The family was originally God’s idea. He created us and ordained the first family. And He offers to be the Builder of our families when we make Him Lord. Who is the “builder” of your family? What activities are given top priority for your family? How is your family doing? How is your marriage? Your parenting? Your teens? Have you made God its Builder?
In the book of Genesis, Moses wrote that God was the builder of the very first family, creating Adam and Eve and establishing them as the parents of all the living. We can trust God as the builder of our families.
Below is an automated transcription of this message:all right. Good morning, church. We’re starting a new series today entitled, “Family Life,” and we’ll be talking about how to make God the foundation of your family.
Before we begin the sermon, I want to give you a Rise Up update. Rise Up is the name of our three-year generosity initiative where we are making room for more people to come just as they are and be forever changed by the love of Jesus. And I wanted to give you an update on this because you have been so faithful in your giving year to date that we’re now ready to hire an architect to build and to draw up the building plans we have. Maybe you’re visiting for the first time; go to our lobby and on the wall you can look and see the master plan. Now we need to build actual building plans, design actual building plans so we can do phase two. Phase one was the children’s wing, and now phase two will include a second worship venue, where we will have two simultaneous worship venues going on at the same time, a new lobby and some work on the front of the building in the parking lot. We met with the architect this weekend, went through these things, and I wanted to give you that update. This architect, instead of being from the West Coast, is only a little bit to the west of us in Raleigh, so we think it’s gonna be easier access to work with him. I’ll give you more updates as they come; I wanted you to know that we are progressing as we rise up to make room for more. So that’s the news about the church family.
Let’s talk about your family a little bit now because God really cares about your family. I know there’s no one sitting here that says, “I don’t wanna have a great family.” We all do. Did you know how much God cares? In fact, , the whole idea of family was originally God’s idea.
Our series theme verse is found in Psalm 27:1, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it, labor in vain.” If you try to build your house on your own, the Scripture says you will be coming up empty. You labor in vain. So let the Lord build your house. That’s what we’re talking about today. How to we do that? How to we trust God as the builder of our family?
Consider this secular study done by Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, who did a survey concerning religious practice and how it affects family life. Here’s what he said in his paper entitled, “Why Religion Matters Even More: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability.” He says, “Strong and repeated evidence indicates that the regular practice of Religion has beneficial effects in nearly every aspect of social concern and policy. This evidence shows that religious practice protects against social disorder and dysfunction. Specifically, the available data clearly indicate that religious belief and practice are associated with higher levels of marital happiness and stability, stronger parent child relationships, greater educational aspirations and attainment, especially among the poor. Higher levels of good work habits, greater longevity and physical health. Higher levels of well being and happiness. Higher recovery rates from addictions to alcohol or drugs, higher levels of self control, self esteem and coping skills, higher rates of charitable donations and volunteering, and higher levels of community cohesion and social support for those in need.” These are all benefits of a strong faith. Notice, he’s not saying a faith commitment or claim; he keeps referring to it as a religious practice. When they took the survey, they didn’t just go with, “are you a Christian or a person of faith? Check the box that actually asked questions like How many times per month do you attend religious services? Are you part of a small group of believers? Do you read the Bible on a regular basis?” So they were really checking to see if people were practicing what they believed.
They asked further questions and did further examinations to find out people who actually practiced her faith not just make a faith claim but practice their faith, begin to experience these wonderful benefits. We should not be surprised by this, because God is the one who first had the idea of the family.
Who’s the builder of your family? Who do you want to be the builder of your family? Are you trying to be the builder? My friends, I invite you today as we look into God’s word today that you would consider making God the builder of your family. In the book of Genesis. Moses wrote that God was the builder of the very first family made up of that first couple, Adam and Eve. And I believe today that we can trust God to be the builder of our families. How can we do it?
As we look at the text, I think we’ll see three steps on how to trust God as the builder of your family. So let’s look in that first book of the Bible. Genesis, chapter 2:18-25, how God laid the foundation for the family. Genesis 2:18-25 (ESV) 18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” “Then the Lord God said it is not good that the man should be alone.” Can I just pause there for a second and say that’s kind of hilarious to me because God just spent almost two chapters talking about everything he built was good. The sun is good, the stars are good, the vegetation is good, the fish in the sea is good. ‘I did good with everything’ he seems to say. The Lord God said it was good.
And then he built man, he went. And something’s not quite right. The ladies are laughing; I don’t see the men laughing. Then the Lord God said it is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him. The Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, all of the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam, there was not found a helper fit for him.
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and while he slept, took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh and the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ““This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” This is God’s word. Amen.
We’re gonna be looking at this passage and asking, How can we trust God as the builder of our family? Here’s the first step. (1) Submit to God’s authority. I want you to notice who made us. What does the Bible say? That God made us? God made the first man and he made the first woman. He’s not only the creator, he was the first pastor. He’s, first of all, the first father because he walks her down the aisle. And then he’s the first pastor because he officiated at the first marriage. It’s all right here.
Notice in verse 18, He says, “it’s not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him.” Literally, fit for him has the idea of a mirror image not the same but complementary. Regardless of what the culture says today, men and women people are different. They’re not interchangeable. Men are different than women and God made them that way so that they fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. It has the idea of similar but not the same as if to facing a suitable opposite to each other like connecting puzzle pieces.
He had looked throughout creation and he had named everything. But it was not good for the man to be alone. God is the originator not only of the creation of mankind, but of the family. And more than that, marriage was God’s idea. So when we decide that we want to change the idea of marriage, we have to be very careful because God is the one who came up with the idea of one man, one woman for life. He performed the first wedding and he established the first family. This gives him the right to be the authority over our family. Do you see it as we look at the Scripture? Do you recognize God as the authority?
Remember how Joshua, back in the book of Joshua, was standing with all the people of Israel? And many of them had made bad choices? But he said, I can’t necessarily speak for your house, but I’m going to speak for my house. And so here’s what he said in Joshua 24:15 (ESV) “… choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Have you joined Joshua in this declaration over your house? Have you said (I can’t determine what you do with your family) “But as for me in my house, we will serve the Lord.” Have you decided to make that commitment, my friend? You can do it. You can make a commitment like that. It begins by recognizing God as the authority over your house. Have you understood that God has given his son, Jesus Christ, authority over all things because of what Christ has done for us.
One of the verses that your children memorized this week at Kids Fest was this very verse Matthew 28:18. In fact, they memorized 18,19 and 20. I hope you’ll hear that they “proved it ” in their classes today. After the first service, kids were running up to me, saying “I proved it! Pastor Gary, I proved it!” Apparently, Pastor Jonathan came through and actually did give them a real prize. I warned him about this because in the past he has given prizes like floppy disks and things like that that the kids have no idea what to do with. And so I think he did better today.
Here’s the verse, Matthew 28:18 (ESV) “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He has the authority, but will you recognize it? Will you submit to it? Submitting to God’s authority is important to recognize. It means submitting to His son because He’s given you Jesus. Have you submitted your family? Have you brought it under Christ, so Christ is the head of your house?
Here’s something I want to point out when we’re speaking about authority. How do we know, if we make Christ the head of our house, how do we know how to follow him? I think this is important because He gives us His word as an authority, as a blueprint, if you will.
I mentioned earlier that we met with the architect earlier this week. I think we freaked him out a little bit when he showed up at the front and saw that we were building a spaceship. I think he was like, ‘I’ve not worked with the church like this before.’ So we set in the midst of all the chaos and talked about our next steps as a church. He said, “I think you guys really love kids.” I said, “how could you tell? What was your first clue?” This is our authority. He’s making a blueprint for us. We’re asking him to do that because we’re not an expert on how to do that. We know what we want and what God has called us to do, but we don’t necessarily have to know to design it. That’s what we’re asking a master architect to do for us.
We know what we want. We want a family where the husband and wife love each other and mom and dad are raising great kids. We know what we want, but we don’t know how to get there. This is our blueprint. Here’s what God’s word says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) “16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” He breathed it into those who wrote it. The Apostle Paul as he’s writing the holy spirit is telling him what to write; it’s written by God through the instrumentation of human hands and human thought.
It goes through each one; it’s kind of like you picked up a different colored pin. I feel like I’m gonna write with a red pen. So maybe that was the Apostle Paul. You could still tell who wrote it, but it’s all breathed by God. It’s all inspired by God, and it’s useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped every good work.
Every family needs the word of God as an authority in their life. When you buy a new car and you pop open the glove box, what’s in there? Is it the owner’s manual? Don’t you wish they gave you one at the hospital when you bring home your first kid? ‘Where’s the owner’s manual for this kid? Mom, help me!”
This is your owner’s manual right here. God gave you an owner’s manual, and right here it is. Will you submit to it now? Yes, God, Christ is the head of our house. And then looking at how you practice it, that’s the difference. That’s the big thing that we’re talking about. We’re not talking about just saying it. We’re talking about practicing it, by the way, and how it’s changing your family. Too many families are treating fellowship with God’s family and worshipping together in God’s house as what I would call extra curricular activities. And so it ends up being on the list of other extra curricular activities.
Here’s what we do. We say my employment, my work and my kid’s education are not extracurricular. Those are priority. I will not fail. It doesn’t matter if it’s raining. Doesn’t matter if I’m sick. Doesn’t matter what; I’m gonna figure out how to get myself to work and get my kids to school. Those are priority. So we set those over here. Those are priorities. Then, we have this long list of extracurricular activities. We have soccer practice, violin practice, guitar, piano, dance and gymnastics. And then we have our hobbie; swe have fishing, hunting, golf and all the different things. We have this list of things; maybe I missed yours, and so imagine it right now that it’s on your list of extracurricular activities. These are things after we’ve done the big things that are important; we must feed our families, we must work and we must educate our family in school. But then we put church on this list over here, and strangely enough, many people who say ‘Christ is the head of my house’ put church at the bottom of their extracurricular activities. And so, as long as I don’t have travel ball, as long as I don’t have soccer practice, as long as I don’t have to go hunting for deer season, as long as I don’t have…. I’m gonna think of yours in a second…. as long as it’s not raining, because as long as it’s not so pretty outside that I feel the call to go to the beach….then I’ll go and be with God’s people to fellowship with God’s people and actually practice my claim of Christ being the head of my house. Man, it’s quiet in here.
Have you submitted to God’s authority in practice and not just in claims? Here’s the second step. (2) Pursue God’s purpose. So I began by saying that if I want God to be the builder of my house, I have to practice it, not just say it, but I have to practice it according to His authority. And then once I’ve made that decision, then I begin to pursue God for my family, so that I want my family to be like He wants it to be. I want His plan, not my plan.
Look at Verses 23 and 24; we’ve already seen how He made a helper fit for Adam and how He brought her to him and performed the first wedding. And now, look at verses 23 and 24, see how the man responds to the woman. He says this at last. I don’t know how long he had waited. I don’t know if it was days or months, I don’t know. He’d been out naming the animals. He’s like Dr. Doolittle out there. I don’t know if you could talk to animals back then. I don’t know if we’ve lost the ability. I like to think about stuff like that. Sometimes if I’m sitting around a campfire at night, asking God questions that I don’t know the answer to like, ‘what were the animals like? How did he know to name them? Were they perfect names? Did he really name an animal a hippopotamus.’ Adam had been doing that for a while.
Now, here’s what he says, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” And he took one look at her and he said, “she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” That’s Adam’s response. He fully accepted her as a gift from God. This is what I’ve longed and waiting for God; thanks for making her for me and for each other.
Then we see this principle, “Therefore…” Now, Christians, What should we you always ask if you see the word, therefore, in the Bible? You should always ask, “What’s it there for?” That’s right, because it’s always like an equal sign in math. Whatever proceeded equals is the results of one plus one. One plus one equals two. Therefore, because this woman fits him and because he fits her. That’s why he will leave his father, mother and start his own house, holding fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh. I like what the King James says here. It says, “Leave his father and his mother and cleave.” We don’t say cleave a lot anymore, so we’ve updated their translation. But I like it because it rhymes.
Friends, you must leave and cleave, becoming one flesh and hang on to each other. There are least three biblical purposes for marriage. We study the scriptures. The first is (1) Mirror God’s image. If we’re pursuing God’s purpose, the first that we would recognize is how he made us for a purpose. Genesis 1:27-28 (ESV) 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” When He made us, He made us in His image. The Latin translation is “Imago dei.” We were made in the image of God, but because of sin , that image has been marred and fallen. Yet the dignity is still present in humanity. There is still that residual, but it’s a warped image. Kind of like a statue that the years and years have worn down. You can still tell that’s a statue of a man or a woman, but it’s not at the perfection it started. So we still have that residual something about us, the image of God, but it’s fallen.
When He first made us, He made us with the intent that we would mirror His image. You know, the sun is the source of light on planet earth, and it is the king of the day, if you will, or the “lord” of the day as is it gives light to the earth. But at night the moon is set in the heavens because God put it there to give us a light at night. But it is not the source of its light; it only reflects the sun to the dark earth. It has no light of its own. It has to position itself so that it perfectly reflects light onto a dark earth.
God made male and female, the human family, to somehow reflect His light into a dark world. He wants your house to be a lighthouse. He wants you to reflect His image so that when we come to Christ, the image of God is being restored in us, because Christ, in Colossians Chapter 1:15, is the image of the invisible God. He is the image of God. And when He lives in us, He’s restoring the purpose so we’re the mirror. The family is to be a lighthouse.
Here’s the second purpose; to (2) Mutually complete one another. In Ephesians, chapter five, “Therefore a man…” What’s going on here? Paul’s quoting Genesis, chapter two. That’s what he’s doing as he writes to the Church of Ephasus. “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh .” Then he gives this explanation; this mystery is profound, and I’m saying that it refers to Christ in the church. This goes back to the fact that it mirrors something other. But it’s also going to this, that in the same way that the husband and wife have become one and are mirrors of God’s image, so it’s the way that the church, the family of God, become one with the head, which is Christ. The family is a picture of that unity. So your family is a picture of the unity of God that the Father, son and Holy Spirit are one, and also that Christ and the church are one. But Paul says, don’t try to figure out what this means. It’s too hard; it’s a mystery. You see, the Trinity is a mystery. ‘Gary explain to me, The Trinity.’ Well, here’s what the Bible says, The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are one God but three distinct personalities. What? How does that? How can that be? I don’t know . It’s a mystery, but the Bible reveals it. ‘Well, how can Christ and the church be one?’ I don’t know. It’s a mystery. ‘How can a husband and wife be one?’ I don’t know, but the Bible says it’s so. It’s a mystery.
If you’ve been married 40 years, like my wife and I have, we can sit sometimes at night and not say one single word. We will be sitting on the porch, drinking some iced tea, and she says, “I know what you were thinking.” Then she’ll tell me what I was thinking. I’ll say, “I was not.” But actually I was. That disturbs me a little bit that she knows exactly what I’m thinking.
Have you had this argument yet? Husband or wife, do you say to the other, “Why are you looking at me like that?” “I wasn’t looking like that; it’s just my normal face.” “You were looking at me with that look.” “What look?” You know, you haven’t had that yet if you haven’t been married very long.
Then here’s the third purpose, to (3) Multiply a godly legacy. God created marriage as a safe place to raise up the next generation of children. So he has a man and a woman, a male and a female and they become one. Then there’s the beauty of a godly legacy. Look what it says in Malachi 2:15 (ESV) “ Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” Did he not make them one, speaking to the husband, with a portion of the spirit in their union? The Holy Spirit is somehow involved. So there’s a spiritual reality going on. That’s what the Scripture says. And what was the one God seeking? I like what Malachi is saying. He’s talking about the spirit. And then he takes us back to the one God. Because unity is the deal here that God wants out of us. He wants us to remain at one, because He is seeking godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. God wants you to raise up godly kids so the family has a purpose. You’re in charge of the next generation under God, so don’t be faithless. Be faithful to one another. You want your kids to feel safe and secure. Let him know that mommy and daddy love each other. You want them to feel like we’re okay. We’re gonna be okay. Let them know that mommy and daddy love each other.
Have you heard the disturbing statistics about teens leaving the church when they graduate from high school and start to go off on their own? Have you read about this? Now, we’re not talking about teenagers who their parents never brought them to church. We’re talking about teenagers whose parents brought them to church from the time they were little, leaving the church when they get to make the decision themselves. Let me read a little bit from this article, based on LifeWay research, “Most Teenagers Drop Out of Church as Young Adults.” That’s the title of the article. Here’s what the article says, “Two-thirds (66 percent) of American young adults who attended a Protestant church regularly for at least a year as a teenager say they also dropped out between the ages of 18 and 22… For the most part, people aren’t leaving the church out of bitterness, the influence of college atheists, or a renunciation of their faith… What the research tells us may be even more concerning for Protestant churches: there was nothing about the church experience or faith foundation of those teenagers that caused them to seek out a connection to a local church once they entered a new phase of life. The time they spent with activity in church was simply replaced by something else.” It wasn’t so much a cognitive decision. Their parents had somehow put it on their list of extracurricular activities, and since it was on their family list of extracurricular activities, it got bumped off the list entirely when they begin to make their list of extracurricular activities because it was never on the list of the profoundly prioritized important, it was always on this list. And since it was on this list, it didn’t make their list.
What about the 1/3 who decided to stay in the faith and continue to practice their faith by being church attenders even when they went to college, why did they do it? This article reveals, “Those who stayed saw the church as an important part of their entire life. When asked why they stayed in church, more than half say the church was a vital part of their relationship with God (56 percent) and that they wanted the church to help guide their decisions in everyday life (54 percent). Around 4 in 10 (43 percent) say they wanted to follow the example of a parent or other family member. Similar numbers say they continued to attend because church activities were a big part of their life (39 percent), they felt church was helping them become a better person (39 percent), or they were committed to the purpose and work of the church (37 percent). And more than that, they were committed to the purpose and work of the church that they saw themselves as servants.”
What is God wanting? It’s Godly offspring. So if you want them to get it, you better start acting like you got it, father, mother, husband and wife. If it’s on your list of extracurricular activities, you better believe it’s gonna be on that. Every generation seems like they slip a notch. But if you’re bringing them here and you’re letting them serve and you’re letting them see that faith is an integral part of your life and not just on weekends.
Here’s the new average of church attendance. This is committed church people who say I’m a member of WCC. People like that 1.8 times per month out of four Sundays, 1.8. That’s the new average national average. I’m not just saying this year, I don’t know what your average is. We haven’t got down into it like that, but we’ve started noticing. We have to say the same thing three consecutive Sundays to try to get everybody because it’s so different in this decade. Then it was just a decade ago that it’s just not making the list in people’s lives. And so our teenagers, our young people are leaving and going out and trying to figure out how to build families on their own.
What are you going to do? What are you going to decide? I’m gonna live out the purposes of God and my family so that I raise up godly offspring who love Jesus and make God, the builder of their families.
Here’s number three (3) Receive God’s grace. I am glad we got to point three. Point one and two, ouch, because some of us are sitting here right now thinking, ‘What do I do? I’ve already blown it. My kids are already the kids of divorce because my first wife and I didn’t make it. I just became a believer and I’ve messed up. I’ve messed up as a father. I’ve done so many things wrong. I hate this sermon, pastor. Why are you talking about this? I’ve already blown it.’ Step three; get some grace from God.
What’s is God’s grace? It’s the free, unmerited favor that He’s going to give us. It is that which we don’t deserve because we’ve actually earned the opposite, because we’ve messed up so much. But he’s gonna forgive us, and he’s going to go beyond forgiveness. He’s going to just pour out grace and forgiveness and reconciliation so that the years that the locusts have eaten will be restored. Don’t you want some?
Maybe you’re sitting here and you’re feeling kind of beat up. Listen to me about step three, God’s grace. ‘Where do you see that in the text?’ you may be thinking. Look at Verse 25; it says, “and the man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed.” In other words, they were completely transparent, and there was no shame because they fully accepted the other, just as they were now. They had an advantage. They were perfect. Sin had not marred God’s creation. There is no verse 26 in chapter two. Instead, we have Chapter three. I wish there was a verse 26, 27 and 28 but there’s not. We live in post chapter three territory. None of us have been perfect husbands. None of us have been perfect wives. None of us have been perfect fathers. None of us have been perfect mothers. None of the children here have been under perfect parents. We live in an imperfect and fallen world.
Let’s look at chapter three. Can I read a little bit and comment on it to you? We need some grace. Let me show you where God’s grace comes in. Verse one of chapter three says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman,” This serpent Satan incarnate speaking to the woman. And here’s his question, “Did God actually say…” That’s the first temptation. The first thing he does is asks if this actually God’s word. He just questions it, so he gets the woman to question it, too. Is that really the best thing? Is that really God’s word? That’s what he does. He said, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Here are the next verses, “2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” So she quoted what Adam had told her about God’s word. I don’t know if she heard it first hand from God or if she heard it through her husband; we are not sure. She seems to have added a little bit there. Maybe she just needed to be a bit more dramatic about it, saying, You can’t touch it. I don’t remember God saying You can’t touch it but that’s probably wise. You probably shouldn’t touch it cause if you touch it, you might want to eat it.
In verse four it reads, “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.” I looked that up in the Hebrew; I’ve been preaching for 27 years and I don’t think I have ever read that verse in the Hebrew before this past week. I stumbled on something here that has just blown my mind. Can I share it with you? You will not die. Die surely is not in the original. They put surely in there in all the translations to make you think you will not really die. You will not surely die because they’re trying to smooth out the roughness of the Hebrew, which is hard to understand. But I started thinking it’s really not hard to understand. He’s saying You will not actually die. That’s what he actually said and he’s being truthful in a way because they don’t physically die when they eat it. Or do they? They spiritually are separated from God from then on. And then we are infected with the same sin gene so that we’re all born spiritually dead, which is why Christ invites us to be born again, but not reentering the wound like Nicodemus suggested, but being born again spiritually because we’ve all died in Adam. But we live in Jesus.
Did that get you the way it got me? You will not die. God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be open and you’ll be like God knowing good and evil. This is his third attack. (1) question God’s word, ( 2) belittle God’s warning and then (3) suggest that God is withholding some good thing from you. Like God’s got a better thing for you, but he’s not gonna let you have it. That’s like the person who says, ‘Well, God made me this way, and so it seems like I shouldn’t have to wait until marriage because I just really want sex now. I just want it now. He makes us a certain way, and then he’s like a bad God withholding good.’ That’s a satanic attack; God’s not withholding some good from you. In fact, he’s put up guard rails not to put you in prison, but to keep you from going off the cliff.
Have you ever driven down the interstate and thought, ‘I wish those guardrails weren’t there, so I could just drive my car right into the river.’ But yet we do it when we look at God’s word. Satan has hit Eve with these things, and so it got to her. “ 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.” You could say they tried to cover their sin and their shame through manmade means.
“8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves…” Are you hiding from God today? That’s always the response. When we’ve done wrong, we hide from God. That’s what sin always makes us do. We hide from God. Adam and Eve hid in the garden; they hid from God, they hidfrom the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden.
But the Lord God called, because that’s what He always does. He always comes looking. He’s calling you right now. Are you hiding from God? He’s calling you. Come to me; come back to me. So he calls to them because he’s a God of grace. The Lord called to the man. Where are you? That’s a good question. Where are you today? Where are you? Adam says, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
Are you afraid of God? Adam was afraid because he thought God would judge his sin. And God said,“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
Here’s the evidence of what happens when we don’t follow God’s plan. The first thing that breaks down is your relationship with your marriage, because the first thing God asks (don’t miss it) is “Who told you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” At the very end of that sentence, if you notice, is his admission. But at the beginning is “that woman” who was bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh and “whoa” man. Just a minute ago, that woman that you gave me. So it’s her fault, your fault, God, for making me this way and making her that way so that I could blame it on everybody.
Already you can see that they’re separating. And then the woman blames it on the serpent. “What is it that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me.” It’s not over because in Genesis 3:21 (ESV) And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” He coveredup their shame, coveredup their nakedness and gave them grace. There is foreshadowing right there. There is the forceshadowing because you don’t get animal skins without the shedding of blood. Those animals had to die. And so those those animals air like checks written on a future deposit.
Remember back in the day before everything was digital? You go buy groceries on Friday, and you still had until Monday to come up with the money. I never did that, did you? I never remember where that was possible . I can’t do that now because everything’s so quick. Those animal skins are like checks written on a future deposit that was paid at Calvary. When God sent His own S on to die in our place that He might cover our sins and clothe us in righteousness, that’s God’s good grace. That’s a free gift of unmerited favor. And He already is teaching them something right there. ‘You messed up. You need to do over. Let me help you with it.’
That’s the God that we’re asking to build our family. We want to give Him the authority and we want to follow His plan and not the world’s plan. See, grace means that you get what you don’t deserve. You deserve to stay in your sin. But grace not only forgives you cause forgiveness would bring you back to zero. Like if you overdrew your checking account (back to the checking account picture) and you get one of those letters in the mail that you had non sufficient funds. They not only charge you for that which you overdrew, they charge you a service charge just to get you back to zero. Well, that’s not grace. That’s law. That’s how the world works.
Here’s what God sees; he’s sees you are in the negative. You’ve overdrawn and you have service charges. But on the cross, Jesus made a deposit on your behalf. All you have to do is accept it. It not only pays for all the overdrawals, all the sins and all the service charges of all the people you’ve offended, including God, especially God. But it also makes a deposit of righteousness so that you are made whole in God’s sight. You are a child of God. So he doesn’t just bring you up to zero. He takes you up to wealthy and rich in knowing Christ, So that all that belongs to Christ belongs to you.
This is God’s grace. ‘I haven’t been a perfect father. I’m glad God didn’t let me mess him up too bad, but everything that I see from the time they were little kids where they would have some little behavior that I wish they didn’t have it was like I was looking in little mirrors.’ Maybe God gives us kids to show us how badly we need Him and maybe some of us have never really prayed until we had kids. Maybe some of you showed up just because of your kids because they started asking you God questions and you started thinking, ‘It’s one thing to mess my life up, but it’s a whole other thing to mess their life up.’
God’s grace. Romans 3:23-24 (ESV) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Don’t you need some grace in your marriage? Don’t you need some grace so that not every little thing is taken apart in your life so that you recognize I’m not perfect, she’s not perfect, and the kids aren’t perfect? But we’re not trying to be perfect. We’re trying to have the grace-filled marriage, a grace-filled family, not a family under law, but under grace, because God in Christ Jesus is no longer counting our sins against us. So therefore, we are no longer going to be judgmental of each other. We’re gonna be forgiving and grace-filled towards each other.
Tim Kimmel, in his book, “Grace Filled Marriage,” writes this, “We long to feel grace in our spouse’s tone of voice, facial expressions, physical touch, and simple acts of courtesy and kindness. Yet we often show more grace to our coworkers, friends, and pets than we do to the person with whom we agreed, before witnesses, to share an underwear drawer, a bathroom mirror, and a credit card.” You show grace to your wife, to your husband and to your kids. Or do you have a life where you’re keeping record of wrongs and it’s just building up? We need grace.
Grace is like the oil between well fitted gears. It keeps them from building up heat and destroying one another. Then, you put some more gears in there; maybe there is two or three kids, like brother Devon. He’s added three kids to his list. For some crazy reason, I used to live in a single wide mobile home. . Whenever my single wide got too tight, I bought a bigger single wide . Why, Devon, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but you added on. Now you’re gonna put two stories. I want to see that one. You do that because I was trying to visualize a single wide trailer two stories high. But you put all that together. All those gears that creates heat and friction. But the Holy Spirit and His grace and His forgiveness poured into this keeps everything running smooth.
Don’t you want some grace? How do you get it? By making the Lord Jesus master of your life and then say, ‘I don’t know about your house,’ “But as for me in my house, we will serve the Lord.” Then, watch the grace pour in there.
You don’t have to die. You can live. Live with Jesus. How are you going to do it? Submit to God’s authority, pursue his purpose and receive his grace. Let’s pray.
Lord, there’s a family here right now that are on the rocks; they are hanging on by a fingernail. I pray for them right now. I pray for the husband, the dad, that you would put Christ first in your life. Will you do it, my friend, right where you are. I pray that the wife, the mother, would put Christ first. Maybe you’ve never come to Him and said, “I want you to be my Lord and Savior.” You could do that right now. It’s a decision of the will. It’s a step of faith expressed by speaking in prayer, saying, “I am a sinner. I’ve made mistakes, but I’m not gonna hide from you anymore. God, I’m coming into the light. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to cover my sin. I believe He was raised from the grave and that He lives today. I invite you, Lord Jesus. Now come into my life. Forgive me of my sin to clothe me in righteousness and to make me a child of God so that I’m a member of your family. On top of that, I pray that you would rescue my family. Rescue my marriage, rescue my teenager, Lord God of grace. I depend on Jesus now as the authority of my life.” If you’re praying that prayer right now, I want you to know something. God is rushing towards you. Believer, you’re here today and maybe you have some stuff to repent of . Don’t be afraid to run to the Father. Run to the Father. He’s already paid for all your sin and shame through Christ. Run to the father right now. Don’t hide any longer. Give Him your marriage. Give Him your parenting, give him your teenager and your toddler. Put him in charge of your family. In Christ’s name. Amen.