The Creator

             I.      In the Beginning

In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw the light was good.  God separated the light from the darkness, and there was evening, and there was morning, and there was the first day.Slide2

And God said, “Let us separate the water below from the water above, and the space between shall be called “sky.”  And there was the second day.Slide3

And God said, “Let dry land appear.”  And God gathered the waters and called them “seas.”  And God caused vegetation and plants and trees to grow and produce fruit with seeds.  And there was the third day.Slide4

And God created sun and the moon to mark the days and years, and made the stars in the sky, and there was the fourth day.Slide5

And God created the fish and the birds and filled the water and the sky with living creatures, and God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply.  And there was evening, and there was morning, and there was the fifth day.Slide6

And God created living creatures, wild animals and livestock and all the creatures across the earth.  And God said, “Let us create mankind in our image, in our likeness, so they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and the livestock and the wild animals and all creatures that move along the ground.  And God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply.  And God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Slide7

And there was evening, and there was morning, and there was the sixth day.

          II.      God’s Creation

How often do we stop and consider all that God has made?  Psalm 19:1,

The heavens declare the glory of God;

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Slide8It’s not as though we have to travel to the ends of the earth to see His creation, or book a plane ticket to the Maldives or the Himalayas or New Zealand.  We only have to look up to see the glory of God.

Everyone who looks up on a clear night sees the heavens and the multitude of stars.  Unless you live in Houston, then you may have to travel outside of the city to see the stars.  But when you see the stars, we cannot help but realize how magnificent our Creator is.  Most of the lights we can see are actually suns, and each sun potentially has its own planets orbiting around it just as those in our solar system orbit our sun. With a high-powered telescope, the number of suns becomes innumerable – billions, trillions?  I checked the NASA website to try and find the number of stars in the universe, and found a few numbers.

First, they qualify the answer by saying “observable” universe.  Due to the speed of light, we can only see 13.7 billion light years.  Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a typical size of 100 billion stars.  Given what we can see, there are around 10 billion galaxies.  Multiplying these numbers -stay will me, we just read in Genesis that we were to go forth and multiply, so that’s what I’m doing.

Multiplying these numbers gives an estimate of 1000 billion billion stars, or 1000 quintillion.  That wounds like one of those made up numbers kids make up.  I plugged some numbers into a calculator for fun, and found that if you made a stack of 1000 quintillion pennies, you’d have a stack of pennies that would go to the moon and back.  261 billion times.

Psalm 8:1,

O LORD, our Lord,

How majestic is Thy name in all the earth,

Who has displayed Thy splendor above the heavens!

 

Slide9God has said in Isaiah 45:12,

“It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it.

I stretched out the heavens with My hands.

 

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God placed the heavens right over our heads and declares that when you see this, you are without excuse.

And not just the heavens, God made the earth.  God has amazing math skills when it comes to creation.  Or maybe He created the heavens and earth to declare His glory, and then created the laws of gravity and other forces to suit His creation.

Our earth has been created so finely tuned in cannot be an accident.  We are just the right distance from the sun with a near circular orbit, so the earth’s temperatures are relatively stable throughout the year and from year to year.  The earth tilts slightly so that we have seasons, the earth heats and cools through the year instead of baking to a crisp on one end.

We have an unusually large moon, bigger than some planets.  Scientists believe it was formed when a planet the size of Mars crashed into the earth during formation.  A direct collision would have annihilated the earth; a glancing blow would have formed rings like Saturn, so the collision was perfect.

This collision also stripped away much of the earth’s atmosphere.  Venus is a much smaller planet with less gravity, but it has a very thick atmosphere.  Below that cloud cover is a runaway greenhouse effect and the surface is a dry desert with temperatures of 800°F.  Earth is larger should have a thicker atmosphere, but scientists think that same perfect collision that formed the moon also created the perfect atmosphere.  Thin enough and at the right density to allow water in all three phases of solid, liquid and gas necessary to maintain life.

The perfect moon tugs at the earth, creating tides that scrub the waters clean.  That collision also helped create a somewhat lopsided earth with land on one side and seas on the other.  Without this, the earth would be more uniform and almost certainly entirely covered by water.

The earth turns at the perfect speed.  If the earth spun faster and we had 8 hour days, wind speeds on the earth would approach 500 mph.  If the earth spun slower, the earth temperature extremes would be far higher with 200°F days and -200°F nights.

The center of the earth is made of a large and heavy metallic core which gives is the largest magnetic field of any of the planets, which creates the Van-Allen radiation shield which protects life on earth from harmful radiation.

The planet Jupiter is our biggest planetary protector now.  Most large planets are closer to the sun, sweeping away planets like earth and Mars and Venus.  Ours is outside the earth orbit at the perfect distance to deflect and sweep away meteorites.  Without Jupiter, scientist estimate up to 10,000 times the number of large collisions of meteorites which would destroy life.

Slide12Romans 1:20,

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

And life on earth is based on carbon compounds that depend on water in a liquid phase that only exists in a very narrow temperature and pressure range, which happens to be exactly what we have on earth.  Sometimes Hollywood or Star Trek will hypothesize life based on something else like silicon, but that’s unlikely because silicon doesn’t form long molecular chains, with or without water.  And life is amazing, far too amazing for “evolution” to be the sole theory for development.

Slide13Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  We all grasp this problem immediately, and there’s no clear answer except God’s creation.  The egg has no purpose unless there was a chicken before and a chicken after, yet the chicken could not exist unless there was an egg.

Or human design.  Ever heard the term “irreducible complexity?”   If we take something simple like a mousetrap, we know the mousetrap was designed and built for a specific purpose, to catch mice.

Slide14.JPGIt’s made of 5 parts, and each part performs a specific function.  If you take away a part, like the spring, it could be a paperweight, I suppose, but it won’t catch a mouse.  We also know that a mousetrap doesn’t naturally form over time; it is created for a purpose.

Here is a human eye diagram:

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It has a great many parts, all specifically designed.  None of the parts make sense by themselves.  Also, the eye itself has no useful function unless it is attached to a brain inside a head attached to a body.

Psalm 139: 13-14,

For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

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       III.      My Creation

My wife and I constructed a new patio in our back yard.  Here’s before I got started –

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And here is after:

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My wife and I worked hard over several weeks to create this, and we look at it and declare it is good.  And when I show the patio to others, I like hearing them say it looks good, and it’s a job well done, and I should be proud.

Let’s look at that last scripture again, Psalm 139:13-14 –

For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,

And that my soul knows very well.

 

I am God’s creation.  It pleases God when I acknowledge His works and to praise Him for what He has done.

My patio is new, but eventually it will age.  I’ll begin to take it for granted, when friends come over they’ll be accustomed to seeing it there.  Instead of saying, “Hey Mike, good job on that patio,” they’ll be saying, “Hey, how about those Texans?”  Other than walking on it, we will barely acknowledge that it is there.   I will take it for granted.

How sad if we treat God’s creation that way.  He makes every day new.

 

          IV.      Worship of Our Creator

Since every day is a new creation, give should give praise and honor to God every day for what He has done, and never take for granted.  I may have made the patio, but God made the stone, God made the sand.  God made me, complete with eyeballs and my irreducible complexities.  Our study verse for today is Psalm 95, but much of the bible is a reminder to us to worship the Lord for what He has done.  Verse 1,Slide21

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!

Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

 

He is the Rock of our salvation.  For those who place their trust in Him, He fulfils His promises.  Our salvation is secure and we can depend on the Creator of the universe to provide for eternal life.  Many Christians operate in a mode of fear, that they are unsure of their salvation.  The Catholic church teaches that, depending on your state of confession and works in this life, you spend time in Purgatory working out the remainder of your salvation, a time which is shortened by the prayers of relatives.  This is unnecessary fear, for the Lord is our Rock and did not intend for us to guess if our works are sufficient.  1 John 5:11-13 scripture says,

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

 

The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

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So that you may know.  We can have confidence that our salvation is secure.  It is not arrogance to tell somebody that I know for sure that I am going to heaven.  The God of the universe told me so.

Psalm 95 verse 2,

Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving;

let us shout triumphantly to Him in song.

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In one sense, we are always in His presence.  There is a time for private worship, but there is also corporate worship when we come together as a group to praise His holy name.  Worship in a group involves song, even if your name is Theresa and claim you cannot carry a tune.  Psalm 100 says all should make a joyful noise unto the Lord, and my singing is sometimes enthusiastic and joyful and sometimes it just sounds like noise, but God wants us to express the joy that is in our hearts with our mouths and sing His praises.

Verse 3,

For the Lord is a great God,

a great King above all gods.

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This is the epic truth that justifies our call to worship God.  He is the One and Only Deity, the First Cause, The First and the Last, Jehovah, Rock, Refuge, High Tower, Salvation, Most High, the Beginning and the Ending, the Creator and Sustainer of Everything in the Universe.  All of the man-made pagan deities are mere colonies of insects in comparison with the true God of Heaven and Earth.

Verses 4-5,

The depths of the earth are in His hand,

and the mountain peaks are His.

The sea is His; He made it.

His hands formed the dry land.

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It took me several weeks to complete that patio.  My back was sore, I scraped my knees and knuckles.  God made the universe and everything in it by speaking it into existence.  The universe is His, this world is His.  The skies and the oceans and the plants and the animals are His.  We are His.  And sometimes we think He is not there, or our sinful ways are hidden from Him, but Jeremiah 23:24 says,

Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.

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Psalms 95:6-7,

Come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For He is our God,

and we are the people of His pasture,

the sheep under His care.

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Even those who claim to be atheists and adamantly declare themselves to be independent from Him belong to Jehovah God, and one day every knee will bow.  Some in respect and adoration, others by submission.

For those that seek Jesus Christ, we are His sheep and He is our Shepherd.  We are under His care; He makes us lie down in green pastures, and there is nothing else we need.

            V.      Conclusion

On the 7th day of Creation, the Lord rested.  He declared His creation was very good.  The Lord is Lord of all heaven and earth, and He is our Lord.

Let us praise Him for who He is, His perfect and holy character, who rights every wrong and heals every pain, who declared his holiness with the very stars in the sky.  He created us to love and worship Him.

Let us do so with a joyful shout of adoration.

To God be the glory.  Amen.

Value Life

             I.      Introduction

Today’s lesson is going to veer from my normal study.  I like to present God’s Word directly, connect the dots, provide explanation.  And even though we all have a tendency to project biases in our work, I am conscious that that possibility exists and try to make sure I’m as factual as possible.

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But the church is making a coordinated message today on the sanctity of life.  It’s something I feel very strongly about, but my feelings are based on conclusions I’ve drawn from the bible.  In others words, there is no scripture that says “abortion is wrong,” but I think a reasonable conclusion based on statements from God is that abortion is wrong.  So I’m going to tread carefully and try to make sure my opinions are clearly expressed as opinions based on scripture, not a quote from scripture.

Also, I know these topics can be emotional for a variety of reasons, so when I make a case against abortion, I want you to know that I have personal experience with regard to abortion, though in my case, the abortion was stopped and the child is alive today.  That’s not to my credit though, I give glory to God for His work, but your story may be different.  Just know that, regardless of your history with some of these controversial topics today, regardless of your past, it’s not a judgement against you.  As a child of God, you are forgiven permanently, and every day is a new day to live for His glory without living in bondage to your past.

That felt like a legal disclaimer that you see on television commercials.  “Warning, may cause nausea, dry-mouth, head-ache, inability to breathe, temporary tooth loss, minor blindness, imaginary smells, excessive earwax, redundancy, redundancy, and possible death. Consult a lawyer before taking blah blah blah.”

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In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  And He made light and darkness, water and sky, the land and the seas and all the plants and animals.  This took 5 days and after each day, God saw that it was good.

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On the 6th day, Genesis 1:27, 31 –

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

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And of all the things that God created, it wasn’t until God created man and woman did God declare His creation to be very good.

          II.      Evolution vs Creation

Our secular society has diminished and understated this part of creation.  Our public schools teach our children that evolution is a god, that man’s evolution from the apes shows that we are nothing but a random collection of cells that decided symbiotically to live together, our brain cells with our blood cells with our skin cells.  And there is nothing special about any one of us.

I believe this state-mandated doctrine of evolution is responsible for the callous attitude of our young people toward human life.  In 2012 in Missouri, 15 year old Alyssa Bustamante killed Elizabeth Olten by strangling her, stabbing her in the chest, then slicing her throat.  The reason was because “she wanted to know what it felt like” to kill someone.

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Not an isolated case, by the way.  Here in Texas, two teenagers are being tried for murder.  Dakota White and Brandon Warren originally selected a 12-year old to kill, but then killed an 18-year old instead.  Their reason?  They wanted to know what it would feel like to kill someone.

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And just this week, Dylann Roof was found guilty and sentenced to death in South Carolina for killing 9 people at a bible study.  At his sentencing, in front of the jury, Dylann offered no remorse.  He said, “I still feel like I had to do it.”

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We are not just a collection of evolved cells that decided to work together.  We are created in God’s image.  When God created us, He said it was very good.  We have value to Him.  God has a love for us and a yearning for us to be with Him.  But it wasn’t long before we messed that idyllic Garden of Eden relationship.  We disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, and created a problem.  Our God is holy, we are tainted with evil, and like matter and antimatter, they cannot exist in the same place at the same time.

We also created new problems between people.  That, too, started in the Garden of Eden.  God asked Adam if he ate the forbidden fruit, and Adam through Even under the bus.  “Eve gave it to me, that’s why I ate some of it.”  Eve of course, blamed the serpent, and the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.  I can’t image how the holidays were at the first Garden of Eden Thanksgiving, Adam and Eve glowering at each other, each blaming the other.  “The only reason we have to have Thanksgiving dinner here in this cave instead of the garden is because you had to go and eat that fruit, didn’t you?”

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Of course, their kids had to see this attitude in their parents.  Cain and Abel were probably like, “he’s sitting too close to me.”  And “he’s looking at me.”  And “I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you.”  And then one day Cain’s attitude overcame him, and Cain killed Abel.  Now Thanksgiving is really awkward.  It’s not like they could go to their in-laws.

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But it was God that was pained.  Every human life is important to the Lord, and when Cain killed Able, God said in Genesis 4:10,

The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

Mankind through the years continued to inflict pain and death on one another.  Family conflict gave way to tribal conflicts.  Tribal conflict turned into national conflicts, then became wars.  Then genocide.  Over the centuries, mankind has become very efficient at killing mankind.

In the United States of America, we got off to a slow start in killing people.  In the American Revolutionary War, 25,000 American lost their lives. Americans died at the rate of 11 people per day.  By World War I, there were 116,516 deaths at the rate of 279 a day.   World War II, 405,399 deaths at the rate of 297 a day.  But before that, American deaths peaked during the American Civil War, 750,000 deaths at 420 per day.

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Those, by the way, are just American deaths.  World War I killed 17 million people.  The Holocaust, perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews, killed 78% of the Jews in Europe, estimates as high as 17 million.  World War II killed 85 million.  Under Stalin, the Russians killed 10 million in gulags and 20 million through forced starvation.  And in China, Mao Zedong killed 78 million through starvation, forced labor and executions.  Between wars, terrorism, genocide, we humans have become efficient and ruthless at trying to eliminate the human race.

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And of those millions and millions of people in those death counts, each and every one is a soul that God fashioned with love and kindness.  In Psalms 139:13-16,

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Before we were even born, God created each and every one of us individually for a purpose.  Our sinful nature and the world ruled by Satan has corrupted that purpose to horrific results.

       III.      Abortion

And not just through wars and genocide.  Oh no, we are far too callous of human life.  We destroy human life from before birth all the way through old age.  That statistic about the worst war, the American Civil War, killing 420 people a day?  Abortion kills 3300 per day in the US alone.  Worldwide, 115,000 per day.  42 million souls per year.  1.3 million already in 2017.

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Roe vs Wade in 1973 divided the unborn human life into 3 trimesters.  In the first trimester, Judge Blackman ruled that since abortion was safer than childbirth, the woman and her physician had the sole decision on whether to abort.  The second trimester until “fetal viability,” the state could regulate abortion as long as the health of the mother was the primary legislative purpose.  And in the third trimester, the state’s focus should switch from the life of the mother to the “potential life” and that abortion could be regulated as long as there was an exception to preserve the life or health of the mother.  This exception, “to preserve the life or health of the mother,” turned out to be big enough to drive a truck through.

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Fortunately for the original plaintiff, “Roe” was a pseudonym, the real “Jane Roe” recanted.  Norma McCorvey wrote a book in 1994 called “I am Roe” and described her reasons for the abortion.  Later that year, McCorvey gave her life to Christ and was baptized in 1995.  She then wrote a second book, “Won by Love,” and has since become an outspoken advocate of the pro-life movement.  She wrote in her second book,

I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby!

I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.

She petitioned the Supreme Court in 2005 asking them to overturn Roe v Wade since she had legal standing as one of the original participants, but the petition was denied.  The Supreme Court said the issue was settled.

One of the most common reasons given for supporting a woman’s right to abortion is to protect the life or health of the mother, and also as a remedy against rape or incest.  Rape is a traumatic experience for sure, and I certainly do want to diminish that horrific act, but I heard once a long time again that if one believes that life begins at conception, then why should the baby be punished for the act of the father?  Statistics show that even if you support this exception to abortion, it’s a very minor contributor to the reasons given for abortion.  The Guttmacher Institute  in 2004 anonymously surveyed women after their abortion for their reasons, and the results are as follows:

<0.5% Victim of rape
3% Fetal health problems
4% Physical health problems
4% Would interfere with education or career
7% Not mature enough to raise a child
8% Don’t want to be a single mother
19% Done having children
23% Can’t afford a baby
25% Not ready for a child
6% Other

Over 92% of abortions are not related to health of the woman, health of the baby, or because of rape.  92% just didn’t want a child.  That means of the 1.44 billion babies aborted since 1980 worldwide, 1.3 billion babies would be alive today.  That’s about the same as the entire population of China or India.

          IV.      Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

And the human race isn’t content with ending life at the front end, we’re also trying to end it early at the back end.  Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicides are on the rise since countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands and now the state of Oregon made it legal.  Statistics are harder to come by since it’s not legal everywhere – yet – but the legal early terminations of life are already in the thousands per year.

I haven’t even gotten to all the other ways we humans destroy life.  Terrorism.  Murder.  We are proficient.  And if this all sounds depressing, it’s not supposed to be.  It’s realistic.  The number of lives that never even have an opportunity to have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is staggering.

This is not what God created us for.  God has given us purpose and meaning.  He created us in love.  God created us to know Him and resemble Him as our heavenly Father, created with moral and spiritual capacities and creativity.

Jeremiah 1:5,

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.

Genesis 9:6,

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.

Psalm 127:3,

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

Isaiah 49:16,

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Luke 12:6-7,

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

How much does God value us?

John 3:16,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

             I.      Conclusion

Look, I’ll make it simple for you and me.  Here is our life’s purpose, beginning with John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

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We live our lives according to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20,

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

We do this because of 1 John 4:19,21

We love because He first loved us. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

And time is running out, for you and for me and for the entire world, 2 Peter 3:9,

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

The Lord wants no one to perish, but to have everlasting life.  Our purpose is to value life the way our heavenly Father values us.

To God be the glory.  Amen.

God Loves His Creation

Sometimes it can be difficult to remember that God is in control, that God has a plan for us. Let’s open God’s User Manual, Chapter 1, and start at the beginning. Genesis, verse 1:1 begins –

In the beginning, God created…

Let’s stop right there and discuss just those 5 words. Lately on the New York Times Best Seller List, books by atheists have been topping the list. “God: The Failed Hypothesis, How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist,” “The God Delusion,” “Letter to a Christian Nation,” “God is Not Great.” In response, prominent Christian apologetic authors have come out with books like “The Case for Christ” and seminars like the one we recently had from Reasons to Believe.

Usually, an atheist begins his argument with, “prove to me that God exists” as if somehow you’re going to be able to argue him into heaven. How does God answer this question? “In the beginning, God created.” The bible wastes no time trying to explain the existence of God. God is. Remember when Moses asked God what His name was? Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’” God is. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 14:1 says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Genesis 1 begins with the understanding that God exists and has always existed and doesn’t spend any time giving evidence to fools who demand to see evidence that already surrounds us.

In verse 2, the second part of the Trinity is introduced, the Holy Spirit which hovers over the formless void. To me, this shows an anticipation of greater things to come; the Hebrew word rachaph is also used in Dueteronomy 32:11, describing how a mother eagle flutters her wings over her young to protect them. The Lord God did not create the world impersonally; creation is very personal to God and he protects us under His wing. If the Spirit of God is hovering, what is He about to do? He is taking a formless void and giving it purpose.

Diane challenged me to read each word carefully, and she’s right, there is so much more to Genesis than a simple story of creation. It’s a story of God’s relationship with His creation and His purpose for His creation.

In verse 3, it says, “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” God spoke the light into existence. I think of this as an introduction to the third person of the Trinity, the Son of God. John 1:9 introduces Jesus as “the true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” Our Savior is the source of all light; our human perspective tells us that light comes from the sun, but if you’ll look down to verse 16, we’ll see that God created the light on the first day, but didn’t create the sun until the fourth day.

Jesus as the source of all light is also revealed in the book of Revelation at the end of time. Revelation 22:5 says, “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”

As science progresses and helps explain the origins of the universe, it’s interesting to see how, thousands of years before science, God’s Word tells us how the world was created. First the universe, then the earth, then the plants and then the animals. Throughout this creation, God declares His creation to be good. Verse 4, Day 1, the light was good. Verse 10, Day 2, God declares the earth and sky and water and land to be good. Verse 12, Day 3, the vegetation with plants and trees and fruit, God declares to be good. Verse 18, Day 4, God creates the sun and the moon and the stars and declares them good. Verse 21, Day 5, God creates the great creatures of the sea and every winged bird and declares them good. Verse 25, Day 6, God creates livestock and land animals and declares them good.

On the 6th day, God creates man, and verse 31, God declares it to be very good. Not just good, very good. Nothing further needed to be made; His creation was exactly what God had planned. God’s creation reflects God’s glory, and God’s creation continues to reflect God’s glory, even if man’s ability to reflect God’s glory is imperfect. Man is different from the rest of creation. On the first 5 days, look at how God spoke creation into existence. God said, “Let there be light.” God said, “Let there be sky, let there be land, let there be seas.” But when God created man in verse 26 it says, “Let us make man in our image.” This phrase is far more personal than the previous 6 days where God effortlessly spoke creation into existence with “Let there be.” The phrase, “let us make” is quite unlike the others. First of all, it’s plural. Let “us” make man. Who is this “us” God speaks of, and why is there no “us” in the rest of God’s creative activity?

The presence of the Holy Spirit and verse 2 and the hint of the Christ to come in verse 3 form the plurality of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is omniscient and knows this creation of man will be disobedient to Him and He knows how much this disobedience will cost Him. The bible tells us in 1 Peter 1:20 that Christ was chosen before the creation of the world to be our redeemer; God knows that the Son will one day be sacrificed to pay for our sins. He planned it during creation.

Why is there no “us” listed in the first 6 days? Perhaps because the first 6 days show God’s creative ability and his omnipotence, but nothing in the first 5 days shows God’s love like the day He created man. God is going to demonstrate and prove His love by creating the one creature to whom God will make Himself vulnerable. For God so loved the world that He gave us His son and planned this love from the very beginning of creation. God created man already knowing the cost to Himself, a love that humans can barely comprehend.

God created both men and women in His likeness, in His image. His image has nothing to do with gender or our skin color or our height or weight or any other differentiation between humans. By creating us in His image, we are to reveal something about God, but we are not gods ourselves.

I think the importance of the phrase “in His image” should not be taken lightly; it underscores the importance of human life to our Lord. In our society, we see many, many debates that degrade the importance of human life. When it comes to the life of the unborn, God values the life long before birth. Pslam 139:13-16 says,

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

In debates about euthanasia, we hear about the quality of life as though we have set ourselves up to be the gods who determined what sufficient quality of life is. Who are we to determine God’s plan for another’s life? Who are we to determine whether somebody else’s life no longer has meaning? For that matter, who are we to determine whether our own lives have meaning? God’s voice is clear – human life is sacred, human life is holy, human life is made in His image.

Genesis 1:29-30 emphasizes the sanctity of life of creation. It says,

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

We see the so-called “natural order” today and can’t imagine the world any other way, but God gave man every seed-bearing plant and ever tree with fruit for us to eat. The next line implies that all the other animals, too, were herbivores. The importance of life is subtly confirmed here. The bible also predicts a future day when respect for all life will yet again be the order of things; Isaiah 11:6-7 says

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.

The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

We know that coming up in a future lesson in Genesis will be about the Fall, when man chooses to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. After sin is introduced into the world, animals are first slaughtered for human benefit in Genesis 3:21, and were probably used for food for the first time after the flood in Genesis 9:3. The sanctity of animal life will not be fully restored until the future reign of Christ on earth when sin is conquered forever.

The first book of Genesis describes humans as the completion of God’s creation where God demonstrates His love for us. The second book of Genesis describes God’s plan for men and women. In Genesis 2:2, after creating man and woman, God rested on the seventh day, and God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. Was God tired?

God did not rest because God needed rest. God rested, I think, to show us the importance of rest. One day a week devoted to simply enjoying what God has created. We tend to put work first in our lives as though our work was our god, and we work all seven days of the week. The seventh day is holy, set apart, for our benefit, not God’s. God has no need of rest, but he knows that this rest is so important he made one of the Ten Commandments.

That’s not to say, though, that work isn’t important. It’s says in Genesis 2:15 that God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden and told him that his job was to work the garden and take care of it. The Hebrew word for “work” used here means to labor, to work for another, and the serve God. God’s plan is for us to work, not an idle life of recreation and laziness.

Let’s back up to Genesis 2:4 and see the relationship God wants to have with His special, very good creation. Throughout Genesis 1, God is called in Hebrew by the ancient name for deity, Elohim. In Genesis 2:4, God’s is called by His intimate name, Yahweh, or “I am”. It’s appropriate that God’s intimate name is introduced here because God begins to act in very personal ways with His creation. In verse 7, God “formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” The beasts of the earth received life by means of the spoken Word of God, but man gets a personal CPR, a mouth-to-mouth infusion of life that clearly lifts man above the animals. Clearly, God has affection for His creation. Will His creation also have affection for God? It is a test that continues to this day. Will we choose to love God as He loves us?

Just like creation without man is incomplete, the creation *of* man is also incomplete. In verse 18, The Lord God, Yahweh, says that it is not good for man to be alone, and He will make a helper suitable for him. If you’ve ever taken a good look at a giraffe, you know that God must have a sense of humor, and I think God shows his humor here. Verse 18-20,

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

It’s like God is saying, Adam, dude. Pick an animal, any animal, to be your helper. You know, when I go shopping, I’m like most men. We decide we need it, we go out and buy it and bring it home. I’m just glad Adam didn’t go shopping for a helper like I go shopping. All the animals are paraded before him, and Adam says, “Are these my only choices? Well, I guess I’ll take the platypus.”

No, it says no suitable helper was found. Whew. Verse 21-22,

So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

As God created woman, man was deep asleep and observed nothing, preserving the mystery of God’s work. To this day, men don’t seem to understand where women are coming from.

Back in Genesis 1, we read that male and female were created on the same day, but this passage makes it clear that man was formed first out of the dust, then the woman is formed from the man. Man’s need for a helper does not come from man; God says in verse 18 that it is not good for the man to be alone, and that He will make a helper for him.

While the woman would be like him, she would also be different. Man didn’t need another person exactly like himself. God created man with certain strengths and God-given abilities. Then God created woman with different strengths and abilities that complimented man. The verbs used for God’s creation are different; God “formed” man out of dust, just like a potter forms a vessel out of clay. But God “made” woman, built for a specific role. Though man and woman are different, man and woman are made from the same substance and share a tie that can never be broken.

Adam was obviously overjoyed he didn’t settle for a platypus. When he awoke, he said, “Wo, man!” Verse 24,

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

Two separate people become a single unit with shared dreams, hopes, and tasks. Though different, as married couples we are united. Though separate, we function as one. We learn to love the other and treat them as more precious than ourselves, and so get a glimpse of the love our Creator has for us. Like most people, we want others to see us as better than we really are. When we are physically naked, nothing’s hidden. Yet, the man and woman felt no need to hide who they were, even though they were naked. They celebrated their similarities and worked together to accomplish their God-given responsibilities. A man and a woman’s commitment to God and to each other form the basis of a Godly marriage. In marriage, we accept our spouse just like God accepts us, for who he or she is.

It’s far too easy in our society today to abandon God’s plan for our marriage, to bail when things get tough or uncomfortable. God’s plan is obvious; marriage should be a lifelong commitment to help one another as one flesh in a covenant relationship.

Why would God ordain such a relationship? In all of God’s creation, God first expressed a relationship with man. It was on the 6th day that God used the plural to make man in our image, and it was with man that God first intimately breathed life into his nostrils. God loves us, and wants us to love him. True love is a choice, and we can choose not to love him.

Marriage is an interim step toward knowing the love of the Lord. With a partner, we are naked, we hide nothing. Our spouse knows us and should know us better than any person on this earth, better than anybody but God. We are to be one flesh. With our spouse, we are able to give forgiveness, just like Christ forgave us. With our spouse, we are able to receive forgiveness and recognize in ourselves just how much we fall short of perfection. With our spouse, we can practice loving unconditionally. The tears and the joy of sharing one another’s life, helping each other as one flesh, is God’s plan for our lives.

Ephesians 5:25 tells each husband to love his wife sacrificially, just as Christ gave Himself up for us. Men, do we do that? Or do we place things above our wives? Ephesians 5:25-31,

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”

And the two will become one flesh. Where have I heard that before? Husbands, let me tell you – whatever sacrifice you think you’ve made on behalf of your wives, it’s not yet enough. Unless you think you’ve sacrificed more for your wife than Christ sacrificed for you.

Wives, you were made for a purpose, to be a helper for your husband, to provide for him things he cannot do for himself. What would you do for Christ if He was in your presence today? If Jesus wanted something from you, would you tell him “no?” Ephesians 5:22-24,

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Your husband is your ministry; you demonstrate your love for Christ by the way you demonstrate your love for your husband. While your husband is called to live sacrificially for you, wives are called to remember that they were made to be their husband’s helper in everything.

They way we serve our husbands needs and the way we sacrifice ourselves for our wives gives glory to our Father in heaven who has a purpose for creation. He has a purpose for us in creation, and we are his most precious creation. Will we remember when we leave this room today that every word, every action, should be pleasing to God, and that our marriage is God’s plan to demonstrate His love for us? Listen to the words of Psalm 8:1-4 as we close today:

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.

From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

God loves us and desires most of all for us to love him in return, and to demonstrate that love to one another beginning with our marriage. All of creation declares His love for us.