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2021 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - The Consequences of Disobedience in the Garden

Charles Stanley - The Consequences of Disobedience in the Garden


TOPICS: Obedience

Well, the title of this message is, "The Consequences of Disobedience". And this is the fourth message in the Garden of Eden. And when I think about all the messages that are here, I think this is one of the most important lessons of all because think about it, it is foolish and very dangerous to make important decisions in your life without considering the consequences.

Very, very important to consider the consequences of decisions, yet people do it every day. They make decisions about their finances, about their marriage, about their health, about every aspect of their life, and never think about if I make this decision, what are the consequences going to be? And end up saying, "If I'd-a. If I'd-a this and if I'd-a that and if I'd-a the other". Too late. Once that decision is made ignoring God, there are oftentimes irrevocable consequences. And all the tears, all the doctors, all the plans, all the hopes, all the dreams are shattered.

There are some consequences that absolutely are irrevocable. And so, when I think about the Garden of Eden and what happened, I think about not only we make these decisions and it's disappointing, but sometimes they're painful and they're costly. So, think about, for a moment, in your own life, have you made a decision back there somewhere or in the process of making it? And you've not asked God if I do this, what are the consequences going to be? And oftentimes I've talked with people and warned them personally: if you do this I want to tell you here's what's going to happen. "Yes, sir". Did you hear that? "Yes, I did, I did hear that," walk right out, make the decision, and sooner or later they either want to call me or come back and tell me what a horrible mess they've made, because there are consequences to disobedience.

There are irrevocable consequences to disobedience. There are always painful consequences. So, what I want to talk about in this message is the consequences of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. This is our fourth message in the Garden, and I want you to turn, if you will, to the third chapter of Genesis, and I want us to begin reading in this seventeenth verse through the rest of this chapter. Adam and Eve have sinned against God, and now here's His message to them. "Then to Adam He said, 'Because you've 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. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; 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.'

Now the man called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of the living. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and this wife, and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever,'" which means that he would stay in that position of being disobedient to God, and alienated from God, which is not what he wanted. And so, the Scripture says, "Therefore, the Lord God sent him out from the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out, and at the east of the Garden, He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword, which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life".

So, let me ask you a question: what decision have you made in your life that you could look back and say, "That was a mistake. That was a terrible decision. That was a costly decision. If I'd-a. If I'd-a-listened to them, if I'd-a just thought about it, if I had read". In other words, lots of if I'd-a's. If I'd-a this and if I'd-a that. You know what? If you'll notice that if I'd-a's do not eliminate the consequences of disobedience. This is the principle from Genesis all the way through the Book of the Revelation that there are consequences to disobeying God. And we've been four messages in these first three chapters primarily, and really saying the same thing in different ways, and that is there're consequences to sin.

So, let me ask you this question: is there anything going on in your life right now that you know should not be, and you've told yourself you're going to stop, but you don't. You've told yourself you're not even going to think about it anymore, but you keep thinking about it. And you keep telling yourself it's going to be okay, but deep down inside you know it's not. Then listen very carefully to this message. What were the consequences to Adam and Eve for sinning in the Garden of Eden, and here's the first one: it put them at odds with nature. They were in this absolutely perfect garden, but what happens?

The Scripture says in the second chapter and the ninth verse that all that they saw was, "Pleasing to the sight and good for food". And then we just read a few moments ago that the ground was cursed where they were living. Because that was the result, one of the results of disobeying God. And the fact that man had to toil for his food, and so life was dramatically changed, drastically change. He said also not only was that true, but a woman's childbirth experience would be more painful than previously. And so, their sin put them at odds with the natural things about them: the garden, birth, marriage, and all the rest.

The second thing that's interesting here is it put them at odds with each other. And the trouble began in chapter three, verse six, and because there, the devil tempted Eve and she said to her husband, "Have a bite. This is a tree of the knowledge of good and evil, have a bite". So naturally, when the results came immediately, his eyes were opened. I don't think Adam ever forgot what he felt when he took a bite, Something happened on the inside, and that is his spirit, something in his spirit died. When he stepped out of the wonderful Garden of Eden into a life of death and penalty and all the rest that we'll talk about in a moment. And if you'll think about this also, when they heard the voice of God, they tried to find fig leaves, and hid behind trees to cover themselves from God.

Listen to this, when you sin against God, you can't hide. It's just that simple. I don't care what you drink. I don't care where you go. It doesn't make any difference who you go with, what your plans are, what your promises are, how much money you have, you cannot hide from God, and immediately they discovered that. Now, they loved God and wanted God until they sinned against Him. Listen to this, there are consequences to sinning against God that are inescapable. You cannot hide from God, your conscience.

Somebody says, "Well, my conscience bothered me". That was Almighty God stirring up within you the realizations of your sin and that there's a penalty for it. And then, of course, it put Adam and Eve at odds with God. In fact, when they sinned against God, they were at odds with everything around them. Not only nature, not only each other, but with God. As soon as they bit of the fruit, they felt guilty, they felt guilty. And when I will look at these chapters and listen to what happens, the Scripture says in chapter three, verse seven, "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". Well, it looked like they were doing pretty good then, hiding out, but, "They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day".

Let me ask you a question: when you were growing up, you disobeyed your mom or your dad, you knew they found out and you heard them coming down the hall. Can you remember that? And what happens? There was no way to escape. When they heard Almighty God coming through the woods, in the garden, they were absolutely petrified. And so, they couldn't hide from Him. And so what I want you to notice is this, this seems to be something real simple, that is, you're standing here in front of this tree and it looks absolutely delicious and there's another tree over here and it looks delicious. And so, you just decide, you know, God said, "If you do that, the day that you do it you're going to die". Well, and Satan said, "You're not going to really die". And so, what happens? You take a bite.

Watch this, that looks real, watch this carefully, that looks real simple. Just having a bite? There are two trees. They're loaded with fruit. I know God said don't eat of it, but it's just one bite. One bite destroyed everything they had. And this is the devil's approach. I just want you to take a bite, just one bite, because Satan knew exactly what one bite meant. It meant rebellion against Almighty God and the loss of everything God had provided for them. And so, when I look at that and realize that they were at odds with God, the penalty was not just simply a slap on the wrist, you shouldn't have done that. It was a lasting penalty.

Now, Adam lived, I think, about nine hundred and thirty years. Think about this, every day he lived, from the day he sinned against God, he is bound to have remembered where he was, where he'd been, what he had, what he'd lost. Because when you read about the Garden of Eden, it had every single possible thing. They would never have had to have labored. It was all there in absolute, divine perfection. And I believe that every single day He lived, following the Garden of Eden experience, he thought about, what a fool I was.

And the reason I know that's true is because when I look at this passage and what God said to him, look in last part of seventeen, "Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you will eat of it. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you, and you will eat the plants of the field; 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 will return". That is, disobedience separated them from God. And remember, they came out of the Garden of Eden where they had all the fruit, all the food, everything that they looked at was absolutely beautiful.

And then when I come to this passage again, and when He talks about thorns, thistles, and remember, He said, "By the sweat of your brow you'll eat". That is, and I got to thinking about all of a sudden, he's out of the Garden of Eden, out in natural land and so forth, and I thought, "Well, what did he dig the soil with? He had to make something. He had to make a hoe or whatever it might be. He didn't have a tractor. He didn't have anything that you and I would think about. He walked out without anything, but the knowledge that God had given him, with a fallen nature of how to survive, thorns... listen, the reason God put that in there, because it was so bad. Thorns and thistles is what you're going to have to deal with. By the sweat of your brow, whereas before, you could just walk along and pick it off or pick it up, or whatever it might be.

There are consequences to disobedience to God, don't forget it. Because it's so evidently spoken over and over again in this passage. Now, it didn't stop there, because the Scripture says it put their children at odds with each other. And people say, "Well, you know, it's my business and it's between me and her". Wait a minute, I don't think there's any sin a person commits that somebody else isn't involved in some way or the other. Maybe somebody that you work with, or maybe your children, especially the children here, for example, because we know the story of Cain and Able. And the Scripture says that Cain, for example, he was a tiller of the soil. He was a farmer. And Able was a shepherd. He took care of the sheep. God made it very clear to them what their responsibility was. And then what happened? Cain brought his gift to Almighty God and he knew better, because he brought something from the soil. God had already shown them. He'd already shown them that blood is essential for forgiveness.

In fact, He showed it to Adam and Eve. And this is why when they found fig leaves to cover themselves, the Bible says that God gave them what? He gave them skins, which meant that God killed an animal. And I think He showed them in the very beginning that the price of sin is death. And that the atonement for sin is blood. And so, it started in the Garden of Eden, goes all the way to the cross. Cain became very angry. And when they were out in the field together, Cain killed his brother, an act of disobedience. Think about this, here's his brother, both have a different occupation. God made it very clear that to come to Him to worship required a blood offering. Well, here's a shepherd and here's one who is doing well at his farming and he could have made the trade and brought blood also, but he didn't do it. He knew better, but he didn't do it.

And when you think about that, and you think about the fact that he got angry, and as a result, he killed his brother. Here's what I want you to see. Sin doesn't stop right where you commit it. Now it's in the family. You see, you can't always figure out where the results of the consequences of your sin's going to end. Sin cannot be contained, the only thing that blots out sin is the what? The blood of Jesus. And when there is no respect for the crucifixion of Christ, no respect unto God and His laws. When there's no respect, there are consequences. And the consequences get worse and worse and worse, because that's the nature of sin. And God intends for us to learn that lesson in the very beginning of the Bible.

And I've said this in every message, look at it, it's the first, first part of the whole Bible. This Bible is so big and so thick and so many chapters and so many authors and so forth. But in the very beginning experiences of the first two people in the Bible, we see the consequences of sin, which God intends for us to see and to apply in our own heart. Here's what I've discovered: I've listened a long time and I've lived a long time. You can't figure out all the consequences. And a lot of times the consequences will be something you never thought about, but there are consequences. But there are no good consequences to sin. Because sin is against God. And He loves us, and it hurts the heart of God to see us choose to sin against Him. So, likewise, it put all mankind at odds with God.

And you remember in the Scripture, in verse twenty-two of the third chapter, the Scripture says, look if you will, "Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.' Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out, at the east of the garden of Eden. He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life". Their sin cost them their future, at odds with God. Watch this, when you and I choose to disobey the Word of God, we choose to be at odds with God.

For example, if He says, "We'll make it simple. Thou shalt not steal". So I steal anyway. At that moment, I'm at odds with God. You should not have a lustful look. At that moment, I'm at odds with God. We either obey or we're at odds with God. Now look, it's one thing to be at odds with somebody else. It's something entirely different to be at odds with God. And you say, "Well, I've sinned against God and I'm doing pretty well". So far. But I can tell you this, only God can heal you of sin, and that is through His shed blood brought about at the cross of Jesus Christ at Calvary.

Sin divides people, families, businesses, the world. And so, you look at these passages, it's very evident what God says, because if they had eaten of the tree of life, they would have lived forever and be alienated from God forever. And so, that means that they would have had a guilty conscience and been separated from God all the rest of their life. But I'll tell you a good thing in spite of all this, and that is the fact that God, watch this carefully, the fact that God provided them skins in the garden when they had sinned. It means that God certainly explained to them why fig leaves were not enough. And certainly, He explained to them why the price of forgiveness is the shed blood from the animals, knowing that one of these days, His Son would shed His blood at Calvary.

Were skins enough? No, it was a symbol of what would happen. And by faith in God's promise of shed blood, they were forgiven of their sin. And as I said, Adam lived to be about nine hundred and thirty years old. He never forgot what happened and he never fully escaped the penalty. Because he, the Scripture says, "By the sweat of your brow, intense pain in childbirth, separation from God," all the things that He says in these Scriptures.

I know this is not a very happy sermon. You like it, it's the truth. It is the truth. And my goal is not to make you happy, but to make you holy, that you would be wise enough to choose not to sin against God and wreck your life. The wreck may not be seen, heard, or felt immediately, or even maybe in a few years. But sooner or later it's all coming down. You say, "Well, how do I deal with it"? Here's how you deal with it. First of all, you admit it to yourself. I've disobeyed God, not going to blame anybody else, God, I'm telling You, I've disobeyed You. You confess it. You agree with God that that act of disobedience is against God as well as against yourself.

You tell Him that you're not worthy to be forgiven, but you're asking Him to forgive you on the basis that His son, Jesus, went to the cross, died on the cross, shed His blood on the cross, He's the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. And therefore, if you confess your sins to Him, repent of your sins, turn from them to Him, God will forgive you, forgive you of your sin. Does that mean He will erase all the consequences? He doesn't promise to do that.

That's why I said in the beginning that it's serious to sin against God because there're sometimes inevitable consequences you cannot erase. The guilt you can be forgiven of, but the consequences may live with you the rest of your life. And I would say to you today if you're here and you've never been saved, and you've told God one of these days you're going to, watch this carefully, you'll never hear God respond to you by saying, "Okay". Never hear God say, "That's all right, you don't have to do it now. You can do it later. Take your time". He'll never say that. Behold, today is the day of salvation is the message of God. Amen?

And Father, we thank you for giving us so much truth right in the beginning of your precious Word. I pray the Holy Spirit will drive these truths home to every single person who hears them today, and years and years to come. Thank you for your grace, willing to forgive us. God, we know we don't deserve it. Thank You, thank You for being willing to forgive us and to cleanse us, give us new starts, new beginnings. And we pray today that the Holy Spirit will make us very sensitive to decisions we make in life, remembering they can be costly beyond our comprehension. Thank You, thank You, thank You for Your forgiveness and Your love and Your kindness and goodness toward us, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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