A Prayer That Places God’s Word Where It Ought To Be
SERMON SERIES - THERE'S A PRAYER FOR THAT!
3- A prayer that places God's Word where it ought to be.
A sermon based on Genesis 3:1-6, delivered by Pastor David Russow,
Hope Lutheran Church, Andover, MN, October 27 & 30, 2019
In the name of Jesus, who is the Truth in the flesh, and whose Father's Word is truth:
Young people are leaving the organized church. They're checking “none” on forms that ask for their religious preference. In an editorial in our august metropolitan newspaper Jean gave her opinion as to why they're leaving. She wrote, they: just plain,“disagree with/don't accept church teachings” anymore. A few days later Harlan wrote a loud, “Hear, Hear!” by condemning evangelical Christian churches. He said churches like ours are, too non-inclusive, discriminatory, racist, sexist, and judgmental, anti-environmental and anti-science. But Harlan defended young people as eithical. Now they're turning to the ethics of, “Secular and humanist values of inclusion, social justice and environmentalism...”
Blame the Jeans and Harlans on the editorial pages. Blame the times. Blame society. Blame secular and humanistic (based on evolution) teaching in institutions of learning. Blame the devil. Blame us, too, and our devotion to, our love to, our hallowing of God's name and Word! We, we evangelical and Lutheran Christians! Like our first parents we've fallen into the trap of displacing the Word of God in matters of what we believe and how we live. We cower to be out there rather than shout it from the roof tops. We are almost apologetic to wave the banner of Christian, Lutheran, Bible believing. We've gone with the flow of, “Well, that's your interpretation.” And we don't want to look stupid when they wave their banners of, “There is no absolute truth. Truth is what you believe is true.”
Hogwash! No, serpent slime! For all the displacing of God's Holy Word, there's a prayer for that. “Hallowed be thy name.” Since the first temptation and the first sin, the need to pray the first petition of what Jesus taught is of first necessity! All heaven was lost and ,all hell broke loose, and for the first a man and a woman turned on each other, on God, felt shame, guilt, loneliness, and regret, even hid from the One who loved them most and whom they loved, their marriage fell apart, the rules of the blame game were set, and finally, finally sin and death entered the world. But God's lover won that fateful day. He expressed his love. He promised a Savior. And Jesus gave a prayer for that, to preserve that and hallow that in the Word. Let's examine the Fall, the Promise and learn again the prayer that places the Holy Word back where it ought to be.
Now the serpent was more cleaver than any wild animal which the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?'” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 but not from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden. God has said, 'You shall not eat form it. You shall not touch it, or else you will die.'” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die. 5 In fact, God knows that the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was appealing to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some its fruit and ate. She gave some also to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it...
The displacing of God's Name/God's Word:
You want to know where discrimination, sexism, judgmental-ism came from, where feeling lost and unwanted, ashamed of self, and where hopeless in life came from? You want to really know why young people are leaving the church? It began when the devil, who lied from the beginning, held out four basic lies to Eve with Adam right there with her. There are 4 lies that are the basis to every temptation the devil throws our way.
The devil's lies centered on one of two special trees God placed in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They could eat freely of the Tree of Life, but the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil was Adam and Eve's altar of worship of expressing their love for God. Notice how they worshiped then, THEY STAYED AWAY. God came to them. They decided, in love, that they would not even touch that tree.
First lie: “You certainly will not die...” in other words 'Sin won't hurt.' Oh, how we love that the lie that sin won't hurt. Stop coming to church, no hurt, no foul, your saving faith won't drain away if you're not poring in. Pour another drink down your gullet, don't worry about anything like a hangover or a DUI. What's a little OMG, or JC, or GD, those are just names, who on earth cares? Second lie: God knows that the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, you will be like God, knowing good and evil, in other words, “Sin is beneficial, fun, for you. God doesn't want you to have fun.” He's, too, restrictive. Come on, these are the 2000's, Forget the Sabbath there's so much more. Marriage shouldn't be honored as much as love, love not marriage makes the shared bed pure. lies get you further than the truth, right is wrong for you, wrong is right for you... Fourth lie (don't worry we'll come back to the third): She gave some also to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it in other words, get others to sin with you. Sin isn't so bad when others are doing. Sin isn't bad at all when everyone no longer considers it a sin. Poodle skirts and jumping off a cliff together – misery loves company. And if everyone is doing it somehow doesn't that tell God he was wrong, or at least change his mind about what he wants. God converted! God shaped in mankind's image, no longer mankind shaped into God's image.
But the third lie is the clincher. The devil got Eve to stop quoting God, “God said,” and to trust her feelings, her emotions, her reasoning, her senses, When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was appealing to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some its fruit and ate. And with Adam, he just stood there and said and did nothing while Eve was being tempted. He just dropped God's Word entirely. Lie # 4 – throw out the Bible and decide for yourself. And the devil slapped the bottom of secular humanism and it's been crying it's cry ever since.
Lie # 4 – is what prompted the Lutheran Reformation and shaped us to be a the Bible is God's Word, it's true, it's our only source of doctrine and life. A return to the Bible was Luther's cry, not the proclamation of church, or pope, salvation isn't earned, it was freely won and freely given us by Jesus his blood cross and his abandoned grave. A return to the Bible was the Reformer's point, don't trust your reason to trump clear Bible passages and put the burden back on you with choosing Christ, and symbolizing that choice with baptism and communion. A child with the Word will teach us. The grass is not greener on the other side of the denominational fence. Satan, we can see through your lies that displace God's holy Word.
The Reformation lives because, “Satan continues to make sin less offensive,heaven less appealing, hell less horrific and the Gospel less urgent.” (John MacArthur)
A prayer that places God's Word where it ought to be: “Hallowed be thy name.”
15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.
The first promise: someone born of a woman would crush the devil's head. That's the message repeated, fulfilled throughout God's Word. It speaks love, victory, salvation. God's Word comforts dries our tears. God's Word tells us the truth when there are so many lies. It guides. It gives strength. God's Word finally takes us to heaven. It’s important to remember that the Bible as a whole is really an elaboration on God’s name (-Francis Pieper). God's Word has the first and final say.
God's Word is like a diamond, it will have new sparkle and brilliance for you and me all the way through life. God's Word restores God's image, blesses relationships, lifts the individual, and even enables us to place it where it ought to be in our minds, our souls, our hearts. Hallowed be thy name. Amen.