Encounter God – Sermon #1 Encounter God in the Midst of Sin
Encounter God… in the Midst of Sin?
† In Jesus Name †
May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ enable you to know He ill always provide for you.
Where are you?
In the series we are starting today, we are going to look at a number of people who encountered God in scripture. Each one is different, each has a story to tell, a story that many of us will relate to, stories we can learn from, which will cause us to grow in our faith, that will help us to depend on God longer.
Just as these people did, many of them the hard way.
Just like us!
So we start with Adam and Eve.
Where it all started! Or perhaps one may say ended.
The encounter we are looking at is probably the scariest encounter with God that could exist.
And it is one of the best that you can have, prior to judgment day.
I’m not going to rehash Adam and Even’s sin, most of us know the story, and they acted like most people. You tell them not to doo something, and they do it.
Well, most people except Tom and Chuck. They always do what they are told to do…
That is assuming they hear it.
So let’s start with the question God asks,
WHERE ARE YOU!!!
Adam, Eve? Where are you?
Are you over here??? No. What about here??? No… Hmmm, I wonder where they are!
Some people I know think that God is outraged, furious, storming all over the place.
I think this worked out more like a very concerned parent, but one that wants to care for His children.
He knows exactly where they are. He knows what they’ve done, and that they are scared, that they feel guilty, they are buried in shame, and they even know what it means to be ashamed.
And He cries out with the care and compassion that is appropriate for God who is love,
Adam, Eve, where are you!?!?!
Every sermon I have written or heard on this passage focuses on what Adam and Even have done, and sometimes takes a theological side trip talking about who is to blame. But I think we need to look closer to God’s action.
First, He goes after them
Then, He gets to the basic issue, patiently brushing aside the blame game.
You ate… yes?
uh..uh.. yeah, but…
And what did you do,…
Uhh.. yeah I did, but I was deceived…
Despite their “explanations”, despite their trying to minimize what they did, despite all of their fears and anxieties, They knew the punishment now, and the idea of death was no longer a stranger. I would like to say I don’t know what they are going through, but been there, hiding from God.
Waiting for Him to tell me I was completely lost… completely beyond His forgiveness, beyond His love.
And as God shares the complications they invited into their own lives, the curses they chose, Includes something else.
What Luther called the first gospel ever preached, and it was preached at the Devil, “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel”
By the way, that is why you see a snake in many of the old pictures of the crucifixion, for that is where Jesus crushes that snake, Satan.
And then, there is the second prophecy,
21 And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.
The LORD God kills something, to cover the sins, that should have resulted in His killing Adam and Eve. He provides what is needed, and though there are consequences, the result is that they are still His children, they are still the ones He loves, that He will always care form that He always has…
So where are you?
So now I have a question, well, I don’t,
Here Him asking you “Where are you?”
Where are you?
What have YOU done?
Don’t worry about excuses, don’t worry about the name game,
Just respond, and hear this,
14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 13:14 (NLT2)
Does that sound familiar? God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins. Animals had to die in order for the guilt and shame to be taken away.
He’s done the same thing with Jesus. He died for one purpose, to ensure that the Father doesn’t have to cry out, “where are you?
And can instead cry out, “I love you!”
No longer do we have to hide, for we are beginning to know His love and compassion will find us, and the promise of forgiveness applied, even more surely than the promise was made and forgiveness applied to Adam and Eve.
This is what it means when we say in a couple of weeks, “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!”
O wait, we aren’t supposed to say that… yet.
We need to hear it.
For sometimes still think we need to hide, sometimes we still think that guilt and shame are the norms.
No more my friends, for we have, in the midst of our sin, encountered a God who wouldn’t let us hide anymore!
He’s been calling, and the best thing you can do is listen, and hear Him say, I love you!
Then, as He carefully deals with your sin, you will realize this is one of the best encounters you will ever have in this life…
and His peace, a peace beyond comparison, a peace beyond all logic, will replace the guilt and shame… and you will realize you always have dwelt in His presence. AMEN!