This is one of Satan's tactics. If he can get you think God isn't really looking out for your interest; if he can get you think God isn't good, then he'll get you to think, "If I obey God about this or that, I won't be happy."
Through the enemy's attempt to disorient us, we need to remember the message of Genesis 1-2: God is exceedingly good and he doesn't ask us to do anything that isn't also good. There's a message I have had to learn to preach to myself when obeying God doesn't look appetizing. The message is this:
"God loves me so much, he sent his only Son into the world to live a perfect life for me; and to die a death I would never want die. If God loves me this much, then whatever he is asking me to obey him on must spring from this same goodness. Therefore, I can trust that whatever God wants me to obey is every bit as good as the good he has shown me in what Jesus did for me." This is the only way I can reorient myself to what is actually good. So learn to preach this message to yourself.
The infamous tree in the garden of Eden gets a lot of attention. It's mysterious. There's probably a lot that went on in the mind of God we aren't aware of that resulted in that tree's presence in the garden. But we do know a couple of things.
First, Adam and Eve weren't supposed to eat from it (Gen. 2:16-17). God said they could eat from every other tree in the garden, but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not among them.
Second, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a good thing. It's part of the creation God declared to be exceedingly good (Gen. 1:31). There's nothing evil about this tree. This is what makes the first sin so striking.
Humanity's first mistake wasn't murder or adultery. It was taking a good thing and turning it into a "must-have" ultimate thing. Through the devious whisperings of the serpent, Adam and Eve gazed upon that tree and began to think, "If only we had the fruit of that tree, then our lives will become all we imagine they could be."
The irony of the story is that Adam and Eve got the very thing they thought they needed to be content and it made their lives worse than they were before. This is what happens when we pursue satisfaction through some route other than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is a theme replete through Scripture. And it is a theme replete in our lives. There is a voice within every one of us that murmurs with nauseating repetition: "If only I had that, then I would be happy." All the while Jesus is the only one who can truly offer rest (Matt. 11:28-30). He's the only one with living water that truly quenches your thirst (John 4:13-14). He's only one who can make you content (Phil. 4:12-13).
This is a compelling reason for the vision of Alliance Bible Church to be about "captivating generations with the satisfying gospel of Jesus Christ." God, help us as we seek to be instruments of gospel captivation!
The people of Alliance Bible Church have just begun a journey through the Bible. From the youngest to the oldest, all are pondering the same text of Scripture each Sunday. In our first two Sundays, we looked at Genesis 1-2. While it's a passage many Christians know well, there's big, stare-you-in-the-face truth that can't be missed in these two familiar chapters. What is that truth? Let's get at it through a question...
Why did God create?
We know from the rest of the Bible God didn’t create because he had needs he wanted his creation to meet. It’s not as though God had an itch he couldn’t scratch so he made the cosmos to take care of that for him.
So why did God create? Well, let me tweak the question slightly. What did the universe do to deserve to exist? What did planet earth do to deserve to exist? What did life, including human life, do to deserve to exist? The question is nonsensical. The answer is nothing. We didn’t do a thing to deserve life.
This is ‘creational grace.’ Creation is an act of incredible divine generosity. God didn’t need us. He made space for us. This is divine generosity and hospitality. God created in order to give!
To be made in the image and likeness of God means we are to replicate this generosity and hospitality by making space for others. That means making space for people in our community; making space for people in our churches; making space for people in our homes.
So make room for people. Welcome them into your community, church, and home!