Sermon delivered March 13, 1999

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

Adam's Bitter Curse

We are thankful that we made here this morning, through the blizzard, typical Southern Tennessee blizzard. Well, maybe we will get one this year, we don't know. Adam and Eve didn't have any snow in the Garden of Eden. Part of the curse, I suppose, was snow. And yet it is a blessing. Especially when you don't slip or fall down in it.

I would like to talk today about Adam's bitter curse.

The curse did not come instantly to Eve when she ate the forbidden apple. She touched it and did not die or even get sick. And she thought, "Wow! This is good fruit." So she imagined that she was entering a higher state of intelligence. She ate it and instead of dying she actually imagined that she felt more intelligent. She seemed to feel a vivifying power and imagined herself entering a higher state of existence. That surely proves that you can't go by feelings! Never. We must go by the sure word of God.

She ran to Adam with an armful of forbidden fruit. She wanted to share some of this good tasting fruit. She told him everything. And you know, wives should tell everything. Husbands should tell everything. We need to communicate. Sadness came over his face. But... after a time he realized that Eve was still alive. She wasn't dead. She had eaten the apple. She should be dead, right? And she was just as beautiful as she was before her sin. In fact, she expressed even greater love for him than before she ate the apple. She was still wearing her robe of light. How come she was wearing that robe of light? Why was she still alive? Well, we'll talk about that later. There was no sign of death on her. Adam thought... You know, maybe, could the words of the serpent possibly be true?

He seized the apple and quickly devoured it. It was tasty. And he too seemed to imagine or feel a special increased knowledge and judgment. But soon the ramifications of his sin began to weigh heavily upon his him. He felt guilty. Another symptom that Adam noticed was the temperature. Adam and Eve felt a chill in the air. They had never known cold or heat on their body. They stood there shivering. What are these goose bumps? And Adam probably thought, "All this shivering, I must be dying. This is a symptom of death, maybe."

Adam and Eve started to experience other symptoms. The loss of peace and an uneasiness concerning the future. They were worried. They were concerned. Suddenly they noticed that the beautiful covering and protecting robe of light which had enshrouded them from the moment of their creation was fading away.

The glory flickered, and went out. Extinguished by sin. There they stood, exposed and bare. Naked before the elements. Is nakedness a good thing? Not publicly. Things were falling apart. They had not died yet, but they could tell something bad was taking place. They decided they needed a covering so they went looking for something to cover their nakedness. Now there were no WalMarts, no clothing stores there. Where would you go for clothes? Well, they found a fig tree. Why would they choose a fig tree? Perhaps it was because the leaves were large and strong. They sewed its leaves together to cover their shame.

The true character of sin was becoming known. We can never underestimate the terrible consequences that come from just one fling with sin. Sin does have consequences. You can choose it, but beware.

Adam and Eve's very natures were now depraved. And sin also harmed heaven. The news of the fall spread through the universe. Every harp was hushed. Angels cast their crowns to the ground in sorrow. It was a disappointing time. It was a dark day.

Genesis 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. They got back in there behind the thickest brush they could find.

Notice here, that the very first act on God's part, was to come seeking Adam and Eve. Not so that He could destroy them. Not to even condemn them at first. He came to ask them a question. That proves you're innocent before you're found guilty or until you admit guilt. So He came looking for them. That says something good about God. He did not send a bolt of fierce lightning from the darkening sky to vaporize Adam and Eve out of existence. He came searching for them so they could talk things over.

Genesis 3:9 But the LORD God called to the man, (Who did He call to? The man.) "Where are you?" God singled out the one who was most guilty. And who was the most guilty, Eve or Adam? Did I here a man say Adam? Most men say that Eve was the guilty one, most women say Adam. Adam was more guilty because he was responsible for both their actions. God chose his responsibility because He talked to Adam first.

Verse 10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." It's a good thing to hide of you're naked. Do we ever have to be afraid of God? Only if we are running from God.

Verse 11,12 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

Would you expect Adam to have that response? Does Adam reflect sorrow here? Does he say, "I am sorry. I completely blew it. I ask for forgiveness." Do you see any confession, do you see any repentance here? Just blame: That's all we see. And who does Adam blame? He blames God, really, because he said, "That woman that YOU gave me. You gave me a bummer for a bride. I never asked for all her. Things were going well when it was just me and the animals. We were having a good time. I named them all, and they didn't bite." Why do we have to blame others when our real problem is self? Adam was more to blame than Eve. He was the one that was more guilty. It is like the skunk telling the possum that he has bad breath.

Verse 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" Has He condemned the woman? He says, "What have you done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." "That serpent that You put in the garden, he deceived me. That's the problem. That serpent." Eve blamed the serpent. She said: "The Devil made me do it! I couldn't help it. He tricked me. It wasn't my fault. I was just out of the cradle of creation. I was still wet behind the ears."

Adam and Eve behaved pitifully. Instead of humbly confessing their sins and asking for forgiveness, they started casting blame. The blamed everybody except themselves, where the blame should really go.

God had to take action. He had created man with the power of choice. His created beings chose the ditch instead of the path to life. The disobedient duo must be disciplined.

But first God punished the snake: Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life."

Snakes were better flyers than crawlers. But here they were, condemned to the dirt. But never again would they sail through the air. Never again would they illuminate the skies. God clipped the snake's wings. God grounded the Devil. Have you youngsters ever been grounded? Does it feel like a long time when your parents say you can't go on a date because of what you did for one week. Ah! My life is ended! How long was the snake grounded? For life! And also for all of his offspring. From the most beautiful of all the creatures the snake was now to become the most detested of all creatures. From that moment all snakes would be feared and hated by both man and beast whereas they had been the most admired. Sin takes you down.

Before God pronounced the curse on mankind, He wanted to give them hope. And you could see hope. God surely must be an optimist. The promise: Genesis 3:15 "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Before they heard of the thorns and thistles they heard of Jesus. They heard the coming Redeemer. Isn't god good. He gives us hope before He gives us the bitter medicine. They heard how all that had been lost could one day be regained through Christ. Not only did His voice express that hope, but nature also testified to that possibility, the hope of redemption. The trees cast off their leaves only to be robed with fresher beauty in the spring. Every time you see a springtime you see hope, new life, resurrection. Then each new growth spoke of salvation. Even the weeds witnessed. If you look closely at each weed, what do you see? You can see tiny flowers on most weeds, beautiful signs that God's mercy still exists among the curse. Even okra has flowers! Amazing!

Now, Adam and Eve had technically grounded themselves. God didn't ground them. It was their freedom of choice. By sinning, they chose to live under the consequences of sin. And when you go out and sin don't say that god has curse you. Actually you decided to do that. When you sow okra seeds, you're going to get okra. So be careful what you sow.

Verse 16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." You will be the weaker sex.

I wonder if in the beginning, before sin, Adam and Eve were equally strong or if she was weaker. It seems to me like maybe they might have been the same.

Verse 17,18 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. So pain enters the picture. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field." This implies that plants were added to their diet. Could it be that the original diet was fruits, nuts and grains? (see Genesis 1:29.) Seeds, basically. And plants were added after the fall. I suppose it could be.

Verse 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

They lost a lot. We should never have to have a hospital. There should never be a doctor or a nurse. We should be healthy all of our lives.

Genesis 3:22,23 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. I imagine that when he went out and planted a garden and all the little weeds came up he was sick. How do you feel hoeing. What a row to hoe that Adam had. And we all reap from his curse, from his disobedience.

Fallen man has no idea what a vile thing that sin really is. When you put sin in the presence of Holy beings, it is detestable. We don't know how bad sin is in God's sight. A skunks whose smell is probably the worst of all the animals probably think he smells good. He doesn't think that he stinks. Adam could not sense the magnitude of his sin. He didn't know how repulsive it really was in God's sight. God had to evict Adam.

Verse 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Right here is the world's first motor vehicle. God drove Adam and Eve out in a "Fury". A small boy drew a picture of a car with a man driving and two people in the back seat. And his mother asked who the people were. And the little boy said, "That's God driving and Adam and Eve out of the garden." They had to be evicted.

Why did they have to be evicted? Well, the tree of life was in that garden. And one condition to a perpetual existence for human beings is a continual feeding on the tree of life. If you're not eating that you're not going to live forever. That ought to have a spiritual lesson for us today, because one condition of strong spirituality is a continued feeding on the life that is found in the Bible. I want to tell you, today, that the leaves of this book are equivalent to the leaves of the tree of life. They are for the healing of the nations. Open this up and read it. Continual feeding on the Bible. That's what we need.

Access to the tree of life must be curtailed so sin would not be perpetuated. Cut off from that life-giving tree, man's vitality would gradually diminish until eventually mankind would become extinct. The human race will fade away without that tree of life. And I sort of wonder if the angels of heaven that fell with Lucifer, since they don't have access to the tree of life, can they live forever? So, cut off from that life- giving tree man would eventually be dead. So Adam and his wife packed up and moved out. Their new address was the land of sin and woe.

As time went by on the outside of the Garden of Eden things were vastly different than they were on the inside. The curse was out there. And they noticed there were seasons. Probably there were four seasons. The fall of the year came upon the guilty pair. Adam and Even began to notice the trees started dying. Now, they didn't know anything about spring, did they. So they probably thought at that point because the whole world was dying, all the trees are going to be dead, we will soon be dead and all this will soon be over and what a shame it is! The atmosphere which was once so mild became colder. As they noticed the fading flowers and falling leaves Adam and Eve mourned more deeply than we now grieve over our dead. It really hurt them to see how their sin had caused all this death, all this woe throughout all of created nature.

When the magnificent trees cast off their leaves, they realized their personal sin had altered every living thing. Those tree also lost their robe, their covering, every thing lost because of Adam and Eve's sin. Their sin was causing the death of all creation. It was a heavy burden. Only back there in the Garden of Eden could they see over the fence or over the wall that there was still an area that was unaffected by sin. Those tree never did turn.

Death of mankind and vegetation was not the only byproduct of sin. Adam and Eve rebelled against God. Sin caused all animal creation to follow suit. Adam started to notice the rebellious behavior of all these animals. Now, just think, if you lived there and all of a sudden the animals started killing each other, they started eating each other. That must have been a sad sight for Adam and Eve.

Imagine the first time Adam saw a wolf eating the insides of a lamb. Imagine how that must have affected him. He must have reacted violently. He must have at first tried to break up some of those awful slaughters. But he soon realized it's just the way it's going to be. It's awful here. He must have hated it, hated himself. He soon realized that his personal sin had altered the very nature of the entire world. And it would even spill the blood of Jesus Christ Himself. A bloody mess because of sin. I'm glad I wasn't Adam, but I won't want to stand up here and condemn Adam because I would have done the same thing. That's what we're told. So I'm not here to condemn Adam.

The Garden of Eden remained on earth until the time of the flood. Just prior to the flood the Garden of Eden was taken up to heaven where it is today. The same garden, the same vines that Adam and Eve trained, is still there. Everything is still there except Adam and Eve, of course. I wonder if snakes still fly around up there. So the Garden of Eden is still there preserved for our future enjoyment when we get to heaven. You are going to see the Garden of Eden some day. All this will be restored. Adam and Eve are going to get to see the Garden of Eden again. Do you think Adam and Eve are going to be saved? We're going to talk about that next week. We're going to talk about "Adam and Eve's Beautiful Conversion." And It's right here in Genesis 3. When we see the Garden of Eden some day it will be more gloriously embellished than it was in the beginning if that could ever be. It's going to be marvelous. (Patriarchs and Prophets, p.62 - EG White).

And you will get to see the Garden of Eden yourself. And you ticket to the Garden of Eden is Jesus Christ. Your relationship with your Savior. If you, like Enoch, are walking with God every day you're going to be there. If you're eating of the leaves of the tree of life which is the Bible (It's the closest thing we have.) you're going to be there. If you have that saving relationship with Jesus Christ you can be there.

Opening Hymn: #20 - O Praise Ye the Lord
Scripture:  Genesis 3:9-13
Closing Hymn: #554- O Let me walk with thee

990313Gettys#454 



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