Message given at Pine Castle Pioneer Days February 24, 2019
In the beginning, the earth was without form and void, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. And God our Father said, “Let there be light!”1Genesis 1:1-3 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. These are very important words from Genesis. God is telling us that light existed before all matter and all things. Later, when we hear the Apostle John say in the New Testament, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”2 John 1:1-4 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. It simply means John is confirming that our Christ, our Savior has always existed, even before anything else, including light.
Light is amazing. The speed of light in a vacuum is 186,282 miles per second. Nothing can exceed the speed of light because at the primitive flash of God’s creation, all boundaries for all future states of motion were set, framing all future possibilities. It is not until light is slowed and blocked by material bodies, we begin to understand and see the true characteristics of light. Think of a prism or a rainbow. It takes the barriers of glass or rain for us see the real beauty and composition of light.
Much the same is true for Christian thought, God the Son came to us from before time and before the existence of the universe to become visible to mankind. Christ came to us taking on the barriers of an earthly existence, with all its limitations to show us the beauty of what lies ahead in eternity.
The reason why the Son of God is called the Word, is that as our words explain our minds to others. The Son of God was sent to us in order to reveal God’s mind to the world. We make the assertion that Christ is God because He existed from the beginning with God. Think of this: All things were made by Christ, and not as just individual things. Everything works together with Christ. Without Christ, nothing was made, from the highest angel to the lowest worm. This shows how well qualified Jesus Christ was for the work of becoming our redeemer and savior. Even our Common Sense and Reason are derived from Him and depend on Him, Christ, the eternal Word.
What brings you to Cypress Grove Park this morning? Fellowship? Fun? History? Or maybe Circumstance? Whatever the reasons, we are glad you are here. My message this morning is about opportunity. What can you and I do this day that would leave a lasting mark on our society, on Pine Castle and also please our great God? For me, it will be to help you get to know our Savior, Jesus Christ a little bit better.
Because we have all become sensitized to walls these days, I thought it might be interesting to tell you a story from the Bible about building walls. The walls around Jerusalem were built and repaired many times throughout history. During its long history, Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice. The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th century, making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world. My story this morning is about one of those times of re-construction.
Amos was one of the Twelve Minor Prophets, a shepherd who tended his flock near Bethlehem and Jerusalem. He lived about 750 years before Christ and was sent to tell the people of Israel that they would be judged by God. Amos wrote at a time of relative peace and prosperity but also of neglect of God’s laws. He spoke against an increased disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor. His major themes were social justice, God’s overwhelming power, and God’s absolute and divine judgment.
Amos preached that the practice of religious acts was no insurance against the judgment of God and that “privileges granted by our great God” are nothing more than opportunities to demonstrate justice and righteousness. If Amos was here with us today, he would be telling us that we cannot simply claim God’s favor because of our past deeds and faithful service. Every day is a new day before God’s eyes.
Amos knew that he had to talk to the people of Israel in ways that they could understand. The best apologetics are those that are not complex, and that people can relate to their lives. God had pointed out that the walls of the city needed repair, to keep the many enemies out and protect the people inside. God then asked “What do you see, Amos? Amos responded, “I see you God, standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in your hand. Then God said to Amos, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people; I will spare them no longer.”3Amos 7:8 8 And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. In other words, no more excuses, people!
What then did the God mean? The people knew that to create a straight and true wall, you need a reference to measure against. It is impossible to use one’ judgement, one’s trained eye to build anything perfect. Well, as people, God knew that we cannot build our lives so that we are straight and true without something to measure our life against. Amos would tell the people of Israel that God would give them something to compare their own lives against so that they would know how to behave “Perfectly.”
Why would God use a plumb line? Let’s look at the attributes of this very old and simple tool. A plumb line is always perfect no matter how improperly you may hold it or use it. A plumb line hangs a perfect vertical every time. You need no special training to use a plumb line – It works for everyone, every time. A plumb line may very well be the most reliable tool ever created by mankind. No moving parts, no batteries required. You just need to believe the measurement it gives you is TRUE!
If we want to be Godly people, if we want to make a difference in this world, we too MUST have a plumb line to measure ourselves against. That is exactly why God gave us His son Jesus Christ. You see, Jesus is life’s plumb line. He is always perfect. When we get to know Him well, we can measure ourselves against Him, we can build a straight and strong life, pleasing to God. There are no special instructions, no training required, you just must believe Christ is TRUE!
Many people will walk into our lives today: Children, visitors, vendors, reenactors, many who will benefit from seeing the reflections of our Savior on your life. To make Pine Castle Pioneer Days a special event, to make a difference in this community, to please God today and in the days to come, tell someone about our Savior, Jesus. Tell them how He has helped you build a life that is straight and TRUE? And use words only if you must.
- 1Genesis 1:1-3 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
- 2John 1:1-4 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
- 3Amos 7:8 8 And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.