How Temptation Becomes so Tempting

They say one of the best ways to win a battle is to understand your enemy. If you know how your enemy thinks and how they work then you’ll be able to come up with an effective strategy to fight victoriously.

Temptation…

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? It’s probably something that you find tempting.

The very word brings up thoughts of struggle and indulgence. But what is it that makes temptation so tempting? There are a few things we can learn about temptation by looking in the Bible’s account of the first sin (Genesis 3:1-7).

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Jesus as Miracle Worker

Series Intro: “Who is Jesus? Describe him to me”
How do you even begin to answer this question? There are so many ways to describe Jesus. For the next few weeks we’ll be looking at the “Many faces of Jesus.” Last youth group we looked at Jesus as Friend, and remembered that if we ever doubt if Jesus is trustworthy we only need to look at the cross. This week we’re exploring Jesus as Miracle Worker, and in the next few weeks we’ll see him as Servant, and Shepherd.

Many Faces of Jesus

Do You Have Authority?
Moving is really stressful. When my family moved earlier this year we had to make a bunch of phone calls so we’d have electricity and gas and phones. When I called to have our electricity turned on, they wouldn’t let me do it because our account was under Tracy’s name but not mine, so I had no authority to make changes to our account.

Honestly, I argued with them more than they probably deserved, they kept telling me I’d have to wait for Tracy to get off work so she could call and have the power turned on.

It was frustrating to have no authority. But at the same time, I’m glad that only the person whose name is on the account is the one who can make changes. Think about it, what would happen if I called National Grid and asked them to turn off the power at your house tonight. Would you like that? Obviously not. But I can’t do that, because I don’t have the authority to make changes to your account.

We all want authority, don’t we? We want to be able to call the shots and have people listen to us. But it’s good and right life doesn’t work like that.

Which Power is More Impressive: A Miracle, or Forgiveness of Sin?
Would you rather have the power to perform miracles or to forgive sin? What miracles would you do? How would you use that power? How would you choose when to do a miracle and when not to?

As impressive as miracles are, the authority to forgive someone’s sin is even greater. A miracle is an instant, forgiveness lasts for an eternity. Imagine having that authority, to look at someone and to be able to decide if they should be forgive of their sin or not. “Nope, sorry, I don’t like you. You’re still guilty!”

Jesus had authority and power to perform miracles AND to forgive sin, and tonight I want to share one story from the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus’ authority is questioned.

Matthew 9:1-8
“Jesus stepped into a boat, crossed over and came to his own town. Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. . . .” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.”

The reason for the miracles: To prove his authority!
Which is easier… to say “your sins are forgiven” or to say “get up and walk.”

It’s easier to say something that people can’t “prove” is false than to say something that can be immediately seen as true or false.

Any crazy guy can say “I forgive your sins!” Not anyone can make someone who was born paralyzed and make him immediately able to get up and walk.

Jesus explains, “So that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man did!

Jesus wasn’t all about the show. He had huge crowds following him, begging for constant miracles. The reason Jesus came was for the forgiveness of sins, to reconcile sinful humanity to the Holy God.

When we pursue God because we want to see his power, we lose sight of something far more important. It’s obviously important that we worship a powerful God whose authority is real and endless… but it’s even more important that we pursue reconciliation with him so that his power is FOR us, not AGAINST us!

IMG_4356Why don’t I experience God’s power?

  1. You’re not living for God, you’re living in sin.

If you’re living with unconfessed and unrepented sin in your life, then you can’t expect to experience much of God’s power.

Can I make a confession: I lied to National Grid. I called them back half an hour later and told them I’m Tracy. Since she’s my wife I could answer all of her security questions as if they were about me. Thankfully, their files don’t say whether or not “Tracy” is a boy name or a girl name.

God alone has authority, and he won’t be manipulated or tricked into doing what you want him to do. Confess your sin, and repent. Repenting from your sin means “to turn away.” It means you’ve confessed it (“God, I admit I’m guilty of _______.”) and that you’ve prayerfully committed to stop sinning and start doing what God wants instead, (“God, give me strength to stop ______ and start doing _______ instead, to the glory of your name.”).

  1. You’re living too safely.

When we take no risks, there’s no need for God to show you how strong he is. You simply don’t need God or faith if you live in a way that you can comfortably live without Him.

If you want to see God’s power, take some risks.

Don’t be foolish and put yourself into situations where you’re “daring” God to rescue you.

Take a risk by standing up for someone who’s being bullied, by speaking up when Christ is being dragged through the mud, and when people who claim to be Christians are making decisions which are firmly and clearly not what God would want.

  1. You rely on your own strength, not his.

Jesus said that he came for the sick, not the healthy. If you think you’re just fine without God, then you can’t expect to know God’s strength. You don’t need it anyway.

I think this is one of the reasons we experience suffering and trials, to remind us of our need for Him. If I never discipline my kids, how are they supposed to know the difference between good behavior and bad behavior? If I never let my kids fail at anything, how are they going to learn how to ask for help?

Ask the Lord to show you your need for him, and start trusting in HIS strength instead of your own.

Trust in God’s Power, Not Your Own
Will you trust in yourself, or will you trust in Him?

If you claim to trust in him, but you never take any godly risks, then you can say you trust him all you want… but you don’t.

If you want to trust him, but you think living for sin is better, then you’re going to live a two-faced, double-hearted life… always wanting one thing and doing another. And that’s a pretty guilty way to live. Eventually, what will happen, is you’ll either repent of your sin or you’ll give up on God so you don’t feel guilty anymore.

I want you to know and experience the power of God.

His miracles aren’t just fireworks to draw a crowd. They are powerful reminders that he has complete authority over both heaven and earth.

The question is… will you confess your sin, your need… and will you trust Jesus Christ to change you and make you new?

If you want to know more about how to be made new and how to be forgiven of your sins, your small group leader or me would LOVE to talk with you.

Where Faith & Mental Illness Connect

How Should Churches Respond to Mental Illness
Because of recent events in the news, discussions of mental illness (depression, in particular) are beginning to take place.  CNN ran an article by Ed Stetzer entitled “How Churches Can Respond to Mental Illness.”  It’s a great read and very important.  His advice in the article should be obvious, but I know that I’ve overlooked his counsel more often than I should.

Stetzer says churches need to:

  1. Stop hiding mental illnesses.
  2. Be a safe place for those who struggle.
  3. Don’t be afraid of medicine.
  4. End the shame.

Don’t Ignore Teen Depression
I wrote a post a few years ago about Teen Depression: how to spot it and how it’s different from depression in adults.  It’s a post I really think would be worth rereading, I know I’ve needed to refer back to it quite a number of times since writing it!

How Do Faith & Mental Illness Connect?
I don’t usually read comments on CNN’s Belief articles, it’s just too frustrating.  But I read some of the comments the other day and a few people seemed genuinely confused about how Christians understand mental illness (like depression and anxiety).  Here’s my short explanation:

Understanding mental illness comes back to understanding Creation and the Fall.  God made us, and He made us whole and perfect.  In God’s sovereignty, He allowed us to sin (this is often referred to as “the Fall“), and because sin has now entered God’s perfect Creation there is brokenness and corruption.  This is how Christian theology understands natural disasters, handicaps of all kinds, diseases, mental illness, and all other kinds of corruptions in our world and in human nature (this is also also where Christian theology could account for the “born this way” argument for homosexuality, but I’d rather not get into that today).

We still bear the Image of God, but it’s broken and corrupted.  Some people are born with a disposition to fits of anger and violence, some with a propensity to sexual sin, others are naturally proud and arrogant… others are born prone to depression and anxiety.  Because someone is “born this way” (in the broad sense, not in the way this phrase has been used as a justification for homosexuality), that doesn’t mean it’s right or good or whole.  We all want to be whole people… but we’re all broken in our own different ways.

Faith Doesn’t Remove All Struggle
God is faithful.  He is making us new.  That doesn’t mean if you pray enough you won’t struggle with depression anymore.  I hope that’s obvious.  It’s not always a matter of “having too little faith.”  Depression isn’t something I personally struggle with, so when I feel depressed it might be because I haven’t been seeking God enough.  But for someone who really struggles with depression or anxiety or any number of other mental illnesses, prayerfulness and spiritual discipline WILL help, but it will not remove the struggle completely.

Faith simply doesn’t remove all our struggles.  Through faith, God gives us strength in the midst of our struggles.  Battles are serious and dangerous, and it’s both unhelpful and unfaithful to simply say “Let go and let God.”  The effects of sin and the Fall are greater and more complicated than that.  God gives us strength, but that doesn’t mean

Helping Struggling Christians
There are no easy answers.  I hope I’ve made that clear by now.  Here are a few suggestions for Christians who struggle with mental illness (and for the people who care about them):

  1. God knows you completely, and He still chose the cross!  Your deepest and darkest secrets are not hidden from God.  He knows them completely… that is exactly why He sacrificed himself on the cross!  He gave himself to reverse the punishment, the brokenness, and the death that resulted from our sin.  He came to restore creation… and that includes you!  
  2. Because God knows you completely, you don’t need to hide in shame.  Don’t air your dirty laundry to everyone, that’s not going to be helpful.  Get connected in a local church and find a few Christian men or women (who are the same gender as you) who will pray for you and check in on you.
  3. Battle depression & anxiety by caring for others.  But don’t let your friendships be all about you, otherwise you’re still focusing on your issues in ways that only feed them.  I know that sounds easy for me to say, and these struggles you face seem completely overwhelming.  Again, I’m not saying you should hide your struggles.  But make sure you’re listening to your friends and caring for them in their struggles too.  Just because their struggles are different and maybe not as overwhelming as yours, that doesn’t mean their struggles don’t matter.  When you serve, God begins to make your heart more like his.  That’s always a good thing.
  4. Walk in hope, because you know God’s promise.  The journey will be long, and there will be dark days when you may consider ending it all.  Don’t.  Cling to God’s promise that He is with you and He hears you and He cares for you.  God does have a purpose for you, and He will work it out… even when you don’t see it at all.  Remember what faith is: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
  5. Joyfully receive professional help.  Find a good Christian counselor.  Take your medication.  Write in a journal.  If you wouldn’t reject a lifejacket when your drowning, why reject medicine when you’re battling significant and prolonged mental illness?   God has given us mental health professionals and medicine – you don’t need to be ashamed to joyfully receive their help.  Don’t run to medicine as your savior, that’s Christ’s role for you… but don’t reject what He has made available to help in your time of need.

The Drama of Redemption: Perfect Restoration

Think about your favorite story (book, movie, whatever…) and ask yourself why you really like it so much.  The stories we tell and fall in love with reflect the Story of the Bible.  This “Drama of Redemption” we’ve been looking at is the big story that all our stories are pointing towards:

  • We love stories that tell us where we came from (Creation)
  • We are drawn towards stories that make it painfully obvious that something has gone terribly wrong… we aren’t in paradise anymore (Fall)
  • We resonate with stories of redemption, where a character in the story is the one who fixes what has gone wrong (Redemption)
  • We dream of stories where paradise has been perfectly restored, everything that went wrong has been made right, and there’s no risk of losing paradise again (Restoration)

Tim Keller (a pastor & author) has said, “The way you live now is completely controlled by the way you think about your future. … The now is controlled by the then.”  This sounds confusing until you think about it this way – Imagine you have the guaranteed promise of love and wealth coming to you after graduating from High School so long as you finish with a B average.  Do you think that would change your study habits and whether or not you pay attention during class?!  What you believe will happen in the future greatly changes what you do today.

The Apostle John received a vision from God about the Perfect Restoration of all creation.  Here’s what he saw:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

Here’s the big picture of what the Bible teaches about eternity:

  1. “Heaven” is a physical place, not a ghost-town.  You will have a body and walk on the ground.  I remember growing up always thinking that “Heaven” meant I would be a ghost who lives on the clouds.  Not so much…
  2. God has made all things new!  There’s continuity with this life, but since everything we know in this world has suffered from The Fall, in eternity they will be perfected.  That means my body will be perfect: No physical or mental or emotional disabilities, no more sickness or death.  Since we were created to be full of life, I believe we’ll be whatever “age” our body is most full of life, not whatever age we were when we died.  Cool, huh?
  3. No more curse, the “Fall” is GONE.  We will have perfect intimacy with God, with each other, and with all creation/nature.  The peace and love we all so desire will be perfectly fulfilled by our restored intimacy with God, our maker and savior and restorer.
  4. There is Eternal Life & Eternal Death.  So far, we’ve only talked about eternal life, but the Bible talks an awful lot of eternal death, too.  It’s not a popular stance (never has been!), but when we remember that sin is evil because of who it is directed against rather than because of the deed that was done, then we see why sin must be judged eternally.  Sin is an eternal offense against the Holy God.

Here are the next few verses of Revelation 21, continuing where v.5 left off:

Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:5-9)

One of the most amazing parts of this passage is verse 8, where God lists who will be sent to judgment.  I need to be constantly amazed that I have somehow escaped judgment, because I know that by the standards listed in v.8 I’m guilty and deserve hell.  In fact, v.8 could simply say “But as for the idolaters, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur…” and I’d be done with!  (Remember, and “idol” is anything that is loved and honored more than God is loved and honored.)

There are 4 ways eternity needs to shape today for Christians:

  1. We have hope in the middle of suffering.  Because we see the big picture, we don’t lose heart when the going gets tough.  Legitimate suffering and pain is never easy to live through, even for Christians… but we fight through it because we know that perfect restoration is coming.
  2. We take sin seriously.  We take our own sin seriously and we take other people’s sin seriously because God took sin so seriously that it cost him the life of his Son!  When we say that sin is “no big deal,” we’re saying that Jesus was stupid for suffering and dying on the cross!  Let’s not get rid of the word “Sin” by simply calling it “mistakes” or “bad things” or “offenses.”
  3. We take God’s love seriously.  God takes sin seriously, but His love is so great that there was nothing that would stop him from defeating it!  Celebrate the love of God that is most clearly seen through Christ on the cross… and tell your friends.  Do you love God so much that you really desire to see your friends receive the love of Christ?  God’s love is not just a good idea, it’s the very source of eternal life!
  4. We live today to the fullest, because today will carry into eternity.  What you do today matters.  Don’t take today for granted, tomorrow isn’t a guarantee.  Plus, who you are today will help determine who you are into eternity!  Do you realize that what you believe about the future controls what you do today?

The Drama of Redemption: Redemption Through Christ

What is Redemption, and why does it matter?  One of the best pictures of biblical Redemption is the video embedded below, it gives a beautiful and powerful picture of this Drama of Redemption.

What is Redemption?

To “redeem” something simply means “to buy back.”  Think about bringing back a can or a bottle: you bring the can and get five cents for it because they’re buying the can back from you.  When Jesus died on the cross as our substitute, he took our sin and our punishment upon himself in order to “buy” our freedom.  It’s not like God “lost” us to Satan and He needed to buy us from Satan, He desired to purchase our freedom from His own wrath again sin.

Think about the video again:

  • The girl was created by God, enjoying intimacy with Him
  • She sinned and gave into temptation: Sex, Money, Alcohol/Partying, Image/Eating Disorder, Despair/suicide.
  • When she wants to return to God, her sins step in and hold her back.
  • All throughout, God is there, watching… waiting… pulling her to Himself until He eventually steps in and does for her what she isn’t able to do – overcome her sin.
  • God defeats her sin, lifts her up, and puts his white coat on her – symbolizing that He has clothed her in his righteousness and she is no longer guilty, but innocent (Justified).

“Justification” is when God declares that your sin has been forgiven and that you are righteous in his eyes.  Two verses in particular stand out:

  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
  • If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

Based off these verses (and many many many others), we see that Redemption and Justification are only through Christ Jesus and they focus on ETERNAL LIFE and BEING SAVED (saved from judgment).  Through Christ, I am declared to be something I know I’m not… innocent!  Jesus paid my debt and suffered my punishment on the cross so that would receive the righteousness of Christ the same way the girl in the video was given God’s clean white jacket after being rescued from her sin.  Redemption is only through Christ,

Why does Redemption Matter?

Redemption matters for many reasons, but a few of the most important are:

  1. We don’t need to worry about earning God’s love and forgiveness.  It’s a gift that we receive by faith, not a paycheck we need to earn (because we never could!).  Since we don’t need to worry about earning God’s love and forgiveness, we are set free to worship Christ and enjoy God by serving others.
  2. We have confidence when facing death.  We know what’s coming, because Jesus has gone there and back.  While we shouldn’t desire death, we also trust in God’s amazingly good promises that will be ours eternally.  While we all obviously fear what we don’t know, we don’t face death with dreaded fear, but with faith.
  3. We have security because we have God’s approval.  We don’t need to live for the approval of others, because we already have the approval of the One who matters most.  This doesn’t mean we don’t care about the approval of others (1 Timothy 3:7 even goes so far as to say that an Elder/Pastor must have a good reputation with “outsiders/nonbelievers” in order to be qualified to be an Elder/Pastor!), but we do not live for the sake of gaining approval from those outside the faith.
  4. God transforms what He redeems!  He doesn’t save you from sin and then leave you in it!  He gives you the Holy Spirit and begins to sanctify you and make you holy.  When we’re justified, God declares that we are holy and righteous; that’s when the ongoing process of sanctification begins, where God starts to actually make you what He says you are.  If we have been Redeemed from sin through faith in Christ, we cannot be content to fall into sin whenever temptation comes our way.  God transforms what He redeems.

The Drama of Redemption: The Fall into Sin

When you hear the word “Temptation,” what comes to mind?  Well, probably the thing that tempts you the most!  It might be gossip, stealing, lying, violence, greed, sex, porn, or any number of other things.  Last week we explored how temptation works and what sin does by looking at the very first sin.

The other week we remembered that God created the world and made us in his image so we would glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.  But something clearly went wrong… except it wasn’t because God messed up.  When Adam and Eve sinned, all creation fell into sin along with them.

Genesis 3 tells us about “The Fall” into sin.  I believe that Gen. 3:6 sets the pattern for how temptation works, check it out:

“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.”

There are a few things to notice here about how temptation worked on Eve (and how it works on us):

  1. Eve “Saw the fruit of the tree was good for food.”  The fruit would fill a physical need.  How often have we said, “If God didn’t want me to _________, then why would he give me this need/desire?  It can’t be wrong!”
  2. Eve “Saw the fruit of the tree was… pleasing to the eye.”  It simply looked good and pleasurable.  If it makes you happy and feel good, then it can’t be wrong… right?
  3. Eve “Saw the fruit of the tree was… desirable for gaining wisdom.”  There was so much to gain by eating the fruit.  She would learn all sorts of things that she didn’t know.  Afterall, who wants to be naive and simple-minded?!
  4. Eve “Gave some to her husband, who was with her.”  Sin spreads.  It’s contagious.  Eve sinned first, but Adam didn’t step in to protect her.  At some point, he should’ve stepped in and said, “Eve, honey, it’s time to walk away.  Let’s go.”  But he didn’t.  Maybe he “cared too much about their relationship” to risk stepping in, or maybe he was just as intrigued as she was – but either way, Adam didn’t help Eve resist temptation and once she sinned he soon followed her.

What actually happened here and what can we learn about temptation?

  • Doubting God’s Word.  Satan started off, “Did God really say…” (v.1).  How many times do we convince ourselves that something isn’t sinful while we’re being tempted even though we really know it is.  When we doubt God’s Word and lose confidence in what God has said, then we give the enemy an open door to tempt us.
  • Adding to God’s Word.  Eve responded to the serpent that the cannot eat from the tree or touch it or else they will die (v.3).  The problem here is that God never said they couldn’t touch the tree, He simply said not to eat its fruit.  On the surface, this really isn’t a big deal, but I think this points to the importance of remembering what God’s Word actually says.  It’s good to generally know what God has said, but it’s another thing completely to actually have His words memorized.
  • Forgetting who God says you are.  Satan’s promise in v.5 is, “when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Eve (and Adam, who was with her) obviously forgot that SHE ALREADY WAS LIKE GOD!  God created us “in his image.”  We don’t need to seek additional wisdom and promises from the enemy… we have more than we can even remember through God’s Word!

The rest of Genesis 3:14-21 describes what happened because of the Fall into Sin.  Everything changed because of Adam and Eve’s sin.  When they sinned, we all became sinners.  Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”  Scripture repeatedly teaches that all people fell into sin when Adam & Eve sinned.

We are all natural born sinners.  We still bear God’s image, but we are like broken mirrors – reflecting God’s image, but not well.  Because of our sin, we have separated ourselves from God and have made ourselves guilty of sin and deserving of his wrath.

Next week, we will examine God’s amazing grace and how He redeems us from sin and judgment.

Final Questions to Consider:

  • What sins are most tempting to you?
  • How are those sins “Good for food, Pleasing to the eye, and Desirable for wisdom” to you?
  • Are you spreading sin to others, or are they sharing their sin with you?
  • How can you grow more confident in God’s Word?  What verse will you commit to memorize (I recommend starting off with Romans 12:1-2)?
  •  Do you see yourself as a sinner, in need of God’s grace and mercy?  Or do you minimize sin so it’s not a big deal?
  • What Christian friend can you commit to be “accountability partners” with, helping each other resist temptation and encouraging each other to pursue God’s grace when you do sin?

The Drama of Redemption: Introduction

The Bible is truly a remarkable book, unfortunately it’s often misunderstood.  The Bible is not a book about me and you, it’s a book about God.  We only find our place in God’s story as we understand the bigger story in which we live.  Too often, the Bible is merely a guide-book or instruction-manual filled with commands to “do this” and “don’t do that.”  If we miss out on the story being told through the Bible, then it makes sense to treat Scripture as a book filled with advice on how to live.

Instead, I want to encourage you to see Scripture as a secret.  Read it as a story that God has revealed to you, giving you special insight into the world and where you fit in this world.  It’s a secret… except it’s one we’re instructed to make known to everyone who will listen!

Who doesn’t love a good story?  Every good story (whether told in a book, a movie, or in person) follows a fairly consistent outline: Introduction, Conflict, Resolution, Conclusion.  The Bible follows a similar outline that helps us make sense of what we’re reading.

The Bible’s “Introduction” is the story of Creation (Gen. 1-2), where we are told where the Earth came from along with everything on it.  We discover that we were created in order to glorify and worship God in the context of a deeply intimate relationship.

However, this didn’t last for long, and we wouldn’t have done any better than Adam and Eve!  The entire Old Testament from Genesis 3 onward is a story about what theologians call “The Fall” of mankind.  In our fallen condition we are sinful, under God’s curse, and at war against God, each other, and nature.  Although the “event’ of The Fall occurs in Genesis 3, the entire rest of the Old Testament is spent painting a picture of the ongoing results of what happened because of Adam & Eve’s sin.

Throughout the Old Testament story, God reveals that Redemption is coming.  The conflict between God and his creation is going to be resolved, peace will be restored, intimacy between Creator and Created will be renewed.   The Redemption foreshadowed through Israel and the covenants is ultimately fulfilled through Christ.  Through Jesus’ sinless life, death, resurrection, and ascension our sin has been paid for and cancelled.

The Redeemed have been forgiven and adopted as children of God, given the promise of a glorious inheritance.  In God’s timing, Jesus will return again as Savior and Judge and will bring about the Restoration of creation.  Sin will be eternally judged, faith in Christ will be rewarded with the promised New Heavens & New Earth.

You see, you are a part of this story – you have a role as Storyteller.  As Storytellers, we need to understand the Drama of Redemption and faithfully tell it to people who are still under the curse of the Fall.  The story is easy enough to learn, but will take an eternity to master, so keep studying, keep learning, keep finding your place in God’s Story and keep sharing it with others.

Over the next few weeks we will be looking at this Drama of Redemption, scene by scene – Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration.