Summary – The Gospel in Genesis 1-50 and in the City

Summary – The Gospel in Genesis 1-50 and in the City

Genesis has introduced us to the Creator-Redeemer God who graciously gives mankind a garden-temple in which to serve God and from which to extend the worship of God throughout the earth.

In Adam all mankind rebels against God and is banished from the temple-garden. Prior to banishment from the temple-garden, a promise is given of a second Adam, who would not succumb to Satan’s temptation and would finally defeat Satan.

After the progression of sin and rebellion, mankind and the earth are eventually judged by God in a worldwide flood. Consequently, after the flood Noah and his descendants are given the renewed kingdom responsibility in a new world, but they also fail to extend the worship of God, choosing instead to congregate at Babel. Again, the world is judged; this time through dispersion.

God then chooses Abraham and his descendants to be the family through which the worship of God will be extended throughout the world and through which the nations of the world will be reunited in worshipping God.

The story line of Abraham’s family keeps the reader wondering whether they will be the people who will extend the worship of God throughout the earth and unify the nations in the worship of God. The story unfolds with moments of success in their being the people who carry out God’s purposes but also includes too many moments of forgetfulness, neglect, and outright rebellion against God’s purposes.

As we read Genesis through eyes and hearts illumined by New Testament revelation, we understand that the successes and failures of the descendants of Abraham provoke us to anticipate the One whom God promised would ultimately defeat Satan and not only succeed where Adam had failed but would triumph more gloriously over sin and death. Through this One the worship of God would be extended through the earth and the nations of the world would be unified in their worship of God.

Today, because of the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin and death, through His body, the church, His kingdom is quietly being extended through the earth and people of all nations are joining together in worship of the Triune God. This kingdom will be consummated in the New Heaven and Earth.

Cities are not the only places where there is evidence of that happening, but in a unique way, city churches can become a microcosm of the multi-national, multi-ethnic, world-wide worship that God desires.

Cities churches offer a greater possibility for tasting the cosmopolitan worship of the New Creation, where people from every tongue and nation will join together in the worship of the living God.

Cities offer opportunity to those who are now the seed of Abraham in Christ to be His people in extending the worship of God among the nations of the earth and seeing the diversity of the world brought together in unity in Christ.

Cities are the crucibles which test the power of the gospel to create new communities that are unified in their love of Christ and in their commitment to do justice and love mercy in the midst of depravity and diversity.

The Gospel for the City in Genesis in 37:2-38:30

Family disunion in Canaan (37:2-38:30)

These chapters demonstrate the far reach of sin even among those chosen to bring blessing to the nations. The family disharmony that temporarily interrupts the advance of God’s purposes is eventually reversed by the gracious work of God.

Joseph is the son favored by his father yet envied by his brothers. In their jealousy, they revert to a vicious act of casting their brother into a pit, selling him into slavery, then telling their father that he was killed by an animal.

As we read this story, we wonder how those who have been graciously chosen of God to bring blessing to the nations can at the same time be so ungracious within their own family. We read these chapters with sadness, yet with faith in the covenant God who remains faithful. Our hearts ache in seeing the brokenness of the covenant family, yet we wait in faith knowing that the Lord is working even through the tragedies and the sin of His people.

The absence of grace in the brothers of Joseph reminds us that apart from grace there would be no chosen people to fulfill God’s purposes of bringing the blessing of Abraham to the nations.

The betrayal, rejection, and discarding of Joseph anticipate the suffering of Jesus who in His rejection offers deliverance to all of those who will believe in Him.

11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (Joh 1:11-12 ESV)

Unfortunately, the church in cities has often reflected a disharmony similar to the family of Jacob. Often divided along racial and economic lines, the urban church fails to reach the nations around it because it is captured by its own jealousies and, consequently, is unattractive to those who look in from the outside. When the covenant family fails to display the grace which it has received in the gospel it loses its power to be a blessing to the nations.

 Cities need churches that reflect the grace of the gospel, which displays for us and in us the most passionate love, the deepest mercy, the most magnificent grace, the most underserving forgiveness. These are the churches that will bring the blessing of Abraham, i.e. the gospel, to the nations whom God is bringing to the urban centers of the world.