Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Genesis 5 Sermon Ideas

-  In Your Likeness - In Genesis 5:1-3, we are reminded that God made Adam in His own likeness. Adam was created to be like God. We are then told that Adam's son, rather than being in God's likeness, was born into Adam's likeness.

What does that contrast mean to you, that Seth was born in Adam's likeness rather than God's?

Part of Adam and Eve having been made in God's likeness means that at the moment of the creation, their souls were pure. Their natural desire was to serve God obediently and joyfully.

As we know, however, that does not mean that they could not be tempted to break their natural state of purity, and sin did eventually become part of their experience.

I wonder how many times Adam and Eve sinned after they first sampled that forbidden fruit. Did they sin just that once and then live saintly, repentant lives afterward, having learned their lesson? Or did that sin simply open the floodgate to more rebellion?

Whatever the case, Adam and Eve had experienced sin and whether they committed sin from then on, it would always be a temptation for them, a temptation that would be passed on to their children, as we saw in the case of Cain.

Seth, being in Adam's likeness rather than God's, shows the very real effect that Adam and Eve's sin had on their own souls and on the spiritual state of their children.

Though not quite the same thing, it would be worth it at this point to consider what effect your sins and your spiritual health, have on your children. Are your actions, and your spiritual disciplines worthy of emulation? Would God be pleased with your children if they grew up treating and reacting to others the same way you do?

Adam and Eve passed their spiritual likeness onto their children, and to some degree, so will you, not just in what you teach them verbally but even more so by what your example teaches them.

- Walking with God - In verses 21-24, we are briefly told about a man named Enoch. Enoch walked with God and then was no more because God took him. Hebrews 11:5 explains that Enoch did not experience death, but was taken to Heaven without dying.

What do you think it means to walk with God?

I imagine two people talking a long journey together, talking on the road as they walk. The longer the journey, the more topics they find to talk about and their conversations, and their relationship become.

Jude 1:14 shows that Enoch was a prophet and that he hated sin.

What about you? Do you walk with God in your daily life? How can you walk with Him more closely? Do you hate sin with a passion just as God does? Are you warning others to flee from sin?

If you walk with God, you may not be able to skip death like Enoch did, but like Enoch, God will bring you to Himself when your time comes. And the reward of walking with God isn't just Heaven. The reward of walking with God in this life is getting to walk with God in this life! It's having Him as your constant companion on your journey through life. It's having His comfort, His strength, His wisdom, and His love continually with you.

- "He Will Comfort Us" - In verses 28-29, Lamech says that his son, Noah, will comfort him from the hard work of raising crops out of a God-cursed ground. Remember that one of the punishments for Adam's sin was that it would be more difficult to work the land.

Lamech was feeling the weight of that global punishment. What I find interesting is that he didn't stop working the land. It was difficult, but he didn't give up. He kept going.

What do you find difficult in your life?

Your work situation? Finances? Your health? A relationship? A loss?

There are many things that we can improve in life, but some things we can't. Some things we simply have to endure. We have to keep going through the difficulty.

But note that Lamech did not let his difficulty overshadow the rest of his life. He didn't give his problem more attention than it was worth. He was still able to find hope and comfort in something else.

We know that God will never leave us live a completely bleak existence. He allows difficulty in our lives, but He also always provides us comfort, often in a different area of life.

I encourage you to follow Lamech's example. Endure your difficulty, but don't let it define you. Put your difficulty in perspective by finding comfort in the other areas of your life in which God has blessed you.

- Begat, Begat, Begat - Why do we care about the genealogies in the Bible? Why are they there? Are we that interested in Jewish history that we need to know about strings of (relatively) unimportant people? I mean, looking through Genesis 5, I think I can safely say that most of these fathers and sons don't matter to us today.

Except for the fact that they're in the Bible, and they're in the Bible to provide credence to the people and stories we do care about. Take Noah, for instance. This chapter ends with his birth and the birth of his children. The next chapter begins with some pretty amazing, legendary events that Noah and his children were a part of.

But even though those events were legendary, Genesis 5 helps us to know that those events are not mere legend.

It would be easy to write off the account of "Noah's Flood" as exaggerated or mere metaphor if it were not for the historicity of Genesis 5. We know who Noah's father was, and his father, and his father... We know how old these men were when these certain children were born and what age they died.

The Bible would not painstakingly tell us these details if it intended to simply tell us a made up story in the next few chapters. If it intended to tell us mere legends, it might skip the genealogy altogether and  simply say something to the effect of, "A long time ago, in a land far, far away, there lived a man named Noah..." No context, no details.

But the Bible doesn't do that. Instead, it gives us the history of Genesis 5 to help us understand that Genesis 6 is also history.

So what does this mean to us today?

It means that we have a God who acts in the history - past, present, and future - of this actual world. It means that we have a God who is not aloof or the stuff of mere legend. It means that we have a God who can act in such a way as to change your present circumstances.

Think about that for a moment. The God who caused each of those names in Genesis 5 to be remembered, the God who punished sin and saved Noah in Genesis 6, is the same God who continues to act in the real events of our world, and in the circumstances of your own life.

God is real, and He acts in real ways. Genesis 5 (in painful detail) tells me so.

- Noteworthy? - As you skim the list of names in Genesis 5, how many would you say are noteworthy? Who in that list really stands out as being important?

Adam, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah?

What about Kenana? Or Mahalalel?

Out of the 13 names in that list, only half are considered to be important people. The other half are simply names linking the important people to one another. They're not important for anything they did.

Don't feel bad for them though. We're not very important people either. Oh, we might be important to the people in our families, but in the grand scheme of things, we're probably just links in the chain of one important person to another. We won't be remembered for any great deeds of our own.

The interesting thing is that even the unimportant people in Genesis 5 are still in Genesis 5! They're still part of the list. Even though they never accomplished any noteworthy feats, God still considers them noteworthy. God still remembers them.

The good news is that God will remember you and me too. We don't have to be important people to be important to God. We're still on His list, and that's all that matters.

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