Sunday service 8 August 2021 – Losing sweet communion with God

Intro Michael Ngubane

We greet you and thank the Lord for this opportunity to listen to God’s word. It is both milk and food. It is everything that we need. Are you built up through God’s word? What is the outcome of this in your life? It is tragic if a child is fed by its parents, but the child never grows. There are children in Africa who suffer from malnutrition, resulting in large heads and large stomachs. The rest of their bodies are thin and frail. It is clear then that something is wrong in that body, there is no nutritional balance. What does that child eat? If the child is given wholesome food, it will grow well. After COVID has passed, what will people be like? Just skeletons, because they did not eat a well-balanced spiritual diet? If you don’t spend time with God’s word, how will you grow? How will you hear his voice? May God bless this time. God’s word says that one day God’s books will be opened before him; and each person will have to give an account of that which God has said to you and what you did thereafter. Sometimes when man speaks you can ignore it, but when God speaks how dare you ignore Him? May God be merciful so that will not neglect His word in any way. If God speaks, and we brush it aside and continue as before there will be a curse on our lives.

Genesis 3:1-12  Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 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. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

This is a text we are all familiar with, where we read about the fall of man - when he lost the way and failed to keep what God had commanded him. God had created the world and all that was in it and then created man in his own image. The preceding verses show how God interacted with man. Who is He whom we call God? Do we know and understand who He is? Do we glibly use his name when we speak? God took time to visit Adam and Eve and had fellowship with them and took an interest in them. It is unthinkable that he spent time with man. Was God lonely so that He needed the company of Adam and Eve? Who were they? Were they so special that God spent so much time with them? During His program He made time for these people? A day would not pass without God visiting then and spending time with them. God makes plans. He decided to spend that time with them. In his arrangements he made time to spend with them. This is how much man means to God and how precious man is to Him.

In this garden, God had set specific boundaries. Certain areas were out of bounds for Adam and Eve. There were particular laws governing what they could do. They were free to do certain things but not to go beyond these boundaries. They were not allowed to eat of a particular fruit. God said that if they did, they would surely die. God stipulated the outcome of their disobedience. It was God who gave this instruction, not friends, not parents. God, their God said they should not do this. They could go anywhere else, do anything else but they were not allowed to overstep their boundaries. They were not allowed to come close to it, touch it or eat from it. These were God’s statutes. They were not allowed to overstep the boundary.

God has given us freedom. However, there are areas that are out of bounds, things which we ought not to do. God has so to say ‘fenced’ them off. It is not for us to ask questions. We should obey God. God does not expect to see how close we can get without getting burnt. He said do not. We have been forbidden. We may not do it.

This bewilders me, to ponder about where things went wrong with the people God had created. If things go wrong, stand still and pause, and ask where did things start going wrong? Things don’t start in the air. There is a gradual start and a place where all things begin. Today you are astounded to find yourself in the place where you are. You are not just lukewarm, but you are dead. Satan has ridden you. Where did it start? You find yourself indulging in sin. These are children of God. These are not heathens. It is a person knew how good it was to walk with God and have that sweet communion with God. How did you end up in this state? Where did it begin going wrong?

A person may get so angry – with his children. So much so that when a child speaks to his parents, the parent will slap or kick them. Children must protect themselves. Someone else may find himself in an immoral state. Before this, God had completely saved you from immorality, but now it has returned - and with such evil power. Evil thoughts, disgraceful thoughts which should never be entertained in the mind of child of God – how did that enter your life again? This indescribable fellowship God had with his people suddenly gets cut off. When God visits his people, he does not find them where He had left them the last time He was with them.

How did satan get hold of Eve? How did he infiltrate? The serpent noticed that there was some dissatisfaction in Eve’s life. There was some discontent in her life towards God and his commands and statutes. There was something wrong in Eve’s life. When the tempter came, where did he find her? Where she was supposed to be? Eve had a wandering spirit and she found herself in the vicinity of the tree. Satan finds you exactly there where your heart is drawn - close to the thing where you should not be. You make it easy for satan to trip you up. Your heart hankers for that. Why did Eve separate from her husband? (It could be that they separated because of their duties.) She took the decision to do something she should not have taken that liberty to do, and took the decision without  Adam’s knowledge.

Mothers, things might go wrong when you take decisions when it is not for you to take the decision on your own. Wives take things into their own hands, they wear the pants because they feel they are right, because they know their husband will just fall into their plans in any case. Satan found entrance and came in the form of a conversation. He entices a person into a discussion and a debate. He knew what she would answer, and he had his answer ready. Take note of who satan is, where he comes from and what he does. What role does satan play in the heavenly realm? When he was cast out of heaven, he had one goal, to lead man astray and to hell. He has been busy with this and is still busy with it. Look today, with the looting rampage we have recently experienced in South Africa. The heart-breaking thing is that so-called Christians were caught up in that as well. You have been forbidden to get involved. The ten commands state emphatically: you shall not steal. You should not envy the things of your neighbours. It ought to be as clear as daylight. If you have stolen something, how can you consume it? Is there no conscience? You are eating a curse upon yourself. How do we know that this was not a test to distinguish between God’s children and those who are not? How dare you? We are headed to that day of judgement where we will be faced with our deeds and judged. Even believers.

Eve was close to the tree where she had a lingering question in her heart. She was not busy with all the other trees where she could eat as much as she liked. She had the liberty to eat from any other tree, but she was busy with the one tree she was told she may not eat from. It was easy for the serpent because he saw her thinking about it. One finds the same today; many believers doubt the plain truths that God has instructed us. Some complain, and say it is just because you think you are better, you are going overboard. It can’t be so extreme. If your heart is like this, it is clear that something is wrong. God said do not get close, do not take it. There is no reason for you to get close to sin. Don’t say you want to have a closer look. There is no reason for you to get close to it.

You ask, can it be so extreme? Can’t we even greet one another? There is a reason why God says there are things from which you must flee. If God has put boundaries, why do you have questions? God wants you pure and unblemished. A curse will come down on your life.

The serpent found Eve close to the tree. At the root of her temptation was curiosity. What will happen if I touch it, eat it? Will I die? It can’t be that bad. I will not die. God is merciful. The serpent made it easy for her, she took of it. The outcome - she gave it to her husband. He also ate the fruit. Things went wrong with the one who had been given the command. He was the head of the home. He received that instruction from God.  It was easy for him to fall into sin. Eve had fallen and she opened the way for Adam to fall.

The sad thing is Eve’s fall did not end with her, her husband and family, but with the whole nation. When you make certain decisions do you realise how many you affect through it. When you make decisions, do you consider what the effect will be on your family and all those connected to you? In Romans we read that sin came into the world through one man. Through one man peace, freedom, joy ended. That fellowship was cut off through that sin. Sin entered the world because of the disobedience of that one man. The sin of disobedience is like the sin of witchcraft. If you are disobedient, you are no different to a witch or witchdoctor. If you do not obey, you become an instrument in the devil’s hands. Through that sin, man sinned and the fellowship with God stopped. All became bitter as a result of that sin.

Is there somewhere where peace has ended through us? The peace and harmony at your place of work can come to an end because you come in with a bad permeating influence. You come with your poisonous speech to your workplace. You sow discontent and doubt. Your decisions, those steps you take have an impact on so many lives. It affects your family. You did not enquire and ask for advice from those who really know, but you take things into your own hands. It is not your mandate, as a wife to take the decisions. That is not your role as a wife. That decision Eve took was such a far-reaching decision, she should have first consulted with her husband. Ask yourself the question: do you come with your decision, without consulting with your husband. This decision of this wife changed everything in the garden. Her disobedience spoiled everything God had given them. This changed everything, their whole lifestyle, the way they behaved. Contemplate and reflect on the decisions you have made and how they have affected your life. You have made yourself like a widow and you live as if your husband is dead. The wife does things without asking. Then the husband must remedy things after they have gone wrong. In all these things, where was Adam? God spoke to you first, Adam. You knew what should have happened. What did you do when it was offered to you? You take it and eat it. You say, what could I have done? I had to be well-mannered. In any case, I also wanted to know what it tastes like. It shows that things were wrong in his life as well.

When God returned in anger, He no longer had confidence them. He no longer trusted them to remain in the place he had given them. They were sent out of this paradise. He no longer trusted Adam or Eve. He placed an angel to protect the gate. The people whom he lived with, he no longer trusted. He had to place ‘security’ at the gate. They had become a threat to God. There was enmity between them. How did it reach that point that He no longer trusted them and that they had become a danger to him?

How terrible when it reaches this state? When God warns a person. He says that person is dangerous. His tongue is like an axe - it wreaks havoc. A person will murder you in cold blood. Their eyes are evil. They had to leave paradise. There are people that we need to guard against, because if you get involved with them, their influence causes you to doubt, and their tongue surpasses the worst bomb there is. Shun such people who will harm you and damage your faith. Their speech and deceitful language will ensure that you lose your faith. Don’t say you must win that person over; they will poison you. Do not get close to the place you were told not to. Don’t get close to that place. Flee for your life! What do want by getting close to that? They might come to you – brother sister, and say I want to talk to you.

Flee for your life from the place that will lead you into sin. Flee from that place, that thing which causes spiritual death. Even though you are in that state, God asks, “Adam where are you? What has happened to you? Have you not obeyed God?” When God asks us about our sin, it’s not because he doesn’t know about it, but it’s because he wants to help us. Adam should have said I’ve sinned. I’ve eaten what I shouldn’t have. Don’t cover up your sin. Know that the reason you fell into sin is because of your own sinful heart. God will have mercy on you - no matter what your sin is. Confess it exactly as it is. Not like Adam.

The heart of man is evil. Adam, says, “This wife whom you gave me.” He blames God. God did wrong by giving me Eve. People often confess their sins like this. They make excuses for it. However, know you have sinned because of your evil heart. You should condemn your heart. It is not your neighbour or anyone else, but it was because of your heart. When Moses was on the mountain, he was busy with God, getting the 10 commandments. At the bottom of the mountain, Aaron was making other gods. They wanted to do what other nations were doing. They danced around the calf. They were busy with pleasure and wanted to serve God like the other nations did. When God is busy ‘baking bread’ for us we should be patient, not that we take things into our own hands. Bow and humble yourself. Adam, you did not keep to your rightful position. Husband, where are you? Have you left your place, God’s command? God does not ask Eve. God had given the commandment to Adam. Moses went to fetch the law which the people should follow. The children of God live according to the law. There are boundaries which we should not overstep. God’s law guides us. There are some who reject it. They say, we are not allowed to do this and that. There are so many laws. God does place boundaries for the people, and they are expected to remain within them. We ought to stay there and when God calls us, we should be quick to respond and say where we are.

In which darkness are you hiding in? How did you leave you position? Yesterday God rejoiced to see you, but today? Don’t come now, God, you say. I am not ready for you. I am not living as I ought. God wants to visit you and take you out of that pit, that darkness. Where are you? Answer the question: Adam, where are you? Do you remember what it used to be like? Do you remember how it was? God wants to restore the sweet fellowship you had before. Adam, come back to God?

Closing Albu van Eeden

Does this message breathe life into your soul? It was as if God poured life onto us as his child shared this message. Or is your heart dead? If this message was dead, you may have lost the fear of God. Before God spoke to Israel, Moses said that they should sanctify themselves for a few days. How did you hear God’s word today? In God’s fear. You say we live in a time of grace and not the law. Yes, I know Christ opened the holy of holies and you can come to God at any time. However, we have gone to the other extreme. We have lost the fear of God (we even come casually to church, some with slops and shorts.) What was Eve’s mistake? She had lost her fear of God. Today we have even surpassed Adam and Eve. They were ashamed of their nakedness. Now we are proud of it. We expose as much as we can. We come with that approach into the church. How do you dress? To cover your nakedness or to expose it?

This message was full of life. As I listened, I drank it in. If it was not like this for you, ask where you have gone wrong. Even if God Himself were to speak to you, as he did with Adam and Eve, it would be dry and powerless. God will have quickened many consciences today - if we were alive. I hope you did not miss this blessing.