Thursday, January 31, 2019

Galatians Bible Study In Defense of Grace Lesson #5

Galatians 4:8-20 The argument from Paul's relationship with the Galatians

Audio Link

4:8-11 Paul’ Personal Appeal to the Galatians

Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.  But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.  I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

What was Paul’s accusing the Galatians of doing?
They were moving back and away from their firsthand knowledge of God to the same kind of knowledge that they had when they were idol worshippers.

Why did Paul a connection between idolatry and legalism?
Both were what he considered “weak and beggarly elements,” both moved them from freedom in their relationship with God to bondage based on things.

What things does Paul use as examples?
He said the Galatians were observing days, months, times and years. In other words they had begun to use things associated with God, (feasts, rites, etc) as their means of relating to God rather than grace and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It appears the Galatians may have become enamored with the elements of Jewish feasts and rites such as Passover, the seven feasts and the Jewish calendar.

Application: Can you think of other Christian groups that have readopted Jewish customs? What do you think Paul would say to them?

Argument from Paul’s personal relationship with the Galatians

Galatians 4:12-20 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.   Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.  And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.  Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.  Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?  They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.  But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.  My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,  I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

Vs. 12 What is Paul saying when he writes, “be as I am for I am as you are.”
Be a Christian free from the Law.  They should abandon those things that are threatening to bring bondage and be free as Paul is in Christ. In a sense he had become a Gentile by leaving those same things behind.

Ye have not injured me at all.
Paul had not been hurt by the Galatians when he first knew them, he still believed they would not bring him to injury now by the wrong action.

Vs 13 What infirmity was Paul reminding them of?
It appears that when he was with them he was sick but they did not discount him but instead saw him as an angel of the Lord. This again is a reminder of where the power of the gospel is found, not in the flesh but in itself and in the spirit, even when given from a weak and sick messenger.

Vs. 15 What type of relationship did Paul and the Galatians share?
Judging my his statement that they would have “plucked out their eyes for him,” Paul and the Galatians loved each other in the Gospel and in the work.

Vs. 15 Paul cannot believe that they have rejected not just the Gospel and grace but they have rejected him as well because he tells them the truth.

Vs. 17 They zealously affect you but now well. They would exclude you…
The idea here as they the Judaizes were very eager and passionate in bring in the Galatians to their view but that would also exclude the Galatians from Paul, and even from the truth lest that association affect them.

It is good to be zealously affected in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
Paul chides them that they once cared for him and the truth with same eager affection while he was with them. It would have been good to continue that care even after he was no longer there.

Vs. 19 Paul says he “travails in birth” until Christ be formed in you, what does he mean?
He is not finished working, teaching or praying for them. As a mother has pain when she gives give birth, Paul is hurting for them, they are not delivered yet, they are not mature in Christ.

Vs. 20  Paul says he longs to be with them and, "Change my voice." What does he mean?
That if he were with them personally, he could change from the harsh, correction of a letter to a softer more emotional and tender appeal.

Vs. 21 What is Paul’s final personal warning to them?
He stands in doubt of them. Like people he once knew but no longer can even recognize. This is how shocking it is to him to see them walk away from Grace and back to works.

Galatians 4:21- 5:1 The argument from an Allegory 

Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?  For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.  But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.  Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.  For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.  For it is written, Rejoice, [thou] barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.  But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him [that was born] after the Spirit, even so it is now.  Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

What is an allegory?
A story or event which teaches a deeper truth than just that which is first seen.

Who are the character in this story and what do each represent?
Two sons of Abraham, Ismael the older and Isaac the younger.
The bondwoman, Haggar.
The freewoman, Sarah.
Ishmael the son of Haggar the slave represents the flesh, the law.
Isaac the son of Sarah the freewoman represents promise and grace.

What else do the two women and their sons represent?
Haggar (Agar) represent Mt. Sinai, the old covenant and the old Jerusalem. She represents bondage.
Sarah represents the New Jerusalem, freedom and the mother of all who are of grace through the promise.
Isaac represent us as the children of promise.

What is Paul’s final parallel from this allegory and the Galatians struggle?
He that was born after the flesh persecutes him that was born after the Spirit?

In what way does the flesh persecute even now?
In this time the Judaizers were afflicting the Galatians with a return to bondage. Today, the law afflicts grace and the freedom we have in Christ by driving us back to a form of legalism.

Vs. 30 What does Paul say is the remedy to this persecution, this struggle?
Cast out the bondwoman.  Just as God told Abraham to do in the Genesis account. Rid your life of the legalistic elements which bring you back under bondage and weaken grace and steal your liberty in Christ.

Why is 5:1 a conclusion rather than a beginning of the next section or chapter?
It is a conclusion as seen by the word therefore.  It summarizes and encapsulates the preceding arguments of Paul.

What is Paul's conclusion, his final thought to the doctrinal section of the letter to the Galatians?
Stand fast, in the liberty wherein Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.


Paul makes his appeal both on a personal emotional level and also on a doctrinal, scriptural level. Both are meant to make sense to the Galatians, one by asking them to remember the fondness they had for their first teacher, Paul and the second by showing them from the Old Testament, that what they have as New Testament believers is far better than become Old Covenant law keepers.

For us it is a warning to stand fast in liberty and grace and to be very careful that we are not draw away from those blessing to a formal, ritualist type of Christian legalism that robs us of the joy we should have in our relationship with Jesus Christ who died that we might be free.

Monday, January 28, 2019

God in the Torah #3: God Revealed

God Revealed

Text: Exodus 7-8

Preview: Why should we believe in the existence of God? How is God revealed?

The 5 great philosophical arguments for the existence of God are very famous. They are….

The Cosmological Argument
Everything which began must have had a creator.
Hebrews 3:4  For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

The Teleological Argument
Order and useful arrangement imply intelligence and purpose.
Psalm 94:9  He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?

The Moral Argument
There are fundamental moral laws in every culture. 
Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
Romans 2:14-15  For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

The Ontological Argument
The idea of God is Proof of His Existence.

The Argument from Congruity
The belief in the existence of God best explains the facts of mental, moral and religious nature, as well as the fact of the material universe.
Today we are not going to try and prove the existence of God from philosophy but instead show the existence of God by His own revelation. We will let God show Himself.

A man was walking along a cliff admiring the view when the edge suddenly gave way and he fell. As he slid down toward certain death he desperately clutched at anything to stop his fall and suddenly his hand latched onto a small scraggly bush growing on the side of the cliff. He was to far down to climb up and to fall was to die, so he began to call out, “Help, Is anybody up there?” After several cries he heard a voice coming from above that said, “This is God. I will help you.” The man was so relieved but a little skeptical. “Oh thank you for answering me. I need rescuing.” God said, “I will save you from falling if you will have faith.” The man said, “Oh I have faith. No problem.” Then God said, “Let go of the bush and I will save you.” The man thought for a moment, looked down to the rocks a hundred feet below him and then called out, “Is there anybody else up there.”

Often when you meet people who don’t believe in God or aren’t sure of His existence, they will tell you, If God would just reveal Himself. If he would just prove His existence then I would believe in Him.  Yet the truth is that God has revealed Himself many times to mankind and yet many still don’t believe.

In the Garden, as we saw last week, God would come in the cool of the evening and walk with Adam and Eve. God revealed himself everyday, like a welcome guest to your home. But when Adam sinned that revelation stopped because sin that was not in man separated him from His God. Since that time God has chosen to reveal himself at different time and in different ways.

The Revelation of God is a separate part of Theology. Let me give you another definition you probably won’t remember very long but it will help set the stage for we are going to look at today.

Historically, the two avenues through which God has taken the initiative to reveal Himself have been labeled general and special revelation. General revelation includes all that God has revealed in the world around us, including man, while special revelation includes various means He used to communicate His message in what was codified in the Bible. General revelation is sometimes called natural theology, and special revelation is called revealed theology. But, of course, what is revealed in nature is also revealed in theology. Some writers use the labels prelapsarian for general revelation and postlapsarian or soteric for special revelation. However, both general and special revelation are (a) from God and (b) about God. – Ryrie, Basic Theology.
Whoa, prelapsarian and postlapsarin, yeow! Now there are some real 10-dollar words. If you didn’t put at least ten dollars in the offering plate today you may want to write another check before you leave. All we are saying is that just as our lost and atheistic friends are saying, God has revealed himself, many time and in many ways throughout history and continues to reveal Himself today. The problem is not with God’s revelation but like the man hanging from on the side of the cliff with certain death waiting for us, we continue to call out for someone else, someone, anyone but just not God.

God Revealed Against the False Gods of Egypt.

Exodus 7:1-5  And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.  Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.  And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.  But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt,

God Reveals Himself through Moses and Aaron by destroying the Gods of Egypt in the Ten plagues. 

1st Plague: The water turned to blood. The was God’s judgment upon “Hapi” – the God of the Nile.
Egypt worshipped the Nile god as their daily source of life and sustenance since it was the waters of the Nile that watered their crops and gave them water that was necessary for drinking, cleaning, and bathing. Now that life-giving water carried nothing but death.
It was the Nile that had taken the life of thousands of Hebrew baby boys and now the waters of the Nile turned to blood showing the reality of the murder and death of innocent children. 

2nd Plague, the frogs. The frogs were a judgement against “Heqt” – a frog headed goddess that represented the resurrection of the dead of Egypt.
The Egyptians viewed the frogs as a blessing that kept the insect population down, but God turned that “blessing” into a curse when the frogs erupted from the Nile and filled their houses and then died their making the land stink.

3rd and 4th were the plagues of lice and of flies. These were judgments against “Kheper” – the god of beetles and flies.
God’s plague was to prove to Egypt that he had power over the power of their idol to control the population of flies and lice that brought disease to the land. The lice may have been any small, biting, stinging insect from lice, to sand fleas, to gnats or mosquitoes.  It drove the people to distraction, all they could think of was the incessant, buzzing, biting and stinging of these monsters they could not escape from.
Where was their god? Why did he not intervene? Why had something that was his symbol been turned into such misery to those who worshipped Him. With the plague of flies, God put a difference between his people and the people of Egypt. The plague would strike in Egypt but not in Goshen where the Hebrews were forced to live.

5th was the murrain or sickness (anthrax) upon all the cattle. This was God’s judgment against “Apis”, the sacred bull of Egypt.
This was God’s way of letting Egypt know that the blood of bulls was not sufficient to cleanse their sin and to show that their animal god was no god at all. This was the same animal that later at Mt Sinai the people would once again sacrifice their gold for and build the golden calf and worship it at the very foot of the mountain where God was given the Law to Moses.

6th The plague of boils (huge running sores). This was God’s judgment against the Egyptian gods “Imhotep” the physician god, and “Thoth”, the god of magic and healing.
No medicine could relieve the pain and suffering, no magic potion could remove God’s wrath. No god could heal them, their gods were powerless to teach them how they could overcome the power of the God of the Hebrews.

7th The plague of hail was directed against “Nut”, the Egyptian sky goddess.
God rained fire and brimstone, mixed with hail; upon the Egyptians to show that he had all power in earth and sky.

8th was the plague of locusts. It was directed against “Seth”, the god of crops.
God’s judgment destroyed those very crops that Seth was supposed to protect and keep from harm. The Egyptians looked on helplessly as the insects devoured their very life.

9th was the plague of darkness was God’s judgment against “Ra”, the Egyptian sun god.
Ra was the Egyptian idol that represented creation for they knew that all life depended upon the heat and light of the sun. God’s judgment against the power of the sun to give light was to prove to the Egyptians that he was the Creator of all things and that no other god could stand before him.

10th was the death of the firstborn. This most terrible judgment was against Pharaoh and the bloodline to the throne of Egypt.

Pharaoh was also worshipped as a god among the Egyptians. He was a man-god and the omnipotent God of Heaven judged him as unholy and impotent.

The Danger of Denying God

From the river to the ruler Pharaoh, God judged the idolatry of Egypt and showed it as powerless. In pouring out His judgment through Moses and Aaron He revealed Himself as the one true God, the creator of all peoples, not just the God of the Hebrews but also the God of Egyptians. 

Nor was not it only the Egyptians that God was revealing Himself to. The Children of Israle, His own people, had begun to worship the Egyptian Gods after 400 years in captivity. They also needed to see that there was only one God and that He was greater than all the idols of Egypt.

Finally, after the death of the firstborn Pharaoh agreed to let God’s people go.
It took the death of his own son, the loss of his family before Pharaoh would finally relent and finally admit defeat. He finally understood that he could not stand against God, but oh the price of that lesson. Oh the loss and suffering for so many people for so many years to come, all because one man had dared to stand and defy the true God.

When you look around us today you see another nation that is denying the true God of creation. 

When you hear a political party erupt in boos and jeers at the mention of God’s name during their nominating convention, you hear the denial of God.

When you read about a state controlled by men and women who celebrate the murder of the unborn in the womb of their own mothers, you hear the people denying God.

When you see people marching in support of the worst forms of debauchery, sexual confusion and sexual immorality you see people denying the existence of God.

Today many in our nation don’t believe that God exists and like the Egyptians they have put their faith in their own gods but let me stand before you today and tell you without a shadow of doubt, that just as God judged the gods of Egypt, and in that judgment revealed Himself, he is also showing Himself in judgment against the gods of today.

God Revealed against the Gods of Today.

The gods of Today

God struck the idols of Egypt and we say, “Amen, Praise the Lord. How could anyone be so stupid as to worship statues of wood and stone? They deserve red to be judged and they did, but our perspective of idolatry may need to be updated, for I’m afraid we are still worshipping idols in our society today. Perhaps on a scale ever greater than the pagans of ancient times.

The Idol of Sexual Promiscuity
We worship sex as much as the Greek and the Romans. They did it the name of a god or goddess we do it without any such pretense. We worship for its own sake.

God’s judgment is sure and easily seen in the pain, suffering and heartache of promiscuous sex but still we worship. Married couples are close to being a minority in our country because people think living together makes more sense than marriage. Do you realize that according the  most recent studies, we as Americans are not even having enough children to sustain ourselves. We are literally dying as a people.

Do you understand that the vast majority of violence in the home, the murder of children by adults and the murder of partners is done by people who are living together without being married. 

Judgment is upon them and us and they do not even realize or care. We continue to harden their hearts.

The Idol of Recreation/Hedonism

We worship at the altar of escape. We run to the lakes to rivers and the mountains. We gather round the computers, televisions and entertainment centers. We go anywhere or anyplace to try and find pleasure and recreation.

In ancient Greece this was called Hedonism and it has not changed much since. People who are willing to do anything and try anything in order to avoid pain and find pleasure.

God’s judgment falls in the form of mindless minds and empty souls. People who cannot live their own lives because they have avoided anything painful or difficult and thus have never learned to grow up.

They bring suffering to all those around them because they must be carried as children even when they should be adults. They cannot function in an adult world and continue to look to someone else to bring them their food, raise their children and even make their decisions.
The Idol of Greed

The belief that the most important this is the getting of wealth and the power it brings. People sacrifice their lives and families for it and suffer that loss for the rest of their days.

The Idol of Human Government
The worship of government which believes that Uncle Sam or some other government is that which will save us and make our lives better.

It is this belief which made thousands of people wait for their government to save them from Katrina only to realize too late that their god had failed them as such gods always will fail them.

The Idol of Nature
There are those who worship nature, believing that only in nature is there perfection and peace.
What do they do with their peace of nature when hurricanes batter their homes and earthquake kill by the thousands? How do you turn to Gaia or Mother Nature when she can’t even hear your cries?

The Idol of False Gods

Others look to Buddha, Mohammed or any thousands of gods of the Hindu religion, believing that devotion to idols or to men can bring happiness in this life and life after death.
God’s judgment on them in this life is poverty and pain. It is the sacrifice of their children to be bound into a caste system, locked into poverty or formed into suicide bombers and their future to filled with hopelessness and violence.

The Idol of Science/ Technology

Some believe that Science will lift mankind to greater heights and greater height of evolution and enlightenment. That it will finally bring him past the ignorance and suffering of this present time and those things that have held man back like God, churches and religion. Especially the religion called Christianity.

Instead of a savior of humanity we find a mass killer. First we see our homes and minds polluted by sin that would never have been allowed in except through our TVs or our computers. 

Then after our minds have been conditioned by what has entered our eyes and ears, we then begin to believe it is best for science to determine the worth of human life and the very right even to existence.  Instead of God determining if human life is sacred we allow technology and science to make that decision. Who lives and how dies is now under the authority of the elite and educated. 

But the outcome of denying God is that our babies are killed in the womb, our children are drugged and brainwashed until they no longer know that a man is a man or a woman is a woman. They no longer believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. We worship at the altar of science and soon our sick and ill are disposed of instead of treated and our aged are euthanasied. Clinic and hospitals that used to save lives, now become places of clean, human scientific death.

We have Idols of Drugs/ Alcoholism

It is now legal in 14 states to smoke marijuana and in 3 states you don’t even need the pretense of a pseudo-prescription. Can you imagine the judgment we will be reaping in the years to come from such worship of drugs. The major cause of car accidents, health problems, broken families and job loss today is cause by alcohol. How many times should we multiply that once we add other mind and mood altering drugs into our societal mix?

The Idol of Sports
We worship the sports heroes at the stadiums of our cities and the televisions of our homes. No church no matter how large comes close to matching the attendance or the finances of these idol factories.

The Idol of Humanism
The god we worship most of all though is the god of man. We can call it humanism but all it really is the elevation of man to godhood. It even has its own creed, “Man is the measure of all things.”

God’s Judgment Today

This the same practice condemned by Paul to the Romans 2000 years ago.
Paul says that man is without excuse because God has revealed himself. Scripture: Romans 1:20-23  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

And God is judging us in the same way today that Paul says he was the nations then.
Romans 1:24-32 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Do you wonder why God is not pouring out plagues on us as he did on Egypt. Or as some have said, “One day American will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomora.” Why hasn’t God judged our nation and this world? Well the truth is that He has. According to what we read in Romans 1 and 2.

We are experience God’s judgment right now, today
When you see the children of our nation turning to homosexuality and lesbianism or trying to deny their biological gender, that is God’s judgment.  When you see the increasing cruelty, anger and violence of people against one another, that is God’s judgment. When you see immorality, debauchery and perversion increasing everyday around us, that is God’s judgment.

This is not is not the calm before the storm, it is the storm of God’s judgment right now! We are reaping as a nation what we have sown back in 1962 when schools were told they couldn’t pray or have the 10 commandments posted. We are reaping what we have sown in 1973 when abortion was legalized. We are reaping what we have sown in 2003 when homosexuality was made legal in all states. We are reaping what we have sown when in 2015 same sex marriage was declared legal by the supreme court. We will reap what we sow when all the laws and commandments of God upon which our society was built, have been thrown out of our congress, out of the white house and out of our court system. Oh the terrible harvest that will be.

God’s word says, that He gave them up to uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies. God gave them up to vile affects, woman and men against the natural uses of their body into what is unnatural. God gave them over to a reprobate mind to do those things which are not fitting. To be reprobate is to have the mind of an animal, a mind that is no longer human.
When you look at what is happening in our world today and you wonder how can people act this way? How can people believe such things? The answer is that they and our society are under the judgment of God.

But before we leave here thinking that all we can foresee is judgement and doom never forget that even in the midst of the plagues of Egypt, God did not forgotten mercy. Just as he allowed the Egyptians to dig down along the river and find clean water so he still has wells of mercy for those who seek Him. Just as he warned all the nation of Egypt that hail was coming and those who believe could bring their cattle and livestock into shelter, so still today God warns us and we can find mercy in the midst of judgment.

God Revealed Through His Mercy

Exodus 9:13-21
And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.  For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.  For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.  And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.  As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?  Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.  Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.  He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:  And he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.

God Revealed In His Mercy

God gave his warning of judgment to all the people and the Bible tells us that “He that feared the world of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses”

On the terrible night of the death of the firstborn anyone of Egypt or of Israel who believed God’s word from Moses could put the blood on the doorposts and the lintel of their home.
Exodus 12:12-13  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.  And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

God was willing to show mercy to any who would believe His word.

God’s Revelation Continues today
To those who would say, If God would just reveal Himself, if he would just show Himself, I’d believe. Let tell you that God has never stopped revealing himself to a lost and dying world. He continues to this very day to show Himself to us. Very quickly let me give you just a few of the ways God reveals himself today. Ways He uses to reach out to us and show Himself in love and mercy.
His People
His Church
His Creation
His Law written in our hearts
He especially reveals himself through His Word, the Bible. Divinely inspired, miraculously kept from error and preserved by God’s promise until the Lord returns.
Psalm 119:89  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Psalm 119:105  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
But the greatest revelation of God is His Son, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:1-3
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  Who 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;

John 3:13-17
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


Dr. Mackay and the Pawned Bible
William Patton MacKay left his home in Scotland to attend college at the age of 17. His mother gave him a Bible, writing her name, his name, and a verse of Scripture on the fly leaf. He graduated with high honours and became the head of a large hospital. Very shortly he left the way of his youth and began drinking and living the life of a man with no thought for anything but himself and having a good time. He also became the head of a club of infidels where they practiced everything that was licentious and vile. He was open in his ridicule of God and the Bible and even pawned the Bible his mother had given him when he left home.
One day the ambulance brought in a man who had been horribly crushed. On his face, however, was a look of calm and peace so pronounced that it amazed Dr. MacKay, who was accustomed to seeing people suffer. With a smile the patient asked what the verdict was.
“Oh, I guess we will pull you through and fix you up.” replied the doctor.
“No, Doctor, I don’t want any guess,” said the man. “I want to know if it is life or death. Just lay me down easy anywhere, Doctor, I am ready. I am saved and am not afraid to die. But I want the truth. Just what is my condition?”

The doctor replied: “You have at the most three hours to live.” The doctor was touched, and thinking there might be relatives to notify asked, “Is there anything you would like to have us do for you?”

Thanking him, the injured man replied: “In one of my pockets is a two weeks’ pay cheque. If you can get it, I wish you would send it at once to my landlady, and ask her to send me the Book.”

“What book?” inquired the doctor. “Oh, just the Book,” the man answered. “She will know.”
Dr. MacKay arranged for the man’s request to be cared for, and then started on his rounds through the hospital. He returned to the ward where the man had been placed, and seeing the nurse whom he had assigned to the case, inquired as to his condition.
“He died just a few minutes ago,” the nurse informed him.
“Did the Book get here?” asked the doctor.
“Yes it arrived shortly before he died,” the nurse answered.
“What was it? asked Dr. MacKay, “his bank-book?”
“No, it wasn’t his bank-book,” replied the nurse. “It is still there, though, If you care to look at it. He died with it under his pillow.”
Dr. MacKay went to the bedside, reached under the sheet and drew a Bible from under the pillow. As he did so the Bible opened and the pages turned over to the flyleaf. There in his mother’s handwriting was Dr. Mackay’s name, his mother’s name and a verse of Scripture.
Dr. Mackay rushed upstairs to his office. He asked God to have mercy upon him and in repentance accepted Christ as his Saviour.  God had revealed himself to Dr. MacKay through the calm assurance of a dying man, the love of his mother and the Bible he had so long rejected.

God is revealing himself to us even today.

With each sunrise and sunset, with each scene of nature, with each act of love from our parents, each kindness and concern show from Christians and most fully in the pages of His Word where when we read the Holy Spirit can touch our hearts and turn our eyes to Jesus Christ, God greatest revelation of love, mercy and hope.

Will we harden our hearts or turn to God?

Monday, January 21, 2019

God In Genesis #2: Righteous Chapter 3

God In Genesis #2: Righteous Chapter 3

Audio Link

Last week we began a series from Genesis with the purpose of see the character and attributes of God through the book. Genesis is the book of beginnings from the universe to mankind, but it is also the book of beginnings of our knowledge of God as He reveals himself to Adam, Abraham and Moses. I pray we can look with their eyes and see anew the wonder of our God.

At risk of bring the sermon to a screaming theological halt let me give you a list or as we theologian like to call it a catalog of the attributes of God or if you really want to sound like a theology with a beard to your navel and hair over your ears, a catalog of the perfections of God. Are you ready? Are you sure? Some of you look a little shy or nervous. Okay, here we go.

Catalog of the Perfections or Characteristics of God

Eternity: The attribute of eternity means that God exists endlessly. His existence extends endlessly backward and forward (from our viewpoint of time) without any interruption or limitation caused by succession of events.

Immutability: God is unchangeable and thus unchanging.

Infinity: God has no bounds or limits. He is in no way limited by the universe or by time-space boundaries.

Love: Love in God is seeking the highest good and glory of His perfections.

The Big Three O’s

Omnipotence: God is all-powerful and able to do anything consistent with His own nature.

Omnipresence: God is everywhere present with His whole being at all times.

Omniscience: God knows everything, things actual and possible, effortlessly and equally well.

Sovereignty: Ultimately God is in complete control of all things, though He may choose to let certain events happen according to natural laws that He has ordained.

Truth: God is true. He is consistent with Himself, that He is all that He should be, that He has revealed Himself as He really is, and that He and His revelation are completely reliable.

Holiness: In respect to God, holiness means not only that He is separate from all that is unclean and evil but also that He is pure and thus distinct from all others.

Righteousness: Though related to holiness, righteousness is nevertheless a distinct attribute of God. Holiness relates to God’s separateness; righteousness, to His justice.
- Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth.

Now then tell me the truth, after that list how many are ready to go Bible College and become theologians? Not that many, maybe I should go through the list again. “The catalog of the ….”

It is the last attribute of perfection, God’s righteousness that we see displayed in Genesis 3 which is our text today.

Denying God Genesis 3:1-5

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.  

The Dragon, The Serpent, Satan

The serpent was Satan, later called the Dragon of Revelation.
In the vast majority of passages (70 out of 83) Satan is called either Satan or the Devil. In addition to these two several other names are used and they give us a picture of the fallen angel, once called Lucifer, the morning star but now called Satan, the adversary or the Devil, the accuser. He is called Tempter (Matthew 4:5; 1 Thes. 3:5); Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24); Enemy (Matthew 13:39); Evil One (Matthew 13:19, 38; 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 3:12, and particularly 5:18); Belial (2 Cor. 6:15); Adversary, (1 Peter 5:8); Deceiver  (Rev. 12:9); Dragon (Rev. 12:3); Father of Lies (John 8:44); Murderer (John 8:44); Sinner (1 John 3:8 - The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

In Genesis 3 we see the beginning of our knowledge of Satan as he takes control of the serpent and uses this form to tempt Eve and try and destroy God’s greatest creation man and in Revelation we see a picture of him from before creation to end of the ages, as he mounts an attack on heaven and then turns to destroy God people, Israel.

Revelation 12:3-9  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
We see him bound for a thousand years during the Christ 1000 year kingdom on earth

Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
And finally we see his end.

Revelation 20:10  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
After all the trouble and strife with Satan, the question must come to mind.
Why did God allow the serpent/ Satan to tempt Eve?

The Serpent and Us

At risk of sounding like we are oversimplifying things, it actually is a simple answer and it points to another of God’s attributes, His sovereignty and one of man’s likeness to God, free will.
I like what A W Tozer says, “God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. …A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.” ― A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

When man was made in the image of God, part of the spiritual and intellectual image was free will, the ability to choose. Without that we could never have real fellowship with God for we could not freely choose Him, and fellowship was why God created us. Without choice, without free will there is noo fellowship with God and the purpose of creation is lost.

There is no free will without choice. God did not make Satan sin anymore than he made man to sin but in his Omniscience he knew that in giving that ability to the angels and to man, that Satan would fall and so would man. Man’s free will is just as real as his sin, but remember God is omniscient and He is not taken by surprise.

Let’s look now at the actual temptation of Eve and Adam with her.

Defying God Genesis 3:6

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The Temptation and Defeat

We do not know how long Adam and Even were in the Garden before the Serpent came. Was it on the 8th day of creation? (That would make it the beginning of all bad Mondays) Or was it 10,000 years after creation? We don’t really know. I doubt Satan would have waited too long, but we can hope that they enjoyed God’s perfect paradise for several years before they fell.
In this passage, I want us to look not so much at Eve or Adam, nor do I want us to blame them for our current sinful state. Believe me had we been in their place we problem wouldn’t have lasted as long as they did. I want us to look at the temptation itself. 

Look again at Genesis 3:6

  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Notice three things that Eve was tempted with. 1)The tree was good for food. It was not poisonous, nor covered in thorns. 2) It was pleasant to the eyes. It looked good. 3) It was desirable because it would make a person wise. (Probably like coffee today.)

In this three pronged attack Eve was taken and she then took the fruit and look closer at what the Bible says, she gave it to Adam “with her.” It seems he was standing right there as Eve was being tempted and didn’t say a thing. (If this was a couple today we could imagine that it would be like him watching the Cowboys or the Saints, while his wife is fighting off a home invader. “I’ll be there in a minute, honey.”)

Next I want you to look at what John says, in 1 John 2:16 as he talks about the temptation that all of us face in the world today.
  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Do you see the connection with Gen 3? Eve saw it was good for food, John warns us about the lust of the flesh. Even saw it was pleasant to the eyes, John says one of the temptations of the world is the lust of the eyes. Eve wanted the fruit to make her wise, something that she could glory and have pride in, John says beware of the pride of life.

The temptation of Eve, the beginnings of all temptations, takes the same form of what you and I face every day. This is another reason why I believe if we had been there, we would have fallen just as hard and fast as Adam and Eve because the same temptations are being used by Satan in our world today and we are not withstanding them. We give in to them every single day.

There is one more temptation we should look at in Matthew 4:1-11
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,  And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Did you see them? The same temptations that Satan used on Eve and the same temptations that he uses on us daily, he tried to use on Jesus Christ. Jesus had been fasting and Satan said make these stone bread, that is the lust of the flesh. The devil took him to the top of the temple and said, if you are the Son of God, jump and let the angel catch you. He was appealing to Jesus’ pride. Then he showed him all the kingdoms of the world, the lust of the eyes.

Do you also see the difference between these three passages? Eve was tempted and fell, you and I are tempted, and we fall, but praise God, when Jesus was tempted, He was victorious. At the end of Eve temptation there is shame, at the end our temptation there is guilt but at the end of Jesus’ temptation Satan is sent away in defeat by the command of Jesus Christ, The Son of God, very God of very God. Somebody say, Hallelujah!

The Temptation and Victory

The lesson of course is very plain. If you would have deliverance from the fall of Adam’s sin. If you would have salvation from your own defeat at the hands of this world and sin then you must not trust in your power as a human being, nor in your own unique power as an individual. The world tells us over and over and over again, “Believe in yourself.” That is the pride of life, that is what brought Adam and Eve to death and that is what will destroy us. You must not believe in yourself you must believe in someone much greater than yourself, someone who went face to face with the Devil, the tempter, the destroyer, the deceiver and commanded him to slink away in his defeat. You need to believe in Jesus, Christ. The only one who ever beat Satan, sin and even death. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 20:31
 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 16:31
 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Romans 10:9
 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Transition: Lets look at one last thing back in Genesis because after denying God there will always come a day we must Deal with God and we see this with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:7

Dealing With God

Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Now God as judge arraigns Adam and Eve,

Genesis 3:9-13  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Adam and Eve Confronted by God

In Adam and Eve we see the two ways we can deal with God. First, they try to hide, but you can’t hide from an omniscient, omnipresent God and so God finds them and confronts them. In His righteousness he passes judgment upon them as the rest of Chapter 3 tells us. Death comes into their lives and they are driven from the Garden to the toil, pain and suffering of a world now tainted by their own sin.  

But notice verse 21 Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

God did not leave them in their guilt, in their shame and in their inadequate attempt to cover their sin. The Bible says He made coats of skins. God took one of those innocent creatures from the Garden and he slew that animal and made coats to cover them in their sin. Adam and Eve then accepted God’s gift, they took the covering of a slain innocent in place of their own works that covered nothing.

One Day We Will Have to Deal With God

We are just like Adam and Eve our original parents. We would have fallen to the Tempter if we had been in the Garden. We know this because we fall today. Our sin in fact is worse than theirs for we are responsible for all that God has revealed to us in His word. Every warning, every caution, every prohibition and every example of those who did not heed those warnings.
We are like them in another way, we have the same end to our sin and the choices we did or didn’t make. One day we, just like they will have to deal with God.

One of those warnings of scripture in is Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Adam and Eve sowed to their flesh and they reaped death. It is no different for us, but I pray we can also be like them when God found them in the cool of Garden that day. Yes, sin had its consequences, but by God’s grace it also had a covering. They made the wrong choice in the Garden but the made the right choice before God. When He offered them His gift to cover their sin, they clothed themselves with that gift brought by the death of another.
Paul talks about this in Romans 5

Romans 5:6-9
 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Romans 5:18-19
 Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Can you imagine that day in the Garden as God confronted Adam and Eve, can you imagine the shame of their sin but most importantly can you see them as God hold out to them His gift, bought to them by the shed blood of an innocent? Can you imagine reaching out and taking that gift from the had of God?

As dramatic as that scene plays out in your imagination it is nothing compared to your own Day with God. It could be today and through the words of scripture God once again holds out to you His gift bought by the shed blood of his own innocent Son, Jesus. Spiritually, that is as real right now as it was historically real back then.

You will deal with God and in His presence know you are a sinner and accept His gift or you will try and hide until one day, you’ll hid now more. At the Great White Throne there will no more place to hide. O the sorrow of those who have to deal with God after they leave this world unsaved, unforgiven. Then there will no longer be the hand of God holding out His gift but then only a sword.
We’ve seen the relationship between the beginning of Genesis and the endings of Revelation lets look at this last one in Revelation 20:11-15 
 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


Don’t wait to deal with God. He is looking for each of us, guilty as we are but he brings the gift of forgiveness, the covering for our sin, the shed blood of His son. Run to him today and take that wonderful gift.