Summary: Second in a series exploring the early chapters of Genesis, this three-point expository sermon underscores the deceptive character of sin, the destructive consequences of sin, and the divine covering for sin.
A New Beginning (Part 2)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 4/13/14
It was a bright Sunday morning in 18th century London, but Robert Robinson’s mood was anything but sunny. All along the street there were people hurrying to church, but in the midst of the crowd Robinson was a lonely man. The sound of church bells reminded him of years past when his faith in God was strong and the church was an integral part of his life. It had been years since he set foot in a church—years of wandering, disillusionment, and gradual defection from the God he once loved. That love for God—once fiery and passionate—had slowly burned out within him, leaving him dark and cold inside. Robinson heard the clip-clop of a horse-drawn cab approaching behind him. Turning, he lifted his hand to hail the driver. But then he saw that the cab was occupied by a young woman dressed in finery for the Lord’s Day. He waved the driver on, but the woman ordered the carriage to be stopped.
"Sir, I’d be happy to share this carriage with you," she said to Robinson. "Are you going to church?" Robinson was about to decline, but was so enchanted by her that he heard himself saying, "Yes, I am going to church." He stepped into the carriage and sat down beside the young woman. As the carriage rolled forward Robert and the woman exchanged introductions and there was a flash of recognition in her eyes when he stated his name. "That’s an interesting coincidence," she said, reaching into her purse. She withdrew a small book of inspirational verse, opened it to a ribbon-bookmark, and handed the book to him. "I was just reading a verse by a poet named Robert Robinson. Are you…?"
He took the book, nodding. "Yes, I wrote these words years ago." "Oh, how wonderful!" she exclaimed. "Imagine! I’m sharing a carriage with the author of these very lines!" But Robinson barely heard her. He was absorbed in the words he wrote:
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace’
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
His eyes slipped to the last verse where he read:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it—
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
He could barely read the last few lines through the tears that brimmed in his eyes. “I wrote these words—and I’ve lived these words. ‘Prone to wander…prone to leave the God I love.’”
Maybe you’ve lived those words yourself. We’re all prone to wander. Maybe you’re here today feeling much the same way as Robert Robinson. But you’re not alone. In fact, the very first people God created, who shared perhaps a more intimate relationship with him than anyone since, were also prone to wander and prone to leave the God they loved. Their story is told in Genesis 3. It’s a sad story. A story about sin. But it’s not just their story. It’s your story and mine.
Everything was perfect. Last week we read Genesis 1. God created the heavens, the earth, the sky, the sea, the land and everything that lives on it. Then he looked at his creation and saw that it was very good. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, were created in God’s image. They lived a fairytale life in the Garden of Eden. They enjoyed unbroken fellowship with God and had only one rule—don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Everything was perfect. That is, until a serpent slivered into the Garden. That’s when their story turns from a fairytale, to a nightmare.
Together Adam and Eve break the only rule God gave them, and in so doing splinter the loving relationship they once shared. I’d like to examine this story in search of some answers. What led them away from God? What happened as a result? And what hope is there for those who, like Adam and Eve, are prone to wander and leave the God they love? The answer to that first question is—the deceptive character of sin.
• THE DECEPTIVE CHARACTER OF SIN
Open your Bibles to Genesis 3 and let’s read the first six verses together:
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. (Genesis 3:1-6 NLT)