We are going to discuss the desire of God versus the desires of man, and how Jesus reconciled humanity to God through his death, resurrection and ascension. And by ushering in the age of the Holy Spirit, changes man’s desires to become God’s desires. And challenges us to become part of His plan.
Let’s start by looking at the desires of man. We are aware of our initial sin in the Garden of Eden, let’s take a look at another time when man decided that God’s way wasn’t the best way.
“Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.” Genesis 11:1-9 ESV
In this passage we see man turn his gaze from God, yet again, to himself and his own glory. This construction project didn’t start out as a way to more efficiently use the real estate, they had just moved to this “plain” where the land was plentiful. This tower was meant to show off man’s own glory. And nothing else. They had come from the dry, arid mountains of northern Iraq, and had moved westward into the eastern plains of Syria where many rivers exist and some fertile land is available to grow crops. They had arrived at a land that could sustain them beyond their previous dwelling place. They no longer required God to supply their daily bread…they had more than they needed, they were now wealthy. Furthermore, God saw, that left unchecked, man would ignore or forget God while creating his own glory. God created man to glorify God. That is our main purpose in life. And to so blatantly reject that by calling attention to man’s own self created glory, is to utterly reject the purpose of being alive. If you’ll also notice, humanity was unified in language and purpose…but not God’s purpose. So, as the story unfolds, we see God stepping in to ensure that man would not stay self indulgent in his own ways. God did not allow man to continue on his desired path, but altered the path so as to keep man reliant on God. We all have done this with our children. We don’t allow them to continue doing something that they think is good for themselves because we can see the short or long-term consequences. We don’t do it out of hatred or spite, we do it out of love for our children. So as a result of our sinful desires, God sent us to the ends of the earth and removed our unifying means of communication…our language. Our sinful nature, our desire to please and worship ourselves, caused us to be separated from God…and to be separated from each other.
God sent his son, Jesus, to live out a perfect, sinless life. And then as he was nailed to the cross, His life was given as payment for our sins. And when He was buried in the grave, Satan thought that he had won. But on the third day, Jesus rose from the grave. And by doing so, broke the cycle of sin and death for those who have put their faith in Him. And as the means of spreading this amazing story, Jesus commissioned his disciples, or followers, to spread the good news. And when the Holy Spirit arrived, he reunited these believers in both purpose/direction and miraculously in language once more. You see, God’s dispersal of humanity because of their selfish desires, was reunited in fellowship with Him through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Under the banner of Jesus we have been reunited with God, and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we have all been brought back together in purpose and language to share this good news of Jesus Christ.
We have been given eternity for free. Therefore the cost of true discipleship is to give our everything to God. To relentlessly proclaim the name of Jesus. And to submit and follow to the guidance and instruction of the Holy Spirit. By doing so, we show God that we love Him, as Jesus said in John 14:21. We do not have to prove ourselves worthy of His salvation, he sent Jesus to die for us even before we were born, with the full knowledge of our sinful inventory, so that we might be reunited with God in eternity. So as we now see that God has brought us a way back to Him, and a way back to community with our fellow neighbors by the name of Jesus, and through the celebration of the Holy Spirit, we are propelled into the role as fellow workers. Workers who need to be both willing and available to bring others to the knowledge of Jesus and to disciple them. To disciple someone means we live life alongside them. We hold them accountable to their life decisions as we allow them to do the same for us. We help them seek biblical counsel to life’s issues. And encourage and nurture their sanctification process. We don’t know the exact time or day of Jesus’ return, but we have some clues. Like this passage from Revelation…
“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5:9-14 ESV.
Wow! Did you catch that? …”from every tribe and language and people and nation”… That means that until every people group, every tribe, every dialect or language group has at least one person who has heard and accepted Jesus as Lord, we have work to do.
Let us not work for ourselves. Let us not toil for earthly treasures. Let us not be like the people of Babel. Where we build our own kingdoms for our own glory. Let us not seek to make our name known. Let us seek to use the reunified language of the love of the cross to share Jesus with the world around us!