Summary: This is the first sermon in a series called Old Testament Challenges. I begin with the story of Alex Haley and "Roots". We all have "roots" and Gesnesis is where we find our spiritual roots. It is an overview.

In Jesus Holy Name February 24, 2008

Text: Genesis Redeemer

“Genesis: Where It All Begins”

He was only a boy when he was raised in Henning, Tenn. His best years, he claims, were spent at His grandmother’s knees. She told Him stories of his heritage. Those stories took him back to her grandparents and beyond to their grandparents to a time dated back into the 1700’s. When the boy grew to be an adult he was still intrigued by the stories and he wanted to document their authenticity. His pursuit began and it took him 12 years, 3 continents, 2 oceans and 2 ½ years later our continent was learning a new definition for an old world. The words are “Roots”.

We each have roots. A large part of our population seeks to know more about their family history, their family origins. For me, it’s always a pleasure to turn off highway 24 just outside of Keytesville, Mo.’; drive down a black top road and see a white fence and the giant sycamore tree on the corner with a long steel pipe jutting out from the tree. I’m sure the pipe was a corner brace placed decades before by some unknown farmer making the corner of a fence. The pipe became a child hood cannon for our fireworks. My sons used it for the same purpose.

We all have special memories, family roots, family experiences. Alex Haley wrote a book. His roots were important. They gave him a personal identity. Our nation has roots. We celebrate them every July 4th. Our congregation has roots.

As Christians we also have spiritual roots. The first book of the Bible, Genesis is the book of our theological roots. Everything starts there.

Today I begin a series of messages through the Old Testament. Together we will hear God’s word to us as He speaks from His Word through the history and events of those recorded in these pages.

“In the beginning…..” God flung the stars into space and created the soil from nothing. Our soil is watered and from it we receive our food. So the next time you water your yard, your garden, contemplate the creative “word” of God which called the soil, the water into existence.

The book of Genesis traces the beginnings of the universe, man, woman, marriage, worship, sin, judgment, civilization, redemption and God’s activity in the lives of his people.

Genesis 1-11 presents a wide-angle view of God’s relationship with his creation. Chapter 12-50 focuses on God’s relationship with one man (Abraham) and his family over the next four centuries.

Read Genesis 1:1; from nothing

1:3 the creation of light

1:11 the creation of plants, and trees

1:20 the creation of fish and birds

1:24 the creation of animals (Note: they all ate

grass…. Animals lived in harmony and peace.

1:26 the creation of mankind

Who was God talking too when he said, “Let us create mankind in our image?” What does that mean? The image of God? (I John 4:16) God is the source of love. But love must have an object.

To love is to give of one self to another. God tells us that Adam was alone. 2:18 If Adam was to live in the image of God…he had to have some one to love.

Genesis 2:20 talks of marriage. (read)

Everything God created was good. He said so. The earth proclaimed his Handiwork, the sky cried out His name. All creation showed the glory, the order and the wisdom of God.

The perfect order and synchronization with which the universe moves tells the scientific community and human beings…..this was not a hap hazard accident. The precise way in which our brain cells function, the intricate interaction of single body cells, the depth of DNA within each human cell, still astounds the human mind. And we talk, and walk and move our eye lashes with out ever a thought.

That was God’s plan, one perfect order, harmony and peace. His exquisite garden was lush, green with moss and ferns. In the cool of the evening, through the fresh aroma of flowers He would come and walk in the garden with Adam and Eve.

He gave to Adam and Eve responsibility. (2:15) He gave them one rule. (2:16,17)

Billy Graham wrote: “Adam and Eve, the first human beings were created by their loving Father free to obey or defy their Creator. In their obedience they would find life everlasting.” They like us were called to be holy in their character….for God was holy.

Genesis chapter 3 tells of the tragic destruction of God’s beautiful plan for his creation. Genesis 3 tells of the origins of sin and Satan’s successful attempt to destroy God’s perfection, to destroy the sense of peace and harmony, to turn the world back into darkness, emptiness and chaos. It also demonstrates God’s power to set matters right.

Adam Eve disobeyed God. In defiance they found not that they would become ‘gods’ as Satan had led them to believe…but rather they found destruction, fear and they would know death.

They discovered the consequences of sin. Their perfect marriage was “no more”.

v 10 fear

v 12 the first fight…and your children have learned the words so well. “It’s not my fault” Can you imagine the look Eve gave to Adam? Men, have you ever experienced that look?

The harmony and peace they had experienced with each other, and with God was not gone. There was fear. They paid the price of their disobedience. It is a fact of sin with which we still live….sin always affects some one else. The consequences of their sin which began in the Garden pursued them relentlessly. In Genesis 4 their oldest son Cain in a jealous rage murdered his brother Abel.

Evil continues to stalk the earth seeking to dominate and destroy God’s creation. Every man, woman, boy or girl who has ever lived, who lives or who will live is caught in the crossfire. All we need do is look at the destructiveness that sin has wrought in our lives…hurt feelings, loss of friendships, pain and death.

God’s plan was disrupted, the consequences remain… but God’s power was not destroyed. Death does not have the final say. God was on the scene in the garden to condemn their disobedience. He also promised redemption and restoration because His love for His creation had not changed. His holiness, his righteousness demanded that they be banished from the garden.

In His love he covered their shame. He forgave them. Gen. 3:21 “Where did God get the skins of the animals?” Two passages will provide the answer. Leviticus 17:11 and Hebrews 9:22 (read)

God began to display His plan to bring His creation back into fellowship, harmony and peace with His holy character. The cost was staggering…it required the death of His only Son, Jesus, as an atonement for our sin.

God’s plan for His universe, His plan for intimate friendship and peace with mankind has been thwarted by Satan and remains under continual attack by Satan. Satan knows he cannot dethrone the Almighty God, but his greatest desire is to disrupt God’s well ordered universe and plunge people into darkness, despair, emptiness and rebellion.

God promised a Savior. He covered Adam and Eve’s shame. And when the fullness of time had come God sent His only Son into the world. Not to condemn the world but to save the world through him. (John 3:17) And “since we the children have flesh and blood he too share in our humanity so that by His death he might destroy him who holds the power of death…that is the devil…and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14)

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life… he who believe sin me will life.” “The wages of sin is death but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”