Genesis 1:31

Genesis 1:31

And God saw every thing that He had made and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

What a simple verse, truly! But as always, God’s text is packed with meaning, and in this case, utterly under attack for centuries now. Sadly, it is professing Christians who have likely done the most damage with attempts to put meaning here that is not inherent in the text. Notice I did not call those attempts “well-intentioned,” as a truly well-intentioned attempt at interpreting the Bible will start with a biblical worldview and a belief that scripture is the ultimate authority.

This verse follows a pattern of verses in Genesis 1. Once on the first day, twice on the third day, and once on both the fourth and fifth days, God looked upon His creation and calls it (or some aspect of it) “good.” (Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21) During the sixth day, God refers to His creation again as “good,” before He made man (Gen 1:25). But when God declares creation very good, He declares it “complete.” The word used for very has a slightly different connotation than we are used to in English where it is comparative. It is more a description of completeness, or done-ness, to be understood as superlative, exhibiting without reservation the idea of “wholly” or “exceedingly” good, in this case. It is now that we apply proper hermeneutics to infer that sin could not have existed at this point in creation. For creation to be wholly good, by God’s standard of Goodness, sin could not have tainted creation. Since death is the result of sin, we also can know with certainty that no death had occurred, based on properly and reasonably interpreting the Bible.

Secondly, the other pattern that was followed for this chapter was the “evening and the morning were the nth day” phrase. One of the favorite arguments of people who want to reconcile (or compromise) the Bible with evolution and an old age for the Earth is that the Hebrew word Yom, used for day, can also mean a long age. But when have you ever referred to an evening and a morning as anything but a 24 hour day? When have you ever referred to 6 consecutive periods of an evening and a morning as anything but 6 days? You wouldn’t, because it defies reason. God didn’t do this either. God described what occurred, and the order in which it occurred. One reason that He chose to do it this way, I believe, is to intentionally contradict the “wisdom” of man. Evolution and Big Bang theories say the sun came before the earth; dinosaurs (land animals) before birds; and death before man ever existed. Genesis 1:1-31 deliberately and directly contradicts these ideas. Ex 20:11 aids to confirm this. 2 Peter 3:3-7 even prophesies about today’s “scoffers” and believers in uniformitarianism!

Dear reader, God created the world in six consecutive 24 hour days, and then rested. Since the first sin, man had no true rest! God painted a beautiful picture on that seventh day of the rest we have available to us in Christ. If you will give up the strivings of your own hearts, the works of your own hands and lay it all at the cross and follow Him, you can enter that rest spoken of in Hebrews 4:10-11. All those who thirst, come…John 7:37-39.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Can a Christian smoke? Should a Christian drink “socially?” What’s “ok” to do before marriage? These are common questions, and they are good questions, for immature believers to ask, that is. How do they relate to the 1 Corinthians 10:31? I’ll try to show how.

The chief end of man is to glorify God. All of creation is designed to proclaim God’s glory. Even the sin He allows in His sovereignty is used for His good (Rom 8:28). Let us consider to whom Paul is writing this letter: to believers! What is a believer? A believer is someone who has realized their sinfulness and their necessity for a savior. They have been snatched from the depths of eternal hell by our smitten Lord who, by His grace, has chosen them as a people unto Himself. Nothing they did or could have done caused this to happen, it was an act of mercy, (see Titus 3:5)

So what ought the response be to this act of love, grace and mercy? We owe our very lives to God, the Creator and Redeemer! So in what manner ought we live? For Him alone. This is the essence of this verse, (and the entire bible, if you will). Paul’s point above is that EVERYTHING you do ought to be for the glory of God. There are 3 main factors to consider when trying to decide of your proposed act is for or “not for” His glory. (At least that’s how many I’m going to discuss here!)

1. Is it sin? This will immediately disqualify the act. There are obvious sins. Things like activity outside of a man-woman marriage, stealing, lying, cheating, blasphemy and covetousness.

2. If it is not clearly sin, can it become sin? Is it the beginning of a slippery slope? This is where drinking and smoking and drug use fall into play (at the VERY LEAST). These things, in and of themselves, may not be immediately obvious as sins. But against the backdrop of a degenerate American society, where these things are idolized and used for worship and revelry, there is only damage that can be done by participating in these behaviors. I love Todd Agnew’s song, My Jesus where he sings, “If Ephesians says to imitate Christ, why do you look so much like the world?” (Hear it here)

3. Does it add to the Kingdom? Does it point to Christ as Savior? Ultimately, does your act contribute to your ministry, whatever it is? If it does, then great, if it doesn’t, then see questions 1 & 2.

A Christian who is filled with the spirit is ALWAYS glorifying God. We do this ALL THE TIME, if we choose. When you eat or drink, you are generally doing an innocuous, a-moral act, but it can be done with a fervent thankfulness to God and an unashamed outspoken love for the Provider that draws the attention of the lost to Him. Keep in mind that Jesus ate and attended family gatherings and slept. Things that seem unimportant, but He did them all filled with the Holy Spirit and glorified His Father in Heaven CONTINUOUSLY. His example is what we are to follow!

So whatsoever you do, do it all to the Glory of God! Thanks, Matt for Romans 15:5-6 today!

To see an example, check out this blog article about George Whitefield and his zeal for God’s creation in all he did!

The Grace of God – Part 2

You can listen to my teaching,

“The Grace of God – Part 2” in the player below.

This was presented at Berean Baptist Church, Sunday April 18, 2010.

If the player is not working or you would like to download the teaching, use the link below.

The Grace of God: Part 2

John 14:6

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

THIS IS WHY I DO WHAT I DO. Many of you know that I do the work of an evangelist. I am actually super excited because I just received 2 boxes of 10,000 tracts that my church designed and ordered from Custom Tract Source and on the same day, we launched our new improved website, Berean Baptist Church and I got to be a part of both those things. Each of these activities is designed with one ultimate goal: to glorify God by pointing to Christ and His finished work on the cross. Our chief aim is to edify believers and herald the gospel to the lost.

Why do we do this? BECAUSE JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO MAN WILL COME TO THE FATHER BUT BY HIM. I believe John 3:18 (along with the rest of the Bible 🙂 ), so EVERY person I see I can safely assume they are going to hell! Why? Because we are all born at enmity with God. There is no way other than Christ. So we tell people the truth. If I err and preach Christ and His Glory to a brother or sister, then they shall rejoice! So I am NEVER WRONG to preach Christ crucified. I fear that with all our boldness in our current apathetic culture that some of us today that seriously herald Christ’s Gospel would be put to shame next to Paul or Peter or Stephen. I pray for a heart like God gave those men.

Finally, on a theological note, I want to make 2 points. Point 1 is that God does not hear the prayers of the wicked. (In the sense that they do not have His ear). Proverbs 28:9 combined with John 14:6 make it pretty clear to me. Any unsaved soul can ONLY talk to God through Christ, and the first prayer honored by God of any man is the prayer of repentance and faith in Christ alone. So please, dear Christian brother or sister, don’t ask your unsaved coworker for prayer! You may thank them for well-wishes…but you do not cover their prayers, and you ought not let them believe you see any effectiveness in their prayer, as you can with your brothers, James 5:16. Secondly, I will make the claim that I believe every encounter with the living God that anyone has had since Genesis 1 was through Christ. Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is and has always been the only mediator between God and man. From creation to the crossing of the Red Sea, to the protection of Daniel’s friends in the furnace to Calvary and today. Praise Him for His character and deeds.

Psalm 19:1

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament sheweth His handiwork.

Like so much of scripture, what a simple, yet profound thought! Whereas we humans, myself included, find brevity so elusive, God can proclaim His glory in two short sentences and refute millions of people’s false beliefs in 12 simple English words.

God’s glory is declared by the heavens and the firmament (sky or expanse). Is this personification or do they really talk? Either way, as we dig deeper into outer space and view the complexity of God’s creation, the vastness of the expanse and the beauty beheld, we are continuously convicted of the knowledge of our Creator and His eternal divinity. (Romans 1:19-20) The mere fact that the heavens cannot contain Him, (1 Kings 8:27), while they are far beyond our comprehension is enough to stifle our pride at least momentarily. The sky exhibits to us a clear picture of design, beauty, power and greatness. They are, indeed, the works of His hands. (Ps 104:2, 5).

Possibly more awe-inspiring is my understanding that the complexity contained in our bodies is mathematically even greater than what the heavens declare. There are over 3 billion base pairs in EACH STRAND of DNA in your cells. Look at the human brain’s synaptic connections. There are more potential connections between the billion or so neurons in the human brain than there are atoms in the universe. God’s design is seen everywhere, and His Glory is not hidden but, rather, suppressed (Romans 1:18). This verse is a great foundation for your trust in the scriptural account of creation, so that you can be ready to proclaim God’s Glory as well as the heavens, using His handiwork as a visual aid, and transitioning form there to man’s accountability as a creature and then to the Savior; maybe even for someone you love who is dead in their trespasses, maybe even today!

The Grace of God – Part 1

You can listen to my teaching,

“The Grace of God – Part 1” in the player below.

This was presented at Berean Baptist Church, Sunday April 11, 2010.

If the player is not working or you would like to download the teaching, use the link below.

The Grace of God – Part 1

Getting a little personal…

Listening to KLOVE: Holy is the Lord – Chris Tomlin

Alright, I’ll admit it.  I haven’t exactly made this blog very personal.  I thought I’d use it to write “theological” essays periodically, but more often it would be an online journal.  I guess I haven’t felt much need to do that as of yet.

I used to journal a lot, but time doesn’t permit me anymore…you can see that it is now almost 1AM, so ask me if this was a good idea tomorrow, (errr today?)

Anyway, I find great joy in reading Abbie‘s and Erin‘s blog posts.  And I don’t want to deprive my readers of getting a glimpse of me from a different perspective than just the “guy-always-talking-about-the-bible” perspective you all must have about me already.  That being said, I have two more Sunday school teachings to upload, but I want to adjust the audio slightly.

So what am I doing up so late?  I suppose I’m celebrating.  God is Good, and all occasions are a reason to celebrate His Glory.   There I go again! I won’t apologize…I just can’t get enough of Him.  But as a matter of fact, God’s grace is the reason to celebrate.  Let me give you some background.  If you are bored easily…well if you are bored easily, you aren’t still reading I’d suppose.

Thursday was an exciting day; I took 2 of my kids to a pizza challenge.  This worked out nicely because one of my kids misbehaved and had to stay home.  So I had my big ones with me and no wife to hold me back from eating “all you can eat pizza.”  She knows my tendencies and tried to warn me, but I heeded not! We had a good time, we all ate a little too much pizza, me maybe more than a little too much.  But we made it home safely and got to bed.  I had a full day of work ahead of me, and a busy Saturday and Sunday to look ahead to.

Then I couldn’t sleep around midnight that night.  Without getting graphic, I became VERY ILL.  Now I felt terrible.  I knew I should have listened.  I felt like I was being punished for gluttony.  I felt like I was suffering for not listening to my wife’s loving plea for me to take care of myself.  I spent hours praying, a rarity for most people probably, including me.

I am blessed with an extremely compassionate wife, so I was able to stay in bed all morning and was tended to.  I called into work (which I’m not a fan of since I am hourly), and spent the day on the couch.  By now, I’ve committed myself to better discipline.  I am convinced I had food poisoning at this point.  Later I thought it might have been a flu.  Who knows.  Either way, my body was utterly useless.  I found 9 minutes later that day to sit at the computer and check messages before I got tired.  My lovely wife cooked some AMAZING smelling food that day that just nauseated me due to my condition.  She’s an affectionate woman and I continuously pushed her away and hurt her feelings because I felt so ill I didn’t want to be touched most of the day.  A day of work was trashed, a day with my wife was gone and my evening with my children was fading quickly.  I don’t remember much more…I think I slept most of it.  Although, my son made me a nice card I saw this morning… 🙂

If that was the end of the story, I suppose some would feel for me.  But then Saturday morning there was a huge mixup at my daughter’s soccer which I am the head coach for.  I had a conflict with my other children’s flag football team which I also coach.  It sounds like I really disappointed a lot of people that day.  I already felt terrible, and then that.  I figured I could get through it.  I do believe that God allows things to happen.  In the meantime, I’m headed to the OSU spring game to pass out tracts and, hopefully, preach and witness.  All we ended up doing was passing out tracts, but it was worth it because all 3 of my kids came.  That’s ok, I need to get home anyway to prepare for Sunday School and work on the church website which I was falling behind on!

Then Sunday morning comes, I’m still exhausted.  I’m finally eating normally.  I started my discipline already and was doing ok with it…good news.  Then I stand up at church in the morning service to encourage my church family for their commitment to prayer.  I made a quick reference to the fact that if they didn’t pray on Saturday according to their commitment that they should consider why they missed this important date.  SOUNDS GREAT NOW AND BEFORE, BUT WHEN I ACTUALLY SAID IT, IT SOUNDED LIKE I WAS ASKING PEOPLE TO WRITE DOWN A CONFESSION AS TO WHY THEY DIDN’T PRAY.  I didn’t realize this either.  NOW I FEEL REALLY STUPID.

I feel terrible.  I don’t have any idea how many people I hurt or to what extent.  But here is the good part: TONIGHT I CAN CELEBRATE.  Because I am saved by grace through faith alone.  With Jesus Christ there is always hope.  Years ago…maybe months ago…maybe weeks ago…I don’t know because this all happened this weekend, I would have been JUMPING to my own defense.  I would have really fretted over all this.  I do regret my mistakes, misspeaking, gluttony and poor planning, but not in my formerly self-pitying way.  I simply want to see reconciliation in all this.  I have already apologized to the soccer team via an email, and I’m mentally committed to making sure nothing like that happens again, as much as that’s in my power.  And I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to make things right at church.  I just desire forgiveness from the offended.  I do want them to know that I never intended what it sounded like, but does it really matter in the long run?  I mean, it might help some, but ultimately, if someone really thought I said what they thought I said, couldn’t they still find it in their heart to forgive me?  And if they couldn’t…they may have a bigger problem than I do, so I’m not going to worry about my reputation, but rather, my attitude toward others.

This is reason to celebrate.  A gift of humility.  God has granted me an ability I never had…NEVER WANTED…to set aside my pride and desire to be liked, exalted, though highly of, and has allowed me to identify with Jesus.  Isa 53:7 ESV  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  To me, this verse speaks volumes of humility.  Keeping in mind that Jesus truly was blameless, and had the power at any time to stop the crucifixion, it is an even more exciting display of His Holy Perfection of Humility than we could ever really fathom.  I’ll be happy to tell people I’m sorry and ask for forgiveness and leave the rest up to God….it’s up to Him anyway, isn’t it? By the way, I’m not imagining myself being led to a slaughter, I’m just identifying with the part where he ‘opened not his mouth.’ I am making a choice, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to not get defensive, which is a big improvement in my life. I’ll enjoy resting in Christ.