First Baptist Church of Siler City, NC
Sunday, July 22, 2018
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From Pastor Tony


Back to the Garden

We are stardust,
Billion year old carbon
We are golden,
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves,
Back to the garden -
Joni Mitchell, Woodstock
One of the greatest truths in life to learn is that if you're going to be happy you can't go back to Eden. You can't re-create Paradise. The psychologist Larry Crabb pointed out that much about our misery, our envy, our trying to get into shape, eat the right foods, hang around the right people comes from our desire to restore the lost Eden. The marriage partner who wants to call it quits “because I'm just not happy” is longing for a lost reality. It is a deep desiring in our psyche. We want that fulfilling relationship, that beautiful home, those perfect children. Yet none of us are perfect…I'll take that back, I did know a perfect family one time…until everything fell apart. We are all broken from the Fall; cast out East of Eden.

Barring our way back God has “stationed the Cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” In the garden there was the tree of life and if one ate of it they would live eternally. God has no desire for us to be able to eat of that tree and live forever in this present broken condition: broken in the two most important aspects of human life: love and work. Sigmund Freud even pointed out this truth: “zu Lieben und zu Arbeiten.” (love and work, that is all there is).

Now, here, East of Eden, Christ is to be our life…offered by God to both heal our brokenness and give us life eternal. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor, imprisoned and hanged in 1945 by the Nazis, says, as well as anyone, this in his book “Ethics”:

“Jesus’ saying binds every thought of life to his person. ‘I am the life.’ No question about life can go further back than this ‘I am.’ The question of what is life gives place to the answer who is life. Life is not a thing, an entity or a concept; it is a person, a particular and unique person… It is the ’I’ of Jesus. Jesus sets this ’I’ in sharp contrast with all the thoughts, concepts and ways which claim to constitute the essence of life. He does not say ‘I have the life’ but ‘I am the life.’ Consequently life can never again be separated from the ’I’, the person, of Jesus. … This is not intended figuratively, as conveying that my life would be not worth living without this other, or that Christ invests my life with a particular quality or a particular value while allowing it to retain its own independent existence, but my life is itself Jesus Christ. That is true of my life, and it is true of all created things.”

Jesus declared it this way: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the father but through me.” He is our restoration to life; not our enfeebled efforts to create paradise. Jesus is our life. If you find that you are trapped in this Devil’s bargain then won't you call to the living God for rescue and life? Jesus proclaimed: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28.” This rest, our Sabbath Rest, is what God intended for us to have in Eden in a relationship with Him eternally. You gain this life when you repent, believe and follow Jesus who is Life. 



Just think...... the positive financial impact of churches in the US is 2.1 Trillion dollars per year, that's correct, TRILLION