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Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer

Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The “Apple” - Lent Mid-week 2 - February 29, 2012 - Text: Genesis 3:1-21

This evening we continue talking about the symbols of Lent and Easter. This evening we take up the topic of the symbol of the apple. Let me begin with some words of clarification. Although the “forbidden” fruit in the Garden of Eden is often referred to as an apple, I have to tell you, it was not an apple from an apple tree. The fruit that is often depicted as an apple was the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So, it was knowledge of good and evil fruit. So, this evening we will actually be talking about the symbol of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.

I want to begin by looking at Satan’s temptation tactics, because the tactics he first used in the Garden of Eden are the same tactics he still uses today and why should he not still use them today if they continue to work as well today as they did when he first used them. Notice Satan’s first question, “Did God actually say?” Satan’s goal is to get Adam and Eve to question God and His Word. Today we still have the same question being asked by Satan and the world. How often do we hear such questions as, “Did God really mean . . . ?” and then the rest of the question of doubt continues. Does God say what He means in His Word and does His Word mean what it says? Whenever we start questioning God’s Word, which we do in order to justify ourselves and our sins, we literally throw His Word out. And we have seen this so many times and in so many ways in our world and in our churches, which is why too many churches look like our society with the same norms and values because they have given up God’s Word being God’s Word and instead have decided to follow the sin tainted word of humanity.

Continuing on with Satan’s temptation, we read Eve’s response, “God said . . .!” and then she goes on to stretch God’s Word even adding to it, going along with Satan and agreeing that God is not very loving by adding such harsh demands to what He gives. Here again, how often do we see the opinions of sin tainted humans being added to God’s Word taking from us the Gospel and making new laws. Certainly you have heard someone tell you that to be saved, “All you gotta do is . . . X, Y, and Z.” Or to be saved you have to do something to show God you are good enough. The fact of the matter is that God has done everything for us and He gives everything to us and nothing is required of us. So, as Eve is tempted by Satan, she joins in his exaggeration and changes God’s good gift, His Gospel and makes it into a new law.

But Satan is not done in his attempt to destroy Adam and Eve. He continues with his temptation, “You will not surely die . . . God knows . . . !” Here we see a great illustration of lying and deceiving by God’s name. And here again we see this being done in our world today when we hear false teachers use God’s Word and twist it into something it is not. Most blatantly we see this happening in the cults of the Mormons and in the Jehovah’s Witness. But we also see this in any Christian church that espouses something other than the Gospel of Christ crucified, such as the new law, any new law of “All you gotta do . . .”

And so, Eve ate the fruit, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and she gave to her husband who also ate of the fruit. Notice that Adam was there with Eve when all this was happening. Eve and Adam demonstrated by their actions that they believed Satan rather than God. The very reason we have so many religions, cults and sects in our world today is for this simple fact that too many people continue to believe Satan rather than God and His Word.

Now, moving on in our text we hear of God’s reaction to the disobedience and sin of Adam and Eve. Notice that when God comes into the garden He comes calling Adam to account for what happened. God had created Adam first and had placed him in charge so that he was the one to be accountable for the actions of both he and Eve. This is what we call the order of creation and this order of creation, that God holds husbands accountable, has not been negated, nor canceled because of the order of redemption, that is that all people are equally redeemed in God’s eyes.

Adam responds to God’s accusation by blaming Eve and truly blaming God Himself. Notice that Adam says that it was the woman that God had given him to be his helper suitable for him. Adam implies that if God had not given him Eve this never would have happened so it is God’s fault, according to Adam. Notice how Adam attempts to shirk his responsibility, much like we humans continue to do today, blaming others and even God when we fall for temptation and sin.

Eve hears Adam blame her and she passes the blame on as she blames the serpent, Satan. It was not Eve’s fault she suggests, rather it was the serpents fault because he was not honest with her, he lied to her and what could she do because she did not know what a lie was and she believed him. Again, just like Adam, Eve too denies her part in this sin, and again, much like we humans continue to do today, as we always have an excuse to justify our sinful behavior.

After the blame game is over, God’s response is to dish out the consequences, the punishment for the events that have taken place. First God punishes the serpent and Satan. He punishes the serpent by removing his ability to walk on legs and instead he must slither along the ground on his belly. And further he curses the serpent by making humanity scared of snakes, which we still have this divide today.

God punishes Eve and all women by making procreation a difficult task. And here let me remind you that the woman was created in the image of God in that she can procreate. The man cannot procreate, he cannot give birth, but the woman can, yet her punishment would be that as a reminder of her sin she will procreate in pain. Also, God says that her desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over her, perhaps a foreshadowing of the “battle of the sexes” we have today.

God punishes Adam and mankind with the curse of the earth. Evidently before this Adam did not have to contend with thorns and thistles when taking care of the Garden of Eden. And even today we continue to see the results of the cursed earth in that we have times of drought and times of flooding, we have times of good harvests and times of poor harvests.

God curses the world and the effect is that Adam and Eve will eventually die a physical death and their bodies will rot and decay and return to dust. And so, God’s Word is true, Adam and Eve did begin to die as now their bodies began to age and they did die a physical death when they reached an old age.

Yet, even in God’s curse He still gave a promise. God’s promise was to take care of man’s sin by taking man’s punishment on Himself which He did in the person of Jesus, taking our sins and suffering and dying and paying the price for our sins.. As a sign of this punishment we are told that God made clothes for Adam and Eve from animal skins. I believe these skins came from the first sacrifice a sign of the punishment for sin, that blood would have to be shed.

And so to this day, the fruit, often seen as an apple, the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil reminds us of Satan’s temptations, of Eve and Adam’s sin of disobedience and of God’s promise to send a Savior. And so this evening we continue to reflect on our own sins and our own part in putting Jesus on the cross. We continue to get ourselves ready to remember Jesus’ life, His perfect life and the fact that He lived perfectly for us in our place as our substitute, because we cannot be perfect. We continue to get ourselves ready by remembering that Jesus took our sins upon Himself, freely because of His great love for us. We continue to remember His death and we look forward to celebrating His resurrection and the fact that by faith in Him we too will rise again. And so we rejoice and say, to Him be the glory, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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