Summary: This sermon begins with the building of the suspension bridge across the Niagara River by James Roebling. I then pick up the theme of the spiritually lost who followed Cain to Enochville Only God could build a bridge for lost humanity. He did it through
In Jesus Holy Name April 20,2008
Easter IV Series: O.T. Challenges Redeemer
This is the fourth message in our series: O.T. Challenges. In Genesis chapters 1-3 we saw Adam and Eve sharing a life of perfect love and harmony, with each other and with their Creator. All of creation existed in harmony with each other, until the slithering serpent came into their world and caused them to doubt God’s goodness and love.
Adam and Eve lived in an intimate relationship with each
other; with God and their world. The world and the relationships in which we now live are different. Perfect love, harmony and peace are things people in the world only hope to possess.
In Genesis 4 Cain knew his offering was not acceptable. He became jealous and angry. It isn’t fair! Haven’t I worked as hard, if not harder than Abel? It’s not fair. Maybe he thought: “What good is it to pray and sacrifice to God if God treats me like this?”
Our world, our society still seeks peace and harmony and
intimacy but these are elusive. Instead, we have alienation and fear in our city streets, playgrounds and homes. Human beings experience separation from the knowledge of the goodness of God. We have become descendants of Cain.
The Lord comes to Cain, “If you do what is right, will
you not be accepted? But if you do no do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6-7)
The Lord intervenes for Cain. Cain’s real enemy is not God, not Abel, but sin. God warns him…. “Don’t let your anger lead you to sin….Sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you.”
Cain acts as if he did not even hear God’s words. God has also placed his law into our hearts as well. We have a conscience. We know what is right and what is wrong. Too which voice do we listen? Cain invites his brother out into the field? He has hatred for his brother. He murdered his brother.
The act is done. The temptation became a sin. There is no turning back. Abel is dead.
God was not deceived by fig leaves Adam and Eve used to hide their shame. He sees through Cain as well. Abel’s tongue is silent, but his blood is not. It cries to God from the earth.
Cain is alienated from his family, from his earth, from God. He turns his back and walks away from God. How can God bridge the chasm that now exist and remains for human beings are alienated from God and one another. Can a bridge, can a connection be reestablished?
In 1851 many of the most accomplished engineers in the country thought James Roebling was out of his mind. That year Roebling began to work on the unthinkable: the bridging of the Niagara River Gorge.
Disaster was nearly universally predicted. There was, of course the sheer mathematics of the thing, 825 feet across, 200 feet straight down.
But the numbers paled in comparison to the sheer power and raging river. Roebling’s proposed site was just upstream from the Great Niagara Falls where 37.4 million gallons of water per minute fell into the Niagara Gorge. The water had cut a deep abyss with a series of savage rapids, ending in a tremendous whirlpool. A no man’s land.
Across such a chasm, Roebling believed a train could cross. History was not a powerful ally. Although greater spans had already bridged ….including Roeblings own bridge across the Ohio River…. The Niagara posed tremendous difficulty. No girders, or bridge mounts could survive the raging river. The only possibility was a suspension bridge.
That is what had people worried. They shook in the wind, after a few years they twisted and crumbled into the waters they were designed to span. When Roebling proposed the bridge most people were putting their money on the gorge….not the bridge. (from "The Church of Irresistiblde Influence by Robert Lewis)
The chasm was simply too great.
We live in a world that is self-obsessed and few want anything to do with the selfless servant hood offered and displayed by Jesus Christ.
We live in a culture that has shifted from one that respects authority and chooses the world of Cain, the world of knowledge of good and evil….of course, decided by the individual. It’s called “relativism”. “I’ll do it my way.” What used to be “deviant” behaviors are now called “lifestyle” choices. Truth has no absolute ground upon which to stand…. Listen to our political leaders….half truths are told, few people care or call for reality.
God’s truth, his basic commandments, on which all American laws are based, are being removed from court house lawns as people seek moral compromise. And we then wonder why a kindergarten class could plan to kill their teacher.