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The Hope of Heaven - Genesis Part 4

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2021 8:00 pm

The Hope of Heaven - Genesis Part 4

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Flintstones, meet the Flintstones. They're a modern Stone Age family.

Come on, come on, sing with me. From the town of Bedrock, they're a page right out of history. Hey, how can you not love the Flintstones? Yeah? With their brontosaurus burgers and their dinosaur bulldozers and Fred's quick feet, you know, running the car. You gotta love the Flintstones, right? Right? What's wrong with you people? All right.

So, listen. But you know, we all realize the Flintstones, it's a fantasy world. But how did the first human beings really live? I mean, what was the first human society really like?

This is something that has peaked the curiosity of men and women since the very beginning of time. And you know, in the early centuries, people thought that men lived like the gods at the beginning of time. But now, in our more modern world with Darwinian evolution, we've got a very different picture that people are presenting us with. The US News and World Report, in an article entitled, The First Human, said, and I quote, Like modern apes, the first humans had long arms, well adapted to climbing, and they probably spent much of their time in the trees. Their social order was distinctly ape-like, too, with groups of females banding together with individual alpha males. Now, into the face of all of this guesswork, flies the clear and unambiguous picture that the Bible gives us of what the first human society was like.

And this is what we want to talk about today. Remember, we're in a series, verse by verse on the book of Genesis, and today we're in chapters 1 and 2, which gives us this picture of the first human society, a picture that we are going to accept as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And one of the key reasons why we're going to do that is because the Lord Jesus Christ Himself accepted Genesis chapter 1 and 2 as presenting the truth to us. In Matthew chapter 19, verse 4, Jesus said, Have you not read that at the beginning He who created them, created them male and female? Now, this is a direct quote from Genesis chapter 1, verse 27.

In the next verse, Matthew 19, 5, Jesus goes on to say, And He, God, said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a direct quote from Genesis chapter 2, verse 24. The point is that if the Lord Jesus Christ believed that Genesis chapters 1 and 2 were telling us the truth, then folks, I'm going to take my stand with the Lord Jesus. Now, you can take your stand wherever you want, but I'm taking my stand with Him. And by the way, since I'm up here preaching, that's how we're going to preach it. Yeah. Okay, so here we go.

Are you ready? Genesis chapter 2, we begin at verse 4. And this is the account, the Bible says, of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

The Lord God had not yet sent rain upon the earth, but a mist used to rise up from the ground and water the surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden towards the east in Eden, and there He placed the man whom He had formed.

And out of the ground the Lord God had cause to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food, the tree of life was also in the middle of the garden, as was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now, where exactly was this Garden of Eden? Well, the next four verses, verses 10 to 14 of chapter 2, tell us that it was located between four rivers, two of which were the Tigris and the Euphrates. And what this tells us is that the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in the ancient region of Mesopotamia, somewhere in the modern day area of the nation of Iraq. And what's interesting is that modern archaeology confirms the Bible's claim. Archaeology tells us that the earliest human societies we have record of originated in the Mesopotamian valley between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.

Very interesting, yeah. Okay, verse 15, so the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, you are free to eat from any tree in the garden, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat from it you shall surely die.

More on that next week. Verse 18, then the Lord God said, it is not good for a man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him. Now out of the ground the Lord had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky and he brought them to the man to see what the man would call them and whatever the man called each living creature that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock and to all the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the field, but for Adam no suitable helper was found.

You see what happened here. God said, I want to match you up, Adam, so I'm going to bring every animal I'm made by and you tell me if any of them appeal to you while you're giving them their names. Well Adam saw them all and at the end he said, well now Lord, honestly, I'm not really attracted to hippopotamuses and giraffes, just don't do it for me Lord. And so verse 21, the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and while he was sleeping God took one of the man's ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he'd taken out of the man and he brought her to the man and the man said, hey Lord, we're cooking with gas now. Now this is what I'm talking about right here Lord and this he said is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.

She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. For this reason, one of the verses the Lord Jesus quoted, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh and the man and his wife were both naked and were unashamed. So here we have the Bible's description of the first human society and I want you to notice three things about this first human society. Number one, I want us to notice that in the first human society Adam and Eve had a perfect environment. I mean think about it, there was no death yet, there were no germs, there were no bacteria, there were no viruses and there was no cancer. In this world there was no pain, no sickness, no decay, no aging, no PCBs, no dioxin, no radon, no heavy metal poisoning. There was no air pollution, there was no contaminated water and there was no hole in the ozone layer.

But think about something else too. In this early world there was no rain because remember what we read, a mist came up from the ground and watered everything which means there were no weather fronts. Which means there were no hurricane Katrina's and there were no tornadoes and there were no typhoons and there were no tsunamis and there was no sleet and no freezing rain and no 40 inch snowfalls. Praise the Lord for that. The point my friends is that the Garden of Eden was an absolutely perfect environment. You say yeah it sounds like paradise.

Well that's the point, it was. Second, I want you to notice that in this first human society Adam and Eve had a perfect purpose in life. When God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden he gave them a job description. And it was a job description designed specifically to produce ultimate happiness and ultimate satisfaction in their life. And there were three components to their job description.

Component number one was meaningful work. Genesis 2 verse 15, so the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and take care of it. God knows that we as humans need meaningful work to feel good about ourselves, to feel a sense of accomplishment, to feel a sense of importance and significance and God made sure Adam and Eve had that. And remember Adam and Eve had no sin nature at this point.

So work was fun, work was meaningful, work was exciting and they had a great boss too, remember. Okay, number two, the second component of this perfect life he had given them is they had control over their surroundings. Genesis chapter 1 verse 28, and God said to Adam and Eve, You are to rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. In other words, God gave man authority over the creatures of the earth. He gave him authority over his surroundings because God knows that in order to feel secure and in order to feel fulfilled, we as people need to feel some measure of control over our environment and God made sure Adam and Eve had it. And finally, in this perfect purpose for life, component number three is God gave them intimate fellowship with him, their creator.

We talked about this last week. Genesis chapter 3 verse 8, and Adam and Eve heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And I told you last week that the Hebrew language makes it clear this was a repetitive action. God came to the garden every day to walk with Adam and Eve, to talk with Adam and Eve, to spend time and be in fellowship with Adam and Eve.

Why? Because God knows how he made us and God knows that the highest satisfaction in a human soul comes when we are linked up together and in deep communion with Almighty God himself and he made sure that Adam and Eve had that. So what we see here is that God designed the Garden of Eden to be a place where Adam and Eve had a perfect reason to get up every morning. I mean they had meaningful work, they had control over their surroundings and they had intimate fellowship with their creator. And finally, number three, I want us to notice that in the first human society, Adam and Eve had perfect relationships with every other living thing.

Think about it now. They had a perfect relationship with every plant in the garden. There was no poison ivy, there was no poison oak, there were no thorns, there were no thistles. Also, Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with all the animals in the garden. The snakes didn't bite them, the bees didn't sting them, the bears didn't chase them, the lions didn't attack them, and even the mosquitoes were nice in the Garden of Eden. But you know, best of all, Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with each other. Remember Genesis 2 18, then the Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone.

I will make a helper, what's the next word say it? Suitable for him. In other words, God made the perfect woman for Adam. And he made the perfect man for Eve and he put the two of them together in the perfect relationship. Adam said I do, Eve said I do, God said you're hitched.

It's just that simple. And Genesis 2 25, the man and his wife were both naked and were unashamed. What this means is that Adam and Eve were utterly intimate with one another. They were intimate physically, utterly with one another. And emotionally they were intimate, utterly with one another. And spiritually they were intimate, utterly with one another. There were zero issues between this husband and this wife, this man and this woman. There were no fights, there were no selfish behaviors, there were no passive aggressive attitudes, there were no unresolved conflicts, there was no unforgiveness because there was nothing to ask forgiveness for.

They got along perfectly. You say, well that's harder to believe than that the snakes didn't bite. Well maybe so, but it was true. And so let's summarize Genesis chapter 2 and say that here in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had number one, a perfect environment, number two, a perfect purpose in life, and number three, perfect relationships with every other living thing. This is how human society began. It didn't begin by us walking around with long arms like apes, and it didn't begin by us spending our time in the trees, no, no, no.

It began just like this and all Adam and Eve had to do to keep everything perfect was not eat from that one stinking tree. But we know they didn't do so good with that. And we're going to talk about that next week, but you know I think we'd all agree that today the Garden of Eden is definitely not a term we would use to describe our world that we live in.

Why? Well we'll talk about that as I said next week. Now this is as far as we're going to go in the passage because we're going to stop now and we're going to ask our most important question. So all of you at Loudoun and Prince William and at Bethesda and down in the edge and around the world on the internet campus, and all of us here at Tysons, are you still awake? Are you sure? All right, I had my doubts. Here we go now, nice and loud. Come on, one, two, three. All right, that wasn't bad.

We can do better. We're going to do it one more time. All right, and remember I'm a preacher. If I don't like this one, we can do it a third time. So here we go. Come on now, one, two, three. Now wasn't that better? All right.

You say, Lon, so what? Say, you know, this is very interesting and I appreciate all this stuff about the Garden of Eden, but I do not see one possible connection of any of this with my life. So you've got to tell it to me because I don't see it.

Well I'm going to. Listen friends, you know the Bible doesn't tell us an abundant amount about heaven, but one of the things the Bible does tell us is that in heaven God is going to restore to us the conditions that Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden. Let me show that to you from the Bible. Number one, the Bible says that in heaven God's going to restore to us a perfect environment like Adam and Eve had in the garden. Revelation 21, one, and I saw a new heaven and a new earth and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, Now the dwelling of God is with man and he, God, will live with them and they shall be his people and he himself shall be among them.

Watch. And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes and there shall be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away. The Bible tells us God is going to recreate the way it was at the beginning, a literal paradise. In fact, that's exactly what the Bible calls heaven. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, after he saw heaven, he says that he was caught up to the third heaven, looked to paradise and heard inexpressible things about which a man here on earth is not permitted to speak.

He said, What does that mean? Why can't he come back here and tell us everything he saw up there? Well, friends, because God knows if you and I knew how good heaven really was, we'd all be making calls to Dr. Kevorkian. That's why.

So he doesn't tell us how good it really is up there. Number two, I want you to see that in heaven, God's going to restore to us a perfect purpose in life. See, when sin entered the human race in Genesis Chapter three, man lost his original purpose for life. Instead of serving God, sinful man serves himself. Instead of glorifying God, sinful man glorifies himself.

Instead of ruling over creation, creation is out of control and usually we as human beings are its victims. And instead of enjoying God in sweet and intimate fellowship, sinful man is alienated from God. And as Ephesians 2 one says, he is dead to God. Hey, but in heaven, friends, praise the Lord, all of this is going to change back. Revelation 22 three says that in heaven, his servants, we shall serve him. Our position of doing meaningful work for the glory of God and not self is going to be restored just like it was in the garden. And Revelation 22 five says in heaven, we shall reign forever and ever. Our rightful position as rulers over the rest of creation is going to be reinstituted just like it was in the garden. And finally, Revelation 21 three says that God will live with us. We shall be his people and he himself shall be among us.

Once again, we will be in face to face intimate communion with the creator of the universe, just like it was in the garden. Finally, number three, in heaven, God's going to restore to us perfect relationships with every other living thing. I mean, our world, we'd hardly say today our world has many perfect relationships with one another, would you?

I mean, just think about it. People fight, people murder, people hurt each other all the time. We have wars, we have terrorist attacks, we have nasty divorces. People are mean to each other and they commit crime against each other.

I mean, just watch Law and Order, NCIS, Bones, watch any of it and you see this. Ah, but my friends, in heaven, things are going to be different. Isaiah chapter 2 verse 4, they will hammer their swords into plowshares, the Bible says, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Hey folks, in heaven, not going to be any armies. In heaven, there are not going to be any seals. Hey, in heaven, there aren't going to be any guns. In heaven, nobody's going to hurt anybody.

How wonderful is that going to be? In heaven, what began with Cain and Abel is going to end forever in the presence of the living risen Christ. Now, in light of all that, there's a huge so what here for those of us who are followers of Jesus.

For those of us who know for certain that we're going to heaven the day we leave this earth, which every follower of Jesus ought to know, that's what God wants us to know. Boy, there's a big so what here. Let me tell you what it is. My son John, who is in his mid-twenties now, for years competed in the Presidential Physical Fitness Competition. And if you know anything about this, you know that there are five things that these young people have to do to qualify.

And you have targets you've got to meet to earn this badge saying that you met the criteria. Well, one of them is you've got to run the mile. And you wouldn't believe it, if you're seven or eight years old, you've got to run a seven-minute mile. Who can do this? Once you reach nine and ten, you've got to run a six-something-minute mile.

Unbelievable. And so I used to take John out to the track at Woodson High School here locally and we would practice the mile. He would run and I would stand there and yell encouragement to him. We practiced. That's how we practiced.

And so, yeah, and so I taught John a very important lesson about how to get this done. I said, John, every lap, you have to see every lap as an individual lap and see every lap with its own finish line. There's not one finish line.

There are four finish lines. See one lap at a time and just keep your eye on that finish line. Keep your focus on that finish line. And once you pass the finish line for lap one, then you forget about that and you're not worried about lap four yet. You only worry about lap two and you keep your eye on the finish line to lap two.

And that's how you get extra strength and extra stamina by focusing on the finish line. You ever see these programs on television where they do, you know, aerobics or Pilates or Zumba dance? You ever watch these things? Yeah, I watch them all the time.

You say to you, while I'm eating, I watch them while I'm snacking. And so, yeah, and so but one thing I noticed about these things and that is that, you know, the people who are leading it count it down. Have you ever noticed that?

Four more, three more, two more, one more. Why do they do that? Well, it's not because they're trying to fill air time. It's because they know something about human dynamics. They know if they can get you to put your eye on the finish line four more, three more, two more, that you'll reach deep and you'll find endurance and strength that you wouldn't find otherwise. That's why they do that. Well, friends, you know, that's how the Lord Jesus made it through the cross.

Did you know that? Here's what the Bible says. Hebrews Chapter 12, verse two, it says, who talking about the Lord Jesus, for the joy that was set before him. See, he had his eyes on heaven, on the joy that would come after he rose from the dead, who for the joy that was set before him, watch, endured the cross. While Jesus was on the cross, the Bible says he wasn't thinking about the cross and he wasn't focusing on the cross. He was focusing on the resurrection and the heaven that he knew was going to follow.

That's how he got through the cross. And, you know, the same thing works for you and me as followers of Christ. Yeah, the apostle Paul said it.

Listen, 2 Corinthians Chapter 4. He said, therefore, we do not lose heart. We've got endurance, Paul says. We keep going. We reach deep and find the strength to take whatever comes our way.

How do you do that, Paul? Next verse, for our momentary light affliction here on earth is producing for us an eternal weight of glory in heaven far beyond all comparison. While, look, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal. Paul says, I'll tell you how I don't lose heart.

It's real simple. I don't focus on this world. I focus on heaven and the exceeding, what did he call it here? He called it the eternal weight of glory that is being produced in heaven and waiting for me. That's what I fix my eyes on, Paul says. And, friends, as followers of Christ, God wants you and me to tap into the tremendous reservoir of strength and endurance that comes from keeping our eyes on the finish line, from keeping our eyes on heaven.

It's kind of like having a spiritual four more, three more, two more, one more. And as a result of that, friends, there's nothing we can't take when our focus is on heaven. You know, my, Brenda, my wife, her mom passed away back in 2005 after a long and protracted battle with cancer. And I would have to say that I have never seen anybody, a believer, any believer who faced the difficult death that she faced with more grace, with more strength, with more courage, with more raw endurance spiritually than this woman did. And, you know, often I would look at her and I would wonder if I would be able to do it as well when it came my time. You know, I would say, wow, I don't know that I could do it as well as she's doing. And where is she getting all this strength from? Where is she getting all this endurance from? She never complained. She shrunk down to, I don't know, 50 or 60 pounds and never a word of complaint, always a happy spirit.

I was like, I don't know if I could do that. Well, she was only a matter of days away from dying and we as the family were there at her house. And she did something very interesting. She called every single member of the family back for a personal little talk with her. And, you know, I never asked Brenda what her mom said to her because it's none of my business. And Brenda never asked me and I wouldn't tell her anyway. It was between me and her mom what she said to me. But I'll never forget when that little conversation was over.

Her mom was there in bed, barely able to lift her head up. But I'll never forget at the end, she lifted her head off the pillow and she raised her arm. And the last words she said to me here on earth is she said, and there was a sparkle to her eyes, she said, Hey, Lon, I see in heaven.

Those are the last words to me. I see in heaven. You see, for this woman, heaven was not a myth. For this woman, heaven was not a legend. For this woman, heaven was just not a, you know, a dream that the Bible gives us to try to encourage us.

No, no. For this woman, heaven was real. And she believed she was going there and she believed what the Bible says about it. And suddenly I realized this is how she did it. This is how she made it. Every day her eyes were not on cancer. Every day her eyes were on, as Paul said, the eternal weight of glory in heaven that God had for her. And that's how she did it. Friends, you may not be dying today of cancer, but I'll bet you every one of us here has got some tough problems that we're facing.

Financial, emotional, health-wise, relationship-wise. Listen, the way God's telling us we make it through, the way God's telling us we find extra strength and extra stamina is exactly what Paul said. We fix our eyes. Not on what is seen, not on what's temporal, but on what's eternal. And folks, when our eyes are on heaven, the Bible says we can take anything. Four more, three more, two more. And Lord, when I'm out of here, just think where I'm going.

Folks, you try that. As long as you know heaven is your ultimate destination, there's nothing on this earth that you can't handle with the strength of Christ. Let's pray. Lord Jesus, thanks for talking to us today about real life.

Every one of us here has tough things that we're facing. And Lord, to be able to reach deep and find new strength, new resiliency, new tenacity, new hope, it's all about where our focus is. That's what the Bible tells us.

That's what Paul says. That's what the Lord Jesus did on the cross. So Lord, teach us not to be so earthly focused. Teach us to be heavenly focused. And if people around us criticize us and say, oh, that's just pie in the sky, by and by, well, they can say whatever they want.

But Lord, it's real. And by focusing on what You've told us awaits us, it does give us that extra measure of strength we so often need. So God, encourage our hearts today with the hope of heaven and teach us to keep our focus on the eternal as we move through this world. And we pray these things in Jesus' name.

And God's people said, amen. Hey, now listen, listen, listen. This week, if your boss has given you a hard way to go or some professor has given you a hard way to go, here's what I recommend you do.

Look at him right in the eyes and say to yourself, I would recommend, not out loud, say to yourself, you know what? You are just temporal. I am going to a place that's eternal. And so you know what? Give me your best shot. I can take it. My eyes are on not you but where I'm going. And you know what? If you're nice to me, I'll tell you how you can get there too. You
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-11 19:02:32 / 2023-06-11 19:14:03 / 12

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