A Introduction: We’re looking at the importance of becoming a consistent Bible reader as part of a larger
discussion we’re going to have about our inheritance in Christ. Acts 20:32; Eph 1:18
1. We need to become regular, systematic readers of the New Testament. Regular means: Read
everyday. Systematic means: Read each book and letter from start to finish. The purpose of this type
of reader is to become familiar with the New Testament. Understanding comes with familiarity.
a. Because this assignment seems overwhelming as well as unrelated to the problems of life, I’m
using the lessons in this short series to give you reasons why this type of reading is vital.
b. We’ve covered a lot of ground. For the past few weeks we have been focusing on how becoming
familiar with the New Testament will help you deal with the times in which we live.
1. The return of Jesus is near and the Bible is clear that increasingly challenging times are
coming on this earth. Matt 24:4-8; II Tim 3:1-5; etc.
2. Jesus said men’s hearts will fail them for fear. Yet His followers can be elated in joyous
expectation because the completion of the plan of redemption is at hand. Luke 21:26-28
2. You can’t respond as Jesus says without accurate knowledge from God’s Word. It helps us understand
what’s happening and why we can be excited about it. It’s not what you see, it’s how you see what you
see. Regular, systematic reading of the New Testament will give you the proper perspective on life.
a. Redemption is God’s plan to deliver mankind and earth from bondage to sin, corruption, and death
and carry out His plan to have a family of sons and daughters with whom He can dwell on earth.
1. Jesus came to earth the first time to pay for sin at the Cross so it can be removed and all who
bow their knee to Him as Savior and Lord can be transformed from sinners into holy,
righteous sons and daughters of God. Rom 5:19; I John 5:1; II Cor 5:17; Rom 8:29,30; etc.
2. He will come again to cleanse the earth of corruption and death and make it a fit forever home
for Himself and His family and establish the visible kingdom of God on earth. Rev 11:15-18
b. Just as there was a generation that saw the first coming of Jesus, many of us will see His Second
Coming. His first coming produced a unique set of circumstances for His people. So will His
Second Coming. The Bible will help us navigate through the days ahead.
B. The New Testament was written by eyewitnesses of Jesus’ death and resurrection or close associates of
eyewitnesses. All of them expected the Lord to return in their lifetime which meant they expected to see
the perilous times leading up to His return. They gave their readers instructions on how to make it through.
1. The Bible is not a mystical book (a book with hidden spiritual meanings). The authors wrote to real
people with valuable information they intended them to understand and utilize.
a. You may be wondering: Then why is it so difficult for me to understand? First of all, you aren’t
familiar with it. Understanding comes with familiarity. The Bible is a unique book. It’s like a
math book that has information ranging from simple addition to advanced calculus and beyond. If
you’ve only just learned to count to ten you won’t understand very much. But as you grow and
learn more numbers along with how to add, subtract, multiply and divide, more and more of the
book will make sense to you.
b. Second, because it was written several thousand year ago in the Middle East there’s are a lot of
historical, cultural, and geographic references that are foreign to us (lessons for another day). But
as you get familiar with it you’ll figure out: that probably a place name or a local custom; etc.
2. One of the points the writers of the New Testament make over and over is that knowledge of what’s
ahead (or life after this life) is linked with walking in victory in this life. This is a foreign thought to
many of us because the Church as a whole has so deemphasized this aspect of redemption.
a. So much of the preaching we hear focuses on making this life the highlight of your existence:
Jesus died to help you fulfill your destiny, meaning your hopes and dreams in this life like a great
job, a big house and a vacation home. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those things.
1. The problem is there’s nothing like that in the Bible. It comes from taking a few verses out of
context and interpreting them in terms of 20th and 21st century American life and culture.
2. If your only source of information about Christianity was the New Testament you’d never
conclude that that’s what being a Christian is all about. It’s so much bigger than that.
A. We’re eternal beings. This life is only a fraction of our existence. We have a destiny that
outlasts this life. If 70-80 years of life on this earth is the highlight of our existence then
according to Paul (a man who saw the resurrected Lord and received his message directly
from Jesus, Acts 26:16; Gal 1:11,12) then we are miserable men (I Cor 15:19).
B. If you achieve your goals and reach your dreams and live a mostly happy, peaceful life
(which few people do) old age and death bring it to an end. Life in a fallen world is very
difficult. And you and I have had better lives than most of the people who’ve ever lived
on this planet because of the time period and country in which we were born.
b. Our destiny is to become sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ and then live in loving
relationship with Him forever, first in another dimension known as Heaven, and then on this earth
after it has been cleansed of corruption and death and we’ve been reunited with our body raised
from the dead and made incorruptible and immortal (lessons for another time).
3. The New Testament offers practical instruction in the context of the big picture or overall plan of God.
a. Paul wrote to believers in his day who were experiencing increasing persecution. The letter was
written to encourage them to stay faithful to the Lord no matter what.
1. Heb 10:32-34–He recounted how that when they first became Christians they endured great
trials: public ridicule, beatings, loss of property, jail. He reminded them: You cheerfully
submitted to the violent seizure of your property, for you knew that you had in yourselves and
in heaven one that was lasting (Williams).
2. “Cheerfully” comes from a word that means to cheer or encourage yourself by recalling the
reasons you have hope. They encouraged themselves in a difficult situation by remembering
that in the life to come they’ll get back what they lost and never again lose it.
b. Peter, who spent three and a half years with Jesus, saw Him crucified and raised from the dead,
wrote to believers who were experiencing increasing persecution that would soon become violent
under the reign of Roman Emperor Nero. He too wrote to encourage them to stay faithful to Jesus.
1. Peter said the same thing as Paul. Knowledge of the life to come is a source of hope that can
help you deal with the hardships of this life.
2. I Pet 1:3-4–Thank God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that in his great mercy
we have been born again into a life full of hope, through Christ’s rising again from the dead!
You can now hope for a perfect inheritance beyond the reach of change and decay, reserved in
Heaven for you.
c. Note that Peter specifically linked knowledge of what’s ahead with walking in victory in this life.
I Pet 1:5–And in the meantime you are guarded by the power of God operating through your faith,
till you enter fully into the salvation which is all ready to be revealed at the last. (Phillips)
1. God’s power is available to keep or guard us in this life until the plan is completed. But it is
accessed by faith. God works in our lives by His grace through our faith. Faith is the Greek
word “persuasion”.
2. You can’t have faith without first having hope because hope is expectation of coming good.
Knowledge of the provision to come gives you the confidence to believe for the provision
now. Faith or persuasion comes from the Word of God. Rom 10:17
4. Maybe you think I’m being too negative. “Just tell me how to get my miracle and fulfill my destiny!”
But the Bible has much information about conditions in the world at the time of Christ’s return. No
amount of faith or “positive thinking” can change it. We have to know how to deal with it.
a. A worldwide government, economy, and religion will be in place. Those circumstances won’t
come out of a vacuum. They are setting up even now and times will become increasingly difficult.
1. Religious deception and lawlessness (lack of respect for authority) will be rampant (Matt 24:
11,12). People are willingly ignorant (II Pet 3:5), love not truth and enjoy unrighteousness
(II Thess 2:10-12); without self-control or natural affection (II Tim 3:1-5). Reprobate minds
(minds unable to make decisions in their own best interest) will prevail (Rom 1:28).
2. We’ve emphasized that this won’t be a “mad max” scenario. It will be the natural outflow of
the direction in which the world is moving. (lessons for another day)
b. I’ve had people ask: How do you know we’re near the end? It’s always been like this. Yes, the
wickedness in human hearts that produces this kind of behavior has been there since Adam sinned.
1. But more people live on the earth now than all who have lived throughout human history
combined. More people means more fallenness. And technology enables sin to go farther
than ever. Technology for worldwide system was not possible until recently.
2. Here’s the bottom line. According to the Bible, a plan is unfolding. A plan by definition has
a beginning, middle, and end. It’s not God’s intention that the world go on like this forever.
Nor is it His intention to “fix things up” by reforming society. He’s going to root out the
spiritual cause behind all the hell and heartache in the world and fulfill His original plan to
have a family in a perfect world through Jesus.

C. Rom 15:4–Paul wrote that the Old Testament was recorded in part to give us reason to hope. It has
historical accounts of real people who experienced great hardships because of the times in which they lived
and the wicked decisions of those around them. These accounts give us hope that we have a future, that
God will get us through until He gets us out, and that the plan of redemption will be completed.
1. Noah–There’s much in his story we aren’t going to talk about now because we don’t have the time.
But you know the basic story line. God instructed Noah to build a boat to carry him and his family
through a worldwide flood that came on the earth. Gen 6-9
a. The promised Redeemer (Jesus) was prophesied to come through Noah’s line (Gen 3:15; Luke 3:
336). But the world had become so filled with sin and violence that the redemptive line was in
danger of being wiped out. Remember, Satan has opposed the establishment of God’s kingdom on
earth since the beginning of time.
b. God instructed Noah to build an ark to preserve the redemptive line so that God’s plan and Word
would not be thwarted. Consider several thoughts about what happened here.
1. It’s very hard to hear this as anything other than a Sunday School story. But this is a real
event that involved real people. (There’s all kinds of geological evidence of a catastrophic
flood around the world today. Lessons for another day.)
2. Noah had to follow the Word of the Lord without any physical evidence. He built a boat on
dry ground for an event unlike anything anyone had ever seen.
A. He preached righteousness (II Pet 2:5) and coming judgment for 120 years (Gen 6:3). He
had no known conversions. (Although it wouldn’t surprise me to meet people in Heaven
who were converted in the treetops in a deathbed act of repentance.)
B. He and his family lost their home and all and everyone they knew. They spent months
floating in a deluge in a boat with animals they had to tend. When the flood waters
subsided they had to start over in a world recovering from a catastrophic, worldwide
flood, a process that took years.
3. If this life is the highlight of human existence then Noah lost out big time. But Noah is now
part of that cloud of witnesses who are in Heaven awaiting their return to earth to life as it was
meant to be. His faithfulness made him an heir of righteousness. Heb 11:7; 12:1
A. The ark was a real boat but it is also a type or picture of Jesus. He is our place of safety
no matter what happens. He will get us through until He gets us out.
B. We, like Noah have to learn how to follow God’s Word and have the confidence to do so.
2. Lot–Abraham’s nephew Lot lived in in the wicked city of Sodom. It was destroyed for its wickedness.
Everybody knows about God reigning fire and brimstone on the city (Gen 19). We could do entire
lessons on this incident. But consider a few thoughts.
a. The area where Sodom and Gomorrah were located is part of the Rift Valley (a major fault line
that runs through the area). Earthquakes have occurred in the region since recorded history. There
are also large amounts of oil, asphalt, and natural gas which make the area highly combustible.
1. The catastrophe that hit the cities was an explosion triggered by an earthquake that released
large quantities of highly flammable material into the air which then exploded and fell back to
the ground as “fire and brimstone”. God connected it to Himself to help men see the
destruction that comes because of sin. (Lessons for another day.)
2. The destruction coming on the earth prior to Jesus’ return will be the consequences of men’s
rejection of God. When God judges men He gives them over to consequences of their sin. He
connects the events to Himself to show clearly that the destruction mankind will reap is the
result of rejecting Him. (II Thess 2:11; Rev 6; lessons for another day)
b. Here’s the point for our discussion. What happened to Lot really happened but it also pictures
what will happen to us. The Lord got Lot out before final destruction came. But he, like Noah,
had to follow the Word of the Lord through the angels God sent to him.
1. But, once again, it wasn’t glamorous. Lot had to endure the behavior that brought the city to
the point of destruction. And he was vexed by it. II Pet 2:6-9
2. He too had to leave his home with the clothes on his back and start over in a new place. But
he is now part of that cloud of witnesses who are enjoying the blessing of Heaven as they
await their return to earth.
c. Remember Lot’s wife? She didn’t make it out because she looked back (Gen 19:26). I can’t
explain what happened. But Jesus referenced her in connection His Second Coming. And the
point is clear: We don’t need to be looking back at where we came from. We need to be looking
ahead to where we’re going. Luke 17:26-33; Heb 11:13-16; 39,40

D. Conclusion: We need wisdom from God about how to navigate through the days and years ahead. That
wisdom is found in God’s written Word, the Bible. Ps 119:105
1. You may be thinking: I want Him to speak to me like He did Noah or send an angel like He did for
Lot. Maybe He will, but most likely He won’t. The number one way He speaks to us is through His
written Word. (We’ll say more about that later in the year.)
2. Those men had partial revelation from God. We have the complete revelation in Jesus. The Living
Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, is revealed to us in the written Word, the Bible. We are responsible to
walk in the light we have. Heb 1:1,2; John 6:63; 5:46; etc.
3. Prov 6:21-23–Keep (My Words) always in your heart…Wherever you walk, their counsel can lead
you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up in the morning, they will advise
you. For these commandments and this teaching are a lamp to light the way ahead of you. (NLT)