Sermon for the Third Sunday after Pentecost June 13, 2021
Text: Genesis 3:8-15 CW 3 Year Series B 21:2265
Theme: “Adam, Where Are You?”
“Adam, Where Are You?” It was the most terrifying sentence I ever heard. Granted, I had not been here a long time. But, in the short time I had been here, I had not experienced the fear, the grief, and the guilt I did when I heard those words. Worst of all was the guilt. It weighed down my heart like an anchor thrown over the side of a boat. I sank into the depths of guilty despair.
I had not previously known that feeling. Before this I was filled only with happiness, contentment, and peace with God. I was living in God’s perfect paradise. It was beautiful in every way. The animals, the plants, the skies, everything was without blemish. It was a park, a heavenly park minus any flaws.
Think of a place where you have been that overwhelmed you with its stunning beauty. Now, multiply that a thousand times over and you would not come close to the perfection that existed when God created the world. Breathtaking in beauty, astounding in appearance, fresh in every form, it was truly Paradise.
It is impossible for you to fully comprehend what the Garden of Eden was like. But one day, as you cling to your Savior in undying faith, you will see what it was like for Eve and me. But if you turn away, become faith-less like I did and remain faith-less, you will experience greater fear, grief, and anger than I did the day I heard those words: “Adam, Where Are You?”
I. Hiding in sin and unbelief.
They sliced through my soul like a hot knife through butter. Like a surgeon’s scalpel, they exposed a great wound. Like a child who has offended his father by not doing what he was told to do, I could do nothing but run and hide. God came looking for me. I ran from Him and hid.
On any other evening, this was a happy time, a wondrous time when we got to walk in the cool of the day with God and talk with Him. Do you have any idea what that was like – to be able to talk face to face with God and receive His insight into all things?
You do know what it is like, to a certain extent, for you have His Word, the Bible. It contains all that you need to know from the One who knows all things and wants to share with you. Listen to it! Treasure it! The Word of God is so simple and soothing that a child can understand and find peace and comfort in it. At the same time, it is so deeply profound that you will never be able to mine the depths of its riches until you reach heaven.
When you read it, God truly speaks with you, much like He spoke with us. But the difference in the beginning was that we saw Him face to face, the One who is Love, almighty, all knowing. Everything said was our joy and wonder. It brought untold contentment to our hearts. We longed for those quiet walks and talks with God and could not wait until the next evening for Him to walk and talk with us again. It was our supreme delight.
I pray that is the way you feel about your Bible, that you cannot wait to read it and talk with God there. Gladly, eagerly, walk and talk with Him in the cool of the evening, in the morning light, or in the noonday sun. His Word will fill your life with such joy! But if you don’t feel that way about God speaking to you here, I fear that you are already turning as faith-less towards God as I became.
Yes, I was faith-less. I got to the point where I felt that God’s Word wasn’t enough. I didn’t trust it any longer. That’s when I fell into sin. My sin was that of unbelief. Oh, I know, that may puzzle you at first because you’ve always heard of the way I disobeyed what God had commanded. It’s true; we did disobey Him.
He gave us almost everything in the Garden of Eden. We could eat from all the trees and plants that were good for food. But there was one tree from which He told us not to eat of its fruit – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that we would eat from it, God told us that we would surely die. It was the one command that He gave us to obey in the Garden. If we kept that one, we would have all things and show our love to Him.
One command – that would seem easy enough to keep, don’t you think? Stay away from one tree. No problem! We had too many other good things to enjoy from the hand of our gracious Creator.
Then came a day when the devil approached us as a snake. Did you ever hear of a talking snake? It wasn’t any different back then. Animals don’t talk intelligibly. But instead of turning away we listened to his empty promises of a greater knowledge that we could have. We could be as wise as God, maybe wiser, if we would only eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The snake fed us a line so that we would doubt God’s goodness and love. Despite all evidence to the contrary, we believed him; we
believed a snake and turned our hearts away from God in unbelief.
Sin is more than disobedience to a command, like eating fruit that we were told not to eat. Such acts of disobedience are only symptoms of a deeper problem – unbelief. It’s the absence of faith in God’s Word and promises. And it’s no different for you. When you sin, you fail to believe God. God says “this,” but instead, you believe the lies of Satan and choose to trust his false words.
You know the result of continued unbelief don’t you? I’m sure you do. God says, “Whoever does not believe shall be condemned.” But even that we choose to ignore and don’t believe. Unbelief damns because one fails to trust the Word of God which cannot be broken. Since sin is the result of unbelief, all sin damns as well.
I was faith-less; I disobeyed; I sinned; I estranged myself from God. And I knew it the second I ate the fruit. My eyes were opened. I saw that I was naked, not just without clothing. My unbelieving heart stood naked before God. He saw right through me, and it terrified me. Guilt and the fear of damnation overwhelmed me. Then I heard Him in the Garden. I didn’t know what to do so I ran and hid under a bush. “Adam, where are you?” He called. I was hiding in sin and unbelief.
II. Found by grace.
It overwhelmed my heart. It was a new experience; one I had not felt before. I was created in the image of God! I only knew the holiness of soul like God does. But now things were different. My nature changed, my soul was darkened, and I could not respond. Without something to believe in, without an object of faith, I was dead in sin. I had no spiritual life. Truly, I did die that day.
You don’t think it was that bad? Look what I did. First, I ran and hid. Now, how foolish is that? How does one hide from an all-knowing God whose eyes are ever upon us? You can’t hide from God; you can’t run from Him. Don’t be so foolish and act like I did. That in itself was an act of unbelief. He will seek you out wherever you are and will find you. Then He’ll confront you. Again you can see how bad things had become for me in my unbelief.
I was content to remain hidden. But He repeated the call: “Adam, where are you?” I did not see it then, but it was a gracious invitation to come and trust Him once more. I was so far gone that I didn’t realize it. But I knew that I could not hide from Him for long. So, I answered: “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” “Who told you that you were naked?” He asked. “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
He knew! As if I didn’t know that He knew! How foolish to think that God doesn’t know what we are about! I avoided the truth.
So, instead of admitting my guilt, I blamed Eve. I turned against the very one whom I had longed for and loved. When sin comes and unbelief prevails, we depart from appreciating the special gifts God bestows on us. Eve didn’t force me to eat the fruit; no one forced me. I did it on my own, and then I blamed her. Eve blamed the snake. And in the end, we blamed God as though it was His fault for providing us with so many gifts. Truly, we died in sin and unbelief. Where was I? Lost, hiding in the bushes, avoiding God.
But He graciously tracked us down. Instead of casting us from His presence, He gave us hope. He restored hostility to its proper place – not between us and God, but between us and the devil. That’s your enemy, not God. By the fact that God restored hostility to its proper place, between us and the devil, we have hope.
But God did more than that. He promised to send an offspring who would avenge Satan’s deception, defeat him, conquer sin, and once more restore us to life. It was the first promise of the Savior. It came unrequested by us. In fact, it was the complete opposite of what I expected and deserved. It’s what makes God, God – pure mercy that gives the hope of forgiveness and rescue from despair. That’s grace. With it, faith was restored, and the weight of despair lifted. God found me when I sought Him not; He found me by grace. Oh, what a wondrous thought!
This grace is available to all. None of us is different. All have sinned and fallen short of God. We’re all in the same boat together. May God grant you His Holy Spirit so that you learn better than I did to run to God, not away from Him. For the sake of the cross of Christ Jesus, He will lift you up again in forgiveness, and the power of the Holy Spirit will enable you to trust His gracious goodness.
And now if He would ask me again, “Adam, where are you?” my answer would be twofold. Once, I was hiding in sin and unbelief, but no longer. Through faith in the Savior, I’m found by grace. I live again with God. God grant it to us all in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
www.zionluthchurch.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Third Sunday after Pentecost June 13, 2021
“Therefore, we are not discouraged. But even if our outer self is wasting away,
yet our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love. Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Return to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me” (Psalm 51).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Rescue and Renewal in Christ. What a contrast is found in our lessons today! On one hand we see Satan in all his destructive fury throwing men into darkness. But on the other hand, we see our victorious Savior rescuing men and delivering them into the light of His saving ways.
In our darkest hours God steps in with amazing grace to help us – undeserved help. He crushes the devil’s power. Who would believe it? Even Jesus’ own family did not at first think He could do it. Yet, for those who trust in Him, rescue from Satan and renewal of life are found. Even if the going gets tough, Christians don’t lose heart. Their spirit is renewed daily with the thought of the glorious future that awaits.
To that end we pray: O God, the Strength of all who trust in You, mercifully hear our prayers. Be gracious to us in our weakness. Give us strength to fight against the devil’s temptations and to keep Your commands in all that we say and do; for Jesus’ sake we pray; Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
The Old Testament Lesson: Genesis 3:8-15
After disobeying God, God confronts Adam and Eve. Each avoids admitting guilt and puts the blame somewhere else. And what is God’s response? Astonishing! He promises the Savior who will restore them to God. Only God can renew us when we have fallen.
The Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
Do you feel like you are wasting away, oppressed, ready to give up? Yes, we are beset by many troubles as Satan finds ways to attack us. Outwardly we may feel like we are ready to break. But inwardly Christ renews the believer daily and focusses our attention not on what is seen, but the things eternal which lie ahead of us.
The Gospel Lesson: Mark 3:20-35
His family thought He was out of His mind. The Jewish leaders accused Him of working with the devil. But those who believed in Jesus enjoyed rescue from evil and the renewal to life that He offered. Such believers make up His family who are closest to Him.
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The Organist: Jane Rips
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “When someone asks how we are faring or how we are feeling, people sometimes answer: ‘Oh, all right – under the circumstances.’ But, strictly speaking, the Christian need never live ‘under his circumstances,’ for God has enabled him to live above them. The Apostle writes, ‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!’ We are more than conquerors. We have surmounted these circumstances. We have risen above them. How? “Through Him who loved us.” Through Christ the only circumstance under which the child of God must live is the circumstance of God’s love and mercy. Living under that circumstance we can live above all others.”
— Herman Gockel on The Triumphant Life
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Entrance Hymn: #243
Order of Worship: Hymnal page 38, “Service of the Word”
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #51a Hymnal page 86
2 Corinthians 4:13-18
Hymn Response: #471
Sermon Hymn: #455
Sermon Text: Genesis 3:8-15 “Adam, Where Are You?”
Lord, Accept Our Response
Apostles’ Creed: Hymnal page 41
The Lord’s Prayer. pg.43
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Prayer & Blessing: Hymnal pages 43-44
Third Sunday after Pentecost – Series B
Old Testament Lesson: Genesis 3:8-15 – Sin’s Result; The Promise
8They heard the voice of the Lord God, who was walking around in the garden during the cooler part of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9The Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” 11God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13The Lord God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14The Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all the livestock, and more than every wild animal. You shall crawl on your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.
Epistle Lesson: 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 – Wasting Away, Yet, Inwardly Renewed
13Since we have that same spirit of faith, which corresponds to what is written: “I believed; therefore, I have spoken,” we also believe, and therefore we speak. 14For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and bring us (together with you) into his presence. 15In fact, all this is for your benefit, so that as grace increases, it will overflow to the glory of God, as more and more people give thanks.
16Therefore we are not discouraged. But even if our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17Yes, our momentary, light trouble produces for us an eternal weight of glory that is far beyond any comparison. 18We are not focusing on what is seen, but on what is not seen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are not seen are eternal.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 3:20-35 – Jesus Drives Out Demons
20They went into a house. A crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat a meal. 21When his own people heard this, they went out to take control of him, because they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” 22The experts in the law who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He drives out demons by the ruler of demons.” 23Jesus called them together and spoke to them in parables. “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is finished. 27On the other hand, no one can enter a strong man’s house to steal his possessions unless he ties up the strong man first. Then he can plunder his house. 28Amen I tell you: Everything will be forgiven people, their sins and whatever blasphemies they may speak. 29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin.” 30Jesus said this because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31Then his mother and his brothers arrived. While they were standing outside, they sent word to Jesus, calling for him. 32A crowd was sitting around him. They began to tell him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are outside looking for you.” 33He replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34He looked at those who sat around him in a circle and he said, “Look, my mother and my brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Adam and Eve sure messed things up for the world. They took the perfect world that was created and put it under the constant attack of the devil and his crew. But the promise came immediately. God would send a descendant of Eve to crush Satan’s power. Jesus, that descendant, demonstrated His authority over Satan. Because the disciples knew the impact of that, the troubles that they met didn’t discourage them.
The Old Testament Lesson: Genesis 3:8-15 (answers are found on the back side)
- Why were Adam and Eve hiding from God?
- How did Adam and Eve respond to being “found out?”
- How did God respond to their sin?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Bill Buchanan; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam; William Moon; Patsy Mickelson; Lance Milam; Jodi Milam; Pastor Tim Buelow and Kathleen Huff in W. Virginia, both recovering from foot surgery; Pauline Jaeger, Randy’s mother, diagnosed with cancer, considering options for treatment; families recovering from Covid and other illnesses.
Book of Psalms The new WELS psalter, a forthcoming book edited by the WELS hymnal committee, is valuable not only for choirs or for Sunday worship. It’s also valuable for personal or family devotions. Two videos and Christian Worship: Psalter Preview feature six psalms from the new psalter. For more information visit christianworship.com/preview/psalms.
No Face Mask Regulations Facemasks are no longer required in a church setting. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, you may do so. Masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer are in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. We have begun to pass the offering plate during the service again, since it is a part of our custom of worship.
Forward in Christ’s latest edition for June has arrived. Copies for family and friends may be found in the narthex. Also, if you haven’t picked up a copy of the next edition of Forward in Christ, there are plenty of copies in the narthex. Devotions run through August.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 29; Communed: 21; Bible Class: 13; Offering: $2,366; Midweek Bible Class: 6.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 4: Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Mark 4:26-34 (Series B)
Answers to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- The presence of God should bring peace and joy. Instead, it brings fear, when it exposes our sinfulness. Adam and Eve responded to their sin by running away from God rather than turning to Him. How often has that been the way we reacted?
- Just like Adam and Eve, we have the tendency to blame someone else for our sin. Adam was in effect blaming God for the situation he was in that made him fall (“the woman you put here with me…gave me…”). Look at your response to sin. Real repentance owns up to the full guilt of your reactions as well as your actions.
- God provides a way of escape. His love for us sets up the plan to undo the damage of sin. He promised that a “seed” of the woman (Jesus) would crush the head of Satan. The fulfillment of that was seen in its climax on the cross of Calvary and the resurrection from the grave.
This week I am praying for……