Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, September 7, 2014

There is a recurring thought that comes to mind sometimes while I walk around my house. If I see a set of keys sitting on the downstairs desk, if I see that a cabinet door was left open or if a light was left on my initial thought is “Why did Meghan (my wife) do that, I’ll need to mention it to her next time.” Almost without fail I quickly come to remember that whatever it is was my fault to begin with. I was the one who forgot to turn off the light or the one who forgot to hang the keys. I am thankful that God shows this to me and humbles me in this way. That is why I can so quickly relate to Adam in the garden when God confronts him about eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s in my DNA and in my fallen condition to blame others even, if not especially, when it is my fault.

We stand before God naked and ashamed because we are guilty. There is nothing in ourselves that we can bring to God for him to accept us and he knows us completely. That is why we can only rely on Jesus for our salvation. There may be nothing more fearful than being found guilty, even of the smallest things. This happens in my heart all the time, especially when I am late to a meeting or appointment. As I drive I think of excuses that will substitute for the fact that I am simply late. If I wait too long at a stop sign then I can say that there was bad traffic or if I get cut off I can say that there were just crazy drivers on the road that slowed me down. In marriage we are naked and ashamed before our spouses. Our spouses see who we truly are. When we get called out for our sin our gut reaction is often to push the guilt, shame on something else or someone else. We so desperately want a scapegoat to stand in our place because we are terrified of what we deserve for our guilt.

After God confronts him about his sin, Adam points to his wife. Look at what he says: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I ate.” We know though that Adam was there while Satan tempted Eve. We know that God gave Adam the command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil before Eve was even created. He knows that he is guilty and is attempting to put the guilt on his wife. A relationship is always going to be corrosive when each person is attempting to heap guilt and shame on the other person. This type of relationship only serves to alienate the two people from each other. Where do we look for hope?

The answer, which is the correct answer to all sunday school questions, is Jesus. How desperately do we want and need a scapegoat. A sacrifice to carry our sins and serve as a substitute. God sent his son Jesus Christ to do just this. To save his people from their sins. This speaks volumes for us that are married. We now as sinners can own up to our sins because Jesus has taken them on himself and forgiven us. We no longer have to anxiously look around for someone to blame. We are guilty and we are forgiven. This is freedom. Freedom that is found in Jesus Christ. We are free to love our spouses. Free to serve them. Even when they do wrong and sin against us we know that Jesus has loved us even though we were enemies of his. Our response to this amazing truth is worship. Let us come Sunday to worship a God who is full of love and mercy. 

THE WORD

Scripture: Genesis 2:18 – 3:13
Sermon: Marriage: For Better or Worse

SONGS

We Will Dance (David Ruis)
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Pensive, Doubting, Fearful Heart (arr. Wendell Kimbrough)
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Happy The Home When God Is There  (arr. Henry Ware)
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Prepare Ye the Way  (arr. John Michael Talbot)
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Song of Preparation: Midst the Darkness (arr. Chris Miner)
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Song of Response: Rejoice Rejoice Believers (traditional)
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Many think that celibacy conduces to their advantage, and therefore, abstain from marriage, lest they should be miserable. Not only have heathen writers defined that to be a happy life which is passed without a wife, but the first book of Jerome, against Jovinian, is stuffed with petulant reproaches, by which he attempts to render hallowed wedlock both hateful and infamous. To these wicked suggestions of Satan let the faithful learn to oppose this declaration of God, by which he ordains the conjugal life for man, not to his destruction, but to his salvation.
~ John Calvin (in his commentary on Genesis)

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