FROM CHAOS TO ORDER
Text: Genesis, Chapter 1
Vince Lombardi is a Hall of Fame Coach. Some say he was the greatest football coach ever, and if there are others in his class, it would not take long to call roll. Lombardi is recognized as a great coach, because he won one NFL Championship after another as well as winning the first two (2) Superbowl contests.
Lombardi was known as a great motivator of players, and he coached the best players in the world. I was always amazed by how each level of football got better. It’s amazing how much bigger, faster, and stronger high school players are compared to junior high players.
Now, I’ve never coached in college, but the coaches who have say it’s amazing to see how much bigger, faster, and stronger college players are as compared to high school players—and even more so professional players are versus college players! Well, Lombardi coached some of the best players in the world who had been stars on every level.
Even though they were very experienced players, Coach Lombardi opened every Spring practice with the same statement. He would say, “Gentlemen, this is a football!” Then he would drill his players again and again—and yet again—on blocking, tackling, and the other basic fundamentals of the game. Lombardi won championships with his teams, because he gave attention to the basics—the fundamentals!
Biblical Faith has its fundamentals as well. Sometimes, many people—myself included—do a great deal of study of the Bible trying to figure out the true meaning of difficult passages. Some passages are more difficult than others.
Peter said the following, in 2nd Peter 3:15-16, about the Apostle Paul and some of the things he had written:
---15---“…just as also our beloved brother, Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
---16---as also in all of his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand…”
“These things…” provide some very interesting studies; but, unless I’m grounded in the basics, I could never take part in these discussions. I believe the most important thing for all of us is to be grounded in the basics.
What I’m talking about when I say “basics” are such things as “one Lord, one Faith, one baptism”, as Paul talked about in Ephesians, Chapter 4. If, as individuals, we want to be good Christians and come together as part of the Lord’s Church and be productive, we must pay attention to the basics—the Fundamentals of Faith!
How do we do that?
I guess we do it like Vince Lombardi did it when he held up a football and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football!” Well, brethren and friends, this is the “Bible”—and the first book of the Bible is called “Genesis”. It is called Genesis because it the “Book of Beginnings”.
The Book of Genesis is fundamental to understanding all the rest of the Bible. This book will either put down the roots of a stable faith—or it will raise its ugly head for the rest of our life. It will do one, or the other—depending on how we receive it.
Well, why do I say this book is the beginning of all the basics? If the account of God’s creation and the fall of mankind are not historic in our minds, we really have pulled the single thread of disbelief that unravels the entire fabric of the Word of God.
· If I consider the account of creation as a fable or a myth, rather than the Truth, how would I ever accept a “Virgin birth”???
· How would I ever be drawn to a man who lived 2000 years ago who claimed to be the Son of God?
· How could I believe that He died on a cross, giving His own blood as atonement for the sins of the world?
· How would I ever be able to believe that He was dead and was resurrected back to life by the power of God?
· How could I believe that if I didn’t believe, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth.”
If Genesis isn’t true, then everything that follows in the Bible is suspect!
Now, there are those who do not believe that God created the world or mankind—and they offer a counter viewpoint. Carl Sagan in his book, The Cosmos, says, “The Cosmos is all there is, ever was, or ever will be.”
However, if we accept Genesis as the Truth, then we—as members of the human family—must continue to search for the rest of the Truth. We must look for the meaning of our life on this Earth and the way in which we’re to live our life. We’ll view our life on Earth with regard to eternity.
If we believe Sagan and his view of the cosmos, then we would seek to explain life and life’s problems in regard to ourselves. We will define our own value system and meaning with no regard to God. It is the same as saying, “I’m the Captain of My Ship”.
The counter to that view is, to me, like the saying I saw on a bumper sticker one day—“If God is your Co-Pilot, then change seats!”
This is why I say the Book of Genesis is the beginning for all basics. The Apostle Paul knew that, and he wrote in Colossians 3:1-4—
---1---“If, then, you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
---2---Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on Earth.
---3---For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
---4---When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.”
Everything that will ultimately find its fulfillment in Christ begins in the opening pages of Scripture—more specifically, the Book of Genesis, because it is a book of beginnings.
For a few moments, let’s look at some reasons the Book of Genesis is the book of beginnings.
Genesis Is The Beginning of Divine Disclosure.
The Psalmist writes in Psalms 19:1—
---1---“The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”
God has revealed Himself in creation. He says He is the designer of this world. He took chaos and brought about order. The sheer complexity and the efficient functioning of this world bear witness to the “Designer” who created it.
To quote Paul, as he wrote in Romans 1:20—
---20---“For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
The world we see and feel every day is a footprint of God. I don’t know how many of you have read Robinson Crusoe, but it’s a story about a man who was marooned on an island. He thought he was the only human on the island. However, one day he found one (1) footprint in the sand, and then he knew he was not the only person on that island.
We have that footprint and we can see it—all we have to do is go outside and look around to see it. Or, go outside at night and look up—what we see will point us to the presence of God.
God reveals Himself in the Book of Genesis—in words and with His creation. He spoke to Adam and Eve—to Abraham and Sarah—and through them, He communicated His will to their descendents. The record of those relationships and events have been preserved and handed down to us.
Is Genesis true? Why is it the beginning of Faith?
· If I don’t believe what is written in the Book of Genesis, then I’m going to miss the beginning of Faith.
· If I don’t believe God created the world and mankind, then I don’t believe He talked to Abraham—or even that there was a “real” Abraham.
· If I don’t believe there was a “real” Abraham, then I don’t think it is important for me—spiritually—to be born of the seed of Abraham.
If this is the case, then I am as lost as a goose! I’m like the void before God created the world—total chaos! That’s because no order has been brought to my life—I am not a “new creation”.
If this is the case, I will have no relationship with my Creator. And it’s important that I have the proper relationship with God, my Creator, because He always meant it to be a unique relationship!
Genesis Is The Beginning Of A Unique Relationship Between
God And His Human Creation.
---27---“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.”
For some reason, and don’t ask me why, God chose to reveal His image through us. He has made us participants in His work throughout the world. In the world community, we were meant to join with Him to nurture life—to bring fulfillment to His promises—and to secure the well-being of all creatures in the world.
Mankind was given dominion over all other creations; and, this dominion was given to him as a “blessing”—not to exploit and violate nature.
---28---And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the Earth.”
He goes on to say—“I’m giving you every plant, tree which has fruit—everything.”
Then, in verse 31—
---31---“And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good…”
In today’s Faith community, the Lord’s Church exists to work with Christ. According to 1st Corinthians 1:9—
---9---“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
We are in fellowship to nurture the weak, bring Hope to fulfillment, and seek salvation for the world—we are to “Bless” our fellow human beings.
In this unique relationship with God, we have a radical freedom, and it’s the freedom to be faithless or to be faithful—
to be greedy, or to be gracious.
Genesis Relates The Tension Between God and Man.
Tension developed in the Garden of Eden between God and His creation, mankind. This tension developed due to the radical “freedom of choice” God gave His creation.
· God is the sovereign God—but God is not a tyrant who forces His will on mankind.
· If we seek God, we will find Him.
· If we want to know His will for our lives, He will make it known.
· If we want to share in His purpose for mankind, He will see to it we’re not left out or left in a world of darkness, confusion, and chaos.
Jesus said, in Matthew 7:7-8—
---7---“Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.
---8---For every one who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.”
God does not relate to us like a soldier with a gun or a policeman with a warrant to enforce His will. God is more like Love, seeking a marriage arrangement.
Genesis Is The Beginning Of God’s Pain Over Our Situation.
If you really think about it, traditionally, we have been taught to think of Genesis as an account of how human pain originated. We need to remember the pain was the result of sin—and that was mankind’s fault.
Maybe we get so self-centered and self-absorbed in our pain that we ask God, “Why?” Perhaps we’re not spiritually sensitive enough to read Genesis and see the explanation of the pain we have brought to God.
Yes, the tension in the Garden of Eden began because of our partnership with God and because He gave us the freedom to make our own selfish decisions. And those selfish decisions caused God pain—they grieved His compassionate nature.
Genesis Is The Beginning of The Revelation of Divine Grace.
What have we done to God’s world—the world He gave us?
We’ve spoiled it with our neglect, our indifference, and our rebellion. Mankind introduced sin into the world; and, then he saw God for what He really is.
God is a gracious and compassionate God. God is Holy, and He cannot tolerate sin. That becomes evident when He put Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. God destroyed the corrupt world of Noah’s day, and He eradicate Sodom, the city of wickedness.
Yet, none of the actions of Holy Wrath was without Grace.
· Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden with the promise of one who would come and crush Satan (3:15).
· Noah and his family were saved inside the ark by the very same waters that drowned the wicked (6:14).
· Lot and his family were rescued from the city of Sodom by angel-visitors (19:12-13).
God’s actions in Genesis set the tone for His activity throughout the Bible. He is able to call blessings out of nothingness and to bring order out of chaos. Empty and chaotic lives can still have meaning by His power and His grace.
Paul writes to the Church in Rome—
---17---…(as it is written, “A Father of many nations have I made you) in the sight of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.”
God brings order from chaos!
Can God still do that today? Yes, of course, He can.
From Chaos to Redemption.
Chaos is a word that we Americans understand now, more than ever. In the last few years, we have discovered the real meaning of chaos:
· The bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City
· The school shootings in Paducah and at Columbine High School
· The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
· Anthrax in the Senate Building—threats of smallpox, e-coli, and other bioterrorism—and don’t forget those weapons of mass destruction!
But our God is a God who brings meaning and order out of Chaos! The story of Creation found in the Book of Genesis confirms that!
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. Now the Earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep. The Earth was without form, it was unshaped, undeveloped, and unfinished. Those are words of Chaos and hopelessness—and, just maybe, that’s the point!
All of us, at some point or another, have found something about our lives that can be described with words such as “formless”, “empty”, and “dark”. As we go out into the world, we come face to face with other people who think these words describe their lives as well.
These feelings are not good, because we feel like nothing is fitting together properly, as it should. We say things like, “Nothing ever works our right!”—“My personal life is a mess!”—“My career is in shambles!”, or, “This is not how I planned life to be!”
Question: How do we move from a life of Chaos to a state where there is “real” peace and “real” order?
Answer: We must seek God’s creative power. We must put our lives in His hands and let Him direct us and re-create us.
---10---“…and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge, according to the image of the One who created him.”
The scripture says, “…renewed to the image of the One who created him…”, and that includes a new plan. The new plan does not include—
· Our family living in a dysfunctional way,
· Our lives being a mess,
· Our relationships being “unloving” or;
· Our lives being in constant upheaval and in Total Chaos!
If we find ourselves in darkness, then we need light!
---3---“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light.”
This light came from God—not from the sun, moon, or stars. He brought light three (3) days before He made the sun, moon, and the stars.
Question: How can we find God’s light and bring it into our lives?
Answer: Jesus said in John 8:12—
---12---“I am the light of the world…”
---4---“…in Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.”
When we turn to God, we find the Light of Jesus Christ, and we discover a hope, a promise, and a future.
Fellowship With God.
When God created mankind—Adam and Eve—He created them to have Fellowship with Him. And now, under the New Covenant, when God gives us New Life, it is to again have that intimate Fellowship with God.
Only the God who created the world can create real life in us! He did that by sending His only begotten Son into the world to die on Calvary’s cross.
Listen to these scriptures from the New Testament that explains this to us:
2nd Corinthians 5:17
---17---“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
---15---“For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
---16---And those who will work by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”
---23---“…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
---24---And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the Truth.”
---9---“…and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things;
---10---in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church…”
1st Peter 4:19
---19---“Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God, entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”
How do we do that?
Well, Paul tells us how in Romans 6:4.
---4---“Therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
God can recreate life in us!
There is an old nursery rhyme that sums it up pretty well—
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
And all the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again!
But God can! God can take all the broken pieces—all the broken dreams—all the broken lives and recreate them into something special.
There’s an old hymn that goes like this….
All my confusion, Christ understood.
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.