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God's Purpose for Us | Understanding God's Plan for Mankind

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2024 3:00 am

God's Purpose for Us | Understanding God's Plan for Mankind

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 10, 2024 3:00 am

God’s plan for creation and His plan for mankind, included His plan for man’s redemption. Even before the heavens and the earth were created, He knew man’s freewill would lead him astray. . . and He had a solution before we even tasted of the forbidden fruit. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie digs into God’s plan as revealed in Genesis. To understand something best, we need to take it from the top—chapter 1, verse 1 of book #1 in God’s Word.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org If God created the heavens and the earth, then I think He's more than adequate to meet your needs, whatever they may be. God's plan for creation and His plan for mankind included His plan for man's redemption. Even before the heavens and the earth were created, He knew man's free will would lead him astray, and He had a solution before we even tasted of the forbidden fruit. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie digs into God's plan as revealed in Genesis.

To understand something best, we need to take it from the top. Chapter 1, verse 1 of Book 1 in God's Word. The word Genesis means beginning. It's the beginning or creation of something.

It's starting point. In Genesis, we find the greatest story ever told. The story of Jesus. In Genesis chapter 3, we have the first Messianic prophecy. The first verse that speaks of a coming Savior that will arrive on our planet.

The Bible says Christ was crucified from the foundation of the world. That simply means that God knew man would blow it. God knew that Adam and Eve would eat of their forbidden fruit.

By the way, if you were in the garden, you would have done the same thing. God knew that we would sin and God made a provision for our sin. But the book of Genesis tells us the big story. But here's the thing that we want to start with. Point number 1. The book of Genesis begins with God.

So if you're taking notes, there's point number 1. The book of Genesis begins with God with this simple verse. Genesis 1, 1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Let's repeat this together. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. How many of you believe that verse?

Raise your hand up. If you believe that verse, it changes everything. If you believe that verse, you'll have no problem with the miracles of the Bible like the virgin birth of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead.

You'll have no problem with Jesus walking on water or raising others from the grave as well. Because it all comes back to, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And if this is true, and I believe it is, and it sounds like you believe it's true as well, if God created the heavens and the earth, then I think he's more than adequate to meet your needs, whatever they may be. Genesis is the ground floor and the foundation of the entire Bible. Without the book of Genesis, the Bible would be incomprehensible. The book of Genesis gives vital information concerning the origin of all things and therefore the meaning of all things. So who wrote the book of Genesis?

Well, short answer, God did. But God gave it to Moses. And Jesus himself attested to the fact that Moses is the author of Genesis. And not only did Moses write Genesis, he also wrote Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy at around 1450 B.C.

So think about this for a moment. On Christmas Eve 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders orbited the moon on Apollo 8. And they became aware of the presence of God in outer space.

And they publicly read the first 10 verses of Genesis chapter 1 to a listening world. I've had the privilege of meeting two astronauts personally. And I have to tell you, I'm very impressed by astronauts. The first one I met was John Glenn. And of all places I met him in a department store in England. And I was there waiting for my wife who was shopping. And John was waiting for his wife too.

And he's a very tall gentleman. And I walked up to him and said, excuse me, are you John Glenn? And he said yes. And we had a nice discussion.

And we talked for a while because our wives were shopping as I said. So that was the first astronaut I met. And when you stop and think about that space capsule that John orbited the earth in called Friendship 7, that's such an amazing feat.

The size of that thing. It was like a tin can floating through space. Well the second astronaut I had the privilege of meeting was James Irwin who was on Apollo 15. And he walked on the surface of the moon.

I was very impressed to meet a person who walked on the surface of the moon. And he told me that when he was there he sensed the presence of God. He wrote that he looked out into the inky blackness and saw earth like a blue marble suspended in space. It was overwhelmed with God's presence.

I love that. You know the psalmist says if I go to the depths of the ocean you're there. If I go to the heights of the heaven you're there.

I guess that includes the surface of the moon as well. So let's read now those verses that the astronauts read in space to a listening world. Genesis 1 one from the New King James Version. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over 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.

So the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said let there be a firmament or a space in the midst of the waters and divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament and divided the waters which are under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament heaven. And so the evening and morning were the second day. Then God said let the waters under the heaven be gathered together in one place and let the dry land appear. And it was so. And God called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters he called seas. And God saw that it was good.

So here's point number two. God is triune. That is three in one. One being eternally existing and three persons.

Let me say that again. God is triune. Meaning three in one. Eternally existing and three persons. In fact we see the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit at work in the creation of all things. In Genesis 3 22 we read God saying behold man has become one of us. In Genesis 11 six God says let us go down. And in Genesis 1 26 we read God says let us make man.

Wait a second. Who's God talking to? Is this a conversation with angels?

No. Because we're not made in the image of angels. We're made in the image of God. This is a conversation among the members of the Trinity. Each member of the Trinity exists simultaneously yet each one is distinct yet perfectly united.

Number three. God is the creator of all things. Again Genesis 1 one. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The word therefore created in the Hebrew is bara which means to make something out of nothing. Only God can create. Only God can call into existence that which has no existence.

Now if I eliminate God I have a big problem. In the beginning a mass of gases. Well where did the mass of gases come from? For that matter where did the space come from?

That's not the beginning. So sooner or later everyone gets around to asking the question where did God come from? And there's no easy answer for that because God did not come from anywhere. God has always existed. He is self existent and he has existed from the beginning. In Revelation 1 eight he says I am the first and the last. I am the Lord God Almighty who was who is and who is to come. Well wait I can't understand that.

Well check this out. If God were small enough for your minds he wouldn't be big enough for your needs. God has always existed. We read in verse two the earth was without form and void.

And that's pretty much a description of our lives as well. Before we knew the Lord darkness filled our life. And God said let there be light. And there was light. And God brought order to our chaos. And hope for our hopelessness. And light for our darkness.

Point number four. God created all things in six days. God created all things in six days. So verse five says the evening and the morning were the first day. Now were these thousands of years or literal days. This addresses the old earth new earth theories.

And for me personally I believe they are what they are. Days. Well how could God do all that in a day. Go back to Genesis 1 one. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. With God all things are possible.

That's the answer. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We are learning a number of insights today about God's plan as revealed in the book of Genesis. Pastor Greg continues now.

Number five. Genesis gives a broad stroked painting of creation not a photograph. So in other words the book of Genesis is not a detailed account of creation.

If God wanted to give us a detailed account you could have filled the entire Bible with it. But basically the Lord gives us one page on creation. The focus of Genesis is not to show us how the heavens go as much as it is about how to go to heaven.

Let me say that again. The focus of Genesis and the rest of the Bible for that matter is not to show us how the heavens go as much as it is there to show us how to go to heaven. However that is not to say that the Bible is not reliable scientifically. There are so many things that the Bible said far before the scientists figured it out. It is the Bible that said the stars in the sky are innumerable.

They're like the sands of the sea. And scientists and astronomers scoffed at such a ridiculous statement because they had counted the stars. But then they developed a more powerful telescope and found there were more stars. And they expanded that number and then they expanded it again and now with the Hubble telescope and others we realize there's billions of stars out there as the Bible said. Scientists tell us there are 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone.

Astronomers estimate there are 100 billion galaxies and each galaxy has more than 100 billion stars. And every one of them was made by God. And the Bible not only says that but it says that he has named each star. Why do I bring this up? Because whatever you're facing I think God can handle it.

Right? Think about it. Listen I don't believe in the Bible because science proves it's true. Rather I believe in the science that the Bible proves is true. My source of truth is the scripture.

Number six. God created mankind in his image. He made us in his image. We're not a highly evolved life form.

We're not evolving from animals. We're uniquely created and made by God himself. We are his image bearer.

That's not true of any other created thing. Genesis 1 26. God said let us make man in our image according to our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image.

In the image of God he created him male and female. He created them. Then he blessed them and said be fruitful and multiply.

Fill the earth and subdue it. And have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every living thing that moves on the earth. You know it's interesting to know after each thing that God made he would say it is good. But after he created man he said it is very good.

Genesis 1 31. Humans are uniquely made in God's image as I said. And I don't know what's going on right now but people seem to be more obsessed with animals than any time I can remember. You know what I'm saying? And by the way I'm an animal lover.

But sometimes it's going a little far. You know we have to take the animals everywhere with us now. The animals are in the car. We take the animals into the restaurant.

We push the dogs around in the strollers right. And now people are on planes and they have to have their emotional support animals. They've got their dogs and their cats. But I read that other animals that people have taken on planes.

I'm not making any of these up. Pigs. Ducks. Ponies. A pony. I saw a photograph of a pony in the plane.

Look that plane isn't big enough for the people. Much less with a pony in there. Someone else brought a kangaroo.

No I'm not making it up. It probably came from Australia I suppose. And then people leave their estates to their animals. Designer Karl Lagerfeld left 1.5 million dollars to his cat Chowpet. I wonder what Chowpet spent all that money on. But then there is another person that left 10 million dollars to their pet hen named Gigu. Even another left 10 million dollars to a German Shepherd.

Come on people. Now animals are animals and we have to see them for what they are. But nowadays people treat animals as though they are children. People will say animals are people too. No they aren't. They are animals.

Let's appreciate them for what they are. Jesus would talk about how our Father cares about the animals and the birds in particular. He says He knows about every bird that falls to the ground. He even used birds as an example for us showing us that we don't have to worry. Jesus said look at the birds.

They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns. Yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they are? And then He says can all of your worries add a single moment to your life? Have you ever seen a bird worry? Have you ever seen a bird pop a valium?

I don't think so. God provides for them. But animals don't seek God. Animals don't sit around and wonder about the meaning of life. I don't think your dog lays around and thinks to himself what is the meaning of my life?

And I figure if a dog had a voice it would sound something like that. What is the meaning of my life? I have tried everything this world offers. Chasing cats. Drinking toilet water.

Eating roadkill. Though I did like that a great deal. But my life is so. Dogs don't think that. I know cats don't think that. I think cats think murderous thoughts toward us. But people do think that. From our earliest years we wonder about the meaning of our lives.

And why is that? Because you have been made in the image of God. And the Bible says God has set eternity in our heart. It is like you were pre-wired to know God.

That is why we are that way. So God made all of these creatures. All of this amazing creation. Yesterday Kathy and I took our grandson Christopher up to Pomona for a giant reptile show. And boy there were all kinds of amazing creatures there. Lizards and snakes and little creepy crawly spiders.

Every creeping thing basically was in this place and he ended up getting a little frog. But you know it is amazing to look at God's creation and thank God for that creation. But there is no one higher than the creation of humanity. Pastor Greg Laurie with important truths today from our look at Genesis chapter 1.

And there is more to come as this study continues here on A New Beginning. It is obvious God has a specific plan for mankind. He created us for a purpose. And central to that purpose is that we would come to know him personally. To have a relationship with him.

To have our sins forgiven. Pastor Greg someone can enter into a relationship with God today. Can't they? They can do it right now. And it is an invitation open to everybody.

That is right. The Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. So think of it this way. Maybe you are out in a riptide in the ocean and you can't get your footing and you are in trouble. And you see a lifeguard. Call out for help. And the lifeguard will rescue you.

The same is true spiritually. You are drowning in your sin. You need help. Jesus will save you. He will rescue you. But you must call out to him.

And you know how you do that? You do it in prayer. So let me just lead you in a simple prayer. And you can pray this prayer after me. You can pray it out loud if you like. And this is where you are calling out to Jesus to save you.

Just pray this. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. And I know you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin.

And rose again from the dead. Now Lord, I turn from my sin and I put my faith in you. Be my Savior, my Lord. Be my God and my friend. I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus' name I pray.

Amen. Hey, if you just prayed that prayer, I want you to know that Christ himself has come to live inside of you. And I have a resource I want to send you. It's called the New Believers Bible. So the New Believers Bible is the New Testament in the New Living Translation. With hundreds of notes that I wrote that will encourage you in this commitment you are making to follow Christ. There are some other materials included as well in what we call the New Believers Growth Pack. But let me get this New Believers Bible into your hands as quickly as possible.

Here's Dave to tell you more. Yeah, we'll be glad to send it all your way free of any charge if you've prayed along with Pastor Greg today. Just ask for the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300. You can reach us any time 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or just go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Well, our friend Jim Wallace is with us today. Jay Warner Wallace is an author, a cold case detective, and he's written a brand new book that we're making available called The Truth in True Crime. And Jim, in your book you credit Oliver Wendell Holmes with saying, Learn from the mistakes of others, you can't live long enough to make them all yourself. Which I think is a great line. You say wisdom comes from life experiences and failures, but they don't have to be your own.

And each of the homicide investigations that you explore in this book is an opportunity to learn from the colossal mistakes that led to the tragedies that you investigated. Is that right? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you think about the nature of wisdom, and this is where it all starts. This is a book that's really kind of a wisdom book. But what is the nature of wisdom? A lot of it is more than knowledge, although if you look online and you read the definitions of knowledge and the definition of wisdom, they often sound like they're the same thing.

But if that's the case, why do you need the word wisdom? There must be an objectively grounded moral truth. In other words, could you say there's a wise way to commit a robbery?

Well, you could, I suppose, if you mean there's an effective way to success, but would it be wise to commit a robbery? Well, no, it turns out if you don't have an objective standard for morality, you could never really behave in a truly objectively wise way. You would always be kind of acting in whatever you think is wise. So those four aspects of wisdom I think are important for us to consider. Do I have knowledge?

Do I have experience applying that knowledge? Am I okay with making age-appropriate mistakes? Don't sweat the fact you make mistakes. Just don't make the same kinds of mistakes when you're an old man like me that you should have made when you were in your 20s. Don't say you're an old man because I'm older than you. Just say a man like me. Yes, a mature, seasoned gentleman like ourselves.

I think you're a young man still, Jim. But the point is you have to ground this in something that's objectively moral. That means that as Christians who believe that there is a God who exists and that what we believe is morally virtuous happens to simply be a reflection of his moral, holy nature, that gives us an advantage when it comes to wisdom because we can ground it in an objectively virtuous perspective. So if you wanted to be wise, you'd be wise to read your scripture.

Yeah, that's right. You know, Solomon was known as the wisest man in the world. People would come from around the world to sit at his feet and glean from his wisdom. But then he went on what we could describe as a complete backslide. He sampled everything that this culture has to offer and wrote about it in the book of Ecclesiastes. And after all those mistakes he made and all that time he threw away, he came to this conclusion.

Here's the sum of the matter. Fear God and keep his commandments. In other words, he comes back to the things he always knew were true. So if you want this recipe for better wisdom from Jim Wallace and his new book, The Truth in True Crime, we're going to send a copy to you for your gift of any size. Whatever you can send will be greatly appreciated to help us continue to bring the Word of God to people that need to hear it, especially in the times in which we're living. So this book will be sent your way for your gift of any size, The Truth in True Crime.

Yeah, that's right. And thank you so much for your investment. It's an investment in changing lives. And this book is a great resource to help you share good information with others. We'll send you The Truth in True Crime to thank you for your partnership with us right now. So call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime 24-7. Again, call 1-800-821-3300. Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.

Or go online to Harvest.org. Well, next time, more insights from the book of Genesis and God's plan for you and me. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. In the day, the day when life begins Hey everybody, thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make Him known to others, or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner, just go to Harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-10 05:28:44 / 2024-05-10 05:38:14 / 10

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