Gen.3: Crucial Question- What Is The Answer To Sin and Evil?

Posted on June 22, 2008. Filed under: Genesis: Answers to Life's Crucial Questions |

Sunday, June 22, 2008— Today’s Sunday School Lesson is actually a synthesis of 3 sermons I preached from Genesis 3 back in 1999 at my old church. In the version I delivered this morning I left out all the personal stuff that pertained to that old church, but in the printed version reproduced here, I have not edited those personal and now, dated, references.

Redeemer Church Sunday School

Genesis: Finding Answers to Life’s Crucial Questions

Semester One: Genesis 1-3 “Beginnings”

June 22, 2008

Gen. 3 “Crucial Question- What Is The Answer To Sin and Evil?”

-OR- “Where is Jesus in Genesis 3?”

 

Read Rev. 21:1-8; 22:1-5

Review of the last 3 weeks.

Genesis 3:1-1 “The God Who Seeks Sinners” 2 May ’99am

_______________________________________________

Introduction

I. God Seeks You Personally

II. God Seeks You Persistently

III. God Seeks You Passionately

Conclusion

_________________________________________________________

 

Introduction: We are studying the book of Genesis looking for “Answers for Basic Life Questions”. When you look at all the pain and suffering in the world, when you look at the huge amounts of evil all around us and even inside of us (at least inside of me, I know), and the Colorado school shootings and the war in Yugoslavia are appropriate examples of evil, you can ask the question “Where is God? Why doesn’t He come to us in our misery and pain and do something about it?”

          At the personal level we see in our lives or our loved one’s lives incredible pain and suffering. Some of it comes from outside us, like a tornado or a disease, but some of it is self inflicted like alcoholism, lust and its consequences, bad decisions that ruin our lives years later. Where is God when we drift into sin (or jump gleefully in up to our necks)? Where is God when we are lost in sin and are being consumed by that roaring lion, the devil?

          All around us are lost sinners. Some are in torment by their sin already, they face despair, loneliness, disappointment with life, bitterness, a sense of knowing life should be better than what they have yet not knowing how to make it better. People stumble around in the dark of this world wondering what is the point of it all?

          But in here, in our little church, in our hearts, perhaps there are some of us who, though saved are in hiding from God. We may be lonely and hurting from some sin or private disaster nobody knows about. But God knows! This morning we will see that God is a God Who Seeks Sinners! God is seeking you my friend!

 

I. God Seeks You Personally!

          When Adam sinned we understand that it was just him and Eve, there were no other people. They were the first family, God created them personally, he handcrafted them. God made Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve he crafted from one of Adam’s ribs. Imagine the deep fellowship and joy that God and man enjoyed in the Garden! The Creator of billions of galaxies across this vast universe, yet he enjoys the company of Adam and Eve, the pinnacle of His creative effort. God had a personal relationship with Adam, the way the story reads it was quite natural and normal for God to stroll through the garden in the cool of the day.

          This nearness of God describes how God desires to be in relation to each of us. God is not only Transcendent and Holy and Majestic. God is personal, immanent, and he condescends to commune with us. God does not relate to us in general. No, God seeks close fellowship with each of us as individuals, as persons. This world is now mechanized, computerized and dehumanized. We are numbered on hundreds of computers. The world knows you as a SSN or a DL#, or an insurance claim #. With the mobility of Americans has come a certain degree of anonymity. No one knows us anymore.  We are strangers to each other. Sin has broken our community with God and each other. We, like Adam, hide from each other and hide from God.

          Our sin is deeply personal as well as corporate. It is one thing to be one sinner among many, there is a perceived safety in numbers, or at least a sense of belonging to a group. But ultimately we are to deal with our sin on an individual basis. “I am The sinner” “I am guilty before God and must hide from His penetrating gaze”. We must realize that God comes seeking after us as individuals, unique persons. God seeks not just sinners in general, but specific sinners in particular who have committed specific sins.

          We see this in some parables of Jesus. Look in Luke 15 and the parable of the lost sheep. Here we see the shepherd leaving the 99 and looking for one solitary sheep. In American business culture that would be an acceptable loss; but not to God. In the parable of the Lost Son we see a Father who sees his son afar off and runs to greet him.

          If you are a lost sinner, and have never repented of sins and trusted in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, you need to know that Jesus is looking for you personally.

          If you are a born again believer who has strayed, God is seeking you like he did the prophet Jonah. Jonah was a runaway prophet who did not like God’s plan so he headed west when God said go East. Jonah’s hiding from God trick worked out even more miserably than Adam’s! Be assured that God is never tricked or fooled by our foolish efforts at running away or hiding. You cannot play hide and seek with God, he knows you too well.

 

II. God Seeks You Persistently!

          Did God casually look around the garden and miss Adam and then return to his heaven? “Oh, I guess they are not in, I will try again later.” NO. God does not seek with halfhearted measures. God does not grow weary of the search for his own. God seeks you out with persistence. He never quits. You see, God is everywhere present so His searching takes no energy; God is all knowing so he knows where you are always, he is eternal so he knew where you would run to before you were born. God is the ultimate private investigator. He never gives up because he knows he has you. There is no escaping God. If Adam had only run immediately to his Creator! If Jonah had only repented sooner. God will never quit!

          If you continue running from God you will end up more miserable and less happy than you could ever imagine. For the sinner who never repents and dies in their sin they still do not escape God. God hounds them in judgment in hell forever. Hell is not ruled by the devil folks, the Lord is Lord even over hell’s fires, sinners who hate God will be hounded by a persistent God forever.

          For the believer who runs from God into sin’s pleasures for a season, there is agony and torment for God is persistently calling you back home where you belong. The pleasures of sin are fleeting and elusive for the children of God, the Hound of Heaven pursues us relentlessly. God was so persistent with Jonah that He prepared a great fish. When Peter denied his Lord 3X in the high priest’s courtyard, Jesus turned and looked right at him Luke 22:61. Imagine that, you have just sinned (pick your most hideous, wicked, depraved sin) and Jesus turns and looks at you. He is Persistent and Relentless!

          Back in Luke 15 we see the woman who has 10 coins but loses one. Does she say “It will turn up some day on its own”? NO! She lights a lamp and sweeps the whole house carefully until she finds it. Persistence. God doesn’t give up on his own.

          Friend, whatever you are trying to hide from God, whatever you are trying to keep from God, give it up. It’s not worth the fight, God wins in the end.

 

III. God Seeks You Passionately!

          “God is love”1John4:8. Do you think God is uncaring, dispassionate towards his creatures? It is easy to look at all the evil and pain around us and think that. But John 3:16 still applies “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

          The whole idea of Christmas, the incarnation of Christ, is about Jesus leaving heaven’s glory and peace and entering into this messed up world as a little baby, born of a peasant woman into a time of oppression. God did not stay distant, in love He came to us, he entered our misery. He was born to die on the cruel cross- why ? Because He loves us and seeks us.

          The whole idea of atonement, sacrifice on the cross, is rooted not only in his holy desire to display his power over sin but also in the love of God for you as a person. God wants to display his character for his glory and the way he does that is by loving sinners like you and me passionately.

          The entire book of the Song of Songs is a love poem that depicts real, human erotic love, yet it shows the passion God has for the Church, his people, you in particular. Song of Songs 1:2,4 “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth- for your love is more delightful than wine…Take me away with you- let us hurry! Let the King bring me into his chambers.” God has a passion for his bride, the church, and the church needs to recapture the passion for her God.

          Sinner, God loves you and seeks you passionately. He sent Jesus to die for your sins. Jesus loves you and died voluntarily in your place so that you can live.

 

Conclusion: God knows you better than you know yourself and is seeking you personally. God is not going to give you up till He has all of you there is to have, God is seeking you persistently. God loves you passionately and wants the best for you. That means our only response is to repent and obey in faith out of love for Christ as our Lord and Savior.

 

Genesis 3:14-15  “The Promise of a Saviour”

May 16, 1999 AM        Pastor Bryan E. Walker

____________________________________________________________

 

Outline:

Introduction

I. The Problem of a Rootless Salvation

II. Redemption Is About God’s Authority Primarily

   A. Judgment Upon the Serpent

   B. Declaring War Against Satan

III.A Spiritual War Between Two Offspring

IV. The First Announcement of Christ

V. The Simple Gospel

Conclusion

____________________________________________________________

 

Introduction: When you and I experience the salvation event, when we get saved, we tend to focus on a lot of exterior things such as: where (camp, the church, in a revival); who (the pastor prayed with me, a parent, or a good friend). We remember our walking down the aisle and shaking the pastor’s hand, we remember getting baptized and joining the church. Now those things are all important and I am not downplaying them, but I do want us to focus on our salvation from a different perspective today. Let’s look at when our salvation was first promised.

          Genesis is an amazing book; here today we will look at the first act of judgment and the first prophecy of Christ. In our study of Genesis we are seeking Answers To Basic Life Questions. This morning I am asking “Is our salvation rooted in our experience primarily, or does it go back beyond us?” Is salvation all about us and our needs, or is it bigger than that? Where does our hope lie, in our experience or in the Promised Savior?

 

I. The Problem of a Rootless Salvation.

          Our society is becoming more and more an emotional, non-thinking, a-historical society that lives exclusively for the moment, the present thrill. We live for experiences, those Kodak moments. In the Church we are greatly influenced by this philosophy of life and have tended to emphasis our personal experience over scriptural truth. I get to talk to a lot of people between pastoring and working where I work. When people are asked the question, “Tell me about your salvation” they will usually respond by telling you a very brief story of getting baptized or joining the church. Many respond vaguely with, “Oh yeah, I took care of that when I was a kid”. Sometimes you are very fortunate to run across a believer who has a dynamic testimony, You’ve all heard them, and then those of us who were raised in the church and got saved at an early age who have “boring testimonies” feel bad because we weren’t saved out of drugs or the occult or prison. Praise God! I am glad God preserved me from all that! I thank God for my quiet, dull, boring testimony.

          But our view of what a testimony is, is kind of warped. We tend to focus on our experience not the meaning of salvation, not doctrine, not God’s side of salvation. This gives us kind of a rootless salvation, and these days we need strong, deep roots to survive. A personal testimony of what God has done for you is essential but to grow and be mature we need testimonies about God’s eternal plan of redemption. Our experiences vary and fluctuate; our emotions are always changing. But God never changes! Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow! Our salvation was determined before the creation of the world and is bigger than us. Our salvation was first proclaimed and prophesied in the Garden of Eden.

          In Acts 7 Stephen, a deacon, gave his testimony of Christ and it was filled with the OT story of redemption and doctrine. Should not we ourselves be as able as Stephen?

 

II. Redemption Is About God’s Authority and Glory.

   A. Judgment Upon the Serpent.–In what context do we find this first mention of redemption, the first prophecy of Christ? It is within the context of Judgment. God is announcing judgment upon the serpent for his role in the fall of man into sin. God curses the serpent; a curse is the opposite of blessing, instead of well being he is condemned to crawling in the dust. Now we need to be careful here and not presume that the serpent used to have legs and walk upright as some preachers have said. The curse takes what is there and gives it a new and despised meaning. In Gen.9 God gives a new meaning to the rainbow, he did not just create the rainbow that day. So here too, the serpent is given a lowly reputation and is hated and despised by all.

          Redemption comes from a God who judges sin severely; God is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY. God is a God of Justice, Wrath, and Jealous for his own name and character. So many people today want just a God of love, mercy, and forgiveness. But here in the garden we see the Creator serving as Judge, and proclaiming his right to judge. God is a God who places a curse upon sin, rebellion and evil. If we are to know the God who redeems and understand our own salvation we must know that God curses sin.

   B. God Declares war against the serpent. The serpent is not immediately destroyed just as the man and woman do not immediately die physically. This is a long, steady, burning holy war against the serpent, the Devil. Enmity, a mutual hatred, war, aggression. The Devil started this fight in heaven when he tried to usurp God’s authority, steal some of God’s glory for himself.

   C. Our Salvation Is More About the Glory of God than our comfort. We emphasize our rewards in heaven, God’s forgiving us and us not going to hell, but going to heaven. These are great! I am thankful! But we must understand that redemption reveals the character and attributes of God first and foremost. Redemption is all about God’s greater glory.

 

III. This Is A Spiritual War Between Two Offspring.

          This enmity between God and the Devil is seen in the enmity between the serpent and the woman, between the serpent’s offspring and the woman’s. The war is raging all around us in the spirit realm, and we see real casualties in the physical realm. Notice the concept of the two different offspring, one of the woman and one of the serpent. At one level this is a simple reason for why we hate snakes- they are poisonous, silent and deadly, sly and sneaky.

          But at another level this shows us a spiritual truth that is further revealed in scripture. See Matthew 13:24-30 the parable of the weeds. Or look at John 8:42-47.

          Paul refers to this spiritual warfare in Eph. 6:10-18.

          We will see this concept again soon when we discuss Cain and Abel.

 

IV. The First Announcement of Christ.

          Here we see the battle reach its zenith with the seed, singular,  of the woman crushing the head of the serpent yet being wounded in the heel. This is an announcement of the victory over the work of the devil that Jesus would win. Read Eph. 1:17-23 and Col. 2:15. Gal. 4:4.

 

V. The Simple Gospel.

          Romans 3:23 we are all sinners, separated from God, unholy

                       6:23 for the wages of sin is death

          Eph,2:8-9 salvation is all of grace

          John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life

                  3:5,7 you must be born  again

          Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

                 26:20 “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”

          Gal 3:11 “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because ‘The righteous will live by faith'”

          Rom. 9:9 “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”

                   10 “for it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

 

Conclusion: Your salvation is rooted in God’s eternal decrees and his unchanging character stretching back before the world was even made. Your saviour was first prophesied by God himself there in the garden right after the first sin, in the context of judgment of sin, salvation is proclaimed. Will you this day repent of sin and trust in Jesus as your saviour?

 

Genesis 3:21  “God’s Grace in the Garden” 31 May 1999am 

 

Outline:

Introduction

I. Punishment Postponed

II. Substitute for the Sinners

III. Covered By Christ

Conclusion

_____________________________________________________________

 

Introduction:  In talking with people about sin, salvation and their eternal destinies, I have come across some false assumptions that keep returning time and again. First, there is an assumption that people are not all that bad, sin isn’t facing God’s judgment, there is no hell. Second, people assume that our good works are good enough for God, that our good outweighs our bad, that if we do the best we can God will accept us into heaven. Third, there is a general ignorance of what Christ has specifically done for us in order to secure our salvation.

          Here in our verse this morning we find a tremendous amount of theology. In short we find some Answers to Basic Life Questions. Here is the Gospel, a picture of what Christ has done for us, a picture of God’s Grace in the Garden.

          Let me ask you this morning, in what (or in whom) are you trusting for your eternal salvation? Are you trusting in your own works, your own goodness? Are you even aware of the depth of your sin? If your hope is not in Christ alone, if you are trusting in your works instead of placing your faith in the finished work of Christ alone, then you need to seriously examine whether you are really born again or are merely religious.

 

I. Punishment Postponed.

          In Gen.2:17God said “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” God had every right to make the law and determine the suitable punishment for breaking his law. There is a basic fact of the universe that most people don’t understand. God’s laws are just and truly reflect the perfect character of our all-wise and holy Creator. Ezekiel 18:4 “The soul who sins is the one who will die.” Paul writes in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death.” Hebrews 9:27 “…man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment”. Luke 12:5 “Fear Him who after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

          In our story, there is no doubt of Adam and Eve’s guilt; they got caught and confronted with their sin. There is no hiding from a God who is everywhere present and all knowing. He is the God who sees you and knows you. They were guilty and deserved the death penalty. Now modern man would point to this as being totally unreasonable- saying, “A good God would not possibly condemn man for such a small infraction as eating fruit from a forbidden tree!.” The problem there is that modern man’s definition of good is so fouled up by sin that we cannot see good as God sees good. If there is an objective good at all (and I believe there is) then that must be determined by God alone. God is Holy, Holy, Holy and the smallest infraction against God’s law is a horrible sin because of how holy God is.

          But what happened in the story? Adam and Eve did not die instantly. Even after God confronted them and meted out punishment their lives were spared. This alone is a testament of God’s Amazing Grace. It is true that the physical process of growing old and decaying began in Adam’s life at this point, vs. 19 “for dust you are and to dust you will return.” The principle of death began here with Adam’s sin and God’s judgment upon him. But capital punishment was not given; Adam was not executed, even though the sin deserved it. The punishment was postponed!

          Friends, sometimes life gets pretty tough; sometimes so much bad stuff happens and we ask “Why me Lord? What did I do to deserve this?” The sad fact is that no matter how hard we have it in this life, we do not deserve the air we breathe because we are all sinners before a holy God. The worst of us and the best of us are all in the same boat, the sinking boat of sin, bound for eternity in hell. As wonderful as human beings are (and we are created in the image of God) we are all lost in sin and deserve instant punishment from our Creator. If we got what we deserved, we would all be cast into hell right away. This is not a popular thing to say today, I know that; this is considered negative, I know. But this is our starting point for the Good News. Before we can hear the Good News we have to know the bad news. Every sinner is suspended over the gaping jaws of hell by the tiniest of spider webs; we are sinners in the hands of an angry God.

          But the good news is here! We are alive, we have a chance to repent and believe. There is yet time! God is a patient God as we have seen in our story. God has postponed our punishment! Let us not dawdle, not tarry in sin! God has provided a great salvation; let us look further into our text and see this great salvation.

 

II. Substitute for Sinners.

          When Adam and Eve figured out they had sinned they made fig leaf coverings for themselves to hide their shame, to cover the effects of sin in their lives. They were ashamed and were trying fix what they had messed up. Instead of running to their heavenly Father they hid in the bushes.

          But what does God do after he confronts them and hands out the punishments? Vs.21 “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” God provided adequate clothing for them to replace their insufficient self made clothes. In order to do this, God killed an animal or animals in order to take their skins. What we see here is a picture of a substitutionary sacrifice. Here is a foreshadowing of the Old Testament sacrificial system and a picture of what Christ has done for us.

          Now I believe that this is literally a true story, not some legend or myth, and the practical side of this event was that God did indeed provide them with adequate clothing with which to face the cruel world outside of Eden to which they would soon go. But the symbolism here is very rich in meaning.

          The fig leaf coverings represent man’s efforts at covering sin. God sees this as totally inadequate. Therefore God provides his covering, his clothing. In order to do this, animals had to die, they died as substitutes, they died in the place of the sinners. Their sacrifice was made to cover the effects of Adam’s sin. We see in Gen.4 that Abel sacrificed from his flock, in Gen 8 we see Noah sacrificing to the Lord. In Exodus the picture gets even clearer with the Passover Lamb sacrifice. Finally we get to Jesus whom John the Baptist called the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

          Sacrifices seem kind of strange to us today, but the meaning of the sacrifices in the Bible is that the animal is a substitute for the person. The animal dies instead of the human. Jesus dies as a sacrifice for us; he dies in our place, receiving the punishment we deserve. Another good strong word for this is vicarious sacrifice.

          Romans 5:8 “While we were still sinners Christ died for us”. 2Cor.5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The fact is that each of us is responsible for our own sin but we cannot pay the debt of sin we owe to God. We cannot cover our own sinfulness and so we either pay by going to hell forever or we accept the substitute payment by Jesus. Adam’s choice was to continue in fig leaves or wear God’s garments.

          This system that God established is a Grace system for us. Eph. 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” We do not deserve the substitute, and the substitute did not deserve death.

 

III. Covered By Christ.

          We, like Adam, experience the Grace system of God. But for the animals in the garden it was works! The animals died, they suffered. In the Old Testament laws of sacrifice the requirement was always for a perfect animal to be sacrificed. You were not to sacrifice your sick, lame or blind animals. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. He was without sin, completely holy and always obedient to his Heavenly Father.

          Look at Isaiah 61:10″I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels.”

          You and I are clothed by God in the righteousness of Christ. Christ kept the law of God perfectly and earned the right, if you will, of being the sacrifice for our sins. In this sense we are saved by works, by the works of Christ alone, not our works. Because Christ kept the law of God he applies his merit to us, his righteousness is applied to our account with God.

          By faith we trust in Christ’s completed work of atonement, he accomplished our salvation on the cross. By faith we appropriate his righteousness for daily living through the power of the Holy Spirit as we apply the Word of God to our daily lives.

          Christ’s death was perfectly adequate to pay for our sins, he died as our substitute; Christ’s life of obedience gives us positive righteousness in that when God looks at us He sees the righteousness of His Son who lives in us through the Holy Spirit.

          We sing the song “Are You Washed in the Blood”#136: Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Do you rest each moment in the crucified? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? When the bridegroom cometh will your robes be white? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright? And be washed in the blood of the Lamb? Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin, And be washed in the blood of the Lamb; There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean, O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!

          On judgment Day whose clothes do you want to be found in? Do you want to stand before your Creator dressed only in what your works have earned? Or do you want to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ? Paul urges us in Eph 6:11 ” Put on the full armor of God”

 

Conclusion: We are all born into sin and live under the righteous judgment of a holy God who says the penalty of sin is eternal death. We are guilty and our best efforts at saving ourselves are just filthy rags according to Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Like Adam our fig leaves just don’t cut it!

          Just as God provided animal skins for Adam so we have a substitute who has paid for our sins: Jesus died so that we might have eternal life by God’s grace through faith.

          Jesus’ righteousness completely saves us from God’s judgment and He applies his righteousness to our account so that God forgives us and considers us to be holy in Christ. Through the indwelling Holy Spirit we appropriate his righteousness in our everyday lives.

          Have you repented of sin and trusted in Jesus alone for your salvation?

 

 

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