March 14/15


MAIN TEXT: Genesis 1:1-31

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so.The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

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

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The Good News of Jesus comes to us through the form of a story. The story reveals to us the truth of who we are, where we came from, and where we are going. This is God’s story. This is the story.

It is vital that followers of Christ understand the meta-narrative of scripture. The major themes of the Bible bring richness and application to the smaller stories. We must not merely maintain a collection of disconnected Bible stories without seeing the grander story of God, mankind, and His creation. God’s work of redemption in creation is comprehensive. We have a place in this story, and when we are in Christ, we have a role and mission within the biblical story.

When modern-day followers of Jesus know the grand story of God’s redemption, they will interpret events in life differently. The Bible helps us understand our world and chart our course through it. The Bible offers the true story of the whole world. Christianity has always maintained that Scripture is the norm for faith and life, the great rule and source of guidance. Hymns, choruses, liturgy, creeds, and sermons all rehearse and celebrate the story that shapes our lives, but the Bible itself is the source for the Christian story.

 

the Bible begins and ends with creation

Often times we seem to think of the Bible story as beginning in Genesis 3 (the fall) and ending in Revelation 20 (the judgment). In fact, the redemptive story of God begins and ends with creation.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth

Revelation 21:1

No longer will there be anything accursed

Revelation 22:3 (Eden restored)

The story starts with creation and ends with new creation. Creation is not just a backdrop for the story of salvation. If we strip the redemptive biblical story of its beginning and its end, we will have a distorted view of who we are and who God is and what the mission of God and His Church is all about. Dave Bookless said, 

Let us rediscover that the gospel, the good news, does not begin with Jesus’ birth. It begins with the good earth that God made through Jesus. Let us celebrate again that creation in all its richness is the wonderful gift of a good God. 

Creation is described in Genesis as a marvelous home that was made for mankind. It was designed as a place where mankind could live, thrive, and enjoy the presence and friendship of the creator Himself.

Caring for creation was God’s instruction to mankind when He first created us on earth.  We have been created in God’s image (set apart from the rest of creation) to care for creation for God’s glory. All creation gives praise to God (Psalm 145; Psalm 148; Psalm 104). The goal of creation is to glorify God. Man’s number one purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This was God’s job description for all of humanity and it has never been rescinded.

 

it’s all about Jesus

Creation is by Jesus, for Jesus, and through Jesus. In Colossians 1:15-23, Paul links Christ and creation (heaven and earth) in a comprehensive way. Jesus existed before creation (verse 17). Jesus is the source of the creation of the universe (verse 16). Jesus is the beneficiary (heir/firstborn) of all creation (verse 15). Jesus sustains creation’s existence (verse 17). Creation (all things) is saved, reconciled, through the power of the cross of Jesus (verse 20).

The reality of the fall recorded in Genesis 3 is enormous. The Bible’s story is that a loving and good God created a universe only to see it ravaged by evil and sin. And that great God has committed Himself to the total redemption and restoration of His entire creation. This has been accomplished through the cross and resurrection of Jesus.

We, who are in Christ through faith, eagerly anticipate His return. When Jesus returns, He will bring creation to glorious completion in the new creation. God loves this world – so much so that He sent His Son.

 

Good News for all creation

God’s creation has been marred, shattered, ravaged by man’s sin. We live on a cursed earth according to Genesis 3. We are conscious of the appalling suffering, injustice, and desecration of creation that is a consequence of our sin, greed, and violence.

However, our world is also a covenanted place according to Genesis 9. In verse 15, God said to Noah and his sons, “I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh.” Now, under the New Covenant, when we trust in the work of Christ on the cross, we are not redeemed out of creation, but rather we are redeemed as a part of creation itself (Romans 8:19-23; 2 Peter 3:13).

The promise of a new heaven and new earth means that when Christ returns creation will again be fully and eternally for God’s glory, for our joy and benefit, and forever. This is Good News! This restoration of all of creation is envisioned in Isaiah 35, Psalm 96, and Isaiah 65-66.

The principles of creation give us direction, purpose, and value. The story of creation gives us a picture of our all powerful and good God. Today, we look forward to the second coming of Christ bringing the redemption of all creation. This precious promise pulls us forward with hope and assurance that the good works that we have been called to do are not in vain. God is establishing His kingdom. The Church of Jesus carries this good news!

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”


APPLY TO LIFE

This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section to help you apply what has been taught to your life. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing as you open God’s Word together.


BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

DISCUSS THE MESSAGE

Read: Genesis 1:1-31

Take a moment to discuss what creation prior to the fall must’ve been like.

Describe how the Bible begins and ends in creation. How does this help you understand the overarching flow of the biblical story?

When we say “it’s all about Jesus”, what does this mean? How does the entire Bible declare Jesus from start to finish?

How is God restoring us to our original design and purpose through Christ?