Sunday, October 02, 2005

Death and Life

Okay, so perhaps I should update this before all the cobwebs fossilize in dust strata.

I gave the Sunday School talk this morning in Tacoma. Okay, so it wasn't really Sunday School, since everyone below high school was downstairs in their actual Sunday School class at the time. I guess you could call it a sermon, in fact it fits the dictionary definition of the word quite nicely, but that's a bit scary, and there kind of an informal feel to it, so I think a more appropriate term would be Adult Sunday School Talk.

I started in Genesis 2:4-9, 2:15-17 and 3:1-7 with the creation and fall of man, pointing out that God created the universe, created man, gave him life, and a job to do in the garden of Eden. Then when Adam fell, he became dead due to sin, and was no longer able to have fellowship with God or tend the garden for Him.

Romans 5:12:
...through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned
So, we're dead: incapable of producing anything good for God, and enslaved to sin. (This is bad.)

Next, I recycled part of a talk that I gave in Buena Park for Sunday School back in 2003, and later also to the 8-and-under's at Lassen. Ezekiel 37 tells of a vision that the prophet Ezekiel had in which God demonstrates his ability to create life where there exists no other hope of life returning (a valley of dry bones). God uses this illustration to declare His life-giving power, and His promise to one day restore Israel to prosperity in their land, even though they had said "our bones are dried up and our flesh has perished. We are completely cut off." (Ezekiel 37:11)

The presentation is nothing more than a series of web pages with some animated GIFs and background WAV sounds that I threw together the night before the original talk, and as such, you can access them here, provided my computer is on (which it usually is these days). The sounds (which I think are the best part of the presentation) only worked in MSIE because I was using the <bgsound> tag (Firefox didn't exist back then and I was a MSIE fanboy, because let's face it, Netscape 4 sucked), so I changed the files to using <embed>, which seems to mostly work, with the exception that the loop="" flag doesn't seem to be honored for me on Firefox--in any case, if the man only breathes once for you, you know why, and that it shouldn't be that way.

Anyway, the first slide (title page) goes with v. 1-6, the 2nd slide is for v. 7-8, 3rd for v. 9, and fourth v. 10. It's a fun little presentation, especially when the sound works, and it breaks the monotany by giving some audio-visual illustration.

The point of reading Ezekiel 37 was to highlight the fact that God can impart life even to those who are hopelessly dead, which is exactly the position in which a sinner finds himself.

John 1:1-5, 10-13 proclaims that through Jesus, who is the creator and sustainer of life, the universe, and everything (the answer to which, incidentally, is 42) we can become the children of God. Romans 5:17-21 detail how Jesus' death can serve to restore life in a reversal of the effect of Adam's fall. Reading on to 6:12 (because most of my audience was already quite familiar with that concept), it explains what we are to do (or rather not do) with the new life that we receive through faith in Jesus Christ. We are not to live in sin, because sin is what made us dead in the first place. The whole point of having a new life is to be free from sin's slavery, but there's more.

Next I went to Ephesians 2 (yes, there was a lot of reading involved in this talk). Ephesians 2:1-2 - We were dead in our sins, just like the dry bones in the valley, with no hope of life.
2:3 - We were enslaved to sin, not able or inclined to be righteous.
2:4-7 - God, who is rich in mery, and loves us, made us alive along with Christ (at His resurrection) and(!) gave us a place seated with Him in heaven, in order to show us the riches of His grace in his kindness toward us forever--not too shabby for someone who was just hopelessly dead.
2:8-10 - None of us did anything to deserve this gift of life, but we have been given it in order that we can do the work that God has for us to do.
Adam, along with his life, was given the task of tending the garden of Eden, and I bet he loved it. We too have been given a task to do with our new life.

1 John 5:1-3 - The natural state of God-given life is to obey His commandments; they aren't burdensome.

1 John 5:12-13
He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have eternal life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know they you have eternal life.


  1. You're right, my man did only breathe once.
    The Bible study I'm in (Beth Moore) is focused on freedom vs. captivity and how saved people going to heaven can still experience captivity because they choose to believe some of Satan's lies, thus inhibiting them to live a joyful (Holy) Spirit-filled life.
    I think my point was appreciating the parallel between death/life and captivity/freedom. Fear (of things other than God)is a direct sign of slavery...
    OK I need to do a post on this on my blog instead of yours.

  2. I like it when there's lots and lots of Bible reading in a talk! :) And Yay for being alive rather than dead!