We are in a war, and that war is already won. Yet, the unseen spiritual battle rages on. During this Christmas season it is crucial to understand and remember that we were made to be saved.
Made for a New World | Isaiah 11:1-16
Made to Be Saved | Genesis 3:15, 21-24
Made to Work | Genesis 3:17-19
Made to Gospel Our Relationships | Genesis 3:12-13
Made for a World Without Shame | Genesis 3:7-11
Made for a Different World | Genesis 3:1-7
Made for Relationships: Marriage | Genesis 2:18-25
Made for Relationship | Genesis 2:18-20
Made to Rest | Genesis 2:1-3
Made to Flourish | Genesis 2:4-25
God’s Heart for The Nations | Revelation 7:9-17
Made in the Image of God | Genesis 1:26-27
Great Questions Q&A Panel + MADE: to Teach | Genesis 1-3, 2 Timothy 2:24-26
How to Hear From God | Genesis 1:1-31
The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit | Genesis 1:1-5
To Know God is to Worship God | Genesis 1:3-25
Is Your God Too Small? | Genesis 1:1-2
In Genesis 3, we find the origin of God’s redemption plan for us. Despite what evil is done to you, what sin you have committed, or whatever circumstance you find yourself in, you were made to be saved. Do you believe this war is won so you can fight by the victory of Jesus Christ?
Merry Christmas, everyone. In the spirit of Christmas, for the last two and a half to three weeks in our house things have been going missing. I'm in the bathroom, and I'm like, "Babe, where are my fingernail clippers?" She's like, "I didn't take them. I don't know. And where's my brush?" I'm like, "I don't know." Then Hill comes into the room. He's like, "Hey, where's my checkers board?" We're like, "What is going on? Okay. Family meeting. Everybody downstairs." I'm sitting on the couch. None of it is like Grand Theft Auto. Our TV hasn't been taken. It's just little things that are kind of strange that are going missing.
Finally, Judd cracks under the pressure. He's like, "I've been taking your things and wrapping them up and putting them under the tree." Here's a picture of one of the packages. I go, "Judd, stop wrapping our things." He just leaves the room and starts crying. I'm like, "Oh, hold on, hold on. Buddy, what?" He goes, "I don't have any money." But he wants to give us gifts, so he takes our things, wraps them, and puts them under the tree, which is super cute unless you're living that reality, and then it's maddening.
The Lord has given us things, and they're wrapped. They're wrapped up in Scripture. With a little bit of explanation, interpretation, and application, we will find the most incredible gifts right here within Scripture that the Lord has given to us. They are ours if we are in Christ. They are gifts from us, that as we unwrap the pages of Scripture, we will find them to be completely transforming in our lives. We're going to unwrap three of those today.
Before we do, Hitler died on April 30, 1945. I know. It's a weird turn. I don't know how to transition from Judd wrapping gifts to Hitler dying, but so it is. Hitler died on April 30, 1945, and you would think with Hitler's death would come the end of World War II. "All right. That's it. The fighting is over." Yet what the Allied forces found was they were still meeting resistance from the Third Reich and from the soldiers as they were advancing into Germany.
Not only that. Hitler had appointed Admiral Dönitz to be his successor, so at Hitler's death, now Admiral Dönitz was in place for about 30 days. What they had done, collectively, was they had knighted, or established, an underground guerrilla civilian warfare unit. So, now you had plainclothes Germans walking the streets of Germany amidst the Allied troops who were advancing in, and then all of a sudden, one of these civilian troops (they were called the Werwolves) would attack unsuspectingly.
So, though the war was already won because the foe, Hitler, had been defeated, there was still this unseen force of resistance against the Allied troops. The war was won, yet they were meeting this unseen resistance. So it is with all of us. There has been a definitive defeat of Satan that was prophesied early in Genesis, found its partial fulfillment at the cross of Jesus Christ, and will one day (Revelation 20) find its full fulfillment.
The foe has been defeated, yet we still, as Christians in the church, are met with this unseen resistance and force of a spiritual battle in a war that has already been won. So, you need to know in your life, no matter what sin you have ever committed or what sin has ever been committed against you or whatever circumstance you may find yourself in, you were made to be saved, to be reconciled to God. He is after you because he loves you. You are his creation.
We're going to see that today in three incredible gospel truths as we unwrap them in the pages of Genesis, chapter 3. Today is the completion of our Made series, as we've been journeying through, verse by verse, in Genesis 1-3. Now, at the end of Genesis, chapter 3, the completion of Made. It is Made to Be Saved. The road map we're going to go through will be Genesis 3:15, and then also verses 21-24.
We're not going to give focus to the three curses that TA touched on some last week with man and the curse that work is now pushing back against or the curse of Eve with the pains of pregnancy or the curse of the Serpent as he now will crawl upon his belly eating dust. Rather, we're going to focus on these definitive gospel movements of God on behalf of all of mankind. The three you're going to see, as you follow along in Made to Be Saved, is that we are saved from Satan, we are saved from sin, and we are even saved from ourselves.
We know from Genesis 3:20 that she is the mother of all living. So, Satan has now been put in enmity with all of mankind and her offspring."…he shall bruise your head…"There we find a prophecy. This is Jesus Christ. "…he shall bruise your head [Satan's], and you [Satan] shall bruise his [Jesus'] heel." We're going to walk through this.
First, there is the bad news, the bad news of the enmity between humanity and Satan, between his offspring and her offspring. The Hebrew word for enmity, eybah, is not like "Hey, we don't like each other." It is archenemies unto the death. This is the same enmity word that is used for Israel against the Philistines. This is a battle, a cosmic battle, with us and humanity and Satan and all of his forces, this enmity.
In World War II also, before the US was a part of it, there was an air commander officer named Kermit Tyler. Kermit Tyler was stationed in Oahu in Hawaii. Kermit had no training. He had no supervisor, and he had no staff, but as he was watching the radar one day, he saw a formation of planes coming in. He thought, "Well, surely these are the B-1 bombers that are returning in from the mainland," so he literally said, "Don't worry about it." That was what he gave as he saw these unseen shapes appearing on a radar: "Don't worry about it."
I would say Scripture offers a completely different vantage point. Similarly, as these were unseen to Kermit Tyler… They were showing up on a radar, but he couldn't see them with his naked eye and thus said, "Don't worry about it." Scripture is like, "No, no. You need to be very aware of it. There is an unseen force coming at you." This is Ephesians 6. Here you will see the enmity between humanity and Satan.
Ephesians 6:11-12: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." This is from Genesis 3. Now all the way into the church age, in Ephesians, Paul writing by the Spirit is like, "No, no. You need to be aware of the enmity that began in Genesis 3:15. He's after you. He hates you. Yes, the war is won, but the battles rage on."
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." That's bad news. That's really bad news that we have an unseen enemy, like the Werwolves, like what was showing up on that radar. We have spiritual darkness against us, but there is good news. With God, anytime there is bad news, he comes in with greater good news to push back the darkness. Immediately on the heels of that enmity, he offers hope, incredible gospel hope.
So, here is the good news of the seed over Satan, the seed of the woman that would one day come, Jesus, God in flesh, who's coming to crush the head of the Serpent. Theologians call this the protoeuaggelion…proto meaning first, eu meaning good (like eulogy: a good word), and then aggelion means message…the first good message right here. From the first sin comes the first covering of good news, God bringing in good news at the bad.
It says, "He shall bruise your head." Again, this is Jesus bruising the head of Satan. "And you, Satan, shall bruise his heel." My parents live in Missouri in the Ozark Mountains. Beautiful land. My dad was out giving water to a neighbor's dog one night. So, he's there. He had walked across the alley. He's filling up the water bowl, and all of a sudden, he feels this incredible sting on his foot. He looks down, and there's a baby copperhead latched on at his ankle. It just released all that poison. Baby copperheads don't control their venom. They'll just release it all.
So, I go to visit my dad, and he is laid up on the couch. His leg is swollen like it's going to burst. He couldn't move, but on the third day… I don't know if it was the third day, but I have to make a gospel connection here. On the third day, my dad got up from that couch, and he made war against copperheads. Like, 12-gauge shotgun, garden hoe… I think his count was 33. He went after the copperheads, and he was victorious. It is now safe to go to their house.
That copperhead struck my dad's heel, and then my dad crushed the head of the copperhead. It's the same thing Jesus did. Satan thinks he deals this mortal blow to Jesus as he strikes the heel, but the heel is not a place where you can receive a mortal wound. No one took Jesus' life. He laid it down in glad submission to the Father for the salvation of anyone who would place their faith in him.
So, Satan, thinking he's victorious with the poison of death… Jesus rises again and crushes the head of the Serpent in an "already, though not yet" way. Already because at the cross of Christ there is a definitive theological truth and reality that he has defeated sin, death, and Satan, and then one day will finally and forever defeat Satan on our behalf.
Here it is in Isaiah 53, a prophecy 700 years prior to the birth of Christ. "Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him…" Satan didn't crush him. "…and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin…" In the Levitical sacrificial system, a sin offering was always unto death. It's not like a wounded animal. The animal would die because of sin and be offered unto the Lord. Here, he makes his life an offering for sin. But listen.
"…he [Jesus] will see his offspring [the sons and daughters adopted through the Father because of him]…" Well, if he will see his offspring after having been a sin offering, right there you have the resurrection already in Isaiah 53, a trampling of death through death. "…and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered…" There is the striking of the heel and the apparent death forever. "…he will see the light of life [resurrection again] and be satisfied…"
Here is this gospel good news. Listen. "…by his knowledge my righteous servant…" In whom there is no sin is a righteous servant, the suffering servant. "…will justify many…" To be made right with God. Our sin has separated us from God, but through the righteous servant and his suffering, his life being a sin offering, he will see the light of life in his offspring, the sons and daughters, and he will justify many, bringing them back into right relationship with God through his death and resurrection. It says, "…and he will bear their iniquities."
So, this is Satan's bruising of Jesus' heel, Christ upon the cross, but he rises again. He doesn't just rise again, but the prophecy that is there in that first gospel says that Satan will strike his heel, but Jesus will crush or strike his head. This was not a mortal wound, but the one dealt upon Satan will be. So, when Jesus deals with Satan, it will be final, but it will not be annihilation. Annihilation is to cease to exist.
A spirit… As our spirits are immortal, angels and demons are immortal, so they can't be annihilated. They will live forever in heaven or hell, in the presence of God or away from it. So, here you have the finality of "He shall bruise your head." It's Revelation 20. From Genesis 3 now to Revelation 20 in the back of the book."…and the devil who had deceived them [the nations] was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
So, knowing this, that at the first sin came the first good news, and the prophecy that though there is enmity, there is good news that one is coming who will strike the head of the Serpent… On behalf of that good news, we have nothing left to fear, because our conquering King has saved us from Satan. We were made to be saved, and if we have placed our faith in Jesus, then we have nothing left to fear.
In World War II, when Winston Churchill heard the news of Pearl Harbor, he was in a room with another man. He began dancing with that man, not at the loss of life of the Americans but at the coming reality of that event. He began dancing. Then he took a bottle of whiskey and a cigar, walked into his war room, slammed them on the table, and declared… In 1941. The war did not end until 1945. He declared, "The war is over!"
His war cabinet looked at him in astonishment, dumbfounded, in silence, until one finally got the courage to speak up and say, "Churchill, we just almost lost thousands in Dunkirk. France has been overrun. They're at our doorstep, and London is burning, yet you say the war is won, the war is over?" He leaned over the table and said, "Gentlemen, the Americans may be slow to fight, but once they are drawn in, they will see it through."
The war has been won. Because the war has been won through the resurrection of Jesus, we now know the war is over. Satan has been defeated. We're living in this in between, but we do not any longer hunker in the bunker to try to be safe, but rather we advance, this advancing kingdom that will have no end, in the confidence of Jesus Christ, knowing that he has saved us from Satan, now and forevermore.
So, my question to you this morning is…What fear is keeping you back from what God would have you do? Satan, it says in Hebrews 2, dangles the fear of death over every believer. "Don't step out of line. You stay in that bunker. If you step out, you will get killed. You'll get hurt. You'll be mocked or scorned or shunned."
He keeps us in fear, but knowing now the victory at the cross of Christ, that the war is over, though the battle still rages on, what fear is keeping you, and how can you now walk in courageous faith (which is one of our values here at the church), knowing we were made to be saved and he has saved us from Satan? To push through that fear and see the kingdom advance and break forth.
Though he's not a wrathful, angry God…we know he's compassionate and slow to anger…when there is sin, because of his justice and his holiness, a resulting effect is there has to be wrath. So, what we see here is that there was wrath poured out. He made garments of skins of an animal. Now, he could have made garments of cotton. At this point, plants were established. He could have said, "Hey, let me show you something. Here's how you put it in the loom and weave it all together." He doesn't. He doesn't make them garments of cotton.
That was necessitated by the fact that he is just and holy, because his wrath had to either be poured out on Adam and Eve or on a substitute. And so it was, on this animal, and from that, the garments of clothing. The reason we know this is from Romans 6:23, where it says, "The wages of sin is death." Because of sin, what we deserve is death. That death will either be poured out on us or on the cross where Jesus took our place as our substitute.
I want you to listen here in Romans 3:24-26. "…and are justified…" That means, again, made right with God, brought back together. How are we brought back together even though we have sin? "…by his grace as a gift…" The forgiveness of sins as a gift. You can't earn it. You can't buy it. You can't work your way to God by good deeds. Rather, the justification to be made right with God is only through this gift of grace, only to be received through faith.
"…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…" There are not many paths up the mountain. There is one way to be redeemed, and it is in Christ Jesus. "…whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood…" This is the same as when Adam and Eve have sinned, and then the wrath of God is poured out on this animal instead of on them. He says there was a propitiation through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Propitiation is a term that means the wrath of God is appeased. So, here Jesus, just like that animal, comes as our substitute and receives the wrath of God that we can be forgiven. "This was to show God's righteousness…" If he doesn't deal with sin, then he is not righteous."…because in his divine forbearance [patience] he had passed over former sins."
That doesn't mean he passed over them like, "Oh, man, they're really messing up. Don't worry about it. We'll deal with that later." Instead, he's like, "Okay. There's sin. We're going to deal with that with this first animal in the garden. Then we're going to establish the Levitical system of sacrifices and offerings," but these are all just a foreshadowing until, at the fullness of time (Galatians, chapter 4), the seed of the woman will come and be crucified.
So, as they were looking forward to the cross, we're now looking backward to the cross. God, by his divine forbearance, his patience, says, "One day, all of these sins will be paid for in full, because I'm holy and just, and my wrath will be poured out upon Christ instead of my people," because we were made to be saved, saved from our sin. It says, "It was to show his righteousness at the present time…" This is critical. This is amazing. "…so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."
Just, meaning he is just. He's the one who is holy, who has been offended by sin, and so he has to deal with that sin. Knowing there's no way we could work our way up to him, he's like, "I am both just and the justifier. I will go to them by Jesus taking on flesh, and I will make them right with me. I will take their place. I will be the animal that will be sacrificed for their sins and give them a garment of clothing." This is why John the Baptist, when he sees Jesus walking on the horizon, says, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."
Now, I think, as Adam and Eve are wearing those garments… They have just witnessed the first death that has ever taken place in God's good creation. They've seen the death of an animal, which I'm sure horrified them. God could have just killed the animal and been like, "All right. My holiness and justice have been dealt with. The wrath has been transferred to the animal instead of you." He could have been like, "Okay. That's done. You guys are free to go." Instead, he takes the animal and makes a covering for them.
Can you imagine Adam and Eve catting around town in that garb? I doubt they were like, "This is my favorite outfit. This is nice." I bet they were so sobered of spirit. Every time they put that on, every morning, they were like, "Oh my goodness. What this cost…" The costliness, the soberness of the reality of that covering. What God had done is he had covered their internal pain of the sin they had committed and their external shame. He had dealt with both.
For anyone who has placed their faith in Jesus, you too have a covering. The covering is the blood of the Lamb. It said it right there in Romans, chapter 3, that we are covered by his blood. I think every day how we would live different lives if, like Adam and Eve, we realized and remembered and reflected upon the blood covering, to remember the costliness of our covering. "What did my sin cost? The very blood of Jesus Christ. God in flesh died in my place." I don't think we would toy with, tinker with, or tamper with any sin, remembering every day that we're covered by this garment, the blood of Jesus Christ.
Sin against a forgiving God. He's not just a just and holy God, but he's a forgiving God. As he is 100 percent holy and just, he is 100 percent full of mercy and grace without compromising either. He is each character quality to the nth. So, as he is holy and just, he is also merciful and full of grace. You notice this in Paul's and John's writings.
I would read these, and I'm like, "Come on, come on, come on. Let's get to it," because they would start and say, "Mercy, grace, and peace to you." I'm like, "Whatever. Let's get to the good stuff." Until I realized that is the good stuff. That's the gospel: the mercy of God, that I did not get what I deserved, and the grace of God, that I got what I didn't deserve, and the resulting effect that's peace with God and such compassion.
When Jesus entered into the synagogue… When his ministry is about to begin, he walks in, he says, "Hand me the scroll of Isaiah," he opens it to chapter 61, and he reads these words and says, "In your hearing this has been fulfilled." It was the inauguration of the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. He was like, "It's happening." Here's what he says. Just think about the grace and mercy.
"…to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes…" Ashes being the symbol of mourning and sadness. "…the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord…" You didn't do this. I didn't do this. God did it. A tree has no ability apart from itself. It's a planting of the Lord, and it is strong. It is an oak of righteousness. Why? "…that he may be glorified."
It is all doxological in nature. God is doing this to be like, "I want the whole world and the unseen to behold the glory of God as expressed in the forgiveness. I'll take their mourning and give them a garment of praise." So, mercy is not getting what you do deserve. That animal got what Adam and Eve deserved. Jesus got what we deserved. That was mercy. We didn't get what we deserved.
Recently, our 5-year-old, Judd… Not because he wrapped up all of our Christmas gifts. That was cute, but there are some things that aren't, and they deserve discipline. So, I called him up to his room, and I was like, "Hey, Judd, you're going to get a spanking because of what you did. Do you understand?" He was already crying and upset with the anticipation of the discipline. I said, "You need to come over here. You need to lay across my lap." He was bracing for it already.
As he was lying there, I began to hit my own leg. He just looked up at me in total bewilderment. He heard the spanking, but he didn't get it. I did. I sat him up and held his little face and said, "Hey, Judd, there had to be a spanking because of what happened. Right?" He was in shock, looking at me, like, "Yes." I said, "I took your spanking, and it hurt, but you're not going to get it, because I did. I want you to know something. That is why Jesus came. He came to take our consequence." I'm just praying these little dots start to connect.
As Jesus took our place… That is the mercy of God. Our consequence, our sins, were laid upon him so that we would go free. But it's not just mercy. It's also grace. Grace is getting what you don't deserve. So, if mercy is not getting what you do deserve, grace is then getting what you don't deserve. It has been said that grace is God's riches at Christ's expense. Because of the passage in Romans 3, I would say it's God's redemption. It's not just riches, like, benefits. It's redemption. We were lost, enslaved to sin and Satan, but we were made to be saved. So it is God's redemption at Christ's expense. It's why he came. It's both.
We sing to our kids before they go to bed. We'll give them back scratches and sing a song to the Lord and pray. One of the songs I've taught them because it means so much to me is "Rock of Ages." It's an old hymn. There's this line within the hymn that is profoundly gospel. It's profoundly Genesis, chapter 3, the garment of an animal, the Lamb who was slain. It says this: "Be for sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure."
"Save me from wrath." That is mercy…what I do deserve. "Save me from wrath." And then "Make me pure." There's grace, getting what I don't deserve. "You're going to not only save me, but now you're going to give me what I don't deserve. You're going to make me pure." Recently, our son got sick, so we got him an antibiotic. After 24 hours on an antibiotic, your fever breaks and you're fine. He can go back to school. He's not contagious anymore.
About seven days into his antibiotic, he was like, "Dad, why do you and Mom keep making me take this? I'm fine. I'm not sick anymore." I had to explain to him, "Well, you have to finish the full course of the antibiotic, because if you don't… The war is won, so to say, but the bacteria is still there, and it can multiply. You have to kill it off altogether. We have to keep infusing it with this medicine that's killing it, because if you don't, the remaining bacteria can multiply and, frankly, the final condition could be worse than the first. You could get even sicker."
So it is in our walk with Christ. We receive mercy. We're saved from the wrath, the fever, the sickness of sin, and then we continue in grace every day of our lives, partaking of that spiritual prescription of grace. The flesh and sin are still at war with the Spirit, so we have to have this daily infusion of grace to kill off that remaining bacteria of sin until we are forever at home with the Lord.
That "Rock of Ages" song… Have you asked him? Have you invited him to be your double cure, to save from wrath and make you pure? In a room this size, there has to be someone who has never placed their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. As you bow your heads right now… Everyone, bow your heads. Maybe you just need the reminder, as a thankful child of God. "Thank you that you saved me from wrath and that you continually make me pure." Or maybe, for the first time, you would receive salvation today and place your faith in Jesus. Just pray. Ask him to be your double cure.
Lord, if someone in this room is still sick with sin, I pray right now they would place their faith in Jesus as their double cure, that they would ask you to save them from wrath and to make them pure. May today be the day of salvation. For the rest of us who already have, may it be a reminder to continually take that prescription of grace. Amen.
I want you to see something. I've been talking about Jesus a lot here in Genesis 3 because of the enmity and that Jesus saves us from Satan and also saves us from sin. I want to clear my podium here, because I want you to see what I see every Sunday I teach. Every Sunday, whether we're in Genesis or 1 Corinthians or Revelation, or whatever, this is what all of us need every single time we gather.
It says this: "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." This is when the Greeks came to Philip, the evangelist. It's from John 12:21. They said, "We wish to see Jesus." I think it's the cry of every human heart, knowing that we have sin. Though we know it, there are so many just longing. It's the ache of every soul. For those wishing to be redeemed, my question to you is: Who will you invite to Christmas Eve? Think about it right now.
Even pull out your phone and send them a text and be like, "Remind me to tell you something. Hey, what are your plans on Christmas Eve?" They may say, "I'm with family." We have five services…9:00, 11:00, 2:00, 4:00, and 11:00. There are people far from God. We still live in a nation that generally celebrates Christmas, so it would not be unusual at all to say, "Hey, would you come to Christmas?" They will hear of Jesus, the one that they were made to be saved, because he saves us from our sin. Invite them.
"'Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—' therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim [angels] and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life."
At first glance, you're like, "Man! God, that's cold. Like, one mistake and Boom! One strike you're out. 'Hey, you did it. You wrecked this. Get out. Get out of the garden of Eden.'" That's how it appears at first glance, like, "Man! That's harsh. That's really strong. I mean, one mistake, and now they're just ushered out of Eden forever? And the flaming sword? This is kind of amped up strong."
It is actually an incredible act of mercy. It's an act of severe mercy. When you look closely at it, he says, "Look. Adam and Eve are in this fallen state. They're like us. They've taken a bite of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They're now in a fallen state of sin, full depravity of man. If they take of the Tree of Life and eat of it, they will live in that fallen state forever."
So, as an act of mercy, God is like, "We have to get them out. Shepherd them out of here. They didn't listen to my command the first time they partook of the tree. If they do that again, they'll be in this fallen state forever, so we're ushering them out of…" It's a severe act of mercy. It's shepherding. He is saving them from themselves, and he does so for us. He saves us from ourselves and the mistakes we would make that would have such consequences. He's shepherding them.
I remember almost 17 years ago now when I was going to A.A. meetings. I walk in, and I'm just listening, and there are different phrases and anecdotes. One of the things they'll say is, "Hey, my best thinking got me here." Meaning, "When I was calling the shots, when I thought I was in charge and I had it all together, that landed me in Alcoholics Anonymous, so I'm going to do step three. I'm going to surrender my life and will to God. I'm going to let him rule, because my best thinking landed me here."
In the same way, Adam and Eve's best thinking had them there, so God was like, "I'm going to get you out of here to redeem you." But here is the thing. He wasn't just ushering them away from the Tree of Life. He was ushering them to the Tree of Life. He was taking them from a place where they would live in a fallen state, never receiving the third tense of salvation, the glorification in the presence of God.
So, he's like, "We're getting you out of here, but not just from that Tree of Life. I'm going to move you to the Tree of Life, Jesus, who hung upon a tree for you, and this Tree of Life, when you partake of it…" Jesus said, "Take and eat." "When you partake of this one, there will be a cleansing, a forgiveness of sin infused in this Tree of Life, and that Tree of Life will give you eternal life, because you will be born again. Not made better; you'll be new."
So, it wasn't just, "I'm taking you from this Tree of Life." It was "I'm taking you to the Tree of Life that you will find in Jesus Christ." Always for the redemption of mankind, this third gospel movement that you see. He saved us from Satan, he saves us from sin, and he saves us from ourselves by ushering and shepherding us to himself.
We were in a gas station on a road trip. When we take a road trip, we'll let the kids… Some of you are going to parent judge me right now, but we'll say, "Hey, you can get a salty snack, a sweet snack, and a drink. And you should probably get a shot of insulin too." The kids are like, "Okay. I'm going to get sour gummy worms, salt and vinegar chips, and a Bodyarmor." They all have their plan.
So, we walk into a QuikTrip. It wasn't a Buc-ee's, so they were already disappointed, but we go into the QuikTrip, and they have their selections. I had seen someone earlier. I was pumping gas. I was like, "Dude, that guy doesn't look right." He had on a backpack. He was belligerent, kind of talking to himself, and then walking up to every person, but he was out in the parking lot.
We go inside. They have their goods, and all of a sudden, Ding! Ding! He walks through the door, and he's just yelling. I was like, "Hey, put your stuff down and walk out right now." They were like, "Dad, no! What do you mean? We need to buy the stuff." I was like, "Put it down and walk out right now." They could tell there was a difference in my voice, like, "Okay. That's a different voice that we don't hear too often from Dad." So they were all like, "Okay. All right."
We got to the car. I was like, "Do you know why I had you leave?" They were like, "No." I was like, "There was someone who was up to no good in there, who did not have anyone's best in mind, so I was getting you out." It's what God does for us. He saves us from ourselves, what we can't even see…evil around us, evil within us. He's shepherding us to the Tree of Life, Jesus.
I want to ask you, because I think we all have something… Is there something you're gripping so tightly, and God is trying to shepherd you away from it? Maybe it's a relationship. Maybe it's a business deal. You're like, "God, but you know I've been single for so long. I mean, I know he doesn't love you, but he loves me." Or maybe, "God, but you know I've fallen on hard times, and if I could just get this," or whatever it is.
What is it that you're not allowing God to shepherd you to life? The mindset in accordance with the Spirit is life and peace, but sometimes we're so resistant. He's like, "Hey, I want you to get out of here. There's harm here. I'm taking you someplace good." Where is it? If we would just submit in glad surrender, fully surrendered to this Good Shepherd, and let him take us where he will.
I was going through Hosea. It has always been there, but I've never seen it. I get to verse 2:15, the second part of the verse. It says, "I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope." I almost missed it. I almost just read right by it, like, "I don't know. Valley of Achor. That's something in Hebrew. I don't care. I don't have time."
But I saw a little superscript number one beside the word Achor. "I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope." So I looked down in my notes in my study Bible, and it said, "Trouble." "I will make the valley of trouble a door of hope." God will make your valley of trouble a door of hope. Adam and Eve had a valley of trouble, of sin, and they were at enmity with an unseen foe.
God shepherded them away from Eden, of all places, and he was like, "I'm going to make this valley of trouble a door of hope. I have redemption waiting for you as you let me shepherd you out of this." So it is for every single person in this room, whether you're in trouble or trouble is coming, under God's sovereign care, allowing him to shepherd you. He will. He will make your valley of trouble that door of hope. It's what he lives to do.
At the conclusion of World War II, as Allied troops landed at Normandy and began systematically working their way through France, Belgium, and Poland on their way to Germany, they carried two things now: a rifle and bolt cutters. No longer were they just fighting, though they were. There was still the resistance. They were fighting, but they were freeing.
I know you've seen the pictures of the Jews in the concentration camps and the deportation camps, emaciated, cheeks sunken in, clothed in those terrible ragtag striped prison garments, with a frail hand resting on barbed wire, inches from a well-fed Allied soldier. Haunting images. But they were there to fight and to free, to cut every door, to cut every fence and release the captives.
So it is. Once you have been saved from Satan, sin, and yourself, now you go out from here, and you are fighting and you are freeing, because there are others who have not yet been saved. They've not tasted salvation. They don't know about Jesus. It says in the Scriptures they live in captivity to Satan, their Enemy. So, we go out with the sword of the Spirit and the cutting power of the gospel, that they could be freed and their bonds loosed, that God would be glorified. Let's pray.
Lord, we thank you and praise you for the good news of Genesis 3. We live in the enmity, Lord. We feel the enmity, but we believe those three movements of the gospel, that you have defeated Satan. You have crushed his head and will. You have saved us from our sin through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and you save us from ourselves as you shepherd us this side of eternity. We love you, and we go out from here by your power, fighting and freeing for your kingdom. In Jesus' name, amen.