Sermon:  Beyond Vapor

Summary:  Since life's pursuits without God are just a vapor, we need to discover our 
purpose through God's word, which teaches us that we were created to glorify God by 
fulfilling his purposes for us, which is to be caretaker of his creation by exercising 
dominion according to his instructions and desire.  Sin separated us from God, life, 
and truth, which resulted in idolatry, death, and deception.  God redeemed us from sin 
so that we can fulfill his purpose, which unlike vapor, stands forever.

Know:  Our lives and pursuits need to line up with God's purposes, otherwise our lives 
and pursuits are just vapor

Feel:  Positive and excitement about participating in the Reign of God

Do:  Discuss and articulate humanity's original God given purpose as revealed in the 
opening of scripture.  List and discuss ways sin has distorted the ideal picture God 
had of his creation and our place in it.  Identify what God has done to make it right 
and our participation in his redemptive plan in the present, and ultimately in the 
future.  Identify ways we are to participate in the Reign of God in the present.

Text:  Various

Scripture Reading:  Rev 22:3-5

1.  Last time, we saw that our life is a vapor and all flesh is grass
	a.  Plans, pursuit, and goals are all a dead end without God
	b.  We are not autonomous, independent beings
	c.  We have a purpose given to us by our creator
2.  Not knowing our purpose can be disastrous
	a.  Tools in a toolbox have a purpose
	b.  Not using them according to their purpose can be disastrous
	c.  Wrench is not a hammer, hammer is not a screw driver
	d.  They are designed according to purpose
		- If you try to use them for another purpose, might break something
		- They need to be used according to their purpose
3.  So it is important to know our purpose.  How do we know?
	a.  Knowing our purpose does not come from speculation
	b.  The only way to know is to consult the creator

I.  Our Purpose:
	A.  Go back to creation to discover our purpose
	B.  Gen 1-3 - Tells us our purpose.  Here is what we learn:
		1.  Something about God 
			a.  He created the world and it was good
			b.  He is an orderly designer
				- Separate day and night
				- Separate waters above from below
				- Separate waters from land
			c.  Also see a moral and social order as well
				- With this order came instructions
				- Leave father and mother, cleave to wife - Family
				- Later, he gives more instructions for humans
			d.  God is creator and ruler
		2.  Learn something about ourselves
			a.  Life given to us by God, it is not ours
			b.  We are created in his image
				- Ability to reason, high intellect
				- Appreciate beauty, art, culture, and create it
				- Capacity for creativity, to build, fashion things
			c.  We were instructed to have dominion/rule
				- This means we created to be partners with God
				- We are his "vice-regents" in 
				- We are his caretakers, responsible to God
				- Means we need to rule according to his instruction, 
				   not oppress, to be just and righteous
			d.  Instructed to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth
				- We to create a godly society, culture, and civilization
				- We were to fill the earth with God's glory
				- In this way, God's rule/reign/dominion to fill the earth
		3.  What this means:  All human pursuits are in service to God to 
		     exercise our purpose
			a.  We are "client rulers" of God, he is the king, we serve him
			b.  Building society, culture, civilization, institutions are all to 
			     serve God's purposes as we exercise dominion for God
			c.  Intellectual pursuits, scientific, philosophical, to serve God
			d. Creative God rule righteously, we are to do the same
		4.  Our exercise of dominion is in service to God for his purpose
	C.  ILL:  Tried to come up with an example, it was hard, we not have king
		1.  Ancient Rome had client rulers all over the world
			a.  Sometimes called them King, tetrarch, ethnarch
			b.  One we are familiar with - Herod the Great
		2.  These were by no means sovereign
			a.  Were answerable to Rome for their performance in ruling
			b.  If not do well, not maintain order, etc., was consequences
				- Might send a Roman prefect, such a Pilate
				- Usually exile the inefficient client ruler
		3.  Had to exercise dominion according to expectation of Rome
			a.  Not free to do whatever they wanted
			b.  There were expectations, limitations, rules, etc.
		4.  This is how it is with us
			a.  We are "vice-regents" with God
			b.  We are his "client rulers," exercising dominion
			c.  We are answerable to him
	D.  God created us for his purposes
		1.  Our original purpose - Exercise dominion, caretakers
		2.  Fruitful, multiply, fill the earth with the Dominion/reign of God
			a.  As we create society, culture, civilization, institutions
			b.  As we pursue intellectual, scientific, philosophical truths
			c.  The dominion, or reign of God spreads
		3.  Reign of God through us is to be good, righteous
		4.  Look around at our world, is that what we see?

II.  What has gone wrong:  Sin
	A.  Genesis shows us what happened from the beginning
		1.  Conversation between Eve and the Serpent (Gen 3:1-6)
		2.  This story shows us the root of sin
			a.  Disobedience, which is putting self in place of God
				- "You will be like God"
			b.  Trying to be independent of God, to do it "my way"
		3.  This disobedient independence causes separation from God
			a.  They hid themselves when God came
			b.  They were driven out of the garden
		4.  Genesis demonstrates what happened after this - 4:20-22
			a.  Humans built civilization with scientific & artistic pursuits
			b.  6:5  - But every thought of man was on evil continually 
			c.  Result:
				- An unjust, wicked, oppressive, dangerous society
				- Dominion of man no longer in harmony with Reign of 
				- Sin twisted and distorted what was supposed to be 
				  good, beautiful, and godly
	B.  Sin had far reaching effect, affect our very nature
		1.  Alienation from God meant alienation from life and truth
			a.  God is life and truth, can't have it without him
			b.  In place of God, life, truth was idolatry, death, deception
		2.  Result was Sin has affected our will
			a. (Rom 8:7) Not able to subject self to God
			b. (Rom 7:14-20) Paul speak of this here
				- Wishing is present, the doing is not
				- Not able to do good, so corrupted
				- Sin has taken over even the will to do good
			c. (Phil 2:13) It is God at work in you both to will and work
				- Without God, not even have the will to work for him
				- May have the desire, but not the will
				- Without God, your willingness is nothing
				- Your willingness with the power of God is everything
		3.  Sin has also affected our intellect
			a.  (Rom 7:11) Sin deceived me
			b.  (Rom 12:2) Be transformed by the renewing of your mind
				- Why would your mind need to be transformed?
				- Your mind has been affected by sin as well
			c. (1 Cor 2:14) - Unspiritual man (unconverted) 
				- Not able to understand the things of the Spirit
				- They are foolishness to him
				- Sin has affected the mind
			d.  (Jer 17:9) This is why it says the heart is more deceitful 
			     than all else
		4. In a profound way, sin takes over your life
			a.  It is not just a legal problem, ie: owing debt you can't pay
			b.  It is a much bigger problem than this
			c.  Corrupts you to the core of your being
	C. ILL:  Bible refers to it as the "reign of sin and death"
		1.  Have been many oppressive reigns throughout history
			a.  Names like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, may come to mind
			b.  People sometimes rise up defeat oppressive tyrants
			c.  If not, tyrant eventually will die, and his reign will end
		2.  Reign of sin and death is not like that
			a. Rom 5:12, 14 - Sin and death reigned since Adam
			b. Reign of sin and death not going to go away on its own
			c. Humans are powerless to resist this tyrant
		3.  It affects us on every level
			a.  It messed up the world with many kinds of ills
			b.  Physically, socially, emotionally, relationally, spiritually
		4.  Rom 7:24 - This is why Paul says "oh wretched man I am, who 
		      will rescue me from this body of death"
	D.  Is this the final word?  Has the reign of sin and death won?
		1.  No, we have a rescuer, he is righteous and just
		2.  Our rescuer would defeat the tyrannical reign of sin and death
		3.  Our rescuer promised to bring the Reign of God once again

III.  The Solution:  Christ
	A.  We needed a solution outside our selves, could not rescue self
		1.  We were guilty, under sin, cannot "un-sin"
		2.   We were physically, legally, intellectually unable to save selves
		3.  Our will and intellect were affected by sin
		4.  Only our Lord could rescue us from reign of sin & death.  How?
			a.  Some are thinking about it today - Death and resurrection
			b.  Many people do not understand its significance
	B.  Look at what Jesus death and resurrection accomplish:
		1.  Redemption  (Eph 1:7)
			a.  Redemption through his blood
				- His blood is talking about his life
				- Redeemed us from reign of sin and death
			b.  Forgiveness of our sins
				- Sin is what separated us from God
				- Sin is what corrupted us
		2.  Transformation	
			a.  (Tit 3:5) - Have renewal by the Holy Spirit    2 Cor 3:18
			b.  (Rom 8:29) - We being conformed to the image of his son
				- 2 Cor 3:18 - Being transformed into His image
				- Image of God that was corrupted by sin being 
			c.  (Rom 8:13) - Through Spirit, can put to death the deeds 
			     of flesh - Strengthened our will
		3.  Restoration  
			a.  (Rom 8:21-23) - Creation & selves groan for restoration
			c.  (Rev 11:15 ) - Final trumpet, only reign will be God's
			d.  (Rev 21:1) - New Heaven and Earth, New Jerusalem
				- Jerusalem means, "City of Peace"
				- (21:4-5) God on throne, no death, mourning, pain
				- 20:14-Since sin defeated, death thrown in lake of fire
				- (22:5) - We shall reign with him forever and ever
		4.  Final picture - Reign with him forever.  What that mean?
			a.  Restoration of what was corrupted Genesis
			b.  Remember our original purpose?
				- Dominion/caretakers of God's creation
				- There is going to be a new creation
				- We will have dominion over it, reign with him
			c.  Reign will be a good, perfect, righteous one
				- Nothing unclean will be there
				- No abomination, no sin, no death
			d.  The Reign of God will be finally consummated
				- All rule, power, authority abolished, 1 Cor 15:24
				- Kingdom of world will have become the Kingdom of 
				  God, Rev 11:15
				- Final picture:  We will reign with him forever
	C.  ILL:  Ever thought about what it be like when go to be with the Lord?  
		1.  Sitting on clouds, sing all the time, do nothing?
			a.  Seems pretty boring, useless
			b.  This probably as incorrect as the red devil with pitchfork
		2.  From the beginning, we were created to serve God
			b.  We were to multiply and fill the earth with Reign of God
			a.  In image of God, we to exercise dominion as caretakers
		3.  Doesn't appear to be too different in New Heavens and Earth
			a.  Will reign with our Lord forever, exercise dominion
			b.  A lot to do when exercise dominion
			c.  And will be no curse, sickness, dying, wickedness, etc.
	D.  Makes Heaven seem very exciting, full of possibilities
		1.  Will we still have artistic, scientific, philosophical pursuits?
		2.  Will we still create culture, society, civilization?
		3.  Not sure exactly what it will be
		4.  But we do know we will serve God and love it

1.  All of this possible through death and resurrection of Christ
2.  What is your life?  
	a.  Answer:  A vapor when God is not at the center
	b.  When God is at the center, he restores your will and intellect
	c.  God restores life, beauty, goodness that he created you with
3.  So - How is God to be at the center?
	a. Have to take care of sin and death problem
	b.  Accept it on his terms - Belief, confession, baptism
	c.  Old Self die, new self free from sin
4.  Then you begin process of transformation 
	a.  You are being transformed back to original ideal state, as God created 	
	b.  Even the world is being transformed as Reign of God spreads
		- Rom 8 - Whole creation groans for redemption along with us
		- As we preach Gospel, people aredeemed, transformed, restored
		- In this way, world is slowly transformed - families, communities, 
		  institutions, culture, and the world
	c.  Final sweep will be when Jesus comes
		- He is building New Jerusalem
		- Will be populated with redeemed, transformed, restored people
		- Our sharing of the Gospel helps is currently our participation in the 
		  Reign of God
	d.  When our King comes, Reign of God be complete.  Are you ready?


Small Group Notes:  Beyond Vapor

Summary:  Since life's pursuits without God are just a vapor, we need to discover our purpose 
through God's word, which teaches us that we were created to glorify God by fulfilling his 
purposes for us, which is to be caretaker of his creation by exercising dominion according to 
his instructions and desire.  Sin separated us from God, life, and truth, which resulted in 
idolatry, death, and deception.  God redeemed us from sin so that we can fulfill his purpose, 
which unlike vapor, stands forever.

Open  (choose one)
- Describe the most useless thing you have ever seen
- Do you believe it is important to know what the purpose of an item is?


1.  Gen 1:26-31 - Discuss what you can learn about the purpose of humans from this passage.

2.  What role might intellectual, artistic, and scientific pursuits have had in humans fulfilling 
their God given purpose?

3.  Gen 4:20-24; 6:5 - As humans progressed in knowledge, technology, art, etc. what appears to have 
happened to their rule or dominion over the earth?  What corrupted humankind?

4.  What is God's ultimate intent for humankind? (in other words, what will the eternal Kingdom and 
home be like?)   In what way will we still have a purpose to fulfill after this life?  
(See 1 Cor 15:24; Rev 11:15; Rev 22:1-5).  


5.  In what ways have you personally seen sin distort, twist, what was created to be good?

6.  Thought question - God instructed humans to have dominion and rule over the earth, obviously in 
subjection to God.  In this way, the Reign of God was to expand and fill the earth.  Discuss what ways 
we today as Christians participate in the expanding Reign of God, and how it transforms the world.

7.  How does it motivate you to know that Christ will ultimately come and abolish all rule, authority, 
and power, and establish the eternal Kingdom with us exercising dominion at his side.


(Note:  Heartland Area Wide Worship is Next Sunday afternoon at 5:30.  This is one of the times brethren 
from the Kansas City Area come together to worship, hear a timely message from a guest speaker, and share 
news, resources, and events around the area)