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But Now His Son
So, as we are less than a week away from Christmas, I decided to undertake a pretty large task for this morning’s sermon.
I decided to compile some of the main stories, themes and promises of God in the Old Testament that point to the fact that God’s rescue plan in the Messiah is the main thread in the Old Testament.
What I’m saying this morning is not all-inclusive, but I hope the sermon affects our hearts today.
As we go through this, my desire for us is that we would all rejoice at the message of Christmas and say, “He came!
The hopes and dreams of all the years are met in Jesus.”
In Ephesians 1:10, we discover that God always had a plan to “gather together in one all things in Christ.”
If God had this plan, then it would make sense that at some point in time he would declare this plan to us.
And that’s precisely what we see in the Scripture.
Actually, the writer of Hebrews says, *“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds. . .
.” – Hebrews 1:1-2* [1] What the writer of Hebrews is saying is that God (from the initial pages of Scripture) revealed his rescue plan.
And as we move throughout the Old Testament, in many and various ways, God worked through covenants, prophets, priests, kings, stories, the tabernacle, sacrifices in order to declare to us a message – and that message is his rescue through Jesus himself.
With a desire to raise our joy in God and to cause us to see the justice, mercy, holiness and love of God, let’s start a trek through the Scriptures to see the majesty and goodness of God.
Before we do that, let’s pray.
So, let’s start our journey of tracing God’s promise for a Savior:/ /*“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness /was/ on the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
– Genesis 1:1-2 [2]*
Void, chaos, waters, darkness.
Then God spoke the worlds into existence by the word of his power.
The Father, through the Son and by the power of the Spirit, formed everything.
All things seen and unseen were created by the Lord – this Triune God.
After each day of creation, God looked at his perfection and said, “This is good.”
You see, God created a beautiful temple in which his creation could enjoy him and he could shed the light of his glory to it.
Light and life increase in these days of creation.
But then, on the pinnacle day, God writes of a special creation, a creation that is most like God.
In the image of God, our Triune Ruler and Creator, made man and woman.
As we move into this story, we see the depth of human privilege and the greatness of God’s love.
God gave things pleasant to look at, good to eat and he gave them a glorious life.
All of this is in the greater context of man’s supreme privilege to be able to walk with God and to obey the Creator – in his presence.
We’re then told of a covenant God makes with Adam: *“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
– Genesis 2:16-17 *[3] The honor was that Adam could eat from /any /of the pleasant trees in front of him.
Only /one/ could he not eat of.
Only one.
This one tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
You see, humans were not meant to have to decipher between good and evil.
When evil comes in, when God’s glory is thrust to the side, everything in us tears apart.
With this statement in Genesis, we see that God allowed man to be tested: Will he trust God and savor his privileged status with the Lord or will he defy the Creator?
After God makes Adam and then creates Eve, and gives them dominion and glory, the serpent enters.
Satan craftily speaks to Eve, but we are led to believe that Adam is there the whole time during the temptation.
After all, she gives the fruit to the man who was with her.
As the leader and representative and the one to whom God made a covenant, why isn’t Adam protecting Eve and even himself?
Why doesn’t he care for God’s glory?
Well, at least in part we see that Eve (and probably Adam, too) started to believe the most heinous lie that all humans to this day believe: God is keeping me from glory.
Instead of focusing on the tremendous generosity of God in creating them and giving them a beautiful creation and even each other, they decided to believe that they were missing out by trusting God.
They both eat and immediately the knowledge between good and evil enters, and instead of rising to the status of deity, the image of God is torn in them.
They can see something’s wrong, and they now flee – everything is filled with fear.
Hope dies.
And we remember God’s promise: they should surely die.
God shows up to the garden, and Adam and Eve cover themselves, God confronts them, and they try to blame shift.
Right here we see they’ve become sinners.
Hiding from God and not wanting to admit their sinfulness; traitors against the Triune Creator.
Right then, in that moment, you would think we’d hear God say, “I told you that you would die and now you must die.”
But instead of taking their lives, he does something different.
He shows mercy.
He gives them what they don’t deserve.
Oh yes, they’re punished severely.
And let’s not miss the punishment because God is holy and perfect and sin must be punished.
Life is shortened, pain increases.
The entire created realm is shattered.
God removes them from the beautiful garden that they were intended to rule in.
But in the midst of their traitorous actions of seeking to “de-God” God, God doesn’t give them the full extent of judgment.
Somehow he is just and right in extending mercy.
They’re still getting better than they deserve, and God lovingly keeps them from eating from the tree of life.
If they had eaten from the tree as sinners, they would have forever been bound in misery.
God, in love, keeps them from this fate.
But before he takes them out of the garden, God hints at the plan he’s had before time began.
He says to Satan, *“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” – Genesis 3:15 *[4]
I’m not sure if Adam or Eve understood exactly what was being said here, but clearly God is speaking to a child that is going to crush that wicked tempter, the Serpent.
That serpent who revels in dividing man from God is going to be destroyed.
Absolute justice will be served, and sin will be removed /someday/.
Until that point, there will be the knowledge of good and evil.
There will be imperfection.
There will be brokenness.
But /someday, /the crusher of Satan’s head will come and restore all things.
The story of Genesis goes on and we read about Adam and Eve giving birth to sons.
As we read, we ought to wonder, “Is Cain the one?
Maybe it’s Abel?”
But we quickly come to a story of death.
The ramifications of sin were so pervasive that the offspring murdered the other.
Again, God’s justice and mercy come together.
In Genesis 4:10-11, God says to Cain, *“What have you done?
The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.
11 So now you /are/ cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”
– Genesis 4:15 [5]* God continues to speak punishment to Cain because Abel’s blood necessitates holy vengeance.
Then Cain responds by saying the punishment is too great.
Then God does something unthinkable again.
Yes, God punishes Cain, but the punishment is less than Cain deserves: “. .
.whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.”[6]
Already we’re left wondering how the Creator King can be just in giving mercy to sinners.
The story unfolds in Genesis, and we get generation after generation of sinners until we’re told that *“every intent of the thoughts of his heart /was/ only evil continually.
And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.”
– Genesis 6:5-6 [7]* God loved his creation and grieved over their utter lost-ness.
We then come across a story that reveals the nature of God’s holiness.
After much mercy with people, we see punishment.
The entire human population is taken away in a worldwide flood.
But wait, not the entire human race.
God says that there was one who found grace in his eyes.
Remember that word “grace?”
That means Noah didn’t deserve this, but he received it.
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