KID’S CORNER

Created as Finite Replicas of God

September 23, 2018

Genesis 2:18-24; 4:1-2

 

Genesis 2:18-24; 4:1-2

(Genesis 2:18) Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

 

God was not alone, because God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit communicated with each other, loved each other, and worked together before and after God created all that exists. God wanted Adam to have someone like himself as a companion so he would not be alone. God is infinite, and people are finite. God is all knowing and everywhere present, but people can never be equal to God (all knowing and everywhere present). People need other finite beings like themselves to communicate with, to love, to grow and learn with, and to work together with under the Lordship of their Creator. God wanted Adam to have a helper and partner like himself. The Father, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit are Helpers and Partners in the perfect sense, as Jesus demonstrated, and as Jesus said the Holy Spirit would demonstrate after Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to His followers. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit worked together in the creation and redemption of human beings. God wanted people to experience the joy of living and working together with others similar to themselves.

(Genesis 2:19) Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

 

God had already made the plants and the animals (see Genesis 1). But depending on your translation of this verse, it is possible that to help Adam learn more about God’s creation, God may have created two of these animals male and female once again from the dust of the ground; then, Adam could learn how to be creative in the image of God (though Adam could not give them life). Part of God’s teaching Adam how to rule over all that God had formed out of the ground included telling Adam to name each living creature. Perhaps God explained how and why He had created each living creature before Adam named them; then, Adam would learn what it meant to be creative and create. Created in the image of God, Adam would also be creative and create from what God had made. As God had made Adam out of the dust of the ground; later, God would make a woman for Adam out of his rib and the dust of the ground. God did not name the animals. God helped Adam develop his imagination and reasoning ability. God also helped Adam discover that he needed someone more like himself to have a real helper and partner.

(Genesis 2:20) The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.

  God was not experimenting to learn something, for God knows everything that can be known. God was helping Adam to discover truths about the world in which he lived; these truths and the names he gave the animals were a foundation for his developing powers of reason and the ability to rule wisely over God’s creation. God may have taken “years” or “a long time” helping Adam develop his mind, understanding, and governing abilities through learning about and naming the living creatures. Based on all Adam learned about these animals, Adam concluded that none were equal to him in the image of God or fit to be his helper and partner.

(Genesis 2:21) So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.

 

God did not want Adam to experience pain. God created Adam with the ability to experience pain, but pain would not come to Adam until after he disobeyed God. God performed a medical operation on Adam; therefore, we know that operations to heal are part of our ability as people created in the image of God and operations to heal people are permitted by God. We may rightly conclude that God explained to Adam what He would do, and Adam felt no fear or anxiety, because Adam did not have these painful emotions until after he failed to trust God and sinned against God.

(Genesis 2:22) The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

  The Book of Genesis does not tell us all we might like to know or answer all our questions, but it is possible that after God took Adam’s rib and closed up the place with flesh, God allowed Adam to watch Him create the woman out of Adam’s rib and the dust of the ground. If God enabled Adam to see Him create Eve from his rib, Adam could have learned more about what it meant for him and the woman to be created from the dust of the ground, and Adam would know that part of himselfwas within the woman as created by God. Because God taught Adam about what God was doing (or did), Adam could exclaim that the woman was bone of his bones and her flesh was like his (from the ground).

(Genesis 2:23) The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

  When God brought the finished and living woman to Adam, perhaps after God explained how He blew the breath of life into both Adam and the woman, Adam declared what he knew intellectually to be true, the woman was bone of his bones. Adam also expressed the emotion of appreciation at least, if not love, to God and to the woman who had come from a part of him and would be his partner. Just as Adam named the animals, so he would name the woman, Eve.

(Genesis 2:24) For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

 

  Based on the creation of men and women, both created in the image of God, they can be partners. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament give the reason for men and women to be husband and wife. On the basis of natural law, we know how God created men and women to be one flesh and how as husband and wife they would conceive and bear children in their image and in the image of God.

(Genesis 4:1) Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.”

  The personal name “Adam” means “ground” or “earth,” from which Adam was formed by God. Adam knew his wife Eve in a more personal way than the word “know” is usually used: the NIV translates the word “made love.” The personal name “Eve” means “living one” or “source of life;” the first mother of us all. Eve conceived and gave birth to Cain. The name Cain has been interpreted to mean “spear.” Cain became the first murderer after the Fall of Adam and Eve. Eve praised the LORD for the birth of her first son when she acknowledged that she gave birth to Cain with the help of the LORD. The proper name “LORD” is Yahweh or Jehovah, and LORD is used for the first time in Genesis 2:4. She may have given birth to daughters prior to Cain’s birth, the Bible does not tell us whether she did or not. She acknowledged that Cain was a man, like Adam.

(Genesis 4:2) Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

  Next, she gave birth to Cain’s brother, Abel. The proper name “Abel” means “breath” or “futility,” probably because his life was cut short when Cain murdered him. The two men began two different ways of life or occupations that have sometimes brought conflict between the two groups. Abel became a shepherd and Cain became a farmer.

 

Created as Finite Replicas of God

September 23, 2018

Genesis 2:18-24; 4:1-2

 

“So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found” (Genesis 2:20).

 

  Beginning with the first book in the Bible, we learn many truths about God and ourselves. We learn God created us as finite replicas of the infinite God; therefore, we have many of the abilities and attributes of God. Like God, we can use our abilities in a myriad of indescribable ways. However, since God created us with human limitations, we need rest each day. Though God does not need rest, God chose to give us an example to follow when God rested on the seventh day of creation. Since God gave us the abilities to think, reason, and create, God helped Adam develop his God-given abilities when God told him to name all the animals and birds. Since people need sleep each day, God may have taken years to teach Adam how to use his imagination and name the animals. God also created us with the ability to make choices, and God probably helped Adam use this ability when he decided what to name each animal. God also created us with a moral compass, so we can have the freedom to choose between doing right or wrong. To use his moral compass, God gave Adam only one law to follow so Adam would have the freedom to choose between obeying God and disobeying God. God created us with the ability to evaluate our experiences, and Adam discovered that none of the animals could be a suitable helper for him. After God helped Adam reach this conclusion, God created a suitable helper for Adam when God created woman and Adam named her Eve.

 

Thinking Further

Created as Finite Replicas of God

September 23, 2018

Genesis 2:18-24; 4:1-2

Name _______________________

 

1. If Adam could talk to God and have God’s help, why do you think Adam was alone (even though Adam did not feel the pain of loneliness) and needed a helper and partner?

 

 

2. Why do you think God first brought animals to Adam before God brought a woman to Adam?

 

 

3. Why do you think God wanted Adam to name all of the animals and birds rather than just name them Himself and tell Adam their names?

 

 

4. Do you think God allowed Adam to stay asleep when God created the woman from Adam’s rib, or do you think God woke Adam so Adam could watch God create the woman from Adam’s rib?

 

 

5. What kind of clothing did God give the animals, the birds, and Adam and Eve when God created them? How did they feel about the clothes they wore?

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

 

1. If Adam could talk to God and have God’s help, why do you think Adam was alone (even though Adam did not feel the pain of loneliness) and needed a helper and partner? 

  Adam needed someone more like himself to be his helper and partner, though made in the image of God with attributes similar to God’s, the ability to think, feel, make choices, etc. Unlike God, Adam was finite and confined in time and space. Unlike God, Adam did not know all that God knows. Adam would grow in knowledge, but never know as much as God knows. Adam was alone because he needed someone like himself to share discoveries and growing self-awareness with over time and located in one place at a time. Both Adam and the woman could grow in many ways together, and they could bring children into their lives to have more and more people join them in developing their God-given abilities together.

 

2. Why do you think God first brought animals to Adam before God brought a woman to Adam?

   Adam needed to learn intellectually and experientially that no animal could be the perfect helper and partner he needed. The animals and birds were not his kind. Animals and birds had their kind, but Adam did not yet have his kind. Adam could develop his mental powers of reason and deduction based on observation as God created and brought the animals to him one at a time.

 

3. Why do you think God wanted Adam to name all of the animals and birds rather than just name them Himself and tell Adam their names? 

  God gave dominion over all the animals to Adam and his descendants. By naming the animals, Adam would use his God-given imagination and reason to learn more about the nature of each animal so he and his descendants could exercise dominion over each animal wisely according to their nature and attributes as created by God.

 

4.  Do you think God allowed Adam to stay asleep when God created the woman from Adam’s rib, or do you think God woke Adam so Adam could watch God create the woman from Adam’s rib? 

  God was Adam’s first parent and teacher. I think God would want Adam to see and learn as much as possible regarding the creation of the animals and the woman; therefore, I think God woke Adam up to watch and brought the woman to Adam after God blew the breath of life into her (explaining what He did and why).

 

5. What kind of clothing did God give the animals, the birds, and Adam and Eve when God created them? How did they feel about the clothes they wore? 

  God gave fur, feathers, and skin to the animals, birds, and Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were not ashamed to wear their skin as the clothes God gave them. After they sinned, they tried to make themselves new clothes because they were ashamed

 

 

Word Search

Created as Finite Replicas of God

September 23, 2018

Genesis 2:18-24; 4:1-2

Name __________________________

 

U S Y J Y V M V G H C F E V C

C K I K C O T S E V I L M K I

S A M G I Y L E B A R T A P B

C D I X L Q I Y J O K O N T O

Y R V N C J K O S I M D G Z W

B M E B Q F S S D U R Z E V E

A R V A Y W I U R X W T N W I

V N U O T P O S I P O K L Z S

K L I Z N U C E B T M N O E B

P U R M S G R J K Z A P R X R

M A D A A H M E L V N B D I J

I B F U W L Y G N M K V L H K

K W I L D J S T Q Z S O I E N

V S R B I R Q F H M D V U K H

R H E L P E R P K N Q A S Y O

 

Lord

Helper

Suitable

Creature

Name

Livestock

Birds

Wild

Animals

Adam

Rib

Woman

Eve

Abel

Cain

 

True and False Test

Created as Finite Replicas of God

September 23, 2018

Genesis 2:18-24; 4:1-2

Name _________________________

 

Circle the true or false answers. Correct the false statements by restating them.

 

1. The LORD told Adam that He should have been the only helper he would ever need. True or False

 

2. The LORD helped Adam find a suitable helper. True or False

 

3. None of the animals could be suitable helpers for Adam. True or False

 

4. The LORD told Adam the names of all the creatures He created from the ground. True or False

 

5. Whatever Adam called each living creature was its name. True or False

 

6. Adam was so exhausted from naming all the animals, he fell sound asleep and God surprised him with Eve when he finally woke up. True or False

 

7. The LORD made a woman from Adam’s rib. True or False

 

8. After Adam discovered a woman wandering in his garden, she told him

that her name was Eve. True or False

 

9. Cain and Abel were the world’s first twins. True or False

 

10. Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer. True or False

 

 

Prayer

  Father, whether married or not, we give You thanks for the gift of marriage and resulting relationships. May we give You the glory as we honor marriage and family. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

ADULT LESSON

 

School of Ministry Lesson

September 23

God Creates the Family

 

Devotional Reading: Leviticus 19:11–18

Leviticus 19:11-18 King James Version (KJV)

11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

12 And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the Lord.

13 Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblockbefore the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord.

15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.

16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord.

17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

Background Scripture: Genesis 2:18–24; 4:1, 2

 

Genesis 2:18-24

18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Genesis 4:1-2 

1. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Key Verse

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

—Genesis 2:24

 

Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:

1. Describe the situation that led to the creation of woman. 

2. Explain God’s larger purposes in creating a woman for the man. 

3. Express appreciation to a member of his or her family in light of today’s text.

 

HOW TO SAY IT

Anatomical       an-uh-tomikuhl.

                                   Deuteronomy       Due-terahn-uh-me.

                                   Mesopotamia      Mes-uh-puhtayme-uh.

                                         Paradigm       pair-uh-dime.

Introduction

A. From Matrimony to Multiplication

  Few occasions in life bring as much joy and hope as a wedding. Though unmarried myself, I have had the privilege of officiating five weddings. Especially with a close-up view, the sense of wonder, love, and anticipation is palpable. In these extraordinary moments, bride and groom become a new family; and in most weddings the potential for children to expand the family only enhances the excitement.

    God commanded humankind to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28), and by all indications people have accepted the challenge. After topping 1 billion sometime in the early 1800s, the human population has risen seven times that amount in the ensuing 200 years. According to the 2015 United Nations’ official projections, the world population will grow to 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050.

 Genesis 1:28, 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

  If He had so chosen, God could have created billions of people to fill the earth from the start. But His mode of operation is to use human beings to partner in His plans. So in remote antiquity, God created a man and a woman. The result was a family to get those plans going. Today’s lesson continues our study of God’s creative work in the early chapters of Genesis.

B. Lesson Context

  In one mythical account from ancient Mesopotamia, humans were created largely to do work that the gods themselves did not want to do. In this scenario, human population growth was desirable for a time. Eventually, though, the multitudes of people became a noisy nuisance to the gods, who grew frustrated and found ways to reduce human population growth.

    The Genesis account contrasts sharply with this picture. In Genesis 1, God gave function, order, and meaning to His creation. He consistently saw that His work was good. The pinnacle of His creative efforts was human beings, male and female, in His own image. The “image of God” entails a number of aspects, and among them is being granted dominion over the fish, birds, and all other animals, wild and domesticated (1:26). Though all life on earth is valuable, human life alone is sacred because of God’s image.

    Also in contrast to the mythical account, God desires people to multiply to the ends of the earth. He created humans out of His goodness, not out of whim or necessity. Human population growth was never a problem; it was a command! God desired humans to flourish, thrive, and give Him glory in abundance.

I. Family Not Possible

(Genesis 2:18–20)

A. Problem Stated (v. 18)

18a. And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone.

 

  After seven evaluations of creation’s elements being “good,” we come to something that is not good: the solitary existence of the man. We glean from this passage that God creates us to interact within a context of companionship and community of our own kind. This aspect of the human makeup also relates to the above-stated directives to multiply and replenish the earth. We do so as we relate to mutual benefit in a wider circle of family, friends, and humanity as a whole. Our quality of life is found in relationships.

 

  The divine assessment It is not good that the man should be alone therefore doesn’t count the fact that the man is technically not alone given that he already has the companionship of God and the creatures of the garden. The assessment we see here must involve additional purpose of God that the man is unable to fulfill by himself. To “multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:27, 28) won’t happen if there is only one human.

Genesis 1:27-28, 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

What Do You Think?

  What factors will you consider when determining whether a context of life indicates that being alone for a time is a good thing or not?

 Digging Deeper

  Use Matthew 6:6; 14:23; Luke 22:41; John 6:15; 1 Corinthians 7:5; etc., to inform your conclusions.

 Matthew 6:6, But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 14:23, 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.

Luke 22:41, 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

John 6:15, 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.

1 Corinthians 7:5, Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

18b. I will make him an help meet for him.

 

  This description establishes both the woman’s similarity to the man and her equality with him. In the older English of the KJV, the word meet carries the idea of “appropriate” (compare Matthew 3:8). The woman to be created will possess all the qualities of humanity and personhood that the man does and will likewise be distinct from every other animal or vegetable.

 

  The description of her as a helper to the man in no way diminishes her dignity or standing, for “help” is a term also used to describe God in relation to people (see Exodus 18:4; Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 121:1, 2). The woman will be equal in personhood though complementarily opposite in her procreative role.

 Exodus 18:4, And the name of the other was Eliezer; for the God of my father, said he, was mine help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh:

Deuteronomy 33:29, 29 Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

Psalm 121:1-2, 1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

B. Solution Pending (vv. 19, 20)

19. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

 

  The sequence of events here appears to differ from the account of creation in Genesis 1, in which the animals are created before humans. Questions have therefore arisen about the relationship between the two versions of the story.

    A reasonable solution is that one chapter or the other presents a thematic account that is not intended to be taken as chronological. Yet another possibility is that Genesis 2 narrates an additional, special act of creation undertaken for the purpose of presenting the animals for naming. The latter view has a very long history.

 

  Though the animals are formed from the ground just as the man is, none of them is created in God’s image. By naming the animals, the man assigns a function and place to each one, thereby exercising the ruling authority that bearers of the divine image possess (Genesis 1:26). In the process of observing the animal world, Adam certainly recognizes that he is not like them; he undoubtedly realizes his superior nature.

 

20. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

 

  The text reveals that the parade of animals involves not only naming them but also searching among them for a suitable companion. Even though all the animals are formed from the same material as the man and by the same good Creator, no animal is adequate as a proper help.

  We reasonably speculate that the man eventually becomes aware of what God already knows: none of the animals can stand beside the man as his equal, to partner with him in his assigned roles. As Adam gives names to all cattle, and to the fowl … and to every beast, he presumably observes the complementary nature of male and female among them. For him, something is missing!

II. Family Now Possible

(Genesis 2:21–24)

A. Flesh Divided (vv. 21, 22)

21. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.

 

  In the Old Testament, God sometimes works while people are in a divinely induced sleep (see Genesis 15:12; 1 Samuel 26:12). Here, Adam needs to be under heavy anesthesia while God removes a certain part of him. The Hebrew term that is behind the word ribs occurs over two dozen times in the Old Testament, but it is translated “rib(s)” only in the verse before us and the next. Nowhere else in the Old Testament does it have anatomical significance.

 Genesis 15:12, 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

1 Samuel 26:12, 12 So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the Lordwas fallen upon them.

  Instead, the term’s other usages frequently describe the side or sides of objects (example: Exodus 25:14). With those instances as a guide, we are confident in concluding that God uses the man’s side and/or something from it in what happens next.

 Exodus 25:14, 14 And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.

22. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

 

   In keeping with the pattern in Genesis 1, the high point of which is 1:26, 27, God saves the best of His creation for last. From the records of Israel’s neighbors later on, we sometimes find alternative accounts of human origins, but none of them includes special mention of the creation of women in particular. In Genesis 1 and 2, women bear the image of God as men do, serve as corulers of God’s creation, and play equally important roles in advancing God’s purposes.

 It is intriguing that the original word behind the translation made is used elsewhere as an architectural term to describe the construction of cities and altars (examples: Genesis 4:17; 12:7). What the author describes with a bare minimum of detail is in fact more profound than any construction project that humans themselves can undertake—ever.

 Genesis 4:17, 17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

Genesis 12:7, And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.

B. Flesh United (vv. 23, 24)

23. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

 

  Perhaps the seeming delay in creating the woman was intended by God to allow Adam time to sense the depth of his need for a companion of his own kind. After considering the animals first and finding himself yet wanting, Adam is now positioned (as are we) to experience the greatest possible appreciation of the creation of woman. We can almost hear the jubilant outburst “At last!”

 

  We should not overlook the fact that the verse before us is the first record of a human’s words. It is also humanity’s first recorded play on words, as the terms for man and woman sound even more alike in Hebrew than they do in English. The sound-alike quality of the two words reflects Adam’s awareness of the source of the woman: she was taken out of Man.

 

  Adam’s mention of both flesh and bone confirms the nature of the man’s bodily material used to form the woman. Whereas we today use the phrase “flesh and blood” as a reference to family members, the Old Testament likes to use “flesh” and “bone(s)” together to indicate the same (examples: Genesis 29:14; Judges 9:2; 2 Samuel 5:1). In Hebrew poetry, “flesh” and “bone” often stand in parallel to each other to refer to things that are the same or nearly so (examples: Job 10:11; Psalm 38:3).

 Genesis 29:14, 14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art my bone and my flesh. And he abode with him the space of a month.

Judges 9:2, Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.

2 Samuel 5:1, 1 Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh.

Job 10:11, 11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.

Psalm 38:3, There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.

Adam’s declaration also serves as a foil for what God declares in the next verse.

The Feasibility of Functional Families

  My preacher just finished a sermon series called “The Functional Family.” We have a minister who practices what he preaches. While clearly the leader in his home, his wife has every confidence that what’s important to her will never be ignored. Their three children have very different personalities, so each one is being reared according to his or her bent. On a day off, this minister is completely focused on the interests of his family—those he serves in the church can usually wait a day for his attention. His success in ministry begins with his success at home.

 

  The very first marriage happened in a sinless environment. When the first man was introduced to the first woman, there was immediate acceptance. The Genesis text does not tell us how long after this first meeting that the fall (actually, the jump) into sin occurred. But for that interval of time, it’s easy to imagine husband and wife working together in a harmony not experienced since.

    Thriving, functional marriages and families are still possible today, any popular opinion to the contrary aside. Of course, we must wrestle with the presence of sin in our hearts, which can have a profound effect on how well we get along with family members. Even so, families can flourish in peaceful homes by the power of the Holy Spirit. In such, God takes great delight.

                                                                                                                 —D. C. S.

24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

 

  Whereas the creation of the woman involved a surrender of part of the man’s physical person, the joining of the two in marital union serves as a reunification. In that light, the account of the first meeting between a man and a woman ends with an affirmation (by the narrator rather than by the man) that the first marriage is to be viewed as a paradigm for all subsequent marriages in at least two ways.

  First, marriage is to demonstrate the enduring reality that marital love surpasses even the love between parent and child. Family commitments remain important, but the commitment inherent in marital vows supersedes them.

 

What Do You Think?

  What lessons will you pass on to others regarding lessons learned from observing marriages where one person did not honor that relationship above other family relationships?

 Digging Deeper

How do you decide which of those lessons apply to yourself and which do not?

   Second, marriages are to reenact, in a sense, the joining that took place between the first man and woman. Every married man is to embrace his wife not only sexually but also in the sharing of property, plans, and purpose. Marriage is intended from the outset to be lifelong and monogamous (Matthew 19:4–6).

Matthew 19:4-6,And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    On a further note, the text also implies that the first marriage is consummated soon after God presents the woman to the man. God is the author of the institution of marriage, and He grants to the first couple the gift of sexuality. In effect, God creates the original family. The male-female basis for marriage as instituted by God is apparent in this passage and is taught and assumed thereafter in Scripture.

    So important is Genesis 2:24 that it is quoted four times in the New Testament. Jesus cites it in His teaching on marriage and divorce, thus, among other things, reaffirming the male-female basis for marriage (Matthew 19:3–9; Mark 10:2–12). Paul, quoting Genesis 2:24 twice, also implies that a male-female union is necessary for becoming one flesh (1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31).

Genesis 2:24, 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Matthew 19:3-9, The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Mark 10:2-12, And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.

And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?

And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.

11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

1 Corinthians 6:16 , 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31, 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

What Do You Think?

  Which of the four New Testament passages that quoteGenesis 2:24 speaks most forcefully of a change you need to make? Why?

 Digging Deeper

  How will you allow that most forceful usage to make a difference in what you model?

    The Bible nowhere provides support for a supposed marriage between members of the same sex. Those who enter into such unions do so under solely human authority and at great risk of divine displeasure. The apostle Paul likens those who disregard nature’s biological clues to those who overlook the obvious signs of a Creator (Romans 1:18–32). Marriage between one man and one woman is the only proper context for sexual relations. While it is right and Christian to show great love and grace to those tempted by same-sex attraction, the church must continue to uphold the biblical model of marriage.

 Romans 1:18-32, 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

  Remaining single, a pathway chosen by a few but undesired by most, is the only biblically approved lifestyle alternative to marriage. Jesus and Paul both affirm exceptional situations in which an individual remains unmarried and celibate (Matthew 19:10–12; 1 Corinthians 7:7, 8). This lifestyle may be prompted by troubled times (compare Jeremiah 16:1–4; 1 Corinthians 7:26–28) and/or a desire to devote more time to serve God (Matthew 19:12; 1 Corinthians 7:32–35). Such a lifestyle prefigures the future situation in which there will be no marriage (Matthew 22:30).

Matthew 19:10-12, 10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

1 Corinthians 7:7-8,  7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

Jeremiah 16:1-4, 1 The word of the Lord came also unto me, saying,

Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.

For thus saith the Lord concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land;

They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.

1 Corinthians 7:26-28, 26 I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.

27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

Matthew 19:12, 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35, 32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

34 There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

Matthew 22:30, 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

What Do You Think?

  Should churches develop programming and ministries specifically for those who are single? Why, or why not?

 Digging Deeper

  How will your answer change, if at all, when you consider the needs of single people in these demographics: young, middle-age, elderly, divorced, never married, widowed, with children, without children?

Secure Marriage Boundaries

  My wife and I experienced the deaths of both mothers within days of each other. The memorial services brought together siblings who hadn’t seen each other in years.

    The reunions were unexpectedly delightful. With the passing of the families’ matriarchs, everyone’s guard was down. We simply enjoyed one another’s company. The Lord brought opportunities for restoration and reconciliation through this otherwise sad experience.

    Without going into details, let’s just agree that the marriage covenant is sacred, and its boundaries must not be tested, even by (especially by?) well-meaning relatives. With those boundaries respected and secure, family members (including in-laws) can continue to build strong bonds with their adult children‌—and the siblings with one another. These are the God-honoring bonds upon which strong families are built.

—D. C. S.

 

III. Family Expanded

(Genesis 4:1, 2)

            A. Son Number One (v. 1)

1. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

    Our lesson text now jumps past the account of the fall in Genesis 3 to the conception and birth of Cain. The majority of interpreters see all the events of Genesis 4 as occurring after Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden (3:23, 24). Against this understanding, however, is a proposal that the construction in the original language has the author backtracking (at least briefly) to events that occur prior to the expulsion. This theory means that Eve’s future punishment noted in Genesis 3:16 connects with childbearing already experienced.

    Whether what is recorded in the verse before us happens before or after the fall may affect interpretation. If the birth of Cain takes place before the fall, then Eve’s words I have gotten a man from the Lord are seen as giving the Lord credit. If the birth of Cain takes place after the fall into sin, however, Eve’s words are understood by some to be a boast in that she is claiming to have created a man just as the Lord did.

 

  In either case, we see underway the God-ordained imperative to multiply. The sexual function between husband and wife is God-ordained. Sexual expression neither resulted in nor resulted fromthe fall into sin by Adam and Eve. The name Cain occurs 20 times in 17 verses in the KJV, and all but one of these (Joshua 15:57) refers to the individual in the verse before us. Three of the occurrences are in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12; Jude 11).

Joshua 15:57 57 Cain, Gibeah, and Timnah; ten cities with their villages:

Hebrews 11:4, By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

1 John 3:12 , 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

Jude 11, 11 Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

 

          B. Son Number Two (v. 2)

2. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

 

  The designation Abel occurs 16 times in 13 verses in the KJV, although some refer to a stone (1 Samuel 6:18) or a city (2 Samuel 20:14, 15, 18). Four of the references to Abel the man are in the New Testament (Matthew 23:35; Luke 11:51; Hebrews 11:4; 12:24). To be either a keeper of sheep or a tiller of the ground is a common occupation in antiquity.

1 Samuel 6:18, 18 And the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fenced cities, and of country villages, even unto the great stone of Abel, whereon they set down the ark of the Lord: which stone remaineth unto this day in the field of Joshua, the Bethshemite.

2 Samuel 20:14, 14 And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.

2 Samuel 20:15, 15 And they came and besieged him in Abel of Bethmaachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down.

2 Samuel 20:18, 18 Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.

Matthew 23:35, 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Luke 11:51, 51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

Hebrews 11:4, By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Hebrews 12:24, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Conclusion

A. Spouse Comes First

  God bestows on us many blessings and gifts, the best of which (after salvation through Jesus) is the capacity to have relationships. Aloneness is not good for us. Life is about relationships—with God and with each other. Relatives, friends, and acquaintances can partner with us in God’s work. Animals can provide meaningful company, but the marriage relationship stands above all.

    God desires that humanity flourish through the marriage relationship. Procreation is never stated as a requirement for each and every marriage, nor is it the only purpose of marriage. But it is the means by which God has established that people fill the earth. The family unit is not only a precious social gift but also a means for teaching children and spreading God’s Word throughout the world.

 

   God’s ideals for marriage are always under attack, and recent attempts to redefine marriage comprise but the latest example. Sinful humans are up to their old tricks again. To be sure, God has left much about marriage up to us. Prenuptial customs, wedding ceremonies, legal recognitions and benefits, and many other specifics may be determined (for better or worse) by one’s society, laws, and culture. But the male-female basis and the lifelong exclusive commitment are parameters set by God, not earthly powers.

    The church must continue to uphold the biblical ideals for holy matrimony and to celebrate it as a gift from God. May those who enter into this most sacred of earthly unions remain faithful to their spouses and give glory to their Creator.

 

What Do You Think?

  What are some things that husbands and wives can do to glorify God through their marriage?

 Digging Deeper

   Make your answer pointedly specific by (1) avoiding generalities such as “love each other” and (2) focusing on positive things to do, not sins to avoid doing.

B. Prayer

  Father, whether married or not, we give You thanks for the gift of marriage and resulting relationships. May we give You the glory as we honor marriage and family. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

C. Thought to Remember

Through marriage, family, and community, God advances His purposes.[1

 

 

 

 

Some Benefits of Living by God’s Design

September 9, 2018

Genesis 1: 14-25

 

Genesis 1: 14-25

(Genesis 1:14) Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;

  Because of God’s wisdom, power, and goodness, God created the universe in a reasonable step-by-step logical progression and God created objects and beings with ever greater complexity, detail, and diversity. God collected and organized the natural light (that God had created earlier through Jesus Christ on the first day) into lights that continued to separate the light from the darkness. In Genesis, God’s daily creation exhibits ever greater organization. God created these lights for the sake of the plants, animals, and people that God would create with increasing intricacy and uniqueness. God did not design these lights to control the destiny of people or to be worshiped or to make fortunetelling possible through astrology. These lights would enable people to organize their lives around day and night, seasons and years, and help them worship God on sacred days and during religious festivals that God would later appoint in His Law for their good.

(Genesis 1:15) and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.

  Modern people separate the sky that surrounds the earth from the space outside the Earth’s atmosphere that contains the sun, moon, and stars. The Bible was not written to serve as a textbook for modern science or astronomy, which would have been beyond the comprehension of its first readers and many of us today. As scientists have observed creation over generations, they have learned more about the “lights in the vault” and have described “the vault” in modern language. Genesis reveals truths in logical ways that people could understand in the days of Abraham and Moses, if not earlier. God created the lights to serve the earth and God created everything that needed both light and darkness. Whatever God said should happen during His creation happened and God declared it was good.

(Genesis 1:16) God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

  God created two lights that would “govern” or “rule” under His authority or dominion. The sun gives needed light during the day, and the moon reflects the sun to give needed light in the darkness. In some ancient cultures; such as in Egypt, the priests and people worshiped the sun. Some worship their idols and make their sacrifices under the light of the moon. The true God is the Lord over all, and the Bible forbids the worship of any created things or beings.

(Genesis 1:17) God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,

  Both the sun and the moon give light according to their specified times during the day and night as established by God. God intended to provide light in the day and night, so we would not walk in darkness. Later, God sent Jesus into the world, so we would not need to walk in spiritual darkness but have the light of life. Later, Jesus has sent His followers into the world to be lights of the world, so those who turn to the Light can escape the perils of spiritual darkness.

(Genesis 1:18) and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

  To rule or govern does not mean to “rule over” as gods or that they “govern” our lives as God does. The sun and moon do not govern us; they govern the day and the night. We use them as our servants. God designed them to determine the times of sunrise and sunset, and to make it possible for us to measure time (for example, by using a sun dial). We cannot control the orbit of the sun and the moon, but we can use them as “rulers” (measuring devices) for mathematical certainty to organize our lives both day and night, to accurately and with certainty plot a course to sail a ship on the seas, or to send a space craft to the moon or into the sun. The sun and moon can be used as cosmic measuring devices to make science and exploration possible. Without God, our lives would be governed by chance moment-by-moment and accurate scientific studies would be impossible. God always separates light from darkness, and the light always overrules the darkness. God uses both the light and darkness for good and to achieve His purposes.

(Genesis 1:19) There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

  By the end of the fourth day, God had done all that needed to be done to support life in the water, land, and sky. Genesis reveals how God works and reveals His works in logical progression and good reasons. God is absolutely dependable, and we learn in these early chapters of the Bible why we have good reasons to love, glorify, depend on, and thank our great God for all He has done and continues to do each moment to make creation and our lives possible.

(Genesis 1:20) Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”

  When God spoke, the waters brought forth all the living creatures that would live in the water, both fish and mammals. God also created all that would fly in the sky including insects and birds. God not only created these creatures with the ability to multiply, God also created them with such diversities that people can spend a lifetime in their study of fish, insects, or birds and never exhaustively describe their beauty and their wonders.

(Genesis 1:21) God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

  Whereas ancient man feared the great sea creatures and saw them as evil monsters, the Bible reveals that God created the largest sea creatures and all that live in the water, furthermore, God created all things good. God created the whales; mammals that could live like fish, but surface and breathe the air. The waters teem with so many fish that Japan and some other countries can feed fish to their entire population with enough left over to export day-by-day, because these sea creatures reproduce themselves according to the will of God. All God’s creatures reproduce themselves according to their kinds. All the flying creatures also reproduce according to their kinds. Whales reproduce whales. Eagles reproduce eagles. Sparrows reproduce sparrows. Chicken farmers can produce edible eggs and chickens with dependability. They know a chicken will never lay an apple. Fisheries can reliably reproduce bass, trout, and catfish according to their kinds. All these endeavors are made possible by the way God created everything in a reasonable order, with many purposes, and without leaving anything to chance.

(Genesis 1:22) God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

  God loves life and blesses all He has created with the intention of bringing happiness to all living creatures. God loves them and wants more of them. A caring pet owner will do what they believe is essential to bless and make happy or to meet the needs of their pets. In creation, God did everything necessary to bless every being He created and make their lives possible.

(Genesis 1:23) There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

  By the end of the fifth day, God had made everything necessary to bless the land animals and mankind that He would make on the sixth day. Genesis leaves the strong impression that God can compress time, perhaps compressing millions of years of His work into one of our days. The Book of Genesis shows that God can work much faster, more efficiently, more powerfully and more reasonably than if He had left creation to create itself from nothing and then evolve by chance over millions of years as some scientists presume. Our observations of the universe show ever more convincingly what God can do and what time and chance cannot do; therefore, Paul could write that God’s eternal power could be seen clearly in the world He has made (Romans 1:20-21).

Romans 1:20-21, 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

(Genesis 1:24) Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.

  As God spoke for the waters to produce the sea creatures and flying creatures on the fifth day, so God spoke for the land to produce the living creatures that would inhabit the land on the sixth day. These include domestic animals that would be used someday by people for food, labor, or pets. These included reptiles that would move along the ground, and the wild animals (many of which people have tamed for pets). All God’s creatures would reproduce themselves according to their kinds, which they did prior to the fall and progressive moral depravity of humans.

(Genesis 1:25) God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

  Genesis emphasizes that when God speaks what God intends, what God intends happens and it is good. The truth about God’s wisdom, power, and goodness are foundational for all our interactions with God and why we know God is absolutely trustworthy and faithful to all that God has created. Moreover, we are continually reminded that everything God does is good and God separates light from darkness, good from evil, and God can make good use out of all He creates for our benefit and the benefit of all creation.

Some Benefits of Living by God’s Design

September 9, 2018

Genesis 1: 14-25

   “So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:21). When God created the plants, the fish, the sea creatures, the birds, and the flying insects, God designed these plants and creatures to reproduce themselves according to their kinds. During the sixth day of creation, God created domestic and wild animals, creatures that crawl along the ground, and the first people. God also made these living beings so they could reproduce themselves after their kinds. Whales produce whales; bass produce bass; eagles produce eagles. To free people from a life of fear and worry, when God designed the world, God created a world that included natural resources and dependable life cycles. God intended for people to live and work by plans that gave them substantial assurance of success. Farmers can plant wheat knowing they will reap wheat and not beans or carrots. Ranchers can raise cattle or horses without the worry of producing rabbits or goats instead. Everything God created was good. Today, scientists can modify almost everything God created; and by adopting some genetic modifications, some people have become enslaved to others. After modifying some plants so they cannot produce seeds, these plants cannot reproduce themselves; therefore, some farmers have become enslaved to buying seeds each year instead of using seeds that could have been saved from yearto-year. When God created the earth and all within it, God wanted people to have the freedom and success that following His plans would assure rather than becoming dependent on those who would seek to profit from enslaving them.

Genesis 1:21, 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Thinking Further

Some Benefits of Living by God’s Design

September 9, 2018

Genesis 1: 14-25

Name ______________________________

 

1. On the fourth day, what did God do with the light that God created on the first day? And why did God do this?

 

2. What happened every time God said He wanted something done?

 

3. What did God create immediately after He created all that was needed to make life on earth possible?

 

4. Describe some of the qualities of the living creatures that God made.

 

5. What did God want the creatures He created to do?

 

 

Word Search

Some Benefits of Living by God’s Design

September 9, 2018

Genesis 1: 14-25

Name _________________________________

 

N Q H F Q Z V J L O Z K V Q S

C U C A W F U N F B C F R I H

L H M R N V L G Q I Z E M F G

I D T J E X M U S W F W I L D

G E S R D A Y R F C V T D Z Q

H S U V A I T P I T U A H T F

T S S D Q E F U V K I N D S B

S E E F B U Z S R X C U L I V

O L J L I V I N G E M X R O E

P B Y G T M Y M Z U S D H F V

L E Z H D R L I V E S T O C K

J X G W G U C E A J R L G E V

V I F E X T Y F S U A V W J N

N A C B I A O K O E T O D E T

Z X S W D L R F C Z S Y P A H

 

Lights

Day

Night

Stars

Fourth

Fifth

Living

Creatures

Birds

Kinds

Fruitful

Livestock

Wild

Earth

Blessed

 

True or False Test

Some Benefits of Living by God’s Design

September 9, 2018

Genesis 1: 14-25

Name _____________________________

 

Circle the true or false answers. Correct the false statements by restating them.

1. The lights in the sky can be used as signs for sacred times. True or False

2. God created the sun to govern day and night. True or False

3. Only the sun and moon give light upon the earth. True or False

4. It is good that God separated the light from the darkness. True or False

5. During creation a day was from evening to morning. True or False

6. God created all that lives in the water except killer whales. True or False

7. God created every living thing that flies except mosquitoes. True or False

8. God created whales to produce whales. True or False

9. The first fish that crawled out of the water became reptiles. True or False

10. God created livestock and wild animals on the sixth day. True or False

 

True and False Test Answers

Genesis 1:14-25

1. True
2. False
3. False
4. True
5. True
6. False
7. False
8. True
9. False

10.True

 

Prayer

Creator God, we are learning about our world at a furious pace. May we channel our increased knowledge into more opportunities to contemplate You and Your marvelous designs. You are truly the God of wonders, and we give You praise and glory. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

ADULT LESSON

 

School of Ministry Lesson

September 9

God Creates Lights and Life

 

Devotional Reading: Psalm 136:1–9

Psalm 136:1-9, O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endurethfor ever.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endurethfor ever.

Background Scripture: Genesis 1:14–25

Genesis 1:14-25

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thingthat creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Key Verse

God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.—Genesis 1:14

 

Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:

 

1. Relate what came into being on the fourth, fifth, and sixth days of creation.

 

2. Explain the permanent patterns of created order as found in Genesis

 

3. Write a personal “Creation Declaration” that describes a way he or she will honor God for his creation.

HOW TO SAY IT

Deuteronomy     Due-terahn-uh-me.

                                           Leviticus     Leh-vit-ih-kus

                                         Pentateuch   Pen-ta-teuk.

Introduction

A. “Where Did We Come From?”

  Almost all cultures attempt to answer the question above. But as we saw in last week’s lesson, every proposed answer ultimately takes one of two positions: we trace our origins either (1) to eternally existing impersonal matter or (2) to an eternally existing personal being.

    Explanations that fall into the latter category are often labeled “myths,” a term that injects an air of untruth into the story. If an explanation is mythical, it can be consigned (some think) to the area of religion and therefore marginalized. Secular culture tells us to keep our religious views separated from the larger issues of our culture.

  Today this is seen in the apparent conflict between those who adopt a scientific viewpoint that disallows supernatural explanations and those who accept the Bible as God’s revealed Word. Where did we come from? We want to know, and competing explanations are set in opposition.

    One side explains origins through a theory of a spontaneous “big bang” and billions of years of development. While this theory draws on certain facts derived from scientific investigation, it cannot explain where the matter for a so-called big bang came from. It cannot explain why there are laws of nature that allow this bang and subsequent development. Can there be laws of physics without a lawgiver?

  The other side listens to the account given in Genesis plus other Bible texts that speak of creation by a Creator. These accounts will not answer every question a scientist might want to ask, but that is not their intent. The biblical account of origins reveals an orderly plan for the creation of the heavens and the earth.

What Do You Think?

  What resources have you found valuable for resolving tensions between faith and science? Which will you recommend to others?

 Digging Deeper

Research the concept of “evidential faith” at www.coldcasechristianity.com.

 

B. Lesson Context

  Christians look to Genesis to explain God’s orderly creation of the universe, and this it certainly does. We should not forget, however, that Genesis is also a part of a five-volume set: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This collection of books, sometimes called the Pentateuch, is associated with Moses. He is the great hero of ancient Israel, and he is the primary character in the books beginning with Exodus (see Luke 24:44). These books answer the question of human origins from the perspective of the nation of Israel.

Luke 24:44, 44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

  As these books relate the origin and history of Israel, the early chapters of Genesis go all the way back to the origins of humanity as a whole, because the people of Israel have common ancestors with all other peoples. Genesis gives an account of the origins of the world and the universe that surrounds us.

  Last week’s lesson took us through the third day of creation. To summarize: day one related the creation of light and its separation from darkness. Day two told of the creation of a firmament, a barrier that separates the waters above it from those below it. And day three described the emergence of dry land and the furnishing of this land with vegetation.

 

I. Day Four

(Genesis 1:14–19)

 

    A. Seasonal Cycle Created (vv. 14, 15)

14a. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night.

   

As with the other days of creation, this one, the fourth, begins with God speaking. Having created “light” (singular) on the first day, God now creates lights (plural; compare Psalms 74:16; 136:7). These are physical objects that serve specific purposes. For them to divide the day from the night speaks to the need for cyclical illumination of the earth.

 Psalm 74:16, 16 The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun.

Psalm 136:7, To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

14b. And let them be for signs.

 

  This illumination goes hand in hand with the lights’ being signs: things that attest to divine power at work. The idea is to give credit to God for His active role in the world. This is the word used to state the significance of the rainbow, given as a sign in the sky that God will not again destroy the earth by a flood (Genesis 9:12–15, same Hebrew word translated “token”). While there might be the occasional extraordinary sign, the ordered nature of earthly cycles is a daily reminder of God’s provision and presence.

 Genesis 9:12-15, 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

14c. And for seasons, and for days, and years.

 

 Beyond the signs, we now see three derivative manifestations of God’s order. First, the celestial lights also give us seasons. We may naturally think of seasons in terms of spring, summer, fall, and winter. That idea may be included (see below), but the idea as it develops throughout the Old Testament is more along the lines of time periods longer than 24 hours in general and the religious festivals of Israel’s calendar in particular. These become appointed times (example: Exodus 23:15) as determined by phases of the moon (compare Psalms 81:3; 104:19.)

Exodus 23:15, 15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)

Psalm 81:3, Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.

Psalm 104:19, 19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

   Hand in hand with such periods of time are the days and years. These are the familiar periods of 24 hours and 365 days, respectively. The yearly cycle is what gives us the seasons of fall, winter, spring, and summer (or, in some areas, the rainy season and the dry season).

    All these provide order and regularity. We are created to thrive within this system. For example, astronauts who leave the earth still try to regulate their activities in 24-hour cycles. God has designed a world to fit us and created us to fit His world.

What Do You Think?

Since God is the author of the calendar, what are some ways to manage time that will honor Him for that fact?

Digging Deeper

  Which of the three Ms of modifying your environment, making a commitment to another, and monitoring your behavior would work best for you in overcoming time management challenges? Why?

15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

 

  We should catch a little of the wonder and awe of the ancient author here. He understands the value and purpose of light (created on day one), of heavenly lights (created on day four), and of the need for light upon the earth. We are created to be creatures of light, both physically and spiritually. The more science learns about sunlight, the more we realize our dependence on it for life.

 

  Without the God-provided light that bathes our world on a regular basis, we would lead a sad existence—if any existence at all. The lighting of our world is a testimony to God’s love and care for us. It is an exciting comparison, then, for Jesus to take the role of “light of the world” (John 8:12), God’s loving answer to our spiritual darkness.

  B. Sun and Moon Created (vv. 16–19)

16. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

 

  The created order has three classifications of observable heavenly lights. First we have the greater light, the sun, which rules the day. This does not imply that the sun comes out when there is daylight. Rather, it’s the other way around: the sun defines and causes the day.

 

  Likewise, the lesser light, the moon, defines a darker period, the night. Nights are not without some light,given the shadows we observe when the moon is bright. Even on nights of a new moon, the starsprovidelight, although dimly.

 

  While we see God’s intentional patterns in creation here, we should also notice that the descriptions are observational, from the perspective of the author or any other human. It is silly to criticize this portrayal by saying that some of the stars we see are far bigger and brighter than our sun. It doesn’t appear that way from the author’s viewpoint, nor from any other unaided human viewpoint today. Stars are tiny in the amount of light they shed on the earth. This is the point.

17, 18. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

 

  These celestial lights—sun, moon, and stars—are placed in the firmament of the heaven by God to provide various degrees of light upon the earth. Their intensity causes the distinction between daytime and nighttime. All of them counteract darkness, the absence of light. In this sense, they are testimonies to the presence of God in our world, for we are never without a heavenly light source.

 

  As at the end of the previous day of creation, the author notes that God observes what He has created and approves by designating it as good. It is pleasing to Him and beneficial to us.

What Do You Think?

What responsibilities do we have to distinguish between moral light and darkness?

 

Digging Deeper

What are some dangers that come with accepting this task? How do we manage them?

Drawn to the Light

  Missionaries who live off the grid have a unique appreciation for light and for the creatures that are drawn to it. I remember huddling at night under a mosquito net with my old e-reader, reading with a small light. Every little bug that could fit through the mosquito net’s holes would join me, irrepressibly drawn to the light. One time a battalion of tiny spiders began spinning their webs on the little light in my hands.

    Another time my wife came stumbling into the room. “There’s something in my ear!” she cried. She had been in a deep sleep and wasn’t fully coherent, but I heard her say, “I can hear it breathing!”

 

  I didn’t see anything. I tried carefully probing with tweezers (which was difficult as she kept freaking out with shuddering spasms). As I held the flashlight over her ear, I tried to suggest that perhaps she had been dreaming and hadn’t yet fully awoken. Then the insect’s legs emerged from her ear, and a little beetle finished its journey out toward the flashlight. After it had found a more appropriate habitat, my wife thought the beetle, which had intricate colored markings on its tiny shell, was quite beautiful.

    God’s creation is amazing in its diversity. I shared an unlikely camaraderie with the creepy crawlies as we clustered around my little light under the mosquito net. We were fellow creatures created by God, attracted to the mysterious phenomenon of light that He created first. More importantly, we remember that spiritually we are “the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).—D. G.

1 Thessalonians 5:5, Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

 

  As before, the cycle of what makes up a day is noted. The Bible’s way of marking a day begins with sundown, a pattern still observed by Jews. It is not so much that night commences the new day as that the setting of the sun ends the old day. On the various possible meanings of day, see commentary on Genesis 1:5 in lesson 1.

What Do You Think?

  What one improvement can you make to imitate better God’s deliberate and rhythmic approach to work and creativity?

 Digging Deeper

  What forces make it difficult for you to maintain a creative rhythm? What strategies can you adopt to overcome those challenges?

II. Day Five

(Genesis 1:20–23)

A. Avians and Aquatics Created (vv. 20, 21)

  20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

    The ancient person sees the world in three parts: the watery world of seas, lakes, and rivers; the habitable world of dry ground; and the above-ground world of the atmosphere. Day five of creation begins, as the others have, with God speaking. On this day, God speaks into existence the living animals for the watery world and the sky. As before, this is presented from an observational perspective—what the author or any reader could see.

 21. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

    The unpolluted and unfished waters of the ancient world teem with life. This includes water creatures of massive size, something the author (Moses) is aware of on some level. Has he heard of great whalesthat have breached the surface of the ocean or washed up on a beach? God’s creation has variety that is barely imaginable for us. After hundreds of years of study, scientists are still discovering and classifying new water creatures (compare Psalm 104:25).

 Psalm 104:25, 25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

 The author also acknowledges creation of the creatures of the atmospheric world, the birds. He knows that most creatures do not have the capability of flight—only those with wings. These make up a special and wonderful category of God’s good created animals.

    The author also gives another insight into the wonder and awe of the ancient person when it comes to beholding God’s created order: the reproductive capability of water creatures and birds. This is their ability to produce offspring after his/their kind. Why does a sparrow always reproduce sparrows, not eagles sometimes? Why does a trout always reproduce trout, not barracudas sometimes? This is part of God’s created order as observed by the author, and it is marvelous for him. As we appreciate the enormous variety of God’s creatures, we should also understand the boundaries for variation He has built into each one.

Light and Life

  There is a clear relationship between light and life in the creation account of Genesis. I recently stumbled across a book by scientist Michael Gross that explores this relationship from the perspective of modern secular science. After noting the vital linkage between light and life, he further reflects that even reading the page requires light reflecting onto retinas and being converted into nerve signals.

 

Given modern humanity’s reliance on light for energy, information, and guidance, Gross concludes that it’s quite understandable that ancient cultures worshipped the sun. But despite his tone of wonder as he contemplates light, Gross takes a nonreligious stance himself.

    I share this sense of wonder at the complex relationship between light and life. But for me, these observations elicit praise for the Creator of light and life. When I read of the outpouring of God’s creative activity in Genesis 1, from the great lights of the heavens to the vast diversity of life in the land, sea, and sky, my heart joins the ancient psalmist’s in thanking the Lord, the Creator of all. See Psalm 136:1–9.

—D. G.

Psalm 136:1-9, 1 O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endurethfor ever.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:

The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endurethfor ever.

  B. Abundant Supply Created (vv. 22, 23)

22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

 

  How many of each type of fish or bird does God create to get things started? We don’t know, but we do see that His plan includes multiplication of these creatures. He intends that the salt waters and fresh waters be filled with appropriate creatures. God intends that His created variety of birds multiply and spread throughout the earth (compare Genesis 8:17). It is a tragedy when a species becomes extinct because of human behavior.

Genesis 8:17, 17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.

23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

 

As the day ends by marking the cycle of the evening and the morning, the sustaining earth has been stocked in its waters and its air.

III. Day Six

(Genesis 1:24, 25)

1. Animals Created (v. 24)

24a. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind.

 

  God speaks again, on day six, to call into existence specific components of His overall created order. On this day God addresses the dry land, the earth itself. This will be the home of God’s ultimate creation, human beings, later in this same day (Genesis 1:26–30).

 Genesis 1:26-30, 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

24b. Cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

 

  There are three general categories of land animals presented. The first, cattle, is a generic term that means more than cows. It generally refers to herded animals, and here it has the sense of domesticated livestock as distinct from wild animals (see below; also see the distinction in Leviticus 25:7). This may include goats and sheep, which are popular choices among cultures dependent on herding. Later in the history of Israel, it will be animals from this category that are considered ritually clean for food or sacrifice (see Leviticus 11).

Leviticus 25:7, And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat.

  The second category, the creeping thing, refers to creatures that live on the ground, including reptiles and snakes. Such animals will not be considered clean when the food laws are instituted for Israel (Leviticus 11:42). It is also likely that the tempting serpent of a coming story (Genesis 3:1) is included in this category.

Leviticus 11:42, 42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.

Genesis 3:1, Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

    The third category, the beast of the earth, refers to wild animals. We might divide these into carnivores (example: lions), herbivores (example: gazelles), and omnivores (example: bears). Such animals might be hunted for food, but they are not part of a nomadic herd or a located farm.

    B. Animal Categories (v. 25)

25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thingthat creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

 

  As with the creatures of the sea and air, the land creatures are made with the capacity to reproduce after his/their kind. Again, God finishes creating these three categories and sees His work as good.

 

  We should notice there are many missing, undiscussed animals. These categories are quite general and not intended to be exhaustive. What about rodents—are they creeping things? What about insects? What about worms? Or, some might ask, what about dinosaurs?

 

  The silence of the text on such matters is just that: no information. It does not imply ignorance or avoidance. The author tells the story he wants to tell; and just as he does not divide the “stars” into planets, comets, meteors, and distant suns, he does not give more than a brief description of the creative activities of God on each of the days.

What Do You Think?

Where will you unhurriedly allow creation to inspire you to worship the Creator this week?

 Digging Deeper

Which of the following texts speak to you most forcefully regarding the need to worship God as Creator: Job 9:9; 38:31; Psalm 19:1–3; 95:4–6; 104:5–24; Isaiah 40:26; Amos 5:8; Romans 1:20? Why?

Job 9:9, Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.

Job 38:31, 31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

Psalm 19:1-3, 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night shewethknowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Psalm 95:4-6, In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.

The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

Psalm 104:5-24, Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.

19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.

21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.

23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

24 Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

Isaiah 40:26,26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

Amos 5:8, Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name:

Romans 1:20, 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Conclusion

A. For the Beauty of the Earth

  The old hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” was a favorite in years past. This hymn spoke to me when I was a child growing up in remote, mountainous Idaho.                  We can see God’s power, wisdom, and intellect in the lofty mountains, the sparkling streams, the lush forests, the soaring fir trees, the tranquil lakes, the majestic deer, the glorious eagles, and many other features of our earth.

  The second line of the hymn is “for the glory of the skies.” This is one of the lessons of Genesis 1, thatGod’s glory is shown in His creation of the heavens as well as the earth. More recent worship songs such as “God of Wonders” continue this tradition of celebrating God as Creator of a universe filled with endless marvels for human observers.

    Science, rather than being the enemy of faith, has shown us the wonders of the heavens in breathtaking pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope. Going the other direction, advanced microscopic technology of “inner space” has shown the intricate designs of God on the tiniest levels.

    The Genesis account of creation is brief and beautiful (unlike scientific treatises of our day). It gives us a hint of the wonder and awe that ancient men and women experienced when they contemplated the world they inhabited. They were convinced that this ordered and beautiful universe came into being through the acts of a Creator (Job 9:9; Psalm 8:3; Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 40:26; etc.).

Job 9:9, Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.

Psalm 8:3, When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

Proverbs 3:19, 19 The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

Isaiah 40:26, 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

    The marvels of creation were not only the visible, tangible things, but also the systems of days, months, and years that followed patterns that could be analyzed and then predicted. It was for later observers to understand that the angle of the earth’s axis, its period of daily rotations, and its yearly circumnavigation of the sun were all essential to sustaining the ecosystems that permit life.

    There would be no life without God’s plan and provision. Genesis, however, teaches us that life did not arise on our planet as random adaptations to existing conditions, but that the earth was created to sustain the life that God intended and designed. That includes us human beings, the topic of next week’s lesson.

B. Prayer

  Creator God, we are learning about our world at a furious pace. May we channel our increased knowledge into more opportunities to contemplate You and Your marvelous designs. You are truly the God of wonders, and we give You praise and glory. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

C. Thought to Remember

If creation is not an endless wonder to you, you’re not paying attention![

KID’S CORNER

Pray and Say & Pray and Do

August 26, 2018

Colossians 3:5-17

 

Colossians 3:5-17

(Colossians 3:5) Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

  Since true Christians have died (see Colossians 3:3), they need to resolve to put to death the sinful, earthly, or worldly behaviors they once practiced in their former lives. The true Christian will always consider how he or she behaves in relation to Christ, Who raised them spiritually from a life of spiritual death to grant them eternal life. God created people in His image, and He forgives believers for their sins and He gives them new life through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christians need to choose, sometimes hourly, to put to death any desires that pressure them to disobey God and any habits that oppose God’s will. Putting long held habits to death can be painful, but we can resolve to do this daily one day at a time.

Colossians 3:3, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

(Colossians 3:6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,

 Consider the list of behaviors in Colossians 3:5. God’s punishment will come someday upon those who practice these behaviors and upon those who live disobedient to God in other ways. Some people persist in disobeying the laws of God, even calling themselves “Christians,” while openly disobeying God without remorse or repentance. God’s laws give detailed commands and instructions on how to love God and others, and the indwelling Holy Spirit enables Christians to obey God’s laws with ever-increasing consistency. God’s laws prohibit nurturing thoughts and engaging in behaviors that may seem pleasant to the earthly-minded. God forbids these behaviors because they are harmful to others and us. Jesus died and rose again to save sinners from the practice of sin and the eternal consequences of sin. Those who reject God’s way of salvation to persist in disobedience will face the consequences — the judgment of God.

Colossians 3:5, Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

(Colossians 3:7) and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

  The true Christian should be able to look upon any sins they once practiced and be able to say, “I once practiced living that way, but I do not practice that way of living any longer, the Lord being my Helper.” One way of life is an unbelieving, earthly, and disobedient way of life. At one time or other, everyone has lived earthly and disobedient to God, following some of the ways of the world. A sinful way of life should be one that we “once followed” and no longer follow. Committing an old sinful habit or developing a new sin should be the exception to the rule for the followers of Jesus Christ; and if they commit a sin, they should repent with sorrow and pray for Jesus Christ to help them avoid sinning again. This process of moral and spiritual growth and consistency is sometimes called the process of sanctification.

(Colossians 3:8) But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.

  Paul listed additional attitudes, behaviors, thoughts, and words that characterize an earthly and worldly life. Unhappily, some who claim to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior habitually practice some of these sins without sorrow or repentance. With the help of Jesus Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit and by using the Bible’s teachings, Christians need to rid themselves of these unholy feelings and desires.

(Colossians 3:9) Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

  Those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord should not lie to those in the Church or to the worldly. The Scriptures tell Christians to make the conscious effort to rid themselves of their “old self,” which means their “old way of living.” Too often, Christians have continued to practice behaviors that are unholy and unloving. Rather, Jesus wants His followers to never commit these sins as a way of life again but strive to obey Him and ask Him for His help to do His will. A Christian is one who has stripped off sinful ways and died to sin.

(Colossians 3:10) and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—

   Jesus Christ calls His followers to put on a “new self,” which means choosing consciously to become like Him morally and spiritually from the inside to the outside—to become more like God created His children to live and love in His image—emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and morally—as Adam and Eve were created to live before they rebelled against God. The new self also needs constant renewal, just as people need to keep breathing oxygen to keep on living physically. Believers renew their new self by increasing in knowledge as they study the Scriptures and by growing in their understanding of their Creator through following Jesus Christ daily.

(Colossians 3:11) a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

   The Jews circumcised a Jewish male child when he was eight days old to show that he was a member of their special community. Christians from all backgrounds begin living a spiritually and morally new life as Jesus Christ lives within them and they conform to the image of God, into the image that God first created when He created the first humans. As followers of Christ, our outward selves; such as, male or female, slave or free, citizen or foreigner, Jew or non-Jew, no longer matter. In the fellowship of Christian believers, Christ matters; Christ is the focus; Christ indwells, and Christ inspires true love for God and one another as He loves within believers.

(Colossians 3:12) So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

  The followers of Jesus Christ have heard the good news about Him and the Holy Spirit has worked within them, so they bow morally and spiritually before Jesus as their Savior and Lord. When looking back at their old selves, and when considering their new selves, they marvel that Jesus Christ and the Bible mean so much to them and so little to others. For them to care so much for God, they know they must be one of “God’s chosen ones.” God loves His children and He wants to help them live separated from a worldly way of life, so they can rightly love, honor, and serve God. God’s children respond to their Father’s love by earnestly seeking to bring joy to God and others by what they do. They study the Scriptures and seek the help of the Holy Spirit, so they can actually change and live with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

(Colossians 3:13) bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

  Jesus left an example for others by forgiving and by what He did to make possible God’s just and merciful forgiveness of sins. His followers must forgive others. Others will make mistakes and even sin against us from time to time, even some people in the Church. We must be patient with them and pray for them to mature spiritually and morally. We need to forgive them and pray that they will become more Christ-like, and that we will become more Christ-like too in our response to them.

(Colossians 3:14) Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

  Love for God and others summarizes the law of God. Jesus taught us to love and showed us how to love in word and deed. All the moral and spiritual virtues can be summed up in and flow from love for God and others. Love binds God to us and us to God. Love binds the followers of Jesus Christ to other followers of Jesus Christ, regardless of their different nationalities, stations in life, or gender. When the followers of Christ choose to practice the love of Christ, He brings perfect harmony into their relationships with one another.

(Colossians 3:15) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

  Christ wants to rule within His followers and bring them peace, if they will let Him. Love for God and others moves the followers of Christ to choose peace and work for peace in all their relationships. When the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, we will not compromise with evil to achieve or maintain peace — Jesus never did, and God the Father never will compromise with evil. Peace is the aim especially among those in the Body of Christ, the Church. We have much for which to thank God, especially when we know the peace of Christ in our hearts and enjoy a measure of peace with others who know Christ too.

(Colossians 3:16) Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

  In order to achieve, realize, and maintain all that Christ wants for us, we must do all we can through Bible study and prayer so the Word of Christ will richly dwell in our hearts and minds; then, our Christianity will not be a matter of hypocritical appearances on special Christian holidays or once or twice a week or on Sundays. If Christ and the Word of Christ dwell in us, and if people see the virtues of Christ in our lives working from the inside out — the virtues of authentic love — they may be more open to learning from us and taking advice from us on how to grow spiritually and morally. The practice of praise, worship, gratitude to God, and singing in our hearts needs to become a real part of our lives so the Christian faith is not just an academic exercise but a real part of our daily way of life.

(Colossians 3:17) Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

  One question we can always ask ourselves before doing anything we might be in doubt about doing, especially when we suffer from temptations, is to ask ourselves, “Can I do this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?” Or, “Can I tell others that I did [fill in the blank] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?” When I do what is right, virtuous, or helpful to others, I need to give Jesus Christ the credit or glory for guiding and empowering me to do what I did. Prayers and praise need to include giving thanks to God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Pray and Say & Pray and Do

August 26, 2018

Colossians 3:5-17

 

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

  Whatever you say or do, strive to please the Lord Jesus. Before saying or doing anything ask yourself, “Would Jesus be happy if I said and did this in His name? Will I faithfully represent Him and the kingdom of God before the world by saying and doing this?” If we completely loved and faithfully followed Jesus in every situation every day, including our thought life moment-by-moment, we would be sinless.

  Unhappily, we will not live perfectly until we meet Jesus faceto-face and live completely in His presence without the world, the flesh, and the devil to tempt us. Still, we could avoid many problems and actions that make people ashamed by striving to say and do only what would please Jesus. If we strive to obey Jesus in every situation, we will sin less, and we will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Paul also wrote that we need to give thanks to God the Father for all we say and do that faithfully represents the truth about and the ways of Jesus. Even though we are not all we hope to be, we can glorify God when we say that by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus Christ we are not what we used to be. Christians give Jesus the credit for all their achievements. They know that God’s gifts have enabled them to achieve all their worthy goals. Christians can pray before they say or do anything, and afterwards thank God the Father who enabled them to succeed in honoring Him through faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Thinking Further

Pray and Say & Pray and Do

August 26, 2018

Colossians 3:5-17

Name _________________________

 

1. Why do Jesus and Paul draw attention to the attitudes or sins within us rather than just outward actions or sins?

 

 

2. Read Colossians 3:5 and Colossians 3:8 again. Which of the sins listed include outward actions, and which of the sins can reside within us without our acting them out?

 

 

3. Which is easier to do, eliminate outward acts of sin or inward acts of sin? Give a reason for your answer.

 

 

4. Read the virtues listed in Colossians 3:12. How are these virtues both inward virtues and outward actions?

 Colossians 3:12, 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

 

5. What does Paul say believers need to let Jesus do for them?

Why is this important?

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

 

1. Why do Jesus and Paul draw attention to the attitudes or sins within us rather than just outward actions or sins?

    Jesus did this especially in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5- 7). A person can act nice outwardly or act morally outwardly while at the same time hating someone or maintaining ill-will toward them. Though being morally right on the outside may not hurt others, remaining immoral on the inside will hurt us. For example, feelings of unresolved anger or hatred of someone can create mental, spiritual, and physical diseases in the person who does not turn from these feelings and turn to Christ, Who can make us new and help us change our attitudes and behaviors.

 

2. Read Colossians 3:5 and Colossians 3:8 again. Which of the sins listed include outward actions, and which of the sins can reside within us without our acting them out? 

  Fornication involves sinful behavior with other people that will hurt everyone involved and sometimes innocent people not involved. Impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed can reside within us, and if given the opportunity can be acted out or outwardly expressed. For example, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed can lead to the outward act of fornication. Since God’s laws are for our good always, forbidden inward attitudes and outward actions are both destructive. Anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth can all be expressed outwardly, as well as impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed. Malice, slander, and abusive language are outward expressions of the inward reality of sin.

 

3. Which is easier to do, eliminate outward acts of sin or inward acts of sin? Give a reason for your answer.

   Outward acts of sin are easier to eliminate with acts of the will than inward acts of sin. For example, a person may stop cursing in order to keep his or her job, while still feeling ill-will on the inside (they may simply curse in their mind). The outward life can be reformed easier than the inner life. The scribes and Pharisees could reform their outward life, but they could not reform their inward life without the help of Jesus Christ. If we reform our inward life through faith and reliance on Jesus Christ making us new and working within us, then the outward acts of sin will not be committed except possibly under extreme provocation or temptation. Make the tree good and the fruit will be good.

 

4.  Read the virtues listed in Colossians 3:12. How are these virtues both inward virtues and outward actions? To clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience is to let others see these virtues in us as we live our daily lives. These virtues from the inside to the outside always relate to someone else. We either show someone compassion or we do not, when compassion needs to be shown to them. Kindness is expressed toward both animals and people. Humility and meekness involve seeing ourselves as we really are as the children of God, without allowing that knowledge of ourselves to puff us up with pride and arrogance toward others or bring us to the depths of despair. Patience is expressed toward people or events that would tempt us to become impatient. These virtues are expressions of love within us toward others.

 

5. What does Paul say believers need to let Jesus do for them? Why is this important? See Colossians 3:15, 16 —

   “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” and “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” If we let Christ rule in our hearts that will give us peace with God and peace within ourselves and sometimes enable us to be at peace with others. Lest we be misled, we need to not only read “the word of Christ,” the Bible, which is the inspired “word

 

Word Search

Pray and Say & Pray and Do

August 26, 2018

Name ____________________________________

 

Colossians 3:5-17

 

W U K V Y I Y Z H G O Z Q I U

H X T H E F Q L R F Y C F H C

E U S C V D Z E O U T N D M U

G C M A I S E C I H I O E T D

N E N I L D M R M W L I R X G

S H W E L N G N P C A S B Y I

O S P I I I A B U Y R S Q L J

S G E J D T T F R L O A I H I

B S H N U O A Y I A M P C T V

R D E R E Y L P T W M M H R H

J E E N F L S A Y E I O O A O

D V L U D U T M T S Q C S E Y

W O R Y S N K N U R K O E C O

R L I E D F I X E H Y S N Q D

Z X J Q U J W K Z G P B F K C

 

Earthly

Nature

Immorality

Impurity

Evil

Greed

Idolatry

Chosen

Holy

Loved

Compassion

Kindness

Humility

Gentleness

Patience

 

 True and False

Pray and Say & Pray and Do

August 26, 2018

Colossians 3:5-17

Name ____________________________________________

 

Circle the true or false answers. Correct the false statements by restating them.

 

1. Idolatry can lead people into many immoral practices. True or False

 

2. Paul listed some of the sins that are a part of our earthly nature. True or False

 

3. Paul said the Colossians had once lived according to their earthly nature. True or False

 

4. The Colossians had totally put to death and rid themselves of all anger, rage, and malice. True or False

 

5. A Christian’s new self is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its Creator. True or False

 

6. Followers of Christ are God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved. True or False

 

7. Christians should clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. True or False

 

8. You should bear a grievance against someone until they come to you and repent. True or False

 

9. Love binds all the Christian virtues together in perfect unity. True or False

 

10. Christians should do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through Him. True or False

True and False Test Answers

Colossians 3:5-17

 

1. True

2. True

3. True

4. False

5. True

6. True

7. True

8. False

9. True

10. True

 

 

Prayer

  Lord God, may Your Word dwell richly in our hearts, so much so that we are increasingly conformed to the image of Your Son. Make us ever aware that what we have put off has no further place in our lives, and what we have put on must be honored. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

ADULT LESSON

School of Ministry Lesson

August 26

Practicing Justice

 

Devotional Reading: Romans 8:1-11

Romans 8:1-11, 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Background Scripture: Ephesians 4:25-5:2Colossians 3:1-17

Colossians 3:5-17  5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

 

Key Verse

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.Colossians 3:12

 

Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:

1. Identify several imperatives of godly behavior.
2. Explain what it means to put off the old self and put on the new.
3. Write a prayer asking God’s help in eliminating a besetting sin from the old life.

 

Introduction

A. Agents of Change

  Often in classic TV or movie Westerns, a new sheriff comes into a corrupt locale and proceeds to “clean things up.” A twentieth-century true version of the story is found in the life of Sheriff Buford Pusser(1937-1974).

  In the late 1950s, Pusser moved from his childhood home in McNairy County, Tennessee, to earn a living as a local wrestler in Chicago under the name “Buford the Bull.” Pusser returned home in 1962 after marrying. He then became police chief of Adamsville, Tennessee, a position his father once held.

  After the sheriff of McNairy County was killed in an auto accident, Pusser was elected to that position. Despite being the youngest sheriff in Tennessee’s history, Pusser promptly began trying to eliminate organized crime in his county. His one-man war on moonshine, prostitution, and gambling along the Tennessee-Mississippi state line became legendary. The 1973 movie Walking Tall was based on Pusser’sstory. The film spawned sequels, a series, and a remake.

There is much that is corrupt with our world. But how can we make a difference when problems seem overwhelming? Paul tells us how to be a true agent of change in our world.

B. Lesson Background

  The letter to the Colossians is one of the four “prison epistles,” letters written by Paul while under arrest in Rome. The other three are Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon. The letter we call 2 Timothy was also written by Paul while imprisoned (later), but that letter is grouped with the pastoral epistles. We estimate that Paul wrote the four prison epistles about the year AD 63.

  The letter under consideration was addressed to the church in Colosse. That town was situated on the Lycus River in southwest Asia Minor (modern Turkey) on an important commercial highway. The church was made up primarily of Gentiles.

  The book of Acts does not mention Paul’s being in Colosse, but we believe that Philemon (the recipient of a letter from Paul that bears his name) lived there. This is because Onesimus, the slave whom Paul sent back to Philemon (Philemon 10-12), lived in Colosse for he is mentioned in Colossians 4:9 as “one of” the Colossians.

We find powerful doctrinal content in the first two chapters of Colossians, given by Paul to combat false teaching in the church. He refers to this as “philosophy” (Colossians 2:8), and it seems to have included false teaching about the nature of Christ.

Colossians 4:9, With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.

Colossians 2:8, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

  As he often does in his letters, Paul follows the opening doctrinal section with practical teachings on how to live out these great truths. Coming to chapter 3, Paul twice encourages his readers to focus on things above (Colossians 3:1, 2). This means that their behavior should be according to God’s standards, not earthly standards. They should conduct themselves in expectations of Christ’s return (3:4). This is a way of exhorting them not to be engaged in activities that would embarrass themselves if their Lord made a sudden appearance. This brings us to today’s text.

Colossians 2:8, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Colossians 3:4, When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

I. Put Off

(Colossians 3:5-9)

A.Ending Sinful Actions (vv. 5-7)

5a. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.

  If the Lord Jesus could return at any time, how should we then live? A focus on “things above” (Colossians 3:1, 2) will lead us to mortify (put to death) the members that keep our attention upon the earth. This means putting to death the sinful elements of our lives that separate us from God and make us unprepared for Christ’s return (compare Matthew 5:29, 30). Paul teaches elsewhere about putting the old life to death and beginning the new life in Christ (Romans 6:1-7). Being forgiven of our sins is not a justification for continuing in them (6:12).

Colossians 3:1, 1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Colossians 3:2, Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Matthew 5:29, 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:30, 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Romans 6:1-7. 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Romans 6:1, 1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Romans 6:2, God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

 

How to Say It

Barbarians    Bar-bare-eeunz.

                                              Colosse    Ko-lahssee.

                                         Colossians    Kuh-losh-unz.

                                          Onesimus    O-nessih-muss.

                                           Philemon    Fihlee-mun or Fyelee-mun.

                                           Scythians    Sith-ee-unz.

 

5b. Fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

  Lest the readers misunderstand what must be given the death sentence, Paul lists five examples. The first is fornication. Paul and the other writers of the Bible consistently limit sexual activity to the relations between a man and a woman married to each other. All other sexual activity is seen as fornication (compare 1 Corinthians 6:18).

1 Corinthians 6:18, 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

The words that follow are related to this prohibition of fornication. Uncleanness in this context is not about personal hygiene, but sexual misbehavior. Inordinate affection characterizes sexual desires not in keeping with God’s standards. This is similar to evil concupiscence, an expression using another word for “desire” or “passion.” These are both the inclinations and actions of sexual immorality, and both should be put to death if we are to be ready to meet Christ.

 

What Do You Think?

What practical steps help you stay morally pure in a sexually saturated culture?

Points for Your Discussion

When confronted with cultural redefinitions of morality

When in the presence of people whose moral boundaries are unbiblical

Other

 

  The last item, covetousness, may seem misplaced in a list oriented toward sexual immorality; we may immediately think of the tenth commandment. However, not coveting a neighbor’s wife is part of that commandment (Exodus 20:17Deuteronomy 5:21). Such coveting can lead to sexual sin, as it did with David (2 Samuel 11).

Exodus 20:17, 17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Deuteronomy 5:21, 21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’swife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

  Paul summarizes his teaching by equating covetousness with idolatry (compare Ephesians 5:5). The biblical concept of idolatry is more than the worship of statues of other gods. In the first century AD, worship involving idols often includes immoral sexual activity; but there is more than this here. At its core, idolatry occurs when we allow anything to displace God as the proper recipient of our worship. Covetousness disregards God and His proper place in our hearts, and this is never clearer than in the commission of sexual sin in deliberate violation of God’s intent for our lives.

Ephesians 5:5, For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

6, 7. For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

  Paul’s list of sexually oriented sins is familiar to the Colossians on a personal level. They have walkedinthis kind of sin, which is similar to have lived in it. The word walk is used commonly as a metaphor in the Bible to indicate the way people live their lives, the life choices they make (examples: Deuteronomy 10:12John 8:121 John 1:6, 7).

Deuteronomy 10:12, 12 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

John 8:12, 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

1 John 1:6, If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

1 John 1:7,But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

  Paul’s warning is dire: disregard for God and His standards of holiness promises a frightful outcome at the return of the Lord. That outcome is to be subject to the wrath of God. His judgmental anger will fall on the unrepentant, the children of disobedience, who defiantly and consistently disobey His standards.

  Many Christians do not like to talk or think about the wrath of God, preferring to dwell on His love. But God’s anger, which is never arbitrary or capricious, is real. Human sin calls it forth.  

B. Leaving the Past Behind (vv. 89)

8, 9. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.

  This list focuses on our attitudes and actions toward others. To drive home his conviction that these belong to the old life and not to the new, Paul commences to use one of his most powerful metaphors: that of taking off and/or putting on garments (compare Romans 13:12Galatians 3:27Ephesians 4:22-24). He depicts Christians “wearing” their deeds as clothing, meaning they are public for all to see. We shed filthy garments of dishonor when we eliminate particular sins from our lives.

Romans 13:12, 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Galatians 3:27, 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Ephesians 4:22-24, 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

  The first two items on the list, anger and wrath, might seem ironic since Paul has just warned of the impending wrath of God on unrepentant sinners. Here, however, Paul is condemning human anger that seeks to harm others. Anger as such is not a sin; it is a God-given emotion. But anger born of a desire for revenge is indeed sinful. The third item, malice, reinforces the distinction between God’s righteous wrath and our self-serving anger.

 

What Do You Think?

How do you keep anger from crossing the line from justified (Mark 3:5) to sinful (James 1:19, 20)?

Mark 3:5, And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

James 1:19, 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

James 1:20, 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Points for Your Discussion

Prior to anger arising

While you are angry

 

  Paul ends with three sinful deeds of the mouth. Blasphemy is deliberate disrespect in speech and is often applied to speech against God. It is a particularly grievous sin that the Jews of Paul’s day believe worthy of the death penalty (John 10:33). On a human level, though, such strong disrespectful language amounts to malicious defamation, something often the product of angry words.

John 10:33, 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

    This is followed by two other types of sinful talk, filthy communication and lying to others. With public discourse becoming coarser by the day, we can become numb to obscenity and profanity. If we’re not vigilant, that numbness can lead to participation. It is unfortunate that some Christians, even church leaders, do not hold themselves to a higher standard in this area.

  The prohibition against lying calls to mind the ninth commandment (Exodus 20:16). At its core, lying is deception intended to achieve our own selfish ends. Deception and selfishness are foundational to our old self and must have no part in our new life.

Exodus 20:16, 16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

  Paul’s summary of leaving this ungodly behavior behind uses his metaphor of taking off clothing. We have discarded (put off) the robe of the old man, the selfish sinful person, as signified by discarding our sinful deeds. We do this deliberately and intentionally, just as we would take off a winter jacket when we come into the house.

 

II. Put On

(Colossians 3:10-14)

    A. New Creature (vv. 1011)

10, 11. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

 

  In Paul’s imagery, we don’t stand naked after disrobing from our sinful behaviors. We replace the discards with the proper clothing, the new man, because we are being restored to the image in which we were created, the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27). Ultimately this is the image of Christ, God’s Son (Romans 8:29). From a behavior standpoint, we should look a lot like Jesus. This also involves a knowledge renewal, changed thinking in regard tosin.

Genesis 1:26-27, 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Romans 8:29, 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

  The universal application of the image of Christ finds expression in Paul’s description of Him as being all, and in all. This is further defined by the three inclusive contrasts that precede that sweeping statement. In Paul’s world one is either a Greek (Gentile) or a Jew, either circumcised or not, either bond (slave) or free. All of humanity is thus included; all are eligible to be clothed with the image of Christ.

  Paul uses two other categories. Barbarians are non-Greek speakers considered uncultured and barely civilized. Scythians live on the north shore of the Black Sea and are considered to be extremely backward, the ultimate barbarians of the ancient world. Paul is not putting these groups down. Rather, he is telling the Colossians (who think of themselves as educated, cultured Greeks) that donning the image of Christ is possible even for those on the lowest rung of the culture ladder.

 

What’s a Picture Worth?

  “A picture is worth a thousand words”—or so we used to think! Before the days of digital imagery, faking a picture to make it seem real required much skill and time, plus a darkroom equipped for the task. Today all it requires is a computer and proper software such as Photoshop. The right software enables digital manipulation to the heart’s content: people can be added and removed from scenes, day can be changed to night—the list is endless.

  You’ve probably received an e-mail with a subject line that suggests the photographer was on hand at just the right moment to take a striking photo. Chances are, the “right moment” was the moment at the computer when the one editing the photo combined pieces from two or more photos to create the desired effect. A common example from calendars is a spectacular picture of a rising full moon in which the moon fills a much larger portion of the sky than it ever does in reality. So nowadays a picture may be worth only one word: fake or manipulated.

The question for each and every Christian is, “Does the image of Christ I present to the world reflect reality, or is it a fake?” A highly manipulated image that we put together for Sunday services or Monday work will eventually be seen for what it truly represents: hypocrisy. Don’t go there.

—C. R. B.

 

B. New Wardrobe (vv. 12-14)

12. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

  Paul begins to specify seven qualities that are to be put on, but first he defines his audience. The elect of God are the Christians, further defined as holy and beloved. God’s love makes salvation possible (John 3:16). When we accept His Son according to the biblical plan of salvation, we become set apart in purity (holy) from sinful humanity even as we continue to live among unrepentant people. In the pattern of Christ, we are not of the world (17:1416). The new garments we wear to reflect this reality should be evident for all to see.

 John 3:16, 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 17:14, 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

John 17:16, 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

  The phrase bowels of mercies indicates a strong feeling of compassion for others; we usually call this a response of the heart, but we sometimes say we feel something “in the gut.” Kindness likewise indicates a positive, generous, gracious response to others’ needs. Humbleness of mind and meeknessboth stress adopting a position of lowliness, seeking to serve others instead of asserting one’s own rights or privileges. Longsuffering indicates the willingness to wait as long as it takes for others to make the right response, just as God waited for us to respond to Him (Ephesians 4:32). Such “clothing” as this surely identifies a person as belonging to Christ.

 

Ephesians 4:32, 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

What Do You Think?

  In practical terms, what does it look like to have put on the attributes of which Paul speaks?

Points for Your Discussion

When interacting with fellow believers

When interacting with unbelievers

When interacting with total strangers whose spiritual status is unknown to you

 

13. Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

   Paul’s sixth category of Christlike clothing is particularly applicable when a quarrel takes place within the church. Forbearing one another means we don’t give up on our relationships. A vital aspect of that is forgiving one another. When a quarrel looms, we don’t have to win. We can derail a church fight before it begins if we practice mutual forbearance and forgiveness.

  Paul includes a humbling reminder of our prime example: Christ. Those who clothe themselves with Christ should not forget the great forgiveness that Jesus has bestowed on all of us. This reminder should make our quibbles seem vanishingly petty by comparison.

14. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

  Paul ends his list of Christ-clothing with the one that ties it all together: charity (in modern English, loveRomans 13:810). The phrase above all these things is striking in that it views charity/love as a topcoat, to be put on over all else. This bond of perfectness is the ultimate unifier for the body of Christ. Let us love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34).

Romans 13:8, Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:10, 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

John 13:34, 34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

Wit Versus Wisdom

  Who among us doesn’t secretly admire the wit that enables some people to come up with spontaneous, clever retorts? On a certain occasion, Winston Churchill was purportedly speaking with Lady Nancy Astor, a longtime political enemy, when she said to him, “If you were my husband, I’d put poison in your tea.” Churchill’s response was, “Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

  Much as we might admire the ease that some people have with witty retorts, the wisdom of Scripture urges a different approach. A put-down won’t succeed in building up, but compassion and forgiveness will.

—C. R. B.

 

III. Put Forth

(Colossians 3:15-17)

    A. With Jesus’ Power (vv. 1516)

15.And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

  The loving church will be a peaceful church, and for this we should be thankful. This has not been engineered by our brilliance but by following the example of Christ and conforming to His image (Romans 8:29).

Romans 8:29, 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

  If we live with love, forgiveness, and patience for others, our hearts will be filled with the peace of God. We are part of one body, the organization whose head loved its future constituents so much that He died for them (Ephesians 5:23-25).

Ephesians 5:23-25, 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviourof the body.

24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

 What Do You Think?

  Does one focus on having inner peace to be able to exhibit love and forgiveness to others, or does one exhibit love and forgiveness to others so inner peace will result?

Points for Your Discussion

Considering situational issues

Considering scriptural guidance (Proverbs 12:2014:30Matthew 15:18, 19Luke 6:45Romans 14:19Galatians 5:22Ephesians 4:1-32 Timothy 2:22)

Proverbs 12:20, 20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.

Proverbs 14:30, 30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

Matthew 15:18, 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

Matthew 15:19, 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Luke 6:4545 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Romans 14:19, 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

Galatians 5:22, 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

 Ephesians 4:1-3, I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

2 Timothy 2:22, 22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

  Paul finishes this section with specific qualities that characterize the peaceful church. First, the word of Christ must find a home in the hearts of believers. There should be an eagerness to learn the ways of God. This is a path of wisdom, knowing God’s plan for living and then choosing to live that way.

  Paul then offers a mechanism for implementing this imperative: teaching (primary instruction) and admonishing (encouragement to follow the instruction). A highly effective but often underused method of doing both is through the words of the songs we sing together in the context of worship.

  There are technical distinctions among psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, but it’s their cumulative effect that interests Paul. The songs we sing together will find their way into our hearts in powerful and memorable ways, often coming to mind later. Therefore, we should sing what we believe and believe what we sing.

 

B. In Jesus’ Name (v. 17)

17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

  Paul’s final words in this section call us to harmonize our words and our deeds, our talk and our actions. This harmonization happens when both are in accordance with what the name of the Lord Jesus signifies (Matthew 18:520; etc.). We are to say and do what He would have us say and do.

Matthew 18:5, And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

Matthew 18:20, 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Jesus’ message is for everyone. All are invited to come to Him (Matthew 11:28-30). We can be His ambassadors for kindness, for hope, and for justice in our communities, but above all we are His ambassadors for eternal life in Heaven. For such a privilege let us be thankful, and may our actions express this gratitude to God through His Son Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:28-30, 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 What Do You Think?

What steps can you take to ensure that your efforts are always in the name of Jesus?

Points for Your Discussion

Regarding what you say (speech patterns)

Regarding what you do (behavior patterns)

 

Conclusion

A. Just Thinking

   Righteousness means doing the right thing. It is closely tied to the biblical understanding of justice: wanting to see the right thing done from God’s perspective and according to His Word. The one who loves justice is the person who wants to see the right thing done for others.

  But sin stands in the way of that happening. Sin comes in two categories: acts of commission and acts of omission. God becomes angry not only when His commandments are actively broken but also when people fail to do what they should. When we commit unrighteous acts, we sin by commission; when we can correct an injustice we see but fail to act, we sin by omission. Both dishonor the name of the Lord Jesus. Both discredit what Paul says we have put on.

 

B. Prayer

   Lord God, may Your Word dwell richly in our hearts, so much so that we are increasingly conformed to the image of Your Son. Make us ever aware that what we have put off has no further place in our lives, and what we have put on must be honored. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

C. Thought to Remember

We can only bring change to the extent that we let God change us.