September 11, 2022 – Hope Month 2
PART I – THE GARDEN
· God's faithful love - Creation/Eden
o God - God present with humanity
o The People - Humans as the royal priests (robe) to Creation (represent God to creation [made in His image] and represent creation to God in creativity and worship)
o Tree of life - trust in his word
Humans eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, exile themselves from the garden. The gates to the garden are closed, guarded by Cherubim
World descends into chaos and brokenness [describe]. God's very good creation has been poisoned by the very creatures he designed to represent him. Humanity is separated from God.
PART II – A CHOSEN PEOPLE
· God's faithful love - he still longs to be in relationship with humans and for us to become who we were made to be.
· God chooses Israel (Abraham)
I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.
· God’s plan: to bless the nations through his descendants (to return humanity to Eden)
· Egypt/slavery/brokenness - God's faithful love = rescue
How will he return humanity to Eden? By bringing Eden back to humanity: The tabernacle/temple
· God's presence among the people (designed like Eden)
· Curtain (w/ cherubim) – sinful humans can’t enter into the presence of God
· However: Priests (robe) - represented God to the people, represented the people to God - Once a year, the High Priest could enter into the very presence of God on behalf of the people & make sacrifices of "atonement"
· Gave the people Torah - the tree of life - if they trust in God's desires, he would bless them and remain in their midst.
Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
· But not just bless them, bless the nations
Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’
· The Israelites are priests to humanity (robes)
o Represent God to humanity
o Represent humanity to God
In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house
will be the highest of all—
the most important place on earth.
It will be raised above the other hills,
and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
People from many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of Jacob’s God.
There he will teach us his ways,
and we will walk in his paths.”
For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion;
his word will go out from Jerusalem.
The LORD will mediate between nations
and will settle international disputes.
They will hammer their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will no longer fight against nation,
nor train for war anymore.
Humanity can come back to God! Return to Eden! The blessing of God can reach the nations, just as He promised Abraham.
The faithful love of God.
So what happened?
· Failure, disobedience, exile, curse…
· The presence of God left the people, temple was destroyed
Many centuries went by. The temple was rebuilt, the curtain went back up, but the curse seemed to have won the day. Priesthood was corrupt. Injustice reigned. Israel could barely keep its head above water, much less be a blessing to the nations…
It seemed like the faithful love of God had finally reached its limit. Until…
PART III – RETURN TO EDEN
God's faithful love - he still longs to be in relationship with humanity and for us to become who we were meant to be.
· God enters into the story as one of us - Jesus (human/God)
· He lived a life of complete obedience to God's desires (tree of life) - love, justice, mercy, etc.
· Everywhere he went, people experienced blessing and life. Life with Jesus was a return to Eden.
But then he did something which nobody expected or understood.
· Cross - curse, exile, death
· It seemed the brokenness of the world had won.
· Until… God raised Christ from the dead. And the tree of death was revealed to be the ultimate tree of life. At his death the curtain was torn in two.
· Christ became the new temple (the meeting place between heaven and earth, between God and humanity).
· And he became the new high priest (robe) for humanity
And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Because we - followers of Christ - are continuing the job of Israel - to be priests to humanity (robes)
1 Peter 2:9
For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
We represent God to humanity and humanity to God.
Last week: God is making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5)
Last week: Ambassador - this week: Priest
You represent God to your 'one'
You represent your 'one' to God
Live like a return to Eden is possible. (remember your story of redemption! God's faithful love) - Weekend of Service (kingdom of priests): salt and light
Bring your "one" to God