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The Gospel Call to a Life of Purpose

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
May 30, 2022 2:00 am

The Gospel Call to a Life of Purpose

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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We'll be in the book of Genesis this evening, Genesis chapter number one. Thank you for the opportunity to be able to speak from the Word of God here tonight. I'll say a few things before we begin.

It may oftentimes be that when we have conversations I may refer to myself jokingly as the fourth stringer or the low man on the totem pole here. And while that may be accurate and true, I do believe that the privilege that God has given me to minister to your children and grandchildren is the greatest honor that I have had in my life for they will soon be the leaders and mothers and fathers of Beacon in the future. And we're thankful for your children and their love for the scriptures and for the privilege of investing in them.

With that being said, we are almost in the month of June and we will be beginning our series on taboo topics addressing some very interesting topics. And with June having having a quite an interesting month of celebration or festivities with our with the world around us, I wanted to order a little catechism and read through that and see if it was worth recommending. And so I read through this this morning before we came here, the new reformation catechism on human sexuality and would like to recommend that you parents or grandparents would look at investing in that in your Children. It would aid in giving them a scriptural worldview when it comes to the issue of sexuality and allowing them to examine a lot of the perversions that they will witness celebrated here in the next few weeks. And that is the goal is to equip them to have a strong Christian worldview and analysis of what is going on around them. With that being said, we will be in the book of Genesis here for just a little while this evening, Genesis chapter number one and I'll highlight primarily passages one verse 26 down through verse number 28. I will read this one more time just so it's fresh in our mind.

Hear the words of a true and living God. Then 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 and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So God created man in his own image. In the in the image of God, he created them male and female. He created them. Then God blessed them and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Genesis Chapter two verse number five reads this before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown.

For the Lord God did not cause it to rain on the earth and there was no man to till the ground. The average member of the workforce, which would be most of us, will spend around 90,000 hours of their lives working. Several studies internationally have shown shown that between 35 to 40% of people feel as though what they do, the work that they have dedicated their lives to is pointless. With the heightening of our cultures disdain for work and even more aggressive hatred for that position that may be most gloriously called a stay at home mom, it is quite easy to find yourself sucked into that same discouraged mindset.

And this poses quite an issue for us, doesn't it? How could you and I possibly find encouragement if 90,000 hours of our existence is pointless and even more so, how is there any encouragement for the stay at home wife or mother whose entire life is devoted to the work of keeping her home? The Westminster shorter catechism questions one and two asked this, What is the chief end of man? And the response is man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

Question two. What rule have God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him? Answer the word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us and how we may glorify and enjoy him. So since we are to glorify God and enjoy God, what do the scriptures say about this topic that will consume such a vast majority of your life upon this earth? The question I hope for us to explore and to answer today is, is the work I do or better yet, is the life that I live pointless? For a few moments this evening, I want to speak on the subject of how the gospel calls us to a life of daily purpose, and we will do that as we look in the book of Genesis and highlight the call of God for mankind to take dominion of the world for his glory.

Now, that's not necessarily a word that we use very often, and there are some who have perverted that word to mean something differently than it does. And so for us tonight, I want to highlight three things, and beginning with point number one is dominion defined. Point two will be dominion disoriented, and point three will be dominion delivered.

It may be understood this way. When I am going through my work week or when I am living my life and a tidal wave of emotion approaches me and tells me that the life that I live in the work I do is pointless, I may first realize that God has called me to a life of working and cultivating for his glory. However, in our fallen estate, the work that I do, unless I be regenerate and a son of God, it is pointless and for selfish reasoning. So I must look to Christ, who has restored me as a son and as a king to go forward and to cultivate the earth for the glory of my most precious redeemer.

So let's go ahead and look here this evening as we approach number one. Dominion defined. Dominion may be defined as one who cultivates where God has placed you for his glory. Genesis Chapter one, verse 26 says this. God said, Let us make man in our own image according to our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of our let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over the cattle, over all 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 them him male and female. He created them. Then God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.

Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth. In Genesis, we see that man is ordered to do the work of tilling the ground. This is what we find as we read Genesis Chapter two verse five. As God has not yet allowed the flourishing of herbs and plants because some translation may read in Genesis two five, there was not a man to till the ground. This assignment of cultivating the earth, which is an interesting thing. Cultivation has the word cult within it, and cold is a word that is associated or defined as worship. As Adam is called to cultivate the earth, we find that as Genesis accounts and as early human civilization plays out that there is an agricultural culture cultivation.

There are communities, there are cultures forming around the work of man. As a matter of fact, as we look in the fall of man, we noticed that Satan, that serpent is cursed. Well, serpent slither. We find that the wife she is cursed as a as a wife and as a birth giver.

But that is what her intention is. And we find that Adam, whose life gift and whose calling is to cultivate the earth. However, every aspect of these beings reality is cursed by sin. This term that we find here of cultivation may seem as though it is just digging in the ground to plant some beans or some peace, but it is far more significant than that. What God is calling them to do, what God is calling us to do is to worship carefully work harnessing the potential of the earth for the glory of God.

It's our hurts. He is an Old Testament scholar said, So do the earth in Genesis 1 28 refers to the general acquisition or dominion of property by which mankind engages in the mastering, appropriating and transforming the earth and its products for human purposes. Because of this, we are called to work productively where God has placed us. Genesis 2 5 seems to place emphasis on there being no man to till the ground. This is interesting because God doesn't bring us his.

He doesn't bring his creation to a close until he has placed mankind there for the purpose within mentioned. So what does this mean for you and I? Well, the attitude of the world today is to hate work. We find that there has been a growing incentivization of the rejection of work.

If you love it, you're quite an oddity today. The reality is that as believers, we are the only ones who can have a good and godly view of work because we have a creator who has sanctified and blessed work. God has you where you are doing what you're doing for a purpose, and he has called you to strive to do your best to make contributions to grow and to learn for his glory.

So Dad, who is doing backbreaking work in the hot summer sun or mom who is going nuts with a house full of kids who need bathing and they're grumpy because they haven't had their nap and you're overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks before you tomorrow, you both can and will honor Christ by the power of the Spirit in the work that you do. But how? We have found dominion defined as cultivating where God has placed you for his purpose.

But how? We work as faithful representatives of the God who has made us in his likeness. As we look through the scriptures, we notice that he says that he creates fish in accordance to their likeness, and cattle in accordance to their likeness, and the birds in accordance to their likeness, but man he is creating in accordance to his likeness. See, our actions in this world and dominion over it should serve the purpose of the one who has put us here. It should be in obedience to the rules and guidelines of the one who has put us here. So wherever God has placed us, we are to do the task that he has given to the best of our abilities as the Lord's representatives. How are we to represent him? In Genesis 1 we note a few things about the character of God that would be perfectly applicable to our lives. We should work with wisdom, we should work with care, we should work with authority, we should work within community.

I want to focus on those first two for just a moment that we are to work with wisdom. We are to work with wisdom as we look in Genesis 1 you will notice that God creates and he names. He creates and he names and he does this repetitively until he looks at Adam and notices Adam in his lonely estate. And what God does is he brings creatures before Adam and he has Adam name these creatures. This is a demonstration of Adam's wisdom in obedience and in representation of God and his wisdom and power. So as we go forward in this world there is no way that Adam could work with birds and with fishes and with tigers and with snakes and slugs or whatever there may be in an ignorant manner. He had to have wisdom in the work that he did. He had to have wisdom in the place that God has placed them. And so you and I must learn how the world operates.

It would be a scary thing to have a surgeon who is telling you that they have never once practiced nor studied the operation that they are about to perform upon you. And as God has called us to go forward into this world and has assigned us with different vocations as Providence would allow, he has called you to be the best at what you can be. For the glory of Christ, for the glory of God who has placed you here and has made you a representation to the world of his glory and of his character, that is what we are to do. We are to work with wisdom and we are to work with care. Robert Chisholm says that the word subdue applies to cultivation like farming. It applies to domestication like shepherding. It applies even to mining.

It is making use of all economic and cultural potential associated with the concept of the land. This doesn't give us the authority to destroy the earth or to rule it harshly. See, God opens up in his law that we are to allow the land to rest every seven years.

But we have seen that men do the opposite today and we have farmland so hard that vegetables and fruits are losing their nutritional values, animals are entirely going extinct, and the responsibility of that falls upon us. This is not the result of politicians but of men not laboring for the glory of the Lord. We have indeed taken what God has called us to do and in our fallen estate abandoned work and have used it for sinful purposes. And we will see this addressed in point two as we not only see dominion defined but we see dominion disoriented. We see it disoriented in the corruption of fallen man. In the garden, God has placed Adam there as a prophet, as a priest, and as a king. And he fails to perform his duty and he falls into sin against God and now he is under the dominion of sin according to Romans chapter 6 verses 8 through 14.

So what does that mean? Well, man continues his work of dominion after the fall. We notice that, right? We notice men like Cain as he is banished away in the rise of Lament as they begin to build this godless empire. What we notice here is that men do continue to work but they are working for the wrong purposes.

This is what Augusta would call libido dominitar. It is the lust for rule. Instead of godly work, mankind now uses dominion over the earth in an ungodly way for their own purposes instead of the purposes of the one who has put them here. We find that in Cain.

Cain acted as his father Adam did by exercising rebellious independence against God believing that he would worship God according to his own terms and what and what does he do in anger over the fact that God doesn't accept his worship? He exercises dominion over one person he has not been granted authority over and that is other men and he slays his own brother. Now we are given dominion over all of creation. The two things we are not granted dominion over is God and our brother and what we find in the rebellious act of man and Adam is dominion over God or attempt to express that and the attempt of dominion over man. After Cain's banishment he goes on to exercise dominion by being fruitful multiplying building cities and more in Genesis 4. Yet we notice his grandson Lamech coming along and he decides he's going to pervert marriage and he is going to have all of these children to scatter the world with his image bearers to build his own kingdom. Did we see how this is working how God has given us this glorious deed of work and now in sin we have taken what is good and we are using it for that which is bad. We see this today don't we? The attempt of man to take dominion over that which we are not called to do and not doing it in the way that God has called us to do as we find men violating women for self pleasure or women destroying their own children for the sake of convenience. We see it in the workforce as well as those who everyone especially in the south has all of their businesses stapled as a Christian business yet they have far forsaken Christian values in their work ethic and in the way that they work with those around them. This is dominion disoriented and in the midst of all of this rebellion the rebellion of Adam the rebellious act of man in the midst of all of this sin we wonder to ourselves if work has become so tainted with sin is it forever lost is there any way that the work I can do will glorify God in the midst of a of the Edenic scene of the fall of man God as he is delivering forth judgment makes this most glorious statement as he looks upon man there is signs of grace as he says and I will put entity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed he shall bruise your head you shall bruise his heel and this leads us to Dominion delivered as we behold the absolute dominion of Christ in Matthew chapter 28 verse 18 the Scriptures read and Jesus came and spoke to them saying all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth and in Ephesians chapter 1 verse 19 through 23 we read what is the exceeding greatness of his power towards us who believe according to the working of his mighty power which he worked in Christ and he raised it when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places far above all principality and power and might and Dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in that which is to come and he put all things under his feet and gave him to be head over all things to the church which is his body the fullness of him who feels all in all in the gospel we see the promised Messiah has come ending the dominion of sin that reigns upon his people he is delivering us from the captivity that has so dastardly ensnared us Adam was the Prophet he was priest and King and he failed in guarding the temple of God went on earth which was Eden where he was supposed to minister as a priest where he is to defend the holy sanctity of Eden he is abandoning his role as prophet where he is silent in declaring the Word of God as Satan tempts and he is forsaken his place as king where he was to kill that serpent and to cultivate the Garden of God for God's glory but where Adam has fallen Christ our most perfect Adam is not the Lord comes declaring the gospel as the faithful prophet he comes fulfilling the totality of the law as our faithful priest he comes conquering all things in all kingdoms taking all power in heaven and on earth as he rises from the dead we have more in Christ than we ever lost in Christ is presently seated at the right hand of the Father this very minute and as Psalm 110 tells us he will reign making all of his enemies the footstool now this is an absolute dominion over all things not merely the spiritual realm this vision 612 says for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers against the rulers of the darknesses of this age against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places and Christ is claimed to have absolute rule not only in the heavenlies but over all things as well what is it that these dark forces are using upon the earth today it is not that you and I go and witness to walls and empty forests we go forth and preach them to wicked rebels to those who are enemies of the gospel of grace in hopes that Christ as he is conquering would turn their hearts from stone to flesh and bring them underneath his dominion as we look upon the wicked atrocities and agendas that come from their mind and our Lord the Great King who has dominion over all will conquer them all I want to quickly give you two points as to how he is currently reigning we find the Dominion mandate that is set forth in Genesis that is now perverted in the fall of man and Christ has come and he has now given us the mandate redefined and that is engine in Matthew chapter 28 verse 18 through 20 Jesus came and spoke to them saying all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo I am with you always even to the end of the age Christ being the one reigning with all power has sent forth his gospel and he will draw unfailingly his people to himself and how is he doing that how was he conquering the world it is not through the schemes of man it is not through the wisdom of those who are publishing their own ideas for the conquering of the church the way that Christ is taking Dominion is there was preaching the gospel he is working through us and putting the world beneath his footstool how is he doing that through the church Ephesians chapter 1 verse 20 through 23 tells us of the unlimited scope of his reign but we also see the inseparable condition of Christ from his body the church he is sending forth you and me his people to cultivate the world spiritually not through our power not through our clever devices or our schemes but through his gospel which will be successful I've said it once I will say it again when we preach the gospel we have a 100% success rate his word will not return void and as we preach the word as he has called us to do it he brings forth the harvest and he is raining now it has been redefined and as he saves his elect as he is moving forward and as he has been pleased to bring all of us under his reign as he has been pleased to wrap us all in his arms as his most beloved as he has been pleased to regenerate our minds what is the effect what is the change that occurs in the life of a man who has been placed within the Lordship of the gospel Jesus Christ it is that man's conduct has been reoriented man's conduct has been rewarded for us to separate the intertwined effects of the spiritual and physical would be Gnostic and there is a great gospel heresy that is going around that you can come to Christ merely as Savior but you can reject him as a Lord until later on this is heresy for us to separate the effects of the spiritual reality of our new birth and how it plays out through our life would be Gnostic so as Christ saves us he changes how we see the world he changes our desires he changes our affections it is hard for us to pass from death and the life and there to be no change within us isn't it and as he has been pleased to call us from the grave to bring us from death and the life by the work of his regenerating grace as he has been pleased to do that there is a change there is a change not merely upon the outs are the inside but it pours through all of us the word that we preach does not merely enter in through our ears and lodge in our brains but it oozes from our pores it goes forth from our fingertips we are a transformed people and as we have been given the call as kings to cultivate the earth we have fallen but what we have lost in Adam Christ has came and restored and as we are a restored people we are a people who live in light of that restoration remember the lost man takes dominion but he does it for his own rules and for his own glory but you and I who know that we have in place here as representatives of God Vice Jaren's we may now go forward to every sphere of life and work for the glory of God 1st Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31 reads therefore whether you eat or drink or whatever you do do all to the glory of God so as the sweat beads on your brow and as a tidal wave of emotion screaming to you that you live a pointless life and work a pointless job there's 90,000 hours are ticking by look to Christ and behold his glory look to Christ and behold the promised one who has bought you do you might now be a priesthood of believers do you might now be kings and submission to the king that you might go forward and they offer up your very life as an offering unto his praise Romans 12 1 through 2 so how does this apply to you and how does this apply to me this was a passage this was the thing this was a truth that had great effects on me I grew up believing that indeed if any man loves Christ he should surely give his heart and his life and his his abilities to the mission field or to the pastorate and indeed it would be a horrible thing for you to believe that since you're a graphic designer or since you work at a hospital or since you're a stay-at-home mother that you will never be committed to a life of glorifying Christ from the work you do because you have not committed it to the ministry that would be a horrid thing that the 90,000 hours or plus if you're a stay-at-home mother are ticking by wastefully and God is not glorified that would be a greatly depressing thing wouldn't it but you can glorify God in the work that you do because we are a new people and the way that we view the world has been changed by the gospel of grace we are new creatures in Christ and the reality of his new birth oozes forth from our very fingertips as we put them to the plow before us this work week since God has placed us here to work for his glory that means that everything that is not inherently sinful now let me repeat that one more time since God has placed us here for his glory that means that everything that is not inherently sinful can be an avenue to cultivate for the glory of God that means that those those nice meals mom or grandmother that you make for your spouse for your children and your grandchildren they have meaning as you call in those children from outside that are so rambunctious you had to shove them out of the house for a little while and you beckon them in to come and gather around the table that they might be prayed over and that they may see the provisions of God and their godly mother and father and the work they do you have purpose in that as you show hospitality and inviting those who are in the church to come and fellowship with you on Sunday there is great purpose in that and God is glorified that means that you who would work or whatever you may do the blankets you make the wood that you work with the guards that you tent you have purpose think of it this way in the middle of South Carolina there is somewhere right now some flowers that are that are blooming that will die and no man will have ever seen them but what purpose have they served indeed they have bloomed and died and washed away for the glory of God and as God has sent you and I forth to cultivate wherever he has put you and I we do that work for his glory we do it for his honor it means that the finals I know that I have a few of you who have not finished up your school year yet it means that the finals that you are studying so hard for the sports that you have practiced so hard to play the chores that you do they have purpose in Christ is glorified as you do them as unto submission unto the Lord it means that since you and I have been called forth to cultivate this world but in sin we have fallen from doing it well but now as Christ and grace has made us new creatures we may do all things for his glory and he may be pleased from the meals that you make from the woodwork that you do from the finals that you have studied so hard for beloved what you do matters because it glorifies God dear Heavenly Father I thank you for your mercy for your grace to us indeed if you were pleased in our rebellion to allow us to go forward to do nothing more than cultivate a world that is wicked and purposeless and does not glorify you we would be a miserable lot stuck in the hamster race or the rat will until we fall off into eternity but you in Christ have come and you have come to deliver us from disorientation of Dominion and you have called us forth to go and have a life of purpose a life of managing our business as well of loving our families well of cooking meals and building things well for the glory of God let us put our hands to those things and let us do them well Lord let us not be discouraged with the 90,000 hours that stand before us and believe as though they have no eternal purpose indeed I pray that we would go forward tomorrow and approach our work weeks on Tuesday and approach our work week with a heart committed to doing all things well for the glory of Christ there's what you have placed us here for we pray that we would do it well by the might of your spirit Lord I love this your church and I pray that the scriptures would do a great work within our hearts this day it is in Christ's name I pray
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-09 20:28:20 / 2023-04-09 20:39:26 / 11

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