Humanity: What Is It? Fallen!

Week #5 Fallen

Humanity: What Is It? Genesis 3

Preached @ Anchor Community Church, August 23rd, 2014

“A gulf has opened up in our culture between the visibility of evil and the intellectual resources available for coping with it”

Andrew Delbanco

Intro

It is interesting that we have a culture that teaches us that we are randomly evolved from the animal kingdom, and there are no moral/ethical absolutes, yet it’s a culture that’s creating more and more laws to stop people from hating one another, killing one another, assaulting one another and stealing from one another. Seems a bit hypocritical, or at least a bit contradictory. After all we decry the “Murder” of Leo the lion, yet we don’t prosecute his brother for savagely killing and eating a deer (Leo was ‘murdered by a rich hunter who paid thousands to hunt a lion in the African continent). The views of many other gospel stories fail to remain consistent.

We have been looking at the reality that there is a God and that triune God created all of Humanity in “His Image, both male and female He created them.” And it is because of that that we believe that humanity is similar, yet unique to the animal kingdom. God called everything that He created “Good”. And He created everything on this earth for life to flourish. He created humanity with a purpose to glorify Him with the vocations that God gave them to do, and made humanity co-rulers with Him to keep and serve and cultivate the land that He gave them. So what’s the problem? If we’re created in His image, with a clear purpose and everything we need to succeed; what’s up? What happened to Paradise?

According to our text, everything that God gave the first humans were not enough; we wanted more! And because of that, we (Through Adam) disobeyed the only command God gave us to do; “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”

Today we are looking at the fact that: Humanity is totally depraved! What’s wrong with humanity? We are! It is our heart Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart of man is desperately wicked, who can understand it?” Famed writer GK Chesterton responding to an article in the newspaper entitled “What’s wrong with the world?” and wrote back with these short words, “I am, yours truly GK Chesterton.” Christianity is the only worldview that teaches this idea that we are “Born this way” In Psalm 51:5 David says, “In sin my mother conceived me.” We are a broken people in need of a savior!

From the Head…

The Fruits of the Fall

Proof of Human sin is all around us. As humanity has “Advanced” more deaths have occurred due to war/oppression. Despots like Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin, Milosevic, have killed millions. Genocides like Rwanda and the Sudan have killed close to a million people. Abortion of innocent victims has taken the lives of over 50 Million Americans since 1973. There are currently 10 wars being fought in our world today and 8 “Conflicts.” It’s not just this type of problems the world has. We have destroyed relationships; murder, theft, hatred, bitterness, slander and many other perversions from the way things were created to be. The world looks at most of these issues as a disease to be cured one day. The fact is sin is not a disease!. It is rebellion against God. When David sinned he said, Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4a) Romans 8:7a says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God.” Not only is it rebellion against God’s law, but it is also a placing of our affections on things and people above God, causing a desire for something more than we are created for.

The Details of the Fall

Satan used a created being, a serpent who the bible says was “Craftier than any beast of the field.” Not sure what constituted the serpents craftiness, but suffice it to say Satan used the serpent to deceive Eve. It’s also interesting to note that evil/Sin was present in the garden via Satan and His fall from grace.

Satan deceived Humanity with rhetoric, misunderstanding and doubt.

“Did God say?” Really? You sure? A little doubt can go a long way, and Satan knows that. What was Eve’s answer? “…but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Notice her deviation from God’s word. God never told Adam and Eve not to touch the tree. This is what pious people do; they add pious commands to God’s commands and appear more righteous than others who don’t abstain). The problem is adding to God’s laws do not make you any more righteous. Colossians 3:23 says, “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” Satan goes from casting doubt to contradicting God; “You will surely not die.” Don’t worry, have fun, nothing will happen to you, it’s a ruse to oppress you and keep you subjected to the church.

Satan tempted Humanity through their natural “Lusts

All of the ‘Good’ things God created for life to flourish would now be used against us. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” God doesn’t want you to know everything! The temptation here is the temptation to be our own gods. And Satan uses the very things God has given us as good to do it. Things like sex, food, love, intimacy, etc. can now all be distorted and used against us, and against many others. Instead of good, they now can bring oppression, depression, illness and death.

Satan’s tactic is much like John describes in I John 2:15

Lust of the flesh à “The woman saw that it was good for food

Lust of the eyes à “That it was a delight to the eyes

Boastful pride of life à “…it would make you wise

The ultimate sin of Humanity is our desire to be our own god. One theologian said, “Man’s sin lies in his pretension to be God” (Niebuhr). Both those made in God’s image willfully took matters into their own hands. “Thus the origin of sin according to Genesis 3:6 ought not to be sought so much in an overt action, but in an inward, God denying aspiration, of which the act of disobedience was the ultimate expression.” What is sin?

Many Terms/Ideas For Sin

  • Miss the Mark
  • Rebellion/Active Disobedience
  • Perversion/Twisting
  • Straying Away/Apathy
  • Sins of Commission and Omission

Our sins are active and non-active. There are some things we should be doing we don’t, and things we shouldn’t do, but we do. Our sin is a missing the mark, or a perversion of what God intended for humanity and for life to flourish. Sin is destructive, yet it’s celebrated by most humans until it destroys something, and the our culture searches fro methods, laws and systems to change things, and it becomes a hypocritical mess.

The Consequences of the Fall

Humanity is fallen in Adam

The first consequence of the fall is realizing that now, all of humanity is fallen and doomed. Both Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:22 remind us that because of Adam’s sin, we are all sinful. Therefore, We aren’t sinful because we sin; we sin, because we are sinful! Sin is more than selfishness. Sin is more than your actions. Sin is an attitude of privilege that sees God as our equal, and gives us rights to question God’s authority and laws.

Thus, humanity creates their own laws, and even the church preaches the human gospel of “Good Works,” which in God’s economy is something we need to repent of. The gospel of good works that many preach, only confuse the matter, because then the church creates an “us versus them” mentality, where safety and righteousness is found in the church, and not out in the cold, cruel world. This only works until you go into that same world, and realize the world is often more righteous and caring than the church. Then you have a culture war to determine what strategy, system and laws work best for humanity to flourish, instead of looking to Christ as the only hope humanity has. That fall has caused many consequences!

Shame

Genesis 3:7, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made for themselves loincloths”

Problems with God

Genesis 3:8, And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden”

Relational Issues/Blaming

Genesis 3:12, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.

Environmental Consequences

Genesis 3:17, “…cursed is the ground because of you!”

Work/Roles Related Stresses

Genesis 3:16 “To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

Genesis 3:18-19a “And to Adam He said…thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field, By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.

Death

Genesis 3:19c, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return

Ongoing Sin (Genesis 4ff)

…to the Heart

The fact is we are broken people. The world only has systems that don’t work for long. The bible gives us clear answers to Humanity’s problem; and it’s us! Our choice at this time is to ignore this, or call it wrong to call someone a sinner, or realize that it is the most honest thing we can do, and then change our minds (Repent) and believe that what God says is not only true, but the only way toward the joy and wholeness we are looking for. Next week we will look at the Bible’s only answer. Suffice it to say it’s Jesus!

 

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What is it With this Book?

What Is It About This Book?

“Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29

Recommended Reading – Psalm 119:161-168
In one of his books, Charles Colson asked, “What is it about this book, the Bible, that causes people to give their lives for it, causes oppressors to try to destroy it, and so infuriates the cultural elite today?” His answer: “The reason is what the Bible claims for itself. Although it is in many respects a book like many others, a collection of ancient writings that includes a variety of genres from historical narrative to introspective philosophy, it is much more; it purports to be the Word of God itself.”

Because the Bible conveys God’s full authority, we cannot ignore it when things are going well or cast it aside during times of persecution. As Christians we must resist the lure of allowing the Bible to be marginalized in our lives, as it too often is.

Read it every day. Memorize key texts. Learn to mull over its words as you drive, shower, jog, or go to bed. Quote it to others. Teach and preach it at every opportunity. Respect its authority, for it’s like a fire and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.

The Bible, written by men but through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us God’s eternal perspective on the world—truth not bound by any time or place.
Charles Colson

Trinity, Your Exceedingly Great Reward

Trinity: Your Exceedingly Great Reward

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward’ (Genesis 15:1 ).
The Lord God is Your Exceedingly Great Reward; because when you get to Heaven, He will give you spiritual treasures that He is holding for you. But, it’s not money or jewels you’ll get; the Lord is your treasure. “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11). Abraham fought a battle for righteousness sake (Gen. 14:1-16), yet he refused to take the earthly treasures that were rightfully his (Gen. 14:17-24). Abraham received a reward greater than gold or silver. He enjoyed the happiness of Divine presence; the Lord was his reward. People on earth strive for gold to make them happy, but they don’t realize that the greatest happiness of all is found in the presence of God. If your life is empty, let the Lord fill it with His presence.
The Lord God is Your Exceedingly Great Reward. Once you fix your love on Him, your money will have new meaning. You will get joy donating to many righteous causes. All your work for the Lord will bring you greater pleasures because you’ll glorify Him in all you do. You won’t use all your energy pursuing pleasures; but you’ll do the Lord’s will, which will bring you the greatest happiness of all.
The Lord God is the greatest source of reward and happiness in life.

Jesus: Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus: Lord Jesus Christ

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality (James 2:1).
We usually think of Jesus as having three names: Lord, Jesus, and Christ. But He’s entirely different from people today who have a first, middle and last name. When you call Him Lord, that’s His title. You are referring to His deity. No one gave Him the title Lord, for He has eternally been Lord. When you call Him Jesus, you are referring to His humanity. The angel Gabriel told Mary to call Him Jesus, a Greek name that means “Jehovah Saves.” When you call Him Christ, you are referring to His anointed office. Just as prophets, priests, and kings were anointed into their office, Jesus came as Prophet to give the message of God, as Priest to bring salvation, and as King to rule the hearts of His followers.
Why does Jesus have so many names, titles, and descriptive metaphors? Men who do many things have many titles (dad, husband, uncle, boss, deacon, etc.), so Jesus has over 700 names because He is and does a vast number of things. The names you call Him are not as important as your response to Him. He wants your love and obedience.
Jesus has many names to elicit many responses.

The World Tomorrow

The World Tomorrow

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.  Habakkuk 2:14

Recommended Reading – Revelation 20:1-6
When we think about the future of our planet, we worry for our children and grandchildren. What kind of world will they face in coming decades? The Bible warns that perilous times will come; but the Bible is also filled with encouragement about the future and about the coming Golden Age of Jesus Christ—the Millennium. This is when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as waters cover the sea. This is the period when God’s people will reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). Satan will be bound, earthly troubles will cease, and every need will be met. There will be no want in the millennial kingdom because we’ll have all our needs fulfilled in a near-perfect world.

We don’t have to wait for the Millennium to live under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ. We can experience that now. Our hearts can be filled now with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. The principles of the kingdom can govern our lives.

Is the King at home in your heart?

There is an age coming when all earthly problems will end. One day Jesus is going to come back and set up His kingdom on this earth. But here and now, we can make Him King of our lives.
David Jeremiah

How Jesus Enriches Everthing

How Jesus Enriches Everything

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
1 Timothy 6:17

Recommended Reading – Psalm 14
Christopher Hitchens was a leading voice among the new militant atheists, and his dislike of the Lord was evident in the title of one of his books: God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. He and other secularists accuse Christianity of robbing life of its joys. Christianity, they say, spoils the fun and ruins everything for everyone.

Oh, how wrong they are! Those of us who are Christ-followers can’t imagine a life without Jesus. Every day with Him is sweeter than the day before. Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly (John 10:10). His laws are not given to prevent pleasure but to bless and protect us. His Word is for our good (Deuteronomy 10:13), for our learning (Romans 15:4), and for our benefit (2 Timothy 3:16-17). God’s plans for us aren’t intended to harm but to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV). We have a living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Let’s write a book about our daily lives with the pages open for all to see, and let’s title it: God Is Very Great: How Jesus Enriches Everything.

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
C. S. Lewis

Wise Investing

Wise Investing

The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.
Psalm 119:72

Recommended Reading – Colossians 3:14-17
Writing 200 years after Christ, Bishop Cyprian of Carthage said of the Scriptures, “[They] are nothing else than divine commands, foundations on which hope is to be built up, buttresses by which faith is to be strengthened, nourishment wherefrom the heart is to be comforted, helms whereby to steer our way, ramparts whereby salvation is to be preserved; and thus, while they instruct the teachable minds of believers on earth, they also lead them onto the heavenly kingdom.”1

There has never been a book like the Bible—inspired by God and penned by men, deep enough to study for a lifetime but concise enough to hold in our hands. Every page is a treasure. Psalm 19 says the Word of God is more desirable than fine gold. Proverbs 3:15 says it’s more precious than rubies. And Psalm 119:72 says it’s better than thousands of coins of gold and silver.

When you invest yourself in the Bible, you’re the richest person on earth.

If your world today seems confusing, be comforted by the words of the prophets of God who have told you what the future holds for you as a child of God.
David Jeremiah

1T. Herbert Bindley, St. Cyprian on the Lord’s Prayer: An English Translation, with Introduction (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1904), 25.