Summary: God has given us the freedom to fall and grace to catch us when we do.
Title: Free to Fall
Text: Genesis 2:15-17 and 3:1-9
Thesis: God has given us the freedom to fall and grace to catch us when we do.
Lenten Series: Reflecting, Repenting and Returning to God
The Lenten Season is a time for reflection, repenting of our sin and returning to God. During Lent we confront the presence of evil in the world, the reality of temptation and human sinfulness. However, it is in acknowledging human sinfulness and the need for repentance that we find our way to return to God who is merciful and gracious.
In youth group we recently talked about some of the views people have of God and then looked at Scripture to see if our impressions were true to God’s nature as revealed in the bible.
We wondered if God is like a Supreme Court justice judging-God? We wondered if God is laid-back and all peace loving and mellow-God? We wondered if God might be a Type A, take-charge kind of God? We wondered if God is really not all that interested in us and if God may be bored with humankind and has become a distant and disinterested-God? We wondered if God was an enthusiastic, self-improvement God who loves winners and hates losers? We wondered if God is a bleeding-heart, big soft-spot for down and outers-God? We wondered if God is a good-natured old grandpa-God? We wondered if God is a puppeteer, string-pulling manipulator-God?
We are all familiar with marionette puppets. Marionettes are puppets dangling from strings or wires and controlled from above. A marionette puppeteer is called a manipulator. A good manipulator can make a puppet appear absolutely life-like.
Is God a puppeteer manipulator? Are we puppets on strings? Does the world spin and the seasons come and go at the behest of the master-manipulator? Are we merely marionettes in the hands of God who orchestrates our every move? In some ways it would be easier to take if we knew it was all just an ongoing play set for the amusement of God. It would make life a lot easier if we knew that the choices we make are not our choices at all… but the will of God being carried out through the manipulating of strings and wires dangled from the heavens.
What does the bible have to say about who we are and why we do what we do and what role does God play in it all?
Our text begins with God. There is no doubt that…
I. God is the creator and sustainer of creation and that God is in charge.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… And God said, ‘Let there be…” Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over all the earth and over all the creatures…” Genesis 1:1 – 27
In addition to the Genesis narrative other scripture speaks to the creative activity of God. In John 1 the bible says that Jesus was with God and was God. John states that through Christ all things were made. In Colossians 1 the Apostle Paul, using similar language, wrote that by Christ and for Christ, all things were created in heaven and on earth and adds, “in him all things hold together,” or are sustained.
The Prophet Isaiah envisions God sitting enthroned above the earth looking down and from his vantage point, people look like grasshoppers. Isaiah wrote, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 40:22-28
A. God is the creator of all creation
B. God is the sustainer of all creation
C. God is in charge of all creation
Our text today specifically notes that people were part of God’s creative activity and people, human beings, were given opportunity and responsibility within God’s creation.
II. God entrusted man with opportunity and responsibility in creation.
The Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17
A. Opportunity to work, care for and enjoy the fruit of creation.
Man was given the opportunity to work… to be engaged in meaningful activity. Tending the garden was a full-time gig. It was a career rich with satisfying work and benefits that only members of the most powerful of union members enjoy. It was like being a park ranger in Yellowstone National Park. What a great place to live and work. Great benefits. A hands-off boss. What more could a person want.
Man was given the opportunity to freely enjoy the fruit of the garden. God told man that he was free to eat from any tree in the garden.