Our pastor, Paul Kemp, continued on Sunday with the theme, The King and His Kingdom. He reviewed the past week’s sermon on the pattern of the kingdom established in Genesis 1, God’s rule through God’s people over God’s place. In that review, he shared the creation mandate:
We were created to live and thrive under God’s gracious rule,Paul Kemp, 6/27/21
reflecting his heart and character in the world as we steward
his resources for his glory and the common good.
We know that the fall, the sin of Adam and Eve, separated us from God but that sin did not negate the creation mandate. This is still God’s call to us – as we bow the knee to His kingship, we live and thrive under His rule, because He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. As we submit to the Spirit’s leading we reflect His heart and character to the world around us.
Jesus taught that ALL the law and prophets hung on two commandments, that we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our minds — and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s in loving others, not just those who love us back, but in loving our enemies, wanting to do good for those who persecute us that we reflect God’s character. The Apostle Paul reiterates this important truth when he teaches, “Whatever other command there may be, [all] are summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 8:9b-10)
In the “big” story of scripture, God created and man rebelled. In fact, the author of Genesis notes that “God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil—evil, evil, evil from morning to night. God was sorry that he had made the human race in the first place; it broke his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6 MSG). God does destroy all living things except one family, the family of Noah, because Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. BUT even after the flood, like Adam, Noah also failed. And before long, the people were prideful, sinful. In the story of Noah we see God’s commitment to His people and His place — a foreshadowing of the restoration, God making all things new, that is still to come!
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, he creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.Romans 8:19-21
I am not a Greek scholar but I love to research in order to understand the scripture more completely. In Greek there are two words for “new” … one is obvious, neo. That word applies to something that is brand new, or new in time. That is NOT the word used when the Apostle Paul teaches “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” We are not destroyed and created new. Instead, we are made new as to form or quality, having a different nature from our previous one. This word is “kainos,” meaning qualitatively new or renewed.
This work, kainos, is also the word used to describe the new heaven and the new earth. When God restores the earth, our current heaven and earth will change from one condition to another, being qualitatively renewed to God’s original intention and beyond, obtaining that full glory beyond our comprehension.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.Genesis 12:1-3
I will make you into a great nation.
I will bless you and make you famous,
and you will be a blessing to others.
I will bless those who bless you and
curse those who treat you with contempt.
All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
God continues His story when He calls Abraham. This call seemingly comes out of nowhere. That encourages me. In fact we see this over and over again in scripture, God calls the most unlikely people to advance His kingdom.
God also specifies blessing … notice 5 times in three verses! He is beginning the work to reverse the curses of Genesis 3 – 11!
Abraham emerges within the structure of GenesisNT Wright, The New Testament and the People of God
as the answer to the plight of all humankind.
The line of disaster and of the ‘curse,’ from Adam, through Cain,
through the Flood to Babel, begins to be reversed
when God calls Abraham and says,
‘in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’
God invites Abraham to live and thrive under His gracious rule, in His place, a place that He will show him, and through this family, all families on the earth will be blessed! It is through Abraham’s family that the world will be turned upside down! Matthew begins his gospel with this statement, “This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham:” The ultimate blessing is the coming of the Lord Jesus. In the more immediate context, blessing meant a covenant relationship with God – and the wherewithal to advance His kingdom.
By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s callHebrews 11:8-10 MSG
to travel to an unknown place that would become his home.
When he left he had no idea where he was going.
By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him,
lived as a stranger camping in tents.
Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise.
Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city
with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.
That leaves us with the “So what!?” question … what is the invitation to us today? God calls us, invites us … “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 Voice).
There was a time in Jesus’ ministry when many followers decided to leave Him – the teachings hard to swallow. Jesus turned to the Twelve to ask, “Do you also want to leave?” Peter replied, “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.”
How about you? In what is your confidence today? If you don’t know God as king, if you don’t know His grace and blessing in your life, I invite you to talk to Him, accept His invitation! And if you want to talk more, always feel free to comment below – I’d love to hear from you.
Come, every soul by sin oppressed-
There’s mercy with the Lord,
And He will surely give you rest
By trusting in His word.
For Jesus shed His precious blood
Rich blessings to bestow;
Plunge now into the crimson flood
That washes white as snow.
Yes, Jesus is the Truth, the Way,John H. Stockton, 1874
That leads you into rest;
Believe in Him without delay
And you are fully blest.