Summary: This sermon seeks to reveal just how we operate in independence because we in essence signed our own Declaration of Independence like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden.
Today, 230 years ago 13 Colonies signed the Declaration of Independence and a nation was born. The second paragraph of what they signed says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thus begins the Declaration of Independence which we celebrate today.
However, there was a Declaration of Independence that was signed in the Garden of Eden in the immediate aftermath of God’s creative act. In Genesis 1:26-27 God created man saying, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . “ He created A’ dam’, man – a male/man and a female/man. Having created man as the apex of His creation, God placed them in the midst of a paradise filled with all that was good and godly Genesis 2:8-9; 16-17. . . Then came the signing of Adam and Eve’s Declaration of Independence in Genesis3:6, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate.”
This signing gets sadder and comes even more closely to home as you and I also go through the process of signing our Declaration of Independence as well. Let me see if I can explain just how this happens. But first of all let me share with you:
I. Three Foundational Truths
1. God is Love
God is love and He created you to love you unconditionally. That’s what He was trying to communicate to Adam and Eve with the freedom that they had to eat of any tree of the garden except one (Genesis 2:16). God created you to love you unconditionally. So He fixed you where you would need to be loved unconditionally. All of us need that and if we didn’t need that, we wouldn’t need God. Wasn’t that smart of God or what?
2. God’s Job Description
God’s job description is, He runs things. That’s what He does for a living. When He goes to the office in the morning, He runs the Universe. Now, He’s got ways of running the universe too. Let’s call those laws. The Bible says all of His ways are good. Like for example, the Law of Gravity. Now, that’s not a natural law, God created that. Once upon a time there was no gravity. God created it to keep you from flying off the planet. It makes water slides work wonderfully well. But you can get out there and dive off the roof onto the driveway to demonstrate the law of gravity and you’ll go splat! No, is that an angry God or is that you playing Delbert Dumb? God didn’t do that. In fact, God’s gotten a lot of bad press for stuff like that – for the dumb stuff we do. God is love and God runs things. The third foundational truth is:
3. You sign your own Declaration of Independence
When you got here on planet earth you drew an imaginary circle around yourself and kind of homesteaded that turf. You set up a little kingdom in direct competition with God. And you established yourself as god of that little circle. God with a little “g”. Now, you were perfectly content to let God carry out the big stuff like sun rises and stars and stuff, but your attitude is that you’re going to run this little circle. “This is my life, I’ve got my rights, I do things my way,” you believe. Bill Gillham takes a little play on Tolekine and calls it playing “Lord of the Ring.”
So as you played “Lord of the Ring” you established patterns for living your life that would get you through the day. And many of those patterns are designed to milk love out of people so that you can get your need for love satisfied. But can you see that that’s conditional love. It’s based on how people respond to you. And that’s a cheap substitute for God’s unconditional love which He’s bestowed on man through Jesus Christ. So that’s how you started off on the left foot, right off the bat. And I call it, signing your own Declaration of Independence.
You see, the cardinal sin of man is independence from God. Adam didn’t break the Ten Commandments, there weren’t any at that point. What did Adam do? He wrote the first Declaration of Independence. He established himself and said, “I’ll decide what’s good. I’ll decide what’s bad. I’ll do it my way” and he passed it on to the rest of us. So, all of us show up on the planet as “Lord’s of the Ring” signing our own Declaration of Independence. Now let’s look at the: