Jesus Restores Unity (part one)
Jesus Restores Unity
Creation is for the glory of God. It is a general revelation of His glory. In looking at the universe, we can determine there is a God; He is powerful, magnificent in design, and has intelligence beyond our comprehension.
Looking at creation does not reveal everything there is to know about God. It does not let us know if God is loving, nor if God is involved with us, His created beings.
To learn more about God, we need another source. Thankfully, we have a reliable source. The Bible is a specific revelation. We understand what God wants us to know about Him because He spoke to us through a book. In the Bible, we learn there is One God in three Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
We are seeking to study about unity, and we are using the Bible as our source.
We began our study on unity by listening to God and marveling at the perfect unity of the Triune God. The Trinity exists in perfect unity as three persons who are in a relationship and share divine attributes. We can conclude from the Bible that the Trinity is the standard of unity, and when we measure unity, we look to the Trinity as the perfect standard.
The Bible reveals that when God made creation, He made it so that unity is essential for life. God creates man, male and female He creates them. A man and a woman join together in unity and become one. The fruit of their unity is life.
In the beginning, creation was very good. But something happened. The world is in chaos and disunity. What happened?
Genesis chapter three speak of an enemy of God, one who seeks to destroy the unity of God and the unity of His creation, enters into the Garden of Eden, and deceives Adam and Eve. Satan works to destroy unity. The result is pain, death, and separation from God.
But, God does not want us to believe that the destruction of unity took Him by surprise. Satan did not trick God and catch Him off guard.
God Predestines Us for Unity
(Turn to Ephesians 1)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Eph 1:3-6)
The Bible says a conversation took place in the Trinity before the creation of the world. Our salvation, which is the restoration of our unity with God, was decided and planned before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Before there was a Garden of Eden, planets, animals, stars, or the earth, The Trinity decided they will display the glory of grace.
God predetermined the plan to restore unity before Satan entered the Garden. In other words, the destruction of unity by Satan did not take God by surprise. Creation exists, so God’s glory may be made manifest.
Grace is the restoration of unity, even though our unity with God is undeserved. We did nothing to earn restoration of unity with God. Unity with Him is a gift of His love. God freely bestows on His adopted children, according to His will, that we will receive reconciliation. As a result, we praise God for the glory of His grace.
God did not create the world because the Trinity was lonely or to fill a need because something was missing in His life. God created the world, and the human race, to put His glory on display. He wants Adam’s descendants to know Him, love Him, and enjoy Him.
Before the Trinity has a conversation about the creation of man, Father, Son, and Spirit predetermined the salvation of the saints.
The Bible speaks of the restoration of unity using many terms. Salvation. Adoption. We were once His enemies, and become His children. Reconciliation; we are no longer enemies, but we are at peace with God. Regeneration. We are born-again from spiritual deadness.
Salvation, reconciliation, and redemption are ways of describing how God restores our unity with Him.
The way God restores unity is the same from the beginning of the Bible to the end; it is by putting our faith in the Savior (more on that later). The Apostle Peter writes that Jesus Christ died for our sins:
… so that He might bring us to God … (1 Peter 3:18)
Understanding Faith, Worship, and Unity
For us to understand how Jesus restores unity, it helps to know how the loss of unity takes place.
Last week, we looked at the destruction of unity. It came about when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and eat of the fruit which He forbid. The Bible calls their disobedience sin.
When we think of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, we should not think of it merely as an act of disobedience. It is not so much an act of disobedience as it is an act of unbelief and a loss of worship (love) for God. The loss of faith and worship brings about the loss of unity.
We must understand the relationship between disobedience to God and faith, worship, and unity. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, here is what took place.
Loss of Faith
Adam and Eve lost faith in God. They did not believe in God’s Word. God said they would die, and they did not believe God told the truth about the consequences of their actions. They chose to believe the serpent, who said, “Surely, you will not die.”
They were no longer trusting God as good and as One who tells the truth. They experienced a loss of confidence and questioned the validity of God’s Word. They wondered if God is faithful and if God had their best interests in mind.
God’s Word was no longer a rock-solid place to stand, but it became questionable. They did not stand on God’s Word, nor did they fear God. They did not believe Him capable of carrying out justice and punishment if they disobeyed.
Loss of Worship
Adam and Eve did not worship God as they should. Worship is a demonstration of value. When we think of worship, it is helpful to think of words ending in “ship.” For example, fellowship is to belong with others (others). We are in fellowship. To be in worship is to be expressing worth. We express worship toward things that are “worthwhile.”
When Adam and Eve lose their faith in God, they no longer value God. He ceases to satisfy them as a source for what is good. They change the worship from God to the fruit. The fruit became (in their mind) a more significant source of joy and satisfaction.
Example: One way we express worship is with money. How much do you love that hat? I love it a lot. Are you willing to sell it for $10? No. How about $150? Yes, I don’t love my hat that much! When I sell the hat, I decide in my heart that my hat will not make me as happy as $150. I don’t worship my hat that much.
Adam and Eve exchange the worship of God for a piece of fruit.
Loss of Unity
Faith and worship are essential for unity. The consequence of the loss of faith and worship is the loss of unity.
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they were no longer in agreement (unity) with God. God believes He is full of truth. Adam and Eve doubted the truth of God. They did not have faith in His Word. God believes He is the source of good, and He knows what is best for Adam and Eve. God tells Adam and Eve to obey His command, or they will not be happy.
Adam and Eve believe differently than God and disagree. They believe the fruit will give them satisfaction.
To Sin is to Disagree with God about His Worth
One thing that helps me in my fight against sin, which I would like to share, is my understanding of how the sin battle as being a heart issue.
John Piper gets all the credit for helping me to understand my sin and how to fight against it. Listening to his sermons and reading the book Desiring God opened my eyes to how sin is an issue of the heart. He helps me see that the importance is not so much do this or do that, but that the battle against sin is about my affections toward God and treasuring Him as valuable.
Let us look at Adam and Eve and think about their sin in the Garden.
Adam and Eve chose to sin. Their act of sin is to disagree with God about His worth. To diminish the worth of God is to not love Him with all of the heart, soul, mind, and strength. He is not their greatest treasure.
Adam and Eve decided the worth (value) of God when choosing not to obey His command. They disagree with God that His authority is for their good.
There can be many reasons why they disagree. Perhaps they do not think of God as intelligent enough to know the right decision. Satan said God does not want them to find complete satisfaction, and that is why they shouldn’t eat the fruit. They did not trust God and the implication, according to Satan, is that God is lying. Many other reasons could have entered their minds.
The bottom line is that when they disagree, they are no longer in unity with God.
Their disagreement is a heart issue, not a food issue. Is God’s Word reliable? Is He supremely valuable? Is God worth my complete allegiance?
God is abounding in love, but Adam and Eve thought God held back His love. He is the almighty Lord. But Adam and Eve did not obey Him as Lord. God is the most beautiful thing we may see, but the fruit was a greater delight to their eyes. He is the source of all good, and anything good is from His hand. God forbid they eat the fruit, so Adam and Eve did not believe God is good.
God is to be valued because He is all-wise and abounding in truth. God said they would die, and they questioned if He spoke the truth. God is faithful and just in every way.
Satan said God didn’t want them to be like God, and that is why the fruit is forbidden. They thought of God as being unfair. Most of all, God is Infinitely satisfying. Adam and Eve looked for satisfaction in the fruit of God’s creation, and not in the Creator.
God is the supreme treasure above everything.
God exalts Himself as extremely valuable and worthy of our worship. If He does not command us to worship Him as our greatest treasure, then He is not loving. For God to be loving, He must tell us that without Him, we suffer great loss.
It is unloving for God to hold back that which is good. God does not hide Himself, but lifts Himself, so we may have what is best for our happiness. Because God is loving, He points to Himself as being worthy of love.
The most loving act of God is to lift Himself before us and say that He is the most satisfying treasure we may seek. God wants us to love Him for our good. God cares about our heart’s affections.
That is why God commands us to desire Him above all things. He lovingly wants us to have that which is the very best, which is Himself. He says for us to obey Him, because it is for our good.
All this leads to Jesus. The promise of a Savior is God’s promise to give us Himself. The Savior is a treasure beyond measure. God will prove through the Savior that He is worthy of our devotion. Despite our sin, God demonstrates His love toward us by sending us His beloved Son.
God is willing to pay an infinitely valuable price for our restoration to unity with Him. Our salvation to unity with God gives us the fullness of joy.
God gives us a Savior to restore faith and worship in God.
The Promise of a Savior
In Genesis 3, which explains how we lose unity with God, is the promise of a Savior who will restore our unity. The Savior is God’s predestined answer for our unity with God. The Savior will destroy the works of the devil.
Genesis 3:15 is the first prophecy that tells of the plan the Trinity makes before the foundation of the world. God says a Savior born from the seed of a woman will bruise Satan on the head and that Satan will bruise His heel.
As history unfolds, God gives more prophetic revelation about the identity of the unity restoring Savior. The Savior will descend from the lineage of Abraham, Jacob, Judah, and King David (Ge. 12:3; 18:18; Ge. 49:10; Numbers 24:17, 19; Ps. 132:11; Je. 23:5; 33:15; Is. 11:10).
He will be a prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15, 19), and rejected by the Jews (Ps. 118:22-23; Is. 8:14-15; 28:16). The Savior will be meek and mild (Is. 42:2-3; 53:7) while being the powerful right arm of God (Ps. 110:1; Is. 59:16; 53:1).
The Savior will be born of a virgin (Is. 7:14) in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and Galilee will be His first area of ministry (Is. 9:1-8).
The Savior spoken of in the Garden of Eden will be betrayed by a friend (Ps. 41:9), forsaken by his disciples (Ze. 13:7), smitten (Is. 50:6), pierced (Ze. 12:10; Ps. 22:16), will suffer a crucifixion (Ps. 22:1-31; 69:21). The Savior will die, rise from the dead (Ps. 16:10; Is. 52:13-53:12), and ascend to heaven (Ps. 68:18) to sit at the right hand of God.
There are over 300 prophecies given in the Old Testament that tell of the Savior. The most significant prophecy is that the Savior is God the Son (Ps. 2:7; Pr. 30:4).
The promise of a Savior is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is Logos – Communication to us
We will end with John 1 this week, and begin with John 1 next week. John’s gospel tells us about the person of Jesus and how we receive unity through Jesus.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3)
John begins by telling us that Jesus was in the beginning with God, and He was God. It is through Jesus that we are created. God the Son, along with God the Father and Spirit, in unity, create the universe.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:12-14)
Jesus comes so that we see God as a great treasure. He becomes flesh and dwells with us. We can behold the glory of God in Jesus. Jesus is full of grace and truth.
The fullness of truth helps us to see that God is good. The lies and deceptions told in the Garden are exposed by the light. The truth of Jesus shines upon the darkness of this world. Jesus is full of grace.
When we believe in Jesus, we become adopted children. It is a gift of grace (unmerited favor). The bloodline of family heritage does not bring us unity. Doing good works will not bring us into unity with God (not the will of our flesh). We cannot will or demand ourselves to be in unity (will of man).
We are brought into unity and made children of God, in unity with Him, by faith. We believe that Jesus is our sacrifice for sins.
Praise God for predestining us to be in unity with Christ by faith.
God’s predetermined plan is to place before us His beloved Son, a treasure beyond all measure, worthy of our complete trust and worship. When we see Jesus, our hearts sing for joy. Jesus satisfies all our longings.