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The Thread of Life – Part 1 (Creation)
April 11, 2021

The Thread of Life – Part 1 (Creation)

April 11, 2021

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The Thread of Life – 31 Stories that point to Jesus

(Part 1)

Good Morning and Welcome to Jesus Church

Today start a new series: Thread of life – 52 stories that point 2 Jesus

  • Just finished a series talking about how to read the Bible
    • How to read it well
    • How to understand the intent and purpose
    • How to step back to engage the writers and the author
  • Conclusion we came to in relating to the Bible is this…
    • The reason we trust the Bible is b/c Jesus trusted the Bible
    • And we follow Jesus
  • And what we believe about the Bible is…

The Bible is a library of writings that are both Devine and Human that together tell us a unified story that leads us to Jesus.

God’s story is all about Jesus

  • Jesus is the overriding theme in the story start to finish
    • And even though most of the authors never met each other
      • Written in 3 languages
      • Written on 3 continents
      • Written over 1500 years (over 60 geneations
      • Over 40 authors – not in same place or time period
  • Yet theme is always: Gods desire 2 redeem man inspite our failures
    • God wants us to be in right relationship with Him

Theme in this series – There’s an Upper/Lower story in every chapter

  • Lower story is being told from a 6 ft perspective (5’10” for me)
    • Horizontal or linear view point
      • Person to person
      • What we deal with everyday – Bills/Babies/Bosses
    • Lower story isn’t limited to what you read in the Bible
      • Each day we see the lower story played out in our lives
      • Application of what we see in each story in the Bible
  • Upper Story is being told from God’s perspective
    • Vertical or holistic view point
      • Its about what God is up to
      • Its about how he is weaving his story into our story

So every week you will see lower and upper story

  • The application/wisdom u get seeing them together is powerful
    • Sometimes we become so focused on the lower story
    • All we can see is the pain and frustration
      • What God sees is preparation and provision
      • That’s what God has always taught me thru hard times

So today we start the journey to read thru the Bible

One disclaimer before we start… 31 stories is a target to aim for

  • But don’t hold me to 31 – It will probably end up being more
    • Meaning we are taking a journey together thru the Bible
    • And I hope you will follow along… start reading thru the Bible
    • Crazy to base your life on something you’ve never read
  • So today we start in Genesis
    • Genesis (ch.1 & 2) might cause most controversial in all of Bible
    • Just name the debate…
      • Creation v Evolution
      • Origins of Life
      • Origin of humans
      • Age of the Earth… the universe… the flood
  • And these topics trigger emotional responses – just the concepts
    • Either you care about them… or someone u know cares a lot
    • And that’s sad b/c for many… only time we open up to Genesis
    • Is to debate or because of controversy

Its sorta like 2 people going to see the Mona Lisa

  • Both stand there arguing over all these different points
    • When was it painted 1503 or 1506
    • What size of brush was used
    • Who was Lisa actually and why is she sitting there
  • So (actually happens) they passionate debate about all this stuff
    • And they can both focus in on why they are right
    • And eventually just agree to disagree – walk away
  • And what will they have not done
    • They never get to just stand b4 the Mona Lisa in silence…
      • And ponder… appreciate it
      • To look at the use of color… texture… light

I believe we face the same issue when opening the Bible to page ONE

  • B/C (1) Bible starts by making profound statements about our story
    • About who God is… about who we are… about life… meaning
    • And those topics are usually overshadowed by this other stuff
  • And (2) many people who reject Jesus and the story
    • Reject it b/c of a misrepresentation of the Biblical story
    • That usually comes from Xians who misunderstand the story
      • And if we don’t understand the story that leads us to Jesus
      • Then we are bound to misunderstand/misrepresent Jesus
  • Best way to misunderstand a story… misunderstand its beginning
    • Think of the Trilogy “Lord of the Rings” [PIC]
      • If u had a friend who knew nothing about this story
      • Hopefully u wouldn’t sit then down in front of 2nd movie 1st
    • Beginning of 2nd move – all the characters have been split up
      • And their all just running
      • And you might think… Wow this is so great
      • And ur friend has no clue what’s going on… who they are…
    • You would never do that… you would start at the beginning
      • And even the beginning isn’t about these characters
      • It goes back over a 1000 years into LOTR history & lore
      • To understand the importance about the key conflict
        • So even missing 10 minutes of first movie… clueless

And I think same thing happens with the beginning of Genesis

  • We get so tangled up in controversy… don’t reflect on it correctly
    • And then we set ourselves up to misrepresent God
  • So the questions we should be asking isn’t so much about science…
    • We should be asking questions about meaning…
    • Questions of human existence
    • Who are we… why are we here… is there a problem… solution

So with all that said… open to Genesis 1:1

And I want you to do a little exercise… close your eyes for a moment

  • Create a blank mental canvas as I read first few verses of Genesis
    • And try to paint a mental image of what u hear

Gen. 1:1-5 (NIV)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness he called “night”. And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day. 

  • How many pictured yourself floating w/ a dark universe set b4 you
    • How many in the midst of dark space… saw a sphere/globe
    • What was the globe doing… guess it was sorta like jello
    • And what covers the sphere – some sort of water
      • So we have a dark floating jello ball surrounded by water
  • Now reading the bible is a cross cultural experience – Case in point
    • Why do most of us picture a sphere in our minds
    • Good reason: 8th word in the Bible is English word “EARTH”
    • And what does the Earth look like [PIC 1]

So in modern English… we read this is what we see – THE GLOBE

  • But pause for a minute… and ask yourself
    • How long have humans been capable of thinking up that image
    • First ever images of the globe of the earth: 1960’s
    • Those images and others like them are why we picture a globe
  • How old is the Bible… and was it even written in English – NO
    • Written in Hebrew by author who lived over 3000 years ago
    • No mental image of a globe in his mind
  • So is it possible… we should have a different image in our minds
    • One of what an author 3000 years ago would want us to see
    • And if u study thru Bible/Heb literature how these words work
    • What you see (Heaven and Earth = Sky and land) [PIC]
      • No reason to believe God highjack the writers minds
      • Made them write things they didn’t even know about
      • That just isn’t how God works with humanity

Example: Here is what its like… we wanna value cultural diversity (right)

  • Means we know if u get on a plane and go to Rome
    • Hopefully you will do at least a little reading on ur destination
    • Hopefully you figure out some phrases… DL google translate
    • What u shouldn’t do…
      • Land and expect to speak English
      • And demand directions to the nearest Starbucks
      • It’s just rude… and culturally insensitive
  • But that is exactly what we do with Genesis
    • We assume it speaks my language in my culture in my timeline
    • And that is just not gonna happen
    • No… words mean what they mean to those who wrote them
      • We don’t “X” them out and erase the reality of their world

TAG: So we shouldn’t have a globe as our image of what this is saying

And when did God make whats up there / down here

“In the Beginning”… well when is that???

  • There are a handful of Heb words the author could have used
    • If he wanted to describe an exact starting point (Techelam)
    • But instead he uses the word (Reheet) – Super Vague
      • About as general as English phrase: Way Back When
  • So “way back when” – God made what’s up there and down here
    • Do u see most of questions we debate on… totally sidestepped
  • “When… how long… what happened”… “Don’t care about that”
    • Listen to what I WANT TO TELL YOU
    • Which is humbling – Bible isnt here to answer all your questions
    • It’s designed to make us find answers the Bible leads us to

So… In the Beginning God made whats up there and down here (Ok…)

  • Is that a good place to build a home/garden/let kids play outside
    • No – Its Formless & Empty (In Hebrew this is in poetic form)
    • Hebrew: Tohu Vavohu (the land was wild and waste)
    • In a Hebrew bible – Description is a desert wasteland
  • But not just desert… also says darkness is over surface of deep
    • What’s “The Deep” – It is a phrase that means deep waters
    • So that’s a big weird… is it desert or ocean???
      • And if I think those contradict
      • We’re getting off the plane sayings “Show me Starbucks”
  • No – These words tell us something about the nature of the world
    • Nature of the world – It was a chaotic/uninhabitable place
      • So 3000 years ago… someone telling this story of God
      • What would be the most uninhabitable place for us to live
    • And if you know the geography of whoever is telling this story
      • To the East is Northern Edge of Saudi Arabian Desert
      • To the West is the Mediterranean Sea
    • Neither place is where you could live (both are dangerous)
      • So writer is telling us the Earth was a raw/dangerous place

But in the midst of the chaos… who is hovering over this crazy world

  • It says the Spirit of God (Put ur hand in front of ur mouth like this)
    • Say “Hello” – Do you feel that… what do we call what u feel
    • Now look down – Do you see the thing that you feel (NO)
    • Is it real… of course :: We call it breath :: In Hebrew its Ruach
  • In English we have 3 words for – Breath / Wind / Spirit
    • In Hebrew its one – Ruach (God’s personal life giving presence)
    • Invisible… but creates visible results in the world
  • So in the midst in the chaos is God’s personal life giving presence
    • And how did we get our ruach… out of our mouth
    • By speaking – Whats the first thing God does in the narrative
    • God speaks…

So its an image of God overseeing chaos – not out of His control (GAP)

  • But it’s a part of our world and creation at this point
    • God wants to carve out a place on earth that life can flourish
    • And he does it by HIS SPIRIT & HIS WORD
    • He begins to speak ORDER into existence

And what is 1st thing that God makes

Let there be light – I already gave u mental image by saying “THING”

  • In English – What thing do we assume its talking about (Sun)
    • If the point is a scientific one – That would make sense
    • And as Americans getting off the plane looking for Starbucks
      • That’s what we assume is being communicated
      • Why – B/C that’s how we think… not how they thought
      • The problem… the sun isn’t created until verse 16
  • So what are they trying to communicate thru “Let there be light”
    • God creates something… light / divides it from the darkness
    • And the point of all of that is Day and Night
    • So the finished result of what he made… isnt even really a thing
      • Day is a dimension of time
      • It’s a measurement to bring ORDER
  • So as God starts creating – He doesn’t even make anything
    • Author’s intention… Creation is God bringing order to the chaos
    • And the most fundamental patterns of order u can bank on
      • As long as universe works – We can count on day/night
      • When it gets dark… 12 hours later its gonna get light

So we are brought into a world – Raw & Wild but also ordered

  • Rest of Gen 1 follows suit – It’s God breathing order into creation
    • God speaks 10x on page one – pronounces “It is Good” 7x
    • And out of the middle of this chaos… God creates a garden
    • Story is all about mankind & the order/chaos God works thru

Gen 1 causes all this controversy – But what author is actually doing…

  • First 3 days: God doesn’t make things – He ORDERS domains
    • Time – Day & Night
    • Weather – Sky & Seas

Gen. 1:6-8

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water. So God made the vult and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky”, and there was evening and there was morning the second day..

    • Agriculture – Dry land & Vegetation (of all trees he says fruit)
      • Will trees play some significant role in the story to come
      • YES! The whole thing is a setup
  • He isn’t telling us everything he could… just what directs the story
    • And once domains are ordered
    • He then names the inhabitants of those domains
      • Time – Sun, Moon and Stars
      • Sky/Sea – Fish and Birds
      • Land – Animals and Humans

But we hear numbers, days and details…

We think it’s a textbook of chronology of how Earth came into existence

  • We need to step back & see that isn’t the question 2 be answered
    • Question is: Do I live in a world ordered by a caring God
    • Answer: Page one… that’s what the whole story is about
  • And then page 2 – Another account with a different order
    • Page 1 – Animals first… and then humans
    • Page 2 – Humans first… and then animals
  • So is this just foolish primitive authors – can’t keep story straight
    • Maybe we’re fools 4 demanding what it was never meant 2 say

Point: Mona Lisa – So many profound pictures of humanity right here

  • We frequently miss all of them… b/c we talk and don’t listen
    • And the main claim point actually being made
      • We live in a world that is raw and beautiful
      • And a world that is beautiful but needs to be tame
  • And who does God appoint to rule this wild world

Gen 1:26

Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

So here’s the story being told

  • We live in a world that is raw and beautiful… dangerous and good
    • What God wants to do is rule the world and share it
    • God is a sharer – Life & existence
  • And the creature meant 2 rule over creation – is made in his image
    • It’s not him… but it is his image
    • Illustration: Drivers License… my picture on here (is that me)
      • No… it’s ink printed on to a piece of plastic
      • This isn’t me – It’s an image of me
  • So the undamental question asked… who are we & where are we
    • I live in a good world (not perfect)
    • But it’s a world packed full of potential
    • And as the world explodes with life and beauty
      • God appoints an image of himself to rule and reign
      • And that is who… YOU AND ME

And the images are meant to rule and reign on God’s behalf (YAY!)

  • But is that what happens… no… things go very wrong (For today…)
    • This story is about humans who don’t want 2 be images of God
    • They want to be God
    • Not just manage… they want to rule
      • And that is the whole plotline for what comes next
  • Its this isn’t a story about rescuing us so we can leave earth forever
    • That’s not what this story is about at all
    • We have a good world… its just under bad management
  • Example: If you have a favorite restaurant in Phoenix
    • New manager comes in and things are dirty/food not good
    • Solution isn’t to torch the place…
      • No… its get new management that can run it correctly

What this story IS about: God wants to share this world with humans

  • Who can run this world in love/power/wisdom of the creator
    • And who don’t try to rule… just run

TAG: And if this is the story that’s being told… how does it lead to Jesus

When Jesus enters story – Role as solution is amazing

Jesus comes into the story saying “Something has arrived in him”

  • What does he call it??? The kingdom (rule) of God
    • So the story Jesus steps into…
    • Full of people being bad managers of God’s creation
  • We rule the world based on our definition of good & evil
    • So the world looks like it does today
    • And Jesus comes into the story to do a couple things…
      • To be the human rulers we were made to be but failed
      • He comes to show us what true ruling looks like
      • “If you want to rule/reign… go to the back (servant)”
  • And Jesus didn’t just say that… he did it
    • On the cross – Mocked as a king on a cross
    • He becomes the ultimate servant… serving up his life for us

And in the end – Story isn’t us going somewhere else

  • It’s God’s rule coming here 2 make it what it was meant to be
    • And this is what the story is all about
    • And if u get this part wrong… good chance the rest could be off

Communion: Perfect time to take the bread & cup

  • It’s the perfect completion to the story
    • B/C in the bread/cup we are eating the symbols of the story
    • Of how Jesus came to show us how he rules the world
  • He rules it through self sacrificing love
    • The way God wants to share the world on page 1
    • After we have made a mess of the place/lives
    • He just keeps sharing
  • And he invites his death to be our death
    • So his resurrection life can become our resurrection life
    • That’s the story the Bible invites us into through Jesus

[PRAY]

 

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