The Bible starts with creation and mankind’s communion with God, but quickly darkens when sin enters the world. God’s response to man’s sin was judgment—but with that judgement, there was always grace. As we search through the Old Testament, Alistair Begg challenges us to examine whether God is welcome on the throne of our hearts. To reject Him, he warns us, is judgment, but to accept the grace that He pours out on us is life and peace.
Sermon Transcript: Print
We pray now, Lord, as we study the Bible together that the Spirit of God will be our teacher. We ask for your help to concentrate, to speak, to listen, to understand, to believe, to obey, to live. None of this we can do. We are at our very best unprofitable servants. And so we pray that you will come and quicken and help us, for your glory and for our own eternal good. And in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
To Genesis 12 again then, the passage that was read for us a moment or two ago by Matthew, and these opening words: “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’”
I’m told that there is a phrase that is used in air traffic control when they transition from one controller to another. Instead of the individual simply showing up in time for work at eight o’clock, and one person slipping out of the seat and the next one dropping into it, there is a period of perhaps thirty minutes or more of transition in which the person taking over from the one who’s in charge of a segment of the sky “gets the picture.” It is imperative that the controller has a grasp of where everything fits, especially if he or she is going to be giving direction.
And it is equally important for us, as we read and study our Bibles, that we have a sense of where everything fits. And that’s why, in the evening for a couple of weeks now, we have been engaged in a study in which we are endeavoring to get God’s big picture. We are providing for one another an overview of the main story line of the Bible so that each of us is able to get our bearings and to navigate our way around. My purpose in this is to make sure that all of us will have an outline of the Bible’s story in our minds. I’m not sure that many of us do. I know that many of us have favorite passages. I know that some of us have particular interest in certain sections of the Bible, and we have either things we wish to say concerning it or discussions we enjoy regarding it, but when it comes simply to having a grasp of the Bible’s story line, I’m not sure that we are all where we might be, and actually where we need to be. And since the morning congregations are not completely represented in the evening, I decided this morning that I would give the morning congregations a little insight into what is taking place in the evening with the thought in mind that others may be encouraged to participate in the evening, feeling that this is necessary for their own biblical and spiritual development. Or at least, that they would pick up the tapes so that they can follow along.
One way to test this is, for example, just to begin saying the books of the Bible together and see how far we can get before it starts to get very quiet. So, let’s try that: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Na… I quit. You don’t have to quit ’cause I quit. What comes after Obadiah? Pardon? Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. You’re a very good group—very good group. Passed the first test with flying colors. Did far better than me, no surprise at all.
We’re early enough in this process as well for you to dive into the evening without feeling that you’ve missed the plot. What we have done is approached it in a slightly different way. I’ve been giving headings up on the screen so that people could take notes and get a grasp of the main outline. And what we’ve done is we’ve followed the pattern of others in using the kingdom of God as a unifying theme. There are a number of themes that we could use to trace a line through the Bible, and we’ve chosen to use the phrase the kingdom of God.
Jesus began his ministry by declaring the kingdom of God: “‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is at hand.’” And as he taught, it became clear that his mission was to introduce the kingdom in the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. And although the phrase “the kingdom of God” does not appear as such in the Old Testament, the concept does. And we’ve endeavored to understand a definition of the kingdom that is imperative in going forward, and it is there for you: God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule and blessing—God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule and blessing. And right from the very beginning of the Bible, we see the pattern of that kingdom established in the relationship between God and Adam and Eve, in the garden—his original, perfect creation—the world as God intended for it to be: God, in perfect communion with his creation, walking with them, talking with them in the cool of the day. And that a wonderful picture of God’s people (namely, Adam and Eve) in God’s place (namely, the garden) under God’s rule (namely, his word) and enjoying God’s blessing (namely, his relationship and companionship) is there for us all to see. It’s a wonderful beginning to the story.
But of course, we very quickly in Genesis 3 discover that this kingdom relationship is spoiled—it is spoiled. We’re introduced to a talking snake as the devil appears and interferes with Eve and, in turn, with Adam. This results in a rebellion—a rebellion on the part of creation towards the Creator—and suddenly things are not as God intended for them to be. Relationships are broken, and those relationships are the underpinning of life, and man and woman are now not where they were in the previous chapter. It has changed everything: it has changed the way in which a man brings leadership and the way in which a woman submits to leadership, and we saw that in detail when we studied that together. The relationships are broken also between man and creation. All of the beauty of God’s creation is marred as a result of sin. There are thistles—which happens to be the flower of Scotland, as you know, that they don’t come out very well, but we turned them into a plus as best we could—and as a result of sin, there are also dandelions. And I look forward to the new creation, and I do not expect to find them there at all. The relationships are broken between man and God—man and God. No longer are they talking with one another. And we find that the kingdom is spoiled.
Sin has entered. Sin separates man from God and man from man, from one another. Sin spoils all that God has made perfect and pristine in his creation, and sin spreads like wildfire and has a detrimental impact on all that God has made.
We see that, then, unfolding in the murder that takes place in chapter 4: the story of Cain and Abel. We see it in chapter 5, which is the first genealogy in the Bible, which has the recurring refrain “and he died… and he died… and so-and-so, and he died… and died… and died… and died”—simply reinforcing the fact that the judgment that God has brought upon sin—namely, in death—has actually been put into effect. We then see God’s response to that in the flood, and the story of Noah, to which we’ll come a little later on. And then finally it reaches its height—no pun intended—in the Tower of Babel. And in chapter 11, the people determined they’re going to have their own little kingdom; they’re going to build their own tower; they’re going to reach up and see if they can’t do things on their own.
Now, that’s simply the early chapters of the Bible, and there is no reason why the Bible couldn’t have ended there. I mean, that could have been the whole story: God creates, man rebels, God enters into judgment. It’s over—done. And why doesn’t that happen? Well, the answer is because of who God is—that God is a gracious God. And what the Bible says is that even before the disobedience of Adam and Eve—even before they or anything was created—God had decided on a rescue operation, whereby he would bring together a people that are his very own, and this people would willingly submit to his rule. Now, that is a very, very important phrase, because “the kingdom of God” is expressive of the sphere in which men and women submit to his rule. “The kingdom of God” we’re not using as the area in which God rules in it spatially or geographically, because the fact of the matter is God rules in every area, and God is sovereign over everything, even over the disobedience and rebellion of men and women. There is a mystery in that, but that’s the fact. No, what we’re saying here is that “the kingdom of God” is representative of the sphere in which his rule is gladly accepted.
Now, let me just pause here and ask you a question. In your little sphere, namely, your life, and your life has a throne in it, if you like—the throne of your heart. Let me ask you: Is the throne of your heart a sphere in which God’s kingly rule is gladly accepted? Because the plan of God from all of eternity was to put things right by reestablishing his kingdom through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And even in the dark days of the fall and rebellion, even in the pain and trouble of Cain and Abel, even in the experience of mortality—certainly in the reality of the flood—God gives little hints, little lights in the darkness, little glimmers of hope of better things to come. In other words, there is in the immediacy of all of this darkness, a light, as it were, shining out and onwards. It’s a story of the promised kingdom: the kingdom patterned in Genesis 1 and 2, the kingdom spoiled in Genesis 3, and the kingdom then promised in what is to come.
This is an account of God’s eternal plan. And if you want cross-reference for that, you can read Ephesians and the opening chapter, and there you discover the immensity of the thought that God from all of eternity has been purposing to bring everything to fruition according to the eternal counsel of his will. Why does he do that? Because of his amazing grace. What is God like? Well, he is a gracious God—he is a gracious God. Even in the midst of sin and rebellion, God displays his grace. And that’s why we see these three elements unfolding: sin, man’s reaction to God; judgment, God’s response to man’s sin; and yet, in the midst of judgment, God’s amazing grace.
So, that all of the experience of man’s disinterest is met by these little indications of God’s promised kingdom. So, we have the one who will come and crush the serpent in Genesis 3:15: it’s a veiled prophecy of the Lord Jesus and his work on the cross. We have a mark put on Cain in chapter 4, so that even though for his sin he is exiled, he’s not abandoned. And into the mortality of chapter 5 where it says, “and he died… and he died… and he died,” you get to verse 24, and suddenly here’s one who doesn’t die. And it says, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; [because] God took him.” It’s a little hint, it’s a little indication, it’s a little penlight in the darkness, saying that there is hope, that even in a fallen world, it’s possible to know God and escape the penalty of death. Enoch is just a little indication of all that God is promising to do ultimately in his kingdom.
And this, of course, is made perfectly clear in the covenant that he makes with Noah—wonderful story of Noah—some of you remember it from Sunday School:
Mister Noah built an ark;
The people thought it such a lark.
And Mister Noah pleaded so,
But into the ark they would not go.
And down came the rain in torrents,
And down came the rain in torrents,
And down came the rain in torrents,
And only eight were saved.
Only eight were saved. And why Noah? Because he was just as sinful as the man up the street. Why Noah? He was just as corrupt in his heart as any of them. Why Noah? In the execution of judgment, why Noah? Well, hey—why you? Why me? “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” or if you like, grace found Noah. And God’s covenant with Noah is an unmerited experience. It is an unbelievable experience. It is an inexplicable experience.
What is a covenant? It’s “the coming together of a stated and continuing relationship between two parties who previously were apart from each other”—“the coming into existence of a stated and continuing relationship between two parties who previously were apart from each other.” This is why marriage is a covenant. Marriage is not a contract. Marriage is not something that has been devised in time, dreamt up by people. No, it is a covenant. It’s not a unilateral covenant in the way in which God unilaterally exercises his initiative with Noah. It is a mutual covenant between a husband and wife, but they covenant together—they come together, and the people say, “And the two will become one.” And it is stated and it is obvious and it is public. They came prior as single individuals. They walked down the aisle united in a covenant relationship. That’s why to take marriage out with the framework of the early chapters of Genesis is to make a complete mockery of marriage. And the idea—the clever idea, at the moment abroad—of the homosexual community saying, “Well, we’ll settle for a civil union, but we won’t call it marriage…” Chase that out of town at every place you meet it. It is sophistry of the finest kind. It is subtle; it is still vitally undermining to the authority of God. God has established the nature of covenant, and he has patterned it in his relationship with Noah.
Now, without exception the whole human race is involved in wickedness. Outwardly, it was clear in the face of the earth; inwardly, the thoughts of the hearts of men and women were deceitful; and equally, they were in the same position. So, why does God do this? Because of his plan: to have a people that are his very own. He’s putting together a people. And if he hadn’t had Noah and the ark, then there would be no people. Because the flood would have taken everybody out. So he puts together a people in the safety of the ark. And the people who were not in the safety of the ark, what did they do? They ignored the “preacher of righteousness.” Noah goes amongst the people, and he says, “Listen, God is going to judge the world. There’s going to be a flood.” And they said, “You’re nuts! It doesn’t even rain. What do you mean, a flood? You’re a crazy man, Noah. I don’t understand you.”
Well, I understand a little of how he must have felt. People say, “You’re crazy. You don’t honestly believe the Adam and Eve stuff, do you? You’re crazy. You don’t honestly believe that a Galilean carpenter is the answer to the sins of the world. You’re crazy. You don’t believe that Jesus is going to return again for a people that are his very own. Oh, no. Thank you, but we’ll just get on the way we are.” Amazing, isn’t it really?
Now, this covenant is established with Noah. God gives him a big, huge sign: a rainbow. And he promises he’s going to preserve creation, and he’s never going to again destroy it by a flood. I was in Arizona this week, and some of you were too, I think—I met at least one family—and I noted that the geology there certainly can be explained, in large part, in relationship to a massive flood. Question of the timing of it and everything can be debated. But you have that outcrop of rock, and it’s all red for a certain way, and then it changes and goes to white or to gray. And the impact of the iron and the salt and everything else. Anyway, every time you see a rainbow, you’re reminded of Noah.
I’m gonna skip Abram for a moment, if you don’t mind… I’m sure he doesn’t mind. God makes a covenant with Moses. We’re not going to get into it. He says, “You’re my people”—the Israelites—“You’ll be my special people, and I’m going to give you a sign as well, and that’s the sign of the Sabbath,” and God is moving all of this covenant picture forward, because the Israelites, as we see as we go forward with our study, broke their covenant obligation. God enters into judgment on them, but he promises them—and primarily through his prophet, Jeremiah—that there’s going to be a new and a better covenant, and that new and better covenant will lead to a changed heart, a universal knowledge of God, and complete forgiveness.
And it will be by his death on the cross that Jesus inaugurates that new covenant. That’s why in the Last Supper, Jesus says “this cup is the new covenant in my blood for the remission of sins.” Now, those people understood this. They said, “You mean to say that you are going to bring people into a relationship with yourself as a result of your death on the cross?” Jesus says, “That’s exactly what I’m going to do.” Indeed, every other covenant points forward, and there is, in a sense, only one covenant that is ultimately embodied in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.
Now, the covenant with Abram, of course, is foundational, and that’s why we have read from Genesis 12 this morning. And the sign of the covenant with Abram, of course, is circumcision. Now, we’re going to end here, so you can sort of take a deep breath and say, “Okay, we’re sort of on the final stretch” and let me explain this as best I can.
If you remember from the previous diagram—or one of them—you saw sin and judgment and then another arrow that pointed to grace. Let me see if I can remember my own outline. In Cain and Abel, you’ve got sin and judgment, and grace is revealed in the fact that Cain has a mark put upon him, and although he is exiled, he’s not abandoned. In the judgment of sin—in the mortality of Genesis chapter 5—you have sin, you have judgment, which is death, and then you have grace, which is revealed in the fact that Enoch was not, because God took him. And then in the flood you have sin, you have the judgment of God in the flood, and then you have grace in Noah and in those who joined him. And then the fourth element in that was the Tower of Babel—right?— in Genesis chapter 11. But when you read Genesis chapter 11, you have sin and you have judgment, you have the people turning their back on God, you have the judgment of God when he says, “Okay, I’m going to scatter these people: I’m going to diversify their languages; I’m going to put them all over the place,” but there’s no indication of grace.
Genesis 11 ends: sin, judgment—where’s grace? Well, you have to wait a chapter—chapter 12—and a generation before God comes to repair what is devastated in chapter 11. God is coming now to Abraham and giving him promises to reverse the effect of his judgment that is there in Babel: God separates creation—that’s Genesis 11. Now, in chapter 12, his grace becomes apparent. Instead of just saying, “Okay, scatter and get out of my sight,” the way a parent may sometimes say, “Listen, why don’t all of you get out of the kitchen; in fact, get out of the house—get out of the neighborhood!” (You never felt that way at all? All right.) “So, just go!” God might even have said, “You know what, I’m just gonna scatter you and be done with you,” but no, he wasn’t and he couldn’t, because of the nature of who he is.
And in Genesis 12, he comes to this man—to a pagan man—called Abraham. You see, Abram wasn’t some fellow who was reading his Bible on a daily basis, you know, a really nice guy. Abram was just a guy. And God comes to Abram and he says to him, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; [and] I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. [And] I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Now, listen my friends, ’cause this is crucial: here, in the first three verses of Genesis 12, you have really the first indication—the first expression—of the gospel promise of the good news of what God is doing in his world. John Stott says of this, “It may [be truly] said without exaggeration that not only the rest of the Old Testament but the whole of the New Testament [is] an outworking of these promises [of God.]” In other words, if you want to understand your Bible—if you want to understand the Old Testament and you want to understand the New Testament—then you need to realize that essentially what you have is a fantastic exposition throughout history of the promises of God made to his servant, Abraham. Genesis 12:1–3 is the text that the rest of the Bible expounds. Nothing particularly special about Abraham: chosen not on account of his goodness but chosen on account of God’s grace.
And what are the elements in the covenant that God makes with him? Well, first of all, it has to do with people. The descendants of Abraham will become a great nation that will be God’s own people—Genesis 17:7: “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”
Now, one of the things we’re going to interact with this evening is the distinction between promise and fulfillment. Those of you who have been in the early studies know that what you have in the Bible is constantly moving between promise and fulfillment. And on the road to ultimate fulfillment, you will find partial fulfillment. And the promises that God makes to Abraham are partially fulfilled in the nation of Israel and are ultimately fulfilled in the universal application of the gospel.
I’m going to give you one reference to set you on the right direction regarding this, and we’ll come back to it as time goes on: Galatians 3:26–29—I’ll read it for you; you can make a note of it to study at your leisure. Paul writes to the church in Galatia, and he says, “You are all sons of God….” And how is a person a son of God? (Or a daughter of God—he uses the phraseology generically there.) “You[’re] all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. [So] there is neither Jew nor Greek”— that doesn’t mean Jews and Greeks don’t exist. There is neither “slave nor free”— that doesn’t mean there aren’t employees and employers. There is neither “male nor female”— that does not mean that we live in a society where there is no longer male and female. What it means is that the distinctions of ethnicity, the distinctions of gender, and the distinctions of status are neutralized in the gospel: “For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Now, here’s the kicker: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” “If you belong to Christ, you … are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” What promise? The promise in Genesis 12:2.
My dear friends, if you could get just a tiny glimpse of the immensity of this—if each of us could—the way in which the gospel is presented to us, the way in which we tend to respond to it and so on, makes it seem as if it was some kind of immediate and existential experience. In a moment of time, because this happened or that happened, and that we are, if you like, unhinged from the totality of all that has preceded and follows from it, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you are in Christ today, then the promise that God made to Abraham, if you like, has your name on it. And behind the promise he made to Abraham in all of eternity, that has your name on it. “My name from the palms of his hands eternity cannot erase; For there it is marked in indelible grace.”
Now, I’m about to get a second passport—that’ll give me a British passport, a European passport, and an American passport—so now I can go through two different lines, depending on which is the shortest. But the fact of the matter is that neither of those passports ultimately defines me. For by God’s grace, I am a citizen of heaven. I serve a king called Christ. I’m moving towards the place of his appointing, I live under his rule of the Word of God. I enjoy his blessing, and I share that with Jews and Gentiles and people from an Islamic background and folks who’ve been redeemed out of atheism and agnosticism, and… “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.” Why? Because he is fulfilling his promise to Abraham. It is immense.
You’re not a speck of stellar dust, floating somewhere in this time-space capsule, lost in the twenty-first century, moving towards who knows where, but you are a child of the king—patterned and planned and suggested and brought to fruition. Oh! It ought to bring our chins up off our chests. Oh! It ought to make us fall before God and worship him. Why would he ever do this? Why Noah? Why Abraham? Why you, and why me? There is no explanation, except his grace—his grace. If it were human invitation and human implementation, hundreds of people would have become Christians last Sunday. I made it as clear as you possibly can. There are three ways you can view your life: you’re part of a chance universe heading for oblivion, or you’re held in the grip of a blind, impersonal force called fate, or you may be the child of a creator God who loves you in Christ and you may know him.
And people went out the door, just out the door back to their Easter lunch. Those same people, if I had presented to them three possibilities for financial investment and gave them a dog and another dog and a good one, they would have said, “We’ll take the good one. Of course, leave the dogs behind.” But I explained to them: “Chance, oblivion, or Jesus,” and they walked out the door, telling me what? Telling me that unless the grace of God works in the heart of an individual, you can speak till you’re blue in the face. Therefore, I preached to a congregation that metaphorically every Sunday has its fingers in its ears and its eyes over its face. And I could not in a million Sundays pull your fingers out or take your scales off your eyes, but God can. And God does—and he does! And that’s our confidence. And that’s the people he’s putting together. Let me ask you again: Is your heart the sphere of God’s rule? Do you live under his rule? Do you enjoy his blessing? That is the question of the ages—that is the question.
And the land that he gives them in Canaan is just a picture of all that heaven is going to be. It was a wonderful place and flowing with milk and honey and so on, and it spoke of his blessing—spoke of his blessing.
I look forward to tonight when I can try and clarify some of the stuff I have to leave, but let me give to you our summary statement that we’ve tried to… And here’s your line, incidentally, if you want to be able to make sense of the Bible: The kingdom of God, what is it? God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s blessing. That kingdom is patterned in the creation of the world. Who are the people? Adam and Eve. Where’s the place? It’s the garden. What is his blessing and rule? It’s his word and relationship. So, what in the world is the problem now? Why are we as we are? Well, because the kingdom is spoiled. Who then are the people of God? Nobody. Where are we? Vanished. Do we know God’s rule? No, we’re disobedient. Do we know his blessing? No, we live under his curse. Well, is he just going to leave us high and dry? No, he’s made a promise. He made it to Abraham. And who will the people be? Abraham’s descendants. If you have faith in Jesus Christ, then you are the seed of Abraham and heirs of the promise. And where were they going? Well, they were going to Canaan. What were they going to do? They were going to live under his law and his tutelage. And they were going to enjoy the blessing of his presence.
Can you imagine—I don’t know if I can—how hard it must have been for Abram to believe this stuff? I mean, there is no way that Abram can believe this stuff—apart from God’s grace.
“Want you to head out.”
“Don’t worry about where, I just want you to head out.”
“Abram, your wife, Sarah—she’s going to have a baby.”
“Yeah, sure. Sure.”
You come back tonight, we’re gonna see Sarah, ninety years old, comin’ off the back of a camel at the local hospital with her walker. One of those nice red-coated people comes out and says, “Ahh, Mrs. Abraham, can I help you—the geriatric ward, is it?” She said, “No, obstetrics.” “She’s nuts. And her husband…”
See, the future of the kingdom wasn’t just difficult, it was impossible—it was naturally impossible. Unless God, in his vivifying power, was to intervene and grant life where there is only the deadness of a womb, then how in the world can the promise be fulfilled?
Well, how does God add to the company of his people? By the same life-giving power. And what is the story of the journey of his people? It’s the same story as Abraham. You got the promises of God, and you trust them. That’s the story so far. We’ll pick it up later.
Father, we thank you that the Bible is not just a ragbag of ideas thrown together over a period of time by folks who wanted to foist a religion on people, but that there is a cohesive structure to the vastness of the Bible. And we bow underneath its awesome story today. Come and search our hearts that we might, in our lives, be the very sphere of your kingly rule. Some of us are so stuck on ourselves—sit on our own throne, tell everybody what we’ve done, how good we are, what we’ve made, where we’re going—but we know that our lives are spoiled. We try and unspoil them by doing stuff, but even when we do stuff, that’s spoiled. We need to come humbly to you and acknowledge that only you can forgive sin, only you can fill the empty void of a life without you, that we do need a king to reign over our lives, a king who’s gracious and kind and who loves to bless. So, come Lord Jesus Christ and claim your people today and exercise your kingly rule. And, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” rest upon and remain with all who believe, today and forevermore. Amen.
 Genesis 12:1 (NIV 1984).
 Mark 1:15 (paraphrased).
 Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament (Exeter, UK: The Paternoster Press, 1981), 47.
 Genesis 5:24 (KJV).
 “Mister Noah Built an Ark.” Traditional children’s song. Paraphrased.
 Genesis 6:8 (KJV).
 Source Unknown. For a similar definition, see Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary Online, s.v. “covenant,” by Gerard Van Groningen, accessed October 15, 2018, https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/covenant.html.
 2 Peter 2:5 (NIV 1984).
 See Jeremiah 31:31–34.
 See Matthew 26:28 (paraphrased).
 Genesis 12:2–3 (NIV 1984).
 Attributed by Vaughan Roberts, God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 52.
 Augustus Toplady, “A Debtor to Mercy Alone” (1776). Paraphrased.
 C. H. Woolston, “Jesus Loves the Little Children” (1976). Paraphrased.
 2 Corinthians 13:14 (paraphrased).
Copyright © 2021, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.