Christine Caine — Unashamed
Oh I am so fired up to be here. I feel like I'm at home. Pastor Craig and Amy are like family to Nick and I and our girls Catherine and Sophia. I'm telling you when he was introducing next week for church, you don't want to miss next week church. This church is a little bit like God. You're like omnipresent. I'm talking to you all over. It just keeps growing everywhere we go. But I remember a few years ago I got a cancer diagnosis which you know, nobody wants to hear those words, Chris you have cancer. And of course, before you all start freaking out, by the grace of God, I took out half my thyroid and took out a lump that was benign so thank God I'm cancer free. That's fine. But I want to say this thing.
When the doctor called to say Christine you have cancer I know she was starting to kind of sound like she was freaking out, so I thought I better go into pastoral care to make sure that you know. And I remember saying to her Leslie, it's okay. Cancer can't kill me. Life will kill me. You just need to live long enough and you'll die. I don't know anyone that's gotten out of life alive. So death is the ultimate statistic. One out of one will die. So you don't want to miss this series is all I'm saying. I'm gonna be tuning in as I do every week to your pastor. I'm pumped up, fired up and ready to go now. You all know I'm both Greek and a woman. So I only speak three ways. Hard, fast and continuously.
So strap yourself in and no matter where you are at any one of our Life Church locations, if you need an interpreter, this is an Australian accent. This is how the colonies speak. You threw the tea out in Boston. But the rest of us, we actually speak the Queen's English. So this is what it is like. You will catch up. I want to share my heart. I'm with family today. And this church is like home for us. And I want to share with you there's some thoughts about the subject that I have struggled most with. I turned 52 recently and that is awesome. It's a great milestone. My father died when he was 52 and so for me to reach the age of 52 was very, very significant and everyday is a gift from God. But there's been one issue more than any other issue that I've had to struggle with most of my life. And I have to still make a daily conscious decision to really not spiral down into this issue.
And you know, I think it's one of the most important issues that scripture talks about. I think there's not one person that's listening today that this won't pertain to. We're gonna turn to the book of Genesis because why not start at the beginning? We've got a whole 30 minutes together so if I read really fast we'll get to Revelation by the time that I'm done. You've got nothing better going today anyway. So I know that that's happening. But Genesis chapter two, we're gonna go to Genesis 2:25 right through to Genesis 3:17. Now that could be more Bible than some of you have read all year, I know that. But that's okay. I'm gonna catch you up to your Bible reading plan that I know that you're on so you would have gotten through in a day. But we're gonna go to Genesis 2:25.
The Bible says and the man and his wife were both naked. I got some of you right there if you've never been in church before and you're like they talk about this in church? Yes, it's in the Bible there you go. The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say you shall not eat of any tree in the garden"? And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. But the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God".
Is that not the desire of most of humanity? Knowing good and evil. So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. And she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And 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. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you"? And he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself". He said, "Who told you you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree which I commanded you not to eat"? The man said, "The woman"!
I'm just saying very few things have changed in life. You all do what you want with that. But there it is. "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit..". So it wasn't just the woman's fault, it's not God's fault because God gave the woman to the man. 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". If you're kind of wondering where the origin of the blame culture is, it didn't just start today on Twitter, it was right there in the Garden of Eden. It is not my fault! It is this person's fault! It is the system's! It's anybody's fault but my fault. It started right there. But I think it's really interesting that we start Genesis 2:25, the very last verse in the Bible before we step over into humanity's fall is a very, very important verse. Because God wants us to know there is one thing I'm going to take the time to put in holy, I'm gonna write it in this so that you my people created in my image, are going to know that there is one thing I created you to never know what it feels like.
There is one thing that I created you to never know the burden of. The Bible says Adam and Eve were naked and they knew no shame. Is that interesting to you? That God could have said they knew no fear. They knew no joy. They knew no peace. They knew no, I mean he could have picked anything out of the plethora of human emotions to put in there. And he puts only one thing in scripture before the fall. I created you to never know the burden of shame. So if I was the enemy, which I'm not contrary to what some might think, but if I was the enemy, and I wanted to take out the only thing created in the image of God, then I would want to make sure I put on them the one thing they were never created to bear the burden of so that they would be rendered ineffective.
So that they would be rendered fruitless. Because the enemy is after your fruitfulness. See if he can't get you, if you are saved, if you are born again, if you are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, the enemy is not gonna get your soul. But if he can heap shame on you, he will render you ineffective so the people on the other side of your obedience will not be reached with the gospel. It is about our fruitfulness. So much of what is happening in the world today is an attack of the enemy on our fruitfulness. And I'm gonna show you this from scripture. So the enemy comes into the garden. And here he comes in. And the very first thing in the Bible, the very first words that we read from the enemy in scripture is a question.
And the question that the enemy asks right here in the book of Genesis is pertinent to us today in 2018 across the earth. The enemy comes into the garden and he asks that one question that begins it all. Did God really say? You see when the enemy wants to untangle your life, he will begin by undermining the authority of the word of God. He will always begin by questioning did God really say? Is that really in the Bible? Is that what really God says about marriage? Is that what God says about monogamy? Is that what God says about family? Is that what God says about society? Is that what God says about the best way to ... Did God really say that? Or perhaps if we take it and put it in the washing machine, and the dishwasher and the dryer, turn it upside down, translate it from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, and make it say what you want to say, did God really say is the question for every generation.
Oh it's the question on the table for this generation. Did God really say scripture is inherent? Did God really say Jesus is the only way to God? Surely, there are so many other options. Did God really say that that is relevant in 2018? I mean really Christine. Culture is so different today. I mean there was no technology, there was no internet, how could God have known the internet was going to be? Did God really say is the foundational question that if you don't get that answered, your whole life will begin to unravel in so many ways. The way we see so many things unraveling in society today in every sphere politically, morally, socially, environmentally, economically, we see it in every sphere of society. It is beginning to unravel because people don't know what God really said.
Now God's saying I created you to never know shame. If you don't know what I said about you, if you don't know how I created this world and the order I created, then I'm telling you what is gonna come upon you will be a great shame because if you don't know who you are, in whose image you were created, and what you are on the earth for, you're gonna spend all of your life chasing the wrong thing. Feeling like you're not good enough. Feeling like you don't measure up. Feeling like somehow you are deficient. And everything in society is created to echo that message. You're not enough. You're not smart enough. You're not good enough. You're not talented enough. You are not enough of whoever you are.
The only problem is if you don't know who you are and whose image you're created in, you will constantly be trying to get your significance, your security, your value, and your esteem from other people or things and they were never created to satisfy you. And the inevitable consequence of it all is that you will end up full of shame. I wonder what it would be like to not know shame. Because I personally don't know. Any moment in my life. I was the kid that was left in a hospital unnamed and unwanted, rejected by my biological mother. I don't even know who she was. Or my biological father. My birth certificate doesn't have a name on it. It says child name, unnamed. I grew up in the poorest zip code in my state in Australia. Second generation migrant Grecian. That was before My Big Fat Greek Wedding when it was not cool to be Greek in Australia.
So marginalized because of my ethnicity, my gender, in a culture that did not esteem women. Where I was always told Christine why can't you be like all the other girls? You know my mother would drop me off to ballet classes and come and pick me up and I'd be on the soccer field playing soccer with all the boys. Or drop me off to play with Barbie dolls in K-Mart and I'd be reading books. And it was like Christine, you're not enough. Christine no man's ever gonna want to marry you if you're smarter than him. No man's ever gonna want to marry you if you don't want to dress like this, look like... I never felt enough. Always shamed because I was different. And then I was sexually abused most weeks of my life from the time I was, before I went to school right through into my mid-teen years and so many of us today all across every campus know exactly what that is like. We have a world venting so much angst and pain and shame that has come because of the injustice of abuse. Whether it's sexual or emotional or physical, verbal. But most of us in some way shape or form know what that is like.
The word abuse means to use an object for a purpose for which it was never designed. And all of us in some way, shape or form by this world have been used for a purpose for which God never designed us. As a result of that shame has come into our soul. The sense that there's something wrong with me. And we have a world that is full of anxiety. That is full of fear. A world that is medicated at unprecedented levels because people feel fundamentally there's something wrong with me. I don't measure up. You see when you first begin to be abused you think what is happening to you is wrong. But when it continues to happen and nobody stops it, you then begin to believe the lie that there's something wrong with me.
That's why it's happening. I cannot remember a time in my life where I did not think there's something wrong with me. There's something wrong with me and if I am not consistently in the word of God, and if I'm not consistently renewing my mind according to the word of God, I'm only ever one thought away from going back into that way of thinking there's something wrong with me. My default if I don't arrest it is I must have done something bad. There's something wrong with me. And so many of us fundamentally feel this sense of longing, what is wrong with me? What can fix me? And there is only one that can do that. And his name is the Lord Jesus Christ 'cause you and I were created by God for a relationship with God. And it's Jesus that connects us to God. It's Jesus that connects us to the grace of God. You and I are created in the image of God!
This might be revelation for some of you because you may not know this. You may have grown up like I did in Australia. We grew up in a school system where this is what they taught us! Now you have to be highly educated to believe this! You have to have a lot of letters after your name! But in my school system in Australia, they taught us that many, many moons ago we knew total nothing of the nothing. Two nothings came together, and went bang! And there it was. My great grandfather, the cockroach. He was awesome. And then that cockroach just walked around planet earth for a while and had a genetic mutation, went bang and there it was a frog. Then the frog just hopped around planet earth, it had a genetic mutation, went bang and there it was the ape. And the ape was walking around Oklahoma City on a really hot summer's day. And it went to the hairdresser, had a cut, shave, and blow dry and here we are today. It was awesome. You need a lot of faith to believe that. But essentially we have raised a generation by telling them that you came from nothing, you live for no reason. And you are going nowhere.
Now if you tell a generation long enough that they came from nothing, that they live for no reason, and they're going nowhere, why would you be surprised when they begin to live like they came from nothing, they live for no reason and they're going nowhere? But I've got some good news for Life Church today. You didn't come from nothing! You are created in the image of almighty God! You are filled with God given destiny! You are filled with God given purpose! God, has a planned purpose and destiny for your life, Genesis 1:26 and 27 has probably never been more important in light of current debates in society. In his image he created them. Male and female. We are not genderless. God went to the trouble of telling us that he created us in his image on purpose and for a purpose. No matter what's been done to you, you are created in the image of God. He loves you. He's got a plan and a purpose and a destiny for your life.
So the enemy comes into the garden and he says did God really say? It's important that you know what God says. In our day of social media and 24/7 news cycles, oh most of us have got an opinion about what everyone else is saying. But do you know what God said? Do you know what God is really saying and it's time to turn down the voice of the world and turn up the voice of God. Thank God that out of this house the YouVersion Bible app has gone around the world to 28 billion gazillion people thank God and counting and growing everyday. Because our world needs to know what God said. And then the enemy wants to get his way and heap shame on the world. And they call us the shaming culture. They wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling us the shaming culture. You just have to be on social media for 10 seconds to understand that that's true. Everyone calling everyone else out. Everyone shaming everyone. It's an outrage culture. It's a shaming culture.
And God says I actually created you not to know what shame is. I actually set up a method in my Bible of how you address conflict and how you talk to one another. And how you honor one another. And how you cover one another. But it's like we've forgotten all of that. When it comes to the shaming, the world itself calls us a shaming culture. And God says I didn't make you to know what that is. So he says did God say. She turns around and says well you know, God said that we shouldn't eat from this tree or we're gonna die. And here comes the enemy. You will not die! He will always try to undermine the character of God. He will make you think that God is a kill joy. That God is trying to rip you off. You can do what God said not to do. You're not gonna die. You go to the nightclub and snort what you want. You won't die. You go and sleep with whoever you want, you won't die. You marry whoever you want, you won't die. You go and cheat on your tax return, you won't die. You go and gossip and slander, you won't die!
All the underpinnings of the enemy are always there. God knows that you're gonna be like him. God wants to rip you off. That's why God doesn't want you to go and get stoned and drunk and sleep around with everybody because God's such a kill joy. And he just really, really wants you to miss out on the fun of waking up in your own vomit, of waking up next to someone you don't even know who their name is. That's right, God's such a kill joy. And then he tries to take the things that God does to protect us and to dignify us and to help us live a flourishing, fruitful life. The enemy says oh no, no, no. God actually just wants to rip you off. So he's undermining the character of God. That God truly is good. That God does good. That's what Psalm 119 tells us. And that anything God asks us to do, even if we don't understand why he would want us to withhold from a certain pattern of behavior. Or perhaps not go down a certain track.
It may not make sense to us in 2018, but will we trust God when we don't understand why God has asked us to do something? That's the issue that's on the table. Will you trust the character of God? And what happened here is Eve didn't. She ultimately didn't trust that God is good. And that God does good. And so the enemy will always say no, no, no. That really won't destroy you. Just go and click on that website, it's not gonna hurt your marriage. Just go and have that extra glass of wine. It's not gonna hurt you. It's not gonna turn you back into an addict. He'll always just try to make you go just that little bit more. Just compromise this word, just that little bit. It's not gonna kill you. Because all he wants to do is kill you. You go Christine what's the scripture and verse for that? Read your Bible, John 10:10. The enemy comes to do one thing. Steal, kill, and destroy. That's all he wants to do. He wants your fruitfulness. If he can't get your soul, he wants your fruitfulness.
So what he's going to, so much of what we're talking about in society today, it's not an issue of salvation. It's an issue of fruitfulness. Can you go and do it? Knock yourself out honey. But you will not be fruitful for the glory of God. And John tells us it is to our Father's great glory that we bear much fruit. The enemy is after the fruitfulness of the church. So he gets us arguing about theology and doctrine and is this, can you do this, and how close to the line can I get? And are you saved if you do this? And you know what? It's very rarely a salvation issue. It is a fruitfulness issue. Obedience to God is a matter of fruitfulness. So then she says but God did say. See you could be in church every week. You could do Bible study. You could be able to quote the word of God. But it will be of no effect if you don't do it. She knew what God said. She said God did say don't eat of it. But she did what God said not to do.
If you do the antithesis of what God tells you to do, what is the point of all of this? We come and we sit in church every week. We do Bible studies. We download podcasts. But if you're not going to do it, faith without works is Dead. And there's so many Christians with an ineffective faith that doesn't work because they're not putting their faith to work by obedience. Obedience is not legalism. Obedience will lead to a flourishing life. God is not trying to restrict you. God is trying to launch you into your destiny and your purpose. There is nothing greater than obeying God. And so, she says God did say, he says no it won't. Here's where the problem starts. Don't have a big dialogue with the devil. When he starts talking to you, do not sit there. And then what happens? For God knows you're gonna be like him. Here is the deal. She had forgotten. She already was like God. Genesis chapter one. She was created in the image of God.
See, when you forget who you are, whose son you are, whose daughter you are, in whose image you are created, you will end up doing things contrary to God to become who you already are. But when you know who you already are, you can stand up to the enemy and go no, I know who I am in him. I'm a son or a daughter of the king. And so I'm gonna obey the word of God. And so what does the Bible say? They ate of it and then they realized they were naked. And here's the difference between shame and guilt. See guilt says I did something wrong. And when we do something wrong, the first place we should run is to God. But shame says you are wrong, so it makes you run away from God.
And so there is a difference between your who and your do. What you did is not who you are. And every one of us, the Bible says all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. I need to be running to God for the, you know why he's immersing you every morning? Because I need them. Every morning. Why I need his grace every day. Confession is not a legalistic thing. It's such a gift that I can go and pour my heart out before God and know that he is faithful and just if I confess my sins to forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. There is no better feeling. Than the feeling of freedom and cleansing. This gospel message is so much more than just trying to make us live good and be good and just hang on 'til the rapture. It's to live free and shame free. Everyday. It's so liberating. It's so life giving.
And so what happens is they hid from God. And then to me, one of the saddest questions in the Bible, the first question we see God ask in scripture, the Lord walks into the garden, now can you imagine, he's always walked in and Adam and Eve would be there. And he walks into the garden and here is first question of God in scripture, Where are you! I think God's still asking humanity that question today? Where did you go? Now, when God asks where are you, it's not because he doesn't know. His omniscient. He knows everything. So there you go, that's not the issue. But what happens is when we do stuff wrong, we normally run from the presence of God.
And some of you watching this today, and you're here in church, or you're watching online, and you think that what you've done is unforgivable, you think that you have just messed up so royally. And you've been hiding from God. And some of us are hidden in plain sight. You're hiding at the top of your corporation as a CEO. You're hiding behind your money. You're hiding behind your assets. You're hiding behind your image. Some of you are hiding behind drugs. Some of you are hiding in someone's bed jumping from bed to bed trying to numb your reality. Trying to numb your pain. Trying to numb the memory of what you've done or what was done to you. And God's saying where are you? Where are you? When we mess up or something has happened to us, this is the time to run to God not from God. But the enemy will try to make you run from God every time.
First conversation between man and God in scripture. This is what Adam says to God. I was naked and afraid and so I hid. Fear, shame, hiding. First conversation in the Bible. And for so many people, that's exactly the conversation that you have with God if you ever talk with him. It's full of fear. It's full of shame. It's full of hiding. Some of you did everything just to kinda turn up to church today. And you're here, your body's here. But you're hiding from God in your heart. You've pulled back. And I believe by the grace of God today, you're gonna know the love and the forgiveness, and the mercy in the grace of God. And to me, the saddest question in the Bible is next. One passage, three questions.
The three questions that I believe are as pertinent in 2018 as they've ever been. Did God really say? Where are you? Some of you are hidden in plain sight. Where did you go? And then to me the saddest question, and I could imagine God asking Adam this with tears streaming down his face. Saying, who told you? Who told you you were naked? At what point did you believe the lie? When did you elevate someone's voice above my voice! At what point did you believe that you're too dumb! That you're too stupid! That you'll never amount to anything! There'll always be addiction in your family! There'll always be divorce in your family! That you can't go to college! Where did you believe the lie! What uncle, what teacher! Who told you! Because so many of us are living so far beneath what God has for us, because we've elevated the voice of the world, the voice of social media, the voice of our teachers, the voice of a parent above the voice of God! Who told you is critical. At what point in your life did you believe the lie that crippled you and paralyzed you and kept you so far beneath the will of God for your life? Who told you?
The best way for me to exemplify this is my daughter Catherine, she's 16 now. But when I took her to Kindergarten, you know she'd grown in an environment like this with us and ever since she was born I would always speak over her. Catherine Bobbie, you are the head and not the tail. You are above only and not beneath. You're a leader and not a follower. You're a woman of God. You're a woman of prayer. You're a holy ghost terrorist. You are gonna grow up and you are gonna marry a very, very, very wealthy Christian man. I've told her since she was born. I'm a Greek mother. I'm into arranged marriages. Send me an email, so there you go. And her Daddy, ever since she was born, over both of my daughters, every day, every night, it doesn't matter where we are in the world, if we're not with 'em, he will set an alarm for three a.m. if it is to wake up so that he can pray for them before they go to bed. I sleep, but he does that. And so, but he'll do that. And he's always spoken over her.
Catherine, Catherine Bobbie you are intelligent. Catherine Bobbie you are strong. Catherine Bobbie you are courageous. Catherine Bobbie you could do anything God's called you to do. You could be anything God has called you to be. You are beautiful. And he'll always say beautiful at the end. So that she knows that she's intelligent. That she's strong, that she's capable, that she's courageous. As well as beautiful. And well, you know, you get told that, and there's a sense of confidence and strength in your identity. Well I took Catherine to Kindergarten. And how many know that the kids at school are not quite as nice as Mum and Dad? You know they're not gonna say the same thing. Well, I went to pick Catherine up from Kindergarten and her teacher said this to me. Her teacher goes Christine, there was a little fight today at school. And she said you should have seen what happened. The little boy, there was this little boy. And he wanted Catherine's teddy bear.
So he ripped Catherine's teddy bear out of her arms at lunchtime. And he said these words to her. As he took the teddy bear, he said Catherine Bobbie, you are dumb and you are ugly. And you could imagine I'm thinking how would my daughter even know what those words meant? And the teacher said oh no Christine, don't worry, you don't need to panic. And she said, you should have seen your daughter. She just eyeballed this kid. She put her shoulders back. And like, I was so pumped, I thought she was gonna tell me she king hit him. I'm like, yes, yes! Please do not send me emails. I'm not gonna read them. We breed them tough in Australia. I'm like yes! That is my daughter. Extra Christmas presents if she did that for sure. And she said no Christine, she put her shoulders back, she looked that kid in the eye, and she said to him, no I'm not. I'm not dumb. And I'm not ugly. My Daddy says that I am intelligent. And that I am beautiful.
And church why am I telling your that this morning? I'm telling you because the most important thing you can know in the day and the age in which we live is not what social media says! It's not what your friends says! It's what does your Daddy say? Your Daddy says that you are a son or a daughter of the king of kings and the lord of lords! My Daddy says I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me! My Daddy says I am called! My Daddy says I am chosen! My Daddy says I am redeemed! My Daddy says that I am loved! My Daddy says that I am a child of God created in his image! My Daddy says there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus! My Daddy says I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. The greatest thing you will ever know on this side of eternity is who you are in him. And what he says about you and to you. Did God really say? Where are you? Who told you? The three questions for our generation. Your God is for you. Let me pray for you church.
Father, I thank you for this amazing church. I thank you Lord for your word. I thank you for your promise. I thank you that as we live on this side of eternity and this thing called time and space, Father there are so many voices shouting at us telling us who we are not, reminding us of our failures, reminding us of our flaws. But I thank you Lord that you have given us your word and your word is full of life. And your word is full of hope. And I thank you that we are sons and daughters of the king of kings and the lord of lords. And where the enemy has declared shame on you, on any person, under the sound of my voice, I've come to Life Church today to declare and decree in the name of Jesus Christ shame off you. In Jesus' name. Amen, amen.