Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

Getting A Worthy Conception of God

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Well, we begin this morning preaching a series through the book of Genesis and we begin, rightfully, in Genesis one, verse one. So let us hear God's Word Genesis One, verse one. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. You may be seated. You have in genesis one one, a very simple sentence in the beginning. God created the heavens and the earth. If you're a still young and you're just learning to diagram sentences, this wouldn't be a bad one to work with. It's very simple, very easy. You have a very clear actor, a very clear verb, very clear action being done. As you take this simple sentence, though, it is something also that is not only simple in its form but simple in its truth. It's very understandable. It's something that is very obvious, isn't it? In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. But even though it's something that's very obvious on people still of course suppress this truth. Paul says this in Romans one. He says they suppress it in unrighteousness. He says that something that we all know deep down. It's something that in many ways, you don't even have to argue. For, though of course you can and probably should, but at the same time he recognizes that it's something that because of who we are as those been have been created by God. It's something we know innately, naturally, it's in us. Paul, I'll quote him from Romans one, eighteen and nineteen. He says what can be known about God is plain to them, for his invisible attributes, namely his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived. They've been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made. You see what he's saying there. He says that people don't come to a recognition of God and his creation of the world at a certain point of time in their lives. He says they know this from their very birth. He says men have known this ever since the creation of the world. And in what? In the things that have been made, which is everything that we know and interact with, including in ourselves. To know ourselves is to know ourselves as created beings, as those who have been created by God. And yet, in something that's so simple and so obvious, wrapped up in this single sentence are all the foundations of true religion. The honor and the glory of the only true God and our most honorable position under him, as those who are called to rule under him, to live under him and for him. Peter Martyr Vermigli, a reformer, said that should God as Creator be taken away, this truth, this doctrine taught in this first verse...

...of the Bible, should God as Creator be taken away, the first sin will not stand out, the promises of Christ will collapse and all the power of religion is sunk to the bottom. That's what I mean when I say it serves as this very foundation for everything that we believe, that God is God, who is above us, who is above everything, that he has a right to rule us and that we belong to him. And so is we begin hearing God's word from Genesis. We begin with a due consideration of the beginning, the beginning of the beginning. But, as we see, true knowledge and worship of God is Creator is really impossible. Apart from a second work that he does as savior. This verse comes to us in a very particular and a very saving context. But for the moment let's just consider the beginning. As you consider this first sentence, it's worth noting that God could have started the Bible in any number of ways. He could have told us about the account of creation in a number of ways. For you, those of you who enjoyed a right enjoy writing and reading, this will be something probab maybe a little bit fun to think about. Think about the various ways God could have constructed on this first book. He could have started by, I'm giving sort of present daytime. I remember Moses is is writing this. Here he's a speaking to Israel as they're about to enter into the promised land, having been rescued from Egypt. This is sort of the contemporary moment in which this book has been being written. Moses could have started there. He could have started an exodus right and then sort of flashbacked to genesis. Or God could have given a different perspective altogether. Instead of giving it from God's perspective, he could have given this whole account of the creation of man from Adams perspective or he's perspective. He could have told a story within a story. Abraham could have sat down by a camp fire and then revealed to his sons in a vision how things began. All kinds of different ways, literarily speaking, this book could have began, but God chose to begin it in this way, with this particular simple, clear sentence in the beginning. God created the heavens and the earth. Well, not only could God have done other things literarily, but he could have also done different things topically. People have often wanted to know other things than what this book starts with. In the early church, people often tried to find find theophanyes or pre incarnate expressions of Christ in this first verse. I'm thinking trying to find ways to make those first three words in the beginning to refer to Jesus Christ himself. Others have really sought to find and wanted to find in these early stories what happened before the creation of the heavens and the earth. What about the angels? Where's that back story right? Why didn't God start there with the fall of Satan and the fall of the angels and give us the details about that? We've often wondered that. In people throughout the history of the church have constructed all kinds of stories and things to fill that out, because in many ways we've wanted to start there. That's we haven't started there either. Today...

...we don't think so much about Christology or angels. Perhaps we should think more about those things. Today we wish this was a scientific explanation of the events of creation. We want to focus in on the secondary causes. What's the way, the actual principles and the things that brought these things about. Sometimes, when I hear speakle people speak about the beginnings of the Bible, about Genesis One and two, I think that they'd be much more pleased if it began with equations and formulas, with geographic and geologic data, with biologic detail and and it all kinds of explanations that answer the things that we really want to know about the creation of the world. In the past it's been various spiritual topics. Today it's various science scientific topics that we want instead of what we have now. This is not to say that the Bible has no relation or that the beginning has no relation to Christ. It absolutely does. We just read in Colloshan's one hundred and fifteen that Christ in him all things were created through him and for him everything that was made visible and invisible. And of course the angels are involved in the beginning of creation as well, and we read that in other portions of scripture and likewise to the Bible, is very related to the natural world as we know it and have known it it and it clearly is related to the beginnings of things. It says God created the heavens and the earth. In many ways. That's what this is about. It's about creation. It even gives us some of the details of God's creating the world in the this and the following chapters. But the point is this. We want to take the Bible on its own terms. It's critical that we take the Bible from the perspective that God has given it to us. It's not to say that these things aren't related or that there are other places that talk about them or they're there are certain tasks that we have in synthesizing things together, but first and foremost is to be quiet, be still before the Lord and to listen. God does not give us a backstory on the angels, nor does he give us a scientific textbook. He gives us a theological perspective and we shouldn't be disappointed about that. We shouldn't be disappointed about that. So how does God begin the book? Well, God begins the Bible, the Pentitud Genesis, in this way, as I've said in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and he begins in a way, in this particular way, so that we would have, what to borrow from Vermigley again, a worthy conception of God. God begins this way, begins the whole book in this way so that we would have a worthy conception of God, that our idea of God, our knowledge of him, our understanding of him, that everything that we would think about when we think about God would be founded on some very core and essential truths immediately from the beginning. And that worthy conception is summed up very simply that God is the creator of everything. This is made us very strikingly, of course, in as you have it there in your in your bibles, but it's even a little bit stronger in the Hebrew. This word created is a word that is...

...used only of divine creating. There are other words for creating, making, fashioning, forming that could have been used, but here Moses, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, picks this particular word. God did God creating. God did this divine creation activity. It's a way of sort of taking this fact God created and then underlining it when read God created father, son and Holy Spirit created everything. And when we hear that, when we hear that he created not just something but the heavens and the earth, we have something that is really quite marvelous. Every single aspect of all of creation is comprehended in this. Again, to Collote quashians one hundred and fifteen. All things were created in heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible. We're often impressed by the creation and the works of other people. You know, if I say, if I introduce you to my friend and I say this is my friend Bob, and you say Oh, nice to meet you, Bob, and I say no, this is Bob, this is Bob who made this building and wrote this book and did these things in business, you're Oh, Bob, I see. We're impressed at the way people do, the way they work, the things that they produce. We put it on our resumes. We are it's the way in which we establish our credentials. This is what I have done. In the beginning. God created the heavens and the earth. He didn't create a family, or he didn't create a country or a or or a robot or even a mountain. He created everything, everything that could be created. God created it immeasurable power, bewildering imagination and wisdom. One commentator puts it that way. You look at the things that have been made the you not just the tangible things that you can eat and smell and collect and walk on and live in, but laws, principles, rules everything that we see. There's so many ways that you can consider this. Read a little bit of the book of Job to feel the weight of this on your heart. God pummels job with question after question. Were you there when I set the courses in the sky? Were you there when I created this monster creature in the sea? Or were you there when I when I did, when I set the Sun and its courses? We not only weren't there, but we didn't do it either. People give their entire lives to studying the tiniest sliver of God's creation. One recently published PhD just the title the royal of Vitamin D receptor in insulin secretion and Beta selffunction. Someone just gave a significant portion of their life to study the role of the Vitamin D receptor in insulin secretion and Beta selfunction. That's not in any way to make fun of them or or demean them. It's just to show how much we can devote and put into the tiniest, tiniest of subjects and not even...

...begin to understand how they relate to a whole vast system of the world. It's amazing, it's mind blowing to consider what God has done. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Well, this worthy conception of God should leave us to a humble conception of ourselves. A worthy conception of God should lead to a humble conception of ourselves. Who can begin to compare to the awesome power of God in creating the apple, in creating a fish? But not only these particular points of creation, but the way in which they were created, to consider that the things were created in all wisdom and all righteousness. Some of us are very handy and are able to make good things. I was talking with someone this morning and she told me that her father does woodworking. Perhaps some of you are familiar with that and are able to take bits of wood and craft them into find pieces of furniture. Others of US can barely hang some blinds in our house. We we find that we lose the screw and we miss the parts and we can't get it quite level. And here God is creating all of these things that we see. But not only that, not only does he create them, but he creates them in wisdom and righteousness. I've not always been very holy in hanging blinds in my house, get angry and frustrated over such a simple and silly thing. But God goes about creation with masterful power, great ease and ability. You see this in some ways among us humans, people that play tennis or the violin or can do math proofs with such ease and ability that we go how do they do that? And that's just human creative power and ability. All the more true with God. But he does it with this righteousness as well, with holiness. We often create things that not only in anger but in pride, in selfishness and unholy ambition. God does it in perfect righteousness and he creates us. He creates us in a relationship with him, between a ruler and the ruled. Again, going to Claushan's one, remember how the the Apostle, says that Jesus not only created all these things and through him all things were created, but it also goes on to say whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through him or for him. It's a reminder that God's work of creation has this particular aspect of rule. The fact that God has created means that he also has a right to rule over us. We belong to God as those made by him, as those who are rightly owned it by him. Now mankind balks at this, but it's because we impute to God the unrighteousness that people display. But, as I've said, God created the World And Holiness and righteousness and his rule is that way as well. When he established his rule, in...

...our authority over man, it was not so that he could act as a tyrant or act in evil ways or according to injustice. Everything the opposite. He God acts and relationship to man that he has made in holiness and goodness. The creatures that he loved and made and cared for were done so by his tender and holy hand. Mankind was made to dwell with God, to serve him, not as a slave under an evil master, but as a vice regent, as a King under the king of Kings, to govern all that he had made. This should humble us. This worthy conception of God would humble us. It should give us a humble conception of ourselves, instead of doing what Romans talks about and exchanging the glory of God for Creatures, in Worshiping after them and worshiping them and worshiping ourselves and our abilities in our pride. When we hear a verse like Genesis One one, it should cause us to worship God. But, as I said at the beginning, this relationship between a worthy God and humble creatures requires a saving act of God in order for us to enter it. That's not because God failed in the way that he made things. God made things in such a way that we're good and we're holy. But here we remember that at the beginning of the world, though made good by God, it was also made evil by man. When man, particularly Adam and Eve, rebelled against their creator, they sought their own way, they sought to be kings above the king of kings, and in this rebellion, in this rebellious act, they took everything that should be comprehended in genesis one one and tore to shreads. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He is worthy and we are to worship him and serve him. But in the rebellion of sin that they committed and in the rebellion of sin that we commit, we confess and we do exactly the opposite. We say no, I want what I want. No, I am in charge and I rule and I am good. It is my ways that are worthy of worship and praise and not yours. They did not conceive of God in a worthy manner and they fell into sin and the relationship ever after between creature and creation was torn apart. Because of God's holiness, because of God's goodness, he could not bear, he could not dwell with this sin and he cast man out of the Guard and away from him. But God, acting not in his justice as he did in casting in them out of the garden, but in His grace, sought to save them, sought to redeem them and bring them out of this and this is why the Bible exists. Adam and Eve knew how the world was created. We know how the world is created. God doesn't need to tell us this us in the Bible, but he does, because not only does he want to confirm what is true in our hearts by virtue of his creating us, but because he's setting the stage for a saving message. He's setting the stage with...

...his rule and his authority and our sin against it, so that he can tell us about how he is saving us again, about how he brings us back to himself through that same creative power that he began the world with the beginning of the Bible, Genesis One. One begins in this way because it's setting the stage for that message, for a Gospel Message. And again. You see this all in Collossians one hundred and fifteen through twenty. Well, we read that Jesus not only created all the world and everything in it, being the unruler of it, but even goes on to save it by becoming the head of the church, the body, through his death on the cross, reconciling all things to himself. That is the message of Genesis, it is the message of the Bible. This message that the one whom we rebelled against was not only immeasurably powerful in his creative acts but also saving acts, is very good news to us because it means that when we suppress these great truths of genesis one one in unrighteousness, we can turn to that same God of Genesis one one for forgiveness, not in his creator power, but in his creator savior power, Jesus coming into the world as a man and his Holy Spirit coming to change our hearts, to create in US new life, to cause us to be born again and unto a hope that is described as a new heavens and a new earth. I tell you that this morning because until you are changed on this particular point, until you recognize God's saving power in Jesus Christ and find all your hope and your forgiveness there, until you can see your sin being atoned for on the cross, until you can see God's righteousness being given to you on the cross, the no amount of reflection on the creation of the world will bring about the worship God desires and requires of you. You can go wander the forests and explore the seas all your life, you can go earn Ph ds and spend your entire career engage your mind fully in every way in studying God's created world, but you will never give him the worship and the due consideration and a worthy consideration of him unless you first come to him through the cross, unless that brokenness of that relationship in one we which in which we were first made, is healed. You must come to see by faith the Gift of God in Christ in heaven before you can properly thank him for the many gifts on earth. As Calvin puts it, I'm paraphrasing, it's not the earth which nurishes us, but it's Christ who gives us eternal life. It's not this by ultimately, by the sun that we will see, but by the Glory of God in the Gospel that we will see, not only in this life, by faith that which...

...we can't see, but also forever, by faith in what we will see. This is how much we must consider all things. And so, whether you are getting your Ph d in economics or your studying God's world at the very beginning of your life and you're five years old and your learning about all kinds of interesting facts about the way God made this creature and that creature, put your hope in the savior. First, trust in the one who save you. Come to the creator of the world through the savior of the world, and as you do this, God's creation will open up before you, not only in a way that you can see, but in a way that you can worship him for it and live rightly before him in the world that he has given you. Moreover, when we do this, when we receive this good, not good news, by faith, God promises to prepare for us a place, this new heavens and a new earth, that we might do this worshipful action, that we might dwell with God in peace and unity and pleasure forever and ever. And so, as you look at creation, consider him who made it. Bow Before His Majesty, but do so as you bow before the cross. Let us pray.

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