05 Aug Quarter One Lesson One
Greetings and welcome to Lesson 1 at Gospel Growth Ministries, we’re glad you are here. It is our hope that you come to know more and more of the life-transforming power of the gospel as you study with us.
This first lesson teaches us of the reality that there is a God. You may or may not believe He exists currently, but to come to a proper conclusion about anything in life it is important to study the evidence. This lessons seeks to give you evidence that God exists, and more specifically, who He is and why He created you.
We invite you to study the evidence for God, and experience the life-changing power of the gospel as you do.
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As we embark on this journey of growth it is important to begin at the beginning. The first words of the Bible say, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
But who is God?
Some people view God only as an angry Deity who sends whole-earth floods, burns entire cities of sinners, and prepares an everlasting hell to eternally torment the disobedient. Their view of Him could be summarized by the word angry.
Others view God only as a happy old Grandpa in the sky, a God of love and chuckles surrounded by legions of adoring angels, a God who is perpetually happy in heaven. This is a God who would never think to punish any one of His children. Their view of Him could be summarized by the word jovial.
Still others have no real view of God. Maybe they have been atheists or agnostics, or maybe they have been taught about God wrongly by a cult, or maybe they have just been apathetic. When it comes to God, their view of Him could be summarized by a big question mark.
Question 1. What is your current view of God? Please elaborate on your current understanding or thoughts about God.
At Gospel Growth Ministries, we want our view of God to be the view that the Bible presents. Carpenters sometimes use a plumb line in their work; in setting a new wall they measure it against the plumb line to make sure the new wall is straight. In the same way we should use the Bible as our plumb line and make sure all teaching lines up with it (see Amos 7:7). We will study through the Bible to find the answers to our questions because we believe our growth depends upon our having a right view of God. So let us now consider what the Bible teaches about God.
Please study the following passages and provide your answers to the questions below:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3 (ESV)
Question 2. According to Genesis 1:1-3 what did God do? What role do you see Him in here?
In Genesis 1:1-3 we see God as the Creator. The Bible tells us God made this world that we live in and the skies and heavens above us, indeed the entire universe and everything in it. Notice a couple of other places in the Bible that show God in His role of Creator:
Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: Isaiah 42:5 (ESV)
I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. Isaiah 45:12 (ESV)
For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:18 (ESV)
Question 3. According to the passages above, what things did God create?
It is interesting, also, that a long time ago people used to think the earth was flat, and that if you traveled too far in one direction you would fall off the side of the earth. Yet, the Bible has always taught that God created the earth as a globe, or a circle:
He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. Job 26:10 (ESV)
It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; Isaiah 40:22 (ESV)
It is clear from the above passages that God not only made the heavens and the earth (the earth in a circle), but also all the people who live. All human beings have a Designer/Creator. This includes you and me. If we look at a nice car, a well-built home or an expensive piano we acknowledge that they were all created by someone; these things did not arrive here by accident. Similarly, you and I are not an accident or a happenstance, we had a Creator Whom the Bible declares to be God.
One of the Bible’s writers, King David, came to understand this truth about the Creator God and so he wrote to God, “You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). Another writer, Job, said, “You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews”Job 10:11).
Here God is pictured as one who carefully designs and creates something beautiful—a human being.
Question 4. Prior to this point, have you stopped to consider that you were created by God? That you are not a random happenstance, or a chance meeting of chemicals, but rather that you have a Creator God who designed you and created you? What are your thoughts about this?
If you can accept that there is a Creator God, and that He created you, at some point you might wonder why God created you. A car was created for transportation, a house was created to be lived in and a piano was created for the enjoyment of music. For what purpose did God make you? To see the answer to that question please read the following passages and provide your answer below:
“everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:7 (ESV)
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11 (ESV)
Question 5. According to the passages above, for what purpose were you made?
Yes, you were created for God’s glory. This is a fairly easy concept to understand when you look at those who create paintings or automobiles, or architects who design buildings. Each of those creations reflect either positively or negatively on the one who made them. A beautiful painting brings glory to the painter, a well-designed car brings glory to the manufacturer, and a carefully designed skyscraper brings glory to the architect.
Likewise, you are God’s workmanship (see Ephesians 2:10) designed for the purpose of bringing Him glory. As you continue studying these Gospel Growth lessons you will see more and more of how we actually glorify God with our lives.
For now let us finish this lesson learning a bit more about the God Who made us.
Please read Genesis 1:1-3 again:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1: 1-3 (ESV)
Question 6. Did you notice that there are actually three parts to God’s creating work? What three aspects (one in each verse) do you see involved in the creation?
Let’s look at the three aspects of creation:
- “God created the heavens and the earth” (verse 1).
- “The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (verse 2).
- God said, “Let there be light” (verse 3).
So in this passage we see God, His Spirit and His Word actively involved in creation. God created, His Spirit hovered over the earth, and His Word spoke light into existence.
In order to gain more understanding, please read the following passage:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1: 1-3 (ESV)
Question 7. Can you see how “the Word” is actually a person who was with God in the beginning, and who indeed was God? Please explain:
So we see that “the Word” is called “He”, a personal pronoun, and is said to have been with God in the beginning, before the creation. We saw this in Genesis 1:1-3 where God said “let there be light.” His Word, which was with Him in the beginning, brought light to this earth.
If you were to read the rest of John chapter 1 you would find that “the Word” is indeed a person, and that He has a Name: His Name is Jesus Christ (John 1:14-17). Jesus Christ is likewise called “God” both in the Old Testament and the New Testament (see Isaiah 9:1-7 and John 14:8-14). The Old Testament and New Testament are the two parts of the same Bible, each containing Bible books.
This is what John 1:3 says about Jesus:
All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1:3 (ESV)
Additionally, the Spirit of God is a distinct personality of God. Notice this passage of the Bible where Jesus Christ is speaking:
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18 (ESV)
Question 8. From John 14 above, how can we see that the Holy Spirit is actually a personality of God as well? What indications are there?
Jesus said He would ask His Father to give His disciples “another Helper”, and this Helper would be His Spirit. “He”, the Helper, would be with them forever. He, the Spirit-Helper would live inside of them.
Again, we saw this in the beginning of this lesson when we studied Genesis 1:1-3. As God was creating, speaking light into the world, the Spirit of God was hovering over the earth.
God is actually three distinct Persons: Father, Son (the “Word”) and Holy Spirit. We see these three at work right in the beginning. God is creating, the Word is speaking and the Spirit is hovering (over the earth like a hen over her baby chicks). Three Persons in one God. This is the Trinity. This word comes from the two words “Tri” (meaning three) and “unity.”
This may not be easy to understand, but you could think of an egg that is made up of three parts: shell, yoke and white. Or you could think of the three forms water can take: solid, liquid and gas. Or even a human being that is made up of heart, mind and body. Of course, these illustrations fall short of a full description of the Trinity, but they might be helpful by way of comparison.
In summary, let’s remind ourselves what the Bible teaches about God:
God is the Creator of all things. He created heaven and earth, and every human being. He created you. He knit you together in your mother’s womb, making a creation that would bring Him glory.
God is a Trinity, that is, He is Three in One. He is made up of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We see the Trinity at work in creation where God made the heavens and the earth, the Spirit was hovering over the earth, and the Word brought forth light on the dark earth. The Trinity was active in creation. This is what we have learned in Lesson one.
In closing this lesson, we want to share something with you that will help to introduce our ministry to you:
God loves you!
In the course of your studies, you will find numerous Scriptures that teach this, but for now just understand that you have a Creator Who made you, and He is the God Who loves you.
In fact, the Bible tells us that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to this world to show us His love.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)
Question 9. From John 3:16 above, please state why God gave His Son. Also, please state what benefit is listed from believing in Him.
Yes, God really loves us. Did you notice that little word “so”? God so loved the world? Maybe you’ve used that word with your husband, wife, son, daughter, etc. “I love you so much.” Well, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, the Word, to come to this earth. This is wonderful news for us and as we study it more together you will come to understand how really good it is.
It is clear from John 3:16 that when we believe in Jesus we live forever. This is an amazing concept! We’re going to look into this in the upcoming lessons and show just how amazing it really is.
It is the aim of this course to give you the biblical evidence for believing in Jesus. You will begin to see reasons, evidence, and proof that will give you faith to believe the message that the Bible proclaims.
A man checking into a hotel at midnight might have been told by his travel agent that the view from this hotel is amazing. But for him to believe it at this late hour would be a “shot in the dark”, a mere “blind faith.” However, with the coming of the sunrise he would believe and even be able to describe the view in great detail, it would be plainly obvious in the light of day. We are not asking you to take a “blind leap of faith” or to just “choose to believe”, but rather to carefully examine evidence in the light of God’s Word. “…as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns…” (2 Peter 1:19) Once you seriously look at the evidence, asking God to reveal Himself to you, it will become plainly obvious that to believe in Jesus is the only appropriate thing to do. You will see Jesus for yourself, in His Word, and the view you will see is truly amazing. The result of putting faith in Him, once you see Him by the light of His Word, sounds too good to be true: you will live forever with God, and with indescribable happiness.
This wonderful knowledge, that you have eternal life by faith in Christ, can fill you with real and lasting hope! It has the power to take you through all the difficult times you will face in your life, and keep you strong to the end. For you know that the God Who created the world and all things in it, the God Who created you for His glory, does indeed so love you that He gave His Son for you.
We will learn more about this as we continue this study.
Question 10. What have you learned about God from this study? Do you believe what you are learning? What questions do you have?