March 11, 2018 – How Many Trees Do You See?

March 11, 2018 – How Many Trees Do You See?

March 14th, 2018

Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Genesis 1-4

Genesis 2:4-25 (ESV)
4 These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground 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. 20 The 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. 21 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. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 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.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Sermon Outline
What we see, understand and experience is now vastly different from Eden – reflection on the tree of life reframes our perspective.

I) Life and Abundance

  • v9 “the tree of life was in the midst of the garden” (“every tree”)
  • what is not known to us is actually further evidence of God’s goodness

II) Life and Relationship

  • commandment (v16) is an aspect of a covenantal relationship

III) Life and Death

a) deceptive promise “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5) – autonomy
b) knowledge becomes experience

IV) Eternal Life

  • Jesus, sent by the Father, calls us to trust Him, with the promise of life as the result

Questions for Reflection

  1. Do you have a particular leaning in how you experience life, how you view the universe, how you think theologically – are you fundamentally hopeful, fundamentally cynical, fundamentally suspicious, something else?
  2. Genesis 2 pictures abundance, beauty, life, goodness. What of this remains in our world? Where do you see and experience these things? How can you recognize and experience more goodness? How can you do this in a way that is not naïve?
  3. What difficulties do you have trusting God? If trust is key to a healthy relationship, how do you understand doubt, fear, cynicism and suspicion as expressions of difficulties relating to God? Are your difficulties trusting God unique to that particular relationship, or do you experience the same difficulties elsewhere?
  4. What challenges do you find with obedience? If God forbids something you desire, what do you do? Is it good to assume a certain measure of self ignorance, or is it problematic to doubt yourself? What does wisdom look like in this regard?
  5. In what areas of your life do you want autonomy (from God)? Where do you want to think for yourself, to determine right and wrong, to imagine consequences and outcomes different from what is in the Bible? Where (or on what matters) do you accept what the Bible teaches?
  6. Can you follow Jesus without trusting him? How is faith necessary to Christianity?
  7. How does Jesus restore and reconcile us to God? What is Jesus promising when he says we have eternal life in him?

Prayer of Confession
Our generous Father, you provide abundantly, you give us life, and you speak the truth, warning and protecting us.  Forgive our lack of trust, and our viewing you through our own lens of cynicism, fear, and resentment.  In our ignorance we assume you withhold good from us, rather than imagining you are holding good things in store for us.  Grant to us the eternal life promised to all who trust Jesus and follow him.  As we remember his death, forgive us the sin that leads to our own.  Thank you for the new covenant in his blood, and for the peace you extend to us because you are merciful.  Amen.

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