Preached at Cascade Hometown Days on August 21, 2016
As we begin today, I want to start by saying thank you to the Cascade Hometown Days committee for requesting that Cornerstone Church provide a Worship service in the park. It was one of those requests that I did not have to think twice about. At Cornerstone if there is one thing we love to do is to proclaim the Glory of God through the preaching and teaching of the Bible.
Speaking of this, we have a table that has a number of Bibles on it. If you don’t have a Bible, we want you to have one. Every person in Cascade should have a Bible. Feel free to grab one before you leave today and take it home with you.
This morning the title of my sermon is “Homesick.” This is my attempt to connect with the theme of this weekend, Hometown Days, with the sermon this morning.
My guess is that all of you have experienced the feeling of being homesick. As a child I use to suffer from it terribly. I would go to a friend’s house with the intent to stay the night, and I was usually fine until everyone fell asleep. Then in the midst of the silence, I would look around and for the first time it would hit me, I was not at home. I was in a strange room, with strange shadows, strange sounds, and strange smells, and I did not belong here. I was an alien in a foreign land. And this realization caused a great deal of anxiety and a deep longing to return home.
This feeling of homesickness parallels what I believe many people in this world feel about life in general. In the moments that we pause and look around and hear about all of the wars, and crime, and disease, and natural disasters, and divorces, and addictions, and greed, and all around brokenness we get a sense deep inside of us that something is terribly wrong. This world and our lives with all of its problems, which there are many, seem inconsistent to how we believe the world should be. Our hearts long for a better home. We are in a sense, homesick.
Our First Home
The question I want to ask is this morning is where does this come from? Why is their an inner longing that exists in every person for a world with no more tears, no more pain, no more death?
Turn with me to the first book in the Bible, Genesis Chapter 1. If you need a Bible, just raise your hand and we can get you one. The word Genesis means the beginning or the origin. The book of Genesis is the historical narrative of the origin of all creation. We see this in verse 1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” As we look through this Chapter we see God creating light, the atmosphere, land, seas, vegetation, animals, and then humanity in his image. We see the authority of God over all creation. He is the Potter and all creation is His clay.
As you walk thought this chapter you start to see a pattern. Look at Verse 4, “And God saw that the light was good.” Verse 10, “And God saw that it was good.” Verse 12, “And God saw that it was good.” Verse 18, “And God saw that it was good.” Verse 21, “And God saw that it was good .“ Verse 25, “And God saw that it was good.” Then in verse 31, at the end of God creation, as he sat back and looked at his work it says this, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
The world in it original form was could only be described with two words, “very good.” This was the world that God originally created.
If you turn to the next chapter we move from a 30,000 foot view to a 1,000 foot view of creation. And in chapter 2 we see God place man in a Garden named Eden. In this Garden there was everything the humanity needed, food, companionship, life, and even God himself. There was a beautiful harmony that existed in the beginning. God the sovereign creator, humanity under his authority, and creation under the dominion of man. Everything fit and everything was very good.
Strangers in a Foreign Land
Unfortunately, we cannot describe the world in its currents state as “very good” or as a Garden of Eden. Genesis 1 and 2 seem like something that fairy tales are made of. Once upon a time in a land far, far away. So what went wrong? If that was what use to be, why is it not that way now?
Turn to Genesis 3. In Genesis 3:16 it says, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” This was the one rule that God implemented. God had given them life, given them companionship, given them a home, given them food, given them purpose, but he said no to one and only one thing, the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.
Did they keep the command? No, they rejected God’s goodness and His authority and exchanged them for the lies of Satan. They effectively committed mutiny in the midst of God’s Garden. And immediately things fall apart. We can see evidences of this in Genesis 3:7-8 right after they disobeyed God, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. 8And 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.”
At the moment of their rebellion they were separated from each other and separated from God. Why? What occurred at the moment of their rebellion? Sin entered the world. At that point Adam and Eve were infected with the disease of sin. And with this opening of Pandora’s box, their dispositions had changed. Yes, they still bore the image of God, but the image was tragically marred. They were broken, if you will.
And as God stated to them, the end result of this event was death. And why is this? Because as it says in Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death.” This was not how it was originally, but this was the way it was now. Adam and Eve had a new enemy.
And not just them, but everyone after them. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—“ The sin of Adam became a spiritual genetic defect that infected all of mankind, and they wages of every man's sin is the grave. Why? Because we are all sinners.
But if that wasn't enough, not only would Adam and Eve die, but no longer was creation on their side. Look at Genesis 3:17 God says this to Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life”
No longer was their harmony between this world and man. The world became an agent of God's wrath. For many of us, we can feel this reality. Life is hard. From morning until night, many of us find ourselves just trying to survive; wondering if we are going to make it through another year.
If that wasn't enough, God, at the end of his rebuking, does one last thing. He sends Adam and Eve out of the Garden. Genesis 3:23, “therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”
This is where all of us now live, not in the Garden, but East of Eden. The famous author John Steinbeck wrote a book named, “East of Eden” and it based somewhat off of Genesis 4. The story is a story of jealousy, covetousness, suicide, depravity and all around brokenness. To be honest, it is a story that many of us can relate to. Why? Because it is the story of the current world.
And this explains why this world is such a mess. Sin. Adam and Eve sinned, and we sin. Humanity has rejected God's way, and instead chosen our own way. And out of this rebellion flows a wake of brokenness.
And in the midst of this brokenness, perhaps as we lay in our beds, we dwell upon the pain of this world and our hearts ache for the Garden of Eden. We long for how God originally created the world. A world that is “very good”. A spiritual homesickness is a symptom of what once was and what now is. These deep longings are an echo of our heritage. CS Lewis, the author of The Narnia series once wrote, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
The Snake Crusher
Which leads us to the question, will we ever get back to the Garden? Will we ever find rest and find peace for our weary souls. Is their a solution to the sin of the World?
Yes. And we first see him mentioned in Genesis 3:15 in God’s cursing of Satan. Right after sin entered the world for the first time, in the midst of his punishment, this is what God says to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Who is this? Who is God referring to? Who is this seed of Eve. And what does it mean he will bruise the head of the ancient serpent, the devil?
This passage is called the protoevangelium; which means the first gospel. The first good news. And why is is verse 15 the first good news? Because God is foretelling the coming of our one and only hope, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God will come, not in all His glory, but as a seed of Eve, as a human. And his coming is for one purpose, to bring a fatal blow to the power of Satan. This is what is meant by the bruising of the snakes head. 1 John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
And how does he do it? How does he destroy the works of Satan? He does it by living the sinless life that we could never live, and dieing the death that we deserve, and overcoming sin and overcoming death and raising himself from the tomb. As he says in John 16:33, he has overcome the world. And at this moment he sits at the right hand of the Father and he offers to all of you forgiveness and eternal life if you repent of your rebellion and put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Galatians 1:3-4, “the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,”
This is the seed of Eve, who lays down his life so that you can be delivered from this depraved and broken world. This is why Christ came; to fulfill the longing of your heart and take you out of this world and back to the Garden of Eden.
Back to the Garden
And if we turn in our Bibles to the last book, the Book of Revelation, this is exactly what we see. The book of revelation is book about the end times, and in the end we see all humanity standing before God on the day of Judgment. And in Revelation 20:15 we see these dreadful words, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” What is this book of life? It is the book of the life of the lamb that was slain. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ, your name is not in that book. And if your name is not in that book that you destiny is not the garden, nor is it this world. Your destiny is hell.
In a way, your longing for a better world, a better life, are warning signs of things to come. Everyone in this park will stand before God in judgment. If you do not get right with God through faith in Jesus Christ, then the brokenness of this world is nothing compared to what is coming in eternity.
However, for those whose names who are in the book of life? Those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, what is in store for them? Revelation 21:1-4, “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. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And 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,b and God himself will be with them as their God.c 4He 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.”
Where do those who have trusted in Jesus Christ find themselves? They find themselves in a place that is not strange, or foreign, or broken, but a place that can only be described as very good. They are reconciled with God. They are back to the Garden.
So the question I have for you today is simple. Have you repented of your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. John 3:16, ““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Getting back to the garden cannot be done by human effort. It can only be done through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no guarantee that any of you will have a tomorrow. Choose today to run to Christ and find rest for your weary souls.