Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

How Genesis 1 Strengthens Your Faith

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Well, if you would, please remainstanding and let's turn our attention to genesis. Chapter one I'll be readingthe whole chapter, plus one verse in Chapter Two. If you need to sit, pleasefeel free. This is the word of God. Please give your attention to it. Inthe 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 hoveringover the face of the waters, and God said, let there be light and there waslight, and God saw that the light was good and God separated the light fromthe darkness. God called the Light Day and the darkness he called night, andthere was evening- and there was morning the first day and God said: Let there be an expansein 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 expansefrom the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so, and God calledthe expanse heaven. And there was evening- and there was morning thesecond day- and God said: Let the waters under theheavens be gathered into one place and let the dry land appear, and it was so,and he 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 sproutvegetation plants yielding seed and...

...fruit trees bearing fruit in which istheir seed, each according to its kind on the earth, and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetationplants yielding seed according to their own kinds and trees bearing fruit inwhich is their seed according to its kind, and God saw that it was good. Andthere was evening- and there was morning the third day- and God said: Let there be lights inthe expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night and let them befor signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights inthe expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth. And it was so, and God made the two great lights, thegreater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night and thestars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light on theearth to rule over the day and over the night and to separate the light fromthe darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening- and therewas morning the fourth day- and God said: Let the waters swarm with swarmsof living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse. Ofthe heavens, so God created the great sea creatures and every living creaturethat moves with which the waters swarm according to their kinds and everywinged bird, according to its kind, and God saw that it was good and Godblessed them saying, be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in theseas. And let the birds multiply on the earth, and there was the evening- andthere was morning the fifth day and God said: Let the Earth bring forthliving creatures according to their kinds, live stock and creeping thingsand beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and it was so, and God made the beasts of the earthaccording to their kinds and the live stock according to their kinds andeverything that creeps on the ground.

According to its kind, and God saw thatit was good. Then God said: Let us make man in ourimage after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the seaand over the birds of the heavens and over the live stock and over all theearth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image inthe image of God, He created him male and female, He created them and God blessed them and God said tothem, be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and havedominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and overevery living thing that moves on the earth and God said behold, I have givenyou every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth and everytree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for Foodand, every beast ofthe earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creepson the earth, everything that has the breath of life. I have given everygreen plant for food and it was so, and God saw everything that he had madeand behold. It was very good and there was evening- and there was morning theSixth Day, thus the heavens and the Earth werefinished and all the host of them. May God bless his word to us. You may beseated when you begin a story. It's typicaland appropriate to set the setting...

...usually very quickly in the first fewsentences, so, for example, in a fairy tale, we might begin you know a long time ago there was once a land andthat land's name was something and and so on from there.Well after that point, you have that that place, that land is not justcalled a land, but is referred to specifically as the land right. Thereason for that is because it's been introduced and specified, and we allknow what's taught what's being spoken about and in that you enter into the story,and you begin to understand this, this world that is being created,imaginatively well, Genesis, also begins and tells usa story, a true story, but it begins in a way, that's unique to fairy tales. It tells us of a story we alreadybelong to, it doesn't say in the beginning: God created a heavens and aearth, and here are their names, and let me tell you about them: it tells us about the Earth, the heavens, the ones that we alreadyknow the ones that we are intimately familiar with. Genesis begins by talking about knownentities which is a way to introduce us to thispoint I want to make here at the beginning, which is that when we hearGenesis, we hear it not is something that's entirely new, although there maybe new information there to us, but it's a part of something that alreadyexists and more than that, something which we are already set in which webelong to, which means that we already have aperspective about this story. We already have a sense of what theheavens are, what the Earth are, what animals and beasts and fish andcreeping things and day and night. All...

...of these various elements of creationthat God created are things that we know that we have relationships with inone sense or another. So not only are we in the story alreadyfrom the from the very beginning, but we have perspectives about it as well, but ours, perspectives in ourinterpretations have to be subject to gods, because it's by his will that the earthwas created it's by his will that anything in the earth is sustained, and so only he has the authority toproclaim in any kind of final way. What is and isn't what exists and what doesnot? What is true and what is false now, this kind of general perspective,as it applies to us also applies to the very first peoplethat received this book: Israel, Israel, when they were given these books,Genesis, exodus, Leviticus numbers in Dutera, most likely before they were entering into thepromised land. They had this content. They were coming to it and receiving itfrom the hand of the Prophet Moses, with a particular perspective, a particular view and experience aboutthe world in which they lived, and so, as we think about this passage thismorning, I want to start by thinking about it from Israel's perspective.Thinking about it. What does it mean to receive Genesis, one in one, notnecessary one and following not necessarily from an entirely blankslate, but from those who have experiencedbeing in the world and living under God? And hopefully I hope it's true for youalso under his salvation, so go back to Israel for a moment. Whatwould it mean to receive genesis...

...having come out of Egypt? What's their particular experience ofthe world? Of course, we can say all kinds of things about this, but I'll just say it very simply. Theyknew a lot about what it meant to live in a world that was not very good or, to put it another way, they knew alot about what it meant to live in a world that was characterized by sin by misery. This this state, this condition whichman fell into what kinds of things might we thinkabout Israel having the nation of Israel having been just brought out ofEgypt about to enter into the Promised Land? Well, first of all, they were veryfamiliar with pagan worship with idolatry and false gods everywhere inEgypt, and we have all kinds of testimony to this today and not only inthe pages of scripture, but in our own archaeology and the things that we find,and we know what is often attached to idolatry and the worship of the sun andthe moon and animals, perverse sexual practices, violence,all kinds of other sins and and offensive things to God. This issomething Israel having lived under this system under these religioussystems was very familiar with. They saw what it meant for man to look atthe world that God had created and to worship it instead of excuse me instead of the Creator, what else would it be to be in Israel's position and havingjust come out of Egypt? Can you imagine the stories of missingbrothers and sisters that were murdered...

...during Pharaoh's, work of systematicand fantacies is destroying of the children, people that when they listthe names of their children would say well, there was also this one and thisone and this one, but we lost them. You had a brother, but during the genocide, can you imagine what it would be liketo live with those kinds of realities or think about the slavery. The peoplethat heard this or their parents or their grandparents would have had themarks of slavery on their bodies, old scars lashed across their backs,hard hands, calloused missing limbs and fingers that come from strenuous andconstant manual labor, and then all the other kind ofexperiences and things you can imagine of what it would be like and what it islike to live under the tyranny of a tyrant of a king, of a Pharo that hatedthem and sought in every way for them to be weak and servants and slaves.Israel was a people that knew about Sim the effects of it, the misery of itthat it terrors of it. They knew about sin and misery. Now, if this is the world that you haveexperienced a world so bad that they had cried out to God and said, save usand he did through all kinds of other judgmentsand difficulties which you may remember God's bringing them out of Egypt. Now imagine being in that perspectiveof recently freed slaves and how striking it would be to hear genesisone, how immediately the sinfulness of sinshows up how the sin and misery thatcharacterizes a fallen world is...

...compared to the world that God made. It. God makes this world in this picturethat we have in Genesis. Is this one, this world that is beautiful anddiverse? It's well ordered and teeming with life. There's nothing fighting, there's nothing struggling orconflicting. It's just the simple progression and elevation of one eventafter another after another, and God said, and it was so- and God said- andit was so- and God said- and it was so these words these commands that Godgives and let there be light, and there was light and let the earth bring forthvegetation and there's vegetation. These beautiful descriptions of hismaking man and God's placing man sovereignly over all of these things, no sense of man, then turning andbowing down to the things that he is made of man's rebellion of all of thesethings. Instead, it simply ends by saying I in verse. Thirty one and Godsaw everything that he had made and behold. It was very good and there was evening- and there wasmorning the Sixth Day, thus the heavens and the Earth were finished and all thehost of in them. It's such a beautiful picture. It's such a happy picture, a blessedpicture, it's like and being in this context ofsinfulness it's like. If somebody were to go into your house or let's say youwere buying a house and the house, you went into the house and it was full ofcarpet and you say: Well, it's kind of old, it's stained, it's dirty, you cantell it's not good, but then somebody says well, let's get a new piece ofcarpet and see what it would look like if we were to place it and you plop itdown on the carpet and you see them compared next to each other and yousaying wow. I had no idea how bad it was. It's kind of like that hearinggenesis one. You say this is how things...

...began, and here is where we are. You get a sense when you come togenesis, one one from the perspective that they and we ourselves findourselves in. We immediately see the sinfulness ofsin, the great miseries that have been brought into this world because ofman's disobedience to God, but you also seea coloring and afilling out of the character of God. This God, who just brought you out ofEgypt, now is displayed with all of his majesty and creative power. No wonder he was able to part the RedSea and cause you to draw it walk on dry land, because he did the exact samething at the very beginning of the creation of the world when he partedthe seas and created dry land. You see God's singular uniqueness asthe one and true God here. This is no false God here who promisesone thing one day and and and and deliver something else on another tempt those who are attempted toworship idols and see the one who has made the heavens and the earth shouldbow down to him. They should not fear Egypt or love Egypt or want to be back,but should love this one who has made them, but is also sovereign over them. God isnot just their rescuer from slavery, but he is the one who created them.They belong to him and all of the earth belongs to him and yet another thing, just one more, you see God's great love for man andhis special designs for humans for mankind in the earth. You see it a number of ways in genesis.One I'll point out just a few.

First of all, the Earth could have beencreated in a kind of instantaneous way, certainly on certain moments within thecreation account. We see that happening, but God describes his creative work asone of progression and it has the sense of building. Doesn't it day, one day two day three day four day five daysix and when we get to day six, we have this crowning of creation with mankind and even from that, even in theperspective, not only in the numbering in the buildup of to man, who is thefinal part of creation, where God now declares that everything is good, yousee the way in which God is creating a world that is so hospitable the man, presumably God, could have focused inon on the way He created the seas and talked about all the various ways inwhich he intricately made the sea so that the fish could live in them.Genesis, one one or genesis chapter one could be all about God's creation ofthe seas with the fish and then just at the very end and say and like this, hemade man, but it's not like that is it. Instead, you have this picture of God,creating a home for this particular creature, creating land on which he candwell skies and clouds above which areprotected where man is protected from from water and also blessed by it. Yousee the way in which food and everything is created so that when heplaces man in the world, it's a place ready to go it's there forhim to enjoy to fill to rule over. He says,...

...and in addition to that he makes mannot alone, but together in communion with oneanother, one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible, verse, TwentySeven, so God created man in his own image in the image of God, He createdhim male and female. He created them that jump between the singular and theplural there. That may be feels a little bit odd at first. I think thatmash up to use a modern term is really on purpose. It's to describe that ourbearing the image of God is not just as individuals, but we do it together. Man and woman, together as peoplecreated under him, and all of this begins in what way thespirit of God. This is verse to the spirit of God, hovering the verb. There is like a bird hoveringover the waters. I've tried many times to visualize verse. To I don't think I can do it. The earth was without form and void,and darkness was over the face of the deep. I'm not really sure how you how youimagine that I read one commentator who said this is perfectly clear. I havedifficulty, maybe it is clearer than I know, but to me it seems like the emphasis ison this there's this kind of thing that exists there's some kind of creationthat has been made right, but it has yet to be filled in the waythat God has filled it. It's not a bad thing that is here. It's not like anevil thing, but it's and to use the...

...words of scripture an empty thing, adeep thing, a mysterious thing, a without form thing. Some some of the commentators in thereformation often describe this- is kind of like the egg of a bird. Ifthe Holy Spirit is hovering over the over the waters over this kind offormless void that you can't fully define, but that will some, but thatwill soon sort of spring forth with all of this life and power, and you seethis, they compared it to to an egg. I don't think we want to say that theearth was like an egg at the beginning of the world, but there is somethinghere, there's a theological point that is being made. There is this way in which, God is notjust there at creation. He is there. He is hovering. He is protecting andguiding and keeping all of this under his control, and I think, there's even something ofa love there, that's going on as well, because you see the same verb in otherplaces where God is particularly setting his presence in a loving wayover people. The way the spirit of God, for example, comes down and hovers overthe temple or the way that the spirit hovers the same word or a very similar word, I'm being usedover a Mary at the divine conception of God. The spirit hovers over her and sheconceives other descriptions like this inscripture. It shows God's special care and God's special work, and all these things you see how God ismaking the world and how he is relating...

...to these people to go back that he isbrought out of Egypt. He is not a distant God; he isrevealing themselves to them as someone who has been intimately carefullylovingly singularly and uniquely involved in their existence from the very very beginning, Israelwould have heard these words and seeing how much it contradicted with the world that they knew in Egypt, but it also spoke to who their God ishis power over them, his sovereignty over them and his ability to take careof them, but more than that, it was alsopointing forward to this land in which they were about to enter into. I won'tget into this much now, because we'll do it in other places, but God is inmany ways picturing here what he will also picture in the land of Canaan, aplace where his spirit will dwell a place where the man is to rule incommunion with one another, a place that is full of food and wealth andriches. Israel is about to enter into their salvation. God has not only rescued them out ofslavery and brought them into a desert, but he will bring them through thatdesert into the promised land into a place. That will be very good. Ourperspective is very similar to this when he we hear Genesis, one one. We also hear when we hear of thebeginnings of God making the world. We also feel deep within our hearts thegreat conflict between the world as it was meant to be, or as it was made tobe, and the world as it is now.

We also know about genocides aboutslavery. We also know about toiling hard and loss of life, the tyranny ofevil in many ways, at least in some ways. This tyranny of man over natureand over other men and trying to rule over God is even more extreme. Thedeath's, more violent and and more terrible even to day the people of God aremaking international headlines for the suffering that they are enduring. We feel very aware that when we hearGenesis one, this is not how things are now we hear, just as they did the greatsinfulness of sin, but we also recognize what we have beensaved from, though in many ways were still in thatdesert wandering period as they were, though in many ways were still an exileand and suffering under some of these things. Do you remember what we read inFirst Corinthians Nine, you once were these things. You were enslaved tothese unrighteous things, but God has set us free and when weconsider our God, who has saved us from our sin through the death of his sonand the coming of Jesus Christ, we also recognize God's sovereignty in thesethings were reminded of them. AREN'T WE IN GENESIS? One we're minded that the God who has savedus is the one who also created us, he's the one who truly does have the powerto create things and what a blessed hope that is when Jesus says toNicodemus a man must be re, born regenerate it when God promises thingslike the new heavens and the new earth. We are receiving those promises thatsalvation from the very same God who...

...created the First Heavens and the firstearth, the one who created the body that youhave right now is the one who will be able to glorify your body and resurrectyour body on the last day. The only difference, though, is that now, when we look proverbproverbially across the Jordan and we look forward to our enteringinto a complete state of salvation, we look forward to entering into ourpromised land that heavenly city that place that we look forward to ispermanent, unlike Canaan, and we also see it brighter and more. Clearly, we receive the same news that came tothem, but the news that comes to us is filled with the content of God cominginto the world of God, coming in and taking on humanflesh, so that he might bring about thesalvation of the world. Jesus in a number of places is referredto as the second atom as the one who came to do the thingsthat Adam failed to do gods, the father's son. This secondatom would come to complete the cultural mandate to do what Adam andEve failed to do to fill the earth, with goodness to fill the earth with apeople, and he does that, and so that means,when we believe in Jesus Christ, and we look forward to the promises that arestill yet to come. We enter into that life now in thatsalvation now and we hold for that salvation to come with a great confidence. A confidencein God who made the world created the world saved US and has sent this soneto do everything that we see Adam and...

...eve failed to do this great sinfulness of sin. Thisgreat misery that we've been thinking about were told over and over again inthe pages of scripture that Jesus Christ overcame it. He took sin on himself so that he mightdefeat sin. He took death on himself so that hewould take away its sting and from that we are rescued out of adominion of darkness and brought into a kingdom of life. We are taken out of death and broadinto life, but not as those who will have to tryagain, but as victors and rulers, not as those who are called to yetagain fulfil all that. God has commanded us to do with the with thethreat of punishment if we owe to disobey and the promise of life, if we,if we obey but with life, really given to us as a free gift in Jesus Christ. One more way to thinkabout it is to say that that same spirit who created the world now leads us guides us, and even in dwells USpersonally and corporately. The same spirit which created the worldhas re created US has changed. Our hearts has caused us to be re, born tocome to life and is now even making us fit for thekind of union that we lost with God, even a Greater Union, a more permanentone. This is what the Crost of Christaccomplishes, and it is our great hope.

It is Jesus who rescues us from the Tat Syrene to sin and tyranny and evil and misery that we see so clearly whenwe hear genesis one and so when you consider the creation of theworld, consider what was lost and humble yourself before God, becauseof your sin, but also consider what was regained andreclaimed and promised for ever and ever through. Jesus Christ, The Sun and all this to the praise of the Kingof Heaven. As we sang earlier to the praise of our God, our creator, oursaviour and our king, Amen. Let us pray.

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