July 2018  
SMTWTFS
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    
     
Upcoming Events
JUL

22

SUN
Mission Ardmore
6:00 PM to 6:45 PM
Outreach to Newcomers to Ardmore
JUL

24

TUE
Men's Bible Study
7:00 AM
Every Tuesday at the dowtown McDonalds, 7:00 a.m.
JUL

25

WED
Midweek Activities
6:00 PM
Preschool, Children, The Mission (Youth Worship) and Adult Bible Study, Weekly Worker's and Officers Meeting
Bible Search
I Can See Clearly Now
Perspective
Genesis 3:1-19
 
One night, a father heard his son in his bedroom saying: "You're gonna get it... you're gonna get it."
Curious, the father opened his son's door and asked what was going on and he saw his son laying on the bed reading a book. "Everything ok?" he asked.
 
The boy looked up from a book he was reading and said: "Oh, I just get so frustrated with this story.
The bad guy always seems to take advantage of the good guy. It so disturbed me that yesterday I turned to the back of the book and read the last chapter. And you know what? The hero wins.
 
Now whenever I read about the bad guy beating up my hero it makes me feel better to yell 'You're gonna get it."'
 
The Bible is like that also.  It's filled with stories that, if you didn't read the last chapter and you didn't know how everything works out, you'd wonder what was going on because it appears so often that God's people are losing.
 
Now, most of the time, when we reference the end of the story, our minds go to the Revelation and the end of time on earth as we know it and the eventually judgment and heaven and hell and so forth. But that's not the end of the story.  It's the end only in terms of physical time and space. 
 
But the real end of the story is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And that one event is the thing that adds perspective and meaning to everything else in life.  It is the one thing that impacts every other story and teaching the Bible relates to us.
 
And to borrow a song title from the early 1970's, "I Can See Clearly Now" that I have the knowledge of the resurrection through which to view every other event and circumstance, not only in the Bible, but in my life.    
 
And this year, as we begin our pilgrimage to Easter, what I thought we'd do is just take a little journey with three stops in the Old Testament before we conclude on Easter Sunday with a fresh look at the account of the resurrection. 
 
My goal is to look at these three historical events that find their greatest significance through the lens of the resurrection, and help us to see more clearly what they teach us. 
 
One of those stories is found in Genesis 3, verses 1-19.  Now as you probably remember, when we arrive at chapter 3, Adam and Eve have been given a beautiful garden and they have everything they could possibly want. Their life is filled with purpose and pleasure and they get to talk to God every day.
 
But then, on to the scene comes the enemy.  He is identified as the serpent.  We know him as the devil or Satan. Later in the Old Testament, we discover that this serpent is the embodiment of a fallen angel called Lucifer.  He rebelled against God and along with a third of the angels, was kicked out of heaven. 
 
 
 
And he would like nothing better than to destroy everything that God has created.  And by the third chapter of Genesis, he is well on his way.  Already, the Garden, as Adam and Eve knew and enjoyed it, is gone. The Tree of Life is no longer accessible to them. 
 
Adam is still working, but now he has sweat on his brow and tiredness in his bones.  Eve will be troubled by pain in childbirth.  There will be a tension between Adam and her that was not formerly there.  And worst of all, death has invaded the planet. 
 
And if you and I had ventured to look in on God's creation about that time, it would appear that God's people had lost, Satan had won and and death now reigned where God had once created life.
 
But aren't you glad the third chapter of Genesis is not the last chapter of the story? In reality, just the opposite is true because this chapter is the very first indication of what the last chapter was going to be.  
 
As a matter of fact, here is where the skies begin to clear so that we can clearly see the end because it is in this chapter, right after confronting Adam and Eve for their sin, that God turned to the serpent and declared that one, the son of a woman would crush his head.
 
Genesis 3:14-16
 
In so many words, this is God saying Satan was "gonna get it!"
 
So did that happen?  Was there a boy-child who came along and crushed the head of Satan?  Absolutely yes! Jesus was that male child of a woman who was to come and crush Satan's head.
And Hebrews tells us how He did that:
 
Hebrews 2:14-15
 
In simple terms, Satan was destroyed by Jesus when he resurrected from the dead AND the power of death that he held over the heads of mankind was removed.  Now we are free from fear of death.
 
And THAT was the last chapter.
 
In fact, that last chapter of the Story was so important to God, that everything else in Scripture is built around its message. Everything in the Old Testament pointed forward to this one great event.
 
Jesus - the fulfillment of the prophecy.
Jesus - the destroyer of the serpent.
Jesus - the one who had come to free us from sin and death.
 
The last chapter of the story was written on the cross and on the walls of the empty tomb. And everything in the Old Testament pointed forward to that great event. AND everything in the NEW Testament tells why this was such a significant chapter in God's story.
 
And I'm afraid that's why many will never understand or appreciate their Bible.  They see it as an ancient book full of meaningless details.  And they get so bogged down in the history and details they miss the story!
 
Listen: The Bible is a book that's "going somewhere".  The stories don't just appear in isolation.  They are a part of a design.  The Bible tells me something,  tells me something.  It's a story with a plot line.
And that plot line is so intricate and interlaced throughout the whole Bible that you'll never be bored! 
 
But there are people out there who don't believe that.  They believe the Bible is just a collection of myths compiled by a multitude of authors who really didn't have much a plot line they were worried about. They just wanted to build a religion and they created these stories to keep themselves entertained.
 
But that's not true. There wasn't a multitude of authors.  There may have been many "scribes", but there was only ONE author and that "one author" was God.
 
There's one author and one theme and it never ceases to amaze me at how intricate and interwoven His plot line is.  After all, He is a master storyteller! 
 
And we see it especially in this story in Genesis 3 because here, God tells us the beginning of the story. And then, centuries later, He returns to complete the story using 3 separate things to tie the story all together.
 
And what we're going to do this morning is look at those three things God used to see clearly what the fall of man and the prophecy of a head being crushed has to do with the empty tomb. 
 
The first of those three things He used was
 
1. A Man
 
In Genesis 3 God tells us about man named Adam. We know from the early chapters of Genesis that God created this man in His very own image. 
Chapter 1 gives us an overview of the entire creative process, then chapter 2 slows down and provides some specific details and in particular, notice
 
Genesis 2:7
 
So God took dust of the earth, formed and fashioned it into the shape he wanted and then breathed His very own life into the lungs that He created and that man became a living soul.
 
But n chapter 3 we discover that this man, Adam, created in God's image, filled with God's very life, gave into temptation and destroyed what God had created.
 
But that's not the end of the story.  In fact,  
centuries later Paul wrote of that experience in
 
Romans 5:14
 
Without getting into all the particulars of what Paul is saying, just notice the phrase, "a type of Him Who was to come."  So Adam is a type, a picture if you will, of "Him" who was to come. 
 
So who was the One to come?  Well, if your Bible handles the translation of that verse correctly, you will notice the word "Him" is capitalized. 
The One Who was to come is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. So Adam was the God's pattern for  what Jesus was to be.
 
Paul explains that further in
 
1 Corinthians 15:45
 
 
So here, Paul quotes the very verse we read a moment ago, Genesis 2:7, when he says, "The first man Adam became a living being"
 
Then he adds this: 
 
"The last Adam, which is a reference to Jesus, a life-giving spirit."
 
Get it?  Adam was the FIRST MAN in God's story.
BUT Jesus is the LAST MAN.  The first Adam messed things up.  The Last Adam came to undo the damage that was caused.
 
By the way, the name "Adam" literally means "man". 
And to phrase it in simple terms, God starts out His story by saying "Let me tell you the story of a "man" named Adam."
 
But then God writes the last chapter by having Jesus introduce Himself as "the Son of Man."
 
In Luke 24:7, Jesus said: "The Son of MAN must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again." If I counted correctly, Jesus referred to Himself as the "Son of Man" at least 30 times.  And that is not by accident.  Jesus didn't jsut randomly speak or say the first thing that popped into His head.
 
Jesus intentionally used that phrase to remind us that He came to be the MAN that Adam wasn't.
Jesus came as the Son of Man to undo the damage the Adam (the man) had done.
 
 
 
Someone once noted that the reason: "The Son of God became the Son of man was so that the sons of men might become the sons of God."
 
Jesus came to undo Adam's sin. He became LIKE Adam so that we might become LIKE God.
And that's what happened.
 
So God tied the His story together around a MAN.
 
But He also tied His story together around
 
2. A Garden
 
The events of the early chapters of Genesis take place in a Garden called Eden. It was a beautiful place prepared and appointed by God Himself for Adam and Eve. In fact, Eden means "pleasure", and it was not only a place of pleasure but it was also a place of presence. 
 
God came there to be with Adam and Eve and spend time with them.  Together, there in the Garden, they walked and talked with God.
 
But when Adam and Eve sinned, they lost it all. In fact, today when we say the words "Garden of Eden", we don't primarily think of a place of pleasure and beauty and presence, we think of what was lost through sin. 
 
But then Jesus came, and He introduced us to a different garden.  That garden was called Gethsemane.
 
Now stay with me:  The first garden, the Garden of Eden, became a symbol of what had been lost through sin.
But the 2nd garden, the Garden of Gethsemane, stands forever as a reminder of the battle Jesus waged for our souls.
 
Gethsemane was the favorite prayer spot for Jesus. Now Jesus spent the majority of His time ministering around the Sea of Galilee, but whenever He came to Jerusalem, He invariably spent time in the Garden of Gethsemane.
 
We don't read much about this garden until Jesus is about to be betrayed. Luke 22:39 tells us "Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him."
 
Matthew 26:36 tells us - "Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray."'
 
Now Gethsemane was located on the Mount of Olives. In fact, Gethsemane means: "Olive Press".
At the time Jesus lived on the earth, farmers would put their olives in a basin and a donkey or human would pull a huge round stone around in the basin to crush the olives. 
 
Then they would gather those crushed olives into baskets. These baskets would be stacked about 5 or 6 high and placed inside a "weighted press" to press the olive oil out of the crushed olives. As the press came down on the bags, the juice would come out along groves into a container.
 
These olives would be pressed 3 times.  On the first pressing, a stone weight would be attached to the beam and press the olives lightly crushing out the purest of the oil. That's what we'd call "virgin oil".
This oil would be reserved for use for special occasions such as use in the Temple.
 
A 2nd crushing would be made then by adding another stone weight to the beam. This oil would be less pure, but it would be usable for things like cooking.
 
A 3rd weight would be added for the 3rd pressing. This would be the dregs of the oil and was often used mostly for use in the oil lamps people would use in their homes for light.
 
So this was how the Jews pressed their oil at their olive press. 
 
Now come all the way awake and tune in. Here was Jesus in the second garden in God's story, the garden of Gethsemane.
 
How many times did the Jews press their olives? Three.  And how many times did Jesus pray in the Garden before He was taken to be crucified?
 
Matthew 26 tells us he prayed three times.
 
It was at the first Garden that Adam failed to stand against sin
 
It was at the 2nd Garden that Jesus was pressed down by the weight of our sin
 
At the first garden, Adam decided to sin
At the 2nd garden, Jesus determined to save us.
 
 
 
 
It was at that 2nd garden that Jesus "knelt down and prayed, 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." Luke 22:41-44
 
Jesus was pressed down at THAT Garden and it was at that Garden that Jesus prepared for His ultimate mission, His death on the cross.
 
Remember, God built His story around a man, a Garden, and lastly
 
3. A Tree
 
Listen to what we read in
 
Genesis 2:16-17
 
It was the sin of Adam and Eve at the tree in the Garden that brought sin into their world, robbed Adam and Eve of life and immersed humanity in death. 
 
But it was on another tree, a tree called the cross, that Jesus came to die for our sin, give us eternal life and defeat death forever. 
 
So was that an accident?  Did it just "happen" that Jesus was condemned in a society that used crosses for execution?  No. God allows nothing to happen by chance in this story.
 
In Isaiah 53:4-5 we're told that "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."
 
Jesus took our curse upon Him. Did Jesus deserve to die on that cross?  Was there something in Jesus' life that made it so that He should be punished by dying that way? Of course not. It was on the cross that Jesus was cursed for us.
 
To drive that home, In the Law of Moses, God decreed: "anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse..." Deuteronomy 21:22-23
 
Jesus hadn't sinned.  There was no reason He should
have been cursed. But because Jesus needed to be cursed so we wouldn't be, God had him hung on a tree.
 
Commentator Arthur Pink noted:
 
1. The first tree was planted by God. But the second tree was planted by man.
2. God warned man NOT to eat of the first tree.
But God freely invites us to draw near and eat of the fruit of the 2nd tree.
3. The eating of the first tree brought sin and death.
But by eating of the second tree comes life and salvation.
 
Do you see how beautifully God tied everything together?
 
It was through a man in a garden at a tree where sin invaded human history and brought death. 
 
 
But it was through The MAN, in the GARDEN on the TREE where God dealt with sin and destroyed death. 
 
And it was the Son of Man, Jesus Christ Himself, who crushed the head of Satan.
 
When Julia Ward Howe wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" back in 1861, she had that very truth on her mind.  She wrote of a coming day of judgment when God's truth would win the ultimate victory.  You can feel that triumph building as the verses progress.
 
They begin with the building of God's wrath as He tramples out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored and looses the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword. His truth is marching on! :
 
He can be seen in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps, as they build to Him an altar.  His righteous sentence can be read by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.  His day is marching on!
 
He sounds out the trumpet that shall never call retreat and sifts the hearts of men at the coming judgment seat.  And as the centerpiece of it all, Christ is born with the power to transform us. 
 
But nestled right in the middle of the song is a verse that is never heard and seldom even seen in print.  But it was in the mind of Julia Ward Howe as she pictured this growing and building and inevitable march of God's truth through time to eternity. 
 
She wrote:   
 
 
 
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:  "As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal";Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on.
 
And the very first indicator of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the prophecy given in the Garden of Eden of a Man who would crush the head of Satan. 
 
Now I find all of that very interesting, and I hope you have as well.  And it is a very challenging exercise in theology that points to the consistency and faithfulness of God.
 
But if that's all it was, then it would worth very little because up to this point, it lacks one significant truth and means very little.  So let's go back to the Garden of Gethsemane for a moment.  
 
Genesis 3:1-9
 
Think about this. Adam and Eve had sinned. They'd disobeyed God and now they were hiding in shame.
They'd done that which God warned them would bring death and they deserved exactly what they got.  And now, God's in the Garden, and He's looking for them. 
 
Question: Did God know that Adam and Eve had sinned by eating the fruit He'd commanded them not  to eat? Absolutely? He's God. He knows that stuff.
He knew where they were; He knew what they'd done.  He knew how naked they were. He knew how frightened they were.  He knew every detail. 
 
 
 
And that's what makes verse 9 so significant!  He knew!  And He could have just walked away and said, "What a bunch of disobedient losers!  They deserve exactly what they get!"
 
He could have come, stripped a branch off the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and said, "Let me show you why I called it the knowledge of evil!" He could have just destroyed everything and started over again.  But He didn't do that.  He came and searched them out, called them by name and began the process of fixing what they'd broken. And that process took Him all the way to the cross and the death of His only begotten Son. 
 
When I was about nine years old, in the fourth grade, I think, my mom and dad noticed I was getting very close to the TV to be able to watch programs.  The teachers at school moved me up to the front row so I could see the chalkboard, and along with some other indicators, they came to the conclusion my vision needed to be checked. 
 
So we made the trip to Wichita Falls to Texas State Optical.  They checked my vision, confirmed that I needed glasses, and we got them ordered. They sent them through the mail.  A few days later, we went to the post office to pick up the mail, and sure enough, there was that little blue box with my new glasses. 
 
I had never encountered a box that was so well-sealed! In fact, we were about halfway home before I got the thing opened and put those glasses on!  I was blown away!  I had no idea things were so clear!  I thought everything was fuzzy unless you got close enough to see it! 
 
I remember looking out the car window at road signs and being able to read the words!  I didn't have to lay a foot or two from the TV screen to see what was going on!  I could see what the teacher was writing on the board without being on the first row!  And for the first time, in a long time, I could see clearly!  And silly me, I thought all along I was normal and everyone saw things the way I did.  And it wasn't until I was giving a set of lenses through which to look that I could see things they way they really were. 
 
Listen:  that is a description of the resurrection.  Some of you are living life, thinking this is the way it's supposed to be. Everyone lives like this. You think you're normal. But only when you see things through the lens of the resurrection will you really understand the truth.  It is only then that we see ourselves as sinners and that Jesus died in our place on the cross,
and that through repentance and faith in Him, we can be saved. 
 
And in that moment of salvation, just like a half-blind nine year old boy slipping on a pair of glasses for the first time, everything suddenly becomes crystal clear.   
Today, just as He came calling for Adam and Eve, God is calling your name. He calls, not to condemn or criticize, but He calls with an opportunity for you to clearly see what life and eternity are all about. 
 
In fact, John aid it this way: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  Peter said it like this: "God doesn't want anyone to perish but that everyone should come to repentance."
 
Today is your day to see!  Do it now!  Let's pray.
Post a Comment