Summary: The Garden of Eden must have been a spectacular sight, but it is nothing compared to the spiritual garden God is in the process of designing

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Pentecost - 2005

Spent my first year of college in England at our church’s Bricket Wood campus

• The campus had beautiful buildings, majestic trees, oaks, cedars of Lebanon, beautiful gardens and carefully manicured lawns

• My favourite place was the Japanese gardens

• In the spring time it was just a blaze of colour with the various flowers and plants, Japanese maples, arched bridge and reflecting pools

• Also a nice romantic setting to take a date (Before Susan days)

As beautiful as it was, this garden was nothing compared to the garden God planted at Eden

• It must have been spectacular

• Beautiful trees, shrubs, flowers, animals wandering aimlessly through the vegetation munching on the grass

• All carefully designed by God Himself

• Of course this was before God cursed the earth after Adam and Eve sinned

• But even after the curse, God has left enough glory in the creation to remind us on a daily basis that He is out there

• The creation is a neon sign flashing away every day that “Hey guys, I exist, I’m out here!”

But even though Eden must have been a spectacular sight, it is nothing to the garden God is in the process of designing now

• This new garden is not a physical garden like Eden, it is a spiritual garden

• And right now. God is in the process of designing and planting His new garden

• And just like any landscape architect will do, He is planting a variety of species to enhance the beauty

• We see the choice of plants mentioned in Gal 5

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control

Today we are focusing on the coming of the Holy Spirit to the early NTchurch at Pentecost

• It is the coming of the Holy Spirit that makes this new garden possible

• Because up till this point the attributes and qualities mentioned in Gal 5 were simply not available to mankind except to a select few that God gave His Spirit to down through salvation history

• Man was held captive to his fallen nature, and this nature produced the attributes mentioned in v.19-21

Galatians 5:19-21 (NCV)19 The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, 20 worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, 21 feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God’s kingdom

• This is the type of garden mankind has designed for himself after deciding he could do a better job for himself than God could

Despite man’s best efforts and good intentions he just cannot make this world better

• Because there is a fundamental flaw in man’s makeup that prevents him from ever making things in this world right

• What is that flaw? The human heart

• One of the great discoveries of life is the acknowledgement that we are all fatally flawed human beings

• However this does not stop people from thinking we can somehow patch humanity up and bring about paradise now

• More and better education is offered as the answer to man’s problems – educate the masses

• Pour more money into improvised areas of the world

• Bring democracy to the Middle East

• And sometimes from Christianity we hear, enforce the Ten commandments and the world will be a better place

But will it?

• This is not the first time this has been proposed and so we are going to look and see if this is the answer to man’s problems

• In Jesus’ time there were a group of fanatical religious leaders who though they could achieve a better world through the law

• They were particularly concerned with the external keeping of the Law

• They were preoccupied with external matters, tithing of mint, cumin and anise, while neglecting the weightier or internal matters of the law, justice, mercy and faith (Matt 23:23)

• And again there can be a similar misconception today in the Christian community today thinking that if we just enforce God’s laws we will have a better society

• Well the religious establishment that existed at Jesus’ time is proof for all time that this is the end result of this type of thinking

• A preoccupation with enforcing the law will get you a society regulated by fanatical Pharisees and Sadducees

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