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October 2

nd
, 2011
It’s All Good
Genesis 1:1-2:3
1.
Today I want to begin a series of sermons on the Old Testament
The better we know God in his story in the Old Testament
The better we can know who Jesus is for us today
It’s all one seamless story.
Let me talk a bit more about the idea of “story
!ll of us are in the midst of writing a story.
"#ery single one of us are authors whether or not we’re aware of it
There’s a main character$ that’s you
There’s a %lot$ that’s your life
There’s a beginning$ an end$ there are side characters
There’s de#elo%ment
There’s difficulties and challenges to o#ercome
There’s a story.
I belie#e we’re all trying
to make the most sense out of our own story
the best we can with what we know
&ut we’#e also inherited little stories from the world around us
'or some of us there’s story of the family (
)e %rotect our family
)e sacrifice for our family
The family is the main %lot of our story
'or some of us there’s the story of the church(
)e’re loyal to the church
)e ser#e the church
)e’#e grown u% in it and it’s %recious to us*
that’s the main %lot of our story
'or some of us there’s the story of money(
)e work hard for it
)e earn and sa#e$
Our stories re#ol#e around money$ wealth$
the security that brings
'or some of us there’s the story of ambition
)e’re addicted to success
)e want control$ more %ower$ more influence.
It may e#en be out of good moti#es e#en
to im%act the world for good
&ut it’s all about our agendas
Our ambition is the main %lot
&ut one day ho%efully
One day our families will fail us$
One day our churches will fail us$
One day our money fails us
One day our ambition fails us
)e reali+e that all of the stories that we’#e inherited
'ail because they’re ,ust not big enough$ or true enough
-as to fail so that it can come under the bigger story
that makes sense of all the little stories
!nd the really great %art about following Jesus is
we don’t have to figure out that story on our own.
That story that we’re looking for is God’s story
!ll we gotta do is know God’s story
!ll we gotta do is read his story$ hear his story$ learn his story
!ll we gotta do is belie#e his story
'ind our %lace in that story
This is one of my ho%es for us as a church
That we know the &ible.
!s our story.
.our story$ my story.
/.
There is a refrain in this first cha%ter that echoes o#er and o#er again.
!nd that is$ that the creation is good.
In #erse 01 God saw that the light he had created was good.
In #erse 121 !fter he created the ground and seas$ he saw that it was good.
In #erse 1/1 !fter he created the %lants and trees$ he saw that it was good
In #erse 131 !fter he created the sun$ moon$ and stars$ he saw that it was
good
In #erse /11 !fter he created the animals in the seas$ he saw that it was good
In #erse /41 !fter he created the animals of the land$ he saw that it was
good.
!nd finally in #erse 511 !fter creating men and women$ he looks back on all
of creation$
'rom the smallest to the largest$ the sim%lest to the most com%le6
!nd 7cri%ture says1
God saw all that he had made$
and behold it was very good.
It was all good.
I think all of us know it instincti#ely
There is a rightness to the world$ to the uni#erse$ to life
! #ery #ery dee% goodness about all of it
)hether life is hard or easy
)hether we’re belie#ers or atheists
)hether we’re young or old
There is still a kind of goodness to life and to the world
that we can’t deny.
I remember when I was a teenager one year
I was at 8am% Luther one year
It was late at night$ there was a grou% of us
Lying on the dock$ looking u% at the star9filled sky
)atching for shooting stars
7inging %raise songs$ thanking God.
!nd I remember feeling this sense of awe and wonder at life
I remember another time$ when I was a uni#ersity student$
I was in "gy%t$ standing on the edge of a cliff
that looked out o#er the :editerannean 7ea
Looking out as far as I could see at the blue9green waters
7trong wa#es crashing against the cliff below me
sending sea mist into the air$ blowing
against my face
!nd I felt God’s goodness.
-is strength and %ower and so#ereignty
I remember listening to a friend who grew u% in the church
-e’s since lost interest in the church$ fallen away from it
&ut I remember him describe to me a sim%ler time in his life
when as a child he would go to 7unday 7chool$
our 7unday 7chool
-e wouldn’t always listen to the teacher
&ut he remembers how sometimes he would be in class
and he watch the rays of sunlight
8oming through the windows at a certain angle
7o bright that it caught the flecks of dust
!nd he felt this dee% %eace in his soul.
God saw all that he had made.
!nd behold$ it was good$ #ery good.
This is how Genesis describes the original creation.
God saw that it was #ery good.
If we see creation$ in its broken state$
and can still sense the goodness of it
-ow much more good must it all ha#e been when God
first saw
the work of his own hands$
and himself declared that it was #ery good.
There is no hint that things are out of %lace
"#erything is where it should be
"#en chaos which is symboli+ed by the waters
Is contained* it has its %lace but e#en it submits to God’s %ower.
God is in com%lete control.
5.
There is an e#en more im%ortant %oint here
.es$ creation is good$ yes humankind is good$
.es$ God’s %ower constrains and controls the chaos
!ll of this is im%ortant
&ut the %oint is not only is creation good
The %oint is that God is good.
Think of creation as God’s gift to us
;ow I’m not much of a gift gi#er.
)hen Grace and I were first dating we went through
Gary 8ha%man’s The 'i#e Lo#e Languages
I reali+ed right away that gift9gi#ing ranked %retty low
on my scale of lo#e languages
&ut not so for Grace.
Gi#ing and recei#ing gifts is one of Grace’s strongest lo#e languages
I’#e learned a lot from her about gift gi#ing
)hy do we gi#e and recei#e gifts to and from each other<
)hat’s the %oint of gi#ing and recei#ing gifts<
Isn’t it ultimately to say something to the other %erson
in a #ery tangible$ %hysical way<
)hen you recei#e the %erfect gift
The best %art about the gift is not the gift in itself is it
Of course that’s good too
The best %art is that the gift shows you
some of this %erson’s heart and intentions towards you
It shows you that they were listening to you$ thinking about you$
Thinking about your needs$
thinking about what would make you ha%%y
)hen you weren’t e#en aware of it
Gifts are like words made %hysical
They say things like
I care about you
I lo#e you
I want what is good for you
!ll of God’s creation$ all of his gifts to us
!re for us$ yes$ but I think e#en more im%ortantly
They tell us who he is$ they %oint us to who he is in his heart
In himself to us$ for us.
8reation is good because God is good.
It’s an e6%ression of who he is$ in himself$ and for us.
-e is good.
0.
8reation is good.
God is good.
)hen I hear that$ I ha#e two reactions in me.
The first is it resonates with something #ery dee% in me
7inging %raise songs under a star9filled night sky
7tanding at the edge of the :editerranean
I can yes$ it’s true
&ut there is also something in me
That goes against this claim of =#ery goodness’
It’s the brokenness in me that says
)ait$ no$ that’s not right. &ecause look at me.
I’m not what I’m su%%osed to be.
I know I feel there’s something wrong inside me
Look at the world$
it’s not the way it’s su%%osed to be.
There’s something wrong here.
-ow can I know if it’s really true<
Is the world really good< !m I really good<
Is God really good< Then why the brokenness<
I want to know$ I want to belie#e
&ut something stands in the way.
The &ible has an answer for us.
!nd e#eryone of us has to belie#e it for oursel#es.
;obody else can make you belie#e it.
Growing u% in church won’t make you belie#e it.
Going to seminary won’t make you belie#e it.
Only the -oly 7%irit$ in his mysterious way
8an bring you to a %lace where you finally really belie#e it.
-ow do I know that creation is good$
that I am good$ that God is good<
This is the &ible’s answer$ friends.
Listen closely to what the &ible says.
'or God so lo#ed the world that he ga#e his only begotten son
That whoe#er belie#es in him shall not %erish but ha#e eternal life.
'or God did not send the 7on into the world to ,udge the world
&ut that the world might be sa#ed through him.
-ow do I know that I’m not ,ust defined by brokenness<
-ow do I know that this world isn’t ,ust messed u% beyond re%air<
-ow do I know that God is good<
That he created me good<
That he looks at me and says I am #ery good<
&ecause he died for me>
;o matter how broken we are
;o matter how messed u% the world is
I will ne#er doubt again my goodness$ my worth.
&ecause he saw something in me
7omething so #aluable in me
that he would gi#e himself for me.
&ecause he is good.
?oesn’t that make you want to ,um% for ,oy<
I am worth something. .ou are worth something.
;ot because you’re not broken.
&ut because God is good$ and what he creates is good
!nd what he creates is worth sa#ing$ is worth transforming.
)hat a great way for God to begin his story
That’s the kind of story I need
;o matter what you’re wrestling with
;o matter how dee% the sin and brokenness in your life goes
Listen to this good word. I got good news for you.
God is good. !nd his works are #ery good.
"#en when it doesn’t look like it and feel like it.
?on’t worry.
-e’s got a %lan. -e’ll make a way
Trust him. Listen to him. Obey him.
Let’s %ray.