THE CREATION AND JESUS

22 Feb

GENESIS 2:1-3

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Everything points to Jesus.

I know. That’s what you would expect a preacher to say.

But for me, it does. Everything in my life points to Him. When I am depressed or upset, He is my strength. When I am excited and enjoying life, He is the One who gets the glory. As the song says, “Without Him I could do nothing”.

And none of that is something anyone should consider abnormal. If we are truly followers of Christ, then everything should point to Him. That was the way it was for the Apostle Paul when he said that for him, to live was Christ and to die was gain (Phillipians 1:21). Everything in his life pointed to Jesus.

And that’s the way it is with scripture as well. Everything in the Bible points to Him.

In the Old Testament Jesus is predicted.

In the Gospels He is revealed.

In the Acts, He is preached.

In the epistles, He is explained.

And in the Revelation, He is expected.

This morning, we’re going to see a clear example of how Jesus is predicted in the passage we just read.

Our passage today shows a picture that God painted to point to Jesus as well. Don’t get me wrong, it was an actual event that actually happened. On the literal seventh day after six literal days of creation, God literally rested.

But that automatically begs the question—why?

Why did an all-powerful God have to rest? Was He tired? Of course not. His rest wasn’t for His benefit, it was for ours. Jesus said as much to the Pharisees.

Remember the time that the disciples picked some grain to eat on the Sabbath because they were hungry ? The Pharisees came up to Jesus and accused them of breaking the Sabbath laws. Jesus came back and told them in Mark 2:27,

“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”

So God rested for our benefit—not His. So that begs a second question. What benefit do we receive from God resting on the Sabbath? Is it primarily for health reasons? It’s true that we need to rest sometimes, but that’s not the primary reason. The primary reason God set aside the Sabbath was two-fold. He set it aside to look back on the marvelous work of His creation. And He set it aside to look forward to the marvelous work of His Son.

I want each of us here to recognize the finished work of God in creation and His Sabbath rest as a foreshadow of Christ’s finished work on the cross and the rest we have in Him. In order to do that, we’re going to look at three parallels between the finished work of God in creation and the finished work of Christ on the cross. The first parallel is that a work was finished.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done

A work was finished in creation. Those who hold to evolution have no choice but to eliminate, ignore, or rewrite the first part of Genesis.

Evolution isn’t science. We are taught that it is, but it isn’t.

Evolution is a philosophy. And the data has been collected to support that philosophy. It is a philosophy that teaches that things go from a less organized state to a more organized state. In other words, things get better and better all the time. That is wrong on so many levels.

First of which is that it contradicts Scripture. There are dozens of different theories of evolution. Each one is a little bit different from the others, but one thing they all have in common is that they are continual, ongoing processes. By nature, processes never end. They are never finished.

But what does the Bible say? It says, “The heavens and the earth were finished.”

Look at the words God used: finished, ended, had made. There is no mistaking the fact that this passage teaches that when the six days were accomplished, creation was complete. That’s what the passage clearly teaches. So we are faced with a choice. Either evolutionary philosophy is true or God’s Word is. I believe the Bible. I believe the Bible when it says that all of God’s creative work was finished after the sixth day. Everything that could be or ever would be created was finished. Nothing could be added. There is nothing we could ever do to add to God’s creation. We can rearrange parts of it and use it, but we can’t add to it. I would contend that we can’t take anything away from it either. The doomsday environmentalists will disagree with me. But my Bible tells me that man will not destroy the earth. God will eventually judge the earth, but man won’t destroy it. We can dirty it up and abuse it and choose to live in our own squalor. But we can’t destroy it. We can’t do anything to add to or take away from God’s creation. Because it is finished. The work was finished. There is another time in the Bible when we read about a work being finished.

JOHN 19:28-30

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

A work was finished in Christ. God completed His work of creation by declaring it is finished. Jesus Christ did the same thing. When He completed His work on earth—His atoning work on the cross, He cried, “It is finished.”

When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He declared that everything necessary for salvation was complete. We can add nothing to His finished work. He is the author and finisher of salvation. It is His work, His grace, His love that saves us. And it was His sacrifice that made it possible. It made it possible for us to not only be saved, but to stay saved. For just like the fact that we can add nothing to His finished work, we can take nothing away from His finished work. Just like it is His work that saves us, it is His work that keeps us saved. His grace keeps us saved. And His love keeps us saved.

Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Jesus began a good work in you. He is performing a good work in you. All because He has already finished His work on the cross. He’s finished all the work that is necessary. The work is finished. It’s finished in creation and it’s finished in Christ. But not only was a work finished, a rest was entered.

GENESIS 2:2

By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

A rest was entered in creation. We’ve already said that God rested on the seventh day for our benefit, not His. Later on, when God gave the Law to Moses, He commanded that the Israelites remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Of course, like most of the commandments, the Israelites ignored it. They ignored it until God punished them for it. He sent them into captivity for 70 years to remind them of all the Sabbaths they had broken. It must have worked, because from that time on, the Jews began creating all these laws which would keep them from breaking the Sabbath. The laws were so ridiculous by Jesus’ day that you could only walk a short distance on the Sabbath. If you walked any more than that, you would be driving the nails that held on your shoe soles. Of course, that would break the law, because it was forbidden to drive nails on the Sabbath. That wasn’t why God set the day aside. He didn’t do it to make it a legalistic burden. He set it aside to provide a day of rest and reflection for the Israelites. On that day, they were told to rest in reflection of all of the wonderful works of God. They were to rest in the fact that God had delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt. They were to rest in the fact that He had saved them from Pharaoh. They were to rest in the fact that He delivered them from their enemies. Later on, as God punished them for not remembering the Sabbath, He sent them into exile. While they were in exile, God gave them prophets who tied the idea of Sabbath rest to the coming Messiah. God moved from the picture of rest in Genesis to the promise of rest through the prophets. The rest was pictured in Genesis. It was paid no heed by Israel. It was promised in the prophets. And it was provided in Christ.

HEBREWS 4:1-10

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,

“As I swore in My wrath,

They shall not enter My rest,”

although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,

“Today if you hear His voice,

Do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

A rest was entered in Christ. We miss the boat so badly when we try to reinstitute the Sabbath law of the Old Testament. As the church, we don’t remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. It’s not even a matter of disobeying the law and calling it grace. If that was the case, we would be wrong. The Law didn’t go away simply because of God’s grace. The Law still applies. It applies in the same way it always has. Paul calls it a schoolmaster. The Law applies to show us our need for grace. It is God’s standard that we can never hope to achieve. That’s why we need grace.

So the Law hasn’t gone away. But some parts of the Law have been fulfilled. The Sabbath laws are one of them. They have been fulfilled. Remember why God put them there in the first place. To look back on His creation and to look forward to His Son. His Son has come. And in His coming, the Sabbath has been fulfilled. Instead of finding our rest in the Sabbath, Hebrews tells us we are to find our rest in Christ. The writer goes through the explanation of how all throughout the Old Testament, no one ever found God’s true Sabbath rest. They didn’t find it in the wilderness. They didn’t find it when they crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. They didn’t find it with David, or Solomon, or any of the kings. They certainly didn’t find it in the exile. That’s because the only place that true Sabbath rest can be found is in Jesus Christ. So what is that rest? Is it laying down doing nothing? Of course not. It is doing our works out of praise and thanksgiving instead of obligation. It’s knowing we’re not working for our salvation. We’re working because of our salvation. It’s knowing that when we mess up, we know that we have an advocate. We have an advocate, because He’s the one who did all the work in the first place. He did all the work so we can enter into His Sabbath rest. We can rest because all the work for our salvation is finished. A work was finished, a rest was entered. Finally, the third parallel between the finished work of God in creation and the finished work of Christ on the cross is that a blessing was pronounced.

GENESIS 2:3

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

A blessing was pronounced in creation. All throughout chapter 1, God is pictured as speaking and working. All through the first six days, God is actively creating. But here, on the seventh day, He’s not. Over and over, Moses repeats in these three verses that God was finished. He was done. His work was ended. To recognize the goodness of His handiwork, He pronounced a blessing. Verse 3 says, He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.

Back in 1:31, the Bible says, “And God saw every thing that He had made, and behold it was very good.”

On that seventh day, God looked back over all that He had made. He saw the goodness of His creation. He saw all the stars and planets. The earth and all of its unspoiled majesty. The birds and fish and animals. And there He looked and He saw Adam and Eve—the crown of His creation. He knew what they would do. He knew they would rebel against Him. He knew what their posterity would do. He could see the flood. The Tower of Babel. Sodom and Gomorrah. Pharaoh. The rebellious Israelites. Nebuchadnezzar and Darius and Cyrus and Alexander the Great. He could see Caesar and Herod and Nero. He could see the atrocities of the Crusades and the Inquisition. He could see Napoleon and Stalin and Pol Pot and Lenin. He could see the Holocaust and Hitler. And He could see you and me. And as He looked down and saw that, He knew that He loved His creation so much that He would send His only begotten Son to die on a cross, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God saw all that as He pronounced a blessing in creation. When He blessed the seventh day. When He sanctified it—made it holy. He sanctified it and made it holy because it pointed to His Son. The blessing that was pronounced in the beginning at creation pointed straight to the blessing that will be pronounced at the end in Christ. Turn with me to Revelation 21:6-7:

REVELATION 21:6-7

6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.

A blessing was pronounced in Christ. Once again, we see the words, “It is done.” On the seventh day after six days of creation, God proclaimed, “It is finished.” Creation was complete. Nothing could be added to it or taken away from it. Some 4000-8000 years later, after being mocked, spit upon, beaten, humiliated and hung on a cruel Roman cross, Jesus Christ proclaimed “It is finished.” All that was needed for salvation was complete. Nothing could be added to it or taken away from it. Sometime in the future. We don’t know exactly when, but we know it’s closer today than it was yesterday. Sometime in the future, after a time of tribulation like the world has never known. After a 1000 year period where Satan is bound. After a season where he is released to deceive the nations once again. After the final battle where Satan and his minions are cast forever into the lake of fire. After these things, a new heaven and a new earth will appear. They will appear and will be followed by a blessing. A blessing where Jesus Christ pronounces for the final time, “It is done.” All who have believed in Jesus Christ and are thirsty will drink of the water of life freely. All who have overcome the devil by trusting in the righteousness of Christ will inherit all things. We will walk with God and He will walk with us.

REVELATION 21:4

4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

What a blessing! Our eternal Sabbath rest. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made. Creation was completed with a blessing of rest. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works as God did from His.” Salvation is completed with a blessing of rest. “And He said unto me, ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.’” His rest is available. Have you entered into it?

christians

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: