Sermon: Truth

Bible talk by Steve Millay

March 17th, 2019 11:33 pm     A+ | a-
Reading : Genisis 3: 1-19

Several years ago when my kids were younger we took a trip to Washington DC.  One of my bosses that I worked with at the time asked if they could hitch a ride for part of the way.   Having a boss in the car was somewhat intimating, but at some point we got in a discussion and he said that he believes that the US Government has a body of an alien in their possession.  I said that I don’t believe that at all, but then he asked how I know for sure that there are no aliens.  

I was caught off guard and struggled a little with the question.  Although I believe that the universe was created as part of our creation could it be that God has also created other planets of living beings?  What is the truth and can we prove it beyond a doubt?

There are lots of people who believe that the government is hiding something.   They say that they have 35 alien disks (or air crafts) and 131 alien bodies that they have collected over the past 50 years.  This is just one of many conspiracy theories.
There are endless conspiracy theories out there.  These include the assassination of John F Kennedy to the attack on the world trade center.  There are some who say the Holocaust never happened.  There are some who say the government has been involved in the crash of several commercial airplanes.

And there is so much conflicting information around us.  There are controversies over vaccinations, over global warming, even over the emergency at the southern US border.   You will hear about creatures such as big foot, and the Loch Ness and Lake Champlain lake monsters.

All day long we are presented with information and sometimes determining what truth is can be challenging.

It was that way right from the beginning.  Back in the day when there were only two people on the earth and life was much simpler the woman was presented with information that conflicted with what she had been taught.   She was unprepared for this and started to question what she thought was true.

Up to this point she had it pretty easy.  After all she is living in the garden of paradise.  It was a place of beauty.  They had everything they could possibility want there.  It was peaceful and there was nothing to be afraid of.

The serpent lived in the same garden and did not lack anything.  It is felt that the serpent may have been a very beautiful creature resembling a mystical dragon.  But there was something dark inside the serpent that caused it to rebel.  Perhaps it was jealous of the man and woman and wanted to ruin what they had.   The serpent was there with Adam prior to the creation of Eve and since it is the only creature we know of that was given the gift of speech, it was probably a close companion to Adam before Eve came along.  But once Eve came along that would change the whole relationship. 

If the man and the woman were taken out of the way then perhaps the serpent would be the dominate creature.  Whatever the reason was, the serpent deliberately misled the woman.

And we have to be careful to.  Because not everyone we meet out there will have good intentions for us.  There are people out there who actually want us to fail.  They don’t believe that our God is true so they will try their best to sabotage our faith.  There is a movement that is at work putting propaganda in front of our face to try to turn us from our belief.  We see article after article pushing evolution.  We see reports about how the earth is just one of possibility millions of the same planet out there.  We see information that contradicts the bible and says that man was on the earth 200,000 years ago.

So every day we all face a serpent.  We all have those moments when the serpent catches us off guard and we might begin to wonder if God is true.   Eve began to wonder what the truth was.

Now it’s interesting to note that at the time the woman is talking to the serpent that according the verse 6 Adam is right there with her.   He is listening to this whole discussion.  He doesn’t say anything.

Maybe he didn’t say anything because he felt that he couldn’t disprove what the serpent was saying.  It wasn’t the truth that he believed in but the serpent sounded like it knew what it was talking about.  Or perhaps the serpent was one of those creatures that just like to babel on and Adam sort of just tuned out everything that he was saying.

And when we look at what the serpent said, it for the most part is true.  He said that their eyes would be opened and they would be like God and know good and evil.  That part was true and did actually happen.   How did the serpent know that?  Did the serpent have inside knowledge? 

The serpent actually said something that anyone could have reasoned if they thought about it.  It’s called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil so obviously if you eat of it your mind will gain knowledge of what is good and evil.

But the serpent also mixed that truth with a lie.  He told them that they would not die.  And that is in direct conflict to what the God said.   This was a serious error on the part of the serpent and because of that for the serpent there would be no path back to salvation.  The serpent committed blasphemy.  He insulted the God of Truth.  That offense is so grievous to God that it is beyond salvation. 

That is why we need to be careful about what we teach to others.  And I am not just talking about the brothers who get up here each Sunday and speak.  I am talking about all of us.  Brothers and sisters take heed; children take heed, young and old take heed.  Be careful how you speak.  What you say to your friends, what you say on social media.   Speak against the God of Truth and you may end up in the same place as the serpent.

Now it’s important to note that regardless of what the serpent did, God wanted Adam and Eve to have their belief challenged.  He wanted to see if they would have faith and trust in what he told them, or if they would choose to disobey.

If God really didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then he could have easily built a wall around it, or maybe made it so that it would not be pleasing to the eye.  He could have it give off a foul odor that would keep people away.   He could have placed the tree far away out of their reach.  The fact that He placed this tree right in the middle of the garden and made it so pleasing to the eyes means that He wanted to know how strong their trust in Him was.

Adam and Eve ate for different reasons.   Eve was deceived; she questioned what God had said.  She ended up thinking that what God told them was not true.  She felt at the time that the serpent made a more convincing case and the serpent was telling the truth.  So she ate because she felt that was the best thing to do.  It just made sense.

But she should have known better because both Adam and Eve at that time would have had regular visits with the Angels of the Lord.  They were not walking by faith like we are; they actually talked with and walked with the angels.  But still that contact wasn’t enough for Eve.

Adam was not deceived.  He knew that it was wrong to eat of the tree.  He knew that God was true and trusted in what God had said.  But, for Adam the temptation was too great.  Other people were doing it.  He wanted to be part of the crowd; he didn’t want to be by himself.

So what actually changed when they ate of the tree?  It says that their eyes were opened.  This means that they became very aware of the difference between good and evil.  

Well that doesn’t sound like it’s such a bad thing.  Why would God even try to keep that from them?

But it really wasn’t about that, and it wasn’t about the fruit on the tree, it was about obedience.   Once they crossed the line into disobedience, for whatever the reason, the world changed.  They knew it right away.  They felt naked and ashamed and went into hiding.  They now knew what doing evil felt like.

But that knowledge always comes too late.  It is always after we do what is wrong that we realize what we have done.   But by then it’s too late and we feel that maybe we shouldn’t have said what we said, or maybe we shouldn’t have done what we did and we may even feel horrible about it – but it’s too late, there is no going back.

Don’t beat up Adam and Eve because we face the exact same challenge today.   We know the commandments of God.  How obedient are we?  Do we eat of the trees that we are told not to?  The false teachings out there can be very appealing.  It can draw us in. It can make us question God.  It can tempt us to forget about what God has taught us and go a different way.  We might just want to follow the crowd.  Do what everyone else is doing.

There are so many people that go that way.  We have all gone that way at one time and maybe we are going that way now.  It is the path of disobedience.  But when we get lost like that and when it is all done and over with we usually just end up in the same place, feeling unsatisfied.

And that seems to be a common thing in the world.  A lot of people around us who want nothing to do with God just end up feeling unsatisfied.  These are even people who have everything that a man could possibility want.  They have all the money in the world.  They have all the homes, the cars, the latest gadgets.  They have wives, husbands, dogs and cats.  They have pools, hot tubs, boats and planes.  They have prestige and fame and everyone knows them wherever they go.  They have everything that this world offers.

But at the end of the day when all the noise dies down and the party stops, many of them end up feeling empty.  So they turn to alcohol and drugs for escape.  Some of them end up feeling so empty and lost that they commit suicide or they end up dying by accidental overdose.

On the flip side, people who try to serve the living God tend to have much more satisfying and rewarding lives.  I am not saying it’s an easy life.  But for them they can wake up in the morning feeling confident that life has a purpose and that God is watching over them.  They feel good when they overcome a temptation, or do a good work, or help out a believer, or even just take the time to pray.

We have to ask ourselves, what holds us together?  What keeps us coming here week after week?  Our lives are not always easy and we certainly aren’t perfect.  We have issues, we have problems.  Some of us probably don’t feel very satisfied at the end of the day.

I think we come here because we are thirsty.  We have a hunger that needs to be fed.  And we know that if we hang in here, every now and then we will hear something or we will feel something that satisfies that hunger; something that gives us the strength to go on.

But in the mean time we face the serpent.  This is usually a battle that goes on in our own mind.

I have been hearing for the past 50 years that Christ is about to return.  To get ready because all the signs are there.   No one told me back in 1976 that he still would not be here in 2019.  So you have to wonder after year by year goes by and it’s the same old same old.   Are we just deceiving ourselves.   Isn’t it true that every single believer that has lived for the past 2,000 years has felt that Christ would return in their life time?  They had reasons to believe this.  There were always signs that it was about to happen. 
Is it going the end the same for us? 

We have seen many brothers and sister fall asleep and we are somewhat shocked because we felt for sure they would be alive and remain unto the end.   We see ourselves getting older and older.  We see the medical issues that we are having and we wonder will we be alive when Christ comes?    Are we the last generation or will ever single person in this room (and even the young people) die before Christ comes back?

Would it change anything if we found out that Christ is not going to return for another 100 years?  Would we be doing anything different than we are now if we knew for sure that we would live out our life in this world, and then be buried in the ground waiting for the resurrection?

It shouldn’t change anything and it should not matter because the Truth is the Truth.  And that is why we are here today because our hearts are set on seeking Truth.

All we know is what we can see, hear and feel.   We have this book called the bible that for many people is old and outdated.   Much of what we believe comes from this book.  We study it trying to determine the truth of what it teaches.  But there are a thousand different interpretations about what it teaches, how do we know that our interpretation is correct?

Some will say that it is all about where you grew up?  We only believe what we believe because that was what we were taught.  If we were born in Russia or in Iran or in China we would probably have a totally different belief system.
There is some basis to that, but don’t give up and think that you could never possibility know what Truth is.  The gospel has been preached to the whole world.

Do you know what made Abraham so special?   Why did God bless him so much?  It says that Abram believed God.  It says that he did NOT waver at the promise.  He was fully convinced of the things God had spoken.   We need to get to the same place Abraham was.  We need to get to the same place that Abraham was.  That is the only way we find confidence of the Truth.

There are at least four ways to get there.

Build a firm foundation.  Don’t just take someone’s word for it.  Read and study the bible yourself.   The bible is God’s gift to us.  It is for our use in this lifetime.

Prove everything.  Don’t just listen to every wind of doctrine out there, regardless of who is teaching it.  The bible says try the spirits.  Put everything on trial and look at the evidence.  Don’t be afraid to talk to people who believe different than us to put our doctrines to the test. 

Flee temptation.  Giving into temptation all the time will cloud your mind.  If you have things that are keeping you from serving God, run away from those things as fast as you can so that they will not be a distraction.

Don’t follow the crowd.  Never believe anything as truth because that is what others are doing.  The way of the crowd is usually wrong.  It is the narrow way that leads to life.

Build a firm foundation.  Prove all things.  Flee temptation.  Don’t just follow the crowd.

It does seem sort of silly, a tree whose fruit gives the knowledge of good and evil.  The bread and cup on the table before us may seem a little silly too.   We were told not to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but we are asked to partake of this bread and cup. 

Eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil led to death.  Eating of the bread and cup leads to life.  This is God gift to us.  Who are we to refuse it?
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