Vespers Prayer Service: April 6, 2016

 

April 6, 2016

Rev. Ross Mahan; Pastor

Genesis 1:1-5; 26-31

Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Savior

 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And 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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

 

  1. The Lutheran Church is both Confessional and Credal. A Creed is derived from the Latin: Credo, I believe, and is a confession of what we believe in our hearts and teach in our churches. A Creed is not equal with the Bible or an addition to it, but a brief summary of what we believe on the basis of Scripture. Tonight we will begin with the First Article of the Creed: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. Our faith must be based upon the written Word of God for where there is no Word and Promise of God there can be no faith, only superstition and imagination. The Christian has an obligation to make sure every doctrine he believes agrees with the Bible and to refuse to believe anything that cannot be proved from God’s clear Word. In Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we have the only clear reliable record of the creation of the world. God had to reveal the doctrine of Creation to us because no man was present at the time to report such a great event. The Bible ascribes the work of Creation to all three Persons of the Trinity, Father Son and Holy Spirit. Most everyone in the Western Nations believed in Creation until 1859 when Charles Darwin published his book entitled: The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of the Favored Races in the Struggle of Life. The Theory of Evolution is the very opposite of what the Bible teaches and raises the question, why has this theory become so popular in the 20th century?

 

  1. Why is Evolution being taught in our public schools and even in some liberal churches? Why were so many people in this nation willing to exchange the truth of God for a lie and worship and serve created things rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:25)? Evolution is part of the ongoing attack by the devil against Christ and the Christian Church. A key factor in the Creation / Evolution debate is that a majority of scientists who believe in Evolution are also Atheists or Agnostics. Some hold to Theistic Evolution the idea that God used Evolution in the formation of the world. Others hold a Deistic view of God (that He exists but is not involved in the world). But Evolution has become the alternate explanation to the Biblical doctrine of Creation on how the universe and life came into existence. It is also the cornerstone of Secular Humanism, the idea that man is the end of all things. Humanism teaches people are basically good and that all human problems can be solved by using reason instead of religion. Humanism is the deification of man and the fulfillment of the words of Satan to Eve: Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Humanism teaches that the reason for man’s existence is man’s happiness and it denies any power or moral value superior to man. So when you ask the question: Who makes the rules, man or God? Who defines reality, right and wrong, truth and error, good and evil? The Secular Humanist would say that man himself determines right and wrong for himself.

 

  1. In the first article of the Humanist Manifesto we read: Humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created. In Humanism, all human restraint is out the window and do as you please is the guiding principle. Secular Humanism was the principle behind Homosexual Marriage which is really the criminalization of Christianity and a direct assault upon God and His Word. In our public schools Humanistic Evolution is being taught to our children. It should not be surprising when we tell our children they came from animals that they begin to act like it. At Columbine High School in 1999, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 13 people and injured 24 others, Eric was wearing a T-Shirt with the words Natural Selection printed on it. These two young men were simply carrying out the true implications of Evolution, which denies the Law of God and leads to death. If we are not created in God’s image then why not kill the weaker ones among us if we choose. Joseph Stalin was a staunch Evolutionist. At one time he was a seminary student but turned his back on God and embraced Karl Marx which finally resulted in the deaths of 20-30 million Russians. Evolution is the foundation for Communism and Nazism. The Bible says: The fool has said in his heart there is no God. (Ps. 14:1). God has clearly revealed Himself to man in Creation and He says anyone who denies the existence of the Creator is a fool for he refuses to recognize the reality that is right in front of his face every day.

 

  1. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse (Rom. 1:20). Foolishness does not imply a lack of intelligence. Most Evolutionary Scientists are brilliant intellectually, but they lack the Wisdom that only comes from the fear of God through the New Birth. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7). Modern Evolutionary Scientists mock Creation or Intelligent Design as unworthy of scientific examination. Creation is by definition supernatural. God and the supernatural cannot be observed or tested but neither can Evolution. It is also a system of faith. Everything the Evolutionist sees is filtered through his preconceived, presupposed religious faith, the theory of Evolution and he refuses to consider any other alternate explanation. Evolution is against good common sense and reason. Something as complex as nature does not come about by chance. A design implies a designer. If Creation is true then there is a Creator to whom we are accountable and this is the reason Evolution is an enabler of atheism. It provides the atheist a basis for explaining the origins of life through a process of failed death by which better lives would be produced. Evolution is the theory of creation for the religion of Secular Humanism and atheism. Why do we believe the account of Creation as taught in the Bible?

I.

  1. Jesus believed in Genesis. If you ask a Christian why he believes the Bible he will likely tell you it is because the Bible is the Word of God, which it is. The Bible claims to be the authoritative, inerrant, inspired Word of God. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, (II Tim. 3:16). Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20-21). For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe (I Thess 2:13). Christ Jesus is God’s revelation to man about Himself, about sin, and salvation and we find Jesus in the written Word of God. But aside from the Bible’s own testimony concerning itself, the church believes the Scriptures are the Word of God because Jesus believed them. Jesus believed that Adam and Eve were real people and He held a literal view of Genesis. He believed Moses and called the Old Testament the Scriptures which cannot be broken. When the religious leaders asked Him about divorce He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, (two) but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Mt. 19:4-6).

 

  1. One of the problems Christians have who deny Genesis and embrace Evolution is that Adam is in the genealogy of Jesus. Our Lord was a descendant of Adam. If you assume that Adam was not a real person, created by God in the beginning as the Bible says, how can you believe Jesus was who the Bible said He was? The Creation account in Genesis is the foundation for the entire Bible, do away with it and you lose the Gospel and the entire Word of God. Either we believe that both Adam and Jesus are real people or we must believe that neither of them were real people. Another problem is when we deny Genesis we are calling Jesus a liar. Jesus Himself said that God created them (Adam and Eve) male and female in the beginning not over millions of years. How could a man who lied about this be the Son of God? The sacrifice of Christ for our sins only makes sense in light of the doctrine of Creation. Even atheists know this. In 1978 an atheist named Richard Bozarth wrote: Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of god. If you take away the meaning of his death if Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing. (From the Meaning of Evolution, American Atheist..

 

  1. Jesus spoke with the authority of God Himself and we confess with Thomas when he said to Jesus: My Lord and my God. The entire Bible bears witness to the divinity of Christ. He was God manifest in the flesh, He was Emmanuel, God with us as Isaiah wrote: His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9). Jesus is the brightness of his (God’s) glory, and the express image of his person (Heb. 1:1-3). In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made (Jn. 1:1-3). Jesus was the divine Savior and Son of God who came from heaven to redeem the world from sin. Only a Savior who was both God and man could atone for our sins and reconcile us to the Father. Jesus was more than just a great moral teacher more than an example of how to live. For a mere man to say the things Jesus said would not make him a great moral teacher; he would either be a lunatic or the devil himself. As you read of Christ in the Bible you can Him a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon or you can fall at His feet and call Him your Lord and God (CS Lewis; Mere Christianity). There is no other choice. Jesus believed in the Creation account revealed in Genesis and all who follow Him will do the same.

II.

  1. Jesus speaks through His written Word. Christ speaks with love and authority today through His Word. The Christian bows his heart and life before Jesus Christ because of the new birth of Holy Baptism. The Holy Spirit subdues our hearts and by His power we begin to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. No one has to force the child of God to obey the word of Christ. He gladly obeys His Lord and Savior because the Holy Spirit fills his heart with love for Christ. Jesus described His sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (Jn. 10:27-28). The child of God knows that God has created him, Christ has redeemed him, and the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify and care for him. David wrote: Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name (Ps. 100:3-4). The Lord grants us saving faith, the rock solid assurance that God’s Word is absolutely true for He cannot lie. The One who created the world continues to rule over it by His Divine Providence for the sake of His children. No man saw God create heaven and earth yet we believe it because He Himself tells us so in the Bible. Only a fool could say the world came into being by chance.

 

  1. As Jesus said to Thomas: Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (Jn. 20:29). God expects us to be people of faith and to believe His Word just as Jesus did. He prayed in the upper room: Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (Jn. 17:17). Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Heb. 11:3). The Almighty God by the power of His creative Word called into existence the basic material of which all things consist, by the power of His Word He formed this mass, making the various kinds and species of creatures (Koehler). Evolutionary periods were not necessary for God to create the world nor can they be scientifically proven. And if we do not believe the words of Moses Jesus said we would not believe Him. Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (Jn. 5:45-47). The words of Moses are the foundation for the Gospel. Reject Genesis and you will end up rejecting Christ and the Gospel. As the doctrine of evolution continues to be taught in our schools, the media, and books and as modern churches fail to teach the book of Genesis, more and more people are ignorant of the truth.

 

  1. We are no longer living in a Christian nation. It may have been Christian at one time, but not anymore. Therefore we cannot assume people know what the Bible reveals about Creation, God, or salvation. When we speak to people about Christ we must do what the Apostle Paul did when he spoke to the pagan Greeks on Mars Hill. He began by preaching about Creation. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands (Acts 17:22-24). When we begin to understand God’s power and authority in Creation we understand His ability to save and preserve us in the true faith. God is our Creator and He alone has the right to make the rules, He alone has the authority to tell us how we can be saved, how we are to live, what we are to believe, and how to are to define our lives in this world. Our faith in the God revealed in Genesis lays the foundation for our faith in Jesus Christ and His redemption for our sins. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God Therefore let us ask God to give us faith in His Word and strength to stand for the truth in the face of unbelief, compromise, and pagan darkness. Amen.

 

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