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December 20, 2021 12:01 am
The first announcement of Christmas took place not in Bethlehem but in the garden of Eden. Today, R.C. Sproul considers God's promise to Adam and Eve of the One who would come to crush Satan's head.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. The one we wonder whether he will keep his work. That's when we should look closely at Christmas because whatever else Christmases. It is God's proof in space and time. That shows that he is a God of his word and that he keeps his promises. As we prepare for Christmas that biblical truth is both encouraging and faith building is this week on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul shows is that there is only one true promise keeper God throughout history has fulfilled his promise plan of redemption in through his people as we approach now. The celebration of the Advent season with the climax being Christmas is a time for us to celebrate not only the incarnation of Christ, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem but also it is a time of celebrating the fulfillment of a divine promise.
I think most people who are listening to me today are aware of a recent phenomenon that has arisen in the last couple of years in American Christianity. It is a group of men who meet together in huge crowds large conferences called promise keepers and it's interesting to me that one of the main purposes of such an event, a kind of Christian Woodstock is to get men gathered together to make a commitment to become men who keep their promises. That's an extraordinary thing that people need to have a rally to encourage each other to keep their promises, and I think that what this tells us is that as the people we have a problem keeping our promises. In fact, the Scriptures say that one of the chief characteristics of fallen human beings is that all of us are covenant breakers that is of God would have a conference and summoned all of the covenant breakers together he would summon the whole world into one place and would call that gathering the promise breakers and we would break the record of the promise keepers for the most people ever assembled for a meeting. Think back in your life of the pain that you've experienced over broken promises. Nothing is more gripping to us as parents when our children look at us with tears in their eyes and say but daddy you promise have had that happen to me in my life where I let my children downright told them I was going to do something for them, or with them something else came up and I broke my promise to them. We live on the basis of trust of agreements of covenants and of promises but that becomes super important. When we look at our relationship with God because one of the chief differences between the creator and the creature is that the creator is a promise keeper that God has never ever ever ever broken a promise and the basic structure that we find in the Bible that defines our relationship to God. The relationship of the church to Christ. The relationship of Israel to Yahweh in the Old Testament is the relationship that is based upon a divine promise that structure we call the structure of covenant we divide the Bible into between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Or sometimes we speak of what the old covenant and the new covenant and the very heart of any covenant rests upon promises that are made among the parties that are involved in the covenant of the Scriptures tell us that God's promises are without repentance. That means he doesn't change them.
He doesn't break them. He always and ever keeps them but one of the problems we have with God is trusting his promises. And the reason for that is history attests that the Lord God omnipotent who never lies and never breaks a promise has a track record of taking a lot of people that I to bring them to pass in one of the hardest tests of faith is to wait for the promise of God to be fulfilled as God himself said to Habakkuk the prophet in the Old Testament but though his word carries we should wait for it, but were not very patient with the promises of God.
We want God to keep his promises to us right now that when we struggle with waiting for God's promises when we wonder whether he will keep his word. That's when we should look closely at Christmas because whatever else Christmases. Whatever else the Advent season involves. It is God's proof in space and time. His work in history that shows that he is a God of his word and that he keeps his promises. In fact, one of the ways in which scholars approach the Scriptures and looking for a structure in which to interpret the Bible is by examining the Scriptures in light of two categories and those categories are promise and fulfillment. Sometimes my students in the seminary will ask me how were the people in the Old Testament redeemed.
However, they say that Abraham go to heaven.
Was Abraham a believer. Was he redeemed and I said yes of course he was the New Testament labors that point they say will.
How could the people in the Old Testament be redeemed when Christ hadn't come yet. There was no cross there was no atonement.
How could they possibly be redeemed Bible tells us that the blood of bulls and goats all the trappings of the Old Testament sacrificial system could not, in and of themselves safe. So how were they say if they were say will Paul in his epistle to the Romans again uses Abraham as an example of people in the Old Testament who were saved not by obeying the works of the law, not through the rights and the rituals of the sacrifices of the liturgy of Israel.
But Abraham was justified by faith in my students look at me and I said how could he be justified by faith when he had even heard about Jesus, what was the basis of Abraham's salvation will the basis of Abraham celebration was the work of Jesus Christ. Abraham was saved exactly the same way you are sick with one significant difference. Abraham's faith was in a promise that was not yet fulfilled our faith is in the promise that has been fulfilled, Abraham and the Old Testament saints looked ahead into the future for their awaited Messiah there awaited Redeemer. We look backwards to the past to the one who has come.
Remember the word AdVent means coming to it refers to the coming of the Messiah to redeem his people. Those who lived before he came and who trusted the promise that he would come were redeemed through faith in the promise. Those of us who live this side of the AdVent are redeemed by trusting in the fulfillment of the promise of that motive.
That theme is one that we have to keep in front of us as we read the Scriptures. The relationship between promise and fulfillment now as we prepare for AdVent this year. What I want to do is look at a few just a handful of the crucial promises that God made to his people in the Old Testament about the redemption that he would bring to pass. I'm only going to mention five of these one indeed there are over 500 more like 5000 aspects of these promises in the Old Testament is that we can't possibly do justice to the whole scope of the divine promise that unfolds in fact we could say that the Old Testament is one big promise, but were going to just look at a couple of these to get a taste of this relationship of promise and fulfillment in another context. We've already looked earlier in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 where we find what is called in theology. The proto-event gal. That may sound like a $50 word. There is kind of a technical term that biblical scholars used the word proto-you know what a prototype is it's the first model that you use and the word evangelical is the word from which we get evangelism. A van gal is the word that we used to refer to the gospel, evangelism is the proclaiming of the event gal or of the gospel.
So when we talk about the proto-evangelical we are talking about.
Obviously, the first gospel.
So somebody would say to you, where is the first place in the Bible that we find the proclamation of the gospel we would look to Genesis chapter 3 verse 15.
Remember that the main content of the third chapter of Genesis describes the fall of mankind into sin. It gives us the narrative of the temptation and the sin of Adam Haneef.
We read of the ruination of our human creation.
You might expect that the Old Testament history of God's relationship to mankind would start with Genesis 11 in the beginning God created the heaven and earth, and that the Bible would end in Genesis 314 and we would expect that the say.
And God destroy the heaven and the earth and everything in it. Once human beings rebelled against his divine authority that would've been perfectly just for God to do. He had warned his creatures that if they send, they would surely die. He could've eradicated human life from this planet. And from this universe immediately after the cosmic rebellion that was issued by Adam and Eve, but instead he makes a promise he makes a promise to spare to rescue to redeem and to save his fallen creatures. Let's look at that promise. Now in Genesis chapter 3. One of the ironies of this first promise is that it is a promise of blessing that comes to us right smack in the middle of a divine curse that while God is expressing condemnation. He gives a hint of clue shadow of hope in the midst of judgment. Let's look at it. In chapter 3 of Genesis and will begin in verse 14. This is the record of God's cursing of the serpent who seduced Adam in the and so the Lord God said to the serpent because you have done this, you are cursing more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. Here comes the promise and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed, he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel. This is a prophecy.
It is a future prediction. God is not saying here that Eve is going to crash the serpent's head. He's talking about something in the future. We don't know yet how far off in the future. It is, but he speaks of the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. He describes a future conflict a future contest between a descendent of Eve and the descendents of the serpent. It is the ultimate conflict between good and evil that is forecast here in these works. I'm going to put enmity that hates Fred alienation of estrangement between your seed, Eve, and the seed of the serpent and God speaks here of an individual, a unique descendent of the woman who at some point in the future will come and step on the snake step on its head. Grind it into the dust.
CrossFit to death, giving it a mortal and fatal wound, but in the process of destroying the evil one. The seed of the woman, will himself be wounded, as he uses his foot to crush the head of the serpent his own heel will be bruised. Again, the Old Testament could stop right there and the next chapter, the Bible could begin with words like this.
And in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be. With the introduction of the birth of this one. Who was the seed of the woman who was the seed of Eve, who, when he was a baby. The prophecy was made to his own mother that her child would bring redemption, but in this process, a sword would pierce her own soul that look forward to the cross were Mary stood at the foot of the cross and watched her son be bruised in her vision in her eyes she saw the torture. The torment, the humiliation of her son. What she couldn't see was the cosmic dimension of what was taking place. She could see Satan she didn't know. As she watched this drama unfold before that while Christ himself was pouring out his blood on the cross, showing the head of the serpent gospel was preached in Eden the first gospel the first mass of the coming that's incredible as it is the first announcement of Christmas happened not in Bethlehem but in the garden of Eden were glad you joined us today for Renewing Your Mind. We are listening to portions of Dr. RC Sproul series promises this week is a wonderful way to prepare for Christmas that we learned about the promises made and fulfilled to Abraham, Jeremiah, Isaiah and other Old Testament figures. We ask you to consider contacting us the day with a donation of any amount so that we can send you the series will be able to stream all five messages right away. Additionally will send you the DVDs of doctors Pro series. The promise keeper God of the covenants that series has 14 messages that walk you through the cabinets of the old and new Testaments will provide both of those resources to you when you give a donation of any amount to leader ministries. Our number is 800-435-4343. You can also reach out to us online at Renewing Your Mind.word in here at the end of the year. We do appreciate your generosity. We are looking at 2022, is an unprecedented opportunity to share the truth about her covenant keeping God around the world.
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I like to ask you to think during this Advent season about the promises of God. Do you ever find it difficult to wait for God to live your life on the basis of trusting his promises. This may sound trite to you but it is all the difference in the world between believing in God and believing God true face. The Christian faith is not about believing that God exists. But it has to do with believing God living your life on the basis of trusting in the promises that he has made because were the crunch comes in our life is where we seek our own happiness and our own satisfaction right here right now in ways that deny our trust in God's way.
Rather than wait for the promise of felicity and joy that he gives to those who trust in him, and to obey we say, I can't see him.
Where is my God, I will seek my own way for happiness and fulfillment.
I wanted I wanted here. I just can't wait for it, but the word of God says, though it tarries weight for it. That's what men and women of faith do tomorrow will learn about God's promise to Abraham and despite Abraham's doubts how God kept that promise. I hope you'll join us Wednesday for Renewing Your Mind