Sermon for Sep 18

By on September 18, 2016

Paradise Lost

Preached to Clark’s Chapel and Alexander Chapel UMC o 18 Sep 2016

Genesis 3

NIV Genesis 3:1 ¶ Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 ¶ Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me– she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” 16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

20 ¶ Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. 21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

22 ¶ And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.


Introduce / Establish Need


Because we have a lot to cover in the sermon today, here is a short introduction.


The first 4 chapters of Genesis are like Beauty and the Beast.  We’ve had 2 stories showing us the beauty of creation.  Over the next two weeks, we will see the beast and ugliness of sin.  When we say that Genesis is a book of origins, one of them is the origin of sin and evil in the world today.  As we dive into Genesis 3, we see paradise lost, but also glimpses of grace.  Follow along as I read the scripture.


Into the Biblical World


I’ve outlined today’s message with 4 Ds.  If you are taking notes, here they are: Doubted, Disobeyed, Destructive Consequences, and Divine Mercy.


The first 7 verses of Genesis 3 tell a tragic story.  One that we know too well because as long as we are honest, we see ourselves in the story.  The serpent plants the seeds of doubts about God’s word, which in this case was God’s command.  Doubt is destructive if it gains a foothold.  Doubt shakes faith and trust.  Once these pillars are shaken, then people become vulnerable to indifference and disobedience.  In the biblical story, disobedience is what happened once doubt ran its course.


Friends, this is why we tell stories of faith over and over again.  We are bombarded often with the whispers of doubt.  If we do not raise up the shield of faith and seek the wisdom of God, faith can atrophy and bend in weak moments.  How many times have we looked back on our lives and noticed disobedience to God because the seeds of doubt produced a weed of sin?  As it is said, the best defense is a good offense, so let us strengthen our faith.


We all know that disobedience to God is sin.  And sin has its destructive consequences.  Adam and Eve went from a state of not being ashamed to one of shame.  Instead of welcoming God, they hid.  Instead of taking ownership of their actions, they blame someone else.  Instead of bliss, there will be discord.  Instead of an easy existence, work and struggle will become the norm.  Instead of life as God originally created them, they experience death.  They are now cursed.


We know something about this too.  That is why there is the doctrine of original sin.  We are all infected as Paul says: Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin and in this way death came to all because all sinned (Rom 5:12)  We all fall short of the glory of God.  There is no one righteous.  And so we are in need of a savior.  We are in need of divine mercy and grace.


As tragic as this story is, rays of grace break through.  As the serpent is cursed, theologians call Gen 3:15 the first messianic promise, that from the offspring of the woman, the messiah will defeat the offspring of what the serpent is, that is the devil.


In verse 21, we see that the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them.  God dealt with their physical and emotional need.  It is likely that an animal was sacrificed for this purpose, thus beginning the concept of sacrifice as a remedy for the curse of sin.  And so perhaps, we see the beginning of a spiritual reminder as well that God is beginning the work of redemption through sacrifice, an act that God himself will one day do for all of humankind through Jesus on the cross.


We should also see the banishment from Eden as an act of saving grace as well.  God does not want to leave humanity in this corrupted state and so they were driven out before they could eat of the tree of life and be ruined for eternity.  Instead, the cycle of death allows for God to become the redeemer.  The Bible reveals this plan of redemption, fully revealed in our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.  We die to sin so that God can make us pure in Jesus Christ.  There is a thought to meditate on and if you need to engage on this, see me or Marjory later.


Into Our Experience


In this sermon, we should see ourselves in the story albeit different setting and circumstances, but the same result from sin’s consequences.  However, we preach good news!  There is an exit plan from the curse and the power of sin.  There is a way to be fully restored and to eat of the tree of life.  We know that way is to believe in the Lord Jesus and follow him as a faithful disciple.


Clarks:  We normally sing O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing as a hymn of praise to open the worship service.  But because we can proclaim victory over the curse of sin, let us sing this song as a testimony to the power of the gospel!


Alexander: And so let us respond in song, following as a faithful disciple of Jesus as we sing O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee.

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