My notes from The Gospel Project, session 1: The God who Speaks
Question: What might be some of the reasons people don’t want to believe that God has spoken?
There are many reasons. Some people are still blind and deaf to him. Others believe, but don’t want to obey.
We may often find ourselves in that second category. If everything you hear from God is something you’re comfortable with, you need to ask yourself if you’re really hearing from him.
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. – Genesis 1:27-30
The God who speaks gives us tasks
Notice the progression. God created, because he had authority to do so. Then God blessed, showing his mercy. Then he tasked his creatures with a mission.
Question: Why is it important to understand this progression?
It’s extremely important to understand, because our natural inclination is to get it backwards. We believe that we work first, and then God blesses.
Think of the pattern in scripture. God first delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt, and then after that he gave them the law on Mount Sinai. When Christ was on the cross, he shouted “It is finished”; the work of our salvation was done, and our forgiveness was accomplished, while we were still dead in our sins and enemies of God. When he saved us, he blessed us with power from on high in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It was only then that he commissioned us (Matthew 28:19)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:4-10
We invert the gospel. From the study notes: “When we begin with the task rather than the blessing, we cut ourselves off from the very power that is necessary to fulfill the tasks God has given us.”
We have to daily remind ourselves that God has done the work! Any good that we do must be in the power of the Holy Spirit and only in grateful response to what God has already done.
Has God spoken to you through his word in the past few months? What scripture passages has God used to speak to you?
What blessings have you received from God in the past few months?
What tasks has God presented to you as a result of those blessings?