Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Eternal Cosmos
May 30, 2010

"He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass." (Psalm 148:6)

In this central psalm of the last five psalms comprising the "Hallelujah" epilogue to the book of Psalms, the entire physical creation is exhorted to praise the Lord, as all the universe is restored to its primeval perfection. All the people of the earth, all the angels, even all the animals, will praise the Lord.

Furthermore, in some way which can only be understood by faith, the entire inorganic creation--sun, moon, stars, mountains, winds, everything--will be able to praise Him. Even the primeval waters above the heavens (Genesis 1:7-9) will have been restored, and they will praise the Lord (Psalm 148:4-5).

And all of this will continue forever and ever! The new heavens and new earth--that is, the renewed heavens and earth, with the curse removed (Revelation 22:3)--the sun and moon and stars, with the eternal throne of the Lord Jesus established on the earth in the New Jerusalem, in the midst of all the redeemed men and women of all the ages--all of these will forever be a praise to God.

God is not capricious, and He does not fail. He will not "uncreate" what He has created. "Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever" (Ecclesiastes 3:14). The earth must yet be purged by fire (2 Peter 3:10), but it will be renewed in righteousness (v. 13) and without any evidences of the former regime of decay and death.

And then it will last forever. "And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever" (Psalm 78:69). "|God| laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever" (Psalm 104:5). "And they that turn many to righteousness |shall shine| as the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Created and Made
May 23, 2010

"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." (Genesis 2:4)

There are two accounts of creation in Genesis, with the above text marking the dividing point. In the first (Genesis 1-2:4), the name used for the Creator is "God" (Hebrew Elohim), and its termination is the summarizing "signature," as it were: "These are the generations (Hebrew toledoth) of the heavens and the earth when they were created."

The second account (Genesis 2:4-5:1) normally uses the name "LORD God" (Jehovah Elohim) in chapters 2 and 3 (except where the serpent and Eve used Elohim when she was being tempted) and then simply "LORD" (Hebrew Jehovah) in chapter 4. This second creation account ends with Adam’s signature: "This is the book of the generations |i.e., toledoth| of Adam."

Critics claim that the two accounts are contradictory. Actually they are complementary, the second merely giving more details of the events of the fifth and sixth days of creation week. The Lord Jesus (who was there as the Creator!) used them both, quoting from each (Matthew 19:4-6) at the same time in the same context.

Note also that "create" (Hebrew bara) is used seven times in Genesis 1, never in Genesis 2-4. In that second account, "made" and "formed" (Hebrew asah, yatsar) are the words used. Genesis 2:3 stresses the fact that "create" and "make" are different, when it tells us that God rested "from all His work which God created and made." Evidently the verb "create," which always has the Creator as its subject, refers to His work in calling entities into existence; "make" refers to systems constructed (by either God or men) out of previously created entities. The heavens and the earth were both "created" and "made" (see our text). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Ascending Vapors
May 16, 2010

"He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries." (Psalm 135:7)

This striking verse is practically identical with Jeremiah 10:13 and Jeremiah 51:16, suggesting the possibility that the prophet Jeremiah may have written the otherwise anonymous Psalm 135. The two Jeremiah passages do preface this statement with the note that there is "a multitude of waters in the heavens" in connection with the processes described in the verse.

In any case, this thrice-mentioned mechanism beautifully summarized what we now call the hydrologic cycle, and it did so over 2,000 years before the cycle began to be understood by modern scientists. In order to provide rain to water the earth, there must be vapors ascending all over the earth (that is, evaporation from the world's great oceans), winds then blowing from God's unseen treasury (actually the global atmospheric circulation), and, finally, lightnings for (or "with") the rain (electrical discharges associated with the condensation and coalescence of the particles of water vapor in the atmosphere). All of this repeatedly transports purified waters from the ocean back over the lands to fall as rain and snow, there finally to run off back to the oceans after performing their life-sustaining ministries on the lands. "Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again" (Ecclesiastes 1:7).

Not only does this hydrologic cycle sustain physical life on earth, but it also is a type of the spreading of God's Word, giving spiritual life. "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, . . . So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please" (Isaiah 55:10-11). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

The Faith of Our Mothers
May 9, 2010

"When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." (2 Timothy 1:5)

The "dearly beloved son" (v. 2) of the apostle Paul was a young disciple whose strong and sincere Christian faith was due, more than anything else, to the lives and teachings of a godly mother and grandmother. As Paul wrote to Timothy in his last letter, "from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).

Timothy's mother was a Christian Jew (Acts 16:1), but his father was a Greek who evidently was not a believer. In the ideal Christian home, the father is to assume spiritual leadership (Ephesians 5:22, 25; 6:4), but countless fathers, for some reason, are either unable or unwilling to do this. Many have been the homes where a mother or grandmother, usually by default, has had to assume this all-important responsibility, and the Christian world owes these godly women a great debt of gratitude. The writer himself was raised in such a home, and much of his own concern for the Word of God is due to the concerned dedication of a Christian mother and two Christian grandmothers.

It is significant that the fifth of God's Ten Commandments requires children to honor their parents, and it is the only one of the ten which carries a special promise: "Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Ephesians 6:2-3). Every godly parent is worthy of real honor, every day--not just once each year. And when a Christian mother, like Timothy's mother, must assume all the responsibility for leading her children in the ways of God, she deserves very special praise. HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Sermonette

Wondrous Things in the Word
May 2, 2010

"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." (Psalm 119:18)

The word "law" (Hebrew torah), as used in the psalms, actually refers to all the revealed Scriptures. We may well understand it today to mean the entire Bible. And we can indeed behold wondrous things in the Word if we have eyes to see and hearts to believe by the grace of God.

The adjective "wondrous" is often used to describe God's mighty miracles in Egypt and elsewhere (e.g., Psalm 106:22 "Wondrous works in the land of Ham"). This would indicate that there are many evidences of divine origin that can be gleaned from the Scriptures, if our spiritual eyes are open to discern them as we search.

This 119th Psalm itself illustrates this truth. It has 22 stanzas (keyed in turn to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet), each with eight verses (the number eight representing new life, since eight suggests a new beginning after the "completeness" represented by the number seven). In each stanza, each verse begins with the same Hebrew letter--aleph, the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, in the first stanza, beth in the second stanza, etc.--and the 176 verses (i.e., 8 times 22) of the psalm (the longest chapter in the Bible) have 176 references to the Holy Scriptures.

The great theme of the psalm is, therefore, the wonder and power of the life-giving, written Word of God. As the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead on the "eighth day," and as there are eight other instances of the dead being restored to life in the Bible, there are eight different Hebrew words used for the Scriptures in the psalm.

Life through the Word! This is also the testimony of the gospel of Christ, revealed in "the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research