How does the story of God creating the world affect our lives today? As we kick off a new sermon series called The Story, John Elmore uses the creation account in Genesis to show us how God is actively at work in our lives.
The Story: Your Next Chapter
Christmas Eve 2021
The Story: Restoration
The Story: Redemption
The Story: The Fall
The Story: Creation
How does the story of God creating the world affect our lives today? As we kick off a new sermon series called The Story, John Elmore uses the creation account in Genesis to show us how God is actively at work in our lives.
Good morning, Watermark. My name is John Elmore. I serve within Pastoral Care and re:generation. Y'all, I believe every word that's written on every page. The words of this book and the author who wrote them saved my life and changed it, so it is my pleasure to get to proclaim it for the rest of my days. I believe and I know that what Jesus did for me, he will do for every single other person who calls upon his name, because he says his promises are true and he's the same yesterday, today, and always. So that's my desire.
I want to tell you about our house again. This is our house that we raised our three kids in. (We're still raising them.) It was the worst room in our house. It was the catchall room. Maybe you have one of these. You probably have a catchall closet you don't tell anyone about. We had a catchall room, because it was just Laura and me at this time. We didn't have kids. So, we had this bedroom. There was literally this horrible twin inflatable mattress on the floor. No bed frame.
There were trash bags with things stuffed in them. I don't even know what they were, because it was the catchall room. They weren't even needed. It was this nasty, horrible room. It was the worst room. Then Laura took a pregnancy test, and it went from the worst room to what, I would say, was the best room and the one we gave the most attention to, as it began to take shape and form. A crib went in, and the inflatable mattress went out.
There was a dresser we got off Craigslist that I painted, and we put a little changing table on top. There was the diaper pail. There were the blackout curtains so that nothing would wake those precious children. We had a phrase: "You wake them, you take them." So, the room took shape. It was formed, but it wasn't yet filled. There was a baby coming, but the baby wasn't yet there. So, there was the nursery that all three kids would be raised up in.
Then the kids were born. They were born and carried and cradled and read to in that room, and it changed as we raised them and grew them up. What they do is they ask stories. They're like, "Hey, tell us stories about when we were babies," because they don't know. They were there, but they have no recollection of it. It's seared into our memories because it was sleepless nights and all that. So, they say, "Tell us the stories of when we were babies."
We're like, "Well, there was the time, Hill, when you flipped yourself out of the crib, crawled to the door, and were crying on the door, and Laura couldn't open it because you were on the other side like a doorstop. It was a standoff with a baby and Mom." There was the time Penny rolled off the changing table, and because she was a girl (we never would have done it with the boys), we took her to the ER to make sure her head was okay.
Then Judd is like, "Tell me stories about when I was a baby," and we're like, "Oh, you were fun." We don't even remember when Judd was a baby because of the insomnia and sleepless nights. Truly, we're like, "Dude, we don't even know. You just showed up and you were 2. I don't know." The reason I say that is because our kids long for that. Even though they were there, they don't remember.
In the same way, we do too. Stories are so formative in our lives as we retell them. They're so formative in our psyches, our souls, as we long for this. This is what Moses was doing as he wrote the first five books of the Bible, Genesis being the foremost. The phrase is bereshit, which is Hebrew: in the beginning. He was telling a people the story of who they were, what God did, where they were going. It was story.
Here, as we walk into this Christmas season, we are telling the story, which is creation and fall, redemption, and ultimately, restoration. This story is what we're going to tell. The story, I want you to know, is doxological. It's all unto the glory of God. This is not about us. It is about him and glory unto him, which is the Westminster Catechism, that we would give God glory as we enjoy him forever.
Also, it is very, accordingly, theocentric. It's not about man; it is about God who is on a mission, having created man, to redeem man and will again create new heavens and new earth where we will live with him forever. Doxological and theocentric. But here we find ourselves… As the author has written this story, we find ourselves now in this story. He has written us into it and is doing an incredible thing.
I want you to know, too, as we walk into the story of creation, it's the first two chapters of Genesis. Just the first two chapters. Yet what you will find in the first two chapters is an incredible amount of theology. You have creation firmly established, which dispels all evolution. You have imago Dei, that all of mankind…all…was created in the image of God. Meaning, they have inherent morality. They have spirituality. They have an intellect. They have a volition, a will, being able to decide and a capacity for decisions. They were made in the image of God, imago Dei.
There's sanctity of life within the first two chapters. There is missio Dei, which is the Latin term for the mission of God, as he says, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. Rule and subdue it. Have dominion over all things." You have the definition of marriage, which, as we know from our past series, the culture is doing its best effort to deconstruct, but right there, from the outset, God says, "This is marriage" and, accordingly, says, "This is gender." The definitive word on gender right there in the first two chapters. Finally, monotheism. There is one true God. He created all, that all would know him.
An amazing amount is packed right there within the first two chapters. He reveals himself in Scriptures, not just that we would know but that in our souls we would know him and be reconciled to him. So, where do we begin? You would think we would begin in the beginning, that we would turn to page one and literally read, "In the beginning," but I want to read a different "In the beginning," because "In the beginning" was not the beginning.
It says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," which is a merism. Meaning, the totality of all that is seen, from the earth to the heavens and everything in between. But that wasn't the beginning, because in John 1, verse 1, we read this. I'm going to replace the pronouns with the name of Jesus, because I think there's so much power in it as we read it as such. "In the beginning was [Jesus], and [Jesus] was with God, and [Jesus] was God. [Jesus] was in the beginning with God. All things were made through [Jesus], and without [Jesus] was not any thing made that was made."
Jesus made it all. Jesus upholds it all. It's all to the glory of Christ. So, you have the Father ordaining creation, the Son creating, the Spirit sustaining and restraining evil, all three working together, this triune God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have always existed, eternally preexistent. There are three persons, and there is one God, and this is the God we worship. So, then you go to Colossians 1:15-17.
"[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [prototokos] of all creation." Not that he was created, but that he is foremost, utmost, that he is the heir of all things, the firstborn of all creation. "For by [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through [Jesus] and for [Jesus]. And [Jesus] is before all things, and in [Jesus] all things hold together."
That was the beginning. God was, is, and is to come. But even that does not lead us to the next "In the beginning" of Genesis 1, because God did something else before he created the heavens and the earth, which sounds kind of blasphemous, like, "Wait. That's what it says on the very first page. How can you say there was something before that?" Because God does. What you will hear right now is that before an atom or molecule or nanoparticle or anything was ever spoken into existence, God had you in mind…you.
Ephesians 1:4-6: "…even as he chose us in him [in Jesus] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love…" It was love motivating God, this creator God. It was his love for you. "In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace…" There's the doxological, the glory of God. "…with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." It was for our good. It was for his glory.
Then, at the back of the book, you have Revelation 13:8. "…and all who dwell on earth will worship it [the Beast], everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain." The Lamb's Book of Life that would contain every name of every soul that God would choose, elect, adopt, foreordained and ransomed and rescued in Jesus before the very first creative act of creation. He had you in mind.
So, today, if you were hoping to hear, "But what about the dinosaurs?" you'll be disappointed. If you were hoping to hear, "What about the Yahwist and Elohist narrative in Genesis?" you'll be disappointed. If you're wondering, "Are you young earth or old earth?" you'll be disappointed. If you're wondering, "Was there a firmament above the waters when he separated the waters from the sky and made an expanse?" you'll be disappointed.
Those things are technical, and they have value, and they do bring glory to God. Instead of going technical, I want to go very, very personal, because I think that's where life change will happen: not through knowledge, but by the transformative effect of God's Word upon our lives. So, what I want you to see today… As we talk about creation and Adam and Eve's story, I want you to see that Adam and Eve's story is your story and that there are so many parallels and Christ-types, that every word either whispers or screams the name of Christ to the redemption of mankind.
We're going to walk through these seven parallels today so that we don't miss this. The creative order… On the first day he creates lights. The first is a summary statement. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." It's a summary statement. As I said, that merism, the totality of Scripture. Then he gets into the particulars. He says on the first day he created light, and it was good. On the second day, sky, and it was good. Then land, seas, and plants. He separates the waters from the land and brings forth plants on day three.
On day four, the sun, moon, and stars. You're like, "Wait. He already created light." It says in Revelation there is going to be light emanating from Jesus, though there will be no more sun. Light is a creative act of God. But he puts the stars, moon, and sun and creates the seasons accordingly to them. On the fifth day, he creates the fish and the birds, which is actually an important notation. Then on the sixth day, animals and mankind. On the seventh day he rests.
Another thing you see… In the first three days, as he forms the earth (much like we formed the nursery), God goes by the name Elohim, which is sovereignty and transcendence and omnipotence. He's all-powerful…Elohim. Then, in chapter 2, the name he uses is Yahweh, which is immanent. He's personal to us, individually, as you get a very close, more granular look at the creation story and Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God, as he walks and talks with Adam and Eve. So, with that in mind, here's where we're going through these themes and parallels.
As I read that, I thought about Judd, our 4-year-old. It was recently his birthday, and someone here from this body gave him a Lego set. We were going to put it together together, and he went for a different route. I came down one morning, and on the island there, he had taken… I don't know if you're familiar with Legos these days. They have individual bags because they're very complex. So, it's like bag 1 makes this part. Bag 2 makes this part. Bag 3, and so on.
He had taken every single bag and emptied them and, I think, mixed them onto the island, and he was already starting to piece it together. He was like, "Dad, we're going to build the toy." I'm like, "Oh no! You just emptied out all of the parts. This is total and sheer chaos." I honestly was thinking about just getting the trash can and being like, "We're going to get a new one," because it was just too much. I mean, it was like a 40-page instruction manual, and he had emptied out every single piece.
But he was like, "We have to build it." It was a Star Wars thing, to make it more complex. It wasn't primary colors. Everything was gray, off-gray, or half-gray. I was like, "Awesome. Thank you." But I was like, "All right. We're going to do this." So I started with page one. "In the beginning…" "This is a big book. Here we go." But he, with his dad beside him… We created it. And guess what? That is his favorite toy right now.
We have a picture of it, in fact. This is Judd. There's his toy. He's so proud. He plays with it all the time. There are little doors that open. There are four storm troopers that go inside. He loves it. It was worth every bit of all 12 hours it took me to put that together. I was like, "We're going to build it together." He just walks away on his birthday. Here's the picture I decided not to show you. That's Penny. That's how I felt when he emptied the bags.
Here's the thing about Legos. Legos are crazy. Right? What an amazing concept. Everyone else creates finished toys, and you pay money for them. Like, you go, you get a toy, and there it is. It's finished. Legos are like, "Nah. We'll just give them the parts." Like, what? It's crazy that you build your own toy. I think the reason is there's so much satisfaction in it. You're doing something together or you're achieving something. You're taking something that's formless and void and chaotic and bringing it together, and when it's complete, you're like, "Oh, that's good."
He literally loves that toy more than any other toy right now, and I think it's what God would have done. God could have created a finished world. It could have been done, complete, just like he did the animals. He didn't complete half animals. They were done. When he created the fish or the birds or the animals, they were just done. When he created the trees, they were done. They were already bearing fruit.
But he doesn't with the world. Instead, it was formless and void, and darkness was over the deep, because I think he wants us to see, as we are his vice-regents here on the earth… When he says, "Rule and subdue," he's giving us an example of bringing shape to things, bringing order to chaos. He doesn't just do it with creation. He did it with us. He does it with us even still.
Sixteen years ago, if I can give you a snapshot of my life, I was living on a couch. I had two boxes of wrinkled clothes. I'd previously just put a gun to my head. I was an insomniac. I was losing my job. I had stopped going to work. I was a drunk, an alcoholic. Formless, void, and darkness was over me. Second Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creation. The old is gone; the new has come."
Jesus is recreating, taking all the formlessness and void and the darkness, the spiritual darkness, and shaping and recreating, not making us better but making us new, and taking all of the broken pieces we would give to him. So, as I think about this… Some of you might be feeling like, "Yeah, but it sounds like your life turned out all right. I'm still living in the midst of a mess."
I think some people in the room right now are like, "My life right now feels like somebody tore open all of the bags and just emptied out the Lego pieces, and it's a mess. It's a wreck right now. I can't make any sense of all of these broken pieces," of cancer or divorce or sin struggles or loss or separation or whatever it may be. It's like, "What is this?" What I'm going to tell you is what you need to do is entrust all of those pieces to God, your Father, the one who promises to take all of the broken pieces, and he will make something of them, and it will be for your good and for his glory. He promises to do it. It's his job.
In Ephesians 1:11 it says, "In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things…" All your broken, lost mess of Lego pieces of life. "…who works all things according to the counsel of his will…" You give him those pieces, and he will work them all in accordance to his will. Romans 8:28: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good…"
He will take those broken pieces, the lost pieces, the mismatched pieces, and he will make and reshape them into something amazing and beautiful. In John 21:19, he's talking to Peter after Peter's betrayal. He's kind of reinstating him and sending him back off, telling him he has forgiven him. He says, "Peter, later in life, people are going to take you where you don't want to go. They're going to dress you in a way you don't want to be dressed."
John writes this: "This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God." Church, even in death… Some of you have lost loved ones…mothers, fathers, children, spouses. Even in death, even in the worst broken puzzle piece of them all, God will use it for your good, as difficult as that may be to understand, and for his glory, because he's redeeming all things.
Right now, we see this incomplete, but he's not done working. There's more to that instruction manual, and he's going to continue putting the pieces together, because he's making something. So, I want to tell you that your greatest pain is likely your greatest opportunity to glorify God, as you loosen that grip and entrust it to him and say, "Not my will, but your will be done."
God does give light. Genesis 1:3-4: "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness." This is what's called ex nihilo, a Latin statement, which means out of nothing. It's a divine fiat. God speaks and it is. Period. He has that creative power, that creative order. As he speaks, that ex nihilo, out of nothingness, it just is, because he is God.
Then the parallel is that God gives light, general revelation to all. All of mankind can know that God exists by what has been created. This is Romans, chapter 1: "For what can be known about God is plain to them [the world], because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since…" We're talking about Genesis here. "…the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." We are without excuse.
We can look at everything and be like, "How is there something rather than nothing? Why is there order rather than disorder? Why is there life rather than non-life?" It's inexplicable other than the fact of the eternal power and divine nature of God. Then there is light of the specific revelation of the gospel and salvific revelation to those whom he has chosen and adopted, those who have said, "Yes" and cried out, called upon the name of the Lord.
First Peter 2:9. Here's that light. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." He has called us out of darkness into the light. You see this parallel from Genesis, separating the light from the darkness. Now he does it individually in our lives as he saves us, that we might proclaim his excellencies to those who are still in darkness.
Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." I think oftentimes, like those headlights… I can see maybe 30 or 40 yards on low beams. When I flip to high beams, maybe I get 50 yards at most. What God says is "My Word will be a light to your feet and a lamp to your path."
Now, in my life I'm like, "Hey, why don't you give me a few miles of light? In fact, why don't you give me light to the horizon? There are some difficulties right now, like with Laura walking through breast cancer, or three children and all of the different scenarios we're facing. I need a little more light, Lord."
I think what he knows, in his sovereignty, is that if we had too much light, we'd probably leave him. He gives us just what we need in the moment to take the next step of faithfulness, that we would walk near him. My kids, on the way to Missouri for Thanksgiving, were behind their father as I was projecting forth light. So it is with us: to just stay with our Father and follow in his light.
My parents, the first time when Laura and I were dating… They were like, "Hey, Laura, you're going to be coming for Thanksgiving. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving foods? We want to have those items available. Do you like candied yams? Do you like [whatever]?" She was like, "Actually, I don't really like Thanksgiving food." What do you do with that? They were like, "Well, sweetheart, what would you like?" She said, "I think on Thanksgiving you should eat things you're thankful for." They were like, "Okay. What would that be?" She was like, "I like steak and grilled asparagus."
So, literally, for the last 11 years, we have had steak for Thanksgiving dinner, which my parents love. They're like, "This is amazing." We don't have to spend four hours to eat a half-cooked turkey and all the time with all of the leftovers and the tryptophan food coma you have afterward. We just throw on some steaks. My dad throws steaks on the grill. Fifteen minutes later, we're eating a good hot dinner. Some of you think that's blasphemy. I think it's amazing. My whole family has adopted it.
This is what God does for us. He provided for us. Some of his first creative acts… Before man was even on the scene, he provided. Listen to this. Genesis 1:11: "And God said, 'Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit…'" You have to have the heavenly host looking at this like, "Why are you making fruit, God? That's just going to fall to the ground and rot."
He's like, "Nah. I'm not done yet. Somebody is coming to dinner, and I love them. I have written them in the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of the world. They're about to come on the scene, and when they come I want them to be provided for, because I love them." It's what he does for us.
So, on day three, he creates the food man would eat as he was created on day six. Think about this. On day six, he creates the animal that would be slain for the covering after the day of sin when Adam and Eve took of the fruit they shouldn't have. He creates even the animal Adam and Eve would eventually need for their covering as they sinned. He provides because he loves. So it was with us. The eternally begotten Son, the Lamb who was slain, was prepared beforehand for us.
It says in Isaiah 53, before the Son has even taken on flesh, "Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his [Jesus'] soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring…" Wait. I thought he was a guilt offering, meaning he was dead, but now he's going to see his offspring? How is that? Because he's going to be raised from the dead. Here you have, pregnant within this verse, the resurrection. He'll see his offspring.
"…he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his [Jesus'] soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities." He continues on. The Lamb provided before the people would even need him. God foreordained, "I will send the Messiah, the rescuer, the ransom for their souls." The Lamb's Book of Life.
It says in Scripture that we are physically alive as we are born but spiritually dead. This was Nicodemus' confusion. When Jesus said, "Unless a man is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven," Nicodemus was like, "What are you talking about? I'm already alive. How can I be born again? Will a man yet enter his mother's womb again?" He didn't understand. Jesus was saying, "Nicodemus, you're physically alive, but you're spiritually dead. You're a 'dead in your sin' Pharisee." So it was for every single one of us.
Here in Ephesians 2, verse 1: "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…" Jump to verse 5: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…" There is a spiritual resurrection. Dead in our sin, and he makes us alive. God gives life.
Then he gets to this part, and he says, "It is not good." That seems strange too. How could God do anything that's not good? He doesn't sin. He doesn't create error, so how could it be not good? It's not that it wasn't good; it's that it wasn't complete. Not "not good" in the sense of bad. It was not good in the sense of incomplete. He wasn't finished. The formless and void… He was still creating. So, God is saying, "It's not good that man be alone."
This is used for a wedding verse. A lot of times, you'll hear this quoted, like, "It's not good, so God created a suitable helper, and here you guys are getting married. She's your helper. This is good. Now you're complete." The single people in the room are probably like, "Man, that stinks." (That was just married people who laughed, probably. The single people are like, "Yeah, it's still not funny.")
"Does that mean it's not good for me in my singleness? 'Not good.' Really? Is that upon me? I'm already maybe wrestling with that." It's not the case, my brothers and sisters who either don't desire marriage or do and are not yet married. It's not the case. Scripture would never contradict Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul writes that he wishes all were like him, being single. He says, "I want you to be free from anxieties." Now the single people are going to laugh. When you're married, you have anxieties.
"The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord…" He kind of flips it. He's like, "You're concerned and worried about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord." "But the married man is anxious [and shouldn't be] about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord…"
He's saying the single people are concerned about the Lord and his holiness and how to serve him. He goes on to say: "…but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord." So, it can't be "not good" in the sense of bad, because here Paul says, "No, it's a good thing, because there's undivided devotion to the Lord and you're not anxious about how to please your spouse."
Recently, I was going through Isaiah, and I got to Isaiah 56, and I wrote in big letters: "For singles." It's this beautiful, powerful passage and promise. Listen to this. "For this is what the Lord says: 'To the eunuchs…'" Think Old Testament and Babylon singles. "…who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever."
It says also in Psalm 33:20 that God is our helper. The same word. It's ezer, a Hebrew word for help or helper. It says, the same that Eve was, God is our help or helper. So, it can't mean subservient. Some of you husbands are thinking, "Well, you're my helper, and I'm the leader." You are the spiritual leader of the house, but it's not that she is subservient to you. She's not below you. She's equal to you.
That is why Hebrew scholars, back in the day, would say, "She was taken from your side, not from your feet." You are not above her. She is a helper like God is. Certainly, God is not subservient, but God is helping us accomplish his will, leading us into his will as we co-labor together. On the inside of our wedding rings, Laura had inscribed, "Here's to walking home together." It's this side-by-side journey.
But you don't see much past the garden that they gather together at the Tower of Babel and are like, "No. We're not going to be fruitful and multiply. We're going to stay right here. We're going to build a tower to glorify us instead of you, because we don't need you, and we don't want you. We're not going to follow the missio Dei, the mission of God, to be fruitful and multiply. We're going to stay right here, because we don't need to do that. It would be better if we remained here."
As I read that, I thought about the parallel that I think we're more concerned, often, about our occupation than we are about others' salvation. The parallel… As God said to Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and multiply," he says to us, as the church, as Jesus, having resurrected, gives the Great Commission to the church that is echoed through 2,000 years. He's saying, "Be fruitful and multiply," as he says, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
I think we've kind of stopped, and we've built our own little Tower of Babel. We're like, "I don't want to disciple all nations, actually. I'd rather build my house, build my career, build my retirement account. I don't want to be about that, God. I don't want to be fruitful…" Meaning, be full of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. He's the one who bears the fruit for us. "As far as multiplication, I'd like to see my account multiplied rather than my discipleship." I think we need to return to God's divine mandate to be fruitful and multiply. Your job is not your calling. God is.
If I say, "Hey, don't get by the edge of the pool, because if you fall in, you'll die…" Well, they may or may not, but I'm not up for rolling the dice, especially with our 4-year-old. So I say, "Don't get near the edge of the pool, because if you fall in, you will die." These are instructions to keep him from harm and to give him life.
There are things we do tell them to do that promote life. "You need to take your vitamins. You need to get outside and exercise. You need to do these things that promote life," and also things that keep them from death. We give good instruction. So God does for us in this Word. Jesus says, as he's praying for us… The High Priestly Prayer in John 17. He's praying to the Father. He says, "Sanctify them…" Meaning, "Shape them into my image." "…in the truth…" Then he says, "…your word is truth."
God has given to the church good instructions to keep us, to hold us back from death, and to promote and further good, that we would live a good, holy, and pleasing life as a living sacrifice unto God…these good instructions he has given us. That is the creation story and the story also of how you can be a new creation in Christ, just as formless and void or with those broken Lego pieces, entrusting them to a Father.
There's one other thing that happens in the creation account, and it's so interesting. On day seven, God rests, but not because he was tired. He rests to model for us rest. He rests because it was complete, and it was good. So, he modeled for us this example of rest. It was Laura's birthday on the 26th. You remember the nursery we prepared for the kids. Do you know what I gave her for her birthday? I gave her rest.
She has been raising those kids, changing diapers, taking care of them, discipling them. When our kids shared words of encouragement for her birthday, do you know what they shared? They were like, "Mom, thank you for the chores you do," because they see her doing laundry and cleaning and preparing meals and getting their backpacks ready for school. They see what she is doing.
So, for her birthday, I took the kids on a hike and got them off to a playground, and we just gave Mom some rest before we took her to dinner. Conversely, God is like, "I don't need rest." He rested on that seventh day for us, as an example for us, but get a load of this. This is amazing. From the seventh day, he has not rested ever since. He has not rested since the seventh day, according to Scripture.
It begs the question…Why? "What have you been doing? You're not creating the worlds anymore, so what is it you're doing?" He is rescuing and ransoming souls, all day, every day, listening to the cries of people, sustaining life, putting together all of the Lego pieces of your life, providing for you, sustaining you, restraining evil from you, providentially at work in your life, rescuing souls on this earth every single day since the seventh day for thousands and thousands of years.
Jesus says in John 5:17… As they questioned him, "Why are you doing these things on the Sabbath?" he said, "My Father is always at work; therefore, I am too." Church, always means always. So, you take those broken pieces, and you entrust them to a Father who has a good manual to give you good and bring glory to him, and you just wait, and you listen to the words of Psalm 121 that says, "Where does my help come from?" It was a rhetorical question. "I'll tell you where my help comes from. My help comes from the Lord, who neither sleeps nor slumbers."
He has never slept, never rested. All day, every day, eyes upon his children, looking throughout the earth, ransoming and saving. Then you have Psalm 8 that we sung earlier that we'll end with. "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…" David is looking at all of creation in wonder and awe.
Then he says, "What is man that you are mindful of me?" The grandeur and awe and complexity and order and specific design, all of it set in swirling motion, yet never colliding. He's like, "And then there's me, and you're mindful of me." And he is for you…every single one of you. He knows you, he loves you, and he will walk with you all of your days. Let's pray.
Father, you are amazing. You're amazing in what you have done and how you have put it to story, that we might know that, thousands of years ago, you created, but before you created, you penned our names, for those who have trusted in Jesus, into the Lamb's Book of Life. Your first creative act was to think of us, and that you would rescue us, that you would create us, sustain us, and ransom us. We thank you, Lord, that for those who have trusted in the provision of Jesus, his life, death, and resurrection, we are yours, and you are mindful. In Jesus' name, amen.