The Story - Chapter 1 – The beginning of life as we know it
Changing Lives video with Jay Hoffman
I am (Creation video) Three words – In the beginning… Honestly, why are they there? Because God wanted us to know there was a beginning. In the beginning God… The only One who was there in the beginning was GOD! In the beginning God created… Did you read chapter 1 of The Story this past week? Chapter 1 is all about creation. God’s story is that He wanted US! I want to speak to you about creation – the good, the bad and the ugly! First, let’s talk GOOD! What God created - who God created was GOOD! God said, “Let there be light and there was light.” God saw that the light was good! God called the dry ground land and the gathered waters he called the seas. And God saw that it was good. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed; trees bearing fruit and God saw that it was good. God made two great lights - a greater light to govern the day and a lesser light to govern the night. God made the stars. And God saw that it was good. God made the great creatures of the sea and the birds of the air. God made the wild animals, the livestock and the creatures that move along the ground and God saw that it was good. Then God made us. He created mankind in His own image and in His own likeness. He created a man – Adam. And from Adam He created a woman – Eve. We males & females are alike but oh so different. He told them to be fruitful and increase in number. Everything God created had food to eat! Nothing went hungry! God saw all that He had made and concluded this is VERY GOOD!
I’m not sure if you are hearing this for the 1st time or the 101st time. You are God’s creation. We are from his mind – from his hands! C’mon sing with me, “He’s got the whole world in His hands, he’s got the whole wide world in his hands. He’s got the whole world in his hands; he’s got the whole world in his hands.”[i]
We are right here. There’s no better place to be. Say this with me, God created and creation is good! Jim Russ is a part of this church and is a good friend of mine. Jim likes to study. He especially likes to study the Bible. He gave me a perspective I would like to share with you. The first six chapters of the Story are the first five books of the OT. Those five books are called the Pentateuch or the Torah. The primary question asked within these five books is, “What do my people need to know?” So, let’s ask the question? “What do my people need to know about creation? They need to know who God is and who we are! Who is God? He’s your Almighty Creator. He’s good. He’s slow to anger and abounding in love. Who are we? We are His creation. A product of His mind. You have been designed in His image and His likeness. That means you are valuable, necessary and God is not willing to let you go! You are NOT a mistake or the result of random chance or natural selection. God created and His creation is GOOD!
I am coming to you with yet another favor. Amanda Anderson is part of this church and she works at Annehurst Elementary in Westerville. There was a recent fire at the Brookeville Apartments this past week. No one was hurt but a First Grader at Annehurst and her family lost all of their personal belongings. They need clothes and gift cards. This family has four children. Three girls and 1 boy. Here are their sizes: (13) Girl Size 15/16, (7) Girl Size 7, (4) Girl Size 5 and a (3) Boy Size 3T. Could we all help them this week? Bring any clothes or gift cards to a lobby table outside these doors or stop at our main office out front. Have you noticed how many incidents like this happen in our world? When my kids were little they were riding in the back seat of my car and they asked me, “Dad, give us a Bible verse to look up?” So I did. I gave them Genesis 2:25 which says, Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. Well, that’s not how it is today. This family doesn’t have any clothes to wear. How did we get from no shame to SHAME? What happened? Genesis 3 happened. Open up your Bibles today to Genesis 3:6. God created and creation is good, but mankind chose and that choice was bad. (FIND VS. 6)
That choice became sin and sin changed everything. A sin is a misstep, an error, a mistake, an offense to God. Sin forces us to think more of ourselves and less of God. Some things in life make you scratch your head. I have a few… In 2002, the former barber of Elvis Pressley sold a clump of Elvis’ hair for $115,000. A lock of Justin Bieber’s hair sold for $40,668. Justin Timberlake’s half eaten French toast sold for $3000. A tissue allegedly used by Scarlett Johansson sold for $5300 on eBay. A jar containing the “exhaled breath” of both Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie was purchased for $500. [ii] Whatever you do don’t open up that jar. Why would you buy someone’s hair? Sin makes us worship the created and not our Creator. Adam and Eve had it all. But sin took it all away. That’s what sin does, it creates separation! Say it with me friends, God created and creation is good. Mankind chose and that choice was bad. And now another. Sin reigns and sin is ugly!
Look at these headlines from the USA Today. “Four men sentenced to death in fatal India gang rape! Sin is so ugly. Teen convicted of killing Georgia baby gets life.[iii] She wouldn’t give up her purse so he shot her 13 month old baby between the eyes. Sin is so ugly! U.S., Russia cut deal onSyrian chemical weapons.[iv] (PRAY) Here’s what we are tempted to believe. Sin is just my issue. I can sin in isolation and it won’t affect another human being. Turn to Genesis 6:5. Adam & Eve sinned against God. Cain kills his brother Abel and now this. Read 6:5-7!
Sin didn’t just affect people. Sin also changed the world. God goes from creating to destroying. So is that it? Are we just stuck in this mess - our sin forever? No! Look at verse 8! Genesis 6:8! Do you know what favor is? Favor is grace!
God created and creation is good. Mankind chose and that choice was bad. Sin reigns and sin is ugly! Grace is a gift and grace is amazing!
Are you familiar with Ken Ham’s ministry Answers in Genesis located in Hebron, KY? Not long ago Ken unveiled The Ark Encounter. Here’s the vision of an Ark replica: “To rebuild the Ark, to full-scale biblical dimensions, as a sign to the world that God’s Word is true and its message of salvation must be heeded.”
You walked into this building today and truthfully I have no idea why. I won’t kid you or patronize you – you are a sinner. I am a sinner. But God has made a way! In Noah’s day it was the ark! Today, it’s the cross. The Ark saved Noah. The cross saves us. And here’s how.
Pretend with me for a moment. We are all here. God is here. We can’t get to him by ourselves. Chris Reynolds, 56, from Pennsylvania opened an email from Paypal last Friday that showed a negative balance of more than $92 quadrillion (or $92,233,720,368,547,800)[v]. Obviously, that’s an error. But our debt to God is not an error. Sin is like an ocean – it’s deep & wide. How are we going to get to God? There’s only one way! The CROSS! Because God’s love is deep & wide!
It’s time for communion! Servers, would you please prepare for communion? Think about this. We are each a creation of God and since he did the creating we are good! BUT! We’ve made bad choices. Name the sin! Greed, pride, lying, cheating, stealing, lusting. Sin is ugly and it reigns in our lives. But God has given us a gift in His son. I am a sinner. You are too. The difference is that we can be forgiven sinners. (COMMUNION SLIDES HERE) As you take communion watch this video called “Changed” by Rascal Flatts!
What changes us is God’s grace. Look at these lyrics. They are from a popular hymn called “In Christ alone.” Let’s read them. Scorned by the ones he came to save: Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied - For every sin on Him was laid; Here in the death of Christ I live. A new hymn is being made and the authors want the writers to change one line. This line: “Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied.” They want it changed to: “Till on that cross as Jesus died the love of God was magnified.”[vi] But the writers won’t budge. I’m glad, because that’s what the cross does – it satisfies the wrath of God! There is now no condemnation for those who are on Christ Jesus.
Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:37-39! Jesus is coming back. Have you repented? Have you been baptized? Have you made him Lord of your life? God’s story is you! Your story is how you’ve been changed by God’s amazing grace!
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[ii] Leadership Journal, Celebrity Accessories Sold at Inflated Prices, Toolkit