July 26, 2015
“God's Relationship with Man"
Pastor Brendon Wu
God vs. Man
The question that we should really have as we look into Genesis 2 and how God first made man is: What kind of relationship does God have with man? Is He someone that we're suppose to be opposed to or against? God versus man - Is he someone we're suppose to be in an epic battle with? or Does God actually have our good in mind and care about us? [God is] not someone that we're suppose to be against but someone that we're actually suppose to be with. When we look into how God made man, it says that He made man so differently. That's the first thing that really pops up in Genesis 2 - God made man so differently from the rest of creation. To just give an example, yesterday I showed the awesome magnitude of my parenting skills when I went to the house of an old friend of mine and he and his wife recently had a little boy - 8 months old and named Asher. This little Asher was being propped up onto his mother's lap and I went up to Asher and I showed off my awesome parenting skills by saying, "Asher, sit...Asher, sit!...Asher, paw...Asher, hand...alright, good boy!" A lot of you would know why I was talking to Asher like this because I recently got a dog and so it subconsciously comes out. Sometimes even in PACE Academy I'm just like "So and so, sit!...Good boy!...Thank you!...Listen...Good, good girls." Ok, but that's not how you teach kids, that's now how you raise kids, not as dogs, not as creatures. So there is something very different in how we're suppose to respond to human beings versus animals. Even we kind of know that, but sometimes we don't.
When we look at scripture, we're reminded that God formed the man out of dust from the ground and put His spirit into man. It reminds us of how God first created everything else. Pastor Kenny was preaching last week, and he said that in Genesis 1:2: "God, His spirit, had been hovering over the chaos of the waters before anything was created." In other words, God was ruling and in control over everything. Here, we see in Genesis 2 something so intimate, something so special that I just don't understand. God takes His spirit, this same spirit that has been hovering over all of creation and never became a part of creation, and now goes into the very fabric or substance or dust of man. So God breathes Himself into man to create him, and that's what makes Man so different from everything else.
The other day I had a really kindred spirit moment, that's what I call them, with Brian. We were on a rooftop somewhere and we were just looking at different things. I was like "Yo man, look at that tree. God's spirit is not in that tree. God's spirit is in us! Hey look at that little pole, that metal pole, haha you stupid pole, God's spirit is in us, not in that pole!" Man, it gives us such a heightened appreciation and thankfulness for how special God made us to be. But at the same time I think there's something so amazing about this when we really think about it even more. God who is everything put himself into something that came from nothing. His spirit is everything meaning everything that was formed came out of God and His word. His spirit was put into something, this dust, but this dust even originally came from nothing. It was what Pastor Kenny was calling "Ex Nihilo" - "Out of Nothing" that is how God created everything.
Out of Nothing
When we think about that ["Out of Nothing"], there should be this humility yet at the same time this gratitude. The humility comes in the fact that when we see each other, when we look at each other, we realize: Wow, we shouldn't be spending so much time thinking about us or how great and magnificent we are, boasting in ourselves. We should have this thankfulness, to look at each other and realize what makes us great is not man or woman, what makes us great is that God made us in His image. That's why our church exists. Our church does not exist to take different talents of people and just show those things off to the world. Our church exists to show how God wants to redeem us - to take our talents, to take everything we have and glorify who He is. So, there is a humility and at the same time a gratitude, a thankfulness to God for who we are. This is something that really blessed me and hopefully blesses our church.
You might look at this and say, "I'm not Adam, I'm Brendon. I'm not Adam, I'm...Santiago. I don't know why I keep repeating this name. Who is this man haunting me? Anyway, I'm not Adam, I'm a woman named Annie or I'm a woman named Katherine. This doesn't apply to me, see?" Well, put it another way, God put his spirit into us and not just in a physical way but also a spiritual way that applies to us today. Meaning, at Pentecost, on the day God's spirit came down to dwell in us, God put his very spirit, his everything into something that came from nothing. That is something we hear a lot. But what is even more amazing is that not only does God rule over everything but He goes through everything with us. We been learning in different bible studies or we heard of how during exodus or in the book of exodus, God went through 40 years of wilderness with his people. He was over them, loving them, protecting them, and providing for them, but do we also see and think about how He went through everything with them? You know we might say "Oh, God was impervious, He was invincible, He was untouched by the scorching hot heat of the dessert cause He's God. He never feared being destroyed by his enemies because He's God." But, what is so amazing is the fact that God knows what the Israelites went through. God knows what we go through today. Because of the fact that when we look even further at the cross, which is the center of Christianity, that shows that God didn't just put something into us, it shows that God who is everything became something that came from nothing. Even more amazing than that, the fact that God the creator would eventually become a piece of creation- a man or a woman like you and me, the mortal human flesh. What Jesus Christ did for us was that while He didn't need to become this weak form of who we are and essentially become nothing, as Philippians puts it, He became just like you or me. [He became like you and me] because of the fact that He not only wanted to experience some of the things we experience, but Jesus Christ loves us so much that everything that we struggle and deal with He went up on the cross to resolve that.
If we could kind of piece this together, God is making man in Genesis 2, but while He's making man in Genesis 2, He knows that eventually man will disobey Him. Even when He knows that this person that He's making that He loves so much is going to sin against Him, He still loves him to the point where He's ready to die for him and eventually and become like him on the cross. When I look at this, I think it really challenges me and give me a new perspective on what love is. Most of the time I struggle with, "Man, this person did this," or "Man, I felt like when my parents said this, they hurt my feelings," or "This person hurt me that way." But, what if we could look into the mind of God and He's the only being who not only sees how people have sinned against Him, but even see how people will sin against Him. Yet, this is how much God loves us. Practically speaking, we have a God that loves us in spite of what we did in the past, in spite of what we're going through right now, and even in spite of what we will do against Him. That is how much Jesus Christ and God loves us [now] and loved us [before] when He first made us in the garden.
In the garden, it says that it was made in the east. Mt. Sinai was the place where Moses was writing this book of Genesis. To the east of Mt. Sinai was this land called Mesopotamia that was very rich and very luscious and everything. That was where the Garden of Eden was made. It said that God made every tree to spring up from the ground. It was pleasant to our eyes, it was good for food, and not only that, there are all these verses about rivers and waters that I don't personally understand completely, but it showed me that there was a lot of water. So, a lot of water means there will be no shortage of water which is essential to life. When we see how God made man and how He takes care of Adam and how He takes care of us, He really puts us and provides everything for us to the point where we lack nothing. This is a great question the bible really challenges us with. Do we know that we have a life where we lack nothing because God just provides everything? Do we really think that we don't have enough in life? So many times I think we think things like, "Man, I need this so badly," "If I only have this relationship," or "If I only have this job," or "If I only get into this school, then I will have what I need." In scripture, it's pointing out the fact that it's not that Adam has to go in pursuit and search for the things that he needs to survive but it's God providing those things. I think that is so different.
The modern day philosopher who has lost a lot of credibility, but anyway, he speaks some ounce of truth, the philosopher, Bieber...Justin Bieber - He once sang this song that people couldn't stop singing around me so it got stuck in my head. He said, "I need somebody to love, I need somebody to love, I need somebody to love." He stressed this so much and to this day I'm like, "Need somebody to love? Who do you need to love?" I see him, I'm reading the news and he's loving all these people, and I'm like I don't think you need all these people to love. I don't think you need to love these people or maybe they are the wrong people. You need Jesus. That's who you need, that is the person you need to love. You know, who is the person that we need to love and we need to love us? Are we going to be like Bieber or are we going to look at Jesus' lyrics and what he says here? The fact that we need God providing things for us. It's not about us going into this world and forging for ourselves, but God provides for us. That in itself answers one of the hardest questions that we'll ever ask in our lives. That question is: Is God good to us? And that [answer] is, "Yes!" The reason why that question is so important is because we're about to read this seemingly diabolical thing where God puts some trees out there and He's like, "You can touch this tree, but you can't touch that tree!" Whoa what a weird game He's playing, you know? What kind of game is that? It seems like some kind of PACE Academy game or something that I'll make for my kids. Great idea! "Touch this tree, but don't touch that tree, let's see if you'll obey or not." The fact of the matter is that if we see that God provided everything for Adam and for us- He's a good, benevolent master, not a malevolent, malicious dictator, that'll form how we see this thing right here [scripture].
Why is God good? It seems like in scripture that He's saying you can eat off all the trees, one the Tree of Life you can eat from that too, but one tree called The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil, you cannot. "But God, I want to eat from the tree of Bing, from the tree of Google, from the tree of the ultimate Yahoo. I want to know! All of us were raised with wanting to know, pursuit of knowledge." It's like, "God, why wouldn't You want me to know?" But God is good. For one, what we just talked about. One reason - He provided everything so we lack nothing. I don't think I realized how amazing earth is. I realized it a little bit more this past week. Thanks to the fact that CNN keeps putting these updates on my phone. CNN told me personally that there were these Kepler astronomers and scientists that found this planet-like thing recently that might have water and oxygen. They said the probability is one out of just so many number that I couldn't even understand. I was like "Whoa, earth is really special." When I went outside to potty my dog [Take dog out to for a walk], I looked at the grass and was like, "Whoa, it's amazing. The plants are giving oxygen and they're living because of water so I can live. That's amazing." God provides everything and we lack nothing. Do we think that we need to know more than what God has revealed to us? or Do we see that God provides everything we need? Maybe there's a reason why in the Garden, God said, "You don't need to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. You don't need to know everything about good or everything about evil. You need to know Me."
God Doesn't Need Us, but He Loves Us
A second reason why God tells Adam to not eat from the tree is because the fact that He wants to give him a choice. He wants to tell him what's right from wrong, and He's already teaching him, molding this image that He has formed. After all, man is made in God's image. It gives him a choice. A choice between loving God or not loving God. God doesn't force us to love Him. Why not? I think about that a lot. Even now, why not? "God, you're so powerful, You created things with Your words. You're over-dominating. You're the ruler of all the universe, why don't You just force everyone to love You?!" God doesn't do this because He doesn't need us. He simply loves us. Wherever we turn in scripture from Genesis to Revelations, God will never say that He needs me. Or you. Or her. Or him. Or any of us. But it says that God loves us. That is why He gives us His word.
If we could just imagine. Let's say we're in a relationship with someone. We're with that person and we hear them say, "Hey I need you and I'll be with you as long as I need you." We're like, "Aww, they need us." But, at the same time we're like, "But how long will you need me?" And then we become our own Biebers and we cry, "How long will you need me?" That'll just be feeding our insecurity. What if there was a relationship where someone says, "You know what, I don't need you." "What? You don't need me? You don't need me?! Well, I don't need you!" But, hold on, hold on. "I don't need you, but I do love you and I'm committed to you forever." That will make us the most secure person in the world and we wouldn't have to become Bieber. That would make us secure and that love can't come anywhere outside of scripture because God is the only one who can give us that love. God doesn't need you, God doesn't need me, God doesn't need this church even. This church needs Him. But instead what God says to our church and to us is that, "I love you. I formed you. I went to the cross for you, and I put my spirit in you now. I give you My word that I love you and I'm committed to you." Do you see God's commitment? Do you see that, that is what we need to know? That God give us a choice: Love Him or not.
The third reason that I think it's so beautiful of why God just tells them [Adam and Eve] don't eat from The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil and they don't have to is the fact that salvation doesn't come through the Tree of Life, damnation not really through The Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil (although we always think of it like that), but actually salvation comes from through God's word. It's the very word that made us, is the same word that saves us.
Now I think a lot of times when I read this passage, I'm thinking of Morpheus. The reason I'm thinking of Morpheus from the movie, The Matrix, is because there's a scene in The Matrix where Morpheus, this wizened man (played by Laurence Fishburne), sits in this nice couch and he offers to Neo [two pills]. He says, "Neo, do you want to enter The Matrix? There's a blue pill and then the red pill. Take the red pill and you'll get out of the Matrix, and you'll become a new creation [Neo will learn more about The Matrix]" I forgot the line from the movie. "The blue pill, stay just as you are and go back to your life." We think like we have to decide some how. Morpheus gives Neo two pills, "Better pick the right one!" That's true. God gives us two trees, "Better pick the right one!" No. That's not it. God says Himself that it's not up to us to make the choice. God says himself that His word save us because His word saves. It says that if we eat from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we'll die. No rocket science. The simplest law. God tells us, and God speaks to us. I'm so thankful for that. That God takes time out of eternity to speak with us and to converse with us and show us between right and wrong, between making a choice for Him or not for Him, between what we should do, and that's what God's word is. Not this ambiguity, not this "I got to make my own decisions." But what does God want for us? And that's what we see from this passage right here.
It's so amazing because as we look on, there's something not good in The Garden of Eden. "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa...How can there be that is something NOT good? Not good? No, God doing something not good, that's impossible." But, not good for man to be alone. And that's what God says: "I will make him a helper fit for him." We see, "Wow, a helper - Not good for man to be alone." Why does he [Adam] need a helper? Didn't we just see that God put His spirit into Adam? Didn't we just see that God provided Adam with water and oxygen and plants, everything he needs? Didn't we just see that God walks with Adam and even gives him a Tree of Life and instructions how to do all that? Why would Adam need other people in his life? Why would we need other people in our life if we have God and God's word and that's all we need? Right here, on the third page of my bible, it tells me it's not good for me to be alone. That Christianity isn't just and God and me relationship, but there has to be a "us" in there somewhere. I think this is something that just destroys any ideas that we have that we can love God or have a relationship [with Him] on our own.
God says, "Let me make him [Adam] a helper." Is that like a side-kick? Is that like a Robin to a Batman? or Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan? Or Joe Biden to Obama? Like what is that? What is a helper? Elf to Santa? But, no. Scripture shows that this helper that is being described throughout the bible, the helper often refers to God. In other words, what God is saying is that it is not good for man to be alone because he needs help. God decides the way in which he needs help. It comes in a very special form, and so that is why God chose to make woman for man.
She's a wonderful helper, someone who is so crucially important to his mission and existence. Apostle Paul said that, "It's not that man was made for woman. Woman was made for man." Man was not made for woman, but woman was made for man. I think that is so important because of the fact that man needed her not the other way around. Man doesn't even know how much help he needs. "Man, you don't even know how much help you need. Man, I don't know how much help I need." Do we think that we know how much help we need? Yet so many times in our lives we think like, "Oh, I don't need any more help, I'm good." "I have everything that I need in my life, I'm good." "Everything's good. How can it not be good? I have a bible. I have Jesus. He sitting in my heart. How can it not be good?" We live in this age of self diagnosis where a lot of times for sicknesses, I've done this a couple times, I'll go on WebMD and other things to self diagnose myself. I end up like, "Wow, I didn't know I had five terminal illnesses running at the same time. God made a really powerful creature out of me." We can self diagnose ourselves and think we have all these sicknesses yet that's what we do spiritually. What God is saying that's true is that: Not Good - Man alone needed a helper. Right there in the garden, if God is saying to Adam that he needs a helper and sin hasn't even entered the world yet, how much for us who are sin-tainted, sin-corrupted, sinful, we're just sinful creatures in an sinful world, do we need help? In a form that God provides to us.
I don't know how else to stress this: Not "A good" [thing], alone, need a helper. God is the only one that alerts us how much help we need. We don't know how much help we need for ourselves. God goes through this creative creating process where he creates woman from man. He puts him [Adam] in a divine sleep like a spiritual anesthesia. When that happens, what God does is that He opens up Adam's ribs, He takes the ribs from Adam and He makes it into a woman. When I read this, I'm thinking "Why is God making a woman out of man?" If you look closely, he makes this [woman from man] and bring this woman to the man. "What is God doing?" God knows that the other animals weren't intimate enough for Adam. He knows that they were not enough help, so He brings enough help to Adam. He [God] leads His woman, an intimately crafted creation, (that's what a woman is- an intimately crafted, beloved person made by God personally), He leads her to the man and says, "Man, here is your woman. Woman, here is your man." And Man sings the first song in history- a love song. An ode to true joy. The woman God provides for him just enchants him and brings joy out of him. He [Man] explodes in song. How many times when we're really excited we just break out into song? You know Hayden Lee? I know Hayden Lee. The one thing I love about Hayden in our church is that a lot of times he just breaks out into song. There are these weird tunes I guess he learned from school or from somewhere, but he's just so excited about life and when I see that, that is the kind of joy that we're suppose to have when God brings help to us. That's what God is doing, bringing a woman that He loves, the help man needs to man.
But, what's God really doing? We know that it's not really about man. We know that is not really about woman. So what's God really doing? What God is really doing is that God wants us to have the same relationship with each other that He has with us. [Pastor Brendon Wu Repeats] God wants us to have the same relationship with each other that He has with us. He has a relationship with Adam, with man, but now is the time for Adam to experience that with another Adam or a woman that came out of Adam. That is why God made relationships for us, our relationships. Because He wants us to have the same relationship that He has with us. The reason why He made us in the first place is because He wants us to have the same relationships that He has within Himself, the Trinity. When I see the love that Adam has for Eve, what Apostle Paul later says, is that this [Adam & Eve] is an example of amazing love because this is the kind of love that Jesus Christ has for us. In Ephesians 5, it compares Adam to Christ or it compares man to Christ and compares his wife to the church. Ephesians 5 says, "He who loves his wife, loves himself." Adam loves woman here because he sees that she came out of him. It's just a glimpse into the love Christ has for us. Just a fraction. And yet, what the gospel and the good news says is that, Jesus loves us so much more than we could ever be loved by someone else. Even more than how Adam breaks out into song for Eve, that's how much Jesus Christ loves us.
What happens when we utterly fail to keep God's laws and designs for us? God tells us not to eat from The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God tells us to love Him and Him only, and yet many times we don't. God tells us to love our neighbors, and even that we don't do properly a lot of times. But again, it's the fact that God doesn't need us but he chose to die for us on something called the cross. From the cross, this crucifix made out of a tree, comes our life. Put it another way, we have a new "Tree of Life." Adam and Eve eventually eat from the tree that they shouldn't have eaten, and they are exiled from the garden. All of us eventually do the same thing where we sin against God, where we don't listen, where we don't obey, where we don't honor our parents, where we've told lies, where we've hidden ourselves from God - we've don't countless things. Even still, Jesus Christ, the creator is the one who became a piece of His creation and died for us.
Man, that's how much Jesus Christ loves us. That after all this goodness that we even read in Genesis 2, even when we've sinned, no matter how much we've sinned against God, Jesus Christ still loves us. He just didn't want to make us, but He desires to save us. That's how much He loves us. What we're called to do is submit under God's love, to be like Eve, to leave our father and mother, and cling to Christ and Christ alone. Jesus Christ is greater than us, He loves us so much, and wants us to know that even more than how Adam sang a song of thankfulness for Eve, He went up on the cross to buy us back and to redeem us. To put His spirit into us, to give us His word, to give us Himself because that's how much He loves us. That's the kind of relationship that God has with us. What kind of relationship do we have with God? Are we running from God? Do we think he hasn't provided enough for us? Do we think we don't need a helper? Do we think that we don't need the church or don't need Jesus? But even while we are still going through all those questions that we need to answer, Jesus Christ is still who He is: Perfect, loving, a master, and a savior.