AS YOU READ GENESIS 3 and 4 NOTICE:
In Genesis 3 we have the account of the fall of humanity. But we also have a prophetic picture of the gospel- the foreshadowing of God’s promised provision of the Virgin-born Messiah-the seed of the woman, who would defeat the devil, reverse the curse, and cloth our nakedness in His righteousness as the Lamb of God for sinners slain.
The first mention of the Coming Redeemer is found in Genesis 3:15. Theologians call this the “protoevangelium”, the first mention of the gospel.
Genesis 3:14-15 (NIV)
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
The Promised Redeemer would be “the seed of a woman”. The expression, “to crush the head” is an oriental expression meaning to “depose the governmental ruler”. This is the prophetic picture of the Messiah who would not be the Son of fallen man, but the Son of God, born of a virgin. He would come to save us from our sins and destroy the works of the devil, deposing his rule.
In Genesis 3:21 we have a picture of the failure of human attempts to cover sin (Operation Fig Leaf!) and God’s provision through the sacrifice of an innocent animal on behalf of the guilty sinners, a picture of the sacrificial Lamb of God.
Genesis 3:21 (NIV)
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
This is the gospel of God–the good news of the Messiah and the provision of the atoning sacrifice.
The gospel presented in Genesis 3:14-15 and 3:21 was to be passed on to Adam’s children.
Prior to the fall, the man and the woman lived as a one flesh unit. They shared the same name. After the fall, with sin, came dissolution of oneness. The woman was named Eve. Whereas Adam was created in God’s image, Adam’s children were born in the image of fallen man (Genesis 5:3). Therefore, although Adam was the first man, his son, Cain, was not qualified to be called the second man. Cain was no longer, man, as God created man to be. Instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit, his nature was fallen, and he was spiritually subject to the dominion of the god of this age, Satan. Never in human history would there be another ‘man’ until the Messiah. He would qualify as the ‘second man’ because He was born, not of Adam’s seed. He would be, as Adam was originally, born without sin. His obedience would be tested. Where the first man Adam disobeyed and brought sin and death into the stream of humanity, Jesus would obey and bring righteousness that would be extended as a gift to believers, and a new stream of humanity that would be born of the Holy Spirit.
Abel, the second son of Adam, is a picture of one who is obedient to the gospel. Cain brought to God what he thought best. He is a picture of man living by human reason without revelation. His religion is one of self-redemption.
Abel brought what God required- an innocent animal substitute, a type of Christ. This sacrificial system was instituted as a means of communicating the gospel. Abel received the witness from the Holy Spirit that He was accepted by God on the basis of the sacrifice of another made on his behalf, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Cain rejected the gospel. Although God appealed to him that both a sin offering and the rule of sin were at his doorstep, Cain rejected the sin offering and submitted to the rule of sin.
“By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings.” (Heb 11:4)
We see the first case of depression in Cain. Failing to believe the gospel, he does not have the witness of God’s acceptance. He is still in his sins and under God’s wrath. He is angry that he is not accepted by God by living on his own terms. He is jealous of his brother Abel’s peace and joy. The spirit of antichrist takes over and we have the first religious war. Cain rises up to persecute and kill Abel.
“This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.” (1 John 3:11-12)
Jesus is the greater Abel who was despised, rejected and slain by His brothers. Abel was the first shepherd and Jesus is the Great Shepherd (John 10:11) Abel died a violent death and his blood called for judgment. Jesus died a violent death but His blood cries out for mercy. (Hebrews 12:24)
The rest of Genesis 4 is a powerful study on human sociology.
AS YOU READ THE GOSPELS: NOTICE
Matthew gives us insight into God’s sovereign protection in delivering Jesus from His would-be killers. In doing so, Messianic prophecies were being fulfilled (Hosea 11:1; Numbers 24:8; Exodus 4:22).
God graciously spoke to Joseph several times in his dreams (Matthew 1:20, 2:13, 19, 22). God speaks to us primarily through His written Word, but we should be open to Him speaking to us in the ways the prophets foretold (Acts 2:17, Joel 2:28) and that are consistent and subservient to the revelation of Scripture.
Matthew also carefully points out that John the Baptist fulfills the prophecies regarding the one who would call Israel to repentance and prepare the way for the Messiah (Matt. 3:3; Isaiah 40).
Worship the One who came to save us from our sins (Matt 1:21). He went right to the root of our problem. John the Baptist says it well: “ The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”. Jesus did not come to prune our sinful nature. He came to deal with its root. He goes right back to the beginning of the problem- Adam. Where Adam fell into disobedience, Jesus would bring judgment on Adam and his progeny, as “the last Adam”, by identifying Himself with his sin on the cross. Sin would be cut down and thrown into the fire. As “the second man”, the federal head of a new humanity, he would rewrite our history as one of perfect obedience.
Jesus, though sinless, identified with the natural man in baptism. Notice the commendation by the attending persons of the Trinity. This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased! (Notice also that the dove who is not seen after being sent out by Noah after the old creation is judged (Gen. 8:12) is finally seen in Matthew 3:16 resting on the head of Jesus Christ, the second man, the head of THE NEW CREATION!)
Where the first man was tested and failed, this man would succeed. The woman (whose name was also Adam) was tempted in the garden to live autonomously and to break fellowship with God through disobedience at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil through the lust of the flesh (she saw that the fruit was good for food) the lust of the eyes (a delight to the eyes) and the pride of life (desirable to make her wise). Jesus was tempted in the wilderness in the same areas: the lust of the flesh (to make stones bread, to break fellowship with the Father and to satisfy his hunger independently from the Father’s provision); the lust of the eyes (Luke has this as the second temptation, Matthew the third- to behold the glory of the kingdoms of this world) and the pride of life (prove who you are by casting yourself down from the pinnacle of the temple and commanding angels to save you).
As Jesus resisted the temptation to worldliness and sin by hiding the Word of God in His heart, let us do the same!
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)
AS YOU READ THE PSALM – NOTICE:
Psalm 2- Jesus is the Son of God
Yesterday in Psalm 1 we read about “The Blessed Man”, true to God’s Word. We learn that as we abide in Him, meditating in His Word day and night, we will bring forth the fruit of a Christ-like character in every season. What a great prospect for the new year!
Today we read about the reign of the Son of God over the nations. In Psalm 1 we read of ‘delighting in the law of God’. IN Psalm 2 we read of the leaders of this world who defy the law of God. Psalm 1 is never quoted in the New Testament, yet Psalm 2 is quoted at least 18 times! It is quoted more than any other Psalm. It is a royal psalm depicting of God’ anointed upon the throne and the nations who resist His rule.
It is by trusting the Son of God, joining ourselves to Him by faith, and trusting in His saving work on the cross, that we gain peace with God. His atoning sacrifice has made a way for God’s wrath to be turned away so that we might not perish (Psalm 2:12).
Whereas Psalm 1 began with a blessing, Psalm 2 ends with one:
Psalm 2:12 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
AS YOU READ PROVERBS
Proverbs 1- Jesus is our Wisdom from God (1 Cor 1:30; Prov 4)
Proverbs 1:7-9 (NASB) 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; 9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.
Notice the starting point for true knowledge- It is the revelation of God’s answer to the human dilemma- Christ- “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3)
PRAYER- Thank You LORD for your Wisdom, Your perfect solution, Your merciful Provision of a full salvation through Your Holy Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Like Abel, we put our trust in Your Provision of a Sinless Substitute, our Lord Jesus, rather than our own works. We have no righteousness of our own to bring before you. Thank you for giving us Yourself to be our Righteousness (Jer 23:6; 33:16; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21) and winning the way back to paradise for repentant sinners to look to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. (Colossians 1:28, J.B. Phillips paraphrase)
New Life Community Church, Concord, MA 10742
Meeting Sundays at 10:30 AM at the New Life Ministry Center, 221 Baker Avenue, Concord, MA 01742
Church Office- 978-369-0061
New Life Fine Arts
“Theater you can believe in.”