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Lessons from Creation: (Part 1) What does creation teach us about God? June 14, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Creation, General Revelation, Gospel, Religion, Romans, Sermons.
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LESSONS FROM CREATION:
WHO GOD IS AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
ROMANS 1:16-25
INTRODUCTION: This is the first in a three part series of lessons from creation. In our VBS this year, we are emphasizing the creation and other wonderful works of God. In connection, I would like for us to look in the Scriptures and find out what creation teaches us about God, about humankind, and about our future. Today, we will, using the Word of God, find out what creation teaches us about God.
Who Is God (Romans 1:16-20a)?
He is the Powerful God (compare verse 16 with verse 20a). If there is anything that creation reveals, it is that there is a mighty power at work in the universe. The creationist, the evolutionist, the New Age adherent, the superstitious animist, the agnostic, all would agree that the power that created this universe and that maintains this universe is a power beyond our ability, a power beyond our knowledge, a power beyond our duplication. The best that man can do is harness that power. We cannot create it. We can extract energy out of oil, from the sun, even from the atom but we cannot create any of those things. That is beyond our power. And that power is eternal. We cannot discover the beginning of it, nor see the end of it. That is why creation reveals the Godhead. We see the power of creation and understand that this could not just happen. There must be a god or gods who brought all this into being.
I understand that evolutionary theory claims that chance brought all of this about but they have yet to show how. They have theories and they have puzzle pieces but they have yet to produce an evolution. It is beyond their ability, it is beyond observable knowledge, and it is beyond duplication. Their very standard, that of observable knowledge does not produce a case of evolution but rather a universe of such immensity and complexity that one must consider that there is some type of intelligent designer.
Yet that is as far as observable phenomena can bring us. We can see God’s power and capability through creation but not His character and purposes. In order to see more than just the eternal power and Godhead, we need the gospel of Christ. The gospel of Christ shows us that God is Righteousness (verse 17). When you look at the universe, there seems to be no righteousness.
This week we watched a relatively recent movie based on the book, “Charlotte’s Web.” The young girl in the film, seeing her father about to put the runty pig out of its misery says, “It’s not fair.” This universe does not appear just. It does not appear right. It does not appear righteous. Runty pigs are born. Stars die. Species die out. The universe does not reveal the righteousness of God. That is only revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ and only when one believes that gospel (see also Romans 3:21-26; 5:17-21; and 10:1-11).
He is the Judge (verses 18-19). Although the word “judge” is not used in these verses, this is exactly what is being described in these verses. That men are unrighteous is clear. We have fallen short of the righteousness of God and we deserve a just wrath on our own righteousness. The reason this wrath is just is because we have not sinned ignorant of God but rather with our eyes wide open.
You see, humankind has suppressed the truth by our own unrighteousness (verses 18b-20). From the time of creation, the power of God has been observable, the eternal Godhead has been deducible but humankind has suppressed the truth of the power of God and the truth that there is a God who is above anything that we could possibly imagine (See also Deuteronomy 4:19 and Job 31:26-28).
Why Does It Matter (Romans 1:20b-25)?
It matters because our knowledge of God removes any excuse from judgment (Romans 1:20b-21.) Humankind has refused to glorify God and to thank God for His gifts and glory even though we recognize Him in creation (verse 21). When we stand before God, if we have never heard of Him, if we have never heard of Jesus Christ, we cannot say we didn’t know. God will say, “You saw my power in creation, you saw through creation that I am God but you suppressed this truth in your unrighteousness and served yourself and other gods and even your own desires rather than serve me. You are without excuse!” God does not have to reveal Himself to us but when He does, and He does that in creation, it leaves us without excuse. You folks who go hunting and you folks who enjoy the beautiful lake that we have here, when you sit there enjoying the beauty of God’s creation, if you see that beauty and do not recognize God’s eternal power and Godhead through that creation, you will stand before Him without excuse.
It also matters because of the results: thanklessness (verses 21-25).
Through thanklessness, humankind became self-deceived, blind fools (verses 21b-22). Someone one said, “When you look truth in the eye and call it a lie, although it is still truth, you will still deny”. The human race is in denial. Humankind has a permanent case of denial, of self-deception, of purposely living in darkness thinking that they are living in the light.
When I was a kid, we use to play hide-and-seek at night in our house with my dad. Bathrooms and the living area were off limits. There was a long hallway with five bedrooms off of it. My dad would be it. We would all go and hide with all the lights cut off. My dad was great for coming in so quietly that you didn’t know he was there and then by listening he would hear where you were at and slowly quietly make his way to where you were. You would think he would be in the other end of the building when he would reach out and grab you and scare you witless. You thought you knew where he was. You thought you knew how the game was going done but you were just speculating and you were caught. That is what the world is doing spiritually.
Humankind began to serve, that is glorify and thank, the creature rather than the Creator (verses 23 & 25). Certainly this refers to idol worship and the making of gods. Praying to a human, whether living or dead would also be included. The word “serve” in verse 25 is always used in connection with some sort of religious act. It may sacrifices. It may be fasting. Most often it refers to prayer. When you pray to a statute or a person or a shrine or a cross or to a pastor or to a saint or to a ritual or to a church, you have changed the image of God from the creator to what was created. Why do people do this? Because they do not want to glorify God, put Him at the head of the table and they are not thankful, do not appreciate the one who created them. They deceive themselves and turn to worshiping something besides the true and living God.
God allowed their sin to follow its natural course (verse 24). God was not standing around helpless in all this. He allowed them to follow the desires of their hearts. He gave them up. What did He give them up to? Immorality.
Now verse 26 talks about the progression to homosexuality and verses 28-32 list twenty-one sins that characterize those who do not recognize the eternal power and Godhead. We as an evangelical community oppose gay marriage and all forms of homosexuality because God has set strict standards of intimate behavior: one man married to one woman until death do part but we need to recognize that uncleanness is the first major step away from God. Adulterous affairs, pornography, an intimate relationship of any kind outside of marriage, no fault divorce and easy remarriage, lustful thoughts, obsession with immorality in our reading material and in our TV shows, all of these things are included in the first major step away from God.
“Why (are these things) singled out as the first major step away from God? The answer is not hard to find. Sex is closely related to the human spirit. The way you conduct yourself sexually is a good barometer of what’s going on in your heart (Ray Pritchard).” Paul tells us that this is the natural progression of our depraved hearts.
If we were to continue in this passage, which for the sake of time we will not, we would see the progression in verse 26 to open homosexuality and in verses 28-32, twenty-one sins that characterize us at our worst. If you look at that list, you’ll probably find one of your favorite sins listed there.
Finally, It matters who God is because there is good news in the midst of man’s desperate situation (1:16-17).
The good news reveals salvation from wrath (verse 16a). The fact that Jesus came and died for our sins and rose again from the dead, that is the good news, the gospel. When I go to the ATM machine and take out money, I try to always get a receipt. I’m not trying to get economic theory or bank advertising or ideas on how to save money. I get the receipt because I want some documented facts. That is what the good news is, what the gospel is. The documented facts about Jesus Christ.
The good news reveals the power of God (verse 16b). It is wonderful that creation reveals the power of God but so much more wonderful to see the power of God to salvation through faith in the gospel of Christ. Faith that Jesus died for our sins according the Scriptures and that He was buried and rose again according to the Scriptures is a powerful and life-giving faith. Dr. Lee Roberson use to call it “Gospel Dynamite” because the facts are so powerful, so explosive that they can save a person from the slavery of sin, from the condemnation of hell, and from eternal separation from God and all that is good.
The good news reveals that power is unleashed by faith in God’s righteousness (verses 16c-17). If you keep the Ten Commandments, the power of the gospel to save remains unlit. Being self-righteous hinders the power of God but faith in God’s righteousness unleashes that power.
INVITATION: Remember those Indiana Jones’ movies. It seems that someone was always putting their faith in the wrong person in those movies. I suppose that was the way they made those movies interesting. Everyone was suspect, no one was dependable. There are a myriad of options out there in which you can put your faith. God has revealed to us that the answer is by faith in Jesus Christ.
Are you willing to accept the gospel of Christ? If you haven’t received Christ as Savior, if have not put your faith in Him alone for salvation, why don’t you do it today. He died for you, He bore your reproach, your sin, on the cross; He rose from the dead for you to prove that He is both man and God and that He is able to save you for all eternity; He lives for you today also, if you will turn to Him. If you want to trust Christ today or you have questions about how to be saved, will you meet our counselors at the back of the auditorium and they will show you from the Bible how to be saved.

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