The Cross and the Sea 1

Write: An enemy did this

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. (Revelation 12:7)

But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. (Revelation 12:8)

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:9)

600 BC - Heraclitus - "Hair-a-cligh-tus"

"War is the father of all and the King of all."

Here at Outlet, we love digging in, and wrstling with tough topics.

'Bible Study' - 'More practical' - Meyers 'Believe - Important'

Evil

Something the bible talks a lot about: 'evil'.

I want you to think deeply if you will, about Evil.

Two very common beliefs: God is a good God, God controls everything.

For billions of people, sooner or later, those two thoughts collide in their head.

1 of the reasons: people can't understand a loving God in a world of suffering.

They can in theory, but then when we're actually confronted with evil or suffering, it gets a little more conplicated.


  • WW2 - est 75 million killed. Over 3% of the population.
  • The Black Death (bubonic plaugue) -1300's - Est 200 million people
  • Holocaust - 11 million killed - Auschwitz scratches in gas chamber.

If we held 1 minute of silence for every victim of the Holocaust then we would be silent for eleven and a half years.

The Boston Marathon Bombing, the Oklahoma City Bombing, The Aurora Colorado Theater Shooting, The Columbine School Shootings, The European witch hunts, ISIS, The Battle of Okinawa, The Waco massacre, 9/11, Pearl harbor, The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Hurricane Katrina, etc etc etc

We live in a deeply broken place with a deeply broken past.

We've always struggled to understand evil and suffering.

One thing that makes us human is we sense the injustice of suffering.

People turn to Holy Books to find meaning in suffering, certainly bible is no exception.

In NT, Jesus was very quick to point out that the source of evil is Satan.

In the bible: Satan is described as God's enemy (name: the adversary).

John

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

But in the OT, not quite as clear.

It seems: The originator of much evil is God.

War - 'don't forget - women & children'

Mothers - eat their babies


A lot of Christian theology confirms this.

"Three statements: 1) Evil exists. 2) God exists. 3) Therefore God wills evil to exist. He takes full responsibility for all that occurs. If He did not permit its existence, it would not be here." (John MacArthur - His understanding of Evil)

“Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?” – (Amos 3:6)

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

Problem: It does not look like Jesus.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being! (Ephesians 1:3)

If you're a morally healthy Christian, you can't believe that God is evil.

"Well, he's got a higher purpose."

Modern day slavery (human trafficking)

There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history.

Average age: 12

Forced to perform their service 20-40 times a day.

Average cost: $90


'Well, he used to be Evil, but now because of Jesus, he's not'

Confusion - our hesitation to speak up, huge consequences.

Ex: 10 million who have left the church (in america alone) since the turn of the century.

Recent poll: 94% of churches report - decrease in attendance - last 10 years.

World: waking up to injustice - T.D. Jakes "Time has come."


This series: my attempt - answer - 'unanswered' questions.

This series: my attempt to answer some of those 'unanswered' questions. - My attempt to find a more Christlike God.

Nobody has all the answers. Certainly not me.

MY understanding is it continues to grow.

  • Some of you might feel offended.
  • Some of you might feel liberated.

Let's all deal with each other with grace and humility.

What I don't want to give you is scripture bullets to shoot at other Christians for why they're dumb and you're a genius.

Commanded to be clothed with love.

With that said, the gloves are off, let's have some fun.


A Census

Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel.” (2 Samuel 24:1)

A Census -

  • "Why?" To count everybody.
  • Why? So you know how big you can build your army.Know: Who you can go to war against and who you can't.

Basically, it's about building your empire.

Reason it's a problem: Israel was called to be different. Not like other nations.

Instead of worrying about armies, they were supposed to just trust in God.

Taking a census was a failure to trust.

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1)

Anyone notice a difference?

Contradiction? Nah, a better word is evolution.

  • 2 Samuel - 600-500 BC
  • 1 Chronicles - 400-250 BC

2 Samuel - 200-250 years earlier.

At a time when our understanding of God and the devil were still growing.

"We haven't always understood about God and the devil?" - No.

In fact, 1 Chronicles 21 - 1st time we ever see 'Satan' or 'The Devil' mentioned.

"Isn't he in Genesis in the garden." - No. Talking serpent. 2 Corinthians & Revelation - the serpent is revealed to be Satan.

In looking at the OT:

  • Satan is in the book of Job. QUITE A BIT!
  • Besides that, we see him cause David to take this census and one other mention on Satan in Zechariah 3 - prophet has a vision of Satan 'accusing' Joshua (the high priest).

With those few exceptions, Satan is a New Testament character.

So Satan wasn't doing anything during the OT time period? -

1 John 3 'tempting humanity from the beginning'.

But we didn't understand that yet.

Before that, everything that had to do with a supernatural force was called 'God'.


Let's read about the census one more time:

Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel.” (2 Samuel 24:1)

Here you see: God telling David to take a census, and God getting mad that David took a census. - That's ok. That's where we were at.

Let's read our telling a couple centuries later:

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1)

Here we see: Satan coming to convince God's people to not trust God. - Our understanding of the situation grew.


My point: We (humanity) have grown in our understanding of who Satan is and what He's like. In the same way: We (humanity) have grown in our understanding of who God is and what He's like.

THE BIBLE PERFECTLY DOCUMENTS OUR GROWING UNDERSTANDING OF WHO GOD IS.

The Books not messed up, the people were still growing.

It's one of the reasons why all our thinking about God should be centered on the cross. It's the definitive revelation of what God really looks like.


The Sea

David the psalmist

Never mentions Satan, or the devil, or demons.

Spoke much about the sea.

  • His Fear
  • His confusion
  • Him trying to understand evil and where it comes from.

EXAMPLES

who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.
(Psalm 65:7)

You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.
(Psalm 89:9)

But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
(Psalm 104:7)

You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. (Psalm 89:9)

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. (Psalm 29:3)

But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; (Psalm 104:7)

David - 'Voice' of God - power - creation

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, (Job 38:8)

when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, (Job 38:9)

when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, (Job 38:10)

when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? (Job 38:11)

Chaos & Evil

Even in the NT - correlation with demons and the sea.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ (Luke 11:24)

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had gone into him. (Luke 8:30)

And they begged Jesus repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. (Luke 8:31)

A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. (Luke 8:32)

When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. (Luke 8:33)

Jesus - 'rebukes the storm' & commands the sea to be still.

Peter - Learning to trust God, filled with fear - 'fixes his eyes on the sea.'


Not only - sea - symbol - Evil. - Home - God's enemy.

Leviathan

Not only is the sea a symbol for Evil, it's the home of God's enemy.

Leviathan

Even before they understood Satan, they understood that God had an enemy.

EXAMPLES

How long will the enemy mock you, God? Will the foe revile your name forever? (Psalm 74:10)

Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them! (Psalm 74:11)

It was you who split open the sea by your power; you broke the heads of the monster in the waters. (Psalm 74:13)

The devil was working. They didn't realize it.

“Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope? (Job 41:1)

Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook? (Job 41:2)

Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears? (Job 41:7)

If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! (Job 41:8)

Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering. (Job 41:9)

Who can strip off its outer coat? Who can penetrate its double coat of armor? (Job 41:13)

Who dares open the doors of its mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth? (Job 41:14)

Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; (Job 41:15)

each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. (Job 41:16)

Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the rays of dawn. (Job 41:18)

Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. (Job 41:19)

Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds. (Job 41:20)

Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth. (Job 41:21)

The sword that reaches it has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin. (Job 41:26)

Iron it treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood. (Job 41:27)

Arrows do not make it flee; slingstones are like chaff to it. (Job 41:28)

A club seems to it but a piece of straw; it laughs at the rattling of the lance. (Job 41:29)

It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. (Job 41:31)

Nothing on earth is its equal— a creature without fear. (Job 41:33)

It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud.” (Job 41:34)

Theologians are divided as to whether or not an actual 'Leviathan' actually existed (there was never a psyical conclusion to their fear), but we do know that it was a primitive understand of the forces of evil.

Frustration - current situation:

Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard? (Job 7:12)

Reason I tell you this stuff:

a. It's awesome

b. Help you understand where they are and where they are not yet in their understanding of how things work in the supernatural realm.

Pentagram

The Hebrew letters at the five points of the pentagram spell out Leviathan,

The people of the bible didn't always know how to describe evil.

All changed when we encountered the cross.

God puts an end to the chaos in our thinking

We're no longer 'people of the sea'. Bound in our own limited understanding of Evil.

'People of the Cross'

Finally understand what God is like.

See in bible: Jesus comes and defeats the leviathan.

Jesus coming:

In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword— his fierce, great and powerful sword— Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. (Isaiah 27:1)

Early writing about Jesus coming to defeat the works of the devil.

You can see our understanding evolve:

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil. (Hebrews 2:14)

(“This an enemy has done.”)

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. (v37 - explain that it's the 'son of man' IE: himself) (Matthew 13:24)

But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. (Matthew 13:25)

When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. (Matthew 13:26)

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ (Matthew 13:27)

“ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. (Matthew 13:28)

Statement: Since the beginning of our existence, Humanity has wrestled with the problem of Evil. The problem of the sea. Our understanding of evil has been inaccurate and incomplete to say the least. We have not always known what Satan is like, or that He even existed, but now we do. He's the enemy of God. He does things that are opposed to the heart of our father. Jesus came to oppose Him. Today, we see the cross, and live our lives as people of the cross. With the cross showing us who God is and who God IS NOT.

More on that later.

Communion

Part of being 'people of the cross' is being people who remember what Jesus did for us.

God loves you. And he wants you to be confident in that.

So as you take this, as a person of the cross, and not a person of the sea, let it be a symbol of you opening your heart to the possibility that he's all the way good, and always has been.

God, as we eat this beard, we remember Jesus. We remember what He did, we remember the sacrifice He made. We look at the cross and remember that you are good. You're not evil. And we say thank you.

Let's eat the bread.

God as we drink from this cup, we remember that we're designed for relationship with you, and that you're always here with us. And Jesus receive you today. We rest in your goodness, and we find our life in you. Thank You.

Let’s drink from the cup