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?

 

 

New Podcast added

Today a new podcast has been added to our site. This is the first part of a two part series on the importance of understanding Biblical prophecy. The podcast focuses on the phrase “Days of Noah.” Understanding the meaning behind this phrase will help the listener to develop an appreciation for the relevance of Biblical prophecy which will will be further explored in the next podcast of this series.

Please go to the podcast page of our site to look at all of our podcast offerings.

Days of Noah

Excerpt From “Consequences” – a resource coming in summer 2013

Abraham, the great patriarch, stands as an example of what it means to follow God by faith. He was a person who experienced God’s grace repeatedly. As wonderful as Abraham was, though, he was not perfect. There were some major sins in his life, which created repercussions that lasted for a long time.
God called Abram to leave his home and go to a place that God would show him and he did (Genesis 12:1). He left behind the idol worship of his family and followed the directions of the true God. When he arrived in Canaan, the first thing Abram did was build an altar to God. He journeyed further into the land and built another altar to the Lord. He has followed the call of God, been blessed, and in return offered thanks.
While Abram was obedient to God in leaving Ur and traveling to Canaan, it would seem from the biblical records that he was not completely obedient. Abram did not leave the pagan influences of his family behind. His father, Terah, traveled with him as far as Haran, where Abram lingered for awhile. After his father’s death, Abram continued on his journey but allowed his nephew, Lot, to tag along. These decisions would lead to trouble later on.
Abram is to be greatly commended for his faith in following God on a journey across the Arabian Peninsula. It is even more impressive when you realize that he was apparently the first person in his family to believe in Yahweh. It is easy, then, for us to excuse his lingering in Haran, or his failure to distance himself from his family’s influences. To do this, though, would be to make a mistake. While Abram did many great things for God, he compromised his beliefs more than once, developed a pattern of partial obedience, and through selfish actions caused others to suffer. The Bible is quick to write of its hero’s strengths and weaknesses, their victories and their defeats. By taking an honest look at Abram, we will see that even the greatest of men are flawed and in need of God’s forgiveness, power and grace.
After Abram has spent some time establishing himself in Canaan, a famine came and Abram left the Land of Promise and journeyed to Egypt. There is no record that he consulted God about the move. The events that follow seem to show that his lack of asking God for advice was a failure on Abram’s part. He shows a lack of trust in God by making the move. Surely, the God who had led and sustained him on the journey from Ur through Haran to Canaan could have sustained him there. Why would God lead him to a place without having a plan to bless him in spite of the circumstances?
Wouldn’t it have greatly strengthened Abram’s faith to see God blessing him with food in the midst of a famine? Wouldn’t it have confirmed that this is, indeed, where he was supposed to be? However, Abram goes to Egypt. He stops walking by faith and begins to walk by sight. He knows that there is food in Egypt so he picks up and moves on. By doing so, he places himself and his family in a life-threatening situation.
It seems Abram has married a very attractive woman in his wife Sarai. Since the Bible rarely comments on a person’s physical features, Sarai must have been a strikingly beautiful woman. She is so beautiful, Abram is afraid that she will catch the attention of Pharaoh when they go to buy food. He reasons that if Pharaoh sees her and desires her for his harem that he will kill Abram to get her. Therefore, Abram lies about his relationship to Sarai.
Sarai was Abram’s half-sister , but she was also his wife. That relationship should have taken priority in his mind. It also would not be the last time Abram used this deception, as we will see later on. Can you imagine how this must have made his wife feel? He was willing to subjugate her to a humiliating experience, just to save his own skin. Can you see her face, read her emotions, as she realizes that he is not the protector she has grown to depend on? One of a woman’s greatest needs is to see her husband as her champion – a lot of her security is tied up in this. Abram’s treatment of Sarai will have repercussions later on, in how his son Isaac treats his wife Rebekah, as we will see in a later chapter. It would seem that some lessons are passed on, albeit unintentionally.
Abram intended to deceive the Egyptians so he is guilty of lying. Is it ever right to lie? Even a “white” lie? God gives His opinion on the subject in many places, including Exodus 20:16. How many times do we try to justify our actions by rationalizing them away like Abram did? If we are called to be holy people, representing the character of God to a watching world, then we need to make sure we are not guilty of speaking with lying lips.
Because of Abram’s lie, Sarai was taken to the harem of Pharaoh to become one of his wives. This would of placed Sarai in the position of becoming an adulteress. God intervened, and Pharaoh and his household were afflicted, by the Lord, with severe diseases before he could bed Sarai. This begs the question, based on this account, how does sin affect others?
Pharaoh and his house are being punished. He does not know Sarai is anyone’s wife. He has been lied to. Certainly, his household is not guilty of anything. Yet because of Abram’s cowardice and lying, they are being afflicted. Abram is displaying an incredible lack of faith or trust in the Lord. Lack of faith in God’s being able to provide food in Canaan. He is showing a lack of trusting that God will protect him and Sarai in Egypt. Abram is not acting like the father of the faithful right now.
What do you believe would have been Pharaoh’s response, if, after Abram had been caught in his lie, he then would have tried to witness to Pharaoh concerning the goodness, protection and value in worshipping Abram’s God? Could it be that unbelievers may choose to remain unbelievers because of the lack of truthfulness among God’s people? How do we remedy a situation like that of Abram, so that unbelievers will receive our testimony?
Abram did not completely obey and his bringing Lot with him to Egypt would lead to no end of problems. Lot would see Abram’s cowardice on display. Is it any wonder that Lot grows up willing to sacrifice his daughters to save his own skin?
In leaving the land of Canaan and going to find security in the land of Pharaoh, instead of in the Lord God, Abram makes a colossal mistake. Called on the carpet by a pagan ruler, Abram has no defense. He has traded his wife for wealth, his helpmate for possessions, and has been chastised severely. Only by the grace of God is he not put to death by Pharaoh. In addition, he is allowed to keep all that he had received in trading Sarai to Pharaoh.
Abram is kicked out of Egypt and wanders back to Bethel. It is there that problems between Lot and him come to a head. Abram has journeyed a long way but has been unwilling to completely obey God. It will not be until years later that Abram comes to the point where he is willing to be completely devoted to God. His story is lot like ours. We wander for years, sometimes decades, on our spiritual journey before we completely turn our lives over to God’s leadership.
Many people, unfortunately, never reach the point of complete obedience. In fact, if we were brutally honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that none of us is completely obedient to our God.

From Isaac We Learn …

Isaac is one of those patriarchs of the Old Testament who is revered, along with Abraham and Jacob, over and over. For many people, the question is, why? Isaac is not recorded as having won any great victories, spiritual or physical. He seems content to lean on the accomplishments of his father. A cursory reading might lead one to believe that his greatest claim to fame is simply becoming the father of Jacob.

Isaac is non-confrontational. He allows others to walk all over him. He is a pretty poor parent (witness the tension and favoritism between Jacob and Esau) and didn’t even pick pick out his own wife. Why is Isaac held in such high esteem? I think the answer comes from the story of Genesis 22, where God tells Abram to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac is close to 9, 10 maybe even 12 years old. Abram is well over a hundred. Isaac is conscious enough to realize there is no lamb for a sacrifice. He is willing to be bound by Abram and laid on the altar. He could have easily outran Abram, probably even been a physical match for him at his advanced age.

As Abram pictures for us God’s love, being willing to sacrifice His Son, Isaac pictures for us Christ, loving his father so much he is willing to lay his life down. As Abram shows us complete obedience to God our Father, so does Isaac – in his complete obedience to his father. We know from Hebrews that Abram believed God could raise Isaac from the dead. No such statement is made about Isaac. Even not knowing if he would come back to life or not, Isaac was still willing to undergo this trial for the sake of his father.

That is the lesson we learn from Isaac. Are we in love with God so much that we are willing to obey Him completely, even at the cost of our life? Jesus was. A good question to ponder as we begin another week of service to our Heavenly Father.

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