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BIBLE FIRSTS ON THE FIRST
Victor M. Eskew
A. This year January 1st falls on a Sunday. This will not happen again until 2023.
B. Since today is the 1st of January, I thought it would be interesting to examine some Bible firsts.
C. The title of our lesson is: “Bible Firsts on the 1st.”
I. THE FIRST DAY OF CREATION (Gen. 1:1-5)
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that is was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
A. Time started on the first day of Creation.
B. God’s plans for man was set in motion on the first day of Creation.
C. The heavens and the earth were brought into existence in raw form.
D. Light was created and the darkness was separated from it.
E. On day 1, God began to evidence all of His creative force.
II. THE FIRST MAN
A. The first man was created on the sixth day of Creation (Gen. 1:26-27).
B. In Genesis 2:7, we see him brought to life by the breath of God.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
C. The first time we read of the name of Adam is in Genesis 2:19.
1. Who named him? It must have been God.
2. What does his name mean? Red, perhaps relating to the dust of the ground.
3. In I Corinthians 15:45, Adam is referred to as “the first man.”
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul…
D. Some things to remember about Adam.
1. He is the father of all mankind.
a. Every man, woman, and child can be traced back to Adam.
b. Every culture and race is kin to one another.
c. We are all earthly beings.
d. We need to remember that we are all more alike than we are different.
e. Just as Adam was made in the likeness of God, so is everyone of us.
2. Through the first man sin entered into the world (Rom. 5:12).
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
3. In Luke 3:38, Adam is referred to as “the son of God.”
a. Next to Jesus, Adam was the most unique man on the earth.
b. God formed him out of the dust of the earth, and God breathed life into this lifeless form.
c. For a period of time, as an adult, he was completely innocent and sinless.
III. THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
A. At Mount Sinai, God gave Ten Commandments to the children of Israel. The first commandment is found in Exodus 20:3.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
1. In reality, there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29).
2. It is possible, however, for man to dethrone God and put something else in His place.
a. Elements of the Creation (sun, moon, animals, insects) or mythical beings (Zeus, Jupiter, Apollo, etc.).
b. Today, we have made self, family, work, money, and sports our gods. Why? Because we will put all of these things before God and His service.
B. On one occasion during the ministry of Jesus, He was asked about the “first commandment.”
1. Mark 12:28
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
2. Jesus’ answer (Mark 12:29-30)
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt worship the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
a. This love is not a subjective evaluation of one’s self.
b. This love is calculated by one’s actions (I John 5:3).
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
C. Based on these two “first commandments,” we might ask:
1. Do you have other gods that you put before the true God?
2. Does God know that you love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength based upon your obedience to His commandments?
IV. FIRST BEWARE, HYPOCRISY
A. Luke 12:1
In the mean time, when these were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
B. Hypocrisy is one of the greatest sins that one who claims to be a Christian can commit.
1. The person’s religion and the practice thereof is pretend, not real.
2. A person often has the agenda of being seen of men behind his acts of service.
3. It is deceitful to others because it looks real, but inside it is all fake.
4. The hypocrite can be lulled into thinking that he is acceptable to God.
5. If hypocrisy is exposed, the influence of the so-called disciple is destroyed and who have looked up to him can be devastated.
C. The Bible exhorts us to be real, genuine, bonified, perfect disciples.
1. A real Christian is “in the faith” (II Cor. 13:5).
2. A real Christian does good works (John 15:5).
3. A real Christian’s heart is close to God (Matt. 15:8-9).
4. A real Christian obeys God’s Word (John 8:31).
5. A real Christian has no agenda (Matt. 6:1-18).
6. A real Christian says and does (Matt. 23:1-4).
7. A real Christian can be followed by others (Matt. 23:1-4).
V. JESUS WAS THE FIRST TO RISE FROM THE DEAD
A. Acts 26:27
That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.
B. There seems to be a contradiction between Paul’s words and “facts” of history. Many were raised from the dead before Jesus’ resurrection.
1. The son of the widow of Zarapheth (I Kings 17:17-22)
2. The son of the Shunamite woman (II Kings 4:32-35)
3. A man whose body touched the bones of Elisha (II Kings 13:20-21)
4. The widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11-15)
5. The daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:49-55)
6. Lazarus (John 11:1-44)
C. How was Jesus the first to rise from the dead?
1. He was the first to rise and never die again.
2. All of the individuals mentioned above died again and are still in the grave.
3. Jesus now has an endless life.
a. The power of an endless life (Heb. 7:16)
b. He continueth ever (Heb. 7:24)
c. He ever liveth (Heb. 7:25)
4. Jesus is “the firstfruits of them that slept” (I Cor. 15:20, 23).
a. The firstfruits were the first of the harvest.
b. They were the promise of more to follow.
c. Jesus came forth from the grave never to die again. His resurrection is a promise of more to follow (See John 5:28-29).
VI. GIVING OURSELVES FIRST TO THE LORD
A. When the Gentiles became part of the church, there was much tension and prejudice between the Jews and Gentiles.
B. When the churches of Judea suffered due to a famine in the land, Paul used this as an opportunity to unite the Jews and Gentiles.
1. Paul appealed to the Gentile churches to give assistance to the Jewish brethren.
2. There was a problem, however. Some of the Gentile churches were facing struggles and poverty.
C. One group of churches stood out in their giving, the Macedonians.
1. They gave “in great trial of affliction” (II Cor. 8:2).
2. They gave while in “deep poverty” (II Cor. 8:2).
3. They gave “beyond their power” (II Cor. 8:3).
D. How they did it is revealed in II Corinthians 8:5.
And they they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves unto the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
1. Note the words: “…but first gave their own selves unto the Lord.”
2. The expression of our religion depends solely upon our relationship with Jesus Christ.
3. When we give ourselves to the Lord, the hard, the difficult, the seemingly impossible became simple, easy, and possible.
E. The giving within any congregation of the Lord’s people can be bountiful when every member gives themselves first to the Lord.
1. Afflictions and poverty will not prevent us from giving.
2. We will give beyond our power.
3. We will become examples to others in our charitable expressions.
F. NOTE: Anytime our minds begin to think: “I can’t” or “We can’t,” we need to check and see if we have given ourselves first to the Lord.
A. These are just a few of the firsts of the Bible. There are many others.
1. First be reconciled to thy brother (Matt. 5:24).
2. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
3. First cast the beam out of thine own eye (Matt. 7:5).
4. The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch (Acts 11:26).
5. Children obey your parents in the Lord…the first commandment with promise (Eph. 6:2).
6. Paul said that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks should be made for all men, for kings, and for all who are in authority (I Tim. 2:1-2).
B. Question: Is the Lord first in your life? Make Him the first in your life on this, the first day of 2017.