Series: The Garden of Eden

Sun am 7 May 2017 – Kobus Swart

1 Cor. 10:11-Msg & Amp; Luke 24:25-27; (Col. 1:15-16); (Prov. 23:7);  (Eph. 4:23); Rev. 1:4-6; Heb. 10:1-2; (John 16:11); (1 John 3:8); (Rom. 6:11); (Eph. 2:10-Msg); (Matt. 1:1-17); (1 Cor. 12:12); (Isa. 9:6); (Rom. 8:11-NASB & Msg); (1 John 2:13-14); (Rev. 2:7); (Heb. 12:6); Ruth 1:6, 14-18; (John 2:1-10); (Luke 23:43); Rom. 13:11-12; (Gen. 3:1-3); (Gen. 2:16); John 1:1 & 4, 12; (John 17:16); John 6:51, 53-54; Heb. 4:12

The way to read the Old Testament is not just to read the stories but to look deeper at the meaning. Regarding Israel’s mistakes, for example, these things happened to them as an example for us upon whom the end of the ages has come. These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were (1 Cor. 10:11 – Msg). Something alongside, parallel to the story of the Bible, is a deeper truth that we must take seriously into our lives and our journey. The Old Testament is full of types and shadows. History means His-story. … Jesus explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures (Luke 24:25-27). Jesus was the firstborn of all creation. Through Him and for Him all things have been created (Col. 1:15-16).

The challenge of this generation, where we are, is “What is going on in your mind?” People confuse brain and mind. The brain is a physical organ, but your thoughts/mind is where your problems are if it is not on the things from above (Prov. 23:7).  We need to make adjustments to see our life change and come up to the level which Christ made provision for. If we focus on the negative, on the devil and on sin, we are strengthening a sin consciousness, and people walk with a negative mindset. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind (Eph. 4:23). It is very important for us to upgrade and know who we really are and the provision which has been made for us.

He has released us from our sins, not just forgiven (Rev. 1:4-6; Heb. 10:1-2). Jesus was the once for all sacrifice. The battleground is in the mind. We must stand on the finished works! He has destroyed the evil one (John 16:11; 1 John 3:8). We have a new identity. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 6:11 – NASB & Msg). Align your thoughts and mind with the fact that we have been recreated in Christ two thousand years ago (Eph. 2:10). Connect with the plan He has predestined for you. Make it your quest to find the plan of God for your life.

God is busy putting together a generation called ‘Christ’ which is a corporate son. In Matt. 1:17 it talks about 14+14+13 generations to Jesus. The 42nd generation is Christ (see also 1 Cor. 12:12) – the many-membered body.

In the Church of Jesus Christ, everyone who is born again is part of the family of God, children of God. But not everybody in the Church is necessarily a fully grown, mature son. There are three levels of growth (1 John 2:13-14). Remember the sower that went out to sow. Some of the seeds fell beside the road; some fell on rocky places; others fell among the thorns. (Matt. 13:3-9). Then some seeds fell on well-prepared soil and yielded a crop – 30, 60 and 100 fold. You have to hear and understand. The Scriptures often refers to the overcomer. To be an overcomer you have to overcome something; you have to learn to jump, look over the waves, resist the evil one; learn to handle pressure. God disciplines every son whom He receives (Heb. 12: 6).  There are two kinds of grace; salvation grace and then grace is given to the overcomer to overcome obstacles.

If you look at the generation called Christ, God is calling for the mature, first born son to come forward. But be careful, there is a first born son but it does not mean that you downgrade or nullify the rest. Here is the danger: The tendency when teaching about mature sonship is to create an elite.

In the genealogy of Jesus, you see the names of a few women like Rahab and Ruth (Matt. 1:1-16). Orpah left and returned to her people, and Ruth also had to make a choice. She was not forced but it came from her heart (Ruth 1:14-18). Remember the two trees in the garden of Eden. They are still in the garden of humanity today. We must make choices in this life. Ruth made a deliberate choice. Ruth’s name was put into the royal seed line, the genealogy of Jesus. You must make a choice! It has nothing to do with natural lineage. A wrong choice can alienate us from the royal seed line! As Christians today, even in subtle ways, we have to make choices; do I choose the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or do I chose the tree of life?

If you come Sunday after Sunday and are blessed but your life does not change and you do not become a disciple-maker yourself, then we have not succeeded. How many people do you influence in the week? How many benefit from your changed life? At the wedding feast when they ran out of wine, Jesus was approached and He said, “Bring 6 clay pots and fill them with water and serve them.” When they started pouring, it was wine (John 2:1-10). Six is the number of man; water is symbolic of the word. It is not enough to be full of word; the word must turn into flesh. The water must turn into wine, then people will benefit by it.  You have been re-created; you are no longer in the old man called Adam. Jesus on the cross said to the thief who recognised who He was, “Today you will be with me in paradise”, in the kingdom (Luke 23:43). It is another realm that is made accessible by Jesus dying on the cross. What does that mean in terms of letting the word become flesh? It means living the resurrection! This is what is needed in the Church of Jesus Christ, regardless the denomination or tag. Living the resurrection!  That should reflect in our day to day encounters.

These “two trees” continue to challenge us in today’s life. What exactly is the tree of life? What does it mean to eat of the tree of life? In the genesis of the New Testament it says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men (John 1:1 & 4). This life-giving tree was the Living Word of God, Christ, who was in the world but not of the world (John 17:16). When Eden’s gates were slammed shut and man was banished from the garden, that blessed tree of life was never seen again until Jesus came. Then Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh” (John6:51). In the beginning was the Word, but this Word became flesh and Jesus explained what it meant. The reason Jesus came was for a visible expression of the Father, the tree of life replanted so that there might be a focusing, a manifestation which would become a meeting place for us to know God and become one with Him. In Jesus, God and creation meet, come together and are made one. Christ who is our life has come and has been planted in the garden of the kingdom of heaven on earth so that all may come and eat and drink and have life. Now we marry the concept of paradise, garden and kingdom, and the tree of life is replanted when Jesus came and He was the last Adam – the kingdom of God on earth! When you eat you receive something. You take something into you. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. That does not mean physically, but this is where the communion comes in. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:53-54). Here is the tree of life! For as many as received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God (John 1:12). Receive, eat, drink of the tree of life. So what we are saying is, in the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God. Then the word became flesh and became accessible to us. That word that was made flesh was Jesus. In the beginning He was only known as the word of God, God-breathed, God expressed, God revealed, God available to man. The word of God is living and powerful and able to discern between spirit and soul and penetrate the depths of your heart. It is a living two-edged sword. When man was banned from the garden, cherubim with swords were placed at the gate to keep man out. What is the way back in? Heb 4:12 reminds us: The word of God that is like a living and powerful two-edged sword! And that living Word has become flesh in the person of the Son – Jesus Christ!

On a daily basis, you are facing the “two trees” in the decisions and the choices you make. Make a decision in your heart this morning that you want to eat of THE TREE OF LIFE. The way to eat of the tree of life is to eat and receive the Living Word of God.