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The Story, Chp. 1 "Creation: The Beginning of Life As We Know It"

January 15, 2016

The Story, Chp. 1

“Creation: The Beginning of Life As We Know It”

Gen. 1:1-4

 

Children’s Sermon “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?”

This weather has been crazy!  Freezing cold one day and no coats required on another!  And, in my opinion - Not enough snow!  How many of you like snow?  How many of you like to build a snowman?  What do you like to use for eyes? Arms? Mouth?  Do you give him clothes? 

 

When we build a snow man we are copying what God did when he made us.  We are creating.  One big difference.  When God created us He breathed into our nostrils and made us come alive.  Can you do that to your snowman?  

 

Creating things is one way we are made in God’s image.  But we can’t bring our creations to life.  That is one way we are different from God.

Are you glad that God created you? and snow? Let’s pray and thank God for all these things he has made and for making us.  And I’ll send you off with a snowman making kit that you can eat!!

 

Intro

The title applied to the first chapter of The Story is so appropriate.  It tells not only the story of creation but often the way each day begins and ends for most of us.  Indulge me.

 

We wake up, we make commitments to how we are going to live the day - hopeful, charitable, peaceful, wearing the armor of God, we are going to read the word, make that phone call, eat right, pray, speak only kind and affirming things, exercise - and then . . . we encounter another human being or circumstance that challenges all that. And we fall.  Does that sound about right?

 

Until the serpent entered the picture, Adam and Eve had only encountered and conversed with their Creator who only spoke to them what was right and good.  God never threw a temptation at them.  They didn’t even have to make a commitment to choose God because there wasn’t a choice!  But God, desiring that we have free will, allowed them to face a choice.  And they made it.  They chose against all they had known and experienced to be perfect and good for something that sounded more interesting and freeing.  And they wound up separated from all that they had known as truly good.

 

I used to blame them a lot.  But I’m pretty sure, based on my daily behavior, that I would have done the same thing.

 

The themes that stuck out to me in the first chapter of The Story were the topic of sin and our propensity for it and God’s great desire to repair the damage we do to ourselves and make things right between us.  He did it with Adam and Eve, he did it with Noah, he has done it over and over again since then and He ultimately did it for the whole human race when he sent Jesus Christ to be the Savior of the world.

 

Let’s look at our two Scripture passages.

Genesis 1:1-4    This passage is just the beginning of the beginning but we have read that all else is created in six days, the finale being humankind.  God created humans because he wanted the relationship.  Imagine that.  God created you because he wants a relationship with you.  No mere accident or trick of fate.  You are here on purpose because God wants to be in a relationship with you.

 

The writer of the Gospel of John gives us this great parallel to Creation Narrative.

John 1:1-4        This passage tells us that Jesus was present at and participated in the creation of all things, in the beginning. And also that just as the first act of creation was light, Jesus himself is light to humanity.  And why?  Same reason.  Jesus came to be light to humanity because God wants to be in relationship with us.

 

We are created to be in an intimate relationship with God

Lets visit a bit with Adam and Eve in the garden.  If you have your copy of The Story open to the inside cover.  Let’s put Eden on the map - as best guessed by many wise people throughout history.  Draw a tree between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to represent Eden.

 

In this place, God had intent to walk with the humans he created.  (Think, “I come to the garden alone . . . And he walks with me and he talks with me . . . )  God’s desire was to enjoy their company, meet their needs, answer their questions.  Be with them. That’s what God created human beings for.

 

We rebel and choose to live apart from God

God created us with the freedom to choose.  Barry and I are about to embark on a healthier eating kick.  This afternoon it will be my task to get rid of all the things in the house that work counter to this goal.  We’ve discovered over the years that if it’s not in the house you can’t slip up and accidentally eat it!  In the beginning, Eden was free of temptation.  I’m sure it was with a heavy heart that God allowed the serpent to slither it’s way into that perfect place.  He knew that just as the fallen angel, Satan, had chosen the desire to be more than he was created to be, it was likely that the humans he had enjoyed fellowship with would make the same choice.

 

Isn’t this the root of every sin we commit?  We think we know better than God?  We want for ourselves what we believe God is witholding from us, so we make choices that are counter to obedience?  And every time we do that, we break our relationship with God.  Have you ever been betrayed by someone you love?  Ever been disappointed by the actions or decisions of a child?  Then you may have a sense of how God feels when we make choices contrary to what he knows is best for us.

 

And each choice we make carries a consequence.  For Adam and Eve it was banishment from their home in Eden.  Beyond the story of Adam and Eve, we read this week about Noah and the people of his age.  Let’s mark the map to get a grasp of Noah’s location.  Draw an ark there at the top of the Tigris and Euphrates in Assyria. 

 

God became so disgusted with their sin that the consequence was complete annihilation! What consequences of sin are you living with today?

 

But God, in his grace does not leave us alone in our consequences.

 

God continues to seek us because he knows that we are worth it

One of my favorite parts of these two stories in Genesis are the parts where God cares for the sinners in the midst of their consequences.  Gen. 3:21/pg.6, last paragraph: “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.  

 

Remember that in the story of Noah, the earth was cursed and destroyed because all of humanity chose to ignore God and dismiss him - but for Noah.  At the end of the story, in Gen. 8, God makes a promise to Noah and to all of humankind.  As God accepts the animal sacrifices of Noah, (PPT) verse 21 tells us: And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood.  I will never again destroy all living things.  As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

 

Just like you with your children.  Even though they choose to go against your rules and wisdom, you continue to love them.  I suppose that’s yet another way we are made in the image of God - we love our children. I am so humbled by what God says, “ . . . even though everything they thin or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood.”  I don’t want that to apply to me, but I’m afraid we’ve all inherited it from Adam and Eve. But peace comes when I believe that it is also the same God who pursues me and wants to be in relationship with me and who laid down his live for me so that I could live in a right relationship with him.  Thank you, Jesus!  

 

Conclusion:  This is the essence of The Story - yours, mine and God’s - eternally linked, eternally loved, eternally pursued by the one who created us, in his image. What might happen if we just surrendered and left our sin behind and chose to live in close proximity to God.  What if we did our best to confess our sin and walk away from it and chose to walk with God? I’m not sure we can get it perfect in this world, but we can all do better.  God’s story is calling us to return to God.  How will you do that this week?

 

Don’t forget that you have help and encouragement from this community whether you are in a small group or are doing this one on one or with your family.  Help one another! It’s what the body of Christ, the people of God are supposed to be known for: Intimacy with God, fellowship with one another.