Sermon for Sep 4

By on September 4, 2016

In the Beginning

Preached to Clark’s Chapel UMC on 4 September 2016

Genesis 1

NIV Genesis 1:1 ¶ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning– the first day.

6 ¶ And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning– the second day.

9 ¶ And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning– the third day.

14 ¶ And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights– the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning– the fourth day.

20 ¶ And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning– the fifth day.

24 ¶ And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 ¶ Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground– everything that has the breath of life in it– I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning– the sixth day.

 

Introduce / Establish Need

 

We begin a new series this week as we spend a few weeks in Genesis.  This book is about beginnings.  We who are bound by time think in terms of beginnings, continuance, and endings.  We can point to the beginning of our lives, the date this church was founded, when we moved into a house, etc.  We celebrate our birthdays as a reminder that we have a beginning.

 

God reminds us of other beginnings in this book.  Today, we will look at the beginning we call creation.  Next week, we will see the beginning of Sabbath, the beginning of people, the beginning of our relationship with God.  And it will continue.

 

The creation story is beautiful to hear and so I’m going to read it in its entirety, please listen and visualize if you can the creative hand of God at work, painting this creation onto the canvas we call earth.  Or as in the words of the Psalmist:

Psalm 8:3-4  3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,  4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

 

Into the Biblical World

 

I think the Psalmist has it right when it comes to creation.  We are to marvel at creation and consider its vastness, complexity, and beauty.  Creation is a voice that says there is a God.  Even skeptical scientists have to admit that the universe is so finely tuned that it would fall apart if that tuning was just a wee bit different.

 

However, the Psalmist asks a deeper question.  In light of the creation, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?  The obvious answer has to be that God loves us and created us to have fellowship with him.

 

The story of scripture is this love relationship that God has for humankind.  The story of Christianity is that this love is fully revealed through Jesus Christ.  In fact, Paul observes that Jesus is the creating force in

Colossians 1:16-17   16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

 

And Jesus testifies that he came because God so loved the world as we know from John 3:16.

 

Into Our Experience

 

Creation then is a continual reminder of the love that God has for us through Jesus Christ.  There is so much beauty around us and it reminds us that God is with us.  He has made it possible for us to know the creator.  It isn’t a matter of how creation happened, but that it did — because God desires a personal relationship with us through Jesus Christ.

 

We sang of God’s creation in our hymn of praise.  We thank God for the creation in our prayers.  The church is recovering the idea of creation care, not as an environmentalist agenda, but because we have been charged with the responsible care of God’s creation.  So let us live as good stewards of God’s creation.

 

But most of all, let God’s creation speak to us of his wonderful love to us through Jesus Christ.  Let us be reminded in the receiving of the Lord’s Supper and in our closing hymn of Amazing Grace.  Turn with me to page 12 …

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