Transition: Vernon’s Spoken Word then video illustration
Series: Between Two Trees
Thesis for series: The tale of two trees starts in Creation and ends with a picture of Heaven in the end times. One tree started out looking good – it promised knowledge and the ability to be like God – but this knowledge came from experiencing evil resulted in death not life – it resulted in millions of acts of sin, hurt, death, torture and horror – it set a wave of murder and evil loose within the life of mankind. The desirable and lip smacking tree turned to a tree of death and anguish. But within this Garden of Eden we have another tree’s story being told. It is The Tree of Life which because of Adam and Eve’s sin we get banished from it but through Jesus we get to eat of it and it will offer life not death, healing not hurt, peace not war, love not hate and it will give us good not evil for eternity. But we get to choose which tree we want to feast on? Which one have you chosen?
The Tale of Two Trees is found in the Bible we see two trees singled out in the Garden of Eden in Genesis and again in Revelation at the end of time we see one of the trees again – so in the beginning and in the end of time we discover a tale of two trees. Between these two trees is a lot of time – a lot of wasted time – a lot of sin – a lot of evil – a lot of disobedience to God and His Word - a lot of redemption through blood sacrifice of animals and then Jesus emerges on the scene in between these two trees’ stories – He redeems what was lost at the disobedience of Adam and Eve with One tree – Jesus chooses to be the ultimate sacrifice for sin – So Jesus was crucified, beaten, whipped, scorned and tortured for our acts of disobedience to God on a cross or as some say one a tree – He suffered because of your sin and my sin – He was nailed to a tree the cross – so that what was lost by Adam and Eve at the tree of Knowledge of Good and evil could be restored through this other dead tree. His death opens the door for us, so we can partake of another tree which was also found in the Garden of Eden and according to God’s Word tells us it reappears in the Book of Revelation in Heaven – this tree is the Tree of Life.
So, we discover in The Bible a story of 2 Tree’s – 2 Choices – 2 directions - a lot of wasted time between the two trees - a lot of sin between the 2 trees -- but also a selfless act of ultimate love from God to us in the crucifixion of Jesus. This act of love – a violent act by mankind sets us up to be restored to God the Father and to partake of The Tree of Life.
Sermon 2: Resurrection Sunday the Tree of Life
Genesis reference chapter 2:
9And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
15The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
16And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
Those in the new heavens and the new earth will enjoy the fruit of the tree of life for all of eternity.
“To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7b)
“On either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2)
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.” (Revelation 22:14)
“If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Revelation 22:19)
In the book of Proverbs, the tree of life is used as imagery in conjunction with a wisdom and understanding, the fruit of righteousness, fulfilled desire, and a gentle tongue.
“She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.” (Proverbs 3:18)
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4)
References from Daniel Hoffman from https://knowingscripture.com/articles/what-was-the-tree-of-the-knowledge-of-good-and-evil-for
"The source of the disciples' life lies exclusively in his fellowship with Jesus Christ." Gregg Easterbrook writes in The New Republic: "Recent studies indicate that men and women who practice in any of the mainstream worship services have an above average longevity, fewer strokes, less heart disease, less clinical depression, higher immune system function, lower blood pressure, and fewer anxiety attacks, and the worshipers are less likely to commit suicide than the population at large. These findings come from medical schools and schools of public health. "In the most striking finding, Dr. Harold Koenig of Duke University Medical Center calculated that, with regard to any mainstream faith, "lack of religious involvement is related to mortality those who worship less live less he said it's like the equivalent to 40 years of smoking one pack of cigarettes per day."
Another new study, conducted mainly by researchers at the University of Texas, noted, "that those who regularly attend worship services lived an average of seven years longer than those who never attended." Being connected to the body of Christ is good for your health! It's like being connected to this tree!
Illustration: Of a tree and it's leaves
Hold up two leaves - one leaf is dead and brittle, the other is full of color and flexibility.
Point: When Christians cease to partake of the tree of life they die – same is true spiritually when they cease to pray, study and meditate on the Word of God they begin to die as the leaf dies. They fall off the Tree of Life and onto the ground where the wind blows them to and from and they eventually deteriorate into dust from which they came. Yet the one attached to the Tree of Life, receives life as long as it feeds on the tree and stays attached to the tree.
I. Why does a leaf need to be connected to the tree?
a. Primary functions of leaf and stem (trunk and branch).
i. Leaf- the main function of a leaf is to soak up the sun's rays to help the tree to attain an energy source which will help the tree to grow bigger.
1. It transports the sugar through the phloem.
2. In Science we call this photosynthesis.
a. Illustration: Washington D.C., is close to the rolling hills of Maryland farms. This large, metropolitan area is filled with millions of people concerned with daily activities that are far removed from the farm. Yet the existence of all humans in the nation’s capital is as dependent on photosynthesis as are the plants in the corn field. Humans obtain all their food either directly or indirectly from plants. The oxygen we breathe is continually replenished by photosynthesis. And the coal and oil we use to power our technological society represent the products of photosynthesis that occurred millions of years ago. With few exceptions, all life depends on the energy-transforming abilities of photosynthetic organisms (170, Davis).
ii. The stem, branch, trunk and roots of the tree - There function is to support and transport internal substances to leaf and other parts.
1. They transport water, nutrients and chemicals through the xylem to the leaf.
iii. The tree can shed its leaves to help it to survive in winter.
1. Interesting point the tree can live without the leave’s but the leaves cannot live without the tree.
II. The Tree of life is first mention in the Bible in Genesis and then reappears in Revelation in Heaven.
a. The Tree of Life and the consequence of not eating of it because of the Fall which we talked about in Good Friday service:
i. What was lost at the Fall and is regained in the end when we eat of the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem?
ii. The life intended for man by God depicted as a quality of harmonious existence together was lost but when we eat of the Tree in Revelation it is restored.
iii. God walked and talked with them and when they were out of His presence they sinned. Comparison - When we are away from God we sin and become deceptive this is why the world is so corrupt but in the end those who eat of it are in the presence of God again.
iv. Man lost perspective in the garden -- and today many do not have the proper perspective on life and focus in life as they should. And they are slowly dying. Many have lost their life-line - Jesus Christ -- their source of energy which makes them beautiful, flexible and wise.
1. Proverbs 3:18, "Wisdom is a Tree of Life and he that embraces it is blessed.
2. Many are not blessed today because of sin and those who enter into the Holy City are truly blessed for eternity.
a. Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a Tree of Life, and he who wins souls is wise."
b. Proverbs also tells us that, "The tongue that brings healing is a Tree of Life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."
b. Revelation 22 tells us that the leaves of the Tree of Life will bring healing to the nations and to the people of the world in the end like it was in the beginning in the Garden of Eden.
i. The N.T. on this term "Tree of Life"
1. Only the book of Revelation has any reference to the Tree of Life. In Revelation 2:7 a promise is given that the over comer will partake of this tree, which is said to be located in "the paradise of God" Chapter 22 gives more detail on it.
ii. Rev. 22 From the throne of God in the New Jerusalem will come a river of life on both sides of which is the tree of life also ever bearing , ever living , and providing both food and medicine for those dwelling there.
1. Revelation 22: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb (Rev 22:1 NIV) down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Rev 22:2 NIV) No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Rev 22:3 NIV) They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Rev 22:4 NIV) There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:5 NIV) The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place." (Rev 22:6 NIV) "Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book." (Rev 22:7 NIV) I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. (Rev 22:8 NIV). But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" (Rev 22:9 NIV) Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. (Rev 22:10 NIV) Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy." (Rev 22:11 NIV) "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Rev 22:12 NIV) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Rev 22:13 NIV) "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (Rev 22:14 NIV) Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Rev 22:15 NIV) "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." (Rev 22:16 NIV) The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Rev 22:17 NIV) I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. (Rev 22:18 NIV) And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Rev 22:19 NIV) He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Rev 22:20 NIV) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen. (Rev 22:21 NIV)
iii. The Practical application and connection to Jesus Christ and The Tree of Life.
1. Christ all throughout the N.T. is the one who is connected and even associated as the tree of life.
a. He is the one who gives life. He helps us to live by providing the water of life and the nutrients and rich minerals to sustain life.
i. John 6:35 "I am the Bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."
ii. John 11:25&26 "Jesus said to her, 'I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe?"
iii. John 14;6 "Jesus answered, 'I Am the way the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
b. He is the source which keeps us flexible and able to manage any outside pressure.
i. Hebrews 13:6 "So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."
ii. I John 4:4 "You, dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
c. He is our support and he holds us from being blown throughout the earth. He prevents us from drying up and helps us from becoming so brittle that we are crushed by the world.
i. Romans 8: 38,39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
d. Christ is our tree of life and we need to be connected to Him and stay connected to Him! Dietreich Bonhoeffer said "The source of the disciples life lies exclusively in his fellowship with Christ."
2. The questions that may arise in your mind "How Do I connect with the tree of life?" and "How do I stay connected to the tree of life?"
a. How to connect to the tree of life today?
i. Follow God's plan to connect - which is through love John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
1. Jesus said, "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly." John 10:10
ii. Recognize and admit that man is sinful (that you are sinful and separated from God. Therefore, we cannot experience the tree of life until admit this and look to Jesus for deliverance.
1. Jesus Christ the tree of life is God's only provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life. - John 14:6
iii. Once we follow God's plan and recognize who sets us free then we need to do it individually -- in essence we need to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives like never before.
1. We receive Jesus by personal invitation -- He said "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him" Revelation 3:20.
iv. The phrase "Just do it" reflects the moment right now -- "Do it!" Close your eyes and ask Jesus to come into your life because you need Him ask him to forgive you and repent for your sinful ways -- He is not concerned with your words He is right now looking at your heart!" Thank Him for dying on the cross for you! (DO IT!) Invite him into your heart and life. Now tell Him "Lord I give you my life!" Wow that's it you just connected to the tree of life! AWESOME.
3. Know the second question you may have right now is "How do I stay connected to the Tree of Life?
a. Revelation 2:1-7: "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands: (Rev 2:1 NIV) I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. (Rev 2:2 NIV) You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. (Rev 2:3 NIV) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. (Rev 2:4 NIV) Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. (Rev 2:5 NIV) But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (Rev 2:6 NIV) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Rev 2:7 NIV)
i. The problem with the church in Ephesus is they became disconnected to the tree of life because they got busy doing things and neglected their first love Jesus Christ.
1. Do not get so busy you forget Jesus!
ii. Learn the truth!
1. Do this by reading the Bible
2. Do this by listening to the Bible on tape
3. Do this by watching the Bible on video
4. Do this by attending Bible Studies
5. Do this by attending Church services
6. Do this by praying to the Lord for wisdom and insight of His word
7. Do this by fellowshipping with believers who are grounded and balanced in the Word.
8. Read Christian books by balanced men and women of God
9. Study ---the life of Jesus!
10. Learn the way of Love!
a. Quote, "Only love can impact a life deeply enough to create lasting change!"
b. Love always builds others up which in essence builds you up (I Cor. 8:1)
c. Jesus loved like no one else in John 13:1 it states, "Having loved his own...he now showed them the full extent of his love."
d. The key is when you are driven by love you are driven by God and as a result you stay connected to the Tree of Life.
11. Keep your faith centered in the Lord!
a. In other words be Jesus conscience, put your trust and direction into his hands.
b. Keep a Jesus perspective of who our source is!
c. Remember "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from you can do nothing."
d. Key here is dependence on Him NOT ourselves!
e. Faith trusts God and allows him to lead us through Life and ministry.
12. Endure for Jesus
a. Blackaby states, "The greatest single motivation to run the race is the Lord Jesus."
b. We endure for Him because he endured for US!
III. Comparison between the Tree of Life and The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
a. See comparisons:
What do they need to know?
Answer: The tale and fruit of the Two trees!
• Tree of life brings eternal life and blessings forever!
• Tree of the knowledge of good and evil brings death and shame!
Why do they need to know this?
Answer: Because they have the choice to eat of either tree and the one they choose to eat from will determine their eternal destiny and happiness in life.
What do they need to do?
Answer: Choose to be connected and feeding on the Tree of Life! Make the right choice so you live.
Why do they need to do this?
Answer: It’s a matter of life and death!