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Genesis 1:1-5 1
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. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Background

Our sermon title was made famous years ago by a rock and roll singer named Joe Cocker.  He laments that somehow he will get through all of life’s problems with a little help from his friends.  So what is it about earth’s creation story that would link us to the lyrics of a rock and roll song? The song is really about the fear of loneliness and man’s fear of not finding companionship.  So what is it about light that creates an environment where friendship and love can grown. Why is this important to one’s relationship with God?

Bible Truths and Theology

God has always existed and He will always exist. There has never been a time before God. And there will never be a time after God. The Hebrew word used in Genesis for ‘create’ means to make something from nothing. Only God makes something from nothing. The writer uses that word in verse 1, and he uses it in verses 21 and 27 also. The reference to ‘The skies and the earth’ means everything. The writer reminds us about it in Genesis 2:1, 4.

The earth had ‘no shape’ and it was ‘empty’. Until God works, there is only confusion there is no plan and so there is no design, purpose or systems. When there is order, God is present. Darkness is being used here to show us what it is like to live without God.  We are being reminded that God wants to protect His creation so He is, like a bird, hovering overhead. To create order, to add structure, all God had to do is speak. Immediately, things happen. Since we need light in order to live, we get light, we can see. We can see what God creates. Light is also like a description or picture for us to show  what real life with God is like.  If it was not for light, we could not see God’s blessings. Darkness is also like a description of what sin and death are like, confusion and chaos.

Everything that God does is good, including that which is in progress and that which is completed.  God  then named the “light.” This is significant because  when we give a name to something, that action often had special meaning. It means that the item is somehow ours, we rule over it Hence, the ownership and power of light belongs to God.

Items for Discussion

  • What can we learn from God’s first day about His character?
  • How does light enhance our relationship with God?
  • What are the effects of too much darkness on humanity?
  • Why is it that the human needs friendships, companionship with others, loving relationships?
  • How does light, the manifestation of God’s own existence and power, fulfill the human needs discussed above?
  • What does God expect from us when others can see us in the light?

 

Mark 2:3-12

3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”

Background

The Book of Mark is the shortest Gospel. Like the other Gospels, it tells us about the things that Jesus did as well as taught. The writer of the book was the Apostle Mark. He belonged to a family who lived in Jerusalem. Mark became a Christian and he joined the church there. Then he travelled to tell people about Jesus. Mark worked with both Paul and Peter. Some believe that Peter assisted Mark in his writing of this Gospel.

Chapter 2 begins with a story about the “community of faith,” the power of friendships and Christ combined.

Bible Truths and Theology 2

The story of Jesus healing the paralytic man raises the question of what the theology of work means for those who do not have the ability to work. The paralytic man, prior to this healing, is incapable of self-supporting work. As such, he is dependent on the grace and compassion of those around him for his daily survival. Jesus is impressed by the faith of the man’s friends. Their faith is active, showing care, compassion, and friendship to someone who was excluded from both the financial and relational rewards of work. In their faith, there is no separation between being and doing.

Jesus sees their effort as an act of collective faith. “When Jesus saw their faith he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’” (Mark 2:5). In earlier times, most Christians worked alongside the same people they went to church with, so churches could easily apply the Scriptures to the shared occupations of laborers, farmers, and householders. In contrast, Christians today seldom work in the same locations as others in the same church.

In this brief story, we observe three things:

  1. Work is intended to benefit those who can’t support themselves through work, as well as those who can work;
  2. Faith and work are not separated as being and doing, but are integrated into action as empowered by God; and
  3. Work done in faith needs a community of faith to support it.

Items for Discussion

  • Do you believe that the idea of a community of faith is growing or shrinking in our world today? Why?
  • Depending on your answer to the prior question, what do you think the impact is on our society?
  • What are society’s responsibilities to someone like the paralyzed man?
  • Does the Church have different responsibilities? If so, what are they?
  • In what ways does today’s Christian Church respond like the friends of the paralyzed man responded?

Discussion Challenge

  • Every group of christians should be able to name those they are carrying to see Jesus.  Two questions:
    • Do you know who they are in your family, community and church?
    • To what extent would you go through (e.g. tearing a hole in a roof) to make sure you bring someone to see Christ?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. https://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/mark
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