May 22, 2016
Genesis 3:7-11

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As your pastor I see my job a lot like being a chef on that show Chopped… If you’ve never seen the show competing chefs are given a basket of mystery ingredients they have to turn into a three-course meal - which no doubt tests their creativity and overall talent.

I hope you know I take my job very seriously. Not only do you come to the table every Sunday ready to eat, but I work hard to prepare a spiritual meal from God’s Word that will hit the spot… Something divinely-inspired, creatively-crafted, relevant… Something that sticks with you and you might feel inclined to share with someone else. 

Now because it is our conviction to teach expositionally verse-by-verse through books of the Bible the challenge I face is that, while I’m called to creatively cook the meal, God provides a different set of ingredients every single Sunday - whatever the text presents. 

Honestly, this kind of weekly challenge explains why many pastors prefer to be a cook at Applebees and would never compete on a show like Chopped. Instead of the creative challenge of working up a new dish every Sunday from different ingredients, many pastors prefer to rely on nothing more than a few go to dishes they’ve already mastered. And yet, while this does allow easy topical messages a pastor can deliver well and be consumed by the masses with minimal effort - let’s be honest… Applebees is terrible!

I bring this up to set the stage for this mornings message. As I was studying and working on crafting a single dish with the ingredients God had given me, it became clear that I had two concepts that would complement each other but wouldn’t work on the same plate. Therefore, this morning instead of one dish I’m going to present an appetizer before the main course.

The Appetizer… Before we pick back up our story with the results of man’s rebellion, I want to make another observation from chapter 2 that is of particular relevance to our text… I need to add a quick disclaimer to what I’m about to say… As I noted in a previous study men and women were created by God equal but distinctly different for the purposes of becoming complete in the oneness found in Holy Matrimony. When Eve was taken from Adam there was forever a part of the man missing only to be found in the woman.

If you look back of Genesis 2 you will see an interesting order to things. We’re told “God took man… put man in the garden… commanded the man… you may freely eat… you shall not eat… you shall surely die.” Then directly following this command in vs. 18 God determined that “it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

Notice the evaluation that “it was not good that man be alone” came immediately after God had given Adam the command to be obedient to His Word! It would appear right from the beginning God knew that for Adam to remain obedient to His commands he would be benefited greatly by a righteous woman coming alongside to help him.

There is a simple reality that as part of God’s very design women do hold considerable sway over men - to do good or evil! Sadly, the women held such influence that following her rebellion Adam would prefer to die with her than live in the Garden without her! “She gave him the fruit and he ate.” Note: With this in mind it makes complete sense why the serpent would target Eve! She was Adam’s helper. He needed her to be whole. I can also imagine that if Adam had eaten the fruit first, Eve might have been fine without him!

Think about it… Isn’t it true that women settle men to a certain degree? A single man is free to roam. He works for the weekend. He lives for the moment. He’s impulsive, passionate, even reckless. A single man drinks IPA’s! And yet, when a women enters his life things immediately begin to settle down. He’s home for dinner. He’s saving for a secure future. He sells the motorcycle and is more measured in his decisions. When a women finally enters the picture supernatural things occur. A man cleans himself up - showers, shaves, grooms. He’s more conscience about his health. A woman can even get a man to drink lite beer. It’s why we say, “That boy needs a good women!”

Now don’t get me wrong, while there are many examples of men living Godly lives without there being a women behind the scenes (i.e. the Prophets and many of the Apostles), there is no doubt that women do exert a powerful, spiritual influence over their man which is why God was constantly warning the children of Israel not to marry foreign womenGod knew full well that a pagan woman could turn even the Godliest of men to idolatry. Examples… King Solomon, Samson and Delilah, the wicked Queen Jezebel.

Single Men… If your life is about following Jesus the best thing you can do is to marry a righteous women who is doing the same! I can also attest that nothing will hinder your walk with God quicker than hooking up with a gal who does not share this same pursuit.

Single Ladies… While the same idea obviously applies, if the man your interested in does not have a desire to attend church or follow Jesus you need to consider… Why then is he interested in me? And, if you can’t influence him now you will likely never be able to!

Married Women… Do not underestimate the spiritual influence you have on your husbands! You have the power to help him be the man God has called him to be or you have the power to cap him off at the knees. You can help him keep his eyes on heaven and his work to that pursuit or you can push him to store up for you treasures on this earth - treasures that break down, corrupt, need fixing - repairs - or batteries, require insurance, etc! 

Ladies you can encourage your husband to fulfill God’s call and carry the sacrifices with him or you can selfishly supersede this calling with your own. You can enable your man to lead your home or make that task so difficult he’ll simply advocate that role to you so he can go fishin’. You can make his home a refuge or another battlefield. It’s your choice! Consider… In her selfishness even Sarah was able to convince the father of our faith Abraham to take God’s promises into his own hands and sleep with Hagar!

Side note… If you’re married to a man who isn’t following Jesus and you don’t feel as though you posses such an influence, don’t loose heart! You are an influence! It’s a truth that the most practical way Jesus can reveal himself to your husband will be through the way you live, love, pray, and fill his home with a Light from heaven!

Husbands… My exhortation is a bit different for you. Not only had Adam failed in His God-given role of accurately communicating to his wife the truth by omitting, amending, and tempering God’s Word, but where was he when this crafty serpent approached Eve? I’m struck by the reality Eve was alone when faced with the temptation of the enemy! Whatever the reason, I can say this story does illustrate an important reality… Distance allowed by a husband with his wife only creates room for a crafty, sly enemy. 

The Main Course… Genesis 3:7-11, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 

Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” 

“Then…” It’s an interesting point of observation to note that the full consequences of sin manifested after Adam ate the fruit and not Eve. In addition to Adam’s willing decision to eat the fruit unlike Eve who had been “deceived” (1 Timothy 2:14), in Romans 5:12 Paul is clear that “through one man sin entered the world.” Note: We’ll discuss the reason this is the case and why it is significant when we get to the curse next Sunday.

What is important for our purposes this morning is that we’re told following Adam eating the forbidden fruit “the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew they were naked…” The idea behind the “opening of their eyes” was that there was an immediate awareness of something they had before been oblivious to - mainly that “they were now naked.”

Keep in mind God created man with a triune nature: body, spirit, and soul. Because the spirit provides physical life to the body and tethers the soul (real person) to God, when God said “you will surely die” it is likely He spoke of the immediate death of man’s spirit. Not only would their bodies experience an ultimate death as a result, but their souls were separated from God. Their link to their Creator was severed the moment they sinned.

Consider that this idea of nakedness spoke of something much deeper than being in the buff. For example in vs. 10, after clothing themselves with “fig leaves,” Adam and Eve still felt compelled to hide themselves from God “because they were naked.” It would seem that physical clothing failed to address the nakedness they were now experiencing.

Because the spirit includes the seat of desire or what we’d refer to as one’s nature, imagine the physical effects of this internal awakening! The human spirit given by God existing in perfect harmony with God, immediately upon sin’s infiltration and corruption, flooded Adam and Eve’s heart with feelings they had never before experienced. 

Fruit from the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” awakened within Adam and Eve, not an intellectual knowledge of what is evil but an experiential understanding as to what evil yields in the human spirit. For the first time they felt shame and deep insecurities. In a very real way “self” (or what the N.T. calls “the flesh”) was awakened in their bodies by their fallen human nature! Instead of the desire to please God or one another, at man’s core was now the desire to please himself! Indeed man grew to see himself as God without possessing the ability or power to effectively be God. 

It’s interesting that as a response to this new awareness Adam and Eve instantly felt compelled to “sew fig leaves together to make themselves coverings.” While many see this as man’s instituting of religion (a way to cover himself though his own works so that he can stand presentable before God), I think this perspective is right for the wrong reason…

Consider that while the effects of sin were felt internally (the spirit) and no doubt manifested in a sense of shame (you know that dirtiness you feel when you’ve done something wrong), I’m not convinced there wasn’t some type of actual physiological transformation that also affected Adam and Eve which then prompted their immediate desire for coverings. 

While most Bible scholars claim they were oblivious to the fact they were naked before becoming aware of their naked as a consequence of sin, what if they felt naked because they were no longer as they were. They felt naked because they now were naked?

To this point I would refer you to the reality the word we find at the end of Genesis 2 where we’re told Adam and Eve “were naked (àrowm) and unashamed” is a completely different word than what we find in Genesis 3 when it says “they knew that they were naked (èyrom).”

In Psalms 104:2 we’re told that God “covers Himself with light as with a garment.” I’m of the opinion that in creating mankind in “His image and likeness” Adam and Eve had been initially clothed with this same light. That in this perfected state whereby their spirit was free from the corruption of sin, their rightness before God manifested in a physical ora - a heavenly glow. 

They were “naked and unashamed” because they were clothed with this divine light emanating from their spirit. Then, upon the corrupting of their spirit by sin, this light went out explaining why they immediately felt “naked” and were compelled to clothe themselves. 

The point in covering was not to replace or fix what was lost, but to hide what was lost! Think about it like this… Why do people wear black shirts… To make themselves skinny or conceal the fact they’re fat? 

So why does this matter? Understand… It wasn’t, as many suppose, that Adam and Eve “made themselves covering” as a substitute for this divine light that no longer existed, but rather their intention was to hide the fact they needed coverings at all! Ironically, when they quickly realized these fig leaf coverings failed to conceal their true state and nakedness they chose to hide themselves from the presence of God!

What many miss is the fact that Religion is more than a way in which man seeks to earn God’s approval. Religion, at its core, is a moral mechanism by which man seeks to cover, conceal, or hide his fallenness! Fundamentally, religious works afford men a way in which he can attempt to keep his true state hidden. Many reason they’re a good person because they’ve done all these good deeds. When in reality they aren’t because they aren’t clothed in His righteousness!

This is what makes religion so dangerous. Not only does it seek to cover our sin with good works, but in doing so religion further alienates us from God’s righteousness! It’s a poor covering! C.H. MackIntosh correctly remarked, “Religion will cause man to hide himself from God; and, moreover, all that his own religiousness offers him is a hiding-place from God.”

Why were Adam and Eve hiding from God? Look again at vs. 10… Adam said, “I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Adam was afraid for three reasons:

First… Despite his efforts to conceal what had happen by making fig-leaf coverings, Adam knew those efforts had failed. Adam knew these fig leaves failed to conceal the fact the light had gone out. He knew God would see right through the facade. He knew despite his best attempt he was still naked. He couldn’t fool God which is why he ran and hid!

Secondly… Adam knew that in order to respond to the call of God he’d have to acknowledge his true condition before God! To his credit, while it is the pride of religious moralism that keeps people in hiding and alienates them from God, Adam was willing to humble himself by stepping out of the darkness to acknowledge his nakedness - his sin! He overcame his shame and came to God as a sinner in need of a Savior! 

Finally… Adam was afraid because he didn’t know how God would react! While some people fear coming to Jesus will expose them for who they really are (which it does), I have found that others are hesitant to come to God out of a fear of what He might do! Ironically, self-loathing manifests from the same source as pride… An unhealthy love of self!

In the case of Adam, I don’t think his fear was judgment (the fact they were still alive was evidence of God’s grace). Instead I think Adam was more afraid of God’s rejection. Adam feared that because of his nakedness God would now have nothing to do with him. I can’t tell you how many people have used this reasoning… “Zach, you don’t know what all I’ve done. There is no way God could love me! I’m beyond saving.” Well… Why I can say it’s essential you humble yourself and admit your need for a Savior, I can also say with certainty there is nothing you’ve done that God isn’t big enough to forgive! 

Romans 8:38-39, “I am persuaded that neither death nor life, angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Adam and Eve’s sense that they needed covering because this divine light had gone out was not incorrect, and to their credit they rightly understood these man-made coverings had failed to conceal this reality. And yet… What I believe ultimately saved them was the fact that Adam overcame his shame, put aside his fear, and was willing to respond to God’s calling in faith! 

Notice from our text… Beginning with vs. 8, “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, “I heard Your voice…”’

What an interesting question presented by God… “Where are you?” Please know God doesn’t ask this question because He didn’t know where they were! It’s not as though God is terrible at hide-and-seek and Adam and Eve have confounded the God of the universe! Also it’s not as though God wasn’t aware what had happened in the first half of chapter 3 - as if the All-knowing God was the last one to find out they’d eaten the forbidden fruit! Not only did man experience this unlinking with his Creator the moment he sinned, but God equally shared in the experience! Man’s rebellion yielded not only consequences for himself, but for the God in whose love he had rejected!

It really is an amazing reality that following the recent developments God came to Adam and Eve at all! Can you imagine His disappointment - His anger - His hurt? What had God done to warrant such rejection? He had created the entire world for man’s enjoyment. He had given man a garden and a women to enjoy it with. He’d filled this garden with trees and a river He knew man would delight and be satisfied in. You would have thought His abundant goodness would have been enough for man to obey this one command aimed at protecting them from harm. How confounding that man would do such a thing!

If God had reacted as you and I, Adam and Eve would have been toast! At worst I would have dissolved this universe into nothing without blinking an eye and simply moved on. In my most benevolent act maybe I would have just cut Adam and Eve off, left them to deal with the results, and found something else to occupy my time with!

And yet, the reality is that God does the exact opposite! Knowing full well what He’d find, God came to the garden specifically in order to seek out Adam and Eve! While it’s true that in creation the full power and majesty of God was on display and that in His forming of the man and women and the oneness they’d find in marriage undeniable truths were communicated, please understand it was in His response to man’s sin that God was provided a chance to reveal the most radicle aspect of His nature!

C.H. MackIntosh makes this powerful observation concerning these three words “where are you?”“This question proved two things - man was lost, and that God had come to seek… Man was lost; but God had come down to look for him - to bring him out of his hiding-place behind the trees of the garden… This was grace… God seeking a sinner! Where could this aspect of God be displayed but in a world of sinners? God, at the first, came down to create; and then, when the serpent presumed to meddle with creation, God came down to save!”

There is no doubt these three words “where are you?” spoken volumes to Adam! It’s what moved him from his shame and fear into the presence of God. God had not come to the garden as a judge, but as a heart-broken Father! He was not seeking to destroy, but seeking to save. God was looking for them. His love had not changed. While man knew full well the consequences of his actions, God came to the garden to make contact. Man wasn’t alone!

And notice, while man was in hiding and God busy seeking, it was God who spoke first! God knew of man’s condition… of his fallenness… his sin and shame. And in His grace God amazingly waits not for the man to come to Him, but rather it is He who speaks to man! God was the initiator and Adam was willing to respond to the care he heard in His voice!

This morning I can’t help but think that God might be making the same appeal to some of you! “Where are you?” Understand… While God is the seeker and the initiator… While there is no reason to hide because He knows who you really are and calls out all the same… God is also a gentleman. He calls with a question that Adam had to respond and answer honestly. 

Would man hide in his religious pride knowing that God alone possessed the power to unmask his true condition? Would he hide fearing the rejection of God over the things he had done? Or would he respond to His voice! And God said to man, “Where are you?”

In conclusion… God’s plan was never to provide a covering, but restoration. A dead man is a dead man no matter how alive you make him appear. Because of sin the light of the spirit went dark in the hearts of man. No amount of covering can fix this! And yet, God’s plan for man has always been to restore this light in the heart of man through his in-dwelling Spirit.

How interesting it is that Jesus not only refers to Himself as the “Light of the world,” but describes Christians as being light-bearers? In John 8:12 “Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” Then in Matthew 5:16 He told His disciples, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

You see upon salvation an amazing thing takes place. The human spirit of darkness is replaced with the Spirit of Light! You are in-dwelt and regenerated by the Spirit of God. No longer are you naked as you’ve been clothed with a heavenly righteousness found only in Christ Jesus… A spiritual clothing that manifest from the heart in a physical way! You’ve been filled with a light that is designed to shine through and be seen by the dark world around you! 

In Isaiah 61:10 the prophet declare, “I will greatly rejoice, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” So may I echo God’s call again… “Where are you?”


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