The Road Through Romans: Without Excuse

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The Road Through Romans is a discussion that is taking a look at every verse in the Book Of Romans. To be honest I am not sure this epoch of time has enough left in it for us to finish the discussion, but we will plod along until the age changes or the end of the book comes… whichever comes first.

If you have missed any of our previous discussions (and they are legion) you can find them on THE ROAD THROUGH ROMANS PAGE

We have been discussing verse 20 of Romans chapter 1 which says,

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

We have spent the better part of the last twenty posts on TRTR discussing those invisible attributes. I think I was actually taking so long getting through those qualities of God because I didn’t want to face the last four words of the verse.

People are without excuse!

We finished with the final invisible quality of God over a week ago and I have been unable to face writing what has to come next because this part of the good news is hard to take in.

People are without excuse!

There is a power in the world working overtime to convince us that there is no God or that if there is a God, He is some distant far away being who set the world to spinning and then walked away. Yet the creation itself tells us, if we will look at it, that not only is there a God but He knows us and desires relationship with us.

At the end of time no one will be able to excuse themselves for not knowing God by saying “There was no way I could have known about God.”

To them God will say,

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

In other words the problem is not that nothing in life points people to God. It is that in spite of the fact that creation screams out about God, people would rather believe anything else.

 

Pastor Wrinkles: Unintended Consequences Pt. 5

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We have been having a discussion about all the things mankind lost in the fall from grace. If you would like to catch up on the previous parts of the discussion you can find them

HERE

HERE

HERE

AND HERE

Today’s discussion is about PEACE.

We have learned in parts one through four that because of Adam’s sin we lost our Assurance our Authority Our rest BUT Finally we lost our Peace.

Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Ge. 3:

 

God’s plan was peace in the home, Peace In the family, Peace in our communities and peace in our world. But when man ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil judgment entered into his soul and suddenly peace in the home was challenged. Peace in the family was challenged. Peace in our communities was challenged and peace in our world was challenged.

Some people think that God randomly assigned the curses to Adam and Eve but I believe that God wasn’t assigning curses so much as explaining consequences.

If I may ad lib a little, I think God was saying, “The fruit changed you Eve and now you will feel pain as a result. The fruit changed you and now, wife, you will judge everything your husband does and if you think its stupid you’re going to try to control it. Oh, and by the way your going to think everything he does is stupid because the tree makes you judgmental.

Going a little further I think God was saying, “Also to you men, you are going to become forceful because you are going to think ‘my wife is just crazy and picky about everything’. Oh and it’s not just going to work that way in the home it’s going to be that way with your boss at work and with your thoughts about the President or King or Prime Minister. Should you ever get into a place of leadership it’s going to be that way when you try to work with other agencies or companies or countries. Judgment is going to steal your peace.”

Have you found that a spirit of judgment in yourself or in others has stolen some of your peace? Tell me about that.

Pastor Wrinkles: Unintended Consequences Pt. 4

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Our discussion continues regarding the fall of man and the nature of original sin. Today we are talking about the loss of rest. If you missed our previous three discussions and want to answer the questions posed in them you can find them

HERE for part 1

HERE for part 2

and

HERE for part 3

Now on to today’s discussion…

It is true, as we have said,  in the fall from grace we lost assurance; We lost our authority; But we also lost our REST-

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;  through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow  you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are  and to dust you will return.” Ge. 3:16-19

I just talked with a friend who came back from vacationing. She was highly stressed and chose to take a spiritual healing retreat at a Christian conference center. She spent a week resting and praying and rejuvenating and then came back to work. Three days later all her stress levels are back. How many of you have been there? That is the power of the fall. God intended that our work itself would refresh us. Before the fall work was a vacation and now even our vacations most times feel like work. We have lost our rest. It is an inside problem. It is the way we look at work not the work itself. It is what work tells us about ourselves and the world not the work itself.

How many of you have said this, “I love what I do I just hate the stuff that goes on around what I do? Or I  love what I do I just wish I felt like it was making a difference?”  That is the power of the fall.

Here’s a question for you. Hebrews 4:6- 11 says,

So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. 7So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted:

“Today when you hear his voice,

don’t harden your hearts.”e

8Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. 9So there is a special restf still waiting for the people of God. 10For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. 11So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

What does this teach us about the possibility of having our rest restored?

Pastor Wrinkles: Unintended Consequences Pt. 3

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Today we continue our discussion about the Fall of mankind from the stand point of Genesis chapters 2 and 3.

If you missed our previous discussions you can catch them

Here

and Here

Here is today’s discussion topic

 As we stated yesterday, in the fall we lost our Assurance but we also lost our “Authority”

Psalm 8  explains how we were meant to be when it says,

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?[c]

You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e] and crowned them[f] with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their[g] feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,  all that swim the paths of the seas.

But the writer to the Hebrews states the obvious truth,

What are mere mortals that you should think about them,

or a son of mana that you should care for him?

7Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels

and crowned them with glory and honor.b

8You gave them authority over all things.”c

Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority.

You see God intended that the Earth would be under our authority. But it is not! We lost control at the fall and now we are at the mercy of the Earth. Anyone who has ever lived through an earthquake or a tornado knows that truth. Controlling the fish of the sea?… just talk to all the people who have lived through being half-eaten by sharks this summer. Ask them how much control over the fish of the sea they feel they have.

We lost our authority at the fall and from that point to this we have been desperately trying to get back what God intended to be ours.

How does Psalm 8 make you feel in light of the knowledge  that we have lost authority?

Pastor Wrinkles: Unintended Consequences Pt. 2

Sunset Prayer

Yesterday we started a discussion around the fall of man from my latest sermon entitled “Unintended Consequences”. If you missed the first part of the discussion it can be found

HERE

Here is pt. 2 of that discussion:

Read Ge. 2:15- 3:19

At the moment of their disobedience (eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as shown in Ge. 3) something changed for Adam and Eve. Call it genetic. Call it spiritual. Nobody really knows, and truth be told it was probably a bit of both things, but something changed in the moment they disobeyed. They lost their significance, their sufficiency and their security, BUT they also lost something else as well. Adam and Eve at the point of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lost their “Assurance”

Much is made of the fact that before the fall Adam and Eve were naked and after the fall they needed clothes. Many people say that God did this to keep them from lusting after one another. Well that may be a problem today but I don’t believe that was Adam or Eve’s problem back then. First, they were married. Second the issue mentioned around nakedness in the Garden is not lust but shame Ge. 2:25 says “they were both naked in the Garden and felt no shame.” The reason they sewed fig leaves together in Ge. 3:7 was because suddenly they were ashamed.

Shame is a lack of self-assurance. The word used for shame in Ge. 2:25 is the word “Buwsh” which means “to be disappointed in yourself in front of another person.”

Before the fall Adam and Eve did not judge themselves or feel unworthy in front of each other. After eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil their eyes were opened. Suddenly they began to judge everything around them and instead of seeing the good in things they started seeing the bad in things.

All our disappointment in who we are comes from the fall.  Every time you call yourself  “fat”, “ugly”,  “weak” or “stupid”, every time you look in the mirror and want to cover up some blemish you are experiencing the power of the fall.

God’s intended world had people filled with confidence and assurance in who they were created to be. His thought was that men would succeed at whatever they put their hands to and feel confident in themselves as they did it. Instead, the fall has us constantly fighting the fear that we are not enough and that at any moment the true us will show up and we will fail.

On a scale of one to ten how much has the fall affected you in your self-assurance?

Pastor Wrinkles: Unintended Consequences Pt. 1

The crucifix at Kylemore Abbey

The crucifix at Kylemore Abbey

I was given the honor of preaching the sermon at Cornerstone Church last Sunday. Here for your perusal is the first excerpt from my notes…

As I begin I have to give credit where credit is due to my lead pastor Barry Risto for helping me with this sermon. He may not know he helped me, but up until last week I had several directions that were gnawing at the edges of my mind for this sermon.  No matter how I tried though, I could not settle on any of them until Pastor began to preach his sermon. He spoke about some of the things humanity lost in the fall of mankind, when Adam and Even ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He preached using the letter “S” and explained that when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden something changed in the human race. We lost certain things we were meant to have because we became at that moment changed and controlled by the power of sin. In the fall we lost our “significance” our “sufficiency” and our “security”.

As my pastor preached the Holy Spirit began taking me down rabbit trails and out of that came this sermon “Unintended Consequences”. As Pastor preached using the letter “S” last week to describe what was lost in the fall, this week I am going to describe the fall of man from the stand point of “A.A.R.P.”

We don’t spend much time thinking about the fall from grace that happened in the Garden of Eden. Few people, maybe none of us, really understand just how much fell apart in those moments when Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Some people don’t even realize we have lost anything at all. They consider the world a thing of beauty that is getting better and better, but the truth is, that mind-set denies reality and shows no understanding of what sin has done to mankind, to our world and to the very fabric of reality itself.

When Adam and Eve sinned they let the power of sin into the world and as Pastor Risto taught last week at the moment of their disobedience to God they lost their significance, their sufficiency and their security. But they lost even more.  I guess we need to start by letting the story tell itself.

The Bible tells us that at the very beginning of the world, God made one man and one woman who were to become the father and mother of all mankind. I believe this is actually how it happened. Call me crazy. Call me a red-neck. Call me gullible or whatever else you want. This is what the Bible teaches, so I think this is what actually happened. Anyway, God put the man and the woman in a place called the Garden of Eden and then the Bible goes on to tell the story this way

Genesis. 2:15- 3:19

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 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.”… Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame… 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’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

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. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

What do you think Adam and Eve hoped to gain in disobeying God?

Pastor Wrinkles: Quotes From the Sin Under the Sin

These quotes came from today’s sermon at Cornerstone Church.

“Sin is something that goes against God’s plan for human flourishing.” Pastor Brad Hackett

Sculpture at the library of Trinity College

” All sin comes down to unbelief which in turn becomes self-righteousness.” Pastor Brad Hackett

“The marvelous thing about God is He never sends anyone where they do not chose to go.” Pastor Brad Hackett

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“man sinned. God suffered.” Pastor Brad Hackett

“Satan is in Hell because he thought he could do a better job of running Heaven than God, but he is running Hell the same way he’d run Heaven. Hell is a counterfeit of Heaven. Everything Satan does is a counterfeit of something God does.” Pastor Brad Hackett