Summary: All mankind is related to God and therefore are subject to the terms of the relationship He established with us.
1. We continue today to examine our relationship with God. I ask you "With whom does God have a relationship?" We all agree that as believers we have a relationship with Him, but what about that neighbour who is not a believer - who says there is no God and who lives in such a way that show no consideration of God at all? Can we say that he or she is related to God? Not necessarily whether he/she is child of God but is there a relationship of any sort at all.
2. Hopefully we will answer this question this morning and as we do may we see why this question is important for that neighbour and all those whom he represents and important for us to know as well.
3. Last week we discussed how God established His relationship with His people through His covenants, His promises, His obligations and contracts He makes with us.
4. When we think of God’s covenants, we think of His covenants with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and with the people of Israel.
5. And yet this morning I would like to look at God’s first covenant that He makes with His creation.
6. The Bible does not call this is a covenant and it may be argued whether it is - but it fulfills our definition in that it is a bond in which binds God to us, it is in blood - implications of death, and it is divinely administered.
7. This first "covenant" or "relationship" is established by God through creation and the terms of creation that He sets before His creation.
8. It is a relationship that is established by God between Himself and Adam. It is a covenant that is established before sin has entered into the world. It was made long ago and in the Garden of Eden. Many things have changed since that day - the world certainly is different. Our relationship with God has changed. And yet that initial relationship with God is still in force and effect with us today and we need to know what it means for us.
1. We could say that God establishes His relationship with us through the act of creation. He made us and that means that our very existence is dependent upon us. This means that this is His world and that all people - whether they believe in God or not are dependent upon Him.
2. Although He is the ruler He makes us governors. He gives us the responsibility to rule and oversee creation and to enjoy the pleasures of it. Creation was made for us and so we have a responsibility to God to take care of it, not to make a god of creation and let it rule us but to rule it on behalf of God.
3. Implication of this is that God is not to be relegated to the church today, that people today and take or leave God at their pleasure.
a. Some today try to live apart from government - eg. militia groups in USA does not recognize government. But as they find out every so often they still are subject to rules and consequences of not following them.
b. Many today deny their God, they want nothing to do with Him. "If you want to believe in God, that fine for you." But they will answer to Him one day and even know their lives are still controlled by Him.
c. As young child can sit in front seat beside father and pretend to drive car and control it. Of course that’s all in child’s imagination. And good that it is. So it is God - we can think we determine our future but God is the one who really does. And good that He does.
4. People talk about the dysfunctionality of "controlling relationships" and we don’t like them - but our relationship with Him is controlled by Him. As we said He sets terms.
5. Yet God does give us freedom of choice (within His election) and a responsibility for the choices we make.
6. And although God sets terms by creation itself, He gives Adam and He gives us a sign of His covenant and our relationship.
7. The sign is a pair of trees. Two trees amongst the many trees of the garden of Eden were set apart and given special significance.
8. In the middle of the garden was the tree of life.
a. This tree was not a magic tree that bore magic fruit that would give eternal life as the fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon searched for. But this tree was a symbol of the life that God had already given. As we said God is the life-giver, the creator. This tree was a reminder, a memorial, a sign of this reality - a sign of God’s grace.