Grace That Covers

August 18, 2019
Pastor Clint Ziemer

Audio of the sermon preached on Sunday, August 18, 2019, at Cable Community Church, Sherrard, IL

Episode Notes

Grace That Covers

A doctor, an architect, and a lawyer were arguing over who had the oldest profession.

The doctor said, "Well the first operation was performed on Adam, so the medical profession is the oldest."

"No," said the architect, "Architectural planning and design was needed to create the earth and the universe out of chaos, so I represent the oldest profession."

"Where do you think the chaos came from?" asked the lawyer.

The debate between creationist and evolutionist has been around for hundreds of years. Darwin in his book Origin of Species (1859) brought the debate to the forefront and people have been arguing both sides since.

Today, we take up that argument. But I want to do it in a way that doesn’t create chaos. First, if you’re dying for an answer to the “Doesn’t Evolution Explain Creation?” question, let me relieve your stress…the answer is no…it does not.

But if you believe that the Biblical account of creation scientifically answers all the questions that revolves around the creation debate…I would also have to say no. Hence, the debate.

In the Case for Faith, the prominent evolutionist William Provine of Cornell University candidly conceded that ”if Darwinism is true, then there are five inescapable implications: there’s no evidence for God; there’s no life after death; there’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong; there’s no ultimate meaning for life; and people really do not have free will.”

(Source: Lee Strobel , The Case for Faith, p. 90)

I was reading an on-line debate a while ago between evolutionists.  They were trying to determine why man lost much of his hair when he "evolved" from an ape.  They discussed several factors, some involving climate and others involving natural selection.  Then someone asked the obvious question:  Why would mankind shed it's own fur through natural selection only to adopt the practice of wearing the fur of other animals (that is to say, clothing) ?   In other words, how does evolution account for clothing?  As far as I know, those people are still working on that question.

But I think I have an answer for the origin of clothing as well as the origins of many other characteristics of mankind.  The answer is found in God's word.

As we look this morning at portions of the book of Genesis from chapters two and three, we will discover that Adam and Eve had:

Nothing To Hide

Nothing To Loose?     and finally

Nothing To Wear  

  1. Body (Genesis)
    1. Nothing To Hide
      1. How was life in Eden?  (2:7-10)
        1. God provided a garden 
        2. God grew the trees - food
        3. God provided the water
      2. What did Adam do?  (2:15-17)
        1. God placed Adam in the garden to tend to things
        2. God provided only one commandment
      3. Adam was alone  (2:18-20)
        1. Something wasn't right.
        2. Adam names the creatures.
        3. Nothing fits his need.
        4. Before the Fall – before the first sin, Adam was lonely. God surrounded man with all of the lush, spectacular beauty of His perfect creation, and still man was lonely. John Milton (1608-74) noted that up to this point, with everything God did, He said, “It is good.” But when the Lord saw that Adam felt lonely, God said, “It is NOT good that man is alone.”
        5. Sometimes, we are tempted to think we are the only ones who struggle with this burden. Ellsworth Kalas tells the discovery that Thomas Wolfe the fine American writer made about loneliness:
        6. Wolfe was a lonely man. He once thought that loneliness was something suffered especially, perhaps even uniquely, by the young, so he wrote an essay titled “On Loneliness at Twenty-Three.” For a time he thought of himself as perhaps the loneliest person who ever lived. But gradually he came to a broader conclusion. He wrote,
        7. "The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence."
      4. God provides for Adam's need  (2:21-25)
        1. Illustration:  A young child came out of his Sunday school class and told his parents, "The teacher told us how God made the first man and the first woman.” His father said, “Oh really, well can you remind your mother and me how He did it.” The little girl replied, “He made man first, but the man was very lonely with no one to talk to, so God put the man to sleep, and while he was asleep, God took out his brains and made a woman out of them.
        2. Adam falls asleep
        3. Woman is formed
        4. The first wedding ceremony
        5. There was no shame
    2. Nothing To Loose?
      1. The crux of the question(s) posed — What do you believe?
        1. Is God really good?  (3:1)
        2. Is God really truthful?  (3:4)
        3. Is God really worthy?  (3:5)
        4. What do you have to loose?
      2. We all face the same decision — What are you going to do?
        1. Believe the tales of the adversary when he says…
          1. You can make it on your own
          2. You can figure things out by yourself
          3. You don't need God
        2. OR… Believe the word of God when He says…
          1. God is your source and strength
          2. God's word is the light to your path
          3. God is your life
      3. What Eve did  (3:6)
        1. She discerned
        2. She determined
        3. She desired
        4. She devoured
        5. She and Adam dined
    3. Nothing To Wear  
      1. What's the matter with me?  (3:7)
        1. "Eyes were opened" == They gained an understanding that they previously didn't have.  Spiritual insights were opened up to them.
        2. They "knew" == realized or experienced their nakedness.
      2. Once their focus was off of God it rested on themselves where the focus has remained for most of their descendants down through the ages.
      3. When they looked upon themselves, they were embarrassed and attempted to cover up and hide.  (3:8)
        1. They went from 
          1. Very Good - God said of Adam
          2. WOW! - Adam said of Eve
        2. to -- I'm not good enough
        3. why?
          1. because they rejected the source of their validation when they chose not to believe what God said — people have been searching for that validation apart from God ever since.
          2. God had revealed Himself as their source of love and their supply of everything else.
          3. They chose to seek affirmation elsewhere.
      4. God provides the covering.  (3:21)
        1. The animal that provided this hide is the first recorded death in the Bible
        2. without shedding of blood is no remission of sin.  Heb. 9:22
        3. If this event is consistent with other Biblical descriptions of worship, the whole of the animal was burnt as a guilt offering.
  2. Conclusion
    1. Something you might not grasp upon first reading of Genesis is the gracious goodness of God's provision, even in the midst of our sin.
    2. The Hebrew word that's used to describe Adam and Eve's "fig-leaf" cover-up is a word that's better translated loin cloth.  Apron conjures up for us a totally inaccurate picture of what this covering was.  Picture Tarzan's attire.  Imagine trying to cover yourself up with a modern day bathing suit.
    3. Now look at the image used to describe the animal hides that God fashions for this couple.  The word that is used is sometimes translated tunic, or long outer coat.
    4. Note the difference.  In their feeble attempts to cover up, Adam and Eve can barely produce a skimpy swimsuit.
    5. Remember, all of our righteous is totally inadequate compared to God's standards... it's been called filthy rags.
    6. But God, in His generous covering, provides all that they think they require and more.
    7. We still have choices to make.  Our choices are similar to those of Eve.
        1. Is God really good?  (3:1)
        2. Is God really truthful?  (3:4)
        3. Is God really worthy?  (3:5)
    8. We can choose to try to make it through this life on our own to try to figure life out all by ourselves.  We can make up our own rules as we go along.
    9. Willie Nelson apparently at one time owned a golf course. He said the great thing about owning a golf course was that he could decide what par for each hole was. He pointed at one hole and said, “See that hole there? It’s a par 47. Yesterday I birdied it.”
    10. Or we can come to realize the futility in that.  The falsehood behind the bravado.  The hollow, empty feeling of always judging our worth on how we compare with others.  We can trust in God and in a grace that covers us.

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