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When we hear the phrase… “First Family” … as Americans we are likely to think of the family of a sitting President. When we think of them, I imagine most of us would envision them enjoying an enviable life of prestige, power, and prosperity.
But my choice of that phrase for a title today really has no relation to the families of political leaders. I have, however, chosen that title to highlight a family whose prestige, power and prosperity exceed that of our political leaders by an order of magnitude that most of us cannot begin to imagine. I’m thinking of the family as the Lord first designed it and the “family that remains “first” in His thoughts.
For the next few minutes, I want to talk to you about this amazing family and some significant implications that impact every one of us.
By way of background, this family was the central focus of the early moments in world history. This particular family has the distinction of a very unique ancestry. They were CREATED by GOD and CREATED in HIS IMAGE!
They were created to share a number of unique attributes with their Creator. He had breathed into them His own breath… “the breath of life” and they became living beings! This incredible act, in effect, elevated them above all other forms of life on earth. (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7)
This unique action imparts to His “family” an unequaled status or PRESTIGE among all created things!
Immediately afterward, in the same breath, God gave man the POWER and responsibility to take dominion over creation and to subdue it!
Then in Genesis 1:29, He provided the means for their PROSPERITY, enabling the pursuit of their God-given destiny.
God’s wisdom had been previously displayed in creating male and female in all the animal world which would facilitate the reproduction of each species and in so doing, to perpetually populate the earth.
But Adam was alone, a condition no more tenable for him than it is for us! In the following verse, God meets his need and introduces a principle that we would all be wise to cherish and remember!
” Then from the rib which the Lord God had taken from man, He made (“built”) into a woman” … Genesis 2:22
…virtually everything God does FOR us
requires something FROM us!
From Adam’s rib Eve was fashioned. With her arrival, God had provided everything needed to introduce His ultimate goal in the creation… Earth was a place where He intended to raise an ever-expanding FAMILY!
FAMILY IS NOT A CONSTRUCT OF MERE PRACTICALITY OR OF HUMAN INSPIRATION BUT AN ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION STONE OF GOD’S CREATED ORDER!
Sadly, before their first child was born, Adam and Eve had succumbed to sin and introduced elements that have, with devastating effect, altered the human race.
It is extremely difficult for us to imagine the extent to which sin has robbed the human family of the blessings of God’s original plan!
Guilt, shame, hatred and a multitude of problems have stalked the human family ever since. The original mandate and privilege remain in place, but the fatal flaw passed down through succeeding generations has only allowed mankind to achieve a small measure of God’s desire.
From time to time throughout history, God has shown through anointed individuals that the plan for His family was still alive and the plan for full restoration is underway! Abraham was a man singled out early in human history to play a central role in God’s ultimate plan to restore His family to their intended status;
“Get out from your country
From your family
To a land that I will show you.
I will make of you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you, all the families in the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3
This was a wake-up call for a new beginning! It is very plain to see that God had unleashed a plan to restore lost prestige, power and prosperity and to get His family back on track!
The process to bring about God’s word to Abraham centered around a promised son, through which this restoration would come. For Abraham and Sarah, it was a long wait. When Isaac was born it was a miracle birth.
When he became a man, God told Abraham to “offer his only son” in worship on a mountain that He would show him. As Abraham was about to obediently plunge his knife into his son’s chest, God intervened and provided a ram caught in a thicket!
That heart wrenching scene, as horrifying as it was, however, could only remotely compare to one that would play out in the exact same place just over 2,000 years later!
Isaac had unknowingly carried the wood for his own sacrifice to the mountain in obedience to his father’s command. Two millennia later, another man, also an “only son,” was observed carrying a heavy load of wood along the same route to facilitate His own sacrificial death. This time, however, there would be no reprieve. This man already knew it would be awful, and He knew it would be bloody! But on that day, He would face something even He could not have been fully prepared to encounter. As God’s own sacrificial lamb, the sins of each one of us were laid upon Him!
That day on the cross, HE BECAME SIN FOR US, as “the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all”!
Then, He Died…and descended into the abyss…in our place!
Three days later, He arose from the dead having paid the debt of mankind’s sins. Now, a man had his first real taste of freedom since that tragic day in the garden of Eden!
This solitary act made possible the long-awaited restoration of God’s family!
This verse in a prophetic song written by King David unveils additional and absolutely essential aspects of God’s plan:
“God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”
Isolation and loneliness are unhealthy for us and the Lord brings us into the community to facilitate our redemption.
Solitude does have its place in our most intimate life before God. The most important one, of course, being the moment we stand before our Heavenly Father to give account for our lives!
While we are still living, those moments are for cleansing and an invitation to join more deeply with the family. Reluctance to face such moments in this life and hoping for the best after we die is a plan doomed to fail!
“The First Family” is His family!
family was His idea from the beginning and all thanks to His mercy and grace, His invitation to be part of it is still open to all takers!
Earlier in the message, I mentioned a principle taken from observing what God did in the process of Eve’s creation. In this very early moment in earth’s story, we learn something about God we would be very wise to remember. That principle is:
… “VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING GOD DOES FOR US REQUIRES SOMETHING FROM US!”
Our “adoption” into the “FIRST FAMILY” is no different!
We can see this principle portrayed in the following verse;
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
The term “believes” is more than intellectual assent! As used here, it carries meanings like; “embracing, accepting as true, being in union with.”
These terms are “relational”. Sort of an “I’m convinced and committed” type of feel or an “I’m with you through thick and thin” kind of language.
Each of us will eventually face the consequences of our sins. Knowing the horrifying result of entering eternity unprepared, settling things with a significant sense of urgency would be the sensible thing to do!
On this holiday weekend, it would be horribly tragic to celebrate the magnificent, historical resurrection of Jesus without enjoying the intended benefits in this life and the next!
What do I do?
Acknowledge my sin and ask forgiveness…
Invite Jesus to become Lord of my life…
Confess Him before men…