Welcome – Romans 15:1-7 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

-Series I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while now! We’re going to spend the next month looking at the things that are going to be non-negotiables for us moving forward together. And the thing is, they’re all traits that have been true since this church was founded in 1977. 

-Since I came, the word I’ve most often heard from people who have come here for the first time is (drum roll please): welcoming

-I honestly have lost count of the number of people I’ve talked to who have said they walked in our doors, and immediately had people welcoming them in, showing them around, answering their questions, it’s a JOY to hear that! That’s why I wanted to hear from David & Rayna on why they’ve decided to plant themselves here (also, did you notice it wasn’t the preaching, thanks a lot guys!)

-You may be wondering if that is a biblical trait, is welcoming something we are supposed to exemplify in our lives? As we walk through this section in Romans, I think we’ll see just how important it is for us to be a people marked by being welcoming, since that’s what God has done for us in Christ.

READ/PRAY

-Many of the Epistles (letters) in the NT are divided into 2 sections: orthodoxy, orthopraxy (define: theology, lived out)

-Remember from our study on hope in Rom. 5, that the theme through that first section is: righteousness. The first 11 chapters of Romans thus are the deep, rich theological truths about God’s righteousness, then chapter 12 begins the application of God’s righteousness into everyday life. 

-So chapter 11 ends with a doxology: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”

-Then 12 begins: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

-ESV Study Bible helpfully summarizes this as “God’s righteousness in everyday life.” Chapter 12-13 are then titled “Marks of the Christian Community” and “A call for mutual acceptance between the strong and the weak.”

-A brief note on Paul’s flow of thought in chpt. 14, because it flows directly into vs. 1of our section today.

-One of the primary issues in the 1st cent. Church was how different ethnicities/traditions could get along in the same church. Specifically, Jews & Gentiles, because they have VERY different ethical approaches for day to day life. Things like: what kinds of food can be eaten (pork was outlawed for Jews, Gentiles (like me) would have been asking “have you tried bacon?”), do we observe/honor the Sabbath, and what day should we honor the Sabbath?

-It’s not dissimilar to today, TBH. Do we homeschool, public school, Christian school? Do we watch movies? Which theological persuasion are you? What are your thoughts about the end times? Which political party are you?

-Paul does his best in this section to remind each other to focus on the primary things, this is where it is VITAL for us to remember to have a “theological triage.” 

-There are so many issues in our lives that we make a mountain out of today, make it a theological issue, then force others to either be one of us or not.

-I remember one time playing cards with my dad at my grandma’s house, and she came out and saw us and told us when she was growing up that was a sin. That’s attaching theological significance to an ethical issue for which there can be room for both sides of the argument.

-And this was a focus of Jesus’ ministry when He was on earth! He had some pretty big indictments against those who made others follow their man-made rules. Jesus didn’t have a lot of patience for legalism.

-Now that I say that, it doesn’t mean we are free to live however we want (as Paul asks “Do we continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” Rom. 6:1)

-Read an article this week about 2 dogs. 1 lived in the city, craved the great beyond, would wait eagerly for the owner to come home to try to sneak outside. The owner would come in, not let the dog escape, and the upset dog would sulk in the corner planning his next escape. 2 dog lived in the country, no fence, boundaries at all, but stayed near the porch waiting for his master to come home each day. The great beyond had no enticement for him, he was content with his owner. “Growth in holiness does not take place when our focus is on the boundaries but when our focus is on the Master. Fences may keep us from harm, but love for the Master is what keeps us from fences.”

-Martin Luther described this as a drunken man on a horse: he starts falling off one way, then falls off the other way and that continues indefinitely! Legalism vs. licentiousness.

-Paul explains that each of must live out the faith we claim to believe in, that we must have reasons for how we behave, and that we should not pass judgment on each other either way we choose to live.

-With all that said, our driving force, focus and motivation MUST be to bring glory to God

-We’re commanded to not put ourselves first, to not seek out own interests, but instead to be others-oriented in our lives, just like Jesus was

-So the first thing we see is that we are to:

  1. Please Others Like Christ (1-3)

-This is a continuation from chapt. 14 (which is why I spent so much time explaining what was said in that chapter)

-Paul considers himself to be in line with the “strong” (those who don’t feel the need to obey the OT ethical commands)

-For us today: was onetime told that if you know enough of the Bible to quote this verse, you are not one of those who are “weak!” 

-First notice the “obligation.” This isn’t an option, we all need to work with each other!

-Then to “bear with,” which is much more than merely enduring.

-A similar place Paul uses this phrase is in Gal. 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens”

-Think of it like this: for those of you who are married, when your spouse asks you to do something you have 2 options: do it or not. Or in my case, Cara has a tendency to word it poorly: “Would you mind.” “Yes, I would mind!” 

-Paul’s use of “bear” is more than “yes, I would mind” instead it’s bending over backwards to actively look out for someone else, instead of yourself.

-In chpt. 14, Paul has been encouraging the weak to not “pass judgment” on those who are strong, here Paul flips the exhortation to remind the strong that they have an obligation to not please themselves, but instead to please others. 

-Notice how many times “please” is used throughout here: 3x in 3 verses.

-This isn’t “please pass the salt,” one commentator said: “please means an act or gesture that will meet a real need or enhance spiritual stability.” (ESV Expositor’s Commentary, Yarbrough) AKA: real physical need or push them closer to Christ

-That’s the point Paul is making in vs. 2 here. Our goal is to “please” our neighbors, that is meet their real, legitimate needs or help them to be more conformed to His image.

-By referring to neighbors, Paul is echoing back to Lev. 19:18, just as he did in Rom. 13:8-10, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

-The way we please our neighbors is by loving them. Paul says in Rom. 13“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

-We saw over Advent what love looks like practically in our lives, it’s not endorsing anything anyone wants, and it’s not based on fleeting emotions, true love could be viewed the same way we saw above: to meet a real need or help them grow spiritually. 

-What is our perfect example of this? Paul reminds us in the next verse: 3

-Paul quotes from Psalm 69:9, a Davidic Psalm asking for the Lord to deliver them. In this case, Paul is talking about Jesus bearing our reproaches. In other words, even if we are mocked/belittled for bearing with our weaker brothers and sisters, it’s worth the cost, since that’s what Christ did for us!

-Think of Jesus, who in Phil. 2 emptied Himself to our level. There, Paul reminds us consider others more significant than ourselves, look out for others interests, which is perfectly modeled in Jesus. The one person who legitimately could have demanded he be worshipped and served, instead came to serve us, to welcome us into his perfect family.

-This also ties into the sermon on the mount, where Jesus says those who are reviled are the ones who will be blessed.

-Paul uses these next verses to explain how we can know that, and His primary point here is that by being a welcoming community, we will have endurance and encouragement through God’s Word, which is the same as being filled up by God Himself.

  • For Endurance and Encouragement (4-7)
    • The Word (4)

-Paul used Psalm 69 to talk about how Jesus is the primary example and focus of everything in the OT, in fact in 2 Cor. 1:20 Paul similarly says “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”

-The main point here is why Paul referenced back to the OT. The examples in the OT were written for us to learn/grow/become more like Jesus, Jesus is the perfect example that we are supposed to imitate, and the focus of the whole Bible. 

-Everything we do is meant to be rooted in God’s Word, as we study God as He has chosen to reveal Himself to us, we grow more like Him.

-One commentary said: “instruction is a reminder that learning (or discipleship) is a central component of the Christian faith.” (ESV Expositors)

-Paul David Tripp: “The ultimate purpose of the Word of God is not theological information but heart and life transformation.” (Dangerous Calling)

-The 2 components are: endurance and encouragement.

-The endurance piece is sticking it out, remaining faithful. Paul David Tripp: “the character and quality of your life won’t be defined by two or three life-changing moments. No, the character and quality of your life will be defined by the 10,000 little decisions, desires, words, and actions you make every day.

-Encouragement comes by the Scriptures, from God’s Word, soaking and saturating every part of our lives. This culminates in hope. Saw that before!

  • God (5a)

-Just as God’s Word is meant to lead to endurance and encouragement, so God Himself is the author of our endurance and encouragement. We can’t do anything apart from Him, so we need to regularly come back to Him as the one who will allow us to endure and be encouraged.

-This is where it’s important for us to remember that God has chosen a specific way to reveal Himself to us: through His Word. Each time we read the Bible we are reading God’s very words to us.

-But it’s not just for us individually to have endurance and encouragement, actually we can’t endure or be encouraged by ourselves. Even reading/studying God’s Word isn’t meant to be done alone (reading the Bible alone is a GREAT thing you should do) but the Bible is meant to be understood and applied in community. That’s what Paul says next:

  • Unity to Glorify God (5b-6)

-Everything in the Bible is meant to lead us to live in harmony with each other.

-This harmony leads to glorifying God with 1 voice, together, completely unified.

-Unity does not mean unanimity. I am all for the priesthood of all believers, which means all of us need to contribute to the good of our body. I love that Paul uses musical terms here: unity and harmony. Songs only become interesting when harmony is added in. Singing is a beautiful picture for us of how we are commanded to live in this passage, we sing the same words, united together, but each person has a part to contribute a harmony (or a joyful noise) that makes up the whole. Just as our gifts are meant to serve together!

-It also means daily dying to yourself, to your own preferences, to your own desires and finding space to live with each other despite differences.

-Again, this is where we need theological triage: Moo: “Divisions in the church over nonessentials diverts precious time and energy from its basic mission: the proclamation of the gospel and the glorifying of God.”

-There’s a time and a place for those discussions! We’ve seen previously, that even Paul shared theological ideas that were “of first importance” which means there’s implicitly theological ideas that are of second importance. If anyone ever wants to discuss some of these finer details of theology, let me know, I’ll buy you a coffee and chat! But then after we leave the coffeeshop, we go back our unity

-Even Jesus in his high priestly prayer in John 14-17 prayed that we would be united today. That’s how we glorify God! By actively pursuing unity and harmony together. 

-Think about this, if you look around this room we’ve got people from all sorts of various backgrounds, different education levels, different theological persuasions, even different political persuasions. Yet we’re willing to look past all the measurements of division the world uses and actually come together for the common purpose of making disciples of all nations. This is a unity the world can’t even begin to fathom! The world forces everyone to align with every individual piece of ideology to be a part of them, and then cancels you if you don’t completely agree. Jesus welcomes everyone in with open arms and then gently leads you to rely more and more on Him until you are someday perfected, and we all do that together!

  • Welcome (7)

-“Therefore” Paul is summarizing everything he’s said up until this point. Today, as God’s people, we are meant to be a welcoming community to everyone who walks in our doors. Christmas week we had over 400 families walk through here to pick out toys for their kids for Christmas! 

-We’ve got a wonderful example of what it means to be welcoming in the life of Jesus. How did he treat people anytime they came to Him? Honor, respect, understanding, patience. Think of what we studied at Christmas Eve: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I think another way of summarizing all those characteristics is by being welcoming.

-Often when we think of being a welcoming we think of close friends/neighbors, coming off Christmas where we’ll tell our friends “you’re always welcome here!” But you know you’re not supposed to actually put that to the test! 

-There’s a scene towards the end of Seinfeld where Kramer is remembering previous moments with Jerry, 1 where they meet for the first time and Jerry says “Make yourself at home!” So Kramer proceeds to take that literally (as I’ve done when my friends have told me that!)

-But being committed to the gospel (as we are!) means that it’s not only friends we’re supposed to be welcoming towards, the gospel means that we’re also supposed to be welcoming towards our enemies.

Matt. 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

-This goes COMPLETELY contrary to our normal human thinking. That’s what Jesus is saying here. “You have heard it said” = the normal human reaction to our enemies, but Jesus gives us a better way, the way of welcoming.

-Gospel Comes with a Housekey

-This may mean being inconvenienced, this may mean our church ends up with a lot of broken people who need grace, but guess what, that’s true of all of us! All of us need to aim to not please ourselves, but instead please God. Remember Paul talks about pleasing our neighbors in this text, do you remember who Jesus said is our neighbors? 

-In fact, because Christ didn’t come to please himself, we who are walking in the new life found only in Him are now welcomed to His table. 

-Those who were far off, those who were His enemies have now been made friends, and more than friends, His family! He’s built a bigger table to accommodate all of us, and now one of the ways we carry on the great commission is by welcoming people to our tables. 

-Been thinking a lot lately about Christians needing to be “table people.” We need to welcome people to our tables so that we can ultimately welcome them to the ultimate table to the Lord.

-R. Kent Hughes: “Whenever we crush the bread of Communion between our teeth and swallow the cup of his blood we cannot escape the fact that he did not please himself.”

-Think about the importance of tables in the Bible: how were Adam & Eve tempted? Eating. What event signified the Passover/preservation of God’s people in Egypt? Eating. What did Jesus command on His last night? Take & eat. What will we do when Jesus comes back? Eat!

Love – 1 Corinthians 13 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

Love

1 Corinthians 13 (559)

-Love seems to be everywhere around us.

-Almost as if it’s in the air we breathe! Hallmark movies are plentiful this time of year, jewelry stores seem to double their commercials to air during Vikings games that proclaim “every kiss begins with kay.” 

-A yard sign in my neighborhood proclaims “love is love.” That runs contrary to the first rule I was taught in defining words: can’t use the word in the definition. 

-But even think about the way we use that word every day. I love that song, I love the snow, I love my wife Cara, I love my kids. Surely those don’t all mean the same thing, right?

-I’m going to give away the ending to this sermon at the beginning: love isn’t a feeling, as dc talk taught me in my formative years, love is a verb. More precisely, love is a list of characteristics that are meant to be demonstrated in all our lives, and even further than that, love was perfectly encapsulated in 1 person who came to earth 2,000 years ago.

READ/PRAY

-Dropping in the middle of a flow of thought. 1 Cor. 12-14 serve to break down divisions regarding spiritual gifts in the church. 

-Most often when we hear this text it’s at weddings, and while it’s certainly appropriate at weddings, that overly narrows the focus of the text.

12 talks about the wide variety of gifts given from the HS to the church. Natural tendency among humans is to elevate certain gifts. We do the same today! Do you realize the variety of people we have serving here every week? Decorating, coffee, cleaning, running sound, playing instruments, teaching kids, welcoming people, safety team unlocking doors. That’s just Sunday! Paul ends this section with an exhortation to “earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.”

14 then applies 12, 13 to prophecy and speaking in tongues, with a final exhortation for how the church should structure their weekly worship services. These 3 chapters are all centering around spiritual gifts and their use in the church, so even the love chapter is meant to be demonstrated not in marriage, but the church. 

-Let’s take a look at the 3 ways Paul talks about love in this passage.

  1. Love Lacking (1-3)

-These verses serve as a transition point from 12

-All about spiritual gifts being needed together to build up the church.

-Quick sidenote about that: there isn’t a JV squad in the church. There’s not even bench warmers! How often do we compare ourselves to what seem like “better” gifts and then become discouraged? Or even comparing ourselves to someone with the same gifts, but manifested differently and then beat ourselves up. Happens ALL THE TIME in preaching!

-Music and teaching/preaching seem to be highly elevated in our culture today. Did you know God doesn’t view it that way? Now, that being said, God DOES care that you’re actually using your gifts and growing in them (the parable of the talents speaks to this). If you don’t know what your gifts are, reach out to one of us, we’d love to help you discern your gifts!

-Paul does some comparing in these first 3 verses. 

-It seems that comparing gifts has been an issue for thousands of years! The church in Corinth said the best gifts were prophecy and speaking in tongues. Don’t have time to dig too far into those gifts today, but someday we’ll talk about them!

-First gift is speaking in tongues. This was viewed the best gift in the church, which is why Paul starts here. Some people today even use this as a way to determine whether or not someone is truly a believer.

-Look at the words Paul uses though: tongues of men and of angels.

-Some debate about what the gift of “speaking in tongues” is in the NT: either a known, earthly language or an angelic heavenly language that is untranslatable on earth. But Paul includes both! Whichever “tongue” it is, it needs to be done from the outpouring of love.

-Notice the comparison Paul makes here. If I have these amazing gifts of language, if I can speak every language on earth, AND in heaven, but don’t have love I’m just as helpful as a noisy gong, or clanging cymbal.

-In certain contexts, gongs and cymbals are great! Like in the movie ‘Shang-Chi’ that just came out. The gong as the war starts is super epic! But if you’re trying to have a conversation and you’re standing next to a cymbal how helpful is it?

-I love playing drums! But if I were to sit back here and play drums while I’m preaching, how helpful would it be? Does this help or hurt your ability to hear what I’m saying? Paul doesn’t stop with tongues though, does he?

-Up next is prophecy and interpretation of prophecy.

-If I can prophecy, speak on behalf of God to a group of people. And understand, notice the qualifiers: ALL mysteries, and ALL knowledge. AKA if I have the same level of understanding as God. And even beyond that, if I can do what Jesus said his followers could do with faith that can move mountains. If I can do all these things, but don’t have love, how helpful is it? It’s worth NOTHING.

-So speaking in tongues, prophecy, interpretation of prophecy, all faith if they aren’t done from love are literally worth nothing in God’s kingdom. But that’s not all!

-Finally, verse 3. If I force poverty on myself, if I do HUGE acts of charity and mercy for others, or even deliver up my body 

-Text says “to be burned” alternative text is “that I may boast.” Couple letter differentiation in Greek. The point is the same: either I offer my body to death, or sell myself into slavery for the sake of someone else.

-If I even do these unbelievable charitable things, but do it without love, how helpful is it in God’s economy? Worthless!

-Think about these 3 things like this:

-We all know how money works, at least most of us do! I still remember one time asking my mom to get a toy and being told “we can’t afford that.” I confidently told her “just write a check!”

-Imagine getting up to heaven, and acting like that with God! I prophesied! I spoke in tongues! I gave away everything I had! I can base my salvation on that! And God saying “depart from me, I never knew you. You can’t afford to enter here, your spiritual bank account is empty.” It’s like me trying to tell my mom to just write a check – it’ll bounce!

-Paul’s point is not that spiritual gifts are bad AT ALL! Remember, he just said to “earnestly desire the higher gifts.” But the point of these gifts isn’t to be used to build ourselves up (as we’ll see in the next section), instead the gifts are meant to be used from the foundation of love, to flow out into the building up of the church, the people of God. So how does Paul define love?

  • Love Lived (4-7)

-Here’s the most fascinating part about this, look at what Paul describes. Are these ethereal, pie in the sky definitions, or are these character traits that should be evident in our lives? 

-Paul lists 15 character traits of love, and he’s breaking love down into 2 lists: what characteristics should be demonstrated by love (7), and what characteristics should NOT be demonstrated by love (8). Let’s start with the negative, what love isn’t.

-Envious

-If you love someone, you cannot be jealous of their gifts, strengths, accomplishments. That is antithetical to how God has commanded us to live.

-Boastful

-The other side of being envious is turning into someone who thinks you’re the bees knees. In Greek, this is literally translated as “wind bag” so if someone is demonstrating this characteristic, tell them they’re like a whoopee cushion! 

-Arrogant

-Similar to the “wind bag” is arrogant. Self-centered and cocky about their own giftings/strengths instead of recognizing where those gifts are from. 

-Rude

-Descriptive of misbehaving/acting out, behaving in a way that doesn’t fit with societal norms. Like if you’ve seen those kids at Target who start throwing fits (always at Target, never seem to have those kinds of meltdowns in the car!) Think of an adult acting out like that, antithesis of love!

-Insisting on its own way

-This is a hard one! Especially when you KNOW you’re right. See the gospel compels us to “outdo each other in showing honor,” and to consider others interests even higher than our own!

-Irritable

-You know people who always seem on the verge of blowing up at you? You never know what’s going to set them off.

-Resentful

-This is keeping a record of wrongs. This is knowing life’s not fair, and keeping track of the ways you’ve been wronged. Another way of thinking about this is being unwilling to forgive an offense.

-Rejoicing at wrongdoing/injustice

-ESV says “wrongdoing” other translations have “injustice.” This is not celebrating when someone who is created in the image of God is treated poorly

-That’s what love ISN’T let’s take a look at what love IS.

-Patient

-Long-suffering, understanding, opposite of irritable and resentful. This is someone who won’t let circumstances dictate their responses.

-Have you ever had the privilege of going on a cross culture missions trip? Joining up with brothers and sisters from across the world who seem SO much more content with their life than I am here. They’re patient even in how God is working in their lives.

-“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Chuck Swindoll

-Kind

-loving, merciful. Opposite of rude/irritable. 

-Do you know anyone who just never seems shaken up? They’ve got an inner core that’s always at peace. No matter what happens they’re kind to everyone.

-Rejoices with the truth

-This is the one that most stood out to me this time reading through these characteristics. Because our world likes to define love VERY differently than this! You’ve probably even heard people talk about sharing MY truth. You can speak of your experience, but there is 1 truth. And all truth finds its consummation in the source of all truth, Jesus. 

-We should be on the lookout for truth around us, celebrate it, and find out how it points us to the ultimate source of truth in Jesus. Christmas is a GREAT time to be reminded of this. Our neighbors are decorating, presents are being bought, stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and it’s an opportunity to talk about the reason we all celebrate Christmas. Look for and utilize those opportunities! 

-Bears all things

-Love means being willing to be burdened for someone else. It may mean you emotionally help them carry the weight of their emotional issues.

-Ever had some issue that comes up that feels like it’s literally weighing you down, then sharing that emotional weight with someone else feels like the weight is lifted off your chest?

-Believes all things

-Do you assume the best in others, or do you approach everything they do with suspicion? Our world views everything through the lens of suspicion today! We’re not supposed to. Doesn’t mean be foolish, but if we’re extending love to others, we’ll hope for the best in them.

-Hopes all things

-Can you imagine never giving up hope?? Even when it feels like there’s not a chance in the world, love convinces you to continue on.

-Brothers and sister – I realize Christmas/Thanksgiving may be difficult for you if you’ve got estranged relationships, this text is reminding us to not give up hope. Pray, seek reconciliation, and trust God’s sovereign guiding hand.

-Endures all things

-Summarizes everything else, it will endure forever! Which you’ll see in the next section.

-The crazy thing about these characteristics is all of them are meant to be descriptive of us! So you should be able to replace “love” in these verses with “I am.” Just think about that. I am…

-God gets to define what love is because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

-Then the world gets to determine whether or not we’re Christians by how we love. (John 13:34)

-This is meant to be true individually, yes, but it’s also meant to be descriptive of us as the church. In fact, Jesus says in the previous verse that our love demonstrated visibly is meant to serve as a witness/example to the world of what God’s love looks like. That’s super hard to read/think, isn’t it? It seems like our world generally thinks of Christians as the opposite of these descriptions (some of it is because of our commitment to the truth). But similar to the gentleness idea we saw in Phil. 4, what would it look like for us to grow in love for God and each other over the next year?

-Love lived is demonstrated by these both positive and negative characteristics. But here’s the even more incredible part, compared to even the most miraculous spiritual gifts we saw, love is more important, because love lasts.

  • Love Lasts (8-13)

-Look at that first phrase: love never ends. When will it end? NEVER

-I remember trying to comprehend eternity when I was growing up, and it would freak me out. I’m so used to having an end point, it’s TERRIFYING to really sit down and think about forever. But because God is love, and God is eternal, so love is eternal. 

-At some point, prophecies will be done because we’ll be with Jesus! At some point tongues will stop because we’ll be able to understand each other. At some point knowledge/understanding won’t be necessary because we’ll be with God. But love? Love will still be going strong. 

-The reason for this is because we only know partially. These next few verses are different ways of saying the same point: right now we can’t see everything as it SHOULD be, we can only see/comprehend partially, we see glimpses, but only the rough outline, like looking in a distorted mirror.

-Think of how the world would be viewed through the lens of a child. Their perspective, their views are so profoundly influenced and shaped by their parents and what their parents expose them to. Calvin’s starting to ask questions about heaven and why Jesus had to die, and why people used spears on him, and Cara and I have to try to figure out how to explain it in a way a 4-year-old will understand. He one time asked me if God could pick up our house. 

-Do you ever view your questions of God like that? I don’t think I think of God the same way my 4-year-old does, I would hope that my perspective is a little farther and broader than his, but in God’s eyes 33 and 4 aren’t that much different! 

-“Even as I have been fully known.” God knows everything about you, and He still loves you. We’ll never fully know God (part of the reason we get eternity with Him), but he fully knows you and still sent Jesus to die for you. Christian, you’ve got nothing to hide today, nothing to prove, nothing to do that Jesus hasn’t already done.

-This love is something we get to tangibly see, taste, and touch when we celebrate communion together. 

-And we drink this cup and eat this bread together to remind us that our love for God needs to be visibly demonstrated by our love for each other. Our love is the way God works in and through each other to continue drawing us to Himself. 

-Because Christ is perfectly lovely, he can make even unworthy and unlovely people like you and me perfectly lovely.

Peace – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

Peace

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (pg. 562)

INTRO

-Advent season: celebrating the reality of the incarnation (God took on flesh) So we rejoice, give thanks for that miracle, but we also acknowledge that while we can celebrate, things aren’t as they should be, so we wait with eager anticipation.

-One scholar compared this idea to the difference between D-Day and V-Day in WW2. 

-One way we celebrate is by lighting candles to remember that Jesus came as the light of the world. Each week leading up to Christmas we’ll by studying a different theme of what Jesus came to offer us. This week is peace, next is joy, then love, then hope, and finally on Christmas Eve we’ll be looking at Jesus as the embodiment of all of these characteristics. 

-Peace is a theme prevalent in the story of Jesus’ birth. 

-Zechariah’s prophecy ends with “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

-When the angels appear to the shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth, they proclaim “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

-When Simeon, who had been waiting for this baby sees Jesus he exclaims: “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,”

-Doesn’t that seem idealistic though? An article written in 1988 “since the Second World War the globe has only been without a war for…26 days in September 1945.” 

-How do we go about pursuing peace?

READ/PRAY

  1. Persuade (11-17)

-Once again dropping into the middle of a text (there’s a reason I prefer walking exegetically through a book!)

-Written by Paul, 4th letter written by him to the Corinthian church. Meant to continue encouraging them to remain faithful in their calling. First couple chapters are dealing with Paul’s call to ministry, his concern for the church, then he talks about the reality of this new life we have in Christ in chpts 34-5talk about the future realities we will have in Christ, then we need to read vs. 9-10 to understand the “therefore” in vs. 11.

-Our goal in this life and the next is to please God. Everything else should pale in comparison to that goal, that aim in life. Why do we live that way? Because someday we’ll all stand before Christ’s judgment seat. If that fills you with fear, good! That’s exactly why Paul is saying this. He’s building his argument as he’s walking through his argument here, that’s why the first word we heard in today’s text is “therefore.”

  1.  As Ourselves (11-13)

-Knowing what? The fear of the Lord. Don’t you find that a slightly odd place to start, especially as we think about today’s focus: peace! How does fear relate to peace?

-One commentator said “whatever it is that one fears the most that is what one will serve the most.”

-Some people will prefer to translate this as “reverential awe” or “respect” and that’s true, but we give him respect out of fear of what COULD happen.

-A couple illustrations that might help: my son is 4. He knows I love him, care for him, provide for him, but if he starts being disrespectful toward especially his mother, then sees me getting up to interject, he gets a little fear in his eyes! He knows he hasn’t been acting in according with daddy’s rules (even when he says it’s “not kind”)

-I think most people in the room drive, or will someday drive (way to go Fritz!). If you’ve ever been pulled over while driving, don’t you get fearful? I’ve only been pulled over a handful of times, but each time I have my heart rate increased, my palms start sweating, I triple check my speed, start thinking about whether I registered my car this year, look around to see if there’s someone else that they’re following instead of me. There’s a definite level of fear/respect there!

-We also need to remember that, as Prov. 7:1 says, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” If you want wisdom, the 1st step is fearing God.

-After that first step of fearing the Lord, we then move outward to “persuade others.”

-I’ve titled this first section “as ourselves.” We often conflate this point to either persuade through our own gifts, persuasions, or abilities, or we try to be a duplicate of someone else.

-One time attending a preaching seminar titled “preaching not ourselves, but preaching AS ourselves.” Or as Paul put it earlier in 2 Cor. 4:5 “what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord.” All of us are uniquely wired and gifted. No 2 people have the exact same measure of gifts, and that’s exactly why God has given us each other. We are commanded to persuade others here, but it doesn’t give us a specific method (other than pointing everything to Christ). 

-This is a 2 step process for all of us: 1- fear the Lord, 2- use whatever gifts you have to persuade others to join with you in fearing the Lord

-But I also think there may be a sense in which we’ve lost the art of persuasion in our evangelism. I struggle with this! For the sake of not offending I soft-shoe my conversations instead of trying to “persuade” others. As we’ll see in this text, God gives us the blueprints for lasting peace, why don’t we try to persuade others about this reality?

-In the midst of this persuasion (making our aim to please the Lord), we remember that whatever else happens, we are “known to God.” 

-Another translation says this is “well known” or “clearly evident,” to God. In our persuasion, we may me mocked, ridiculed, belittled, but is we could look at things through God’s eyes instead of ours, we’d be just fine! This reality gives Paul, and us, confidence for the rest of this section: 

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-We don’t preach ourselves, we’re not the point of the story! 

-Others worry about external appearances, but God worries about our internal motivation. It’s not enough to put on a façade of holiness, God even worries about what happens in your heart and mind!

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-Paul does all this for their sake, to encourage and support them and not worry about what others say

-Since we’ve seen that God cares about your internal motivation and desires, that’s what Paul talks about next, our persuasion must be:

  •  Through the Love of Christ (14- 17)

-We’ve seen our aim is to please God, here we see that the driving force behind that is the love of Christ. Think of it as pleasing God is the finish line, the fear of God is the starting line, and the fuel that gets us there is the love of Christ.

-This word “controls” is a fascinating word in Greek, includes “seized, surrounded, occupied, hemmed in” Is used when Jesus is held in custody by soldiers in Luke 22:63. The point is that once we are in Christ, we have no option but to operate out of His love for others. The primary force that drives everything else in the life of the Christian is Christ’s love. 

-Now, we often miss the implications of that because today love is often used as a synonym with acceptance. People will say if you love me you must accept/endorse everything I want. We’ll take a look at that belief in a couple weeks (spoiler alert, that’s not the best definition of love!). Why is it that Christ’s love is what controls/compels us and hems us in?

-Because we have concluded this reality: 1 died for all, so all have died.

-This idea can be difficult for us to wrap our minds around, in addition to love being acceptance of who I am, the idea of 1 person serving as a representative goes against the second Western ideal of individualism. This is known as corporate solidarity: “the one stands for the many and the many are represented by the one.” (ESV Exegetical Commentary) Just as we saw in Genesis that Adam’s sin cast the cosmos into sin, so in Jesus his 1 perfect life redeems the entire cosmos. We’ll see the implications of that in the next section.

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-Paul doubles down on this idea, Jesus died for all SO THAT those who are now alive in Him will no longer live for themselves, but for Christ.

-Christ’s love controls us, everything we do is meant to bring honor to God, so we need to die to our own desires, preferences, and ideals so that Christ can be seen in us.

-What does this mean for us in the church? It means we look to honor others even better than we honor ourselves. It means we come to Sunday morning looking to see how we can serve our brothers and sisters instead of coming to get our felt needs met. It means we look for opportunities to humble ourselves and sacrifice for each other. 

-I was thinking this past week about how Jesus describes the righteous vs. the unrighteous as those: fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed the stranger, and clothed the naked. That’s how we live for Christ!

-This verse is a beautiful, succinct summary of the gospel message! Christ died for all, so that we could now live in Him.

-But if Jesus had just died it wouldn’t change anything. Many people have died. Actually, everyone who ever lived has died (with the rare exception of Enoch and Elisha), and if you haven’t died yet, don’t worry, it’s coming! I don’t say that to be morbid, but I do say that as a reminder that this life isn’t all we have. And that’s only true because of the last 2 words: was raised.

-It almost feels like just a throwaway phrase, doesn’t it? All this big build up to: and was raised. Because if Jesus wasn’t raised, then we have no reason for living, no reason for hope, no reason to celebrate this or any other Christmas.

-Because Jesus was raised, we no longer treat people as mere humans. 

-C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit.”

-All this is building to the fact that: anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. This is the theme we saw in Genesis: the first thing we learn about God is that He is the Creator, but he hasn’t stopped creating. Each time someone is saved they are re-born, re-created, brought to true life. This is what Pastor Jeramy talked about last week from John 3: you must be born a second time!

-And now that this new creation has broken through into the old, we have a new ministry.

-Have you ever thought of Jesus as the only perfect picture of this new creation? We have all these hopes/ideas for what heaven will be like, but we don’t to wonder because Jesus already showed us! Might mean heaven is a lot more like this world than we would care to admit!

  • Preach Reconciliation (18-21)
    •  From God (18-19)

-This shows us the wide-reaching implications of our salvation.

-Dane Ortlund: “Whereas for justification the sphere is the courtroom, for sanctification the temple, for redemption the slave market, and for adoption the family, the sphere of reconciliation is that of friendship.”

-Have you ever realized that part of the reason Jesus came was to befriend us? Now I want to be careful because this can lead to an overly casual approach to Jesus, but just as the Father welcomes us in, so Jesus makes us friends. This is what he says in John 15. This friendship with Jesus then pours out into our friendships with others.

-Let’s look at how we do this. “All this” all the realities we’ve seen in the previous verse, the new life, new creation, Christ’s love, it’s from God.

-As we saw in Genesis the perfect relationship between humanity and God was severed because of sin. God’s desire is to restore every aspect of the broken relationship, so God sent his one and only son to bring about reconciliation. 

-Notice that it’s “through” Christ. It is literally through his broken body, but it’s also only through faith in Him that reconciliation happens. It’s only through faith in Him that He will now call us friends!

-Once we’re reconciled to God, we’re given a ministry to carry out: the ministry of reconciliation. 

-This is what Christ’s love compels us to, horizonal reconciliation. Do you see how both components of reconciliation are found here? Vertical AND horizontal. And you don’t get horizonal reconciliation between people apart from vertical reconciliation with God. What does this ministry look like?

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-In Christ God is actively reconciling the entire world to Himself. 

-Our scope of ministry is literally the entire world! There is no sphere, no domain, no relationship that’s beyond the reach of God’s reconciliation! 

-We have no reason to view any person who is created in the image of God as too far beyond the reach of reconciliation. The gospel that we believe in, that has brought us into this new life means there is ALWAYS reason to hope that God is working in someone’s life, and you might be the person who brings about the message of reconciliation to that person.

-Isn’t that amazing that God uses ordinary people like us?

-As if to double down on the reality of our reconciliatory ministry, Paul says God has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation. 

-That word translated “message” is the same word we looked at 2 weeks ago: logos, word. Once again, just as the gospel can’t be communicated apart from words, so reconciliation cannot be communicated without using words. 

-We are called through Scripture to go out into the entire world and speak/preach the words of reconciliation. Each and every opportunity we have in the world to push this message we should celebrate!

-Our city/state have over the past 18 months been rocked by calls for justice and reconciliation, and when we hear people talking that way, we should be on the forefront in joining them in pleading and praying for reconciliation. But we need to remember the answers the world gives will only be 1 sided, they’ll neglect the vertical dimensions to this reconciliation and try to only deal with the horizontal dimensions. God has called us as the church to both demonstrate and PREACH for reconciliation that comes only through Him, and only then can we have a prayer of having true and lasting reconciliation.

-Paul’s final point in this section is that reconciliation is meant to come:

  •  Through Us (20-21)

-“Therefore” this message of reconciliation finds its’ summation in the reality that:

-we are ambassadors

-Do you know how ambassadors work? Same today as in the 1st century. Ambassadors are sent to another country to represent and act on behalf of their home country.

-Just as Jesus was sent here as an ambassador from another world, now God sends us out into the world as ambassadors, representing Him, speaking for Him. This is why Jesus says “this world is not our home.” We’re not first and foremost Americans, we are citizens of heaven. Our primary home, our primary allegiance, our primary focus is our homeland. We’re only here to serve as ambassadors of that other country.

-Continuing that theme, Paul tells us what our ambassadorial message is: God is appealing through us. Another way we could translate that phrase is “as though God were begging through us.”

-Similarly, we “beg you” be reconciled to God! When’s the last time you begged someone to be reconciled to God?

-There’s some pretty weighty words of exhortation in here for us: persuade, implore, appeal. All for the ultimate goal of being reconciled to God.

-Just as reconciliation is through Christ’s death, so our ambassadorial role is THROUGH us, which means each and every day we need to die.

-Paul ends this section in a very appropriate place: repeating the gospel message. 

-This verse is saying God quite literally equated Jesus to sin when He died for us on the cross. That’s where we can sing “the Father turned His face away” because God can have nothing to do with sin. 

-Martin Luther called this the “great exchange,” our unmeasurable debt traded for innumerable riches in Christ!

-Vs. 21 MSG – “How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.”

-The only hope we have for true and lasting peace is for us to get serious about begging others to be reconciled to God. Until that disordered relationship is put back in place, the world will continue living in a Gen. 3 falling world.

John 1 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

A New Beginning

John 1:1-18

INTRO: Grew up in the church ALL THE TIME. “Midwest goodbye” I did things like: play computer games, read all the books in the library, watch movies, count all my dad’s books, one of the “fun” things I did: write a suggested sermon for my dad, on John 1. Titled, this will give you some insight into my mind at the time “A Very Short Sermon.” You could tell from a young age I was destined for where I am today! It planned to cover 1 verse, had 2 points, and I told my dad even he couldn’t go longer than 5 minutes on it! The 2 points were: The Word was With God, The Word was God. My Christology was on point! But now I actually get to preach that sermon, I’ve got 3 points, and we’re going to be here a lot longer than 5 minutes! 

READ/PRAY (pg. 517)

-Similar themes/ideas to the past couple months in Genesis, light, darkness, God speaking, echoes of creation trickle down to this text.

-I want us to think this morning about the reality of the new creation that we have today. We’ve seen how history started, how our story intersects with that history, and how God’s plan from the beginning of the world was to send His Son into our story.

-We’re also coming up on the Advent season, in which we contemplate the reality of the incarnation (God himself took on flesh) and how we live in eager anticipation of that day. 

-In short, I want us to use this Advent season as a time to better worship/adore God because of how He was worked in human history, but also because of how he’s worked in our individual stories. Each of us is here for a reason, because the message of hope that we remember at Christmas was shared with us. 

  1. In the Beginning (1-5)

-Sound familiar? Where have we seen a verse like that before? 

-We don’t have new revelation today, but what we can do is look back and more faithfully interpret the text that God wrote. Paul’s idea “mirror dimly”

-Ever seen a window that’s super old so it distorts the image you’re trying to look through? That’s how the OT views Jesus, can see shapes/ideas, but not the correct image, it’s distorted. Now in the NT the window is fixed! 

-So what does this tell us about the original creation all the way back in Gen. 1?

-Creation was a trinitarian act. The Father spoke, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit who was hovering over the waters (Col. 1:16 “for by Him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, all things were created through him and for him.”)

-If we were able to see things through a spiritual instead of physical lens, if we could zoom into every particle in the universe, we’d find that Jesus holds it together. We exist because Jesus holds us together. If it weren’t for Jesus we would cease to be. 

-One of the implications of that is that we need to be looking for areas where we see God at work. Since Jesus holds all things together, everything can be used to point to Him. Listening to a podcast this morning on the way we as Christians tend to look at culture as negative, but God commanded us in the garden to create culture. So art, buildings, music, theater all should point us to God, we should look for the areas in which they all point us to God!

-John is reminding us of God’s act of creation to point out that this is the beginning of a NEW kind of creation. Just as in the beginning God made something out of nothing, so with Jesus, God makes a child appear in Mary’s womb out of nothing.

-But does any remember HOW God creates? Gen. 1:3, “And God said…”

-The second reality we learned about God in Gen. 1 (after creator) is that God is a SPEAKING God.

-God’s Words carry meaning, and he’s chosen to use words to reveal himself to us. Words carry significance and meaning, so when we come to the words of the Bible we need to dig in to understand what God means when He uses them.

-Throughout the Old Testament God’s Word is his revelation of himself, Isaiah 55:10-11 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

-God’s word is connected to Himself. We can trust His Word because He is the source of all truth. Anytime we talk about words, I’m reminded of one of my least favorite quotes that I seem to stumble across at least yearly. “preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.”

-Sounds catchy! And at first glance you think “that makes sense!” Half of it’s right! We’re called to love in word & deed, our lives MUST be radically different, but half of it’s not. Rom. 10:14, “How will they call on him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” God reveals himself to us through words and THE Word, Jesus Christ.

-What this means is just as the first creation came about THORUGH the Word Jesus, it’s the exact same thing with the NEW creation, it only comes about THROUGH the Word, Jesus. 

Now we’re back to John 1 with the Word. John’s point is different than all the other Gospels because he’s beginning his book in the very beginning.

-John has a very high Christology, as we see in these first few verses, and John’s point in the beginning is to remind us of 2 thoughts that make up the gospel message: visible and invisible. The invisible reached out into the visible to make himself known as the Word. John then spends to rest of this passage talking about the interaction of the visible and the invisible.

-Vs. 2 reminds us that Jesus has always existed, and 3 reminds us what we saw in Col. 1, everything was made through him. 

-But this creation isn’t JUST referring to physical creation, this also refers to invisible, spiritual creation, as seen in 4-5.

-This points to the reason Jesus came to earth, which is explicitly stated in Matt. 1:21, “he will save his people from their sins.” He will give them life.

-Interplay between life and light here.

-Pointing us back to Gen. where the light and the darkness were the first day of creation. Another evidence of this being a new, unique act of creation

-There’s even a sense of hope John uses to end this section: the light SHINES – present tense. The light is STILL SHINING in the darkness! 

-This leads us to the next section, what do we do with the knowledge of the light? We bear witness, just like John the Baptist.

  1. Bearing Witness (6-13)

-See God’s working again in John who was “sent from God…to bear witness about the light.”

-Notice just how explicitly John explains the role of the Baptist: witness, witness, witness. John wasn’t the light, he came to REFLECT the light back to the Son. 

-Do you know how the moon works? The moon isn’t a source of light, the reason we can see the moon is because it reflects the light of the sun, which is why we end up with something called an eclipse, because we on earth, get in the way of the light. 

-We can often do the same thing by getting in the way of the message of the gospel. So many people think we need to add rules and ideas and expectations on what it means to follow Christ, yet verse 12 tells us it’s very simple: believe in his name.

-I think the Christmas season is the perfect time to think about this idea because opening presents often leads to a sense of injustice. You see what someone else got you and go, “Shoot, I didn’t get you enough!” Or else you open their present and go “Well I wasted my money!” That defeats the purpose of receiving a gift! 

-We operate the same way in the spiritual realm. We either try to atone for our own sins or clean up our own lives because we think we’re unworthy to receive salvation. Here’s the thing: we are! Because the point of our lives isn’t about us, it’s about Jesus, just like John made the goal of his life. 

-A little later on in John, we see just how willing John was to be a witness and get out to the way of Jesus, toward the end of John 3, John the Baptist’s disciples came to him complaining that more people were being baptized by Jesus now, but John knows his job: to point to Christ, so he says one of the most helpful verses in the Bible: He must increase, but I must decrease. 

-His entire aim and goal in his life was to be a witness to Jesus, to prepare the way for him. That’s the goal of every single one of us as Christians: to bear witness to who God is, to get out of the way so that people can see Christ working in us. 

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-Throughout the Old Testament there were hints that someone was going to be coming who would usher in a new era of history. We saw that with the line of Cain vs the line of Seth, or the seed of the woman vs. the seed of the serpent. God sent people, prophets, who would remind people to turn from their sins, repent, and believe in God. The problem is those who were supposedly anxiously waiting for him missed him. Completely.

-Think of those little kids who try so hard to stay up waiting for Santa but miss him every year. God’s chosen people, who had been given the prophecies and promises from old fell asleep and missed him when he came. 

-A.W. Pink, “When the sun is shining in all its beauty, who are the ones unconscious of the fact? Who need to be told it is shining? The blind! How tragic, then, when we read that God sent John to ‘bear witness of the light.’ How pathetic that there should be any need for this! How solemn the statement that men have to be told ‘the light’ is now in their midst. What a revelation of man’s fallen condition.” 

-How often do we miss the way God is working around us because we’re overly worried about appearances, or recognition, or are too busy worrying about ourselves? How many times do we fixate on how terrible our culture is instead of looking for the positives that are taking place around us?

-That’s why we need this next verse. Once you believe, God makes you a child of God. But how do we remain children of God?

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-John reminds us that there is nothing we can do to ensure our salvation.

-not of blood – genealogy doesn’t matter, being born into a believing family doesn’t make you a believer. Going to church doesn’t make you a believer. Family heritage doesn’t make you a believer. Tradition doesn’t make you a believer. Even acts of “obedience” don’t make you a believer! 

-not of the will of flesh – sincerity doesn’t save you. No matter how much you want it/desire it/hope for it, that won’t save you. On top of that, I can guarantee that your sincerity will fade.

-not of the will of man – effort can’t save you, because Isaiah reminds us that all our “righteous” deeds are as helpful for our salvation as ratty old rags. If you’ve ever tried to do better, just pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, eventually your effort will run out. What do you do then?

-Instead, we become children of God BY God’s grace alone. (we’ll see that in the next section)

-We’ve talked about this idea before: But can literally change your life! Think of news you get: you have cancer, BUT it’s easily treatable. I got in a car accident, BUT I’m fine. 

-We were dead in our sins, BUT God has made us alive together with Christ. And how is that possible? This is where we get to the best news ever:

  1. The Word Became Flesh (14-18)

-Literally, The Word became flesh and tabernacled/tented among us. The Message: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”

-In the minds of the Jews, they would’ve heard tabernacled as a reminder of the Exodus. Same word used in the Greek version of the OT when it talks about the tabernacle. God gave his people instructions to build a tabernacle where his manifest presence/glory could dwell with his people, because no one could see God and live (Ex. 33:20). But notice what John says about Jesus, “WE HAVE SEEN.” 

-Seismic shift: We go from no one can see God and live, to WE SAW HIM. That’s why I like what The Message says, he came and lived with us. We saw him, we ate with him, we touched him, we were WITNESSES to this truth, just like John the Baptist. 

-Remember who this is: God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, becoming Emmanuel, God with Us. 

-Why did Jesus do that? This is where it’s helpful to read/study/memorize catechisms, summaries of what the church has believed. One is the New City Catechism:

22: Why must the Redeemer be truly human?

That in human nature he might on our behalf perfectly obey the whole law and suffer the punishment for human sin; and also that he might sympathize with our weaknesses.

23: Why must the Redeemer be truly God?

That because of his divine nature his obedience and suffering would be perfect and effective; and also that he would be able to bear the righteous anger of God against sin and yet overcome death.

-Not God’s Word, but takes ideas/summaries from God’s Word and puts them in a concise statement.

“We have seen his glory, full of grace and truth”

-The hope of the OT was that the whole world would see God’s glory, “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,” (Is. 66:18)

-Whose glory? The only Son – there’s a unique relationship. This is the one all of human history has pointed to. One author describes it as the OT is Promises Made, the NT is Promises Kept. All the promises of the OT find their fulfillment in Jesus, the Word made flesh.

-This is where we see worship radically changing after Jesus comes. Tabernacle – temple – anywhere because now we worship in spirit & truth.

-Then there’s a parenthetical note about John as a witness again in 15

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-Connects to the “full of grace and truth” in 14

-This fullness connects us as believers today to the same fullness of Jesus

-What do we get? We get “grace in place of grace.”

-This is demonstrating that both the OT (old covenant) and the NT (new covenant) are acts of grace, so what God is doing by sending his only Son is replacing one act of grace with a new act of grace in the gospel message of His one and only Son.

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-We see the final expression of grace by God sending his son. This isn’t law versus grace, this is grace UPON grace! What this means is we move from a God who has given to his people to a God who has come to his people. 

-Throughout the OT we see these hints of something to come that is far greater, and all those things are fulfilled in Jesus. We no longer need the shadow of the law because we have the light of Christ who has revealed himself to us!

So how do we respond to the reality that God took on flesh? 2 things:

1 –witness. I’ve told many people that for every pastor their job is one of preparation, but that’s also true for every Christian! We work together to prepare each other to grow more like Christ for the people they’ll interact with, or for coming face to face with God!

2 – worship. Apart from God we are dead in our sins, but from God we receive grace on top of grace. Because of Jesus moving into the neighborhood we now have eternal hope, and a day to look forward to when we will see God face to face.

Genesis 10-11 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: these are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

The Dispersion of the Peoples

Genesis 10:1-11:9

Membership in the church. 2 key passages

2 Cor. 12 “12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”

-We all have a part to play, integral member of the church

Heb. 13 “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

-Who are your leaders? And who will I give an account for when I stand before Jesus?

-Walking into a church building doesn’t make me a Christian or a part of the church. (walking into the Target Center doesn’t make me an NBA player, wearing a jersey doesn’t make me a football player)

-How long does someone need to come to a church before they’re “a part”? 1 week? 1 month? 1 year? 

-Think of membership like an embassy. 

-Church isn’t God’s “plan B” it’s His intention to build the church.

-Been popular since I was in college to bash/complain about “the church” as if individuals are not contributing to any problems. This is part of what we’ve seen through Genesis – we’re sinners, all of us. EFCA SOF: “In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath.” So what do you think happens when a bunch of sinners gather together regularly? Think sin becomes less of a problem, or more of a problem?

-Church is a group of sinners, saved by God’s ridiculous grace, who have covenanted to God and each other to love each other DESPITE the ways we sin against each other. This commitment, despite ethnic, gender, intelligence, gifting  differences serves to demonstrate to the world a picture of God’s love for them.

-Also provides a different level of 2 things: support and accountability.

-Support: OSB prays for all our members, we all need each other to function properly according to 1 Cor. 12, you can know that no matter what happens you’ve got a family who will come around you

-Accountability: we’re not meant to survive alone. None of us can! I’ve had people here tell me when I say something too careless in my messages, I need that! I’m a sinner too! This means we’re going to be better together – God saves us individually, but then calls us/draws us into a new family.

-What does this have to do with Genesis? Great question! Generally what happens when people come together is sin gets amplified, that’s true in cities, in apartment buildings, and yes, even in the church. So what’s the solution to living near people? Great question, let’s take a look at today’s text!

READ/PRAY

  1. The Table of Nations (10)

At this point in human history, we’ve got 8 people left on the face of the earth: Noah and his wife, 3 sons and their wives. 

-We know that book is meant to serve as the introduction to the entire world and explain how things got where they were, specifically how Abram came to be, and then culminating in God’s chosen people, the Israelite nation.

-Thus, the purpose of this whole chapter is to describe the various nations that would have been surrounding Israel when Moses was writing this, centuries later. Longman: “This ‘genealogy’ is really a primitive linguistic, political map that reflects realities of a later time.”

-Showing what the world/cultural ideas were thousands of years ago

-First son listed:

  1. Japheth (2-5)

-14 names listed here

-Don’t treat this like ancestry.com or geneaology.com the way we think of it today

-Names are here to make a point, each name is in for some reason, not necessarily every single person in the line

-Notice this line focuses primarily on sea-towns, or “coastland peoples”

-Second son listed:

  • Ham (6-20)

-We all remember what happened to Ham last week! If you weren’t here, Ham looked upon his father Noah’s nakedness and dishonored him.

-Has the biggest group with 30 names/groups

-His descendants primarily go to the southern side of the Mediterranean

-Again, most likely signifying that these were the most impressive people (line of Cain, seed of the serpent) and contains most of Israel’s enemies.

-Random excurses on this Nimrod guy.

-No one knows who he is or why he gets the significance he does. We know he was a mighty hunter, so much so that he gets a poem written about him

-Founded many cities that serve as enemies to Israel later on, also points back to Cain, who also “built” cities (seed of the serpent)

-Contrast this idea of Nimrod “building” places like Nineveh and Babel to Noah (and later on Abram) who “built” an altar.

-Also setting the foundation for what we’ll see in the next section, with the tower of Babel

-Finally, the third son:

  • Shem (21-31)

-Last because he’s the one whose eventually child will be Abram, the Father of Israel. His people (primarily) went further east than the other

-26 descendants 

-Combine all the descendants up in these lists, and you get 70. There’s a couple other places in the Bible that pops up again: 

Exod. 1:5 “All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt.” Israel is meant to serve as a picture of the world on a smaller scale.

Luke 10:1 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two (70) others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.” Similarly, Jesus’ disciples are meant to serve as a picture of the world on a micro scale, and they’re to go INTO all the world!

-and NOW that command is on us, to continue going out into all the world

  • Noah (1, 32)

-To wrap up this “table of the nations,” we end where we began, with “righteous and blameless” Noah. The second Adam who failed just like the first Adam.

-We read this with the knowledge of what happens next, and so would Moses’ first hearers, but we also need to remember that we read this with an eager anticipation of when the TRUE second Adam will come

-There’s a longing/desire to know where we fit in humanity, to enact the right changes, and even to be on the “right side of history” Do you want to know how to do that? Make sure you’re a part of the “seed of the woman” and not the “seed of the serpent” because at the end of all things, that’s the only hope we have.

-Let’s see how this dispersion began. The genealogy serves as the ending of Noah’s story, then chapter 11 begins with the explanation of how and why this dispersion took place.

  • The Tower of Babel (11)

-This first verse tells us that this is a flashback from the previous verse. Multiple times throughout chapter 10 it tells us each person had their own language.

2

-Shinar. Where have we seen that before? 10:10, suddenly we see why Nimrod was mentioned! 

-Some people have taken this to mean that Nimrod built the tower

-Shinar was the home of Babel back in that same verse, this is focusing in on something that was just mentioned/alluded to back then

-This reads like a technological advancement, like human ingenuity coming to play.

-One of the things that I find fascinating reading through Genesis is how much sin still affects things even through today. How many people would say the world is slowly becoming a better place?

-Looked through a book over the summer titled ‘Ten Global Trends Every Smart Person Should Know’ 

-“Since 1820, the size of the world’s economy has grown more than a hundredfold. Over the past 200 years, the world population grew somewhat less than eightfold.”

-As late as 1820, nearly 84% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty, that dropped to 66% by 1910, 55% by 1950, and 42% by 1981. In 2018 that number dropped to 8.6%, meaning that by 2030 (assuming trends continue) less than 5% of the global population will live in extreme poverty

-Famine’s have essentially disappeared worldwide, except in war zones. “In Sub-Saharan Africa, the average food supply per person per day rose from approximately 1,800 calories in 1961 to 2,449 calories in 2017.”

-Last one: the global tree canopy increased by 2.24 million sq. km (865,000 sq. mil.) between 1982-2016.

-Even when we’re not aware, good things still are happening, God is still on his throne, and His common grace means incredible things will continue to happen

4

-They’re not just building a tower, the tower gets special notice/significance, but this is a whole way of life centered around the tower.

-Some archeological excavations have uncovered temples from this era in human history, would have been what is known as a ziggurat, series of increasingly smaller levels.

-Moses tells us their hopes/dreams with this: the top will reach the heavens (the realm of the gods) they will make a name for themselves so they won’t have to be dispersed.

-One of the commands God gave to His people was to “fill the earth” that means they have to go out and actually go out into filling the earth! 

-We know that’s not the primary/only problem, because one of the things His chosen people do is settlein the Promised Land

-I’ve even heard/read that some people argue that this is why cities are inherently bad/evil. But what they forget is that in the new heavens and the new earth, one of the most distinct features is: a new city, Jerusalem! 

-Let’s admit, there are some unique things about cities that can exacerbate/accentuate the evil proclivities of the human heart, but those tendencies are there without cities! It’s some of what happens when a large group of sinners gather in 1 place! Yet another reason the church is such a unique entity – the one place where sinners can gather together in close proximity and have your sins become LESS of a problem!

-The whole goal/purpose of this city/tower is to build on their pride (make a name for themselves) and allow them to disobey the explicit commands of God.

-This is a theme throughout all of human history. People are still people, sin is still sin, and we are not prone to obedience toward God. D.A. Carson For the Love of God:  “People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

-I’ve been listening to the big biography about Alexander Hamilton recently (inspired by the musical) and it honestly just sounds like the guy wanted to build a tower in his image! 

-But we tend towards the same things – wanting to be known/ recognized/ acknowledged instead of trying to be faithful. Another theme we’ve seen is what’s considered success in God’s economy is VERY different than ours!

-That’s their goal, what’s God’s response? Look at vs. 5

-“came down” is worded VERY intentionally. Look how the builders described their “impressive” tower, and God still has to “come down” to look at it. That’s a really good summary of how God views most of our feeble attempts at building a name for ourselves! 

-Scene in Avengers Endgame that encapsulates this idea really well, spoiler alert, but if you haven’t seen it by now that’s not my fault! Thanos, big bag guy intent on wiping out half of every living thing has an adopted daughter Gamora that’s not scared of anyone/anything, attempts to kill Thanos and is still referred to as “little one.” That’s kind of how God views these human attempts to reach him, apart from faith in Him.

-After coming down to see what they’re trying to do, God decides to confuse their language, further complicating human relationships (and confusing them to this day!) They left defeated, unable to communicate, and finally spread across the earth.

-Name is Babel: in Babylonian literature it means “the gate of God” in Hebrew it means “confusion.” Babylon serves as a key city throughout the rest of the OT too, but it gets its start here.

-What in the world does this story mean for today? 

-First, this is the origination of the diversity of languages we have across the world today (side note, just so you’re aware, the Bible wasn’t originally written in English!) 

-Second, this lack of communication is a demonstration of the Fall. The OT has a couple texts that point to a new day coming when language will no longer be a barrier to human relationships. Let’s take a look at a couple:

Zeph. 3:9 “at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.”

Acts 2 – “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?”

-Today, God sends us to speak in every language, phrasing, understanding we can to point others to him. Do you speak of Him in every area of your life? What do you think it would look like to not build towers to yourself, but instead point everything to God? How can we as a church ensure we’re not building a tower of Babel, and instead are using every opportunity we have to point others to God?

Genesis 8-9 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube video.

The Fall (Again)

Genesis 8:20-9:28

-Happy Reformation Day! 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenburg church

-Written in response to Johann Tetzel’s selling of indulgences. What’s an indulgence you may ask? RCC doctrine of purgatory stated that your soul had to go through a purifying before you could get to heaven. Tetzel’s quip was “every time the copper rings a soul from purgatory springs.”

-Luther wanted to debate with Tetzel this whole idea, and in response penned his 95 theses the first of which says “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, `Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

-The reality is that all of us will sin, the question becomes what’s your response when you sin?

-EFCA SOF: “Human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.”

READ/PRAY

  1. God’s Covenant with Noah (8:20-9:19)

-Last week we breezed through the flood’s coming, then God closing up the windows of heaven and floodwaters of the deep. Noah, his family, and the animals are preserved through the de-creation of the world, then last week we saw the ark come to “rest” in the mountains of Ararat. 

-One thing I haven’t talked about is other flood stories from the ancient near east.

-Point back to SOMETHING happening

-Other stories stop the flood because the gods are hungry and need an offering

-Verse back in Gen. 4 we didn’t really talk about. 26: “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.” What were Adam and Eve doing before that? The Hebrew word “call” can also be translated “proclaim.” 

Gen. 4 is contrasting the seed of the woman (Seth) with the seed of the serpent (Cain) and culminates in this verse.

-Seed of the serpent sounds SO much more impressive than the woman. shepherds, iron workers, musicians, and how is the woman’s line described? They proclaimed, shared, worshipped Yahweh. Which does God want? 

-Slight tangent (but only slight!) why do we as Christians so often look to the same measurement the world uses to make our judgments about people? 

-Think of some of the well known families in our world: Carnegies, the Royal family, Bushs, Kennedys. They all look incredibly impressive! Prestige, fame, accolades.

-Let me list some names none of you would know who have influenced me: Bubars, Kynes, Carlsons. None of them have worldly recognition, but their influence in the kingdom of God matters greatly.

  1. Offering (8:20-22)

-Just as the people “began to call on the name of the Lord” in Gen. 4, we see Noah demonstrating himself to be the seed of the women, because what’s his first act as he steps off the ark: building an altar.

-This (again) sets the stage/direction for what will be coming with God’s covenant people throughout the rest of the Torah

-First instance of an “altar” created to sacrifice to God

-Then we see why Noah had to take 7 pairs of the clean animals: to sacrifice

-This is an instance where we see some ideas taking root that aren’t fully fleshed out until later in the Torah – all 5 books written by Moses to Israel, so when these sacrifices are listed as “burnt offerings.” It would bring to mind Lev. 1, the commands for burnt offerings

-These offerings were meant to signify complete surrender to God

-Then the flip side of that, the description of God smelling the pleasing aroma signifies God’s acceptance of the offering 

-correct vs incorrect worship (Cain and Abel)

-Then we see a glimpse of God speaking to himself (in his heart). Making a promise.

-Even though man is the one that was corrupt, the ground bore the penalty

-Shows us why Paul will say in Rom. 8 that the creation was subjected and eagerly waits for Christ’s return, because it bears the penalty of our sin

-“Intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

-Getting to the doctrine of original sin. Some theologians/scholars have debated throughout history that humans are created as inherently good, and it’s society/family that corrupts them. This is getting to the question: are people inherently good or inherently bad? The way you answer that will radically alter the way you approach other people. Don’t have time to dig into that further right now, we’ll be doing a sermon series next Spring looking at the idea of treating other humans as humans, with an understanding of common grace, sin all those things!

-Second part of the promise is that other creatures will no longer bear the penalty for the sin of humans.

-Third is that the passing of times & seasons will continue on until Christ returns.

-Part of being human is acknowledging the passing of time. It’s a modern trend to work 24/7, to stay up well past the sunset, to refuse to age. A recent book I read on being human said “Attitudes of time, and the passage of time, are deeply characteristic of distinctively religious behaviour. People of faith do things with the calendar…how religious communities spend their time is a serious and central theme. Time is not undifferentiated; its passing is marked in ways that are thought to be significant.” (Williams, Being Human, 77)

-Advent is coming up, historically meant to serve as a reminder that we are a waiting people. The church calendar was assembled to remind us of our finitude, and our need of a Savior. It is characteristically un-Christian to refuse to acknowledge the changing of times/seasons. 

-We instinctively know this! We joke about the aches and pains as you get older. I’ve shared multiple times how I’m doing the best I can to add more years onto my life, happens 1 year at a time.

-I wiped out on my scooter over the summer, and I had a distinctive thought as I was falling “I can catch myself.” And suddenly the ground was there a whole lot quicker than it used to be. That was HARD for me to admit! That’s STILL hard for me to admit! I realize I’m not that old, but even for me it’s been difficult to stomach that I can’t do everything I used to do. 

-But that’s good! In our youth we feel invincible. Each passing season means we should represent Christ better.

  • Blessing and Covenant (9:1-19)

-Notice the same language to what God said back in Gen. 1. After Adam is created, God blesses him.

-Just as the flood was a de-creation, so now is meant to be a re-creation.

-Look who’s included in this blessing: “And his sons.” Meant to be a whole family

-The command is different than it was in the first creation.

-Compare this to Gen. 1:28. No subdue, no have dominion over. Instead there’s a different kind of relationship introduced between humans and animals 

-There’s still a sense of authority “into your hands” but a different relationship

-Combined with that is that animals are now food. Not explicit that Adam & Eve were vegetarian, but not it is that animals AND plants are for food. With a caveat:

4

-Is this saying when I eat my medium rare steak (as God intended it to be) that I’m sinning? If you couldn’t tell by my previous encouragement to not eat steak burned to a crisp, that’s not the intent.

-What it communicates is if you don’t have blood in you, something is wrong. 

-Various cultures throughout history have used drinking blood as a means of worship, a way to appease their gods or “steal” the power of whatever/whomever they’re consuming. So instead of viewing blood through that lens, God commands His people to drain the blood, as if it’s an offering to Him, reminder that all we are and have are gifts from a good creator 

-Fulfilment of that in Acts 10 where the blanket is lowered from heaven for Peter

-Continuing with the theme of blood, comes one of the roles of government. 

-At the root, murder is wrong because it’s killing someone who is created in the very image of God. Not going to get into capital punishment discussion today because that’s a bigger discussion than I have time for, but it is interesting to note that one of the roles of God gives governments is to bring justice to bear. 

-That’s where the whole book of Leviticus laying out the “law of the land” is meant to ensure the penalty does not go beyond the crime. All I’ll say, for now! Ultimately, we are not meant to take others’ lives! That comes because of sin

7

-You is plural, back to Noah and his family. Repeating the earlier refrain, the cultural mandate: be fruitful and multiply.

-Haven’t shared this before, but it does not mean inability to have children is bad/wrong, instead it’s saying generally, marriage leads to procreation. Nor does it mean that if you are unmarried you are somehow lacking in your growth as a believer. Jesus wasn’t married, Jesus was not “fruitful.” But he lacked nothing!

8

-God establishes his covenant. Generally the term tied with covenantal language throughout the OT is “cut a covenant” Generally blood is spilled, animals are cut. But there’s 3 important things about this covenant.

-Universal (y’all, every living creature, every beast)

-Permanent (never again, never again)

-Generosity (not earned or deserved!)

-Brought up the “cut a covenant” because look at vs. 11: cut off. We’re back to 2 ways to live: either cut a covenant with God, or be cut off from life!

-Because of God’s generous mercy, never again will a flood destroy the earth. And what evidence does God give?

-Rainbow! Just as God remember Noah back at the beginning of Gen. 8, each time he (and us) see a rainbow it’s a reminder of God’s covenant with us. 

-Some debate about whether this is the first covenant, or if God had also made a covenant with Adam and just didn’t explicitly use that word. I lean toward God having a covenant with Adam – same list of expectations, sign (them being in God’s image), consequences for breaking. Now notice – what consequences will there be for Noah? Nothing. Isn’t that crazy? God will uphold both ends of the deal.

-Everything looks good, covenant is made, flood won’t ever come again, but it’s not Eden. Sin is still affecting the heart of every human.

-Sin isn’t something “out there” that we must separate ourselves from. In our Christian culture today we have a tendency to become separatistic. Even in our parenting there’s a tendency to try isolate and preserve our precious little kids. That desire is good! We are called to help them, but don’t forget that your precious little one still has a sinful nature that we have to shepherd them through

-This is part of the function of these early chapters in Genesis – to show the enticing nature of sin. If it was desirable we wouldn’t do it! So even if we were to be in a perfect garden, we’d still choose sin. This is the reality, even for Noah who was righteous and blameless.

-This section ends describing Noah’s family: Shem, Ham, Japheth.

-Also includes a description of Ham’s descendants as Canaan, Moses is writing this, setting the stage for the curse of the Canaanites here and in Deut. People would have understood who the Canaanites were!

-Dr. Tony Evans: “Noah’s 3 sons “nicknames” Japheth (light), Shem (dusk/brown), Ham (burnt, dark)”

  • The Second Fall (9:20-29)
    • Noah’s Sin (20-24)

-After the flood, Noah becomes a man of the soil (just like his father Adam)

-Remember what happened in Gen. 3. Our first parents were tasked with cultivating a garden/orchard, and eating the fruit of their work caused their sin making them aware of their nakedness

-Then Noah, righteous and blameless Noah, following in his parent’s footsteps cultivates a vineyard, eats the fruit of his work that causes him to sin, leading to him exposing his nakedness in his drunken stupor 

-Matthews, NAC, “There were new relationships, new assurances, and a new order to things in the world; but there remained the same old human heart”

-One of the things for us from this text is the need for moderation in our lives. I’m increasingly becoming convinced that a life of moderation is one of the primary ways we can demonstrate our Christian lives to the world.

-Addiction, obsession, cut-throat is the way our world conditions us. What would it look like for a group of people to not be obsessed about anything but God?

-in our work obsessed culture, what would it do to have someone who works incredibly hard, is trustworthy and easy to work with, but isn’t consumed by his work or finding complete fulfillment in their work?

-What about in our food obsessed culture? We need to remember there are seasons of feasting and seasons of fasting, but in the normal course of life what would people think of someone who just refused to overeat? 

-What about the other side of that with our health obsessed culture? Exercise is a good thing, but obsessing over exercising is a bad thing!

-None of these are bad things!

-Noah obsesses over his wine, becomes drunk, and Ham sees his father exposed

-Connecting back to Gen 1 here, “naked and unashamed” isn’t ever going to happen again. Noah being naked is shame inducing, and Ham refusing to help is sinning against his father.

-Shem and Japheth refuse to sin against Noah, and cover him up. Then Noah speaks for the first time in the Bible:

  • Implication of the Sin (25-28)

-First thing he does is curse Canaan. Not Ham. Isn’t that weird?

-One thing we need to be aware of is distorting the text. “The curse of Ham” was used as biblical proof during the 17th and into the 20th Century for reasons that blacks were inferior to whites. We can’t just pick up the text and plop it down today and assume every situation is a 1 for 1 correlation. That’s an embarrassing indictment of American biblical interpretation.

-Not to mention, if you look carefully at the text, who’s cursed? Canaan! Only 1 of Ham’s 4 sons, so just a careful reading of the text itself should have been enough to stop that whole interpretation in its tracks.

-The purpose of this text is to begin the explanation of the antagonism between Canaan (seed of the serpent) vs. Shem (seed of the woman) But realize that at their root/core is the same family lineage.

-Then Shem and Japheth are blessed by Noah. These 3 are the fathers of all the nations of the world. We’ll see next week the way the various nations spread out from these 3.

-What do we learn from this?

-Live a life fully surrendered to God – this involves, as Martin Luther, living a life of repentance.

-Religion: “I messed up. Dad’s gonna kill me.” Gospel: “I messed up. I need to call Dad.”

-Every time you see a rainbow, give thanks to God that the full flood of his wrath fell on His Son at the cross instead of us

-Moderation is a key virtue to those who are in Christ

Genesis 7-8 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

The Flood

Genesis 7:1-8:19

-Have you ever done a deep dive into church history? It’s a miracle the church has survived!

-Persecution from Rome, corruption in the Middle Ages, schisms, splits, and fights, Enlightenment, rationalism, even Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok, yet Christians still continue spreading 

-Almost as if God has a plan/purpose to history

READ/PRAY

  1. Continued Commands (7:1-10)

-God’s commands toward Noah continue in 7

-last week ended “Noah did all that God commanded.”

-A few corrections from our Sunday school versions, or maybe the Hallmark special, or maybe even the recent Noah film starring Russell Crowe! 

-Nowhere do we see how long it took Noah to build the ark (500 when he had his sons, 600 when the flood comes)

-Text doesn’t say Noah’s friends/neighbors mocked him because of this giant boat

-Unlike the most recent edition, was not because of a lack of earth care (text actually talks more about how humans are treating each other)

-Saw last week the idea of Noah being righteous

-Ties into Hebrews 11 – hall of faith. Begins by tracing the storyline we’ve been studying in Genesis. Creation – Abel – Enoch – Noah 

-Without faith it is impossible to please Him. Have you ever thought about that reality? No matter how “good” (however you define that) someone is, without faith in God it’s useless. 

-All the events we’re reading about throughout Genesis MUST be out of the overflow of the faith in your life, because if you don’t have that faith, you will not be pleasing God. Faith was the precursor to Abel’s sacrifice (thus that Cain did not have faith), faith was the precursor to Enoch’s walk with God, faith is even the precursor to Noah’s obedience that we saw last week.

-Notice it’s not BLIND faith, as in a leap into nothingness (seems like most modern action movies have that one scene where the main character is running away from the bad guys, sees a waterfall/cliff/edge of the building coming up and takes a blind “leap of faith” into the oblivion and always survives) instead it’s a faith that is rooted in reality and history evidence. If the tomb isn’t empty, you need to find a different religion, because everything we believe hinges on that fact

-That faith will lead us to trust God even when it’s difficult! Just think of the faith it took Noah to trust God to build an ark when there hadn’t been any kind of torrential downpour like this (or ever again as we’ll see next week!) So for you, where is God call you to have faith to be obedient to Him where you’re struggling to trust Him? It could be a pushy boss, an annoying neighbor, a wayward child, an unbelieving spouse, or maybe it’s none of those things and He’s calling you to be content and thankful right now. Whatever your circumstances, God calls us to continue trusting in Him, putting our faith hope and confidence in Him, like Noah.

2

-Not just 2×2 for the animals, 7 pairs of CLEAN animals

-Potentially to be used for sacrifices, but this is setting up the eventual Levitical law that comes about later in the OT, the way God’s people are to be set apart

4

-Then God tells Noah exactly the timing of the incoming destruction: 

-He’s got 7 days to get everything situated in the boat, the rain will come for 40 days/nights with 1 purpose: to blot out every living thing from the face of the ground.

-This may lead you to ask the question: why does God kill everyone and everything that He made? Doesn’t that make him evil? Great philosophical question/discussion, can’t fully explain it, even with an entire sermon devoted to it, but here’s some things to think through:

1- there are standards/norms that everyone believes/holds to, that when someone comes along that behaves outside those standards, there are consequences. If you speed, you risk a fine! There’s been conversations recently about (don’t watch it!) but Dave Chappelle doing a new Netflix special where he makes a joke about trans people, then I heard about a newer term TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) which includes someone like JK Rowling and Martina Navratilova. If you don’t fit within these cultural norms/ideas, you’re cancelled. (If you struggle with anything of the LGBTQ please come talk to me! We ALL have sins we’re wrestling through, but we’re called to not carry that alone) 

They’re using doctrinal ideas, even though they don’t know it! Total depravity, but no hope of atonement or redemption

2- That leads to the question, even as we see this taking place in the culture around us, who gets to set those standards? Government, individuals, groups, cultures, businesses? God! Since we’ve seen God is the creator, He gets to set the standards/norms and call others to obey them. Therefore, people will flourish ONLY IF they obey Him

3- Since God is the creator, and He has set the norms, there are consequences for someone choosing to live outside of those boundaries, culminates in eternal separation from Him.

4- This all comes about because of the Fall. Not how God intended things to be.

-Once again, we see Noah living according to the creation mandates. Noah is completely obedient to God’s commands (seed of the woman!) 

6

-How old was Noah when this happened? 600. I can barely even begin to wrap my mind around that number. Just turned 33, I think of how much I’ve changed since 23, or 13, that’s only 10 or 20 years ago! Could you imagine living for 600 years? Imaging being born in 1421 and living through today. America was a nobody on the global stage, even 100 years ago! 

-Anyway, Noah’s obedient through his 600th year of life, he and his family, and animals go into the ark, then comes the flood.

  • The Waters (7:11-24)

-Part of the reason Noah’s age is listed is he’s serving in the kingly role in this text. 

-As you read through the rest of the OT you’ll find significant events measured by the life of the King. So “when he had been ruling for 25 years, the earthquake came.” In this case, the flood is the significant event (obviously), Noah is king

-Notice the timing of this event. Not only does it list the year, it lists the specific day that the floods came. Just like the resurrection in the NT, Moses is interested in preserving the historicity of this event.

-Think about how this day would have been for every other person on earth at the time. There was no warning, they would have gotten up just like every day before, prepared to go about their daily lives just like they’d done every day before.

-Think back to (if you were alive then) 9/11. You most likely, just like me, got up and did the same things you did every day. Eat breakfast, brush your teeth, get dressed, I went to school. Weirdest school day of my life! I had never even heard of the “World Trade Center” before that day. 

-That’s one of the biggest takeaways we need to be aware of today from Noah’s story. In Matt. 24, Jesus is speaking at the Mount of Olives about the signs of the end of the world. The world was clueless as to where the world was heading! 

-What’s unique about our time is unlike Noah, God has commissioned us to go tell everyone where the world is going! There is an end that’s coming, and we need to be ready for it. Keep that in the back of your mind, we’ll come back to that idea at the end.

-2 descriptors of where this flood is coming from: fountains of the great deep, windows of the heavens.

-An incredible deluge of water. If you’ve ever been to Niagara Falls and ridden the Maid of the Mist boat out it’s overwhelming how much water is pouring off! The sound, the spray. Imagine sitting under that for 40 days/nights.

-One of the things about weather is it changes. Every place I’ve lived has said “You know the weather here, if you don’t like it just wait 5 min.” Could you imagine the same weather for 40 days in a row: 100% chance of rain…again (like the Lego movie)

-Water pouring down from above, exploding up from below.

-Vs. 16 – notice that even the animals are obedient to God! Noah, his family, and a smattering of animals are the only people on the face of the earth who obey God. Who shuts the door? God does. Even in the midst of the destruction of the world, God continues preserving His people, a remnant of faithful worshippers who were obedient to Him. Because of that fact, why would we worry when other inferior people try to destroy us? God will continue working!

-The waters continue pouring down from above and up from below, and the ark floats and carries the 1 faithful family (and animals) through safety. This water was so great that it even covers the mountains.

-If you think back to Gen. 1, on day 2, God separated the 2 waters from each other creating “heaven” Here in Gen. 7 God is taking things back to their primordial state. The waters are no longer separated, He is re-creating the entire world with a second Adam

-If you did watch the 2014 ‘Noah’ this was the 1 scene that captured the biblical sentiment incredibly well. Vs. 21 says “All flesh died.” That concept is hard to translate to our minds with 1 sentence. But could you imagine sitting in the ark hearing the destruction of the world you’d known your entire life (in Noah’s case 600 years) 

-There’s a tendency to sanitize biblical stories, and then the sanitized versions become embedded in our minds. This wasn’t a traveling zoo where Noah got to live with his animal buddies. This was the de-creation, the destruction of everyone. Friends, neighbors, family members died. 

-These waters covered the world for 150 days. No rudder, nothing in sight, just Noah, his immediate family, and an ark full of animals. Do you think they saw the decomposing bodies? This must have been a feast for the carnivorous sea animals! I’m not trying to be crass, but I do want us to realize the humanity/reality of this story! 

-But that’s not the end of the story. God hasn’t forgotten or left Noah to struggle through this on his own. And that’s how chapter 8 starts:

  • The Waters Subside (8:1-19)

-That word remembered is vitally important for you to remember, brother and sisters! The reality is for any of us who are in Christ, we are NEVER alone. It’s not as if God had forgotten about Noah, God’s not sitting up in heaven chillin out, maxin, relaxin all cool, when suddenly he looks down and spits out his drink because he sees the ark floating along. God has a plan for this. After the 150 days of this de-creation of the world, God begins interceding, could even say re-creating, the entire world. 

-Church, you never know what God’s going to do with you by you remaining faithful and obedient to Him. Even when storms and floods are thrown at you, even if you’re the only one left, God is doing something that you may have no clue until you persevere through it. 

-To clue us in to the fact that this is a re-creation of the world, the same language is used as in Gen. 1 “wind” same Hebrew word ruach as in Gen. 1:2 “The Spirit of God was hovering over the water.”

-Just as the first creation involved the Spirit of God, so the re-creation involves the same Spirit (and that exact same Spirit is involved in our re-creation when we’re saved and brought from death to life through the indwelling power of that same Spirit) 

-God also shuts off the “fountains of the deep and windows of the heavens” and the water starts disappearing. The finally, 5 months later, the ark comes to rest on/in the mountains of Ararat. 

-Again, another clue to the idea of re-creation. After this tumultuous season, Noah and the ark “rest”

-After waiting another 40 days, Noah sends out a raven, then a dove.

-No one’s really sure why the raven was sent, an unclean animal, could feed of any decaying carcasses as it waited for the water to recede, but not really sure why/purpose behind it. 

-First time the dove is released she comes back, second time she comes back with a “freshly plucked olive leaf.” And the last time she’s gone! But Noah’s still waiting for God’s commands. Even as he has survived the de-creation/destruction of the whole world, he’s still faithful and obedient. 

-Again, the specific days are recorded, 1 year, 10 days after the waters poured out, the earth is returned back to its’ intended state.

-Finally, it’s time for the introduction of Noah to the rest of the world. After all these previous events, God speaks to Noah again commanded him to “Go out!” 

-Very similar language to what we saw in 7:1. “Go into” vs “Go out”

-Not only are they supposed to go out, they’re commanded to bring out every animal that was on there with them. And then we see another creation mandate “be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” Another reminder, God is re-creating the whole world! This is meant to be a new Eden, a new opportunity, a fresh start with Noah and his family.

-God speaks, Noah obeys. “So Noah went out.”

-God speaks in creation, “And it was so.” God speaks to Noah, and it’s so

-Noah is reintroduced to the world, and then the rest of the creatures are reintroduced to the world. 

-Notice that the text says everything “went out by families” What a cool picture that would have been! Seeing each creature come down with their other half, 2 by 2 or 7 by 7 (for clean animals) 

-This story, while it really happened, is also meant to be understood more fully by us today to represent baptism. This connection is made by Peter in:

1 Peter 3:18-22

-How are we brought to God? We saw the connection to faith earlier. Here we see the need for baptism, just like Noah was saved through water.

-Faith in Christ leads to obedience in baptism today. Entry point in the life of a believer. Baptism doesn’t save, but it signifies your obedience to Jesus’ commands. Have you been baptized? 

-Once you have been baptized, the rest of our life is spent in preparation. Church, Jesus is coming back! We don’t know when, but we know He will return. In the meantime we:

-Rooted in God’s Word (need to know God’s commands to obey them)

-Live a worship-filled life by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit (faithfulness and gentleness) 

-Witnessing to the watching world (proclaim with our words, and make sure our life matches what we preach to the best of our ability)

-Practicing the lost art of hospitality – being a welcoming community 

Genesis 6 Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

-Walking, some of my favorite stories from my life came from walking.

-Walking the dog with Candy Grandma, shadowy creature on the sidewalk

-Married into a walking family, each house we’ve lived one of the first things Cara has done is find us a walking path

-Shortly after Lucy was born, we went on a walk for the first time as a family of 5 (7 if you count the dogs) Calvin gets the jiggles, dog pulls the stroller with the newborn over

READ/PRAY

  1. The Generations of Adam (5:1-32)

-Last week, Cain’s line (seed of the serpent vs seed of the woman)

-Here’s the crazy thing – reading through these 2 lists, Cain’s line looks WAY more impressive: shepherds, musicians, bronze and iron. 

-This is setting up a theme throughout the rest of the Bible: the ways of the world vs the ways of the Lord – so often our measuring sticks of worth (power, fame, accolades, prestige, wealth) aren’t even close to how God measure worth. 

-Think of Abraham – text doesn’t say anything special about him, just that he was obedient. Or David, who was the youngest and least impressive (according to the world’s standards). Or the nation of Israel, whom God says was the least impressive and the smallest of all the nations he could have picked. Or Jesus, who didn’t come in power or prestige. Or us, who were not wealthy, or wise, or prestigious, yet God still saved us. What a gift!

-Think of that song ‘Who You Say I Am’ it starts “Who am I that the highest king would welcome me?”

-Chapter 5 is one of those chapters that we have a tendency to either skip, read through quickly, or fall asleep getting through. Have you ever read Numbers? Please don’t skip through them! Every chapter, every word, every phrase and idea is in the Bible for a reason. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 reminds us “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” How much of the Bible is inspired? All. Not some, not just the parts Jesus says, not just the verse you like, ALL. Everything we need to grow like God, everything we need for human flourishing is here. That’s why we spend some much time in God’s Word when we gather together. 

-So why is something like a genealogy in here?

-We’ve seen 1 reason: to follow the seed of the woman. 

-Roots the Bible in history, reality.

-Gives the readers their place in the story of the world (this is something we often miss today in our hyper-individualistic culture, we didn’t just appear here!)

-So let’s walk through it!

-10 names, not completely sure why, but there is some reason behind it. We see the same number in Gen. 11 landing on Abram, then again in Ruth landing on David. Therefore, these genealogies are meant to show us how we read part of the OT – significant people are Noah, Abraham, David.

-Also has some same/similar names to the line of Cain, one is the true, the other is the iteration, evil cannot create, just destroy

-Do you notice the pattern? Same phrasing for all of them. Age when child was born, lived this much longer, died adding the previous 2 numbers.

-This pattern is broken in 2 places: Enoch and Noah. 

-Enoch: twice mentions that he “walked with God.”

-1 of 2 people in the Bible to not face death. Jewish writers after this said (based on the walking) that God so enjoyed spending time with Enoch that he brought him up to heaven to continue their relationship.

-Number 7 on the list, something significant about the 7th

-Then Noah, whose dad has the same name as the bad Lamech in the line of Cain. But instead of sinning, this Lamech is carrying on the seed of the woman. We should be looking for/anticipating this serpent crusher to come! Surely he’ll come soon!

-Remember last week, Jeramy shared names carried meanings in the OT, Noah sounds like the Hebrew word for “rest” or “relief” 

-Here’s the irony – we know that relief will come, but it will come through the destruction of the world, so relief only comes from 8 people, and it comes from them devoting their lives to creating a boat to save them! This is pointing to another rest/relief that will come from this line in Abram, but Abram’s rest extends to the whole world.

-These genealogies are meant to serve as a fast forward feature. Everything up until this point has been focused on Adam, gives us virtually no info on this long line of descendants. These 1000 years, instead it’s meant to just bring us right to Noah. So think of the way you USED to watch TV, with commercials, then DVR came and let you fast forward through them to get back to the storyline, the genealogy is the commercial break between Adam and Noah.

  • The Wickedness of God’s Creation (6:1-8)

-Noah introduced at the end of 5, then Moses goes back and gives some different background, and it’s weird.

  1. Sons of God and Daughters of Men (1-4)

-2 hotly debated issues in this text: sons of God vs daughters of men, and the Nephilim.

-I’ll talk about this further in tomorrow’s sermon scraps, as this isn’t really the point of this text, just meant to provide background, but I’ll give a couple brief comments.

-First, sons & daughters. 

-3 options: godly line of Seth, angels, or heroes from the mythical past (think like a Hercules) It’s important to note that one of the themes in the beginning of Genesis is which domain of authority is given – remember days 1-2 are God’s domain. Continuing the theme of domain stealing is this section, so God limits their lives.

-Second – the Nephilim. 

-lit. giants/fallen ones (only here and Num. 13:33)

-Read the text: “in those days and also aftwerward.

-Nephilim, therefore, are not the “sons of God” just men, Moses is demythologizing the Nephilim, saying they’re ordinary dudes. 

-That’s all we’ll say about that! Next, things keep getting worse in the world

  • Evil and Regret (5-7)

-Remember back to Gen. 1 – the Lord saw that everything He made was good. This time what does the Lord see? Exceeding wickedness and evil.

-Look at all the descriptions: wickedness was great, every intention of thoughts of his heart ONLY evil continually. Going on and on about the depravity! Could you imagine? Complete unrestrained evil – no one caring about God or each other.

-Play on words here with “intention” in the Hebrew is yeser, pointing back to Gen. 2:7 when God formedAdam yasar. As we walk through this account of Noah and the ark, we’re supposed to see it as God re-creating the whole world. So where God’s heart and intention in creation was to bring about good, since the fall, every intention, every thought that humans form is only evil.

-Vs. 5 tells what was going on, the domains being distorted, then vs. 6 tells of God’s pain, and 7 tells of His plan. 

-The pain was so great, God regrets making humanity, and it grieves him. Really briefly, if God is good and can do nothing wrong, why does He suffer regret? Getting to 2 theological issues known as immutability and impassability. Immutability is the reality that God never changes, He has no need to! Impassability is the belief that God is incapable of suffering harm in that he can’t be changed or harmed by anything outside himself. Where we often mistake that is to mean he doesn’t have emotions, which is not true! Again, longer discussion than I have time for today! Just note that God iso facing regret for His creation of humanity, so He has a plan:

-To destroy everything he created. Almost start to feel like God’s overreacting, right!? There’s no hope, God’s plan is set in stone, so long world! 

-I’ve shared this before, one of the most important words in the whole Bible: but. 

  • But Noah (8)

-The whole world can be going to hell in a handbasket, but God still shows grace! 

-Think of a place like Ephesians 2 – you were dead, but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead made us alive with Christ.

-See, this should encourage us! Because no one and no group is too far from God’s mercy and love. As long as we’re still on this earth, that “but” still exists. Even as the world passes away, “But God” So at this time, God had and used Noah. It says Noah “found favor” with the Lord. 

-Look at the rest of the way the text describes Noah:

  • The Generations of Noah (6:9-21)
    • Noah and God (9-10)

-Similar to the start of 5 “these are the generations of…” So we’re starting to see that maybe this seed of the woman the is promised one! Maybe Noah can restore all the brokenness the fall brought, can finally bring the coming rest! 

-First thing, Noah is “a righteous man.” 

-How do we reconcile that with Rom. 3:10 “none is righteous, no not one.” It wasn’t because of something inherently good in Noah, instead, he was living in accord with how God had commanded/ordered the world. Unlike the rest of the world, he was obedient. One commentator said Noah “acted in conformity with creation norms.” I like that phrase, because when we sin, we’re acting OUT of conformity with creation norms.

-Blameless in his generation, certainly not perfect! But compared to everyone else, he was a standup guy! Both of these descriptions are dependent on the third:

-walked with God.

-We’ve seen a couple instances of this already in Genesis. Back in 3:8 after Adam & Eve sinned, it says God came to walk in the coolness of the garden, not a stretch to think this was a daily thing, with God coming to walk with his creatures. Those of you that have dogs, you know what this is like! In order to best take care of them, you’re supposed to make sure they’re getting exercise, so “in the cool of the night” you’ll take them out and walk with them.

-Then we saw in Gen. 5 that Enoch “walked with God, then was no more” 

-Lands here with Noah! 

-Is that description true of you? Are you a man or woman who “walks with God.” Now, what does that mean? Hold on to that question, because it will be answered for us in the last verse of this chapter! Before that, back to the earth.

  • The World is Bad (11-12)

-God saw, same as in vs. 5, same as in Gen. 1 each day of creation. All flesh/humans had corrupted their ways. But because of the corruption of humanity, even the animals will bear the consequences with them. 

-Everyone and everything had become corrupted. God regretted His creation, He is grieved at how they’re acting, so God decides to let Noah in on His plan:

  • God’s Plan and Command (13-21)

-God is going to destroy everything He created. Well, most everything! Noah, his family, and some animals will be saved through Noah’s work.

-This would be a HUGE boat! 450’ long, 75’ wide, and 45’ high. (cubit is 18”) There’s a roof 18” above the boat itself, letting light in. There’s a door on the side of it. 3 decks to it. Why are they supposed to build a giant boat?

-God tells Noah that his method of destruction will be a flood. God says EVERYTHING will die! And there’s that word again, BUT – God will establish a covenant with Noah. What’s a covenant? 

-Really simply – an agreement between 2 parties. This is the first time this word appears in the Bible, but it plays a huge role in the unfolding of human history, and in God’s story. The covenants are the means by which God will continue “walking with” his people. Again, don’t have time to dig further, do a word search on “covenant” in the Bible this week, it’s fascinating!

-Now it’s not just Noah’s family that will be saved. Noah is the means by which the rest of the created order will be saved from the incoming judgment through flood. They are to take 2 of kind: bird, animals, creeping things 1 male, and 1 female. 

-On top of that, Noah will have to bring in food for the animals and his family. Almost feels like a tag on! Think of Noah writing all this down – you said how big is this boat? And you said to make sure it floats??? Oh, and enough room for animals, that makes sense of the size, oh, AND food! And what’s my deadline? 

-Think of the faith that would have required!! Noah, 1 guy, with the help of his family, had to put build this giant boat, track all the animals and get food!

-Text doesn’t say how long this task took, but I can guarantee it took him longer than a week, or even a year! Yet in spite of that, Noah trusted God and got to work!

  • The Obedience of Noah (22)

-Remember how I told you we’d see how we can “walk with God.” This verse tells us how. That whole long list that God gave to Noah, “Noah did this.” Hebrew, it says “Noah did…so he did.” Again, think back to Gen. 1“And it was so.” God says, and it’s so. 

-Where Adam tried usurping and taking over God’s domain, Noah is righteous, conforming himself to the way God commanded humanity to live.

-Where the rest of the world is wicked and evil, Noah is righteous and obedient to do “all that God commanded him.” 

-That is exactly how we today can “walk with God” that is by doing everything that God commands us.

-Can you think of anywhere else in the Bible where we’re commanded to obey God? I’ll give you a hint – I preached on it when I candidated here! The Great Commission in Matthew 28. 

-All authority belongs to God and God alone, how often do we try to do things in our own authority? 

-As you go. God sends us out, that’s the reason we do a benediction here every week, we’re sent back out into the world!

-Make disciples. The mission of every church in the world! 

-Teaching – we must be teaching each other, and others!

-ALL that I have commanded you. 

-One time got into a debate with a youth pastor over LGBTQ issues. He wanted to argue that the church has gotten SO many issues wrong in the past (Crusades, gender issues, environmental concerns) and I don’t think he had studied the issues very carefully. Someone yesterday sent me a screenshot of his latest post where he says he, and his church, hasn’t “turned our backs on thousands of years of church tradition.”

-How many of our modern-day issues are because we’re not obedient to how God has commanded us to live? We’re back to the garden, “Did God REALLY say?” 

-Brothers and sisters, this isn’t just a world issue, this is a church issue too. How often are we quicker to run to our partisan political talking points instead of the Bible? Why do we only spend time with people that look and think like us when God has commanded us to GO! Why do we act as if the world will stain/corrupt us when God has purified us? Why do we separate and isolate ourselves when there’s people from all nations that need us to be faithful in making disciples? Why would we rather talk about the weather than the Bible verse we’re meditating and memorizing? Why do we settle for cheap novels instead of drinking from the fountain of life in God’s Word?

-Here’s what just blows my mind. God Himself dwells in us. Anytime we walk, we’re walking with God. Anytime we talk, we’re talking with God. Anytime we breathe, we’re breathing with God. This is part of the New Covenant that we’re in today!

Genesis 3 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

Sin

Genesis 3

Think of some of your favorite stories. Have you ever thought about how many of them cast serpents or use serpentine imagery as the evil one?

-Read this week about St. George the dragon slayer (reminded me of a guy from seminary that I stayed with, Anglican, so had chosen St. George as the patron saint of his house)

-Chronicles of Narnia, which is meant to serve as a picture of the Christian life, in The Silver Chair the evil queen transforms into a serpent to kill Prince Caspian

-Harry Potter, Voldemort, the evil one speaks Parseltongue (snake language) and uses a snake to do his bidding

-Hobbit/LOTR – dragon Smaug began the whole story! 

“Kill the dragon, get the girl.”

READ/PRAY – Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life! Help us now to hear and obey what you say to us today. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen. 

EFCA SOF

  1. The Temptation (1-5)

-Story takes a weird turn with the introduction of a new character – “the serpent” Who is that?

-Once again a lot of ink spilled in relation to this debate! Where did he come from, if God’s whole creation was good? A couple passages that help: Rev. 12:9Ezek. 28. Looks like Satan brought about a heavenly rebellion against God.

-Culminates in Jude 5 where Jude addresses the implications of the rebellion and the heart behind: “did not stay within their own position of authority.” Make a note of that for later! There’s a desire to usurp God’s authority, to invert the created order and to attempt to sit on God’s throne.

-What do we make of a talking snake? Surely this is fantasy! We know Chronicles of Narnia isn’t a true story, we know our dogs don’t speak English (as smart as your dog is). This has to be that the early Israelites didn’t understand how the world REALLY worked, right? 

-One argument is that all the animals pre-fall talked, and it was only after the fall that that relationship was severed, this would lead to talking animals in heaven someday, would be pretty cool!

-Another option (and my preferred) is that Satan uses the serpent as his mouthpiece, there are instances in the NT of Satan’s minions speaking through people, this one seems to be in line with the rest of the Bible! Even though I still have hopes that I can talk to my dogs in heaven!

-Serpent is described as “more crafty” “most cunning” “shrewder”

-The word is meant to parallel a description from the previous verse: naked and unashamed. Naked in Hebrew is arummim, shrewd/crafty is arumGen. 2 describes the intended state of creation, Gen. 3 describes the aberration/destruction of that creation

-One of the things we need to remember here is Satan cannot create. He takes the things God creates and twists/distorts them to his own ends

-So God creates everything to be “naked/unashamed” and Satan twists that nakedness by being “crafty” He’s a sneaky little bugger.

-Last thing to remember is that I mentioned last week the innocence/ignorance of Adam & Eve. Think of a child who is ignorant in response to many of the world’s difficulties: running into the street, touching a hot stove, need to be trained in the ways of the world. 

-Adam & Eve were in a perpetual state of childhood – didn’t need to be taught “the ways of the world” because everything was meant to lead them to flourish

-They did have boundaries: eat from any tree to you hearts content, except 1

-How many times do we live similarly? God’s given us SO many opportunities/freedoms, but we want to pursue the 1 option that leads to death

-Satan knows what he’s doing here, he goes straight to God’s commands! “Did God actually say?” Doesn’t outright deny, just questions.

-Notice the change in reference to God between these 2 uses. Lord God vs. God. One contains the relational covenant name of God, the other uses the common

-This is at the heart of the rebellion of humanity even to this day! In most of our interactions in the world we’re taught to buck authority, to question everything, to refuse to acknowledge our own humanity and mortality. This is where we’ve seen this rise in “ex-vangelicals” people leaving the faith, because they “found errors” in the Bible, but didn’t take the time to dig into or explore those issues further. They just assume that God couldn’t actually say anything.

-But then Satan goes on the offensive, by putting into doubt God’s actual words. 

-Just to remember, what did God actually say?

-God’s plan was bountiful, they could eat in abundance, eat until their stomachs were overflowing! That was encouraged! There was 1 limitation placed. And Satan decides to attack that 1 limitation.

-So how does the woman reply? 

-We may eat, not in abundance

-lowers herself to play on Satan’s turf in her reference to God

-adds to God’s restrictions “neither shall you touch it.” (some argue this is her creating another boundary to prevent sin, I think this is the beginning of legalism) We’re seeing all the ways our world twists and distorts God’s message that leads us to human flourishing

-Satan knows he has her just where he wants her. She’s stooping down to his level, playing his game, when she should have ignored, run away, or banished him from the garden!

-So Satan takes the next step. Now that the woman has already twisted God’s words he then moves to outright denial.

-The Hebrew wording begins with NO! Emphasizes that the will surely NOT die!

-Let’s compare this phrase with God’s phrase, 1 word difference. 

-Look how subtle this is! 1 word is the difference between life and death, and how subtle are Satan’s schemes against us today? No one will see it if you look at that picture on the computer, no one will know if you do some under the table dealings, no one will know if cut some corners and take the easy way out. But God will. I’m getting ahead of the story though!

-Satan is aware that everyone, since even this creation, has wanted to be in the place of God. And isn’t that at the root of most of the issues we’re having in our world today? 

-If the world revolves around me, if I am the sum center of the universe, anytime anyone disagrees with you they’re upsetting the king! They’re questioning your place on your throne and they must be punished! 

-Think of driving. Everyone who speeds it just asking for an accident until you’re the one who’s running late! Everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac! That’s human nature! 

-Now here’s the crazy thing that Satan says: ONLY if you eat of this tree will you be “Like God.” Wait a second. Who was created in the image of God? Who was created to represent God to the rest of the world? PEOPLE! They’re being tempted with something that is already true of them!

-It’s true, they would know the difference between good and evil, but only because their innocence would be destroyed, never able to be whole/holy again

-God had created a world that was perfect for them, everything they needed was supplied and they even had a job to do: work and keep the garden, but that wasn’t enough, they wanted to be in charge God’s domain instead of their own.

-So how does Eve respond?

  • The Sin (6-7)

-Instead of saying NO to the temptation, instead of turning away, she starts contemplating it. Look at the description of this:

-good for food, delight to the eyes, make one wise. 

-Do you think it’s significant that God chose to reveal Himself through words? God spoke to create, God spoke to the man with His commands (just as He’ll speak to Moses to have him write down the commands), yet how Satan attacks is through the eyes? Not saying visual is evil at all! God created the heavens and the earth with beautiful signs, but the signs are meant to point to Him who is the Word made flesh! 

-I think a great example of this is the desire for sensational experiences in our faith. Those things are not bad/wrong, but continually looking for sensational experiences won’t allow you to bear the weight of the suffering that will come.

-This sin is also described in 1 John 2 – the 2 ways to live! The world vs. Father

-Good for food – desires of the flesh (appetites)

-Do you ever find yourself torn? Knowing something isn’t good for you, but wanting to do it anyway? The things that this world offers us to distract us from God.

-Delight to the eyes – desires of the eyes (affections)

-Word used here is the same one as in Deut. 5:21 “‘And you shall not covetyour neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’”

-A sinful desire. Saw a TV show yesterday: “listen to your gut, OK? And on your way down to your gut, check in with your heart. Between those 2 things, they’ll let you know what’s what.”

Matthew 6:22-23, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

-Desired to make one wise – pride of life (ambitions)

-In and of itself, the pursuit of wisdom isn’t bad! That’s the theme of the whole book of Proverbs, but using wisdom to pursue fame/accolades is a problem.

-These 3 sins appear over and over and over again throughout the whole Bible, until they find their culmination in Luke 4 with the temptation of Jesus.

-hunger – desire of the eyes

-show divinity in Jerusalem – desire of the flesh

-worship Satan by given everything – the pride of life.

-Jesus succeeds, what happens to Adam and Eve?

-Eve eats. And then she gives some to Adam, and he eats. 

-“Who was with her.” Adam was there, watching this all take place. His divine command to “work and keep” the garden resulted in an utter failure

-Adam’s role of prophet/priest/king was abandoned because the temptation was too enticing. His first sin was passivity, instead of fighting against the devil, he gives in and watches his wife give in. This will have consequences as we’ll see

-The perfect harmony they experienced was shattered. Their ignorance was gone, could no longer enjoy being “naked and unashamed.” So they do their best to cover themselves up. 

-Don’t we try to do the same? When we’re caught in our sin we blame the situation, our upbringing, our life circumstances, but surely we’re not the problem.

-Part of the reason God shares this story with us is so we can see that even if you take all those extenuating circumstances away, we’d still choose sin.

  • The Consequences (8-24)

-We know what the penalty SHOULD be – death! They disobeyed, it would appear that Satan won! This entire world that had been created for people would go to waste, God’s great plan of joining with his emissaries in working and keeping the created order was broken. Or was it?

-Up until this point, we’ve seen God’s people in God’s place living under God’s rule and reign. For the first time in their lives, Adam and Eve don’t run TO God, they run AWAY from God. 

-The first time I really started contemplating the implications of this verse was sitting in a Sunday school class in a house across our parking lot in 2002. A teacher in a Sunday school class here asked the question: have you ever thought about God walking on the earth with Adam and Eve? God, when he appears, chooses to look like a human.

-Now, this is a difficult verse to translate, includes ruach in the “cool of the day” (breeze/wind of the day”) so some argue that God appears in a wind storm which would certainly be terrifying! Either way, they know it’s God! And they’re afraid.

-God won’t let them off the hook. He calls to them (He knows where they are!) And at least Adam’s response is honest. For now!

-God, again, knows everything, knows they’ve eaten, but He still gives them a chance to confess.

-Part of the way God created humans is for the other – so we are to be in relationship with others. And that union in relationship is now broken, so Adam plays the blame game. 

-“The woman” First off, not a great first move by Adam. I remember being told in pre-marital counseling, the woman is ALWAYS right! 

-“whom you gave” then he blames God! 

-Then back to the women, she gave me some fruit, I had no clue, I was innocently walking along and she tossed me a piece of fruit! Adam was THERE!

-Then he finally gets to the reality: I ate.

-Then to the woman: in the Hebrew, it’s emphatic: Do you realize what you’ve done?!

-Eve blames the serpent. The crafty one. After the deception, then she’s honest.

  1. For the Serpent (14-15)

-This serves as the center of the chiasm. God begins with Adam, to Eve, lands on the serpent, then Eve’s consequences and finally back to Adam’s consequences.

-This consequence runs contrary to some of the other religions dominating this area at the time. Serpents were viewed as gods! Once again, only 1 God

-Important to note who is cursed through this section. Serpent is cursed above all the animals, stuck slithering on the ground and eating dust.

-Not referring to his diet, more of a shame (eat my dust!) always be the loser

-Enmity between the women and their offspring, continual fighting/tension

-First hint that this will not result in immediate death!

-he (woman’s offspring) will bruise head, you (offspring) bruise his heel. If you’ve ever had ankle issues, you know it’s not fatal, but a bruised head? You’re not surviving that! There’s a reason we wear helmets when we bike/skate, we can survive many things, but not head wounds!

-This serves as the beginning of the seed of the serpent vs the seed of the woman. 

-Very next chapter Cain (seed of the serpent) kills Abel (seed of the woman)

-Joseph (seed of the woman) vs. his brothers (serpent)

-Pharoah (literally had a snake on his head) persecuting the children of God 

-David against Goliath (who appears with scaly armor) David strikes his head

-John the Baptist describes his opponents as a “brood of vipers” (Matt. 3:7)

-Jesus tells his opponents they are of their father, the devil (John 8:44)

-Revelation, the great serpent, the snake is thrown into hell forever.

  • For the Woman (16)

-There’s no cursing of the woman, but there is enmity brought in.

-First enmity is in childbirth. Either no pain before the fall, or else it’s referring to the ways in which women are emotionally affected through child rearing. Could easily be both!

-Second is the marriage relationship is full of enmity. Full confession, I hate the way the ESV translates this. Changed it in 2016, originally said “Your desire shall be for your husband” which is what the Hebrew text says! They’re forcing a theological point in a place where we don’t need it. (rant over)

-“’To love and to cherish’ becomes ‘to desire and dominate.’” (Kidner, 71)

  • For the Man (17-19)

-What’s cursed here? The ground! The ground bears the penalty for the sin of man! The ground from which he was created. The work that was one painless is now pain FULL. Instead of producing fruit in abundance, now it’ll produce thorns & thistles. 

-This has affected ALL of our work! Work until Jesus returns will be HARD! 

-This sin has affected all of human history! Until the serpent is fully and finally dealt with, we bear the weight of the effects of the Fall.

-But remember, it has been dealt with! Jesus experienced it all! He hung on a tree, sweat drops of blood looking at his work, wore a crown of thorns, and tasted the dust of death. This leads us to in the midst of the one of the 2 worst days in history, a glimpse of God’s good grace extended to us as broken people.

  • God’s Grace (20-24)

-Eve sounds like the Hebrew word for “living/life”

NET: “By giving them more substantial coverings, God indicates this alienation is greater than they realize.”

-We’re meant to see glimpses of the temple/tabernacle here. The front of the temple faces east, what separates the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place is a curtain. 

NET: “Here they guard the way to the tree of life. The curtain in the tabernacle was to be embroidered with cherubim as well, symbolically guarding the way to God.” 

-That flaming sword falls down Jesus, and what happens to that curtain? It’s torn in 2! God can once again dwell with His people. 

-So what? Are you demonstrating that you are the seed of the serpent or the seed of the woman?

-Sin is enticing! Satan is good at his craft, he’s been perfecting it for millennia

-Work is hard

-God’s grace is sufficient for us all. Now God dwells with us. We are now described as God’s temple! 

-At the end of LOTR, Frodo and Sam fall asleep on the slopes of Mt. Doom, when Sam finally comes to, Gandalf (who he thought died all the way back in the 1st book) is next to him. Sam’s first words were “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue?”

Genesis 2 – Sermon Manuscript

PLEASE NOTE: These are the notes I use to preach from, if you would like to hear them in context, please watch our YouTube channel.

Man and Woman

Genesis 2:4-25 (page 1)

-Muslims believe paradise will be a huge garden with riches immeasurable, each man will be rewarded with 70 beautiful young women.

-What does paradise look like to you?

-Muslims believe paradise is just part of a spirit world for those who are have believed in Jesus during their time on earth.

-Buddhism doesn’t believe in paradise, but instead in the “land of bliss” some argue that only men will reach this land

-Many people in America seem to act as if this land is paradise, they keep building your domain as big as you can, working their tails off to be the best version of themselves they can possibly be!

-The Bible gives us a different view to paradise, but can be summarized as: God’s people, in God’s land living under God’s rule & blessing. Once again, we see Genesis serving as the foundation for the whole Bible!

  1. Creation Retold (4-14)

-“These are the generations” serves as the beginning of a section in Genesis

6:9 Noah, 10:1 Noah’s family, 11:10 Shem, 11:27 Terah, etc.

-Every other instance is of people, this is of the created order, the beginning of everything

-We’ve picked up from where we left off last week and zooming in on the 6th day, focusing (again) on the creation of humanity, giving us quite a bit more detail 

-See this beginning verses as setting the stage for the main point of the story

-An error that people make is viewing this as 2 separate creation accounts

-There’s not 1 creation of people, then a separate creation when “Adam and Eve” are created, there is a message that God is communicating through this text (again!) start back with the original audience 

-Lord God – new name for God (Yahweh Elohim) last chapter was just Elohim, Yahweh is His covenant name that He gives to His people, the holy name that was unutterable by God’s people 

-Moses is telling us something about what God is doing/working in his creative acts, so early on in the creation of the world before plants were created, before rain fell from the sky, before there was a human to take care of the ground (tilling, planting, cultivating)

-Text tells us that the watering/care of the earth was done from water under the ground

-It’s at that point that God forms the man “of dust from the ground.”

-Said last week that unlike the previous creation, animals are created from that which was already created

-God then breathes into him the “breath of life”

-This is a two-fold act of creation, first the man is created bodily/physically, then God breathes into him 

-Again, we’re going to be approaching Genesis from a biblical theology perspective, so another place this pops up is Ezekiel 37 where the prophet is taken to the valley of dry bones, and points us to the ultimate reality that unless God awakens human creatures they are walking around as people who are dead (Eph 2:10)

-Then we get to a specific location out of all of the creation that God is going to bestow his special blessing upon – Eden. 

-Typically referred to as the garden of Eden, but I hadn’t noticed until digging in this week that man doesn’t work/till the ground until the Fall in Genesis 3, so tilling the earth is part of the Fall, not part of the creation, if you look at vs. 9, a better description would be the ORCHARD of Eden.

-Eden is described as ‘in the east” east of what? Again, original context, east of where Moses is writing from, the Promised Land of Israel. 

-Also looks like Adam was created from the ground somewhere outside, then Eden was created as a place for Adam, Adam is brought in and put there.

-Then notice some descriptions about the garden:

-“pleasant to the sight.” Just as I encouraged you last week, have you ever thought about why things are beautiful? They have no intrinsic evolutionary advantage! Have you ever been to a westward facing beach when the sun’s setting? Waves rhythmically kissing the sand, each second you see a new color in the sunset. Or been in the mountains of Colorado as the sun is rising?

-Even music! I was a music guy for 10 years before I came here, people get emotionally invested in music! Again, there is no intrinsic value to it, no evolutionary advantage, but we still have it! 

-God literally baked beautiful artistry into the created order. Food can be beautiful to look at! If you’ve ever been to a hibachi grill you know what I’m talking about. Food there becomes a work of art! That creativity comes from a creative God.

-2 trees are singled out for specific attention:

-The tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

-First, these trees are in the middle of the garden. I read some really interesting things about the garden, their significance and purpose this week. One person said that was done so the middle of Adam’s world was not himself, but life, the very presence of God. Tied into that looking at some of the Hebrew words used (specifically in 3:22, which we’ll study next week, says if you eat of the tree of life, you’ll live forever”) One commentator argues this should be translated as “perpetual life” meaning regular eating of the fruit counteracts the effects of aging. Here’s what’s crazy – even science today would argue that’s true! There are some foods we can eat that help our bodies remain in good health, let’s be honest though, they generally don’t taste as good as the foods that kill us! I still remember listening to one pastor who shared his love for bacon, got confronted by a member in his church because bacon will kill you, and he said “Fine! I’ll go to heaven and hang out with Jesus full of bacon!” We’ll look closer at the second tree in vs. 17, all I’ll say now is “good and evil” is used throughout the Bible as a merism, referring to all knowledge, not JUST good & evil

-Last thing from this section is the description of waters and fine metals. Eden is viewed as the source from which all life flows out – look at the language: “flowed OUT OF Eden” Since water is required for life, Eden is the source of that life. While we often read this as a geographical location, it’s more meant to say ALL life finds it’s source in Eden, 4 waters spreading out to cover the 4 corners of the earth. We also see the fine stones/metals that were there. 

-Biblical theology: where else in the Bible do we see a land with a river flowing through it and precious metals being found in it? Revelation 21-22

-The Garden in Eden is being described as a temple where God’s people can live in perfect relationship with Him. Now we know what’s coming next week, so we today can long for that ‘Paradise Lost’ to quote John Milton, but we’re getting a little bit ahead of this story!

-This garden/orchard has boundaries (it wasn’t the whole earth) and it’s specifically created FOR the fulfilment and enjoyment of the man. (enjoyment because the trees were “pleasant to the sight”) not mere pragmatic value. Let’s look at the man

  • The Man’s Role (15-17)

-Remember Adam was formed/fashioned somewhere else, then brought to this garden that was specifically created for him to flourish.

-The word translated “put” in vs. 15 is from the word we saw last week: rest. Connotation of “settled” so just as God rested from his work, so the man is rested/settled into his garden.

-Then the man is given a job: to work and keep the garden.

-Garden of Eden isn’t an all-inclusive resort, sipping an Arnold Palmer in the sun being waited on by the animals. Work is good! Work is a gift from God. Work means we join with God in the ordering of the creation. Some people translate that “work” as “serve,” or “worship.” Throughout the Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Bible) it’s used to describe how we work and worship in the service of the Lord. Do you view your work as worship?

-We know that we live “east of Eden” today and our work is much much harder than it was intended to be, but work is still a good thing. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” Your work is meant to be an act of worship to God – we join with God in bringing order to the chaos around us, we all should be contributing to the furthering of good and human flourishing and fighting against the darkness. But I’d take that a step further and tie in some NT ideas to be salt and light in your various vocations. Take some time this week and think about this question: how can I use my job to worship God and point others to Him? Maybe it’s setting a reminder on your phone to pray a couple times a day. Maybe it’s bringing your Bible and reading it during lunch. Maybe it’s as simple as being a hard, reliable, and dependable worker who works hard to get along with everyone with whom you work. Whatever it is, God has sent you to your job to be his witness. 

-I think it’s also true that our work, when we find the unique ways God has wired and gifted us, our work ends up feeling more like rest.

-Second word: keep. Guard, observe, watch over. Most often used for keeping God’s commands and obeying God’s Word. Once again, there’s this pictures that God through Moses are painting in these opening chapters of Genesis that are laying the foundation for how we as humans are meant to operate and view the rest of the created order. God creates the world perfectly for us to flourish, then we join with him in continuing to push back against the chaos, darkness, and disorder, working/serving and keeping the world He created. 

-But what does the keeping mean without a command? Two-fold, first a positive, then a negative.

-Positive: surely you may eat of every tree. Negative: at least every tree except one. One leads to life, one leads to death. That’s the same theme we saw throughout the Psalms: 2 ways to live, one leads to life and one leads to death. So many of the themes we see in the Bible and our world today are seen in these opening pages. If humans were to choose to eat from the forbidden fruit, in that day they will die. They will experience separation from God, physically and spiritually.

-This is all background to focusing on the man. The stage is set, the garden is prepped, the work is given, the command is in place (both positively and negatively) and then the drama continues because there is a problem.

  • The Man’s Helper (18-25)

-First instance of “not good” Remember I shared last week, tov maod, but in this case God uses my motto for Hebrew: lo tov – not good! Even living in paradise in perfect communion with God and every tree producing fruit in abundance isn’t enough for the man. 

-Think of how caring this God is. Contrary to other world religions where humanity is created to do the work of the gods, God partners with us in continuing to carry out His task. Not left to our own devices or ideas to try to figure out what we should be doing in the world. He gives us food, a job, provision, and now he’ll go above and beyond in giving the man a “helper fit for him.” Before we talk about the contemporary significance of that, let’s walk through the whole section.

-Remember back in Genesis 1, God is the one naming the creation, so He calls light “day” and darkness “night”, expanse “Heaven,” dry land “Earth” waters “seas” 

-The man is called to name the animals God created. Think of this beautiful parade of all creatures great and small being trotted in front of him, and he gets commissioned from God to name them all. It’s almost as if God is showing off and sharing everything He made! Just as God naming His creation shows his rule/reign over that creation, in this case God is sharing that rule/reign with the man. 

-Prophet/priest/king – This is God giving the man a kingly role. Priest is found in the “Serving and keeping” just like the priests are to serve and keep the temple, prophet is obeying and keeping the commands of God. 

-Despite this man naming everything, there was no creature made that was a helper fit, or corresponding to him. Which means God’s final act of creation here is to bring relationship to the human race. 

-Last week I shared that men and women together are created in the image of God, one gender by itself is insufficient in imaging God into the world. 

-First time the proper name is used is in this verse. “The man” is called Adam. (thought to be pointing back to the ground, the adama from which he was taken)

-God is going to perform surgery on Adam to create his helper. Literally in the Hebrew God takes from Adam’s side – some have argued God took his WHOLE side and fashioned woman from her, but rib also works. 

-God leads the first ever wedding ceremony, bringing the woman to the man, and the man cannot believe it! He breaks out in song, leading to his progeny attempting to use song to woo women from that point forward.

-Says “Woah, man!” I mean, WOMAN. Just as “Adam” is similar to adama, woman is isha man is ish. They correspond to each other. Man and woman are interconnected, that is the way God has intended men and women to function. We are not completed with just 1 gender, God created us for community.

-This section ends with what one commentator described as “leave, cleave, and weave.” 

-Leave: a man shall leave his father and mother. A new family unit is formed in marriage that didn’t exist before. Does not merely mean physical separation, as in this context the new couple would often move back in with his parents to carry on the family trade.

-Cleave: (hold fast) the primary allegiance moves from your immediate family to your new spouse

-Weave: become one flesh. Your life completely changes! At our overseer meeting this week we were sharing how our lives were radically different before we were married. Hate to share this, but some of our overseers cooking skills are limited to the buttons on the microwave – some of them needed to be single longer!

-Ends with both man and woman being “naked and were not ashamed.” More than just lack of clothing, nothing is hidden from each other, there is complete understanding, care, concern for each other with no shame of being “found out” or “exposed” to be something you’re not. No facades, no trial in their relationship, a state we won’t ever fully experience until we’re in eternity.

-So what does this section mean for us on this side of the Fall, yet redeemed people?

Gender roles – This passage appears again in 1 Timothy 2 with Paul’s description of roles/function in the church. Can’t dig in too far – but I am a convinced complementarian, meaning there are distinct roles/gifts for men/women in the church to fulfill. Just as there is distinction in the rest of creation (light/dark, sea/land) there is distinction between men & women that sets the stage for how we are to fulfil our cultural mandate:

-“helper” may not be the best word for us today because we tend to view it as subservient to, can be thought of as companion, or counterpart. Eve fills in where Adam is lacking, and Adam fills in where Eve is lacking. But it’s also important to know that throughout the OT this word ezer is most often used in connection with God as our helper, or companion

Cultural mandate – John Frame: “Man’s responsibility to fill and subdue the earth is sometimes called the cultural mandate. That language brings out the fact that man’s task is one of turning the earth into a habitat for man, one suited to the needs and purposes of man. This task involves not only the cultivation of crops for food, but also the arts, sciences, and literature, by which human life becomes more than mere subsistence. And at the deepest level, man’s labor has the goal of bringing praise and glory to God. So he is to structure his life and culture according to God’s standards.”

Basically, man is to extend Eden’s borders to fill the whole earth

Blessing in/through the church. Adam’s role sets the stage for authority for all humans: prophet, priest, king (authority, presence, control) Now the church is meant to recapture that same call of prophet as we speak God’s Words to each other, priest as we implant ourselves among each other in a specific place, and king as we work hard as for the Lord and not for man bringing God’s ordering out of the chaos into our various spheres of influence.

-“creation itself was not complete until there was community, Adam needing eve before humanity was whole. God never works with individuals in isolation, but always with people in community.” Peterson, A Long Obedience, 177 

-One of the ways we are a blessing is by working hard for God, as Col. 3:23 reminds us “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” A little Monk named Brother Lawrence decided to live this way, using everything he did as a means of blessing others and God. He described this pursuit in a letter saying “I decided to sacrifice my life with all its pleasures to God. But He greatly disappointed me in this idea, for I haver met with nothing but satisfaction in giving my life over to Him.”