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God’s Purpose for People - Genesis 1-3

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After spending several weeks considering God’s nature and character, we now turn to mankind. What is the purpose of the people inhabiting this planet? How can we fulfill the God-given destiny that He originally had in mind when He placed us here? Someone once said that the two most significant days in one’s life are first, the day we were born, and second, the day we discovered what we were born for. Let’s go back to the beginning.

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10/25/2020
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God’s Purpose for People
Genesis 1-3
Skip Heitzig
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After spending several weeks considering God’s nature and character, we now turn to mankind. What is the purpose of the people inhabiting this planet? How can we fulfill the God-given destiny that He originally had in mind when He placed us here? Someone once said that the two most significant days in one’s life are first, the day we were born, and second, the day we discovered what we were born for. Let’s go back to the beginning.
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20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly

20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly

Over 175 million people in the United States need some sort of vision correction. From glasses to contacts and corneal reshaping to corrective surgery, there's no question that seeing clearly improves people's quality of life. But what about our spiritual vision? With so many religious, philosophical, and ideological lenses to look through, how do we find the right lens? In this series, Skip Heitzig brings the core doctrines of Christian faith into clear focus. These are the truths that define who God is, who we are, and the choices that every person has to make.

Outline

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  1. God’s Creation of Man (Genesis 1:1-2, 26)

  2. God’s Reflection in Man (Genesis 1:26-31)

    • We Reflect God as Rational Beings

    • We Reflect God as Moral Beings

    • We Reflect God as Immortal Beings

    • We Reflect God as Responsible Beings

  3. God’s Interaction with Man (Genesis 3:8-9)

Study Guide

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Connect Group Recap Notes: October 25, 2020
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "God's Purpose for People"
Text: Genesis 1-3

Path

After spending several weeks considering God's nature and character, we now turn to mankind. What is the purpose of the people inhabiting this planet? How can we fulfill the God-given destiny that He originally had in mind when He placed us here? Someone once said that the two most significant days in one's life are first, the day we were born, and second, the day we discovered what we were born for. In this teaching, Pastor Skip goes back to the beginning to discover God's purpose for people.
  1. God's Creation of Man (Genesis 1:1-2, 26)
  2. God's Reflection in Man (Genesis 1:26-31)
  3. God's Interaction with Man (Genesis 3:8-9)
Points

God's Creation of Man (Genesis 1:1-2, 26)
  • Roughly 3,000 years ago, King David asked God, "What is man that You are mindful of him?" (Psalm 8:4).
  • Throughout the ages, people have pondered the same question (see Aristotle, Ben Franklin, Immanuel Kant, Blaise Pascal, and Mark Twain).
  • According to an Internet survey, the number one question people ask is "What's the meaning of life?"
  • To be truly anthropological (man-oriented), one must be theological, looking to God for the answer.
  • One must begin with the reality that God is real and created all things, humans included.
  • Genesis 1 conveys God's original plan for humanity. In the text, two figures dominate the scene: God and Adam.
  • Throughout history, many have emphasized man over God. The Greek philosopher Protagoras said, "Man is the measure of all things."
  • But the Bible begins with God. Creation resulted from His imagination and is His revelation to His chief creation, humankind.
God's Reflection in Man (Genesis 1:26-31)
  • After five days of creation, God made humans in His image and likeness.
  • To be made in God's image is to bear God's reflection, to be God's representative on earth.
  • Like a mirror, creation reflects the Creator.
  • How do we reflect our Creator?
    • As rational beings. We can think, learn, research, explain, and formulate. We can reason and create. We have relationships based on love.
    • As moral beings. We have an innate sense of morality and justice, of right and wrong. We battle with good and evil and make moral comparisons (ethics).
      • As Paul stated, "The truth about God is known to them instinctively" (Romans 1:19, TLB).
      • Only through a sense of morality comes a sense of accountability, evidence of a principled standard.
    • As immortal beings. No other species is as internally restless as humans. God put eternity in our hearts (see Ecclesiastes 3:11), which prompts us to probe.
    • As responsible beings. In Genesis 1:28, humans are called to subdue the earth. Humans are stewards and managers of God's creation.
  • Made in God's image, we embody God's communicable attributes—reason, emotion, love, and the like.
  • But the image is marred, like scratches on a mirror needing to be restored.
God's Interaction with Man (Genesis 3:8-9)
  • Genesis 3 describes God's interaction with His creation, implying that He walked with Adam and Eve.
  • The Hebrew word for walk means to move among, be at ease with, or be conversant with someone.
  • That tells us that God had fellowship with Adam and Eve; He designed humanity to reciprocate His love.
  • Before creation, God had always existed as three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—a mutual exchange of love and will within the Godhead. With creation, God expanded His love to humans.
  • Do you take advantage of the privilege of walking with God? If not, call out to Him today, inviting Him into your life so you can walk with Him throughout eternity.
Practice

Connect Up: Like David, Job, Paul, and many others throughout the Scriptures made clear, creation acts as a signpost for people to recognize God. Discuss the following points about God's fingerprints in creation.
  • Nothing can't create something. There must be a someone.
  • Non-personality can't create personality. There must be a person behind the process.
  • Why do we all have a moral compass? An Oxford study showed that every culture has at least seven morals. What is the ethical standard God gave humans in the Old Testament (see Exodus 20:1-17)? How does Jesus' ethical standard (see Matthew 22:35-40) relate to those laws?
  • Creation has design and purpose. Try to name one thing in the sphere of manmade things—a clock, computer, smartphone, etc.—that just came to be, without forethought, design, or creation. You can't. It all requires design and purpose. So, too, did creation.
Connect In: As believers, we've been saved—rescued from sin, self, and Satan—and we now have fellowship with God. What is this fellowship to look like? How are we to interact with God and people? Discuss these examples, using Jesus' teaching:
  • From Matthew 5:
    • Attitude (see vv. 1-12): What is our attitude to be?
    • Actions (see vv. 13-20): How are our actions to be seen?
    • Aptitude (forgiveness; see vv. 21-26): What is the ability of our heart?
    • Areas of focus (see vv. 27-48): marriage, oaths, compassion
  • From Matthew 6:
    • Providing for others (see vv. 1-4): How should we give?
    • Prayer (see vv. 5-15): What should prayer be like?
    • Possessions (see vv. 19-24): How should we view belongings?
    • Panic (see vv. 25-34): Should we worry?
    • Pursuit (see v. 33): Who are we to pursue?
Connect Out: Pastor Skip quoted Augustine of Hippo: "You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in You." What points above can you use as a springboard to discuss God with nonbelievers? Pray for the nonbelievers you know.

Transcript

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God's Purpose for People - Genesis 1-3 - Skip Heitzig

God isn't really something to worship.

He's just waiting to destroy all of us.

I guess there's a God out there somewhere.

I hope there is a God.

God isn't really something to worship.

Turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of Genesis, chapter 1. Genesis, chapter 1, I want to bring a message on God's purpose for people. You know, we've been doing this series, 2020, Seeing Truth Clearly. We've been looking really at a systematic theology in a layman's way.

We've been looking at the character and nature of God, the person and work of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit's work in the world and in us believers. And now we want to look at people, at humanity, at you and I. I want to begin with a little fable.

Once upon a time, a little boy found an eagle's egg. And after he found it, he placed it in the nest of a prairie chicken. So the eaglet hatched but grew up in this environment of prairie chickens. So as it grew, thinking it was a prairie chicken, it started doing what prairie chickens do.

It dug in the dirt for seeds and insects. It clucked and cackled like prairie chickens do. It flew in short increments, furiously flapping its wings but not going very far. And it did that for years. And one day when the eagle was very, very old, it looked up in the sky and noticed this magnificent bird soaring overhead, hardly beating its wings as it glided through the atmosphere.

And it said, what is that. And one of the other prairie chicken's neighbors said, that is an eagle. It is the chief of all the birds.

But then quickly said, but don't give it a second thought. You could never be like him. So the eagle never gave it a second thought and died thinking it was a prairie chicken.

That little fable is by way of introduction to simply say that we've been lied to by this culture. This culture has basically said, you're all a bunch of prairie chickens. You're an accident.

You're ape-like, though advanced in your evolutionary stages. But you are simply an animal, an accident, a cosmic accident, when, in fact, you were meant to soar like an eagle. You are uniquely made as God's crowning creation.

Now 3,000 years ago, David who wrote many of the Psalms, asked a question that has been asked, reverberated, through the ages by a number of people, including philosophers. And that is the question, what is man. What is man? Psalm 8, David said, "When I consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained, what is man?"

Now that question, what is man, is what I want to talk to you about today. Not everybody answers that question the same way. What does it mean to be human?

One of the great philosophers Immanuel Kant was taking long summer walks as he often did. He was walking in his neighborhood, stopped in a park, sat on a bench for several hours, and just sat there. And a policeman saw him and walked over to him and wanted to know what he's doing. He says, what are you doing.

And Kant said, I'm thinking. A policeman inquired further and said, who are you. And Immanuel Kant, that great philosopher, turned to the police officer and said, that's precisely the problem that I've been thinking about. Who am I?

Now the study of that is called anthropology. Anthropology, the study of humanity, mankind, behavior, practices, origin, past, and present. And the question, what is man or who are we, is one of the most fundamental questions.

In fact, I noticed the other day an internet survey that said, of all the questions that people ask on the internet, the number one question is, what is the purpose of life. In effect, what is man? Why are we here? What is the reason for our existence?

Now some people answer that question through different lenses. Some answer it through the lens of philosophy. Some answer it through the lens of biomechanics, and so you get a variety of answers. But let me throw up a smattering of what people have said we are.

So Mark Twain said, "Man, the machine." Man, the machine, very, very basic level. Aristotle called us, "a political animal." I suppose that is true, especially in the next coming weeks. More and more of us are acting like political animals.

Ben Franklin said, "a tool-making animal." Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, said, "Man is a reed; the most feeble thing in nature." And I wanted to throw up what Buckminster Fuller said. You go, who is that guy.

That guy invented the geodesic dome. He was a futuristic thinker and architect. But listen to his description of humanity. "The human is a self-balancing, 28 jointed, adapter-biped, an electrochemical reduction plant."

Didn't that make you feel great? That's what you are. Listen, all of those things, that's like telling an eagle, you're a prairie chicken.

That is not the full scope. That is not what it means to be human. So we need better answers than that.

To be anthropological, you must first be theological. You have to discover where you came from. And if you are created, what that Creator's original intention was for you. That's how you answer the question, what it is to be human.

So let us discover in the book of Genesis, what it means by three distinct stages. That is God's creation of man and God's reflection in man and, finally, God's interaction with man. Let's begin at the beginning, Genesis, chapter 1, verse 1, God's creation of man.

We're told, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The Earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light."

I'll take you down to verse 26. Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the bird of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'"

Now that verse-- verse 26-- is the verse of primary reference. Meaning, it's the first time we discover God's intention for what He created in mankind. It's a verse of primary reference when it comes to humanity. This is God's original intention.

God created people. Artists have depicted that for centuries. I want to show you probably the most famous depiction of that. You've seen that before.

This is the-- at least in pictures, you've seen it-- this is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Rome. This is painted in 1508 to 1512, 500 years ago, put up there by Michelangelo, spent four years on a 70-foot scaffold painting the ceiling. There is a lot of images on the ceiling. But the two most prominent ones are Adam on the left and God on the right.

It's a picture of Creation. It is Genesis 1:26 put in art form. So we have a picture of Adam lying on the ground and sort of languidly with his hand out, not really purposefully, just sort of hanging there in midair.

This is what art curators will point out. But God moving toward man, He's the initiator. He has a more purposeful point because God is the One who is creating Adam.

Now what people do in looking at art like this-- and it's part of a vast ceiling-- is they'll say, there are two images that dominate the scene, God and Adam. And depending on your worldview, you will make more of one than the other. So, for instance, if you were a Greek thousands of years ago, the Greek worldview was man-centered, anthropocentric. They lived in an antropocentric world.

That was the mistake they made. They began with themselves and built outwardly and upward. And as they wanted to find out their purpose, they had to fill in a lot of gaps, a lot of blanks. They had to make stuff up, so they came up with gods and goddesses, a whole pantheon belief system of beings that did things that explained why the world is the way the world is.

Now all of that-- not all of that-- but a lot of that comes from a philosopher, a Greek philosopher, in the fifth century BC named Pythagoras. Pythagoras said, man is the measure of all things. Man is the measure of all things. That's the worldview, man-centered, anthropocentric, all about us. And they built their system outwardly.

The Bible does not do that. The Bible, on the other hand, is theocentric, God-centered, because God initiated things. So rather than looking at it and filling in the gaps with speculation and imagination, like the Greeks did, the Bible gives us revelation. God explains to us what He did and what He meant to do in making mankind.

There was a college class, and I think it was a biology class. And the professor stated that the goal of the class was to instruct his students that the only hope of civilization is in the pursuit and application of scientific knowledge. That's what this class is about, he said. And he explained to his students, I have no room for God.

I have no room for religion. I don't believe in metaphysics. This is science, and that's all life is. And the only hope for the future is that.

Well, at the end of the semester, each student wanted the professor to not only evaluate the student but write a reference for the student's future. So one of the students by the name of John did that, and the professor gave this description of John. He said, "John, biological description, John is a living organism. Group, vertebrate. Class, mammalia.

Order, primates. Genus, Homo. Species, sapiens. OK. Body structure, organs, tissues, and cells, protoplasm, five organs of sight, taste, touch, sound, and smell. Chemical description, a large quantity of carbon, some gallons of H2O, various amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, lime, nitrogen, and some mineral salts. Psychological description, mind, conscience, and unconscious, intellectual, emotional, volitional powers, various instincts, IQ 130."

Now so far, it's a very accurate description of John scientifically, but it still does not define what it is to be human. So listen to the concluding paragraph of the professor. "I hope John will fit as an admirable unit into the various machines, industrial and commercial and so on, that make up our scientifically planned society.

But, regrettably, I have serious misgivings about this. There is something in John that refuses to be cribbed, cabined, and confined, and reaches out to a fulfillment beyond the capacity of a machine-like destiny to supply. In his eager pursuit of scientific knowledge and passionate love of music, as well as in the deep discontent to which he once confessed his inability to live up to his own ideals, it seems to me that John is on a quest that existence, even in a four-dimensional space-time continuum, can never satisfy."

Now let me give you my translation of that in Skip English. He's saying, we've been telling John his whole life he's a prairie chicken. But John knows something else is up. John believes that he's an eagle, and he can fly, so he's not satisfied. There's something in John that reaches out beyond this.

So that takes me to my second stage here. After God's creation of man, we have God's reflection in man. And I want to zero in on these verses, verse 26 again. "Let Us make man in Our image."

That's what I want to focus on. "According to our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

So God created man in His own image. In the image of God, He created him." By the way, the Bible uses that terminology and reference of we're made in the image of God six times. "Male and female, He created them.

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth, subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over every living thing that moves on the earth.' And God said, 'See, I have given you every herb that yields seed, which is on the face of all the earth. Every tree whose fruit yield seed, to you it shall be for food.

Also to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, to everything that creeps on the earth in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food,' and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. So evening and morning were the sixth day."

What we have in Genesis 1 is essentially a summation of five days of Creation and then a sixth. In the five days of creation, God made a bunch of stuff, looked at it, and said, I like it, or "It's good." On day six, He paused. And He said, I want to make something different.

I'm going to make something that reflects My image, My glory. It's amazing to think that when God wanted to think of something that would reflect His image, He made you. You ain't no prairie chicken if you're in the image of God.

To be in the image of God is to bear the reflection of God, to be His representative on Earth. Two Hebrew words here, image and likeness, they roughly refer to the same thing. They're Hebrew words that refer to something that is similar but not necessarily identical, similar but not identical.

So a mirror, how is that? A mirror gives you an image. You look in it. You have an image of yourself.

You may like it. You may not, but it's an image. You can orient the mirror in a different way and get an image of somebody else. You can see other things. But the image is in the mirror.

As our lives are oriented toward God, we can reflect the glory of God. What that means is, I'm not just protoplasm. I'm not just a bunch of chemicals. I am different from a dog or a cat or a whale or a spotted owl or an orangutan.

I've always loved the story of the man who went to the zoo. He knew the zookeeper. He goes to the zoo, and he's going through all the little exhibits.

And he goes to an orangutan exhibit, and he notices that the orangutan is sitting there with two books, one in each hand. One is a Bible. The other is Darwin's Origin of the Species. And he's thinking, no way.

So he starts talking out loud. He goes, excuse me, you can't actually read, can you. The orangutan looked at him and said, of course, I can. And so the man said, well, do you understand what you're reading.

The orangutan looked puzzled, and he said, well, I'm not so sure. Because this book-- holding up the Bible-- says that I am my brother's keeper. But this book says, I am my keeper's brother. And so I have a conflict going on. Which is it?

You are made in the image of God. God formed us. Look at chapter 2 really quickly. And, again, we're just looking at a few verses. We're not really digging deep here.

Chapter 2 of Genesis, verse 7, "The Lord God formed man." Out of what? "Dust." Wait a minute, dust, dirt. That's pretty humbling, a dirt clod.

"The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground"-- ah-- but "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became," in Hebrew, a "nephesh," a soul, a living being, it's translated. "The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed." Pretty humbling in one hand to realize the origins of a dirt clod. Pretty amazing on the other hand to think of the image of God.

So we have a combination of something very low and something very high. Let's call it dust and glory. Dust and glory combined. Yeah, physically speaking, we're made up of a bunch of chemicals.

And I remember in school, some my teachers would say, you know, if you were to add up all of the chemicals in your body, your body would only be worth $2. That doesn't make a kid feel really good about himself. That's telling an eagle he's a prairie chicken.

And actually my teacher was wrong. Today, in this day and age, accounting for inflation, your body chemicals are worth about $160, but that's not the point. If you evaluate your life only in those terms, you're speaking, bawk, prairie chicken language, not eagle talk.

So what does it mean to reflect God's image? Well, there's a few things, and I put them in your worship folder. I'm just going to touch on these four things. It means, first of all, we are God's reflection in that we are rational beings.

We are rational beings. Now, not always, sometimes we're quite irrational and erratic and crazy. Right now, we're in political season. People get a whole lot of crazy going on right now.

But we are rational beings. We have intellectual power. We can think. We can learn.

We can research. We can explain. We can formulate thought. Animals do not do this. They cannot do this.

Only TV animals do that, OK? I grew up with Mr Ed. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world, a talking horse. I want a talking horse. But that only works on TV.

Disney characters can talk, right? Mickey Mouse can talk, Donald Duck. (IMPERSONATING DONALD DUCK) Hi, I'm Donald, he can talk but not in real life. Only we can reason. We can evaluate.

We can have original thought. Animals react to stimuli. We, like God, can create. We can make paintings and sculptures and music, and we can imagine. We can build.

We have relationships of love. Animals have instinct. Animals can mate. Animals can show affection, but that's not love.

You go, oh, no, I know my dog loves me. You are explaining a disruption in the endocrine system of the animal essentially. That's about it. It's not love like on the relational level that we have. We are rational beings, like our Creator.

Another aspect of this is not only are we rational beings, we are moral beings. We have a sense of morality, a sense of justice, an inner sense of right and wrong, just as God, who made oftentimes these binary comparisons. That's right. That's wrong.

That's good. That's evil. That's just. That's unjust.

That's righteous. That's unrighteous. We have a conscience.

That's part of our humanity. That's why humans battle with good and evil. My pets do not.

CS Lewis referred to this as the "moral law," the moral law, that people innately have a sense of just versus unjust. Animals don't do this. Animals respond to the fear of punishment or the hope of reward. But God put a moral law within us, granted it varies from culture to culture. There's a lot of programming that goes along with that.

But in Romans, chapter 1, verse 19, Paul writes, "For the truth of God is known to them"-- that is, to us-- "instinctively." Now with this sense of morality comes a sense of destiny and a sense of accountability. The only reason we know the world is crooked-- we look out there and go, man, the world's so messed up, it's so crooked-- is because we have in our conscience the idea of something being perfectly straight by which to compare it to. That is the moral law.

We would say without reservation Mother Teresa is better than Adolf Hitler. Now we don't mean that she has a better posture than Adolf Hitler, or that her breath smells better than Adolf Hitler. We're speaking in moral comparisons, that one has a better character than the other. We know this intuitively.

A third aspect of being in the image of God is we are immortal beings, immortal beings. Isaiah said of God, God dwells or inhabits eternity. He inhabits eternity. He'll live forever, from beginning to end.

You and I, the Bible tells us, also are immortal. Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, "God set eternity in their hearts." This is a quality that humans have that cannot be explained by science or evolution. We yearn for something. Like John in the biology class, we have a yearning that this scientific world cannot explain.

Now it's been estimated that if you were to look at what you do in your lifetime, if you were to add up seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months, that all together in your lifetime, you will spend 20 straight years sleeping. You will spend another 20 years working. You will spend seven years playing, five years getting dressed, one year on the phone-- some of you all spend a lot more than that on the phone.

You will spend eight months opening junk mail. That's all part of life. That's the routines we go through. But we were made for eternity. He said eternity in their hearts.

By the way, we talk about anthropology-- comes from the Greek word, "anthropos," for man. "Anthropos," that Greek word, comes from two words combined that literally means "one who looks up." We are ones who look up. No other species is as restless as we are.

Animals are satisfied once their needs are met. So I have a couple dogs. Let me just show you. This is my excuse to put my pets up.

So these are my two dogs. The guy in the couch is Mack. Mack is the old man in the herd. He's been around a while.

And the one on the rug, this is Maisie. They're both little Welsh terriers, cute little pups. She's just about eight months old. We take care of them.

We pet them. We feed them. They play. They go on walks, and obviously they sleep.

I have never seen those creatures worry. I've never seen Mack over in the corner, putting his head in his paw, going, slurp, man, coronavirus. He's never done that.

I have never seen them contemplating the meaning of their existence, the meaning of life. To them, that is the meaning of life right there, sleeping, eating, snoozing, playing, getting a snack, going on walks. That is to them the meaning of life.

We alone have a sense of restlessness. There's something beyond this, we think. God has given us that eternal capacity. That's what prompts us to probe.

That's why your kids ask so many questions. "Why, Daddy? Why that? Well, then what happens, Dad?"

They're probing. They want to know more. They're yearning beyond just this.

St. Augustine put it so beautifully when he said, "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee." So we are rational beings, moral beings. We're immortal beings.

And a fourth-- certainly not the end of the list-- but, fourth, we are responsible beings. We are a responsible being. Verse 28, it says, "God blessed them"-- that is the first man and woman-- "and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over every living thing that moves on the earth."

You are different from all the other animals. I want you to rule over this planet. Subdue is the Hebrew word, "kabash," which means to tread upon. It's still a word we use in our slang. Put a kabash on it.

It's from that Hebrew word, "to tread upon." The word, "have dominion," means to subjugate or to rule. Back to Psalm 8, where David said, "What is man, that You are mindful of him?" In that Psalm, David, in describing us, said, "You"-- to God-- "You have made him"-- that is us-- "You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands.

You have put all things under his feet." In other words, we are managers of this Creation. We are stewards of Creation. There is to be a theology of Creation care that we work off of simply because this is God's world, and God put us here to manage it and to care for it.

So we are not only created by God, we are reflections of God. We are in His image, far different than animals. When something goes awry, and you hear a news article about violence or extremism, and I hear people say, this is so horrible. Look at those people acting like animals.

Well, your educational system has told them for decades, that's what they are. So when they start acting like what you say they are, why should you be surprised at that? You've been telling them they're prairie chickens when God's intention is that they soar like eagles, made in His image.

So we are in God's image. We embody God's communicable attributes of reason, of emotion, of love, et cetera. But-- and I haven't even touched on this-- the image has been marred. The mirror is scratched.

That's where sin comes in. That's where the Fall comes in. That's also part of this story. We haven't touched on it yet.

And that's the reason that Jesus is needed, to restore the image that has fallen. But we'll get into that next time. What I want to show you this time is not only God's creation of man and reflection in man, but finally God's interaction with man.

This is all part of the purpose. Go to Genesis, chapter 3. Again, just skimming a couple verses, Genesis, chapter 3 in verse 6, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings." A very humorous in many ways story, but I don't have time to get into all that my mind's thinking. I'll do that next time.

But here's what I want to show you. Verse 8, "And they heard the sound"-- get this-- "of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." What up with that?

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called to Adam and said, 'Where are you?'"

This is an amazing description. God made some kind of an appearance in the garden. Can't tell you exactly how or what, some manifestation of His glory, maybe a luminescent apparition of some kind. We don't know how God appeared in the garden, some visible form.

But the word is used here, walking, walking in the cool of the day. A better translation would be walking to and fro in the garden in the breeze of the day. I infer from that, the evening time, when things cool off.

So the way it's worded in this verse, it sounds like this was customary. That God sort of showed up at a set time every day to take a walk with His creation, Adam and Eve, to have a daily chat with God. The word walking in Hebrew is the word, "halakha," which means to move among, to be at ease with, to be conversant with. In other words, God created man for a purpose, not just to reflect His glory, His image, but to have fellowship with, to reciprocate God's love.

Now I'll just touch on this because I don't want to get deep into the weeds of this. We've already stated before in this series-- 2020 Seeing Truth Clearly-- we've stated that God by His very nature is independent. He is the only what we call non-contigent being in the universe. What it means basically is He doesn't need anything or anyone.

He's perfectly OK just by himself. And before He created human beings, He had a loving relational fellowship in the Trinity between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That's what's up in verse 26 when they pause in Creation and have this inner trinitarian discussion. "Hey, let Us make man in Our image." And so in the image of God, God made man and woman.

So in that fellowship they had one another, there is a desire to expand the circle of fellowship, expand the relational circle, the circle of love. "Let Us make man in Our image." So God's creation of man was so that His reflection would be in man. But the ultimate purpose is that God might interact with man and woman, fellowship, intimacy, to be conversant with, at ease with, to interact with.

Now let me just end there and say this. Ask a question. Do you take advantage of that privilege? Do you take advantage of God's desire to walk with you?

God has a desire. God has a purpose for you. And one of His purposes for you is that you know Him, that He walk with you, that you do life together with Him. Do you walk with God?

Is that a concern of yours? Is that a stated goal in your head, in your heart? I want to walk with God. I want to live to please God. I want to know God.

It should be. It's why you're here. Sometimes I take walks. I take my dogs on walks but-- dogs on walks-- actually they pull me, but that's another story. Sometimes I go on walks alone. And when I do, it's usually a prayer walk.

I like to walk and pray. And I get the idea that I'm actually talking to God, like in this kind of a situation. And oftentimes I'll be praying out loud, so my neighbors think it's the crazy old man that talks to himself on walks. But I'm really trying to just have a prayer walk talk with God. But the question I want to leave with you is, do you take advantage of God's desire to walk with you.

Albert Einstein once said, "Scientists make poor philosophers." But every now and then, you get a scientist who makes a great philosopher. And one of those, I think, was one of the great scientific minds of all times, and that is Sir Isaac Newton.

Sir Isaac Newton is widely regarded as the one who discovered gravitation. Sir Isaac Newton said that he could take his telescope and look millions of miles into space with his telescope. But what you may not know is Sir Isaac Newton was a strong Christian believer.

And though he was this great scientific mind and studied the universe, he said this. And I want to close with this quote. He said, "But when I lay it aside"-- when I lay my telescope aside after looking into the heavens-- "when I lay it aside, go into my room, shut the door, get down on my knees in earnest prayer, I see more of Heaven and feel closer to the Lord than if I were assisted by all the telescopes on Earth."

Such a great, great statement of a scientific mind. He said, but I know why I'm here. I'm here to be in relationship with my Creator.

So do you take advantage? Do you walk with Him? Do you know the Creator? Have you found your purpose in life?

You are not a prairie chicken. I know you look around at a lot of us. You go, I see prairie chicken. But that's the marring of the image.

That's the scratch on the glass. We're meant to soar with our Creator. We're meant to know Him and walk with Him, to interact with Him.

It could be that some of you don't even know God yet. Yeah, you'll come to church. You'll visit. You know people who do that, and you think maybe that's a good thing, to expose yourself to that.

So you do that, and you think about the thoughts that are being said. But you don't have this relationship that we're talking about with God. If you want, it can begin right now. It's that simple.

God made it that simple, that He will draw near to you if you draw near to Him. The Bible tells us that. You say, so how do I know if it's true? Try it.

You can philosophize all your life about it, or you can actually step over the line and receive Him as Lord and Savior. Give your life to the One who gave you life. Paul calls that the smartest thing you could ever do, your reasonable service.

Let's pray and maybe some of you want to do that. Father, thank you for the opportunity to get together, to look at, to uncover, drill down into what we believe to be Your Word, revelation, not speculation, not imagination, but revelation. You laid it down, what You did, what You were thinking, why we are here, what Your purpose is for us.

Thank you that we could do that. Lord, it's edifying whenever we do, especially when we discover that we are far more than just chemicals or protoplasm. We are meant to walk with our Creator, to soar like eagles.

Father, I pray for those here who may not know You yet, haven't had a personal relationship with You. They've never volitionally, cognizantly, personally given You the reins of their life. You've given us incredible power called volition, free choice, free will. And we can say yes or no.

We do it every day of our lives. And we can even do that with You to You. We can say yes to You or no to You. I pray that more will say yes to You today.

And if you're here and you want to say yes to Him, then tell Him. Talk to Him right where you're seated or wherever you're watching this or listening to this. Just give Him control.

Say, Lord, I give you my life. Tell Him that right now. Lord, I give You my life.

You gave me life. I'm giving my life back to You. I give You my life. I know I'm a sinner. Forgive me.

I failed, forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe He came here to Earth. I believe He died on a cross, and I believe He rose from the dead.

I turn from my past. I turn from my sin. I repent of it. I turn to Jesus as Lord, Savior.

Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Help me to live a life in fellowship with You. I want to walk with my God. Help me, help me, in Jesus' name, amen.

Let's all stand. If you did pray that prayer, would you identify yourself after the service? And all that means is just find one of the pastors that have a badge that say "Pastor" on it. You're going to look at someone and go, really, you're a pastor.

But if it says "Pastor," they are one. And just say, I prayed that prayer. I prayed that prayer. We would-- if you want to see a man get really stoked really quick, tell him that you prayed to receive Christ.

And you're going to find that those pastors are going to give you next steps to take. We're going to put materials in your hands that have been sanitized and washed and hazmatted and everything else. You'll be OK, good to go with that.

But we want to welcome you into God's family. We sincerely want to walk you through the next steps of a relationship with God. Best journey you can ever take. Let's sing together.

We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/14/2020
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Seeing Truth Clearly
2 Timothy 4:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Hiram Johnson said, "The first casualty in war is truth." God’s people have been in a cosmic battle since the fall. Satan’s first allegation against truth was in Genesis 3:1: "Has God indeed said...?" Deception regarding truth is Satan's primary occupation. We now live in what might be dubbed a post-truth culture wherein the very idea of absolute truth is considered archaic and even offensive. In this series, we will look to the "Scripture of Truth" (Daniel 10:21) to reinforce our foundation and engender biblical literacy. Here at the end of Paul's life, he could foresee the abandonment of truth, and he gave Timothy this antidote: "Preach the Word!"
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6/21/2020
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Seeing God as Father
Luke 11:2
Skip Heitzig
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God is presented in Scripture by a variety of images. He is called our Rock, our Refuge, our Warrior, our Shepherd, our Shield, our Hiding Place, our Redeemer, our Fountain, our Husband, and our Vinedresser. But no motif is as powerful and personal as seeing God as our Father. With this title, the invisible God becomes the intimate God. Today, on Father’s Day, we consider the singular phrase "Our Father in heaven" as an introduction to the doctrine of God. Let’s turn over each word and mine the depths of the riches contained in this great verse.
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6/28/2020
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How Can I Relate to God?
Exodus 32-34
Skip Heitzig
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The subject of God is the loftiest of all themes and the pinnacle of all pursuits. For some people, the idea of God is absurd because He is not readily perceived by the senses, like a flower or another person. But as we learn who God is and how perceptible He is to us, I think we’ll be both lifted up and humbled all at the same time. Today we trace the journey that every person must take who wants to relate to the God of the universe. Let’s examine five stages of this relationship.
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7/5/2020
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Biblical History: Fact or Fancy?
Dr. Steven Collins
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Dr. Steven Collins serves as the dean of the College of Archaeology at Veritas International University and a consulting research professor at Trinity Southwest University. He is also the director of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan, which is believed to be the location of Sodom.
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7/12/2020
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Hello, I’m God!
Exodus 34:5-9
Skip Heitzig
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People have written and spoken about God for millennia. It’s what I have done for nearly four decades. But today we get to hear from God Himself as He gives to Moses His own autobiography. Here He introduces Himself by stating His name and His occupation as God. He states His primary character traits, thus framing what our relationship with Him is going to be like. This is a primary passage of Scripture, meaning other biblical authors make reference to it later on in their writings. Let’s find out what God says about Himself.
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7/19/2020
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Knowing the God Who Knows You
Psalm 139:1-6, 23-24
Skip Heitzig
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A person with knowledge can be intimidating. They spew facts and figures and can dizzy us with information and understanding. But rightly seen, a study of God’s comprehensive knowledge can be a source of great comfort to us. In this series, 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we come to grips with the fact that God sees everything most clearly. His knowledge is vast, infinite, comprehensive, specific, and personal. But let’s observe how God’s omniscience can become inspiring rather than intimidating.
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7/26/2020
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Here, There, and Everywhere
Psalm 139:7-12
Skip Heitzig
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One of the Beatles’ most melodic hits expressed a couple’s romantic desire to be together at all times and in all places and was simply titled, “Here, There and Everywhere.” This title also expresses a unique attribute of God (what theologians call an incommunicable attribute). He is everywhere present in the totality of His being! This may be one of the hardest-to-understand characteristics of God, but one that brings great comfort to us.
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8/2/2020
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The Unrivaled Power of God
Psalm 139:13-18
Skip Heitzig
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God is called Almighty fifty-seven times in Scripture. It means that the resources of His power are boundless. He is unlimited in His ability and unconstrained in His capacity. God’s attribute of omnipotence is helpful for us to remember when we are feeling overwhelmed with threatening circumstances. Just as we feel confident when our mobile devices have plenty of battery power to spare, we can live confidently knowing that our great God has power for any of our problems.
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8/9/2020
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Holy, Holy, Holy!
Isaiah 6:1-8
Skip Heitzig
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Holiness sounds scary. Thoughts of dusty, cloistered halls of a monastery fill our minds when we hear the word. We might think of chants and long prayers rather than anthems and short prayers. It hardly seems like an appropriate word for the twenty-first century! But according to one theologian, God’s holiness is the one attribute that binds all His other attributes together. This is the characteristic that most uniquely describes God. Let’s consider it today.
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8/16/2020
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One Plus One Plus One Equals One?
John 14:1-18
Skip Heitzig
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One of the most fundamental yet challenging truths in Scripture is the doctrine of the Trinity. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Try to explain it and you might lose your mind, but try to explain it away and you might lose your soul. The Bible openly teaches the plurality within the Godhead—three persons who are distinct from one another yet perfectly One in essence. How are we to think about this? And how should it affect us personally?
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8/23/2020
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Pain: God’s Biggest Problem
John 9:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Perhaps the biggest impediment to believing in God (as stated by those who don’t) is the presence of pain and suffering in the world. How can there be a God who is benevolent and omnipotent with the sheer volume of grief, misery, travail, and torment at any given moment? Today we explore the theme of a loving God in a universe pockmarked by pain. As Jesus was in Jerusalem with His disciples, they came across a blind man. I’d like to show you four features of this most common and universal of human experiences.
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8/30/2020
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Christ Jesus Our Lord
Philippians 2:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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At the very center of history’s stage stands Jesus Christ. He has no peers. The Father in heaven sent Him on the mission of redemption and He humbly surrendered. When it was accomplished, He conquered death itself by resurrection and returned to glory. In what is considered by many to be the greatest single statement about Jesus Christ in the New Testament, Paul succinctly framed His humiliation, His exaltation, and His example to us.
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9/6/2020
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The Atonement: His Death, Our Life
John 12:20-33
Skip Heitzig
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Wasn’t there any other way for God to save human beings than by sending His Son to die? The very idea of a bloody crucifixion sounds brutal and barbarous to some, yet it is the centerpiece of our faith. What is the big deal about the atonement? Why the cross? Why had it been the plan of God through the ages? Today we examine the death of Christ for us and, in His own words, His own estimation of its necessity and consequence.
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9/13/2020
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He’s Alive! Proofs of the Resurrection
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
Skip Heitzig
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Just as your own heart is the pump that brings life-giving blood to your entire body, so is the resurrection of Jesus that gives life to the gospel message. Without it, our faith would be totally useless; our message would be utterly powerless. The resurrection is also what separates Jesus Christ from every other spiritual leader and would-be messiah. It validates His teaching. It authenticates His claims. It substantiates His promises. And it corroborates our confidence in Him as our Savior and Lord.
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9/20/2020
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The Holy Spirit in the World
John 16:5-11
Skip Heitzig
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We are not alone in the universe! That’s the premise of most sci-fi documentaries, but I’m not referring to alien life from another galaxy, rather to the living God Himself. In particular, I am referring to the Holy Spirit. He has a particular role when it comes to working in this world, and that is to awaken people to their great need for Christ. In our series 20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly, we will turn in the next few weeks to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. What is His role in the life of the unbeliever and the life of the believer?
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10/11/2020
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Who Is the Holy Spirit?
John 16
Nate Heitzig
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There can be a lot of mystery and misinformation surrounding the Holy Spirit. When we look to Scripture, however, the third person of the Godhead comes into clear focus. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig describes the person of the Holy Spirit, His work both at scale in the world and individually in the hearts of believers, and how He helps you gain a deeper understanding of God's Word.
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10/18/2020
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Help Has Arrived!
John 14:15-18
Skip Heitzig
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Someone said to me this past week, “Life is hard, but God is good!” We all know it’s true. To live for God in an ungodly world is challenging, sometimes daunting. But God never intended for us to try it alone! He has provided for us a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is not only at work in the world around us but is very busy working inside of us. Let’s drill down into the promise Jesus gave to His disciples in the upper room about the coming Spirit.
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11/1/2020
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The Dark Side
Romans 3:10-26
Nate Heitzig
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God created humans in His own image. But even with God's imprint in humanity, people have a dark side—a sin nature—because of Adam and Eve's rebellion. One consequence of our rebellion against God is guilt, but in today's society, many people try to minimize both sin and guilt by casting them in a deceptively benign light. In this teaching, Nate Heitzig looks at what the book of Romans has to say about our true condition and its only remedy.
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11/15/2020
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Once Dead, Now Alive!
Ephesians 2:1-7
Skip Heitzig
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Of all the doctrines that adorn the New Testament, salvation is the most personal and the most transformative. Below are the various stages that every saved person goes through in coming to Christ. Today, try to remember what it was like for you when Jesus became real to you and you realized your need for Him to save you, then answer this fundamental question: How has your conversion changed your contentment?
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11/22/2020
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I’m a Christian—Now What?
Romans 8:12-17
Skip Heitzig
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Once you decide to repent from your past, say yes to Jesus Christ, and invite Him into your heart, you begin a lifelong relationship with Him. Nothing stays the same. Paul wrote, “Those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). Conversion is the gateway to transformation. Let’s consider four clear experiences that happen in the life of everyone who believes.
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11/29/2020
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The Angels of God
Hebrews 1
Skip Heitzig
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Angels are largely relegated to the realms of mythology and childhood fantasy. Most people never think about them. But angels are very, very real. Martin Luther commented, “An angel is a spiritual creature created by God without a body, for the service of Christendom and of the church.” He was partly correct, but angels serve an even greater role than being strictly for the church. Their ministry objective is principally concerned with the glory and majesty of God. Let’s explore some of the noteworthy traits that angels have.
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There are 21 additional messages in this series.
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