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 41-45

The Refining of the covenant family (42:1-45:28)

The covenant family has suffered brokenness due to their own sinful choices born out of jealousy, rivalry, and succumbing to pagan morality. If dependent alone on Jacob and his eleven sons, the covenant promise of blessing to the nations through the seed of Abraham would fail. Nevertheless, though in exile, Joseph fulfills the responsibility of Abraham’s descendants as he brings blessing to Egypt.

Reconciliation and restoration come to this broken family from an unlikely person. The one who has been betrayed and most deeply offended and hurt is the one whom the Lord uses to bring about restoration to a broken family. Joseph models the grace of one who submits to God’s sovereignty and who experiences God’s grace in the midst of his hardship.

Joseph as a model of grace in the midst of betrayal anticipates Jesus whose experience of betrayal would lead to His death on the cross and who through His suffering brings about the reconciliation and restoration of those who have rejected Him and betrayed Him.

Here in the City of Philadelphia, we are asking God to use the unlikely to bring about His purposes of reconciliation and restoration in this city. In some sense, my brother Steve and I are a lot like both Joseph and his brothers. In being like his brothers, we know what it is to betray our upbringing, to reject the grace offered to us, and to cause brokenness in the lives of others. Yet, like Joseph, we know what grace is all about. We’ve experienced God’s sovereign and gracious hand in preserving us through our arrogant rebellion and forming us by the gospel through the challenges of a life-time of ministry with all of its joys and its sorrows.

We want, like Joseph, to live out the grace of the gospel which enables us to be a part of God’s plan of reconciling and restoring the brokenness of the nations of the world.