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by David Seibel, Head of School


My title for today’s message is “Dear Classical Christian Family, Don’t Waste Your Summer” and our text is Genesis 1:11-12. Our theme this year, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” comes from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in chapter 3, verse 6. His point in this passage is to say that the ministers are the conduits of growth, not the cause of growth. God, as the creator and sustainer, is the power that empowers Paul and Apollos. Humans, whether they be pastors or parents or teachers, can prepare soil, plant seeds, and water them, but human creatures are dependent upon God the Creator to give the increase.


Today you’ll see that this pattern of growth actually comes back to the story of our beginnings in Genesis. Our final verse for this year’s theme comes from Genesis 1:11-12, the description of the third day of creation in the first book of the Bible. [The applications are buried at the end in bold if you want to scroll down.]



It looks like this will likely be our final chapel in this sanctuary. In light of this, we have not really changed the agenda for today’s chapel. Typically, we just lick the finger and turn to next passage of Scripture. We do this because we believe that God remains the same through the changing ups and downs of life. His Word is like a lighthouse that stays put yet provides guidance to pilgrim seafarers during the ever-chaining winds and storms. This year, we chose verses that aligned with the theme of growth and sanctification. This text was chosen months ago for reasons I am not totally sure of. Here’s what it says about the third day of creation in the first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis. Genesis 1:11-12 says,

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”


In this text, we see God’s direct speech when he commands that the earth sprout vegetation and we see the creation, the earth, responding by sprouting vegetation. You then see God’s response to what He has made. The text is really simple: it shares what God said, what happened on earth, and what God thought in Heaven about what happened. But this happened a long time ago. And what does it have to do with Coram Deo families as we go into the summer? 


I see two patterns of growth here in Genesis 1:11 that will help you not waste your summer. When I say waste, I am referring to time that you spend without any regard to God. Remember, coram Deo means “before the face of God” or “in the presence of God”—our goal has always been that you learn to live coram Deo even while you’re not at Coram Deo Academy.  


God creates ex nihilo


Imagine if someone asked you, “What was there first, the world or God?” Was the earth eternal and God had a birthday or was God eternal and the earth had a birthday? This question has an easy 10 word answer: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). This just means that he was there first because He is the creator. Psalm 90:2 expresses a similar idea,

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

The creator was there before the creation much like the baker was there before the pie was made or the kids were there before the Lego castle was made. The text says, “And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation,'” and then goes on to say “The earth brought forth vegetation.”  It is the second day of creation and we know that the second day of creation was the creation of land with the three day being the creation of plants, and trees and bushes. He had already created the night and the day on day 1 and then the land on day 2. But my next question is, “Did he need the materials to create the seeds and the plants and the trees and the fruit?” Is he like Mrs. Gipson the art teacher who needs supplies, or can He make something out of nothing?


The Latin phrase ‘ex nihilo’ means from nothing and that it means that growth can come from God’s word without any other cause. Your field day tie dye shirts were lovely man-made creations and they were the cause of the various paints, the instruction of the teacher, and your efforts. When God created on the third day though, verse 11 just says, God says, “Let the earth sprout vegetation” and then we see the earth sprout forth vegetation and then God calling it good. His words create! He did not speak English or Spanish or Latin or Greek. He spoke seeds and trees and good fruits. In the beginning, the creation perfectly obeyed its creator which is why He called it good.



Hebrews 11 agrees with Genesis 1:11,

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”

All of the plant growth on the earth can back to God saying “Let the earth sprout forth vegetation” back on the third day. So God was eternal. He was there in eternity before anything ever existed, just the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit hanging out in eternity past and they made a plan to create a planet with people made in His image. He also is able to create without tools and only using His words. He is not in need of any help from creature or any aspect of creation. 


Now you might be thinking to yourself, “I thought this was about not wasting my summer and you’re talking about how God created the world. Why does how the earth matter for my life today?” It’s actually crucial that you know where you came from to understand where you’re going. I think we are prone to forget during the summer and I think we are also prone to forget that God creates ex nihilo, because God creates processes that seem to not be dependent upon God. In Genesis 1:11, God created plants yielding seeds and then in verse 12, you see plants yielding seeds and trees bearing fruits with its seed. This is the intelligent design of our Creator God who built certain patterns and processes into His creation. This shows that He is an orderly and structured and patterned God—that He is not random or like a little kid driving a bumping car. He had a purpose in every aspect of His creation.


People marvel at the features of the Apple iPhone or MacBook but those are little flickers compared to the radiant of God’s glory in His creation. So here’s the issue: it SEEMS like the Creation does not need a Creator to keep on going. If you have ever seen someone spin a basketball on his finger, you probably don’t imagine that the Creator God is doing that with the globe. So the problem is this: imagine that I am walking down the Monon with my wife and kids, and we see a few Coram Deo families at Java House, and I ask the students in front of their parents, “Do you kids remember what ex nihilo means? Do you remember what God did on the third day?” The students might be able to be able to say ex nihilo means out of nothing or that the third day is when God creates the vegetation. But how could this reality about God shape how I live during the summer? Here’s a little kit for you to bring with you into the summer: call it the ‘don’t waste your summer kit.’ 


1. Don’t Live Like a Materialist.

Good Christian kids know that God created the world but they live their summers like they are their own gods. A materialist thinks that growth can happen without God. A materialist, or atheist, thinks that man can solve his own problems without some God or some book. In Genesis 1:12, it says, “And God saw that is was good.” When His creation submitted to His authority, it was good. Do you want to have a good summer? Do you want to have a happy summer? Then be like God! When you see good things like ice cream, and puppies, and pools, and splash pads, and friends, remember that they are all a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to a God who is the source of all that is good.


One of the best evidences of God is things like summer in Indiana— materialists/atheists often ask, “If God is so good, then why is there bad that happens in that world?” To that question, you should respond, “If there is no God, why is there anything in the world that we call good?” Your summer only makes sense if you live before the face of God and for the glory of God. You can live Coram Deo outside of Coram Deo by reading the Bible together, learning in church, praying for your friends, and obeying your parents. Make sure you water the seeds that your teachers and parents have been planting. Your plant will wither otherwise.  


2. Don’t Live Like a Deist.


Some people view God like a distant clockmaker—that He was involved at creation but not involved in Indiana summers in 2022. Deists don’t see the connection between their daily lives and the existence of God. In fact, Genesis 1:11-12 could be one of the deists favorite verses, because it describes how God created the seeds but then the seeds do the work. The problem with deists is that they do not depend upon God for their life and breath. Acts 17:24-25 says,

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”

God does not need anything from His creation; yet He takes delight in giving and caring for His creation. If someone sees you this summer and asks what you are thankful for, you can say, “Life and breath and everything.” To be a deist is to forget why God called His creation good on the third day of creation. It was good because He spoke, and the creation perfectly obeyed. He said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation,” and then the earth sprouted vegetation.” His creation perfectly matched His will. 


But if you take an honest look in the mirror, you know that you are not really like those seeds or those trees or those plants that perfectly obeyed the command of God. We know that man was created on the sixth day and then later in chapter 3 of Genesis, man’s will was no longer matched with God’s will. When man’s will is the opposite of God’s desire, God sees it and it is not good. God takes delight in His image-bearers more than anything else He has created, yet our sin, our hostility to God’s authority, separates from the source of growth.



As we end this school year, I want to end by giving you the same word picture that Jesus gives in John 15. If you are really serious about following Christ this summer, then you need bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, etc. Jesus describes the relationship between Him and His followers when He says, “I am the vine and you are the branches… apart from me, you can do nothing.” If you are not attached to Jesus, you are not going to bear the fruits of the Spirit of Jesus. Coram Deo student, your sin separates you from the God who gives the growth, but your Savior has defeated that sin and wants to give you victory over that sin. Every day this summer, you need to make the decision to respond to Jesus and remain connected to Him. Without this connection, you will not experience the growth in godliness. I’ll end this final chapel with my favorite lyrics from the May 2022 Hymn of the Month:

Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of God.

He to rescue me from danger

Interposed His precious blood.


Oh, that day when freed from sinning,

I shall see Thy lovely face.

Clothed then in blood washed linen,

How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace.

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