Conversations With God: First Contact
Sermon Summary
This is the first message in a series on conversations with God that are found in the Bible. This message deals with the very first time God is recorded to have had a conversation with humans in the book of Genesis. Theologians consider the “first mention” of a word or concept in Scripture to be very important in establishing a good understanding of the word or concept. Several ideas concerning the importance of conversations with God are found in this “first contact” between God and man. The main points are as follows:
Conversations with God will reveal your Identity!
Conversations with God will reveal your Purpose!
Conversations with God will reveal God's provision!
Conversations with God will reveal Choices!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. How have you typically approached the concept of prayer? Have you viewed it more as a one way street where you tell God what’s on your mind and hope He hears you, or have you seen it as a conversation with God where you share your heart with Him and expect Him to speak to you through His Word by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

2. One of the greatest things God wants to communicate clearly to us in conversation is our identity in Him. He wants to reassure us of His love for us, that we belong to Him and that He will never leave us or forsake us! Why do you think our identity is so important for God to communicate to us?
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

3. Do you think it makes a big difference whether or not a person understands their God-give purpose in life? Discuss some of the difference between a person who lives with God-given purpose and one who does not.
Philippians 12b—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,
15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
16a as you hold out the word of life…

4. When a person has a conversation with God there will almost always be some kind of decision to be made. It could be as simple as the decision to trust God to provide for you and to protect you, or it could be as difficult as making the decision to trust God’s will for moral, career, marriage and other very important decisions. One of the most important decisions is whether or not to trust God for salvation. Why do you think God has given us such freedom of choice? A good example of God giving a choice to people is found in His words to the Hebrew people in Deuteronomy 30:19-20.
Deu 30:19  This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
Deu 30:20  and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Conversations With God: First Contact
Full Sermon Notes

"The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures"

God's promises are secured by His word. In other words, when He speaks a promise He keeps a promise! The fact God has promised good to us  doesn't mean we will never have problems and that bad things won't ever come our way, but it does mean He has promised to be our shield and our portion as long as we live in this old world. That means God will be your protector and your provider. And the beautiful thing about this protection and provision is that it comes bundled with God's presence! And because God is present with us every moment of our lives, not just on Sunday, this opens the door for conversations with God! What an honor, what a privilege, what a blessing, what an opportunity! Here's the question for each of us today. Do we take advantage of this amazing privilege we've been given to talk to the God of the Universe?

Let's talk to God right now and ask Him to teach us today and in the coming weeks as we look at the very important topic of conversations with God!

Good morning God! Thank you for allowing us the privilege of talking with You! You are an amazing God who created a universe which is so vast it is hard for any human to
even comprehend, and the fact You desire to have a conversation with us is equally incomprehensible! But You've shown us over and over how much You want to talk with us! From the beginning of the Bible You have spoken to human beings in many ways. And the beautiful thing is You don't do all the talking. You tell us to talk to you! You long to hear our voice, and to hear our heart! We may never understand what You see in us, or why You would take the time for us. We're so small, so tiny, so minuscule, just specks on a planet in a solar system which is only a speck in a galaxy which is only a speck in a universe that we can't fathom! But here we are and here You are, talking. You made us out of specks of dust, breathed into us the breath of life and we became living beings. Made in Your image! Maybe that's a clue to why You desire to speak to us. We are Your children in creation and You desire a relationship with us. Use the messages in this series to draw us into conversation with You on a daily basis. Let me be hidden behind the cross of Christ so those listening will hear Your voice and be forever transformed! In Jesus Name I pray and believe, Amen!

Over the coming weeks we're going to look at some of the conversations in the Bible between human beings and God. Today we're going to look at the very first conversations God ever had with humans. Theologians have a concept they call "First Mention". When a word or concept is first mentioned in the Bible it is foundational to future uses and is very important to understand. So that's where we're going to begin. Genesis.
Let's look at the first time God had a conversation with a human being and why the conversation is so important. And being the Trekkie I am, I'm going to call it "First Contact." Genesis has what many believe to be two accounts of the creation found in chapters 1 and 2. We will draw insights from both of these accounts. And to put things into context the writer of Genesis gives us just a little bit of a conversation between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Genesis 1:26ff! In this first conversation we only hear the God side of things. I guess Adam and Eve were just focused on listening. I can only imagine their minds were on overload. I mean they were brand new to this thing called life! But through this first contact we begin to learn the importance of conversations with God! And what do we learn? We learn...

Conversations with God will reveal your Identity!

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

You were created in God's image! That's powerful stuff! It identifies you and set's you apart from all of the other creation! And the way in which God set humankind apart from the rest of creation is stunning and beautiful all at the same time. Listen...

Genesis 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

What a beautiful picture. The God of the Universe breathing life into the nostrils of a lowly, little speck, created from specks of dust. but wait, we must not forget this important fact: we were created by that God of the Universe and created in His image. So that makes us really special. I love this t-shirt I saw on a little toddler one time, it said this...

"I know I'm special 'cause
God don't make no junk!"

Sorry to all the English teachers out their. I know that grammar hurts, but it sure does speak volumes! There are so many Scriptures that speak of our identify, who we are, and you might say, whose we are. And always remember, reading the Bible is having a conversation with God because it is His Words to us. And of course, we must always take into consideration that God's Word, while it is meant for us, was originally spoken to others, so we always need to consider the context in order to properly interpret His Words to us. So let's have a little conversation with God about our identity! God spoke these words in Deuteronomy to the Hebrews who He had chosen to be His representatives to the world.

Deuteronomy 7:6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

And how can I be so sure these words actually apply to us today? Check out Galatians 3:26-29...

Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,
27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Ok, one last word on identity…It's one of my favorite things God ever says to me when I read His Word...

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

"Wow Lord, those sure are some nice things You said about me, about us, and we really are thankful for Your mercy. We sure needed it!!" You see, it's okay to read the Bible and realize your having a conversation with God!! And did you notice how those words say we are a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out out darkness into His wonderful light? This leads us to the next very important aspect of conversations with God...  

Conversations with God will reveal your Purpose!

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “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.” First thing God tells us is that He has given us the privilege to join with Him in the act of creation through what has become known as pro-creation. "Be fruitful and increase!" It's a wonderful thing to have children, and a really wonderful thing to have grandchildren! God's Word says...

Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.

And then we read in John's gospel this truth, which all of you mom's can relate to...

John 16:21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

But having children is not our only purpose in life. We are told in this conversation with God that we are to be the stewards, the keepers, and the managers of creation.

Genesis 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “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. ”

And then in Genesis 2:15 we read...

Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Now this is my opinion, but I think it is supported by Scripture. I know this world is not our eternal home, but while we're here, I believe God wants us to do our best to take care of it! Because He said so! "Take care of it," He said! I believe Christians should be leaders in  environmental causes because God told us to take care of the earth, and because we are the ones who have the right perspectives. We don't worship the creation, we worship the Creator. We know it's important to take care of God's creatures, but it's most important to take care of His children, people! Perspective! Check this out in Proverbs…

Proverbs 12:10 A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

Our hope is not in this world, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take care of God's creation. It's like when you visit some place that's not your home, you still take care of it! And why is this important? Because the first conversation God had with us humans, He said "take care of it!" "Ok, got it, take care of the creation, but there's got to be more purpose for my life than that!" Yes there is!! When you have a conversation with God and you're willing to ask Him to show you His purpose for you, and you're willing to listen to his response in His Word, He will lead you to discover his purpose. God says this to us in Ephesians 2:10...

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

No let me be quick to say this: God's not talking about doing good things so you can be saved, but doing good things because you've been saved and called to live a new life! Listen to Philippians 2:12b-16a...

Philippians 12b—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
14 Do everything without complaining or arguing,
15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe
16a as you hold out the word of life…

The Psalmist stated the following...

Psalm 138:8 The LORD will fulfill └his purpose┘ for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.

I can assure you, God will not abandon you! If you are willing to trust Him, He will help you to achieve your purpose in life. This takes us to another important aspect of conversations with God.

Conversations with God will reveal God's provision!

Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

In this first conversation with God, He let Adam and Eve know He would provide everything they would need to live and accomplish His plans for their lives! The same assurance and promise is made to all who call upon The Lord! Listen to Philippians 4:19...

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

And God let's us know it's not just physical food He's offering. It so much more, because life is so much more than just our physical needs. Paul put it this way to the Colossian church...

Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

What a list! Did you see all the things God provides for us? Knowledge of His will, spiritual wisdom, understanding, the ability to live a life worthy of the Lord, the ability to please God, the ability to bear fruit in our good works, the ability to grow in our knowledge of God, strength and power according to His glorious might, endurance, patience, joy, the ability to be thankful in all circumstances, the qualifications to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light, rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son He loves, redemption and the forgiveness of sins! We sure are a needy bunch aren't we? And to think in the beginning, God provided Adam and Eve with a place to live, food to eat, and personal fellowship with Him in their daily walks in the garden. What in the world happened to cause the provisions list to grow so exponentially? Well, we discover the answer in that first conversation with God!

Conversations with God will reveal Choices!

God has chosen to make us in His image, to give us a purpose, and to provide everything we need to fulfill our purpose in life, but there is one catch: we have to choose to be a part of God's divine plan. And this was not just a choice for Adam and Eve, it is a choice for all humankind! You see, being made in the image of God, we have the ability to choose, the ability to believe, the ability to trust, the ability to love, and the ability to say no to all of the above! And just how do we go about making the choice? It all has to do with trusting God once He shows us His will, His plans, His direction and purpose for our lives. Do we trust Him. This was revealed in the conversation God had with Adam and Eve. Let's listen in one more time…Genesis 2:16-17

Genesis16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Conversations with God are important for so many reasons. It's a time for fellowship, worship, discovering identity, purpose, provision, and choices. Adam and Eve had some pretty clear choices. Look at Genesis 2:8-9...

Genesis 2:8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

There were all kinds of trees with fruit pleasing to the eye and good for food! And in the middle of the garden there was the tree of life and the one tree Adam and Eve were instructed not to eat from. Why is it the one thing we can't have is the only thing we seem to want? It's human nature isn't it. Have you noticed that trait presents itself in children before they can even talk! Say no and that becomes their goal in life! Gotta have that! A part of maturing and growing up is learning to trust the advice of those who have learned the hard way, some things are not as good as they may seem! The way Adam and Eve were to show their trust in God was by believing what He told them about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and leaving it alone. I mean they had many trees to choose from and the tree of life was right there. But they chose the tree God had told them would bring about death. Unfortunately people are still making that poor choice today. Some have questioned why God even allowed that tree to exist in the garden.

The reason goes back to our identity as human beings: we are created in the image of God and therefore have been given freedom to choose. God wanted Adam and Eve to choose to trust Him and while He was disappointed in the choice they made, He never stopped loving them! However, the relationship changed. The lack of trust and the sin that followed separated humankind and God! You see, for any relationship to be good, it must be based on trust. For a conversation to go beyond the superficial, there must be trust. Adam and Eve had chosen to betray the trust God deserved. But because God loved the people He had created and desired a relationship with them, He enacted His redemption plan. His plan to restore the relationship. His plan to make it once again possible for humans to have conversations with God! It would take some time, and it would be extremely costly to God, but He was willing!

And here's the plan, Colossians 1:19-23

Colossians 1:19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.
22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation —
23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

When Paul said, "If you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel," he wasn't talking about people losing their salvation, he was talking about people who had a decision to make, trust God or walk away from the hope held out in the gospel message. How do I know this? When you look at the background of the Colossian church, and the letter Paul wrote to them, you discover what was called the Colossian heresy. It was a mixture of Jewish, Pagan and Gnostic elements. The Jews were saying you had to be saved by religious rituals, while the pagans said it was by philosophy and human reasoning. The Gnostics combined philosophy, speculation, superstition, magic, and secret knowledge that only "super deep Christians" had access to. Interesting, isn't it? The appeal of "super-knowledge" that enticed Adam and Eve away from simple, child-like faith in God was once again tempting people to reject the gospel!

I'm going to close today with this simple truth. Saving faith is not complicated! It begins with a conversation with God. Your first contact conversation needs to include three things. Admit you've fallen short of God's plans for your life, believe what Jesus did on the Cross was enough to save you, and simply call on His Name.  

Let's bow our heads. If you are not real sure how to strike up a conversation with God let me help you. I'm going to pray an example and you can pray with me if you like. And remember this, God knows the heart, and if you're sincere in your desire to have a relationship with Him, the words aren't as important as the desire of your heart!

It goes like this…
Dear Jesus, I know I've done wrong in my life. I'm not a perfect person. I believe You took my punishment when You died on the old rugged cross! I'm sorry You had to suffer so much for me, but I'm so grateful You loved me that much! Please come into my heart and life! I want to live a new life! A life where my identity is a child of God, and I have a purpose for living, and know that You will provide all I will need to live that purpose and by praying this prayer I have made my choice! Thank You for saving my soul and for the life change I know is coming my way. I love You and I thank You, In Jesus Name I pray, and believe, Amen!!

Now listen to these words of God found in Romans 10:9-13

Worship Band can begin playing music while I read these verses...

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile —the same Lord is Lord of all
and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Welcome to the family of God!
Invitation...