Summary: Ground Zero events change everything around us. Suffering is a reality, and suffering comes from the presence of sin in us and in our world. But with Jesus as our foundation, we can have forgiveness and security.
Sept. 8, 2002 Genesis 3:1 - 24
I need you to do something for me this morning. Each of you should have received four slips of paper as you came in today. If you do not have these, please raise your hand, and an usher will get them to you. On these four pieces of paper, I want you to write down the four most important parts of your life ¡V the things that if you lost these, you believe that your world would quite possibly come tumbling down. Go ahead and quickly write them down.
I have entitled this morning¡¦s message ¡§Ground Zero¡¨. That is a phrase that we have grown accustomed to hearing this year ¡V probably more times than we would have liked to have heard it. It has come to refer to that area of Manhattan that used to house the WTC. Prior to that Tuesday morning in 2001, ¡§Ground Zero¡¨ referred to the surface area right above or right below the blast of a nuclear weapon ¡V an atomic bomb - Webster.
Think about the spot where a nuclear bomb goes off. The tremendous heat that a nuclear explosion generates would be the most intense at ¡§Ground Zero.¡¨ Whatever of beauty that had existed at ground zero would be destroyed. Anything that did remain intact at ground zero would not be anything like it was before. Everything would be changed. What structures might have soared hundreds of feet above the ground would now be brought down to the level of the ground ¡V ground zero. And though the greatest damage would be at ground zero, the ring of fire would spread out in a concentric circle touching 1000¡¦s, perhaps millions of lives. All of those descriptions would apply to what happened on 9/11. Something of beauty was destroyed, and it will never be the same again. I¡¦m not talking about the metal and steel of the towers. We can re-build the towers if we choose to do so. I¡¦m talking about all the beautiful lives that were lost on that day and the suffering that has gone out in concentric circles to touch the families members, the people of New York and the people of the world including us. It was truly a ¡§Ground Zero¡¨ event.
In Genesis 3, God records a ¡§Ground Zero¡¨ event. God had created a perfect world. It was lush. It was full of life. It was beautiful. On the 6th day of God¡¦s creative work, He made His final creation ¡V man. Like the rest of God¡¦s creation, man was perfect, sinless, full of life, and beautiful. God placed man, to whom He gave the name Adam, with his wife, Eve in the Garden of Eden. Man¡¦s only responsibility was to tend the garden, rule the world and have babies. Man¡¦s only restriction was to stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He was a perfect person in a perfect environment with a perfect wife enjoying a perfect relationship with God. Yet with all the beauty that surrounded him and all that God had given him, man could not resist the one temptation. He did what God had forbidden, and he became a sinner. That event in human history is known as the fall of man. It was on that day that man lost the beautiful height that God had given to him. He lost his purity, he lost his immortality, and he lost his perfect relationship with God. Just as we watched the towers fall from their height, so God watched man fall from his height.
Because of that fall, we who are descendants of Adam are now destined to experience ¡§Ground Zero¡¨ events. We are destined to suffer because we, like Adam, are sinners, and we live in a world whose beauty has been marred by sin. When a ¡§Ground Zero¡¨ event happens in your life, the temptation is to question ¡§Why?¡¨ If God is so loving and so powerful, why did this event have to happen in my life? We shake our fists in God¡¦s face and say, ¡§How dare you do this to me! How dare you allow suffering into my life!¡¨ When these events happen in our lives, we have a right to get angry. But many of us are misdirecting our anger. Our anger should rightfully be directed at ourselves and the sin that we bring into the world for it is the sinfulness of man not the actions of God that cause our suffering. It is as we understand the source of our suffering that we can better deal with it and overcome its destructive power in our lives.
This morning, I want us to examine 6 effects that the presence of sin in our world and in us will have on us. Like last week, we will not take time to examine each of them in the same detail. Keep your cards handy. You will need them throughout our study.