We are continuing in our sermon series on the subject of unity. Our aim is that our church is a place where we and other people can enjoy the blessings of unity (comfort, joy, peace, etc.).
The more we are diligent in striving for unity, the more we can make our vision come to pass. The world will never have unity without Jesus. Let’s lift the banner of Jesus and demonstrate that being in union with Him conquers division, strife, and schisms.
Last week, we looked at the perfect unity of God. This week, we look at God’s handiwork; His creation. In God’s creation, we will see unity is an important element of design.
On the first day of creation, God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. (Genesis 1:1-5)
Night and day work together. They coexist. Night and day belong to the Lord. The psalmist writes:
Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter. (Psalm 74:16-17)
God ordains both night and day as boundaries. It is the balancing of light and darkness that brings about summer and winter. We think of darkness as completely evil, but it is not to God. The day belongs to the Lord. The night belongs to the Lord. Night and day exist in unity.
Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. (Psalm 139:12)
The Lord God creates the light of the day and the darkness of the night. The light warms the earth and gives energy to life. If we only had the light of the day, plants would wither, and the water would evaporate. Temperatures would soar to unbearable levels. God also gives us the night. In the night we find rest. If we had only night, temperatures would fall, and the earth would be a frozen tundra. God creates the perfect unity of light and darkness, day and night, summer, and winter.
Another interesting design of unity in God’s creation is the unique arrangement of large and small planets in our solar system. The larger planets are on the outside and the smaller ones are closer to the sun.
Earth is protected from comet bombardment by two large gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn. Scientists estimate that the earth would receive approximately 1,000 times its current comet impacts if these planets were not there. Such a large number of collisions will prevent the existence of life on earth.
It is improbable that another small earth-like planet resides in a habitable zone (not too close, not too far from the sun) protected from larger planets exists in any other galaxy in our universe—this one of hundreds of design parameters required for life to exist.
God made land and water. They are two very different elements. God separates the water from the land on the third day of creation.
The plants and animals living on the land need water. To meet that need, God created a fantastic system called the hydrologic cycle. The cycle starts with the sun heating the water, so it evaporates and forms clouds. The clouds move over the land, which is lower in temperature. The land cools the air the process results in precipitation (rain and snow). The precipitation waters the earth and brings about fruit. Eventually, the water returns to the oceans.
Imagine building a sandcastle in our backyard and turning on the sprinkler for a month. Eventually, the sandcastle will become flat. In the same way, over time, the hydrologic cycle will wash all the land away until the earth is covered with water.
But, God places the land on tectonic plates. As the plates collide, the land is pushed up. The colliding plates produce earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountain ranges. The land rises up higher than the water as it is pushed and plates collide.
The land is continually pushed about. As a result, the land remains continually elevated and does not wash away from the rain.
On the sixth day, God creates the animals.
When visiting safaris in Africa, we will almost always see the zebra and wildebeest together. Zebras love to eat the taller grass and wildebeest the shorter grass. They do not compete for food. Also, Wildebeests have a better sense of hearing, while Zebras can see very well. They serve as allies to warn one another of danger.
The main idea for today is to treasure unity, for it is essential for life.
Creation is the visual display of the invisible God. We can learn much about God from what He has made. In looking at creation, we can see God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and very good.
As we contemplate unity, we see that it is incorporated as an essential design element. Unity is essential for life. Without unity, we may not exist. Unity is a truly remarkable and valuable gift from God because it is the gift of life.
Among the many things we learn about God, one truth is the unity God intends for His creation. God makes everything harmonious and balanced.
It is right and good for us to look at and enjoy the universe. God made creation for us to enjoy. Most importantly, God desires for us to learn about Him from our observations about creation.
Great are the works of the LORD; they are studied by all who delight in them. (Psalm 111:2)
All of us who study God’s salvation which is revealed in Scripture, find delight in our study. Similarly, when we study the works of creation, it also is a delight. Observing the universe is like looking at a work of art and getting to know the artist. Creation is beautiful and enjoyable.
O taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8)
God gives us senses so we can experience what He has made. Psalm 34:8 can also say, taste, touch, hear, smell, and see that the Lord is good. We are created to enjoy an interactive experience of God’s creation. Standing on a mountaintop overlooking a valley, smelling and tasting the salt of the ocean waves breaking on the shore, and walking through a lush grass barefoot while listening to singing birds are all spiritual experiences.
The universe is full of evidence of God’s character and His divine attributes.
The heavens are telling of the glory of God, and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. (Psalm 19:1-2)
The vast expanse of the universe and the magnificent power of the stars and galaxies reveal the glory of God. They never stop speaking of Him. In the day, we feel the heat of the sun. At night, we see the expanse of the stars.
The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory. (Psalm 97:6)
Every person alive has seen the glory of God. As Paul tells the Romans, God is evident in His creation. As we look at His handiwork, we can see God’s eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:18-20).
There are countless examples of how creation works in unity beyond light and dark, water and land, and the zebra and wildebeest. The most excellent example of unity in creation is the creation of man. The Trinity creates man. “In the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Chapter one of Genesis is a summary of the six days of creation. Chapter two provides a specific focus of day six with the creation of man.
Let’s read Genesis 2:18-25
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam, there was not found a helper suitable for him. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of Man. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:18-25)
Notice verse 18 and that it says God creates a suitable helper for man. A suitable helper is one who can come alongside and support someone in the best possible way. A suitable helper is the opposite of a poor helper. An unsuitable helper will not work alongside someone in unity.
The Trinity is like one another. They share an image. They make man in their likeness. But God does not man totally like God. Man and God are not of the same kind. God has unique divine attributes.
The Trinity is not alone, while the man is alone. God says it is not good for man to be alone. Man and the animals are made on day six. But, man and animals are not of the same kind.
The woman God makes for man is of the same kind. God makes the suitable helper in man’s likeness. Adam has the opportunity to see every animal. God wants Adam to see the best fit for Him is not one of the animals but a woman. God wants Adam to be in unity with the animals, but God desires Adam to be in special unity with the woman. Adam and Eve belong together. The two become one flesh.
The most essential attribute God places upon people in the creation account is not man’s talents, gifts, or abilities but man’s unity with a woman. Man is made designed to be in unity with a woman.
There is no greater unity than for man and woman to become one.
Every person is a fruit coming from the bond of unity between a man and a woman. Without the bond of unity, humans cannot and will not exist. Yes, we live in a fallen world, and unity is corrupted in many instances. However, God’s original design is that of a beautiful relationship of unity. Unity is essential for life.
The unity of man and woman is important, but it is only a picture of an even greater unity.
God has a greater purpose with the union of man and woman. The purpose is to point to an even greater union. Listen to God’s purpose of marriage: which is the meaning behind marriage from Ephesians 5
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:31-32)
Paul says, “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:32). What Paul is declaring is that marriage between man and a woman is a picture of our future marriage with Jesus. The church is in unity with Christ.
For us, a mystery is something needing to be solved. In the Bible, a mystery is something that is solved. The word mystery is speaking of something that used to be unknown, but is now made known.
Marriage used to be a mystery, but now the mystery is revealed. Marriage is a picture of a greater truth, and that truth is the unity of Jesus, the Bridegroom, and His church, the bride.
All through the Bible, the relationship between Jesus and the church is compared to that between a husband and a wife. For example:
The Bible is full of what theologians call typologies. Typologies are representations of greater realities. The typology is a shadow of a greater truth.
The Passover Lamb and the temple sacrifices are a shadow of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The priesthood of the Levites is a shadow of the priesthood of Jesus. The mercy seat in the Tabernacle is a shadow of the throne of God. The Sabbath day is a shadow of the eternal rest we have in heaven. There are many, many shadows.
Marriage is a shadow of what is to come. Marriage is a picture of a future unity of the Bride of Christ joined as one with Jesus, the Bridegroom.
After we die, we are not married to our spouse, but we, all of us together, are one with Jesus. Jesus said after the resurrection, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven (Mark 12:25). The marriage of heaven is between the church and Jesus.
Know this: we are joined in unity with Christ as a body of believers. It is not many individual Christians married to Jesus. Instead, it is a collective union of all believers joined as one with Jesus. We share in our unity with Jesus.
It is not accurate to say, “I am a bride of Christ.” Instead, it is correct to say, “We, the church, are the bride of Christ.”
The unity of man and woman is essential for physical life. But, we are not fully alive when we are born physically. Everyone who is born physically is born spiritually dead.
Jesus teaches this truth in a familiar passage in John, chapter 3. Nicodemus asks Jesus about eternal life.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:3-6)
We must be born again to have eternal life in the kingdom of God. We need to be born spiritually. We are born again when we put our faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ. When we put our faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven, and God takes our dead spirit and gives us eternal life spiritually.
The unity of the church with Jesus is essential for life.
All of the unity we see in creation is pointing to a greater unity, and that unity is when we, the body of Christ, join in eternal unity with Jesus. Our is a marriage union made in heaven.
Treasure unity, for it, is essential for physical and eternal life.