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Hide and Seek

"It All Starts Here"  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:07
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We are in the middle of our summer sermon series in Genesis-”It all starts Here”. Two weeks ago, we read about Adam and Eve being tempted in the garden. As we know they ended up eating the forbidden fruit, and they were cast out of the garden. But as we really start to think about Genesis chapter 3, almost everyone, at least at least at some point starts to come to the same thought. Do you know what is?
That’s not fair!-
If you have been around kids, Im going to bet you have heard that- a lot. During VBS we will be playing games and sooner or later somebody will point out-Hey that’s not fair! It starts from a very young age, but It isn’t just kids. Adults playing and even watching sports often are upset over what they deem as fair or unfair. It seems like all of us have a built-in sense of fairness. We all want a level playing field.
Here in Genesis chapter 3, God’s word presents us with this event, that the more we think about the more it makes us uncomfortable. It causes us this discomfort because it rubs up against our sense of fairness. The idea is thing called original sin.
People don’t like it. People avoid talking about it. People who know or believe the Bible have no concept of it. And frankly, for a lot of christians it is a distant idea that they heard about in confirmation or catechism or Sunday School, and it is long forgotten.
The discussion centers around the topic of the nature of mankind. What is our natural state. A popular answer around America today is that people are basically good. Have you heard that? Sometimes on the news someone is interviewed and they will say, “I choose to believe that people are basically good.” Or He seems like a good person. They believe that humans are born good, that we start out good, and then something happens, society corrupts them, and the become bad.
Well that is one idea. Practically, if we think about it life doesn’t really work that way. Anyone who has been around kids knows this. You don’t have to teach a child to do wrong, but you do have to teach a child to be good. Even from a very young age. Because practically this idea doesn’t hold water some have backed off, and we get the next most popular response.
Some people believe that humans are basically born neutral; neither good nor bad. Society they believe then teaches badness or goodness. Now that is interesting isn’t it? Even apart from the Bible people wonder if we are determining goodness and badness for our selves. That is the exact thing that Adam and Eve wanted, that is why they ate the fruit, they wanted the ability to determine for themselves good and evil.
This is the belief that most people are comfortable with. It appeals to our sense of fairness. We determine our sense of right and wrong. If you go against what we determine here on the horizontal level, then you are bad.
But that is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches something different. And this is where it starts to bother people. This is where people want to get up and leave. The Bible says that people are not basically good, or neutral. The Bible says that we are born as sinners. No choice, we are just born into sin.
Original sin says that what happened in the garden was so monumental that it affected all the humans that came after them, forever. The sin was of such consequence that it actually altered the very nature of the human race from that moment forward. The human race from that moment forward, now had a sin nature.
This is where people stand up and shout. That’s not fair! I did not do anything. Why do I get blamed for something Adam did. Why do I get blamed for something EVE did. What about God’s part in all this? It was God! God put that tree in the garden. God knew Adam and Eve would eat from the eat tree. Why would he do that? That is unfair!
Is it?
One of the reasons we have such a problem with this is because the Bible talks about God’s justice. The thought process goes like this, you say that God is all just right? Then why is it that I am born in sin, why I did not have the opportunity to even avoid sin. Why am I stuck with the consequences of their sin? That doesn’t sound fair? How can a just God do that?
The problem is that we confuse the idea of justice and fairness. Fairness is subjective. That is It is measured against another person. It is horizontal. We want to be treated exactly the same as everyone else, because that is fair we think. But in reality, you can’t always have fairness, nor should you always want fairness.
Suppose you had two children a 16 year old, and a ten year old. The 16 year old is allowed to drive a car, so the 10 year old cries That’s not fair! According to the 10 year old his sense of fairness is that if she can drive I should be able to drive. However, that is not how it works.
Justice on the other hand is objective. It is measured not against one another, but against an outside standard.
Suppose your neighbor has a nice boat. You cannot say that’s not fair, I should have a boat so you go and steal it. Horizontally you are not equal, it seems unfair to you. But stealing violates an objective standard, the standard of the law. Justice is that anyone who steals is guilty, it has nothing to do with wether you are better or worse than you neighbor.
Sometimes things in life are just not fair. That is true. Take Prince Harry for instances, he was born into the royal family. What did he do to earn the royal status-nothing. Yet at the same time people are born into poverty, that we can’t even imagine. What did they do to deserve that? Nothing. Some of us were born into families where the Love of our Lord Jesus Christ was everywhere, we went to church from the time we were infants, yet others of us were born into an abusive home, suffering unspeakable abuse and never hearing about or seeing the love of God. That isn’t fair.
Sometimes, life isn’t fair. When Adam and Eve ate the apple, they lost the blessing of being in the garden with God. They lost the blessing of eating from the tree of life and living forever. They had to leave the garden. From that moment the rest of the human race would all be born outside of the garden. Apart from the blessing, Apart from God. The first sin like all sin has consequences to other people. We were all born into a state of sin as a consequence of their sin.
Subjectively-horizontally can we compare ourselves to Adam and Eve and say is it fair that they got a chance and I didn’t? I don’t know, seems like a useless exercise to me, because regardless of their situation, I have still chosen for myself sin- many times over. Chances are, knowing my heart, I would have made the same choice. SO if fairness isn’t the question? Or what about justice?
Justice-justice on the other hand is objective- It is set against the same standard for all. We measure justice against the standard of God. Born as a princes or born as a pauper-have you followed God? Born as a church goer, or never heard of church, have you followed God? Same question-same objective standard.
See our God is a God of justice. Our God is a God whose justice is like the ocean depths, Psalm 36, Righteousness and justice are the foundations, the very foundations of His Throne. Psalm 97. and he secures justice for the poor. Although we may bristle at the idea that we are somehow born into this predicament of sin, although we may cry It’s not fair, there is a God of Justice a God of of Justice who does not just leave us in this predicament, a God of justice who seeks after us.
To better understand this let’s look at Genesis 3 and follow what happens after the first sin.
Genesis 3:6–7 NIV
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. 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.
The Cover-up! Literally
Then their eyes were opened-they now know good and evil, against the objective standard of justice-as much as they wanted to determine it for themselves-they knew they were guilty. Guilt is a horrible thing. It nags on you, you want to hide it. Bury the body, cover your tracks wipe away the finger prints. That is a horrible consequence of guilt, you are trying to cover-up.
You may know I had a surprise party for Jayne. Gena and I weren’t doing anything wrong, but we had to cover our tracks. Usually, I always allowed Jayne access to my phone, Gena too, and now we were running around hiding our phones, and covering our tracks. It was very stressful.
There is great fear in being exposed as a wrong doer in front of others. This is what is going on here a horizontal hiding. They were once in marital bliss in the garden no fear no shame, able to enjoy one another, now after the crime they are trying to cover up from one another.
The Hiding
Then Comes the Hiding.
Genesis 3:8 NIV
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.
The last place you want to be is out in the open. Hide. Get out of dodge! Why would an alcoholic, why would a drug addict why would a thief want to come to church? Hide. Men loved the darkness rather than the light. The guilty hide. Here is where God is. Here is where objective justice is. We don’t need to tell a criminal they are wrong, they know they are a criminal. That is why they hide. They can’t deal with it. They can’t face their sin and their guilt. It is too much to face in view of the justice of God, so they need to get out of view. Until the worst thing happens, they get exposed.
When that happens-we cry- it’s Not fair, and Point fingers horizontally.
Genesis 3:12 NIV
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
It’s not fair God, you stacked the cards against me-you gave me that woman. I was behind from the start, it is my circumstances.
Then it is the woman’s turn
Genesis 3:13 NIV
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
It was the serpent-It’s not fair God! I did not have a chance there was this serpent .... Everyone is pointing out the other faults.
It’s not fair God! We are born into sin. It’s not fair God this woman you gave me no longer satisfies my desires. It’s not fair God, I have to work so hard and these people don’t, I deserve better. It’s not fair God, I am not getting my way, or I’m going to do it myself.
Remember fairness and justice are two different things Fairness wants to keep it horizontal. Fairness says to point fingers.
God’s justice is vertical. It doesn’t matter your circumstances. There is no one to point at but you. The command was do not eat from the tree and it was violated. Justice needs to be served. God gave this job or this spouse or this financial support, he did not give you someone else’s-vertically we are responsible to God.
Adam and Eve did not see that so justice needed to be served and they must be kicked out of the garden. From here on out every child is born out of the garden and into the cursed land.
When you view original sin like that, it is quite dark isn’t it. It is depressing-we are all in sin we are all subject to this awful curse. But the story doesn’t end there.
It is then, at the junction of sin and guilt with the justice of God, that God steps in. Do you hear me. When you are most aware of your sin, when you are walking in the shame and the guilt when you are hiding and covering up. When your sin is laid out in front of you and you are exposed and even when you are crying out that is not fair, when you come face to face with the horrible consequences of your sin that’s when God steps in.
Genesis 3:8 NIV
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.
The Lord God was in the garden. God was looking for them. God was seeking them out !
God Seeks
Even though they are hiding, even though they are trying to cover-up that guilt and shame, God is seeking them.
That time that you accidentally walked into a church and it changed your life, that was God seeking you out. When you tried to hide but that preacher sounded like he was talking to you, God was seeking you out. That conviction in your heart that you know that you have not been walking with the Lord, that is God seeking you out.
Jesus came to seek .
Luke 19:10 NIV
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus Christ came to seek, and to save the lost. Jesus came to walk among the curse to seek us out.
Jesus seeks us out-where we are-as sinners. At the intersection of our sin and guilt, with the justice of God- God sends Jesus to seek us out. Right where we are-sinners. While we are trying to hide, from Him.
Then while He is seeking us, he calls out to us..
Genesis 3:9 NIV
But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
God Calls
God calls you. He calls you, and me. He calls each of us personally through the Gospel.
God knew where the man was-He is God. He knew right where Adam and Eve were. He could have have just went and grabbed them. But God calls.
God the Father calls us to Him through the work of the Holy Spirit, by the preaching of the Gospel. The Gospel-that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. A plea for a response for us to repent, and turn back to Him. The conviction of the Holy Spirit on our hearts, when we know we are walking right with God. At the intersection of our sin and guilt with the justice of God, God calls us.
When we are ready to be done with the hiding, when we are reading to be done with the excuses, we are ready to be done with trying to cover over our shame and guilt ourselves. When we are done hiding, and covering and blaming, when we are ready to respond to God’s call that is when we meet Jesus. It is when we meet Jesus, it is at that point that God covers over our sin.
God Covers
Genesis 3:21 NIV
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
Get rid of the fig leaves that you tried to use, God does the covering. Get rid of those dead works that you are attempting to use to cover yourselves. and let God cover over your sins, let Jesus cover your shame let Jesus cover your guilt.Jesus.
God does it with animal skins. An animal needed to die, blood needed to be shed to cover over the sins, to make atonement. To take something that was in Man’s dominion over the animals and give it to God. God’s justice needed to be met through the shedding of blood. The justice of God for our guilt is met by Jesus Christ. It is his blood shed. The blood sacrifice to cover over the sins.
Hebrews 9:22 NIV
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
That is why Jesus had to die, That is why the blood of Jesus had to be shed on the cross to cover over our shame and sin and guilt.
Brothers and Sisters-Jesus Christ has come to seek us out to Call us to Him by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel, and when our sin and guilt is laid out before Him, oh brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus covers over that sin by his blood, He covers over that guilt and that shame, and Therefore-THERE IS NOW NO CONDEMNATION.
Do you see that!
The question is original sin unfair? Isn’t really a question anymore. It isn’;t a question anymore because it is in that ugliness, it is when it seems hopeless, it when things seem the blackest that the Glory of God is revealed. That Glory is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Brothers and Sisters it is in that ugliness that most beautiful thing in the whole universe is revealed, it is in that ugliness, of sin, that God the Father Almighty reached down and showed us His grace and mercy and justice. It is in that ugliness that Jesus Christ stepped into the world to seek us out to call us, and to cover over our sin, so that we can go out into that cursed world to show others that Glory of God.
This is the good news. It is not dark news We get to go out from covered in Blood of Christ, made new to show others who are struggling with the curse of the world. We are made knew to help those fight the curse of addictions and work and finances and marriages.
The children of the curse that don’t yet know the glory of God, are going to try and cover their sin, by all means they can. Empty dead works, they are going to try and hide and from God avoiding Him, hiding from Him, they are going to question his fairness, but brothers and sisters, we are sent into the curse to point them to glory of God in that blackness.
We are to show the world the Glory of God, by showing joy in our work, We are to display the glory of God through our joy in our marriages, and we are to be the Church that Calls them to meet Jesus through the gospel.
We do this because brothers and sisters, no matter what you are faced with today. No matter the sin, no matter the shame, no matter the struggles that the curse has put on your life, the Lord Jesus Christ comes to right where you to seek you out and cover over it.
In Jesus Name.
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