In the study you will hear the terms “The Upper Story” and “The Lower Story”.
The Upper Story describes God’s Story that involves the plan for His creation. This is God’s big plan that began before creation and culminate in the new creation that will take place at the fulfillment of God’s plan. This is God’s plan that will take place regardless of what we do.
The Lower Story is where God’s Story intersects with Our Story. God creates the Lower Story by coming to us and inviting us to be part of His story. This story is being written each day as God allows us to make choices regarding the relationship with Him. We can walk with God or we can walk away from God.
The Story also talks about five movements that take part in God’s Story:
Movement 1: The Story of the Garden (Genesis 1-11)
In the Upper Story God creates the Lower Story. His vision is to come down and be with us in a beautiful garden. The first two people reject God’s vision and are escorted from paradise. Their decision introduces sin into the human race and keeps us from community with God. At this moment God gives a promise and launches a plan to get us back. The rest of the Bible is God’s story of how He kept that promise and made it possible for us to enter a loving relationship with Him.
Movement 2: The Story of Israel (Genesis 12 – Malachi)
God builds a brand-new nation called Israel. Through this nation, He will reveal His presence, power, and plan to get us back. Every story of Israel will point to the first coming of Jesus – the One who will provide the way back in God.
Movement 3: The Story of Jesus (Matthew – John)
Jesus left the Upper Story to come down into our Lower Story to be with us and to provide the way for us to be made right with God. Through faith in Christ’s work on the cross, we can now overturn Adam’s choice and have a personal relationship with God.
Movement 4: The Story of the Church (Acts – Jude)
Everyone who comes into a relationship with God through faith in Christ belongs to the new community God is building called the church. The church is commissioned to be the presence of Christ in the Lower Story – telling His story by the way we live and the words we speak. Every story of the church points people to the second coming of Christ, when He will return to restore God’s original vision.
Movement 5: The Story of a New Garden (Revelation)
God will one day create a new earth and a new garden and once again come down to be with us. All who placed their faith in Christ in this life will be eternal residences in the life to come.
Creation, Fall, and Promise
Back to the Basics
Vince Lombardi, legendary Green Bay Packers coach – first practice: “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
John Wooden, legendary UCLA coach – begin season by teaching how to correctly put on their socks and tie their shoes – fight way to do simple tasks and these acts and attitudes impacted the rest of the season
Basics of the Bible
God created us to be in a relationship with Him
Our sin destroyed this relationship with God
God provided a way of restoring this relationship
God uses His people to invite people to come back to this relationship
God will establish an eternal relationship with those who respond to the invitation of a relationship in this life
Session 1 deals with the created relationship, the destroyed relationship, and the promise of a new relationship
Danger of taking the Words in these passages and try to interpret them apart from the language of relationship
Little or no information on dinosaurs, topology and climate of the world, the Nephilim, or other controversial subjects
Good – v. 10 – day three right before God creates the first life (plants) – the word means good, complete, whole and seems to be connected to life
Image of God – v. 26 – reflects the divine nature in our intellect, emotions, and spirit – first great commandment Matthew 22:37 worship God with heart, soul and mind
I. Sin changes the relationship between God and man
A. God and mankind before the Fall
1. Man and woman are both created in God’s image
2. Both to rule over creation and be fruitful and multiply
3. God and mankind had intimacy
B. God and mankind after the Fall
1. Man and woman partially reflect God’s image
2. Suffering is added to God’s two commands for mankind
3. Blame and separation in the relationship
II. Sin changes the relationship of humanity
A. Before the Fall, man and woman lived in harmony and intimacy
1. One flesh, they experienced intimacy ordained by God
2. They shared common purpose to rule and tend the garden
B. The rest of the Bible describes life in a fallen world, relationships between fallen human beings becomes extremely difficult
1. Adam and Eve were isolated and ashamed
2. They experienced the curse and consequences of the now fallen world, including conflict and physical death
3. Even the best of humanity fails in a new start
III. God has only two responses to sin.
A. God rightly judges sin.
1. Adam and Eve were separated from intimacy with God
2. Cain was punished by God
3. God waited patiently until it was necessary to punish everyone, except Noah and his family
B. God covers sin by grace.
1. God sought Adam and Eve while they were in hiding.
2. God offered grace to Cain and all of humanity through Seth and Noah
3. God offered immediate salvation to Noah and his family and offers eternal salvation to all who believe His promises
IV. Implications and Applications
A. SIN CHANGES EVERYTHING.
B. Although we cannot know all the reasons why God created the world, we can know He did, and we know He desires a relationship with us
C. All humans are created in God’s image and are therefore worthy of dignity
D. The Creation reveals God’s power and divine nature
E. Creation is both dependent upon and accountable to the Creator
F. God cares for His creation and has left us as stewards of it
G. God has given us a model for marriage, sexuality, and the family
H. People are not “naturally good”, we now have a fallen nature, prone to sin
I. A good Creator must do something about the evil in His creation
J. Conflict in relationships can be traced back to the first sin
K. God makes our work worth doing
L. God makes our future hopeful so as believers we can wait patiently
M. It is possible to walk faithfully with God in a corrupt culture