Unashamed Of The Gospel

Sermon Study Sheets

Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

July 16, 2000

Not Ashamed of the Gospel

Selected Scriptures

This morning is the conclusion of our Vacation Bible School program. I hope that both for you parents that are our guests this morning as well as for the rest of the congregation, the program the children have just presented to you has given you a sense of what has occurred here all week. We have had a great time.

The theme of our Vacation Bible School this year was “Celebrate Life: From the Beginning to Eternity,” and the theme verse was “All things were made by Him” from John 1:3. Some may wonder why we picked the theme of creation which is seen as controversial by so many today, especially since we have emphasized that evolution is not true. Our answer is simple and it comes from a statement Paul makes in the introductory section to the book of Romans. [We] are not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by Faith.”

This morning I want to briefly go over the message of the gospel. It is a message so simple a child can understand it, and yet so complex that the greatest minds have never fully comprehended its depths.

The word “gospel” simply means “good news.” There is good news that we desire to tell the world concerning what Jesus Christ has done for us so that we can have a personal relationship with the God that created us. But right there we come to the first problem in sharing this good news with other people in our society. While the vast majority of people still believe there is a God who created them, there is a powerful minority of intellectuals that have rejected God. They are either atheists or agnostics, but because they are in positions of power in our universities and governments structures, they hold sway over our society. So much so, that even many churches that once were solidly based in the Bible now try to appease them by changing the story of creation in Genesis to accommodate the ideas of evolution espoused by the intellectuals.

We are not intimidated by the arguments of the intellectuals nor do we find that we have to gain their approval in anyway. We do not arrogantly dismiss the questions and thoughts of these intellectuals, but we do see through their arguments and know the fallacy of their positions. They do not argue based on truth and fact but upon a philosophy that has rejected God as their first premise. We find that a careful examination of truth and fact always demonstrates that God has revealed the truth to us in the Scriptures.

Let’s start with the foundational premise of the atheist and agnostic who advocates evolution. First, the atheist is the most arrogant person in the world, for in truth it is intellectually dishonest to claim there is no God. In order to make such a declaration, that person would have to have all knowledge of everything in the universe otherwise God could simply be in some place and exist in some form they are ignorant of. If they were intellectually honest, they would have to declare themselves as agnostic which means one without knowledge. They do not know if God exists and do not want to make a conclusion either way.

But as we look at the case of the agnostic, we also find some intellectual dishonesty. Their claim is that they cannot come to a conclusion about the existence of God, but God has provided all the evidence that any intelligent creature needs to know that He exists. There is a different reason they come to their conclusions.

In Romans 1:18f the apostle Paul writes the following: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools. . .”.

The creation itself proclaims the creator. As Psalm 19:1 states, The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. When men ignore this evidence, they do so willingly by suppressing the facts. They proclaim themselves to be wise, but they have become fools defying even basic logic.

Let me give you a simple example. Anything showing complex design demonstrates that there is a designer. When you see a house, you know there was a house builder. When you see a painting, you know there was a painter. Even the atheistic evolutionist does understand this because in their quest for finding life beyond earth they using radio-telescopes trying to find some pattern in what they are picking up. They are looking for design in order to prove an intelligent designer.

What would you say if I took a can of soda and told you it was the result of billions of years of evolution. That the magnetic properties of the metal drew the metal atoms together in such a way that they formed a cylinder with a bottom, and then after millions of years a brown, sweet liquid formed inside. After more millions of years a top formed with lid that could open easily. Then after more millions of years it became colored, in this case, with red, gold and white in such a way that it read in English, “Diet Dr. Pepper” and “12 FL OZ.” That sounds pretty foolish doesn’t it, and even more so if I added that thousands of these soda cans evolved and then arranged themselves in rows of 3 by 2 with a plastic material forming around their tops so six of them can be carried at a time.

But consider what people believe about something like a banana. The outside is a biodegradable wrapper that changes color according to the condition of what is inside. Green is too early, Yellow is just right and Black is too late. It has a “pop top” and seems so that it can be easily opened and still protect the contents from contamination. You can eat this even if your hands are dirty – perfect for boys and men! Its shape is perfect for the human hand and mouth, and if you hold it correctly, it even bends toward you for easy consumption. Nutritionists tell us that the contents of a banana are one of the best foods for humans. It is easily digested and provides the body with energy as well as vitamins and minerals. The banana also contains seeds inside it which can grow into a banana tree and then produce more bananas. Try planting a soda can and see what grows! The banana is infinitely more complex than a can of soda and demonstrates the design of a wise creator, yet many people willingly ignore the obvious to claim it is the product of the chance mixing together of molecules in chemical reactions over millions and millions of years. It is more plausible to get the soda can by evolution than a banana – hence a good name for a banana is “The Atheist Nightmare.”

We are not ashamed of the gospel, but those who proclaim themselves atheists and agnostic should be ashamed of their intellectual dishonesty and ignorance. We boldly proclaim that God is the creator of everything because it is true.

Genesis 1 is written in clear terms that are well defined so that the meaning and flow of thought can be easily understood. It is not presented as an analogy or allegory or a mythical story. Here is a chart briefly describing the events of each day and the fact that the “day” is a literal day as we ourselves would describe it.

Days of Creation – Genesis 1

Yom – “day” Can be used figuratively or literally.

Context determines the meaning.

translated as “time” ~ 65 times

translated as “day” ~1200 times

Yamin (plural) translated as “days” ~ 700 times

Period of light = “day” 1:5

Period of light & dark (morning & evening) = “day” 1:5,8,13,19, 23, 31

Day 1 (1-5)

Heavens & Earth; Light;

Day 2 (6-8)

Expanse between waters;

Day 3 (9-13)

Waters gathered, land appears;

vegetation, seed plants, fruit trees

Day 4 (14-19)

Sun to govern day; Moon to govern night; Stars

Day 5 (20-23)

Living creatures in the water;

Every winged bird

Day 6 (24-31)

Living creatures on the earth: cattle, creeping things & beasts

Man in God’s image to rule the Earth

Plants designated as food

Day 7 (2:1-3)

God rested The idea of long time periods is foreign to this text. In addition, at the end of each day, a period of evening and morning, light and dark, God pronounces the work of that day as good (except for days 1 & 2 which were not commented on and day six which everything was pronounced as “very good”). If evolution were true, then there would have been millions of years of death before Adam’s sin. Could a loving God call that “good”?

Some try to make a mixture of creation and evolution. They want to have a foot in both camps, but the result is that they are not respected by either group. The reason why is simple. God’s story in Genesis 1 of how He created everything is in contradiction to the hypothesis of evolution (and since evolution cannot be tested, it is properly a hypothesis and not a theory). Here is a comparison chart.

Comparing Creation & Evolution

Creation

Evolution

Method

Out of nothing

Work of God’s hand

By the Word – Jesus Christ

God intervenes – Miracles

Primeval atmosphere of gases and water.

Condensation of protoplasm

Positive Mutations

Natural selection

Time

Began thousands of years ago

Six days for entire creation

Began billions of years ago

Millions of years for each step

Order

Grass & Trees

Sun & Moon

Water Creatures & Birds

Cattle, beasts & creeping things

Man

Orderly planned occurrence

Sun & Moon

Droplets of chemicals

One celled organisms

Multi-celled organisms

“Tree of life” complex organisms

Chance occurrence

Continuity

One original creation, God rests

Laws of genetics allow variation within basic kinds

Natural selection removes the weak & abnormal.

Speciation a genetic decrease

Species gradually appear

Mutations & genetics produce new species

Natural selection chooses healthy & “good” mutants

Speciation a genetic increase

Purpose

To declare the glory of God

To express the love of God to and through man

A creation for man to have dominion over.

No foreordained future

No goal except survival

Man is merely the latest stage of evolution Some still think that somehow creation and evolution must be reconciled because the earth is supposedly 5 billion years old. That all depends on your assumptions. Here is a chart of different geochronometers using uniformitarian assumptions, and even with these, the most reliable all show relatively young ages. There is nothing in science which compels us to believe the earth is old, but there is a lot that compels us to believe that it is recent.

God made everything, and He made man to have a relationship with Himself. We see this in Genesis 2 & 3 in God’s interaction with Adam and even seeking Adam out in the garden of Eden in the cool of the day (3:8). God had work for Adam to do. He had Adam name all the animals and wanted him to care for the garden, but there was one prohibition that God gave Adam. He was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:17), but Adam disobeyed that command and all of creation became cursed. The serpent that deceived Eve was cursed (3:14,15), Eve was cursed (3:16), Adam and the earth were cursed (3:17-19). Death entered creation and Adam and Eve became estranged from the Holy God who had created them and were even thrown out of the Garden of Eden. They tried to cover up their shame and nakedness with fig leaves, but that was inadequate. God Himself made a covering for their nakedness with animal skins. An animal had to die because of their sin.

By the time of Noah, things were so bad that Genesis 6:5 describes the wickedness of man as “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God formed a plan to blot out man from the face of the earth along with the animals, creeping things and birds, but Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. God told him to build an ark and place two of every kind of animal in which is the breath of life within it and in that way they would survive the flood which was to come. If Gen. 6:3 is the indicator, Noah worked on the ark for about 120 years. God brought a pair of every kind of animal that would need to be in the ark to survive, the rain started, they all went inside and God shut the door. It would be 371 days before they came out again on dry land.

Some have discounted the account of the Genesis flood, but in doing so they ignore both what Genesis clearly states and the evidence of the flood around us that is overwhelming.

The following chart lists out the major literary arguments proving the Genesis flood covered the earth.

Major Arguments for a World-Wide Flood

 

1 The language describing the event is universal – “all,” “every,” etc. Genesis 6:7; 7:2,3,4,14,19,20,21,23,24; 8:9,21

2 The depth of the flood “all high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered”– (Gen. 7:19,20)

3 Only Noah & family and those animals (with “breath of life”) survived the flood (7:23)

4 The need for an ark

A migration would have avoided a local flood.

5 The duration of the flood.

Total of 150 days till the ark lands (8:4).

224 days before tops of mountains can be seen (8:5)

314 days before land is dry (8:13)

(A “local flood” would have abated quickly).

6 God’s promise to never again destroy every living thing “as I have done” (8:20). There have been many local floods since.

7 Old and New Testament Verification

Job 12:15; 22:16 DavidPsalm 29:10*

Psalm 104:6-9 Isaiah 54:9*

Peter1 Peter 3:20*; 2 Peter 2:5*; 3:5,6*

Hebrews 11:7

Jesus – Matthew 24:37-39*; Luke 17:26,27*

Some mock the Genesis flood saying that such an ark could never hold all the animals. John Woodmorappe has done a feasibility study on that question and shows that even using a smaller measurement for a cubit, the ark would have had plenty of room for the 16,000 animals on the ark plus their food and water and that 8 people could have taken care of them. The average size of an animal on the ark would have been about that of a small rat. Only 11% would have been larger than a sheep – including the dinosaurs.

The size of the ark is incredible. Genesis 6:15 gives its dimensions as 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits. Even using the smaller cubit length of 17.5 inches, the ark is 438 ft long, 72 ft. wide and 43. 8 ft high with 94 sq ft of floor space and a volume of 1.4 million cubic feet. If the Hebrew cubit of 20.4 inches long is used, the ark is 510 ft. long, 85 ft. wide and 51 ft. high with floor space of 130,000 sq ft and a volume of 2.2 million cubic feet.

To get an idea of how big that is, we measured it off in the church parking lot using the short cubits. It would be a little taller than the steeple of the church, as wide as the parking lot and would stretch from the rock at the top of the drive to the white pole out in the field – almost to the trees. As one child said, it was HUMONGOUS.

The world around us is full of evidence of the Genesis flood. We do not have the time to go into any these in detail this morning, but here are some of them.

The Fossil Record is generally arranged by ecological zones with inconsistences as expected. Those same inconsistences, such as angiosperms (vascular plants) being found in Cambrian rock, destroy the evolutionary tree. Fossils themselves demand a quick deposition and sedimentation or they would be destroyed before they could be fossilized. Fossil grave yards that include things such as a fish, eating a fish that just ate a fish demonstrate the catastrophic nature of fossils.

The Geologic column is entirely laid down in water deposited rocks. The sizes of the formations, such as the Colorado Plateau which is more than 125,000 square miles, speak against being formed by any delta. The types of formations such as limestones, dolostones, chert and evaporites cannot be explained by any current process. The rapid erosional features, like that of the Grand Canyon, cannot be explained by current geological processes. They demand a catastrophe. Then there is the Ice Age which Michael J. Ord has shown (An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood) cannot be explained by any uniformitarian theory, but can be explained as the aftermath of the Genesis flood. We could go on and talk about unconformities, overthrusts, geologic fossils such as cross bedding ephemeral markings, and evidence of a pre-flood greenhouse effect producing warm climates in extreme latitudes. The evidence is overwhelming.

But why bring up these things at all? Why not just concentrate on the love of Jesus and how we should try to be like Him as do the liberal churches that no longer believe these things that are in the Bible? Because those who deny God as creator and those who deny the Genesis flood are the mockers that the Apostle Peter warns us about in 2 Peter 3:3-7. Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with [their] mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For [ever] since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God [the] heavens existed long ago and [the] earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

You don’t need a savior if you have nothing to be saved from. We are not ashamed of the gospel nor the truths of God as creator and the flood of Noah’s day because they are both part of the message that man is responsible for his actions to a Holy God that will judge.

You see, the bad news is that every single person was not only born dead in their trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1), but that they have each personally confirmed that sin by breaking the commandments of God. Who here has not lied about something? Who here has not coveted something someone else had? Who here has not taken something that does not belong to them, even if it is only a pencil or pen from school, work or another business? Who here has not created idols out of the things of this world and made them more important in their life than God? What you spend your money and time on will reveal what is really important to you. Who here has not thought of God is someway other than what He truly is and in doing so has not created a god of our own imagination. We could go through the rest of the ten commandments, but all it takes is breaking one of God’s laws and you are guilty before Him and He is just in condemning you to eternal separation from Him in the torment of eternal hell.

Personal sin is man’s greatest problem, but we compound it because we also act like Adam and Eve in trying to deal with it. We want to solve it ourselves and try to cover it up with fig leaves. All our righteous deeds are not adequate for they are as filthy rags before God. Some try to solve it by saying there is no God, but that is the statement of a fool (Psalm 14:1). You cannot earn you way to heaven. Anyone thinking that they can some how be good enough to gain God’s favor or tip the scales of His justice will find themselves judged and condemned by their very deeds (Rev. 20:13).

Others claim God to be something other than what He Himself reveals in His word. The make Him out to be the doting grandfather type who always overlooks the misdeeds of his grandchildren. Yes, God is loving, good and kind, but He is also holy, righteous and just and those attributes demand that He punish sin or He would also cease to be loving and good. Would it be loving for God to let a rapist get away with his crime? Would God be good if He did not bring consequences to bear on the murderer? God’s very goodness will condemn those who are looking to it for their salvation.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that God, out of His love for His sinful creatures, became a man Himself, lived a perfect, sinless life, and then willingly died as the substitute sacrifice for our sin. Just as the animal paid the price to become a covering for Adam and Eve’s nakedness, so Jesus paid the price to become a covering for our sin. That is His mercy and grace. Salvation is not something you earn or deserve in any way. If God were fair, all people would be condemned without hope, but God is not fair, He is rather loving, merciful and gracious. His justice was satisfied in Jesus’ death as our substitute. His holiness and righteousness are satisfied because those that believe in Jesus are justified and are clothed with His righteousness. God no longer sees us in our sins, but in Jesus’ holiness.

How is this gift of salvation received? Through simple faith in believing what God has revealed in the Bible concerning His son, Jesus Christ and following Him. You need to believe that Jesus is the second person of the triune Godhead who became a man through Mary while she was still a virgin, that Jesus lived a sinless life and that His death on the cross of Calvary was a substitute sacrifice for your own sins, that Jesus did rise from the dead and has ascended to the Father where He is now preparing a place for you and that He will return again to receive you to Himself. But remember that belief in Jesus is not a mere intellectual assent. If you believe these things about Jesus then your life will radically change. You will no longer be the center of your universe. Your life will begin to revolve around Jesus. You will not longer be seeking your own will, but will be seeking His will instead. The pleasures this world offers will diminish as you find true joy in walking with and serving Him. You will find in Jesus the true meaning of life and your eternal purpose.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.

We are not ashamed of the truth of the Old or New Testament. We are not ashamed of the story of Creation or the flood. We are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God unto the salvation of all who believe.

God created all things. He has judged the world in the past because of mankind’s sins. He will judge the world in the future because of mankind’s sin. Each of us will stand before Him for judgement. What will He say to you? Will you stand there alone trying to defend your sinful deeds? Or will you be clothed with the righteousness of Christ and have Him as your advocate. Will you be condemned or invited to Heaven?

If you don’t know you will be invited into Heaven, then get right with God today. Talk with myself or one of the other church leaders. If you do know that for certain, then tell someone else about Jesus and invite them to come to heaven with you.

Sermon Study Sheets

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “created” and “creature” is said. 2) Discuss with your parents why God created you.

THINK ABOUT IT!

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others.

Why does the idea of evolution have so much influence in our society? Why do some people change the story of creation to try and include evolution? Is an atheist intellectually honest? What does the agnostic ignore? What does a house, a painting and a soda can all have in common? What conclusions can you make from a banana? How long is the “day” in Genesis 1? Why? How does the order of creation compare with the order evolutionists give for things coming into existence? Can Genesis 1 be reconciled with evolution? Why or why not? How old is the earth? What evidence backs up your conclusion? Could creation be “good” if death occurred before Adam’s fall into sin? How wicked was man before the flood? How long was Noah in the ark? What evidences are there that the Genesis flood was worldwide? What precludes the flood from being just a local catastrophe? Could the ark have held all the animals it needed to? What evidence does the fossil record and the geologic column give for the Genesis flood? Why do people deny the Genesis flood? Why are creation and the flood important to the gospel message? What is the bad news? What is the good news? How can you be saved from your sins? How have you responded to the gospel? How does your life demonstrate what you believe?

Sermon Notes – 7/16/2000 a.m.

Unashamed of the Gospel – Selected Scriptures

The Influence of the Intellectuals

They do not argue based on truth and fact but upon a ______________ that has rejected God.

The Atheists and Agnostics

It is intellectually dishonest to claim there is no God

Romans 1:18-22; Psalm 19:1

God does not believe in atheists, therefore they do not exist

Cans of Soda & Bananas

The Days of Creation: Genesis 1

Yom: Day is defined as a period of __________ and ______________

Day 1 Heavens & earth ___________

Day 2 Expanse between waters

Day 3 Waters gathered, land appears, vegetation, ______________________, fruit trees

Day 4 Sun, moon & stars

Day 5 Water creatures, ____________

Day 6 Cattle, creeping things, beasts, _____________

Day 7 – Rest

Comparing Creation & Evolution

Method: Out of nothing, work of God’s hand by Jesus, God intervenes VS

Eternal matter, primeval atmosphere, condensation of protoplasm, positive mutations

Time: Thousands of years , Six days for entire creation VS Billions of years , millions of years for each step

Order: See order above vs. Sun & moon droplets of chemicals one celled organisms multicelled organisms tree of life (sea creatures/plants/amphibians/reptiles/birds/mammals)

Continuity: Genetics allow variation within kinds, natural selection removes weak and abnormal, Speciation is a genetic decrease VS mutations & genetics produce new species, natural selection chooses “good mutants”, speciation a genetic increase

Purpose: the glory of God, man as steward over earth VS no future, survival, man is just lastest stage

Age of the Earth

The Genesis Flood

The Breadth of the Flood

Universal language The depth of the flood

The Survivors The Duration of the flood

God’s Promise after the flood Old and New Testament Verification

The Size of the Ark: 300 x 50 x 30 cubits _________ X ________ X _______ ft. (short cubits)

____________ sq ft. _______________ cubic feet

Other Evidences

Its Importance

2 Peter 3:3-7

The Gospel


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