Soteriology: A Study of Salvation, Part 2, The Horribleness of Sin
Welcome! It’s so good that you have come today. 😊 If this is your first or second time with us, welcome! We are so glad you are here with us today. My name is Brian and I am the Senior Pastor here at CBC. If I did not already get the chance to meet you this morning, I hope you will have time to drop by our connection tables after the service this morning. I will be there with Gloria, my wife, and we’d love the chance to meet you. And maybe answer some questions you may have about us. Or if you won’t have time to stop and chat, you can use the connection card that is inside the trifold bulletin you should have received as you entered the building. Just take a few seconds during the service and jot down your contact information, and we will be happy to reach back out to you sometime this week. Let me just encourage everyone here today to use the connection card. You can list prayer request, or request information about our ministries. It’s simple to fill it out and drop it at the connection table on your way out. If you’re not connected with any of our groups, let me encourage you to stop by our connection table. You can request information on any of the groups that meet. Ladies’ Group, Teens, Men’s Group, even Small Group Bible Studies. Whether you are a guest, a member, or somewhere in between, we are here to worship our Great and Awesome God. • Scripture Reading: Psalm 51:1-6 • Prayer and Offering w/ Offertory Special 3 Congregational…No Special ***Sermon*** <<Show Mission, Value, and Marks- slide>> << show announcement slide>> • Small Groups have begun again. • Are you praying about your Discipleship Group? 14 people are committed to discipleship! • Kids Beach Club- Official Start Date, September 13 • Trunk or Treat, October 27, 3-7- Special Needs Friendly • Now concerning: Jim Foster: Missionary to South Africa Introduction: <Show image of Apple > What's so bad about eating a piece of fruit? Anyone who has studied the Biblical account of the creation and fall of man has likely pondered this question. Since we were chidren we’ve understand that the world we live in is a dangerous place. People can be cruel to each other, the threat of violence and crime keep us in a state of constant vigilance. Then there’s the accidents, and illnesses, that plague us or our loved ones. Ultimate, all of us succumb to death. According to the Biblical record, God condemned all of humanity to this miserable existence all because the first man and woman ate a piece of fruit from a tree that God had set off-limits. It kind of makes you want to scratch your head, and say, “isn’t that a little harsh? It’s such a small thing!” But we must tread very lightly here. Because if we conclude that God was being too harsh, we become judges of God. A position for which we are infinitely unqualified. If we conclude that God was perfectly just, then we will have to come to terms with just how bad, what we call, “Little sins” really are. <<Show Series Title Slide>> Really, that is point of today’s message. If we are going to appreciate the greatness of our salvation, we are going to have to understand the horror out of which we were saved. That understanding begins by going to God’s Word to learn how and when sin first entered the human race. This takes us back to Adam and Eve, in a beautiful garden, standing before two Fruit Trees. Open your Bible, to Genesis 3:1 Read Genesis 3: 1a- [Though Satan is not identified by name, the work of the serpent is clearly that of the fallen angel lucifer. Jesus said, that Satan is the "Father of lies"- Thus, if this is the first lie, it must come from him. Read Verse 1b-5 The story reveals a deception at play. The woman is seen as being led down the path that resulted in her disobedience to God. The Apostle Paul interprets this for us, in 1 Tim 2:13-14 “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Timothy 2:13–14) We are rightfully angry at the serpent for being the catalyst for the destruction of paradise. But, the punishment meted out by God to the woman and the man forces us to consider their own culpability. It is apparent that the man and the woman, though led down the path through trickery and crafty words, were willing participants. << A slight digression>> And what we must see, is that this wasn’t simply a matter of eating the fruit from “one tree too many.” It was, from beginning to end, an act of rebellion against God- the Supreme Lord and Ruler. A closer look at the path that sin took shows this to be the truth. Read verse 6- "when the woman saw that the tree was good"- Before she even ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the woman had already begun to determine for herself what was good. In this one moment the desire for natural pleasure took priority over reverence for the authority of God. “a tree to be desired to make one wise” Likewise, with the pursuit of knowledge. In that moment, she expressed a desire to be exempt from the necessity of referring to God's decision as the rule of conduct. We can only assume that the man shared in this desire. This is not the act of sin, but it is the beginning of it. This is the seed of the rebellion. Once this thought became established in their thinking, it was only a matter of time, before the actual act of rebellion occurred. This was the paradigm shift that led to the sin. Prior to the formation of this desire, the man and the woman, lived in perfect harmony with the presence of this tree. (Well, there were in fact two trees together) Read 2:9, 15-17 There in the middle of the Garden- "The Town Center" we might say, were two very important trees. These trees were like all the other trees in that they produced fruit. Yet, they also served as a reminder of the covenant that God made with them. The two trees were side by side, in the middle of the garden. Thus, when Adam partook of the privilege of the tree of life, he was reminded of the divine prerogative: the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God alone determined what was good and what was evil. Thus, the covenant: the favor of God could be enjoyed only by respecting His prerogative. They could eat of the tree of life and see the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Up until this point, there was no problem with this arrangement. “God is good” . “He is the source of all life. He provides us with all that we need.” “He communes with us. He teaches us. He answers our questions.” They were very happy with the arrangement. God was the Supreme Lord and Ruler. They belonged to Him, and happy to be so. Genesis 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:6) Then the thought occurred, that maybe we don't need to wait for Him. Maybe we can be as wise as Him. Maybe we can become equal to Him. This is the crux of the rebellion. To seek to be equal with God is to seek to dethrone Him as Supreme Lord and Ruler. This rebellion began in the heart. Mark 7:21-23 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mark 7:21–23) Back to Gen 6 Suddenly, they no longer desired to have God rule in their hearts. So, they dethroned him from that position in their heart. The fruit was only a symbol of a deeply felt rebellion. It happened in a moment of time. But, once the seed found a place in their heart, it quickly brought forth the fruit of rebellion. And if we can understand it, all sin is the same thing. No matter how small we think an act of sin is. It is an overt attempt at dethroning God from His place of authority over our life. In truth, there was nothing the man and woman, or even the serpent, could have done, to actually threaten the rule and reign of God. He was never in any danger of losing one ounce of power or presence. So, it matters not what the actual act was. Whether eating piece of forbidden fruit or burning down the garden while shouting hateful and seditious words at God. Any act of rebellion is rebellion. Any sin against the Supreme Lord and Ruler, comes from the same desire to dethrone Him in the heart. To disobey in any degree is as far as the creature can go to dethrone God. And dethroning God is in fact what we seek when we decide to go our own way. (Is 53) HE that disobeys God, rejects God's reign. The Punishment for rebellion was given as a warning (Gen. 2:17). The sentence was pronounced in 3:16-19. The punishment was administered in 3:23-24. The blessing and favor of God was removed. They were banished from the place fellowship and communion with God. Yet, this is not "death", is it? (verse 2:17 said “You will surely die” It is the worst kind of death. Separation from God and His Favor, is the worst thing that can happen to us. But, what else could be expected? The man and woman had dethroned God from their heart. They are therefore no longer fit for His favor or presence. They no longer wanted Him as God. He cannot be less than what He is. They either receive Him as God, Supreme Lord and Ruler, or they reject Him. Banishment from the presence of His divine favor is all that is left to them. This is the same position we are in. Once we, like them, refuse to allow God to be the ruler of our life. Once we dethrone Him from our heart, we are no longer fit for His presence, and favor. And that is what makes our condemnation so horrible. This is what makes Hell so terrifying. Separated from even the slightest presence of God's favor, with no hope of ever experiencing it again, is a fate far worse than physical death. Even now in this life, we experience something of His favor. There are good days, good things. Happy times mixed in with the sad. Yet, once this life is over, and if we have not restored God to the place of Ruler in our Hearts, all that waits for us, is a darkness, and loneliness, the likes of which we cannot, begin to imagine. Matthew 25:41- “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41) Rev 20:14- “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14) Do not, be concerned about whether the flames described in Hell are hot. Temperature will not be your concern. The soul longs to be in the company of its Creator. The soul was made for God. When all hope of Him is lost. There is nothing worse that can happen to it. Romans 6:23- The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Death is separation from God. This is what we experience now in part. This is why there is so much violence and danger, and sickness, and death in the world. But, there is also hope in this world. There is Hope because God wants to give us eternal life. Eternal life means that God will receive us back. That God will restore to us a heart that will welcome Him as Lord and Ruler of our life. That hope is found, not in religion, but in a person. The Son of God Himself. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37, ESV) Next week, we will look at the great work that had to be done to make such a great salvation possible and available to you. But, today, understand, that without this so great salvation, with Jesus, you and I would be on our way to a place where there is no hope, forever. And we go there, because we have rebelled against the God of all creation.