Aletheia Christian Fellowship Podcast
Truth in Love
111515 - I Timothy 4a - "Some will fall away"
November 16, 2015 07:53 AM PST
I Timothy 4:1&2, Pastor Scott Keller
Alêtheia ~ I Timothy 4a ~ 111515
Act like you actually believe… Be a Christian… Be RADICAL in your devotion to Jesus…
My dad used to say that, “Anyone can fly on a nice day.” Well, I say that, “Anyone can be a Christian IF it doesn’t cost anything.” IF there is no risk… IF it is completely SAFE… How can God prove Himself faithful, if we never NEED Him to be faithful?
Be… and therefore, DO… what is Ridiculous, what is Ludicrous, what is Absurd, what is Preposterous and what is Outlandish… for God…
Are we those people who say to God, “I surrender all to You… all, that is, except for my comfort”?
Or are we those people who really believe, what we say we believe. Those people who have enough faith, to actually Trust God, so that no matter what He asks of us… we simply say, “Yes Lord”?
Isaiah 6:8, is one of my favorite verses… “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
God is still asking that same question… and you don’t need to be an Isaiah to answer… Who will go for the Lord now? It’s NOT rhetorical. God really wants to know, right now, among us in this room, who will go?
We can start with this… Be the Church… We’ve been talking about what “CHURCH” is… and not all of us get it… at least some of us don’t get it enough to actually do it…
My dear friends, we are so INFECTED with the DISEASE of our culture… We are such a DISPOSABLE society. I mentioned the old saying how we breathe in the air around us only to inevitably exhale it out onto everyone around us.
To us… Everything is disposable, from our diapers to our interpersonal relationships. We fill the land and the oceans and even space with our wonton wastefulness… we throw our one-time co-workers, neighbors and church family, along with our one-time friends and even our one-time spouses… all of them on the garbage heap along with the used diapers and all the other discarded rubbish… we feel is disposable… and it is a sin.
In any relationship the other one will fail to meet your expectations… God will fail to meet your expectations… will you discard Him when He does? No, well how many times will God have to disappoint you before you’ve had enough and want to move on?
Can you see how foolish it is to divorce God because He isn’t living up to your expectation?
It is absolutely no different for the Church. The Church is about interrelatedness… We are family committed to each other as we are all committed to Christ… that is COMMUNITY and that is what COMMUNION represents.
Alêtheia Christian Fellowship is NOT a club like the Elks you decide to leave for membership in the Moose Lodge. It is NOT a political party you leave because your views become more liberal. It is NOT a spiritual gym you leave for the new gym that has better exercise equipment. It is NOT a service organization designed to meet your needs and wants.
Alêtheia Christian Fellowship is a family and so, by definition, there will be friction between the members and disappointment with the leadership. Of course, it will be difficult to get along with everyone all the time… that’s actually God’s point!
Anyone can remain faithful to God, to a church, to a spouse, to a friend when everything is going well… that takes no character… that grows no maturity…
She hurt my feelings, he’s too obnoxious, she wears inappropriate clothes, he talks with food in his mouth, the church doesn’t meet my needs, the pastor knows my secrets.
Get involved. You owe it to yourself, you owe it to your family, you owe it to the church and you certainly owe it to God.
We have seen how the church was established, why it was established and how it should be operated in a practical way… NOW we get back to the purpose of all that… the purpose of writing in the first place…
I TIMOTHY 4:1&2, 1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron…
Satan distracts us… we fuss and fight, argue and demean, repudiate and destroy… EACH OTHER!
As the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 5:15, “If you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” You know what the Bible says immediately before that? Galatians 5:14, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Yet we don’t care… we continue to attack other Christians because they don’t look at things precisely the way we do…
How many times does the Bible teach that animosity, strife, jealousy, anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envy and gossip are the indications that a person is destined for eternity in the Lake of Fire and yet we Christians continue to fully engage in such practices towards our brothers and sisters in Christ?
The Bible says that those, “Who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:16ff et al.).
I know a guy who says we are to be “Fruit inspectors.” Well, if that is true the fruit we are supposed to be inspecting is the Fruit of the Spirit.
First and foremost in ourselves… “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22&23).
The opposite of that Fruit is a contentious person… When you have the whole Fruit of the Holy Spirit fully operating in your life you will then be qualified to be critical of others, BUT of course then you won’t be…
The CHURCH is one single cohesive organism called the Body of Christ and called the Bride for our Lord Jesus and in our world we do everything in our power to fracture and tear apart that Body for the sake of our own pompous opinions.
The distraction the Devil uses is the old bait and switch… we think we are talking about important CHRISTIAN issues… we think we are trying diligently to make the church DOCTRINALLY pure… BUT what we are really doing is fighting over things that grieve God and destroy the unity of Christ’s Body.
Last week, someone said to me, “Please do not sacrifice truth on the altar of unity.”
Let me tell you what God says repeatedly in His Word… “Please do not sacrifice UNITY on the altar of SELF.”
We are so full of ourselves it is insane… No one who has ever walked the earth, except for the Lord Jesus Christ, has ever had PERFECT theology.
If you think perfect theology is what is required to enter Heaven, you overestimate your intellect and underestimate God’s grace.
We must all do the best we can with what we’ve got to work with and prepare ourselves to stand before the true Judge.
So, on the other hand, we have these verses before us today… The whole purpose of this Bible Book was to combat “Doctrines of Demons.”
It seems the two things are at odds, BUT I hope to show you that they are NOT.
I think the primary reason we have trouble reconciling UNITY and PURITY is that we don’t know how to rationally discuss IDEAS.
Our society as evidenced by the political process is a culture that does not understand the difference between opposing IDEAS and PURE EVIL.
Anytime a person has a different way of looking at something – anything… instead of a respectful exchange… we villainize the person and attack their very being as though they are minions from hell that are trying to ruin our world and must be destroyed at all costs.
Each person is made in the Image of Almighty God and should be respected as such.
Let’s break it down… Verse 1, starts with the word “But,” or in some versions, “Now,” or as in the NIV, sometimes the word is discarded altogether for smoother English.
I bring it up because there is a connection between this and what just preceded… This may be the start of a new chapter to us, BUT, it is the same flow to God.
As an example, in that explanation… I just used the word, “But,” to connect, “This may be the start of a new chapter to us, BUT, it is the same flow to God.” “But” connects things in such a way that we ignore the connection at our peril. Friends never, ever, forget the CONTEXT…
What came before chapter 4, verse 1? The manner in which the Christian community should behave and the manner in which the Christian community should be led, then culminating with one of the greatest Biblical portraits of that community that we call the church…
The church is, “The household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
It is the Truth of the Father’s salvation through Christ our Lord as revealed by the Holy Spirit of God.
BUT… “Some will fall away” from that Truth.
The Holy Spirit has already, in the past, explicitly made it known that, “Some will fall away from the faith.”
When will that happen? It will happen, in ladder, or is it, “In later times.” Are we presently “In later times”? When do “Later times” begin?
Here’s what some people miss entirely… Paul was saying that they were “In later times,” then! Nearly 2,000 years ago were the “Later times”! The “Later times,” have been rolling along for 20 centuries.
The letter goes on for two verses talking about the kind of thing that was destroying the faith of people in Ephesus at the time of its writing.
People were, “Paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (THAT WERE BEING TAUGHT) by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, (THESE WERE) men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods…”
This letter opened with that same concern, “Instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines… such men have turned aside to fruitless discussion wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand…” (I Timothy 13b & 6b-7a).
The letter continued talking about how to correct such problems for more than two chapters and now has come full circle back to the main topic again… False teachers leading people astray.
The primary purpose of the letter is to prevent such deception from entering the church and derailing the faith of the people.
So, the “Later times,” Paul talks about had already begun back then… The times will get worse as the apostasy grows and grows, until the Great Tribulation of Revelation concludes with the final return of Jesus.
For our part, it is not necessary or wise to try to determine where we stand in the sweep of time.
What is both necessary and wise, however, is for us to be ready to remain faithful through unimaginable hardship and simultaneously to be ready to meet Jesus face-to-face at any time!
Notice that God did not tell Timothy to rally the Church and fight the non-believers… God’s concern for the health and welfare of the Church was a disease that destroys from within.
We must be ever vigilant to stand for God and His Holy Word… we must teach people the difference between falsehood and Truth.
That seems to be the polar opposite of what I was talking about earlier…
It is always more difficult to do things relationally as opposed to legalistically. It is about our heart motivation… it is about our attitude and our demeanor… it is about our humble submission and it is about being filled with God’s perfect love for Him and those around us.
Do you genuinely love the Church?
You might be able to say yes to that because it is somewhat undefined… let me fix that. Do you genuinely love this church?
Do you truly love the people in this room right now?
Do you love each one at least as much as you love yourself?
The only acceptable answer to Almighty God is YES. Yes, I love everyone here as I love myself.
When we truly see people as God sees them, when we genuinely care about others, when we are operating in the Fruit of the Spirit… then and only then can we teach and correct others.
Someone in every church needs to be in that place… a place, God has called them to… a place, where Truth can be dispensed in order to combat false doctrine.
Every Christian must find such a church.
It isn’t enough to be mature, intelligent and educated… we must discern who teaches “Sound doctrine.” We must also be like the Bereans.
Acts 17:11-12a ~ 11Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12aTherefore many of them believed.
The Bereans were not open to just any new idea to come along, nor did they prejudge things. The Bereans were highly complimented in the Bible because they…
1) EAGERLY sought to understand… they wanted to learn… they knew they didn’t know everything, but they DESPERATELY wanted to know more… they were teachable.
My friends, let us please, always, be teachable. Proverbs 12:1 tells us, “Whoever loves instruction; loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction… is stupid.”
I encounter so many Christians who cannot let go of some bit of teaching they learned regardless of the evidence that it is wrong. We must be humble enough to learn… and re-learn.
Do not be afraid of having your beliefs challenged… If they are true, they will only be reinforced.
2) After we hear the information we must carefully examine it. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica to “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good and discard the evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
The Bereans studied, “The Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so…”
We must be diligent enough to examine. People say, “I heard a wonderful sermon the other day.” “Yeah, what was it about?” I ask. Inevitably the reply is, “I don’t remember.”
Good grief, what a waste. A wonderful sermon forgotten because we just listen to be entertained rather than to be enlightened and inspired.
Examine what you hear.
3) The Bereans then made a decision about what they had discovered… they didn’t simply file it away as nice to know information… they made a decision.
We must be serious enough to decide if it is true and good… CHOOSE WELL.
4) Finally, they put their decision into action. They not only believed intellectually… They believed wholeheartedly as evidenced by their action to become actual Christians.
I could give numerous examples of people who hear and evaluate and decide that something is true and good, but when push comes to shove they ignore that good truth in favor of self-satisfaction.
We must believe enough in our decision to put that decision into action.
1Humbleness is required to take in the teaching, 2diligence is required to examine it, 3seriousness is required to make a decision and 4true belief is required to make it real…
That’s when teaching becomes learning and when Truth wins over falsehood.
The duty and primary purpose of the Overseer in Titus 1:9, is a pastor… “Holding fast to the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it.”
That’s what this letter in the Bible is all about… teaching Truth and simultaneously, combating false doctrine in the Bride of Christ.
What does, “Some will fall away from the faith,” mean?
The thing Satan would want us to get stuck on is an endless discussion and ultimately an endless fight about whether people who “Fall away,” are Christians or merely “Seekers.”
I’ll be honest… the reason half of Christendom believes they are Christians who lose their salvation and the other half of Christendom believes that they were not truly saved to begin with, is because God did not make it clear.
God had the words, trust me. Why do we insist on absolutes when God didn’t think it was important enough to make it absolute in His Holy Word?
This passage says nothing about the status of the people or their ultimate outcome… what it does say is that there are people who were in church then and are in churches now, who will fall away from Christian belief BECAUSE they pay attention to false ideas.
First, there is an intentionality to it… You might say it is SELECTIVE HEARING.
Please understand that such people are fully culpable in their own falling away… they pay attention to what they want to hear at the expense of what God actually says.
That manifestation is identical on both sides of the aisle. It isn’t just making the Bible less clear and less restrictive leading to licentiousness… it is also making the Bible more certain and more restrictive leading to legalism. Both directions are a corrupting of what the Bible actually says.
It can be active or passive. Active is seeking out teaching that tickles the ear… seeking the prosperity gospel because you want earthy success… seeking the liberal gospel because you don’t want to give up your lifestyle… seeking the legalistic gospel because you want to earn God’s favor.
Whatever it is that blows your hair back that is NOT God’s true Gospel.
Passively, it can be because people are too lazy to figure it out. It is because they are ignorant… ignorant comes from Latin and literally means a lack of knowledge due to IGNORING the information available.
It is stupidity on purpose.
These people listen to and absorb falsehood that is promoted by Satan and the rest of the fallen angels… these are “Doctrines of demons” because they “Deceitfully” derail people from God’s Truth.
In Paul’s next letter to Timothy and the Christians in Ephesus he led it says, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (II Timothy 3:1-4).
Who does Satan and his friends use to spread their evil?
People in the CHURCH!
Specifically, in this case it is people who put requirements on Christianity that Jesus did not put on them.
We could say it was Judaizers – those who wanted the Gentiles to become Jewish before they could live as Christians.
We could say it was Greco-Roman ascetics who taught a complete debasement of the flesh in order to free the spirit.
Here’s what’s important my friends… it is adding to or subtracting from the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and we do it in America every day.
God is pointing a finger of warning at us this morning.
Will we take Him at His Word, or will we PAY ATTENTION to things that ultimately distract and divide… to the “Deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons that cause “Some” to “Fall away”?
Can’t God’s Holy Word stand as His Holy Word for us?
IF there is nothing to worry about, why would God warn us?
II PETER 1:1-11, 1Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: 2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Make certain you are fully in the faith and that you are striving to know the Truth so that you are NOT a person who will “Fall away.”
How, Scott, how do I make certain? You do precisely what Jude tells us… through prayer ask your Heavenly Father for His love to fill you to overflowing first for God and then for your fellow Christians and then for the fallen world… pray. Pray for LOVE.
Jude verses 20&21, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”
In that love of God you will find an assurance that He will never let you go because He is able to save you as Jude goes on in verses 24&25, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.062815 - Genesis 6a (Part Two) - "Sullied and Unusual"
July 08, 2015 06:11 AM PDT
Genesis 6:1-4, The second half of the sermon by Scott Keller on June 28, 2015. Pastor Scott also talked about the Supreme Court decision concerning marriage.
Verse one is straightforward… when הָֽאָדָ֔ם (hä-ä-däm), man, as in mankind, we humans, when people procreated, daughters were born, as well as the sons already mentioned.
That is the meaning… when man, male and female had children some of them were female… obviously.
That was the easy part. While we are on the easy part, let me address the landmark decision of the Supreme Court.
Marriage was defined by God in the opening chapter of Genesis… we looked at it carefully, Genesis 1:27&28, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’”
Jesus said, essentially quoting Himself from Genesis chapter two, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Many people, both Christian and non-Christian believe that the Christian faith can evolve over time and be every bit as valid, or even more valid, than it was in the past.
Nothing could be further from the truth… God does not change, God’s Word does not change and therefore Christianity does not change.
It is a matter of adapting our thinking and lifestyle to the Bible OR adapting the Bible to our thinking and lifestyle.
The choice between the two paths is becoming far more obvious in America and this is only the beginning.
Prepare now for how you will respond.
Christians are told to obey the laws of the land up to the point that those laws violate God’s laws. “Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
I have three choices…
1) I can cease marrying people altogether and throw out a vital part of ministry joining two people… One man and one woman in the sight of God.
2) I can marry homosexual couples in the same way I now marry heterosexual couples, trampling over everything the Bible has to say on the matter.
3) Or I can continue on my present course, violating the civil rights of homosexuals and await my arrest for a hate crime.
We must choose now because the stakes are only going to get higher. Jesus said, “Count the cost,” before you follow Him – it is an all or nothing proposition my friends.
How long before it is a federal hate crime and I’m arrested while preaching in the church for proclaiming the Biblical fact that homosexual activity is a sin in the sight of God?
So many churches want to throw in the towel and acquiesce saying that we are all sinners in need of forgiveness…
Yes, my friends that is true, but no one is saying that gossip or drunkenness or living together out of wedlock or lying, stealing and cheating are NOT sins, NOT to be curtailed, BUT rather, civil rights that must be embraced and celebrated by all.
The line is NOT being drawn in this church today.
The line was drawn 11 ½ years ago when we plastered the name Alêtheia Christian Fellowship on the door,
We will love homosexuals as much as any other sinful person, Christian or otherwise. We will pray for them, bless them, share Jesus with them, but we will NOT, in this church, say that their behavior is acceptable to God.
So verse one is human daughters we born, now verse two talks about the “Sons of God.” That’s the first issue, what does the “Sons of God” mean?
It is, בְנֵי־הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ (və-nā-hä-ē-lō-hēm) the first bit is Ben, meaning; “Son of,” then the word Hah, meaning; “The,” followed by Elohim, meaning; “God”. Put altogether, it is, בְנֵי־הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ (və-nā-hä-ē-lō-hēm).
This construction is found five times in the Bible… here in verse two, again in verse four with the same meaning, and then three times in the Book of Job.
In Job, it is, 1:6, “Now the day came when the SONS OF GOD came to present themselves before the Lord—and Satan also arrived among them.” Then, in Job 2:1, “Again the day came when the SONS OF GOD came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also arrived among them to present himself before the Lord.” And finally, Job 38:4–7, God asks Job where he was when God created all things as well as, “Where were you when the morning stars sang together and all the SONS OF GOD shouted for joy?”
All three references in Job are obviously dealing with angelic beings both good and evil.
The NIV and several other versions translate “Sons of God” as “Angels” all three times in Job, but then go with the more literal “Sons of God” in Genesis.
They do that because a majority of scholars see a problem in Genesis that they attempt to fix by making “Sons of God” natural human men, instead of supernatural angels or demons.
First, let me say that if you were reading or hearing these verses for the first time, without a knowledge of Bible Books not yet written, you would think “Sons of God” referred to supernatural beings.
The Jews along with early Christians saw it that way… Going back to as far as we know until about 400 A.D. that was the interpretation.
The Book of I Enoch is a Jewish work that talks in detail about this very thing. That portion of the book was written earlier than 300 years before Jesus was born.
The Bible itself quotes I Enoch and it was a favorite among the Qumran Community of Essenes as well as many early Christian Fathers.
Their children are described with three titles the first is Nephilim or in Hebrew, נְפִלִים (nə-phĭ-lēm).
The word is obscure – its meaning is uncertain and it is only found elsewhere in Numbers chapter 13. The LXX translated it into Greek as γίγαντες (gē-gän-tĕs), i.e. “Giants.”
The other two titles add weight to the idea that it was now fallen angels and human women because the, “Daughters of men,” is the daughters of, הָֽאָדָ֔ם (hä-ä-däm), as in verse one…
No reason to change the meaning in the context… so it is the natural human daughters of natural human beings getting together with the “Sons of the Elohim, the sons of the God.”
A sharp distinction is made between something natural and something unusual.
Conversely, when it says their children were the, “Mighty men who were of old, men of renown,” the other two descriptors…
The term, הָֽאָדָ֔ם (hä-ä-däm), is NOT used at all. In fact the double use of “Men,” in, “Mighty men,” and “Men of renown,” is an interpretative assumption on the part of the translators. The actual word for “Men,” הָֽאָדָ֔ם (hä-ä-däm), is NOT present in either term.
The first is גִּבּוֹר (gĭ-bōȑ), which usually means a mighty one, not necessarily a man. The man part in the translation is again, an assumption.
The second use of men in the description of these children is literally a named male – like a household name, a well-known male of renown or fame.
All three descriptors for the children of these unions can (by stretching things a bit) be talking about human men, BUT it is far more likely that something a little different is being described.
I prefer to think of the “Sons of God” as fallen angels and their children as something not quite angel or human. That’s my opinion. I hold that personal opinion for many reasons… all are interesting, but also technical and therefore a bit tedious for this setting.
I will be happy to discuss it at length in Sunday school, but for today I like the interpretation held for so many centuries until Augustine in about 400 A.D. saw it differently.
He and most of the Reformers and so most denominations today go with the less bizarre and less supernatural idea they say squares better with Jesus’ words where He says in the Resurrection we will be like angels, neither marrying nor given in marriage (Matthew 22:30, Mark 12:25).
The modern view is that the “Sons of God” are men from Seth’s Godly line of descent who married the “Daughters of Men,” meaning the ungodly women of Cain’s line of descent.
Their children, raised by ungodly mothers became violent tyrants.
Either way you go… or if you go with some of the other variations on the theme… it all boils down to this… The human race became completely and utterly evil.
We see evil all around us today… ISIS, Christian martyrs, AME Church in SC, Abortion and euthanasia, crime and violence, hate and discontent and now nationwide homosexual marriage…
But God is on His throne my friends…062815 - Genesis 6a - "Sullied and Unusual"
July 07, 2015 02:12 PM PDT
Genesis 6:1-4 (First Half), Pastor Scott Keller.
Pastor Keller split this sermon into two sections. In the first half Scott Keller talked about faith.
Last week we covered two family genealogies graphically demonstrating the two very different paths available to people.
Every individual is just that – individual. Everyone is different and so there are as many paths in life as there are people to live them, but in the Biblical sense, every possible course lies within the narrow boundaries of an overall path its specific destination.
It is really important to get that. So many people actually think that there are a variety of overall paths, leading to a variety of destinations. BUT there are only two.
We are all here in this room right now, but we started out this morning from several different rooms – we took different routes, encountered different scenery, events and obstacles to get here, but we all got here.
Spiritually, there are as many paths as there are people, but there are only two possible outcomes – only two destinations.
You either love God, wanting to be His child, actively working with His Spirit to be conformed to His character, OR you don’t.
It is that simple.
That is what the two very different genealogies showed us last week.
I tried a whole wormhole, gravity well, Einstein-Rosen Bridge analogy a while back and I won’t go there again, but how about this…
Imagine the little boy knocks over the bucket of balls… half fall into the purple incline and the other half onto the red top.
No matter what precise course each ball in the purple well takes they will all inexorably be drawn to the same destination.
The balls that roll on the red top, as the one hiding in the upper right part, can also take many different paths, but none will ever end up with the ones in the well.
The difference in a Biblical sense is not that the balls appear to be all that different from one another or that certain balls roll any better than others… what’s important is where they are rolling in the big picture.
You can struggle mightily with sin and failure, but be in the purple well, OR you can be a goody two-shoe perfect hairdo person, but be rolling around on the red top.
The key is Jesus… the key is only ever Jesus. You are either accepting & embracing Jesus for your salvation, OR you are trusting in yourself… that’s the difference.
We may judge fruit… BUT, what we may never do is judge a person’s heart relationship with Jesus.
SLIDE: GENESIS 6:1-5, 1Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, 2that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
We are in for a ride today…
These are some of the most difficult to interpret verses in the Bible.
I’m just going to give you the facts along with a few of my opinions and hopefully make it very clear which is which and let you take it from there.
Whatever it is that these verses actually mean it doesn’t change the point they are making.
The point is that people chose their own desire, over God’s perfect will, and everything became, as Jack Sparrow said, “Sullied and unusual.”
When you interpret the Bible, NEVER lose track of the context or the point.
NEVER, add to, or subtract from, what the Bible actually says and always remember God’s Word is NOT a history book, or a science book, or a rule book… God’s Word is a relation book revealing everything God determined you and I needed to know to love, accept and trust Him.
Part of trust, is trusting when the other person says, “You don’t need to know right now, will you trust me simply because I’m asking you to trust me?”
Adam and Eve said, “NO.” So many people, keeping with that family tradition, say, “No, I won’t, I can’t, I need to know.”
Please be humble, trusting people who say, “Lord, because it is you, I will trust.”
You see, everything we do is to drive home a fundamental reality my friends…
Jesus. Jesus is everything. The genuine accepting and embracing of Jesus through the Holy Spirit… Be filled with the Spirit of Christ. Be filled.
We held a memorial service for Andy’s brother last week. It is in the face of death that we get real. At a funeral, perhaps more than any other time, we see the absurdity of thinking that somehow if we don’t acknowledge death, we won’t die.
Your path, no matter how cautious, no matter how long, no matter how circuitous… will end. That, incidentally is NOT my opinion, it is a fact.
And at that end, the reality is, as Jaroslav Pelikan said, “If Christ is raised, nothing else matters. If Christ is not raised NOTHING matters.”
What path are you on? Do you know for sure? Are you utterly convinced? What is the basis for your assurance?
Because, here’s a reality check for all of us… How obvious is it to others that we are on the path leading to eternal salvation in Christ Jesus?
Evil Cain sarcastically asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God’s answer found throughout His Word is, “Yes, yes you are.”
Do you love your brothers and sisters right here in this church? The Bible says plainly, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (I John 4:20).
What about our neighbors outside the church what are we doing for our neighbors who are merrily rolling along on the red table top, on the path that only leads to destruction?
Romans 10:13&14 (NLT) states, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?”
There comes a time, when time runs out… there comes a time when the judge, Who is always standing at the door, calls the court to order.
What will we say on that day?
Jesus is the answer – genuine heart changing relationship with the Father, through the agency of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. can we worship Him in that way?
Do we really believe as it says in Hebrews 11:6 that, “It is impossible to please God without faith.”? And that, “Anyone who wants to come to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”?
Do we really accept, as Jesus taught, in John 4:23, that, “True worshipers worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.”
Can we here and now, worship our great God, unashamedly, unabashedly, in spirit and truth?052415 - Genesis 3d - Thorns and Thistles
June 04, 2015 09:33 AM PDT
Genesis 3:17-19, Pastor Scott Keller
SLIDE: GENESIS 3:17-19 ~ 17Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. 18“Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; 19By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
SLIDE: OBEY YOUR WIFE OR OBEY GOD ~
The first thing is God gives the reason for Adam’s rebuke and associated curse… “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’…”
I’ve probably already said too many times that while Eve was deceived; Adam knew what he was doing.
Adam made a choice between obeying his wife and obeying God.
It is quite honestly that simple in the text… the “Because,” is causal – it is the reason for the problem and it is emphatic.
“Because,” or, “For this reason,” or, “Due to the fact”… that you did, “A” the direct result is, “B.” Because you obeyed your wife, instead of Me – the direct result is the Ground is cursed.
The word translated here as “Listened to” is the verb שָׁמַע (shä-mä), like the corresponding Greek word ἀκούω (ä-kü-ō), it means to listen with the idea of comprehension. It is to recognize or understand something heard. Honestly, our word “Listen” is the same, because like the Hebrew and Greek words it has a range of meaning from merely understanding a speaker, “listen,” to intentionally trying to hear a sound, “listen,” to agreeing with and obeying a command… “Listen.” It depends on context.
As a very common Hebrew word in the Bible it is translated in a variety of ways because of context. It is oftentimes translated as hearken to, or simply obey… In this case, as a Jewish idiom or figure of speech, “Listened to the voice of,” means to follow or obey what you heard.
Because translators don’t like the idea that Adam obeyed his wife, they use the gentler, “Listened to,” but it means the same thing.
Older translations like the Darby Bible, or Young’s Literal Translation or the KJV translate as Adam “Hearkened to her voice.”
The NKJV changes it to “Heeded the voice of your wife,” and the fairly new and very scholarly NET Bible just cuts to the chase and actually has, “Because you obeyed your wife,” which is what’s going on.
For whatever reason, Adam made a conscience decision to follow his wife rather than God and he knew it was the wrong direction – he knew it would be bad…
But, to him, at that precise moment in time, the path of least resistance, was to go along with her. Trouble is usually not too far away when we acquiesce to avoid a confrontation.
SLIDE: PROPOSE EVERYDAY ~ REASSURANCE ~
His wife put him in what seemed to be a no win position.
I think underlying it, her question was “Do you love me,” and her challenge was, show me how much. I think women do that subconsciously in order to gage the status of the relationship…
“Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” Is a classic example. Through that question she can determine where you are at in your love for her.
The correct answer is a heartfelt and sincere, “You look fantastic to me and I love you more today than I did on the day I proposed.”
Similarly, the answer to the question, “Do you think that supermodel is prettier than me?” Is, “Dear, to me, you are the most beautiful woman on earth.”
Women are far more relational than men. That’s why I could boldly say that if not for women there wouldn’t be any proper relationships in the sense of mutually supportive, edifying and nurturing connections.
Guys, I will let you in on a secret. Because of that, women spell love, “security.” Nothing makes a woman feel more loved than to know that her family is safe and secure…and all is well with their interconnected, interpersonal relationships.
That’s why women seek reassurance. Husbands reassure your wife that you are her man no matter what. Propose everyday.
She asked him to eat and he had to make a decision.
Please her at the expense of disobeying God or please God at the expense of displeasing his mate by proving to her that he didn’t love her.
The correct answer would have been, “I love you, and while I will not disobey God, I will beg your forgiveness as well as God’s (we will get to that bit…) I will stick by you and whatever the outcome, WE will work through it together.”
SLIDE: CONFUSED DUDE ??? ~
The thinking would go, “God, You gave her to me, and so I rightly assumed I should keep her happy in order to maintain the relationship.”
That is precisely the attitude of many men today.
They say to themselves, I know this may not be right, I know that it probably isn’t the best thing for my wife, I’m sure it isn’t the best for me, but I will go along with what she wants to keep her happy… I will obey her, to keep the peace.
Getting your way is NOT the same as being loved.
Peace today, often comes at the expense of completely losing the war, tomorrow.
Here’s the important question… “Why?” Why did she engage and eat, why did he go along. “Why?”
To understand, we need to understand…
They say that the Serpent deceived her and therefore none of it was her fault at all – she had no choice at all – she was predestined by God to do what she did.
My proposition was that she was fundamentally DIS-satisfied, which, by definition, means that she was not fully-satisfied.
Some objected because they say dissatisfaction is, in itself, a sin, and she could not have sinned before she ate.
There are significant problems with this view including that Adam is blamed as a responsible agent and he would have been just as innocent before he ate.
And, if she was an innocent bystander there isn’t any application for us today… Except, hope that God doesn’t have damaging plans for you.
I could go on, but what I hope you can see, is that this view was originally based upon reading back into Scripture, what is known today as a strict Calvinistic view that humans are merely automatons, predestined to fail or succeed, regardless of our efforts, or our desires, and that human free will does not exist at all.
No one chooses good or evil because God has already chosen for us and He will bless and He will curse as He chooses… period.
We humans become nothing more than a foil for God instead of a beloved creation that He actually wants to have fellowship with…
I am NOT a five-point Calvinist, NOT because I am NOT a Presbyterian, BUT because I am convinced that the Bible teaches otherwise.
I am uninterested in human arguments – I am interested in God’s Word.
It is an utter impossibility to be a five-point Calvinist unless you amplify certain verses while simultaneously diminishing others. The opposite position called Arminianism (which is a type of extreme free will) is just as unbiblical for the same reason. It’s just taking the same verses, but reversing the amplification and diminishing process.
I know God-fearing, Jesus loving, Holy Spirit filled, Bible believing people on both ends and I am NOT saying you must believe what I believe to be saved… What I am saying is that with the full contextual counsel of God’s Word and nothing else – no denominational doctrinal additions… the Bible teaches a mixture of both positions.
Philippians chapter two says, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Arminianism); for it is God who is at work in you (Calvinism)” Philippians 2:12&13.
The Biblical Truth is neither extreme. The Bible teaches eternal security in Christ and it teaches that we must choose Christ every day.
As I said before, the SERPENT is IN the GARDEN. God said to Cain in the next chapter, “Sin is crouching at the door; and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it” Genesis 4:7. That means evil – the temptation to sin is ever-present. The Bible says in James 4:7, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” That means he’s next to you. It means you and I as well as Adam and Eve have a choice.
It is true that dissatisfaction can be a sin, but only IF we allow it to grow into sin.
Personal sin is always a personal choice.
I said this view of Eve’s deception was originally, a free will versus predestination issue, but there is another agenda promoting the view today… that is a feminism that denies any headship of Adam… Adam was responsible, NOT because he was in charge, BUT because Eve was innocent.
Sin, by definition, is disobeying God. My concern is why we disobey God. It seems to me that IF we can get a handle on that, we have a better chance of avoiding sin in the first place.
The Bible is chock full of stories, parables, examples, and direct teaching from cover-to-cover explaining that sin starts with a fundamental distrust of God’s provision. What He gives and When He gives it…
Distrust in God is always preceded by dissatisfaction with the program.
SLIDE: MAN TRYING TO CARE FOR WIFE ~
A while back I said that part of the correct response to his wife’s request included an apology to her for letting her down.
Everyone is ultimately responsible for their own actions, but the primary reason she was dissatisfied was almost certainly because Adam did not love her enough to help her feel satisfied.
I’m sure she made it difficult for him to be as engaged as he should have been… men and women really do have a communication problem.
I can’t count the number of times my wife has come to me complaining about something and I tell her how to fix the underlying problem.
My brilliant assessment and expertise at cutting to the heart of the matter leaves my wife speechless… but NOT because she is amazed at my acumen… No, she’s speechless because she can’t believe I don’t just listen and support her.
The job of the husband is to push through the difficulties and let his wife know that he is there for her and that he will continue to be there, no matter what… “For better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part.”
Husbands do everything in your power, regardless of the obstacles, to make your wife feel loved, safe and secure and then you can stand before God with a clear conscience INSTEAD of a hogwash excuse.
Do what is difficult, fight for what is right with diligence, patience, gentleness and integrity.
“Do not grow weary of doing good” II Thessalonians 3:13. And… “Let us not lose heart in doing good” Galatians 6:9. And… “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14Let all that you do be done in love” I Corinthians 16:13&14.
So back to the important question… Why did she engage and eat, why did he go along. “Why?”
Adam allowed her to feel dissatisfied, because while the Bible says he was with her – he wasn’t WITH her…
They both acted as independent agents. She independently talked the serpent. He independently did his thing, whatever that was. Neither acted as the team God designed them to be.
She sinned by giving in to temptation, which seems like a choice to me. Then she gave Adam a choice.
Adam saw that the situation was dire and evidently he did not trust that God would work it out. At least not in a way that was acceptable from his perspective.
That’s what we do. We look at a situation and fear that God will not work it out how we think it should go… We are arrogant in our judgment of the situation and arrogant in our belief that we deserve it to work out for us.
I don’t know if he thought obeying God would result in him losing the woman and being alone, or whether he thought their relationship would continue, but now with a cloud of mutual distrust.
I am fairly certain Adam knew he was already in trouble with God once Eve ate.
In for a penny, in for a pound…
As we’ve already discussed, I think her fundamental dissatisfaction was at least partly due to Adam’s failure to love Eve enough to make her feel loved.
Because making your wife feel like she is loved requires attention and selfless giving… it requires time and effort… it requires meeting her needs… it requires ACTUALLY loving her.
SLIDE: MAN PRAYING ~
For most guys, it isn’t going to happen naturally… Press in to God, pray for the Spirit of Christ to empower you to do the little, more difficult things.
Adam was probably like most guys… he was probably mystified by his female counterpart.
I am sure some of his efforts to please his wife were rebuffed. Being a man, it is so much easier to simply disengage, which of course only exacerbates the problem.
I’m sure Adam was spending a lot of time in the garage. It probably became easier to simply go through the motions, go with the flow, and keep the peace as much as possible as to actually figure out how he could please his wife.
Men, you need to put your pride, selfishness and fear on a shelf far below the shelf you put your wife’s emotional welfare on.
Most guys get the physical welfare thing – they will work to provide and to protect physically, but most guys hardly ever work to provide and to protect the emotional
Adam probably knew he had fallen down on the job as a husband and may have even thought that eating with her would be a step in the right direction.
We’ll go down in flames together…
That’s never the right thing when it comes to God, because again, it is a distrust of God’s goodness and mercy.
When your wife goes off the deep end it won’t help anyone to follow her.
It especially won’t do her any good. Love your wife truly. Love her as Christ loves His church. Love her enough to die for her in the little things that make her know she is loved and that she is your highest earthly priority.
Do that, and she will probably feel, loved and satisfied.
If she gets herself wound up about something act as her stabilizing force.
Do not be condescending or abrupt, but through gentleness deescalate her negative emotions.
Love her enough to fight for her even though you are likely to get singed in the process.
If she goes too far, pray for her, help her, but do not follow her into her folly. You must trust God.
What life is the most important life on a passenger jet? I can’t help anyone if I’m dead.
Because Adam failed to trust God and instead, chose to obey his wife, he ate.
The fruit was forbidden and that prohibition was in no way nebulous… black and white… “Do NOT.”
Because he disobeyed he reaped a consequence just as Eve had.
The curse was not actually on Adam, but on the earth because of Adam’s sin.
SLIDE: FARMER ADAM ON HIS TRACTOR ~
The curse was NOT that Adam had to work – Adam was already employed as a farmer in the Garden of Eden.
Work is a blessing from God – it is good to work, so it isn’t about working for a living – it’s about having your labor frustrated.
A farmer planting in good soil with no rocks or roots… no briars or weeds… no bugs or plant diseases… a field that gets plenty of water, but not too much, little or no wind and just the right amount of sunshine…
A crop that grows up without any threat of rabbits, ravens or rhinos and then a smooth harvest at the peak of ripeness without any mechanical or other complications…
Such a farmer still worked hard, but his work was blessed at every turn, such a farmer reaps a bountiful harvest and is proud of his efforts.
It is good to work to produce something useful and necessary – to see your efforts met with success.
The curse is the frustrating of our work.
It is the thorns and thistles of life that oppose the effort – that turn it from work to drudgery… that’s the curse.
The universe and all that it contains is dying because of this original sin… that dying of course applies to Adam and his wife as promised.
Verse 19, says that, in drudgery, you will till the dirt you were made from until you return to it in death.
Death and despair on a spiritual and physical level – why even go on – what hope can there possibly be – what future is there.
SLIDE: THE CROSS OF CHRIST ~
Praise God because He will provide… Salvation belongs to the Lord and He DID provide…
That is the Tree of Life…051715 - Genesis 3c - Cursed
May 18, 2015 05:26 PM PDT
Genesis 3:14-16, Pastor Scott Keller
GENESIS 3:14&15 ~
God says, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field.” Satan is the serpent, but he’s neither “Cattle,” nor a “Beast of the field.”
Anyone reading this passage without a preconceived idea would understand that God is talking to the physical animal identified as the serpent.
Since that is so, and since there is no reason to think otherwise in Scripture, we must take this as God cursing the actual physical animal who was used by Satan as the basic and primary meaning. That’s our starting point.
The serpent was a real animal, perhaps a talking dragon with some ability to choose – it was after all the, “Most crafty,” signifying some level of reason. Perhaps the dragon was the man’s best friend.
After the Fall, it became the dog, because a snake is hard to take on walks and fetches only slightly worse than Vivian’s dog.
Maybe the talking dragon who had more reason than the rest of the animals became jealous of the woman taking Adam away. Maybe the dragon was dissatisfied…
There is a reasonable basis for thinking that the serpent allowed itself to be used by Satan and therefore bore some responsibility for that choice… Now, of course, at the same time, it may be that the serpent had no independent will and was only an unwitting tool.
The serpent who had been the, “Most crafty,” of the animals, is now the, “Most cursed,” of the animals.
The curse has three parts.
1) The first is to crawl on its belly. Going from a likely very exalted status to the most humble status.
2) The second is to eat dust. Whereas the serpent enticed Eve to eat, God will force the serpent to eat.
3) Finally, the serpent will continue through its progeny as will the woman and there will be an open war between them.
Depending on the source, snakes kill between 20,000 and 100,000 people every year. People kill a lot more snakes than that. There is enmity.
In the text the human side will emerge victorious over the serpent side and I think that is obviously true.
While the human death toll is high elsewhere, in America snakes kill about 5 people a year… we’re winning.
The serpent wanted to destroy the woman, but ultimately only destroyed itself.
Now, let’s look at the deeper reality.
Whatever the serpent’s actual culpability, we know with absolute certainty that Satan was pulling the strings.
Satan was influencing the serpent, the woman and the man.
God is speaking to Satan as well as the animal we’ve been discussing. It is apparent because the enmity in verse 15, is not merely a human apprehension and uneasiness with snakes.
It is certain because the New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus is that ultimate descendant of the woman who through a fatal attack by the Serpent of Old, “You shall bruise him on the heel,” conquered death, to utterly destroy the Great Dragon. “He shall bruise you on the head.”
It is finished, and soon we will catch up to the completed reality in time… the outcome cannot be in doubt because it is already done. Mars rover 11 light-minutes away… destroyed, can’t change it, but don’t see it for 11 minutes.
In the meantime… Revelation 12:17 states, “So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
But, in Romans 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
Nearly 19 centuries ago, Irenaeus, the disciple of Polycarp, who was, in turn, the disciple of the Apostle John wrote, (Adv, Haer. 3.23.7)
Jesus was the son of Eve in that she was His maternal, many times, great grandmother, and He foiled the plans of Satan to destroy humanity.
Jesus and Jesus alone brings life to the dead – accept Him fully as your Savior and live!
We can be like our natural ancestors and die or with the infilling of the Holy Spirit we can be like our Savior Jesus and live.
The Gospel is all about life… let us be people who live and who bring life to others.
GENESIS 3:16 ~
We closed with this last week and as I said then, it is just amazing what an awesome privilege woman have been given by God.
As a guy who has participated in the operation a few times I can readily attest to the fact that it is NOT easy.
It sure seems like a curse in so many ways… the discomfort of pregnancy, the crazy hormones and of course the intense pain of delivery.
Couple that with sleepless nights, postpartum depression and a body that will never really be the same and it is tough… BUT woman are more than conquerors and my hat is off to all the moms and to women in general.
Now, I said, “It sure seems like a curse,” and it has been known for centuries as, “The Woman’s Curse.” Yet, if you will notice, God never calls it a curse. As we have seen God cursed the serpent and later we will see God cursing the ground, but God does not actually curse the woman or her husband.
It really isn’t a curse and it isn’t even a punishment. The difficulty for the woman is a consequence of sin – a result of NOT living in right relationship to God and her husband.
Those two relationships will never be completely right again on this side of heaven… and there is an effect of that Truth.
So much of what we suffer in this life is simply the consequences of our choices.
One of the very best ways to discipline a child is to allow them to suffer through the consequences brought about by their misbehavior.
God mentions, matter-of-factly, two consequences she and her daughters will endure.
1) The first is actually tied to a blessing… the blessing of salvation that I alluded to in talking about the Serpent’s curse.
Additionally, unlike the serpent and the man, God never rebukes the woman with a “Because you have done this,” reprimand.
Instead, God indicates that salvation will come to the human race as a result of the woman giving birth.
It is the woman’s SEED, her offspring, who will crush Satan, sin and death. As the Angel of the Lord said in Matthew 1:21, “She will bear a Son; now this is talking about Mary, but as the Bible makes clear she is directly descended from Eve – “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
I Timothy 2:15, “But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”
It is through the woman that fallen mankind will be saved.
Childbearing actually includes childrearing and it is the single-most important job on earth – everything else pales in comparison to that…
It is so vital that women will demonstrate their love for God and their obedience to His plan by fulfilling their God-given role to the best of their ability with a Godly attitude and demeanor.
Children are a joy to women in a special and unique way and it is beautiful. From it we see a bit of God’s love, care and concern.
We get a better glimpse of unconditional love, forgiveness, mercy and grace. We catch a peek of what God is like and at what heaven will be like… BUT, oh how sad, the BUT…
Some of a woman’s greatest pain comes from the bearing of children.
Of course the physical things we talked about, but far more than that, the fear and worry for them. The sadness when they are hurt and the pain when they lash out. The depression when they detach and the emptiness when they leave.
2) The second thing is less well understood by folks and I don’t know why, because it is fairly straightforward. Please listen carefully so we understand…
Anyone who uses this verse to justify men dominating woman is a misogynist (that means someone who hates women) and a Bible abuser.
God is talking to her, NOT him. It is a statement of reality, of consequence, NOT a command or even a suggestion, and certainly NOT, and get this, certainly NOT a justification!
It is simply how things will be.
The easiest way to understand it is that women will by nature desire a family – desire to build a nest, to be loved by a good man to have children with him… that’s the general desire.
Yet, it will NOT be that easy. There will be a struggle for control… men will generally be overt in their manipulation and women will generally be more subtle and secretive, but both will attempt to control the other and it will NOT work well.
What are we to do?
Children – no matter how old you are – be considerate to your mother. Make it more joy and less trouble for her.
Husbands, instead of taking this as a proof that treating your wife poorly is just part of the Fall… Act like a real man – behave like a Christian – and treat your wife as Jesus treats His church.
If you are not certain about what that means then don’t miss next week.
Women… thank God every day that He made you female and proudly embrace your role. Your gender make the world worth living in and shows us the most enjoyable aspects of God’s character.
Do what you know to be right.
Focus on the good, pray earnestly, trust God and do your best and then forget the rest.051015 - Genesis 3b - Mother's Day
May 16, 2015 08:43 AM PDT
Genesis 3:7-15, Pastor Scott Keller
God’s crowning achievement was the creation of the nuclear family, one woman, one man, united together as one flesh in the sight of God, naked and unashamed, producing and nurturing children to go out and do likewise.
The woman was dissatisfied because she was focused on the tiny restriction God imposed on her, rather than on all the generous abundance He had given her. Women have been given so much abundance, including the sole and unique privilege of forming, growing and nurturing new humans… the ability to be moms and it seems that for many in America… all they can think of is what they don’t have.
Dissatisfaction always stems from a focus on the negative… what’s not working my way… so it is always an arrogance of judging and entitlement.
It is taking on the mantle of God – to be your own god.
It is the source of grumbling, complaining, manipulating and controlling…
It is a fundamental lack of trust in God… in His concern, His power, His ability, His timing.
It is LISTENING to Satan in the guise of others… whether real serpents or well meaning friends.
Airline pilots have it made and you will not find a more disgruntled bunch of people on the planet (or above the planet). The union constantly sows discontent.
How do you know Satan is manipulating you to eat the forbidden fruit – to sinning against God?
1) Is your attitude one of thankfulness for what God has given, contentment with what He has withheld and trust in His character and timing? I Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:11-13, Isaiah 40:27-31, et al.
2) Is the person you are engaged with causing you to become more dissatisfied with your situation or less dissatisfied? Proverbs 26:21, Colossians 3:17, et al.
Look friends, Satan is a murderer and a liar who is always subtly seeking to divide and destroy…
What, specifically, does Satan seek to divide and destroy? What, is it he ceaselessly works to ruin?
It has always been and will always be… relationship.
That’s what was lost in the Garden… right relationship with God certainly, but also right relationship between the man and the woman.
As we go further in our study we will see right relationship ruined for their children as well… one of their sons will brutally murder another of their sons.
Satan is constantly, slyly, cunningly, craftily, subtly trying to wreck the family, the church, and the whole gamut of good relations starting with our relationship with God and then with all others.
He wants us all irritated at each other, focused on the negative, not trusting God or each other.
The way to defeat Satan is to resist his manipulation to be grumpy.
James 4:7 is an often quoted verse, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Do you know the context?
NLT, James 4:1&2, 1What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.
LISTEN to those who highlight what is NOT working and who heighten your dissatisfaction and you will see yourself more and more isolated from God and the people around you.
Today is for the opposite!
Today is Mother’s Day… Today is for women. Women, who generally speaking, are easily moved by dissatisfaction, but who are also the ones who seek out and cherish relationship. Women are the glue that holds relationships together.
People say the glue is encouragement, or forgiveness, or trust, or communication, or love, or patience, or vulnerability and on it goes…
The real glue is God, but God has put that glue ability into women in a unique way.
If it wasn’t for women there wouldn’t be such a priority on relationship with God or family or each other.
Rightly guided men can lend stability to relationships, but the impetus for relationships comes from women… from moms.
We have all kinds of moms here today… moms indeed and moms IN DEED.
Everyone who has ever been a mom to a person needing a mom – Thank you and God bless you.
I ask each of us to quit focusing on what we didn’t get from our mom… what wasn’t right, what didn’t work, all the wrongs, all the disappointments and all the pain.
Instead focus on what is good and noble and give that woman a word of encouragement and love, TODAY! Before it’s too late.
The Bible teaches in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Anyone can be a grumbling complainer – that requires no talent, effort or character at all. Let’s be better than that – let’s NOT do Satan’s work for him.
GENESIS 3:7&8 ~ 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. 8They 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.
We do that don’t we? It’s like little kids who think that if they can’t see you, you can’t see them.
Of course we can see them and trust me God saw Adam and his wife and God sees you and me.
There is nowhere we can go to escape God’s notice so when we run and hide from Him it truly makes no sense.
There was a movie line about a plumber asking for a deposit and the home owner said, “I’m not trying to tell you your business, but you haven’t even looked at my pipes.” The plumber responded, “I looked at them three years ago – you think they have improved with age?” We make a mess and it isn’t like time is actually going to make the mess better.
The reason we run and hide from God is we are ashamed, but probably mostly we are afraid.
We are avoiding the full impact of our sin by isolating ourselves until time has mitigated the severity of our transgression.
Obviously, we are not really hidden – He sees us. Obviously, time has no true effect on minimizing any crime in reality – God won’t forget the original impact.
We have a statute of limitations because over time the seriousness of a wrong lessens as the collective memory fades.
I was in Manhattan the day before and again 6 days after 9-11. I assure you the emotion of the event near ground zero today is not even a blip compared to the emotion then.
We even have a saying that “Time heals all wounds.” Rose Kennedy was married to a man who cheated on her and was associated with the Mafia, she had a prescription drug addiction. She was the mother of nine children…
She was probably right, but whether it is the memory that fades or some kind of scar tissue covering it – the bottom line is that time does help… us… and so we…
Foolishly we think God operates the same way… He doesn’t. No amount of hiding and no amount of time changes God’s perspective.
Since it is Mother’s Day and I shared a quote from Rose Kennedy, here’s another one, “I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love and a duty, but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best I could bring to it..... What greater aspiration and challenge is there for a mother than the hope of raising a great son or daughter?”
When we hide, we just add insult to injury… A guy forgets his wife’s birthday and because he is embarrassed and scared… very, very scared… he stays away from her becoming distant which only serves to punish her by further hurting their relationship.
It is the same with God. When you sin, run to Him, acknowledge the severity of the transgression, sincerely apologize, ask for the strength to do better in the future and accept the discipline, love and forgiveness of your Heavenly Father.
Get the relationship back on course as quickly as possible.
Running, hiding and waiting is childish, selfish and stupid.
The eyes open bit is a colloquialism meaning they became aware of something they were blissfully ignorant of previously.
Many ideas circulate concerning the exact nature of their new awareness.
Most people focus on the nakedness business. While that is certainly true, I think the main thing is the metaphorical nakedness they became aware of…
The very thing granting them insight was a crime against God and the true nakedness was the recognition of that sin – the embarrassment that they were guilty.
They desperately wanted to clothe themselves NOT just with fig leafs, but with total hiding.
They wanted the thickest protective layer possible because they no knew what it was to do EVIL.
They were confronted by a God who was pure GOOD and they could not stand in His presence.
Job was a righteous dude even though I doubt he surfed. Anyhow, Job was tested and as he got to understand God better he realized that as good as he was as a human it was nothing compared to God… recognizing God’s Holy presence Job told God, “Therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes!” (NET Job 42:6).
The great prophet Isaiah when in the presence of the Lord said, “Woe to me,” or as the NLT has it, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips… (NLT Isaiah 6:5).
And just like the Apostle Peter when he first realized that Jesus was the Lord. Peter, “Fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, ‘Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!’” (Luke 5:8).
Darkness cannot stand in the light… they hid.
Thrown under the bus big time… Adam tries to protect himself by blaming the woman and by turning the tables on God and putting Him on the defensive.
What a great start to male, female relations, not to mention God, human relations.
Evidently, we come by it honestly because people do the same thing today.
A guy will cheat on his wife and not only blame the other woman, but will turn the tables on his wife, putting her on the defensive by making the whole thing her fault.
Adam refused to take responsibility for his choice.
The Bible is very clear that Adam knew what he was doing and willfully disobeyed God’s one command.
Adam might have refused to accept responsibility, but as we will see God will judge him regardless.
God does not need our permission, our acceptance, or our cooperation, in order to rightly judge us.
GENESIS 3:13-15 ~ 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
The woman was a quick study. She uses the same tactic and while she doesn’t directly implicate God the charge is still there because God created both the serpent and Satan who possessed it.
Ultimately, they both refuse to take responsibility for their own actions and they certainly fail to stand up for or protect each other… as I said, the human race is off to a fine start.
The serpent is cursed along with Satan. It is difficult to tell where the physical and metaphysical begin and end, but they are both in for a rough future.050315 - Genesis 3a - Dissatisfaction
May 16, 2015 07:12 AM PDT
Genesis 3:1-6, Pastor Scott Keller
God’s crowning achievement was the creation of the nuclear family, one woman, one man, united together as one flesh in the sight of God, naked and unashamed, producing and nurturing children to go out and do likewise.
“What God has joined together,” The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Let no one destroy.” Yet, we see the attack on that Biblical model in our society today… on every front the war rages against that divinely established family.
GENESIS 3:1-3 ~ 1Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ”
There is again so much conjecture – so many opinions and what I find fascinating, is the difference between what people think the Bible says, and what the Bible actually says.
The serpent is introduced abruptly and catches the first-time listener off-guard to give a sense of the woman being taken off-guard.
The serpent is basically what we know as a snake. However, remember that we take the Bible in context.
Revelation 20:1-3 is just one of the places the Bible associates the serpent directly with a dragon… “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.”
Whatever the physical “Beast of the field” “Serpent” looked like originally and whatever it looked like after God cursed it cannot be known with certainty.
What we do know is that the fallen angel Lucifer possessed the animal and that he is known as the “Serpent of Old,” the “Great Dragon,” “The Devil” and “Satan.” As Jesus said, the Devil “Was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
God formed the “Beasts of the Field” out of the ground and this animal Satan used was one of those He created.
We will get there, but later on in the story, God is either speaking directly to Satan or a combination of Satan and the animal or to the animal alone. It’s difficult to tell because the Serpent is initially described as “More crafty than any beast of the field.”
“Crafty” is ah-room עָרוּם (ä-ȑüm), meaning shrewd, subtle, cautious, prudent, careful, cunning and sly. Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” It can be a both a positive attribute as there, or a negative one as here…
A truly manipulative craftiness is almost indistinguishable from sincerity, just as true evil is hardly distinguishable from innocence.
It ties the craftiness of the Serpent to the deception of the woman. She was misled.
She was deceived because she engaged. It is difficult for the most shrewd, subtle and crafty MANIPULATOR to mislead you, if you never engage in the first place.
She engaged because she was fundamentally dissatisfied… and I hope to show you that more clearly as we go.
Let me just say here, in regards to ministering to others, IF a person, no matter how entangled in sin, no matter how devoid of God they are, IF they are open to the Message of God you bear… then engage.
If, on the other hand, a person is not open – if they simply want to argue or evade or lie or try to change you… then DIS-engage.
There is nothing to be won when we engage with “CRAFTY” people or the spirit that controls them.
Be led by the Holy Spirit, be as gentle as a dove to others, but also be as shrewd, prudent and cautious as a crafty serpent.
So Satan approaches the woman and intentionally, subtlety and slyly misstates God.
Satan knows precisely what God said, but he mischaracterizes God by carefully altering His Words. Incidentally, that’s one of the reasons gossip is a sin… it always mischaracterizes another.
What God actually said was, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
Satan quoted God as, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” the entire flow is the exact opposite. God goes from extreme generosity, “Eat freely,” to extreme oppression, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden.”
In fact, in the Hebrew words Satan uses are the same as the words God used except Satan reverses the order of the words emphasizing the restriction and adds the negation, “NOT” to the sentence.
She is NOT equipped to respond to a crafty manipulator who is NOT seeking clarification, but only seeking his own agenda. She should run…
I have people do that to me all the time. “Hey pastor what does this verse mean?” If a person wants insight, information, elucidation, clarification; I am thrilled to oblige. When they just want me to confirm their agenda or worse, when they are seeking to trap me… well, friends, I have better things to do.
She corrects the Serpent, but actually changes God’s command in two subtle, but very important ways.
1 she subtracts from God’s Word. Instead of saying they may “Eat freely” to their hearts content from “Any” and ALL of the trees in the entire Garden, with a single tiny exception, she simply says “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat.”
It de-emphasizes God’s generous bounty and liberal provision… It hints at a dissatisfaction in the woman with her situation, because it lacks gratitude, praise and thankful worship for what God HAS given.
It focuses on the negative rather than the positive, on the one drop of water removed from an otherwise full, to overflowing, glass of water.
2 she adds to God’s Word. She said, “God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
God didn’t say anything about “Touching” the tree or its fruit. We are always doing that… we are constantly making God’s Word more restrictive than He made it.
Like God needs our help to define sin or to complete His incomplete Word. I will make the Bible and therefore God, narrower, more difficult, more elite and, really, if you think about it, more holy. It actually says God is less holy than I am, but don’t worry I’ll fix that – I will bring Christianity up to a higher standard than God did. I’m sure He will be proud of me for that.
I will tell you honestly… I have yet to talk to the person who takes God at His Word concerning sexual relations.
Everyone I have ever discussed the issue with, either makes the issue less restrictive or more restrictive than God does. Think about that…
God had the words and the writers and the materials to make the Bible ten times, or a hundred times, or a thousand times longer than He did.
Let us be people who represent God as He has represented Himself. Let us always strive to get His Words right… It is an extremely bad habit to misquote God’s intention… please tread lightly when you speak for God as I am doing right now. There is a more severe judgment for teacher and preachers because we present and so represent God to others. We can misquote, then misrepresent and then mischaracterize God if we are not careful.
Paul taught Jesus’ Resurrection and said if it wasn’t true then he would be, Found to be a false witness against God. His testimony about that would be a testimony misrepresenting God and His intentions. (1 Corinthians 15:15).
Part of our church doctrinal statement is, “If the Word of God is clear on a point it is already doctrine from God so who are we to restate it? If on the other hand the Word of God in not clear on a point who are we to clarify it as God’s doctrine? Let God speak from His Holy Word as He determines without man adding or deleting, emphasizing or de-emphasizing, smoothing or distorting. Amen.”
God said, “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).
The reason this is so important is that it has to do with her deception… it is far easier for Satan to mislead a person who has already misled themselves.
Most SERIOUS Christians recognize that it’s NOT okay to take away from God’s Word, but think it’s okay to make God’s Word MORE restrictive… it is like staying well away from the edge… it is safer. If God said don’t get drunk, we’ll say don’t drink at all… I’m sure if God thought it out more He would have written it that way. WRONG. Altering God’s Word in any direction is altering God’s Word!
What you can do if you’re a Nervous Nelly, is say this is what God requires, but I personally add these extra restrictions as an aid in my walk.
You can do that so long as you don’t forget where God’s Word ends and your word begins and always remember that your word is nothing more than your opinion, never to be used for self-righteous pomposity or to judge others or to fragment the Body of Christ.
In reality… IF we want to be honest about it – it almost always goes there.
Whether you make the Word of God less restrictive, or more restrictive, it distorts God’s character… Your God becomes a less accurate caricature of the true God.
Your God is more like you; than like God.
That brings us to another sad thing in the text… The Serpent uses the word Elohim as the generic term for God, instead of Yahweh, the covenantal relational name of God because he is not in a covenant relationship with Him.
The woman follows Satan’s lead.
Instead of seeing God as her Father and Friend – she acknowledges Him only generically as God – Elohim, NOT Yahweh.
See is feeling less connected to her Creator than she should because she is thinking about what He has withheld rather than what He has provided.
Don’t we do that?
GENESIS 3:4-6 ~ 4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Satan goes from a subtle changing of God’s Word to engage the woman in conversation, and place doubt in her mind, to an outright denial that anything bad could possibly happen.
The first bit, “You surely will not die!” is usually seen as Satan calling God a liar. Here’s a better way to understand it… If Satan just blurted out that God was a liar; she might well have disengaged.
That would be the antithesis of subtle, sly and crafty.
The flow is more like, you have misunderstood God.
He loves you so much – surely you know that He would never allow any harm to come to you – can’t you see that God would never harshly judge you, let alone kill you!
Come on, God won’t let you perish – He wants you to be happy.
How can you possibly be happy with this taboo hanging over your head?
It’s the same today… How can you possibly be happy being married to this man? Surely God WANTS you to divorce him!
Satan was telling her, Look, you are in a bad situation, not knowing Good from Evil. You are sitting here without all the necessary information.
Maybe God, in some misguided effort to protect you from the burden of that knowledge, put the restriction there until you felt ready. God does care, but He needs to realize that you’re a big girl – you can handle it. God is overprotective!
God might actually be testing you. When you’re ready for the knowledge, you will understand enough to simply take it – God wants you to prove you are ready by independently choosing it.
That’s a subtle, sly and crafty way to work her until she has completely rationalized away any fear of moving forward.
I am utterly certain she thought it would be okay.
That’s the power of manipulation.
Someone can get you believing the exact polar opposite of what you knew to be true and you’ll think it was your idea!
Run. Do not allow doubt to roost in your barn.
The next part of Satan’s statement questions God’s goodness and implies that He is selfishly keeping her from being like Him because He is either unaware of her readiness, OR He’s waiting for her to take charge or He’s on a power trip and wants to keep her down.
No matter how you slice it, God is the oppressor of Eve, rather than her loving Creator.
How many women today are completely dissatisfied with what God’s Word says about women? How many women today feel that the God of the Bible is their OPPRESSOR, rather than their loving Father?
Satan says, “You will be like God.” That was the clincher. It is always the clincher. It is the essence of all sin from that moment until the final disposition of all things in the final moment.
Sin is always fundamentally a desire to be like God and the reason is that we cannot control God so we worry that He will not allow us to have our way.
I said that the whole reason she engaged with the Serpent and started down this path was because she was dissatisfied.
We today, here in this room, are dissatisfied.
None of us is completely satisfied with everything around us. We wish things were different and if we had the power, we would change things.
That dissatisfaction is the seed that births rebellion against God.
It begins by questioning God, by failing to see all that He has generously provided and focus on what’s missing.
It begins to doubt that God is able, or that God cares, or, as is often the case, it rationalizes that God must be waiting for me to take charge.
Ultimately it is a failure to trust in the goodness and timing of Almighty God.
Like children push boundaries the temptation of us all is to push those divine boundaries established by God.
Did God REALLY say, I can’t lie, cheat, steal, get drunk, have sex outside of marriage, marry someone of the same gender, hate my neighbor, divorce my wife for a younger woman, engage in lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride?
Did God REALLY say, I must love others, attend church, give to the poor, share the Gospel, he humble, kind, generous and forgiving?
She saw that the fruit was ripe and tempting, she saw that the tree was “Desirable to make one wise.”
No longer would she be reliant on the man or on God – she could be her own independent person.
It should be obvious that NO one can become like God by disobeying God… yet we still try.
The Bible says in many places, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10, Job 28:28, Proverbs 1:7, 9:10, 15:33, et al.
Here the woman seeks wisdom on her own and ends up in fear.
Carl Sagan said concerning God, “I don't want to believe. I want to know.” We all inherited that trait from the original woman, our common mother.
She evidently had no desire whatsoever to be alone in her new predicament… “She gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
By all accounts, she was deceived. The bible says, “The serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness” (II Corinthians 11:3), and in, I Timothy, “It was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression”
How did it happen? Well, of course engaging and misquoting and failing to understand God for who He actually is all contributed but at the end of the day the reason she was deceived was because she was unsatisfied.
We could spent a hundred years discussing why she was dissatisfied, but what we know is that Satan was able to tap in to a fundamental desire she had that was hitherto unfulfilled.
In Romans 1:21 it says, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
The Bible says that a lack of gratitude is always a sign of arrogance. There is always the assumption that I deserve what I want… It is an ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY. I believe that I am entitled to having things go my way…
When they don’t, I believe I am entitled to be grumpy about it and free to take matters into my own hands.
Not only is it the arrogance of entitlement – it is the arrogance of judgment.
I see how it is and I judge that it is NOT right… I make that value judgment.
And I make that judgment without all the facts and all the wisdom and all the character that God has. How can I possibly know the effect of a thing a year from now, let alone an eternity from now?
Finally, it is a DISTRUST of God.
Adam, on the other hand, knew what he was doing – he chose to blatantly, willfully disobey God’s command. In Romans 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
We will talk more about that aspect next time… but just realize that we all are tempted by what we will get and rarely consider what we will lose in the process.
She gained knowledge of good and evil, but the cost was steep… Feminism is the same today. There are great gains for women and for society, but what was the cost to women and society?
If we push hard enough, long enough, we can usually get our way, but it certainly does NOT mean we won.
Instead of being like the petulant child that wears his parents down – let’s TRUST GOD.042615 - Genesis 2c - God's Gift to Men
May 15, 2015 11:37 AM PDT
Genesis 2:18-25, Pastor Scott Keller
The Sermon was cut off after about 27 minutes, but the text below contains the extra stuff...
We saw in the second chapter of Genesis that God lovingly, carefully and intimately formed man – אָדָם (ä-däm), from the ground אֲדָמָה (ă-dä-mäh) and breathed life into him in a completely unique way. Only man has God’s “Breath of Life,” נִשְׁמַ֣ת חַיִּ֑ים (nĭsh-mät hī-yēm), within him.
We also noted that the one true eternal God dwells everywhere and there is nowhere that can contain Him.
He created the universe along with the earth and planted the special Garden in Eden for man, for US, NOT for Himself.
SLIDE: GENESIS 2:18-25 ~ 18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
So God had made all this stuff, Galaxies and gazelles, Atoms and Adam and He pronounced it as GOOD.
But in verse 18, the Lord God said, “It is NOT good…” God found something to be seriously amiss and in need of immediate correcting.
God gave Adam a soulmate and Adam broke into a poetic exclamation when he first saw her… The gist is, NOW, FINALLY, OF COURSE, this is the suitable partner for me, because she is from me – we are the same!
The naming of the parading animals serves to highlight that only woman is suitable for man. God made male and female compatible with each other where no one, and nothing else, is…
Not even God was enough for the man in a relational sense… Man NEEDED woman to complete him… and we will find, to enable him to grow spiritually to where God would be enough.
Adam goes on to say… “She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” She shall be called אִשָּׁה (ē-shä), because she was taken out of אִישׁ (ēsh). They are both the same and so she is the perfect match, but even more than that, they are both quite different as well, and so she is also the perfect mate.
Adam names his gift from God and in so doing he accepts her completely. As far as God was concerned… Adam was now responsible for her.
It should be the most obvious thing in the world that God created a woman for the man and that together they would be parents to their children and that would constitute God’s idea of the nuclear family.
God commanded the two of them to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). God said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Jesus quoted that verse in his defense of marriage recorded in Matthew and Mark where He said, “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Mark 10:6-9 & Matthew 19:3-9).
That is a command from Jesus – “Do not allow anyone to divide what God has joined together.”
Do not destroy the nucleus of the family that Almighty God has established.
1) I say that as part of wedding ceremonies and most think it has to do with the fact that I just said, “Can anyone show just cause why these two should not be married.” It is like after that point, no one can burst in and disrupt the wedding ceremony. “Forever, hereinafter, hold your peace.”
2) Some get that it is an injunction against some outside force messing with a particular couple ruining their marriage after the ceremony.
3) A few folks further recognize that the parties themselves must not destroy their own marriage.
4) Here’s the nuance hardly any grasp… God – the Creator of everything including you and me has as one of His very first acts established family.
It always starts with one man and one woman becoming one flesh.
That’s what God says – that’s what God established.
The Word of God made flesh – the Savior and the LORD of every Christian has commanded that no one should ever divide, destroy, diminish, that relationship. God’s word says, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral” (NIV Hebrews 13:4).
People can say what they will – people can get on this high horse or that high horse – people can be people all day long… but friends… at the end of the day every one of us is going to stand before the Judgment of God and explain why we took Him at His Word or worked to undermine His Word.
God created and joined together one man with one woman for the purpose of intimate personal relationship resulting in children.
That was the plan and unfortunately things got a lot more difficult after sin entered the picture… but that was the plan – the ideal, from the beginning.
Now, this is a fairly easy and uplifting message to those who have not yet had a serious relationship or those who have had success at marriage and raising Godly kids. Like a Baptist preacher railing against drunkenness – everyone gives a hearty Amen!
For people who have struggled with romance, with marriage, with kids, with sexual orientation etc. the message may be painful and difficult.
Anytime we humans make a mistake we want mercy, but when someone else makes a mistake we want justice.
Think about it – it isn’t just a pithy saying… you mess up and you want people to give you the benefit of the doubt, you want support and help to get back on your feet, you want others to treat you as if nothing untoward ever happened… you want the true forgiveness that actually forgets. Ultimately you want a clean slate – no harm, no foul.
However, you become aware of someone else’s mistake and you want this thing fixed – this is serious – this can never be brushed aside and while we might say that under the right circumstances and after the villain has paid up we might forgive we certainly will never forget.
We hurt someone else and we find a loophole for our behavior, we justify it, we make excuses, we rationalize away the problem or blame others, maybe even blame the one we hurt by making the whole thing their fault in the first place… BUT boy howdy, when someone messes with us there is no mitigating or minimizing – it is unadulterated evil and must be severely punished.
I say all of that, to say this… God is NOT like us. God, my dear friends, is not interested in your past – in getting His pound of flesh from you. He’s interested your future.
So many people outside and inside of the Christian community cringe at the idea that a total scumbag murderer – a Hitler, Charles Manson, Ida Amin kind of guy could repent and be forgiven.
Why? Because that’s not fair! They need to be punished! Forgiveness is not a human trait – it is a divine trait.
God isn’t interested in dwelling on who you were, what you’ve done or what’s been done to you… the past is the past. It is spilled milk. There’s no going back. God is interested in what you’re going to do with the mess.
God created time… He made it so that it marches on and whatever you do right now will in the next moment be the irrevocable, completely inaccessible and unreachable past.
To live in the past, to not get past the past, is to waste the present and ruin the future.
God is interested in what you are going to do from here on out.
If you have messed things up – if you have sinned against God and His plan… REPENT.
Acknowledge your wrong and endeavor to turn away from it… ask for forgiveness and then accept it. I may not know you’re sincere, but God sees the fingers crossed behind your back.
Jesus paid for your imperfection with His perfection… it cost Him and the entirety of the Godhead tremendously.
Do you seriously believe that Father God will look at your life and say, “Well, that’s some pretty heinous stuff right there. I had no idea someone could be so bad. I would like to forgive you and restore you and have fellowship with you, but the sacrifice We made through the Word made flesh is simply not enough. What Jesus accomplished on the Cross is unfortunately inadequate to cover your mess.”
Take the lessons learned from the past and then move forward into a brighter future in right relationship with God… that’s what He wants… that’s why He allowed His one and only Son to be brutalized…
Won’t you let go of your failures and the failures of others who have hurt you? Won’t you drive in to the love, mercy, forgiveness and righteousness found only in Jesus?
The family God established is obvious.
Men were not to find their happiness in the things of this world, whether work or play, nature or pets. It is worth saying again…
God gave the man what God wanted the man to have… a woman.
Someone who was made from him, someone who was identical in essence and therefore in value.
Yet, at the same time, someone different…
Yet, at the same time, someone with complimentary differences.
Men and women fit – they are two sides of the exact same coin – they are two coming together to become one.
Only in our depraved society can we convince ourselves that men and women are the same or that men belong together with men, women with women or adults with children or humans with animals. You truly need to be blind literally AND figuratively to accept such absurd propositions.
If we will accept the TRUTH that God made us male and female, completely equal in value and different in function… then we can finally have a basis for right relationship in marriage.
A smart pastor would not have gone this far and only a truly dumb pastor would press on, but I’m more interested in you knowing what the Bible says, than in you, liking me.
Men, you are to love your wives as Christ loves His church… that means that Jesus sacrificially laid down His own life in order to bless you and me.
Husbands think of your wives in the same way – willing to give up everything in order to bless her.
Most of you know that God hates divorce… it’s fairly straightforward because in Malachi, it actually says, “I hate divorce,” says the Lord.”
Hard to miss that and yet people rationalize it away, but here’s my point for you married guys out there… do you know the context?
The prophet Malachi speaking God’s words says, “Here is another thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, weeping and groaning because he pays no attention to your offerings and doesn’t accept them with pleasure. You cry out, ‘Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?’ I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. ‘For I hate divorce!’ says the LORD, the God of Israel. ‘To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,’ says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” (NLT Malachi 2:13-16).
There is so much I could talk about in these verses, but I’ll stay on point… Bottom line, you made a covenant with your wife, witnessed by Almighty God, for the purpose of a family, and if you are not diligently faithful to that, you may as well forget praying.
A while back I said, “Adam was now responsible for her.” Not by dominating, coercing or manipulating, but through sacrificial selfless love.
Do what is right even when it is difficult, even when you get no credit for it, even if it seems futile… do what is right because God is watching… YOU.
Women, submit to your husbands.
I can’t believe that dude just said that! This is 21st century America baby! In less than two years we will have a woman president! I can’t believe he just said, “Women, submit to your husbands… Stone Him!”
Well, before you stone me, I didn’t say that, God did… Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, Titus 2, but really it starts in our Genesis verses today by implication and then in Genesis 3 explicitly where God tells Eve, “Your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.”
After talking about marriage to a group one day, a young woman told me afterward that she didn’t want to be lost in the identity of her husband – she didn’t want to be ONE flesh. She is now divorced.
Finally, the children. Kids are not an option… Biblically. If you can’t have kids, adopt, foster or get involved in the lives of kids in other ways... Like Compassion International. Be creative, share your love and wisdom with children. Katie Ericksen on number 4… “You guys know how it works, right?”
We can live our lives for our own enjoyment, entitlement and independence or we can recognize that we belong to God and that there is a challenge before us…
The challenge for all of us is trying to live according to God’s plan and obey His commands while struggling in a fallen and depraved world where sin has taken its toll on everything around us and the whole world militates against us as it militates against God.
God’s crowning achievement was the creation of the nuclear family, one woman, one man, united together as one flesh in the sight of God, naked and unashamed, producing and nurturing children to go out and do likewise.
What God has joined together, let no one destroy and can you see the attack on that Biblical model in our society today… on every front the war rages against that divinely established family.
What can we do? We can do the best we can possibly do relying on the strength of the Holy Spirit to sustain us. As I say, it is about submitting and surrendering to God’s plan or insisting on my plan – it is that simple.030115 - Genesis 1c
March 20, 2015 10:51 AM PDT
Genesis 1:3-5, Pastor Scott Keller
GENESIS 1:3-5 ~ 3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Biblically, life is itself, the light that illumines thinking and acknowledgement. It is synonymous with the Message from God, which is always Truth with a capital “T.”
God is glorified through His handiwork, but only with humans is He glorified by His handiwork.
“In him was life [ζωή (dzō-ā) – that is the life-giving force]… and the darkness has not overcome it [καταλαμβάνω (kä-tä-läm-bä-nō) – darkness cannot control light]” (John 1:4&5).
The Bible starts with the beginning, but the beginning has a goal in mind. It is, “What will you personally do with God’s revelatory Message?
John 1:6-18, II Corinthians 4:4, John 3:19, et al.
God does not actually need to do anything in this physical reality, but He constantly does precisely that.
The metaphorical, allegorical, typological, eschatological and symbolical must all flow out of the plain, obvious and straightforward.
Jewish Rabbis began interpreting the Bible allegorically and over time, most Rabbis abandoned the plain meaning of the Bible in favor of an ever more esoteric meaning. Christians began to do the same.
Without any concrete literal sense, anyone can make any verse mean anything. If the Bible can mean anything, then it means nothing.
That is WHY God presents His Message as being factually based.
The personal presence of God in creating is confirmed by light existing apart from the sun…
God evaluated the light and He proclaimed that it was good… God is the Judge of all things that He creates… He is the standard.
God separated the light from the dark leaving a remnant of darkness to remind us every day that God creates light – life – and Truth!
God then named the light and dark, “Day” יוֹם (yōm) and “Night,” לַ֫יְלָה (lī-läh) respectively.
God then said, “There was evening and there was morning, the first day.” Was it an actual 24 hour long day? The very first people to propose that it was anything different were those allegory loving ancient Jewish scholars.
We understand Genesis as a Message from Almighty God relating a truthful account in simple terms to uneducated people...
We understand Genesis to carry a deeper meaning in contradiction to the plain, straightforward meaning an uneducated person would recognize.
It is God’s Word and it means what it says and is therefore the same for all recipients for all time, or it is a story that individual people understand differently as experience, education, information, culture and personal needs change.
Romans chapter 14… perfect Theology.022515 - Genesis 1b
March 19, 2015 01:01 PM PDT
Genesis 1:2, Pastor Scott Keller
GENESIS 1:1-3a ~ 1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3aAnd God said…
Last week we covered Genesis 1:1 and we were reminded about the importance of Biblical context.
In verse 1, God created the heavens and the earth, and in verse 2, the point of view becomes geocentric. Creation by God is viewed from earth.
I asked, “Why would God expend the energy necessary for creation?”
God is by very definition, self-actualized. God is EXISTENT.
We, on the other hand, are in constant flux, as is everything in the universe…
God’s true Covenantal name is Yahweh.
That God chose to share Himself… selflessly… with you.
The Bible is a Theocentric revelation, but it is told as a geocentric story, because it is an anthropocentric message.
The universe declares to us (the audience of God’s revelation)… Who God is.
Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20
There is a pause at the beginning of verse two. The NASB, NRSV, NLT, NKJV, ESV and others, all omit the pause. The NIV, Holman and NET all start verse two with the word, “Now,” and the KJV with, “And.”
The first word in Hebrew is וְהָאָ֗רֶץ (vĕ-hä-äȑ-ĕtz), the root meaning earth, along with the word, “the,” and a conjunction.
The Gap Theory was introduced to account for scientific discoveries that indicated an ancient universe and macroevolution.
While scientists work diligently to take their personal bias out of the mix, it is, unfortunately, completely impossible.
If we believe scientism’s interpretation of the data then we are forced to change our interpretation of the Bible and in particular our interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis.
When we take the surrounding verses in context, we recognize a pattern throughout Genesis that begins here. When we then expand the context to include the entire Bible, we find more difficulties with a gap in time. It is the key to Christianity that death is the result of sin.
I Corinthians 15:17, et al.
“Formless and void,” refers to the fact that the earth was not yet suitable for human habitation.
The second description is that it was dark. While “Darkness” in this case is not a metaphor for evil, there is definitely a sense of foreboding here.
Third, the Breath of God was hovering, giving a definite gentle protective feeling here, counterbalancing the bit before.
Verse three starts out, “God said…” To this point, it is implied that God desired to create, that He did so by speaking and that His Holy Breath carried His Word.
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