Creation: In the Beginning, Part 2 (Onward Christian Soldiers #54)

Onward Christian Soldiers
Onward Christian Soldiers

TEXT: Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

During part 1 of this lesson, we learned about the creation of the universe. Contrary to what some would have us to believe, the Bible tells us quite clearly that God created the heaven and the earth and all that is in them. The vastness, order, and creativity of the universe is evidence of an almighty intelligent designer.

Today, let’s look at the creation of the earth. No one knows when the earth was created. God has not revealed this to us. Genesis 1:1 simply says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

We do not know what the earth was like at this time, but everything in this verse points to God’s power, His wisdom and His perfection. The Bible says, “the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God (the angels) shouted for joy” when God created the earth.

In Genesis 1:2 there is a different scene. The Bible says, “And the earth was (or became) without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” For some reason, in some way, and at some time, the earth became formless and empty. How long the earth may have remained in this condition we do not know. But over this dark scene the Spirit of God brooded.

Then God spoke. He said, “Let there be light,” and instantly there was light. God divided the light from the darkness. He called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” The Bible says, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

On the second day God formed the sky and the clouds, which the Bible calls “the firmament.” The water in the clouds was separated from the water upon the earth.

On the third day, God separated the waters from the land. He called the dry land “earth,” and He called the waters “the seas.” God caused the earth to bring forth grass and herbs and fruit trees.

On the fourth day, God made the sun and the moon to give light upon the earth by day and by night and to produce the different seasons.

On the fifth day, God created the fish and the birds. God said, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and the fowl that may fly above the earth.”

On the sixth day, God created all the animals and reptiles of the earth. Last of all, He created man. Genesis 1:31 says, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

Creation: In the Beginning, Part 1 (Onward Christian Soldiers #53)

Onward Christian Soldiers
Onward Christian Soldiers

TEXT: Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Have you ever wondered why the first book in the Bible is called Genesis? Well, the word “genesis” means “beginning,” and the book of Genesis is the story of beginnings. It tells us of the beginning of the universe, the beginning of the earth, and the beginning of the human race. However, the book of Genesis does not tell us about the beginning of God. The reason for this is that God had no beginning.

GOD has always existed! God existed in all His power and glory before a single thing in the universe was created. The Bible says, “In the beginning God ….” Before the beginning of anything God was there. How long has God existed? He has always existed. How long will God continue to exist? He will always exist. The Bible says, “from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Continue reading “Creation: In the Beginning, Part 1 (Onward Christian Soldiers #53)”

GLMX #206: A Place of Impossibilities

A Place of Impossibilities

This past week, the bodies of the people who were killed in the tragic shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, were returned to the Netherlands. In a solemn ceremony, the country mourned their great loss together as each of the plain wooden coffins were removed from the plane. Thousands of people lined the 160-mile route from the airfield to a forensic facility where the bodies will be identified and then returned to their families for proper burial.

We can only imagine how awful it must have been for the family members of those who were killed in the incident to watch as coffin after coffin was carried from a plane to a waiting hearse. Imagine how it would feel to be grieving over a loved one who has died and you don’t even know if you will be able to recognize that person’s body when you receive it or if you will receive it at all. Imagine waiting at the airport to greet a friend when they arrive and they never come.

These experiences of grief, suffering, and pain are common to the human race. It is almost as though it is par for the course of life on Earth.

However, what if I told you that there was a place where such experiences are not simply unlikely, but completely impossible. Imagine if there were a place where it is impossible to die, to grieve, or to cry. A place where it is impossible to lose someone you loved. A place where there are no plane crashes, or sudden deaths, or accidents.

This place is not just a fantasy. It is a real place — it is called Heaven. The Bible describes Heaven in the book of Revelation. Heaven is a place where “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Why are certain negative things that happen on earth not allowed in Heaven? The Bible tells us why when it says, “there shall in no wise enter into [Heaven] any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.”

All of the ugly, vile, sinful things that happen on earth will be impossible in Heaven. The question is: Will you be there?

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Wonder of the World” by Rush of Fools

GLMX #201: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

youwanted

The great writer, theologian, and apologist C.S. Lewis once said, “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”

Today, too many people are aiming at Earth and missing Heaven by a long shot. People work hard to obtain everything they’ve ever wanted. They push to get everything this world has to offer — cars, clothes, jewelry, appliances, or the newest electronic device. Many of these same people find their satisfaction in the things they own. They live for the thrill of getting some new item that they have long desired. Sadly, people cling to things and are consumed by the pursuit of things they think will make them happy, attractive, or fulfilled.

Today, our society is more materialistic than ever. People want, and work hard to get what they want. And, yet, they continue to feel unfulfilled and restless. They are consumed by the idea that there is something more out there for them — that what they have is not enough. Even though they may have everything they have ever wanted, they still don’t have it all.

This constant craving for material things is futile and foolish. The Bible says, ” Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” We get bored with things after a while. Stuff does not last. It decays and gets old. It can be taken away — stolen, destroyed by accident, or destroyed in a natural disaster.

The stuff that we gain on this earth will one day perish. The Bible says in Second Peter 3:10 that “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Because this physical world and all that is in it will perish one day, it is foolish to place our hearts where our earthly treasure is. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:19-20: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”

What are these “treasures in Heaven”? These treasures are eternal rewards that you will gain by becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. You will gain peace with God, joy because of your salvation, and fulfillment and purpose through your service to Jesus Christ. You will also gain Heavenly rewards that far surpass the value of anything you can gain on this earth. You can truly have everything you have ever really wanted. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

MUSICAL SELECTION: David Crowder*Band: “How He Loves”

GLMX #199: The Edge of Tomorrow and Eternity

The Edge of Tomorrow
The Edge of Tomorrow

“The Edge of Tomorrow” is a new science fiction action film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. In the film, Earth is in the middle of a war with alien invaders. William Cage (played by Cruise) is a spokesman and officer in the U.S. military. However, when he refuses to obey an order, he is stripped of his rank. Cage, who has been sent to a squad with a bunch of misfits, is thrust into the dangerous conflict as earth’s military forces launch a D-Day style counterattack against the invading alien army.

Cage dies in the battle and the human army is defeated.

However, Cage awakens again and finds himself at the beginning of the day before the counterattack. Knowing what will happen the next day, Cage tries to warn everyone that the aliens have anticipated the counterattack and will crush the human army when it advances. However, the army is sent on the mission again, Cage is killed, and the humans are defeated. This “loop” happens several times with Cage repeatedly dying and waking up on the day before the counterattack. However, each time before he dies, Cage is able to learn valuable information about the tactics of the enemy. Each time he is sent into battle, he uses what he has learned to help the human army fare better against the aliens until they eventually come out victorious and Cage is instrumental in bringing down the enemy.

Wouldn’t it be great if life worked that way — if we constantly got the chance to relive our lives, learning from the mistakes of the past, and getting better with every successive existence?

Unfortunately, though, the adage is true — you only live once. And you only die once too. In fact, the Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” No, when it comes to life, we don’t get do-overs. We don’t perpetually exist on the edge of tomorrow, but on the edge of eternity.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Eternity” by Disciple

GLMX #189: It’s Going to Rain

Russell Crowe as "Noah"
Russell Crowe as “Noah”

The much-anticipated film starring Russell Crowe as “Noah” is now in theatres. The story, of course, is based on the account of the Great Flood which is recorded in the book of Genesis in the Bible. A popular song titled “It’s Gonna Rain” captured the story as well.

Many years after God created the earth, humanity had become extremely wicked. The Bible says the “whole earth was filled with violence.” Men and women were fighting each other, killing each other, robbing each other, having illicit sexual relationships, and ruining the beautiful world that God had made.

God was grieved by how His creation was acting. He decided that He would not tolerate their evil ways anymore and that He would wipe out the earth’s population and start all over with the only man who was living righteously. That man was Noah.

God came to Noah one day and told him that, for the first time in history, it was going to rain. The water pouring down from the sky, and the release of the water under the earth’s surface, would cause a great flood that would destroy the earth and every living thing on the earth. God also gave Noah instructions to build a huge vessel — an ark — in order to save his family and save the animals.

Noah and his family got busy building the ark, and for many years, Noah warned the people of earth that destruction was coming because of their sins. Unfortunately, the people didn’t listen to Noah. They didn’t believe that rain was going to come because nobody had seen rain before. So they continued to live as they pleased, ignoring Noah’s warning.

However, just as God promised, the rain came causing all of the earth’s surface to be covered in water. Only Noah, his family, and the animals with them in the ark were saved. All of those outside the ark perished in the flood.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “It’s Gonna Rain” by the Sensational Nightingales

The History of the Battle Over You

Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message #131

TEXT: John 3:16-19

Legend has it that the Trojan War began when Paris, the son of the King of Troy, stole Helen, the wife of the King of Sparta and married her. As a result, the various Greek city-states united to fight the Trojans after Paris refused to give the Spartan king’s wife back to him. The war dragged on for nine years until the Greeks finally prevailed.

It is hard to imagine that a war would last for so long and cause many thousands of deaths over a single human being. But, did you know that there is a war being fought right now over you? Yes, there is a battle that has been going on for thousands of years, and you are the center of this battle. Our passage for today reveals the sides in this great battle.

The oft-quoted verse of John 3:16 has long been celebrated as a powerful, succinct declaration of the Gospel. Charles Spurgeon said John 3:16 is “the gospel in a nutshell.”A.W. Tozer said, “Jesus Christ came to save you, knowing your name, knowing all about you, knowing your weight right now, knowing your age, knowing what you do, knowing where you live, knowing what you ate for supper and what you will eat for breakfast, where you will sleep tonight, how much your clothing cost, who your parents were. He knows you individually as though there were not another person in the entire world. He died for you as certainly as if you had been the only lost one. He knows the worst about you and is the One who loves you the most.”

As we read on in verse 17, we see that Jesus did not come to condemn the darkness of the world — he did not come to punish and destroy. He came to save. He came to shine light in a dark place. As the philosopher Francis Bacon said, “In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”When Jesus Christ came, he turned the oppressive religious system of the day on it’s head. He brought something to the world that no one had ever experienced before.

As we learn in verse 18, the only way to escape “condemnation”is through Jesus Christ. “Condemnation”is defined as “strong disapproval, a pronouncement of something as morally wrong.”God disapproves of sin, and all sinners are subject to God’s just wrath because of their actions. The only way to escape this wrath is by believing on Jesus Christ, the son of God.

However, there are dark forces that do not want people to believe on the son of God. They are doing everything they can to hide the light of Christ from every person’s eyes. Today, I want us to focus our attention on verse 19 as we now take a look at this force of darkness, this supernatural battle, and what is at stake in this fight.

+ Plus, listen to Fred Hammond as he sings “This is the Day” and Ricky Dillard singing “Jesus Paid It All”.

GLMX #158: The Way to the Real ‘Elysium’

The new science fiction movie, Elysium, depicts a futuristic dystopian society where Earth is overpopulated by the diseased and impoverished masses, while the wealthy and well-to-do live on an expansive space colony known as Elysium. The government of Elysium prevents those who live on Earth from immigrating and becoming citizens of Elysium. Those who try to do so are killed by the government of Elysium.

The word “elysium” is a reference to the Greek idea of Paradise. The Greek philosophers and writers believed that Elysium, or the mythical Elysian Fields, was a beautiful, peaceful eternal destination reserved for the righteous and those favored by the gods. It was a place of peace — a lush, green paradise where those who had lived well could enjoy the afterlife.

In the film Elysium, Max is an ex-convict trying to survive in a dilapidated, run-down Los Angeles. He is friends with a woman who has a daughter named Matilda. Matilda is dying from Leukemia. At the factory where Max works, he is exposed to dangerous levels of radiation and is informed that he has only five days to live. Knowing that he can be cured in one of the advanced medical treatment centers on Elysium, he determines to find a way to get to the space colony to find healing for himself and Matilda. He connects with a smuggler named Spider, and they both begin to plot a way for all of those on Earth to become citizens of Elysium.

Max’s desperate attempt to gain healing on Elysium is reminiscent of man’s search for escape from the desperate, down-trodden conditions of Earth. Like the Earth depicted in the film, our world is broken, filled with masses of people who are sick, physically and spiritually. We are people who long for Heaven.

Like the Elysium depicted in the film, Heaven is the perfect place where all of our wounds can heal, our sins can be washed away, our pain can dissipate, and our tears will be wiped away forever. The Bible says in Isaiah 33:24 that the “inhabitant (of Heaven) shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven of their sins.”

Unlike the rulers of Elysium, however, God is not trying to prevent us from getting to Heaven. He wants us to be there. He wants us to be there so desperately that he made a great sacrifice to make the door to Heaven wide-open for each and every one of us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (in Heaven).” Heaven is not just for the wealthy, the well-to-do, or for those who have lived a “good” life. Heaven is for everybody who believes in Jesus Christ.

This invitation to Heaven was given by Jesus Christ. He said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

In the end of the Elysium film, Max dies after he has activated the program that will make all of those on Earth citizens of Elysium. As he fades from life, Matilda is cured of Leukemia and the advanced medical treatments centers are flown out to Earth to heal the sick and injured.

In the same way, it is by Jesus’ death and resurrection that we become citizens of Heaven. If we want to escape this earth and the eternal punishment for our sins that awaits us beyond our death, we must place our faith and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and allow him to come and live inside of us. Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

+ Plus, listen to Jeremy Camp singing “Better is One Day in Your Courts”

GLMX #157: The Problem With “Stuff”

Many people place a lot of value on the things they own. They work hard to buy cars, clothes, jewelry, appliances, or the newest electronic device. Many of these same people find their satisfaction in the things they own. They live for the thrill of getting some new item that they have long desired. Sadly, people cling to things and are consumed by the pursuit of “stuff” they think will make them happy, attractive, or fulfilled.

Today, our society is more materialistic than ever. Our materialism is like a sickness: we are addicted to “stuff” and the pursuit of “stuff”. However, as with any addiction, the more we have of the drug, the more we want of it.

This constant craving for material things is futile and foolish. The problem with “stuff” is that it is not fulfilling. We get bored with things after a while. Stuff does not last. It decays and gets old. It can be taken away — stolen, destroyed by accident, or destroyed in a natural disaster.

The stuff that we gain on this earth will one day perish. The Bible says in Second Peter 3:10 that “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Because this physical world and all that is in it will perish one day, it is foolish to place our hearts where our earthly treasure is. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:19-20: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”

What are these “treasures in Heaven”? These treasures are eternal rewards — eternal “stuff” — that you will gain by becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. You will gain peace with God, joy because of your salvation, and fulfillment an purpose through your service to Jesus Christ. You will also gain Heavenly rewards that far surpass the value of anything you can gain on this earth. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Would you like to trade temporary earthly gain for eternal rewards? Would you like to give up your reliance on material things that can be taken away for eternal things that can never be taken away? If so, there are a few steps you must take.

+ Plus, listen to Lecrae singing “Confessions”

GLMX #156: A New Heaven and a New Earth

[audio http://gospellightminute.buzzsprout.com/3192/105270-glmx-156-a-new-heaven-and-a-new-earth.mp3]

Have you ever felt dissatisfied with the world? Have you ever felt as though there ought to be more to the life that you are living? As though there was something major missing from your life? Do you know what it is you are longing for?

You are longing for life as it was meant to be lived.

J.R.R. Tolkien, the late English writer and professor most known for the fantasy epics, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, said: “We all long for Eden, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most human, is still soaked with the sense of exile.” Yes, the best of us and the worst of us, feel a tug in our hearts for Eden — the original creation where the first man and woman lived in perfect peace and harmony with God, with each other, and with nature — the original creation that God called “good.” So, what went wrong? Why did Adam and Eve have to leave this paradise?

The reason can be summarized by three words that start with S.

+ Plus, listen to Phil Wickham singing “Heaven and Earth”