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Each sermon is published in large print for use in preaching, and for easy reading by several people gathered around the computer monitor.

3 MAY 1987
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References:

Genesis 2:16-17
Luke 24:5, 13-33, 45, 49
John 20:2, 13, 25

Preparation: (Luke 24:49)

“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Why would Jesus want the disciples to stay in the city?
Because, from Jesus’ experience with them, they all too often drifted away from His teachings, and from what the Lord wanted them to do.
In addition they weren’t spiritually strong enough to withstand the false teachings of the religious leaders, who for political reasons would cloud or twist the true meaning of Scripture, and they needed the protection of the Holy Spirit.
This is why we are told in Luke 24:45…

45. Then He opened their minds to understand Scriptures.

But they only seem to understood these things in Jesus’ presence, but with the Holy Spirit with them, they would always understand.
And this brings us to our study for today.
The start of our spiritual journey from Easter to Pentecost really begins almost 4,000 Bible years before the first Easter.
Most of you probably know the story of Adam and Eve, and the part in the third chapter of Genesis which describes the fall of Man, verses 1 thru 21.
I would like us to take a look at these verses with the understanding that without this fall of man there would be no need for either Easter or Pentecost, for if there was not sin in the world, there would have been no need for a Savior.
Please open your Bibles to Genesis 3 and follow along with me.
God had already given everything into the care of Adam. He had only one limitation: "From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat." (Genesis 2:17)
Let’s read verses 1-7.

1. Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

Did you catch the deception in this verse?
The serpent twists God’s commandment to Adam into a negative, when God has actually said, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;” (Genesis 2:16)
Note how Eve responds.

2. The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;

So far, Eve is correct, but she goes on…

3. but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”

Did you catch Eve’s mistake?
She added, “or touch it,” which the Lord had not said.

4. The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!

Can you see the serpent picking up on this mistake, and holding the fruit of the forbidden tree in his hand, and perhaps even throwing it up a little and catching it, thus showing that touching the fruit would not kill; thus tricking Eve into believing him rather than God.
So he adds…

5. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The serpent is making God the bad guy, and inducing Eve to take something that God has not offered them in order to protect them.

6. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
7. 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 loin coverings.

As our story unfolds, the serpent of old raises himself up to oppose God and to stumble Man. In this case he specifically picked on the woman, who in turn picked on the man. Now I know that none of you here ever had a similar situation occur!
The enemy uses many methods to attack those who believe in the Lord. The two major methods are persecution and deception. Here he uses deception, and every method possible, to turn Adam and Eve from God. He uses one against the other. He appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the boastful pride of life.
That sort of covers it all. There isn’t much more he can do. He had put forth a stumbling block to snare every one of our sin natures. And Adam and Eve fell into the trap, just like we so often do today.
Let’s continue our Scripture reading with verses 8-11.

8. They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10. He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
11. And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

And once they had sinned, and their eyes were opened to see it, they made the same mistake we have been making for almost 6,000 Bible years since. They hid from God.
God is a holy and righteous God. No sin can be in His presence, and if that were the only answer, we would all be dead.

But God is a loving and merciful God, too; and this we all too often forget.
We see this in His compassion in Genesis 3:9 where God calls out to Adam: “Where are you?”
Doesn’t this sound like a loving father calling for his son who is hiding because he did something wrong?
Now let's look at verses 12 and 13.

12. The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
13. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

And here Adam makes his compounded mistake. He blames God for his own sin, by saying that God is at fault for giving him the woman who in turn gave him the fruit. Women, you’re not off the hook, for Eve also passed the buck.
So what happens?
God passes judgment.
Let’s see how as we continue with verses 14-21.  

14. The LORD God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat
All the days of your life;
15. And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
16. To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”
17. Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19. By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
20. Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all the living.
21. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

There is something very special about the way God passes judgment. He always gives a way out, or indicates the blessing to follow. All we have to do is accept it.
God curses the serpent; yet within the curse is the promise of the coming Messiah (Eve’s seed), though not for the benefit of the serpent or the devil.
He curses the woman, the man, and the ground; yet within the curse He shows them a blessing.
Note specifically the part of the curse in verse 18 about the thorns and thistles. Haven’t you seen the beautiful blue or pink flower upon the thistle?
And don't we go out and cultivate thorn bushes and call them roses?
Yes; if we stop hiding from God when things are not right, we will see many more of His blessings.
Now let's move up in time to that first Easter. We're at the garden grave site of our Lord. We hear Mary say, after she looks into the tomb, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." (John 20:2)
Perhaps the women, at first, didn't even hear the angels say, "Why do you seek the living One among the dead?" (Luke 24:5) Mary even addresses the Lord Himself: "They have taken away my Lord."
Why couldn't Mary see the Lord at first? Because she was looking for a dead body.
Our Lord is alive; He's not dead!
Look at the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-33). They were walking and talking with the Lord, yet they couldn't recognize Him either. They were looking for the dead.
Our Lord is alive; He's not dead!
And what about Thomas who had to see the nail and spear holes in order to believe? (John 20:25)
Or Peter who didn't recognize Him from the fishing boat? (John 21:6)
Haven’t we ourselves said, or heard others say, "God! Where are You? How could You let this happen?" Or even worse, "How could there be a God for this to happen?"
Why do we not see the Lord?
Why do we hide from Him?
Because we’re on the wrong road. We’re on the road to Emmaus. We are actually walking in defeat, and we don’t have to. We have the victory, but we don’t realize it. The Lord is right there, right here, but we just don’t see Him.
Because we lack the power!
See, if we stay on the road to Pentecost, we will be able to see the Lord. We will have God’s power. We will have the Holy Spirit. And with Him will come the peace and joy to see through all the problems in the world and in our own lives.
Do we see the horrible atrocities committed upon billions of so-called food animals every year?
Are we contributing to the problem and their suffering, or are we in the power of the Holy Spirit doing everything we can to stop it?
Do we see what our warring madness has done and is doing to millions of human beings every year?
Are we a part of the problem, or in the power of the Holy Spirit, taking a stand against it?
But, we just can’t pick up that road to Pentecost anywhere. We must pick it up at Easter, or we won’t recognize the road either.
And to come to Easter we must pass by way of the cross; for if Jesus had not died, the Holy Spirit would not have been given to us in the way He has.
If we are truly repentant and ask our Lord for forgiveness, He is faithful to forgive us.
If we are burdened with troubles in our lives and bring them to Him, He will lighten our load or remove it altogether.
And if something within you is crying out, "Lord!!! Where are You? I need You!"
"Lord!!! Where are You?"
"Where are You?"
Know for certain that He is right here with us, with His hand extended to each of us, saying,
"I’m right here. Come, take My hand. Give me your burdens. My load is light."
"Come, take My hand. I love you very much!!!"
The road from Easter to Pentecost is really very short. We only think it’s a long road. It’s really only two arm lengths long: the length of our arm and the Lord’s.
Take His hand right now, and never let go. And if you forget and let go, reach out again and take it. It’s always there....
This is what happens at Pentecost.
This is what happens when we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.