The Story | Ch. 3 - Our Fall

March 5, 2017 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: THE STORY

Topic: Gospel Passage: Genesis 3:1–24

The Story: Our Fall from Damascus Road Church on Vimeo.

Introduction | Is the world good?
Good Morning! Welcome to Damascus Road Church where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we continue our series, The Story looking at the narrative of the Bible taking us from now until after Easter. Is the world we live in a good place or a bad place? It is a place of joy or a place of pain? The short answer is “yes”. Beauty, joy, and life are part of what we experience. Yet we know The Story also has pain, bitterness, sin, evil and death. If God is good and made everything good how can this be? What went wrong? We did. In the midst of a garden paradise with unfathomable liberty God gave humanity a single “you shall not”. There is a tree with the knowledge of Good and Evil that God declared if they disobey His good command and eat of it, sin and death would enter this good creation. Obey God and peaceful life continues. Reject God, the source of all life, and the wage is death.
God created with His word and He rules with His word. He said you were made for a purpose (to cultivate the creation and have a culture to make it a place of order and flourishing). Then we are put in a place to flourish and enjoy creation. God gives us the means of flourishing, the missions of flourishing, and places them in a context to delight. God gives His word. God is the source of all life joy and purpose. We are dependent on Him for these things. God gave us the great freedom to obey and enjoy. We are to live under His word for security, peace, freedom, and joy. We are created to make real choices between real options but guided by the charge to be fruitful and multiply as a kingdom under God’s rule. We are to remain dependent. The tree likely isn’t poisonous or magical but in God prohibition humanity is able to enjoy great freedom while showing great confidence in God’s word by simply trusting Him in obedience.
PART I | Temptation | Genesis 3:1-6
Genesis 3:1-6 | Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

We have the author of the story (God of the Universe), the hero (Jesus), ourselves as player created to play a part in telling a story of God’s glory and our joy. Now a villain enters The Story. We met “The serpent” a “sneaky snake”. We know from the rest of The Story this serpent is how satan engaged with humanity. that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world (Rev12:9)
The villain is a created being, not ying and yang of some eternal power struggle between co-equal god’s. At this point we don’t know much about this villain or why a snake (maybe an evil Koala bear was too much of a stretch) but we know it was “craftier” than any other created beings. In this case it include humanity as we will see because he has the ability to completely distort the created reality and get humanity to willingly exchange the truth about God for lies; and life and delight for death and despair.
Doubt God’s word Confuse God’s people by questioning God’s word by quoting it inaccurately. “Did God really say?” In his challenge to eve he make God’s word exceedingly more restrictive than it ever was. The serpent says “God said you can’t eat of any of tree in garden” and God said “You may surely eat of EVERY tree in the garden….. but one, displaying your reliance and obedience.” We somehow believe that God set up some trap for us, “Ha ha! I can’t wait till they eat this one.” No! God created a place of delight with one simple and small restraint to remind of us our reliance in a paradise of delight. The first assault the enemy wages is a sideways jab at God’s character painting a picture that God would actually be pleased to created people and place them in a paradise delights they are told they can’t enjoy.

We create legalism God word is freedom, His law is just and His yoke is light. When Eve responds to the serpent she quotes back God’s word but with an addition, not only should you not eat it but you “should not touch it.” Before there was the enemy sowing seeds of doubt for God’s word we see there was a breakdown of gospel centered discipleship. God’s word regarding His law of freedom and flourishing is sufficient and yet it appears that as Adam (who was given the word from God) taught it to Eve (or as she interpreted it) added to it. It seems harmless enough hey if eating it will kill us let’s be extra safe and not even touch it! What could possibly be wrong with some added restriction to prevent falling into sin and destruction? Well quite frankly it doesn’t work…… Why? Because sin isn’t an external problem but an internal one. It doesn’t keep us from our deepest hearts desires

Enemies lies no consequences for sin. You won’t die! What God said is not true. That means God is a liar. The sideways “did God really say” confusion is turned quickly to direct assault on God’s good character. He doesn’t mean what he says. He cannot be trusted to be just. While separating from the sources of all joy and life will not lead to despair and death it will lead to fuller life. You once only knew good but God knows both good and evil. God is holding out on you, holding back from you. God is not for you. God wants to keep you from reaching your full potential. You can be like God. (They already were!!! They were made in His image and innocent of any sin or brokenness part of God’s Very Good creation.
Adding knowledge of evil is progress and growth. It’s not! They already knew good! Why need to know evil (defined as rejecting God) Al Pacino in Devil’s Advocate tells Keanu Reeves character “I am a fan of man!!” it echos this lie that the enemy of God is somehow FOR humanity. I want you to reach your full potential you can been more like God than you are as created in His image. You can have all of the garden with none of the God. The seed was planted, the bait is on the hook, but Eve still hasn’t bitten down.

You see an internal process she goes through. She sees it’s good for food (it’s edible but not profitable) it was a delight to the eyes (Yeah it looks good God created it, it wasn’t maggot infested. I don’t believe it was magical or mystical but it represented obedience or disobedience to God. There was a choice: Will I trust my ability to discern what is good and right on my own (It’s good for food, it looks really good, it will make me wise to experience what has been forbidden) OR will I trust God’s word (You already are in a land of delight I created and created you to enjoy but you are to despite what I personally perceive. If you take this step of self-determination you will be growing in wisdom when in fact you are foolishly betraying reality. The enemy doesn't get you to betray God by asking you to pledging allegiance to satan because that is too easy for us to reject. Instead, he presents a far more tempting offer: "Pledge allegiance to yourself.” She bits down and become an evangelist for the cult of self and get her husband to join. Adam has been there the whole time. Silently standing like a coward while His wife is theologically take behind the woodshed. No, “Honey that’s not what God said.” Or “Hey snake stay away from my bride.” All it takes is evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing, also includes good men to say nothing.
PART II | Results of sin | Genesis 3:7-19
Genesis 3:7-19 | 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But The Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

There is an immediate result. Their hearts and minds were opened (not illuminated as if they were in the dark) and became filled with sin and shame. They had not known evil but now they do. Evil was added to what was good and thus is no longer good. Where they had previously enjoyed secure emotional, relational, spiritual, and physical intimacy Their relationship is forever damaged, Eve will never again trust Adam to protect her or trust his leadership, while Adam is covered with the shame of self-doubt. Where they had trust, intimacy, and security they suddenly felt hurt, alienated, and exposed. They waged a half hearted/ineffective attempt to cover their sin and shame. Suddenly nothing feels safe, in their sin they don’t run to each other and they don’t run to God. We try to cover our own shame and sin.

God pursues and they hide. God comes to the garden to check in with Adam. Shamed by their sin and rightfully fearing God’s wrath, they hide themselves and continue believe the lie that God does not love them. They also believe a new lie that they can hide themselves and their sin from God. He knows where they are and he knows their sin and yet God responses both patience and mercy. “Who told you had to be ashamed, only sin can lead to shame.” Mercy by not instantly fulfilling his end of the covenant and patience to give them an opportunity to confess and repent. God’s delayed justice should not be taken to see God as soft but rather to be seen as His patience desiring our repentance Often when we receive mercy, or experience God’s patience we wrongly assume there are no consequences for our actions. Rather than humbling ourselves in contrition and confession, we become embolden in our sin. When Adam is confronted and questioned in his sin he acts as litigating attorney insurance claims adjuster blaming the women, and God, for his own lack of leadership. Where he was silent in defending God’s word he speaks to defend his sin. Adam is silent when confronted with temptation, and when God’s word is challenged, but he’s more than willing to speak to defend His own sinfulness and neglect. God the women you gave me!! It wasn’t good for many to be alone, now man is blaming God for sin entering creation. The man has self-doubt no longer having a rooted identity as created by a good God. He has separation from God by continuing to mock God’s character. It manifest itself in sinning against another image bear by belittling and blaming her too. If Eve wasn’t sure she could trust her husbands leadership or love of her before at this moment of truth before God she has it confirmed. He is so selfish he’ll throw me under the bus in an attempt to cover his failure. Separation grows but while God holds Adam accountable Eve is not off the hook. She and all of us as individual are responsible for our own sin, even when we’ve been sinned against. Eve’s answer to God isn’t much better than Adam’s, “The devil made me do it!” She still doesn’t accept any responsibility for her sin, but at least she doesn’t attempt to place the blame on her spouse or God. From both of them there is no confession, no repentance only further failure and rebellion.

God responds. He knows the serpent is the author of lies and has no opportunity to shift blame any further. God say you are the most cursed being in all of creation and there will be an ongoing battle between you, the women and her off spring. One which the serpent will eventually lose.

For the woman: There is a two fold curse. Where you will still be the vehicle for multiplication of humanity what was intended to be fruitful will instead be painful. The birth process will be exceedingly painful. The process of raising a child will also be fought with a multiplication of frustration as you raise little sinners some of who will break your heart in pursuing their idols and joining the same cult of self-worship. Challenges of parenting now makes some sense in light of the Fall in The Story. You will also desire to have your husbands role by being in direct opposition to his direction. You will want to rule over him and he will respond by assertively ruling over you or absently rejecting you. This beautiful marriage relationship intend to be cooperatively complementarian is now marred in contrarian conflict. Battle of the sexes was never intended but is a consequence of our sin.

For the men: Gentleman listen closely, it’s not that he listened to his wife but that he listened to his wife above what God had said. Adam had a role to pastor his bride to teach her the simple freedom and beautiful truth of God’s word and he not only failed to teach, failed to guard, he didn’t correct or lovingly admonish but he submitted to her abhorrent theology and followed her wicked practice also disobeying.
Work becomes toil. Placed in garden of delight where you can eat of fruit already planted to painfully working for all of your daily bread. Freedom is now replaced with struggle. We were made to rule over animals and creation and now the ground will actively work against man. The serpent rules over humanity when we are called to rule over the animals. We are called to eat and gain life from the fruit of the trees and not we have You have drugs made from plants that can be used for medicine that now totally enslave people in addiction. We exploit creation and it in turn rules over us. And will eventually swallow him up in death. We were called to subdue the earth and now it will subdue us.
Romans 8:20-22 | 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, ……….22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
We become authors of our own morality and kingdoms of one that we fight to protect. When we were created to cultivate and protect the garden. A generation later rejection of God’s word turns to murder and then generations of war, conflict, genocide. There is a downward spiral father from the garden with God to the wilderness of Man’s new kingdom. The effects of sin multiply through the conversation and through all creation. Disease decay all not natural to the creation God made but are invaders as a result of sin. We have earthquakes, storms, searing heat, fridge cold, avalanches, and floods. What we build quickly falls into the decay without constant maintenance sweat and toil. We were blessed to flourish now we are cursed to be frustrated. Being frustrated with sin is good because it reminds us when we attempt independence that we are dependent on God and should turn to Him.
Part III | Mercy and Grace | Genesis 3:20-24
20 The man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. 22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

Man is now a rebel and there is no place for him in the garden communing with God and feeding from the tree of life. But in the darkness we instantly see God’s mercy as he sacrifices an animal (sin demands a cost) and makes clothes to cover the shame of His fallen people. Life blood has to be shed to pay for the mortal offense of sin. The one sinned against is God, he is eternal so the offense is an eternal one. In this you have a picture of sacrifice. God takes sin seriously. To maintain the holiness and purity of the Garden, Man is cast out in to the barren desert, separated from God, where misery, pain, and death will inevitably overcome Him. This is a brief picture of grace. Being sent out of the garden not being allowed to experience eternal life expelled from the garden is also mercy that our time on earth corrupted in sin is not forever. God will eventual end our days in this world and we will either enjoy eternal life with Him in “paradise” OR we will be separated from life and joy forever. If this were the end of the story it would be a tragedy.

It is a sad story indeed. But it is the beginning and not the end of the Bible. The first chapters of the Bible tell us of the sin of man. The guilt of that sin has rested upon every single one of us, its guilt and its terrible results; but that is not the last of the Bible. The Bible tells us not only of man’s sin; it also tells us of something greater still; it tells us of the grace of the offended God. J Gresham Mechan
Where is Jesus in this Story? In verse 15, God speaks and preaches the “proto-evangelium,” that one will come who will be struck but will have total victory over satan, sin and death. The battle was begun by the serpent but it will not win the war. Until the war is ended there will be pain in battle. We see this promised offspring whose heal will be struck by the serpent (a stinging but not mortal blow) but who will come and crush the head of the serpent (total victory and death over the serpent) list of names keep showing the promise from Gen 3 is going to be fulfilled through the line of the women. The hero will come.
John 10:10 | The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. The serpent enters the story as a thief who comes to rob joy kill relationships and destroy life. The villain has acted. For The Story to be good news the Hero must come. When he does he delivers with the serpent falsely promised. Full abundant life he will restore what was taken and He will defeat the enemy with a final victory that will include a costly sacrifice to cover the eternal sin and shame of people.
This is your time to respond to the story of Our Fall. We know The Story radically changes the life stories of individuals. We must respond either by receiving it as true and glorious or rejecting it favor of a lesser story. Reflect on your life in light of this story, and then respond to the offer of life with God in Christ. If you know Jesus we take Communion each week as we do we are acknowledging we are the villain of our own story so we can’t be our own hero, Jesus is our hero in our place dying the death we deserve for sin on the cross. (The bruised heal) We sing remembering His victory (crushed head of the serpent) and hope in His return. We give financially remembering he you are still not convinced, have bought into another story, or created your own, we implore you to stop trusting your own story simply Trust Jesus.