Feb 4, 2018 – Stewarding Power
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Genesis 1:1-2:3 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God 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.
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 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.” 29 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. 30 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. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
God, whose power is seen in the work of creation, empowers us to imitate this work.
I) Why this is important
- vv26-27 – image, likeness, dominion
- v28 – be fruitful, multiply, fill
- v31 – “behold, it was very good”
II) Why this is concerning
- v26 “let them have dominion”, v28 subdue (dominion becomes domination)
- Psalm 8 “crowned… with glory…”; Romans 3:23 “all… fall short of the glory…”
III) Why this is good news
- Jesus’ message “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
Questions for Reflection
- Do you think of power as something that is neutral? Inherently good? Inherently bad?
- Where have you seen or experienced examples of good uses of power? Where have you seen or experienced bad uses of power?
- The Bible opens with an introduction to God whose power is great and utterly unique. What are proper responses to this? What are problematic responses?
- What power do you have? Who do you have power over, what advantages do you have, what resources belong to you? How can you use your power for good? What temptations exist for you (to misuse your power)?
- Where do you see power in the life and ministry of Jesus?
- The follower of Christ is to live empowered by the Holy Spirit. How does that power shape our daily lives? How does it energize the tasks of ordering and filling with life?
- How should you be thinking about the stewardship of power so that you are active in doing good, but not caught up with control, coercion, or abuses of the power entrusted to you?
- How do you fulfill the call to be fruitful, to fill the earth, to imitate God in the work of ordering and bringing to life? How can you do your daily work (even the mundane tasks) with an awareness of these purposes?
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God. You invite us to steward all that you entrust to us, including the resources and abilities that give us power in this world. We fail to live out our high calling to fill the earth with life as we use our power to tear others down, to coerce, to manipulate, and to demean. Forgive us for loving power in itself, for seeking what our world deems the markers of power with a covetous spirit, and for using our power and influence for self serving goals. Forgive us also for failing to use what you have given us for good purposes because of fear, laziness or cynicism. May we be empowered by your Holy Spirit to serve Christ and to shine your glory as people made in your image through our deeds of love and service. Amen.