Our bible study continues with Luke the closing words of Luke 4. Here is the written, hard copy, in case you’d like to follow along at home: The gospel of Luke: A Bible Study.. The annoying hissing is gone too.
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This is the sermon for the First Sunday in Lent. The sermon text is: Genesis 2:7-9, 15-17; 3:1-7. The sermon theme is: Our Lord is Good Here is the Written Sermon
The Lord is Good
What is better than a good friend? A good friend is a good and precious gift from God above. When we are wrong that good friend is there to tell us boldly where we are wrong. And we trust that friend because we know that even if they say what we don’t like to hear, they are saying it for our good. There’s that old proverb, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” (Prov 27:6 NIV). And if they’re there to tell us the truth when we are wrong, how much more so will they be there to lift us up when we fall—to give us good news when we need to hear it? Having a good friend is wonderful. But having Lord as our God is so much better. And as we walk through Genesis 2-3 this morning we see this so clearly. In Genesis 2, the Holy Spirit tells us, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7 NIV11-GK).
Notice how the Lord shows that he is good in these words. He is good in creating us. The Lord created Adam and Eve in a different way than all the rest of all creation. Instead of just saying, “let there be,” the Lord plans and rejoices at the idea of making humans. Then the Lord breathes life into them. The Lord wasn’t just saying that they were special to him, he was showing it. They were precious to him.
And when we ponder this fact even for a little while we see how different what the bible preaches is than what the world so often preaches. Whether you’re in a science, history or english classroom, children are taught that they are nothing but highly complex animals. They are taught that the only difference between them and a slug is the time it took to change into a more complex beast. Notice what this kind of preaching does. It robs them of this central thought we find here. Adam and Even knew that their Lord was good. He proved it in how he created them. And it’s good for us to remember this. For we too, are not highly complex beasts. We are separate from the rest of creation and precious in our Lord’s sight.
The Lord is good in creating us. And he is also good in preserving us: “8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”” (Gen 2:8–9, 15–17 NIV11-GK)
The Lord preserved Adam and Eve with food. Specifically good, wonderful, pleasing fruit from trees. And notice two details from these words. First,There was no need to speak of heaven in the garden. For everything was so good. The fruit was good. And they would have lived off of that fruit forever—they and all of us. Second, notice that it was fun preservation. In other words, survival wasn’t hard. Survival was fun. They planted. And it was fun. They tended. And it was fun. They saw it grow. And it was fun. They picked the fruit. And it was fun. Every minute and every moment they had every proof and every reason to rejoice in their Lord. For they could see that he was good. But, as you know, it didn’t stay that way. We move from chapter two into chapter three: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”” (Gen 3:1 NIV11-GK)
In chapter three we are introduced to a serpent. And by the end of this chapter we already know who this serpent is. He is Satan, speaking through a serpent. Notice then what Satan does. The first thing he does is put the Lord on the defensive. He says, “Is it really true that God said, ‘You are not allowed to eat from any tree of the garden?” He makes Eve prove that God is good. God doesn’t need to prove that he is good. He has proven it thousands of times already. But that’s how Satan works, right? Then, after putting Eve on the defensive, then listen to Satan’s words: “4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”” (Gen 3:4–5 NIV11-GK)
Satan claims that he too is good. No, he claims even more. He claims that he is better than the Lord. He claims that if you follow him it will both be fun and fulfilling. You will find joy and wisdom if you follow him, right? Well, how does it turn out for Adam and Eve? “6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” (Gen 3:6–7 NIV11-GK)
Satan lied. He promised fun. He promised fulfillment. What he gave was pain and stupidity. These words are so painful to read, aren’t they? Adam and Eve had every proof that their Lord was good. But they believed Satan’s lie. And we too have this lie imbedded in our hearts when we are born. How many times has our Lord proved to us that he is good. He is good in creating us. He is good in preserving us. But Satan lies to us and we believe him instead of trusting in the Lord. And when it is time to face the consequences of our sin, Satan is silent. Where were his words of comfort and friendship after they fell into sin? Where is he when we deal with the consequences of our sin? Where he is when we lie, steal, cheat, lust and envy?
And here, with so much pain in our heart, we see how good our Lord is. There was no reason for the Lord to go any further. There was no reason for him to continue to be good to his faithless creation. But he was. He wasn’t just good in creating them and preserving them. He was also good in saving them. Where Satan vanishes, the Lord appears. And he doesn’t only appear. He also promises. In verse fifteen we read: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”” (Gen 3:15 NIV11-GK)
The Lord promises that there would be a “HE” would crush Satan. And in our gospel for this morning we see who this man was. It is Jesus our Savior. There he is in the desert separated from human contact being tempted continually over 40 days. And as often as he is tempted he holds to that one true unbreakable fact: his Father is good. And since his Father is good he will never betray him. It is that faithfulness that replaces our faithlessness. And it is that faithfulness that takes Jesus to the cross on Good Friday. And on that cross he is abandoned from love and companionship even more. For his Father punishes him in our place. And finally then, by punishing his Son, he shows how good he is to us.
The Lord is good. He is good in creating us, preserving us and in saving us. And there are wondrous, amazing results that flow from this fact. For, at the end of the bible we read these words: ““Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city” (Rev 22:14 NIV11-GK)
The garden that Adam and Eve were driven out of is promised to us once again. And not only can we go into this garden of heaven, the fruit that was off-limits is now ours to enjoy. The tree of life guarded with a flaming sword and Cherubim is now ours to eat forever. For Jesus has taken away every sin and every faithlessness.
Our Lord is good. He is good in creating us, preserving us and saving us. And since this is so true, we can stand against that lying serpent. We can stand against Satan. For there will be many times in your life where what Satan says will be so enticing. And you will take your stand on the truth of God’s word for two reasons: God is Good. And your Lord does not lie. Amen.