WHAT WE BELIEVE
Open up your Bibles to the Gospel of
John, chapter 1. We are
continuing our discussion that we began last Tuesday, our series entitled ďWe
BelieveĒ. We are talking about the major tenets of our faith, our doctrine,
and trying to be very clear on what we believe and to look at what
the Scriptures in the Bible teaches about God, about our faith, about the
Word of God, about Christ, spiritual matters and to crystallize those
issues in our heart and be settled on what we believe about these particular
Now I want to be very clear that if you are not certain what you
believe then you wonít know how to react spiritually when you go through times
of trial, times of struggle, times of disappointment and the list goes on and on.
So whenever hard times come, what you believe is really what you do. What you
honestly and truly believe is really what you do in those difficult moments and
those quick decisions Ė what you do naturally, automatically is what you
Now what we shared last week at the outset that I want to open up
with again tonight by way of recapping but also making certain that we are all
on the same page with our lesson is that "I am not teaching you what to believe
in your heart". Of course itís got to come through your head before it gets to
your heart but I am much more concerned about what is in your heart. Because no
matter what you believe in your head, no matter how much you know in your head,
no matter how many Scripture verses you can quote, no matter how much doctrine
you can recite and repeat, no matter how clear something makes sense to you in
your head, if it is not in your heart, I am telling you you do not believe it
because it is extremely possible to know something in your head and not fully
believe it in your heart.
Belief in the heart is a conviction, it is an absolute persuasion
of a thing. To be fully convicted and persuaded about the truth of a thing
whereby you rely on it, you lean on it, you trust it, that is to believe
To know something is completely different. I know about the tooth fairy but I
donít believe in it, but I can explain it extremely well. I know fairy tales
very well, I can explain them really good, the Three Little Pigs, I can tell you
all about them but I donít believe it. You get the idea; just because you know
something doesnít mean you believe it, right? Because it has to be in your
heart, not just in your head. Now obviously it has to pass through your head
before it gets to your heart, no doubt about that, but it has to come from your
heart in order for it to be belief.
Second thing that we said is that not only is it true that what
you know in your head is not necessarily what you believe in your heart,
but it is also true that there are some things
in your heart that you canít really explain with your head. There are some
things in your heart that you know to be true but you canít really fully explain
with your head. You donít really know all there is to know about it, a lot of
it you donít even understand but you know it to be true. You are fully
convinced of it even though you cannot fully explain it. I cannot fully
and completely explain gravity, Iíve got a general idea about it and I took a
class in high school and college and they described it to me but if you were to
ask me to teach a class on gravity, I probably would get up and do about 30
seconds and thatís about all I got. But if you take me to the top of a building
and you tell me to jump off, I promise you my belief in gravity is going to keep
me from jumping. I canít explain it but I believe it and I trust it to be true
so therefore I donít violate it. Everybody get the idea right?
So that is the same concept here with spiritual matters and
everything else and that is you can believe something in your heart although you
canít explain it with your head, and then thirdly you can know something in your
head, clearly and be able to explain it in detail and not believe it in your
heart. Now given that I want to make clear what we started last week and
that was we were talking about God, that was the first spiritual issue, the
first thing we have been discussing, the first person we have been discussing is
God. We will spend the time today talking about God. We wanted to look at God
in what I feel and consider to be one of the foundational understandings of God
and His relationship with man and that is God as Creator. God as Creator, and
so we studied this whole notion and had what I think was a very robust
discussion about the creation of God and the Creatorship of God and that God is
the Creator and what that means for us and how we should relate to God as such,
and what we should understand from God as such and we ended by talking about the
method of creation, looking at Genesis 1. Now we already looked at
Genesis 1 so you donít have to go there. We discussed in Genesis 1 that
God created all things by His Word, that He spoke, He said, and in the sayings of
God all things were created.
Now it is from this creation, of course, that we see the very
existence of God ontologically displayed, that is manifested and that God exists
by virtue of the fact of the things that He has created, and then we looked at
how He created by His Word and then we stopped in John 1 to get a discussion of
this Word and to introduce the second person of the trinity who is existent at
the time of creation, or pre-existent with God the Father.
And we kind of rushed through John 1 last week and I want to go
back and take just a brief moment to make certain that we are all on the same
John 1, when you got it say ďAmenĒ. Alright in the beginning (and we
talked about this whole beginning piece) that itís the beginning as far as
writers could write, that there is no beginning to God, but in the beginning of
time as best they could write. They are calling it in the beginning and they
are saying the Word existed, in the beginning was the Word. Now this Word is
the Greek word ďlogosĒ and this Greek word actually means thought and perception
and word, not just the spoken word but it's also the very thought and the Logos
of God or the Word of God is not just the spoken word of God but it is the
thought, the intentions or rather the intellect of God, what God knows and what
God has said, and what God has decreed Ė that is Logos.
The interesting thing about Godís Word is that it is capitalized
in your Bible, is it not? If it isnít then youíve got the wrong Bible, but it
is capitalized meaning that it is a proper noun, or rather it is a name, it
represents a person. It is something that officially stands properly for a
person, place or thing and in this case it is a person. It says that
In the beginning was, not only the thought of
God, but the thought of God was personified. Not only was the thought of
God existing in the beginning but the Word of God, the thought of God, was
personified Ė it had personhood and the Word, this person, this thought, this
Word was two things Ė the Word was with God and the Word was God.
Now I know Iíve taught this at different seasons in the life of
our church and I will certainly not spend as much time on it tonight as I have
in the past except to say that it is a mystery, it is extremely mysterious that
that Word, this thought, can both be with God and then be God at the same time.
So verse 1 ends by saying that the Word was with God Ė No. 1, and the Word was
God Ė thatís No. 2. To be with God means to have some distinction from Him. If
you are walking with me, that means you are distinct from me, that you and me
are not the same, thatís why you are with me Ė thereís distinction between the
two of us when you say something is with something else, correct?
But then when you say something is something, when you say one
thing is that thing, then that means there is not distinction but there is
uniqueness, that there is oneness between me and that thing that describes me.
So when you say that the Word was God you are actually are describing God, you are
saying the Word and God are equal, are the same, that they equal each other. So
the mystery is how can something be both with God and be God at the same time.
How can something be distinct and be uniquely the same at the same time. I
donít know, it is a mystery. The trinity is an enormous mystery of how God can
be three in one at the same time. However it is a mystery that is clearly
mentioned in Scripture, that the personhood of God, at least in this text, is
talking about the duality of Godís nature, if not the triunity of His nature, at
least in this text it is speaking of two and it says that this God was both
distinct and the same as the Word.
And then it says the same was in the beginning with God. All
things were made by Him. Now it gives us personality to the Word by calling the
Word a Him, everybody see that. So all things were made by Him and without Him
was not anything made that was made. You can stop there. All things that are
made, everything that exists, that God created, the Scripture says He created it
by Him and the Him is His Word, right class. And this Him, this Word that is a
person created or made everything that is made. Now that makes sense to me
because when you read Genesis 1 as we did last week, it is nothing but a
series of statements where God says ďLet there be, Let there be, and God said
ďLet that and God saidĒ and the mere saying of God is what produced this
creation, that creation started by God simply talking right. Now it makes sense
from Genesis 1 that everything that was made was made by the Word God
John 1 it says and by the way that Word that God was
saying, that Word was actually a person or rather a personality of God, that
Word had personhood and this Word did not just make everything but look at verse
4, In Him was life and the life was the light
of menĒ. In Him, in the Word was life, animation, meaning that nothing is
alive, all things that are living are living because the Word, the Him, induced
that life, produced that life. So all things that we have, that we see,
our life and your life, is because that Word produced the life. And it says
ďand the life was the light of menĒ. Now this light of men is sought of a
literature phrase that simply means the
ďunderstanding of menĒ or the illumination of men, the awareness is a better
word to say. The light bulb came on, if you would, man became or man is aware.
This is what the Scripture is calling light. Now this light that man is aware
of is a light Ė HE IS AWARE OF THREE THINGS:
1. He is aware of the world around him, the world in which he
lives. So he has been given five senses by which he is able to perceive the
world around him.
2. He is also aware of himself. He knows how he feels, he
knows what he thinks, he is aware that he exists, he is aware of his
personhood. He has been given a soul whereby he is able to communicate and
contact and connect with himself; and then
3. He is aware or he has been given the light of God, he is
aware of God. He has the ability to communicate and to commune with God.
This is the three lights of man. Man is aware of the world
around him through his flesh, through his body. He is aware of himself through
his soul and he is also aware Ė remember last week we said the knowledge of God
was in him (Romans 1, remember that class) so the knowledge of God is in
man and that makes him aware of God, and he is aware of God through his spirit.
We know this, this is a quick recap, the body gives man awareness of the world
around him, he can touch stuff, see stuff, sense stuff, smell stuff, hear stuff,
and he does that through his body.
Man is also aware of himself, and he does that through his soul,
through his mind, his emotions, his will, and he is also aware of God and he
does that through his spirit, and his spirit connects him and gives him
communion with God. So it says in verse 4
ďIn Him (in the Word) was life, animation Ė all things living
became alive because of the Him (that is the Word that came from God) and the
life (the Him that gave life) was the light of men. The fact man is alive says
he has these lights in him, these illuminations, these awarenesses in him and
the light shined in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.
That word ďcomprehendedĒ simply means ďovertook
it, or drowned it outĒ Ė the darkness could not drown it out.. Here is what it
means: That whenever man became alive, when man became aware Ė this awareness
of man was not darkened, was not drowned out by the darkness. Now of course the
light whereby man connects with God, his spirit, that fell in the garden;
everybody understand that. But when man was created he was created good, he was
created good. So when he was created all three lights were beaming and working
as they ought to work. You with me so far.
Then just as a note in case you are wondering who is this Word,
this Him, thatís in verses 1, 2 and 3 and 4, its revealed to us in verse 14
and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the
glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And the
only begotten of the Father is who class? Jesus Christ. So Jesus, Godís son, is
the Word and the Word is how the world was created. The Word is how the world
Very quickly if you will come to
Hebrews 1 and then weíll go back
to John 1. But in
Hebrews 1:1, Iíll read verses 1 and 2, in Hebrews 1 which
clarifies and expounds a bitter further on the notion of Christ, and his
involvement in creation. So verse 1 says: God who at sundry times and in
divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2); He has in
these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all
things (and this little phrase here is critical): By whom also He made the
worlds, that God made the worlds (this is all that is in creation, the whole
entire universe itself) that God made the worlds by Jesus Christ. Now in some
transliterations it actually says worlds ďare agesĒ. That its not just things,
but its ages, that these worlds are eons or ages, that God made the times, the
dispensations, that God made everything in human history and God made history
itself and He made the ages, the worlds, by the son, or by Jesus Christ. Or
Christ was the vehicle, the agent that God used to create. That is consistent
with what Genesis 1:1 teaches when it says ďIn the beginning God said "Let there
be, God said ďLet there beĒ.
John 1:1, and the Word was with God and was
God, 1:14 the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory as the
only begotten of the Father.
Now verse 3 in
Hebrews 1 defines this word, Christ, how he made
the worlds Ė he defines Jesus a bit further in his preexisting deity Ė verse 3:
ďWho (meaning Christ) being the brightness of Godís glory and the express image
of his person and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by
Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. Now
thatís a very loaded verse: Who, meaning Christ, being the brightness of His
glory (of Godís glory). I described this at some point before that if you were
to look at one of these bulbs that are shining what you are seeing is a bulb,
right. Jesus is the brightness, the shininess of the bulb. If God is the bulb,
Jesus is the shininess of it. Just like you canít separate light from its
source, I mean light and the source of light are one and the same. And we see
the light because the source of the light produces it, but you canít take light
and lock it away and take it away from its source. There is no such thing; the
way you see light is from its source. The effervescence of light comes from the
source of the light, right science majors. You canít take a box, capture this
light, seal the box and take it someplace else and open it up and thereís light
Ė it doesnít work that way because the only way we see this light is because we
are really seeing the bulb animated. It comes out as light, thatís how God and
Christ is explained in this verse 3, that if God is the bulb, if God is the
little filament inside the bulb, then Jesus is the light that comes out of that
filament. Everybody understands that right. And they are one and the same; so
He is the brightness of Godís glory.
Now remember the Bible says ďGod shares His glory with nobody,
remember thatĒ. So many would say ďI thought God shares His glory with no one,
He doesnít, because He isnít sharing His glory with Christ, Christ is the glory
of God. Christ is His glory. Christ doesnít have His glory, Christ is not
sharing in His glory, Christ is the glory of God. So when you look at God you
are looking at Christ and when you look at Christ you are looking at God.
Thatís why the Bible says in John 14, whenever Phillip begged him and said ďLord
Jesus please show us the Father and weíll be satisfied because Jesus is telling
his disciples, Iím on my way getting ready to leave, I am departing, I am
leaving this earth, Iím going to be gone and I want you to know that you are
going to be taken care so he goes through this litany of explanations to them
and Philip before he gets started ďHe says ďListen, I understand all about this
heaven and mansion stuff but if you would just show us about the Father we will
be satisfied. We have never seen God, you are getting ready to go, you are the
only thing weíve had to remind us of God, can we see God so weíll know He really
does exist and weíll be happy.
But then Jesus says to him: ďPhilip, how long have I been with
you and you still donít know me. Any man who has seen me has seen the FatherĒ.
Are you getting the concept. Any man who has seen me has seen the Father.
Hereís what it says: That he is the brightness of Godís glory. Then it says
ďHe is the express image of His personĒ. The express image, underline
express image. Express image actually in its original language means the
exact form, same form, oneness. Itís not just that Jesus is the glory of God,
but Jesus is the exact duplication of all that God is so there is no part of God
that is not Jesus and there is no part of Jesus that is not God. Everybody get
that; that he is the exact express one-to-one representation of God. That when
you look at Christ (as Iíve already said) you are looking at God. When you look
at God (which you wonít do until you get to heaven) you are looking at Christ,
that he is the express image of His person.
Now the word person, means character. He is the express image of
the character of God. God is Love, Joy, Peace, Mercy, Grace, Powerful,
Righteousness Ė Jesus is the exact representation of the person of God. And
then the third thing that this verse mentions here is that It says ďHe is
upholding all things by the Word of His power, meaning that God didnít just make
the worlds through Christ or by Christ but He has put the management of the
worlds into the mouth of Christ, that the Word of Christ is upholding,
sustaining the worlds Ė all the things that He has made. Now hereís what that
means. Worlds is not just stuff but it is ages, so that means the ages, the
times, history itself is turning on the Word of Christ; that the reason we had a
yesterday was because of Jesus and the reason we will have a tomorrow, if we
have one, is because of Jesus Ė that the world and the ages of the world are
hinging upon the very word of Jesus Christ. Then it says: ďWho when he had
purged our sins sat down on the right hand of the majesty on highĒ.
Now there are a lot of people who read that last phrase, sat down
on the right hand of the majesty on high and they say ďAha, there it is, Jesus
is sitting down beside God, there is three thrones in heaven, heís not God heís
beside Him. I say well first of all you donít know John 1:1 because the Bible
already told you He was with Him and He was Him Ė that ainít a mystery so you
donít have a ďaha nothingĒ, but you also donít understand the literature that
the text is written in. The right hand of something doesnít mean when you get
to heaven you are going to see a middle throne where God is and then a left
throne where the Holy Ghost is and a right throne where Jesus is Ė
right hand means authority.
So when it says He sat down on the right hand
of His Majesty on high it means He sat down in the position of authority; that
he has the very authority or God Ė that the authority of Christ is the authority
of God. So when Jesus said something it is the exact same as God saying
something. He spoke with the exact same authority and power and presence of
God. Alright, you got that Ė Heís Godís right hand man.
As a matter of fact it says earlier in the first and second verse
that God is no longer speaking to man at all; heís no longer speaking to man.
That anytime God has something to say to man, he says it through His son. ďHath
in these last days spoken unto us by His son whom he hath appointed heir of all
thingsĒ. So it says when God has something to say to you He is going to say it
through Jesus and its interesting that when you have something to say to God you
got to say it through Jesus.
That when God talks to you He talks to you in
the name of His son and when you talk to God, you better talk to God in the name
of His son because no man comes to the Father except by Jesus Christ, remember.
And ainít it interesting that God comes to no man except by Jesus Christ, that
when God came down into human history, when God came down in the saga of
mankindís existence He came down through Jesus Christ; thatís why Jesus is the
mediator between God and man, that man donít talk to God unless he comes through
Jesus and God donít talk to man unless he goes through Jesus and by the way
Jesus and God are the same.
This is why as well meaning as other faiths and religions are
they are not prayer religions; they are not. They are meditative, they are
inspirational, they are corrective, they can help you live good lives but they
do not connect you with God because the only, only, only way that you can ever
connect with God is through Jesus Christ. Why? Because He hath in these last
days spoken to us by his son; that his son is the express image of his person;
that when God shines Jesus is the brightness that shines Him out.
Now the big question that I donít want to get into what about all of these
people who have never heard of Jesus before, never heard of him at all Ė how can
they connect with God. And hereís what I say to you about that. First of all,
that God has a specific will for those individuals who have never heard of Jesus
at all. Secondly, whenever I hear people ask me that question I say to them
ďAre you really concerned about those people? Well yeah. Or are you trying to
argue something about God and fairness and what if, what are you doing, are you
concerned about them people? Iím concerned about them people. Okay, well I
want to get you a plane ticket so you can go and witness to them and they will
hear about Jesus from you. Well that ainít what Iím saying pastor. Well okay
you are not concerned about them people, you just want to make an argument.
Because I donít know the name Jesus doesnít mean I donít
understand the mission and purpose of Jesus because the name Jesus or the person
of Jesus, the Christ who came as a baby in the manger, I may never know that
story but all I need to know to know Jesus is to know sin, thatís all I need to
know to know Jesus is to know sin. And I donít care what tribe you come from,
everybody knows sin. You know sin by whatever name you want to call it. If
there is no language you still know sin because sin is that thing you feel when
you do something wrong, and the whole notion of wrong says there must be right.
thereís a wrong there has to be a right, and if thereís a right how do you
know its right unless there is a standard of right. And if there is some
standard or right, and that standard of right must be supreme and superior over
all other standards. Therefore if I know wrong then I must know right, and if I
know right Ė Iíve gotta know that standard Ė and if I know that standard I have
to know there is a Supreme Being or some supreme idea that makes that standard
right, and when Iím wrong Iíve fallen short of the standard.
I just set up the Gospel and you never heard Jesusí name
mentioned at all. Everybody get the idea. Now the notion becomes what does
that person do to make right what he knows he has fallen short of? When he
stands before God heís being judged on his knowledge of sin and his knowledge of
what he was to do to correct that sin. What prayer? What request? What idea?
What concept and he only can respond based on
the light that he was given. Are you understanding it; and the light that he
was given he was given that light, according to John 1 by Christ because
in Him was life and the life was the light of all men. How many men?
All men. So there are going to be some Aborigines who never heard the
name Jesus who are going to be in heaven, never heard the name but they
responded appropriately to the light. I will tell you one person who never
heard the name Jesus who is in heaven; his name is Abel. You donít know Abel.
You donít know Abel? Abel never heard the name Jesus, all Abel
knew is that Iíve sinned, Iíve fallen, Iím missing that standard, Iíve got to
bring some sacrifice whereby that standard, whereby I can be forgiven for my sin
and he brought God a blood offering. In his culture, in his time and in his
understanding that was the way sin was paid for. Are you getting the notion.
And the Bible is extremely clear Ė God accepted Abel and his offering because
that offering was all the light that Abel had and the light he had was the
atonement of his sins, and that was all the light he had and he responded to all
the light he had and Cain had just as much light as Abel, but Cain did not
respond to the light that he had and the Bible is very clear Ė God did not
accept Cain nor his offering. Everybody understand that.
So it says ďwho being the brightness of His glory and the express
image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He
had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on
high (his right hand, his seat of authority, and everything God does He does it
through Jesus Christ). Lets go back to Genesis 1 please and lets look at
this whole issue of how man and God are interacting together and how that
interaction started in creation.
Genesis 1 we have the overview and then in
we have the description. The overview of the creation of man, man only, is
given in general terms in
26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
and let them have
dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the
air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing
that creepeth upon the earth.
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male
female created he them.
Now this is the overview. This is the summary of what God did,
that God made man, mankind, male and female, made He them in His own image.
Now in the image and likeness of God does not
mean that man looks like God, that is not what it means. But what it does mean
is that manís internal functions are designed and patterned after God.
So my internal function; one of the things that I can do and that you can do is
think, canít you Ė you and I can think right. Well we are made in the image of
God so that means God thinks and we got thinking from Him.
Another thing we can do is reason, we can feel, we can
love Ė can we not. We can ďemoteĒ Ė thatís what emotions are and you got
that from God because God has reason, feelings, emotions Ė you got that from God.
Another thing you can do is decide to stand up, walk over to the wall, stay
there awhile, come back to your seat anytime you want to. No matter how crazy
you look because you have freedom of choice. You can choose, you have the
freedom to choose and you got that from God because God has the freedom to
choose. This is what it means by being made in the image and likeness of God.
Now there is something that I believe is higher than any of those
things that you are able to do that no one else is able to do but us and God are
able to do this that no animal, dog, cat, and that is we have a sense of
rightness and wrongness. We have a moral
conscience. We have a sense of right and wrong. Apart from consequence,
apart from reward or punishment, we have an idea, a sense of right and wrong.
It is what makes you cringe when you see someone abusing a child. It is what
makes you angry when you see someone abusing a senior citizen. It is this moral
conscience of right and wrong and the younger you are the stronger it is and the
older you get the more tainted it is.
Now thatís the thing moral conscience, thatís what animals do not
have. I donít care how much you love Fluffy, Fluffy has no idea of what is
right and wrong; the only way you can get Fluffy to do right is either put it
instinctively in Fluffy therefore it ainít a conscience, its instinct Ė thatís a
different thing or you know, rub his face in it and he will start doing right.
Otherwise Fluffy has no moral conscience. I know you think your dog loves you
but he does not love you; he is incapable of that emotion. Dogs donít love; I
canít get no Amens on that. Fee Fee loves me, no Fee Fee doesnít. Fee Fee has
been given an instinct to follow a pack leader and Fee Fee sees you as a pack
leader because you feed Fee, you take care of Fee Fee, so he sees you as a pack
leader. If I come over to your house and Fee Fee says ďYou donít feed me, you
donít take care of me, you ainít my pack leader, Fee Fee is going to try and
bite me and then I am going to have to hurt Fee Fee. I got to protect myself;
and then you get all mad because you say ďFee Fee would never hurt anybodyĒ, yes
Fee Fee would Ė its in Fee Feeís instinct to hurt people; thatís why his teeth
are sharpóhave you looked at Fee Feeís teeth Ė she has sharp teeth for biting
people. My dog has never bit me, because you feed it Ė are you getting the
Love and those emotions animals cannot give but humans have the
ability to give them. Morality, moral conscience humans have the ability to
give them and you know why because God said this about man and nobody else.
Let us make man in our own image. It was almost as if God said to the
Father, Son and Spirit, as if there was a collective agreement between the
Trinity that we want to put the full essence of who we are inwardly in the
functionality and in the heart and in the conscience of man so that man will
become a small (and please donít mishear this statement) representation of who
we are in the earth; that doesnít mean man is a little god, or a demigod or we
are small gods, No, No, No Ė all that means is when God wants to show off what
it feels like to be loved He made man to represent that.
When God wanted to demonstrate what its like to be at peace He
only gave man the ability to demonstrate that. When God wanted to say ďWeíve
got this thing, Jesus, Spirit, Father Ė weíve got this thing called ďJoyĒ and we
experience it in perfect union between the three of us, how can we get man to
experience that joy that is amazing Ė the only way is to put it inside of it;
are you getting the idea Ė and that is the image and likeness of God. So that
man reflects Godís personhood in his own being and in his own body; that the
existential reality of man is that I am in the image of God, I cry, I feel, I
know right from wrong, I love, I have joy, I can experience peace, I get angry,
I get frustrated, I get disappointed, I get sad and the list goes on and on.
Now thatís the overview, He said 27So God created man in his
own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Now lets move on to and in 2 we have more detail of exactly how that happened;
so look at what it says:
7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
This is how man became, that God formed man Ė critical Ė of the dust of
ground and then God breathed into man and Godís breath made man a soul.
Now youíve got three things Ė youíve got formed of the dust of the ground, the
dirt of the ground became manís body (flesh), then God breathed into man and
that became manís spirit and when the spirit of God touched the flesh of man,
man became animated and that was his soul.
So man became animated, man got a soul when Godís spirit breathed
into him. The word for breath in Hebrew is nĕshamah which is the very
word for spirit which is also transliterated as pneuma in the Greek which
is the same word for spirit Ė that the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord,
the Holy Spirit, God breathed into man and when God placed the spirit into man,
manís flesh became a soul. So here you have man now where dirt becomes skin,
muscle, tissue, organs, blood and heart starts pumping and beating and this dirt
pile all gets animated with such precision and clarity, his brain starts working
and he can actually think. You know its kind of like the tin man got his brain,
he can think, see, animate and that is the soulishness of man. Now the
soulishness of man is moving and thriving because God breathed His spirit into
it but donít forget that what is moving and thriving is still flesh, and when
God finished what He did that thing that He made was alive and thinking and
moving and reasoning in the image of God with all the emotive properties of God
Ė it can reason and think and love and feel and CHOOSE. It can choose because
that is a part of the image of God. So God now has placed man in His own unique
environment for man to exercise all of those properties that He gave him. The
only place man can do all of the stuff that his soul is able to do is on the
earth and God gave him a good earth to be on.
He took care of manís body by saying the herbs of the fields you
can use that for meat and the list goes on and on; He took care of manís need
for esthetic beauty by all the beauty He has given him. He took care of manís
need for purpose by giving him a job.
I mean every need that man has God took care of it because He understood manís
needs because those needs come from the image of God Himself. And man also has
a need to exercise freedom; that is a need that man has. He is made in Godís
image; he cannot not choose. So in order for man to fully be what God created
man to be, a choosing being, He had to give man something to choose. So just
like He gave man something to eat, because his flesh Ė the dirt Ė needed food,
just like He gave man something to feel (it ainít good for man to be alone) so
He made Eve, made her good looking), something to do, a purpose to have, just
like He gave man relationship with Him because His Spirit is connected to God Ė
I mean he had everything Ė but he also had to choose so He gave man something to
choose. He said ďYou can have fruit from any tree in this garden you want
but from this tree you must choose not to eat. Have a nice eternityĒ. Iíll
see you in 37 million years, enjoy yourself Ė be fruitful and multiply. Have as
many children as you want, are you getting it.
God goes away, and the angels watch to see what is going to
happen. God knows what is going to happen because Heís God and he has a chance
to choose. Satan comes by, Lucifer the one who fell long before we get to man
being created and Lucifer comes in the form of a snake and tells Eve ďdoesnít
them grapes look goodĒ. And you know the rest of the story; and man chose to
disobey God. Ainít it funny how man used the very image of God to disobey God,
that man used some glorious blessing that God gave him; he used that blessing to
rebel against God; ainít that a mess. Well why you so surprised because we do
it everyday. Every single day we use the blessings God has given us, our
tongue, our mind, our eyes, our hands, we use the blessings God has given us to
use them to rebel against the very God who gave it to us. Are you getting the
notion and the idea. So when man fell the part
of man that went silent was the breath. The soul still is animated, once God
causes your soul to live it cannot die. You will live forever, either in heaven
or in hell, understand. And your flesh, well it is going to die as soon as your
soul stops. So the spirit went silent, and when the spirit went silent, now man
has this fallen flesh that is on him, that dirt became flesh, itís a human
nature upon him, its fallen and when he gets saved his spirit becomes alive
again but that flesh is still fallen, and he has to battle with the flesh on a
So I want to turn to
Psalm 115. I want to end tonight
with introducing the notion of the sovereignty of God because at this point
whenever you understand the creation and when you understand as a brief quick
way of explaining the fall, now the big question is why did God do this, why do
it this way. Well God is sovereign and I donít know why God created man, gave
man a choice, man fell, He knew man would fall but He still did it anyway. I
have no idea why God allowed man to use what God gave him, blessed him with, to
rebel against him; I have no idea. Why evil exists, why the world is wicked,
why evil things happen, I donít know, but one thing I do know is that whatever
happened it happens because God wants it that way.
So in verse 1 of
Psalm 115 we introduce ourselves now to
the notion of the sovereignty of God
1Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy
mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
2Wherefore should the heathen say, Where
is now their God?
And verse 3 is the critical one that I want us to look at.
3But our God is in the heavens:
he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
That God has done whatever He wanted to do. That everything that
is done is done because God wanted to do it. So whenever you ask yourself about
the fall and about sin and about evil and about ugly and about wickedness, here
is the answer. It exists because God has seen fit in its existence to be
pleased with it. That is a tough statement, isnít it. ďSo you mean to tell me
that wickedness pleases GodĒ? Well the act of wickedness doesnít please God, no
it displeases God, but the existence of wickedness it could not exist unless it
served some pleasure to God. Bothering you yet?
ďBut wait a minute, when planes fall out the sky, hundreds of
people die, that pleases GodĒ? Well the act of planes falling out of the sky
doesnít please God Ė He is not a masochistic, Heís not waiting on bad things to
happen and he laughs out over it, but the existence of death, the existence of
tragedy, the very fact that tragedy and death and calamity and mayhem happens,
it serves a pleasure unto God. ďYou mean sick bodies, Iím sick, Iíve got this
disease or that disease and Iím dying and you mean to tell me that pleases
GodĒ. Well the act of that doesnít please God Ė No it saddens God, but the
existence of sickness, the existence of disease, the existence of death Ė that
existence itself serves a pleasure to God. ďHow do you know?Ē Because if it
didnít serve a pleasure to God, it would not exist.
ďSo you mean to tell me that that tree in the middle of the
garden, that tree of the knowledge of good and evil, with all that fruit on it Ė
that it pleased God?Ē Absolutely, or it wouldnít exist, and manís right to
choose to eat it pleased God? Right, or it wouldnít exist. ďAnd when man went
to eat it that pleased God? No, No, No, No, No Ė the action of man didnít
please God, not at all, but the freedom to choose even that which is wrong
served the pleasure of God. ďWhat you talking about WillisĒ? Well let me read
something else to you in just a second before you say ďThat ainít fair, how can
Job 23 and I donít have time to do this so Iíll have to
stop. If you feel like injustice and sin and wickedness and evil and calamity
and tragedy is not right, is not fair, I want to tell you you are not by
yourself, Job felt the same way. Hereís what Job said:
1Then Job answered and said,
2Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my
[The lashes I take are heavier than the crimes Iím making]
3Oh that I knew where I might
[now that sounds like fighting words, doesnít it? Job said I wish I knew
where he was, where he at, where he at] that I might come even to his
seat! [He said I would even walk into Godís throne
and I would, verse 4]
4I would order my cause before him, and
fill my mouth with arguments. [Havenít
you ever felt that way? After me telling you that all this stuff serves a
pleasure unto God, donít you feel like that thereís some arguments. If Iím
right, and I think you are probably saying that in your mind because you canít
imagine that to be so, that Pastor canít be right about that Ė but lets just say
Iím right for just a moment. If Iím right, then donít you have an issue with
God? Job said I would fill my mouth with arguments, Iíve got some things I want
to tell him, I want to give God a piece of my mind.
5I would know the words which he
would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. [Now
hereís where Job is a little bit better than us. Job says ď
Iím sure there is a
logical explanation. Iím sure God has a good reason for doing the stuff He
does. I donít know why He does what He does, but Iím sure He has a good
reason. I want to wait and hear what Heís going to say and answer me whenever I
ask him questions]
6Will he plead against me with his great
power? No; but he would put strength in me.
[I know He has a good answer and when I find His answer I am
going to feel better.]
7There the righteous might dispute with
him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.
[He says ďBut I canít get an answer from God]
8Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot
9On the left hand, where he doth work,
I cannot behold him:
he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
So even though He is hurting me, even though he slays me I am
still going to trust Him, even though I have lost all, seen calamity, seen
tragedy, seen death and I know in some way it has to serve some pleasure to Him
because He keeps doing it; he could stop it if He wanted to, I got to trust that
He knows the way that I take, and obviously He is trying me and when He tries me
I shall come forth as gold.
10But he knoweth the way that I take: when he
hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
11My foot hath held his steps, his way have I
kept, and not declined.
12Neither have I gone back from the
of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
And Job goes on and on but he says in verse 13.
But look at God, no matter what I do, no matter how much I try to
do right and live right and serve Him right, and all this stuff
13But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
14For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and
many such things are with him.
15Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider [that
thought], I am afraid of him.
16For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:
17Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he
covered the darkness from my face.
These are things that God has appointed for Job. Lets go back.
When a plane falls out the sky is that not Godís appointment? When a body gets
sick is it not Godís appointment? When a person lays before us and has died, it
is not Godís appointment? When an accident takes a life of a 13 year old, is it
not Godís appointment? When tragedy strikes or a war breaks out, or genocide
happens in Darfur or child soldiers are killing even their parents, is it not
Godís appointment. Can anything happen that God has not appointed, and if
somebody else appointed it, who is it and where did they get such authority to
make appointments in a world they did not create? So the question is ďWhy in
the world does stuff like that serve a pleasure unto God?. Why would He cause
Job to lose everything he has, whatís that about? Weíll answer that next week.
There was not much hand clapping after this sermon? People were
very quiet and I understand why?