Genesis 1 is an important part of the Bible for a variety of reasons. It demonstrates clearly that God is Creator. It also makes clear that God’s works are good. That said, one of the chapter’s most important lessons often seems to get forgotten – namely: God created the heavens and the earth by means of His word. God created everything in this visible universe by speaking it into existence out of nothing.
Over the past two weeks in Sunday School, we have continued our journey through the Gospel According to Mark by discussing Mark 7 together. In the first part of the chapter (7:1-23), Jesus confronts some of the false teaching of the Pharisees and points them to their true problem: the need for cleansing of the heart. Notes and audio can be found here. Then, in the second part of the chapter (7:24-37), Jesus demonstrates His point by bringing healing to “unclean” Gentiles. Notes and audio can be found here.
Two weeks ago, we took a break from our sermon series through Revelation and looked at Ezekiel 14. The text makes clear that God sees even to the depths of our hearts and knows what is there and will call us to account. Our only hope is to be forgiven and cleansed. Notes and audio can be found here.
Then, this past Sunday, we returned to Revelation and looked at Revelation 18:1-19:10. Ultimately, the world and all that is in it will pass away under the judgment of God. Those who love the world will mourn and find themselves with nothing. Those who love God, however, will rejoice and enjoy fellowship with Him forever. Notes and audio can be found here.
“God is good…all the time, and all the time…God is good.” This refrain is commonly spoken by Christians. Though it is easy to remember and simple to say, it actually is a proclamation of deep and profound truth. It would do us well to consider the statement so that we understand truly what we are saying.
In the last two verses of Ephesians 3, Paul closes his prayer for the Ephesians with a simple and yet profound doxology – a word of praise about, and to, God Himself. These verses serve as a sort of “hinge” for the whole letter. In light of everything Paul has been describing for his readers, he cannot help but explode into praise to the One who has made all of this possible. And even as he praises God, he also paves the way for the practical instructions that will occupy the last half of this letter. By praising God, he encourages his readers to do the same, and then he spends the rest of the book telling them how to do that.
As we are considering the “attributes” of God, we come now to the concept of “truthfulness”. Put simply, the Bible is abundantly clear that God is truth and that God speaks truth. There is never a moment in which God is false or incorrect, and because of that, He stands as the ultimate source and standard of all truth.
Over the last few weeks, we have continued walking through the Gospel According to Mark by looking at the rejection of Jesus in Nazareth (notes and audio here), the sending out of the 12 apostles on their first “mission trip” (notes and audio here), and the recounting of John the Baptist’s murder (notes and audio here). Considered together, all three sections give an interesting glimpse into the life of Christ and his followers.
We have also continued our journey through Revelation by looking at chapters 13-14. Together, these chapters give us a glimpse behind the “curtain” of life into the deeper realities which will drive the events of this world at the end. Ultimately, God’s people will be spared – though they will suffer greatly at Satan’s hands, and God’s enemies will be destroyed. Notes and audio can be found here for chapter 13 and here for chapter 14.
We also celebrated our 7-year anniversary by looking at the Bible’s answer to two essential questions: What is the Church? And why is she here? Notes and audio can be found here.
In Genesis 26, we continue to see the story of Abraham continued through Isaac. Just as God was with Abraham and blessed him – even in spite of his behavior at times, we see that He was also with Isaac and blessed him – even in spite of his behavior at times. Again, the biographical details of Isaac’s life serve to reveal to us the character of God.
“Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance.” (Prov. 14:9)
How do you handle being wrong? What do you do when you realize you are guilty of something? More often than not, we respond with anger or bitterness. We might become defensive and start pointing out the things other people do wrong so that our error does not seem so bad. Or we might try to justify ourselves by explaining why our “wrong” was not really wrong. If we can convince ourselves that we did not do anything wrong, we assume that we can escape the guilt. Or we may feign sorrow and remorse so that others will feel bad for us or leave us alone…even if we have no intention of changing.
All of these are common responses of guilty people. While they might be understandable, that does not make them right. And at root, they all share one thing in common: the refusal to rightly acknowledge wrongdoing and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
In Ephesians 3:16, Paul prays that his readers would be strengthened with God’s power through the Spirit who lives in them. This is a bold prayer. Can we even fathom having the power of God strengthening us? And what would that even look like? After making his request, Paul continues – in verses 17-19 – by answering those questions. Put simply: the reason Paul wants them to be strengthened with God’s power through the Spirit is because he wants them (and us) to have a real and intimate fellowship with God and Christ. It may seem odd to think of connecting God’s power and intimate fellowship with Him, but that is precisely what Paul does in these verses.
We saw last time that God knows everything. Today, I want to push one step farther: not only does God know everything, but He also knows what to do with everything He knows. This is the distinction between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge has to do with facts. Wisdom has to do with the application of facts. Knowledge is the accumulation of data. Wisdom is the application and use of that data. It is possible to have knowledge without wisdom, but it is impossible to have wisdom without knowledge. Not only is God “omniscient” (meaning He knows everything) but He is also all-wise. Put simply: this means that God knows precisely what to do with all the things He knows. Based on His perfect knowledge, He knows what is best and most valuable and most worthwhile, and He also knows the best way to reach and obtain those things. He knows everything, and He also knows how best to put all that knowledge to use.