know a
perfect snap-shot of what God is on a human level—not
just how God wants to be portrayed but what He is in
essence—we must look at Jesus Christ.


God’s Son is His Very Essence.
Hebrews 1:3 teaches that Jesus is the “exact representation of
God’s nature,” meaning that if you want to see Who God is you
should look at Jesus. He perfectly represents the Father. My
children have character traits that are similar to me or to my
wife. Jesus, however, perfectly represents the Father to us. So
not only is Jesus the climax of God’s self-revelation, but He is
also the perfect self-revelation of the Father. This is why Jesus
could say “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John
14:9). John teaches that part of Jesus’ earthly ministry was to
demonstrate or explain Who the Father is. “No one has seen
God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom
of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18).
“Although [Jesus] existed in the form of God, He did not
regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Philippians
If you want to get to know God, then you must spend time
studying and learning about Jesus. Read through the Gospels,
and learn Who Jesus is and what Jesus did. In a future lesson,
“Receiving Help,” we will study what God did for each of us
through Jesus. But before we get to that section, we need to
give some time to understanding why we would need God’s
help. That flows out of an understanding of who we are as
people. Let’s look at the Bible’s answer to the question—“Who
am I?”




Describe God's holiness and how it is similar to His
uniqueness. Why is it the “ultimate” attribute of God?



is His goodness in action.


What is the climax of God's revelation to us?


Do You
Know God?

We’ve already considered Who God is. Now we need to talk
about who we are as humans so we can understand the help
God brings. Let’s look at two major truths the Bible teaches
about every individual.

You are an Image Bearer
This is probably not the first truth that comes to your mind
when you are asked what the Bible tells us about humans. But
this is one of the first things that God tells us about ourselves.
In the Biblical account of God’s creating humans, we learn that
He made us in His image.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according
to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea
and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over
all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on
the earth” (Genesis 1:26).
In this passage, we are able to listen in on a conversation
between the Persons of the Trinity of God concerning the
creation of man. We learn that we are made in His image. And


we are told this only about humans! Consequently, this is one
of the major distinguishing characteristics between you and
other parts of God’s creation. You bear God’s image, which is
His likeness. God chose to reveal more aspects of Who He is
in one particular part of His creation. God created humans








communication, self-awareness, and intelligence.
God made us this way so that our highest joy would be
communication with Him. He made us to long for and enjoy
personal intimacy with God Himself. In one sense, when you
and I desire to establish relationships with one another and
long for a right relationship with God, we demonstrate the
communication that was eternally existent in the Trinity. In
Genesis we read of man having a perfect relationship with God
in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve would walk and talk with
Him (Genesis 3:8). However, following their disobedience they
hid from God’s presence (3:10).

They realized that their

disobedience separated them from God.

That is the next

aspect of our nature that we will develop.

SIDE LIGHT: Disrespecting
God's Picture
One reason Christians respect and treat people differently
is that God’s image is represented in every human.
Let’s imagine that you took time to paint a picture of the
home in which you grew up and tried your best to represent
your family standing out in a front yard or on the front
stoop waving. You were not too proud of the job, but you


knew what the picture represented. So you had it framed
and hung it in your apartment.
Later, you had some friends over for a dinner party and
showed them the painting, explaining its significance. How
would you respond to one of your friends taking a knife out
during your presentation and cutting out the picture of
your family and then crumpling it and throwing it on the
floor? They might not be your friend too much longer. In
fact, you probably would stop them before their knife ever
touched your picture.
Why would this offend you? Because of the great job you
did, and the hours you put into the painting? Perhaps, but
most likely you would be offended because they were
ruining a picture of your family. The picture represented
them. It was not your family and it may have been a poor
representation of them but it still bore their image and you
want it treated with respect.
In the same way, humans bear the representation and
image of God.

Even though we are marred by sin and

misrepresent Him in many ways, we are still a unique part
of God’s creation because we bear His image. Therefore,
we treat other humans with respect. We desire that every
human be treated with kindness, fairness, and equality. We
would not want God’s image marred or broken through
thoughtlessness, carelessness, or malice.

This is one

reason Christians are outspoken on issues like abortion
and human rights.


You Are Sinful
You are an image bearer, but the image of God was distorted
by disobedience. This fundamentally changed man’s nature.
Paul teaches that because of that first disobedience, all who
are born after Adam are also born in disobedience. Because
of that sin, all those following Adam are born mortal. God
originally made man to live and enjoy Him forever. Sin severed
that relationship.

There are two aspects of humankind’s


We Are Sinful by Birth.
According to Scripture, we are not sinners because we sin. We
sin because we are sinners. We are all born with this natural
propensity. Consider the following verses.
“The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who
speak lies go astray from birth” (Psalm 58:3).
“The intent of man's heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis
“What is man, that he should be pure, Or he who is born of
a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, He puts no
trust in His holy ones, And the heavens are not pure in His
sight; How much less one who is detestable and corrupt,
Man, who drinks iniquity like water” (Job 15:14-16)!
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the
world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all
men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).


We Are Sinful by Choice.
Not only are we all sinful by birth, but we are also sinful by
choice. You may not like to think of yourself as a sinner. No
one likes that thought, but the Bible clearly teaches it. Perhaps
our reticence to acknowledge sinfulness rises from a
misunderstanding of sin. You may not realize that the Bible
defines sin very specifically. Look at the following passages
from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:
“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘you shall not
commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be
liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is
angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court”
(Matthew 5:21-22).
“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall not commit
adultery;’ but I say to you that everyone who looks at a
woman with lust for her has already committed adultery
with her in his heart” (vv. 27-28).
“You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye and a
tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil
person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn
the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take
your shirt, let him have your coat also (vv. 38-40).”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your
neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your
enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (vv. 4344).
Jesus’ teaching intensifies the Ten Commandments by
internalizing them. You think, “I haven’t murdered anyone.”
But Jesus says that it is also a sin to hate someone. You may
say, “I have never committed adultery.” But Jesus said it is a
sin to look at someone with lustful thoughts. You think you
are loving? Well, do you love someone who is your enemy?


Not only does Jesus internalize these laws, but He also teaches
that you have to obey them 100%. There are no good days
and bad days.

You have to keep all the commands every

moment of your life!









commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall
be called least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19).
This is brought out elsewhere in the Bible. If you break one of
the Commandments—even just one—you are guilty of
breaking all the Law. They are like a chain of links where each
Command is one link. In order to be a sinner you only need to
break one of those links. If you disobey your parents or lie
one time, you are a sinner according to the Bible.
“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one

point, he has become guilty of all” (James 2:10).
We must be honest with ourselves and admit that God’s


perfect obedience and
that no one is perfectly




clearly states that “all

sinned and fall


short of the glory of








acknowledging this is
the first step to full and
eternal forgiveness. It is the beginning of the end of your
alienation from God. You must realize that you are estranged


from Him if you want to be reconciled. If you think you are
satisfactory based on your good works or based on your family
lineage, then you are not ready to receive His forgiveness and
pardon. In Part 2 of this study we will focus on receiving that
forgiveness and pardon, but listen to the following story that
Jesus told, illustrating why only those who know they need
God’s forgiveness can actually receive it.
“And He also told this parable to some people who trusted
in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others
with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray,
one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee
stood and was praying this to himself: “God, I thank You
that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust,
adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a
week; I pay tithes of all that I get.” But the tax collector,
standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up
his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying,
“God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” I tell you, this man
went to his house justified rather than the other; for
everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who
humbles himself will be exalted’” (Luke 18:9-14).




Because humans are made in God's image, they always do
what He wants (True/False).


In Jesus parable, who went home justified? Contrast these
two men by filling out the chart below.

Tax Collector

View before


What are ways that people today think that they are
righteous in and of themselves?



How many sins does it take before someone is separated
from God?


Group Discussion: How does the Biblical teaching of the
Image of God affect our view of abortion or human rights?


Do You
Know God?
If you have taken the time to go through all of Part 1 of this
study, you have learned some major things about God and
about the way He views the world. God made all things to be
enjoyed and all people to enjoy Him. You also learned that
God is holy—totally unique and separate from sin. Because
humans rebelled against Him, all people have become
alienated from Him and are not right with Him. Because each
of us sins and God cannot accept sin, God cannot accept us
into His presence.
So how can we be accepted before God? How can we get back
to the way God ordered things at the beginning in His garden?
He wants us to enjoy Him and delight in Him forever—true
delight and eternal joy. But we failed His standard, and if we
are honest, we fail daily. Getting back to the garden is the
story of the Bible. We could not earn our way back to God, but
God sent us help. And this story unfolds in how God rescued
humankind through sending Himself as the lifeboat that
brings us back to Him.
The most important truth anyone should know is how to
receive God’s help. To look at that we will answer three basic
questions. Who needs rescuing? What is God's rescue plan?
How can I be rescued?


If you understood the last section, then you would have to
conclude that everyone needs to be rescued. Each person has
drifted far from God. As the prophet Isaiah said, “All of us like
sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). We have sinned. We
have broken God’s commands at one point or another in life.
And God’s holiness demands perfection. In addition to this,
God’s perfect justice demands a guilty verdict. God cannot
just let our sin go or sweep our sins under the rug. They must
be penalized and dealt with.
God’s justice is clearly recorded in the Bible—God must punish
sin. Those who do not accept God’s forgiveness through Jesus
will be punished eternally from God. This is no God's desire.
His plan was that everyone receive eternal enjoyment with

But because of our sin we all deserve God’s just

punishment. Read the following verses that teach this:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit
the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived” (1 Corinthians
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and
murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and
idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that
burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death”
(Revelation 21:8).
God’s character demands that sins must be penalized. Paul
explains that the penalty is death; the wage you get for the evil
work of sin is separation from God. Ever since the first sin,
the results have been the same. We are all born under God’s


condemnation. Reading about eternal punishment is not a
popular topic. But the most difficult part about this teaching
is not the place sin separates us to at death (hell), but Who it
separates us from (God). This separation from God is the true
pain and sorrow of hell. We are left to live a selfish existence
entirely absent from the loving presence of God.4 This is not
good news. But if you do not understand the bad news, you
will not understand your need for the good news. Read the
following verses that teach this truth:
“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our
flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind,
and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
(Ephesians 2:3).
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the
world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He
who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe
has been judged already, because he has not believed in
the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:17-18).
As we learn from John 3 above, God’s purpose for you is not






However, you must come to the point that you believe you
need to be rescued. Do you believe this? Do you believe that
you are under God’s wrath and condemned in His court? If you

4 “We know how selfishness and self-absorption lead to
piercing bitterness, nauseating envy, paralyzing anxiety,
paranoid thoughts, and the mental denials and distortions that
accompany them. Now ask the question; “What if when we die
we don’t end, but spiritually our life extends into eternity?’
Hell, then is the trajectory of a soul, living a self-absorbed,
self-centered life, going on and on forever” (Timothy Keller,

The Reason for God, (New York: Penguin, 2008), p. 79).


do not, I suggest you go back and re-read the previous Bible
verses. Before you understand God’s rescue plan you have to
understand your need for that rescue.

SIDE LIGHT: Relaxingly Un-rescued

My dad has a little salt water kayak. It is so relaxing
to take this little kayak out past the breaking waves
into the ocean.

There is no sound except the

repetitive splash of the swelling waves bouncing
against the kayak and the occasional bird’s call. The
last time I was out on the kayak I spent some time
looking out at the ocean and enjoying the endless
expanse of open water.




As I sat, large jelly-fish



lost in


When I turned the kayak back around to look at the
shore, I realize that I was much further out than when
I first faced the open Atlantic. In fact, I had drifted
quite a distance from shore!

I was relaxed, not

knowing that before long I might be in great danger.
Thankfully, I could still see which way was back to
shore, so with some hearty rowing I was able to make
my way back. But if I had waited a while longer and
was not able to see the land, I might still be out in the
Atlantic drifting around.
This illustration pictures how many people are today.
They are drifting further and further from God, not
knowing that they need to be rescued. The shore of
God’s goodness disappeared from view when we first


sinned. But much of our lives are spent thinking that
our rowing can easily get us back to the shore. The
truth is that we are miles from the shore; the more we
row in our own strength the further we row away from
God. We need to turn around to God and accept His
rescue. Perhaps you are just turning the kayak of your
life around and recognizing that you are far out at sea,
away from God’s acceptance.

If that is you, be

thankful! You can be rescued!

Now we get to the heart of the Bible. This is the epicenter—
the hub on which the wheel turns. It is a story that you may
have heard since you were a child, but perhaps you did not
realize the significance of the story until now. Let’s overview
the details of this marvelous story once more. We will look
first at the Person of the Gospel and second at the content of
the Gospel.

The Person of the Gospel
You may know that the first four books of the New Testament
are called Gospels: the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark,
Luke, and John. If you read the first verses of these four books,
you understand that they are four accounts of the same
story—the same Gospel. Gospel simply means “good news.”
So what or who is the good news about? Let’s examine the
beginning of each of these separate historical accounts. Read


first the first verse of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of
God” (Mark 1:1).
“The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son
of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
Now let's read what angels said at the birth announcement of
Jesus in Luke's Gospel.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold,
I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the
people; for today in the city of David there has been born
for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
It is clear that right from the beginning of these accounts the
Good News is the Good News about Jesus. The same is true in
John's Gospel. Right from the start, he declares that Jesus is
God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). And at the end of his
Gospel account he tells us the purpose of writing:
“Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the
presence of the disciples, which are not written in this
book; but these have been written so that you may believe
that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing
you may have life in His name (John 20:30-31).”
It is clear that the central Person in the Gospel is Jesus and that
through Him we can have life. Now let’s review the reason why
Jesus' life is Good News by examining the content of the


The Content of the Gospel
As we survey the content of the Gospel, we will examine the
summary of God’s good news and then apply that Gospel to
individual people.

The Gospel Summarized
Paul clearly outlines the main parts of the Gospel in I
Corinthians 15. It is very helpful to examine the summary that
Paul gives there.

Read this passage and then answer the

questions that follow.
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I
preached to you, which also you received, in which also you
stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the
word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also
received, 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, and that He
appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

After that He

appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time,
most of whom remain until now” (1 Corinthians 15:1-6).
There are several components to the Gospel message: Christ
died for our sins, was buried, rose the third day, and was seen
by many witnesses.

Notice in verse 2 that those who are

holding to these things by trusting in this message are “saved.”
The idea is that these people have been rescued. Rescue is
available to you through this Gospel message! Take a moment
and read the other verses that clearly state this truth:


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of
God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first
and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
“God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the








Corinthians 1:21).

The Gospel Personalized
The Gospel in a nutshell is Jesus doing what you cannot do.
He paid the penalty for your sin. You have to realize this in a
personal way.

Jesus lived a perfect life for your imperfect life. The Bible
teaches that Jesus obeyed every law of God. God demands
perfect obedience, and only Jesus could fulfill this demand.
We have already concluded that God demands holiness and
that none of us are perfect. So how can we go forward? We
have to accept Jesus’ life by faith. His perfect life must be
attributed to you. This is how “the righteousness of God,” the
perfect nature that God demands, is attributed to you.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2
Corinthians 5:21).
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has
been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets
testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith
in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:21-22 NIV).

Jesus died a sacrificial death for your sin. Jesus died on the
cross for your sin. He bore your sin on the cross, suffering
your penalty. When He was on the cross, His greatest agony


was separation from His Father. God the Father could not look
on Him. “Why have You forsaken me?” He cried. God had to
turn His eyes from His Son because He was bearing the sin of
the world. Jesus was the lightning rod that took God’s anger
for your sin. Because Jesus is God, He can bear an eternal
weight of sin. He paid for your eternal separation from God in
a moment of time.
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ
died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous
man; though perhaps for the good man someone would
dare even to die.

But God demonstrates His own love

toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for
us” (Romans 5:6-8).

Jesus rose again from the dead, securing your resurrection.
Jesus’ resurrection shows that He has victory over sin and
death and can grant the gift of eternal life to those who come
to Him. This assures us that those who trust in Him can also
receive life from the dead. This is how His resurrection gives
promise of eternal life.
In your natural state you are at war with God because of your
sin. However, with Jesus we can have peace with God again
and delight in Him again. “Having been justified by faith we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans
So Jesus is the way of rescue! He is the way back to the shore
of fellowship with God. God did not want us to remain in
alienation so He initiated and provided a bridge back to shore.
He provided a way. Jesus said, “I am the Way, and the Truth,
and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”
(John 14:6). Through Jesus Christ you can meet your greatest
need of being right with God.


SIDE LIGHT: Rescue by Sacrifice

On a cold winter day, 903 troops and 4 military
chaplains boarded the Dorchester, an Army transport
ship. At 12:00 on the morning of February 3, a German
torpedo struck the side of the boat. The men scrambled
for lifeboats, knowing that the ship had no way to be
saved. A young GI told one of the chaplains that he had
lost his life vest. The chaplain sacrificed his own for the
young man.
Once all the life jackets ran out, each of the chaplains
on the boat gave up the jacket they had. One account
records that they then joined hands and sang and
prayed for the rest of the crew. These men died when
the Dorchester went down and they were posthumously
awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
They gave their physical lives for their comrades. You
and I have a greater Savior Who sacrificed His life. He
went to the death we deserved and took our place. He
gave us His eternal “life jacket.”




According to Isaiah 53:6 how are we like sheep?


What is the result of our sin?


Is God's purpose for your life condemnation or salvation?


What does the word "Gospel" mean?


What are the four components of the Gospel outlined in 1
Corinthians 15:1-6?



What do we mean by stating that Jesus is a lightning rod?


Do You
Know God?
You may be wondering, “How does this transaction take

We will end this section by clearly outlining how

someone receives God’s glorious rescue plan.
God offers the gift of eternal life to as many as receive Him as
their Lord (repent) and Savior (believe; Romans 10:9-10).
These are the two conditions of the heart that God requires for
His rescue plan. They are not things you do or works you
perform. They are like reaching out your hands to receive a
gift. They are conditions of the heart that must be true of
everyone who has eternal life. You must repent of your sin
and trust only in Jesus. We will look first at belief and then at

You must believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your
sin. This belief is more than just restating the facts. The Bible
says that demons believe the facts. Saving faith goes beyond
the facts and actually trusts God for eternal salvation. You
must not only believe that Jesus was a person Who died to pay
for sins, but you must also believe that His death was sufficient
to pay for your sin personally.


This kind of trust will cause you to ask for help. If you truly
believe that Jesus died for your sins then you will ask Him for
forgiveness. Do you believe Jesus died to take away your sins?
“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to
become children of God, even to those who believe in His
name” (John 1:12).
If we were on a plane which had a failing engine, you could say
you trusted in a parachute to hold you if you needed to jump.
You might even believe that it could hold you. But in order for
this parachute to be of any help, you have to get out of your
seat and put the parachute on! So it is with Jesus. If you
believe His death was for you then call upon Him and ask for
the forgiveness that comes through His death on your behalf.
Place your trust in Him today!

The other condition of your heart that God demands is
repentance. Repentance is a change of mind about yourself
and your sin. You must go beyond just being sorry that you
have sinned; you must forsake that sin. You cannot choose
God’s way and your own way. Today, if you will receive Jesus’
gift of salvation, you must be willing to go His way—you must
be willing to give your life into His hand. He is a loving and
caring Master. “God is now declaring to men that all people
everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30).
Of course, this does not mean that you must stop sinning in
order to receive God’s gift of salvation. Salvation is the free
gift of forgiveness for that sin. However, you cannot come to
God with half of your heart. You must present your life to Him.
“Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).


Someone may say, “I’ll ask God for His forgiveness when I
clean up my life.” This is the attitude of the Pharisee, someone
who is trying to earn his way to God by his own works. This is
not repentance but pride. As the Bible teaches, “He saved us,
not on the basis of deeds which we have done in
righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5).
Someone else may correctly say, “I have no way to clean up my
sinful practices, but I am willing to give my sin and all of myself
to Him and plead for His forgiveness.” This person has the
right attitude. They realize they have no way to earn God’s
forgiveness but they are not holding tight to their life or their

They come with hands open, not with clenched fists

holding on to a pet sin. You could think of it this way. You do
not stop sinning to earn God’s favor—but you must put your
sin on the table as you plead with God and ask Him not only
to forgive you but also to take your sin from you.
Do you believe in Jesus? Have you repented of your sin? If you
believe and are ready to give your life to Jesus please call upon
Him today! “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will
be saved” (Romans 10:13). He will save a heart that cries for

Some have just cried – “God be merciful to me a

sinner.” Others have prayed sincerely something like this:

“Dear God, I know that I have sinned. I have done things
that grieve You and have disobeyed Your commands. I
know that I deserve punishment for my sin. Thank you for
sending Jesus to die in my place. I believe He died and rose
again in order to pay the penalty for my sin. Please forgive
me and cleanse me from my sin. I give you my whole future
and life. Please save me now because of Jesus. Amen.”


“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have
eternal life” (John 3:16).
“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and
believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead,
you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes,
resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he
confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal
life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the
life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have
the life” (1 John 10:11-12).
God wants to give you life—eternal life. That life is enjoying
the pleasures that are in His presence forever.
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your
presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are
pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).

This is God’s story.

He made you to enjoy Him.

separated you from that enjoyment.

Sin has

The more you try to

delight yourself in things other than God, the more
disillusioned you will be with life. Your deepest thirst in life
will only be satisfied when you enjoy again the relationship
you were made to love—a right relationship with God through


His Son, Jesus Christ. Won’t you believe the Gospel today?
Once you come to God through Jesus Christ, accepting Him
and Him alone, you will enjoy the communion that Adam and
Eve had in the cool of the day—sweet harmony and fellowship
with the Father. And that enjoyment will last not just in this

It will be an everlasting enjoyment that will only

intensify and reach its culmination in heaven. The relationship
of knowing God that begins with initial faith only grows into
an abundant, joyful, and eternal life existence.
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3).



You earn your salvation by good works (Ephesians 2:9):

True / False.


What are the two conditions of the heart that must be met
before someone is saved?


Which is a good picture of repentance?

Cleaning up your life so God will save you.


Turning from your sin by putting all your sinful
desires "on the table" and asking God to take them
from you.


Going to a confession booth and talking with a


How is trusting in Jesus (faith) like putting on a parachute?


SIDE LIGHT: A Burning Building

Let’s end this booklet with an illustration of a different kind
of rescue. This will highlight not only the joys of accepting
the Gospel message but also the urgent nature of belief.
God commands everyone today to repent and believe the
good news of Jesus.
You are hanging outside the window of the sixth floor of a
burning building. The rusty shutter you are clinging to is
slowly swinging in the breeze and your hands are burning
with the intense heat of the wall while flames leap out of
the gaping window.
A story from the NY Times archives recounts a three-alarm
fire in a six-story livery and boarding stables at Madison
and E. 66th street in the early 1900s. The firefighters had
secured the safety of hundreds of horses from the
buildings when the fire chief looked up and saw a man in
the sixth floor window. They beckoned the man out of the
window and pleaded with him not to jump so they could do
their best to reach him.
As Tony Shultz waited for rescue he had to climb out the
window and hold on to the shutter. The witnesses said that
the shutter swayed in the breeze as Tony’s life hung in the
balance between being burnt by the flames or succumbing
to the six story drop.

Fire Lieutenant Jacob Levy and

Fireman Frank Winterick charged up the tallest extension


ladder they had which only reached to the fourth floor.
With two additional scaling ladders they were able to reach
Tony and slowly bring him down to safety.
I wish you would think of yourself as holding on to that
shutter suspended in mid-air. You hear the roaring fire
inside and feel the intense heat emanating from the bricks.
The firemen have finally reached you (That is good news!),
but you must reach out and grab the escape provided for
you. You have to transfer your trust from the building to
the ladder.

Your life is a burning building. You cannot hang on to selfdestruction. The ladder of the Gospel has been placed at
the window of your heart. Your life is burning up. You
cannot trust in the burning building one moment more or
you will be swallowed up in eternal wrath.

You have

listened to the Gospel. Jesus died to pay for your sin—for
your sin. Do you believe Him? Do you trust Him?
If you are still trusting in the crumbling building of your
own self-righteousness, then you are not trusting in Jesus.
Man-made religion and good works are all your own way.
They are a burning building. If you are trying to trust in
them and Jesus then you are hanging in the air with one
hand on the escape provided and one hand on your own
way—you will fall to your destruction! You must turn your
life entirely up to Him. You must make this critical choice.
I beg you, as a family member watching you suspended in
mid-air with one hand grasping the burning building and
the other hand grasping the ladder—let go of your own
way. Trust in Jesus and Him alone today. He will rescue
you! Would you call on Him now?


Confess to Him, “Lord I am no longer going to trust in the
way I had devised.”

Whether your trust has been in

personal goodness through manmade religion, or you
considered yourself a good person, either way you will fall.
Confess in your heart that you know only Jesus obeyed God
perfectly and only His sacrifice is enough. He will rescue
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the
right to become children of God, even to those who
believe in His name” (John 1:12).
“Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of
the world” (John 1:29)!


What are L.I.F.E. Groups?

In the blueprint for church ministry found in Ephesians 4, God
explains that He gives church





individual in the church to do the
work of building others up. Look
at three primary principles from
this passage:
Loving—In the Ephesians 4 blueprint, all building that is done
is done through people who are speaking the truth in love.
Love is the great greenhouse of the church. Our motivation in
these groups should not be selfish. We must strive for another
person's spiritual maturity.
Individuals—In the blueprint found in Ephesians 4, the
spiritually maturing church is one where each joint in the body
is functioning properly. We are like a clock filled with cogs,
gears, and other intricate moving parts. Each part in that clock
must be working properly for the goal to be reached. You are
needed in this clockwork—you are needed in God's blueprint
for church ministry!


the blueprint in Ephesians 4,
God shares His goal for



are all building each other
up to be more like Christ.
We are to think, act and live like Jesus. So the end goal is that
each person will be more like Jesus through meeting together
around God's Word.