In The Beginning

"In The Beginning" is an expository sermon by Mark Hollingsworth.

Genesis 1:1-5

Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

A true and firm foundation of revelation and faith must be laid in a Divine doctrine of “Genesis,” the beginnings, out of which have come both the world of nature and the world of grace. In this book we are taught what is the order by which all things must be tried. Coming forth from Elohim, from the Infinite Personality; flowing in his appointed course. The genesis of heaven and earth becomes the genesis of the human family.

Out of the natural chaos is brought forth the Eden of rest and beauty. Out of the moral waste of a fallen humanity is formed, by the gracious work of a Divine Spirit, through a covenant of infinite wisdom and love, a seed of redeemed and sanctified human beings, a family of God.

The genesis of the material creation was in the beginning and leads on to the genesis of the invisible creation (in the beginning). The lower is the type and symbol of the higher. The first day is the true beginning of days. Let's see what is placed by the sacred writer between that evening and morning.

I. The Presentation of God.

This is the coming forth of the everlasting in the beginning, unsearchable secret of the divine nature into manifestation. “God created.” The word employed denotes more than the bare summoning of existence out of nothingness. The analogy of human workmanship “cutting,” “carving,” “framing”) suggests the relation between creation and the God of creation. The heaven and the earth reflect their Maker.

Works embody the mind, the spirit, the will, the nature of the workman. Although the name Elohim, in the plural form, cannot be taken as an equivalent of the Trinity, it points to the great fundamental fact of all revelation, the Divine Unity coming forth out of the infinite solitude of eternity, and declaring, in the manifold revelations of the visible and invisible worlds, all that the creature can know of his fathomless mystery.

God creates man in the beginning and presents Himself to man in a creator-creation relationship.

II. The Power of God.

Here is a glimpse into God's order and method. “In the beginning,” the immeasurable fullness of creative power and goodness. It was formless void, darkness on the face of the deep's apparent confusion and emptiness, within a limited sphere, the earth; at a certain epoch, in preparation for an appointed future. Chaos is not the first beginning of things; it is a stage in their history.

The evening of the first day preceded the morning in the recorded annals of the earth. That evening was itself a veiling of the light. Science itself leads back the thoughts from all chaotic periods to previous developments of power. Order precedes disorder. Disorder is itself permitted only as a temporary state. It is itself part of the genesis of that which shall be ultimately “very good.”

God is still in control as in the beginning and any disorder is allowed temporarily by Him to show the futility of man's wisdom and control.

III. The Presence of God.

The great vital fact of the world's order is the intimate union between the Spirit of God and that which is covered with darkness until He makes it light. The moving of the Spirit upon the face of the waters represents the brooding, cherishing, vitalizing presence of God in his creatures, over them, around them, at once the source and protection of their life.

“Breath;” “wind,” the word literally means, perhaps as a symbol at once of life, or living energy, and freedom, and with an immediate reference to the creative word, which is henceforth the breath of God in the world. Surely no candid mind can fail to feel the force of such a witness in the opening sentences of revelation to the triune God.

God created the world in the beginning and is in the world today working among man to bring them to Himself by His Spirit.

IV. The Plan of God.

To us the beginning of all things is light. The word of God “commands the light to shine out of darkness.” “God said, Let there be light,” or, Let light be. The going forth of God’s word upon the universe very well represents the twofold fact:

(1) that it is the outcome of his will and nature; and
(2) that it is his language — the expression of himself.

Hence all through this Mosaic cosmogony (the branch of astrophysics that studies the origins and structure of the universe) God is represented as speaking to creation, that we may understand that he speaks in creation, as he is also said to look at that which comes forth from himself to behold it, to approve it, to name it, to appoint its order and use.

Such intimate blending of the personal with the impersonal is the teaching of Scripture as distinguished from all mere human wisdom. God is in creation and yet above it. Man is thus invited to seek the personal presence as that which is higher than nature, which his own personal life requires, that it may not be oppressed with nature s greatness, that it may be light, and not darkness.

There is darkness in creation, darkness in the deep waters of the world’s history, darkness in the human soul itself, until God speaks and man hears. Light is not, physically, the first thing created; but it is the first fact of the Divine days — that is, the beginning of the new order. For what we have to do with, is not the. infinite, secret of creation, but the “manifestation of the visible world” God manifest.

The first day in the history of the earth (in the beginning), as man can read it, must be the day when God removes the covering of darkness and says, “Let there be light.” The veil uplifted is itself a commencement. God said that it was good.

His own appointment confirmed the abiding distinction between light and darkness, between day and night; in other words, the unfolding, progressive interchange of work and rest, of revelation and concealment, the true beginning of the world's week of labor, which leads on to the everlasting sabbath. How appropriately this first day of the week of creation stands at the threshold of God’s word of grace!

The light which he makes to shine in our hearts, which divides our existence into the true order, the good and the evil separated from one another, which commences our life; and the Spirit is the light of, his own word, the light which shines from the face of him who was “the Word,’ “in the beginning with God,” “without whom nothing was made that was made.”

The light of the world is Jesus. He wants to shine in our hearts and give us life as in the beginning.


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