In our present sermon series, Advent from 40,000 Feet, we are discovering the story of the Bible from beginning to end in five acts.
Act 1: The problem & promise. In this act, God creates a perfect world, but the first man and woman act in unbelief, rebeling against his authority and opening the proverbial Pandora’s Box. In response, sin corrupts the human race and adversely affects the earth, but God declares a dramatic promise of salvation that will be fulfilled ultimately in the person of Jesus. The part of the Bible that relates to this act are the first eleven chapters of Genesis.
Act 2: The people of God. In this act, God establishes a family that will be his special people through whom the promised Savior, Jesus, will be born. This family, which we call the Israelites (or Jews), were given a number of traditions that were shadows of grace (such as a feast, a sign and a priesthood) pointing forward to the coming Messiah. The books of the Bible that relate to this act essentially are the historical books from Genesis chapter twelve through Second Chronicles.
Act 3: The prophets. In this act, God’s people divide against each other and are disciplined by being sent into exile. During this season of division and exile, God sends prophets to wake the people up, revealing their need for a Deliverer. By grace, the Israelites are allowed to return from exile back to their homeland where they rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. The books of the Bible that relate to act 3 overlap with the historical books in act 2, beginning with 1 Kings and going to the end of the Old Testament prophetic books, culminating in Malachi. There is a four-hundred year gap between the end of act 3 and the beginning of act 4.
Act 4: The promise fulfilled. In this act, Jesus is born into the world to fulfill the promise of salvation. The books in the Bible that relate to this act are the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
Act 5: The propulsion of grace. In this act, the ripple effect of the Messianic message of grace and hope begins to spread to the ends of the earth, a ripple effect that continues today. The books of the Bible that relate to this act are Acts through Revelation.