"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," Gen. 1:1.
Tomorrow I will be teaching a group of men and I decided I would start at the beginning, Genesis 1:1. Here are at least 3 good reasons to start with this text.
1) It is foundational. God started here and He could have started with anything. He could have told Moses about our sin and need for redemption through His Son Jesus Christ right away but He, in His truly infinite wisdom, started with, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." So this seems like a great place to start discipling men. Even more, we have such a low tolerance from so many "evangelicals" for the first two chapters of Genesis. This silliness started with C.S. Lewis who often showered contempt on the Old Testament and believed that the OT was more myth than anything. His disciple, Tim Keller, continues in his tradition and mangles the creation account of Genesis into something so far fetched not even a three year old could believe it. Evangelicals who take the whole counsel of God seriously need to return to sanity and teach and understand the whole of scripture as it was intended to be understood. We must turn from the heresies of men like Lewis and Keller.
2) It magnifies Christ's atoning sacrifice for our sins. Modern evangelicals have largely reduced the gospel to what Christ did on the cross for our sins. They provide no context for this and largely ignore the rest of the gospel. Yes, there is more to the gospel. Mark' account starts off with, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." He didn't launch into the Crucifixion account immediately but told the whole story of Jesus starting with the beginning of His ministry. Included in this are the words of Jesus' about God's creation and Jesus took it seriously. We are also told, in John's Gospel, that Jesus was the one who God the Father created everything through. Christ is not just our redeemer but He is the One who spoke and the universe leapt into existence. Christ upholds all things even now. He is the all powerful creator of the universe, "whom was pierced for our transgressions and who was wounded for our iniquity. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed," Isaiah 53. When we juxtapose these two awesome truths, it makes Jesus' obedient, loving sacrifice that much more astounding. Like finally walking to the edge of the Grand Canyon after only seeing it in photos all of your life. He "traded Heaven's throne for a cross," 1John, and that is beyond compare!
3) It magnifies/glorifies God and puts man in his place. We all need to see things from God's perspective. Before we judge someone, we are always told to "walk a mile in their shoes." Genesis 1 helps us to put God's shoes on. Genesis one tells us that God is before time and He is in time. Confusing? Yes. Contradictory? No. I'm not going to explain it, well, because I can't, but meditate on it. He also created everything. We are, in reality, not able to create anything. Sure, we can rearrange God's stuff to make stuff, but we can't speak it into existence. God did and can. Because God created all things, He knows it all. I can't remember more than ten phone numbers. There are many other things that we can know about God through this one verse, but that is for you to ponder and meditate(biblically) on. We should consider these things and it should help us to see God in all His glory and that should motivate us to speak of God and His power and glory to those we meet. It will make all our problems seem insignificant next to God's all consuming power and love. It has been said that, "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Those are powerful words and Genesis 1 is our first step to knowing Him and enjoying Him for all eternity.
God bless you and learn, live and love the Gospel!