We all have a bloodline that tells us about who we are and where we came from. In Genesis 1 through 3, we dive into the life of Adam at the start of creation. Throughout this message, we see how we were created, what made us the way we are, and where we can find restoration.
Let's go! Welcome, friends in the room, in Fort Worth; El Paso; Phoenix; Houston; Cedar Rapids; Mint Hill, North Carolina; northwest Arkansas, wherever you are joining in from, tuning in from. We are kicking off a new series tonight, Bloodline, where for the next four weeks, we are going to look at the overarching main story of the Bible and trace through the bloodline of Jesus.
Let me start like this. I don't want to brag, but I have been told that a part of the Marvin family, as somebody traced it, originally landed in the 1600s and was one of 16 different people who founded Norfolk, Connecticut, and Hartford, Connecticut. As we traced through our family lineage, it has been traced back to once upon a time, David Marvin… There was somebody way, way back named Matthew Marvin, and he named his son Matthew Marvin.
Apparently, this family was one of 16 people who made a big deal, if you're from Connecticut, and inside of that city today there are plaques and even statues devoted to this group of settlers who founded the original thing. They came over from England, not on the Mayflower but on Increase, and they were a part of this original group. It was pretty crazy to find all this out, because then it's like, "Dude, this guy has a Wikipedia page." He had a son who was a House of Representatives member. Like, dude, this is in our family.
It never really felt like something I was connected to, and here's why. At the same time that seemed kind of cool, it always felt like, "Yeah, it's just kind of cool," and it was because my grandfather, whose name our Marvin family name comes from, was adopted into his family. He was adopted and really left on the doorstep of a doctor in town. Apparently, there was some young pregnancy that had the baby and didn't feel like they could have the baby at that time, so they gave it up for adoption.
So he was adopted, and we've never known who the family line was, who we actually are. We were adopted into this Marvin family, and we've always wondered or I've always wondered… My siblings, cousins, everyone is like, "Man, I wonder who actually is our family." That transforms everything from "Look, dude. Wow! We are a really big deal. We're part of the House of Representatives. We have our name on a plaque out there" to just, "Oh, that's not really us."
It might as well be George Washington or something out there. It's no longer something significantly tied, because it's not in our blood. We've never known who it was, and there has always been this curiosity. We could do Ancestry.com or 23andMe or any of the blood tests, but that doesn't actually give you the exact tracing. It kind of goes, "You're from the continent of Europe," which, shocker. We knew that, but we never would be able to trace who it was…until last summer.
What happened last summer? My uncle, Uncle Rusty, who's about as close to the character of Kramer on Seinfeld as any person on the planet, had basically come in, and he was like, "Guys, I solved the mystery. I've been tracing…" Close to Kramer. I'm not kidding at all. He's an artist by trade. He doesn't really do a ton and hangs out at the house. He led himself on this investigative work where he was going to find out exactly who was in the family tree.
So he called up different people. We are from this small town in Kansas. He called up family members who might have known someone who knew somebody who knew somebody, and he traced down… He was buying different pieces. Anything he could find related to that town, he would buy it up, even if it was a postcard or a stamp. He was going all in to investigate, and one day, he let all the family know, "I found out who Grandpa's original parents were."
This was a game changer. He sent us all the research. By Kramer, I further mean this wasn't like Ancestry.com, like, "Oh, that's kind of cool." You know, click the button and it fills it out. He's like, "Dude, I didn't even use a computer." You go into his house, and on the wall it's like pictures and ropes tied to things. I'm not kidding at all. It's amazing. He solved the mystery, and he sent us all this information.
He sent me this binder where everything is handwritten out, like, "This person is related here," and he traced it all the way back into Germany and into the 1700s. "This is actually who you're from and the family lineage you're a part of." I remember getting that with my siblings, and you're kind of fascinated. I feel like there's always one "family tree" person in every family who geeks out about it and shares it with the rest of everybody. That person shared it, but all of us were interested. "Man, this tells more of the story of who we are and how we got here."
As we kick off this series Bloodline, our hope is that as we explore the bloodline of Jesus and trace through the central story of the Old Testament and Bible, it's going to give not just an indication on who Jesus was and his lineage but it'll give an indication of who we are and how we got here. Particularly, the person we're going to look at tonight answers a lot around the question of who you are and how we, humanity, got here.
We're going to look at the story of Adam, because inside of Adam's story we don't just find the original start of the bloodline of Jesus; we find the original start of your bloodline and my bloodline. In his story, we don't just see Adam's story, but we see all of our stories. So tonight, we're going to look at God's first relationship and the first creation that existed on planet earth, which was Adam and his wife Eve, and take away what we can learn from our original parents as it relates to who we are and how we and our world got here.
What we're going to explore tonight is some of the most profound teachings in the entire Bible. They provide the explanation for everything broken in our world, everything broken out there and everything broken in here. They provide the explanation for why there are school shootings, why evil exists at all. Why does everything wear out and break down and nothing lasts, including you and me? Why am I so drawn back to the same temptations, the same sin struggles, those old relationships, the same lustful thoughts? What is that?
Why is it that I can continue to follow Jesus and it's never like, "Oh, I put that to bed, and that's all forever behind me"? Not that there is not victory and growth and faith, but there's something that continues to be… The presence of sin doesn't go away. Why is that? Why do I find myself still anxious? Tonight, we're going to look at not just how we got here but the solution for those things, and we're going to trace through the original starting point in the bloodline of Jesus and in the bloodline of you.
We're going to be in Genesis, chapter 1. If you have a Bible, you can flip open to Genesis, chapter 1. Genesis is the book of beginnings, and in it we are given, in chapter 1, a 30,000-foot view of creation of man and, in chapter 2, an on-the-ground-level, more specific. I'm going to start in chapter 1. We're going to look at creation, what happened through temptation, and how that same thing is continuing to happen in your life and my life, and then some of the solution God has provided to deal with that. Chapter 1, verse 26:
"Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; [both] male and female…"
Unique from all creation, he makes humankind in the image of God. I'm going to come back to why it says, "Let us…" in a second. In chapter 2, it goes into more specifics. "Then the Lord God formed a man…" And it tells how he created Adam and, further, how he created Eve. "…from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."
The word man is the same word for Adam. That's literally the translation of what it means. God uniquely creates him among all creation. Everything else he just speaks into existence. He says, "Let there be light." Light. "Let there be trees." Trees. But uniquely, with man, he forms him out of the dirt and breathes into him. It's incredibly intimate and distinct from everything else created. That's how God sees you and sees humanity: distinct from all else that is created.
God puts him in the garden of Eden. Eden means delight. Verse 16: "And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.'" God says, "Hey, you can eat from any tree in the garden except for that one tree, because on the day you do it, there are going to be consequences. You're going to die. Don't eat from that one tree."
You may be wondering or have wondered, "Why did God even put that tree there? Why don't we just get rid of that tree? No problem." I'm going to answer that in a second, but first, I want to highlight… Think about what God just did. He takes man, forms him, places him in a garden called Delight, or in Paradise, and he literally says, "Hey, guys. You can do whatever you want. You have one rule."
This is the entire Bible at this point: "Don't eat from the tree." You could fit the entire Bible on an index card. That was it. Everything else, fair game. "You do you. Do whatever you want to do. Just don't eat from the tree." That was the Bible. That was all that God gave. The focus and the takeaway is he says, "You are free to eat from anything that's out there," and he gave this one instruction. I'm going to point back to why he did that.
Then verse 18: "The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone.'" At this time, it was only Adam. "I will make a helper suitable for him." Before sin had ever entered into the world, God says… Over and over in the Genesis account, he's like, "It's good." There was light, and it was good. There were stars and moon, and it was good. Everything was good, and then he comes to one thing, before sin was ever present, and he says, "There's one thing that's not good."
"So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." In verse 23, we're told Adam busts out in song, and it's his very own version of Brian McKnight's "One, you're like a dream come true!"
This couple is [audio cuts off]. It's true. You can read it, where he's like, "This girl is mine. She was made for me. I just want to be with you. You're the only one for me." And it was true. "Adam and [Eve] were both naked, and they felt no shame." They had perfect harmony and perfect relationship with one another and with God. We have never known a world that does not exist without shame. It has been a part of everything and every experience in all of our lives.
They lived in a perfect relationship in a way that they experienced total intimacy with God, with one another. No division. They spent time face-to-face with God, walking with him, consistently in deep relationship with God. They were created to. The first idea that still is true about you and me that we learn from the story of our ancient parents is that you were created for connection, for relationships. You were created to exist in relationships. It's the first thing I want to harp on.
You may go, "Oh yeah; I get that," but here's why that's so profound. Stay with me. You were made in the image of a trinity God. Did you know that? Why does he say, "Let us"? That's kind of a weird thing to say…unless there's more than one of them. Let me be really careful on this. The Bible teaches that there's something called the Trinity. It is one God in three persons…Father, Son, Holy Spirit…eternally existed, all time.
You may be going, "What? How does that make sense?" It's a little bit beyond my pay grade to fully explain or any human to fully explain. In fact, there was a church father who said, "If you deny the Trinity, you will forfeit your soul. If you try to explain the Trinity, you will lose your mind." But over and over, the Bible says God eternally existed in relationship, perfect relationship with one another, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, totally together.
When he made man, he said, "Let us make him in our image," this three-in-one God. He made man in the image of an eternal relational God. By definition and by design, you were created for relationship, for connection with other people. That's why the very first thing God can say is, "It's not good that they would be alone." You were designed and created to connect with other people, specifically with God and with others in your life.
Here's why this matters: whether or not you realize it, you are going to seek to connect with other people. You're going to seek to connect with someone or something, so it's not a question of whether or not… You were designed for connection, and you're going to do that in neutral whether or not you try to. You're going to do it. All of us desire affection. We desire affirmation. We desire relationships. You are going to seek it. It's not optional whether or not you're going to seek connection with others. It is optional where you seek connection with others.
It's like this. In my home, we have Wi-Fi, and the Wi-Fi doesn't go upstairs, so I bought a Wi-Fi extender at Best Buy, thinking, "This'll be great. It'll take the Wi-Fi and extend it upstairs." It's pretty cool. You plug it into the wall, and whatever your Wi-Fi is… Mine is "Marvin's Wi-Fi." It takes that and basically puts an "E-X-T" on there, so when you go on your phone and put in "Connect to Wi-Fi," it just says, "Marvin's Wi-Fi EXT" for extender.
So I would log on, and because… I don't know where I even bought this thing, but it clearly wasn't a very effective place. It has never worked, ever. So I would go connect to my Wi-Fi, and it would not allow me to connect to the Internet or it would be really slow or it would stop. My phone would automatically connect, because that's what it does once you log in a couple of times. It would automatically, when I walked into my house, connect to "Marvin's EXT," which never worked, because my phone is trained to connect to a router every time it goes into that house.
So what do I have to do? I have to go in, and I have to go, "Forget 'Marvin EXT'. This was a total waste of money. Thank you, Best Buy." And I have to reconnect to "Marvin's Wi-Fi." In the same way, your heart, like a phone that is going to connect to a router when it goes in, is going to go in and seek to connect to other people. So you don't have a choice over whether or not you're going to seek to connect. You do have a choice over who you connect with…through friendships, through dating relationships, through marriage.
Your heart is going to seek to do that, so you have to be very intentional. Just like in that scenario where I go in and I have to choose "Disconnect from this Wi-Fi that doesn't work and connect with the right one," so you and I, as Christians, are called to be very careful about who we walk in deep relationship with. Some of you came into the room, and some of the greatest friends you have… I'm not telling you that you should be mean to them or rude to them or any of that, but they are pulling you down.
You're trying to get traction as you walk with God, and you are connecting (all of us are connection magnets) with people who are going to pull you away from God and pull you down in your faith. You don't have a choice over whether or not your heart is going to look to connect and be in relationship with people. You have a choice over who you allow it to connect with. For some of us, the thing that is going to allow your faith to grow is you have to make the decision, "I am changing who I am walking in friendships with.
I'm not going to be rude to people and be like, 'Oh, run the other way,' but I am choosing who I'm going to allow to speak into and influence my life, because my faith isn't strong enough right now. These people are pulling me down, and I just keep getting blown up and getting pulled back into the same old stuff. I'm choosing to change my playmates and my playgrounds, and I'm going to choose to put myself around God's people."
You don't have a choice over the fact that you're going to seek to connect with other people. You do have a choice over where you seek. The same thing with dating and with marriage and with a spouse. That God-given desire you have to seek out a spouse or to desire to have a husband or a wife someday is not something you need to be afraid of. This weird thing happened in Christianity where it crept into the church that it's a bad thing for you to want a spouse.
I don't know where that happened or where that came from, but it has led to some really silly things where people feel like they have to pretend like, "Man, I don't think I'm supposed to want a husband or wife, even though I do, so I'm just going to say, 'God, I don't want a husband or wife, even though I do, and that way you're going to give me a husband or wife, because you will if I just say that I don't.'" It's ridiculous. The Bible says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and receives favor from the Lord." It is a God-given desire, and that's an okay thing.
It's not something ultimately any spouse can satisfy. You may not be able to choose whether or not you're going to desire to have a spouse, but you can choose where you are going to look to connect with one and who you disconnect from. "Hey, you were trouble when you walked in. We are over, and I am disconnecting. I'm deleting this number, and I'm cutting it off." Because you are going to continue to be, as we've said before, with Mr. Right Now and never find Mr. Right because you're with Mr. Right Now. You have to choose, "I'm disconnecting."
You were created to connect with God. Not just with other people but with God. Every single human heart is created to connect with God, and that is the answer to why so many people can have so much in life and still feel so empty. It's why Tom Brady can sit and be 49 years old, going, "Hey, I've won 87 Super Bowls, and I'm still empty." It's why he can be married and have everything in life, and person after person can say, "I have it all, and it's not enough," because there was something inside of them that was created to connect with God, and apart from a relationship with God, that connection is not being met.
You were created to experience relationship and connection with God. It was true of Adam. It is still true today. Why did God even put the tree there? That's a really fair question. The answer is that the heart of God's desire would be a relationship with you. Do you know what you can't have a relationship without? Free will. He didn't want robots who couldn't decide to walk with him or choose him, and he gave man free will, and in doing so, he gave them the option to choose him or to not, to choose to love him or to not, because he designed and he wanted relationship. You were designed and created for connection.
So, Adam and Eve are hanging out in the garden, running around naked, hanging out with the animals. Everything is perfect in Paradise, and then five minutes go by, and this is what happens: "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"?'"
If you didn't grow up in church, this is pretty weird of a story. You're like, "Okay. They're hanging out. Everyone is running around naked in the garden. Things look so good, and then a snake starts talking to the lady. That feels unusual, not your everyday thing." Here's what the Serpent is in this context. Biblically, repeatedly, the Serpent represents Satan.
In Revelation, chapter 12, we're told, "The ancient dragon, that ancient serpent called the Devil, who was there at the beginning." Satan, essentially, is disguising himself here in the form of a serpent to come and tempt. That may seem bizarre and weird, but it has been consistently used as the title or way that Satan disguises and masks himself. So he shows up and begins to speak and speak lies to Eve. Here's what happens next:
"The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die."'" I don't have time to go into all of this, but Eve added to God's words. He didn't say you can't touch it; he just said you shouldn't eat from it.
"'You will not certainly die,' the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'" The original lie and the lie that ever since it was bought has been breathed into every single human heart, including mine and including yours, was sold and told to Eve.
What was the original lie? The original lie was essentially, "If you listen to God, you're going to miss out. If you follow God and you actually do it… God is holding back from you. You know that, right? If you actually do what God says, you're going to miss out on life. You should do what you want, and you should do what you think is best. If you actually follow God, he's holding out. He's not that good. He's not for your good."
He says, "Take it or leave it." Verse 6: "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." Adam was there, and he was silent. He failed his wife, and he failed to speak up, and he failed to stop the lies with the truth.
The thing I want to focus on is what happens every time temptation exists in my life and in your life. Every time temptation exists, it calls God's Word and words into question. Every time. Let me unpack this, because this is so important that you understand. That may be like, "Oh yeah. Calls God's Word into question. That feels so irrelevant for my life." Let me try to unpack it here for a second.
The first thing we see is that the Serpent does something really interesting that I never noticed until somebody pointed it out this week. He goes through, and he changes the descriptive title for God. Every single time God is mentioned, it is the Lord God or Yahweh Elohim. Those are the words Lord and God in Hebrew. Lord was a personal title. God would be kind of distant, like man, and Yahweh would be myman, if you will.
He changes it. Every single time, the Serpent says, "Did God say…? Did God say…?" not "Did the Lord God say…?" I think we have a slide where you can see all of the different times in chapter 2 where we see the "Lord God," and there are so many more of them. You can go back and look. "Lord God, Yahweh Elohim," this relational aspect, and then Satan comes up and says, "Did God…?" Every time he mentions him, he says, "God."
He removes the relational component from them, beginning to get them to question. "This is not some personal God who cares about you. It's some distant force that just wants to hem you in and rule you. He's not really that good, and he's not really that for you." Every time you and I fall for a temptation, it comes with us believing a lie or calling into question God's Word and his goodness.
Here's how it happens for you and me. Even though our temptation is a parallel for this scenario, it's not typically that it goes down like this. In other words, the temptation you fall for is not generally you're going to walk out of here, and you're going to be sitting in your car, and all of a sudden there's going to be a snake pop up, and he's going to be like, "Hey, you know what? You shouldn't do that; you should do this over here," and you're going to be like, "Oh man. Did God really say? I guess I'll do that," and he's going to be like, "Eat this apple."
That's generally not what happens. It's not on the surface as clear as that, but every time you and I begin to go, "Man, is God really that good? Maybe doing what God says is a big deal when I grow up someday or I get settled down, but right now in life, it's just not that big of a deal…" That is what it looks like for you to begin to call into question, like, "Man, God says not to do this. He says this is how you think about sexuality, about money, about life, all of these things."
Then we attempt to begin to justify in our own minds. "You know, I'm sure that's really good, but just one time? Is it that big of a deal?" In doing so, we are doing exactly what Eve was tempted to do: question whether or not God and his Word is true and he's as good as he says he is. Every single time. So it may look like, "Hey, the Bible says, 'Don't get drunk on wine. That leads to reckless living.'" We're like justification factories, where we begin to go, "Oh man. This is why it's not exactly that."
We just look for the ability to do what we want to do, and we're doing exactly what Eve did. What do I mean? "Don't get drunk on wine. That leads to reckless living." We're like, "Dude, it says, 'Don't get drunk on wine.' It was beer, and it was Patrón, and it's not that big of a deal. And what even is drunk? I'm going to take an Uber either way, so where do you define drunk? Like, the state of Texas or…? It's not like I passed out. And it was my twenty-fifth birthday. Okay? Get off my back." We just begin to justify it and justify it.
Or God says, "Don't have a hint of sexual immorality named among you." We take that, and we're like, "Hey, dude. It's okay if I spend the night at my boyfriend's house or my girlfriend's house. It's not like we're having sex. There are a lot of people doing a lot of things worse. In fact, you know what? I feel like I should get a trophy or something, because I am really standing out. Everybody else is sleeping around. We're just sleeping together and not having sex." We're seeking to justify our behavior.
"I'm chasing a hashtag or I'm looking at pornography, but that's not that bad. A lot of people out there are having sex with other people, and this is way not as bad as that." We just begin to buy this idea that "It's not that big of a deal, it's not that applicable to me, and I'm justified in my actions." In doing so, it's calling what God's Word says into question…for me, for you, every single time any of us do it.
The interesting thing about this text or about Satan's offense, which is the Devil and just the way sins work… He doesn't say, "Hey, Eve, here's the deal. Eat that apple and follow me. Let's go. You can be like a devil worshiper. We're going to get you a hat and some horns and things. You'll be my follower." He doesn't say that. Think about this. It's pretty profound. Satan never works like that. What does he say? He says, "Follow you."
His offense every single time is not, "Hey, come follow me. We're going to start a cult." This is how Satan works every time. It's how he works all over our world. It's not follow him; it's follow you. Follow what you desire. You should do what you want. All over, the message of our world is, "You do you. Nobody else can tell you anything, even if the Bible says it. Hey, I'm a Christian. Yeah, a lot of Christians have sex outside of marriage, and that's not that big of a deal. Oh, who are you to judge me over here? Look at you. I'm sure you've done some bad things in your life too."
You buy and you justify and you tell yourself what you're doing is not that big of a deal and it's okay. "God still loves me. I had sex in a windmill. It doesn't matter." You do whatever you want. And what is at the heart of that lie? "I can do whatever I want." Satan is winning. His offense is always not, "Follow me." It's "Follow what you want." Is there a lie that is more prolific in our culture today than that?
Do you know what the motto of the Church of Satan is? "Do as thou wilt." Do as thou wishes. Wilt is just a weird old word that means want. The motto of the Church of Satan is not "Let's just burn Bibles and do Ouija boards." The motto is, "Do whatever you want," and his offense has not changed. Anytime you and I begin to go, "Man, I think I deserve this; I think it's okay," and begin to excuse our actions, despite the fact that they don't align with God's Word, we should be concerned.
I know, for me, anytime I justify and am entertaining lustful thoughts in my head from past relationships and I'm like, "It's not that big of a deal," I'm justifying sin and not believing God is who he says. Anytime I allow anxiety to rule over me and I'm like, "God's Word really doesn't apply here," I am allowing temptation to lead me to say, "God's Word is not as good as he says." Anytime I'm blaming other people or focusing on what I'm entitled to that I don't have, I'm buying into temptation and not taking God's Word. I'm calling into question God and who he says he is.
I'll move on to the last point. We've bought this idea that I think is why Satan doesn't say, "Lord God." He doesn't say, "Your God, relational God, Lord God." He just says the God, the God who's out there. He tries to make him impersonal and not connected. "Who knows? Does he even care about you or just gave these random rules?"
We think of God and the instructions he gives us in the Bible not as a loving Father giving things to protect you and to keep you from harm; we think of him as some distant government who gives some random, arbitrary rules. I know, at least for me, it can seem like laws… Like sinning against God is kind of like speeding.
It's like I'm driving in the neighborhood, and it's 60 miles an hour, and at this point it changes to 75 miles an hour, and I'm like, "Dude, who decided that between these 40 feet it makes sense and it's okay to go up 15 miles an hour? Because whoever did just cost me a speeding ticket of $300. This feels ridiculous." I don't even feel bad. I don't even know if I should say this. I'm already there, so let's just go.
I don't even feel bad when I'm speeding. I can convince myself that it's not that big of a deal because it's some distant government out there. (Don't email me. I know. I choose not to speed. I try not to. Let's move on.) My point is it feels like this distant law. I don't even know who set these rules. I never agreed to them. Do they even care about me? They don't feel like they're after anything other than a speed trap, trying to get me trapped.
I think a lot of us think like that about God. They're just some random, arbitrary rules. It's not that big of a deal if you go 70 in a 65 as long as you don't get caught. It's all good. The Bible says it's not like some random, arbitrary government law; it is like a father who loves his children who says, "I'm putting these in place not to restrict you, not to hold you back, but because I love you. Every time I say, 'Do not' it is 'Do not hurt yourself.'"
I have a 3-year-old, almost 4-year-old son, and one of the key laws in our home that he does not do great always at a bang is running into the street. He sits there, and he's all pumped up on Halloween candy lately, and his gravitational pull is out into the street. He has a father and mother who give him spankings, saying, "Do not run in the street." Why? Is it because we're like, "Dude, the street is where the party is at," and we want to keep that away from you? That's what we want? No. It's because there are cars, and you could get hurt, and you could die.
But he's like, "Dude, it's not that big of a deal. I've even stepped into the street, and nothing has happened. I don't know if they really are for my good. This just feels random. They're keeping me from where the party is at." Here's the crazy thing, though. You're listening, and you're like, "Oh, those are totally different. A speed trap, 60 in a 75? That's such an arbitrary law. Or 60 down to 40 or whatever it is. That's so different from a loving heavenly Father who has the best of his child in mind and cares about him and gives him instruction to protect him."
You can see the difference. Do you know who can't? My 4-year-old son. He just thinks, "Man, is he just trying to withhold from me?" because he doesn't have the perspective and the maturity to see that. Every single law God has given, whether or not you have the perspective and maturity to see it, is not to rip you off and constrain you but is from a God who loves you far more than I love my son, and I can't even put into words how much I love my son. Everything he has given is to protect you. Temptation always comes when we begin to question God in our lives.
So, Adam was created for relationship. He and Eve were deceived and disobeyed and called God into question, and everything changed. Here's what happened. Verse 7: "Then the eyes of both of them [Adam and Eve] were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves." In a moment, shame entered, insecurity entered, fear entered. Everything changed. Death entered.
"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…" Most scholars believe this was the pre-incarnate Christ, which is hard to fathom. Basically, before Christ came and was born 2,000 years ago, he appeared and was walking in the garden, because it says that God was clearly walking in bodily form.
He had walked tons of times with these guys. He walked every day. They saw God face-to-face. Adam and Eve had perfect harmony together, perfect relationship with him. They existed and they loved each other and looked forward to the moments they got to be around their God, the Lord God, and he was around, and he walked.
This day, everything changed. They hear him walking, a sound they'd heard before, and instead of running toward God, it says this: "…and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?' He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.'"
I can only imagine the pain of this moment. If you're God and you'd only ever known this perfect relationship… You're Adam and Eve in this perfect harmony with one another, and you're walking up. You used to run toward God when you heard him walking toward you. All of a sudden, because of their decision, because shame entered, they turn off and run away from God.
As I think about that… Do you know what would break my heart so much? If my kids, whenever I showed up at my house… Right now, every single day I show up, they run in and are like, "Daddy!" It's hugs at the door. It would be similar to, instead of that happening, if I showed up at my house, and they heard Daddy coming, and they took off, and they saw me and ran and hid.
I know most of us aren't parents in the room, but the emotional response can almost bring me to tears even thinking about that. For a perfect God, who loved Adam and Eve so much that years later he would give his Son to die in their place, to see his children, when his presence comes, take off and in fear run from him… Everything was fractured. As painful as the decision to disobey, how even more painful was how that decision to disobey led them to run from God in shame.
"And [God] said [to Adam] , 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?' The man said, 'The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.' Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?' The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'"
The blame game begins. Adam essentially goes, "The woman you gave. Basically, this is your fault, so you guys figure it out." And the woman says it was his fault, and sin was introduced, and everything broke and everything fractured. Then in verses 14-20, these are the curses God gives Adam. "Now you're going to work the ground, and it's going to war against you. Work will not be life-giving; it will war against you.
For Eve, childbirth will be painful, and miscarriage and all the brokenness around giving birth will no longer be what it was intended to be. Your desire will be to rule over your husband or to get something from your husband he cannot give to you." And he lays out to the Serpent, "This will be your curse." Then I want you to see what God does next.
"The Lord God made garments of skin…" That's fur. A sacrifice was made. "…for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.'" Previously, he had only known good. "He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So God gives provision of clothing and protection. Why do I say that? Had Adam been able to reach out and eat of the Tree of Life, essentially, he would have been able to live forever in sin.
He would have experienced living hell, quite literally, eternally. So even that is a protection of God, saying, "I'm not going to allow him to eat from that tree." They moved him and Eve out of the garden, and they put there an angel, we're told, guarding the garden of Eden in the rest of the story. Even that was an extension of God's grace, because he knew one day he would send a Savior to redeem and recreate and make all things new in this world.
Here's the thing I want to showcase and highlight for the last few minutes we have: sin always brings separation. It brings separation in your relationship with your parents. It brings separation in your relationship with God. It brings separation in your relationship with friends. Anytime sin is present, it always drives in separation. Let me explain what I mean by that and why this is so huge.
Adam was not separated from God geographically immediately after he ate. He was separated from him relationally. Anytime sin is present and because sin is present in our world, there is a relational gap that exists between you and me. Sin always brings separation into your and my life. We do the same exact thing. It's crazy how when we sin it can drive us farther into sin because of our shame and guilt.
How many people give up their virginity, and it's like, "Dude, it doesn't even matter anymore. I'm now willing to have sex with more people, and I don't hold it as tightly, because I've already played that card. It's not that big of a deal. I feel kind of a shame and guilt about it, so I'll look for that as an opportunity to receive affection in a relationship." It's because they bought that initial lie, and it drove them farther and farther and farther.
Oftentimes, it's the process of how addiction starts. I'm so ashamed, and instead of running to God I run farther from him, and it builds my shame, and I grow more shameful and more afraid and more guilty. The God who's there doesn't want you to run and try to hide and cover up. He says, "Come to me. Bring it to me, and I will clothe you in my righteousness."
Just like here, there's a parallel. "Don't cover it up. Bring it to me, and I will clothe you, like I clothed Adam and Eve, with forgiveness and righteousness. You don't have to hide, and you don't have to run from me." The Bible says that on the day they ate it, they would surely die. Let me explain something really quickly. I've read that text before, and it's a really interesting thing. They didn't die that day.
It can sometimes read like… The Bible says in Romans, chapter 3, "The wages of sin is death." So if you sin, you get death. If you eat from the tree, you die. In James, chapter 1, it says sin when it is fully grown brings forth death, and it can feel like, "Really? I feel like I sinned today and I didn't die. What is that?"
It's like this. Any vets in the house? Good. No vets. My dog is not playing with a full deck, and he has on multiple occasions eaten grapes. Here's what I've learned as it relates to grapes: grapes will kill a dog. It will straight-up put them in the ground, knock a sucker out. On multiple occasions, my wife has called me and been like, "Hey, the dog ate grapes."
It becomes this decision where we're on "Veterinary.com" trying to figure out, "Is this actually going to kill him? And how much do we like the dog?" It's crazy. If they eat that fruit, it will straight-up kill them. It could shut down their kidneys, or so we've been told. It could be just some hoax veterinarians are making a killing off of. So we have to take him and get his stomach pumped, because if he eats those and digests them, it'll kill him.
Sometimes it can feel like you read passages like this, and it's like, "Is it really going to kill him? Sin is death? Like, immediately? Like, I had sex outside of marriage and I'm going to die for that?" It can feel like that's the message of the church. "Hey, you smoke pot, you're going to explode. That's why you shouldn't do it." Then you do it, and you're like, "I didn't explode. I don't understand. The wages of sin is death? Sin always brings death? That feels a little aggressive."
Let me explain what that means, because it's really important that you understand or else you're going to go, "It's not that true." Every time there's sin, it brings death into our lives. What is death? The opposite of life. Every time sin is involved anywhere, it doesn't bring life in; it sucks life out of you. Eventually, that erodes and decays and leads to death. The erosion of relationships. Death of relationships can lead to death of your faith. Let me explain. It's not just like little death.
It is true that the moment Adam and Eve sinned, they were on a clock. They started dying. The moment you were born, you started dying. You get that, right? We're all continuing every second. Eventually it's just a slow death, because death entered into our world. But it wasn't just that. Sin also brings death to relationships. For some of you, like me, your parents' marriage died because of sin, whether it was selfishness, alcoholism, adultery, and you saw the firsthand effects.
Sin brings death. It brings death to your faith. You begin to make one decision after the next. People don't walk away from God overnight, generally. You know that? They just begin to go like, "Oh man, I just started doing this, and then I started doing this. I started hanging out with these people. I started making this relationship. I started living with him, and then I'm not even sure I believe in this anymore." Slowly by slowly, their faith just died, because sin brings death every time it's there.
It can bring death, as we've seen, to someone's health. It can bring death to your freedom, because you hand in your freedom card for addiction. "Hey, I'm free to do whatever I want" all of a sudden becomes, "I'm not free to do whatever I want anymore. I can't stop." Death happened to your freedom. The good news is God brings dead things back to life all the time, and the story is not over. Every time sin is introduced, it brings the opposite of life, which is dying, death, into the picture.
More than anything… Let me highlight this as my third point and then close. I hope you hear me, and I think this message in the church has been so lost and poorly communicated over the years. God's concern with you… Anytime there's sin present in your life, in my life, according to the Bible, it's not him running, going, "I cannot believe you did that. I said no jumping in the street. That's where the party is at. No! I don't want you to experience that, because I don't want you focused on that thing."
His concern is about what that sin is doing to you every single time. It's like this. I took my son and my daughter this past weekend to Home Depot. They have sometimes on Saturdays… This is what you have to look forward to as a parent: Home Depot. They have these kids' workshops. You're building stuff. You're building a plane or an eagle or something. I'm there, and we're building it, and they had popcorn they were giving out to different kids.
My 1-1/2-year-old daughter is like a Hungry Hungry Hippo in life. She eats things that aren't even food. She's just like, "I'll take it." She sees this popcorn that's over on the floor, just nasty popcorn over on the floor, and she's like, "Oh man. Look at that. Snack. Lunch." My son is running off the other direction. I'm all alone playing solo dad. It's just chaos, and I'm regretting my decision to come to Home Depot entirely.
I'm yelling at him, "Stop going over there!" and then I look over here (her name is Monroe), and I'm like, "Monroe! You do not eat that popcorn! Do not eat that popcorn, Monroe! Crew, come back here! Someone, give me a little help." She just plops down. She throws the popcorn in her mouth that has been sitting there who knows how long, and she begins to choke. As a dad, it's kind of terrifying. You're running over there. This had never happened before with her.
I pick her up, and she's choking, and not just a little bit. I mean, color changing in her face, and I'm trying to push on her stomach and pat her on her back. It was really a terrifying experience. In that moment, do you know what I'm not concerned with? Her disobedience to eat the popcorn. I'm concerned about what her disobedience to eat the popcorn has done to her and is doing to her. The God who's there is not there going, "Man, I can't believe you made that decision. I'm just so angry at the fact that you would do…"
He's more concerned about what sin is doing to you, not about your sin, period. He's concerned about what it's going to do to you. Like, any father is not going, "We're going to sit here, and you need to think about what you've done with that popcorn. The minute that you repent, then we'll talk about you breathing again." That's not what any sane parent would do. Right? That's nuts! My heart is going, "I'm more concerned not about what she did but about how what she did is impacting her now and what it's doing to her."
Every time there's sin, that's the heart of God. He moves in, not because he's like, "I'm just here, and I'm angry, and I can't believe…" He's concerned about what it's doing to you and to me, because he's a Father who loves and cares about his children. The Bible says, in conclusion, we were created for connection with God. Every time you and I fall for temptation, it involves questioning God's Word and his way. Ultimately, sin will always bring separation. It always has brought separation.
Let me just focus on this last thing. I didn't read all of the curses that were there, but in place of one of the curses, the Bible says he looks at Adam, gives him a curse; Eve, curse; and then he goes to the Serpent, who represents the Devil or Satan, and in the midst of his curse, God makes a promise that is the first foreshadowing of the bloodline to come: Jesus. Here's what it says in verse 14 of chapter 3:
"So the Lord God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity [war] between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.'"
Why does he say "the woman"? It's foreshadowing of the virgin birth, that Jesus was on the planet, was born of a virgin. He didn't come from the lineage of Joseph; he came from Mary. He says, "There's going to be a descendent who comes from the woman, and he's going to crush your head. The victory will be final in his. But you will bruise his heel, and it will be through pain that he will win the victory."
It's a foreshadowing of what Jesus would ultimately do on the cross to finally and ultimately defeat and bring about all things good and redeemed in our world. In Romans, chapter 5, the apostle Paul, years later, would write this about Jesus and about Adam and their relationship together in the bloodline: When Adam sinned, sin entered the world, and Adam's sin brought death. So when you sinned, it introduced death. So death spread to everyone.
Adam (verse 14) is a symbol and a representation of Christ who is yet to come, but there is a great difference between Adam's sin and God's gracious gift. That's Jesus and what he did. The sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many, but even greater is God's wonderful grace and the gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus. The result of this gracious gift is very different from the result of Adam's sin, for Adam's sin led to condemnation, but the free gift leads to being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.
Paul basically says Adam and Jesus have a similar thing going on. He basically goes, "Remember Adam, how he sinned and ruined it for everybody? Jesus showed up, and his death on the cross, dying in your place, has offered grace and saving to everybody. The Savior is stronger than the sinner." Jesus has offered this free gift, and God came through on the promise that he made as early as the garden, in the very first story of our parents, that "I will one day crush and defeat sin and evil in this world."
Everything broken points back to Adam. Everything in our world points back to Adam, and everything broken points forward to Jesus or points to the need of this world for a Savior. Think about it. The challenge of a world without the message of the hope Jesus brings is a world where you're left with nothing but questions. The Bible says the answer and the solution God has given was paid for and proved by God coming in our place to die on a cross.
Here's the message I want to leave you with. I've been in Lake Highlands, an area of Dallas. It's where we live, and the past year has been a weird year in Dallas, if you're not from here. There has been storm after storm. There was a tornado that was really close to our house, and there were trees that got knocked down this past summer. It has been crazy. So what has happened? There have been a lot of sirens going off. Sometimes in my area of town, I'm like, "Is that an ambulance siren or is that a police car siren? What type of siren is that?"
You're kind of waiting, and as it gets closer, you're able to tell. Those two elicit very different responses from us in life, don't they? When you're on the road and you're driving along and you hear a police siren, it creates an, "Oh no! Am I over the speed limit? Are they coming to get me?" Versus if you're in a place where you're in need of help and you hear an ambulance siren, you're not thinking, "Oh man, they're coming to get me." You're thinking, "They're coming to help me."
The message of the Bible… I need you to hear me. I just want you to consider. Could it be most of what you believe about God is not true? You think he's a God who is out there and is coming to get you, and the message from every page, including the very first ones, is he's coming to help you. In this life, from the moment you breathe to the moment you die, that has always been the focus of God.
Could it be…? I just want you to consider. You have bought a lie about what God is like, and every time you recoil in fear, every time you think, "God wouldn't want to have anything to do with me," you are living out the lie you have bought that "God doesn't actually come to do anything but get me, not help me." The mercy of Christ and his heart for you, compassion toward you, is on every single page of the Bible.
What if so many things you believe about God are wrong, and every fear you have that, "If he really knew, if they really knew, if God really is there, he doesn't want to be with me; he doesn't want to know me" is a lie? I'm not going to be able to convince you, and there's no story or anything I could share that could. Only God can do that. I just want to ask the question and ask you to consider. Even if you would say, "I'm a believer," could it be that so many of the ways you think about God are not true?
The Bible in this first story… Adam runs. God runs in toward him and says, "I will take where you're covering up in your shame, and I'm going to clothe you. I promise I'm going to save you, and I'm going to save every person who will accept the free gift of grace, because the Savior is stronger than the sin and the sinner." For anyone who will accept that free gift. Could it be you've bought a lie about what God is really like?
My prayer is that as you study and you know God that God even right now in this moment will move in your heart and woo you to know him in a unique way, in a way that's consistent with who he says he is, and not recoil in shame and fear. It's true. Every word of the Bible testifies it's true that God loves you and has come for you and is coming for you, not to get you but to help you. Let me pray.
Father, thank you that every time we see you interact in our world through the person of Jesus in the New Testament, it reflects the character and the heart of a God who said, "I came to seek and to save the lost. My heart is for a world that is sick and in need of a doctor." Would you help us, Lord, to believe that? One of the greatest lies we still believe today is the lie that Adam and Eve bought. "God is really not that good. He really doesn't love you as much as he says he does."
Would you help us, God? I need your help to believe that. In a room where thousands of us gather and listening on where thousands more are gathered all through different places, we just invite, and we ask for your help, God. Would you help us to believe, maybe believe again for a new and fresh way? You're a God who runs after those who run from you. You never stop. You're chasing and you're loving and you're pursuing. We worship you now in song, amen.