What We Believe Part 02.1 | What We Believe Part 02.2 | What We Believe Part 02.3
What We Believe Part 02.4 | What We Believe Part 02.5 | What We Believe Part 02.6


Pastor Marlin Harris

Open up your Bibles to the Gospel of John, chapter 1.  We are continuing our discussion that we began last Tuesday, our series entitled “We Believe”.  We are talking about the major tenets of our faith, our doctrine, and trying to be very clear on what we believe and to look at what the Scriptures in the Bible teaches about God, about our faith, about the Word of God, about Christ, spiritual matters and to crystallize those issues in our heart and be settled on what we believe about these particular things.

Now I want to be very clear that if you are not certain what you believe then you won’t know how to react spiritually when you go through times of trial, times of struggle, times of disappointment and the list goes on and on.  So whenever hard times come, what you believe is really what you do.  What you honestly and truly believe is really what you do in those difficult moments and those quick decisions – what you do naturally, automatically is what you believe.

Now what we shared last week at the outset that I want to open up with again tonight by way of recapping but also making certain that we are all on the same page with our lesson is that "I am not teaching you what to believe in your heart".  Of course it’s got to come through your head before it gets to your heart but I am much more concerned about what is in your heart.  Because no matter what you believe in your head, no matter how much you know in your head, no matter how many Scripture verses you can quote, no matter how much doctrine you can recite and repeat, no matter how clear something makes sense to you in your head, if it is not in your heart, I am telling you you do not believe it because it is extremely possible to know something in your head and not fully believe it in your heart.

Belief in the heart is a conviction, it is an absolute persuasion of a thing.  To be fully convicted and persuaded about the truth of a thing whereby you rely on it, you lean on it, you trust it, that is to believe something.  To know something is completely different.  I know about the tooth fairy but I don’t believe in it, but I can explain it extremely well.  I know fairy tales very well, I can explain them really good, the Three Little Pigs, I can tell you all about them but I don’t believe it.  You get the idea; just because you know something doesn’t mean you believe it, right?  Because it has to be in your heart, not just in your head.  Now obviously it has to pass through your head before it gets to your heart, no doubt about that, but it has to come from your heart in order for it to be belief.

Second thing that we said is that not only is it true that what you know in your head is not necessarily what you believe in your heart, but it is also true that there are some things in your heart that you can’t really explain with your head.  There are some things in your heart that you know to be true but you can’t really fully explain with your head.  You don’t really know all there is to know about it, a lot of it you don’t even understand but you know it to be true.  You are fully convinced of it even though you cannot fully explain it.  I cannot fully and completely explain gravity, I’ve got a general idea about it and I took a class in high school and college and they described it to me but if you were to ask me to teach a class on gravity, I probably would get up and do about 30 seconds and that’s about all I got.  But if you take me to the top of a building and you tell me to jump off, I promise you my belief in gravity is going to keep me from jumping.  I can’t explain it but I believe it and I trust it to be true so therefore I don’t violate it.  Everybody get the idea right?

So that is the same concept here with spiritual matters and everything else and that is you can believe something in your heart although you can’t explain it with your head, and then thirdly you can know something in your head, clearly and be able to explain it in detail and not believe it in your heart.  Now given that I want to make clear what we started last week and that was we were talking about God, that was the first spiritual issue, the first thing we have been discussing, the first person we have been discussing is God.  We will spend the time today talking about God.  We wanted to look at God in what I feel and consider to be one of the foundational understandings of God and His relationship with man and that is God as Creator.  God as Creator, and so we studied this whole notion and had what I think was a very robust discussion about the creation of God and the Creatorship of God and that God is the Creator and what that means for us and how we should relate to God as such, and what we should understand from God as such and we ended by talking about the method of creation, looking at Genesis 1.  Now we already looked at Genesis 1 so you don’t have to go there.  We discussed in Genesis 1 that God created all things by His Word, that He spoke, He said, and in the sayings of God all things were created.

Now it is from this creation, of course, that we see the very existence of God ontologically displayed, that is manifested and that God exists by virtue of the fact of the things that He has created, and then we looked at how He created by His Word and then we stopped in John 1 to get a discussion of this Word and to introduce the second person of the trinity who is existent at the time of creation, or pre-existent with God the Father

And we kind of rushed through John 1 last week and I want to go back and take just a brief moment to make certain that we are all on the same page.  So John 1, when you got it say “Amen”.  Alright in the beginning (and we talked about this whole beginning piece) that it’s the beginning as far as writers could write, that there is no beginning to God, but in the beginning of time as best they could write.  They are calling it in the beginning and they are saying the Word existed, in the beginning was the Word.  Now this Word is the Greek word “logos” and this Greek word actually means thought and perception and word, not just the spoken word but it's also the very thought and the Logos of God or the Word of God is not just the spoken word of God but it is the thought, the intentions or rather the intellect of God, what God knows and what God has said, and what God has decreed – that is Logos.

The interesting thing about God’s Word is that it is capitalized in your Bible, is it not?  If it isn’t then you’ve got the wrong Bible, but it is capitalized meaning that it is a proper noun, or rather it is a name, it represents a person.  It is something that officially stands properly for a person, place or thing and in this case it is a person.  It says that In the beginning was, not only the thought of God, but the thought of God was personified.  Not only was the thought of God existing in the beginning but the Word of God, the thought of God, was personified – it had personhood and the Word, this person, this thought, this Word was two things – the Word was with God and the Word was God.

Now I know I’ve taught this at different seasons in the life of our church and I will certainly not spend as much time on it tonight as I have in the past except to say that it is a mystery, it is extremely mysterious that that Word, this thought, can both be with God and then be God at the same time.  So verse 1 ends by saying that the Word was with God – No. 1, and the Word was God – that’s No. 2.  To be with God means to have some distinction from Him.  If you are walking with me, that means you are distinct from me, that you and me are not the same, that’s why you are with me – there’s distinction between the two of us when you say something is with something else, correct? 

But then when you say something is something, when you say one thing is that thing, then that means there is not distinction but there is uniqueness, that there is oneness between me and that thing that describes me.  So when you say that the Word was God you are actually are describing God, you are saying the Word and God are equal, are the same, that they equal each other.  So the mystery is how can something be both with God and be God at the same time.  How can something be distinct and be uniquely the same at the same time.  I don’t know, it is a mystery.  The trinity is an enormous mystery of how God can be three in one at the same time.  However it is a mystery that is clearly mentioned in Scripture, that the personhood of God, at least in this text, is talking about the duality of God’s nature, if not the triunity of His nature, at least in this text it is speaking of two and it says that this God was both distinct and the same as the Word.

And then it says the same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by Him.  Now it gives us personality to the Word by calling the Word a Him, everybody see that.  So all things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.   You can stop there.  All things that are made, everything that exists, that God created, the Scripture says He created it by Him and the Him is His Word, right class.  And this Him, this Word that is a person created or made everything that is made.  Now that makes sense to me because when you read Genesis 1 as we did last week, it is nothing but a series of statements where God says “Let there be, Let there be, and God said “Let that and God said” and the mere saying of God is what produced this creation, that creation started by God simply talking right.  Now it makes sense from Genesis 1 that everything that was made was made by the Word God said, right.

In John 1 it says and by the way that Word that God was saying, that Word was actually a person or rather a personality of God, that Word had personhood and this Word did not just make everything but look at verse 4, In Him was life and the life was the light of men”.  In Him, in the Word was life, animation, meaning that nothing is alive, all things that are living are living because the Word, the Him, induced that life, produced that life.  So all things that we have, that we see, our life and your life, is because that Word produced the life.  And it says “and the life was the light of men”.  Now this light of men is sought of a literature phrase that simply means the “understanding of men” or the illumination of men, the awareness is a better word to say.  The light bulb came on, if you would, man became or man is aware.  This is what the Scripture is calling light.  Now this light that man is aware of is a light – HE IS AWARE OF THREE THINGS: 

1.     He is aware of the world around him, the world in which he lives.  So he has been given five senses by which he is able to perceive the world around him. 

2.     He is also aware of himself.  He knows how he feels, he knows what he thinks, he is aware that he exists, he is aware of his personhood.  He has been given a soul whereby he is able to communicate and contact and connect with himself; and then

3.     He is aware or he has been given the light of God, he is aware of God.  He has the ability to communicate and to commune with God. 

This is the three lights of man.  Man is aware of the world around him through his flesh, through his body.  He is aware of himself through his soul and he is also aware – remember last week we said the knowledge of God was in him (Romans 1, remember that class) so the knowledge of God is in man and that makes him aware of God, and he is aware of God through his spirit.  We know this, this is a quick recap, the body gives man awareness of the world around him, he can touch stuff, see stuff, sense stuff, smell stuff, hear stuff, and he does that through his body.

Man is also aware of himself, and he does that through his soul, through his mind, his emotions, his will, and he is also aware of God and he does that through his spirit, and his spirit connects him and gives him communion with God.  So it says in verse 4

“In Him (in the Word) was life, animation – all things living became alive because of the Him (that is the Word that came from God) and the life (the Him that gave life) was the light of men.  The fact man is alive says he has these lights in him, these illuminations, these awarenesses in him and the light shined in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not.  That word “comprehended” simply means “overtook it, or drowned it out” – the darkness could not drown it out..  Here is what it means:  That whenever man became alive, when man became aware – this awareness of man was not darkened, was not drowned out by the darkness.  Now of course the light whereby man connects with God, his spirit, that fell in the garden; everybody understand that.  But when man was created he was created good, he was created good.  So when he was created all three lights were beaming and working as they ought to work.  You with me so far.

Then just as a note in case you are wondering who is this Word, this Him, that’s in verses 1, 2 and 3 and 4, its revealed to us in verse 14 and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  And the only begotten of the Father is who class?  Jesus Christ.  So Jesus, God’s son, is the Word and the Word is how the world was created.  The Word is how the world was created.

Very quickly if you will come to Hebrews 1 and then we’ll go back to John 1.  But in Hebrews 1:1, I’ll read verses 1 and 2, in Hebrews 1 which clarifies and expounds a bitter further on the notion of Christ, and his involvement in creation.  So verse 1 says:  God who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, (2); He has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things (and this little phrase here is critical):  By whom also He made the worlds, that God made the worlds (this is all that is in creation, the whole entire universe itself) that God made the worlds by Jesus Christ.  Now in some transliterations it actually says worlds “are ages”.  That its not just things, but its ages, that these worlds are eons or ages, that God made the times, the dispensations, that God made everything in human history and God made history itself and He made the ages, the worlds, by the son, or by Jesus Christ.  Or Christ was the vehicle, the agent that God used to create.  That is consistent with what Genesis 1:1 teaches when it says “In the beginning God said "Let there be, God said “Let there be”.  John 1:1, and the Word was with God and was God, 1:14 the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, we beheld His glory as the only begotten of the Father. 

Now verse 3 in Hebrews 1 defines this word, Christ, how he made the worlds – he defines Jesus a bit further in his preexisting deity – verse 3:  “Who (meaning Christ)  being the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of his person and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.  Now that’s a very loaded verse:  Who, meaning Christ, being the brightness of His glory (of God’s glory).  I described this at some point before that if you were to look at one of these bulbs that are shining what you are seeing is a bulb, right.  Jesus is the brightness, the shininess of the bulb.  If God is the bulb, Jesus is the shininess of it.  Just like you can’t separate light from its source, I mean light and the source of light are one and the same.  And we see the light because the source of the light produces it, but you can’t take light and lock it away and take it away from its source.  There is no such thing; the way you see light is from its source.  The effervescence of light comes from the source of the light, right science majors.  You can’t take a box, capture this light, seal the box and take it someplace else and open it up and there’s light – it doesn’t work that way because the only way we see this light is because we are really seeing the bulb animated.  It comes out as light, that’s how God and Christ is explained in this verse 3, that if God is the bulb, if God is the little filament inside the bulb, then Jesus is the light that comes out of that filament.  Everybody understands that right.  And they are one and the same; so He is the brightness of God’s glory.

Now remember the Bible says “God shares His glory with nobody, remember that”.  So many would say “I thought God shares His glory with no one, He doesn’t, because He isn’t sharing His glory with Christ, Christ is the glory of God.  Christ is His glory.  Christ doesn’t have His glory, Christ is not sharing in His glory, Christ is the glory of God.  So when you look at God you are looking at Christ and when you look at Christ you are looking at God.  That’s why the Bible says in John 14, whenever Phillip begged him and said “Lord Jesus please show us the Father and we’ll be satisfied because Jesus is telling his disciples, I’m on my way getting ready to leave, I am departing, I am leaving this earth, I’m going to be gone and I want you to know that you are going to be taken care so he goes through this litany of explanations to them and Philip before he gets started “He says “Listen, I understand all about this heaven and mansion stuff but if you would just show us about the Father we will be satisfied.  We have never seen God, you are getting ready to go, you are the only thing we’ve had to remind us of God, can we see God so we’ll know He really does exist and we’ll be happy. 

But then Jesus says to him:  “Philip, how long have I been with you and you still don’t know me.  Any man who has seen me has seen the Father”.  Are you getting the concept.  Any man who has seen me has seen the Father.  Here’s what it says:  That he is the brightness of God’s glory.  Then it says “He is the express image of His person”.  The express image, underline express image.  Express image actually in its original language means the exact form, same form, oneness.  It’s not just that Jesus is the glory of God, but Jesus is the exact duplication of all that God is so there is no part of God that is not Jesus and there is no part of Jesus that is not God.  Everybody get that; that he is the exact express one-to-one representation of God.  That when you look at Christ (as I’ve already said) you are looking at God.  When you look at God (which you won’t do until you get to heaven) you are looking at Christ, that he is the express image of His person.

Now the word person, means character.  He is the express image of the character of God.  God is Love, Joy, Peace, Mercy, Grace, Powerful, Righteousness – Jesus is the exact representation of the person of God.  And then the third thing that this verse mentions here is that It says “He is upholding all things by the Word of His power, meaning that God didn’t just make the worlds through Christ or by Christ but He has put the management of the worlds into the mouth of Christ, that the Word of Christ is upholding, sustaining the worlds – all the things that He has made.  Now here’s what that means.  Worlds is not just stuff but it is ages, so that means the ages, the times, history itself is turning on the Word of Christ; that the reason we had a yesterday was because of Jesus and the reason we will have a tomorrow, if we have one, is because of Jesus – that the world and the ages of the world are hinging upon the very word of Jesus Christ.  Then it says:  “Who when he had purged our sins sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high”.

Now there are a lot of people who read that last phrase, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high and they say “Aha, there it is, Jesus is sitting down beside God, there is three thrones in heaven, he’s not God he’s beside Him.  I say well first of all you don’t know John 1:1 because the Bible already told you He was with Him and He was Him – that ain’t a mystery so you don’t have a “aha nothing”, but you also don’t understand the literature that the text is written in.  The right hand of something doesn’t mean when you get to heaven you are going to see a middle throne where God is and then a left throne where the Holy Ghost is and a right throne where Jesus is – right hand means authoritySo when it says He sat down on the right hand of His Majesty on high it means He sat down in the position of authority; that he has the very authority or God – that the authority of Christ is the authority of God.  So when Jesus said something it is the exact same as God saying something.  He spoke with the exact same authority and power and presence of God.  Alright, you got that – He’s God’s right hand man. 

As a matter of fact it says earlier in the first and second verse that God is no longer speaking to man at all; he’s no longer speaking to man.  That anytime God has something to say to man, he says it through His son.  “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His son whom he hath appointed heir of all things”.  So it says when God has something to say to you He is going to say it through Jesus and its interesting that when you have something to say to God you got to say it through Jesus.  That when God talks to you He talks to you in the name of His son and when you talk to God, you better talk to God in the name of His son because no man comes to the Father except by Jesus Christ, remember.  And ain’t it interesting that God comes to no man except by Jesus Christ, that when God came down into human history, when God came down in the saga of mankind’s existence He came down through Jesus Christ; that’s why Jesus is the mediator between God and man, that man don’t talk to God unless he comes through Jesus and God don’t talk to man unless he goes through Jesus and by the way Jesus and God are the same. 

This is why as well meaning as other faiths and religions are they are not prayer religions; they are not.  They are meditative, they are inspirational, they are corrective, they can help you live good lives but they do not connect you with God because the only, only, only way that you can ever connect with God is through Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because He hath in these last days spoken to us by his son; that his son is the express image of his person; that when God shines Jesus is the brightness that shines Him out.  Now the big question that I don’t want to get into what about all of these people who have never heard of Jesus before, never heard of him at all – how can they connect with God.  And here’s what I say to you about that.  First of all, that God has a specific will for those individuals who have never heard of Jesus at all.  Secondly, whenever I hear people ask me that question I say to them “Are you really concerned about those people?  Well yeah.  Or are you trying to argue something about God and fairness and what if, what are you doing, are you concerned about them people?  I’m concerned about them people.  Okay, well I want to get you a plane ticket so you can go and witness to them and they will hear about Jesus from you.  Well that ain’t what I’m saying pastor.  Well okay you are not concerned about them people, you just want to make an argument. 

Because I don’t know the name Jesus doesn’t mean I don’t understand the mission and purpose of Jesus because the name Jesus or the person of Jesus, the Christ who came as a baby in the manger, I may never know that story but all I need to know to know Jesus is to know sin, that’s all I need to know to know Jesus is to know sin.  And I don’t care what tribe you come from, everybody knows sin.  You know sin by whatever name you want to call it.  If there is no language you still know sin because sin is that thing you feel when you do something wrong, and the whole notion of wrong says there must be right.  If there’s a wrong there has to be a right, and if there’s a right how do you know its right unless there is a standard of right.  And if there is some standard or right, and that standard of right must be supreme and superior over all other standards.  Therefore if I know wrong then I must know right, and if I know right – I’ve gotta know that standard – and if I know that standard I have to know there is a Supreme Being or some supreme idea that makes that standard right, and when I’m wrong I’ve fallen short of the standard.

I just set up the Gospel and you never heard Jesus’ name mentioned at all.  Everybody get the idea.  Now the notion becomes what does that person do to make right what he knows he has fallen short of?  When he stands before God he’s being judged on his knowledge of sin and his knowledge of what he was to do to correct that sin.  What prayer?  What request?  What idea?  What concept and he only can respond based on the light that he was given.  Are you understanding it; and the light that he was given he was given that light, according to John 1 by Christ because in Him was life and the life was the light of all men.  How many men?  All men.  So there are going to be some Aborigines who never heard the name Jesus who are going to be in heaven, never heard the name but they responded appropriately to the light.  I will tell you one person who never heard the name Jesus who is in heaven; his name is Abel.  You don’t know Abel. 

You don’t know Abel?  Abel never heard the name Jesus, all Abel knew is that I’ve sinned, I’ve fallen, I’m missing that standard, I’ve got to bring some sacrifice whereby that standard, whereby I can be forgiven for my sin and he brought God a blood offering.  In his culture, in his time and in his understanding that was the way sin was paid for.  Are you getting the notion.  And the Bible is extremely clear – God accepted Abel and his offering  because that offering was all the light that Abel had and the light he had was the atonement of his sins, and that was all the light he had and he responded to all the light he had and Cain had just as much light as Abel, but Cain did not respond to the light that he had and the Bible is very clear – God did not accept Cain nor his offering.  Everybody understand that. 

So it says “who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high (his right hand, his seat of authority, and everything God does He does it through Jesus Christ).  Lets go back to Genesis 1 please and lets look at this whole issue of how man and God are interacting together and how that interaction started in creation. 

In Genesis 1 we have the overview and then in Genesis 2 we have the description.  The overview of the creation of man, man only, is given in general terms in Genesis 1:26

26And 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.

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

Now this is the overview.  This is the summary of what God did, that God made man, mankind, male and female, made He them in His own image.  Now in the image and likeness of God does not mean that man looks like God, that is not what it means.  But what it does mean is that man’s internal functions are designed and patterned after God.  So my internal function; one of the things that I can do and that you can do is think, can’t you – you and I can think right.  Well we are made in the image of God so that means God thinks and we got thinking from Him. 

Another thing we can do is reason, we can feel, we can love – can we not.  We can “emote” – that’s what emotions are and you got that from God because God has reason, feelings, emotions – you got that from God.  Another thing you can do is decide to stand up, walk over to the wall, stay there awhile, come back to your seat anytime you want to.  No matter how crazy you look because you have freedom of choice.  You can choose, you have the freedom to choose and you got that from God because God has the freedom to choose.  This is what it means by being made in the image and likeness of God.  

Now there is something that I believe is higher than any of those things that you are able to do that no one else is able to do but us and God are able to do this that no animal, dog, cat, and that is we have a sense of rightness and wrongness.  We have a moral conscience.  We have a sense of right and wrong.  Apart from consequence, apart from reward or punishment, we have an idea, a sense of right and wrong.  It is what makes you cringe when you see someone abusing a child.  It is what makes you angry when you see someone abusing a senior citizen.  It is this moral conscience of right and wrong and the younger you are the stronger it is and the older you get the more tainted it is. 

Now that’s the thing moral conscience, that’s what animals do not have.  I don’t care how much you love Fluffy, Fluffy has no idea of what is right and wrong; the only way you can get Fluffy to do right is either put it instinctively in Fluffy therefore it ain’t a conscience, its instinct – that’s a different thing or you know, rub his face in it and he will start doing right.  Otherwise Fluffy has no moral conscience.  I know you think your dog loves you but he does not love you; he is incapable of that emotion.  Dogs don’t love; I can’t get no Amens on that.  Fee Fee loves me, no Fee Fee doesn’t.  Fee Fee has been given an instinct to follow a pack leader and Fee Fee sees you as a pack leader because you feed Fee, you take care of Fee Fee, so he sees you as a pack leader.  If I come over to your house and Fee Fee says “You don’t feed me, you don’t take care of me, you ain’t my pack leader, Fee Fee is going to try and bite me and then I am going to have to hurt Fee Fee.  I got to protect myself; and then you get all mad because you say “Fee Fee would never hurt anybody”, yes Fee Fee would – its in Fee Fee’s instinct to hurt people; that’s why his teeth are sharp—have you looked at Fee Fee’s teeth – she has sharp teeth for biting people.  My dog has never bit me, because you feed it – are you getting the idea?

Love and those emotions animals cannot give but humans have the ability to give them.  Morality, moral conscience humans have the ability to give them and you know why because God said this about man and nobody else.  Let us make man in our own image.  It was almost as if God said to the Father, Son and Spirit, as if there was a collective agreement between the Trinity that we want to put the full essence of who we are inwardly in the functionality and in the heart and in the conscience of man so that man will become a small (and please don’t mishear this statement) representation of who we are in the earth; that doesn’t mean man is a little god, or a demigod or we are small gods, No, No, No – all that means is when God wants to show off what it feels like to be loved He made man to represent that.

When God wanted to demonstrate what its like to be at peace He only gave man the ability to demonstrate that.  When God wanted to say “We’ve got this thing, Jesus, Spirit, Father – we’ve got this thing called “Joy” and we experience it in perfect union between the three of us, how can we get man to experience that joy that is amazing – the only way is to put it inside of it; are you getting the idea – and that is the image and likeness of God.  So that man reflects God’s personhood in his own being and in his own body; that the existential reality of man is that I am in the image of God, I cry, I feel, I know right from wrong, I love, I have joy, I can experience peace, I get angry, I get frustrated, I get disappointed, I get sad and the list goes on and on. 

Now that’s the overview, He said 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  Now lets move on to and in 2 we have more detail of exactly how that happened; so look at what it says:

7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

This is how man became, that God formed man – critical – of the dust of the ground and then God breathed into man and God’s breath made man a soul.  Now you’ve got three things – you’ve got formed of the dust of the ground, the dirt of the ground became man’s body (flesh), then God breathed into man and that became man’s spirit and when the spirit of God touched the flesh of man, man became animated and that was his soul. 

So man became animated, man got a soul when God’s spirit breathed into him.  The word for breath in Hebrew is nĕshamah  which is the very word for spirit which is also transliterated as pneuma in the Greek which is the same word for spirit – that the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, God breathed into man and when God placed the spirit into man, man’s flesh became a soul.  So here you have man now where dirt becomes skin, muscle, tissue, organs, blood and heart starts pumping and beating and this dirt pile all gets animated with such precision and clarity, his brain starts working and he can actually think.  You know its kind of like the tin man got his brain, he can think, see, animate and that is the soulishness of man.  Now the soulishness of man is moving and thriving because God breathed His spirit into it but don’t forget that what is moving and thriving is still flesh, and when God finished what He did that thing that He made was alive and thinking and moving and reasoning in the image of God with all the emotive properties of God – it can reason and think and love and feel and CHOOSE.  It can choose because that is a part of the image of God.  So God now has placed man in His own unique environment for man to exercise all of those properties that He gave him.  The only place man can do all of the stuff that his soul is able to do is on the earth and God gave him a good earth to be on.

He took care of man’s body by saying the herbs of the fields you can use that for meat and the list goes on and on; He took care of man’s need for esthetic beauty by all the beauty He has given him.  He took care of man’s need for purpose by giving him a job.  I mean every need that man has God took care of it because He understood man’s needs because those needs come from the image of God Himself.  And man also has a need to exercise freedom; that is a need that man has.  He is made in God’s image; he cannot not choose.  So in order for man to fully be what God created man to be, a choosing being, He had to give man something to choose.  So just like He gave man something to eat, because his flesh – the dirt – needed food, just like He gave man something to feel (it ain’t good for man to be alone) so He made Eve, made her good looking), something to do, a purpose to have, just like He gave man relationship with Him because His Spirit is connected to God – I mean he had everything – but he also had to choose so He gave man something to choose.  He said “You can have fruit from any tree in this garden you want but from this tree you must choose not to eat.  Have a nice eternity”.  I’ll see you in 37 million years, enjoy yourself – be fruitful and multiply.  Have as many children as you want, are you getting it. 

God goes away, and the angels watch to see what is going to happen.  God knows what is going to happen because He’s God and he has a chance to choose.  Satan comes by, Lucifer the one who fell long before we get to man being created and Lucifer comes in the form of a snake and tells Eve “doesn’t them grapes look good”.  And you know the rest of the story; and man chose to disobey God.  Ain’t it funny how man used the very image of God to disobey God, that man used some glorious blessing that God gave him; he used that blessing to rebel against God; ain’t that a mess.  Well why you so surprised because we do it everyday.  Every single day we use the blessings God has given us, our tongue, our mind, our eyes, our hands, we use the blessings God has given us to use them to rebel against the very God who gave it to us.  Are you getting the notion and the idea.  So when man fell the part of man that went silent was the breath.  The soul still is animated, once God causes your soul to live it cannot die.  You will live forever, either in heaven or in hell, understand.  And your flesh, well it is going to die as soon as your soul stops.  So the spirit went silent, and when the spirit went silent, now man has this fallen flesh that is on him, that dirt became flesh, it’s a human nature upon him, its fallen and when he gets saved his spirit becomes alive again but that flesh is still fallen, and he has to battle with the flesh on a daily basis. 

So I want to turn to Psalm 115.  I want to end tonight with introducing the notion of the sovereignty of God because at this point whenever you understand the creation and when you understand as a brief quick way of explaining the fall, now the big question is why did God do this, why do it this way.  Well God is sovereign and I don’t know why God created man, gave man a choice, man fell, He knew man would fall but He still did it anyway.  I have no idea why God allowed man to use what God gave him, blessed him with, to rebel against him; I have no idea.  Why evil exists, why the world is wicked, why evil things happen, I don’t know, but one thing I do know is that whatever happened it happens because God wants it that way.

So in verse 1 of Psalm 115 we introduce ourselves now to the notion of the sovereignty of God

1Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.

2Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?

And verse 3 is the critical one that I want us to look at.

3But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

That God has done whatever He wanted to do.  That everything that is done is done because God wanted to do it.  So whenever you ask yourself about the fall and about sin and about evil and about ugly and about wickedness, here is the answer.  It exists because God has seen fit in its existence to be pleased with it.  That is a tough statement, isn’t it.  “So you mean to tell me that wickedness pleases God”?  Well the act of wickedness doesn’t please God, no it displeases God, but the existence of wickedness it could not exist unless it served some pleasure to God.  Bothering you yet? 

“But wait a minute, when planes fall out the sky, hundreds of people die, that pleases God”?  Well the act of planes falling out of the sky doesn’t please God – He is not a masochistic, He’s not waiting on bad things to happen and he laughs out over it, but the existence of death, the existence of tragedy, the very fact that tragedy and death and calamity and mayhem happens, it serves a pleasure unto God.  “You mean sick bodies, I’m sick, I’ve got this disease or that disease and I’m dying and you mean to tell me that pleases God”.  Well the act of that doesn’t please God – No it saddens God, but the existence of sickness, the existence of disease, the existence of death – that existence itself serves a pleasure to God.  “How do you know?”  Because if it didn’t serve a pleasure to God, it would not exist. 

“So you mean to tell me that that tree in the middle of the garden, that tree of the knowledge of good and evil, with all that fruit on it – that it pleased God?”  Absolutely, or it wouldn’t exist, and man’s right to choose to eat it pleased God?  Right, or it wouldn’t exist.  “And when man went to eat it that pleased God?  No, No, No, No, No – the action of man didn’t please God, not at all, but the freedom to choose even that which is wrong served the pleasure of God.  “What you talking about Willis”?  Well let me read something else to you in just a second before you say “That ain’t fair, how can that be?

Go to Job 23 and I don’t have time to do this so I’ll have to stop.  If you feel like injustice and sin and wickedness and evil and calamity and tragedy is not right, is not fair, I want to tell you you are not by yourself, Job felt the same way.  Here’s what Job said: 

1Then Job answered and said,

2Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. [The lashes I take are heavier than the crimes I’m making]

3Oh that I knew where I might find him! [now that sounds like fighting words, doesn’t it?  Job said I wish I knew where he was, where he at, where he at] that I might come even to his seat! [He said I would even walk into God’s throne and I would, verse 4]

4I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.  [Haven’t you ever felt that way?  After me telling you that all this stuff serves a pleasure unto God, don’t you feel like that there’s some arguments.  If I’m right, and I think you are probably saying that in your mind because you can’t imagine that to be so, that Pastor can’t be right about that – but lets just say I’m right for just a moment.  If I’m right, then don’t you have an issue with God?  Job said I would fill my mouth with arguments, I’ve got some things I want to tell him, I want to give God a piece of my mind. 

5I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.  [Now here’s where Job is a little bit better than us. Job says “ I’m sure there is a logical explanation.  I’m sure God has a good reason for doing the stuff He does.  I don’t know why He does what He does, but I’m sure He has a good reason.  I want to wait and hear what He’s going to say and answer me whenever I ask him questions]

6Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. [I know He has a good answer and when I find His answer I am going to feel better.]

7There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. [He says “But I can’t get an answer from God]

8Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

9On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

So even though He is hurting me, even though he slays me I am still going to trust Him, even though I have lost all, seen calamity, seen tragedy, seen death and I know in some way it has to serve some pleasure to Him because He keeps doing it; he could stop it if He wanted to, I got to trust that He knows the way that I take, and obviously He is trying me and when He tries me I shall come forth as gold.

10But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

11My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

12Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

And Job goes on and on but he says in verse 13.  But look at God, no matter what I do, no matter how much I try to do right and live right and serve Him right, and all this stuff

13But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

14For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

15Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider [that thought], I am afraid of him.

16For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

17Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

These are things that God has appointed for Job.  Lets go back.  When a plane falls out the sky is that not God’s appointment?  When a body gets sick is it not God’s appointment?  When a person lays before us and has died, it is not God’s appointment?  When an accident takes a life of a 13 year old, is it not God’s appointment?  When tragedy strikes or a war breaks out, or genocide happens in Darfur or child soldiers are killing even their parents, is it not God’s appointment.  Can anything happen that God has not appointed, and if somebody else appointed it, who is it and where did they get such authority to make appointments in a world they did not create?  So the question is “Why in the world does stuff like that serve a pleasure unto God?.  Why would He cause Job to lose everything he has, what’s that about?  We’ll answer that next week.

There was not much hand clapping after this sermon?  People were very quiet and I understand why?