With God in mission: The Language of The Kingdom

If you look carefully through the Bible, there are certain stories and themes that crop up again and again. The Israelites had preserved and passed down these stories through their generations, to speak pictures and insight about who their God was and why they worshipped Him. They used beautiful imagery and metaphors to talk of a God who was for the powerless, on the side of the oppressed and was faithful to the faithful. So when our modern culture examines some of these stories, its good to have some understanding and acumen into what was going on at the time when these stories were actually written down. Senior Assistant Pastor Geoff Leader examines what is just below the surface and why our ancient ancestors found this story so important and worth passing on.

At the time of this story, people lived in small gatherings called tribes. Your tribes power and influence came from the size and wealth it had accrued, which was measured in cattle, livestock and possessions. Now, if your tribe was larger than a neighbouring tribe, then the neighbouring tribe would pay tribute or tithe, or risk being attacked, pillaged or even wiped off the face of the earth. Your very survival was based on how well you amassed wealth and power. If you read this story as only as story, you could assume God didn’t like the way his people were becoming more and more inward, becoming proud and powerful and even godlike, so he comes down and confuses their language and disrupts the whole forward momentum of mankind. If you only read the story of the Tower of Babel as just a story, you would miss one of the central themes to the whole Bible.

Senior Assistant Pastor Geoff Leader shows us that inside the story, there is a growing awareness and concern that there is a higher good for humanity than simply the strong dominating the weak, the powerful crushing the powerless and the proud raising themselves up to godlike status. Imagine travelling to see a tower like this – imagine seeing the technological superiority of a nation that at any second could use that technology to crush you.

The story of the Tower of Babel has enduring power because of its reminder that we’re building the world. We’re creating something. We’re doing something with our minds and energies and money and technology. And what we’re doing, with fossil fuels and nuclear bombs and poisoned water sources and factories belching smoke into the air is threatening the future of the world. We have tremendous capacity to invent and innovate and create, and that power can be used for good – to care for each other and the world. And it can be used in destructive ways to oppress and dehumanise others.

Join with the NewLife@10 service, as Geoff reveals how the story of the Tower of Babel is less about an ancient people, and more about what is happening right now – and listen as we see the mode and the language and that the Kingdom of God is bigger, more accepting and expansive than anything that we could build with our own hands.

 

Genesis 11:1-9

11:1 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. (ESV)

Through the series we’ll be utilising the Bible Timeline pictures to keep where we are in context. If you’d like to have a copy for yourself as a reference for the sermons or the LifeGroup studies you can download it by clicking on the link below.

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The sermons from our weekly series at NewLife Anglican Church in Oran Park, Sydney, Australia. Sermons are preached by Lead Pastor Stuart Starr, Senior Assistant Pastor Geoff Leader and Kids, Youth and Families Pastor Michael Mak. Subscribe on iTunes below.