The Promise: “I Will…” -- The Invitation: “Let Us…”

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Series: Faith, Divine Encounters

Sun am 13 September 2015 –  Kobus Swart

Eph. 1:9-10 (JB Philips); Col. 1:16; (John 17:21); Job 38:1-7;
(Gen. 6:4); Isa. 45:18-19; (Job 37); (Rom. 4:17); (Gen. 1-6 & 12);
Heb. 11:8-12; (Gen. 22:9); Gen. 8:20-22; (John 8:44);
(Mal. 4:5-6); (John 11:43-44); 
(Gen. 2:17); (Luke 23:43);
(Rev. 12:10); 2 Peter 1:3; Rom 8:18-30-J.B Phillips;
(Heb. 11:39-40);

For God had allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfilment in him (Eph. 1:9-10-JB Philips). It all started in Him and it will finish in Him. It is through Him and for Him all things in heaven and earth have been created and it is going to be consummated in Him (Col. 1:16). That is how human history is going to end. Satan’s final defeat is in the oneness of the Church. That is what Jesus is praying for (John 17:21).

What happened in the beginning? Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7).

God does not create chaos. It is His creation. What we see around us now is not the way He created it. For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the Lord, and there is none else. “I have not spoken in secret, In some dark land; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in a waste place’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, Declaring things that are upright (Isa. 45:18-19).

Then in Genesis 1:26 we read: And God said, “Let us make man…”

We are in for a rough ride down the road unless the sons of God, who are conformed to the image of His son; accept the invitation – “Let us”. There is something about “let us” in God when He creates something. A carpenter will make a piece of furniture and there it is; but God does not work like that. God does not make us like an object; creation is not like an object built by an engineer; God creates by speaking. In Genesis chapter 1 God spoke fourteen times and something happened. We do not know how long it took, but every day was not a 24-hour day. God calls or speaks everything into being (Rom 4:17; 2 Peter 3:5). God calls the world into being; He speaks and uses words. Creation is like a vulnerable partner whose life is impacted by the voice of One who cares in tender but firm ways. God is relational. He speaks to what He creates and what He creates becomes a partner.

Book of Genesis has three clusters:

  • 1st cycle: Genesis 1 till 5 deals with the Adam cycle.
  • 2nd cycle: Genesis 6-9 is the Noah cycle.
  • 3rd cycle: It starts a whole new history which points to the history of the world. The One who called the worlds into being now makes a second call. He calls Abraham and Sarah. This call is very specific to Abraham and a barren The idea of the call was not just the forming of Israel but with the reforming of creation and transforming of nations. Our history started there, Abraham was called the father of the faith. We see in this God’s larger purposes. Abraham and Sarah were responsive to the call. They fully embraced the call of God. Many people today do not respond when God speaks. This story revolves around the theme of the promise and faith. The role of faith is crucial. Everything Abram did was by faith (Heb. 11:8-10). God is impressed when there is a faith response to Him speaking.
  • The promise of a land was made to a landless people. The promise of an heir to a barren hopeless couple (Heb. 11:11-12).

No one ever has an excuse when God, the Creator speaks. It is the God who is characterized by the words: “Let Us”. He is requiring a response of faith, and you then become a partner. Finally when Abraham and Sarah had their son, God puts them to the test by asking them to put Isaac on the altar (Gen. 22:9).

People see the mess the planet earth is in. There are usually two responses: One is to try and fix it, and the other response is total despair. But there is a third option: the God who says, “Let us” is still on the throne. Have ears to hear for God is looking for a listening community. God has given the promise, now He requires a response.

There are prophets of doom and gloom, and prophecies about the end of the world.

However, we have this PROMISE: The Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease” (Gen. 8:20-22). God cannot lie. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).

Then God also promised: Behold I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers so that I will not come and smite the land (earth) with a curse (Mal. 4:5-6). Combine these two readings. What is our response? Are we going to participate in negative prophetic utterances, doom and gloom, curses and disasters? Our God said, “I will never again….” He also said, “I will send you Elijah the prophet….” God wants to know whether we are going to participate, God creates and we become partners of what He creates.

Four days after the death of Lazarus, Jesus raised Him up from the dead. He was wrapped up in cloths and came floating out responding to the word Jesus spoke (John 11:43-44). The dead man responded. Lazarus comes out but he is still wrapped up. He told the others to unwrap him and they become partners in the miracle. The story of Lazarus is talking about mankind, four days after his death Jesus raised him. Four thousand years after the “death” of Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:17), Jesus died and was raised from the dead. Today Christians instead of unwrapping each other are tying each other up because they listen to the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10).

Are we going to participate in the unwrapping? When Peter stormed into Jesus’ grave on the day of resurrection, he found the head cloth folded up separately and the rest of the wrappings were spread all around. What was it saying? Jesus’ job was done. The rest you and I have to complete; the body of Christ has a job to do, to participate in the unwrapping of each other.

Seeing His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and Godliness (God-likeness) through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own Glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust (2 Peter 1:3-4). It is a promise; He is looking for a response.

Our vision must be generational. We must trust that if it is not fulfilled now, it will be given in the next generation. There is a responsibility on us because without us, those who have gone on before are not complete (Heb. 11:39-40). So every generation must be faithful to run the race to the end.

In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tip-toe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life grows in the sort of universal travail and it is plain too we who have a for-taste of the spirit are in the state of painful tension while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean at last we have realized our full son ship in Him (Rom 8:18-24 – JB Philips).

The only thing preventing us from breaking into full manifested sonship is the fact that we have to break into immortality. The last phase of manifested sonship is to break into resurrection life. Moreover we know that to those who love God, who are called according to his plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. God, in his foreknowledge, chose them to bear the family likeness of his Son, that he might be the eldest of a family of many brothers. He chose them long ago; when the time came he called them, he made them righteous in his sight, and then lifted them to the splendour of life as his own sons (Rom 8:25-30 – JB Philips).

 

How is God going to consummate creation? God has given us a promise and He is now saying: “Let us…!” We must end passivity and move from being spectators to becoming participators.