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The Third Sunday of Pentecost

June 10, 2018 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Genesis 3:8–3:15

†††In the Name of Jesus†††

Pastor Murray Keith

Text: Genesis 3:8-15

Date: June 10th, 2018; Pentecost 3; Series B

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

  • Our Old Testament lesson for this morning picks up shortly after Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden bringing sin, misery, and death into God’s creation.
  • After disobeying God they attempted to do something that we all continue to do today.  They attempted to deal with their guilty conscience.  
  • They knew very well what they had done.  
  • They knew very well that they deserved to be punished by God.  
  • They knew very well that they were going to die.
  • God Couldn’t have been more clear when he warned them, “…of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
  • Eat from this tree and you shall surely die.  
  • Immediately after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked.  
  • They knew they were guilty.  Their conscience was tormented.  
  • Filled with shame and a guilt they hid from God. 
  • In the cool of the day, when God entered their presence, Adam and Eve tried to ease their guilty conscience.  They tried to find a way around what they had done.
  • God asked Adam, “Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
  • God already knew the answer to his question.  But he gave Adam a chance to show some honesty – to take responsibility for what he had done.
  • But instead, Adam dealt with his guilty conscience by blaming Eve.
  • “It was her fault!  She gave me the fruit!  I’m innocent!”   
  • As though Eve forced him to take a bite and swallow it.
  • Then Adam had the nerve to blame God!  
  • “Besides, you’re the one who gave this woman to be with me! So really it’s your fault God!”
  • God then confronted Eve by asking her, “What is this that you have done?”
  • She also attempts to ease her conscience with blame.
  • “It’s not my fault!  The serpent deceived me!  I’m innocent!”
  • Adam and Eve tried to deal with their sin, with their guilty conscience, by hiding from God and by blaming others. 
  • We try to do this too.  
  • We try this, and a whole bunch of other tactics, to ease our guilty conscience.
  • We try to hide from God.  
  • We push him aside and focus on the things of this world so we don’t have to deal with our sin and guilt.
  • We hide by neglecting his Word and his Church.  
  • The truth, however, is that Adam and Eve couldn’t hide from God - and neither can we.
  • With Adam and Eve we also like to ease our conscience by playing the blame game.  
  • When we are caught in our sin it is amazing how quickly we can point the finger at someone else to deflect guilt from ourselves.  
  • Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”
  • If you are angry with someone you are breaking the 5th Commandment.  
  • But how often we blame the person who has made us angry.  We try to convince ourselves that it’s their fault!  
  • If they hadn’t done that or said that - then we wouldn’t be angry in the first place!  We’re innocent! 
  • When we break the 8th Commandment by gossiping  - we try to convince ourselves that it’s not our fault.  
  • If he hadn’t done that thing that is such juicy gossip we wouldn’t talk about it!  
  • Or, she should know not to tell me that confidential information – she knows I can’t keep a secret! 
  • How often we blame others to try to deal with our sin and to try to ease our  guilty conscience.
  • We try a bunch of other tactics too.
  • Some abuse substances.  
  • Some try to do a bunch of good things to make up for all of the bad things they have done.
  • Some reject God’s definition of right and wrong and instead use their own.  
  • But, in the end, none of these efforts work.  
  • They might satisfy us for a while, but they do not remove the problem of sin and death – they just mask it.
  • Sin is a death sentence - and it must be dealt with properly if we want to live.
  • And the only way that our sin can be properly dealt with is to be open and honest with God. 
  • Rather than frantically trying to rationalize, blame, excuse, and deny our sin – we need to own it.  Confess it.  Repent of it.  
  • St. John tells us like it is when he said, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
  • How freeing it is when we stop deceiving ourselves.
  • What a weight off of our shoulders it is when we are honest with ourselves.  When we are honest with God.  
  • It’s exhausting trying to cover up our sin.  
  • It doesn’t work.  It’s impossible.  And deep down we all know it. 
  • All we can do is confess our sin and receive God’s grace and mercy.
  • God is the only one who is able to deal with our sin properly and he did so by sending his Son to be our Saviour.
  • St. John went on to say, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
  • Because of Jesus’ perfect life, his death on the cross, and his resurrection - your sin has been dealt with.  All of it.  Every last one of your sins.
  • You have been cleansed in your Baptism from all sin and unrighteousness.  
  • In Christ you do not have a guilty conscience.
  • In Christ your sins are not masked and covered up, they are erased.  They are gone.  They have been dealt with fully and completely. 
  • He gives you his Word and his true body and true blood to strengthen you and assure you that this so!
  • And now, with our sins forgiven, with the guilt and punishment of our sins removed – we no longer need to hide from God.
  • Instead, we can delight in our restored relationship with him.  We are reconciled.
  • We can turn to him in prayer knowing and trusting that he will always answer in the way that is best for us.
  • We can live our lives in freedom as we serve him by loving and serving the people God has put in our lives. 
  • We can live with peace and comfort knowing that God has reversed sin’s curse.  
  • He has promised us eternal life where there will be no more hurting each other.  No more injuries and pain.  No more sickness, suffering, and sadness.  No more death.
  • God has promised us eternal life filled with love, joy, and well-being.  
  • Eternal life with God and all of his people.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

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The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.