Tag Archives: Creation

It Is Finished

Peninsula Community Church 

It Is Finished

August 26, 2018 

John 19:30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Colossians 2:13-15 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Today, we have our sixth and final installment in our series “the Battle is the Lord’s.” Specifically, in this study we will focus on the battle won by Jesus on the cross. It is noteworthy that some, in today’s anti-Christian and anti-Jesus society, have tried to deny the fact that Jesus died on the cross. They purport that either Jesus never died on the cross, or this was a false narrative made up by the disciples to cover up the claims that Christ would die and then rise again. However, to remove the cross from history would be to make us powerless over sin, and would place us in an untenable position of having to face our battles without Christ.

Let me ask you. What, most often, is the greatest battle we face? I would suggest that, for most of us, the great struggle of our life is the impact of sin. Sin robs us and strips us of so much of the vitality and power we have been freely given. We constantly battle the work of sin. While we may not be personally engaged in the big ten of sin, we are often impacted by the power of sin. 

To fully understand the work of the cross, we must go back to the beginning of what we know as time. We must come to an understanding of how we got to where we are today. In Scripture, we find that satan was cast out of heaven because of his pride and his desire to usurp the authority of God, which is a foolish proposition. Because of his sin, he was cast down to earth and has been the nemesis of all humankind ever since.

As we look back in time, we find the story of creation and that everything God created was good. However, the one who had fallen from grace, and was now an accuser and deceiver, was waiting to corrupt all that was good. Since creation and until today, the enemy’s ploy has been to corrupt all that God made good. This hit me like never before, as I was preparing for this message. Satan’s primary goal is to corrupt all that God made good. Think about the things that have been corrupted in society: relationships, families, marriage, our view of God, the sanctity of life, morals, sexuality, addictive behaviors, religion/spiritual things, our thoughts, and so on. All of these has been corrupted by satan. 

Almost immediately after the creation, Satan was at work and through deception man disobeyed God’s will and sin was ushered in. This resulted in man being cast out of the Garden of Eden. The woman was cursed and now suffers the pain of childbirth. The man was cursed and must now work the ground by the sweat of his brow. For the deceiver, a prophetic curse was placed upon him. God stated, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. God recognized that from that moment of time there would be warfare and confrontation with the enemy, until he was finally subdued at the end of time. 

While that is true, in this passage we find a promise to bruise the head of the serpent. The serpent will wound the heel that crushes him. He will afflict humanity and bring suffering and persecution. He will attempt to corrupt that which is good but, at the right time, Christ will put His foot on the head of the serpent and he shall be bruised. This is critical because the serpent’s poison is in its head; and a bruise on that part of the serpent would be fatal. The fatal blow occurred 2000 years ago when Christ died on the cross. In the Garden, the enemy bruised the heal. On the cross, the head of the serpent was bruised. Christ won!

In our first passage, we find the culmination of this prophesy in three powerful words. “It is Finished!” In that moment of time the head of the serpent was bruised. In this act of great love, the future was changed forever. The Greek word for “it is finished” is TETELESTAI. We could get into the weeds of the grammar used here, but instead let me give you some insights based on the grammatical structure of the word. First, the action has been completed, and the results of the action are ongoing and in full effect. The work of Christ was completed that day and that work continues today.

Second, the word insinuates this was not for the one taking the action, but for the one who was receiving the action. Here is what is amazing, we are the benefactors of the cross. The work of the cross was completed on our behalf. We continue to benefit from that action today. Christ died not for Himself, but He died for us. He who had no sin died for “our sin.” He took all of our sin, shame, and the accusations of the enemy upon Himself that day. He did that for us.

The third truth is this action was an actual event that occurred. This was not the figment of someone’s imagination. It was a reality. It happened and all the world was changed. Through the cross, the ceremonial law was fulfilled. Through the cross, the head of the serpent was not just bruised, it was crushed. Through the cross, we have redemption and the forgiveness of sin. Through the cross, sin was overcome. Through the work of the cross, the rulers and powers of the world were disarmed. What began in the Garden was completed on the cross. 

In preparing for this I came across this interesting information and thought I would share it.  nowThe work was finished! In the Greek, this word is used in different ways but some of these may help us understand the power of the statement “It Is Finished.” An artist might proclaim Tetelestai! when he finished a painting. He would announce “the picture is perfect.” A servant might confidently proclaim Tetelestai! when asked by his master if the work he had been assigned to do was complete. The servant would say, “Yes, master. I have finished the work.” A judge might say Tetelestai! when he conferred a sentence or when issuing a ruling that a sentence had been completed. The judge would say, “Justice has been served.” A merchant might say Tetelestai! after stamping a bill “the debt has been paid.” A soldier might shout Tetelestai! as a battle cry toward a vanquished foe. The soldier would yell, “You are finished!”

You see, the artist had the last word as to the meaning of the painting, not the art critic. The Servant knew if the work in the house had been completed and approved by the Master, not the stranger who entered the house. The Judge determined the sentence and it’s execution, not the convicted criminal. The Priest determined if one’s sacrifice was acceptable to God, not the penitent one. The Merchant determined if a debt was paid, not the debtor. The Victorious Warrior determined the future of his combatant, not the defeated enemy. Jesus Christ is the Artisan, the Servant, the Judge, the Priest, the Merchant, and the Victor, you are not. Your religion is not. Your intellect is not. He has determined that you are free and that all your debts have been paid because of who He is and not who you are.

In our second passage, we find that the power of satan has been neutralized and diminished. We see this in the word disarmed which means to put off completely, to undress completely, and thus render powerless. It carries the idea of stripping the clothes off of a deposed official. At the cross, the leaders and authorities of satan’s force and his kingdom were stripped of their authority and power.

In the death of Christ, Satan was stripped of the power to accuse us of the guilt we try to carry. He was stripped of the power that causes us to believe there is no hope. Because of the cross, we no longer have to walk in the accusations of the enemy. We are empowered to walk in the confidence that He overcame the power of the enemy to falsely accuse us. The result is that there is nothing that can defeat us, and nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing, no nothing has the power to do that. Since satan’s power has been diminished, we must remember that satan can only take what we give him. He has no right to take anything. He has no right to accuse us. He has no right to torment us. And yet, he does it over and over because we allow him that territory in our life. He knows his destiny and he desires more than ever to weaken our spirits and our hearts by false accusations and false identities of who we are. 

Too often, we are fighting battles already won. Too often, we are giving up ground we do not need to give up. Many years ago during the days of the settlers, a father and his son were traveling west when they encountered a huge fire that was burning all around them. The son was terrified, but the father placed the son in the middle of where the fire had been burning. At first, the son could not understand why he did this, but the father explained that the fire would not burn the same spot twice. He would be safe because the fire had already burned a safe spot for him. Here is the point. The Savior has paved the way for us. He has conquered ground on our behalf which means the enemy cannot touch us when we are standing on ground already secured by the Son. After doing all we can do to stand firm, we can take on the promise that the head of the serpent has been bruised and he does not have power over us as believers. 

So what ground are you giving over to the enemy? Where have you allowed the enemy to deceive you and take ground that has already been won by the Savior on the cross? Where have you allowed the name to corrupt that which is good? Do not allow the enemy to deceive you or accuse you any more.

For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14

Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom

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Stewardship of God’s Creation

Peninsula Community Church

June 8, 2014

Stewardship – Stewardship of God’s Creation

Genesis 1:26-28 “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

In recent years we have heard much news on the environment, global warming, and climate change. We know that billions of dollars have been spent to attempt to evade what some are calling a cataclysmic problem that could destroy the world, as we know it. Proponents of these ideas continue to press the issue by pushing for less coal production, less oil drilling, less gas extractions by concentrating on more natural energy sources such as wind mills and solar panels. While all of this is a valiant effort, it seems to me that little has changed with the climate, although there has already been a large amount of money spent, jobs lost, and prices have drastically increased. 

While we may argue the validity of such claims, the point is we do have a level of responsibly to properly steward the earth and the creation of God. But we must do so in a way that is balanced and Biblically based. The fact is, God has created the world and everything in it. By way of God’s creation, we find that creation itself points us to God and in so doing creation proclaims the glory of God. The intricacies of creation point to a God who is the creator, sustainer, and protector of the earth and His creation. 

Romans 1:19-20 verifies this. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. We also find confirmation of this in Colossians 1:16-17. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

To fully understand the stewardship of creation, we are reminded that God is the creator of all things in heaven and on earth. The undeniable fact is, He is the creator; and He has ultimate ownership of all things. This is confirmed throughout Scripture and particularly by the Psalmist in Psalms 24:1-2. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” 

While God created the heavens and the earth, He also created mankind to be intricately involved in creation. Man was not designed to be a passive bystander but he was to be involved. We must understand that God created man to steward His creation. As we have noted before, man gets to enjoy the creation of God, to honor God through our use of what God created, and we have the privilege of using God’s creation to point to people to Christ, glorify God, and to expand the kingdom of God. 

In our passage, we find there are three things that speak to man’s stewardship of God’s creation. First, as a steward of God’s creation, man has been called to be fruitful and multiply. This concept coincides with the parable of the talents. The servants who were complimented were complimented for multiplying their talents. Mankind was called to populate the earth and to multiply what they had been given. The debate is not about how many children you may have but whether you are multiplying what you have. The fact, is God is blessing families and He is blessing the idea of children.

Second, man was to subdue the earth. Man was to rule the earth under the direction of God and according to the laws of God. As we look at society today, we find that man wants to rule the earth without understanding the laws of God, and they do so without obedience to God. Too often this leads to worshipping the earth, but there is a big difference between ruling the earth and worshipping the earth. People, today, are fulfilling the warnings of Romans 1 in unprecedented ways. There is no doubt that people have succumbed to creation worship rather than God worship. The result is a devaluing of man and God. Secondly, when we put the earth, trees, and other living things on equal footing with God, we have created a problem for ourselves and for others. When this occurs, we are in fact minimizing God’s purpose for man and we in fact are devaluing God. Now, let me be clear about something. Our view of God does not change who God is or what God purposes for our lives. It does, however, change how we interact with God and how we do what we do for God. You see it is about our understanding of God and not about God, as God does not change.

You see Paul warned the Christians of Rome about the potential to worship the creation at the expense of worshipping the creator. This kind of worship falls within two extremes. First, there is materialism. Through materialism people are motivated by greed and natural problems are resolved redistribution of resources. The earth is in essence destroyed for personal gain. We do so without any concern of glorifying God but solely for personal gain. 

The second extreme is to believe that God is in everything and is a part of everything. We call this Pantheism. Pantheism is the belief that God is the chair, the tree, the ocean, or the dog. To believe this and to propagate this idea is to minimize the character and grandeur of God. People revere nature to the degree that nature is not allowed to be used for anything at all for everything is sacred.

Third, man was to have dominion over the animals. The animal kingdom was created to serve mankind. When Adam was placed in the garden, he was to tend and care for the garden according to the standards God had established. Adam was to work. Adam was to plant. Adam was to harvest the crops. Adam was to tend to the animals and the plants in the garden. You see the Garden of Eden was not an absence of work. This was evidence by the fact that we believe that work was not hard because they not experienced a fallen creation. Some Christians have a faulty view of this idea of dominion. They use dominion as an opportunity to destroy the earth and do whatever they want to with the earth, without any responsibility. Still others promote the act of dominion as the authorization for Christians to take over the world, take over kingdoms, and build a kingdom here on earth. 

In Genesis 2:15, we find that man’s mandate was to work the garden and to keep it. Man was not to destroy the earth by doing whatever he chose. He was not to have dominion by way of setting up a kingdom here because God’s kingdom is not of this world. From the beginning of time, God’s plan was for man to work and to steward the gift of God’s creation. Do we need to take care of the earth? Absolutely, yes! Any good farmer knows that if you do not tend to the ground that you plant, your productivity will be reduced. Throughout the Old Testament, we see God establish natural laws that guide us as to how we are to tend for God’s creation. For example, when God created the heavens and the earth, He modeled the need to rest and to be revitalized. While we have been placed on the earth to care for the earth, we must never place a higher value on the environment that we do on mankind, who inhabits, subdues, and has dominion over it.

Through our discussion, we are reminded that God is the creator of all things. But we are also reminded that sin has destroyed God’s original intent for mankind and for God’s creation. Because of the sin and the failure of mankind, the earth has become corrupted. Not only is there a curse on man but there is a curse on the earth. It is for that reason, we see that the earth and the creation of God is awaiting the coming of the final and complete redemption by way of Christ’s 2nd coming. But here’s the problem, when mankind sinned the very ground was cursed. Instead of work being a joy, it was now labor. Man now had to work by the sweat of his brow. He had to deal with weeds and thorns that challenged his labor. This is confirmed by Paul’s words in Romans 8:22-23. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

So how do we live this out? First, we take only what we will use. When I was growing up my dad was a hunter. His rule was this, what you shoot you eat. We never hunted for sport, we hunted for food. The same was true of fishing. We would fish for food and not sport. He did not know what catch and release was.

Second, we plant and restore what we have destroyed. Once again when we were kids my brother was a member of the 4-H Club. He purchased hundreds of pine trees which we took to my grandfather’s house where we planted them. Why? Because my grandfather was a lumberjack and he had a desire to replenish the land.

Third, this means what we possess we need to take care of. What is the condition of your car? What is the condition of your home? Are you a good steward of what you possess? Do you treat what you have as if it is owned by God. Once again, I remember my dad’s rule was that if we borrowed something from someone, we were to return it in better shape than we borrowed it. He wanted us to understand that we were stewards of what we were borrowing. 

And lastly, how are you using what you have been given to glorify God and expand the kingdom of God? We have all been given a part of God’s creation and how we steward that speaks to who we are and what we are about. 

So how are you doing? If there are things that need to change, we can do so by the power of the Holy Spirit and through making choices which honor God.

 

Visit www.pccministry.org for the audio version of this message. Note that the notes presented here and the audio message with vary in detail.

 

Copyright 2014 © All Rights Reserved, Robert W. Odom

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