Posts Tagged ‘Genesis’

Faith of Our Fathers

April 15, 2013

Here are the sermon notes from 4/14/13.

Introduction:  One of my earliest memories of church is standing alongside my father as the congregation sang Holy, Holy, Holy, .  When we think of the faith of our fathers, it doesn’t mean literally, the faith of our biological fathers, but rather our predecessors in the faith.  Our lineage in the faith stretches back through the years, all the way to Abraham and beyond.

I. Rule Over Sin: Genesis 4:3-8

And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

I have heard it preached that Abel’s sacrifice was accepted because it was a blood sacrifice.  I do not believe that was the problem.  Elsewhere in scripture all different types of offerings were presented to, and accepted by, even commanded by, God.  It tells us in Hebrews that “by faith” Able offered a better sacrifice than Cain.  Obviously, Cain believed in the existence of God, so it wasn’t that type of faith.  I believe that it was an attitude of the heart.  God knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts and I believe that Cain was not right in his heart towards God.   Our first priority to should be to incline our hearts towards God.

Cain is warned that sin is “at the door”.  There is always the opportunity to sin.  Sin brings consequences.  We should seek to avoid sin like the plague that it is.

Cain is urged to “rule over sin”.  Some versions say to “master it” .  In order to do this we must first be able to recognize sin.  We need to know what is, and what is not, pleasing to God.  The second step is to resist sin.  This requires an active choice on our part.  It is one thing to know what is right, it is another thing to actually do it.  We are called to “rule over” sin, that is, to conquer it.  We do this by developing our relationship with God.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to recognize, resist and rule over sin.

II.  Children of Abraham:  Genesis 15:1

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”

We may not be descendents of Abraham in a physical sense, but we are his children in the faith.  This event takes place before God has changed Abram’s name to Abraham.

God is our shield.  I really appreciate that God is able to protect us from the attacks of the enemy.  I do sometimes wonder why He allows some things to happen, while preventing other things.  I recognize first of all, that a shield does not protect us from our own careless, or flat-out wrong actions.  A shield protects us from attack from the outside, not our own mistakes.  Second, God allows a certain amount of tests and trials into our lives to develop our faith and our trust in Him.

God is our reward.  This is one of the most profound statements of scripture.  Our relationship with God is greater than anything that this world can possibly offer.  As believers we are able to be in the very presence of God.  There is no greater reward than our relationship with God.  I suspect that many of us have not come to truly appreciate what that means.

III.  God Will Provide:  Genesis 22:7-8

But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!”

And he said, “Here I am, my son.”

Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.

This quote comes from the episode in which God has told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on the altar.  Abraham is going to obey God and is on his way to follow through with this command when this exchange takes place.   Every time that I read this I am struck with the saying that “God will provide for Himself the lamb”.  Of course, this is a type, or a forecast, of the sacrifice that God would make of His son Jesus.  Jesus is called ‘the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.  God did indeed provide the lamb, His Son, for the sins of the world.

After God had stopped Abraham from killing his son, a ram is found in the thicket and offered to God as a sacrifice.  Abraham called the place “the Lord will provide”.  As believers we have continued to believe in a God who will provide what is needed in our lives.

Conclusion:  We can learn from those who have gone before us in the faith.  We should develop our relationship with God.  We should learn to rule over sin.  We should trust that God will provide.

 

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Could Be

December 2, 2010

In Bible study last night we were discussing the vision that Abraham experienced in Genesis chapter 15.  It involved the physical presence of dead animals, Abraham, vultures, and a dream of terror, with the appearance of an oven, or furnace and a smoking torch or lamp.

We had a good discussion of the possible meanings of the various elements involved in this story.  We did not arrive at a definite conclusion.  We recognized that there was a range of possibilities.  As each idea was examined we would recognize that it “could be”.  Even after dismissal, people continued to discuss the vision, with comments about checking a favorite authors interpretation.

The point is that we recognize that there are some things that we can strongly assert about the teachings of scripture, while there are other things that we would be wise to admit that it “could be’ something other than what we believe to be true.   The key is to recognize when to be dogmatic, and when to be flexible.

Eye On The Prize

November 18, 2010

In Genesis 15:1, God tells Abraham ” I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”  As spiritual descendants  of Abraham we are able to take hold of this promise for ourselves.  The greatest blessing that we receive from God, is the relationship that we have with God through our faith in Jesus.   We are given the opportunity to walk this earth in a relationship with the Lord of Lords, and the King of Kings.  There is nothing in this world that can compare with that gift.

It is sad that so many people, even many Christian people , look to the things of this world to make them happy.  True joy is not found in the material stuff of this world, but in the One who created the heavens and the earth.  In our daily lives, may we keep our eyes on the prize, the “exceedingly great reward’.  May we walk on this earth, in a relationship with God Almighty.  May we be aware of His presence in our lives.

The Image of God

January 7, 2010

Last night in Bible Study we discussed Genesis 1:28 “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” NKJ

As we were discussing the various possible meanings of “the image of God” a brand new thought came to me.  Perhaps it should be connected with the phrase “have dominion over”?

We recognize that God is Lord over all, and that he is a benevolent lord.  He watches over, takes care of, and is concerned with, everything in this world.

Perhaps being made in the image of God means that we are to watch over, take care of and be concerned with,  all things within our scope of influence?

We should care about other people,animals, and all creation;  not simply try to get ahead for ourselves.  Maybe when we care for other people and other things, we are mirroring the image of God.

Just a thought…

In The Beginning

November 12, 2009

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Genesis 1:1

How important is it that Christians believe in creation?  I believe that, although it is not necessary for salvation, that it profoundly impacts the way that we perceive scripture, and can eventually destroy our faith in Jesus as the Christ.  

If we believe that the creation story is a myth, rather than a historical event, then we are more prone to discard other Biblical stories that contain supernatural occurences.  For example: the flood in Noah’s  day, was only local, it was only perceived as world-wide; the burning bush was some bright reflection within the bush; the plagues of Egypt were exaggerated and coincidental; and so forth.  Soon the virgin birth, miracles of Jesus, and the resurrection are removed, or interpreted as myth, or legend as well.  You end up with Jesus the carpenter, who was an extraordinary man, prophet and teacher: not the only begotten Son of God.  The Bible becomes the word of men, rather than the Word of God. We simply accept the parts with which we agree, and discard those portions that we do not want to believe.

Beginnings are very important.  Our direction in the beginning  can determine our final destination.