Beautiful By Design
Your Best Life Now
November 15, 2015
God did not create a world and haphazardly throw humans into the mix. Nor did he simply let it evolve (or devolve!). God crafted the world in such a way so as to maximize his glory and our good. In the very beginning, God set a fixed order to his creation, with cycles and seasons and hardwired functions for everything. And when he did, he did not forget about us! On the contrary, as the crown of God’s good creation, we find that God’s design is for our greatest joy. What an undeserved gift! What an honor that God would consider our joy in the design of the cosmos! Beautiful By Design | Your Best Life Now | John 10:7-11
November 8, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
Marriage is not a state institution, dreamed up to give couples a break on taxes. And no matter how a country or state may define it, it originated with God and therefore and its true meaning from him and his Word. Marriage was designed to be a dance of death and submission, as his image- bearers spread God’s glory throughout the earth. While the husband is called to lead in humble submission to Christ, giving himself up for his wife’s good; the woman is to submit to his leadership, as the marriage head, even as Christ is the head of the church. This institution is a picture of God’s love for his people in Christ: as Christ died for the church, the church submits to his leadership over their lives. In this dance we discover that marriage was designed to make us holy, not happy. Though certainly there will be times of great happiness, that’s not the goal of its design. Beautiful By Design | The Dance | Ephesians 5:22-33; Matthew 19:4-6; Genesis 2
Born This Way
November 1, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
While Jesus may or may not have been speaking of those with same-sex attraction (SSA) in Matthew 19:10-12, the applicability of his words is undeniable. Some are born, others made, in such a way that they cannot experience the fruits of sexual and emotional intimacy that are experienced by so many, if they are to hold fast to the Scripture’s teaching on sex, human sexuality and intimate relationships. Equally as clear, from Isaiah 56:1-8, is that God promises a unique gift for those committed to celibacy. Many might say a life of celibacy is unconscionable, that no one can bear such a burden. But sexual grati cation is a privilege, not a right. And to those who hold fast to God’s covenant through celibacy, God says, “I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters...an everlasting name that shall never be cut off.” Beautiful By Design | Born This Way | Matthew 19:10-12; Isaiah 56:1-8
October 25, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
Sex has a context. That is to say, there are certain bounds designed by God inside of which humans are to practice and enjoy sexual intimacy. Sex is not wrong or bad, but sex outside of God’s designed context can, and usually is, destructive to those involved. But sex in context is a good gift from our good God. So, what is this context? It is evident from God’s Word that He has designed sex to be enjoyed between one man and one woman for the purposes of procreation, intimacy, and pleasure. Or put more succinctly, God designed us to become one, with one. Unlike what our culture may tell us, we were meant to become one flesh with one spouse. Beautiful By Design | One | Genesis 1:27-28; 2:7-25; Proverbs 5:18-19; Song of Songs 7:6-9
October 18, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
Too often in the church, or even in secular culture, singles seem to be told that they’ll “matter” once their married. But the Bible says that singleness is a gift! The Apostle Paul even wishes that all were single like him. So, although we tend to think (and are often told) that we are not complete until we are married or that singleness is some sort of not-fully-human state, we see in 1 Cor. 7 that being single does not make you insignificant. On the contrary, it is a good state to be in, a gift from God, and in some cases a calling and assignment from the Lord (v. 17). While the married person is “anxious about worldly things,” the single person is free to be “anxious about the things of the Lord” (v. 32). How fulfilling to know that the single person is complete in Christ, lacking no good thing, and is able to have undivided devotion to the Lord. Beautiful By Design | Tinder | 1 Corinthians 7:6-8, 17, 32-35
Fill In The _______ (2)
October 11, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
The Bible is clear that God made humans “male and female,” designed to be a complementary pair. And yet our culture has chosen to accept the notion of gender fluidity, although it is willing to admit one is “assigned” a gender at birth. The very clear teaching of Scripture from Genesis onward is that men are designed particularly male and women are designed particularly female. And though equal in worth and dignity by virtue of being created in God’s image, men and women are designed to occupy different roles. When God created woman, he gave her a unique identity and purpose in life. God designed a specific role for women to fulfill and, by living out that role, to increase human flourishing. She is called “helper.” Far from being a demeaning role, the Bible uses the term to communicate the unique strength and ability that God has entrusted to women. Women work together with their male complements to cultivate and exercise dominion over the earth and to spread God’s image throughout the world. Without female engagement and leadership in the home and church, the ministry and power of both will be lacking. Beautiful By Design | Fill In The __________ (2) | Genesis 2:15-25; 3
Fill In The _______ (1)
October 4, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
The Bible is clear that God made humans “male and female,” designed to be a complementary pair. And yet our culture has chosen to accept the notion of gender fluidity, although it is willing to admit one is “assigned” a gender at birth. The very clear teaching of Scripture from Genesis onward is that men are designed particularly male and women are designed particularly female. And though equal in worth and dignity, by virtue of being created in God’s image, men and women are designed to occupy different roles. When God created man, He gave him a unique identity and purpose in life. God designed a specific role for man to fulfill and, by living out that role, to increase human flourishing. One of the unique ways that men fulfill their responsibility entrusted to them is through male headship in church and home. This headship should be characterized by the commands in Genesis 2:5-15 to work and keep what has been entrusted to man’s care. As men lead, love, serve and protect, they fulfill God’s commands to work and keep what the Lord has given to their care. Beautiful By Design | Fill In The __________ (1 | Genesis 2:4-8; 15-25; 3
September 27, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
God said something unique when he made man: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Unlike any of the other creation, humanity is made like God in a special way and is called “very good.” But what does this mean? Our first clue comes immediately after those phrases, when man is given dominion over the rest of creation. Further, we know from the poetic section in v. 27 that humanity is meant to be portrayed as the height of God’s creation (note the use of the superlative, “created” 3x), by virtue of being made in his image. There is also a special blessing conferred on them, as they are told to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and thereby subdue it (again, “have dominion”, v. 28). All these descriptions indicate that humanity is the pinnacle of God’s beautiful design — made in his image. Beautiful By Design | Image | Genesis 1:26-31
September 20, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
One of the most intricate aspects of God’s design for the world is that of complementary pairs. Notice how many pairs are mentioned in Genesis 1:3-25. In Hebrew poetry the use of pairings or opposite ends of the spectrum juxtaposed in this way is called merism. It is a literary device used by the author to show the fullness and completeness of a system. What does that mean? And why would God insert so many pairs in the creation account in Genesis? Because complementary pairs are essential to God’s good design. Whether it is day and night, light and darkness, heaven and earth, man and woman, or Christ and his church, God has designed the world to function properly through the harmony (or consummation) of these pairs. Until, that is, the day when heaven becomes one with earth, Christ receives his bride (the church), and the dwelling place of God is with humanity! Beautiful By Design | Echoes | Genesis 1:3-25
September 13, 2015 • Pastor Léonce Crump Jr.
Creatio ex nihilo is the Latin phrase used by theologians to capture the idea of God’s creating the world from nothing. He did not use raw material. The world did not exist from eternity past like the Godhead. Instead, God created everything, from nothing, by design. And after he did, he formed it and made it good. He gathered, called, shaped and named everything that he brought into existence. And so, we see in Genesis that the world did not come about haphazardly, but was crafted by a loving, skilled Creator to be a home for those made in his image. And it is by living in harmony with this design that humanity finds its greatest good and its greatest joy. Indeed, it is rebellion for the creation to deviate from the Creator’s plan for itself. Beautiful By Design | Ex Nihilo | Genesis 1:1-5