Life in 6 Words – Week 1 – “God”
“God created us to be with Him”
February 28, 2021
Today, we’re starting a new series which will lead us up to Easter. The purpose of this series is to help us see the work and power of God in our lives. Today, we’re going to look at the fact that everything starts with God. It comes in the statement - - “God created us to be with Him.”
So, let me ask you, can you think of movies which contain a powerful love story? I asked this question on FB this week. There were lots and lots of answers.
Honestly, they were all over the place in their answers. I guess the one with the most votes was The Notebook, but we ran the gamut from Beauty and the Beast to Ghost to Shawshank Redemption to Fault in our Stars to Brian’s Song to the Passion of the Christ and lots more. I was surprised nobody put Titanic or West Side Story.
Sadly, nobody put one of my favorite movies on the list. And before you judge me, it is a love story. You may not think of it from first glance, but when you think about it, the movie Braveheart was a love story. (SHOW PICTURE)
It might not be so obvious at first, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s pretty gory, but the basic theme is this - - -
William Wallace (who is a real figure in history). It was Wallace’s broken heart after his wife, Murron was killed by the English, which fueled his passion and kept him going.
Even at the end when he’s tortured, he imagines seeing Murron through the crowd. He had a blood stained scarf of hers he always carried with him. Wallace has the blood-stained cloth as he is being killed. The scenes cut back and forth from him imagining Murron in the crowd and finally when he’s executed, that blood-stained cloth drops to the ground in slow motion. That cloth represented the hard-fought love that kept Wallace fighting against English tyranny.
Braveheart is an unlikely love story and when we think about it, so is this (the Bible). From Genesis 3, after the Fall of humanity into depravity and sin, that blood-stained thread of Christ’s coming death is seen. When you think about what God did for humanity, the first sacrifice occurred when God covered Adam and Eve's nakedness with animal skins. That was the first sacrifice and Jesus was the last sacrifice that covered us in His grace.
As William Wallace held onto this blood stained cloth, we see the image of blood throughout the Bible. We see sacrifices and substitutions throughout the Old Testament. We see it when Abraham goes to offer his son Isaac on the altar and finds a ram caught in the thicket to be offered instead.
We see it when the Israelites are entrenched in sin and are being decimated by poisonous snakes and God commands Moses to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole so that everyone who looks at it will live.
That blood-stained thread is seen in the story of Rahab, who ties a scarlet ribbon in her window as the sign of her deliverance in Joshua 2:18. The spies tell her,
“…unless, when we enter the land, you have tied this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you have brought your father and mother, your brothers and all your family into your house.” - Joshua 2:18
That blood-stained thread is seen in Exodus 12 with the lambs blood on the doorposts on the night of the Passover in Egypt, to David’s description of a crucifixion in Psalm 22, to Isaiah’s description of a suffering Messiah, who would die a gruesome death for our sins.
The Old Testament, like the movie Braveheart, seems brutal and violent, but underneath all of the violence and intensity is a passionate love story that’s ultimately unveiled in graphic detail in the New Testament.
The GOSPEL is the ultimate love story!
We talked about this verse a few weeks ago. It shows the power of God’s love for us. In Romans 5, Paul wrote --
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Think about these words from Paul about Jesus. God shows us the power and depth of His love in that while we were and are in sin, Christ came for us and died for us. That’s the power of God’s love for us. It’s a theme which runs from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22.
We’re going to break the story into 6 weeks, as we focus on the Gospel story. There can be 100 different stories, but for this time, we’re doing 6 - -
God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separates us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds. (Genesis 4-Malachi 4)
Paying the price for sin Jesus died and rose again. (Matt.-Luke)
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John)
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. (Acts-Revelation)
It’s God’s love story for us. It’s the whole story of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.
Six scenes of a drama that’s been unfolding since the beginning of time.
If we go way, way back - - - God created us to be with Him.
We are a special creation, handcrafted by God Himself. Designed and made by God. I don’t think we really consider the fact that God created humanity from the ground, from the dust. Genesis 2:6 tells us --
6 …the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. - Genesis 2:6
It’s such a cool picture of God if we would actually stop and consider what God was doing. Can you picture God bending over in the dirt, making it muddy to form our human life. God - - the divine sculptor - - - sculpting a man. Then breathing life into his nostrils, giving man the breath of life.
And man became a living being. Have you ever considered that the very first thing Adam saw when he opened his eyes was the smiling face of his Creator.
God created. He spoke and it came to be. He created man. He got muddy with Adam. Then look at what happens next.
21 “…the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, God took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.
22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib He had taken out of the man, and God brought her to the man.” - Genesis 2:21-22
When you think about it, God got muddy and then He got bloody with Adam and Eve. For me, when I consider this, I see it as a gift from God that is so very personal. God was totally “hands on” when He made His most precious creation
. . . you and I.
Then consider the fact that not only did God create us, but we were made in the image of God. In Genesis 1:26, we read --
26 “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness….” - Genesis 1:26
We can get into all of the theology about this. But we’re not going to. We can talk about how this divine scene gives us a clue about the Trinity, as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are involved in creation.
But I want you to see that we’re created in the image of the great Creator. That’s not a new age statement, it’s a fact. God created us with so many of His attributes. With abilities and talents that should blow us away at how amazing He has made us.
Yet, how often do we struggle with who we are. We struggle with knowing our purpose and plan in life. We have this identity crisis - - in part because the world is telling us who we should be and what we should be like.
If we want to have real life, we need to live a certain way, attain a certain income, wear certain clothes, have a certain body shape, believe in certain causes, have specific toys. For so many people it all adds up to our feelings of being unsettled
. . . we aren’t content, in fact, we’re miserable, because we think we need more to be happy, when what we really need is God.
And what compounds this even more is the fact that we listen to the world, and we have an enemy who’s telling us lies about who we are today and - - and this is really important . . . he’s telling us who we will NEVER be!
Let me share something personal with you. Since I was a kid, I was told I wasn’t very good, that I wasn’t very smart. I was called some things that I can’t say in church. What happened is that without my even knowing it, I believed them and even today, after all these years, they still haunt me.
I struggled to finish my doctorate because I didn’t believe I could do it. Debbie was my biggest cheerleader. She believed I could do it. It wasn’t until my main reader, a tough mentor, sent me an email on June 13, 2008 stating - -
Your initial draft is in hand - I love it! You have done a great job!
Literally I was shocked. I couldn’t believe he would find value in what I wrote.
Debbie knows. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing something and I said, “guess what I am?” She immediately answered ‘dumb!’ Now, she’s not insulting me. She’s repeating what I say about myself. I said, “nope.” So, she said, ‘stupid.”
I thanked her for her answer and said YUP. It wasn’t a big deal, I simply forgot to do something. But that’s part of how I grew up.
I didn’t believe I could be a pastor. I hated speaking in front of people. UGH! You should have seen me in speech class in high school and college. I more than hated public speaking. And if you don’t think God has a plan, just look at me.
If you don’t think God has a sense of humor, look at me. I know and trust that God created me in His image. And that is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS good! So, even on those days when I don’t think I can do something, I MUST trust in His plan, His goodness and that I really am created in His image.
You see, those are the attacks of satan in our lives. The goal is for us not to believe who we really are, but to buy into the lie that the world and satan has created.
It’s easy to let a mistake or a sin define our existence. Maybe you’ve made whatever mistake, but there’s always the opportunity to repent – to ask for forgiveness and to start over again with others and especially with God. God is a God of 2nd and 3rd and 100 do overs.
Hopefully, there will be a time when you can let go of the pain and hurt, but God has promised His love and grace to you at all times. Know as we’ve just talked about, God will always be there for you. You can’t run or hide from God, because He’s promised you that He will always, always be there for you. Never to abandon or forsake you.
The enemy attacks your identity by deceiving you into believing lies about yourself to the point that you “become” them, because you believe the lies. Friends, don’t believe the lies of satan and the world.
Solomon tells us in Proverbs 4:23 - -
23 Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. – Proverbs 4:23
It’s a simple little verse, but it’s so important for us. He wants us to understand that we need to guard our hearts because all of life passes through the filter of our heart. When we allow the negatives to filter in, it causes hurt and pain for us, and then for others as well. So, very simply guard your heart, guard what you allow to filter in.
You see, God is the one who gives us true purpose. He is our Creator, and for believers in Jesus, we get to add to that fact - - knowing and trusting that He is our Savior. Our identity is found in Him. He is the ONE . . . the ONLY ONE . . . who can truly determine WHO we are.
I’ve told people that reading the Bible this year has been so much fun. I don’t know the last time it’s been so much fun. Instead of 3-4 chapters a day, some days I’ll read 10 chapters. When you go back and reread the creation story - - it’s really so cool. It’s so much fun, yes fun to read. It’s miraculous!
Think about it - - God says - - - -
“LET THERE BE LIGHT…”
“LET THERE BE SPACE BETWEEN WATERS”
“LET THERE BE DRY GROUND”
“LET THE LAND PRODUCE VEGETATION”
“LET THE LAND PRODUCE LIVING CREATURES (ANIMALS, LIVESTOCK)”
ALL of creation…LET THERE BE...” and there it was!
But when God created HUMANITY! US - - - YOU and I. It was different.
With all other creation God said, “Let there be.”
With humanity God said, “Let US make mankind in OUR image, in OUR likeness...”
As we get ready to close, let me give you a final example - - -
In my hand I have a $100 bill. Let me tell you something about this money. Before I got it, I’m not sure where it came from. Maybe it was used at a grocery store. Maybe for drugs. It may have bought someone a great birthday present. It may have been an offering at church. I have no clue what it was used for.
I don’t know if it was used for good or bad. BUT - - - this is what I know.
This $100 bill is worth $100. It’s value was determined on the day it was printed. It doesn’t lose value based on what’s it’s done or what it’s been used for.
Just like you. No matter how you’ve been used or what you’ve done. You’re still valuable.
The value of that $100 bill was determined on the day it was printed and will not change. Just like us – no matter what we have done, no matter how badly we’ve been used or hurt, or hurt others, we’re valuable. God is the one who made us. He’s our Creator and ultimately our redeemer. And God is the only One who truly determines our value!
We’re created in God’s image. Our job is to go into the world and demonstrate God’s love and grace in our lives. We are to show the world who God is by the way we live.
In the end we were meant to connect with God on the deepest, most intimate levels. Think about what Genesis 3:8 tells us - -
8 And they (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. . . - Genesis 3:8
I believe the image we’re to get is of community between Adam and Eve. They were walking together. Yes, they had just sinned, we’ll get into that next week. But the image from God is that they knew Him. They knew when God was walking in their midst. Isn’t that great!!
Think about that for a moment . . . how often do we recognize God is walking in our midst?
David Mamet wrote a little book on drama, called, The Three Uses of the Knife. Mamet described the 3 key elements for every good drama: “Yes. No. But wait!”
Let’s take the movie Braveheart:
“Yes! I found a girl to marry me.”
“No! She got killed”
“But wait, let’s work to free Scotland!”
Genesis 1 and 2 is the “Yes.” But we are about to unpack the “No!” (next week)
OK, this is a little different series, but I want us to really think about who God is calling us to be as we move our way toward Easter. So, what do you sense God is saying to you or calling you to do? I hope more than anything, He’s reminded you that you’re valuable because YOU ARE made in His image.
Don’t listen to the enemy or the world. I want you to believe, really believe that God loves you and He created you for a purpose and for a personal relationship with Him?
God created us to be in an awesome love relationship with Himself. But our sins separate us from Him, and we cannot fix what has been broken. No amount of good deeds can remove our sins, and we cannot save ourselves. But paying the price for our sin, Jesus died and rose again. And everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. And that life with Jesus starts the very moment you trust Him, and it lasts forever!
If you believe this, would you call on the name of Jesus and trust Him to by your Savior today? If you are ready to do that right now, here’s simple prayer you can pray as you place your faith in Christ alone to save you. A prayer can’t save you...there’s no magic words that can get you into heaven. But a prayer is a way for someone to express the faith that is in their heart to God, in words. It is a way to thank God for this amazing, free gift.
If you are ready to put your faith and trust in Christ alone to save you right now, you can repeat this prayer in your heart, or out loud:
“Dear God, I know that my sins have broken my relationship with you and that nothing I could do could ever change that. But right now, I believe that Jesus died in my place and rose again from the dead. I trust in Him to forgive me for my sins. Through faith in Him, I am entering an eternal relationship with you. Thank for this free gift! Amen.”