Who am I?
So much of our sin is rooted in simply forgetting who we are and who we were meant to be.
Morning. David Sorn. Lead Pastor here at Renovation Church.
What if you thought you were someone else?
What if, like in the movies, you got amnesia and you woke up thinking you were a famous actor like Leonardo DiCaprio or actress like Jennifer Lawrence?
Except…you weren’t them.
It would be quite the experience.
You’re trying to tell everyone that you’re this famous person…they think you look nothing like it.
You’re trying to sign autographs, people think you’re a real creeper.
You’re trying out for movie roles, but apparently you can’t act at all.
So now, you’re out of work, you’ve got a few restraining orders against you, and life’s not going so well.
It never works to be somebody you’re not.
Let’s come back to that.
This morning, we are finishing our “From the Beginning” series.
A series where we’ve been studying how Adam & Eve’s first sin (that changed humanity forever) relates to us today.
Specifically, how we seem to repeat sin…by falling for almost identical lies.
We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on this series, and we’ve been really encourage by what God’s doing with it.
People feel like it’s been really helpful to understand their sin in ways they’ve never seen before.
Which has been our hope all along for this series.
To pull back the curtain on HOW sin is actually working against you, so you can better avoid it and live for Christ
We’re going to take one last look at our passage, and I want to show you one more lie that Adam & Eve fell for.
And it’s a tempting lie that we still fall for all the time.
First let’s start with God’s command to Adam.
(Genesis 2:16-17) – NIV
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
But…unfortunately, here’s what happens:
(Genesis 3:1-6) – NIV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
THE TEMPTATION TO FORGET WHO YOU ARE
The devil threw a lot of lies at Eve…but perhaps the foundation of all of his lies can be see in verse 5:
(Genesis 3:5) – NIV
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
I mean, after all, it was called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
So, was he telling the truth?
Like most of his lies…only partially.
Adam & Eve did get a fuller knowledge of evil (of sin)…that’s for sure.
Instantly, they hide from God…knowing they’ve done wrong.
“And in a sense, they’ve become “like God” in now they have a basic (although warped) sense of Good and Evil that they didn’t have before.
But the devil’s promise to REALLY BE LIKE GOD…is not fulfilled.
It’s like a bad promise from the internet.
You know what I’m talking about?
Like a spam advertisement that says, “Work from home and make $80,000 a month”
Yeah, that’s partially true…you get to work from home.
That’s what they got.
They bit into the fruit thinking they could be like God…but all they got was an introduction to evil.
But let’s think about this temptation…the temptation to “be like God”…
Because it’s everywhere in your life.
SO MUCH of our sin can be traced back to us trying to put ourselves in the place of God.
So much of sin is rooted in the fact that WE want to sit on the throne…not God.
And it’s not as dramatic is you think.
Sometimes we point the figure at people who commit murder, abortion, and do immoral things in the name of science, and we accuse them of “playing God”
But I want you to see is that we all try our hand at “playing God” all the time.
This was Adam & Eve did.
“You mean, I can be like God? I can do it?!? Okay, I’ll bite”
Think of something as simple as anxiety.
Now, anxiety is an emotion, and emotions in themselves are not inherently sinful.
If someone breaks into your bedroom in the middle of the night and you feel no anxiety…you ought to see someone about that.
But for most of us…when we’re anxious about the future…we’re worrying about the future.
And worry…is what?
It’s a lack of trust in God.
Worry says, “If God only knew what I knew (from my perspective on the throne)…”
“If God only understood how bad this could get….”
When you worry, you fear that God isn’t going to get it right (as if it would go “RIGHT” if you were sitting in His chair)
OR think about forgiveness…or the lack of it.
When you won’t forgive a parent or a sibling for what they did, you’re saying, “God, I know you say to forgive, but you don’t understand how they hurt me…”
And what’s the lie that you’re falling for?
It’s that if you could just take this in your own hands…if you could sit on his throne…you’d know more about who does and does not deserve forgiveness.
In some sense, this message is a culmination of all the others in this series:
We wrongly think that life could be better if we decide for ourselves what is good, what is true, and what is right…and in doing so…we essentially want to be God.
The god of our lives.
Fully in charge.
We have this illusion that if we could only have power, independence, and control, than we could be happy…have life.
And in America, you can have just about all the independence and freedom you want (and a lot of that, is of course, good)
But think about it: Living in America gives us probably a better litmus test on this idea than anywhere on earth.
Living here…you can test out if “being in control” gives you what you want.
That’s not true in a lot of places. And a lot of times in history.
Slaves never felt like they were God of their life
Many people in oppressive, war-torn countries today, don’t feel life is anything like that.
But think about what America can offer you:
Money? Yep! The American dream!
Democracy? Yep! No dictators here.
Freedom of Speech? Yep.
Freedom to live your life how you want? Yep.
In America, you have the chance to be anything, do anything, and be “God of your life!”
We’re finally free to do and be who we want! To take control!
Yet, on Gallup’s 2012 Happiness scale, we ranked as the 33rd happiest country.
We lost to countries like Panama, The Philippines, and Costa Rica.
Countries not known for their economic prowess and democracies and freedom of thought.
Listen, this is anything but a political speech on democracy…I’m just trying to show you that taking God’s place…even if you think you’re completely free to be in charge…isn’t going to get you what you truly want.
Because…that’s not what you were made for.
It’s not your purpose to be in control.
And you’re never going to find true fulfillment if you don’t know whom you really are and what you were really made for.
WHEN HE’S ON THE THRONE, YOU THRIVE
Think of it this way: What were Adam & Eve created for?
How did God design them to be joyful, have purpose, and find life?
They were created to be dependent on God in the garden.
To be subordinate to Him as their Lord and Provider.
And He would have provided for them, IN PARADISE mind you, forever.
But they took the risk, and fell for the temptation to become like God themselves.
But it didn’t work…because that’s not what they were created for.
They don’t even remotely have the capacity to “become like God”
Or, think of it this way:
Imagine that the world was basically just ocean…with one tiny island.
And you are a servant in the palace of the Great King on that island.
And everyone loves the King.
He’s generous, kind, and an incredible leader.
He’s been nothing but good to you.
He gives you food.
You like your work.
You feel like you have purpose.
He takes care of you
He’s been incredibly kind and generous.
But there’s something inside of you that just doesn’t want to be a servant.
YOU want to be KING. To be Queen!
YOU want to call the shots!
You don’t want to assassinate the king or anything, so you decide to get a boat and set sail…to find your own Kingdom, and rule your own land!
But it’s silly on multiple levels.
There are no other lands for you to be king of.
There’s just one king.
And two…you were servant to the King!
You had purpose. You had fulfillment!
But you’re going to give up the position of servant to the King, on a wild goose chase to be king yourself.
And that’s what happens when we follow sin…it leads us away from God!
And if you know who you are (a servant of the King), you’ll find purpose and life.
But if you spend your life trying to be someone you’re not…you won’t.
Trying to live your life like you’re in charge…you’re in control…that you set the path of your future…is just as crazy as thinking you’re Leonardo DiCaprio.
You’re not God.
You’re not in control.
You don’t know what’s best for you.
You don’t know the next best step for your life.
You don’t know better than his book the Bible
You don’t get to decide who gets forgiven and who doesn’t.
You’re not God.
See, your elementary teacher lied to you.
You can’t DO anything you put your mind to.
And you can’t BE anything you put your mind to.
You’re not God and you never will be.
And if you spend your life trying to do something you were never created to do…it’s painful…and incredibly unfulfilling.
It would be like me trying to spend my life becoming a defensive lineman in the NFL.
At 32, I’m already past my prime.
I’m not fast enough. Not big enough. Not strong enough.
I might be able to memorize the playbook, but that’s not going to be enough. J
I’m not built for it, never will be.
And because I wasn’t created for that, if I try and live that way, it’s going to be a pretty painful experience.
Physically, and emotionally.
You were created to love and serve God.
And if that is indeed how God created you, then that’s where you will find fulfillment!
You won’t find it in trying to be the God of your own life.
Ironically, you find life when you die
When you die to yourself and your own ways.
Look at the teaching of Jesus on this:
(John 12:24-26) – NIV
24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
In order for the wheat to grow…to live…it first has to die.
But your sinful flesh and the devil will try and talk you out of that death until the day you die.
It’s going to say:
“Listen…don’t surrender to God.”
“You be in charge!”
“You determine what’s right and how to live.”
“Don’t listen to the Bible! You know best!”
Until the day you die…you’ll be tempted to believe that things will be better if you take off your servant’s robes, and put on God’s kingly robes instead.
But it’s a lie.
See the great thing about your God is not only is He the King, but He is a wise King…He is a loving King.
So when you give up your worrying…you start to surrender the anxiety.
And you say, “God, I’m not in control…you are…I trust you.”
And an incredibly ironic thing will happen.
See, you thought you had freedom by taking control…by usurping the throne….by taking the worry upon yourself.
But what you’ll find is that freedom is found in surrender.
In the giving up of control.
It’s powerful to say, “God, I’m not in control. I trust you”
And when you let go of the tight hold bitterness has in your heart…and you trust your King…and you forgive your family member like God asked…
You’re not giving up freedom…you’ll finally be living IN Freedom.
Rather than irrationally thinking you’re in control while you wrangle in your chains of hatred and bitterness…
You finally get to experience freedom…when you give them up to God…to take them away.
God is so good, isn’t He?
If we just trust Him…He’s so Good.
He’s your loving father…gracious King.
But one of the hard truths here is that so many around us have no idea yet that God is good.
And that His ways are life.
The average American doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus
And they ARE trying to pursue joy, life, and purpose by being God of their own lives.
They wouldn’t necessarily describe that way of course, but that’s exactly what it is.
And as we fall less and less for the temptation of being God, and we surrender more to Him, may we not just enjoy that new life for ourselves…
But let’s share that new life…that joy…that purpose…with others who are still out…endlessly rowing their boat…trying to find a land where they can be king.
A land they’re never going to find.
Because life is only found in surrender to the one and only King…Jesus Christ.
Over the next 3 weeks, we are praying for a Winter Awakening in our church.
(put up Winter Awakening slide)
That God would awaken cold hearts to the real love of Jesus Christ.
As so many of our friends and family pursue love and life elsewhere, we want God to WAKE THEM UP…to the amazing love He has for them.
To show them that they were created to love and be loved by Jesus Christ.
And our hope is to see many, many people meet Jesus Christ during this time.
We’re going to be praying for an awakening in Blaine.
That people would be meeting Jesus every single week.
And I want you to start praying about this with us.
We’re going to give people an opportunity to give their lives to Christ each of the next 3 weeks.
On Feb. 1st, I’ll be speaking as we kick off our “real Love” series
(Put up Real Love slide)
On Feb. 8th, my friend International Evangelist Sammy Wanyonyi (who’s led 250,000 people to Christ) is coming to speak!
And on Feb. 15th, Valentine’s Day Weekend, we’re going to have a “wedding” in the service.
It’s probably not exactly what you’re thinking, but it’s going to be a powerful display of what real love is, and what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
And I want you to bring someone with you at least 1 of the next 3 weeks who doesn’t know Jesus.
SO they could meet God, and know REAL love and REAL life
Be bold, be courageous, and take advantage of it.
And I believe many of your friends and family are going to meet Jesus Christ.
God is going to move.
He’s going to bring real love.
THE TREE OF LIFE
Because we do find real love…true joy in Him…when we’re most satisfied in Him…when we are fully surrendered to Him.
And yet, after 4 weeks of talking about this…and studying multiple lies that we can’t stop falling for, the temptation is also there…to LOSE HOPE.
To feel like it’s never going to get better.
And I want to assure you, that as you press into God, and you believe that He is GOOD…that He is RIGHT…and that HE is GOD…he will give you more victory over sin.
But in case you still feel defeated, let me close out our series by showing you one more thing that Genesis 3 teaches us about sin and life.
Of course, after Adam & Eve’s sin, paradise (FULL joy & life) was lost…so we won’t experience it fully here.
But paradise was not completely lost.
In Genesis chapter 2, we’re told that in middle of the Garden is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (the tree we’ve been talking about for 4 weeks that they sinfully ate from), but there is also another tree.
It’s simply called “The Tree of Life”
And one of the consequences of Adam & Eve’s sin involves the Tree of Life.
This is from the end of chapter 3, the part we haven’t read yet in this series:
(Genesis 3:22-24) – NIV
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
So one of the reasons they’re banished from the Garden of Eden, is because the Tree of Life is there.
And if they eat of it…they won’t feel the effects of sin…and then they won’t decay…and they could still live forever.
So they’re blocked from the Tree of Life.
And of course eventually, the Garden and Tree both disappear
But the Tree of Life still exists.
It’s just in another place.
Let’s move now from the very beginning of the Bible, to its very last chapter…as the disciple John is describing what heaven will one day be like for us
(Revelation 22:1-2) – NIV
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
So for now, we continue to struggle with the temptation and lies of sin.
And I pray that as the years go by, that God gives you more and more power over it’s deceitful and destructive lies
But know this: One day…the battle will be over.
And followers of Christ will go to a new paradise. To heaven.
And the Tree of Life will be there.
And God has promised that there, he will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
And there will be no more death…no more mourning, and no more pain.
No more sin.
What God began all those years ago, he will one day restore.
And what a glorious restoration it will be.
Before I step down for the day, we’ve been talking for a while now that we are going to take our Annual Special Offering for Haiti today.
If you’re visiting for the first time today, and you’re like, “Wait, there are TWO offerings?!”
We just do this once a year.
Our church, church-wide, loves to participate in our work in Haiti.
In case you weren’t here last week, let me quickly review what our special offering is for this year.
In just 9 days, we’re sending a team of 11 people to do some incredible work in Lizon, Haiti for the 4th year in a row.
We are going to be doing a number of things there this year, including working with our partner church of 3 years, “Ark of Noah by Faith”
As some of you know, last year we raised a whole lot of money to completely put on a new roof, paint the interior, give them new benches and more.
Here’s a look at our finished work
It was amazing what our team accomplished thanks to your generosity!
This year, one of the things we want to do is do some work on the outside of the church to make it more appealing for outsiders
Here’s a look at what it looks like now
We’re also going to do some work with an orphanage just done the street from our church…as we carry out Christ’s mission in our city there.
This orphanage currently has 27 kids, ages 3-15…and the children don’t really have beds
Here’s a look at where the girls sleep
And here’s a look at where 20 boys sleep every night.
20 boys sleep on those two love chairs and foam pads
Our goal is for our team to build 9 triple decker bunk beds, so each of the 27 kids can have their own mattress and bed.
We also want to build some good benches/desks for their school.
We’re also going to be putting on two big outreaches in the park where we are going to be sharing the Gospel with a ton of people.
We want to make this as easy as possible, so we don’t have a set goal this time around…we’re going to do as much as God enables us to do.
Here’s a helpful way to think about how much you can give
We’ve got a bunch of projects, so if you’re thinking about how much to give, these are examples of what your money can accomplish in Haiti
2 Gallons of Paint: $25
5 Bibles for new believers: $50
1 Bed: $100
Trickle-Decker Bunk Bed: $300
We want you to be a part of changing the world with us in Haiti.
IN helping reach people for Christ, not just here IN MN, but around the world.
And you’re not giving just to some large organization here. This is something that WE’RE doing. That our team is LITERALLY going to go and build these bunk beds that you give money to in just 9 days.
We’ll be able to show updates as we do it, bring pictures, you name it.
It’s one of the best ways to give.
Even if you can only give $10, we’ll be able to take that $10 and get a Bible for a new believer at our outreach. That’s HUGE!
So I encourage you…be a world changer this morning.
In just a moment, we’re going to take the offering, but I did want to let you know that on a logistical note, if you weren’t ready to give today, you can still give online at RenovationChurch.org or send a check into our p.o. box (just make a note on it) as long as you do so before the 31st
Make checks to renovation church
And if you do want to give electronically for this (RIGHT NOW), you can actually do that at Renovationchurch.org…or through our App…just make SURE you select the Haiti Offering when you do.
So let’s just pray, and then we’ll put our trust in God and hope that He can CONTINUE to do incredible things through our church. Here and around the world!
Let’s pray for the offering.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
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