Here we are at the beginning of a new year, and its usually at this time that everyone comes out with some of there predictions for the future, both for the next year and maybe some even more long range. Whether it is clickbait just feeding our worries or an actual existential threat, people are interested in the future of humanity. Broadly speaking, you can see two general questions emerge. Question #1. Is there a future for humanity? Will we make it? Will we survive? How long? Question #2: What sort of future is in store for humanity? Artificial intelligence, gene editing, new mind and body drugs and technology that will get the most out of our potential. Can we stop the aging process? Eradicate genetic deformity and diseases?
What is the future of humanity? Well, the papers are correct in their focus on survival, for it is unavoidable that the human experience is death. This should not surprise us as it is our universal experience. What might be surprising to us is how the Jesus defines death and how He overcomes death, and what it means for the future of humanity.
Nearly every Christmas movie has the same theme: a cantankerous cynic who has lost faith in humanity experiences the spirit of Christmas and has his faith in humanity restored. Yet Jesus did not come to merely restore our faith in humanity - He came to restore humanity itself. In Philippians 2 Christians are called to have the mind of Christ, who confidently set aside the rights and entitlements that He possessed by virtue of His divine nature to take to Himself our human nature. Through His incarnation, life, death and resurrection Jesus upheld God's word of condemnation against humanity, while lovingly standing in our place to redeem any who will find their life in Him. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit truly begins to transform us in ways that last beyond the Christmas season.
We continued our "Being Human" series by opening up the issue of free will and moral responsibility. The opening text was Genesis 2:15-17 in which God sets a moral choice in front of humankind. We learned that any "freedom" human beings have is a gift of our Sovereign Creator and that God holds us morally responsible for the choices we make. Because of our sin nature desiring things contrary to God, we need Jesus to save us and bring us back to spiritual life so that we can choose the good by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is the second part of a message started last week. Last week we explored the equality of men and women in the revelation of Scripture. Today we'll be looking at some more passages that speak to the distinctions of men and women. It seems in Corinth, like Canada, the church had gladly accepted the gospel's teaching regarding the equality of men and women. Yet, for all the excitement about the new-found status of women in the church being equal with men, some in the Corinthian church were sliding toward a more position that eroded the differentiations between male and female.
The Word of God calls us to preserve the distinction between man and woman, which honours the particular glory of each, by relating to one another in appropriate ways in the home and in the church.
This is the first of a two-week look at the Bible's teaching on gender. The focus of this message is one the fundamental equality of men and women as beings created in the image of God. We look at six different aspects of the unity of men and women as revealed in the Bible. Men and women are equal in dignity on account of their being created in the image of God, in their necessity to fulfill the creation mandate, in their depravity as a result of sin and its devastations, in their participation in salvation history, their redemption as co-heirs of life in Christ, and their mutuality in marriage. This message is fundamental and must be kept in mind as we explore distinctions between men and women in the following message.
We unpack the word of God to humankind: "Be fruitful and multiply". It is noted that in order for humankind to fulfill this word, man and woman must come together as man and woman, which is an affirmation of the goodness of the gender binary. After the fall, making babies is an act of faith in the face of sin and its devastation. In the New Testament, the command to be fruitful and multiply is expanded to all Christians, both single and married, through their participation in the great commission.
This week we addressed the reality of ethnic tension and what God is doing about it. Evangelical silence regarding ethnic tension is inexcusable. Not only because people are hurting, but because we have a real answer. In this sermon from Ephesians 2-3, we see that Jesus tears down the wall of ethnic hostility, by being saviour of all. However, the profound innovation of the church age is that Christ is gathering the nations *together* in local churches that display the manifold wisdom of God through their ethnic diversity.
The puzzle of humanity has a moral dimension. We are capable of acts of great compassion and even heroic virtue. Some even sacrifice their lives to rescue others in peril. Yet some deep stain of corruption still plagues human life. The evidences of the darkness of the human heart are pervasive in human history, yet such darkness still surprises us. Something seems to have gone dreadfully wrong.
Where can we go for help as we wrestle with this riddle? We must go to God if we are to find the answer to this most baffling riddle. For God our creator has spoken to us through his Word and has revealed his answer to the human dilemma. He spoke both of our dignity and our depravity. And, as importantly, he also revealed the one way that human depravity can be destroyed and human dignity established through divine redemption.
In the second sermon in the "Human" series, we turn to the first chapter of Genesis to understand what it means to be created in God's image. The Bible declares that every human being is worthy of dignity and respect by virtue of their being image-bearers of the Creator God. This means that we practice no violence of curse none of God's image-bearers. Our bearing of God's image points us ultimately to Christ who is the very Image of God. As Christians, Christ is transforming us into His image through the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
In this introduction to our new series, "Humanity: Divinely Designed; Divinely Defined" Pastor Dan asks the question, "Who Tells You Who You Are?". It is argued from Genesis 3, that only God has the authority to define us, for He is the One who has designed us.