Genesis 14 – 16

Posted by on October 5, 1988 under Ladies Bible Class

Brenda, does your mom have beautiful feet? Robin or Julie, does your mom? I think they do.

This is my last lecture. You’ll be hearing from Brenda Cantwell starting next week. I know we’ll be in for a treat. Being a lecturer doesn’t mean we know all about the Bible. We are doing this because we are willing to spend some (a lot) of extra time studying beyond what our lessons cover and then share with you what we had learned. It has added some stress to my life in terms of time and brain power, but the benefits have far outweighed that stress. I’ve learned a lot.

One of the things I learned just yesterday was that Abraham had BEAUTIFUL FEET! Did you get that out of your lesson? I’ll explain that later.

We’re going to Texas. We looked at the map and know what roads to take. We have reservations.

Abram set out with his wife, nephew, and company to relocate in a land totally new to him. He left his known world for a strange world without a travel plan marked on his map and without reservations for lodging. (Would you have gone?) He would simply walk – and trust God to lead him to the destination known only to the Divine Mind. He felt the destination was worth any difficulty he might encounter along the way.

Last week we traced his journey on a map, heard the promises God made to Abram, and saw his nephew, Lot, choose the better land for his family and herds which led to Lot and his family being carried off into captivity in a regional dispute. We left off with Abram having gone up to Hobah with his 318 trained men. He defeated King Chedorlaomer and rescued his nephew Lot and his goods and the women and people and all the goods that Chedorlaomer and his men had carried off. Upon his return Abram is met in the Valley of Shaveh by the King of Sodom and the King of Salem.

The King of Sodom accepts back his people that had been carried off in the first battle, but tells Abram to keep the goods, the spoils, for himself. I suppose this was offered as a reward to Abram. Abram refuses to be obligated to anyone but his Lord. He wants the Lord to have all the credit for his well-being, so he wisely refuses to accept the goods lest the King should later say, “I have made Abram rich.”

The other king, Melchizedek, King of Salem, brings out bread and wine to greet Abram. He blesses both Abram and God who delivered the enemies into Abram’s hand. Melchizedek is said to be a priest of God Most High. In the New Testament, Hebrews 7, Christ is said to be a priest after the order of Melchizedek. (This is to fulfill the prophesy of David in Psalm 110:4.) This story seems parenthetical here in Genesis. It just doesn’t quite fit in with stories of promises to Abram. There is a reason for this story. Melchizedek’s importance lies in his symbolic name, his combining the office of king and priest, his receiving tithes from Abraham and especially the lack of information in the Scriptures about him. So that, as far as the Biblical record goes, he may be spoken of as “without father or mother or genealogy” as stated in Hebrews 7:3.

A priest is to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. In the 5th – 10th chapters of Hebrews, Jesus is shown to be a superior Priest to the Levitical priests of the Mosaical law. To contrast the two:

  1. The Levitical priest was appointed priest because of his lineage, bodily descent – a legal requirement. Christ became a priest because He was appointed by God.
  2. There had to be many Levitical priests because they couldn’t continue in their office after their death. Jesus holds the priesthood permanently because He continues forever.
  3. The Levitical priest had to sacrifice daily for sins. Christ just had to do it once. He took His own blood into the Holy Place securing an eternal redemption.
  4. Levitical priests had to enter a hand-made sanctuary. Christ entered into a true sanctuary, heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God Himself on our behalf.
  5. The blood of bulls and goats could not permanently take away sins. Christ’s perfect blood could.

The Hebrew writer is compelled to explain all this because the Jewish nation had gotten it into their heads that no one could be a priest except for the descendants of Aaron. Jesus wasn’t a descendant of Aaron. So God, in His foreknowledge, had Moses include this seemingly insignificant story in Genesis as part of the narrative of Abram’s life. Likewise, God had David prophesy about this in Psalm 110:4, saying, “The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek’.” Isn’t it marvelous that 2000 years beforehand, God is already laying the ground work for His Son to come to be the perfect priest and the perfect and final blood sacrifice – for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (Hebrews 9:22)

So, Jesus has taken on the office of High Priest and the position of being the sacrifice. He offered the sacrifice as well as being the sacrifice. But the Old Testament priests had additional duties other than offering the sacrifices. They were to preside over the feasts (Exodus 27:21), be medical advisors (Leviticus 13:15), administrators of justice (Deuteronomy 17:8-9), give blessings in the name of God (Numbers 6:22-27) and other things. They were also responsible to teach and interpret the Mosaic Law to the people (Deuteronomy 17:9-13). With all these duties people began to see them as being God’s representatives in the flesh. But since Jesus is not here with us in the flesh, who provides that part of the priesthood for us today? 1 Peter 2:9 explains that WE are to be a holy, royal priesthood. We are now the chosen race, the holy nation, God’s own people THAT WE MAY DECLARE THE WONDERFUL DEEDS OF HIM who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

How do we declare His wonderful deeds? We’re learning great things in our ladies’ Bible class. Our knowledge and understanding are increasing, but knowledge and understanding will not save us from the debt we owe for our sins. WE’VE GOT TO LET WHAT WE LEARN AFFECT OUR LIVES AND THOSE AROUND US. That’s why we have this study or any study. Not only to provide fuel for our knowledge, but so that Christ’s light will shine in/through us to the rest of the world. We are not in this study just to know more about God, we are in it to KNOW GOD BETTER. Our ladies’ class needs to have an impact on Fort Smith. Fort Smith SHOULD be different from the past because this class is studying His word. Are you in this study just for the knowledge or are you in it so the knowledge will cause you to affect your world? We all have an effect on the world around us. Even apathy has an effect. Let’s use this study not only for the knowledge for ourselves, but mainly to apply to our lives so we can influence others positively for Christ. I love to learn, but unless I let that learning affect me so that it affects the way I interact with other people, it’s all in vain. Study – yes. Learn – yes. But don’t let it stop there. APPLY–live it. God told Abram he would be a blessing. Are you a blessing to those you meet?

In Romans 10:15, Paul quotes Isaiah saying, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS.” Abraham in his life of faith, his walk, brought good news to the world. He had beautiful feet! Are your feet beautiful? Do they bring the good news to your neighbors and acquaintances? Mrs. Needham and Joyce Dunavin do have beautiful feet.

Can you imagine Abraham walking along with his head down? With an aimless and gloomy look on his face? Feeling angry and resentful or lost? Why, the echo of God’s call ringing in his ears and the alluring dreams of a land God had promised him must have kept him striding along with confidence. With a spring in his step. As you walk with Jesus, let the world see that same joyous spring in YOUR step.

As Peter says in II Peter 1:12-13, I’m saying these things as a reminder to you and myself. We already know them. As long as we are in these bodies, it is right to arouse ourselves by way of reminder. Peter tells us earlier in chapter 1 of II Peter to supplement our faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with LOVE. For if these things are ours and abound, we will be effective and fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and we won’t be able to keep it to ourselves. We’ll be God’s ambassadors. We’ll be imitators of God, practicing hospitality, loving one another. We’ll have the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, goodness, self-control, patience, kindness, faithfulness and gentleness. We won’t hide the light under a bushel. We’ll be the salt of the earth. We’ll be the royal priesthood, God’s own people. We’ll declare His wonderful deeds. And we’ll have BEAUTIFUL FEET to the people of Fort Smith!

Genesis 12 – 14

Posted by on October 4, 1988 under Ladies Bible Class

If you’ve been here for the last three weeks, you know we’ve studied the six literal days of Creation, the fall of mankind, and the stories of Noah and the Flood and the Tower of Babel. That completed the first major division of Genesis. The second major division of Genesis begins here in Chapter 12. It is the history of the Hebrew patriarchs as it traces the formation of the Israelite people. The four major characters of patriarchal history are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. The rest of Genesis centers around these four individuals. We’ll all be very familiar with these men when we finish this study.

The first great Hebrew patriarch, who later became known as the “father of the Hebrew people,” is Abram. We know him better as Abraham which is what God changes his name to later in Chapter 17. Abram is a “man of faith.” It is the key theme of his life that is given prominence in the New Testament record in Romans 4, Hebrews 11 and James 2. Abram’s faith is an active faith that led him to obey.

Let’s back up and pick up our story. Evil continued to increase from the time of the Flood to Abram. We know that the people during this period worshipped many gods, including Abram’s family. Immorality was rampant. So God, who intended to save humanity, decided to begin anew in one family “through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed.”

God chose Abram’s family to bring salvation to the rest of mankind. Abram lived in the city of Ur, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Sumer. Around the year 2000 BC God called Abram. He is told to leave, forfeit his country, kindred and his father’s house. We cannot overemphasis the importance of the call of Abram in the Biblical record of redemption. The entire Biblical story can be organized around the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abram as these involve the development of a people (Israel) to whom is given a land (Canaan) and through whom comes a blessing for all nations (the Messiah).

On a map we can trace the steps of Abram from Ur to Haran (north of Canaan) through the land of Canaan, into Egypt and back into Canaan. God promised this land to Abram and his descendants. In contrast to the sea, mountains and deserts that surround it, Canaan offers fertile soil, water and a pleasant climate. (It is shaken by an occasional earthquake.)

Canaan is the southern tip of an area known as the Fertile Crescent. This narrow semicircle of land in the Near East receives enough moisture to grow crops. From this well-favored strip of land rose the great nations of the Old Testament.

Canaan (or Palestine) is in a strategic location. God chose a prominent place for His people to prove themselves to be a “Holy” nation. The Land of Canaan is strategically located between the great civilizations of the Near East. Egypt is to the southwest, Phoenicia and Syria to the north and Assyria and Babylonia to the east. Canaan could not isolate herself from her neighbors. From here they are forced to get involved in world politics. In war time they are never safe. Everyone had to pass through Canaan to conquer anywhere.

There are advantages to being crisscrossed by surrounding cultures. Here the young Hebrew nation can be enriched by the art, literature, building techniques and scientific accomplishments of other nations. Canaan was a teeming center of trade in the Ancient Near East. Canaan had honey, olive oil, wine, spices, tar and petroleum to offer to traders in exchange for their goods.

God leads Abram to this land along with Sarai, Lot and their entourage. At Shechem God tells Abram that this land will be given to his descendants. Abram builds an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. I don’t know how impressed Abram was with this new land. It was certainly better than the desert areas to the east and south, but soon after entering this promised land there is a severe famine. Famines were not an uncommon event to this area and the thing to do was to head southwest into Egypt where the crops did not depend so much on the rainfall as they did on the Nile River for their moisture. God had led Abram here into Canaan, but the writer doesn’t say God led Abram into Egypt. Once God gets Abram to Canaan He seems to let Abram make the rest of the choices.

Abram chooses to go into Egypt to escape the famine. Upon reading through the text of this lesson the first time, I couldn’t help but notice how often Abram built an altar unto the Lord. When I read through it the second time, I noticed that Abram does NOT build an altar unto the Lord when he goes down into Egypt. Granted, this is not the land that God had promised him, but I would think he would be thankful enough to get to a land where there was plenty of food that he would want to thank God by sacrificing to Him. But, Abram chooses not to, or perhaps it doesn’t even enter his mind. And here’s where the trouble begins.

Here we see Abram, the champion of faith, heralded many times even in the New Testament for his faith, slip a little. We see he is but a mortal man, imperfect, subject to mistakes just as we are. I’m thankful God sees fit to have Moses include this part of Abram’s life for us to see. For although Abram deceives Pharaoh by telling him Sarai is his sister and not mentioning she is his wife, God still loves him and does not take away His promise to him. God still takes care of him even though he is not so perfect. I’m not even sure Abram sees this lie, deceit, as a sin. He shows no remorse. In fact, he repeats the deceit in Chapter 20 to king Abimelech.

Upon returning into Canaan, Abram and Lot decide this land cannot support both of their herds. Abram tells Lot to choose which part of the country he wants and Abram will take the other part. This is very magnanimous of Abram. We’ll all agree that Lot, being the nephew, the younger and not the patriarch of the family, should have thanked Abram politely for offering him first pick, but then should have insisted that Abram choose first. Either these men were men of few words or the Bible doesn’t record the whole conversation. We know the herdsmen had been arguing. Either for greed or lack of manners, Lot goes ahead and chooses what appears on the surface to be the best choice of land for himself, his family and herds.

Could there possibly be another reason why Lot was so quick to choose? Allow me to speculate some here. Perhaps Lot was so quick to make this decision because of a previous decision. What do we know of these men’s lives? They have a similar background. They are both from the same country, same household. They have had similar educations, similar wealth. There probably wasn’t that much difference in their age. One difference is their wives. We know from Hebrews 11 that Sarah, Abram’s wife, was a woman of faith. What do we know of Lot’s wife? Does any one know her name? NO. What does it say about her in the New Testament? Luke 17:32 says “Remember Lot’s wife.” That’s all the New Testament says about her. Remember Lot’s wife. What is it we remember about her? Her worldliness. She had to look back to see Sodom as it was being destroyed even after being warned of the consequences. Do you see what I’m getting at? Perhaps Lot felt compelled to choose the most suitable looking land in order to best get along with one of his earlier choices – his worldly wife. Now that’s a lot of reading in between the lines on my part to justify Lot’s choice of choosing his land first. But so many of the times aren’t our decisions greatly influenced by our previous decisions? Don’t our husbands base many of their choices on what will be most pleasing to us? We’re one of their earlier choices. Don’t we sometimes subtly pressure our husbands into making choices they would not normally make just to make us happy? Amos, in chapter 4 and following, warns us about our attitude toward material things and even about pushing our husbands to provide us with those things. So, before we blame Lot totally for his decision to choose first, perhaps we better consider what other things might be pressuring him.

Choices. If we had the ability to see into the future, our decisions would all be easy to make, wouldn’t they? As we go through Genesis we are going to see a lot of decisions made. I wonder, if we kept a running tally, if all the good decisions were made after God was consulted, and if the bad ones were made without a thought toward God. Abram remembers God when he first enters Canaan and again when he returns, but it isn’t mentioned if he consulted God or thanked God when he goes down into Egypt and deceives Pharaoh. We don’t see Lot stopping to pray to God to ask for wisdom before choosing his part of the land. It does prove to be a bad decision by him in Chapter 14 when he is carried off into captivity after the war of the kings. And it will bring him more trouble later in chapter 19.

Now a difference in wives is probably not the only reason Lot chose to choose his land first. There seems to be a difference in vision between this uncle and nephew. Lot took what he could physically see was good. The Jordan Valley looked on the surface to be the better choice. Abraham could see goodness in what was unseen — with a vision of faith. The same faith, that led him to leave his country and kindred, led him to accept this less appealing land as acceptable. The Lord reaffirms His promise to Abram, telling him this land will be given to his descendants and that those descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth. And once again Abram builds an altar to the Lord.

Abram left his own country, father’s house and kindred, took at the command of God a journey to this promised land, and didn’t cease till he arrived in it. We need to follow his example…not to leave our country and kin, but to cast aside whatever physical things are weighing us down, come out from among the workers of sin, set out for the kingdom of God, and not rest till we reach the heavenly promised land. Abram had to exchange the known for the unknown and find his reward in what he could not see. This is that vision of faith instead of physical vision that we talked about earlier. In the same way, we have to exchange what we know, this world, for the unknown, heaven, to find our reward. How many set out for the Kingdom of Heaven, make good progress for a time in their journey, but get side-tracked, perhaps because of a poor decision that we forgot to consult God about? On our journey to that unknown we will be faced with decisions, choices to make. Let’s decide today to make every decision only after consulting the Lord.

Over four centuries after Abram’s time, his descendants came out of Egypt, back into Canaan to take the land that the Lord had promised Abram. The Israelites had to make a decision – whether to serve false gods such as they had seen in Egypt and now saw in Canaan or to serve the one true God who had led them out after a series of miracles. Joshua, their leader at this time, gives them some wonderful words of wisdom in chapter 24:15 that is familiar to us. He says, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” The people adamantly answer, “We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God” (Joshua 24:21, 24). And the Bible says the Israelite people did serve God all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua.

Genesis 6 – 11

Posted by on October 3, 1988 under Ladies Bible Class

Last week we studied about the sin of Adam and Eve and their subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Then we looked into the lives of their children and saw plainly there were two life styles emerging. Seth’s family began calling on the name of the Lord. They are referred to in Chapter 6 as “sons of God.” The family of Cain, however, took after Cain in their morals. A love of God is missing. And as we see even today, children tend to take on the morals of their parents and even loosen them some unless a love of God can touch their heart and pull them out of this downward spiral of immorality. Eventually the righteous began to mingle with the unrighteous. The Bible states: “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all that they chose.” (Cf. Romans 8:14.) Out of these intermarriages came a generation of men and women in almost total rebellion against God. That the intermarriages resulted in such a shameful condition should not shock us. Paul reminded us of the consequences of such in I Corinthians 15:33 when he said, “Be not deceived: evil companionships corrupt good morals.”

There is little doubt that a catastrophic flood actually did occur. Preserved in the myths and legends of almost every people on the face of the globe is the memory of the great catastrophe. While myths may not have any scientific value, they are significant in indicating the fact that an impression was left in the minds of the races of mankind that could not be erased. The account of the Genesis Flood hardly stands alone. Researchers have described over 100 flood traditions from Europe, Asia, Australia, the East Indies, the Americas, East Africa, and many other places. These traditions agree in too many vital points not to have originated from the same factual event.

Let’s look a little closer at this time just before the Flood. With a thermal vapor blanket encircling the world, that God placed there on the second day of creation, things were quite different. This canopy would give the earth a “greenhouse” effect, producing a warm, uniform, tropical climate worldwide. The temperature of the entire earth would be very nearly the same at every latitude. This fact is proven by the fossil record. The same flora and fauna fossils are found throughout the world, from the Artic regions to the African and Gobi desserts which were at one time covered with luxuriant vegetation. The terrain was different. The land was low and there were no high mountains forming physical or climatic barriers. This made it quite easy to populate the earth. We find out from Psalm 104:8 that God caused the mountains to rise and the valleys to sink during the Flood.

Another vast difference was the size and age of the humans and animals. This is probably due to the climate and lack of diseases and other physical problems. Everything was conducive to physical health and longevity. It has been suggested that there possibly was a much higher carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere which would have slowed down maturation rates and induced longer life. Slowing maturation would also produce, in some instances, giantism. Geological and biblical evidences certainly indicate that plants, animals, and even humans of the past have been larger than we now observe.

There are some physical evidences that a world-wide flood did occur. Vast animal graveyards have been found worldwide. Evidence of a great, sudden, and watery cataclysm, followed by a deep freeze, across the entire great north, burying a host of mammoths, mastodons, elephants, and other great beasts in a region which is now almost totally devoid of vegetation has been documented. There is abundant evidence of profuse vegetation and a temperate, even subtropical climate prevailing in Antarctica and the northern polar regions at some time in the past. Worldwide fossilization has occurred in vast quantities, including fossils of all kinds. Many great rifts, fissures, and lava beds have been discovered, scarring the world ocean floor, telling us of some gigantic submarine upheaval of the earth’s crust (as in the breaking up of the “fountains of the deep”). Marine fossils have been found buried and exposed at almost every altitude. And on and on and on such evidences could be listed.

How many of you have heard of the excavations being done on the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas? Perhaps the most convincing and solid evidence for the Flood comes from there. For here scientists, (geologists, paleontologists, etc.) have been finding HUMAN FOOTPRINTS embedded in Cretaceous limestone ALONGSIDE DINOSAUR FOOTPRINTS MADE AT THE SAME TIME!! What that means is that these dinosaurs and humans were running through some squishy, muddy area at the same time which was soon thereafter covered with layers of other soil as if the ground had suddenly opened up and belched more mud. I have a book on these findings. In 1984 it was reported, “Baugh and Hall excavated a human footprint with the big toe and smaller toes in their descending angle and the arched instep, scientifically peculiar to the human species. . . . There is definite evidence that man and dinosaurs co-existed. . . . The fact that these tracks were so clearly preserved in this porous substance indicated rapid burial – again, the Flood.” My family will be going there later this month.

You know the details of the Flood. I’d like to give you some suggestions for answers for some of the problems that people bring up when the Flood is mentioned. There was plenty of room on the Ark for the animals. The Ark had a carrying capacity of at least 522 train stock cars. The width, 50 cubits (75 feet), is about 1/2 as wide as our auditorium. The length, 300 cubits (450 feet), is about 4 1/2 times LONGER than our auditorium. There were 3 floors this size. That’s long and skinny, but on the same proportions as many of our Naval ships are built today. It had at least 101,250 square feet of floor space. That is sufficient room for all the animals. Noah was not required to take full grown specimen. And many of the animals could have hibernated while on the Ark, easing some of the burden on Noah and his family. I surmise that young dinosaurs were taken on the Ark, but became extinct at some later time due to the change in climate or some such similar occurrence before they could multiply sufficiently to maintain their species on the earth. –If indeed they are really extinct.

The story of the Flood follows the story of Cain and Abel so closely in Genesis that it might leave the impression that we are dealing with just a few short years here. But, assuming that none of the generations were left out in the lineage from Adam to Noah in chapter 5, the time from creation to the Flood was somewhere around 1,656 years! Think about it. 1,656 years is a long time. That’s more than 3 times longer than white men have been on this continent. In that amount of time, people would have multiplied (especially people who lived to advanced ages as did the patriarchs), and would have spread to many areas of the globe. It has been estimated that the population of the earth could have been as much as one billion people in that length of time. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Multiply that by perhaps a billion people, and that’s a while lot of sinning going on. So much so that the Lord was sorry that He had made man. But, the Lord had already promised a Savior would come, so instead of wiping out the entire earth and starting anew, the Lord finds one righteous man to save, through whom He could keep His promise.

In the midst of sin all around him, Noah remained righteous, a good man. His character is described as being honest (probably an unusual trait for his day and time) and blameless in his generation. I suppose he was the “oddball” of his day. He “walked with God.” I get the feeling that I can’t even begin to understand all that that phrase entails. Because of Noah, a “probation period” of 120 years was established. During that time we know that Noah preached to the people of his generation, all the while carrying out the commands of God regarding the building of the Ark. In a little over a hundred years, Noah’s work was completed, but for all his preaching, Noah’s only “converts” were members of his own family group. Please note that even though the converts were few, Noah DID NOT CHANGE THE MESSAGE GOD HAD GIVEN HIM! We know this is true because the biblical account states that the ark floated. Had Noah altered God’s commands, thereby disobeying Him, the ark would have sunk straight down to the bottom of the sea.

The Bible gives the impression that it had not ever rained before. We don’t even have a record that anyone had ever even attempted to build a vessel to float on water before. The 120 years that Noah and his family spent building this Ark, on dry land, to God’s specifications must have been peculiar in the sight of the people. I suppose all of you in studying your lesson this week have realized how ridiculous this project must have seemed to Noah’s neighbors and peers. It must be something akin to watching a neighbor stop his career in order to have time to build a spacecraft in his backyard to take him to Saturn to escape a giant comet that he says will collide with the earth and totally blow it to pieces. If my neighbor came to me with that message (no matter how good or bad he was), saying God told him all this and urging me to come along with him, I’d either burst out laughing or go call my psychiatrist neighbor for help for this poor fellow.

Did you take the time to put yourself into Noah’s wife’s shoes or his daughter-in-laws’ shoes? I think if I were Mrs. Noah, I would have said, at various times before the Flood began, some things like, “Honey, I know you are a righteous man and all, but are you SURE you got this message straight? Are you sure God isn’t just testing you? What’s gonna be coming out of the sky? How deep did God say it would get? Does everyone have to be destroyed? Can’t we find room for my hairdresser at least? And all these animals that have been coming our way lately, are you sure He meant for us to take them all? It sure is gonna be noisy and smelly and a whole lot of work caring for those animals. Surely God wouldn’t be upset if we built a separate ark for them. He didn’t say we couldn’t, did He?” I’m afraid the devil would be using me to make Noah question his Lord.

We never see Noah question his mission. The Hebrew writer tells us “by FAITH Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” (Hebrews 11:7). Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Noah was sure this event, that he was forewarned about, would come to pass and his conviction caused Him to carry out his mission amidst ridicule and jest. I wonder if we could talk today to Noah if he wouldn’t say that as trying and hard as all the months he and his family spent inside the ark during the Flood, they were not nearly as hard to endure as these years that were spent in preparation and preaching to mankind. In my mind, the hardest time of all would have been the week just before the rains started. For the Lord had them load the ark seven days before the Flood began. Had I been one of the females on that Ark, I’m afraid my faith would have wavered severely while waiting aboard the Ark before the rains began. I imagine the neighbors got a good laugh out of this family that moved in with all these animals on this strange looking craft. Noah had the courage to go against the flow and do what God asked him to do.

This is a story we tell our youngest children cause they love the animals, and we sing cute little songs about Noah and the Ark and Flood. Sometimes we forget that this story in particular is put here for us adults, too. What do we need to learn from this story? I’ve come up with four things.

  1. God is in control. Since God created the elements He can take control of the elements. 
  2. Following God’s commands takes precedence over anything else. Had Noah not followed God’s commands the world as we know it would not be here today. We must follow God even if we are the only ones doing it. We must not change God’s message to make it more acceptable to man. 
  3. Sin brings on grave consequences. In this case, destruction of all but a remnant of God’s creation.
  4. Righteousness will have its reward. Noah was rewarded by being saved from this great destruction.

And going on to the story of the Tower of Babel. What can we learn from the story of Babel? Perhaps the same lessons.

  1. God is in control. Whether He used the elements to confuse and scatter man abroad or just their minds – GOD IS IN CONTROL. 
  2. Following God’s commands takes precedence over anything else. After the Flood, God had told them to be fruitful and multiply and bring forth abundantly on the earth. They weren’t doing that. They were out to make a name for themselves – they wanted FAME. They became famous all right, but not for the reason they wanted. We remember them for their foolishness and not for following God’s commands. 
  3. Sin brings on grave consequences. Their sin brought on confusion and frustration that caused them to separate and move away from each other. Righteousness will have its reward. It was one of Ham’s descendant’s, Nimrod, who was probably ruler at this time of this land of Shinar where this tower was built. But, thanks to the righteousness of Shem’s descendants, the Lord has blessed mankind with the next major character we will be studying for several weeks — Abraham.

These four lessons, mentioned as coming from these two stories, apply to us today. And when the Lord comes again to destroy the Earth with fire, the righteous will have a reward of a home in heaven.

Genesis 1 and 2

Posted by on October 1, 1988 under Ladies Bible Class

Good Morning. I want to talk this morning about science and Genesis 1-2. You know what science is, don’t you? It’s the study of God’s work. Then, I want to share with you why I view Genesis 1 & 2 as a literal and accurate account of the beginning of our world.

About mid-August I was told I would be doing these first few lectures. I was really excited about it because the beginning of Genesis is a fascinating account of the beginning of the Universe. It is a rather sketchy account which opens it up to a lot of speculation. I began reading books, magazine articles, journals, more books on the subject of the beginning of the universe. But as I sat down to put this lecture together I felt I had learned very little.

It was rather frustrating. I was a decent student in school. Granted, I had raised 2 children from infants to grade school age in the past 9 years, but I didn’t think Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose had destroyed my ability to learn and reason. So, I reviewed my notes, reread articles, etc. Then it dawned on me why I felt I hadn’t learned much. All I had been reading were other people’s ideas and suppositions about the beginning. In reality, they don’t have any more facts to go on than you or I do. No one was there to observe the beginning to provide us with a detailed report.

But God saw fit to have Moses give us a brief account on how it all happened. Have you ever wondered why Moses gave us such a simple (yet profound) description of the creation? I think it is a tribute to the inspiration of the Scripture. What God did not tell us is perhaps as significant as what He did tell us. He leaves out any reference to His particular mode of operation in creation. It is written to be a CLASSIC. It is written to fit in and be accurate for whatever level of understanding the reader is at that time.

It seems to me that one can best appreciate Genesis 1 & 2 with a childlike faith and accept it as a simple, beautiful, profound, and factual statement of creation. Hebrews 11:3 says “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God…” A few verses before this the Hebrew writer tells us that faith is the evidence of things not seen. You and I look at our universe and we see “evidences” that the universe was created by a Master Creator. We see the beauty in a flower, birds winging over head, the certainty of the seasons and the water cycle, and we say “It took a great Intelligence to make these marvelous things.” These things are indirect evidences. We can’t see any direct evidence that God created the universe. He didn’t sign His name on the top cliffs of the Grand Canyon or leave his signature in the shape of a chain of islands. We accept it by faith as it says in Hebrews. But, God made man to be inquisitive, so we question How & Why.

If you are the kind of person who tends to want to make science and the Bible unite, I want to suggest to you how that can and cannot be done. If you are the kind of person who tends to tune out science discussions, be sure to tune back in when we start discussing Genesis again in about 10 minutes.

Let’s do some defining. A CREATIONIST is someone who believes God created the world as said in Genesis 1-2. An EVOLUTIONIST is someone who says life forms were not created, but are the product of evolution. All life evolved or changed from one single life form. Not all evolutionists are atheists. Many are theistic evolutionists. They say, “Maybe God started evolution.” At the same time, not all anti-evolutionists are CREATIONIST. There are atheistic scientists who will agree with us that evolution is a ridiculous explanation for how we got here.

The theory of evolution exists because men who don’t want to believe in God must come up with some explanation for man’s existence. They use the lack of technical information in the Genesis account as an excuse not to believe in God – an excuse to live without having to give an answer to anyone for the way they live. They turn elsewhere for an answer for how and why we are here.

Now let’s look at some of the reasons people point to for not taking Genesis literally.

One excuse they give for this is the age of the earth. [This week at the Park Hill Church of Christ, Dr. Don Patton is lecturing on these very subjects. Brother Patton is a geologist from Dallas. He is speaking every night at 7:00. Last night, he spoke on the age of the earth. Thursday night he’ll be speaking on the fossil records.] If you accept the evolutionists’ “scientific” methods of dating based on radioactive decay, similar to the Carbon 14 method, then you must concede that the earth is billions of years old. However, not all scientists will accept these dating methods as reliable. These methods are based on certain unproved assumptions or presuppositions. You will not hear a lot of scientists attacking these dating methods because to do so is to be labeled unscientific and preposterous. In fact, non-evolutionist scientists can’t get their works published by “SCIENCE” magazines because every article has to pass a peer review before they will publish it. They get rejected. In response to this excuse of the age of the universe, I’d like you to consider some excellent points made by a member of the church, Bert Thompson. Brother Thompson holds a PhD, has taught at Texas A & M and is now at Alabama Christian School of Religion. He is co-editor of a monthly journal on Christian evidences, Reason and Revelation, and is one of the founders of Apologetics Press. He says there are over 75 scientific methods showing the earth to be young, consistent with the Genesis account. One is the decaying of the Earth’s magnetic field, which shows that the earth can’t be more than 10,000 years old. Also, consider the shrinkage of the sun. The sun is shrinking at the rate of 5 feet per hour. But, had the earth and the sun been in existence 20 million years ago, the sun’s surface would actually have been touching the surface of the earth based on the rate of shrinkage. There is also evidence for a young earth in the amount of hydrogen left in the universe, the amount of helium in the atmosphere…and on and on.

Besides the evolutionist needing an old, old earth in order for life to evolve to its present level, evolution has as its base the idea of “Spontaneous Generation.” That means something non-living can produce something living. Aristotle believed this. He thought maggots, flies, frogs, etc., spontaneously came to life from putrefying meat, filth, soil. Even up through the Middle Ages this was accepted as scientific fact. If an animal was killed and left to rot, eventually maggots seemed to come to life from that rotting meat. For a scientist to deny this was considered to be denying the reasoning processes of the mind — you could “see” maggots appear — and Aristotle taught it. For a Bible student to deny the fact of spontaneous generation was heretical because didn’t Genesis say “Let the earth bring forth – and let the waters bring forth – and the earth and waters brought forth…”? This is an example of how scripture can be interpreted to mean what you think it ought to mean. In the late 1800’s Louis Pasteur put an end to this belief when he proved those maggots came from eggs deposited on the decaying meat and such. So the idea of spontaneous generation — life can come from non-life — died. That is, until the evolutionist needed it.

Traditional, general evolution says ALL life on earth today evolved. That from non-living substances a very simple life form spontaneously began – in something like this. [Show jar of “primordial pea soup.”] Keep an eye on this and see if something starts wiggling. Wait. I didn’t take the oxygen out of my jar, and we don’t have the right gases and amino acids and such. Evolutionists say there had to have been an oxygen-free atmosphere for life to have begun. So we won’t see any life spontaneously appear today. That’s not right. How can that be? We’ve got to have an ozone layer to protect any life form from ultraviolet light rays. U.V. rays kill in less than a second. Oxygen is needed for an ozone layer. (No conditions like that have ever been on earth. But supposedly we had our beginning in something resembling this.) How can that be? Oxygen here, but not here? I don’t know. They don’t know. If you want to frustrate an evolutionist ask him that one. And ask him why the oldest known rocks that we know of today were formed with oxygen present.

In the 20th century, we EXPECT science to have answers for us. Yet they can’t explain how or why or where this happened. It just did. They have no documentation for this. No one saw it. They can’t reproduce it. But, man is here so it MUST have happened. Consider this quote from George Wald, a Nobel prize-winning Harvard professor, “I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation. One only has to contemplate the magnitude of the task – life from non-life – to concede that spontaneous generation of a living organism is IMPOSSIBLE. Yet here we are as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.” Did you understand that? This Nobel prize-winning Harvard professor SAYS spontaneous generation is impossible! But here we are, so it must have happened! I’m not a scientist, but that doesn’t sound very scientific to me.

Anyway, from this simple life form that came from non-life – all other life evolved through gradual changes. And as you know, man, the highest life form, evolved through the ape line. This evolving was not observed, but are there any evidences of it? For this the evolutionists turn to the fossil record. And they begin their evolutionary charts. Evolutionists love to do these charts showing “scientific proof” of evolution. They want you to concentrate on the change in the skull structure. Yet these characteristics can be found in individuals today. They show no more variation than the variation we see in dogs today or in humans today. If you know the person you’re sitting by, look at each other. They take a few bones like this (Lucy) and draw a man like this. Do you wonder how they knew to draw these men? National Geographic spends 70 pages of this November 1985 edition on evolutionary “facts.” But, in one small sentence tucked away over here, they say the artist has SPECULATED on skin tone and the amount of body hair and its texture since fossils give no clues. They speculate. They draw it to resemble a monkey because they want it to look like a monkey.

Don Patton said Sunday night there is less evidence of species change NOW than before. Did they lose some? No. Remember the nice charts of the evolution of the horse? It had to be discarded as more knowledge came about. This embarrasses the evolutionists since it got put into so many textbooks.

Bert Thompson says that all the fossils these evolutionists use as “proof” of evolution could ALL fit inside one coffin with room to spare. Even with these nice charts they produce they still have a 29-million-year gap in their chart just before this. Won’t all agree that this one is in man’s line? One hundred twenty plus years ago Darwin sent out the plea, “Go find missing links.” Don Patton said Sunday night that there is still a DESPERATE search for missing links going on. They have not found ANY proof that one species has changed to another.

To review that, we’ve noted that the evolutionist has a problem with 1) The age of the earth, 2) Spontaneous generation, and 3) Lack of evidence in the fossil records to support their theory-specifically, no missing links. I’ve just presented the tip of the iceberg of problems the evolutionists have. Yet they have the gall to try to get us to accept evolution as a fact. A FACT is defined as “a verified statement.” To believe in something that can’t tell how, why, where, when something occurred, can’t be proven by scientific method (i.e., can’t be observed, can’t be reproduced, can’t be proven by experimentation, or proven by the Falsification element) is NOT a FACT. It is a FAITH. Now, the Bible’s account of creation can’t be proven as fact, scientifically, either. But we will admit ours is a faith. I submit to you it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in God and the biblical account of creation.

I haven’t given enough information today to convert anyone away from evolutionary thought. However, I hope I have reassured you that you don’t have to try and unite evolutionary thought with the Bible to be accepted as a knowledgeable person in today’s world.

Now let’s look at evidences for the Genesis account.

The first 11 chapters of Genesis are sometimes shrugged off as being a myth, allegory or poem that is not to be taken literally. But this is impossible without undermining the integrity of all the rest of the Bible.

Let me give you 4 reasons why Genesis can and should be taken as an historical, literal account of the 6 days of creation.


  1. First reason is the style of these chapters. The style does not suggest a mythical, allegorical or poetic approach. It sustains an intimate relationship with the remainder of the book. The generations listed presupposes the Creation account and the Creation account prepares for what follows. The characteristics of Hebrew poetry are lacking. The style and syntax of Genesis 1 – 11 and Genesis 12 – 50 are the same.
  2. The Genesis narrative is to be accepted as literal history because this is the view held by our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus frequently quoted from Genesis. For instance, Matthew 19:4-6. “Have you not read that He who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” He got that from Genesis 1 & 2, thus stamping these chapters as both historically accurate and divinely inspired. One cannot legitimately question the historicity of the creation record without questioning the judgement or veracity of Christ. In John 5:46-47 Jesus says “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” The Jews needed to hear that because they believed Moses, but didn’t want to believe Jesus. Today, we need to hear “If you believe in Jesus, then you should believe in Moses, for Jesus spoke of Moses.”Good ol’ Moses has also told us why God took 6 days to create the world. My God is omnipotent and could have spoken the world into existence in an instant. In Exodus 20:11, in giving the 10 Commandments and after God tells them to work 6 days and then rest on the 7th, God tells the Israelites to follow His example. God created the world in 6 days and then rested as an example to the people of the world. This verse (Exodus 20:11) also proves that there is NOT a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. He specifically says that in 6 days the Lord made heaven and earth and all that is in them.
  3. The Genesis narrative is to be accepted as literal and historical because the inspired writers of the
    New Testament referred often to the narrative and made doctrinal arguments which depend on the historical validity of the Genesis record. EVERY New Testament writer made allusions to or quoted from the book of Genesis.
  4. The Genesis narrative is to be accepted as literal and historical because of its relation to human redemption. This fits in more with our next week’s lesson. But, the main idea is Genesis presents the origin of man, his fall, and his inability to redeem himself, and so educates him to his need for salvation. The New Testament presents Christ as the satisfaction of that need. Thus both Testaments form a unity of narrative and of purpose. Their accounts are so interrelated that they cannot be separated and at the same time maintain that redemption is a human necessity… If, therefore, Genesis is not literally true, then Jesus as presented in the Gospels is simply not necessary. 

As we go into our classes today we may find we have different concepts of Genesis 1 & 2. Let’s try NOT to let our own prejudices or notions alter the meaning of the message, overwork individual words or look for hidden meanings. Let’s resist the temptation to read between the lines — this is what the Medieval church was doing that we talked about earlier when we noted their belief in spontaneous generation.

Whatever our prior concepts of Genesis 1 are, we must ALL agree that:

  1. God created. That all creation, living and non-living was the result of the divine command. 
  2. God’s creation was orderly and progressive, and God pronounced His creation as Good. 
  3. Man was created in the image of God and thereby is unique among God’s creation. 

We’ve said that Genesis 1 & 2 are to be taken as a literal, accurate account of the 6 days of creation

  1. The style of the first chapters fit in with the rest of the book. It is not a myth or poem.
  2. Jesus quoted from these chapters proving they are accurate and divinely inspired.
  3. All New Testament writers alluded to or quoted Genesis.
  4. Finally, because of its relation to human redemption.

When we behold the wonders of creation,
The flowers that bloom, the raindrops as they fall,
The spacious sky and life’s perpetuation,
I cannot doubt that God controls it all.
Lord, I believe; Yes, I believe.
I cannot doubt or be deceived.
The eye that sees each sparrow fall,
His unseen hand is in it all.
(copyright © 1970, A. W. Dicus)

Genesis 3 – 5

Posted by on under Ladies Bible Class

If you’ll remember back to last week’s lesson, we left Adam with his newly formed wife, Eve, in a garden paradise and saw everything that God had made and behold it was very good. At the beginning of this lesson on Chapters 3, 4 & 5 we see that goodness turn to ruin. It’s a very tragic account on the surface, but God moves in mysterious ways sometimes, and we’ll see God turn the personal tragedy of Adam and Eve into a glorious hope for us.

As we begin this study, let’s remember that the Old Testament was not written with the sole purpose of being a history book so it does not always give us the details we would like to know. Its purpose is to give us a history of redemption. And it begins right here in today’s lesson. Throughout the whole book we’ll see time and time again, man struggling to do things his way instead of God’s way. We’ll see varying amounts of sin committed by individuals – some trying to be righteous and others not trying at all. Every one of them has a need. They don’t all know what that need is. The whole theme throughout ALL the Old Testament is “SOMEONE’S COMING.” That Someone will fulfill man’s need.

Last week we studied how God made man in His image. Being made in God’s image entails more than just being endowed with a spirit or soul. Ephesians 4:24 says we are created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. From Colossians 3:10 we learn that being made in the image of God means being made with knowledge. So when Adam was created, he was made WISE in his mind, HOLY in his heart, and RIGHTEOUS in his actions.

But something happened to change all that goodness. Adam is placed in a paradise with ONE LAW–don’t eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and ONE PUNISHMENT–DEATH. This perfect man and wife who were wise, holy and righteous have a sudden change of character into unwise, unholy and unrighteous beings. For also present in the midst of the garden of Eden was this tree – the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Why was this tree put there? To tempt man? God is the creator of all that is good. To tempt is to “entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain.” We are told in Matthew 18:7 that it is necessary for temptations to come. Did God put the tree there to tempt man to sin? NO. For James 1:13 tells us very plainly that God does not tempt us. He is not the author of evil. The temptation comes rather from personal weakness in the face of some incitement or pressure. Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires, whether the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes or the pride of life (1 John 1:16). God does permit man to undergo trials and testing for the purpose of perfecting his faith and purifying his heart.

God doesn’t want to be worshipped by puppets. He allows each of us to decide for ourselves whether or not we will choose to obey and worship God or follow our own desires. See, the problem was not that the TREE was in the garden. The problem was that SATAN was in the garden. Satan was there in his subtle form to tempt Eve with the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. And the first time we see Eve presented with the option of choosing between God and her own desires, she chooses to satisfy her earthly desires of hunger, possession and wisdom. BUT, she didn’t know what KIND of wisdom she was in for. Satan had told her her eyes would be opened, she would be like God, knowing good from evil. And as we often do when we are tempted, she didn’t stop to consider the consequences. Satan didn’t lie to her totally. Her eyes were opened and she was more wise. What kind of wisdom? What did Adam and Eve know after they ate of the fruit that they didn’t know before? For the first time in their lives, however short that might have been, THEY KNEW SIN. THEY KNEW EVIL. They knew what it was like to be separated from God. They knew disobedience and its consequences — GUILT, SHAME, UNWORTHINESS, HOPELESSNESS. Remember when they were made in God’s image they were made wise, holy and righteous. Now they had knowledge of a different kind of wisdom. They were UNholy and UNrighteous. For this, God told them they would die.

Although the Old Testament is not written for the sole purpose of telling us history, it does sometimes serve that purpose. Here we learn a little science history. For here the Second Law of THERMODYNAMICS was established. The law of Entropy or law of energy decay, as it is sometimes known, states that every system, left to its own, tends to move from order to disorder. In other words, the universe is proceeding in a downward degenerating direction of decreasing organization. Material possessions deteriorate and all living organisms eventually return to dust, a state of complete disorder. The molecules of this podium, left on its own, will eventually loose their bond on each other and the podium will decay. In the same way our bodies turn back to dust. Castles turn into rubble. This law affects the whole universe. The sun is burning up. Stars are aging. Orbits are decaying. Things begin to deteriorate. Everything that has a beginning will eventually come to an end.

What has that got to do with Adam and Eve and Satan? Everything. Up until this time nothing had ever experienced death. Not man, not animal – remember they weren’t eating meats. Nothing was deteriorating, nothing was decaying, nothing was aging. But, now that sin had entered the world, death came and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is established. Satan causes sin, sin causes death. Now that sin had entered the world, everything living became mortal, they began aging. Their biological clock began to tick. So if you are looking for someone to blame for the wrinkles on your face or the gray hairs on your head… :-)

Along with the sin and mortality came GUILT. Adam and Eve felt guilt. Having never experienced it before and not knowing how to cope with it, they hid in their shame. The guilt was not in their naked bodies, for God had created them that way and it was good. But in an attempt to deal with guilt, they felt they needed to cover their bodies that were now mortal. I admit to not understanding this exactly, and I haven’t read or talked with anyone who felt they could confidently explain it either.

Mike Cope says in his book, Living in Two Worlds, that the three most haunting problems of our age are GUILT–A PROBLEM WITH THE PAST, MEANINGLESSNESS–A PROBLEM WITH THE PRESENT, and HOPELESSNESS–A PROBLEM WITH THE FUTURE. Guilt is something inside us that says, “I’ve blown it. I’ve fallen short. I’m out of sync, out of alignment. I’m not what I ought to be.” We call it our conscience. Unless your conscience is seared, something at some point in your life nags at you and reminds you man has been separated from God. Your sins have come between you and the Creator, like Adam and Eve’s, and you’re out of fellowship with Him. It’s the forces of sin in our lives that pull us away from God.

What can we do about it? How do you get rid of guilt? Denial doesn’t help. Cain tried that. Concealment doesn’t work. King David tried that after sleeping with Bathsheba. You may think “If I WORK harder and do more I can get rid of this nagging guilt. I’m gonna read my Bible more, pray more. I’ll be at church every time the doors are open. I’ve got to do everything possible to get rid of this guilt!!!” But the emptiness remains.

Let’s look at how Adam and Eve dealt with guilt. Verse 21 of chapter 3 suggests that God taught them what to do. Because of their sin, God kills the first animals and clothes the man and woman with the skins. This may seem a strange way to handle sin and guilt. Remember we said earlier there was One Law and One Punishment–DEATH. Leviticus 17:11 explains it a little more. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the alter to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life.” The punishment for sin is death. Instead of taking man’s life immediately, God starts man’s own decaying process of aging, thus delaying their payment, but has allowed them to offer an animal sacrifice as a DOWN PAYMENT for their sins.

Animal sacrifice is the Old Testament way of dealing with sin. In the New Testament how do we handle sin? Now we have many laws, but the consequences of breaking a law is still the same — DEATH. What’s our sacrifice? CHRIST. Christ came saying (paraphrasing), “No longer will animal blood atone for your sins. The sacrifice must be a perfect human. I’ll be your sacrifice. I’ll give My life so that all who follow My way may live. Accept My GRACE. It’s My gift to you. I’ll reach down and pull you out of the depths of guilt. I’ll give you meaning and hope.” Christ became the ultimate sacrifice. He died on the cross taking our burden and guilt. Most of us here have accepted God’s grace and have become His children. But, many in the church still have a problem with guilt. We try to have meaning and hope, but it’s hard when we can’t let go of the guilt. We know God says He’ll forgive us, but ME forgive ME? That’s hard.

So what can be done about it? Now that you’ve accepted grace, accept the LIFE of GRACE. If you accept the life of grace, it will change your life. 1 Corinthians 15:10 “His grace to me was not without affect. No. I worked harder than all of them. Yet, not I, but the grace of God which was in me.” Does that mean he worked harder in order to receive the Grace? No. He worked harder because of the grace.

If you’re only legalistically accepting God’s grace, you still feel the need to perform to be accepted. Living the LIFE of GRACE says you ARE accepted so you are FREE to perform. Those are two entirely different perspectives. The first way says I’ve got to perform to be accepted. The second way says I am accepted so I can perform my best. Paul said, “I am what I am by Grace. I’ve been accepted by God and therefore I want to live the grace-filled life.”


God has forgiven us because Christ paid the penalty for our sins. When we understand the debt is paid, we can forgive ourselves. THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION FOR THOSE IN CHRIST JESUS! I told a lie last week, but does God see it? The punishment for sin is death. Do I have to die now? NO! Not a spiritual death anyway. Jesus accepted my punishment when He went to the cross. God doesn’t see my sin. Jesus removed it. God sees me as WISE, HOLY, AND RIGHTEOUS, just as He saw Adam and Eve when He first created them. Now you and I know I’m not really wise, holy and righteous. But that’s the way Jesus presents me to God. And that’s the way Jesus presents you, too, if you’ve accepted His grace under His terms. I don’t have to think less of myself and think I’m not worthy to do things for the Lord. I recognized that sin and am working on not letting that happen again. That frees me of any residual guilt. So let’s quit condemning ourselves. Jesus took the punishment for us.

When you feel free from this guilt, you feel free to perform and when you are free to perform you visit the sick, the shut-ins, the person who visited the services last Sunday. You feel free to teach that Sunday School class because you’re not concentrating on the past guilt – you genuinely WANT those students to learn how neat it is to be a Christian. How wonderful it is that your Creator sees you as WISE, HOLY and RIGHTEOUS. You can’t keep it to yourself. You are ready, willing and eager to share the Good News with others.

                GUILT - Past
       HOPE LESSNESS - Future


Look what happens when guilt is taken away. Any problem with the past is gone. We’ve freed ourselves to perform. And what does that performing do? It gives us meaning. We yearn to tell our neighbors who are dealing with these three most haunting problems of our age. The meaninglessness of the present is gone. And the future? It never looked better! Now we genuinely have hope. We welcome the future. We look forward to a home in heaven with God.

We don’t know a lot about what happened in the lives of Adam and Eve after they were driven from the garden. We know they raised 2 boys with different attitudes at a crucial time. When we pick up the story of Cain, we don’t see a love of God. We see a man going through some actions that seem meaningless to him, more than likely because of a problem in the past–perhaps with some guilt that he could not turn loose. And as a result, his future looks rather hopeless since he would become a wanderer in an untamed land with a mark of a past event ever present.

Soon after the death of Abel, we learn a little more about Adam and Eve. Seth is the next boy child born after Abel’s death. I surmise by this time Adam and Eve have gotten their act together and have dealt effectively with problems of the past; for this son, Seth, seems to turn out fine and eventually fathers a son named Enosh. And men begin to call on the name of the Lord. And from this lineage – from Adam, Seth, Enosh, through Noah, Abraham, David – finally is born the One they all had been promised was coming – a SAVIOR – who comes to free men from guilt of the past, give meaning to the present, and provide glorious hope for the future.