SERMON TEXT BELOW
Pentecost 2 2021
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
June 6, 2021
Gen. 3:8-15, 2 Cor. 4:13-5:1, Mark 3:20-35
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Have you ever had a dream where you find yourself at school or work and then you realize you are naked or in your underwear? Supposedly this is a dream about having your insecurities revealed. In our Old Testament reading today we find some people who are living out that dream. Adam and Eve suddenly realize that they are naked. They are naked and ashamed. Ashamed not just about being unclothed, but ashamed that they have disobeyed God. Naked and ashamed, our great-great grandparents try to cover up with fig leaves and then they try to run from God; hide from God. They have been deceived by the lies of the evil one. They have broken the world. Now they are trying to hide from God’s wrath.
God, however, is not going to destroy them and start over. Instead, God has a plan for redemption. God comes looking for His human creations and asks them questions. He calls to them, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:10–11 (ESV) 10 And [Adam] said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 [God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Satan deceived the two by questioning God’s word, “Did God actually say?” He twisted the truth and repackaged rebellion against God as just, “being like God.”
God asks the naked and ashamed couple three questions which convict the hiding pair of their sin. Although it turns out it isn’t just Adam and Eve hiding from God in the Garden, the serpent is still there with them.
Guilty Adam desperately tries to shift the blame to others. Genesis 3:12 (ESV) 12 … “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13 (ESV) 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The Lord God will address Eve and Adam, but first He speaks to the Serpent; Satan, and He curses the Evil One. Genesis 3:14–15 (ESV) 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 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.”
God gives the plan of redemption. The offspring of the woman will be wounded but He will crush the serpent’s head. God promises a savior and covers over Adam and Eve’s naked shame with garments of skin.
In our Gospel reading the offspring of the woman has come and is preparing to crush the devil’s head while being wounded by the devil on the cross. As Jesus moves about in His ministry His very presence causes unclean spirits to cry out and then Jesus drives them out. Jesus has been driving out demons, healing many, preaching and teaching. He cleanses a leper, a paralytic and a man with a withered hand. Jesus is attracting such large crowds that He is not even able to eat.
Jesus’ family hears about this and they twist things around to declare “He is out of his mind.” The scribes twist the truth of what is going on and try to repackage what is happening. They say that Jesus is casting out demons by the prince of demons. Jesus, upon whom the Holy Spirit descended at His baptism, is accused being in league with the devil.
Jesus has come to crush the devil and the scribes say He is working with the devil. Mark 3:23–27 (ESV) 23 And [Jesus] called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
Jesus is binding the strong man, Satan, and plundering his house. Jesus is freeing people from the power of the devil and the scribes say He is possessed by the devil. Jesus sternly warns them of the dire consequences of their mislabeling who Jesus is. Mark 3:28–30 (ESV) 28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
If you reject Jesus and the Holy Spirit, you reject forgiveness. You will be lost forever. You will stand before the judgement seat of God naked and ashamed because you have rejected the Lamb’s robe of righteousness which covers over all your sin.
Sin is serious. You need forgiveness. You need Jesus. If you reject Jesus, you reject forgiveness. You need the real Jesus who died on the cross for you and rose from the dead for you. You need the real Jesus of the Bible, not one that has been repackaged and relabeled into someone compatible with the whims of the culture.
How wicked would it be for someone to come into your house and take toilet bowl cleaner, pour it into soda pop bottles and put it in your fridge? It would be a tremendous evil to repackage and relabel poison to make it appear harmless.
But that is exactly what people love to do these days. Folks love to repackage and relabel sin to make it seem harmless and fun. Greed and the love of money are repackaged as ambition and aggressive business skills. Anger is relabeled as righteous indignation.
God created man and woman and said, Genesis 1:28 (ESV) 28 … “Be fruitful and multiply ....” and Genesis 2:24 (ESV) 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
God has a plan for sexual intimacy within the marriage union of a man and a woman, but people reject God’s plan and relabel and repackage sexual sin to seem harmless. Just fooling around. Just hooking up. Just shacking up. So much twisted and perverse sexual sin now repackaged with rainbows and relabeled as pride.
Killing an unborn child is called essential health care for women. Killing the elderly and infirm is called death with dignity. We so much want to listen to devil’s lie, “Did God really say?” and repackage and relabel sin.
When sin is repackaged and relabeled as harmless it is more dangerous than toilet bowl cleaner in a pop bottle. Because if you believe sin is harmless you will not seek forgiveness, and without forgiveness, sin is eternally deadly. If you reject Jesus’ forgiveness because you ignore sin it will leave you standing naked and ashamed before the judgement seat of God. Do not fall into this twisted trap of the evil one.
Renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways. You are a baptized child of God. Your naked shame has been covered by the robe of Jesus’ righteousness made white in the blood of the Lamb. Jesus paid for your sins on the cross of Calvary. He is the first fruits of the grave promising that you will be raised from the dead.
In Christ you have eternal life. Indeed you are by nature sinful and unclean but you have forgiveness in Jesus. The Holy Spirit dwells in you. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. So stay alert. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Everyday, be aware of the devil’s tricks as he twists the true Jesus into a false Jesus, even making Jesus the enemy. Resist the devil and his lies as he repackages and relabels sin. The devil knows all your weak points. Do not dabble with sin and evil. James 4:7 (ESV) 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Always remember who you are a new creation in Christ. You have been born again in water and the Spirit. Declare the truth, “I am baptized! I still struggle with sin, but Jesus has forgiven me. On the last day I will not be naked and ashamed before the throne of God because I am clothed in Jesus’ righteousness and I will live with him forever.” Amen.