Summary: The first of a series on the essential stories of the Old Testament. This sermon describes God's character and being. It also explores the idea that we are the pinnacle of God's creation. God created us to pour His love into us.
The Story of God
This Sunday we are beginning a study of some of our favorite Old Testament Bible stories. And of course the best place to start is the beginning, the book of Genesis and the creation account.
Over the years I have heard numerous reasons given for why Christians don’t need to study the Old Testament. I have heard Christians say, “We are the people of the New Covenant. Why do we need to study about the Old Covenant? We are New Testament Christians. The Old Testament has passed away. It doesn’t apply to us today.”
It is almost as if people think that there are two different gods. The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. The God of judgment and the God of mercy and love. But we need to understand that there is only one God. That God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So what we can learn about God in the Old Testament is still true in the New Testament.
And we also ought to realize that the Bible that Jesus and the Apostles used was the Old Testament. When you read the sermons in the book of Acts, they are full of Old Testament references. They proved that Jesus was the Messiah through the Old Testament. And of all the books of the Old Testament, Genesis is quoted the most often. It is quoted over 200 times in the New Testament.
Genesis means beginning. In the pages of the book of Genesis we have the beginning of the universe and the world. We have the beginning of mankind, marriage and family. We have the beginning of worship. And we have the beginning of some things that are not so good. Such as the beginning of murder, sin and betrayal. So we probably are going to spend more time in the book of Genesis than in any other Old Testament book.
But before we can begin to talk about the beginning we need to talk about what existed before the beginning.
I. The Nature of God.
Genesis 1:1 (NLT)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
In verse one the universe and our world is created. Verse one marks the beginning. Not just the beginning of our world, but the beginning of everything. Time, space and matter all come into being in verse one. And so you might think that nothing existed before verse one of Genesis. But something did exist. Or I should say, Someone existed.
Notice the first 4 words of Genesis 1:1.
Genesis 1:1 (NLT)
In the beginning God…
God existed before the beginning.
John 1:1-4 (NLT)
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
God already existed before the beginning. God is eternal. He has no beginning or end. God is infinite. He has no limitations in either time or space. For He is the creator of both. There was a time when neither time, space or matter existed. But there has never been a time when God has not existed. As King David said:
1 Chronicles 16:36 (NLT)
Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who lives from everlasting to everlasting! And all the people shouted “Amen!” and praised the LORD.
Abraham planted a tree in honor of the eternal God that he worshipped in Genesis chapter 21. Moses said:
Deuteronomy 33:26-27 (NLT)
There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’
And the Apostle Paul proclaimed that we worship the same everlasting, eternal God.
1 Timothy 1:17 (NLT)
All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.
So the God that we worship is the all-powerful, everlasting God, who existed before time, before creation and through whom everything came to exist. But what does that do for us? Why do we need to understand these facts about God? It is not so that we know just a bit of trivia about God. God gives us this information for a reason. He gives us this information so that we can have confidence that He is able to help us in our times of trouble.
Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.