Faithlife Sermons

In the Beginning

Foundations in Genesis  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Listen, it feels so good to be back with you all this morning. Thank you for giving me the time to go to school, to learn…I don’t need my doctorate but I really feel it’ll help me to better pastor you and this church as we continue to be a church a without walls. And listen, I’ll almost done…I’m writing my dissertation now…and then thankfully, I’ll be finished with school for the very first time in my life. And listen, if you’re one of those boring people that like to read some really dull stuff and you wanna help me proofread my dissertation, I’ll definitely welcome any help you offer. And, for those that don’t know…my research, its all about raising up men in the church and teaching them how to preach…and so, this year, in May specifically, we’re gonna have a whole month where men from FBC, they’re gonna preach God’s word to us as I implement some of that research for my school. And so, I’m super excited about that…but guys, thank you so much for the time…thank you for your prayers…and just for allowing me to take the time to do that.
Well, good morning! Listen, before we get started…I just wanna say “thank you” to Kyler…He did a great job bringing the word to us last week…amen? Guys, it’s so hard standing up here and delivering a 30 minute message. It’s hard…and it’s especially hard to do that at 18 years old…so thank you for stepping in for me while I was out. And guys, I hope you’ve gotten a good picture of where we feel God taking us over the next several years…I hope it excites you…I hope it’s activating you…I hope it’s got you thinking, “How can I serve here at FBC…how can I help accomplish these goals and this mission? What can I do on my mission field?”
Listen…you guys remember our mission statement? We wanna be a church without walls, right? And we’re gonna do that by how? Delivering the gospel, discipling believers, and deploying them back out to replicate the mission, right? And we center all that around Matthew 28. And so, before we get started this morning…here’s what I wanna do…I wanna do something just a little bit different. I wanna start by reciting that verse every week before we go to God’s word. Because if we don’t keep this mission on our hearts…and if we don’t constantly remember what it is commanded of us, we’ll never be moved to action, right? And so, I just want God’s word to be the focal point of who we wanna be.
And so listen, Matthew 28:19-20…the verses, they’ll be on the screen…would you say them with me this morning? “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Guys, that’s who we wanna be…we wanna be disciples that make other disciples…we wanna see people transformed by the power of the gospel…and we wanna see people discipled. Amen? That’s who we’re gonna be…We’re not gonna be defined by this building or these people…We’re gonna be defined by Jesus Christ and we’re gonna be a church that delivers, disciples, deploys.
Which is exactly why I’m excited as we start this new sermon series this morning. If you have a Bible, turn with me to the book of Genesis. Genesis oftentimes, kinda gets a bad rap…like its irrelevant to us or because its so far out in our history so many people, they think there’s really nothing they can learn from it. First off, I think just about every modern-day issue we’re facing today, it’s laid out in Genesis. But secondly, I also believe…because so many have these distorted views of Genesis, it twists how we approach the rest of the Bible and how we view these cultural issues of our day. You’re gonna see as we walk through this over the next three years, how Genesis builds the foundation of our faith. How we view Genesis…how we interpret it…it impacts everything else for us as Christians today. Which is why I think it’s crucial for us to walk through it together…because if you remember, we can’t deliver what we don’t know, right? If we’re gonna be just that first element of this church without walls…if we wanna deliver the right message, we have to understand Genesis.
And just a disclaimer, as I walk through this…I’m one of those preachers that take Genesis very literal…I believe in a literal 6 day creation…I believe in a literal Adam and Eve....I believe in a literal flood…and of course, because of that, I believe in a young earth…a earth that’s less than 10,000 years old. That’s not the earth that’s taught in our schools. We’ll talk more about that as we get into this book but guys that’s how I’m gonna preach it to you because that’s how I believe it was meant to be understood.
And so with that being said, just a quick background on this book. Moses, he wrote Genesis…and the Hebrews, they titled this book Bereshith (Bear-a-sheet) which simply means “in the beginning.” It wasn’t until the Old Testament was translated into Greek that it received the title Genesis…which also means “in the beginning.” And it was given this title because its the genesis of the doctrine of God…it’s the genesis of the doctrine of creation....and man…and sin…and his people....its a genesis or a beginning or an origin of it all. That’s what Genesis is all about…its teaching us about the known beginning of man and God’s creation.
Now Genesis isn’t considered the oldest book of the Bible, that title actually belongs to Job…but it speaks about the oldest events in man’s history. It’s the first book of the Pentateuch and of the Torah. Every Jew growing up in Israel, they wouldn’t be well versed in this book. And listen, Genesis, its broken up into several major categories…you have chapters 1 through 11 which are all about the creation of heaven and earth…the lines of man through Cain and Seth…and then the story Noah and his sons and then the immediate fall back into sin. That’s all we’ll cover this year…the first 11 chapters…that’ll take us through the summer…but then you have the accounts of Abraham and his family....and those take us through chapter 50. And all of it…it’s met to show us our origins…where we came from…its met to give us an accurate theology of God and creation and man and sin and all of it.
And so, if you’re there with me this morning…let’s stand as we read this first verse…It says this, 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
[Prayer]
Thank you, you can be seated.
Listen, I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking, “YES…we’re getting out early this morning…its only one verse.” Guys, this one verse…I think more so than any other…has more theology and meat to it than anything else.
Listen, there’s four things I want you to see this morning…1.) The Centrality of God, 2.)The Triune God, 3.) The Creator God, and then finally 4.) The Redeemer God.
And so, if you’re there with me, let’s get started.

1.) The Centrality of God

“In the beginning, God....”
Guys, before we can understand anything about the Bible…before we can understand it’s truths and apply them to our lives…we have to understand that the Bible, it’s centered around God…it’s points to him…its not about us…it’s never been about us. If there’s one thing you take away this morning, let it be that the Bible…right off the bat....it tells us its about God. Listen, you have to understand that this book…its not about you.
Back in the 1980’s, Rick Warren, he wrote this book called The Purpose Driven Life. And listen, I’m not endorsing it, I’m not criticizing it…but I think in its opening line…it really gets to the heart of the matter. Its says, “It’s not about you.”
Guys, one of the biggest problems we see in our world today, its this kind of ego-centric mindset we’ve created…that everything revolves around ME. The church, it should revolve around my wants and my needs. I’m gonna go to a church that takes care of my needs the best. Just a side note…you need to go to a church that’s not afraid to preach the word and that wants to disciple you. But we have this mentality that its all about us. Even when we go to the Bible, we immediately try and apply it to ourselves. We place ourselves in these hero positions, right? Like I’m David and I’m gonna knock down all these Goliath’s in my life. Guys, this is why American Christianity has such jacked up theology. We’ve made it all about ME! What makes me happy. What makes me like this God more…what am I more satisfied in believing. The reality is…there’s some pretty difficult things in Scripture…because its not about you…it’s about God. It’s all about the centrality of God. From start to finish, its about God. He’s the main character of this story…and it’s purpose, its to bring him glory.
Scripture, it isn’t ego-centric…its theocentric, which simply means that God’s the center of it. And what the opening line to the Bible tells us....its that God, he’s the center of our very existence. He’s like the sun of our universe. It all revolves around God.
“In the beginning, God...”
Guys, what you think…what you want…what’s most comfortable for you…what’s best for you…you’ll never get those things right in your life until you understand what your life revolves around.
There was a ton that didn’t make sense to scientist until they realized the sun was the center of the universe. And listen, there’s a ton that doesn’t make sense to us, until we understand our life and all of Scripture, it revolves around God. And listen…its everything…your marriage, your family, your job, your religion, every area of your life…it revolves around God. You’re not the center of the universe, God is. And until you fix that one area of your life…until you reorient it and place in its proper position, nothing else will fall into place…not until you put God back in the center. In the center of your life…and in the center of Scripture.
“In the beginning, God...”

2.) The Triune God

And so, we see from the start, Scripture tells us this record…its all about God…but listen, it also tells us its about the one true God…it tells us its about the Triune God....a God that’s made up of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Immediately, the Bible speaks about the Trinity and they’re perfect union with one another.
That word there, used for God…Elohim…its a plural word. And it’s this word that’s used throughout the whole first chapter. Even in verse 26, God says, “Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness.” That’s fascinating, right? That word, Elohim, its used to show the plurality of God, a singular God made in three persons.
Moses writes in Deuteronomy 6:4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one,” right?There’s a unity there…but we know from the rest of Scripture, there’s three persons of the Trinity…the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…all are equally God…and together, they’re one. And in the very beginning of Scripture, we get to meet this awesome Triune God…in the very first three words of Biblical revelation.
And you say, “Why’s this so important?” Because if you miss this truth, you miss the entirety of the gospel. The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit…they make up the same God that we worship…when you understand this…it changes everything for you…because you begin to understand that Jesus, he wasn’t born at the start of the Christmas story…but that he’s always existed…he’s always been in union with the Father and Spirit. He’s always been there.
That’s why John writes in John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” Of course, we know, the Word…that’s Jesus…and John tells us, that Jesus was with God and was God…at the very beginning of creation. God exists as he always has…in the Trinity…and it’s in the Trinity…God has always and will always have a perfect union with himself. He doesn’t need man…he doesn’t need creation…he doesn’t need anything because he lacks for nothing in his relationship with himself. That’s the beauty of the Trinity…and it’s a crucial element to our faith as Christians. It’s a crucial element of the gospel…We’ll expand on this in just a minute when we talk about him being a redeeming God, but guys, the Bible wants to be clear about who it is its talking about from the very start....this story…this account, its about the only God…the One God…the Triune God…its about God who’s existed eternally as 3 persons forever. And again, this is the pinnacle of our faith…its separates us from every other religion…we believe in a Triune God that’s brought salvation to us…the Father, he’s loved us, the Son, he redeems us, the Holy Spirit, he dwells in us…no other religion believes that. That’s why John writes in 1 John 1, 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
Guys, this is why doctrine’s so important. If you fail to see the Triune God that the Bible presents…you mess up the rest of salvation…it messes up the rest of the story. The Bible says that the God who saves you, he’s the Triune God.
It’s almost like if you were in trouble somewhere, and called 911...and they say the police, they’re on the way to save you; and you say, “Well, how will I know the car that comes…which one it is?” And they say, “Well, it’ll be a black-and-white car with a siren on top, and the guy that gets out, he’ll have a uniform on, and a badge. That’s the one to look for. That’s the one who’ll save you.”…And so the Bible says that of all the “gods” and all the religions that you’ll encounter in your life, the one God who’ll save you… its the Triune God; the One God, who exists eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. HE’s where salvation’s found.
And so listen, what’s this mean for us? Well, as we go through Scripture…watch for the doctrine of the Trinity. You’ll see it’s taught page after page. As we read through the Bible this year in our reading plan, watch for this Triune God that it speaks about because that’s who Scripture’s about.

3.) The Creator God

Number three, the Creator God. “In the beginning, God created...”
And so, what did he create? It says he created the heavens and the earth. He created everything. That phrase, “the heavens and the earth,” its just a figure of speech that means literally everything. It’s describing the totality of creation. The Hebrew word used for “heavens,” its a plural word and its used to describe everything that’s above the surface of the earth. Now it also has a spiritual meaning showing that God created the spiritual realm…and the physical realm. Angels and all those that inhabit heaven, they were all created just like the rest of creation.
And bridging this with the last point…about God being a Triune God…John 1:3 says, “All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.” John’s speaking about Jesus here…the Son of God. Jesus made everything. He wasn’t just born of a virgin…He didn’t just live a perfect life and perform all these great miracles…He didn’t just die on a cross and raise from the dead…Jesus was the very God that Genesis talks about that created all that we see and know. Everything that’s been created, he created it. In the beginning, there was God....and nothing else…and it was through him, through Jesus, that nothing was made into something.
The Hebrew word used for “create,” its bara (b-ra)…and bara literally means to create, to initiate something new…opposed to just “fashioning” or modifying something already in existence. Listen, we may create things today…we may invent things or come up with things…but we’re using materials that have already been created. This word in Scripture is only ever used of God…never of man. Only God can create something out of nothing. And listen, this is why we have to be careful with what our kids are learning. Guys, I’ve talked to some of you and some of us have this mentality that we have to make the Bible fit into science, right? Listen, that’s the biggest lie Satan’ll tell you. The Big Bang…its impossible because it still doesn’t explain how God made something out of nothing. It doesn’t attribute to him the great miracle he did in creation. He knocks God down and places him in human comprehension.
Listen, do you know what the alternative, the secular belief is right now? It’s called “spontaneous creation”…and it’s where basically, everything just arose out of nothing on its own. That’s the actual belief of scientist today. Stephen Hawking, he wrote a best-selling book, “The Grand Design,” and in it he said, “The universe can and will create itself from nothing … Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” According Hawking’s, this is where the big bang came from.
And as we walk through these opening accounts in Genesis over the next couple of weeks, we’ll talk about some of these other things together. But guys, Scripture, it has to be our foundation…and what it tells us, its that God is the Creator of everything. In the beginning, there was only God.
And guys, people poke jabs at us as Christians because we believe in a God that created the universe…they make fun of us for having that kind of faith....but I’ll remind them this morning…a scientific theory, its something that can’t be proven…making them have to have faith to believe it. And listen, simply believing that everything arose out of nothing…that’s ridiculous and idiotic. And the fact that Hawking’s titled his book the “The Grand Design,” is ironic as well because there’s no grand designer of his story. According to him, there’s just a bunch of accidents and chances that have taken place that’s led us to where we are today.
Church, we have to understand just how important this belief really is. Because if we’re loosey-goosey with this theology, it negatively impacts the rest of our theology. We’re quick to put more emphasis on man and our decisions and what we want, when we don’t understand God as the Creator…and quite frankly, we mess up the gospel.
Listen, when someone designs something…or invents a new product, right? If you watch Shark Tank, you see this over and over again. Someone will come in with a new idea and the first question the investors’ll ask, “Do you have a patent.” A patent, it protects your idea…your product…and those that get a patent…they own those things and they get to decide what happens to the product or idea. They get to decide who can use it…who can make it or produce it…they get to decide where and how it’s sold. They’re the creator of it and so they get to make all the decisions.
Guys, God’s the Creator of everything. He owes the right to all of it. If God created us…then we’re his…we belong to him. It’s not “my body, my choice.” No, your body, its God’s…he made it.
If God created you, then your gender, its not some random choice on your part. It was assigned to you by your Creator, and to reject that, its to reject the one who made you.
If God created you, then you’re significant…no matter how much people or circumstances put you down…if God made you, his works are wonderful, according to David…therefore you are wonderful because God made you in his image.
If God created you, then your life and every life, it has meaning and purpose. Its why its such a tragedy that innocent babies are killed every single year. It’s the greatest tragedy of our lifetime.
If God created you, then everything he’s given you…it belongs to him and it means that he’s given it to you for meaning and purpose…and only God can decide how and where its used because he’s the patent holder.
And guys, the reason this single piece of theology is so important its because unless we assume there’s a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless. Your view on creation, it impacts every other belief you have about God..and the Bible makes it very clear from the start, “In the beginning, God created...”

4.) The Redeemer God

And then finally, our last point this morning…the Redeemer God. The fact that Scripture demonstrates this centrality of God…that its about a Triune God and describes God has Creator…It means he’s also a Redeemer God. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
John 1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Verse 11, 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
You see, in the beginning was Jesus, our Redeemer…the One who came on our behalf to be our substitute. He knew in the beginning that man would fall....he knew that man would go their own way through the freewill he gave them. He knew that man would willingly separate themselves from him. But yet in the beginning, when there was only God, he still created everything…and he created everything always with the purpose of redeeming it to himself. That’s why John 1:12 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Listen to this, “who were born, not of blood nor of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jesus created us with the intentions of redeeming us solely because it was his desire.
The author of Hebrews says this in chapter 1, verse 1, 1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
You see, our God…he’s not just the Creator and Sustainer of all things…but its through him…and only through him that restoration and redemption can occur. In a few weeks, we’ll continue in this story and we’ll see him create man and walk in relation with Adam and Eve…we’ll see this perfect union that God had with his creation…but we’ll see how mankind messed that up…how they walked away from God and gave up what God had given to them. They, like us, they willingly separated themselves from God. You see, because God is the Creator of all things…only he can truly define what’s good and holy…He’s the standard of righteousness…and when we choose to turn against the Grand Designer…when we choose to go our own way, because he’s a gracious God, it separates us from the only One that had purpose for our lives. It distorts the image we were made in. And because of that, it brought on death and sin and disease and hurt and pain…our decisions led to our demise. But as John states, God himself, through his Son, Jesus, came to save us from that destiny. It says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” He lived a perfect life as the very thing he created....he went to a cross to pay the penalty of our sin…and through his resurrection, he overcome our destiny. Death, it has no sting…as a believer…it no longer has power over us.
And I don’t know about you…but Jesus is the only man to walk the face of this earth that I’d be willing to follow. Buddha he was a man that was born…he lived…he did some good things…and then died. I don’t know about you, but I can do those things on my own. Muhammad…he was born…he lived his life…he died....Guys, I can those things on my own. But Jesus…the Son of God…he created all there was…he’s always been....he manifested himself as a man....he lived perfectly…he died…and he rose again....Guys, Jesus is the only man that I can’t model on my own. He’s the only one worth following. And the Bible says that when we repent and believe in this God…this Jesus…we can be called children of God....we can be saved from our destiny.
If God created everything out of nothing, then he’s the source of everything, meaning he’s the only place you can find real purpose and meaning.

Closing

And so guys, this morning, as we start this study in Genesis…I’ll ask you this question…is your life, today....is it built and centered around the Triune God…the God that created everything…the One that redeems you. Does your life have purpose today? And how you answer that question, what’s the evidence of that in your life? If he’s redeemed you, how does that show in your life today? We’ve been talking about being a church without walls and a church that delivers and disciples and deploys…are you investing yourself in learning the Scriptures…do you have a reading plan? Are you meeting with like minded believers with the intentions of growing in your walk with this God? Guys, are you deploying into the mission fields God’s called you to? Are you investing in the opportunities he’s given us here at FBC to go into these different mission fields…to tell people about this mighty God that’s changed us?
Listen, as you reflect for a moment on that, would you just bow your head and close your eyes with me this morning?
Listen, some of you…you need to get serious about your walk with Christ…you need to get more invested in growing and learning all so that you can understand the purpose for your life. Some of you…you need to get up and just go on a mission trip....guys, we have so many opportunities…quit coming up with excuses. And listen, this is important because as the Bible says in its opening lines, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” All the answers to our problems…they’re found in God. And we’ll never find solutions until we find ourselves in him. If you remember, Paul told the Philippians in chapter 2…how do we do that? By adopting the same attitude as Jesus. We should have a desire to grow and get plugged into the church God’s created and called us to.
And so listen, what are you gonna do with that this morning? Are you gonna continue to walk through life, checking the boxes off…or are you gonna let God show you your purpose…your meaning…are you gonna let God show you his love and compassion for you? Guys…you gotta turn to him…and you gotta let him become the center of your life.
But listen, some of you…you’re here and you’ve not turned to him…you’ve not been changed by the power of the gospel…you’ve not been redeemed. And you’re still broken…you’re confused…you’re hurting…maybe experiencing some kind of real pain and suffering. Listen to me, there’s a God out there who created you…and he created you with a purpose…he created you in his image…he created you because he loves you. And listen, if that's you today…you say, “I need Jesus…I need salvation…I realize I’m hopelessly lost…I’m doomed.”...would you just repeat after me this morning? Listen guys, these words, they don't save you, they don't really mean anything...they're just words, it's about what's going on in your heart. But all I wanna do....I wanna help you process that feeling you have and I wanna help you turn to Jesus because that’s all there is to it…repent and believe. The Bible says to believe in your heart and to confess with your mouth and you shall be saved. And so, if that's you, would you just repeat after me?
"Lord Jesus...I believe you are who you say you are....I believe you came into this world and I believe you lived a perfect and sinless life...I believe you went to a cross and wore the weight of my sin....I believe you experienced the punishment met for me...I confess to you now that I am sinful and wicked....I am in need of grace and mercy and forgiveness...Jesus come into my life and fill me with your Spirit....Help me live in your ways and grow me to be more and more like you....I pray this in Jesus's name...Amen!"
Listen, if you just prayed that prayer…if you just asked Jesus into your heart…would you make the next step and come and talk to me…would you let me pray with you…let us celebrate with you as brothers and sisters…because listen, that’s the greatest decision you’ll ever make.
And so listen, I’m gonna open these steps…Wendy’s gonna lead us in worship…and whatever’s going on in your heart right now…I just want you to be obedient…I want you to be submissive to the Spirit’s call on your life. If you’re a believer and you got things to work out or if there’s someone you need to pray for…if you need prayer or want salvation or looking to be baptized or wanna join the church…maybe you say I’m called to ministry and I wanna be obedient to that…whatever it is, would you just come and lay it at the feet of Jesus this morning?
Listen, these steps, they’re open for you…and I’m here in whatever way you need. And so, you come.
[Prayer]
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