10.31.2010 Grace Summit Sermon – The Story of the Bible – Pt. 1



Lord, thank You that Your Spirit is present – because You dwell in us who believe. We ask that You would help us to set straight that temple – that You would be Father, speak to our hearts and touch us from Your Word. May it be new to us – reveal things about You that You want us to know. Confirm the things we need to cherish. In Your Name we pray – amen.
I don’t know if this is true or not…
A police inspector was asked to lead a Scripture class at a primary school.
Who knocked down the walls of Jericho?
My name is Bruce Jones – and I don’t know who did it – but it wasn’t me.
He reported this to the headmaster.
I know Bruce Jones – and if he said he didn’t do it – he didn’t do it!
The inspector was exasperated – the headmaster was either rude or ignorant – so he wrote to he head of the department of education.
This is the response he got:
“Dear Sir, We are sorry to hear about the walls of Jericho and that nobody has admitted causing the damage. If you send us an estimate we will see what we can do about the cost.”

A lot of people are unfamiliar with the Bible – the stories of the Bible – it is becoming more and more the case. Years gone by, everyone would know about the walls of Jericho – and now, not so much.
We have taken the Old Testament and turned it into a collection of stories. Even for those who know the Bible, it is often turned into such.
But the Bible is really one big story – one story – the story of God and His relationship with His people. That is what the Bible is.

Let me read this:
As God’s self-revelation, the objective of the Old Testament is so people would come to know God better. It is theology – the study of God. The Old Testament objective is not the adoption of a value system, although that is an outcome. It is not a collection of prophetic sayings, but God’s revelation of who He is.
And we’ll go from Genesis 1 today to the Christmas story at Christmas.
When you see what God was like in His character and attributes and how He related to His people in the past, THEN you can have confidence in what He will be like and how He will act in Your life today. When we see how God acted then, and find ourselves in a similar circumstance today, we can have confidence in how He will act.
One caution – there has only been one parting of the Red Sea in history – and you are not going to experience another. Don’t expect to go up to the Cuyahoga River – and say, Part! And expect it to part! But all of us have been in bondage and need escape and God will act on our behalf.
The story is one of redemption – how God acts to save His people.
There are many different theological ways to look at this story: Covenant theology, dispensationalism. I would say this revealing of the story will be progressive – not like the politics, but theologically speaking. That is, more and more is revealed until we get to Jesus. He is the culmination – and the mystery, the secret is revealed fully in Christ.
Gen. 1:1 – in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Here is what we will do: We will just read from here until the Christmas story until Christmas. Just kidding, either we will have no one or a full house by the time we get to Christmas.
This is not about the history of the world, it is about how God’s redemption starts. When you focus on all those other things, you miss the story of redemption. It is not about how and when, but WHO and WHY. When we look at this in context – most agree that the book of Genesis – and I agree – that Genesis through Deuteronomy was written/spoken by Moses. After Israel had spent 400 years in slavery in Egypt – the Israelites were confused – they didn’t even know the name of their God – remember Moses – Whom shall I say sent me?
In that context – these words come to them. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. This is a creed – the confession of their faith.
The word for God here is – and I hate to say it – is like, the generic word for God. Not the big word for God, but the word that even the Gentiles would have used for God. Moses is contrasting the story of all these other gods – like they thought the most powerful nation had the most powerful god. Israel! Your God is God – the creator of all things! Your God! All of these other gods are vying for power, but your God created everything! He is in control and in charge.
This is polemic – confrontational – and God dismisses all these other stories of how the world was started – I did it! No more discussion! Israel’s God is all-powerful – He won the contest.
This teaches us of God’s supremacy – all powerful, all-wise creator of all. The God who delivered you from Egypt is all powerful and all-wise.
Metaphorically, for us, we must understand – we will find ourselves, at points in our lives – in bondage – in slavery – maybe to sin – or to an economic or relationship status. This gives hope – that when you find yourself in a circumstance like that, the One who delivered Israel from 400 years of slavery can deliver you from the situation you face. That is what Genesis 1 teaches us. He reigns completely in this world and in our lives. That should give us hope.
Do we believe it? Do we live like, In the beginning, God – our God – created the heavens and the earth?! Do you think about it? My God! Romans 8:31 – That God – is on our side.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [is] against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
We can be assured that God is on our side. The issue is that we don’t know Him enough to see it.
I think the next step with this – not only is God on our side, but He loves us. He works for us because He has a special relationship with us.
Gen. 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens–
LORD = Yahweh – Up until this point, he had used the word Elohim – but now he switches it to Yahweh – He delivered you because He loves you.
So many people say – I like the New Testament Jesus – but this Old testament God … –
But this Old Testament God loves you too!
Look at this next section in Gen. 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
When He gets to man – He changes it completely – let us – He brings in this concept of relationship. There is something special about to happen. The creation of humans – was something special. In our image, in our likeness. Everything else was created according to its own kind, but people were created in His image – similar, not identical. We are not identical with God, that is clear – we are a shadow – a reflection – we reflect in us Who God is. We have that potential – and that image has been distorted – but it is still there. Every human reflects in part the image of God. Every person you know, in some way, reflects the image of God. That is how much God loves us – He created us to be like Him to an extent. Where do we see the image of God? John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – A human completely shining the image of God.
Do you understand what this means? We are in the image of God – do you know how valuable that makes you? DNA shows – we are not that much different from the animals – we are made from dirt – but in this species, we were made to have a relationship with Him.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
We were created to be in relationship with God – to be like God. This image thing of God – after creation – that wasn’t God’s plan. God’s plan was our image after we’ve been redeemed by Christ. The glory we will experience in redemption – will be so much more than this.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
God speaks to us. He communicates – and wants to do that today – He wants this relationship with you – to experience His communication. You can have a relationship with Him like a person – He wants you to have that. Is that your life experience? It can be! To give you hope.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
He gives people authority as His representative. He is the king of the earth and we are His ambassadors, sharing His authority in a small way on this earth.
Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters
It was uninhabitable –
9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
God is creating a place for man – a place for this relationship to take place. That is what chapter 1 is about – creating a place where we can have a relationship.
Someone once said that Genesis is about God, Gardening and Sex. – and it is true. God is creating a land for His people. And after Israel had to leave Egypt – they needed a land for them. This story is about moving back to a place – a garden – we have a a place where we are going! Jesus said, – I am going to prepare a place for you – in My Father’s house are many dwelling places.
There is a garden – it will not be a garden, but a New Jerusalem – being prepared for us.
Read the descriptions in Revelation – it is a glorified garden – prepared for us to live in. There is hope there – that this is not the end. And too often, we just don’ think about that place. We just get so wrapped up in this world that we don’t think about it. Why don’t we think about it?

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
We have a purpose to fulfill. In the new land, He can begin the story of redemption – Israel becomes a light of the land – to shine God’s glory and praise throughout the world. Though the world be filled with darkness – they are a city set on a hill – a light in the darkness – and that is what we are – we are to represent Him and to bear His image in this world. Are you His image bearer?
Thursday – I always keep the door locked – sometimes when I am up here – people come up here – and open the door and it scares the daylights out of me – people have to pound on it –
The door was open on Thursday – and I came up the stairs without knowing he was here – and he was sitting in the back row.
I got to share the story of Jesus with him. “My mom was really religious and used to pray for me.”
Isn’t it time to give yourself to him? Do you believe Jesus died for you? Yes – and I led him in a prayer. We need to be His image bearer in this world. It can seem like it doesn’t accomplish much – but every service we do brings Christ to people. Any time we go out and, in any way, care for, and love – it gives us the opportunity to share that gospel message of redemption.

Father, as we understand this story – it is so amazing – no one could have written it other than You. Help us to love and tell that story – in Jesus name – amen.

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