In The Beginning

Posted on 10/08/2006 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Please make yourself at home in the presence of the Lord as we start this service today with praise.

Let's all stand to our feet and welcome the Holy Spirit with prayer.


Lord God, thank you for being in our midst today, and for bringing us here together to spend time together in your presence, and to allow your Holy Spirit to bring your Word to life in us today.

Lead us as we seek a closer walk with you. And it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Click-touch the pulpit for a notecard as we worship God with song.

Due to some technical issues and a dead keyboard, we will play some worship songs recorded by others. Let's put our mind and our attention on Jesus, as we love on him this morning by pouring our hearts out to him in our songs.

COME NOW IS THE TIME TO WORSHIP

Come, now is the time to worship
Come now is the time to give your heart
Come just as you are to worship
Come just as you are before your God
Come!

One day every tongue will confess
   You are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
   Who gladly choose you now


BETTER IS ONE DAY

How lovely is
   Your dwelling place
      Oh Lord Almighty,
For my soul longs
   And even faints
      For You
Oh, here my heart
   Is satisfied (is satisfied)
      Within Your presence
I see beneath
   The shadow of
      Your wings

Better is one day in Your courts
   Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
   Than thousands elsewhere
Better is one day in Your courts
   Better is one day in Your house
Better is one day in Your courts
   Than thousands elsewhere

One thing I ask,
   And I would seek,
      To see Your beauty
To find You in
   The place Your glory dwells
One thing I ask
   And I would seek,
      To see Your beauty
To find You in
   The place Your glory dwells

My heart and flesh cry out
   For You, the Living God
Your Spirit's water for my soul
   I've tasted, and I've seen
Come once again to me
   I will draw near to You
   I will draw near to You
      To You


JESUS NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

Jesus, name above all names
   Beautiful Savior, Glorious Lord
Emmanuel, God is with us
   Blessed redeemer, Living Word


Let's continue to worship God by reading from his Word, letting it soak deep down into our hearts, changing us, transforming us, drawing us closer to him, and causing him to fill more of us.

You may be seated.

Today's message is titled "In The Beginning."

If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Genesis chapter one, or you can read along in the notecard you received by click-touching the pulpit.

Let's beginning with verse one of Genesis chapter one.

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form,  and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was  hovering over the face of the waters.

3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw the light,  that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light  Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first  day.

6 Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide  the waters from the waters." 7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which  were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second  day.

9 Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place,  and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and  the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the  fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the  earth"; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed  according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according  to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the  third day.

14 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day  from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and  let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and  it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the  lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament  of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the  night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So  the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 Then God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let  birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens." 21 So God  created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters  abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God  saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and  fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 So the evening and  the morning were the fifth day.

24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind:  cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it  was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according  to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw  that it was good.

26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them  have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle,  over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God  created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He  created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply;  fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of  the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

29 And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face  of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that  creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food";  and it was so. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.  So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.


Let's read the first verse of the first chapter of the book of John, through verse five, then we'll talk about this a bit.

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He  was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him  nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Who is this Word of God who was in the beginning with God, and by whom all things were created?

In verses fourteen through seventeen we read,

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as  of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 John bore witness of Him (the Word) and cried out, saying, "This was He of whom I said, 'He who  comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.'"

16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was  given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.


As we read the first chapter of Genesis, did you notice one recurring theme? Just in case, I'll help you out:

"Then God said..."

The Word of God, who became flesh and shed his blood on the cross for you and for me, Jesus was in the beginning with God, and it was he by whom everything that exists was created.

Let's take a quick run-through of the places the Word of God is mentioned in the first chapter of the Bible, the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth:

Verse 3: "Then God said, 'Let there be light...'"
Verse 6: "Then God said, 'Let there be a firmament...'"
Verse 9: "Then God said, 'Let the waters ... be gathered...'"
Verse 11: "Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth...'"
Verse 14: "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the ... heavens'"
Verse 20: "Then God said, 'Let the waters about with ... creatures'"
Verse 24: "Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures...'"
Verse 26: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image...'"
And verse 29: "And God said, 'See, I have give you every herb that yields seed which is on the face  of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.'"

We know God the Father and God the Spirit as the Godhead and the Holy Spirit. We understand God the Spirit is the element of God who is present in the earth today, our unifier, the one who gives us power and the essence of that power, the one who convicts our hearts of sin and points us to Jesus so those sins can be washed away.

But how do we conceptualize Jesus?

Do we see him as a child, the result of a heavenly visitation with a virgin named Mary?

Do we see him as someone created, with a point in time at which he came into being?

Do we see him as or feel as though he is just a bit lower than God the Father and God the Holy Spirit?

In John we already read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God..."

When God said, "Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness," to whom was he speaking?

If God were speaking with the angels and a few other people, such as Jesus, and perhaps Joseph Smith as some believe, or other prophets, angels, and the like, why would Scripture go on to say, "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him..."?

We were not created in the image of angels, or in the image of prophets, both true and false, who did not even exist at that time.

All things that were created, including angels, prophets, and you and me, have a beginning. And yet we were all created in the image of a being who has no beginning, for if he had a beginning, he would have needed a creator himself.

We also see here that while God said "Let US create man in OUR image," we then read, "So God created man in HIS own image; in the image of God HE created him..."

And herein lies the first mention of the triune God.

In verse one we read that "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

In verse two we read that "the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."

And in verse three we read, "Then God said..."

And finally, in verses 26 and 27, we read "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image' ... So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."

So while in the mix of the beginning of the history of creation we read about the heavens, we read about the earth, we read about the sun and moon and stars, we read about the trees and plants, we read about the fish and birds and animals and insects, and we read about mankind; while all these creations of God are intertwined in this historical account, the first three verses tell us about God, the Holy Spirit of God, and the Word of God. And the chapter ends by stating these three distinctions of God are One.

So the first point of today's message is this:

1. God is triune - He is Father, Holy Spirit, and Word, three distinct but absolutely One.

If you've thought Jesus is not as great as God, or is a created being, or an angel, you can lay that myth to rest, for Scripture plainly tells us, both in these examples and throughout the Scriptures, that Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father God are God; one is not more or less God, they are all God, and there is only one God. All are one, and he has no beginning and no end.


Next, I would like us to consider how the heavens, the earth, all living creatures, and the sun, moon, and every distant galaxy and star were created.

"God said... and it was so."

God spoke the Word, and whatever he spoke came into being. We read in Hebrews 6:18 that "...it is impossible for God to lie..." And when we realize that God's Word holds such power that whatever God says is so, this truth takes on new meaning.

What would it take for us to create a simple planet? Perhaps another moon? Could we pull it off even if we worked for thousands of years?

Where would we find the materials? We would have to take them from some other place. And what would the result be?

How would we take it into orbit? How would we ensure it never collides with anything which would destroy it, or destroy us?

If you can imagine how we could create another moon, consider creating another sun, which is by far one of the more weak stars in the universe.

And yet God simply spoke the Word, and all these things were created; and they were not created by using other matter and materials, or by relying on existing laws of science and nature; rather, they were created out of nothing, and the laws which govern their existence and operation came into being as well.

The Word of God is indeed God, with endless power and authority. And it was this Word which became flesh and lived among us. His name is Jesus, Yeshua.

He was not another prophet, for they were all men who had a beginning and who died, being mortal men.

He was not an angel, for they were all created by the Word of God -- they were all created by HIM.

He was God himself, specifically the Word of God which created all things, including you.

If we grasp this truth, then considering that he rose again from the grave is no longer something with which we wrestle; rather, to imagine that he would speak through his Word over thousands of years that we would rise again on the third day, and then to imagine he would not indeed rise in the body, this false imagination becomes the one which is clearly obsurd.

And that brings us to our second point today, which is this:

2. Jesus is the all-powerful Word of God who has all authority. He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. No one comes to God but by him.

The Word himself said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but by me." He also makes the bold statement in John chapter ten that all others besides him who offer a way to God are thieves and robbers, and that He is the only doorway to God.

This is the same Word which created a million suns. And so we mortal, fleeting, powerless men and women would simply be showing ourselves delutional to suggest there is some other way.

The Word of God is not open to debate. It is not open to private interpretation. It is not open for us to take it out of context to prove our points, or twist it to our liking to excuse our sins or serve our own purposes.

The Word of God existed before all else, from before the farthest reaches of eternity. There is none else to even challenge him. And we show ourselves to be fools when we do.

God will not judge us according to our goodness, our arguments, our persuasions (as though we can somehow change his Word); he has already spoken the path to life. It is up to us to follow his Word.

Who are we to judge God and say his Word is not true? Or his judgements are not just? Or his wisdom is not wise? Or his ways are not right?

All truth is determined by what he has spoken.

All justice is determined by what is right, which is what is true, which is what God has spoken.

All wisdom is the right application of knowledge, and all true knowledge is knowledge of that which is true, and all truth is determined by what God has spoken.

Right and wrong are the distinction between what actions, thoughts, and attitudes are correct and which ones are incorrect, and what is right and wrong are determined by what is true, and truth is that which God has spoken.

In our twisted, sin-sick minds and hearts, we attempt to correct God and stand in judgement of him. And by taking such a stand, we separate ourselves from what is good, and right, and just, and true, and stand on the side of falsehood and self-deceit.

So we have seen two things that have been true from before the beginning of time: God is triune, and Jesus is the Word of God with all power and authority.

One last thing I would like us to consider is the role of the Holy Spirit today. Since the Spirit of God is God, and was God from before time began, and since God does not, has not, nor ever will change, the Holy Spirit's role in our world and our lives today also has not changed.

And so our third point today is this:

3. The Holy Spirit draws, convicts, births, enlightens, empowers, comforts, and restrains.

In the second verse of Genesis, we read that "The Spirit of the Lord hovered over the face of the waters." God was preparing to create all animal, plant, and human life, as well as all planets, stars, and galaxies.

In verse one, God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was void and without form. It had not yet taken its final shape, and was without distinct meaning. It was as though it was unborn.

And the Spirit of the Lord was hovering over the face of the waters.

Do you realize that before you came to know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit was hovering over you? There was conviction, a drawing, an emptiness, a hunger; there was something that was happening inside of you that birthed your coming to Jesus.

The Holy Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters, just as the Holy Spirit is hovering over YOU today. And that hovering, that preparation for forming and meaning, that preparation for the birthing of something new, does not stop at Salvation.

The Holy Spirit is hovering over you today, in this season of your life. There are things within you that are still formless and void. There are things within each of us that are not complete, are not perfected, are not fully defined; things we cannot see or understand; things that are being or will be shaped by the Potter's hand.

And the Holy Spirit is hovering over those things in you. Our job is to make the Spirit of God welcome, and not push him away.

Scripture warns us to not grieve the Holy Spirit. And while we don't have time today to fully explore that issue, I think we all know that the Spirit of God, being Holy in his very name, is holy in his very nature.

When we turn away from that drawing to spend time alone with God, in his presence, we are grieving the Holy Spirit. When we do things we know don't please God, we are grieving the Holy Spirit. When we fight and bicker with others, seek our own way, demand our own rights, and otherwise work against true unity and peace, we are grieving the Holy Spirit.

And yet the form of submission to the leading of the Spirit is one of those things in us over which the Holy Spirit is hovering, and the hand of the Master is shaping.

So submit to the drawing of the Holy Spirit of God, and when you fail, realize God isn't done with you yet. Just get back up and continue to let the Holy Spirit draw you and prepare you as the Word of God shapes and transforms you.

So just as in the beginning, the Holy Spirit continues to make us, day by day, from glory to glory, into the image of God.

The Holy Spirit not only draws and convicts us, but the Holy Spirit births in us the things God has placed there which have been formless and void.

When you feel the Spirit stirring something within you, continue to seek a closer walk with God, following where he leads; and at the right time, that thing within you will be birthed into something with form and meaning.

And remember that the world was taken from its formless, void state into form and meaning by the Word of God. I cannot stress enough to you today the importance of the Word of God in your life. Without it, those formless and meaningless things within you will not take their proper shape and their intended meaning.

The Holy Spirit also enlightens and empowers us.

First Corinthians chapter two, verses twelve through fourteen tell us:

12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

13 These things we also speak, not in words which manís wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

We already know the Word of God has all power and authority, and if we live by that Word, our lives will be constantly in a state of transformation. And yet we see here that the natural man does not receive nor can know the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned.

So for us to be empowered by the Word of God, we must have that Word be revealed to us by the Spirit of God. And we invite the Spirit of God into an active role in our lives by feeding on the Word of God, by spending time every day in heart-sourced prayer and worship, and by putting the Word of God into practice in our lives.

The Holy Spirit is our comforter. If the earth was formless and void, would that not speak of darkness and unrest? And yet the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water.

Do you have any troubled, dark, restless waters within you? Do you have anything which is unlear to you, without defined meaning, without a form you can recognize and accept?

The Holy Spirit is there to comfort you. Put your attention on Jesus, worshiping God, loving on him, resting in his embrace and reaching out for the embrace of his presence as a child would seek the embrace of a loving parent. And the Holy Spirit will comfort you, as he prepares in you those things which seem meaningless and unsure.

And finally, the Holy Spirit restrains.

If the earth was formless and void, does this mean that the meaninglessness of the earth suggests there were no set laws? I cannot say this is so, but just imagine if it were; would the waters and the land have stayed where they were? Would they have been restrained?

Scripture tells us that God issued the command for the oceans and seas to stay in their place. And I believe in the beginning the Spirit of God restrained the formless earth, keeping it in one place as the Word of God was spoken.

And so it is today. The human race continues to disregard the Word of God. And just as the earth without the Spirit would have destroyed itself before it was even formed by the Word, so we would destroy ourselves before we allowed the Word to form us if we did not have the Spirit of God here to restrain.

When Jesus returns for those who are ready for him, the Spirit of God will lift from the earth. We read in the book of Revelation of the darkness and unrestrained evil that will ensue.

Those who think the world would be better off without Christians are living under the cloud of a serious delusion, for quite the opposite is true.


So we have seen today three truths which have been true from before time began, which are true today, and which will be true for all eternity:

1. God is triune - He is Father, Holy Spirit, and Word, three distinct but absolutely One.

2. Jesus is the all-powerful Word of God who has all authority. He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. No one comes to God but by him.

3. The Holy Spirit draws, convicts, births, enlightens, empowers, comforts, and restrains.

The ministry team can come forward as we prepare for a time of prayer.

Do you know the God of the universe today? If Jesus were to return in the next minute, are you confident you would meet him in the air, or is there a chance you would be left behind?

The Spirit of God is hovering over you today, as he has been for a long time. Don't ignore his call to you any longer.

Jesus says to you today in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will hear my voice, and open the door to me, I will come in, and will feast with him, and together we will rejoice."

Jesus is standing at your door now, whether you have never let him in, or whether you've let the cares of life or the seeking of your own pleasures push him away.

And all you need to do is open the door to him. He doesn't want you to clean up your house first. He just wants to come inside and bring you joy and life, and to reconcile you to God.

Come to this altar today and make sure everything is right between you and God.

In a few minutes we'll have our time of fellowship next door, but first let's gather here at the front as a way of saying "I'm coming to your Lord, with my everything, my all, opening my door wide to you, asking you to come have your way in my life."

Come to this altar now, and let the God of creation birth a new beginning in you today.