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The Gospel Message – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2022 3:00 pm

The Gospel Message – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Here's Ann Graham Lotz. You know, you cannot come to God on your own terms, right? You come to God the way He says, or you don't come.

And He says you must come through a blood sacrifice, not just any blood sacrifice, but the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross. You're listening to Ann Graham Lotz, Bible teacher for this weekly edition of Living in the Light, and her message today from Genesis chapter 5 titled, The Gospel Message. From the metaphor of track and field, Ann reminds us of the baton, which is the gospel message when we are to pass along in this race of life.

Here's Ann with today's message. You know, one of the most exciting events in track and field, I think, is the 4x100 relay race. And I'm going to try to describe it to you without messing it up, but that relay race is only a quarter mile long.

I didn't realize that. I knew they ran it sort of quickly, but then I got some measurements, and it's only about a quarter of a mile long, and it's made up of four segments. And each team has four runners, and each one of those runners runs one of those segments. And when the first runner is in the starting blocks, and when the gun goes off, then that runner just explodes out of the starting blocks, and he's clutching a baton. And he runs his segment of the race, and when he comes to the second runner, the second runner is already in motion, and the first runner passes the baton to the second runner. The second runner grasps the baton. He runs his segment. He comes to the third runner, who's already in motion. He passes a baton to him, and so on, until the races run. So the team that wins the race is not only the team that runs the swiftest, but the team that passes the baton the smoothest. Because if you bobble it, you lose precious seconds.

If you drop it, you're disqualified. So it's an exciting race to watch, and maybe the most exciting of the four by 100 relay races ever in Olympic history took place in 1936 at the Olympics in Berlin. It was at the height of the Nazi Germany era. Adolf Hitler himself presided over the Olympics and over the games.

And so the crowd is filled with Nazis and Germans, and of course there's some people that have come from around the world to watch. And the American team has four runners. From my understanding, and I can't remember, it's the day before or two days before, two of the runners were removed from the race, and the word has it that it's because they were Jewish. And so two other American runners were put on that relay team that had not been practicing with the relay team. One of them was Jesse Owens, and he had already won three gold medals of that Olympics. So this race took place in front of a packed-out stadium with Adolf Hitler presiding over it, filled with hostility. They hated Americans. And after that, of course, Adolf Hitler refused to receive him, even though he greeted all the other gold medal winners. And Jesse said that didn't hurt as much as it did when he came home, and President Roosevelt refused to receive him.

So anyway, he had an incredible career. He died in 1980, but before he died, he gave his life to Christ, as I understand it. So I can't wait to go to heaven and tell Jesse he has my applause. So you and I are in a race of life, aren't we? And we have our segment to run, and we're to pass the baton to the next generation, and it's the baton of truth, but I want to make it more specific than that and present it to you as the baton of the gospel, and that you and I have received the gospel from whoever went before us, whoever passed it to you. We've received the gospel for ourselves, and then we're responsible for passing the baton of the gospel to somebody else, and specifically we'll challenge you to pass it to someone in the next generation. So the baton is the gospel, and I want to take you back to the starting blocks, okay? I want to take you back to the very beginning of this race, and if you'll turn in your Bibles to Genesis chapter five, I want to go back and just refresh you as to what's taken place in chapters one, two, and three, okay?

I know you know it, but just to set the stage. And in Genesis chapter one, in the beginning, God created everything, right? There was nothing created that he didn't create. He made everything, and day by day by day until the sixth day, it says that God created man in his own image, and that means that God created man with a capacity to know him in a personal relationship. That's what sets us apart from the animals.

Did you know that? I mean we can share different body parts, but human beings, human people, have the capacity to know their creator in a personal relationship, and so that's chapter one. Then you come to chapter two, and chapter one is sort of like a telescopic view of creation.

Chapter two is more like a microscopic view. It just zeroes right down on creation of man itself and gives us more details, and we find that when God created man, he created him of the dust of the ground. He breathed his own life into him, and man became a living person, and then God created Eve from man and gave Eve the woman to man, and that was the first couple, Adam and Eve. So Adam and Eve in chapter two, they lived in the Garden of Eden. They lived in the presence of God.

Think about it. They knew God face to face. They knew the sound of his voice. They knew the touch of his hand. They saw the light in his eyes when he saw them.

They saw the expression on his face when he was talking. They knew what it was to know his strength and wisdom as he worked side by side with them, and they knew God in a personal relationship, hands down, no doubt about it. God was alive. God was real, present in their lives, and they knew him as a living person.

That was paradise. That was the Garden of Eden, and then you come to chapter three, and the devil disguised as some old serpent snake, and it must have been something beautiful, or I think it would have freaked Eve out, but anyway, it comes slithering up and talks to her, and either all the animals talked then, or she was so newly created she didn't know they didn't, because she didn't flinch when the snake talked to her, and he said, you know, Yea hath God said, and tempted her to disobey what God had said, and reject God, rebel against God. She did, and she led her husband Adam to do the same, and when they disobeyed God, that I don't know if they were clothed in garments of light or what it was, but suddenly they knew they were naked, and they ran into the bushes and tried to hide themselves with fig leaves, trying to hide from God in their guilt and their shame, and God, who so loved his children, searched them out. He wasn't going to leave them cowering in their sin, and so he comes, and he searches them out, and he does several things. One of the things he does, he makes them confess what they've done, and they blamed others, but he still had them, you know, put it out on the table, and then God pronounced judgment on them, including the snake, but he pronounced judgment on Adam and Eve, and we won't go into those specifics, and then he killed an animal, and he clothed them in the skins of the wild animal to cover them in their sin and their shame, teaching them, listen to me, that in order to cover themselves before God, blood had to be shed. So, Genesis doesn't teach us all the details of that, but that lays down the premise that without the shedding of blood, there's no remission of sin, there's no covering before God, there's no hiding place, all right? And so they were covered in the skins of an animal. Blood had to be shed so they could be covered, and then God removed them from the Garden of Eden, put an angel there with a sword that turned every which way so they couldn't come back and eat of the tree of life in their forever in their sin.

Have you thought about that? So it's for their own protection he didn't let them come back in, but they were separated from the presence of God, but God, before he drove them out, he gave them a promise, and he said there would come a seed of a woman who would crush the serpent's head, meaning that he would destroy the power of Satan once and for all, but in the process his heel would be bruised, he would be wounded, and it's a beautiful prophecy, sort of obscure actually, but of the Redeemer who would come, the Savior, the Messiah, even our Lord Jesus Christ who would come and destroy the power of Satan through his cross, through his own death, through his resurrection, but in the process his heel would be bruised and he would be wounded at the cross. So it was a prophecy of a seed to come, a Savior who would come, take away their sin, bring them back under a right relationship with God, so they were driven from the presence of God with that hope in their hearts, that promise to cling to, and the knowledge that they had known God face to face, and that's the starting box, that's where the race begins, that's the gospel, that they could know God in a personal relationship, and they could come back into God's presence through a blood sacrifice, and that there is a God to know, and he loves you, and he wants to have a personal relationship with you, and blood is necessary for you to come into his presence, and that's the gospel as they received it face to face from God himself, and they're driven from the garden, and from the moment they stepped outside the garden for the rest of their lives, they were gripping the baton of the gospel, but now having received it face to face, it would be relayed faith to faith, all right, same gospel, but now it's going to be relayed faith to faith, and so we see it first of all requiring a deep conviction of the truth, had to be convinced of the truth, and they were, you could never tell Adam and Eve that there wasn't a God, you could never tell Adam and Eve that you can't know him in a personal way, you could never tell them that he didn't love them, you could never tell them that the blood wasn't necessary, that there are other ways to God, they knew, right, they had received the gospel face to face, but now they're driven from the garden, and Adam and Eve have three sons, they have Cain, Abel, and Seth, so we're going to set aside Seth for a moment, and just look at Cain and Abel, Cain was their firstborn, and Cain rejected the gospel baton, he didn't receive it, and I don't know why, because I think he had the same testimony in the home that Abel had, he had the same witness, but he rejected God, and God said you had to come through blood sacrifice, Cain said, you know, I want to come to God for my own good works, I'll bring God my best, and my best ought to be good enough for him, I'm not going to come the way God says, I'm going to come the way I want, and that was his attitude, so he didn't come back to God the way God said, and Cain was an interesting person, he built an incredible civilization, his descendants were known as builders, and artisans, and musicians, in fact the Wall Street Journal at one point said that it could be the long lost golden age of Atlantis, and so they were incredible society, but they were godless, Abel on the other hand received that baton of the gospel, and I don't know why except for the example within the home, but Cain had the same example, so it just shows that you are what you are by your own choice, right, they both had the witness of their parents, they both knew what their parents had told them about the Garden of Eden, they both knew that from what their parents had said that God is real, that you can come back to God through a blood sacrifice, Cain rejected it, Abel accepted it, and so Abel brought to God a sacrifice, a blood sacrifice, and God received his sacrifice, and Abel knew that he had come into a right relationship with God, so they both had the witness at home, but Abel received it, and Cain rejected it, so I'm just wondering maybe just to take you back for a moment, who first told you about the cross, who first told you that there is a God up in heaven, and that he loves you, and that he sent his son Jesus to die for you, that when you come to him through the way of the cross that you can come into a personal right relationship with God, can you remember who passed the baton of the gospel to you? Just take a minute and thank God for that person, and for me it was within my home, and mother and daddy of course and my grandparents had told me about Jesus, but the interesting thing was I was watching a movie on television, television, and it was a portrayal of the life of Christ, it was on a good Friday, I can't remember the year, it was when I was seven, eight, or nine years of age, came to the cross, and I knew that Jesus had died for me, I knew I was a sinner, somehow I just, you know, God the Holy Spirit worked in my heart, and I asked Jesus to be my savior, and I put my faith in him, and I came into that personal right relationship with him, but came the way he requires, you know, you cannot come to God on your own terms, right, you come to God the way he says, or you don't come, and he says you must come through a blood sacrifice, not just any blood sacrifice, but the sacrifice of his son Jesus on the cross, and that's the gospel, and are you convinced of the truth of it?

Do you know that you know that the gospel is for real? God is there, God loves you, God has reached down to you in the person of Jesus Christ, you've received him by faith, and you know you're convinced of the truth of the gospel, and in that case, in Abel's case, not only was he convinced of the truth of it, not only did he receive it, but now he had to have the courage to stand up for those convictions, because he brought his blood sacrifice to God, and God accepted it, and Cain brought the fruit of his hands, and what he had done, and God didn't accept it, and Cain got into a royal rage, he was angry with God for not accepting his, and so God sought him out, shows how much God loved Cain, and he came to Cain and said Cain, sin is crouching at your door, you're getting ready to self-destruct, you must come to me the way I say, you must come to me through a blood sacrifice, and Cain just went off, and he was feared, he refused, so he called his brother out into the field, and they must have had a big argument, and Abel stood by his convictions, he did not back down, and I'm just reading into it a little bit, but I believe that's obvious, because of what happened next, Cain killed Abel, so right there in the very first generation we have, we can put it this way, the first martyr, person who actually gave his life for the sake of the gospel, and he could have said, oh my goodness Cain, I'm so sorry, you know, this isn't necessary, and this is the way I worship, and you worship in a different way, and you can come to God, but Abel must have stood up to him, and said this is what God says, not what I say, you have to come to him through a blood sacrifice, and so Cain took his life. Hebrews 11 4 says by faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did, by faith he was commended as a righteous man when God spoke well of his offerings, and by faith he still speaks even though he is dead, so what does Abel speak even though he's dead, and I thought about that, and I think one of the things is that you have to have courage to stand by your convictions, you have to have the courage to speak out about what you believe, even if you're rejected by those within your own family, even though it provokes persecution, even if it requires the ultimate price of your life, Abel still speaks even though he's dead, the gospel is worth living for, and the gospel is worth dying for, and we see that in Abel's powerful testimony, and I believe that set the stage for generations to come, and we're going to look at some of these generations in chapter five, but Abel just laid down the gauntlet, this is what it takes, this is the gospel is true, you receive it, and you cling to it, and you're going to run with it, but you must be convinced of the truth to the point that you have the courage to back up those convictions with your very life, it's a powerful witness, and I want to point out that Abel was single, he wasn't married, he didn't have any children, but I believe that he passed his faith, he passed that baton of the gospel to his younger brother Seth, Seth was born after Abel died, but Abel still speaks, Abel still spoke even though he was dead, remember what Hebrew said, and I believe Seth heard that witness loud and clear, he heard it, yes, from his parents, but he also knew that his older brother had given his life for the sake of the gospel, and I think it greatly impacted Seth, and so I just wanted to point out that Abel passed the baton of the gospel to the next generation, but it wasn't his physical child, who's in the next generation that you can think of and pinpoint, maybe it's a niece, or a nephew, or a neighbor's child, or someone in your Sunday school class, or someone in the classroom in front of you, or, you know, children that you meet in other places, and it doesn't even have to be the younger generation, just somebody else that God puts on your heart, and Abel as a single person gave his life for what he believed, but I believe that's what impacted Seth to take that baton of the gospel for himself, and Seth doesn't say anything, so I'm reading into that, but I know he received the baton of the gospel because he's recorded in Genesis chapter 5, and Genesis chapter 5 is a unique genealogy that records the remnants of those who received that baton of the gospel and passed it to the next generation, and Adam is included in this genealogy, whereas in chapter 4, Cain's genealogy, it lists the men and some of their accomplishments, and they were very interesting, and they were very progressive, and it was an incredible civilization, but it was without God, and so God doesn't record the years of their life, and Adam's not included in that genealogy. He's included in the one in chapter 5 because this is a spiritual remnant.

These are the men of faith from generation to generation to generation, so the years of their lives are carefully recorded because they mean something. The ones in chapter 4 were all wasted, and so God is just like a never mind, and so God now is zeroing in on these men in chapter 5, and we see that not only are they convinced of the truth of the gospel, not only do they have the courage to stand up for it, but now they're going to live it out, and they live out their commitment to the gospel, and they live it out in a wicked world, and if you look over in chapter 6, verse 5, this describes the world that these men in chapter 5 were living in. The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. So the civilization these men are living in was one that was absolutely hostile to the gospel.

Godless, wicked, evil, like are they? You know, I'll look at our culture, I'll look at our world, and I wonder can it get any worse? It just seems that we're saturated in immorality, and evil, and deception, and wickedness at every level, in every corner, every area, even within the church, and can it get any worse? And sometimes we think it's so bad, it's too bad, how can I raise godly children? How can I pass the baton of the gospel to the next generation so that they're convinced of the truth of it, and they run their race with integrity and purity, and how can I do it? It's too hard, but it can't be any harder today than it was for them in that Cain civilization.

The thing that makes it so hard today is the social media, isn't it? All the things that are thrown at parents today, but God is still God, and the gospel still has power to change lives. So these 10 men in chapter 5 are recorded for all eternity as men who took that baton of the gospel, and they passed to the next generation surrounded by like a Nazi arena. You know, people that hated them, were hostile to them, hated the things of God, godless, and yet they did it, and that remnant of faith was preserved.

So the first one I want to pick up is Enosh. He had some strange names in this genealogy, I'll tell you, but let me just go to chapter 5 verse 1. This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made them in the likeness of God. That means with that capacity to know God in a personal relationship. He created them male and female.

Just get that, would you? He stated that very clearly in chapter 1, chapter 2, now chapter 5. He created them male and female.

He doesn't make mistakes. He blessed them, and when they were created, he called them man. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness.

You know what that means? Not only creating the image of God with the capacity to know God in a personal relationship, but now with a sin nature. So in Adam's likeness, every child born after Adam is born with a sin nature, that disease of sin. So even before you commit a sin, you have the tendency to sin because we're all sinners.

We have that disease of sin. That's to be created in the likeness of Adam. He had a son in his own image. He named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.

Don't worry about all these long years, you know. Before the flood, these people lived a very long time, and I think it was one of God's ways of just enabling the population to increase, but they all lived a long time before the pollution and the environmental issues and the diseases and such. So when Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh, and we know nothing of Enosh from chapter five, so go back up to chapter four, verse 26.

Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time, men began to call on the name of the Lord, and that doesn't mean they were just reciting the names of God. It means they were calling on the names of the Lord. They were worshiping God as he reveals himself to be through his names. So they're worshiping God as the almighty, the all-powerful. Worshiping God as Elohim, the creator of all things. Worshiping God as Jehovah, the personal God, and just whatever his name was, worshiping him and his character as it was revealed through his name. So it was worship of God, worship attributing worth to God through their praise and their worship, but also through their obedience and through their seeking out of God and their desire to please him. And Enosh obviously made the commitment to worship God. I think they were following his example. So what caused Enosh to worship God when nobody in the civilization was doing that?

What caused him to receive that baton of the gospel and pass it on to others? And I'm reading into this, but of course I think it was the example he saw in his home. I think it's what he saw from Seth and what Seth had seen from Abel and what Abel had gotten from his parents. So I think it was something, just the reality of faith and worship that he saw within his home environment. I wonder also if it's because of what he saw in Cain, because Cain would still be alive in Enosh's lifetime. So Cain would have been his uncle and Cain was a bitter, mean, angry person. He wandered. He never had peace. He never had purpose.

He built a very interesting progressive society, but he wasn't ever happy. Do you know somebody like that? Somebody who's rejected God, but you've seen up close and personal and maybe they're wealthy.

Maybe they're successful. Maybe a lot of people know their name and they're somebody, but you look in their eyes and they're hollow and they have no joy, no peace, no happiness. And you think to yourself, I don't want to be like that. And I think that was Enosh looking at his uncle Cain.

I don't want to be like that. And seeing his father in contrast, his father, the testimony of his uncle Abel, his grandparents, Adam and Eve. And I believe that Enosh learned to worship within the home. Where did you learn to worship God? Attribute worth to God by just lifting your heart and praise, but also living your life in obedience to him so that your way you live your life is an act of worship. When did you step out from behind your parents shadow and make their faith your own? If that's a decision you're making today, we want to hear from you to encourage and pray with you. Take advantage of the free resources to help you in your walk of faith in Christ at Thank you for joining us today for Living in the Light, featuring the Bible teaching message of Anne Graham Lotz.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-02 12:56:18 / 2023-07-02 13:06:51 / 11

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