Flourish // Part 1


Series: Flourish

Speaker: BJ Chursinoff

We open this message miniseries by examining God’s original design for the relationships He created for us to enjoy. It’s a study that takes us back to the beginning, and Genesis 1 & 2…

Transcription (automatically-generated):

Alright. We're taking a few weeks to talk about relationships here at Gospel City Church, and before we jump right into this new series, I want to share four presumptions that I have about you and relationships. Okay. Presumption number one, you want every single one of your relationships to flourish. You want healthy, blessed, fruitful, peaceful relationships.

And you want these with your parents if they're still with you. You want this with your spouse if you have one. You want this with your kids if you have any. You want this with your extended family, with your friends, with your co workers, with strangers, even with your enemies. Because at the end of the day, who wants enemies in their life?

You want your relationships to produce smiling, laughing, productivity, satisfaction, purpose, and meaning in your life. You want your relationships to be full of the Hebrew word Shalom. Shalom is a word that means a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, wellbeing, and harmony. Presumption number two, you have more brokenness in your relationships than you would like to admit. All of our relationships have the opposite of Shalom in them to some degree.

We know firsthand the realities of betrayal, abandonment, abuse, gossip, slander, division, assault, discrimination, loneliness, regrets, and dishonor. This is true of everyone, and that's why I can presume that it's true in your life. Presumption number three, you'd be open, at the very least, to hear some teaching that could lead you to experience more health in your relationships than you currently have. And presumption number four, you're going to be triggered by some aspect of this series and this first message in particular. You're going to hear some things in this series that go against the grain, and some of these things are going to rub you the wrong way.

You're going to hear some things that go against what our culture tells us about relationships and how they're supposed to work, and that can be uncomfortable. You're going to hear some things that might go against what you personally think and feel about relationships. And there's a part in all of us that's not in tune with God. The Bible calls that part of us the flesh. And when this part of us hears what God's Word says about a subject, sometimes this part in us gets riled up.

Some of the stuff I'm going to share with you is not only unpopular outside the Church, but there are Jesus loving brothers and sisters inside the Church that will not agree with everything that I share about relationships in this series. And the potential to get triggered goes beyond simply agreeing or disagreeing about doctrine. You might have some relational wounds that might get opened up a little bit when we hear about how amazing God designed our relationships to be, and then we look at the current reality of brokenness in our various relationships. You might feel it a little bit. I'll be delivering this series to you in light of these four presumptions.

The first thing we're going to do is look at God's design for relationships. We're going to look at the plan and the problem and the solution. We'll take a couple of weeks to look at all three of these. So this weekend, next week, then in week three, we're going to dedicate a message entirely to singles. And we'll look at how to live within the framework of God's design for relationships as a single person living in our world today.

And then in week four, we're going to talk to those who are married and how they, too, are called to live within the framework of God's design for relationships. God designed human relationships to flourish. When God created the heavens and the Earth, he didn't make them with a trial and error approach. God didn't set everything up in six days, wind it up and just let it go, just hoping to see what might happen with it. Creation wasn't a randomized experiment.

Every part of God's creation is intricately designed to function a certain way. It's designed in a way that would produce flourishing at every level. And this includes flourishing in the various relationships that mankind was designed to enjoy. There's a direct correlation between God's design and flourishing. I'd like you to take apples for an example.

Apples are designed to function a certain way. They're designed to flourish. Now, what does an Apple seed need to flourish? Good soil, enough sunlight and water. And what happens if an Apple seed gets enough of these three things?

Well, it takes roots, it sprouts, it grows, it produces apples. And these new apples have seeds in them. And the seeds in these new apples will produce new Apple trees. If these new seeds receive the same thing that the original seed received good soil, sunlight, and water, one Apple seed will flourish to become many Apple orchards, producing many healthy apples. If the one seed exists within the parameters it was designed to flourish in.

But what if you were to change the parameters? And what if you were to even change just one of them? What if, instead of good soil, you place the Apple seed on hard ground? What if, instead of sunlight, you place the Apple seed in a cave where no sunlight could reach it? What if, instead of water, you poured salt on the Apple seed?

Will the Apple seed flourish? If you do these three things to it hard ground, darkness, and salt, will the Apple seed flourish? If you do even just one of these three things to it, it will not be healthy. It will not grow the way that it's supposed to. And no flourishing will take place for the Apple seed.

Why not? Because that's not the way Apple seeds were designed by God to flourish. And like he did with apples, God designed human beings and their relationships to flourish. And there are things that we need to have in our life things that we need to embrace in our life. If we're going to flourish in our relationships the way that we were designed by God, too, the more we have the things that we need, and the more that we live our lives according to God's good design, the more we're going to be able to experience flourishing.

But the contrary is true too. The more we reject God's design for human relationships, the less flourishing we will experience. Does that make sense? And where would a person go if they wanted to begin a journey to discovering God's design for human relationships? The Bible.

Yes, good one, you've been around Gospel City before, but the Bible is a big book. Where would we even begin to start?

You guys peek at my notes. This is good. The first and most logical and the very best place to start is in the very beginning. And that's what we're going to turn our attention to the Book of Genesis, which means the Book of Beginnings, specifically the very first two chapters, Genesis One and Genesis Two. In the first two chapters of the first book of the Bible, God gives us the foundational pieces of information that we need to paint a picture of what he had in mind for our relationships right out of the gate.

What we learned in Genesis One and two is central and unique to our discussion about God's design for relationships. Because in these first two chapters in the Bible, we're given a picture of what life was supposed to be like before sin came in and ruined everything. The events that took place in Genesis Three have temporarily ruined what God designed for us in Genesis One and Two. So keep that tucked away in your mind as we look at these first two chapters together. And we're going to see, as we do look at these chapters, five aspects of God's design for human relationships.

And here's the first one, and it's going to be the first filling on your outline. Mankind is binary. Mankind is binary. If you're not sure what that word means, binary. Here's a definition from the dictionary.

Binary means relating to, composed of or involving two things. Mankind is binary. Mankind is dual. Mankind is both female and male. And we read this in Genesis chapter one, verse 27.

So God created man in his own image. He created him in the image of God. He created them, male and female, man and woman, two sexes and two genders. And in God's design for humanity, sex and gender are synonymous. A man is male, both anatomically and intrinsically, both on the outside and on the inside.

And a woman is female, both anatomically and intrinsically, both on the outside and the inside. Nor in the scriptures are we given even the slightest hint that there are any more sexes or genders than the two that were created by God in Genesis One. Please believe me. I'm not saying this to trigger anyone in this room or anyone in our culture today. I'm saying this because if we're going to learn how human beings are designed to relate to one another, the first step is to establish who the players are in the game of life.

After we can establish this first basic premise that God made mankind as man and woman, we can go into the next step in learning how man and woman are to relate to one another in a relationship. I don't need to tell you that this is not a popular position to hold in our world today. This biblical position on manhood and womanhood gets bombarded with opposing points of view of all kinds and from all directions and time won't allow me to address all the differing voices in this conversation in this message, but I feel like I need to address one of them. There are some people who will argue against the biblical claim that mankind is binary by pointing out the fact that some people are born with a condition that they claim makes a person neither male nor female. This condition is known under the umbrella term of intersex.

What's intersex? Here's a helpful quote from author Preston Sprinkle in his book Embodied, a book which he addresses transgender identities, the Church, and what the Bible has to Say. He says this intersex does not mean neither male nor female. More than 16 different conditions are classified as intersex, also called differences of sex development or disorders of sex development. These conditions include atypical features in a person's sex chromosomes, reproductive organs, or anatomical sex, or two of the three or all three, depending on which conditions are being considered.

The prevalence of intersex conditions ranges anywhere from zero point 22% of the population to 1.7%. Not all intersex conditions are the same. End Quote now for everyone's sake, I'm not going to pretend that I'm a medical expert or an authority of any kind when it comes to the discussion about intersex people, but I am going to offer some thoughts in light of the subject that I'm attempting to address in this sermon. First and foremost, when we are talking about intersex people, we must never forget that intersex people are people. They cannot be used as pawns in this conversation.

Whenever a person shares a traditional and conservative worldview concerning sexuality and gender like I'm doing now, it's disrespectful to throw intersex people into the conversation like a mic drop grenade. As I'm speaking, someone might come with a differing opinion and say, oh, so you think there are only two genders? Well, I have two words for you. Intersex people. Boom.

And they drop the mic and they walk away, thinking that they just completely dismantled the conservative position on sexuality and gender with one ultra-convenient fact that intersex people exist. If an intersex person was present when you're using them as a pawn in the defense of your position on sexuality, how do you think that would make them feel to be used like that? Probably not great. First, we always have to remember that when we're talking about people, we're talking about people, not stats or arguments. Second, there are a number of different conditions that are considered intersex.

Most intersex people are not ambiguously male or female, but some are. There are some cases when a person is born with both chromosomes and or both sets of reproductive organs. Third, Christians cannot have their heads buried in the sand when it comes to discussions like this. We can't do what some Christians do when the topic of dinosaurs comes up into conversation, because I don't know if you know this, but some Christians and no offense if this is you, but some Christians bury their head in the sand and try to pretend that dinosaurs didn't exist. It's life worthy because it's ridiculous because everybody knows that they existed.

But if the reality of dinosaurs causes your worldview to crumble, then you need to revisit and probably augment your worldview a little bit. And we can't bury our head in the sand. When someone brings up the existence of intersex people, we can't pretend they don't exist. We have to consider them. In light of what the Bible teaches about sexuality, how do we reconcile the fact that some people are born intersex with the fact that mankind is binary, that there are only two sexes and genders, male and female?

Well, it's not that hard to be honest with you. Intersex people do not constitute a third category of sex or gender. Some intersex people are simply a blend of the only two sexes and genders that exist. Fourth, I did something this week that helped me to sympathize with intersex people. I spent time this week trying my best to put myself in the shoes of an intersex person.

And I have to tell you, I got a little bit emotional in the process. I tried to imagine what it would be like to grow up with a secret like that, assuming that for most intersex people, only their parents and doctors would have known about their condition. I tried to imagine how alone an intersex person would feel for pretty much their whole entire life, how it would feel to keep a secret like that, or to wrestle with questions about why they were born that way, or why God made them like this. I tried to imagine the unfounded guilt and shame that would possibly be carried throughout their life. Even though they didn't do anything to feel guilty or ashamed about, they didn't have a say in how they were born.

I tried to imagine what it would be like to be an intersex kid in elementary school and then high school. I tried to imagine what friendships looked like and how sleepovers at their friends look like. Probably keeping this secret the whole time. I tried to imagine the pressure and the fear involved with keeping a secret like that. I tried to imagine what it would be like if that personal information about their condition ever got out against their will and what kind of bullying and abuse might have occurred.

And as I tried to imagine these things, I cried a little bit. And so fifth, everyone needs to know our hearts at Gospel City Church. If you are a person with an intersex condition, we love you. And we want you to know that you have a safe place here to explore faith and the Bible and Jesus here at Gospel City Church. And obviously you would never have to disclose your condition to us.

That's a personal matter. But if you ever did develop enough trust with one or two people in the Church and you chose to reveal to them that you had an intersex condition, we would not reject you. Love doesn't work like that. So this is a safe place. And so aspect number one in our discussion about God's design for relationships is this.

Mankind is binary number two, and this is the next filling on your outline. Man and woman have the same value. Man and woman have the same value. I'm going to read Genesis, chapter one, verses 26 to 28 for us, if you like to underline things in your Bible underline the words "they" or "them" every time they come up in these three verses. Okay.

Starting in verses 26, then God said, Let us make man in our image according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the seas, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole Earth, and the creatures that crawl on the Earth. So, God created man in his own image. He created him. In the image of God, he created him male and female.

And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it. Rule the fish of the seas, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the Earth. In verses 26, we can see that God put Dominion of the animal Kingdom under both man and woman alike. In verse 27, we can see that both Amen and women are made in the image of God. What's the image of God Or, also known in Latin as the Imago Dei?

Here's a quote from author Ray Ortland. He says this taken in the whole of Scripture. I think it's probable that the image of God in man is the Soul's personal reflection of God's righteous character. To image God is to mirror His Holiness. Other interpreters construe the image of God in a more general sense, including human rationality, conscience, creativity, relationships, and everything.

We are as human beings. But however one interprets the Imago Dei, God shared it with mankind alone. Mankind is unique, finding his identity upward in God and not downward in the animals. End quote. And then back in our text in verse 28, we can see that God blesses both man and woman, and he gave both man and woman the same Commission to be fruitful and multiply, and he reiterates their shared call to have Dominion.

When you look at these three verses, can you see the equality of the two sexes emanating from this passage? Amen. And women have the same value. What this means is that every single person in the world today, all men and all women, the almost 8 billion of them, has the same value simply because they exist. Every human being bears the image of God upon their life and that alone is the source of their value.

A person's value is not connected to what they do or don't do. A person's value is not connected to what they have or don't have. A person's value does not depend on whether they are rich or poor, young or old, white, Brown or black, man or woman, single or married, employer or employee. All people everywhere for all time have the exact same value in God's eyes because everyone has been made in his image. Take a second and turn to someone next to you and tell them we have the same value.

Try it again like you mean it.

You guys peaked when you knew that we were going to talk about the Bible and Genesis earlier, but now you fizzled a little bit so you've got a little bit of time left to write the ship. This truth that we're made in the image of God destroys the foundation that any kind of racism is built upon. There's no one race or color of skin that's greater than another. Why? Well, because we are all made in God's one image.

This truth destroys the foundation that any kind of pigheaded chauvinism is built upon. Man is not greater than woman just because he is a man. Why not? Because both man and woman are made in God's image. This truth destroys the foundation that any kind of militant feminism is built upon.

Woman is not greater than man just because she is a woman. Why not? Because both woman and man are made in the same image of God. Man and woman have the exact same value in God's eyes. You need to have this concept ingrained in your minds before we move on to the next aspect of God's design for human relationships because this is your next feeling.

Man and woman have different roles. Man and woman have different roles. Some people's heads might begin to explode at this point. I thought he just said that man and woman are the same and now he's saying they're different. Which one is it?

I said that men and women have the same value and now I'm saying that man and woman have different roles and there's no contradiction in those two statements. It's possible for two people to have the exact same value and have different roles simultaneously. It isn't a logical contradiction. A person's role within a relationship does not affect their value as a person. I'm going to give you a couple of examples that I hope make this point exceptionally clear.

The relationship between parents and children. For one, are parents more valuable than their children or our children more valuable than their parents or parents and children have the exact same value? You remember why? Because each of them is made in the image of God. But do parents and children have the exact same roles within their relationship?

Of course they don't. Is a small child going to work and pay the bills? Is a small child going to go grocery shopping and prepare dinner for the entire family? Is a parent to be disciplined by a small child? No.

And no to all of these questions, right? No. Right. We know that the role that a family member has in the family doesn't affect their value as a member of the family, even if their roles are different. Here's another example.

Maybe the single best example that I can give to illustrate this truth is seen in the example that we have in God. God is Triune in nature. He is Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is equally and fully God. There is no member of the Trinity that is more valuable or less valuable than another.

They are each infinitely valuable because they are each perfectly God. But do each of them have the exact same roles within the Trinity? No, they have different roles. Here's a quote from theologian Wayne Grudom. He says this, in both creation and redemption, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit all had distinct roles.

It was the Father who directed and sent both the sun and the Spirit, and it was the Son who, along with the Father, sent the Spirit. The Son was obedient to the Father, and the Spirit was obedient to both the Father and the Son. And while both the Son and the Spirit have and continue to carry out their roles in equal deity with the Father, they do so in submission to the Father. End Quote Can you see in this quote both the shared value and distinction of roles that exist within the Trinity? Why is it so hard for us to understand that man and woman could also have the same value as each other and also have distinct roles in their relationship with each other at the same time, especially in light of the fact that we were made in the image of the Triune God who has the same equality with distinction in himself between man and woman.

There is total and perfect equality, and there's also a distinction between them and the roles they were designed by God to fill. Before I tell you what the role distinctions between man and women are, and before I attempt to persuade you from the scripture that these role distinctions between man and woman are true and biblical, let's just take just a moment to acknowledge that there are several different positions that a person can take when it comes to understanding the role distinctions between man and woman. I put a diagram on your outline to show you the four general positions along this ideological spectrum, and everybody will find themselves gravitate to one of these four. A radical form of feminism will claim that women don't need no man, and women can and should do anything a man can do and probably do it better if we're honest.

Hey, wait a second, all right? You just outed yourself. Hey, you're welcome. At Gospel City Church, no matter where you land on this spectrum, Egalitarianism is a philosophy that says that men and women are in virtually all respects interchangeable and that their roles ought to have no relation to their sexual orientation or Constitution. In complementarianism, men and women are absolutely equal in essence, dignity and value, but are distinct by divine design.

As part of God's good creative order, men and women are to have different yet complementary roles and responsibilities in the home and the Church. And here's a quote about hyper patriarchy from author Kathleen Brown, and she says this. What this means, referring to hyperpatriarchy, is that male figures, both in the home and in major societal institutions maintain dominance. The father figure exercises control over labor and property, sexual access to his wife and the other woman of his household, and maintains the power to punish. So which one of these four positions do you find that you gravitate towards the most important rhetorical story but good.

It's important to note most local churches in the Tri cities where we live and where Gospel City Church exists. Most local churches and the TriCities would fall under the Egalitarian camp. Most churches at Gospel City Church, we believe the Bible teaches the complementarian position. And if you're ready, here are the rule distinctions. We believe the Bible teaches God designed man to lead and God designed woman to help.

And it struck me that if I was preaching this in the medieval times at this point is when I get rotten cabbage thrown at me in old tomatoes, when I would suggest such an idea. But we can see this truth consistently throughout all of the scriptures. But we're going to keep our eyes fixed on our first two chapters in Genesis. The first thing I want to show you in Genesis One and Two is actually a comparison between Genesis One and Two. In Genesis One, we already saw that God put Dominion of the animal Kingdom under both man and woman.

Both Amen and women are made in the image of God, and God blesses both men and women, and he gave both of them the same Commission to be fruitful and multiply. In Genesis One, we were given the big picture overview of the creation account of man and woman, and it highlights the things that they share. But then in Genesis Two, Moses doubles back and he fills in the details of how this part of creation unfolded. And it's here where we're introduced to the distinctions that God designed between man and woman. I'm going to read a fair sized passage for us.

It's going to be Genesis, chapter two, verses four to nine and then 15 to 25. Back in our Genesis 126 to 27 passage, I had you underline the words they and them. If you want to keep your underlying game going strong, I'll get you to underline the phrase the man every time it pops up in these verses, I'm going to read, okay, Genesis, chapter two, starting to verse four. These are the records of the heavens and the Earth concerning their creation. At the time that the Lord God made the Earth and the heavens, no shrub of the field had yet grown on the land, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted.

For the Lord God had not made it rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, but mist would come up from the Earth and water all the ground. Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he planted the man he had formed. The Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden, as well as the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We drop down to verse 15.

The Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. And the Lord God commanded the man, you are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for on the day that you eat from it, you will certainly die. Then the Lord God said, It's not good for the man to be alone. I'll make a helper corresponding to him. The Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky and brought each to the man to see what he would call it.

And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal. But for the man, no helper was found corresponding to him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place.

Then the Lord God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. And the man said, this one at last is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. This one will be called woman, for she was taken from man. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.

Okay, some observations. First, Adam was made. First, God could have made them both at the exact same time, but he didn't. And that alone, I think, is something just worth meditating on this week. Second, Adam was commissioned by God to do work before Eve was on the scene, Adam was placed in the garden by himself to work it and watch over it.

Adam was given the one given the charge to name the animals God had made. This was a task reserved only for Adam, and Adam even named the woman after she was formed. Third, Adam was given a revelation from God that we didn't see given to both Adamant and Eve back in chapter one. Back in chapter one, both Adam and Eve were commissioned by God to be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and subdue it. But in chapter two, we see that only Adam was given the prohibition.

Eve wasn't there to receive that word from God when God said only to Adam in verses 16 and 17, you are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. From the day you eat from it, you will certainly die. We know that Eve knew what the prohibition was because in Genesis three, when she was tempted by Satan to eat the forbidden fruit, she referenced what God had said even though she misquoted him. Genesis three, verses two to three, the woman said to the serpent, we may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden, but about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, you must not eat it or touch it or you will die. If Eve wasn't there when God gave the prohibition to Adam, and we don't see a separate instance where God gave the prohibition to her, then how does she know about it?

As far as I can tell, there are only two options. Either God reiterated it to Eve after he made her and it's just not recorded for us in the scripture, or Adam shared it with her, shared that information with her after she was made. And that's just not recorded for us in the scripture either. Can I tell you what I think? Okay.

I think Adam told Eve about the forbidden tree and they were not allowed to eat from it, and here's why. When they both ended up eating from the tree, who did God come to talk to about it? Did he come to both Adam and Eve because they both ate it? No, he only came to Adam. He didn't address Eve initially about it.

Why not? Because Adam was given the prohibition by God, and therefore Adam was the one who was responsible to make sure that Eve knew about it and that neither of them ate of it. It was Adam's job and responsibility primarily. He was to lead both himself and Eve in this way. Fourth, Adam was given a helper corresponding to him, not the other way around.

Eve was made to help Adam fulfill the task they were both given to accomplish. The scripture says that she was made by God specifically to be Adam's helper. Amen and women were perfectly designed to complement each other lead and help, and there is no indication that they were at odds over this role of distinction in the slightest. It's important to note that this leading and helping distinction exists specifically in the marriage relationship, and we know that Adam and Eve were married because of Genesis 224. But these role distinctions of leading and helping are also general parameters that should influence the way that men and women relate to each other in various nonmarital relationships, that we're all in, that men are designed to lead to influence the way that they interact in all of their various relationships between both men and women, and that women are designed by God to help should influence how they interact in all of their various relationships between both women and men.

We'll talk some more on how these role distinctions should affect our various relationships in the messages to come, and so we've seen some simple observations from Genesis one and two, remembering throughout it all that these two chapters record the only time period in mankind's existence when there was no sin in the world. This was sinless perfection. We see and learn things about God's design for the role of man and woman in creation in the sinless setting. And if we had the time, we could also look at the whole of Scripture and see that this role distinction between man and woman is maintained throughout the Bible is consistent regarding this topic. Different roles between man and woman is not an old, outdated cultural phenomenon of the Middle East from thousands of years ago.

That we've all evolved from out of the role distinction between men and women is rooted in God's design for the way we are to relate to one another, and if it were to be done perfectly, it would lead to perfect harmony both in the home and in the world. So why do some people hate this dynamic so much that exists in God's design for how Amen and women are to primarily relate to one another? I think there are at least a couple of reasons. First, some people are confused about the idea that a person's value is not connected to what they do or don't do, so they wrongly assume that if a man leads primarily, and if a woman helps primarily, then the man must be more valuable than the woman. But I've tried to show you that this correlation isn't true.

Role distinction has no bearing on a person's value. Second, some people have experienced a gross distortion of the lead help dynamic between man and woman that was never meant to be experienced. Male domination is not Godly leadership. Women who hand feed men grapes and fan them in the heat of the day and do their bidding at their every whim is not Godly helping.

Sinful humanity has twisted God's good original design. All right, let's move on to our next filling. Number four. Family is God's plan for relationships that flourish. Family is God's plan for relationships that flourish.

We're going to Daydream a little bit here, okay? We're going to dream about what life would have looked like if Genesis Three never happens and sin never came in to fracture God's good design for relationships. Okay, Daydream time. Adam and Eve are married. In Genesis Two.

They would have lived in perfect harmony together. Perfect even with the role distinctions within marriage, believe it or not, then they would have had kids. Lots of kids. Remember? God told them to be fruitful and multiply.

That original family that began with just the two, with just Adam and Eve would have grown and grown as that first family grew. How would their sons learn what it meant to be a man? Well, they'd watch how dad led mom and the rest of the family. They'd watch dad as he led the whole family and fulfilling the mandates God gave them. They would watch how their dad treated their mom, and that's how they would learn how to be a man.

And how would their daughters learn what it meant to be a woman? They'd do the same thing. They'd watch how mom helped dad and the rest of the family. They'd watch how mom she helped their brothers and sisters in fulfilling the mandates that God gave them. They would watch how their mom treated their dad, and that's how they would learn how to be a woman.

And then the family would grow and everyone would be involved in completing the things that God gave them to do. Everyone would have a role to play. It would be all hands on deck. And because there would have been no sin in the world of Genesis Three never happened. The family would never get jacked up.

There would have been nothing in that first family that plagues all of ours. There would have been no betrayal, no abandonment, no abuse, gossip, slander, division, assault, discrimination, loneliness, regrets, divorce, foster care, orphanages. Nonexistent. In Genesis One and Two, there would only be Shalom. And this is what I meant earlier when I said that this could be triggering because it can be sad to imagine how awesome family was supposed to be and then look at some of our relationships in our own family and know how bad some of them are for us.

Back to daydreaming, according to God's design for relationships. The family wouldn't stay together forever. It would break apart, but in a perfectly good way. There would have come a time when a son or a daughter left the family. And why would a son or daughter ever leave the family if it was so good?

They would never leave for the reasons that we leave our family when we grew up in this day and age, we leave home because we want to get out from under the authority of our parents. We leave home because we think it's uncool to be an adult who lives at home with their parents. We leave home because we need to get away from unhealthy family dynamics in the home. We leave home to explore or take a job out of town, or for a number of different reasons. Do you know how God designed the timing for a son or a daughter to leave the nest?

They would leave when they got married. Genesis 224 says, this is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife and they become one flesh. According to God's design, the only reason you would ever leave, the only family you had ever known would be to start a brand new family with your husband or wife after you've gotten married. Otherwise, you'd stay and enjoy a perfect relationship in your family, regardless of how old you were. Remember, we're daydreaming here.

Don't freak out. We're daydreaming. Genesis One and Two this is a Genesis one and Two dream. But when you think about this dream, who is ever alone in this design? No one.

You are always a meaningful part of your biological family and experiencing God's blessing in it. Or you leave to start your own new family and your new family might only consist of you and your spouse. But guess what? You're not alone. There's two of you.

God rigged everything so that people were never to be alone. I'm personally convinced that when he said when God said in Genesis Two that it's not good for man to be alone, he wasn't saying that marriage was the solution for every single person's loneliness. Adam was the only one who existed at the time God said those words. But if things played out the way God perfectly designed them to, the first marriage between Adam and Eve would guarantee that no one would ever be alone again because everyone would be a part of a family according to God's design. Can you imagine that not one single person on the planet today ever experiencing loneliness?

God's design for relationships is not just good, it's perfect. Our fifth and final feeling is going to verse is a segue to next week's message. And it's this. You'll see this on the screen behind me. God must be at the center of our life if we want our relationships to flourish.

God must be at the center of our life. If we want our relationships to flourish. This is how God has designed everything in the world to work, and our relationships are no exception. The designer placed himself in the center of his design. If Adam and Eve kept God at the center of their life, if they honored him and trusted him and believed him and obeyed him, then our Daydream about how relationships would have been back then would have been our reality today.

All of our relationships would be perfect, and no one would ever be alone. But they didn't keep him at the center, did they? They rejected and rebelled against the designer, and the design fell apart. Genesis three eventually came after Genesis Two, and the fracturing of relationships ensued, the fracturing that all of us have experienced up to this very day. We're going to look more at what went wrong in our relationships next week, and we'll look at how God made a way that we can reverse some of the stuff that's gone wrong in them.

And so with that, I'm going to invite Jeff to come back up. We've covered a lot of ground in this first message tonight about relationships, and in this, I hope you weren't triggered too much. I hope you were able to see that God is good. I hope you're able to see that his design for relationships is good. I hope you're able to see that his design for everything is only ever good.

And I hope that you learned or were reminded how valuable you are as a person who's been made in the image of God. Bow your heads when you pray with me, God. We call you Father, because that's who you are. You revealed yourself that way, and all of your design is built around family. And then in the weeks to come, as we learn how we can experience what it means to be a part of your family and how that revolutionizes our life.

I just pray, Lord, that you would Minister to in comfort and bless the men and women in this room here who might have had any wounds open in their life, relational wounds open. Some people I know are going through stuff right now that is so painful. It's so searing what they're enduring, because we're not able to experience relationships the way that you design them to. And so I just pray, Lord, that your gentle touch would just comfort them. Would you speak to them and tell them?

And it's true that everything is going to be okay in you. It might happen in this life, but it might happen in the life to come. But you are going to right every wrong. You're going to dry every tear. You're going to bring comfort and wholeness and belonging to everyone you adopt into your family.

And it's going to be perfect. And not for a short amount of time. It's going to be perfect forever and ever and ever. But until that time comes, Lord, today hurts sometimes so would he comfort us and I also pray, Lord, would you make Gospel City Church a kind of Church that embraces the broken amongst us that we pray with and we support and we listen sometimes more than we speak and we're just there to cry with each other. And while all that's happening, let us also not celebrate the good things that you are doing in our relationships and that we'd be quick to turn all glory and all praise and all credits and honor to your name for working those good things in our relationships.

And so whether they're good or challenging, Lord, just be glorified in it all. Speak that to us, Lord, as we spend these next moments in prayer and worship and praise to you and all God's people said Amen.

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