Roger's Postings

Friday, March 11, 2011

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7. Swallowing the lie!! 13/3/11

(15) The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 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 of it you will surely die."
(1) 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 surely die," the serpent said to the woman. {5} "For God knows that when you eat of 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. {7} 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.

There was once a man called Freddy. He was a fun loving and easy going sort of bloke, who enjoyed the great Australian outdoors. He was a family man, who together with his family would often go away for camping and fishing trips. Freddy also enjoyed having his friends around for a barby and a few beers.

Just after his 40th birthday, a freckle appeared on Freddy’s face. When Freddy’s wife noticed it she suggested that he should get it looked at. But Freddy simply denied that it was there: ‘It’s just a spot I’ve had since I was a kid. She’ll be right.’ The freckle began to grow and then turned into a nasty kind of mole. Freddy’s friends now even noticed it and in their concern for him, tried to get him to go and see the doctor. But Freddy didn’t want to admit that there was anything wrong. So he would say: ‘Ah it doesn’t matter. She’ll be right. It is nothing. Don’t worry.’ The mole turned into a melanoma that covered Freddy’s whole face, but still Freddy said he didn’t have a problem. Until of course, it killed him.

Freddy swallowed a lie. He fooled himself into thinking and believing that nothing was wrong. That lie cost him his life.

Swallowing the lie. It is easy to do – isn’t it? In fact we do it again and again throughout our lives. We so easily fall prey to that which we would like to hear, and that which is portrayed as being nice and good, even though it can be so deceptive and so deadly.

We only need to think of Adam and Eve in the garden. For Eve the lie was so easy to swallow; ‘Don’t you want to be like God, knowing good and evil?’ ‘Yes of course we do.’ What could be better for us than to be like God Almighty himself: He is our hero. He is our God? What better could we have than that? Little did they stop to think that they already knew all that was good; so all that they had to gain was knowing evil. But what the heck: being like God, what a great goal in life; what an achievement.

They swallowed the lie; even though it went against everything that God had told them. This God was the one who had provided everything for them; everything that was good and perfect. They were made in the image of God and enjoyed the very best relationship with God himself and each other. There was only one condition; one little command that God had placed before them. But with everything good possible, there was no need to venture into that one area. But they swallowed the lie that somehow this would make things even better for them.

They swallowed the lie; and that lie cost them their life. God said it would; and it did. From there on their lives and ours have never been the same. With our disobedience, comes the certainty of death. With this disobedience comes troubles and hardships, as we are taken from having everything good and perfect for us along life’s way. The swallowing of the lie; brings on us now much that is less than the ideal; and there is nothing that we can do to change it, no matter how many further lies we choose to swallow.

Down through history the lie, in many different shapes and forms has come. ‘By doing this, this and this you can find the God within you.’ ‘You are number One, so go out and enjoy your life.’ ‘You have the right to do what you want with your life; there is no such thing as right and wrong.’ ‘If you pray right and do these ten steps right, then you will be more like God and will be more blessed.’ ‘If you be positive and when we find the right pills, you will be able to live on for years and years, and you will not die.’ ‘You can be a Christian and not go to church.’ And the list could go on and on and on. These lies have come thick and fast: And down through history humanity has swallowed the lies, and have run into trouble and have died.

Now for us today as we travel down our Lenten path, we are called on to recognise that we too, far too often, also swallow the lies, that come in their many different ways and forms. Truth and lies get mixed together and portrayed as being good for us, even, and especially, within the church, and we too so easily get caught out because it sounds so good to our sinful human nature.

We swallow the lie, and too often think nothing of it. Then when we suffer as a consequence, we blame God and everyone else for our troubles. Even there we swallow the lie, that somehow we are not to blame. ‘God made evil, so somehow I am excused.’ ‘When the Bible said, you shall not commit adultery; homosexuality is evil; women should not be pastor’s, etc; that was all written for people of a different culture and time; and no longer applies to us.’ ‘I’m a Christian and so it doesn’t matter; I’m forgiven for it.’ And again the list goes on and on. So we swallow even more lies.

For us here today, probably the greatest of all, is the lie that all of this is no big deal. After all we believe in Jesus, we come to church, and we try to do the right thing. So she’ll be right. We swallow the lie. We continue on in life without any real sense of remorse and repentance. We somehow think that we have it under control and so we go on our merry way.

We need to remember again and again that because we swallow the lie, we will surely die; and our only source of help and hope is Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. There alone is the truth that we need in the face of these lies. So we fall our knees in recognition that within us there is no hope and no future, and are compelled to cry out, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ We can do so because we know that in Jesus and his death on the cross, we have forgiveness of our sin and the assurance of salvation and life. So we turn our face to him and cling to that promise and assurance that he gives.

We can look to him and trust him because when Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are; he did not swallow the lie. In the face of Satan’s sneaky deceptions, he simply stuck to the truth of God’s word, and so did not fall into temptation and the death that follows. However, we know that he then went on from this and took our sin; our failure on himself, and allowed God to punish him with death. He suffered our fate for our swallowing the lie, so that the power of our death might be destroyed, and that we might have the assurance of salvation and life.

He then also gave us baptism so that we can be assured again and again, that we are forgiven and connected to Christ and his death and resurrection. So daily we can acknowledge our weakness and failure and turn each day to our Lord for his help to lead the new life and to stand up against the lies that constantly come our way. We can now hold to his Word and know that there we have that which we need to know, so that we do not fall into temptation. But then when we do, as we regularly do, he calls us back into his presence where we can confess our sin and shame and know that he does forgive us, and the he will continue to guide, direct and help us along life’s way. Through Holy Communion he gives us Jesus’ very body and blood so that we can be comforted and assured that our sins are forgiven and that our Lord does goes with us. Thereby Satan’s lie that we are guilty and will not be forgiven, are squashed; and we can go forward with confidence and hope as we are connected to Jesus Christ.

So this Lenten season we fall on our knees in sorrow and shame as we continue to swallow the lies that come our way. As we continue to listen to the lies that focus on us and what we like and think is nice and good, we surely hang our heads, recognising that we just cannot do it on our own. We surely fall short of the glory of God and see that we deserve nothing but death.

But then as Christ and his death on the cross looms high before us, we turn to him, recognising that in him alone we have forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. We cling to him and his promises and so go forward with hope and confidence, seeking no more to swallow the lie.

This Lenten season may we all be turned away from any hope in ourselves, and seek to cling to Christ and his death as our one sure hope. Then may all honour and glory go to him who is Lord Almighty indeed, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN.

Pastor Roger Atze
Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish


Post a Comment

<< Home