SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD #1
By David J. Riggs
(Note: I am indebted to brother Sewell Hall for most of the thoughts
in the following two sermons on "Seeking the Face of God.")
A. Let me begin by asking a few questions. "What picture comes
to your mind when you think about the first people who lived
on the earth? What kind of place did they live in? What kind
of things did they do? What were their relationships with one
B. In answering those questions, what comes to your mind?
1. Do you perhaps think of a cave man and his wife? Do
you see them acting like animals? Do you see them
struggling to use fire and tools? Do you see them trying
to escape from prehistoric animals, lacking intelligence,
and the ability to communicate? Do you see no evidence
of morality, or religion? Do you see people who were
purely self centered, interested only in their survival?
C. If so, you have been influenced too much by the teachings of
this world: things taught in the classrooms, on TV, in movies,
or the national geographic.
1. There is something that is rather attractive in the worldly
a. If that were the way it was, we are flattered that we
have come so far. Look at how far we have come
from those cave man beginnings!
b. Not only that, we have an excuse for any evil
behavior, because after all we are just going back to
our roots. There are no moral and spiritual goals to
be achieved because there was no such thing from
I. THE BIBLE IMAGE OF THE FIRST MAN IS ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT.
A. God created man in his own image, after His likeness. Gen.
1. Thus, man was created intelligent, articulate, free willed,
moral, knowledgeable, discerning, loving, innocent, at
peace with God, at peace with one another, and at peace
2. This is a challenge to mankind because it shows us what
we had been as well as what we can be.
3. It calls us to a higher goal than from the animal world.
B. A sister spoke of how much she enjoyed making porcelain
dolls. She was asked, "Do you sell them?" She answered,
"No. When I make them, they're my babies. I wouldn't think
of selling them because I've put too much of myself into
1. God made you and me, and He put Himself into us. We
are made in His likeness.
a. We are His children, He loves us, and doesn't want
to give us up.
2. However, man has made it terribly hard on God.
a. In fact, in the beginning, the man and woman that
He made directly in his image, sinned against Him,
and lost many of the benefits He provided.
II. MAN LOST AT LEAST FIVE THINGS WHEN HE SINNED AGAINST GOD.
A. In the first place, he lost his trust and loyalty to God.
1. There was obviously distrust in the mind of man or he
never would have bought the devil's lie that God said to
not eat of that tree just so he would not become like
God. Gen. 3:4-5
B. Secondly, he lost his innocence.
1. Sometime people say, "Why was it so serious for man to
simply eat from a certain tree?"
2. It is serious because His Maker had instructed him not to
a. He had violated the will of His Maker, and whenever
anyone does that, it is a very serious matter, and
must be dealt with.
b. Those who mock at sin are fools. Prov. 14:9
C. Thirdly, he lost his fellowship with God.
1. He had been closely related to God, closely associated
with God, but now he had sinned against God, and
though there was distrust before the sin, now there was
alienation. Col. 1:21
2. Once man is a sinner, he is in darkness, and there can be
no relationship between him and God who is light. 1
D. Fourth, man lost, at least in part, his likeness to God.
1. He was still made in God's image, but now unholy man is
not altogether like the all-holy God.
2. Thus, he lost this image of God in its perfection.
E. Fifth, man lost Eden.
1. He lost the harmony and peace that characterized the
garden of Eden.
2. His sin brought a loss of harmony even with his own
a. I can just imagine when God called man to account,
he said, "The woman that you gave me, she gave me
b. You can almost see his face red, and hear his voice
raised as he points a finger of accusation at his wife.
c. You can imagine how embarrassed and how
distressed she was because he was blaming it all on
(1) Those kind of thoughts never entered their
minds, but now sin had introduced this loss of
3. Driven from the garden, they found they had no more
harmony with nature.
a. It was in pain that the woman would bear her
children. Gen. 3:16
(1) And it was with greatest difficulty, by the
sweat of his brow, that man would raise the
things that were necessary for his survival.
b. Man had lost much by sin, so much that he, by
himself alone, could never again replace what he had
III. SUBSEQUENT GENERATIONS OF MAN.
A. These things can be said of Adam and Eve, but what about
their descendants who lived after them?
B. Down through history, we see two streams of individuals, and
those two streams are illustrated by two of the children of
Adam and Eve, Cain and Seth.
1. There is an interesting statement concerning Cain in the
fourth chapter of the book of Genesis, that he "went out
from the presence of the Lord." Gen. 2:16
a. He went out from the presence of the Lord. He did
it both physically and spiritually
b. As far as we can determine, all of his descendants
went deeper and deeper into sin, until they all
perished in the flood.
2. Many have since walked in the way of Cain.
a. Job speaks about people in his day who said to God
- Job 21:14-15.
b. Paul summarizes the movements of mankind, those
who walked in the way of Cain, in the first chapter
of the book of Romans.
c. It seems to me that the key to this passage is verse
28 which says - Rom. 1:28.
d. They did not want God; they wanted no part of
God. What was the consequence? Rom. 1:29-31
e. Are we not seeing the same things in our day?
(1) We see homosexuality being promoted more
and more; we see children murdering other
(2) What is the basic root cause of all this? It is all
the result of people not wanting to retain God
in their knowledge.
C. But thank God there was another stream.
1. When Seth, a descendant of Adam, had a son, it is said -
a. Instead of walking and going out from His presence,
they sought to renew their relationship with Him.
b. Enoch and Noah walked with God. Abraham was a
friend of God.
c. David expressed, perhaps more beautifully than
anyone, the desire for God, and the love for God
that was in his heart. Psalm 42:1-2; 17:15; 27:8-9
(1) In Psalm 24:3-6, he seems to describe all those
who love God as those who seek God's face.
2. God foreknew from the foundation of the world that
there would be people who would love Him, who would
seek His face, and would desire a relationship with Him.
a. A lot of people like to reason, "Why couldn't God
just make a few little adjustments in man's brain
which would cause him to seek God?"
(1) If God began to tinker with the brain of man,
man would no longer be in the likeness of
God, for God has free will.
b. Some say, "Why couldn't God just say, 'Your sins
are forgiven you. We'll forget all the past; we'll start
all over again.'"
(1) God couldn't do that because His law had
been broken, and God's law cannot be broken
without the penalty being paid. Psalm 97:2
(a) The penalty, as we have already
observed, was death.
(2) What could God do? How could God
possibly work out this problem of taking man
who had free choice, and who had chosen to
violate His law, and then treat him as though
he were righteous, as though he were innocent,
even though the penalty had not been paid by
(3) This was the mystery of the ages, that even
angels desired to look into.
(4) Rom. 3:22-26 - Divine justice requires the
condemnation and punishment of all who sin.
On what basis, therefore, can the Divine justice
be maintained, and the sinner be justified?
(5) Only through the sacrifice of Christ and faith in
Him. The sinner, through faith in Christ, is
freed from the penalty of his sins.
(6) Christ died in his stead. Death has paid for sin,
but the sinner is not required to die. God
remains just (the penalty is paid) and the sinner
is justified when he accepts Christ's death as a
substitute for his own.
(7) Let us give thanks to God for His unspeakable
(a) Through Christ, all the things that were
lost in the garden of Eden will someday
be restored in a better and more
wonderful way. Rev. 22:1-5
A. We will continue our study on "Seeking the Face of God" in
our next lesson.
Chart: What Man Lost In The Garden
1. He lost his trust and loyalty to Gd.
2. He lost his innocence.
3. He lost his fellowship with God.
4. In part, he lost his likeness to God.
5. He lost Eden.