The 5th Sunday of Advent. The big picture in genealogy.

Guest Speaker Les Novak; Genesis 5 – the genealogy.

Intro. A beautiful picture takes time and attention to shoot it. A drive-by picture from the car just will not compare. It is kind of like the genealogy of Genesis 5 – we skip it and get on to where we are heading. Rather, genealogy is really an eternal step ladders that lead us to the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

The big idea. If we immediately run right by the genealogy, we will miss the blessed walk to God’s eternal bigger picture.

I. Within the curse, hope is found in Gods sovereign grace. Vv1-5

Chapter five starts with "these are the generations of…" Chapter four is done and this starts a new section. There are two genealogies in Genesis, and this is the first one. Even though man continues to sin, God is faithful to his promises. This is a record of names showing the faithful, promise keeping nature of God.

II. God remembers the names if those who are faithful to Him. Vv 4-31, Revelation 20:11-15

God has interest in people. This godly line is where the Seed comes through. These nine patriarchs all lived together. As followers of Christ, God has recorded our names like this as well by his sovereign grace. This is the passage in Revelation that Seth read to us today. God is a personal God who speaks personally to man. We see this in all of scripture.

III. Let’s take that walk. What does it mean to walk with God? Vv21-24, Hebrews 11:5-6

Enoch walked with God. Then, after a full life he did not die, but rather he just went to heaven. He walked in the same direction as God. Enoch followed His words and commands. Hebrews 11 explains this further. Enoch was a man of faith who believed God existed, and that He rewards those who seek Him. John 3:16 says true belief results in eternal life.

Elijah also lived in the Old Testament time and was taken to heaven not through death but by a chariot of fire. His walk with God on earth continued right to heaven.

Our redeemer has released death for us all. Even though we die, the power of death is broken by Christ.

IV. Gods eternal big picture.

Lemech hoped that with every descendant that that would be the one offspring promised by God to Adam and Eve in the garden to crush the serpent. It wasn’t. Each birth was not THE Seed until Christ, who DID come in this lineage!

Conclusion

Are you one of those running away from God? This life is as good as it is going to get for them who turn from God.

Those who walk with God like Enoch, have a city beautifully made and prepared for us, a city whose maker and architect is The Lord!

However, the good news is that we fall short of walking with God perfectly. Why is that good news? Why is it good news that we are not to aspire to be just like Enoch? Because there is ONE who did walk perfectly with God, Jesus Christ, and this perfect record counts for all the followers of Christ! Take time to walk in silence before your God and listen to his big picture.

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We so easily fall for the same lie Eve believed that God is a cosmic kill-joy. However, God REALLY IS GOOD!

Photo by Jodi. Mahlendorf Lake Okoboji sunrise view. October 2013

I am loving this book called Name above All Names – Sinclair Ferguson and Alistair Begg:

[Satan in essence says to Eve when tempting her to eat the forbidden fruit,] “God is cynical; he does not want the best for you, nor does he give the best to you. He is toying with you for his own malicious pleasure. He doesn’t really love you. He despises you.”

The rest is history. Eve struggled with the temptation, but the poisonous thought was already injected through her now-confused mind into her affections and will. From there it has passed down into our bloodstream. It is in our system now. It is the twist within us that leads us not to believe and not to trust that God himself and everything—absolutely everything—he is, does, says, commands, and promises is good…

The heart of the gospel is: in demonstration of his love, the heavenly Father sent his only Son to die on the cross in our place and for our sins. “God demonstrated his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”59

It is the cross alone that ultimately proves the love of God to us—not the providential circumstances of our lives.

We must not allow ourselves to be tricked into thinking that if things are going well with us, then we can be sure of God’s love. For life can often seem dark and painful. Things do not always go well for us.

Rather, we look to the sacrifice of the cross and the demonstration God gave there of his love.

This is the proof I need. This is the truth I need to hear if the lie is to be dispelled. If Jesus has died for me, then I can be sure that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will stop at nothing (absolutely nothing!) to do me good: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?60

The costly Bidding Prayer…

Silent Night. Grace Church 2013

Pastor Kyle asked me to do tonight’s opening Bidding Prayer at the Christmas Eve service – the welcome prayer in which we ask God our requests.

Last year I remember these phrases as Kyle prayed them – they were meaningful and real but this year they are costly:

“Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore, and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom in the Lord Jesus we are one forevermore.”

I miss Jackson tonight as we are still in some shock he is now on that “other shore”, unforeseen to us this time last year when we heard this Bidding Prayer.

However, amen for the realities of these things unseen that we taste now through faith – as real as this couch is now on which I sit winding down Christmas Eve.

Amen for God becoming flesh, dwelling among us, and explaining the perfect Father to us, wooing us to Himself, the One for whom we were made…

Every culture has held a belief on WHY we suffer and HOW to suffer…

Photo: Jackson in Nakuru, Kenya 2011 – a very good moment for me as a father to see my son loving and exploring this place together.

Tm Keller in his recent book on Suffering makes the argument that the Orthodox Christianity that has spanned the ages answers this question on suffering well…

Four beliefs found in traditional, Orthodox Christianity that are beneficial in suffering:
A. There is a Loving, All-wise, supreme God who is in full control
B. God became flesh himself to both suffer like us AND suffer for us
C. We can have assurance of our salvation. We can know this and not wonder with karma.
D. There will be a bodily resurrection for us like Christ’s. Material world will be fully restored.

Come and drink from these rivers of delight of Him…

Six quick observations from Jesus calming the sea.

Stilling life’s storms. Alastair Begg. Truth for life. Two part series.

Six observations on Mark 4 when Jesus calms the sea while he and the disciples are in the boat:

A. The storm was not punishment but came after obedience. Jesus said go to the other side and they did and this is what happens – their boat about capsizes and they die. Christ’s followers are not exempt from life’s wicked storms.

B. Jesus slept. He was human and tired. He was one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man.

C. Even followers of Christ say dumb things. The desciples woke Jesus up by saying, “Don’t you love us?” They experienced real fear and real doubt too even though Jesus was right there. Abraham also did this when he told pharaoh his wife was his sister.

D. We need a fresh view of Jesus. He made the sea and rules over it. It is no surprise the wind and the waves obey him – he made them.

E. His rebuke was for the wind not his knuckle-headed band of disciples. He is abounding in loving kindness. Run to him.

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An Angel and a Troubled Girl – Luke 1 – first Sunday of Advent

Pastor Kyle

Intro. This years advent messages are based on the next four passages of our Christmas Eve service – Lessons and Carols.

The big idea. In announcing the arrival of the Messiah we are reminded that God’s redemptive work is based upon grace and covenant faithfulness.

I. Find our place within Luke’s "orderly account."

Two unlikely births: John the Baptist and Jesus.

The role of angels is to peel back the curtain, if you will, and explain the cosmic importance behind events. Angels visit both sets of parents.

Contrast Zachariah’s response to the one angel to Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel. Luke writes in a way to not just show the facts of the birth but what the facts mean.

Mary’s song: betrothal was a legaly binding agreement and if strayed during this time it was considered the same as adultery. Contrast her song with Zechariah’s song.

II. Mary is not the source of, but the recipient of God’s grace. Vv 28, 30

GOD’S grace finds this young woman in her lowliness. Like water, grace goes down to the lowest points to find us too.

III. Covenant faithfulness exemplified. Vv. 27 , 31-37

The language used here we have heard before: Mary is told the pregnancy will happen when the Holy Spirit comes over her. This is the same language in Genesis 1 when the Holy Spirit hovers over the face of the water. This is to show that God is recreating the world!

There is also the same language here as is in Daniel 7 about the son of man. This is not just some baby. This is God’s son and the fulfilled of all the prophecies in the Old Testament.

IV. Respond rightly to GOD’S grace and covenant faithfulness. V38

How is Mary going to sell this to her family? How will they believe that it is God’s son not Joseph’s. Punishment for this could be death. Who is going to believe her? What is her response? I am the Lord’s slave or servant. She does not look for answers. She trusts God instead.

What or whom are you serving? We are serving someone or something. What is it? Your own comfort? Your own way and path? Your own glory and name’s sake?

Or like Mary, are we the Lord’s slaves also not knowing what we will get? She doesn’t get answers. She doesn’t get HOW she will be believed when she explains this to her family. But, she gets Jesus. Having Jesus is enough – more than enough.

Those who trust him wholly, find him wholly true as the songwriter wrote in our hymn today.

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