Summary: Humans tend to one of two extremes when we look at the problems plaguing this world. One extreme declares, “We can solve these problems. We can clean up this mess if we all work hard enough.” The other extreme cries out in despair, “We will never solve
“Before you were born, God planned this moment in your life. It is no accident that you are [here this morning]. God longs for you to discover the life he created you to live – here on earth, and forever in eternity.”
Citation: Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, © 2002, Zondervan
I. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
A. Purpose of the universe: to give us a home
B. Purpose of each person: to know God and to enjoy him forever
C. When God finished making a place for us to live and placed our first parents there, “he saw that it was excellent in every way” (Genesis 1:31 NLT). The cosmos was perfectly suited for our well-being.
II. Shortly after the beginning, we humans began to destroy God’s creation.
A. The first sin: an act of purposeful rebellion and disobedience
B. The first judgment: work became an uphill battle, birth pains worsened, tension and competition filled human relationships, and we were cast out of God’s presence
C. The first promise of restoration: “From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15 NLT).
D. Continued sin and judgment: The truth about God is known to [all people] instinctively. God has put this knowledge in their hearts. From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes. So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires…. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God’s death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too (Romans 1:19-32 NLT)
III. God has been working to restore the original health and balance of his creation ever since.
A. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
B. Moses, Aaron, Miriam and Joshua
C. David and Solomon
D. Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel
E. John the Baptizing voice in the wilderness
F. The ultimate expression of God’s desire to restore us to his family: Jesus – conceived, born, lived, sacrificed, resurrected and placed on heaven’s highest throne
IV. The day will come when God will complete his restoration process.
A. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making all things new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:3-5 NLT)
Where do we fit into God’s plan for restoration? Can we be part of the solution and not the problem?
Text: After God resurrected Jesus and right before he took him up to heaven…
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)