Man (From Grace Bible Church Constitution)
We believe that human beings bear the image of God, retained despite the utter ruin and lost condition of the entire race. We believe that apart from the divinely provided gift of salvation in Jesus Christ all people are truly and rightfully lost and eternally alienated from God. (Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3:23; 5:14-15) We consider this belief to be a definitive doctrine of the Christian faith; it is required of all members of Grace Bible Church.
–Last week “Our Magnificent Beginning”…but, something has gone very wrong!
–This week, “Our Tragic Fall”
I. Our EXPERIENCE of sin 1-6
A. We are tempted to doubt God’s Word, His Power, His Goodness
B. We are tempted to operate by our own sight, not His word.
C. We hurt those closest to us in the process
II. The EXPOSURE of our sin 7-13
A. First, we are ashamed, aware of weakness, failure, vulnerability
B. Then we hide from others around us
C. Then we hide from God, escaping into creation itself
D. Finally, we blame others rather than confess our sin
III. The EFFECTS of our sin. 14-24
A. Humanity now has a terrible, personal enemy: Satan 14-15
B. Women: Pain in childbirth/childbirth process, tensions in our most intimate, marriage relationships 16
C. Man: lifelong struggle against a cursed creation, finally ending in death. 17-19
Illustration: Do we really deserve this???!!! = It’s not only a matter of deserving, it’s a matter of inheriting: A “crack” baby has never taken drugs, has never decided to smoke crack, and yet is born an addict, and born with a deeply seated desire and craving for cocaine—through no fault of his/her own, but because of the sins of the mother. In the same way, we are born with a craving for sin, placed into us by our historic parents, and we experience varying degrees of the horror of being born into the condition of fallen humanity. (Dr. Robert Smith, Jr)
IV. The RESPONSE of God to our tragic fall 20-24
A. He gives a sense of hope: They didn’t die, could actually plan for a future—of life! 20
B. He covers over shame: by the death of an innocent animal, God covered over their shame 21
Note: the marvelous spiritual transaction of sacrifice is foreshadowed here, as the Lord God takes the life of an “innocent” animal to create a covering regarding the shame of fallen humans.
C. He limited human evil by restricting access to eternal life 22-24
I may feel that it would be a very good, acceptable thing for me, or for those I love—to live forever. But imagine this…what kind of world would result if the likes of Adolph Hitler, or Josef Stalin, or any other of the most murderous, evil men of history, had been granted unlimited life!
1. Tree of life = eating its fruit would secure eternal life
2. Cherubim = angelic creature associated in Scripture with the magnificent, unapproachable holiness of God
–Exo 25 18 “You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 “Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. 20 “The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat. 21 “You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony which I will give to you.
3. Flaming sword = symbolizing God’s wrathful judgment of all sin
–Rom 1 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
–Ephesians 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Question: Can we ever really get back to God? Rooted deep in the human psyche is the desire to return to a place of safety, life, health, origin, but how human beings hate the truth that both the holiness of God and His wrath against our sin forever bar the way to such life!
We are stardust.
Billion year old carbon.
We are golden..
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. (Joni Mitchell, Woodstock)
Answer: The only way back to God is on the back of the crucified and resurrected God, the Lord Jesus Christ…
1. Christ went out of paradise to bring home those who are banned from paradise.
–Eph 4 8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
2. Christ became human, lived a perfect holy life, and thus gained the right to command the Cherubim to stand aside and allow entrance to Him and all who belong to Him.
–Phil 2:5-8: “taking the very nature of a bondservant, being found as a man…”
–John 1: “…and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”
3. Christ received the full measure of God’s wrath on sinners, as a substitute. The flaming, ever-turning sword finally drew blood, the blood of the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ. The wrath of God was spent on His Son, and we are allowed return!
–Isa 53 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 8…who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due? 10 But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
Application: (…from the Grace Bible Church Statement of Beliefs):
Therefore, respecting the image of God in every person, we strive to introduce every person to the gospel of Jesus Christ, that every person might escape the eternal punishment due for their sins.