Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Genesis 4:25-26; 5

This chapter shows us that death in inevitable.  We are born, given a name, live, and then we all die.

After Cain killed Abel God granted Adam and Eve another child, Seth which means “appointed”.  After Seth’s birth men began “to call on the name of the Lord”. Gen. 4:26.  Seth’s descendants responded in faith and obedience to God.  What does “to call on the name of the Lord” mean?  It does not mean just call out His name or to pray.  “Not everyone who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven,”Matt. 7:21.  It means hearing His Word, believing in Him, repenting of sin, realizing His authority, being obedient and depending upon Him.

What can you do to influence others for God?  Of course we need to worship and praise God in church on Sundays.  We need to be involved in Bible study, have a meaningful prayer life, show the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

God warned Adam to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or he would die.  Chapter 5 shows the genealogy of Adam.  In these verses there is a repeated phrase – “and then he died”.  Since Adam fell to sin, man no longer could eat from the tree of life and therefore no longer would live forever.  Death was now in man’s future.  The following scriptures talk about death.
Gen. 2:16-17, James 1:14-15 – sin gives birth to death and always has.
John 3:6-8 – flesh gives birth to flesh – since we are born of Adam and he dies, we also will die.
John 8:24 – you will die in your sins if you don’t believe in Jesus.
Rom. 5:12, 17 – sin and death came through Adam to all.
Romans 5:14 – we all die a physical death because of Adam’s sin.
Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is death, but through Jesus we can have eternal life.
1 Cor. 15:21-26, 2 Tim.1:8-11 – sin will be destroyed by Jesus Christ.

Gen. 5:1 tells us man was made “in the likeness of God”.  Gen 5:3 tell us Adam’s son was made” in his own likeness” and “in his own image”.  This means when man was made, he was made (he was not born) in God’s likeness, made righteous, and made in His perfect image; but now that Adam brought sin into the world we are made or born  in Adam’s likeness and in his imperfect image.  We are sinners and we will see death because of sin.

Some of Adam’s descendants were faithful to God.  Gen. 5:21-24 – One of these men was Enoch.  We are told that he walked with God and then he was no more, because God took him away.  This is the first mention of life after death in the Bible.  He didn’t die like the others.  This shows how one day believers will be taken away (raptured) before Jesus returns.  Heb. 11 tells us Enoch pleased God. Jude says he prophesied of Jesus’ 2nd coming.

Wonderful things will happen to believers when Christ returns:
We will be changed into an imperishable body in the twinkling of an eye.
Death will be swallowed up in victory.
We will have victory in Jesus Christ.
The Lord will come down from heaven and believers (the church) will be caught up  
with Him in the air.
We will be with Him forever!

The oldest man in history was Methuselah, father of Lamech.  He lived 969 years.  There are differences in the life span between Seth’s descendants in Gen. 5, Shem’s in Gen. 11, the people after Abraham in Gen 12-50 and the life span of people today.  This is probably due to the environmental changes after the flood.  Also the longer men live the more people there are.  There are more pollutants, more hazards and more diseases.  There is more sin and sin is destructive.  Life gets shorter, because of sin.  There is excessive alcohol use, drug abuse, more murder, smoking, less exercising, poor diet, use of pesticides and fertilizers, etc.  All contribute to our life span.  The average life span now of a man is near 70 and 75 for a woman.

History shows 2 types of people – those who moved away from God and those who called on God.  Lamech was the 7th from Adam in the line of Cain.  He was evil.  Enoch was the 7th from Adam in the line of Seth.  He worshiped God.

Which group are you in?
Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Do you trust God and His promises?
If you knew you were going to live 900 or more years, would you do things differently?
How would this affect your relationship with God?
Another man of faith mentioned in this chapter is Noah.  He and his family lived in a culture that was indifferent to God.  I will talk about more Noah and the flood in my next post

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Genesis 4:1-24

Gen. 4:1-5 – Cain’s attitude toward God.
Gen 4:6-16 – Cain’s attitude toward sin.
Gen. 4:17-24 – Cain’s attitude impacts his legacy.

Gen. 2 and 3 Eve is called Adam’s wife indicating they were married.  The Bible doesn’t record the first marriage ceremony, but the date is not important.  What is important is that the ceremony is performed before God.  In Gen. 4:1 Adam “lay with his wife Eve” and she became pregnant so clearly they were married.  She gave birth to her first son, Cain.  “Pregnant” means “be with child”.  This clearly shows God’s view of human life – Life begins at conception!  A baby in the womb is not just tissue.  It’s a child!

Later she had another son, Abel.  Cain worked the soil and Able kept flocks.  They both gave offerings to God, but God did not like Cain’s offering.  Scripture says that Cain gave fruits from his crops, but Abel gave the best portions from the firstborn of his flock.  God required a blood offering.  Cain could have traded some of his crop for an animal, but chose not to.  God was very pleased with Able.  He was not pleased with Cain.  He had a bad attitude.  Cain was proud, selfish and probably gave only the leftovers to God.  In Heb. 11 scripture tell us that Abel gave by faith and was a righteous man and gave a better offering.   This implies that Cain had no faith.  God looks at our offerings today the same way.  He sees our hearts and our motives.  We should give God our best, because God gave it all to us.  It’s God’s anyway and we should give back to Him with thanksgiving. 

Cain was very angry that God did not accept his offering.  He knew he was in the wrong.  In our hearts we all know when we do wrong.  God saw on his face that he was angry and asked him, “Why are you angry?  Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”- Gen 3:6-7  God tried to reason with Cain and gave him a way to repair his actions, but Cain refused.  He never confessed and asked for forgiveness or even owned up to what he had done.  Heb. 13:15-16 gives us two sacrifices that please God:  to continue to offer the sacrifice of praise confessing His name and doing good sharing with others.  God showed understanding of Cain’s unhappy heart.  He gave him good advice by telling him what needed to be done.  God shows us compassion and mercy when we mess up.  All we have to do is repent.

 1 John 3:10-16 lists ways we can repair the wrong we have done –Do what is right, do not be like Cain, do not hate or you are a murderer, love one another, be like Jesus and lay your life down for others.
2 Sam. 12:13 and Psalm 51 – David sinned like Cain.  David admitted his sin, but Cain did not.  David asked for mercy and for God to cleanse him.  He realized he had sinned against God.  Cain was just pure evil and selfish.

What is your attitude when you have sinned?  1 John 1:8“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

Both Cain and Abel believed in God, because they brought an offering to God.  Living God’s way was not priority for Cain.  He lived his own way; rebellious to God’s authority and wasn’t concerned about his sin.  He was bitter toward God and life.  Abel kept flocks which was probably easier than working the ground like Cain did.  Cain resented him because he worked the land and had to work very hard all because of his parent’s sin.  He was angry about his life and at God.  Cain was trying to live life his way.  Anger is revealed in one’s life and it will impact your commitment to God.      

Do you resent those who have it easier than you? 
How are you trying to live your way? 

Cain’s sin multiplied when he lured Abel into the field and the first murder took place.  Cain murdered his brother, Abel.  Why?  He was jealous and probably thought if he got rid of Abel, he would get rid of the problem he had with God.  Here God comes again.  He asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” Gen. 4:9a.  God was giving Cain another chance to confess his sin.  God gave him a chance to change.  Cain then became more disrespectful and full of sarcasm.  “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Gen. 4:9b

God punished Cain.  Cain was cursed from the earth and would not be a successful as a farmer.  He would be a vagabond.  Cain was afraid others would kill him, but God protected him with a seal and said, if anyone kills you they will suffer vengeance seven times over.  This shows that God still cares for sinners, but will turn them over to their evil desires, if they do not repent.  So Cain left the presence of Lord and settled in the land of Nod.  Nod means shaking or trembling showing restlessness.  

We are told that Cain took a wife and had children.  Where did he find a wife?  We really don’t know.  Maybe God made other people after Adam and Eve and the Bible just doesn’t tell us about them.  I think the answer is in Gen. 3:20 and Gen. 5:4.  It says Eve was the mother of all the living and that Adam lived 800 years after Seth and had other sons and daughters.  So he must have taken one of his sisters as a wife.  There are a lot of things that will be made clearer to us some day.  The Bible teaches us not to marry blood relatives, because it can produce all sorts of genetic problems.  Remember the law was not introduced until much later in the history of mankind, but most importantly Adam and Eve were genetically perfect. 

Cain and his descendants made great advances in civilization.  He built possible the first city.  They lived in a rich culture.  They produced agriculture, worked the land forging all kinds of tools, and some of his family even played musical instruments.  Cain and his descendants represent the majority of the human race.  Instead of turning to God, they thought they didn’t need Him to survive.  They made up their own rules as they went along and felt no need for finding God.  Gen. 4:23 – Lamech broke God’s law of marriage and took 2 wives.  He was the first polygamist.  He also killed a man and bragged about it comparing himself to Cain saying, if Cain is avenged seven times then he would be avenged seventy-seven times.  Jude 11 says to watch out for godless men who have taken the way of Cain.

How have you defied God?
Do you have unconfessed sin?
Do you think you can live without God?

Our attitude toward God impacts our commitment to Him.
Indifference to God leads to indifference to sin.
Our attitude about God and sin can be passed along to the next generation.

Indifference to God leads to an empty life.  What impact does your faith have on the next generation?   Abel suffered for his commitment to God.  Where are you suffering for God?  Maybe you have a Cain in your life.  God knows your pain.  They are His to redeem and to save.  Ask God to give you a heart like God for your Cain.

Are you a Cain?  God knows you.  Maybe you are mad at God.  You matter to God more than your sin.  He wants to forgive you.  No one can untangle a heart like God.  Your life may be the same, but you can live it in peace.  Cain did not.

 It is not too late to confess your sin, repent and turn to God.  God said to Cain, “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?”  If you are living outside God’s presence, will you hear His warning to Cain as a warning to you?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Genesis 3

The Fall of Man

When we study scripture, we often find out that He was not what we thought He was.  It changes our impressions of Him.  God wants a relationship with man.  He provides for our needs and shows how He handles us when we mess up.  Only God can restore man from our bad choices.

The serpent was an angelical being and very beautiful.  He served God and was very wise.  Eve was not startled by him or his appearance.  The enemy will not always appear scary.  He preaches a counterfeit gospel.  He stirs up doubt.  He is deceitful.  He still tempts people to doubt God and specializes in half-truths. 

Adam told Eve what God had said about not eating the tree of knowledge of good and evil or they would die.  The serpent caused Eve to question God by asking, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Gen. 3:1  He enticed her to be independent from God causing her to think these instructions were unfair.  He convinced her she needed what God had forbidden.

Eve told the serpent what God had said – or at least what God told Adam, but she added that they were not even to touch it.  The serpent told her they would not die.  He told her what she wanted to hear and this caused her to doubt.  “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”Gen. 3:6  “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked” – Gen 3:7.  They focused on the serpent’s words and their desires and lost sight of God.  Eve was deceived and sinned.  Adam willfully chose to sin.

The serpent in Gen. 3:1 and Rev. 12:9; 20:2 represents Satan who is also called the devil and the great dragon.  God instructed Adam that he could to eat of any tree in the garden, except the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  God allowed them to eat of the tree of life, which is represents eternal life.

Comparing this scripture with Matt. 4:1-11:  both quoted what God said and both Eve and Jesus were tempted:  Eve with wisdom; Jesus with power.  Eve gave in, but Jesus did not.  Temptation is not a sin.  It is only sin, when you give in to it and your evil desires.

Characteristics of Satan:
Matt. 13:19 – he snatches away what is sown in your heart.
Matt. 13:25, 39 – he sows seeds
John 8:44 – he is a murderer from the beginning, a liar and the father of lies.
John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11 – he is the prince of the world.
2 Cor. 4:4 – he is the god of this age.
Eph. 2:2 – he is the ruler of the kingdom of the air.

Satan has a strong influence in the world, because it is so easy to follow him – just do what you want to do.  It’s hard work being a Christian and obeying God.  We really have to work at it.  The devil does have limitations.  He can only do what we let him.  He can only do what God allows him to do.  He has to ask God’s permission.  One day he will be bound for a 1,000 years.  Then he will be released for a short time to deceive the world, and then he will be thrown into the lake fire.  See Job 1:6-12; Luke 4:1-13; Rev. 20:2, 7-10

What temptations are you facing?
Do you give in, because it’s easier than obeying God?

When we are tempted, we do have defenses against the schemes of the devil:
1 Thess. 5:17, James 6:16 – we have prayer.
Matt. 4:1-2; Luke 4:1-2 – we have the Spirit within us
Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12 – we have the word of God
James 4:7 – if we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, he will flee from us.

People who don’t want to be under God usually question Him and His Word.  God knows what we need and what is best for us.

Do you have moments when you think God doesn’t know what you need?
Do you doubt God’s goodness?

We struggle when we don’t get what we desire.  Man’s wrong choices are not God’s wrong doing.  Adam remained silent when Eve was being tempted by the serpent.  A lot of times we remain silent, when we see others being tempted, struggling, or doing wrong.  There are things we can do.  We can pray about the situation, speak up or even share the gospel; but we remain silent.

After Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit, they heard God walking in the garden.  They hid from Him.  They realized they had done wrong by disobeying God and were ashamed and guilty.  They were in fear of God.  We all say that Adam blamed Eve, but actually he blamed God saying “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”.  Eve blamed the serpent.  They were just like us today, always making excuses and blaming others for our mistakes and not owning up to them.

Are you running and hiding from God?
Are you convinced God is mad at you?

As a result of their sin God punished the serpent by cursing him above all livestock and animals.  He made him crawl on his belly and made him enemies with the woman. – Gen. 3:14-15.  God punished Eve by increasing her pain in childbirth and childrearing and her husband would rule over her. – Gen. 3:16.  God punished Adam by cursing the ground and making his work painful and hard. – Gen 3:17-19

As a result of Adam and Eve sin there is now sin in the world and spiritual death comes to all men.  God’s remedy is forgiveness of sin.  His remedy of fear is His Son.  He wants to forgive you and restore you.  God provided a way to restore our relationship with Him.  He reconciled us through the blood of Christ.  He provided Jesus as a sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world.  John 1:29“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  John 14:6“Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one come to the Father except through me.”  Rom. 3:25“God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”  2 Cor. 5:17-19“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” THANK YOU, JESUS!!!

Have you allowed Jesus to reconcile you to God?
Are you still guilty and afraid?  What do you do now?  Choose to believe.  Adam believed God and demonstrated his faith by giving Eve her name in Gen. 3:20.  Her name, Eve reflects life.

The first shed of blood in the Bible was when God had to make garments from the animals for Adam and Eve.  Their life was perfect, but they chose to believe otherwise.  Satan hates you and he wants you to be absolutely certain you can’t be certain of God’s grace.  God is the only solution to sin in your life.

Sin takes hold when we doubt God’s Word and God’s goodness.
Sin results in pain, conflict and death.
Sin leads to shame, fear and hiding.
The Lord Jesus Christ is man’s only solution to the power and penalty of sin.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Genesis 1:26 - 2

What influences your life?
What does your ideal life revolve around – family, job, hobby, entertainment?

God is the creator of everything and is the source of life.  It all revolves around Him.  His purpose for us is to glorify Him and to show Him and reveal His character.  Man was made by God for God to show God.  He made man in His image and likeness.  God has a will and so does man.

After God finished creating the heavens and the earth and everything in it, He rested on the 7th day.   He blessed the 7th day and made it holy.  There is no mention of a morning and evening on the 7th day.  Rest means to abstain from creating work.  The 7th day or the Sabbath will become a command later in the Bible.  No other day received His blessing or was made holy – Gen. 2:3.  By resting on the 7th day it helps us be more spiritual, nourished, and focused on Him. 

How do you honor the Sabbath day?
How is it different from the other days?
Has it become a 2nd Saturday to you?
How are you blessed on the Sabbath?  God intended it to be a blessing.
What do you need to change for a true Sabbath?

Chapter 1 focuses on God as the Creator.  Chapter 2 focuses on Himself and His love for humanity.  God created man not by speaking like He did the rest of creation.  He formed the earth from nothing and formed man from the ground.  God breathed His breath into man’s nostrils.  We are His very own.  He gave something of Himself.

He gives a detailed account of the actual process of the creation of Adam and Eve.
Gen. 1:26 – He first made the decision to make man in His (Our) image.
Gen. 2:7 – He formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils.
Gen. 2:18 – He said it was not good for man to be alone so He decided to make a helper for Adam.
Gen. 2:20-21 – He looked for a helper for Adam, but couldn’t find a suitable one.  So God caused Adam to sleep and He took a rib from him and made Eve.

Adam’s position on earth was to be ruler over every living creature on the earth – Gen 1:26.  Man is still in charge of them today, although we sometimes we don’t take very good care of them or His creation.  Adam was also to work and take care of the Garden of Eden – Gen 2:15.  Adam and Eve lived comfortably since God had provided everything they needed to eat.  They had joy and satisfaction in their life.  They didn’t have to work hard for a living.  They enjoyed the beauty of the garden and all the earth and their relationship with God.

Do you think about work as a joyful and satisfaction?
He personally gives life.  Have you received Jesus as Lord?  The only way to God is through Him. 
How intentional is your relationship with God?
How are you enjoying God?

There were 2 trees in the Garden of God:  the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  The tree of life represents eternal life.  They could eat from this tree and would have blessings and eternal life.  God offers us the same eternal life through our belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.  God told them they could eat from any tree of the garden, but not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die. 

What work has God given you to do?
What pleasant conditions do you enjoy?

How was the earth watered?  It never rained in Eden.  It was watered by streams coming up from the ground.  A river watering the garden flowed from Eden and other rivers surrounded it – Gen. 2:6, 10, 11-14. 

God’s relationship to His creation stand out:  His pre-existence, His power, His planning making everything perfect, His love in creating man to enjoy His creation, and His provision for man’s needs.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the forbidden tree, they realized they were naked and were ashamed.  Why?  Perhaps before they were not focused on the physical or maybe it was because they knew they disobeyed God and felt guilty for what they had done.  They knew they had sinned and God would be disappointed.  None of us are perfect since the fall of man.  We all sin.  Rom. 3:23“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

God loves us enough to say “don’t”.  God knew more than Adam.  We don’t always understand everything.  God knew that disobeying Him would break fellowship with Him.

Do you trust God enough for His boundaries and His don’ts?   He gives us boundaries, but freedom to choose.

Gen. 2:21-25 – God knew it was not good for Adam to be alone and that he needed a suitable helper.  So He caused Adam to sleep and took a rib from him and formed Eve.  Like Adam, she was formed directly by God.  God’s purpose for human beings was relationship with each other and with Him.  They were actually originally one flesh.  They were reunited  by the sacred union of marriage.  What Adam lacked, Eve supplied.  Marriage was established by God no matter what the today’s courts and new social standards say.

Honoring the Sabbath day conditions us physically and spiritually to live for the glory of God.
God’s ideal life for man includes enjoying, serving and obeying Him.
God designs suitable relationships for our needs and His glory.