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An Unholy Unity | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2024 3:00 am

An Unholy Unity | Sunday Message

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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February 18, 2024 3:00 am

In Genesis 11, we see the theme of rebellion over and over again. As Pastor Jonathan Laurie looks at the chapter, he reveals an important lesson: we must deny our flesh and listen to God.

Notes:

Genesis 11

Omnipresent: All Present.

Jeremiah 23:24

Omniscient: All Knowing.

Psalm 139:1–4

Omnipotent: All-Powerful.

Colossians 1:16

God Is Love.

1 John 4:8

God Is Patient.

2 Peter 3:9

God Is Wise.

Proverbs 2:6

Proverbs 19:21

Genesis 11:1–9

The Pride of Man.

James 4:6

Genesis 3:4–5

Genesis 9:1

Obedience to God always brings sensational blessings.

Divine Intervention.

Genesis 11:5

God’s Discipline.

Job 5:17

Philippians 2:5–11

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Hey there. Thanks for listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, a ministry supported by Harvest Partners. I'm Greg Laurie, encouraging you.

If you want to find out more about Harvest Ministries and learn more about how to become a Harvest Partner, just go to harvest.org. All right. Well, good afternoon, everybody. Good to see you all. Welcome to church. I'm Pastor Jonathan Laurie, and we are continuing in our series in the book of Genesis. Book of Genesis, it's been a lot of fun going through this series. We have titled it, it all starts here. And so today is actually the last day of this series where we cover the first 11 chapters, so we could call this the end of the beginning if you wanted to. My message title today is An Unholy Unity, An Unholy Unity, and we're going to be looking at Genesis chapter 11 if you want to turn in your Bibles there.

Hey, I want to mention again that next Sunday my dad is going to be starting a brand new series, brand new series that we're really excited for. And it's going to be on the Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon on the Mount, one of the most important pieces of scripture in all of the Bible, really. This is basically, you could summarize it with what Jesus thinks about everything. It's in Matthew's gospel if you want to read ahead and see what Jesus has to say, but he talks about everything in this passage.

And so he talks about adultery, he talks about divorce, he talks about retaliation, he talks about lust, anger, rule keeping, responding to enemies, generosity, fasting, worry, judging people, prayer, spiritual fruit, and how to have your prayers answered. There's a lot of good stuff in there. And so you're going to want to join us next week as we kick this series off. And also, if you are not in a small group right now, this is a perfect time to join. Anytime we start a brand new series, it's always a good blank slate to jump in on and feel like you're not being left behind or in the middle of a study. And so this is going to be a good one for you if you haven't joined a group.

They're an absolute blast. Quick poll, how many of you are currently in a small group right now? Raise up your hands. Awesome, that's a lot of you. And there's a lot of you that aren't in a group yet.

I would just ask you, why not? Are we so scary? Is it so bad? No. You're like, yeah, it's awkward.

No. They're a lot of fun, honestly. I've been in a small group, man, for a couple of different groups for about 14 years now.

And I tell you what, they are such a blessing. The friendships that you make, the things that you learn together, and it's all based on God's word because that's what matters most. Well, speaking of God's word, a lot of people have been asking me about my thoughts on the Super Bowl and who's going to win, because I am just such an expert on the matter. I'm really into sports. And so they've just been asking me, who do you think is going to win?

What's going to happen? And I don't pay much attention to sports, honestly. I spend most of my time just in prayer studying the Bible.

And so I don't have time for those worldly things. But in my quiet time this morning, I did read a passage in Scripture that I thought was applicable. And so you tell me what you think. It's in the book of Numbers, chapter 25, it says this. And the Lord said to Moses, take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the Lord, that the fierce anger of God may turn away from Israel.

And so I don't know if that's a word from the Lord. 49er fans probably like that. If you're a Swiftie, not so much. No, just a little fun.

I really could care less who wins the game, to be honest. But, well, how do I transition from that? I look at my notes and I'm like, I just jumped right into the Bible study.

Really, Jonathan, no transition? Yep, that's what happens here. So, well, it'll be fun.

Hey, good time. I like the food part. Usually you go to a good Super Bowl party, there's good food there. That's what I show up for. And the halftime show and the commercials, of course. What do the commercials run now?

Like three, four million dollars for a minute of airtime? It's insane. Insane. Well, we're going to be looking at a really interesting passage of Scripture today. I love the Word of God.

I love studying it. I love hearing what God has to say. And I've really found that so much of Scripture parallels the things that we go through, things that we think are so far gone and we've advanced beyond that. You look at the heart behind why the people did the things they did in Scripture and you realize we have not changed all that much.

Yes, technology has advanced. We've become more sophisticated and we have sterilized things spiritually. But when you look at the heart of the matter as we're going to here, you see that the heart is still the same.

The heart of man continues on, right? And we are rebels against God ultimately. And that's what we're going to see here in Genesis 11, the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel. It's a famous story.

All of us probably know it and could share it off the top of our heads. But as we look carefully at this passage, what we're going to find is we see ourselves in the story. We're going to see ourselves in the story. And hopefully at the end of it, we'll see how we can too respond to God in the appropriate way. And so Genesis 11, the Tower of Babel, chronologically this happens after the flood.

And not only do we see it parallel with things that are happening today, but also we see a lot of the same behavior and attitudes as we see back in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve eating of their forbidden fruit. That ultimately the people in Babel, which is where they built this tower and Adam and Eve back in the garden, they wanted the same thing. And that was power without God. They wanted power without God.

They wanted the gifts of God without the relationship with God. What was Eve promised? That she would be equal with God. That she would be like a God.

And that is what we see the people in Babel trying to do the exact same thing. You know, I'm thankful that... You should all, I should say, be thankful that I am not God. Because any time somebody ever cut me off, or gave me a dirty look, or overcharged me for something, it would be like, you know, okay, well, I am God and you're not.

Goodbye, I am and you were. And that'd be the end of it. So you can be thankful that with my temperament, my attitude, and whatever else, all of my faults, that I don't have the attributes of God. I think that if we gave those attributes to somebody, to the wrong person, it could be a really bad thing. It would be very terrible. Somebody has a bad day and the world could end.

Well, we can be thankful. The only person who has the attributes of God are God himself, right? Meekness is one of God's attributes. Meekness. You know what meekness is? You ever heard that word?

It's a word we don't hear a lot about today, but basically it means power under constraint. Meekness is power under constraint. I want you to think about a person who has a really fast car and at the blip of the throttle, they could be going from 60 miles an hour to 100 miles an hour in just a moment, right? They've got the super fast car and they don't feel like they have to drive it that way. I feel like everybody who has a fast car has to prove it to everybody that their car is just that fast.

It's like, congratulations, you cut me off, brake checked this guy, drove over here, caused that person to get in a car accident, and you're still only one car ahead of me on the 405 freeway, right? That is not meekness. That is not power under constraint. That is somebody that needs to prove it and obviously has some level of insecurity or something. Now, meekness would be a person who has the fast car, doesn't need to prove it. Now, let's contrast that with the person who drives the V6 Mustang, okay? This is a person who bought a sports car and needs to prove to everybody that it is a sports car, but for whatever reason couldn't afford the V8, that's fine. Drive a Honda Civic or drive a Honda Accord, but they feel the need to compensate for the fact that they didn't get the V8, so they drive extra ridiculous, right? They're the ones that are driving by everybody, flying around, cutting you off. Nobody drives more aggressive than the person who couldn't afford the V8 version of their car. Like, if you're going to buy the Challenger, right, the Dodge Challenger or the Dodge Charger, it's like these cars that look really fast, but they get the V6 version, and they feel like they just have to prove that their car is a Challenger. I don't know what it is. Not only do they cut you off, but they cut you off within six inches of your bumper while going 100 miles an hour, and then two minutes later, they're hitting their vape or scrolling on their phone as you pass by them because they got distracted, and now they're passing them.

And so I don't know what the deal is. And while we're on the topic of people and the things they do that bug me, why do people put Instagram stickers on their car with their profile name on their car? Like, I want to follow their car's journey of what's happening.

It's usually like a Nissan Maxima or something like that, where it's like, okay, cool, it's a fine car, but why do you feel like I want to follow your adventures of getting door dings and oxidized paint? It's not that special. Also, while we're on the topic, Maui. Maui, why does everybody in Hawaii drive a Toyota Tacoma? Everybody in Hawaii drives Toyota Tacomas. Now, we all know it's a pretty popular car.

It's great. I've had a couple of Tacomas myself. But people there have so many Tacomas.

I'm not kidding. My family and I, they didn't notice this, and I brought this to their attention. And just in a couple blocks, we were able to count, I think, 24 cars in a matter of three or four minutes. 24, excuse me, 24 Toyota Tacomas. Not Tundras, not Toyota Siennas, or Toyota RAV4s or whatever else. No, Toyota Tacomas. That is the car of choice over on Maui. I think I know why.

It's a good car. Parts are readily available, but still, I mean, that many, there's, you know, a bit of an obsession there. Okay, so anyways, we're supposed to be having a Bible study here. And the point I started off with was what? Meekness, right? Power under constraint. A person who has a fast and powerful car, but doesn't feel the need to prove it to everybody all the time.

Or how about this? A person who is a black belt in some martial arts, but the way they de-escalate a situation with somebody, or there's some kind of confrontation, they use their words rather than their actions, right? They've got all the knowledge.

They can put the real hurt on you, but they choose to de-escalate the situation with their words, and they bring it down. That is meekness, power under constraint. Of course, the ultimate picture of meekness is Jesus himself.

Meekness is one of God's attributes. We know that for the theological students out there, there's a couple of things that define God's attributes. Number one, we know that God is omnipresent. Omnipresent, that's a fancy way to say that God is everywhere.

He is all present. He is everywhere all the time. Jeremiah 23, we read, can anyone hide himself in the secret places? So I shall not see him, says the Lord.

Do I not fill heaven and earth? Kind of a scary thought, but also an encouraging thought, depending on where you are in your relationship with the Lord, to know that he is everywhere all the time. We also know that God is omniscient. Omniscient, and that means that he is all knowing. He knows everything, past, present, future. He knows all of it. Psalm 139 says, O Lord, you have searched me and known me.

You know my sitting down and my rising up. You understand my thoughts afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. God knows everything. He knows the words before we even speak them. God is also omnipotent. Omnipotent means that he is all powerful.

He contains all the power. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created everything, seen and unseen.

We read in Colossians 1, for by him, all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible. Whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through him and for him. Now this describes God and his attributes, right? He is all powerful, all knowing, and all present.

And that's great. But again, if the wrong person had those attributes, we'd all be dead, or at the very least, without hope. But God's character, who he is, reveals that there is nobody better to possess these attributes. So again, we talked about what God is.

Now let's look at who God is. We know that God is love. God is love. 1 John 4.8 says, He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. And I've said it before, but God is not defined by love. God is not defined by love.

I would say it's actually the opposite. God defines love. The greatest picture of love is God himself.

While we were yet sinners, he sent his own son, Jesus, to die on a cross, to live this perfect life. That is the greatest picture of love mankind will ever see. God is not defined by love.

God defines love. We also know that God is patient. 2 Peter 3.9 says, The Lord is not slack counting his promises.

Some would count him as late. But he is long suffering. He is long suffering. He is being patient toward you, not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.

He is patient. And we also know that God is wise, that God is wise. Proverbs 2 6 says, For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

And so meekness. God has power under constraint. He does not give us these attributes because he knows that we would destroy ourselves and we would destroy everything that is good. So it is a good thing that we don't have these attributes of being all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful.

God alone possesses those things. And as we look at this story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, what we are going to see is a story, or rather a theme, that is as old as time, going back to the Garden of Eden. We're going to see mankind attempting to tap into the power of God without the relationship.

We're going to see mankind attempt to replace God and to displace God with themselves and put their will first, to find knowledge without him, to find wisdom and love and fulfillment and purpose without God. And so I mentioned Genesis 11 closely parallels Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit. What was Adam and Eve's sin?

What was it that they did? Well, they disobeyed God, and they ate of the forbidden fruit, right? They believed the devil's lie, which was what? The devil's lie was that they would know better than God would. God said, don't eat of this, but I am telling you, it's okay to. God is just, oh, don't worry about what he says.

He wants to keep you from something good. That was their sin. They believed the devil's lie, and they were disobedient to what God had commanded them. They believed themselves that they could become like God, and they knew what was right, and even when God asked them and told them that it was wrong, they still did what was wrong. Ultimately, this was a rejection of God. It was a rejection of him and his will and his command.

And we see this today more than ever. We know better than God, right? I know the Bible says this stuff about premarital sex, but you know what?

I'm the exception to it. God knows my heart, and we're going to get married, and it's okay. God does know your heart, and that's why he is telling you exactly, clearly, what to do in Scripture. We think we know better than God about alcohol and drunkenness.

Oh, it's okay to get completely wasted once in a while. No, the Bible doesn't say that. Or you might say, oh, God knows about my heart with my marriage, and I have these extra relationships, and I don't love my wife the way that I should, and I don't honor my husband the way that the Bible tells me to.

But you know what? It's okay because we know better, and God doesn't know my husband. God doesn't know my wife.

So we would be the exception to that. No, we don't know better. We think we know better than God about these things, judgment, truth, whatever, fill in the blank, but we don't. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 16, mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word. Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good, but God probes for what is good.

I love that. We try and find whatever looks good, right? It looks good on the surface. It sounds good, seems good, checks out.

Let's go for it. And God, He knows deeper. He understands what the long-term effects of sin is, which may look good for a moment, but He knows that it is not good. God probes for what is good. It continues, put God in charge of your work. Then what you have planned will take place.

God made everything with a place and a purpose. Even the wicked are included, but for judgment. Ultimately, God has the final word, and He does not change His mind. And so we see God not changing His mind in Genesis chapter 11, and we see today that God continues what He promises. He has not changed.

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And so let's look at what God's heart is and how people respond to it now in our text, Genesis 11, starting in verse 1. I'm reading from the New King James Version.

We read this in verse 1. Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. And then they said to one another, Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens.

Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. Verse 5. But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, Indeed, the people are one, and they all have one language. And this is what they begin to do.

Now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their speech, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.

Therefore, its name is called Babel, because the Lord there confused the language of all the earth. And from there, the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. Let's pray. Lord, as we read this passage just now, a little bit of a tricky one, if we're honest. But, Lord, we know that context is so important, that, Lord, we know your heart, we know your attributes, and, Lord, we know your character, because we see it throughout scripture. And so as we examine this passage now, Lord, our prayer is that we would see your heart, we would see your nature, we would see your character, and, Lord, we would learn to just further trust you with our own lives, with our own decisions, with our own desires, the things that we want.

The Lord, we would offer them to you. As we heard just a moment ago, Lord, we look for what is good with our eyes and what we can sense, but, Lord, you know what is good. And so, Lord, we want what is best for us in your perspective. And so, Lord, help us, we pray. Speak to us through your word now, in Jesus' name, amen.

Amen. So point number one that we're going to outline our text with today is the pride of man. That's what we see in the first four verses of our text today, is the pride of man. James 4, 6 says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. The pride of man was ultimately the underlying sin, the underlying motive for these people building the Tower of Babel.

It was pride. As I mentioned earlier, pride was also the sin we see Adam and Eve committing in the Garden of Eden. The serpent appeared to Eve and he told her in Genesis 3, he said, you won't die. God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil. Now this, this appealed to Adam and Eve, right?

This appealed to them both. And we see the same thing in Genesis chapter 11. The people in Babel, they said, come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth. Do you remember when we were reading a couple of weeks ago the story about Noah and the flood and Noah and the ark? Do you remember what the command was that God gave to Noah and his descendants after the flood waters receded and after they got off that boat, being on that boat, 370 some odd days on the boat with all the animals and with each other?

Do you remember what the command was that he gave to them? He said, be fruitful and multiply. And then he said, and fill the earth. And fill the earth.

Don't just stay put in one spot. Fill the earth. This is a big globe and there's not that many of you. And so as you repopulate, remember they had longer lives then and there was no disease like there was today, and so people were able to repopulate at a much quicker pace. He told them, repopulate, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. And so we see the events at Babel, they showed disobedience to the command that the Lord gave to Noah. Instead of filling the earth, they did what? They chose to stay in place, to concentrate in one location, and this was in contradiction to the Lord's command.

They decided to concentrate rather than infiltrate. Next we see that rather than asking God and inviting God to come down into their lives and into their communities, they resolved to build a tower up to God so that at any time they could access him and his power. This is what they believed they were doing. They were going to build this large tower as a ziggurat, one of those pyramids that had steps on it.

You see them in South America and all over the world. But that's what they were building, was this ziggurat, and they believed that on the highest level is where God lived, and they would be able to access him and ultimately replace him. And so rather than inviting God to come down into their lives, they decided to build a tower to go up to God and so they could access him and his power. This is pride, thinking that they could put God in a box, thinking that they could bend God's will to their own.

Commentator Arkant Hughes pointed out, the intent behind building a tower with its top in the heavens was to join or displace God. They actually wanted to take God out of his position, off of his throne, and place themselves there. And so we see they wanted equality with God. They wanted to have the same power, the same authority, the same knowledge, the same privileges, and the same wisdom. Rather than allow God to shape them into his image, they wanted to shape God into their own image.

I think that's the same thing people are doing today, don't you? Taking God and shaping him into their own image. They want to pick and choose the parts of the Bible that they follow.

They want to pick and choose the parts of Jesus' teachings that they think are applicable to them and work and sound good, and other parts they want to reject. You could call that a celestial salad bar, right? Basically, you go through, you pick the things that you want. Oh, this sounds good, this sounds good. No, I don't want anything to do with that.

I don't want any raisins in my salad, that's for sure. You go through all the different things and you choose the parts that you want and reject the parts that you don't want. That's not how it goes.

That's not how it goes. It would be like a person that says, I love the parts about being forgiven. I love the parts about heaven. I love the parts about having eternal life, but the parts about judgment and obedience and adultery and lying and deception and stealing, I don't like those parts so much. I'm going to choose my own destiny, right?

I'm going to be the master of my own fate. We want the blessings of God without the responsibility to God. We want the blessings of God without the obedience to God.

After we read about Noah in Genesis 6 to 9, the main point we learned is that obedience to God always brings great blessing. It always brings sensational blessing, sensational referring to the five senses, things that you can hear, smell, taste, touch, and feel. The blessings of God are not just a chill down your spine or a tingly feeling. Hey, those are nice when you feel the Lord's presence and you're studying scripture, but you know what I like better? I like the blessings that are tangible, that other people can see. Yeah, you know what? I saw God answer your prayer.

That's amazing. Hey, it's important how we feel, but it's more important how we act. And so we see that the blessings of God are always the result of obedience to Him. The blessings from Him are tangible.

They are experiential. But what happens when we pursue the gifts of God, the blessings of God, the prosperity that God offers without the relationship with God, we're missing out on the best thing. When you pursue prosperity, when you pursue spirituality, when you pursue knowledge and wisdom, and these things without God, you are missing out on the greatest blessing, the greatest gift of all, which is a relationship with God.

That's the greatest blessing of all. And so that brings us to point number two, divine intervention, divine intervention. Verse five, But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. It's interesting, our text in Genesis 11 verses one to nine create a perfectly balanced story where the first four verses are mirrored by the last four verses.

It's a direct exact mirror image of the first half. The first four record what man does, man's pride, right? Verse five is the hinge, which is where it begins to reverse, and the last four verses record how God responds. And so verse one correlates with verse nine, verse two with verse eight, and so forth. Look it up in your Bible.

We don't have time to go through each part, but it's really interesting. And verse five, again, is the hinge where it begins to reverse. But the Lord, it says, But the Lord came down and saw what the men were doing. And I love the reminder that it brings. But the Lord. I think Proverbs 16, nine summarizes it well. A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

You could say it was a but God moment, right? I can't tell you how many stories there are that I have heard, how many testimonies I've had told to me, how many miracles I've seen that all follow this same structure. I once was lost, but now I'm found. This was bad, but now it's good. I was ill, now I'm healthy. I was lost, but now I'm found. I was broken, but now I'm whole.

I was dejected, now I'm thankful. And what was it that changed that? But God. God intervened. God introduced himself. You came into a relationship with the Lord, and everything began to change.

But God. My story has a but God moment. My dad's story has a but God moment. A young man from a broken dysfunctional alcoholic abusive home looking for answers in drugs, alcohol, mysticism, heading for absolute spiritual, emotional, and physical destruction. On page 17, God intervened, and he heard the message of the gospel on his high school campus, and he put his faith in Jesus Christ.

And what happened? He became a man made whole. He became a man used by God, forgiven, delivered, leading with integrity, physically, mentally, and spiritually strengthened, living as a father and husband he never had or is able to observe.

That is a picture of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. All of our stories have a but God moment. It's the story of every believer. I once was lost, but God introduced himself.

I met God, and then my life changed. Listen, I want to tell you if he can do it for me, he can do it for you as well. So back to our text. God intervenes, and he puts these babblers back on track. So first, number one, we see man's pride. Secondly, we see divine intervention. And now number three, we're going to see God's response, his discipline.

Number three, God's discipline. In Job chapter 5, we read, Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects. Therefore, do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. That's how I would define those last four verses. The very thing the people of Babel were trying to avoid and keep from happening happened, right?

They wanted to unite and build a name for themselves, but God confused their language and scattered them abroad. Now, if you're unfamiliar with the Bible, it could seem at face value that God is harsh in this judgment, that he's maybe even insecure. God can't handle somebody building a tall tower.

Don't we have tall towers today, Jonathan? Well, it's important that we interpret the Bible through the lens of the Bible, right? We look at the Bible and we interpret it through the Bible.

This is why context is so important. Remember earlier, we established God, established what God is and who he is. We established that he is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-present. But we also see that God is patient, he is loving, he is wise. And that is the context that he makes these decisions with. So because God is patient, because God is loving, and because God is wise, he responded the way that he did. And so how was God's action here loving or wise or patient?

To go and stop them in their tracks, to confuse their language, and to disperse them across the face of the earth? Now, that is the question we ought to be reading our Bibles with, not how do I feel this portrays God? How does this make me feel when I read this thing? It seems a little bit archaic and insensitive and just old-fashioned. This doesn't seem relevant today.

It certainly doesn't fit up with the standards that, you know, the country is trying to put forward. Okay, fair enough, that's fine. I, too, read things in the Bible that I'm not always sure how to respond to or interpret. But as students of the Bible, we are called to rightly divide the word of truth, to study and show ourselves approved unto God. And so what do we do when we come to something we disagree with in the Bible? Well, first of all, we should change our minds, because God is right and we are wrong, okay?

I hope we've established that pretty clearly at this point. But what we should do is remember the character and nature of God. As we come to things we disagree, remember the character and remember the nature of God. Therefore, God responded to the men and women in Babel and their feeble and wicked attempts at making themselves gods by confusing their language and scattering them abroad. That's what he did.

Why? It was not because he's insecure, not because he's vindictive, it was because he loves us. He actually did this because he loves us. Because if we play this out, what we see is that the people of Babel, if they were left unchecked, they would have continued to build upon a delusion of self-sufficiency based on the lie that Eve had been told in the Garden of Eden, leading them to a worser fate which would have been separation from him. Destruction, hell, that was ultimately where they were going to head. The people who built this tower, they were a broken people. They were a broken people. They feared being scattered and they knowingly and willingly disobeyed God. They attempted to confront God and become co-equal with him by building a tower up to him so they could create a name for themselves that would carry reputation and strike fear into anyone surrounding them. But what needed to happen was instead of elevating themselves, they needed to humble themselves. Instead of striving to make a great name for themselves, they needed to submit and pursue God and his great name.

We are not that different today. The mentality we see in Genesis 3 and Genesis 11 is not that different from what we are seeing today, and we need to be careful because it can reemerge in our own hearts. We want to be our own gods. We want to be the ones that are completely making every decision to dictate our lives. God has given us a free will, but he wants us to choose him because when we follow him, that is where the greatest blessing, the greatest fulfillment, and the greatest path for our lives is going to come. Our flesh, our sinful nature, tells us to do the exact same thing as these people.

It tells us, hey, don't depend on the Lord for anything. Take matters into your own hands. You need to be completely self-sufficient.

You don't need to pray. You need to make more money. That's the answer. That's going to be able to solve all of your problems. More knowledge, that's going to take care of it as well.

Make bigger networks, connect with more people, have more fame, have more recognition. Listen, this is what our flesh desires, but this is not our greatest need. Our greatest need is a relationship with God.

And so let's look at the mindset we ought to have. We read in Philippians chapter 2. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. And so what do we see Jesus did with his co-equal status and authority? Did he displace God and start making all the decisions he wanted to do?

No. We see that he made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in the appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God has also highly exalted him and given him the name, which is above every name. What did the people in Babel want?

They wanted a name. Well, that name was given to Jesus, and it's the name above every other name. And at that name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of those in heaven and of those in earth and of those under earth. And every tongue should confess, every language should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. The people of Babel wanted to elevate themselves to be an equal with God, and yet we see Jesus, who is equal with God, humble himself to the point of death on the cross.

The people of Babel wanted the fame. They wanted the recognition that God had, and his power carried. Well, we see Jesus had that power, and he had that recognition, and he had that authority, and what did he do?

He made himself of no reputation, and he took on the form of a slave. Jesus said, the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many. The people of Babel wanted to go up to heaven to make a name for themselves. Well, Jesus, the Son of God, came down from heaven and has been given a name by God, which is above every name, that every knee should bow and every tongue should confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord. What the people of Babel were seeking after and hungriest for was not equality with God, was not power, was not recognition. It was the very thing that they were rebelling against, which was obedience to God and his will. Then and today, the message is the same. It's the same message for all of eternity. We must deny our flesh with its pride and God-defying tendencies if there is to be any hope. Every so often, the old Jonathan kicks in, and he bubbles up, oh, I want to do this.

This is where I want to go. What about this? Oh, just burn it all and see what happens. And that's where you're like, whoa, that's a little bit insightful. This is where you need to make sure that you are feeding your spirit and not your flesh. The Bible tells us that we have a war going on inside of us. We have our sinful nature, and we have our spiritual nature. Whatever nature you sow to the most, you feed the most, that is going to be the nature that wins. And so when you sow to the flesh, you reap the flesh and the whirlwind. The sins that you commit, you pay the consequences for. But when you sow to the spirit and you follow God and you seek after the fruits of the spirit, man, that's where the blessing is.

That's where you're going to be stoked. That's where you're going to have the fulfillment in this life that you've been looking for. As much as anyone may tell you that political philosophy or the economic theories or the technology and psychology and religion all merge together, right? You follow these things, and it seems more and more like all of these things, science, technology, politics, everything is being merged together into some kind of super religion, right? This could be an early predecessor of the one-world religion that we'll see in the end times.

But as much as someone may tell you it's those things and all of those things merge together to form some elevating version of the Tower of Babel may be the answer, the reality is it will never offer the security or the strength that you look for. You will never climb to heaven. The reality is we must abandon chasing after a name and instead pursue our identity in the name, the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Instead of trying to earn our way to heaven or climb up to heaven, we must look at the one who came down from heaven as the answer to all of our problems in this life, and that is Jesus Christ. So in God's judgment, as we wrap up now, He changed all their languages, He changed their understanding, and as a result, they dispersed into various regions throughout the earth. Mankind began to populate, and they had to disperse and inhabit areas across the globe.

They had to space out. We see the redemption talking about that mirror story. We see so much in the New Testament is a fulfillment of the things that happened in the Old Testament, and so we see the fulfillment of Pentecost.

Excuse me, I gave it away. We see the fulfillment of Babel 50 days after the resurrection, which is called the day of Pentecost. This is the day that the Holy Spirit came upon the church like the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and it filled everyone who was in the room, all the followers of Jesus who were patiently awaiting. Jesus said, do not leave Jerusalem until the promise I have for you has come upon you. It's going to be the Holy Spirit, and so they were patiently awaiting.

Fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, shortly after Jesus had ascended to heaven, they were patiently awaiting what God's promise was in Jerusalem, and what happened is the Holy Spirit came upon them. It gave them utterance to speak in every known language. You see, in Babel, God divided humanity at the tower.

He dispersed them. He gave them all the languages. But what do we see at Pentecost? We see that Christ united humanity through His sacrifice, and He brought all of those languages together, and now we are no longer defined by what language we may speak or what country we may become from or what skin color we might have or whatever it might be. We are now defined by a new name, a new status, our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are called Christian.

That is the name that we have been given. So all of us today, we have rebellious hearts, and so we must keep them in check and submit to God. This is a lifelong process. Every time you think you've got things under control, oh, there's a new area I need to commit to the Lord.

Oh, every time that you think that you're good and you've gotten past this thing, it bubbles back up. That is why we perpetually need to be asking God for His Holy Spirit, for His help, and for His insight on things into our lives. We think we know what is good, but God probes and sees what is truly good in our lives. Amen? Amen. And so, Lord, we thank You that You have given us Your word. We thank You that we have Your Holy Spirit. And, Lord, we thank You that we have Your Son, Jesus, and we are called by His name. And we are even told in Scripture, Lord, that we are heirs to the throne. We know that Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and He will forever sit on that throne. But positionally, we are viewed as heirs.

God, that is mind-blowing. I don't think we'll ever fully understand just how much that means until we get to heaven. Lord, we can't get to heaven on our own. We can't do these things on our own. As we see the men and women in Babel building this tower, trying to get up to You, to displace You, and put themselves in that position, Lord, today we think we've advanced so much, but the reality is our heart is the same. We want what we want. We want what the flesh desires.

And, Lord, it's so often in complete contradiction to what You want for us. You're a good Father. You're trustworthy. You're loving. You're humble.

You're generous. You're patient with us, Lord. And, Father, we just know that there's things in our lives that are not in alignment with You. And so, Lord, we confess our need for You. We confess our weakness.

We confess our sinful nature, that it's taking up too much of our lives than we want it to. And so, Lord, we ask for Your involvement. We ask for You, again, to come down from heaven, to give us Your Holy Spirit, to see these things so that we can be more like You. And we could carry that family name. We could have that family resemblance with Jesus.

That's who we want to be like. And so, Lord, we thank You. We thank You for that hope of heaven that we have and the hope of a fulfilled life here on earth.

As our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed and we're praying, I know there may be some here today who haven't yet put their faith in Christ. And you've been chasing after the things that this world offers. You've built up your own Tower of Babel where you feel like you've kind of gotten to some level of achievement. You've become self-sufficient. You don't need the Lord. You make enough money. You can buy the best doctors.

You can buy the best clothes and the best food. And what do I need to call upon God for? Well, friend, what you are missing out on is the greatest need of all, which is a relationship with Him and the forgiveness of your sins. And so if you're here today and you haven't called out upon the name of Jesus yet and put your faith in Him and had your sin forgiven, I want to extend to you an invitation, an invitation where you ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and you accept Him as your Lord and Savior.

And He removes your sin, but not only your sin, your burden of guilt and shame as well. If you'd like to do that today, I would invite you, wherever you're watching, whatever campus you're joining from, here at Harvest Orange County, Harvest Riverside, watching Harvest online over on the island of Maui, watching this on YouTube at a later date, driving down the street in your car, wherever, listen, you can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. Today is the day of salvation, the Bible tells us. And so pray this prayer, wherever you are, pray this now, out loud after me, pray this. Dear God, I know I'm a sinner, but I know Jesus is the Savior who died on the cross for my sin. And I turn from that sin now and I turn to You from this moment forward. I turn from my rebellion and I turn from my sinful ways and I follow You from this moment forward.

Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me to see things the way that You see them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Amen. God bless you that prayed that prayer just now. God bless you.

Amazing. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to Harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to Harvest.org and click on Know God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-18 04:22:15 / 2024-02-18 04:42:02 / 20

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