Faithlife Sermons

3. We Believe All Have Sinned

Stuff Christians Believe (Season 2)  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Not trusting God but defining what is good in our own eyes results in death.

Notes
Transcript

Introduction

Volunteering in the nursery at Bethel was a lesson in the depravity of the human soul…
CHAZ, systemic racism, violence, injustice… What’s wrong with the world? And how do we fix it?
Statement of Faith, Article 3: The Human Condition
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

The Story (Gen 3:1-24)

Big Idea

Rejecting what God says, and choosing instead to do what seems right in our own eyes, results in death. Not trusting God but defining for ourselves what is good and bad brings about the end of life.
This story isn’t really about apples vs. bananas. It’s about trusting God. We see this in the names of the two trees (Gen 2:9). We don’t have the tree of life and the tree of death. We have the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
What God asked them to do was trust him to decide what was good for their lives. “Will you trust me to define what is good and bad for you? Or will you take that knowledge for yourself and decide what is right in your own eyes?” One way leads to life. The other ends in death.
If they would trust God, pass by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and eat from the tree of life, they would live. The tree of life is a symbol of God’s own life. Eating its fruit means partaking in God’s life, and if his life is in you, you will not die.
But they decided to reject what God said. They believed the serpent’s lie, chose to no longer trust God, and instead, took for themselves what they wanted. They wanted to define good and bad for themselves, rather that trusting what God said was good and bad.
When they did that, they unleashed hell on the earth. In the very next chapter of Genesis, Cain murders Abel. And we see a downward spiral of depravity and death, violence, hatred, sex trafficking, abuse, child sacrifice, rape, murder, war, racism, oppression, and injustice. All because they didn’t trust what God said was good, and chose instead to decide for themselves what was good and bad.
We do the same thing Adam and Eve did, and we experience the same result, death…
Rejecting what God says, and choosing instead to do what seems right in our own eyes, results in death. Not trusting God but defining for ourselves what is good and bad brings about the end of life.

Implications

What’s wrong with the world?

We are shriveled fruit on a dead branch. We’re like a smartphone on low battery mode, connected to a charger that’s not plugged in. We’ve rejected God, attempted to define good and bad for ourselves, and now we live under the power of sin and death. This is the human condition.
Someone might say, “Isn’t death a little extreme? Why would God punish Adam and Eve with the death penalty simply because they didn’t trust him?” Death was not God’s punishment for Adam and Eve, it was the logical result of their actions.
What did God actually say? See Gen 2:17. God did not say, “If you eat that fruit, I will kill you.” He said, “When you eat that fruit, you’ll die.”
When parents tell their children, “If you run into a busy street in heavy traffic, you’ll get hit by a car and die,” it’s not a threat. It’s a warning of the logical outcome of their actions.
Death is the result of rejecting the tree of life… If you cut yourself off from the tree of life, you’re nothing but a dead branch lying on the ground.
We can’t fix the problem. Death reigns, and there is nothing we can do about it. We’re shriveled fruit on a dead branch. We’ve inherited a shriveled human nature infected by sin. Everything we touch dies because we’re not connected to the source of life.
Animal Farm by George Orwell…

How do we fix it?

Jesus gives life. Jesus offers hope.
Gen 3:15 — Jesus took all the power of sin, the pain, the suffering, the depravity, the evil… he took on himself everything sin could throw at him, letting the serpent bury its venomous fangs deeply in his heel, and then he dug his heel into the ground, crushing the serpent’s head, nailing the power of sin and death to the cross and defeating them once and for all.
Now he gives life to all who trust and follow him. It’s not, “If you don’t believe in me, I’ll cut you off.” Our branch has already been cut off the tree of life. We’re shriveled fruit on a dead branch. Jesus finds us dying on the ground and says, “Come to me, and I will graft you onto the tree of life.”
John 15:5–6 NIV
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
Without the tree of life, all we have is death. Jesus is the tree of life and that’s why Jesus is our only hope. We have to face the same decision Adam and Eve faced. There are two trees, two paths, to ways in life. One path leads to Jesus, who is the tree of life. Will we trust him and walk in his way, surrender to his Word and follow his will? Or will we walk the other path? Will we decide for ourselves what is good and bad, and take what we want? Will we reject the source of life and be left only with death?

Conclusion: “Where are you?”

Genesis 3:8–9 NIV
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?”
When God asks, “Where are you?” it’s not so that he can learn the answer, it’s so that you can.
Where are you with God?
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