Good morning brothers and sisters. How are you today?
Did you rest with God last week?
For those who were not here last Sunday, we talked about God creating the world in 6 days. But I forgot to mention that “day” in Genesis does not mean 24 hours but a period of time. In Psalm 90:4 it says that 1000 years are like one day to God. And the writer of that Psalm is the same person who wrote Genesis; Moses. So he definitely didn’t mean 24 hours.
We also heard last Sunday that God rested on the 7th day of creation. Rest in the Bible means to be in perfect peace and harmony with God as our boss. That is God’s plan for creation - that we are in a perfect, harmonious relationship with Him. But there was a major hiccup; the original peaceful relationship and perfect harmony with God was lost.
Let me tell you how that happened. Like last Sunday this is a story-telling sermon but please still keep your Bible open at Genesis 3.
Let us first pray to God:
Dear heavenly Father, thank you that thousands or millions years after creation, and billions of people later, You are still the same. You still love this world You created even though it is now broken and no longer the perfect paradise it once was.
We thank You that we can be Your children and can enjoy rest, this perfect relationship and harmony with You, despite living in this broken world and being broken and sinful ourselves.
We pray that this morning, in Your grace You would quieten our hearts and help us to hear You speak from this familiar story. Please help me to tell the story clearly and that the focus will be fully on You, the almighty God, and not on me the storyteller.
In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.
Let’s start by discussing the title of this sermon: “Eve and the apple”. Do you think it was an apple? Yes, no?
How about we take a survey again like last Sunday, OK?:
Hands up those who think it was NOT an apple …………..
Hands up those who think it WAS an apple …………………….
Last chance; hands up those who don’t know ……………… Ai yah, you are just like politicians, sitting on the fence waiting for the wind to blow one way or the other!
OK, let me tell you what I think. I don’t think it was an apple because clearly it was blueberries! You don’t seem to believe me?
Well, have a look in your Bible, everyone please open your Bibles to Gen 3:6. If there are not enough Bibles in the pews, please open it on your mobile phones.
v6 says “she took some (plural) and ate it (singular)”.
If it was an apple it would say: “She took it (singular, one apple) and ate “some” because you can’t swallow a whole apple in one go. Therefore it was blueberries. “She took some (plural) and ate it (singular), all in one mouthful. QED…..
Ah, that’s the problem of applying engineering logic to linguistics!
Let me be serious and say we don’t know what the fruit was and that’s not important. But I like the fact that you don’t believe everything the preacher says. Yes, always check what the Bible says. The Bible is the final authority, not the preacher.
Now let’s get back to the story:
It is another perfect day in paradise ………….
In fact, every day is perfect in paradise: sunshine, blue skies, lovely garden with trees and colourful flowers. The birds are singing and the air smells fresh. You can just feel the peace and calm and the presence of God.
This is paradise in every sense.
On one such perfect day the serpent, or snake came to Eve. v 1 says “he was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made”. Notice that? God made the serpent, they are not equal, not 2 gods fighting for dominance like other religions at that time taught.
The first thing the serpent asked Eve was: “Udah makan? Have you eaten?
No, no, that’s not true. Maybe if he was a Malaysian snake …..
No, what he did ask was; did God really say you must not eat of any tree in the garden?
E: No, we may eat of any tree except the one in the middle of the garden,
you must not even touch it, or you will die.
S: You will not surely die! God said that because he knows that when you eat
of it your eyes will be opened, you will be like God knowing good and evil.
Eve looked at the fruit carefully and noticed 3 things. Please look at v6 again in your Bible:
What does that mean?
good for food: looks nutritious, healthy - must be yummy ………
pleasing to the eye: shape, colour, texture of the skin – very attractive
desirable for gaining wisdom: become like God - knowing good and evil.
Do you realise these are the same 3 temptations the devil put before Jesus after he fasted for 40 days in the desert? Luke 4: Stone to bread, the kingdoms of the world pleasing to the eye, you can be like God, jump off from a high point.
The same 3 temptations as to Eve.
Do you also realise these are the same 3 temptations the devil still uses on us now?
Good for food: I don’t know it is, but my goodness, we Asians are fascinated by food! We talk about food all the time. Many children think about food too “Mum, when is dinner ready? I am hungry” Right?
At our HF in Sydney we do a solid 1-1/2 hour studying the Bible. But after that…. it is a wonderful, yummy afternoon tea and I must confess we mostly talk about food. When someone comes back from an overseas holiday, what stories do we share? Food!
And in Malaysia with all the sumptuous variety of food, not to mention the special fruit, the temptation to focus on food is even greater.
But you ask: So what’s the problem? The problem is that we get into the habit of talking more about food than about our Lord Jesus. So when we meet non-Christian friends, instead of talking about Jesus, we are more comfortable talking about food. At school or work, we are uncomfortable talking about Jesus but not about food.
Another problem is that we think more about food than about Christ. Our minds are more preoccupied with food than with Christ.
Let us be very careful to have the right priority.
Be careful that food does not become our God.
2. Pleasing to the eye: What is pleasing to our eyes? To children it may be
the latest computer game or Toy story. What is pleasing to the eyes of men is probably the latest electronic gadget, mobile phone or camera. To women, maybe handbags, shoes and fashion.
What’s pleasing to all our eyes are often luxury cars, holidays and faraway places.
What’s pleasing to our eyes are big numbers on our bank accounts, big balances in our retirement funds.
What’s pleasing to our eyes are things on TV, movies and the uncensored internet…..
This second temptation of the devil is still very effective today. Brothers and sisters, be careful what pleases our eyes because that determines our priorities: how we use our time and how we use the money God has entrusted to us.
3. Temptation of becoming wise like God.
Eve thought, what’s wrong with knowing good and evil? Isn’t it good to know what is good and what is evil so we won’t do the evil thing? Once we know we can choose the good things. Once we know what is right and wrong, we can decide correctly.
Isn’t that logical? Before we had GPS, if you were driving in a strange place out of town and you came to a T junction, wouldn’t it be good to know which is the right and wrong way?
Eve thought so too. If she knew what was right and wrong she could decide for herself. She didn’t have to trouble God – she could decide for herself, she didn’t have to depend on God. How cool is that? Bye bye God, see You later. I will decide where to go with my life, I don’t need You anymore. But don’t worry, when I’m in trouble I’ll come back and pray to You and I want You to help me!
We are so much like Eve, aren’t we?
Even children often want to do their own thing and not listen to parents. “Oh mum?! Oh dad?! I can do it”. Hey kids: listen to your parents. God has given them to look after you. They love you and only want to give you the best. Same like God; He loves us and only wants to give us the best.
Wanting to be independent of God, in effect wanting to be boss of our lives - that is the meaning of sin in the Bible. Sin is not just wrong actions, but the rebellious attitude to God of wanting to be the boss of our own lives.
And that’s what Eve wanted.
So she took some and ate it. She gave it to Adam who also ate it.
Suddenly their eyes were opened and they were shocked by the consequences of their rebellion. For the first time they realised they were naked, vulnerable, defenceless. Before they felt perfectly secure and safe in paradise, not a care in the world. But now, they saw danger everywhere, from the weather – the cold, the heat, the sun and the rain. Danger from the animals – they look different now; they look dangerous. A&E had never known what fear was before, but now……… They tried to cover up and protect themselves. With what? Fig leaves was all they could think of. What a pitiful scene….
Sometime later, in the cool of the day God came and walked in the garden, once the fantastic, perfect garden he created. Hearing God they huddled together and hid among the trees. How sad: from perfect harmony and intimate fellowship with the Almighty God, now hiding from Him in fear.
“Where are you Adam?” As if God didn’t know!
“I heard you and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid”
The cat came out of the bag.
Did you eat………….
The woman You put here with me, she ……….
Eve, what have you done?
The serpent deceived me ……
God is holy and just. All wrong doings must be punished, he can’t just forgive or ignore or forget it, that would not be just. This is still the same today because God is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is the nature of God; holy and just.
So here comes the punishment:
Snake: cursed above all animals, crawl on your belly.
Enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers:
You will strike his heel and he will crush your head……
….. one day an offspring of the woman, a special person will come and crush the serpent’s head and destroy it. This promise was foreshadowed even in the Garden of Eden: one day a saviour will come
Woman: increased pains in child bearing
Desire for the husband but he will rule over you.
Man: The ground is cursed, thorns and thistles will grow. In order to eat you
will have hard labour, sweating, no more just picking fruit off the trees.
Then God, in His love, did 2 things:
1) made clothes from animal skin to cover Adam & Eve. Animals were killed, blood was spilt to cover their nakedness, to cover the consequence of sin. The book of Hebrews (9:22) says: Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Genesis 3 foreshadows that sometime in the future Someone, a perfect person, has to shed His blood to pay for the consequences of our sin.
2) banished them from the Garden of Eden, drove them away. Kicked out.
Sometimes we hear of parents who kicked out their own child from home. They love their child but because of some terrible things, there is no choice but to throw them out of the house. When that happens the parents must feel awful. That was how God felt but much more. But that was the best for A&E.
The beautiful Garden of Eden was now empty of human beings, empty of people created in God’s image, only animals were left - wandering around with no one to look after them. Soon the animals started attacking each other, killing and eating each other. Plants and trees grew wild with no one to care for them. For the first time weeds, thorns and thistles sprang up.
Paradise was totally lost, gone. The whole of creation now groans. Romans 8 says:
Creation waits in eager expectation….
Creation was subjected to frustration…… in hope that itself will be liberated from its bondage of decay.
The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth
right up to the present time.
This world is no longer the perfect paradise and you and I know that too.…
Let me finish again with a “what if” story that is not in the Bible:
Relax, close your eyes, and sit back. Just listen to the story and imagine it…...
It was another sunset but many, many years later. We see A&E sitting again side by side watching the sunset. But now there is no laughter, no talking, just a tense silence. What a difference from the old days when the evening air was filled with joy, happiness and much laughter. Now the air is filled with mosquitos.
Nobody said a word.
Suddenly Eve sobbed: Adam, I miss Abel! How could Cain kill him? His own brother! Why? WHY??! HOW COULD THIS ………..
They looked at each other and were silent because they knew the answer why. It was because of their own sin, they, the parents, rebelled against God. Now they suffered the dreadful consequences. This sin has been passed on to their children and to all mankind since. The consequence is that everyone, including us, are separated from the Holy Almighty God, and separated from our fellow man.
There is nothing they or us can do to escape this terrible predicament because we are dealing with a Holy Almighty God. We all deserve God’s punishment.
Is there no way out from God’s punishment?
Yes there is, suddenly Eve remembered something.
E: Hey Adam, do you think that when we have our next child he will be the promised offspring who will crush the serpent’s head? Do you think our next child could be the promised saviour? Then we can all come back to the Garden of Eden, back to perfect paradise, back to perfect harmony with the almighty God. Do you think that will happen, Adam?
Open your eyes now and look back at the thousands or millions of years that has passed (depending on your theological conviction!). With hindsight we know that was not to be. It wasn’t A&E’s next child, nor even grandchild. No, in fact it wasn’t until around 3 or 4 BC when the promised offspring who will crush the serpent’s head was born in the town of Bethlehem and His name is Jesus.
And through Him paradise will be fully restored. The holy and just God is also a forgiving and loving God who provides the way back.
For God so loved this world, that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Do you believe that? Are these just stories or are they the words of the Almighty God?
If you believe these are God’s words but have not yet accepted God’s offer of forgiveness, please do so today. Jesus who crushed the serpent’s head died for you too. He died to pay for the consequences of your disobedience. Come to God today and humbly accept His offer to enter into His rest. Please talk to someone today.
And for you and me who have already accepted God’s forgiveness, please don’t be complacent and stop there. But by God’s grace let us draw closer to Him each day. By God’s grace may He transform us more and more each day to be like His Son Jesus.
So how differently will we live this week?
Will we think more about Jesus than food?
Will we choose carefully what pleases our eyes?
Will we allow God to really be our boss?