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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Day 2: Sky to Separate the Waters (Gen. 1:6-8)

Day 2: Sky to Separate the Waters (Gen. 1:6-8)
God's Work on Day 2:
  • The description of God creating the expanse on Day 2 (God speaks, God makes, God names)
  • The significance of God creating the expanse on Day 2 
Summary: God's initial creation was characterized by barrenness and darkness.  The darkness problem was solved when the Light shined on Day 1.  But what about the barrenness problem, that is, the lingering fact that the earth was still "without form and void"? God's work on Day 2 was a massive preliminary step in solving the problem, for it was on Day 2 that God created the Sky by holding back the waters.  The description of God's work on Day 2 is powerful and the significance of this work is breathtaking. 

Main Point:  God wants us to know that he made the sky by holding back the waters by his Word.

Discussion Questions:
  • What is the most basic common denominator in God's work each day of the creation week? (see Gen. 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24-26).  How should the apostle John's description of the Word in John 1:1-5 shape who we think about God speaking throughout Genesis 1? (cf. Col. 1:16b and Heb. 1:1-3). 
  • Discuss this statement: "In the context of Genesis 1, God speaking is God making."  (cf. Ps. 33:6; 148:4-5; Heb. 11:3)   
  • What is the expanse? What are the waters below? What are the waters above?
  • Would there be any reason that God would stop holding back the waters? (6:5-8, 9-14a)
  • What would happen if God did release the waters? (see Gen. 6:17-22; 7:1, 4-5, 11-12, 20-24; 8:1-2; 20-22; 9:1, 8-17)
  • What should the release and holding back of these waters teach us in our day (see 2 Pet. 3:1-15)
Application Questions:
  • What would be a fitting, worshipful response to the fact that I was saved before God's coming judgment (fire) all because God is actively, mercifully and patiently holding back the waters?
  • How should God's patience in temporarily holding back his judgement on unbelievers shape the way that I live the Christian life and interact with unbelievers? 
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for his patience which accounts for how you and others were able to be saved
  • Praise God that you are not destined for wrath, but to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ
  • Ask God to help us, his people, live holy and godly lives as we await the return of Christ

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day 1: Light Shines (Gen. 1:3-5)

OutlineDay 1: Light Shines (Gen. 1:3-5):
God's word is powerful: "and there was light"(v.3)
  • God's delight in the light (v.4a)
  • God's desire to distinguish light from Darkness (v.4b-5a)
  • God's will for light to overcome darkness (v.5b)
Summary: We have seen that the condition of God's initial creation was characterized by barrenness and darkness, an intentional foreshadowing of the condition of the human heart after the Fall.  But the reader's hope was already kindled when we heard that the Spirit of the eternal God was hovering over the problem.  With the stage set in vv.1-2, we see the remedy introduced in vv.3-5: Light shines in the darkness! 

Main Point:  God wants us to see how he delights in the light and desires that light to be clearly distinguished from the darkness.

Discussion Questions:
  • How does vv. 3-5 serve as the remedy to vv.1-2? 
  • How do John 1:1-5 and Hebrews 1:3 help us understand the light, God's delight in the light, and the relationship between light and darkness in Gen. 1:1-5? 
  • What does this mighty act of God in bringing light teach us about how God converts sinners? (see 2 Cor. 3:12-4-6, esp. 4:6)
  • Discuss this statement: "God desires light and darkness to be distinguished from one another."  What does this tell us about the character of God?
  • God called the light Day and the darkness Night.  The implication seems to be that God "labeled" light and darkness for us, that we might pay close attention to the labels.  What are some of the implications for us as we live as followers of Jesus (see. John 8:12; 1 John 1:5; Matt. 5:14-16; Rom. 13:12; Eph. 5:11; 1 Pet. 2:9; Col. 1:13)
Application Questions:
  • How should a proper understanding of Gen. 1:3-5 shape the way I understand what in means to be converted? 
  • Are there areas in my life where I am compromising with darkness, failing to follow the labels God has made to distinguish between what pleases him and what does not?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for his holiness, the fact that he is light and in him there is no darkness at all
  • Praise God for working shining the light of his Son into the darkness of our hearts by the veil-removing work of the Holy Spirit
  • Confess ways in which you have failed to follow God's labels that are meant to set us apart from darkness and lead us in the way of light.  
  • Ask God to help us be holy as he is holy so that he might be glorified and unbelievers might come to see the glory of his Son and so be saved

Sunday, October 8, 2017

God's Creation Foreshadows God's Salvation (Gen. 1:1-2)

OutlineGod's Creation Foreshadows God's Salvation (Gen. 1:1-2): 
God created everything (1:1)
  • God set the stage: creation (1:2a)
  • God foreshadowed the story: salvation  (1:2b) 
Summary: With a big view of our eternal God fresh in our minds, we focus our attention on the fact that this eternal God created everything.  But we also note God's basic description of his initial creation: it was barren and dark.  This description seems to be very intentional on God's part. God must act again.  God must bring light and life.  And we shall see that the need of light and life was not just the physical need of the world God made but the spiritual need of the people God fashioned.

Main Point:  God created everything.  And God's initial work of creation is an intentional foreshadowing of God's eventual work of salvation.

Discussion Questions:
  • Why would God initially create the earth barren and dark?
  • What is the imagery of the Spirit hovering over the dark and barren earth meant to awaken in us as we read?  
  • What can we learn from the progression in the text from a dark and barren earth to the Spirit hovering to light leading to life and flourishing in the rest of Genesis 1? 
  • How does God's initial work of creation in Gen. 1:1-2 foreshadow God's eventual work of salvation? [Hint: Read Jeremiah's description of Israel's idolatry Jer. 4:23-26 that echoes the earth's initial condition in Gen. 1:2 along with his description of the heart change that is promised in the new covenant Jer. 21:31-34].  
  • What role does the Holy Spirit play in salvation? (see. Ezek. 36:25-27; John 3:1-8; 16:7-11; Titus 3:5)
Application Questions:
  • What encouragement and hope might you draw from Gen. 1:1-2 when you think about areas of unmet potential in your life?
  • What encouragement and hope might you draw from Gen. 1:1-2 when you think about the state of unbelievers in your spheres of influence? 
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for his wisdom in initially creating the earth in a way that would remind us of the condition of the human heart and the utter need for the Holy Spirit's transforming power
  • Praise God for the work of the Holy Spirit that has washed and renewed our hearts   
  • Acknowledge ways in which you've either minimized or been ignorant of the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, especially when it comes to the Spirit's work in salvation
  • Ask God to open our hears to see more clearly his mighty acts in creation and in salvation