Friday, June 3, 2011

God's First Messages to Man

Forty Messages From Genesis Chapters 1 to 11

The following notes are a great message from Pastor Zac Poonen as he goes through the first eleven Chapters of Genesis to succinctly present God's first messages to man.

1. Be honest about your condition (1:2). The earth was dark, empty and shapeless. Sin had affected the earth. If you want God to work in you and remake you, be honest about your condition. Admit that you are dark, empty and without the image of Christ. The thief on the cross said: I deserve to be crucified. I deserve punishment. Therefore the Lord said to him: You will be with me in paradise.

2. Submit to the Holy Spirit's workings (1:2). You cannot fulfil your function in the Body of Christ unless you are baptized in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit moves in us to make us like Jesus. Any area of your life that is not open to the Holy Spirit will remain dark, empty and under the control of the devil. Let the Holy Spirit control every area of your life.

3. Listen to God's Word daily (1:3 ff). The words, “Then God said” occurs 7 times in this chapter indicating that God speaks every day. If you want transformation, you should listen to God daily. Otherwise you will remain empty, dark and shapeless. It is written about Jesus in Isaiah 50:4 “He awakens me morning by morning. He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple.” Develop the habit of listening. The first words of Jesus after His baptism were, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”.

4. Allow God to separate you from all darkness (1:4). God separated the light from darkness. In Luke 11:35, Jesus said, “Take heed that the light in you be not darkness”. In 2 Cor 4:6, it is written, “God who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness’ is the One who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

5. Sanctification is a daily process (1:5ff). God wants to bring a renewal in our lives every day. 2 Cor 4:16 says, “Our outer man decays, but the inner man is renewed daily”.

6. God wants to reproduce His image in you (1:26). God said, “Let Us make man in Our image”. “Us” refers to the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit – all working together to make us like Jesus. (Rom 8:28-29).

7. God wants you to be a ruler (1:26). “God said … Let them rule….”. We are to rule over sin (Rom.6:14). It is not God’s will that we should be slaves of sin. Thanks be to God who always (24X7) leads us in His triumph (2 Cor 2:14).

8. God wants to provide your every need (1:29). God provided Adam a wife, a home (a garden) and a job (as gardener). God will do the same for you as well, if you seek His kingdom and His righteousness first.

9. Only God's blessing can make you fruitful (1:28). God wants you to be fruitful in your character and in your ministry. You can’t build the Body of Christ or do anything useful for God without His blessing. Jesus said in John 15:5, “Apart from me you can do nothing”. So wait on God saying, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” And when God blesses you, you WILL be fruitful.

10. God can make something beautiful out of your life (1:31). God wants to make something out of your life that He Himself can certify as “Very good”. Believe that He wants to do it, no matter how much of a mess you have made of your life.

11. God wants you to fellowship with Him first of all (2:2). Adam’s first day was a day of rest and uninterrupted fellowship with God. Working for God in the garden came only after that, on the next day. The Lord rebuked Martha for being occupied with service instead of listening to Him first, like Mary did (Lk.10:42). All unrest and anxiety in our lives come from a lack of fellowship with God. Satan could not tempt Adam on that first day when he was in fellowship with God. The devil will be far away when we put fellowship with God as a priority in our lives. From a life of inward rest alone can we truly serve God effectively.

12. Only the breath of God makes you different from the animals (2:7). The animals were also made on the sixth day like man. But when God breathed into man, he became totally different from them. Thereby, God was saying to man that if he ignored the breath of God, he would very soon descend to the level of the animals. Jesus also breathed on His disciples after His resurrection and gave them the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit alone Who can save us from living like animals who are interested only in earthly things. Bible knowledge will not make us spiritual – because even the devil has that. The threat of judgment also may keep you from sinning only for sometime. But the Holy Spirit will help you to live on a heavenly plane. So seek to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.

13. Only through testing can you become holy (2:17). God could not make Adam and Eve holy without testing them. God is determined to make His children holy, if they will allow Him. That is why He allows us to be tempted repeatedly every day. And that is why He has given us the Holy Spirit as a Helper. When we cry out for help in the times of temptation, the Holy Spirit will give us grace to deny our self-will and overcome and thus pass the test and become truly holy.

14. God wants husband & wife to be one as the head and the body (2:24). God was the One Who was concerned that Adam was alone and decided to make a helper for him. God created woman out of man’s body so that a man would always treat his wife as part of his own body. The man, as the head, is useless if he has no body; and the woman, as the body, is useless if she has no head. This verse also teaches that husbands and wives must be emotionally detatched from their earthly parents first if they are to become one. Adam’s first sin was that he listened to his wife rather than to God. He should have stopped his wife from having discussions with Satan. In this, he failed to act as the head.

15. Satan questions God's Word (3:1). Satan approached Eve with the question, “Has God really said?” Satan is cleverer and smarter than all of us and his ultimate aim is to lead us away from God. God had said, “If you eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, you will surely die”. But Satan said, “Surely you will not die”. Today, God says to believers, “If you live according to the flesh, you will surely die” (Rom.8:13). But Satan says (through many Bible-teachers), “Surely you will not die”. You have to choose now whether to believe God or Satan’s agents. If you treat even the smallest commands of God’s Word lightly, Satan will lead you astray to your destruction. When you see a very small command in Scripture, don’t ask. “Is this a major command or a minor one?” Instead ask, “Who commanded it - God or man?

16. Satan questions God's love (3:5). Satan made Eve doubt the love of God by implying: “If God really loved you, why doesn’t He allow you to eat of this attractive fruit. The fact that He denies it to you proves that He doesn’t really love you”. This is the same evil suggestion that Satan will whisper to you, when some earnest prayer of yours is not answered, or when you don’t get what you wanted very badly. It is very important that we are established in the truth of God’s perfect love for us, so that we never doubt it – irrespective of what He allows in our lives and irrespective of what prayers of ours remain unanswered.

17. Beware of what your bodily senses feel attracted towards (3:6). Many Christians worship food. Their stomach is their god. Such Christians are called “enemies of the cross of Christ” (in Phil.3:18-19). We must beware of worshipping the creature (pretty objects that God has created) more than the Creator. We must beware of valuing the gifts of God more than the Giver Himself. The apostle Paul said that he disciplined his bodily desires and made them his slave, lest he be disqualified by God finally, after having preached to others. If even Paul lived in that fear, how much more should we?

18. God takes the initiative to look for you (3:9). Sin made Adam so foolish that he thought he could hide from God by going behind a tree!! Adam should have been the one to go running to God, asking for forgiveness. But, instead, we see God coming searching for Adam, saying, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9). This is how God comes searching for us too. This should move us to yield our all to God. When you go astray, you will hear His voice calling you by name and asking, “Where are you?

19. Don't blame others (3:12). After Adam sinned, he could not take the blame even for his own sin. He blamed his wife for giving him the fruit, and then blamed God for giving him such a wife!! When God confronts you in your conscience with your sin, don’t make excuses or blame anyone else. Just admit your sin and take all the blame yourself. If you blame your life-partner for anything, immediately a separation will come in your fellowship with each other. Then Satan will enter through that gap to destroy your children. So, in your home and in your church, keep the door closed on Satan by sticking close to one another and never blaming each other.

20. God is on your side against Satan (3:15). It is significant to note that God first gave Satan his judgment (“The seed of the woman will crush you head”) before he punished Adam and Eve for their sin. God may discipline us severely, but He will crush Satan under our feet – because He is always on our side against Satan. One way by which God showed Adam and Eve His love for them was by making animal-skin coats for them (that would not only cover their nakedness but also last them all their lives) to replace the fig-leaf coverings they had made for themselves (which would dry up in a few days). Those coats are a picture of God’s righteousness with which He covers us in Christ. Never forget that even if you have messed up your life, God is still on your side against Satan. So you can come back to God at any time and He will welcome you.

21. God accepts us on the basis of faith in our hearts (Gen.4:4-5). God had regard for Abel first and therefore for his offering. He came with faith proved by the fact that he brought the best; whereas, Cain only brought just “an” offering. A man of faith always gives the very best of his life and everything to God

22. Beware of anger and jealousy (4:5-6). God asked Cain “Why are you angry? Why is your face fallen?” He will ask us the same questions. Jealousy destroyed Cain. It also destroyed King Saul when he saw David’s popularity.

23. Sin is closer to us than we think (4:7). Sin is always crouching like a lion or tiger at the door of our hearts just waiting to enter. If we always recognize that sin is so close to us, we will always be alert.

24. God wants us to be overcomers (4:7). God wants us to master sin. He told Cain that, long before the Holy Spirit was given to man. External sins can be conquered even without the help of the Holy Spirit. But inward sins can be conquered only through the power of the Holy Spirit.

25. We are responsible for our fellow-believers (4:9). If our left hand is injured, our right hand immediately helps to fix it. In the Body of Christ, if one member suffers, all suffer. If one member rejoices, all rejoice. In a football game, all will rejoice even if someone else from their team scored the goal, because he is part of the same team. We are responsible for those we are closely connected with, in our local churches.

26. We have to give an account to God for everything we have done (4:10). The harm we do to others cries out to God. No one may have seen our sin. But God will ask us to account for it. That is why we need to be honest and confess all our sins to God – and especially the sins done in secret. We must do it now, before we meet God one day.

27. Sins against another are more serious than sins that harm only yourself (4:11). God never cursed Adam for his sin, but only the ground, because Adam’s sin hurt only himself. But God cursed Cain. A person who has bad habits like taking drugs and alcohol is harming only his own body. But one who backbites or expresses his anger harms others; and so he is worse than a drug-addict. But hardly anyone believes that.

28. We will reap what we sow (4:12). Cain was punished to become a wanderer, because of his sin. Many Christians too are homeless wanderers, never getting integrated into any local church as their home. They are too independent to be subject to anyone’s authority. That is part of a curse. And the root cause for this is only their pride.

29. Vengeance belongs to God alone (4:15). We must never take revenge on anyone (Romans 12:19). Let God repay all evildoers in His own way and in His own time. Our calling is to overcome evil by doing good. Paul had been harmed by Alexander; but he left it to the Lord to deal with Alexander (2 Tim.4:14).

30. Our children will follow our example. Cain killed Abel. Cain’s descendant, Lamech, killed others. When parents go astray, their children go astray. Another descendant of Cain’s - Jubal - was the father of the musical industry. He was certainly not glorifying God with his music, but glorifying Satan – just like the rock musicians of today. Our children and grandchildren will follow our example. So we should walk in humility and brokenness always.

31. God will always have a witness for Himself on earth (5:22; 6:9). Enoch walked with God and Noah walked with God, and they were witnesses for God in their generation. Largely speaking, Christendom has failed to be a true witness for God on earth. But God has had a small group of people who walked with Him during all these 2000 years, who were faithful witnesses to Him. You can be a witness for God in your generation if you walk with God. Enoch is a type of those believers who walk with God today, who please Him and will be taken up when the Lord returns (Heb.11:5).

32. When you believe in God’s judgment you will walk with God (5:21,22). Enoch walked with God only after he became the father of Methuselah. The KJV margin says, “Methuselah” means, “When he dies it (the judgment) will come”. God warned Enoch about a coming judgment when his son was born. That made him take his life seriously and he began walking with God. Enoch also preached about that judgment and about Christ’s second coming (Jude 14). Noah also believed in the coming judgment and walked with God and preached righteousness (2 Pet.2:5).

33. You must use your own money to do God’s work (6:16). God gave many details to Noah about the ark but never told him who would pay for its construction. Noah knew he had to pay for it himself. So he never asked anyone for money to do God’s work - like many Christians do today. Noah must have sold some of his property and used that money to build the ark. One mark of a true servant of God is that he is willing to use his own personal money to serve the Lord. A person’s spirituality is easily tested by his attitude to money. Noah would have paid the carpenters well who helped him build the ark. This too is the mark of a godly man. The ungodly are miserly in the way they pay their servants (James 5:4).

34. Very few will be saved (7.13). When Noah preached that God would judge the world with rain, no one believed him, because it is probable that until then, no rain had ever fallen on the earth (as per Gen.2:5). The vast majority of people even today do not believe that God will burn up this earth in judgment. Because Noah was faithful, all his children were among the very few who were saved. And because he ensured that his sons married God-fearing women, they too were saved. The last days will be as evil as the days of Noah. We must all, therefore, follow Noah’s example in his family life.

35. God will never forget you, if you stand up for Him (8:1). Noah was a lonely man on earth, standing up for God. People may have considered him to be mentally unsound for preaching judgment. But he did not care for their opinions. He refused to compromise his message of judgment. We too must not be ashamed to proclaim the whole truth of God. That may make us lonely. But God will stand by us.

36. The raven and the dove symbolize the fleshly and the spiritual (8:7,8). When Noah sent out the raven (crow), it was delighted to feed off the carcasses that were floating on the waters and so it never returned to the ark. But the dove had no delight in those carcasses and refused to touch them with its feet - and returned to the ark. These birds are a picture of the fleshly person and the spiritual person. Those who love the world and its fashions and lusts enjoy themselves more with their worldly friends. They love worldly forms of entertainment more than Christian meetings – and end up in spiritual death. The godly, however, find no pleasure in the world but long to be with the people of God.

37. God is a covenant-keeping God (9:13). God gave the world the rainbow as a sign of His covenant with man. Circumcision was the sign of the covenant God gave to Abraham. Jesus has now established a new covenant with us where He wants us to be finished with sin totally. The breaking of bread is the sign He established of this new covenant (Lk.22:20). God takes every covenant He makes seriously – and so must we. But for many believers, the breaking of bread has become a ritual - and that is why their lives are so shallow.

38. Rebellion against authority will bring a curse upon us and our children (9:25). When Noah drank too much wine one day, he lay in his tent naked. Ham saw his father’s nakedness and spoke about it. As a result, Noah cursed him and his descendants. Ham forgot so quickly that it was because of his father’s godliness that Ham himself was alive. It does not go well with children who despise their parents or who rebel against their authority. Children must be taught to appreciate and honour their parents.

39. Man never learns from past judgments (11:4). So soon after the flood, man rebelled against God once again, trying to build a tower that would reach heaven. Babel is the origin of Babylon – the corrupt church of Rev.17 - a place of rebellion against God’s standards. It is because God does not judge evil deeds immediately that men keep on sinning (Eccl. 8:11). Sin is serious. For just one sin, God drove Adam and Eve out of Eden. For our sin, Jesus had to die on the cross and be forsaken by His Father. If we understand the true significance of these events, we will take sin seriously.

40. God will finally bring the plans of man to nothing (11:7-9). It is so easy for God to bring the plans of men to nothing. He just had to make them all speak different languages at Babel! That solved the problem because they could no longer understand one another. God will bring every plan of man to nothing, today as well. One day in heaven, the confusion and division of Babel will be fully reversed, as the church stands there comprising of people from every language on earth - united in Christ (Rev.7:9). But that process has already begun today in the church, where God is uniting people of totally different languages.

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