Made to Flourish | Genesis 2:4-25


Genesis 2:4-25 says that we were made to flourish as God's image-bearers. What do you believe it means for you to flourish? Where do we find meaning? Where is life found? Blake Holmes reminds us we are made to flourish in relationship with God, through His provision, under His rule, and by His design.

Blake HolmesOct 16, 2022Genesis 2:4-25

In This Series (17)
Made for a New World | Isaiah 11:1-16
Oren MartinDec 18, 2022
Made to Be Saved | Genesis 3:15, 21-24
John ElmoreDec 11, 2022
Made to Work | Genesis 3:17-19
Timothy "TA" AteekDec 4, 2022
Made to Gospel Our Relationships | Genesis 3:12-13
John ElmoreNov 27, 2022
Made for a World Without Shame | Genesis 3:7-11
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 20, 2022
Made for a Different World | Genesis 3:1-7
John ElmoreNov 13, 2022
Made for Relationships: Marriage | Genesis 2:18-25
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 6, 2022
Made for Relationship | Genesis 2:18-20
John ElmoreOct 30, 2022
Made to Rest | Genesis 2:1-3
John ElmoreOct 23, 2022
Made to Flourish | Genesis 2:4-25
Blake HolmesOct 16, 2022
God’s Heart for The Nations | Revelation 7:9-17
Timothy "TA" AteekOct 9, 2022
Made in the Image of God | Genesis 1:26-27
Timothy "TA" AteekOct 2, 2022
Great Questions Q&A Panel + MADE: to Teach | Genesis 1-3, 2 Timothy 2:24-26
John Elmore, Cassidy Webber, Brett Bruster, Steven Ateek, Alan BeamSep 25, 2022
How to Hear From God | Genesis 1:1-31
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 18, 2022
The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit | Genesis 1:1-5
John ElmoreSep 11, 2022
To Know God is to Worship God | Genesis 1:3-25
John ElmoreAug 28, 2022
Is Your God Too Small? | Genesis 1:1-2
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 21, 2022

In This Series (17)


What does it look like for us to flourish? The Bible is clear on where we can find life, meaning, joy, purpose, and fulfillment. In Genesis 2:4-25, we find there are four specific conditions for us to flourish:

  • We were made to flourish in relationship with God (Genesis 2:4-7). Only in relationship with God can we find life, joy, peace, meaning, and our ultimate fulfillment.
    • Unlike the rest of creation, you were made in God’s image to know Him and reflect His glory. The God of the cosmos created humanity to reveal His relational nature. Humanity was created and formed in the image of God, and still today, He is carefully shaping and designing each of us in His image to be in relationship with Him.
    • The Lord is our Creator. Every one of us was made in the image of God with equal dignity, purpose, and worth. Every life is made uniquely by God and is valuable in His eyes. You matter to God (Psalm 139:13).
    • Your value is not determined by what you do but in whose you are. This world promises life, purpose, and peace apart from Him through our careers, money, experiences, or pleasure. But true purpose and abundant life are found only in Him (John 10:10).
  • We were made to flourish through His provision (Genesis 2:8-15). We find meaning and purpose when we recognize that He is the One who provides everything that we are called to steward.
    • The Lord provided a home with bountiful provision. God’s original plan was to provide a home for humanity to live in the garden sanctuary of Eden. Man was created to work, guard, and serve in this paradise described as a pleasure and delight. After the fall, we can see parallels between the garden and the tabernacle as they were both dwelling places of God; they opened to the east; and, like Adam, the priests were instructed “to work and keep” the tabernacle (Numbers 3:7-8).
    • The Lord is our Provider. You are called to steward all that God has provided. Your health, body, and time are owed to God, who gives everything to us to make God more famous. We are called through the cultural mandate (Genesis 1:28) to cultivate the world by building families, churches, schools, cities, and governments. We are called to take dominion over the earth by stewarding every thing around us. We must have a biblical ethic and see that all we do in this world is an act of worship and we must not believe the lie that the secular is separated from the sacred.
    • All of life is an expression of our worship. Imagine if you saw your life's purpose as offering God the very best of you. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says that whatever we do in our lives, we do all to the glory of God. Imagine a world where people lived and worked with the mindset that their purpose in everything was to serve the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24).
  • We were made to flourish under His rule (Genesis 2:16-17). To live in relationship with God, we must trust Him as the Ruler of our lives who has our best in mind.
    • The Lord gave man a clear command. God’s first command in the Bible was that all of the earth’s goods and resources were at man’s disposal. Man was given a choice between trusting in God or in himself. The consequence of man’s disobedience was physical and spiritual death in which we would no longer experience the presence of God.
    • The Lord is our Ruler. The Lord is our ultimate authority, and His way is best because He always has our best interests in mind. Sadly, we can believe the lie that His Word is not true, that He is not good, and that disobeying Him is not that big of a deal.
    • We rejected the Lord’s authority. The fundamental lie of our day is that we are our own authority. The Bible tells us that we are not our own, but belong with body and soul, in life and death, to Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
  • We were made to flourish by His design (Genesis 2:18-25). God gives us our design for marriage, sex, families, and gender.
    • The Lord made a helper for man and unites them in marriage. Man was always created for community. His isolation was the only aspect of creation the Lord considered “not good.” When God created woman, He made a co-equal helper; each was able to provide what the other lacked.
    • The Lord is our Designer. As our Designer, the Lord is the One who determines our gender, defines marriage, and creates the family unit to serve as the basis of society. His design allows us to flourish.
    • It is tempting for many of us to focus on the problems in our society. Gender fluidity, same-sex marriage, rising infidelity, and divorce rates are all real problems in our society. As a church and as individuals, we must respond by focusing first on our own hearts and relationship with God.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • We are given much freedom, but we are still accountable to God. Do you find it hard to submit to God’s authority? What needs to change to help you have a healthy biblical view of God’s authority?
  • Everything is an act of worship. What do you worship? Is God the main focus of all that you do, or do you get distracted by worshiping other things (career, image, experiences)?
  • How do you see your work as a means to worship God? What kind of “work” do you think God is calling you to?
  • Do you have a marriage your children want to emulate? What is compelling about your marriage to a watching world?
  • It can be tempting or overwhelming to focus on the world around us. As a church and as individuals, we respond by focusing first on our own hearts and discipleship. Read Psalm 139. Pray to Lord to search your heart and show you areas in your life that you can surrender to Him.

Good morning. My name is Blake Holmes. I'm really excited to be with you this morning as we continue our look at Genesis 1 and 2, our Made series. Timothy Ateek and John Elmore have done a great job these past few weeks leading us looking at this passage. I'm grateful to be with you here this morning.

I recently went to a garden store, and while there I learned a little something about succulents. I didn't know a whole lot about succulents before. The first thing I learned is they cost a lot of money. They're proud of their succulents. I think that's because succulents last a long time. It's hard even for a guy like me to kill those plants. They're the ones you see over here (not the cacti, but over here) and you've seen in office buildings and maybe you have at home.

They're pretty popular these days, like I said, because they're hardy plants. They last a long time. It's hard to kill them. What is necessary for a succulent to flourish and for it to grow is it must be planted in the right soil. It can't be planted in your front yard or anywhere in the Metroplex. It has to be planted in almost a desert-like soil, an arid condition. Otherwise, it won't flourish.

The same is true for us, friends. The reason I tell you this is because when we're planted in the soil of Dallas, Texas, and not in the truth of God's Word, we can't flourish and experience all that God intends for us. We think about "What does it mean for this particular plant to flourish?" but have you ever stopped and asked yourself, "What does the Bible have to say about human flourishing? What is God's will for us?"

I'm not talking about self-improvement or human achievement. I'm talking about God's blueprint, his original intent, for human flourishing. Where do we experience fulfillment, life, meaning, and purpose as he originally designed? We're going to find the answer to that question in Genesis, chapter 2. We're going to look at verses 4-25.

We're going to see that for us to flourish the way God intended, four things must be true. In order for us to flourish, we must first start with a relationship with God. We're made to flourish in our relationship with God. That's found in verses 4-7. Then we're going to see in verses 8-15 that we flourish through his provision; verses 16-17 will show us we flourish under his rule; and, finally, by his design in verses 18-25.

So, we're going to cover a lot of Scripture today. I hope you have your Bibles and a pen and you'll mark up your page. We'll look to answer the question…How are we designed to flourish? We're going to see how different that is than what the world proposes. So, let's just jump right in. I'm going to read verses 4-7, and then we'll unpack it.

"These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."

  1. We're made to flourish in a relationship with God. As you know from Genesis 1 and right here, you and I are created in the image of God. We are unique from the rest of creation. Of everything God created, you and I are created in the image of God. This means we are created to have relationship with God. We are spiritual beings with the capacity to know God, reflect his character, and bring him glory. Out of all creation, we've been designed to have a relationship with God.

You see in verse 4, when this starts, it says, "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." If we had time, we could look at more of Genesis. It's interesting to note, "These are the generations of…" This is repeated 10 times throughout the book of Genesis. It's a heading. It's starting off what some people refer to as the complementary, or secondary, creation account.

It's important to note how your Bible all comes together. In Genesis 1, God is shown to be sovereign over all of creation. He is transcendent. What he speaks comes into being. Nothing thwarts his will. He is Elohim, as chapter 1 refers to him. Then in chapter 2, we recognize that he's not only transcendent but he's personal. He's relational. He's immanent, and he has created us to know him.

You'll notice in chapter 2 the phrase the Lord God, which in Hebrew is Yahweh, is repeated over and over again. This is significant because what it states is that God is relational. He is personal. When Moses asked, "Who should I say has sent me?" he said, "You tell them Yahweh sent you, the one who knows you, the one who wants a relationship with Israel." So, chapter 2 is so important and complements chapter 1 because we see that he's not only sovereign (he speaks the earth into existence), but he created us and forms us to have relationship with him.

It says, "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." The word created is bara', which is an interesting word. What's significant about that is the only time that is used is the Lord is its subject. What the author doesn't want us to miss is that creation is not here because of time plus matter plus chance. Creation is a result of God's sovereign work. He created you. It's not chance. It's not luck. It's not time. It's purposed from God's sovereign hand.

In verse 7 it says, "The Lord God formed…" This is important, because this is also translated as he molded. God is depicted as being a potter. Do you see the conditions of the land? There's no bush. There's no small plant. In verses 5-6, a mist was going up. Then God forms. It's like he shapes us, like a potter. He's intimately acquainted with our ways. He shapes us for relationship with himself.

Remember the succulent. It has to take root in the right soil. If you want to flourish, if you want to know all that God intends for you, it starts with a relationship with God, recognizing you were created to know him. He is our Creator, and every one of us…black, white, rich, poor, tall, short… Whatever your nationality is, you were created in the image of God.

Friends, every one of you matters to God. I don't care what your bank statement says. I don't care what your social media says, what the world says about you, where you live, what experiences you have, where you travel, how much you make, how skinny you are, how blond you are, or how tan you are. Every single one of you matters to God, and you are loved by him, because you were created in his image.

Your value is not determined by what you do, what others say, what you've earned, or what you've achieved but in whose you are. Your value is determined by whose you are. Psalm 139:13: "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb." Each one of us has been created with equal dignity, value, and worth from the moment of conception. You were formed in your mother's womb, and God knew you. Why did he create you? To know him. He's personal. He's relational. Think about that for a second.

I just went to New York City with my daughter, and everywhere we went, I saw people dress the part to get that perfect picture to post online. I mean, some people kind of just, candidly, looked ridiculous, standing in front of certain monuments, and their poses and everything. Why do they do that? So they can post online and others will say, "I validate you. I see you. Your life has meaning. Your life has worth."

I just looked at my little daughter and said, "I just want to tell you something. Regardless of what this world says about you, you have worth, meaning, value, and dignity because of who God made you to be." Yet so many of us walk around, and we determine our value and worth by what others say about us. That doesn't lead to flourishing. That leads to anxiety, pain, and regret.

You were made to live in relationship with God, but tragically (we're not going to look at Genesis 3 today), we've been separated from God. What Adam and Eve chose was not a relationship with God. They chose to go their own way, and they rebelled against him. As a result of that, sin and death entered into the world, and they were separated from him.

The hope of the gospel is God has entered into our world, and he has offered us life through his Son Jesus Christ. We're rightly related to God, not by trying harder or trying to achieve some sort of spiritual status or showing up to church. It's by in whom we trust. The Bible says, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

You can be made right with God. You can have a personal relationship with God, have peace with him by trusting in Christ. When we do that… We learn from 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." You're a new creation. "Behold, the old is gone, the new has come." There is flourishing. Where does that flourishing come?

John 20. Think about the significance of this. John 20:22: "And when he had said this, he [Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'" Do you remember what verse 7 said? "…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils…" He gives us life, and when we trust in him, we become that new creation by the power of his Spirit, and we can flourish in relationship with him.

What does it look like to flourish on this side of heaven? It starts with a relationship with God. In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the very first question asks, "What is the chief end of man?" In other words, what's the purpose? Why are we here? Answer: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever." That's why you're here. So, we see from verses 4-7 we're made to flourish in relationship with God. Then verses 8-15.

  1. We're made to flourish through his provision. Let's start in verse 8. "And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground theLord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.

The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."

We're made to flourish through his provision. What you see in verses 8-15 is that God meticulously puts us, places us, in a sanctuary garden, a temple, a tabernacle where God dwells, where we were made to flourish through his provision. There are trees there, rivers there, natural resources, gold, stone…everything we need to flourish in this world, this creation he gives to us.

Eden is the garden in which we live, which literally means pleasure or delight. We were to take delight in what God provided for us. In verse 15, it says we were to work and to keep the garden. Notice how important this is. Work is not the result of the fall. Work has always been a part of God's original plan and purposes for man.

This is also translated as to serve and to guard. Your Bible might say that instead of to work and to keep. Serve and guard…what? The idea that we are in a temple sanctuary, a garden sanctuary, to guard that, to preserve that, to live in relationship with God, to flourish under his rule. We're not only a gardener, but we're a guardian. Man is presented as being priestly to represent God.

There's so much here we could unpack some other time, but it's interesting to note, if you know your Bible, later God dwells with man through a tabernacle, later through a temple, and both have creation literary motifs throughout, all in design throughout the working of the tabernacle and the temple. The priests are later… What are they called to do? To work and to keep it.

It's so significant. We flourish through God's provision. The Lord is the one who provides for us. He is the owner of all we have, and we are simply his stewards. This is so antithetical to the way we think today. We consider everything we have as "I worked for that. That's mine." The Bible says your every breath is a gift from God. James 1 says every good gift comes from God above.

It's so essential that we understand this. The education you've received, the mind you have, your ability to walk, the money, the resources, your work, your role…everything you have is given to you by God so that you might flourish, using his provision, but you are simply a steward of what God has given you. We're not owners; we're stewards of what he has entrusted to us.

Abraham Kuyper said, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, 'Mine!'" For centuries, Christians have understood this responsibility in fulfilling… Genesis 1:28 is referred to as the cultural mandate. Last week, TA said we were going to get to it this week, and I want to touch on that.

For so long, I never saw this. I never understood this, because theologians and pastors were not teaching what so many understood about our responsibility for so many years. So, look at Genesis 1:28. "And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"

Notice this. It tells that we are to be fruitful and multiply. For centuries, theologians have looked at this and said, "Hey, our responsibility is to cultivate a social world." Christians, we are to build schools and families and churches and cities and government. We're to be fruitful and multiply. Why? So the glory of God can go out from us as we steward everything he has given to us.

We're also called to subdue and take dominion over the earth. How do we do that? By stewarding its natural resources, by planting crops, building houses, creating medicines, writing books, and programming computers. All of life is an expression of our worship to God. Do you understand that? In everything we do and all that we bring, we are worshiping something. It may not be God. It may be our own success. It may be the applause of man, but all of life is an expression of worship of God.

What God is saying here through the cultural mandate is we're to take everything he gives to us and use it for his glory. The reason it's not taught is this idea was largely lost during the Age of Enlightenment. During the Age of Enlightenment, what happened was faith and reason were wrongly and falsely divided. The sacred was divided from the secular. Religious beliefs were said to be privatized and no good for the public square, and work was divorced from faith.

This is tragic. All of life is an expression of our worship. What if every one of us walked out of here and, tomorrow, every one of us went into our jobs, into our vocations (our callings is what that word means)…? What if every one of us went into our roles as an expression of worship to God? What if we brought excellence to our jobs and chose not to cut corners because we wanted to offer God the very best of what we had?

What if we used the platforms of our jobs to further the gospel so that others might come to know him? What if we applied a biblical ethic that others would look at us and say, "Hey, man, you seem to be more motivated by a standard that's not just profit, success, and self-advancement. There's an ethic to you"? Do you know why we don't teach ethics in universities anymore? It's because we've divorced a moral absolute from a holy, righteous God.

Ethics make no sense in today's standard university. "Why should I do that?" "Because it's good for profits." That's not rooted, though. The reason we tell the truth is because God is a God of truth. The reason we don't steal is because God is a God of honesty. The reason we don't kill is because God is a God of life. It's not just because the law says that. It's because of who we've been made to know and how God has called us to flourish.

Imagine if more of us applied Colossians 3:23-24 in our work tomorrow. "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." Put that on your desk. Remind yourself that evangelism and ethics and excellence honor God. Your faith has to inform your work. We don't talk about that enough in the church.

Imagine a world where airline attendants were paid by the major airlines to travel the world and engage the people of all nations and all races with the gospel and the hope of Jesus Christ. Just imagine that. Imagine more teachers in this church went into their public schools and wanted every kid to understand that all truth is God's truth, if every entrepreneur wasn't just motivated by profit and selfish gain but by a biblical ethic and a Judeo-Christian work ethic.

What if engineers, artists, and architects sought to glorify God through the details of their designs, mechanics chose not to cut corners, and artists and musicians brought wonder and glory to God through their works? If you don't know about it, one of the things I love about Watermark is the CDC. No, I'm not talking about the government CDC of disease control. What I'm talking about is the Watermark CDC, the Community Development Corporation.

If you want to know more about how faith and work go together, I encourage you to learn from what's happening here through financial empowerment, vocational training, and business development, how more and more believers are going, "Hey, put me in." A couple of days ago, randomly, by happenstance, I'm in Tom Thumb, and I run into a guy who's a home builder. His name is John. He comes up and introduces himself to me. He goes to Watermark.

I was so encouraged by talking to him. He had a lot of stuff in his cart. He goes, "Hey, I'm trying to wrap up some stuff right now. Would you pray for me? I'm a home builder, and what I do is I come, I get some groceries, I make lunch for those who are working on my crew, and in exchange for lunch, they'll sit and listen. I invite a friend, and they hear the gospel from my friend every week." So, right there at Tom Thumb I just go, "Hey, brother, thank you."

I know so many of you… Some of you are dentists who close down your practice in an afternoon to help those who can't afford dental care…believers who recognize, "Hey, I am a steward of what I've been given, and I'm to use that to glorify God."

  1. We're made to flourish under his rule. Look at the clear command God gives Adam in verses 16-17. "And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'"

This is the first command given in the Bible. All of the earth's goods and resources were at man's disposal. Notice what it says. "You may surely eat of every tree…" "I'm giving you everything, but if you want to flourish, you have to trust me. You have to be in a relationship with me. You have to steward what I provided for you, and you have to believe me that I have your best interests in mind. You can't eat from that one tree. That's it. If you do, you shall surely die."

Man was given a clear choice: Trust in God or trust in yourself. Choose good or choose evil. Choose life or choose death. The consequences were clear, because man chose to go on his own and rejected God's authority. Why? Because pride is deep within our hearts. Pride is saying, "I can live without God. I don't need you, and I reject your authority. I know better."

As a result of that, sin entered into our world, and pain and death and suffering and war and sickness and disease, because we didn't want to live in God's holy sanctuary and dwell with him as he designed. We sought to operate on our own. Not only do we experience physical death, but we've been separated from him. We were cast out of the garden, because a holy God cannot coexist with a sinful, rebellious people. So, we've been separated from God.

Friends, we were made to flourish under his rule, under God's authority, and to believe that his way is the best way and that he has our best interests in mind, but we didn't believe his word was true, we didn't believe he was good, and we didn't think obeying him was really that big of a deal, so we rejected his authority. This is the fundamental lie of our day: that we are our own authority.

How did we get there? How did we land with the idea that we only need to answer to ourselves? If you think about it, authority is almost a bad word in society today. How tragic that is. Understood from a biblical perspective, authority, when rightly exercised, provides for people to flourish and provides freedom, protection, peace, and security. God intended us to flourish in that way under his authority.

I wish I could unpack this, but we are experiencing today… Do you want to know why our world has changed so rapidly? It's because the ideas of yesterday have hit our shores today, and now we have the consequence of that. Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims, as my friend John Stonestreet says.

Darwinian thought, the idea that you're here because of time plus chance plus matter, is a completely unbiblical idea. It's a tragic consequence, because when you divorce yourself from the Creator, you are your own authority. Behind Darwin came Nietzsche. Because now we've been loosed and set free from an eternal Creator, we find meaning not in him and our relationship with him; we find it now within ourselves.

Then you fast-forward a little longer, and you have a man named Freud. What did Freud say? He found that your identity is found within your sexual experimentation. If you don't believe me, look it up. Ideas have consequences, and we have believed these ideas, and we've not exposed them, because we've rejected the Lord's authority.

The Heidelberg Catechism, which comes out of the Reformation, asks, "What is your only comfort in life and death?" Think about this. Many of you aren't familiar with the Heidelberg Catechism. It's a confession. It's a question-and-answer. It's a catechism to teach children and potential members of the church good biblical theology.

Think about this question. "What is your only comfort in life and death?" How would you answer that? Answer: "That I am not my own but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ." That sounds so foreign today. "I am not my own, but I belong to Jesus Christ."

Does that sound a little different than "My body, my choice"? It sure does. That may be a political statement. It's just not biblical. "That I am not my own." That's what Paul says later on. "You're not your own. You've been bought with a price; therefore, glorify God with your body." God gives us a means by which we can flourish under his authority, under his rule, but we have to trust him.

  1. We're made to flourish by his design. Verses 8-25: "Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'" That's certainly a startling statement. Do you remember chapter 1? God would create something and go, "That's good! That's good! That's good!" All of a sudden, it's like the brakes come on. "That's not good." What's not good? The man was alone. Man didn't have a companion, a helper fit for him. This is the only aspect of creation the Lord considered not good.

Man could not flourish on his own. He needed an ezer in the Hebrew. He needed a helper. He needed a woman, someone who could supply what he lacked. Fit for means they both shared the same nature. Before you might think there's any inferiority in the idea that the woman came from the man, helper is the same word God uses to describe himself. Man and woman are made in the image of God with equal dignity, value, and worth. Now, we have different roles, and we have different responsibilities, but God created us by his design. Then in verses 19-20 it says:

"Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him."

Now, this is significant. God brings all of the animal kingdom to Adam and says, "What do you want to name them?" This is part of taking dominion over the earth. It's so significant in the creation order that you see God the Father, you see man who was made, then woman, and then you have the animal kingdom. What happens in Genesis, chapter 3? It's completely inverted. The Serpent usurps his authority, the woman usurps her authority, the man usurps his authority, and there's rebellion against God. We don't live by his design and under his rule, and we fail to flourish.

Several years ago, I remember there was a man out in West Texas who went hunting in Africa, and he shot a lion. The lion's name was Cecil, and everyone was in outrage. One of the protestors one day stood outside and had a big ol' poster, and it said, "I am Cecil!" I wanted to go, "No, you're not. No, you're not. You're created in the image of God." Now, we are to steward what God has given us, but you are not an animal. You've been given a soul and the capacity to know and walk with and love God. You've been given design and function over the created world. Then we see in verses 21-25 something so important.

"So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.' Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed."

You can't miss this. You see in Genesis 2:24-25 God's blueprint for marriage, family, gender, and sexuality. Then Jesus quotes it and reaffirms that in Matthew 19. God is our designer. As our designer, the one who spoke this earth into existence and gives us life, he's the one who defines marriage, not you and me. He's the one who sets gender, not you and me. He's the one who designs family, not you and me.

Family, gender, and sex have completely been repurposed and redesigned by our world, and I'm just calling you to consider what Scripture says, because we flourish under God's rule and by his design. In his design the family unit is the basis of our society, and it's worth fighting for. Marriage is between a man and a woman for life. God fixes gender, and he's the one who says sexuality is to be practiced within these confines for your flourishing, because he loves you and because he wants you to trust him.

He wants you to be planted in a soil where you could flourish and have life and all that he intends for you, but you just have to decide if you believe him or believe what our world is teaching. You have to decide. The family unit is the basis of our society, but that is certainly not popular mantra today. Study the history of ideas, and you can thank Karl Marx for that. Marxism turns the family upside down. It is subservient to the larger government. These ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims.

It's tempting, friends, before we look too far out there… It's really tempting to look at our society and go, "That's all bad." There are problems out there. Gender fluidity being taught within public school districts…that's a problem. Rising divorce rates and infidelity…that's a problem. Legalization of same-sex marriage…that's a problem. It's certainly unbiblical.

But before we look out there, I want to take a turn, and I just want to look in here. I receive emails, and I'll hear people talk about, "You know, we need to talk more about the threat of LGBTQ." People are angry, and they have this disdain for what's happening out there. I just, candidly, humbly, want to submit to you… What about in here, believer? Do we have marriages that we hope our kids one day enjoy? Just be honest.

Do we have marriages, do we have homes, are we leading in such a way that the world looks at us and goes, "Hey, man, beyond all the political slogans and sayings and everything, I just want to know: What makes your home flourish? There's something undeniable about the way your kids look at you. There's something about the way in which you treat your parents. You honor your parents. I don't understand that. There's something about the way you date. You date in a way I respect."

Are you dating in a way that you hope your sister is dating? Are you leading that young woman in a way you hope someone is leading your sister? We can look out there at the world, but what the Lord said to me this week was, "No, Blake, you have to look at you." I need a better marriage. I need to be a better dad.

So, there are problems out there, but there are things I need to work on in strengthening my own family. I just want to say to you it's okay if you're not where you want to be; it's just not okay to stay there. God loves you. His design is for you to flourish. He wants you to enjoy what he has intended for you in a relationship with him through his provision, under his rule, and by his design. You just have to trust him.

Some of you have yet to take that step and trust in God, trust in what Jesus Christ has done for you through his broken body and shed blood. When you trust in him and no longer live by your own authority and your own pride and your own rebellion, seeking to do your own will and live for your own pleasure, and you believe that life is found in the one who says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," and you trust him, you have peace with God. You become a new creation.

There is life, and there is rebirth, and there is a foretaste of what God promises us within the people of God, his church, where people find what it looks like to walk in relationship with him, to flourish with his provision, under his rule, and by his design. It's a foretaste of what is to come. The Bible opens in a garden, and it closes in a garden. Revelation 22:1-5:

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever."

That's your future, Christian. Paradise was once lost. God created us to live in relationship with him. We rebelled against him, but Jesus came to restore and to heal through a tree, his body broken on that tree, and three days later he rose again, validating everything he claimed, said, and did, offering us life, that we could return to that garden and all things be restored.

History is not just a random chance of ideas and consequences. God is providentially at work. There's a prophetic timeline, and he promises he is coming again. He will establish his rule on earth again. Do you know him? Have you trusted in him? Only when you start there can you flourish as he intended.

Father in heaven, I thank you for the reminder of your Word this week. I thank you, Lord, that a relationship with you changes everything, and it doesn't come about because we work harder or we give money or we somehow abstain from things, Lord. It comes simply by just surrendering and admitting our need that we're sinners. We've rebelled against you. We've rejected your rule. So we receive, Father, your gift of grace through your Son Jesus Christ.

For those who haven't started in a relationship with you, I pray, Lord, today would be the day, and I pray, Father, that those who do know you, Lord, that their hearts would be strengthened, that we would live and flourish through your provision, under your rule, and according to your design, and a watching world will come to know you. We pray these things in Christ's name, amen.