April 22, 2018 – Self Consciousness
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4
Genesis 3:1-13 (ESV)
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 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.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 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.
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 from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which 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.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Our movement away from God results in a form of self-consciousness that breaks down relationships as we adapt various methods of concealing and hiding.
I) Covering ourselves before people
- v7 “…they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together…”
- the form of knowledge acquired from eating of the tree is a negative self awareness that breaks down intimacy and vulnerability in human relations
II) Covering ourselves before God
- v8 “the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord”
- an unhealthy fear of God (v10) is a major problem for a guilty human before an omniscient God
III) Covering ourselves
- v10 – a complicated answer to the simple question “where?” (v9)
- “I ate” at the end of the sentences of v12 and v13
- because of Jesus we embrace a new pattern of honesty and responsibility, where self awareness as God’s image bearers replaces self consciousness that arises from being self centered
Questions for Reflection
- What are you most self conscious about? In what settings or situations are you most self conscious? What is it you want most, and what do you most fear (socially)?
- What are subtle ways that people try to conceal things from others? What are some key motivations for concealing? Which of these things do you do most frequently?
- Does it bring you comfort to know that there is a God who sees and knows all things (including your thoughts and actions)? Does this stir fear and increase self consciousness? Why?
- Do you believe that the forgiveness promised in Jesus is the primary means of bringing an end to fear and shame? Is Christianity connected to over coming social alienation and problems? How does the gospel help you grow in these areas?
- Is honest confession a regular part of your life (whether to God, people, or both)? Do you take responsibility for your actions? How much do you qualify, shift blame, make excuses? How could your life change if you committed to choosing to take responsibility and bear whatever consequences come? What consequences would you have to face, and what consequences would you be free of?
- Apart from God we will naturally be self centered (or seek to align with something bigger than ourselves). How is reconciliation with God a means to overcoming the anxieties that come with being self centered? How do you maintain a healthy sense of self as your identity is formed as God’s child and servant?
Prayer of Confession
Our God and Father, our greatest privilege is to live life with you and to seek your presence, but our sin leads to fear and shame. We acknowledge that we hide, we blame, we make excuses, and we suffer all the effects of a self centered life that lacks integrity. You have shown us a better way, and make that way possible through Jesus Christ. As we remember him, work grace in our hearts, as we take responsibility for our sin, acknowledge the truth of our need of grace, and trust you for forgiveness and change. Thank you for removing our guilt and covering our shame, and for perusing us while we had turned away. Amen.