Summary: We are the ones who get in the way of the making of disciples for the transformation of the world.
“What Did God Really Say?”
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the world.
This is a huge responsibility.
Precious lives are at stake.
Precious souls are at stake.
And we are the Church.
These are our marching orders!
…to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!!!
These are the marching orders which God gives to you.
These are the marching order which God gives to me!
This is to be the reason for our existence.
And when we are intentional in making this the central reason for our existence…we are happy, joy-filled Christians…and nothing is able to stop us from…at the end of the day…being able to say: “Mission Accomplished!”
Sadly, enough we are so often not able to…at the end of the day say “Mission Accomplished.”
And the reason for this?
We are often our own worst enemies…
…which means we are often our neighbor’s worst enemies…
…our brothers and sisters in Christ’s worst enemies…
…and God’s worst enemies!!!
The biggest buzz kill for making disciples of Jesus Christ is…us!!!
We get in the way.
Every one of us!
And when we get in the way of the making of disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, Satan rejoices, laughs and says, “Well done my good and faithful slave! Well done! Keep up the good work! Well done!”
I don’t know about you, but to be a slave of Satan and to do Satan’s handiwork is the last thing on earth I want to do…
…although I’m sure I am often guilty of doing just that!
How about you?
As we look at our Old Testament Lesson for this morning we see that the creation has already been called forth from chaos and been given form.
The garden of Eden is up and running.
The human beings God has created have been given a God-given purpose, to “till and keep” the garden.
And along with the task the humans are given is a certain freedom within the garden; everything they could ever need is at their disposal.
God encourages, “freely eat,” having personally planted an easily accessible “tree of life” at the garden’s center.
The only prohibition, the “but,” comes in verse 17; the humans are forbidden to eat from the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil.”
To eat from this tree is to die!
And here it is that we see that we the people living in 21st Century America are no different than the very first human beings who were ever created!
Adam and Eve disobeyed!
Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s authority!
Adam and Eve forsook God’s good and perfect will for their lives…
…conveniently listened to Satan instead…
…and ate that doggone fruit.
And at the end of the day, instead of being able to say: “Mission Accomplished,” they found themselves hiding from the very God Who created them out of love and for love…
…they were hiding from love…
…naked as jay-birds!!!
How often do you and I find ourselves hiding from love—naked as jaybirds?
And who’s fault is this?
It is our fault alone!!!
No one else is to blame!
Adam and Eve were unable to believe that God’s intentions for them were nothing but good and right!
They became suspicious of the Authority of the God who created them out of the dust of the earth and provided them with everything they could ever want—including life eternal!!!
Therefore, when Satan came and tempted them to disobey God’s authority…
…When Satan came and basically said, “You will not die if you eat of this fruit! God is lying to you. God does not have your best interests in mind! God is playing a trick on you!
God is being mean and bad and is trying to undermine you by giving you this instruction!
Rebel against this God who tells you not to eat of this fruit…
Rebel against this God who does not have your best interests in mind…
…after-all you know better than this God anyway…
…rebel, and you will become like this God and maybe…just maybe you can overthrow Him…
…maybe you can knock Him down like I tried to do…
…maybe you can throw this Authority figure to the ground!”
When Satan came and said these things to the humans they were more than ready and willing to believe him and REBEL!!!
They didn’t believe that God’s intentions for them were for their own good—and after-all who likes to be told what he or she can and can’t do anyway?
How dare God tell them they can’t do something!!!
And so they ate from the only tree in the entire creation which God (who wants only what is best for them) asked them not to eat of.