This week's Bible Study - September 4, 2016
One Great Creator
Psalm 33:6-9, 13-15, Colossians 1:15-17
Quotes of the Week:
There are enough evidences of supreme skill in the structure of the human hand alone to prove the existence, intelligence and benevolence of God in the face of all the sophistry of infidelity.
This lesson begins a series on Life's Greatest Story. Through these lessons, we will discuss our great Creator (in this lesson), our great purpose, problem, Savior, commitment and focus in the coming lessons. Where would you say that you have been where you had a renewed awareness of the amazing aspect of the creation of our world? Though I have not been all around the world, or even all around the country, I am amazed at the plethora of different landscapes and the beauty all around us. When you are in the mountains, it is amazing to see the height and enormity of those mountains. It is amazing how large and expansive they are. When you the expanse of the oceans, it is amazing to see how they keep going and going, far beyond where you can see.
But, creation is more than just about the landscapes that we see. It is about every creature that exists. We live in an age of technical enlightenment, and I'm sure that we will know more as humans in the decades to come. However, we can never fully understand the details of creation. We may study medicine and find many cures for many diseases, but we have barely touched the edge of how we are put together. Scientists may create something out of something, but we will never understand how to create something from nothing.
As we think of our creation, we should think of the Creator, Provider and Sustainer of life. There are plenty of reasons to praise our God. I think, well, I know, that we all tend to take God for granted. We get caught up in our lives, with our jobs, our families, our friends, our successes and failures. We obviously have a lot to keep our minds active. In truth, we do need to keep an eye on the things we have around us, but it should never be to the point of forgetting our Creator.
We read that by the word of the Lord the heavens were made. He spoke and it happened. Have you ever been outside, far from any city, on a cloudless night and looked at the stars. When you see the expanse of the skies, how can one help but be in awe of His greatness and capabilities? I know on multiple occasions when I have looked upon and seen the vastness of the stars and outer space, I am humbled.
Who else can speak things into action? Certainly, there are dictators whose word is considered the word of the gods. In World War II, Japanese airmen gave their lives to honor their Emperor, who they saw as God. Can you imagine if you were the next kamikaze in line to give your life on the day that the Emperor, their Supreme Being, surrendered? I would have to think that would be a great interview. Presidents and CEOs may carry a lot of weight with their words, but they can never speak and see creation happen from nothing.
God gathered the waters of the sea, which covered the earth and allowed dry land to appear. We tend to think that humanity has some level of control over the rise and fall of the seas. Certainly there are cycles of the sea, but what God put into place cannot be altered by mankind. God put the deep into storehouses. Some have said that at the time of the Great Flood, not only did rain come from the heavens, but water arose from the earth. Interesting theory!
The magnificence of God's creation should provoke the people of the world to revere Him. Even in the remotest of places, there is still the wonder of creation. People may discount creation and snub God, but to do so is to show that they vastly underestimate the power of God. We may think that we know it all at some point in the future, but our knowledge is foolishness to the Lord and always will be.
When my first daughter was in 1st grade, they had a field day at the end of the year. I was one of the parents who helped with some of their games. There was a tug of war game, where kids tugged against kids and being the big man that I was, along with another father, we were challenged to a tug of war. We foolishly accepted, I mean, hey, they were first graders. How hard could that be? So, we started and we were able to easily win, but more and more of them kept adding on until eventually they were too much. Now, that may be a funny story about weakness coming together and being strong. However, our strength was nothing like that of God, and all of humankind could tug against God and never move the rope.
Yes, we see that God spoke and things came to be. When He commanded, what He commanded stood firm. We still hear the words of God, through Scripture. We need to remember that He is the same God that spoke things into being. Why would we ever think that His other words regarding our lives would have less power?
This passage always astounds me. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind. From His dwelling place, He watches all who live on earth. He who formed the hearts of all considers everything that they do. It amazes me that He sees ALL and He still loves ANY. We each know our own issues and we know that we are so far beyond what we would deem to say to be worthy of a relationship with God. Some people act as if they are one step away from God, but those people vastly overestimate their own goodness.
We look all through Scripture and in truth, there is only one lifetime hero and that is Jesus. Certainly, there were those who did heroic deeds, but their lives were much less than perfect. Have you ever wondered why there are so many losers in Scripture? It is so that we can relate to them. Think of all of the 'heroes' of Scripture that would never be able to be a pastor or even teach a Bible Study class at some churches because of something in their past. It is insane that we expect a life of perfection when only one has ever been modeled for us, and none of us can mimic Jesus. This is not to minimize the pursuit of a godly life, but for us to realize that all people are fallible and none achieves perfection.
It is telling that God shaped our hearts. He is the only one who really knows who we are. We spend years and years trying to find ourselves, but when we can seek God, we can find the Creator of our heart and soul. Is it any wonder that people spend years chasing false dreams and follies of life? When we forget that God created us, we tend to create a false self that is out of alignment with who we really are.
If Christ is to be the center of our lives, we need to know who he is. There are many people from many different religions and churches that will talk about Jesus. However, many of them will talk right past each other. Who is Jesus? We read that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. For centuries, the Jewish people had worshipped the Father, without ever being able to see Him directly. They saw the things that He did and they knew of His wrath, but He was never seen. Even the disciples desired to see the Father. In John 14:8, Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us." At that point, they did not realize who Jesus Christ truly was, and they believed he was with them to show them the Father in a more meaningful way. Jesus responded to Philip that those who had seen him (Jesus) had seen the Father.
The Father lived in Jesus and he was doing the Father's work. If people talk of Jesus, but that Jesus is totally disassociated from the Father, they are talking about a different Jesus. For example, the New World Translation, used by Jehovah's Witnesses, says in John 1:1 that Jesus was a god - not God. Obviously, that is a different Jesus and will lead to aberrant theology, every time.
Jesus was the firstborn over all creation. In him were all things created. This includes things in heaven and on earth. This includes things visible and invisible. There are likely beautiful places that you have seen. You may know many of these in your city, state or country. But, there is more that you have not seen in different parts of the world. You would be amazed. There are things that we can see with our eyes, but there is more than that. There is a spiritual realm around us. There are things on earth, but Jesus was involved in the creation of the heavens and the earth.
All things, including thrones and powers and rulers and authorities have been created through Him and for Him. It may be hard to see sometime, with all of the wicked rulers that have existed in the world, but all of them were created by Him and for Him. We tend to look at the might of mankind - specific countries or armies or powers. They have all been created by Him and for Him. When we look anywhere, we see something that was created by Jesus.
When people think of when Christ came into being, they generally go back to his birth. Granted, the whole calendar system changed at that time, but Christ was literally before all things. For those of us who are believers in Jesus Christ, we know that we can turn to Him in the course of any event in life and He is there to hold us together. Believers and nonbelievers alike experience issues and circumstances - and while many people make it through those circumstances, the believer will find that during those times they grow closer to the Lord.
He holds all things together. Some time ago, a friend of mine loaned me a Louie Giglio DVD. It was about the greatness of God. Towards the end, he began to speak of a revelation that a molecular biologist informed him about. It was about laminin, a protein found in the body. This protein forms the substrate of all internal organs and is sometime called the basement membrane. It is the protein that literally holds your body together. That, in and of itself, is amazing, but even more so, is that laminin resembles a cross. How appropriate that our body is held together by a protein that resembles a cross? If you haven't seen this clip, I urge you to watch the Louie Giglio clip now, click here -
Do we realize that Jesus holds all things together? When people are at the end of their rope, they often find that it is Jesus who is holding them.
There in one Great Creator. He made the heavens and the earth. He made all that you can see and much more that you will never see. I encourage you to spend some time looking at the Creation in the coming weeks and stop to thank God for the beauty of this world. There are lots of bad things that we as humans have brought to our world, but God's creation is awesome and perfect.
Realize that God's words are still appropriate for our lives. Spend time in God's word and seek what God may be sharing with you, as you study God's Word with the help of the Holy Spirit. When God has spoken, realize that His words are not idle words, but are the very nourishment that our soul needs.
I don't know where you are, with circumstances in life. You may be at the start of life or nearing the end. We would like to think that God's creative power would heal every disease and mend every relationship. However, we know that this world is not anything in comparison to eternity, which has been prepared for those of us who believe. It seems hard to deal with diseases and struggles, and while we should seek relief from avenues that God has given us in this life, we must take solace in trusting that God is preparing that place for our eternity.
And lastly, as I was reviewing this lesson before posting it, I went and watched that laminin video again. If you didn't watch it, I urge you to watch it, and if that link goes bad in the future, please go to youtube and search on laminin and find it. I was amazed, once again, how Jesus holds us together. It doesn't matter if you are a Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Atheist or Agnostic or any other spiritual persuasion. He holds you together. There is a common part in each of us that points us back to the Creator and ultimately to our Savior. Some discount any of it and Scripture is clear that people will do that. But, there are many of us who do believe in the Jesus of Scripture and perhaps we have differing views on this or that. We should realize that the crux of our faith is in Christ and not in the intellectual differences we may have. What would change in our world if we focused on the saving power of Jesus Christ rather than the differences that we have? In the end, that is all that truly matters. Do you realize you are held together by Jesus?