“In the beginning,” God made people, giving them life, the means for living, and even purpose for living. David tells us that mankind is the crown of creation – “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5, NIV 1984) – echoing through the rest of the psalm what God told Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28:
“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (NIV 1984)
Solomon tells us more about the purpose of human life in Ecclesiastes 12:13:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (NIV 1984)
Ultimately, from the beginning, people were made to worship God – obeying him, honoring him, and serving him, even as we live out daily life as stewards of God’s creation.
Yet, from the beginning, people wanted more. Genesis 3:6 tells us where the trouble began:
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (NIV 1984)
From the beginning, people have been looking for the good things of life – things that are pleasing physically, aesthetically, intellectually, and spiritually – but they have been looking for them to the exclusion of God.
Since the beginning, then, people have experienced the consequences of living life without God – fear, lies, death, separation, and all the tragically related troubles of life – in a word, sin. While sin is the cause of the trouble, it continues to exacerbate the problem by prompting people to pursue more sinful “solutions” as they continue to look for new life in everything and everyone – except God, who not only desires to solve this problem but has done so through Jesus.
This is the condition of the world that Jesus describes:
“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19, NIV 1984)
Here Jesus explains how sinful people tend to stay in sin, even when a new way of living has been revealed. In the current series of Sunday morning messages through the Gospel of John, we have gone back several times to the foundational thought that Jesus came to bring new life in John 1:4, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (NIV 1984). Through John’s account, we have seen over and over again how Jesus lived his life giving us signs of the new life that God offers and how following Jesus both enables and requires us to share the new life we have found in Jesus.
Since the people around us – in our families, in our community, in our world – are looking desperately for new life, we need to show them new life, and we must show them that it comes from God alone through faith in Jesus, who said in John 14:6, 7:
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (NIV 1984)
The simple fact is that people are looking for new life, but they purposefully try to avoid God. So we need to show that new life in our own lives, that they might see what we have and – like Eve – see it as something truly beautiful and satisfying and then turn to God who will give them new life. That doesn’t mean we need to put on a good show, whether in our everyday lives or on Sunday mornings; it means we need to fully trust God, regardless of the lousy circumstances of our lives and despite the temptation to try something new. God has given us new life; let’s give the world a taste.