A Foundational Truth

Foundational Truths

Many times, whenever I preach or write on various subjects, someone will invariably say, “why don’t you just preach Jesus? No Old Testament stuff, just preach Jesus.” My answer to them? No one can know Jesus Christ as He really is if you only know Him as the Redeemer of the New Testament. We must preach Jesus as He truly is – all of Him – or we preach another Jesus than the Bible speaks of.

Jesus was Creator before He became Redeemer or Savior. He became our Savior dying on the cross and rising from the grave on the third day because of mankind’s sin. Much, if not all, of that sin is mankind’s rejection of God’s Word, the denial of Him being the Creator. One truly “preaches Christ” when he first of all preaches Him as Creator.

The great message of Christianity is that the just shall live by faith, speaking of them that believe, to the saving of the soul. But what is this saving, living faith? The faith of which Hebrews speaks of is outlined in chapter 11. It is the faith of Abel, offering an acceptable sacrifice. It is Enoch’s faith, pleasing God in obedience. It is Noah’s faith, believing and acting on God’s Word. It is the faith of Abraham, stepping out on God’s promises. But, first of all, it is foundational faith. It is the faith by which “we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear”, Hebrews 11:3.

Any meaningful faith for salvation must be founded on God’s special creation of all things. The saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is founded on creation. The very last reference to the gospel in the Bible is found in Revelation 14: 6-7: “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

The angel has the everlasting gospel and its message is for people to worship the One who made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of water. The gospel is much more than the cross and the resurrection, it also includes the coming kingdom and God’s great creation. Without creation, the gospel has no foundation and no logical end. The gospel is the good news that Jesus came to save who? Those who were made in God’s image on the earth and who are now marred by sin. What is the end purpose? So that mankind will live with God and enjoy Him forever in His Kingdom. Death first entered God’s finished creation when Adam sinned. Now that Christ is risen, the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul is seeking to assure young Christians at Corinth of the validity of the gospel. He preached to them that which they had believed. In verses 3-11 Paul stresses the witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. In verses 12-19, Paul says, because Jesus rose from the grave it guarantees a future resurrection to all who have hope in Christ. But then, Paul goes further, In verses 20-28 he says that Jesus’ resurrection restores man’s lost estate, reverses the consequences of Adam’s sin, conquers all enemies of God and destroys death itself. In verses 29-34 Paul says this promise not only gives assurance of eternal life, but strength for godly living and triumph over persecutions and opposition. And then, in verses 35-49, Paul ties it all back to creation.

Everything is tied back to creation. Biological, physical, human – all aspects are discussed. Every individual creation of God has been designed with its own marvelous structure for its own divine purpose, as it pleased God to make it like He did. Since each individual creation is distinct it could not have “evolved” from any other.

I am so amazed at so-called Christians who accept as fact Christ’s resurrection from the dead but not the Genesis record of creation in 6 days. Jesus said, “from the beginning of creation God made them male and female,” speaking of mankind. Not after 18 billion years of cosmic history or 4 ½ billion years of earth’s evolution but on day 6.

Psalm 115:16 tells us the very purpose of earth’s creation was that it should be a home for the children of men. A person cannot believe Christ’s words and reject Moses’. Listen to Jesus in John 5:46-47, “For had you believed Moses, you would have believed Me, because He wrote of Me. But if you believe not his writings, how will you believe My words?” In the book of Revelation, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”

The Apostle Peter, not too long before his martyrdom, wrote a remarkably prophetic passage about the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Listen to the words of 2 Peter 3:3-6,

Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers walking after their own lusts saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? Since the fathers fell asleep all things glorifying God continue as they are from the beginning of creation.” For this they willingly are ignorant of – that by the Word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing out and in the water; whereby the world that was then being overflowed by water perished.”

Scoffers arise, those who dismiss the Bible as fairy tales or myths, denying special creation. They replace sudden, special creation by God with uniformity and evolution. They willingly deny a universal flood. Anotherwords, they will deny the Genesis account of creation and the flood and in doing so deny the truth of John 1:3, 1:10 and Hebrews 1:2 which state that God created the world through Jesus Christ.

Creation is a non-negotiable doctrine. What a person believes about creation, about the origins of the earth and mankind, will influence what they believe about the meaning and purpose of life. So many of the great founding fathers of science knew this. Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Boyle, Breuster, Faraday, Kelvin and others believed that they were glorifying God as they probed and discovered His marvelous works.

Understand this, belief in the Genesis account of creation is necessary for a correct understanding of who Jesus is as the Bible presents Him. To believe in another Jesus, one who did not create the world in 6 days, one who did not create man in His image, one who is not Lord over creation because you believe He was not the Creator, is to send yourself to hell.

Salvation is found in the Jesus of Holy Scripture, not the Jesus of one’s imagination. Salvation is found in believing in Jesus as He is presented in the Bible, not as we wish He was presented. He is either the Creator Lord or He isn’t. You cannot straddle the fence on this issue. The New Testament simply will not allow it. From the Gospels to the letters of Peter, Paul, and John, Jesus is clearly presented as the Creator Lord.

At the beginning, I said that many times I am asked, “Why don’t you just preach Jesus?” I do. I do preach Jesus. I preach Him creating the world in Genesis as part of the Godhead. I preach Him throughout the Old Testament sustaining the world He created. I preach Him in the New Testament redeeming the world He created. I preach Him in Revelation coming back to claim the world He created. What Jesus are you preaching?

 

 

I Wonder As I Wander

No, I’m not speaking of the folk Christmas song. I’m speaking of the impact of God’s creation on me as I travel. I have spent time both in the US and Canada, Europe and Asia. I have met multitudes of people and seen seen great wonders both natural and man-made. Yet, the more I experience the mundane, ordinary world around my doorstep, the more overwhelmed I am with God’s creativity and goodness. Everyday this spring, from the saucer magnolias to the pecan trees, God has put on a fantastic display of color. In watching chickens grow from hatchlings to hens and roosters, from observing fruits and vegetables bud and bloom God’s great design in creation is evident.

And so I wonder, do we take time to honor God for His creation on a daily basis? Do we see His handiwork in our yard as easily as the night sky? Are we so accustomed to waiting for the spectacular to occur we miss God in the common things? Perhaps that is one small reason Jesus came to a pair of humble peasants to be born. If God could use such common things to do the uncommon, perhaps that is His modus operandi?  The more time I take to observe all that is around me the closer I draw to God. I become more thankful, more grateful, more awe-struck.

I wonder as I wander just how many more wonders of His creation await my discovery as I become more observant. Take some time this week to wander and observe. Commune with God as you wander and ask Him to help you observe His handiwork on a level you haven’t experienced before. You will learn much more about God and it both enrich and refresh your soul.

Hymn Devotions Day 35 – Praise To The Lord, The Almighty

DAY 35 – PRAISE TO THE LORD, THE ALMIGHTY

             This hymn is packed with doctrinal truth. One could use it to teach a class on the doctrine of God to new believers, taking a stanza at a time. God is King. He is the Creator. It is in Him that we find salvation and abundant life. He is worthy to be praised and adored.

I love the second verse. Can you not see, the writer asks, how God works in our life, gently changing our hearts and minds to desire, to want what is His desire for us? He doesn’t force us to His will, He changes our will to His own. We look and see and wonder, when did I change? When did I stop wanting that? When did I start desiring this? O how smoothly the Spirit of God works His transforming power!

God’s grace and mercy are given to us daily. He doesn’t leave us on our own to stumble about, He doesn’t leave us at the mercy of the storms of life, He shields and defends us, calming the storms and providing victory over them.

When it seems as if evil is winning. When it looks like the ungodly are prospering, God reminds us that He is in charge. Good will triumph, evil will be judged. We are assured of everlasting rewards, evil of everlasting punishment. The light always overcomes the darkness. It chases away shadows and reveals what is hidden. Nothing can withstand the light of His presence. What fantastic reasons to sing praise to the Lord, the Almighty, our Rock and Captain of our Salvation.

Praise be to You, O Lord. You are almighty. You are all-powerful. You and You alone are worthy to be praised. Thank You, for surrounding me with Your presence each day.

PRAISE TO THE LORD, THE ALMIGHTY by Joachim Neander

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty the King of Creation

O my soul praise Him for He is thy health and salvation

All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near

Join me in glad adoration

 

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth

Shelters thee under His wings, yea so gently sustaineth

Hast thou not seen, how thy desires e’er have been

Granted in what He ordaineth?

 

Praise to the Lord who hath fearfully wondrously made thee

Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Hymn Devotions Day 3 – O Worship The King

DAY 3 O WORSHIP THE KING 

This majestic song lifts you up in praise to the One seated on the Everlasting throne. The use of adjectives such as shield, defender, friend, maker and redeemer tell us of God’s character.

Here is no aloof God, watching from way off in space. Here is a God intimately involved with His creation. This is, make no mistake, a hymn about the Creator and His creation. It was based on Psalm 104. In a day where evolution is held to be absolute truth, this hymn helps us to unashamedly sing out our belief in a personal Creator God.

The third stanza unapologetically states that God formed the world. The writer has in mind both the Genesis account of Moses and the book of Job, where God tells Job that He put boundaries on the waters.

God’s love and providence for His creation is evident throughout the song. It is because He cares and desires so deeply for us to have a relationship with Him, that we are able to sing of His glory and might.

God is our shield, an ever-present help in times of trouble. He defends us against the slanderous attacks of our adversary. He is our friend as well as our Lord, a mind-blowing concept is ever there was one. Most of all, He is our creator and our redeemer. He made us for Himself and redeemed us for Himself. All praise to the King of Kings, who is worthy of all glory and honor.

As you pray today, thank God for the ways He manifests Himself to you – a shield, defender, redeemer. He is not only your maker, but He will be your friend if you would yield your life to Him.

 

Thank you Lord, for creating us and the beautiful world we live in. We worship You, King of the Universe, and give you all glory and honor and praise.

 

O WORSHIP THE KING by Robert Grant

O worship the King, all glorious above

O gratefully sing God’s power and God’s love

Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days

Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace

Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space

Whose chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form

      And dark is His path on the wings of the storm

      The earth with its store of wonders untold

      Almighty Thou power hath founded of old

      Hath established it fast by a changeless decree

      And round it has cast like a mantle, the sea

      Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite

      It breathes in the air, it shines in the light

      It streams from the hills, it descends to the plains

      And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain

      Frail children of dust and feeble as frail

      In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail

      Thy mercies, how tender, how firm to the end

      Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend