This coming Lord's Day we at Providence church will be beginning a new series in the book of Genesis.
Yes, I can hear the snickers.
Many people would think we are wasting our time. As a matter of fact, most people would probably fit into one of the following 3 categories.
The most verbal would be those who think such a study is preposterous. The common notion among modern man is that the book of Genesis is bunk. It contains, in their minds, such incredibly outrageous things as creation ex nihilo and other "unscientific" stories. Yet their inability to give an adequate basis for their own worldview (let alone their scientific hypothesis's) is enough testimony to say that we do not have to worry about whatever clamor they may make.
Then there are those who think that the such a study would be problematic. These are those who would be qualified as the theologically liberal/progressive. To them Genesis is an embarrassment to Christianity. Like the aforementioned group, they have bowed to the god of scientism. What's more, they want to be considered modern and sophisticated by them. Unfortunately, they have this silly first book of the Bible with which they have to deal.
To align the text with their real religion they shred the text. They say that the Genesis stories contain some elements of truth, but it is buried in primitive myths and prose. The study would be problematic because the stories do not mean what they really say and only experts in Biblical script can break the code-speak that shrouds the deeper meaning.
Then there are our dispensational friends. Many of them would say that such a study would be pointless. After all, it is the Old Testament and these things are dispensed with now that we have the New Testament. Anything you would glean from the book of Genesis is moot and basically reserved for archaeological study (unless there be keys for unlocking the mysteries of the future Israelite kingdom).
While these three groups would poo-poo the study of Genesis, there is a fourth group to be mentioned. There are kooks like myself who think that the study of this book is paramount. We believe that this book contains for us some of the most foundational truths for a right worldview. The book of Genesis calibrates our minds by giving us the basis for reality, ethics, and knowledge. It speaks out clearly against a paganized culture to declare the reality of a personal God who provides redemption and eternal peace.
Most likely, you do not know what really happens when your church celebrates the Lord's Supper. My bet is that you think that it is merely a time to remember what Jesus did. True, but that's not the whole of it. It's not even the half of it.
You can find out what you've been missing here in the latest issue of Providence newsletter. Looking here can also help you understand how the Table of the Lord can be a poison. It's an issue that you don't want to miss!
Want to know what the men at Richland Correctional think about Matt and the classes he teaches? Find out in the latest ministry update that has been sent out!
Manliness is more than being male. Some people think that the only thing you need to have to become a male is the right body parts. Some would also say that becoming a man could be obtained with a little surgery to add those parts! But manliness is more than physical make-up.
Don't get me wrong, manliness certainly includes physical makeup. God made men to look a certain way—to be physically different than women. Scripturally, though, manliness is more than “having the right parts.”
The passing of time does not necessarily make one a man either. Puberty may come and go, and you may still not grow up to be a man.
A conversation I once had with a neighbor illustrates this beautifully. My neighbor had a son who was turning 16. She said she had to get him a car so that he could drive. The odd thing about it was that a few minutes before she told me how immature her son was. I couldn't have agreed more; the kid was a goof ball. He didn’t have a clue what it meant to be responsible. He might have been older, but he was still a kid. And she was going to give him a car!
Well, if manliness isn’t limited to bodily makeup or age, wherein does it consist? The Bible tells us that it is found in one’s character. In the New Testament the Apostle Paul commands a group of men to “Act like men.” This was nothing other than a call to biblical character.
We have a similar expression in our lingo today. If you listen in on a group of guys huddled up on the football field, and it is 3rd and 9 yards, you might hear a guy say, “You got to man-up.” What is he saying? Is he saying that you have an adjustment within your jock strap? Of course not. He is talking about your attitude. Your character. You are not going to get those last 9 yards without the right perspective. You have to have some determination.
The sum of the matter is this: True manliness doesn’t come naturally. It is not something into which we are born or achieve with age. Real manliness grows out of one’s adherence to Scripture. Once you understand what the Bible teaches about manhood, then you are in a place where you can become a man.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.