Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The power of remembering

Deuteronomy 32:1 – 7

The power of remembering

 

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.  It is a day we set aside to remember those who have lived before us.  For many of us they are good examples and a reminder of a simpler, better lived world.

 

At the end of Moses’ life, he recalls the ups and downs of his relationship with Israel.  He ends with a poem that has been called “Moses’ song.”  Except for final blessings and instructions, these are the last words, put into poem, so the people would remember them.

 

His main concern it that God’s people remember…

 

I.          Remember what God is like.

 

“He is the Rock, His works are perfect” shows up five times in this song.

 

            A.        God’s works are “perfect.”  [v 4]

 

                        1.         “Perfect” means “entire, complete” (not flawless). (Hebrew text)

 

a.         We are so used to thinking about God (and God’s work) as “flawless” that we miss there is something more important.

 

b.         God’s work is “entire” and complete.  Nothing more is needed, required, or even asked.

 

                        2.         God has done the work.

 

                                    a.         We see this in the concept of faith.

 

“What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." [4] Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. [5] However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” [Romans 4:3 – 5]

 

“You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. [23] And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. [24] You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” [James 2:22 – 24]

 

b.         It is the “initiative – response sequence” we see throughout Scripture.  God makes the covenant with an open invitation for us to participate.  We are invited to co-operate with God.

 

“..continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, [13] for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” [Philippians 2:13c – 13]

 

            B.        God’s ways are “just.” [v 4]

 

                        1.         “Just” means “verdict.”

 

                                    a.         Image of courtroom.  All the evidence has been considered. 

 

b.         The verdict is not based on personal desire, it is… “all things considered” what we would call fair.  (Ironically this may be the only thing in this world that is “fair.”)

 

                        2.         There is a sense of “legal” and following procedure.

 

                                    a.         God does not deal with us in a vacuum. 

 

                                    b.         There are reasons God does what He does.

 

“God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-- [26] he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” [Romans 3:25 – 26]

 

“Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. [1 Timothy 1:13]

 

            C.        God does no wrong. (two ideas) [v 4]

 

                        1.         God does NOT act with injustice.

 

a.         Too many people in this world are doing things simply because they can do it, and it profits them.

 

                                    b.         God acts for our good.  Why?

 

                                                1.)        We are ignorant… (Don’t know any better)

 

                                                2.)        We act in unbelief… (Without understanding)

 

                        2.         God acts in an “upright” way.

 

                                    a.         The Hebrew word is “straight.”

 

                                    b.         We used to have an expression “straight as an arrow.”

 

II.        Remember what we are like.

 

Our sin becomes very ugly in contrast to God’s righteousness and love.

 

            A.        We act “corruptly” with God. [v 5]

 

                        1.         Two images here:

 

                                    a.         “Warped” literally means “distorted.”

 

1.)        We talk about God in absolute ignorance, never thinking to read the Bible.

 

                                                2.)        This word is often translated “perverse.”

 

b.         “Twisted” literally means “crooked.”  Notice how this contrasts with God being “straight” (upright).

 

John Wesley, “forward (presumptuous, impertinent, or bold), intractable (not easily controlled or directed; not docile or manageable), irregular, and disorderly.  [Definitions from dictionary.com]

 

                        2.         How?

 

                                    a.         We say we walk in the light but actually walk in darkness.

 

b.         We have a half-hearted love and zeal, or at least when it is convenient.

 

Fact: sin is self-willed, irrational, ungrateful, and foolish.

 

            B.        We repay God with foolishness and senselessness.

 

                        1.         Two truths:

 

                                    a.         God created you.

 

                                    b.         God formed you.

 

                        2.         If God is the designer, why do we not listen?

 

III.       Remembering is the cure!

 

            A.        “Remember the days of old” [v 7]

 

                        1.         The word translated “remember” means to mark or memorialize.

 

                        2.         History has much to teach us… examples, inspiration, warning.

 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” [George Santayana]

 

“Activate yourself to duty by remembering your position, who you are, and what you
have obliged yourself to be.” [Thomas Kempis]

 

            B.        “Consider the generations long past.” [v 7]

 

                        1.         The word translated “consider” means to discern, to understand.

 

2.         This is generational thinking…  (something lost in our mad rush for “new and improved” or the “latest and greatest”)

 

            C.        “Ask your father…your elders…” [v 7]

 

1.         The image here is that your father and your elders will “stand boldly out opposite”

 

2.         Somehow in the mad rush for change, we have to stop and remember the lessons of our forefathers. 

 

“The acknowledgment of our weakness is the first step toward repairing our loss.” [Thomas Kempis]

 

“United we stand, divided we fall.” [Aesop – Greek slave]

 

“God helps them that help themselves.” [adapted from Aesop]

 

“The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.” [Aristotle]

 

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”  [Sir Winston Churchill]

 

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”  [Albert Einstein]

 

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.’  [Abraham Lincoln]

 

If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost.” [Barack Obama]

 

“Chew before you swallow.”  [George W. Bush]

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Christian is...

2 Peter 3:17 – 18

The Christian is…

 

 

Much has been said to define Christianity.  The difficult has been that most of this has not been informed by Scripture.  In is final statements, Peter gives us three things important warnings. 

 

These are based on basic strategies for living a Christian life.  Let’s look at them.

 

“Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. [18] But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” [2 Peter 3:17 – 18]

 

 

I.          The Christian is alert.

 

(“be on your guard”)

 

            A.        What can we use to make sure we are alert?

 

                        1.         The Bible.

 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” [Psalm 119:105]

 

“…The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. …  By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” [Psalm 19:9b, 11]

 

“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails--given by one Shepherd. [12] Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them….” [Ecclesiastes 12:11 – 21a]

 

                        2.         The Holy Spirit.

 

“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. [8] When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: [9] in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me.” [John 16:8 – 9]

 

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. [14] He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. [15] All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” [John 16:13 – 15]

 

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” [John 14:26]

 

                        3.         The church.

 

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. [12] It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, [13] while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, [14] who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. [15] These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” [Titus 2:11 – 16]

 

“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” [2 Timothy 2:2]

 

“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance [10] (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.  [11] Command and teach these things.” [1 Timothy 4:9 – 11]

 

            B.        What does it mean to be alert?

 

                        1.         We are not ignorant.  The danger is that we will be “carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.”

 

“In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” [2 Corinthians 2:11]

 

“Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." [34] Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God--I say this to your shame.” [1 Corinthians 15:33 – 34]

 

                        2.         We follow the map.

 

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. [14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” [Matthew 7:13 – 14]

 

[Negative] “But they will reply, `It's no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.'” [Jeremiah 18:12]

 

[Positive] “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” [1 Peter 2:21]

 

 

II.        The Christian life is based on authority.

 

(“so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position”)

 

            A.        What authority do we have?

 

                        1.         Authority in Jesus.

 

“I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. [48] He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. [49] But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” [Luke 6:46 – 49]

 

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. [1 Corinthians 1:18]

 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” [Acts 1:8]

 

                        2.         Authority in Scripture.

 

“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Ephesians 6:17]

 

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. [Hebrews 4:12]

 

“Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. [2] For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” [1 Thessalonians 4:1 – 2]

 

            B.        Response to critics:

 

1.         Inflexibility is good… we all cope with life with some form of inflexibility.

 

2.         Historical anchors are good… the past teaches us and connects us with something bigger than just ourselves.

 

3.         Christian effort is not flawless… life fits belief either by default or deliberate duty. 

 

(Ill. Biblical standard: how we treat others is a reflection of our relationship with God.  A person who sows discord/division through gossip is not of God.  Picture: If someone offends you, the ability to give them grace [smile and nod, walk away, graceful deal with the situation] is a godly skill.  If someone offends you and you run to tell someone… that is not of God.  VERY few people are good at giving grace…)

 

(Indonesian proverb: Only the little dog must bark.)

 

III.       The Christian life is advancing.

 

            A.        How?

 

                        1.         We are told to “grow in grace.”

 

[“Grace” is the free and unearned loving-kindness and mercy of God toward us for no other reason than the fact that God want to.  Grace is God’s initiative in our lives.]

 

                                    a.         If God has given us “grace” how are we going to react to it?

 

                                    b.         If God has given us “grace” how are we going to reflect it?

 

                        2.         We are told to grow “in the knowledge” of Jesus.

 

a.         If you want to know someone, you speak to them, spend time with them… in other words, you read the Bible.

 

b.         If you want to grow, it will take exercise… participate in growth things (like church attendance)

 

            B.        Honest problems:

 

                        1.         Inertia:  Sluggish inactivity, lethargic indifference, apathy.

 

a.         Garfield cartoon.  Garfield is laying on his back.  He says, “I need motivation.”  Jon walks by and says, “Get up and do something you lazy bum.”  Garfield continues to lay in the same position and says, “Yep, that was life-transforming.”

 

b.         This issue is not a matter of the will, it is not one of laziness.  It is a matter of not being in motion (or being in motion the wrong way).

 

c.         What overcomes inertia is being acted upon by an external force (from Physics).  Spiritually we can not change/move unless God changes/moves us.

 

                        2.         The difference between what we know and what we do.

 

a.         Internally: We find ways to change either action or beliefs to avoid unpleasant consequences.  If we feel the pain of sin, we will either repent or disavow the necessity of repentance (disavow Jesus).

 

b.         Externally: We become judgmental.  Humor here… if we are struggling with our own inconsistency we tend to lash out at others.

 

“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” [1 Corinthians 5:12a]

 

Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” [Romans 14:4]

 

c.         The answer is found in the pursuit of Christ-likeness as a response to God’s initiative. 

 

 

Questions:  Are you alert (on your guard)?  What is the authority in your life?  Is your Christian life

 

 

 

 

                       

 

 

 

 

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Misunderstood Mary

Misunderstood Mary

Luke 2:19, 21 – 24, 33 – 35, 39 – 40

 

 

Mary is commonly misunderstood in two extremes.  There are those who pray to Mary, essentially committing idolatry.  There are those who ignore Mary, essentially living in ignorance.

 

Mary is important to the Bible, the life of Jesus, and us in that she demonstrates a woman who is faithful and normal.

 

We know very about Mary compared to Paul, Peter, Moses, King David… What we do know gives us a clear picture of a faithful woman who followed the example of mother’s that we think of as being ordinary.  She didn’t invent it, she followed her culture’s custom.

 

I.          Mother’s treasure memories. [Luke 2:19]

 

            A.        There seems to be something about mothers that remember.

 

                        1.         A treasure is something that is precious.

 

a.         Want to get on the bad side of a mother?  Say something bad about her child.

 

b.         Mom’s tend to believe the best about their children, dream big dreams for them, hope for what is beyond reasonable.  THEY BELIEVE IN THEIR CHILDREN.

 

                        2.         A treasure is something that is carefully guarded.

 

                                    a.         If you see a bear cub… (run like the wind) the mother bear will be near by.

 

                                    b.         Mom’s tend to have a protective mechanism built into them. 

 

            B.         There seems to be a very thoughtful side to remembering.

 

                        1.         Ponder – “thought about them often” (NLT)

 

                                    a.         Ever keep something special from the childhood days?

 

                                    b.         Ever just like to sit and remember the good memories?

 

                        2.         Hopes and dreams come with being a mother…

 

                                    a.         What we do as children can thrill or disappoint our moms.

 

(Ill. Once I did something I shouldn’t have.  Dad was not around, so mom handled the discipline.  She pointed out what I did was wrong and why (I’ve long forgotten the action).  I braced myself for my punishment… guess what my mom did?  She prayed for me.  Frankly, at that moment, I’d rather have a whipping.)

 

b.         When our children fail, Mom’s take the brunt of the negative emotions.

 

(Ill. I’ve had more than one mom tell me she was a failure (sometimes in tear) because of the actions of her children.)

 

***** I doubt any of us have a full understanding what we have done to our moms.  The burdens and the pains she silent carried. *****

 

II.        Mother’s faithfully tend religious tradition.  [Luke 2:21 – 24]

 

            A.        We all need a foundation.

 

                        1.         Our homes define us.

 

a.         Family traditions are what makes memories, sets boundaries, establishes roles, create habits.

 

b.         Traditions tie is to each other and anchor us to something more than just ourselves.

 

c.         Traditions establish patterns to do something constructive in handling stressful, chaotic, and painful times.

 

                        2.         Our past defines us, everyone has a past.

 

a.         Our past is believed to be the biggest predictor of the future.  (Without grace)

 

b.         Some of us have strong religious foundations, others not so much…

 

B.         Mary and Joseph were careful to keep the letter of the Old Testament Law.

 

1.         Circumcision on the eighth day was required as a covenant between God and Israel.  (In the Christian tradition, it is infant baptism/dedication)

 

                        2.         The baby was named “Jesus” as directed by God.

 

                        3.         Purification rights were observed for 40 days.

 

                        4.         The dedication sacrifice redeeming the first born was made.

 

Problem: American culture believes the individual controls their own destiny.  We blame people who are not in a position to do so… like single moms.  We brag when it seems we do control our own destiny.  Fact is people are making choices about us and for us everywhere, all the time.  Very few people completely control their own destiny.

 

***** Never underestimate the choices our parents have made for us.  If you had a Mom who promised you to God, celebrate!  *****

 

III.       Mom’s realize amazement and pain.  [Luke 2:33 – 35]

 

            A.        Every child’s potential is amazing.

 

                        1.         Sometimes only a mother will believe it (joke).

 

                        2.         A baby is a new beginning filled with potential and dreams.

 

a.         Mary had a different perspective because she had the angel announce what was going on… and having a child as a virgin…

 

b.         Still, what Mom does not have high hopes and expectations for her child?

 

 

            B.        Every child’s pain is absorbed by Mom.

 

“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.” [Proverbs 10:1]

 

                        1.         Dad’s celebrate by distance themselves under pressure or pain.

 

                        2.         Mom’s absorb things personally.

 

IV.       Mom’s are necessary for ordinary development. [Luke 2:39 – 40]

 

(Ill. It is sad that the “joke” in our society is that there is no such thing as normal.)

 

            A.        Mary (with Joseph) provided a stable and normal home for Jesus.

 

1.         This must have been hard because Jesus would have been seen as the illegitimate child.  (Jesus was reminded of this by his home town…)

 

                        2.         It’s hard for us to imaging Jesus as living an ordinary life.

 

a.         Here’s the thing: if you are dependent on the spectacular experience for an emotional high or confirmation of truth, then you are in serious trouble.

 

b.         God can and usually speaks in the “still small voice.”  In the ordinary, there is a special joy that is not subject to circumstances.

 

            B.        Jesus grew up in an ordinary way.

 

                        1.         He was physically dependent, as any child…

 

                                    a.         Jesus grew up healthy and strong.

 

                                    b.         Parents must help their children (provide food, love, etc…)

 

                        2.         He learned “common sense.”

 

                                    a.         Wisdom (the practical application of knowledge)

 

b.         God’s favor (basic spiritual teachings that are also modeled).

 

 

Modern perspective of motherhood from young mothers:

 

“Being a mum is such a uniting force, it is the ultimate common ground. It doesn’t matter what your background is, what your current or previous career was, what your income, where you live or what your life choices are – once you’re a mum we are all inherently the same. … It is why you can take a group of strangers and put them in a mothers group and find they will all chat happily for hours on end and go on to form life long bonds….

 

Our hearts burst and break at the same moments, the same things frustrate and infuriate us, we all crave a moment to ourself but wouldn’t change being a mum for all the alone time in the world. And we all miss using the bathroom on our own!!

…But because being a mum has made me braver, less worried about what people think, more likely to take a chance. And not just because once you have given birth nothing is ever as scary again!  … But because my perspective has changed. If I fail at something now, what do I really lose? As long as my child is happy and healthy everything else seems secondary. Which is kind of freeing and fantastic. It means I can risk more and be less afraid of the consequences. But only in an emotional sense of course, when it comes to actual physical risk I have gone the opposite way. I would never take a risk that could take me away from my child, so in that way I’ve become more afraid and cautious. 

…Motherhood certainly teaches you patience, but does that translate to other areas of your life or is it only with your kids? I know my patience doesn’t always extend to my husband!!”  [Amy Dry essentialbaby.com.au]

 

 

 

“…For me, a significant part of Mother’s Day is celebrating my own mother by remembering the lessons she taught me; by reminiscing about being the wonderful woman she was; by reflecting on her capacity to love unconditionally and to face adversity head on; by marveling at her ability to have raised five children almost single-handedly and doing such a bloody good job of it. Mum made mothering look so easy that it wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I discovered how difficult and relentless it could be. …

 

It’s true that we don’t appreciate the enormity and selflessness of mothering until we become mothers. Almost every new mother I know has proclaimed a new found respect for her own mother. And rightly so. As women it may not be until we ourselves become mothers that we really understand the significance of our own mothers and the importance of the small sacrifices they made almost daily to ensure our happiness. And perhaps, most of all that’s what Mother’s Day is all about - paying tribute to all women, past and present, who have dedicated their lives to being the very best mothers they can be.”  [Ghania Dib essentialbaby.com.au]

 

 

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Misunderstood Eve

Genesis 1:27 – 28

Misunderstood women #1 Eve

 

It doesn’t take much to see the fabric of American society has been unraveling over the last 40 years.  One of the problems is that we are creating extremes, extremes that are loud and angry.

 

These extremes are moving our country away from a form of internal law to one that is imposed externally in such a way that it helps create the problems it seeks to solve.  For instance, zero tolerance policies got a bunch of young grade school boys suspended for pointing their fingers at one another in a game… the school considered it a violation of their gun policy.

 

The abuse of women has apparently skyrocketed as men become more and more angry at their new politically correct roll of being irrelevant.  Expected silence has become a festering wound in our society.  Men have become distant from their women and children and many of reverted back into childhood selfishness that cuts women and children out of their lives.

 

The militant “equal rights” movement has created a growing sense of separation between men and women.  It pushes for men and women to be on parallel tracks rather than experience biblical unity.

 

One result of social engineering has been the breakdown of marriage.  It is said the divorce rate is “50%.”  That is correct but misleading.  For instance, according to data from the CDC (now tracks divorce rates), in the 1990 – 2000 period only about 31% of marriages that failed were first time marriages.  A kick in the teeth to the new social order and radical agenda is the eye-opening reality that 94% of failed marriages in that time frame came from those who had had more than one partner or co-habited before marriage.

 

On the other side of the coin, a new study suggest when both the man and woman have a living faith in Jesus Christ… the divorce rate is less than 2%.

 

Another result is the breakdown of the concept of family.  Children are the victims when they lack healthy male and female roles.  Grandparents find themselves being the new parent.

 

We are seeing an astounding breakdown in gender identification and rolls.  The result is the aggressive recruiting of children into non-biblical life styles.  My assumption is that non-biblical lifestyles are also unhealthy ones.  One activist group claims the life expectancy of someone in their demographics is only 41 years old… which is at least 30 years short of the average American life expectancy.

 

Women are suffering as they are forces to aggressively prove their worth.  The bottom line is that women are being robbed of their God given status and rights.  To understand this, let’s look at one misunderstood woman from the Bible: Eve.

 

Fact #1: God created humans male and female by design, for a purpose, “in His own image.” [Genesis 1:27]

 

The unity of the two parts was designed to reflect God’s image.  In this case the sum is greater than the parts.  While both parts reflect God, unified, they fulfill the design of God’s image.

 

Another thing that we can see from Genesis 1:28 is there is no intended hierarchy or distinction of authority in the creation order between man and woman.  Dominion, the authority to rule over creation was given to both.

 

This tells us social limitations and hierarchies are artificial human constructs not designed or imposed by God.  The sad fact is that because of sin God’s intended design has been perverted to subject women various forms of abuse.

 

The image of God on the other hand means that humans (male and female) have the capacity to love unconditionally as God does.  The image of God reflected in Adam and Eve also means they had the ability to surrender everything for the sake of the other.

 

Fact #2:  God observed that one thing in all creation was not good… a lonely male. [Genesis 2:18 – 23]

 

Let’s put this in perspective.  Adam had a perfect unspoiled world.  Adam had work from as intellectual as naming the animals to as physical as tending the Garden.  Adam had a perfect relationship with God.  In all this goodness and perfection, something was “wrong.”

 

This is God’s design.  A man alone is not good.  Notice this need is not due to the result of “the Fall” it is built into humanity by God’s creation design.  Even God did not and could not fill that void by His own design!  Companionship that fills the void and completes Adam is found only in Eve.  It should be noted that this works for the woman as well.

 

A college girl was being interviewed one day.  She observed the “women’s lib” movement had given women everything they wanted but had deprived them of the one thing they needed.

 

Adam needed a “suitable helper.”  The word translated “suitable” means corresponding or reciprocal.  Notice that the Bible does not say that Adam needed a lover, a worker, a mother for children.  A helper is someone who is beside in all circumstances. 

 

Think about it this way.  If Adam needed to travel a long distance, he could jump on a horse, donkey, or elephant for transportation.  If Adam needed to pull something, he could find a big strong ox to do the work.  If Adam needed milk, there were goats and cows.  If Adam wanted to find something, a dog could track it down.

 

Eve’s “help” is not along those lines.  Instead, she is a “helper” spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically.

 

Fact #3: Eve was part of “the Fall.” [Genesis 3:6]

 

You many disagree with this but Eve was tempted, actually tricked, by Satan.  However, Adam was responsible.  Notice the text says “who was with her.”  Literally from Hebrew it means who was “physically present.”  In other words, while the devil was tempting Eve, Adam is a spectator.  He is being tempted too… Eve does not have to repeat the devil’s temptations or seduce Adam into eating the fruit because Satan had already done that in his conversation with Eve. 

 

Also, it is important to note that nothing happened until AFTER Adam ate.  Genesis 3:7 starts with, “Then…”  The first three chapters of Genesis are very time and order specific.  In other words, the responsibility for sin and death entering this world is on Adam.

 

“Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning.” [from 2 Corinthians 11:3]  “For as in Adam all die.” [1 Corinthians 15:22a]  “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- … [14] Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses…” [Romans 5:12, 14a]

 

Fact #3: The battle (and confusion) is part of “the Curse.” [Genesis 3:16]

 

God’s design was for man and woman to share intimacy through oneness; using similarities and differences in a complementary role. 

 

The struggle between male and female is a symptom and result of sin.  Another way to translate the effects of sin on the woman is, “you will desire to control your husband.” [NLT].  One paraphrase bluntly conveys the idea of how the man acts in sin, “but he’ll lord it over you.”  Anyone who thinks we can education or legislate our way out of this is missing the point: sin divides people.

 

This tension divides us, creates fear, and is the basis of anger.  It creates the possibilities of extremes that violate God’s design and rob men and woman of the necessary intimacy that prevents loneliness.

 

Once things get messed up how are we to restore balance?  Adam shows us an example.

 

Fact #4: Someone must speak a word of redemption. [Genesis 3:20]

 

Rather than continue the “blame” or vent anger Adam realizes something different must happen.  He begins by naming his wife “Eve.”  Eve means “living.”  Instead of pushing the result of what just happened, Adam blesses her.

 

We know how we got here, we have an idea how to not repeat our mistakes, but we must understand how redemption works the effect of sin backwards.  What do we need for this to happen?

 

Redemption can be found in only one place… through Jesus Christ.  Jesus established a blood covenant with us that can free us from living under the tyranny of sin.  This means we can reclaim the Biblical ideal of one man and one woman living in the intimacy of oneness. 

 

Reclaiming this Biblical ideal, we will set aside shame, separation, blame, violence, aggression, fear, and anger. 

 

This is what we are going to have to do:  First, we must take responsibility for sin.  That means we need to acknowledge we are products of our culture and our culture leads us the wrong direction.  We are going to have to acknowledge our own actions, attitudes, and contribution to sin.  Second, we must let God cover our sin… like He did in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve… like He does for us through the blood of Jesus.  We must believe that Jesus, and Jesus alone, has redeemed and reconciled us to God and to each other.  Then we must choose to deliberately live according to that redemption.  As redeemed creatures we stand restored to some extent in the image of God.  As restored men and women we are not animals and can chose to live according to God’s design.

 

 

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