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I’m going to invite you to Genesis. Chapter four is where we’re at together today. Genesis chapter four. And this this section of Scripture is encouraging for us. I hope to end us on a just a great note of thinking how the Lord can use you and the way God has designed you in this world to to know Him and reflect His glory so that you can invite more people to be a part of what God is doing here. I mean, we we just opened up a third service. We have more seating available to, to honor and worship the Lord together. And so this passage will end with that important reminder of us as we think about the goodness of God. And when you come to Genesis, if if I’m just being candid with you as a pastor, there’s a couple of books of the Bible that I feel like the first thing I want to do when we get to heaven, if Jesus wants to talk about these books, I’m going to start with an apology because I feel like there’s a couple of books of the Bible that the the church has just not been easy to work with as much as others. And those two books are Genesis and Revelation. People get caught up in some aspects of those books of the Bible and press the text of Scripture to mean more than I think what God intends it to mean for us.
And because of that, we get lost on these rabbit trails and we lose focus of the main point that God’s expressing to us. There’s certainly some things within Scripture that are fun to explore, and I don’t think they’re wrong to explore. But but at missed to the main point of the text, I think that’s certainly not what God wants for us. And Genesis is one of those passages and we’ve we’ve talked about that together as we’ve looked at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, and it deals with creation and and immediately people want to jump into it like it’s a science book because it’s dealing with creation. And I just remind us it’s a it’s a theology book that the point of Genesis is not to tell you about science. I mean, you think this book is written to a group of slaves that have just been found, found freedom, and God is shaping his identity in them. Telling them their worth is not based on what they do because they’ve been treated as a tool, but their worth is found intrinsically being made in the image of God, like the Hebrews are not being rescued as slaves from Egypt and they’re like, All Moses is here. Moses, tell us about science. Right. That’s not the that’s not the first question they’re asking. And and that’s not the point of Genesis. It’s to see the the intentional purpose which God has made creation, God has made you and me.
And we live that purpose out. And then when you get to Genesis four, people again start to sometimes press into things that are they’re interesting in the text, not the point of the text. And those questions typically arise out of the middle of the text because when you get to Genesis four, you realize all God has told us about is four people, right? There’s Adam and Eve and there’s Cain and Abel, and all of a sudden you get to verse 14 and you see Cain concerned because he’s killed Abel. He’s concerned that everyone else is going to be mad at him and try to kill him. And the question is, where did the people come from? Because the first four chapters of Genesis were only told about four people, Right? And then it talks about Cain getting married. And you think to yourself, wait a minute, there’s only three dudes in a girl. Like, where is Cain? Where is Cain finding a wife? And then it talks about building a city, which we’ll talk a little bit about that today. But my goodness, how in the world do you build a city? And when they talk about city, is it the same kind of city that we think about? And we’ll actually learn a little bit about that because it is important to the text. And some even ask Cain’s given a mark, right? What is that Mark? And people speculate.
Some people like to pretend they know what it means. I told you, no one knows what it means. You can make it up whatever you want. Last week I gave my hypothesis. It’s a tattoo of his ex-girlfriend. God made him suffer that way, right? Like no one knows what that mark is. Right? But. But people go into those. Those rabbit trails as if it’s the point of the text. That is not the point of the text. I’ll tell you another danger. Sometimes if you if you grow up going to church and you listen to Bible stories, sometimes the tendency is to only focus on the story. And we think the story is a story in and of itself, and that’s it. And there are important stories in Scripture. But what’s important to remember is that the Bible is one grand theme, and the Lord is tying it all together to show his story. History, right? History is his story and how it articulates itself, for God’s purposes, intents for His glory to our benefit. And that is to say this, that God has made you for a relationship with Him. And as you walk in relationship with him, you live your purpose in life to glorify God to the blessing of others. And then as a fulfilling, satisfying life, God made you for for eternity. And to know him for all of eternity and to reflect his glory for all of eternity.
But the problem is, man sinned. And in our sin we’ve rebelled against God and declared ourselves to be God. And it’s not unless God’s people repent to the Lord that we find a way of escape, because we find within the text of Genesis that God in our sin didn’t leave us there. He was completely just to do that. But He didn’t leave us there. He’s the one that pursued us when we ran away from him. That’s what Adam and Eve did. When they sinned, they ran and they hid from God and they created religion. But God comes into that and strips off their religion and promises His life for for their forgiveness that their relationship can be reconciled and man can walk in relationship with the Lord. The Bible is a story of redemption. They’re not just individual stories in and of themselves, but it’s tying the theme of scripture together. In fact, you see it in Genesis three to Genesis four. When Adam and Eve sins, the tendency of mankind would be read the story and think, Well, that’s terrible that he would do that. I’m so glad that we’ve learned from them. We’re not going to make that mistake because, well, we’re better than them. And what you find in Genesis four is the next. Generation arrives and the next generation perpetuates what the previous generation did. That all of us have this need that it’s not. We’re exclusive to it, but to recognize our dependency on God being made by Him as creator, but also our need for God as Savior, that we cannot rescue ourselves, that religion will give the false perception that you avail God’s love to you.
But what you find out in the Garden of Eden that when Adam and Eve performed the first manmade religion by putting on fig leaves and saying to God, we’ll make this right. God comes in, He rips off the fig leaves. He makes the first sacrifice and promises that he’ll come and redeem us. It’s not about us, but it’s about him. And it’s about the grace and the forgiveness that he offers us. And it’s when we begin to tie these stories together to see the nature of man and the need for God that we realize this is one grand theme. I mean, even when you read the book of Genesis, you start to realize the reason we don’t come to it as a science book is the first 12 chapters of Genesis cover a wide span of human history. And the point is to get us to the story of Abraham, where God has promised through the seed of Abraham, all nations would be blessed, and to find out how God’s story unfolds. But before he gets there, he shows us the uniqueness of all human beings and our our worth and value intrinsically made in our creator, meaning everyone matters to God and how we treat one another matters because we’re all image bearers of God.
And so tying that story together to see that grand theme becomes important to scripture. I mean, I liken it sometimes to the idea of the gospels. If you ever read the Gospels, I have one person tell me the reason they reject Christianity is because the Gospels don’t tell the full story of Jesus. And I think how foolish, because the point of the gospel is not to tell you the whole story of Jesus. Like if you pick up the gospels saying you’re going to learn all about Jesus’s life, you are a to the point of the gospels. The Gospels give you a couple stories of Jesus’s early years, but it immediately cuts to the last three and a half years of his life. And in those last three and a half years, it spends half of the gospels on the last week of his life as if to say to you the point of Jesus’s life was about his death and resurrection. And so the point is of scripture is redemption. These are not stories left unto themselves. But Ty, that great theme of our need for Jesus. And in Genesis chapter four, that’s what we discover, the progress of sin and the way that it impacts us and our fallen nature. And so the question we answer today is what type of foundation are you building upon when you understand the way God has made you? But then you see the way that human nature is going in a trajectory contrary to the Lord.
It’s a place for us to pause in these stories, to ask ourselves what is the foundation of which I am building upon? God wants to build something spectacular and beautiful in your life that glorifies him and blesses others. But it’s not until our hearts are aligned with the Lord, rather than to declare ourselves an authority, but to see him as the great authority and surrender our lives to him. That we we live out that purpose. Which brings me to point number one in our notes When understanding what type of foundation we’re building upon, here’s what we need to know. Number one, our sinful, our nature is sinful, our nature is sinful. And I’m sorry if you’ve come today and you’re new and I just insulted you by telling you that. But it’s the truth and there’s no way to discover what you need Jesus for and who you are in Jesus until you acknowledge who you are outside of Jesus. And our our human nature is sinful. Sin was perpetuated from from Adam and Eve to the next generation. And it affects and infects all of us because our nature is fallen. In fact, in first John, three four, it gives us a perfect definition of sin. It tells us sin is lawlessness. And what it gives the idea is that there is a moral law giver.
His name is God. And when we sin, we rebel against God. And that’s important for all of us to know, because our tendency as human beings is that when we mess up, when we sin, we typically think about how our actions have affected us and affected others. And we don’t want to hurt other people. So we feel bad about that. Or at least I hope that you have remorse when you do things like that, right? We think about horizontal, how our sin impacts other people, and that’s not bad. But can I tell you, there’s a more important thought than that. And I know that that can be mind blowing sometimes, but there is a more important thought than just how our sin impacts other people. Because before you ever sin in a way that impacts other people, you have always first committed rebellion against God. All of our sin is first treason against God before it’s an act against anyone else. And let me tell you what what I mean by that, because sin is lawlessness and sin breaks the law of God, the moral law giver. Anytime we sin, we’re always breaking his law before or the morality in which God has given us before we do anything contrary to another human being. For example, in Genesis four, we’re reading about Cain killing Abel. Cain kills Abel. That’s horrible. And it impacted certainly Abel. It impacted Cain’s life.
It impacted Cain’s family. It impacts Abel’s family. I mean, Adam and Eve, Could you imagine their first children? And already they’re killing each other. This is. A terrible thing. It takes place and it certainly horizontally impacts them. But but vertically, you think about how its first violation against God because God just told us a few chapters before that God is the giver of life and God created humanity in the image of him. And so to take life in your hands, the way Cain has done is to usurp the position of God, to declare himself God over the authority of other human beings. And he violates the nature of God who created life for his purpose. So all of our sin before it’s a sin against someone else is always first, a sin against the Lord and the unfortunate part in our human nature. When we do sin, we’re not only elevating ourselves above God, saying to God, God, we know what’s right from wrong. We know better than you do, and we’re going to choose a path to honor ourselves rather than you. We do that when we sin, right? But. But. But we don’t end there. It’s like we double down first. We respond in sin by. By putting life on our shoulders as if we’re the authority to do what we want to please ourselves, regardless of what God says, to the detriment of others. And then rather than turn to the Lord, we we double down on that.
When you look at the story of Cain and Abel or excuse me, Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve, when Adam and Eve sinned, it tells us they ran and they hid. They covered themselves in fig leaves and they blamed each other. They followed a path of really religion, trying to put on a performance of facade and those fig leaves. But then when you look at the story of Cain, you see Cain also doubles down his looks, more humanistic in his response than religious and the response of Cain and Abel. But but Cain doubles down and you see it in the text of Chapter four and what Cain decides to do in verse eight, We Cain is in this passage is where he kills his brother, Abel. But in verse nine, it says, it says about Cain. It says, Then the Lord came to Cain and said, Where is Abel, your brother? And Cain responds, I do not know. And am I my brother’s keeper? And Cain knows good and well what happened to his brother and to be honest, the Lord knows too. The Lord is not concerned about losing Abel. He knows exactly what happened to Abel. God knows all things. He’s omniscient. He’s not asking this question because all of a sudden, Oh, no, I can’t find Abel. He’s asking this question because he’s. He’s wondering to. To Cain. Cain, where is your heart? He’s asking Cain.
Cain, examine yourself. What’s going on inside of you? He’s asking this this question rhetorically to Cain so that Cain takes the moment to to press into his own heart. But rather than look at his own heart, what does Cain do? It tells us he becomes more calloused. Cain Cain ignores the question. He swats it away. He hardens his heart. In fact, it goes on further in verse 13, And Cain said to the Lord, after the Lord talked to Cain about his punishment, it says, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground and from your face. I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth. And whoever finds me will kill me And Cain, in doubling down on his own nature, he’s saying, Look, God, I’m not so much worried about how I broke your law and sinned against you. Rather, I’m concerned for myself. This is embarrassing to me. What are other people going to think about me? I don’t want other people to think less of me and harm me. Cain’s interest is only in the in what happens to him. He’s not repentant and sorrowful before the Lord. He’s got what’s called worldly sorrow. His pride is hurt. What are other people going to think? And so you see, not only is his heart callous, but as far as his mind goes, is the way that people perceive him.
Because what’s important to Cain is what people think about him, because he’s put himself in the position of God and he’s using his life for his own glory rather than for the purpose in which God has created him. And so finally, in verse 16, it tells us the result of that life. It says, Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, East of Eden. I told you last week when you read the Bible, anytime you see someone saying, I’m traveling east, just assume whatever’s happening is going to be bad. It’s never good to travel east. You’ve got to go west. That’s why. And I was going to make a joke about Western states. I’ll keep it to myself. But anyway, if you travel, I shouldn’t have said that. It’s probably on camera. If you if you if you travel east in Scripture, it’s never good. And you see Cain’s heart moving, moving away from from the Lord and and and you see the callousness and where it’s brought him. He’s doubled down in this in this situation. But but here’s what’s important for us to recognize, because God has made you strong. God has made you strong in the beginning, when when God created us, he tells us, be fruitful, multiply, subdue, rule the earth and filled it. God has made you strong. He made you for a purpose and exercise that strength in him.
God made you strong and in making you strong. It also makes you dangerous and dangerous. Doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It depends on what you honor with your life as to whether or not that danger is used for good or bad. You can use the strength that God has given you in a way that’s dangerous to the benefit of others. You can be a protector, right? You can build something. None of that power for his glory. Or you can serve yourself. Anytime we use our strength for ourselves as if we’re God. Anytime we use our strength for our own glory, it’s. It’s to the benefit of ourselves, to the detriment of others. But anytime we use our strength for God’s glory, it’s to the blessing of others. And in so doing, we find a life that is fulfilling. And so Genesis is reminding us of the nature of of our human tendencies so that we can we can reflect on what it is that we’re pursuing with our own lives. Now, in relationship to our nature, I’m just going to leave that hanging for a minute. Our nature is sinful. You need to know that. Don’t worry. I’m not going to leave you there, okay? Your nature, My nature. We’re sinful. I don’t care what your mom says about you. We’re sinful, okay? Our hearts. Our hearts been that way. We tend to be selfish in and of ourselves.
In addition to that, though, it’s also important to recognize point number two. Our nature is also creative. Our nature is creative. And the reason for that is God is a creative God, right? In Genesis one, we’ve spent some time looking at this, but I just want to remind you because it relates to this text, in the beginning, God created Genesis one one. That word for created is Bara. It means out of nothing. You can’t make things like that. Only God can do that. He can out of nothing. He can make something. That’s Bara. But then it says in Genesis one seven and it goes on and uses the same word in different days that God made the Expanse. This is a saw. And what it’s saying is out of the elements that God created, God then takes those elements and He and he creates again. He forms, He shapes something. Now, a saw being made in God’s image is also something that we can reflect. Since God is a creative God and you’re made in the image of God, it tells us in Genesis 126 and 27, you also become creative, reflecting your creator, which is why in Genesis 128, God told you to be fruitful, multiply, subdue, fill the earth. God’s desire for you is to take the creativity of which He has given you and the strength that belongs to you in the Lord and use it for His glory.
And so God has made you as as He is a creative being and a creator. God has also made you to be creative. And the question is, what are you creating? And in Genesis four, it’s now showing as the nature of sin in Adam and Eve is going from one generation to the next. The outflow of that is to create something that’s honestly destructive. But before we get there, I just want you to see, as this text unfolds, how mankind continues forward in creating being made creatively by their creator. We also create and and in Genesis 417, it says of Cain from moving forward, he says, And he knew his wife and she conceived and bore Enoch. And so it’s saying to you he certainly created but rather procreated, right? They created relationship. And in the intimacy of that relationship, they procreated life. And so you see multiplying from one generation to the next. And then from there, not only did they create human beings, but also they built a city. When he built a city he called the name of the city after his son Enoch. And in building this city again, we see the idea of creating something’s coming from this. We’re doing a saw as human beings made like our creator to to design. Now, when it comes to the thought of city, the question is what kind of city is this? Is it like a major metropolitan area with lots of people like we think about today? And this is like Salt Lake City or New York City? I mean, where did all these people come from and what kind of city is this? Well, in especially in this passage in Genesis, the idea of city was not major metropolitan area like we think of today, but rather it’s a fortified location.
It’s becomes a place of protection and defense. And so what Cain is building is the first fortified area, the city, for for protecting people in order to accomplish its purposes. And then you see out of an outflow of that city, it goes on further and it gives us a little bit of genealogy. But as people are born and live in that city, what flows out of it To Enoch was born in Arad and Arad, father of Moudgil and Mehujael father, Matthew Shale and Matthew Shale fathered Lamech. And Lamech took two wives, and the name of the one was Adah and the name of the other was Zillah Adah Bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. And Zillah also bore Tubal Cain. He was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal Cain was Naamah. I want you to know, any time you read a list of names in the Bible, you just read it fast and read it hard and pretend like you know what it’s saying.
All right. Don’t don’t check my Hebrew on that. It was 100% correct. All right. But but here’s what I want you to see. Okay? When when we have this city design. What? Flows out of the city. God’s people are being creative, and in the city you have agriculture, you have the arts and music. You have technology being developed creatively. This is being made. But the question is to what end? To what end and for whose glory? Now, maybe a bigger question we could ask related to this passage is also why would God share this? Why does God want to talk about this first city? And why do we need to know this? And if you remember the context of Genesis chapter one, this book is written to a group of Hebrew slaves that have been treated for generations like tools, and their worth has been told to them. It’s only based on what you do. But God comes in and says No, far more than that. It’s based on who you are, intrinsically made in the image of God, and you’re made by a God who is creative, who gives you strength and what you do from here matters because out of you will flow creativity and what you choose to honor in it is dangerous and it can be used for my glory or for yours.
But to use it for your strength will treat other people like tools and diminish the goodness of who God is. In your culture, out of you will flow culture in the city. As the city goes, so goes the rest of the countryside. And so God is writing to this group of Hebrew slaves who have now been freed. And He doesn’t just want them to think about who they are in their nature, but also how the outflow of their nature affects other people. Because in so doing, they’re going to build something. They’re going to build family, and then in family they will build city and city will influence people around them. So what you do matters and the foundation of which you build upon will make an impact. And so God is sharing this with them. So they they think through intentionally about what they’re doing with their lives and how it impacts the lives of people around them. Point number three then, in your notes is this We must seek the Lord to create what He desires. We must seek the Lord to create what he desires. And you see, as as Cain moved on, he moved away from the Lord. And in this same text, we start to see unfold what Cain is pursuing and what what glory he wants to make known. And for Cain, it continues to rest on himself. I mean, this same text when Cain goes out and his family begins and he builds a city, it tells us in this passage that he names the first city, not after anything related to the Lord, but rather he names the first city after his son.
And you look at that and you think, big deal. You know, it’s it can be to honor somebody, but the city will outlive a son and it will forever remain honoring to a person rather than the Lord. And in biblical times, this is a bit exceptional for God’s people. And what I mean is when you when you look in the Old Testament and you see God’s people moving from town to town and establishing areas, their tendency was not to name cities after people. Their tendency was to name cities that reflect the goodness of God who brought them there. And you think about cities like Jerusalem, the word means teaching peace. Shalom. Jerusalem means the idea of shalom, which is what God’s people should ultimately desire, is peace and the relationship with God and one another. Or the idea of Bethlehem. It’s the house of bread God. God makes provision. And so it’s not outright saying to you and and Cain lives horribly sinful, but rather it’s showing you the bend of his heart and what he wants to honor rather than build that first city. Acknowledging the goodness of God and the grace of God in his life for not wiping off the earth, for for killing Abel.
He chooses to still honor man. And then it goes on and talks about lament. And this is the first time that the idea of polygamy is mentioned in scripture. And it doesn’t it doesn’t necessarily right here in this text tell you good or bad, but it mentions the idea of polygamy. And then you start to see in verse 23 and 24 the character of this man named Lamech. And you find out that what Lamech is interested in is not other people, but rather he’s an oppressor to people because he’s interested in his own glory and using people as tools to promote himself. In fact, if you look in the next verses in verse 23 and 24, you start to see the character of Lamech made known. And any time you read this passage, I don’t know why. When I read it, it’s like I hear the voice of Lamech and he’s just some, like, deep, burly jerk in my head. I can’t get through this without hearing it. But this is what he says, Lamech said to his wife’s Adah and Zillah. Listen to this. Hear my voice. What an arrogant fool you wives of Lamech. Listen to what I say. This is how he comes across. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold, then Lamech is 70 sevenfold. I mean, this guy all full. Love himself in this passage. So you see him as an oppressor of women, an oppressor of people.
And in fact, in this passage, what’s what’s what’s important to to recognize is when he talks about wounding and striking people and killing people, is the way that he’s he’s expressing this. The idea of receiving a wound is literally the thought of being bruised and the idea of being someone striking him as the thought of being scratched. And when he talks about a young man, he’s talking about just an adolescent. And so he’s saying, look, if someone so much as just bruises me or scratches me off with their head and I don’t care if they’re a kid, that’s what Lamech is saying. And then he goes on to show to the extent he’s he’s wanting to go, he says, For Cain, it was seven times. For me, it’s 77 times. And in scripture, if you study the Bible, you find out the number seven is the number of completeness. So he’s saying it’s not just enough to be complete here, but he’s saying multiply that beyond anything that’s reasonable. I will live my life for this purpose. And I will go to the grave fighting for this. This is what Lamech is saying. At the end of the day, it’s all going to be about me and I’m forever going to use people as tools that I may get ahead. That’s what Lamech is expressing in this passage. It is all about him.
And in so doing, he uses his strength for his glory to the detriment of others. What kind of foundation are you building upon? You come to a passage like this, and when you see the repetition of this taking place from one generation to the next, hopefully in our souls, we don’t stop and say, Oh, those terrible people. Now that we’ve learned three times from these different lessons, I will be much better. But rather we look at this passage and say, Oh my goodness, what is humanity doing? And and what am I doing? There was a Jewish man by the name of Yusuf Dinar, and Yusuf was sent to Auschwitz during the reign of Nazi Germany. He was there for a couple of years. He happened to survive. Over 75% of the people that were sent there did not. But he survived. And he was he was brought forward to testify against one of the one of the men that was primarily primarily responsible for sending at least a million people to the concentration camps. His name was Adolf Eichmann, Adolf Eichmann. He was captured originally in World War Two. He managed to escape. He actually went to Argentina. They found him in 1960. They brought him back to Israel for trial in 1961. And Yehiel Denner was brought to to the trial to testify. And you can go back and look up his name. You can even find YouTube videos on this. In fact, if you look at the Wikipedia article on this, it talks about this this trial.
And at the very bottom, it’s only just maybe a page of information on Yael dinner. But at the bottom, it even has an interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, which I’ll reference in just a minute. But Yael is he’s giving a testimony. When he’s done giving a testimony, he stands up from from the the place he’s giving his testimony, He starts to walk away and he passes out. He passes out. And Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes asks him the question, What happened? Why did you do that? What was going on? Were you were you stricken by fear? Were you overwhelmed by by sorrow or grief? Were you filled with anger? What led you to pass out like that? And Yael said it was actually none of those things. He said when he started to get up, his eyes made contact with Adolf Eichmann, and then he realized that Adolf Eichmann was not some godlike figure in an army outfit or a military outfit, but rather he realized Adolf Eichmann was just a man. And he started to think about the millions of people that had died. And he realized in looking at him in that moment that he was just a man, Yael said. It was at that moment that I realized that we’re capable of the same thing, too. And that overwhelming thought brought him to his knees and he passed out.
And this is what Genesis is wanting to awaken our soul to to the destruction of a life that runs contrary to surrender to the Lord. But in talking about that, the good news for us is the Bible doesn’t leave us there. The Bible doesn’t leave you in a place with you’re made creative and you’re sinful and oh, well, it’s it’s all gone to pot from here. But rather, God also wants you to know that in that there is hope and the hope comes from the Lord. In fact, the end of Genesis goes like this. Chapter four, it says. And Adam knew his wife again after Cain killed Abel, Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel. For King killed him to Seth, also a son, was born, and he called his name Enoch. At that time, people began to call upon the name of the Lord and they’re seeing the destruction of life apart from the Lord, and they’re coming back to the Lord. And here’s what. Adam and Eve are acknowledging with Seth is Eve remembers that God had promised through her seed will come one that will crush the head of the serpent. There will become a messiah, a savior who will rescue. And she knows that Abel is gone. And Cain has followed contrary to the Lord.
And so they’re looking for hope. And God brings them. Seth And you see, in Genesis, if you read on to Genesis chapter five, they follow the lineage of Seth because it’s as if to point out to us and the future Messiah will come through here that there’s still hope. No matter how far you’ve fallen, there’s there’s a place for us to come back to the Lord and God’s interest through, through that creativity and align with God is to live a life, to glorify God, to bless others. That that a city is not a bad thing, that technology and arts are not a bad thing, but rather it depends on what you do with it that matters. And we use it for his glory. It’s a blessing to others and honoring to the Lord. In fact, God’s desire for us is to build a different kind of city and talking about Abraham and Hebrews 11, it says By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance, and he went out not knowing where he was going by faith. He went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, for he was looking forward to the city that has foundations whose designer and builder is God. God is not adverse to cities. In fact, Jesus told us in Matthew 514, You are the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.
God’s desire for us is not contrary to the city. God doesn’t hate the city. In fact, if you look up the word pagan in the Bible, the word pagan literally means out of the country. So if anything, country people are crazy. I’m just kidding. The country. That’s not true. You’re not God. God’s not adverse to the country or the city. God’s desire is is for people. But he wants us to understand that what we do matters. When the apostle Paul, when he did his ministry in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul went to major metropolitan areas. Paul went to the city because Paul knew if he could reach the city with the gospel, so would go the countryside. If people would turn to Jesus in the city, they could begin to to reach the the countryside. In fact, in the Book of Revelation, at the very end of the Bible, what you see is a new Jerusalem, a brand new city full of God’s people, honoring him and blessing one another. The question then is what kind of culture are we building? When Jeremiah the prophet in the Old Testament, was he told the people they were going to go into captivity, but his concern became, what are we going to do in captivity? Are we just supposed to go there and die? I mean, how with pagan people, can we honor you? And God’s answer to Jeremiah and what the people were to do when they went into captivity was revealing about what God’s concern is for people around us.
And Jeremiah 29, verse four, God says this, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, To all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, he says, Build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters and take wives for your sons and give your daughters a marriage that they may bear sons and daughters and multiply there and do not decrease, but seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf. For in its welfare, you will find your welfare. For thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel. Do not let your prophets and your Diviners who are among you, deceive you. What God is saying is he wants to build a city within the city. A people of a bright light to to transform the way that things are done because we understand the importance of what Christ desires for us. I love the way Charles Spurgeon has a quote by him. He says this. He says, I believe that one reason why the Church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church. Because can I just encourage you in the sacredness of what you carry in Christ? Not to diminish that.
More than anything, the world needs a people who stand for truth and carry intrinsic value in the way that they honor others. What I mean is God needs a people that you stand for truth, but also demonstrate it in grace. You stand for truth and grace. Our world does not have that right now. Our world is says, I’m going to stand for this. And if you don’t agree with me, you’re my enemy and I’m going to destroy you. And that’s not what Scripture tells us to at all. The Scripture tells us, look the way you treat other people, whether they agree with you or not, they’re image bearers of God. And you honor God in the way that you honor them. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but the only reason you are where you are is not because God was vengeful towards you, but rather gracious towards you. It’s His love and kindness and graciousness that gives you the the opportunity to turn to the Lord. It’s his love that leads us to repentance. It’s God meeting us when we’re adverse to him and over and over again being patient towards us and long suffering with us, that we could find his truth and be set free. God wants his people to stand for truth and God. God wants us people to to come into this world with that truth and show the worth of other people and how we treat others.
We live in a broken world. Even this this past this past week, I think it was I was at a gathering where different religious people were speaking. They asked me to come and pray. And at the end I realized, you know, as a minister, I don’t want to diminish the value of Jesus. So I talked about the importance of Jesus, to have that opportunity to highlight Christ. And for you I would say the same thing because it is paramount that you don’t back away from the Gospel of Christ, because that’s what sets us free. And even at the end, after I shared, I had someone come up to me and say, You know, as long as we’re all good, that’s all that really matters. And I said to the person, and I get that often. I get that often. And I said, You know, at the end of the day, I hope as people we’re kind to one another. I do. If someone agrees with me or not, if they’re from a different faith or not, we should always be kind to one another. But but I also said to him, But to assume that that is the answer is incorrect and it would be dishonoring for me to let us walk away thinking that I would think that that’s the way to live in life because Jesus died for a reason.
And I don’t want to diminish the value of Jesus’s life. If all that God was interested in is as long as you’re good, that’s all that matters. Jesus would have never died if all if that’s all that mattered. The disciples going around after Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection, they would have just gone to the world and said, Guys, let’s just keep being good in religion. Right? But they didn’t. They gave their life for one truth among religious people that killed them. And that was the importance of what Jesus has done for us. Jesus gave his life that we can find freedom in him. There is no other way. Jesus gives us life in him. And so the world certainly right now is telling you to agree with it. If you don’t agree with it, shame on you and vengeance, because our our identity in Jesus has to be far more confident than anything. The world may press us into who we are in Christ. That identity should shape everything that we do. That way, when we go into this world, we’re not looking for other people to validate us. What we already have in Jesus is that all the validation that we need. Someone pursued me, gave his life for me, that I could find freedom in him and live for his glory in this world to the benefit of others. I don’t need you to affirm me.
Christ is already affirming. It’s things that are far more important than anything this world could offer. And it doesn’t mean the things of this world aren’t important, but in place of Jesus that will never take precedence over Him. Who I am in Jesus. That identity shapes everything I do, especially the way I treat other people, regardless if they agree with me or not. And if we’re not firm in that foundation, when the world presses us, we’ll look just like it and we’ll have nothing to offer in return. I’ll end with this, Peter And recognizing there was some uniqueness to God’s people different than the world. He He comes to Jesus and He asks the question. He said, Lord, how often will my brother sin against me and I forgive him? And if you know anything about the Jewish law of the day, the Jewish law said you’re to give them forgive them three times. So Peter thought, Oh, I’m going to do better than that. I’m going to double it plus one, Right. And so Peter says, How often we forgive them. Lord, listen how great I am seven times. And Jesus’s response here is interesting. Jesus turns to Peter and he says said to him, verse 22, I do not say to you seven times, but rather 77 times. Now, why in the world would Jesus say 77 times? I mean, seven is the number of completeness that makes sense. But why? Why is Jesus saying 77 times? It’s because Jesus in this moment is thinking way back, all the way back to when mankind started to fall apart? In the beginning, He’s going all the way back to the life of Lamech.
And as if to say without even saying it to Peter, Do you remember Lamech’s attitude? Peter Lamarck’s attitude was all about himself, his glory to the destruction of other people. And you know how many times Lamech said he was going to return that? 77 times. Seven times seven. He was going to unfold his his authority over people because he was living life for his glory. But he’s saying to Peter, Peter, but but can I tell you what we’re about as as as people in the Lord finding our identity there, what we’re to live for that rather than live life for our glory. Peter Every day of our lives, we wake up again and again, and we recognize that we are a people that are forgiving because we have been forgiven greatly in Christ. That when we wake up every day, our identity is secure and this is what our life is about. This number of completeness that my life wholly, fully will be about this, that I will pursue in this world the glory of God to the benefit of others. Because apart from that, there is no hope. And so therefore we are a people not of seven times, but we’re a new city.
How people for God’s glory to the benefit of others. And so for us, we’re a people of 77 times completely opposite of Lamech. And guys, when I when I think about the story that God writes in our heart, you know, you look in Genesis four and and in verse verse 13 and when Cain sinned and he was concerned when Cain said he was concerned and he’s showing that concern, the Lord, remember, he he just kept it horizontal. He didn’t think about the Lord vertically. He didn’t care. He cared what other people thought of him. But you know what he says in his concern? God, I’m going to be a wanderer. God. People are going to pursue me. People are going to kill me. And you know, the beauty in all of that sin, Cain’s concern of what that sin is going to do to him, that’s exactly what Jesus bore for you. Jesus became a wanderer for you. He bore the weight of sin. Jesus had people pursue him. And Jesus had people kill him for you and for me. All of that concern that Cain had in sin. The Messiah. Bore for us. But Kane’s heart needed to turn over to the Lord to let Jesus be enough. Because Jesus is more than enough. And the same is true for our lives. The question what kind of foundation you’re building? The answer is found where your heart is surrendered.