In this sermon by Pastor Trey, we learn to set our hope on the future. Continue reading “LEAVES BLOWN IN THE WIND”
Why did God makes humans? God made us to worship him through overseeing and caring for his creation.
How did God make us? God intricately and carefully wove our bodies and souls together.
Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
The picture given is of God descending from heaven, bending down to the ground, and building a special design in the dirt. When God commanded it, that design transformed into a human body. When he breathed life on it, that human body was alive.
Psalm 139:13-18a says:
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was no one of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand.”
God works that same miracle thousands of times each day as babies are conceived. These babies are intricately woven together, body and soul, in their mother’s womb. After one month, that baby will have already started to develop all of its organs. Around 5 weeks, the baby’s heart starts to beat. At 6 weeks, its facial features begin to form. By three months, the baby will have unique fingerprints.
What does this mean for us?
- God made us just as we are. God planned for me to have a big nose and hairy feet (although I think the balding head is a result of the curse!). Our body is not the problem. Our sin is. (Sickness, disease, and death are a result of the curse, but I am mainly focusing on the insecurity or pride that can arise from our body imperfections) Sin causes us to feel insecure or proud about our body. Others can sin against us to cause this, or we can be self-absorbed and selfish, which causes shame, insecurity, or pride. Diets, workouts, and surgery are not the final answers. The answer is to trust in Christ for forgiveness from your sins and rest in the truth that your Creator formed you and loves you.
- We are not animals. We must never reduce man or woman to a creature of instinct, or pleasure, or desire. Recognizing and believing the Imago Dei in others not only prevents you from acting in animalist ways towards them, but draws out of them a desire to be more than just an animal.
- We are made from dust, and to dust we will return. A few weeks ago, Ash Wednesday kicked off a special time of humility, repentance, and sober-mindedness leading up to Good Friday. This prepares our hearts to consider the depth of our sin and the frailty of our lives. The fact that we were created from dust reminds us that we all will return to dust one day. Any life or beauty or gifts that we have are given from God. Soon—very soon for some—we will face our Creator and answer for what we have done in this life.
The Gospel and Dust
Though God fearfully and wonderfully made each one of us, every one of is also born in sin (Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:23). That means that our very nature is naturally bent toward sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). God makes us in a wonderful way, and yet, every one of us rejects our Creator (Romans 1:21) and substitutes fake gods in his place (Romans 1:22-23). This is a cosmic scandal that fills God with a fair anger (Romans 2:2) that we can never escape (Romans 2:3).
But God is also merciful (Ephesians 2:4). Jesus received all of God’s wrath (Romans 3:25) for our scandalous rejection of the Creator. Through faith in his death and resurrection (Romans 3:26), we can be restored and given a new heart which rightfully honors our Creator (Ephesians 2:10, 4:22-24).
A Prayer to Our Creator
Father, as I consider your work of creation–the power that it displayed, the wisdom that it required, and the interest that you showed when you made–I am filled with wonder. I am sorry that I love the gifts that you gave me too much, or think that I have earned them in any way. I am sorry that I appreciate the gifts you gave me too little, or think that your gifts are not good. I believe that you are my Creator, and that you carefully formed me before I was born. Forgive me for my pride and selfishness through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Give me a new heart and mind. Fill me with faith that you are my good Creator, and that you love me with a perfect and unfailing love. As I enjoy this new confidence, help me to love you with a faithful love and use the gifts you have given me for your glory.
Why are we here? Where did we come from? What is our purpose on earth?
One of the most basic things that could be said about mankind is that we were made to oversee and tend the earth. God did not go to craigslist or monster.com to find a qualified worker keep his creation. Instead, he made the perfect employee. The Genesis account gives us an understanding of the beginnings of all things. In Genesis 1, we learn that God decided to create us in his image. In Genesis 2, we learn why and how he created us. This post will focus on the why. Next post will focus on the how.
Why Did God Create Us?
Genesis 2:5-6 says:
When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up–for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground–
These two verses give us a flashback to chapter 1–a flashback that fills in more information. God created plants and animals in such a way that they need an overseer and caregiver. As he is calling animals and plants to come into existence, God has in his mind to create mankind on day six to be that caregiver.
The Genesis 1 account of the creation of man says that, after God blessed them, he said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 2 flashbacks with a simple statement, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
Mankind is not at the top of the food chain, but rather, mankind oversees the food chain. We are the dominate species on earth–not because of the survival of the fittest–because God made us to be the dominate species on earth. We were created with a unique ability to rationalize, name animals, plan and tend the garden, and generally maintain the order and beauty of this planet.
However, many of us are not called to be farmers or zoo-keepers. What does this mean for our jobs? How hard should we work? How should we use our days off and vacation time? What practical teaching does the creation account give us?
- Both work and rest are good gifts from God that we were intended to enjoy.
- Work is good (Genesis 2:15) and rest is good (Genesis 2:1-3).
- Workaholism is bad and laziness is bad.
- Work is not a necessary evil and rest is not a necessary evil.
- The nature of work demands that we bring order and beauty to our corner of this earth. Whether our corner of this earth is accounting, or selling fridges, or house-momming, or delivering packages, we should “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” We should do things well, bring order and beauty, be honest and trustworthy, and be the absolute best that we can be.
- Our designed purpose is work, not rest. The “Everybody’s-working-for-the-weekend” and “This-job-is-a-paycheck” attitudes are not spiritual. Our job, our house chores, and our church service should not only be a means to an end, but should also be an end in themselves. Jobs do make us money so that we can survive, but they should also be our little corner of creation that we oversee and care for.
- Work is difficult to remind us of the curse. Work existed before sin, but it was cursed because of sin. God said to Adam after he sinned, “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.” Rather than bemoaning your job difficulties, bemoan sin that curses work and makes it hard; thank God that Christ has saved us from sin!
- Both work and rest teach things about God.
- Work reminds us how the Creator made this world, but rest also reminds us of Creator’s rest (though he didn’t need to) on the seventh after he created the world.
- Work helps us to fulfill a divinely-given purpose, but rest also reminds us of our human limitations.
- Work reminds us that only Christ’s works were productive enough to bring us back to God, but rest shows us what trust in Christ’s works looks like.
- This recent post has more helpful advice on work and rest.
The Gospel, Work, and Rest
Laziness is selfishness. Workaholism is pride. I am filled with selfishness and pride. I often forget about my Creator. These sins are insults against God. That independent selfishness indicts me with crimes against my Creator–crimes for which a wrathful God will punish me.
The Good News of the gospel is that, although I am proud and selfish, I do not have to be enslaved to those sins or to be punished for those sins. Jesus Christ received my punishment–the death of an independent, selfish, proud man. By believing in Christ, I can be forgiven and freed to submit under God’s purpose for my life. Through this forgiveness, my relationship with God expands from a Creator-creation relationship to a Father-son relationship.
Rather than finding my identity and joy in productivity or success (work), I can find my identity and joy in Christ’s work on my behalf. Rather than finding all my pleasure and purpose in my hobbies (rest), I can find my pleasure and purpose in God’s will for my life. If my identity, purpose, pleasure, and joy are found in Jesus Christ, then I can be free to work hard and rest well without either becoming a life-dominating sin.
Practical Questions to Examine Your Heart
- How have I been slacking in my work (at home, at church, or at my job) lately?
- How can I bring more order and beauty to my work?
- Am I resting well? Am I taking regular time off to refresh my body and soul?
- What things can I do for rest that will be refreshing, rather than just distracting?
- How can I more intentionally meditate on gospel truths through my work and rest habits?