Once God prepared the earth, he then formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him. Adam didn’t come from time and chance or evolutionary happenstance. He came from God. God declared it was not good for man to be alone and he made the woman.
4 These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
So, welcome to church. Good to see you guys. You ready to do a little Genesis?
Response: Yeah, yeah.
Grab your Bibles, go to Genesis 2. If you’re new, we go right through books of the Bible and we’re gonna be in Genesis for a full year, and we’re just getting into our third week, getting started, really enjoying it. And today – it’s not like the normal sermon is short. Today though is, however, long. But that’s okay – that’s okay. At least it is for me. We’ll see if you can endure.
Just stick with me. There’s some very important things that we’re gonna cover today. There’s a lot of ground to cover. This is the picture of human life on the earth before sin enters into the equation, which we’ll hit next week. So, I’ll pray, and we’ll launch right in and see how it goes.
Father God, thanks for a chance to come together to study. To learn. To pray. To hear. To repent. To be restored. To be loved. To be embraced. To get a fresh start, God. To leave what was and to get on to what is.
God, as we study tonight, we ask that you would illuminate our understanding. That you’d give to each of us just as you know that we need. God, we know that you’re a good God. We know that everything that you do is good, and we know that you’re in a wonderful rescue plan of saving us from ourselves.
And so, God, please open our eyes to your goodness and please cause us to have deeper and greater faith in you. And please enable us to be loved by you and to love others. In Jesus good name, Amen.
As we get into it tonight, here’s what’s gonna happen. We have looked in Genesis 1 of the creation of the cosmos – everything. And today, we’re gonna focus down into the creation of the man and the woman. Some people see a contradiction between the creation of the man and the woman in Genesis 1 and the creation of the man and the woman in Genesis 2. It’s actually speaking of the same account.
Genesis 1 is a cosmic panoramic view. If you were a filmmaker, this would be the wide-angle lens shot. And then Genesis 2 is the close-up shot, looking in greater detail at the making of our first parents, Adam and Eve. So, it goes from cosmic scale to the creation of the man and the woman.
And it goes from Genesis 1’s picturesque demonstration of God’s grandeur and glory that leaves us in awe, to a place in Genesis 2, where you’re gonna experience – you should experience, if I do my job well – a little bit of nostalgia: love, joy, peace, unity, kindness, oneness, equality, friendship. The way the world was supposed to be before sin and death entered into the equation.
And the great philosopher, Blaise Pascal, says that there’s something nostalgic and reminiscent in us, when we come to places like Genesis 2, that longs to get back to that place from which we have come. And he says it’s a good argument that we came from perfection and were made for perfection. That’s why we have some sort of lingering memory of it, and that’s why we long to return to that place where everything is as God intended.
So, that’s where we’re at tonight. We’re in the making of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and we’re gonna look at what God has to say about that. It starts in Chapter 2, verse 4. The chapter and verse divisions in your Bible were included a few hundred years ago. They’re new insertions. They weren’t part of the original text. They’re very, very helpful and very good, but they’re not inerrant or infallible as the rest of the Bible is.
I believe that Genesis 2 actually starts right here in the second half of Genesis 2:4. And what it says is, “When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,” – and we looked in Genesis 1, it says that God made the heavens and the earth. And now the focus goes from the heavens, and then the earth being secondary – it goes then to the cosmos being secondary, and the earth being primary.
Again, this is the close-up shot. If Moses was a filmmaker, this is where he’s pulling back from the picture of the universe, and he’s focusing in on earth and a piece of land where our first parents will be made. And he echoes Genesis 1:2 that, “– no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up.”
I believe here that what he’s talking about is there weren’t wild plants or wild animals – excuse me, wild plants or wild shrubs because there aren’t going to be wild plants and shrubs until Genesis 3, the next chapter, after sin enters the world. So, what he’s saying is, this is before sin comes, before there’s wild plants and wild shrubs. He sets it into historical timeline, before the rains had come on the earth.
Okay, so at that this point, you’re going to see that irrigation happens through water up through the ground and rivers and such. There’s still parts of the earth that we’re told still haven’t seen rain. Rain hadn’t come at this point yet on the earth, “– and there was no man to work the ground, streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.”
What you’re getting here is the setting of the stage. Your getting a look at creation. Creation is set up. The land is set up. Sin hasn’t come. Sin has not caused creation to rebel. There’s no man to work the land. The rivers are flowing. Life is ready. All we need now is for the actor to step out on the stage, the main characters, the man and the woman.
So, he goes on, “– the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Some of your translations will say soul. This is the making of the first human being, the making of the first man, our father Adam. We all descend from him, and there was no human life before this man.
And what it tells us is this, that he was formed by God. And this is important because evolutionary hypothesis tells us that nothing made everything, that the unintelligent matter made the intelligent, the man and the woman, and that that which is lifeless made life. And that that which is impersonal (matter) made the personal, human beings with personality – completely implausible. What the Bible says is that the Living God made life. That the intelligent made us intelligent, and that the personal God made us as personal people, with identity.
And that the good God made us with dignity, value, and respect as his image bearers. That’s what the Bible says. We come from God. You, in fact, need to see how important you are to God and how dearly loved you are by God. Up until this point in Genesis 1, how did God get his work done? He said – and God said, and it was so. And God said, and it was so. And God said, and it was so.
Here, does God create us by his word or by his hands? By his hands. The portrait here is that God is intimately involved in the making of human life. It’s the same thing that it says in the Psalms, that God knits us together in our mother’s womb. That God speaks other forms of life into existence – plants and animals – but he handcrafts human life as something that he’s particularly involved in.
Okay, now, the theologians will tell you that this is an anthropomorphism. Big word – what it means is, God sounds like he’s a human being. God is spirit, according to John 4. God did become a man at a point in time, the Lord Jesus, but God isn’t a human being. What God does is what John Calvin says, is he speaks baby talk to us. He communicates to us in poetic imagery, not allegory, and not things that are untrue, but in poetic imagery so that we can understand.
So here what you’ll hear is that God made us with his hands, that he breathed his life into us. You’ll see in Genesis 3 that he walked with the man in the cool of the garden during the day. The image here is that God is intimately involved in the making of human life. Intimately involved. You’re not here by chance; you’re here by God’s design and decree.
You’re not here out of nothing for nothing; you’re here from God for God. And that life is sacred. That your life is sacred. And it’s amazing, because so few things in our world are handmade any more – handcrafted. You are handcrafted of God. Every human life is handcrafted of God. We don’t come off a conveyor belt, just stamped and alike. We’re all different and unique and some of us more peculiar than others.
And God in his good grace put us all together as he intends. You are hand knit by God. You have dignity, value, and worth. You’re created as an image bearer of God. And God worked on your life and he created you to be the person that you are today, with certain skills and talents and abilities and capacities. And God put you together, handmade you, beginning in your mother’s womb. And did so because he has great affection for you.
That literally the picture here is that God got his hands dirty when it came to making us. And it shows us our position. We come from the dust of the earth, which is a lowly position, and we’re filled with the breath of God, which gives us a high honor. And so we’re both great and humble at the same time is what God intends for us. God formed the man from the dust of the ground and he breathed life into his nostrils.
Just like God breathed life into the Scriptures and all Scriptures are God breathed, so the man is God breathed as well. Life comes from God. The picture is as if God took his lips and pressed them upon us and breathed life into us like a resuscitation. That God put his life in us. You and I would not be alive, we wouldn’t have life if it wasn’t for God, who is the Living God, giving us life and making us alive.
And again, I want you to see the picture. The poetic imagery here is that God knit us together with his hands, and he kissed us on the mouth, and he put life into us. Beautiful, beautiful portrait of God’s tender affection and his care and his involvement in our creation. “– and the man became a living being.” There’s the first man.
It’s going to go on. It’s going to explain the details of this, the first of which is where God initially put the first man. “Now the Lord God had planted a garden,” – do you like gardens? I love gardens. I hate gardening.
But gardens are great. That’s why if you’re wealthy, you get a gardener, cause you get a garden without the gardening, which – that’s a glorious thing. Here, God’s the first gardener. He makes the first garden. And you know this had to be a nice garden, you just listen to the details. “The Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden,” – some of you have heard of the Garden of Eden. It’s actually the Garden in Eden. Eden is a region, and it means delight. So it has to be a nice garden.
And in Eden, this region, is a particular garden, “– and there he put the man he had formed.” God made the man and put him in the garden. How many of you love to be in a nice garden, a manicured place? Maybe this time of year you go through the Arboretum on a nice walk, to see all the leaves change colors, and you walk over the bridges, and you go over by the golf course. And if you haven’t, you should. It’s very, very nice. And you get to see God’s good creation, and all of the different plants that have been cultivated, and different flowers and trees that have been cultivated. And it’s beautiful. That’s the kind of place that God put the first man.
God not only cares about us having life, God cares about where we live. It says in Acts 17 that God determines the times and places in which we live. God determined the time and place that Adam would live. God has put me in Seattle today. He’s put you in Seattle today. God cares not just about us being alive, but where we live and how we live. And God’s intimately involved not only in making us, but then also helping to shape a good life for us.
The man gets a garden. And it’s interesting, because the earth is a gift for the man. The garden is a gift for the man. And then, ultimately, a lovely wife will be a gift for the man as well. The portrait of which is that God is a great God, and he’s a giving God, and he’s a generous God. And he’s a God who speaks as a poet. He’s also a God who makes as a potter. Lovely, creative, and good God.
“ – and there he put the man that he had formed. And the Lord God made al kinds of trees grow out of the ground.” Not only is there a garden, there’s a garden with fruit trees. You like fruit? There’s a reason you like fruit. God made you, and God made fruit. God made all kinds of fruit. We’re pro-fruit. That’s our official theological position.
We are pro-fruit. “ – trees that were pleasing to the eye,” – nice looking trees. No bugs all over the trees. Not like the trees at your place.
“ – pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Oh, nice fruit, good fruit. In the middle of the garden, there were two particular trees that Moses draws our attention to – the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Where are they at? The middle of the garden.
The Tree of Life is the tree that if you partake of, you live forever. Human beings were not made immortal, we were made mortal. We were made with the capacity to die. The only reason that we were kept alive is through faithful obedience. The point is simply this: If you don’t obey God, you don’t live, because God is the Living God, and when you separate yourself from him, you separate yourself from the source of life.
So, our first parents, as long as they ate of the Tree of Life, would live forever. As soon as they sin, they’re going to be kicked out of the garden in Genesis 3, they will no longer have access to the Tree of Life, and death begins. We see in Revelation that the Tree of Life comes down at the end of time, and it’ll be in Heaven. And you and I who love God and enter into God’s good Kingdom rest, we will partake of the Tree of Life, and we will live forever.
Here, the Tree of Life is standing in the middle of the garden, and next to it is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And these are really the juxtapositions of all of human history. That the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is the pursuit of insight, knowledge, wisdom, education, information apart from God. This is the opportunity for human autonomy.
In the Bible, wisdom is thinking the thoughts of God. Folly is being an independent person, thinking your own thoughts, thinking that you’re as smart as God. Thinking that God only has a perspective and not insight. And so what they are given is this daily opportunity to choose wisdom or folly, God or Satan, life or death. And the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is an experiential knowledge of that which is bad.
Some of you in the room do kinds of – you do some silly things, because you think, “Well, I want to try everything once. I want to experience it.” According to the Bible, there are certain things you don’t want to have intimate knowledge of. You don’t need to know what a hangover feels like. Take somebody else’s word for it. It’s no good. You don’t need to know what being a sexual pervert and predator is like, and how difficult that makes the life of others and your own life. Take someone else’s word for it.
Take someone else’s word for it, and that’s what we were supposed to do with God. God basically said, “This is good. This is bad. Trust me, the bad’s bad.” We were supposed to trust God in faith. And the portrait here is that God is like a parent who tells the children, “You can do this. Don’t do this. Trust me on this. If you run around the house with scissors, it’s not good. I’ve seen this; it goes real bad.”
And we’re like silly, little kids, life and death, and we look at God and we say, “Well, God, I can run with scissors. I went to college, and I studied philosophy. And I have a view of ethics, and I’m a subjectivist. And I understand Kant’s categorical imperative. And I have a different opinion. And I think I could run around with scissors. And your truth is not my truth. And I understand epistemology.
And God’s like, “I’m tellin’ ya, if you fall down, the scissors – they’re terrible.” And a little kid’s like, “I don’t need to obey you. I could do what I want. I could run around. I could do whatever I want. And I could kill myself. There you go – I’ll show you. I’m free.”
Death. That’s what we do. God sets it up. “Here’s a glass of water. Here’s a glass of antifreeze. Don’t drink the antifreeze.” “Don’t tell me what to do.” “I’m tellin’ ya, don’t drink the antifreeze.” “Oh, you overlord. You’re always bossing me around, telling me what to do. I’m free. I could do whatever I want. I went to college.”
“Well, I’m just tellin’ ya, don’t drink the –” That’s what we do. And we kill ourselves. This is the portrait of Genesis. God’s good. God made the man. God made the earth. God made fruit, plenty to eat, good weather. He’s gonna give him a naked wife. I mean, God’s a good God.
And God just says, “Well, just trust me. When I tell ya somethin’s bad, don’t do that.” That’s like the parent telling the kid, “The stove’s hot, don’t put your hand on it.” The kid goes, “Don’t tell me what to do.” Well, don’t.
And it’s in the middle. Now what this says is that temptation is ever present. How many of you have found that you don’t need to go far to get in trouble?
You could just be at home and sin. It doesn’t take much. That sin and temptation are never way out there; they’re always right in the middle of your life. And the deal is this: Every day, Adam would walk by these two trees, and he would need to choose life or death, obedience or disobedience, wisdom or folly. He would have to make that choice multiple times every day. You and I do as well.
Some people say, “Well, I obeyed God yesterday. Now today, I can live off of that.” No, you can’t. We need to obey God yesterday. We need to then obey God today. And we need to obey God tomorrow. We need to walk by adultery yesterday, today, tomorrow. Perversion – yesterday, today, tomorrow. Addiction – yesterday, today, tomorrow. Gossip – yesterday, today, tomorrow. Whatever the temptation is that’s hanging on the tree in the middle of your living room, you gotta walk by that multiple times every day, habitually, and it’s a test.
It’s not that God wants you to sin, but God gives us our dignity. God allows us to be free moral agents. God allows us to determine whether or not we’re gonna love and obey him. And in this, God is showing that when sin and death and evil come, it’s not because of him; it’s because of us. Like silly, little kids, we just, “I want death. I want death. I want death. I want death. I want to kill myself. I want to kill other people. I want to kill culture. I want to kill the earth. I want to kill the environment.” Why? “Because I believe that God is a man of opinion. He’s not Lord. He has no right to tell me what to do.”
And pride is always the root of all of our problems. Trying to know things that were never intended for us. Trying to experience things that God warned us against. Friends, look at your own life. Most of the destruction and devastation that has come in your life is because you have eaten of death. When God told you clearly not to. That’s the case in my life as well.
Here’s what goes – the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life. The man is made, put in a glorious place, and given the opportunity to determine what would happen henceforth.
And the story continues. It gives us the geography of this particular place. “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden.” That is a nice garden – fruit trees, nice land, and a river. This is the kind of place you and I can’t afford to buy real estate. This is a really nice place. And from it, it was separated into four headwaters. So the one river comes out and it busts into four rivers. This is beautiful, beautiful creation. “The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.” This next verse is curious. “The gold of that land is good,” – as opposed to all that bad gold.
“ – aromatic resin and onyx are also there. The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of the Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.” He gives this demarcation – boundary markers for this piece of land with four rivers. Now, the problem is, everybody’s trying to figure out where this river is and where this place is, because what’s on that land? The Tree of Life. Everybody’s – a lot of people have been lookin’ for that. It’s better than Botox and plastic surgery.
I mean, you go there and have lunch – you’re lookin’ good for a long time. You’re gonna hang in there, right?
So, a lot of people have been lookin’ for – “Where is that? We gotta find that tree. That sounds like a good tree.” Here’s the problem. The problems are twofold. One, we only know where two of the rivers are, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The other two, we’re not exactly sure which rivers they are.
It may be because if you go 1,656 years into the future from this verse, into Genesis 6, in the days of Noah, there’s a big flood. Some people believe that rearranged the topography, and these rivers are not presently available or where they previously were.
Additionally, the Bible seems to indicate that this particular chunk of land – specifically this tree – isn’t there. Jesus says, when he dies on the cross, “Today this day you’ll be with me in Paradise.” Apparently, it’s not on the earth any more. In the picture at the end of Revelation is that at the end of time, when the new heaven, the new Earth, and New Jerusalem come down, the Tree of Life comes down as well. So, it seems like right now the Tree of Life is up in Heaven. We’ll get into that in Genesis 3, a little further.
But it’s not there, so don’t go lookin’ for it. I’m just tryin’ to save you airfare.
The point of the whole thing is this, though. This chunk of land is given to Adam. It will be promised in Genesis 15 to Abraham. It will then be occupied later on by Joshua. And there’s a big debate in the Middle East today as to who owns (has a right to) this particular chunk of land. We’re gonna get into that in a few months, when we get into Genesis 15.
All I’ll say at this point is this: God made creation, prepared it for human life. God made a beautiful garden. God made a man. God put the man in the Garden. God gave him plenty of fresh water and fresh fruit, a glorious environment. Here’s the chunk of real estate given to the man.
And here’s what it summarizes, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden.” The man gets put in the garden, “ – to work it and take care of it.” The man is built to work. How many of you men like to work? Working is good. Men who don’t work get in trouble.
Men who work, they don’t have time to get in trouble. They’re preoccupied. Now, ladies, let me tell you a few things about men, regarding work, so that you can understand us. We’re really not that complicated.
We’re pretty simple, really. But men love to work. Men love to work. Now, your job may not be good – we’ll get into that in Genesis 3. Your work is cursed. Your cubicle’s cursed. Your tools are cursed.
Your car is cursed. Whatever you’re doing, it’s cursed.
We’re gonna get into this in Genesis 3. So work, because of sin, gets a lot harder. But work is given before sin enters the world, and it’s good for a man to work. And it’s almost as if the garden here is prototypical of the tabernacle, and as the priest is put in the tabernacle to do sacred work, the man is put in the garden, the preliminary tabernacle, to work. He’s got work to do. And men are made to work. Men like to work.
I like to work. Working is good. Now, we need the Sabbath and rest from our work, is what Genesis has already told us. You can’t work every day – otherwise we’re gonna kill ourselves and fail to worship God. But work is good for a man. That’s why even if a man retires from work, what does he do? He works. He’s mowing his lawn. He’s workin’ on his house. He’s rebuilding a car. He gets a boat that he’s having to wax and clean and work on all the time.
How many of you ladies right now live in the middle of a construction project because your husband is a handyman?
And he keeps rippin’ the place up, and he’s always workin’ on the house, or the car is held together by duct tape and God’s grace, ‘cause the man is always workin’ on it. Men like to tinker. That’s why if you give a man a house, the first thing he does is gut it.
If you give a guy a car, the first thing he does is take it apart. If a guy builds a computer, he comes home, and the tech guys – first thing they do – take it apart. Why? ‘Cause those are like the same guys that were in auto shop, trying to make the car go faster. It’s the same guy. They’re gonna do whatever a computer guy does. I’m not a computer guy at all. I’m the Etch-a-Sketch guy. I’m pretty old school. Right?
So, men love to work, though. They tinker with things. They need to take things apart. They need to work. Men love to work. Men love to get things done. Men love to finish projects. We love that. We love that. That’s why we turn everything into a job – everything. Even – this is why little boys need to be given work as well. Little boys who don’t get jobs don’t grow up to be very masculine.
My son, Zach, he’s 5. He’s got tools and projects. He’s always workin’ on something. And I asked him the other day, I said, “What are your favorite things?” He said, “I love to read the Bible and work.”
Good, good, that’s good. We can build a future on that. We can do somethin’ with that. My son, though, loves work. He loves chores. He loves tasks. He loves duties. He recently – men, too, are made for dominion. And a man needs his own space. And even a little man needs his own space. My five-year-old boy the other day – I hear this incessant, just loud [Banging] just banging all throughout my house. And I’m trying to figure out where this banging is coming from.
I finally open the door to the crawlspace in our basement. It’s a walkable crawlspace. It’s all dirt. My son has claimed it.
He’s decided we get the house and he gets the crawlspace. And he’s down there with a hammer and nails, and he’s trying to clear out one section of the basement so he could build a fort and put in a TV and a radio, and he wants electricity. And he wants to put in a swing and a slide, and he’s got plans for his building project.
‘Cause it’s raining out, and it’s too wet outside to work, so he’s gonna commandeer the crawlspace, the basement, about a six-foot basement. But what he’s trying to do is take out the support beam that keeps up the kitchen.
So he’s down there with a hammer, just whacking away at a support beam holding up his mom’s kitchen. So, I come down, and I’m like, “You know, I’m glad you like to work. I’ll encourage you to work. But rule number one, don’t take down structures that are on top of you.”
So, now we’re gonna go to the store tomorrow, and we’re gonna get him more lumber, and he’s gonna build a fort. And he’s always buildin’ stuff. And you know, it’s good. Big guys, little guys – we like to work. We like projects. And ladies, I’ll let you in on a little secret, too. If you really want to have a happy marriage – don’t be too much work, but a little bit of work is good.
Any woman who comes up with, “I don’t need you. I’m fine. Everything’s together.” Man’s not very interested. The woman who’s a little bit of work – men love that. ‘Cause we love a project.
Not a total fixer-upper, but just a little –
Just a little bit of work. So, here’s the man. God makes the man. God gives the man a job. God gives the man something to do. Good – man got a job. Man have a good job. Now, “The Lord God commanded the man,” – God speaks to the man, “Here’s the rules.” Real direct, forthright. I like the way God talks to the man. Not suggestions – not like, “I was thinkin’, perhaps, if you could pray about doin’ what I tell you to do.” None of that goin’ on here.
“The Lord God – ” a little authoritative there. Right? This is the food chain. “I’m the Lord God.” “Well, guess I’ll do that then. That seems like a good idea.”
“The Lord God commanded the man –” didn’t give a suggestion, “‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden.’” Is that good? God’s saying, “Have at it. You’re free. Eat whatever you like. Explore, roam, subdue the earth, explore, get into science, adventure – have a great time. The earth is a huge playground, have at it.”
“But you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you eat of it you will die.” Sin is what causes human death. Romans 5 – because of sin, death entered into human history. If we didn’t sin, we wouldn’t die.
I Corinthians 15 – death is an enemy. And we have lost this great battle to our enemy. Fortunately, Jesus’ resurrection gives us a victory back. But the point here is simply this. God gives a command to the man. God gives a command that he is free to do anything except for disobey.
You men need to know this. You are free. You ladies need to know this. You’re free to enjoy, to have a great life. The only thing you’re not allowed to do, you’re not supposed to do, is sin. And a lot of people think, “Well, God’s a mean overlord.” No, he’s not. God’s a great God. God’s a loving Father, saying, “Have a great time. Just don’t run with the scissors, drink the antifreeze, or put your hand on the stove. That’s not gonna be good for you. I’m tellin’ ya this ‘cause I love ya, and if you obey me, life’s gonna go a lot better.”
Again, the key to a good life is not to be brilliant, but to be obedient. The key to a good life is not to know everything, but just to know what God forbids and stay away from that, and use your freedom to enjoy the rest of your life. ‘Cause God’s given them plenty of room, plenty of food, plenty of opportunity, plenty – plenty of occasions in which they can have a tremendous time. He’s just reduced the restrictions to a few things.
Parents need to learn from this as well. Allow your children great freedom, and put upon them minimal restrictions. That’s the pattern of God. God doesn’t say, “You can’t do this. You can’t do this. You can’t do this. You can’t do this.” God says, “Do whatever you like, just don’t disobey me, ‘cause you’re gonna kill yourself. So, just obey me and have a great time.” That’s the view of God.
And so, here is the command of the man. The story continues. “The Lord God said,” – who said?
Now, all you single guys who are gonna get all frustrated here, and I’m prophesying that that will happen in a moment – God says it’s not good for you to be alone. Okay, we’re gonna go after the single guys.
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’” Up until this point, everything was declared good and very good. It’s not good for the man to be –
Duh. Okay? Duh.
Only a guy who’s not connecting all the dots would go, “I think it’s good to be alone.” No, take it from everybody else, you’re not doing so good.
All right? I had a mullet and I wore pastels ‘til I got married.
And it – it’s just not good. Right? A lot of guys are not good. Now, this doesn’t mean that sin has entered the world, or anything’s morally evil yet. It’s just saying the guy needs help. And the guys do need help. You could tell a guy who was single and a guy who got married. You could just tell. He got a haircut. He’s not wearing a ding-dong T-shirt.
He’s not eating most of his food cooked by a high-school kid, ordered through a clown. He’s realized that there’s more than a spork – there’s a spoon and a fork.
The guy’s put a few things together. It’s just not good for the man to be alone. It’s just not. Okay, we’ll talk about it. So, God’s gonna make a helper suitable. We’ll talk about that in a minute. It’s not good for the man to be alone. Not good.
Now, I talk to guys all the time, they’re like, “I need an accountability partner. I need a prayer partner. I need a friend. I need somebody to talk to. I need somebody to help me.” You need a wife. I mean, she’ll talk to ya, you want somebody to talk to.
If you want somebody to hold you accountable – she’ll feel free to do that for ya, too.
And if you want somebody to help ya, I mean, she’s helpful. You need a wife. “I have a problem. I was tempted with lust – dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah.” Get a wife. I’ll tell you what’s better than self-control – marriage.
It’s good to get a wife. It’s not good to be alone. Now, it’s good to get married. We’re all for marriage. Now, Proverbs says that he who finds a wife finds what is –
Good, good. Yeah. Good, very good.
It’s not good for – and I know some of you guys are thinkin’, “Well, I know some people who are unmarried and it was good. Jesus was unmarried. Jesus was a single guy like me.” No, Jesus was God. He was nothing like you.
You’re lazy. He’s God. You guys are not the same. I get this all the time. “I’m just single like Jesus.” No, you’re not single like Jesus. Two things: One, Jesus couldn’t be equally yoked. A lot of you ladies think, “Oh, I wish I was married to Jesus.” No, you don’t. ‘Cause every time you’d fight, he’d be like, “Who’s fault do you think it is?”
You’d be like, “Oh, I guess it’s mine. You’re Mr. Perfect.”
So, obviously it’s your fault. And two – so equal yoke is hard, right? Like, “I just don’t feel like we’re at the same place.” “We’re not. I made you.”
The other thing of it is, too, Jesus knew by about my age he would already be dead, raised, and gone. I’ve got four little kids. I can’t go anywhere. Jesus doesn’t start a work and leave a family. And the other thing, too, some people say, “I know other people in the Bible who were single.” Yeah, Jeremiah was – the weeping prophet.
Read Lamentations. I mean, that’s a guy who needs help. He’s, “Why did I get out of the womb to see sorrow and shame. Cursed be the day I was born. Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father.” You know, you don’t want to shoot for that. If God assigns that to ya, you know, receive that. But that’s not your goal.
They don’t have in the Christian high school “Most Likely to be Jeremiah.”
You know, nobody shoots for that. That’s what you get, but that’s not what you’re going for.
Well, what about Paul, he was single? Well, he was single, and he died. So, if you’re gonna die, if you’re gonna go to Turkey and preach Christ and they’re gonna kill you, you’re gonna be shipwrecked, homeless, left for dead – be single. Don’t put your wife and kids in that mission. Just go die for Christ. Amen? And – but for most guys – now most guys, they need a wife.
Oh, you’re gonna be weird. You’re saying, “I am not.” You’d be the last to know. Take it from the rest of us, a guy – I love the single guys. I love you guys, but you guys really need to know this – you need a wife.
You need a wife. You need a wife. Not just a wife, you need a certain kind of wife – a helper suitable. Okay, we’ll talk about this. Suitable – that means she fits. Right? That means she fits. If you’re all about fly fishin’ and Budweiser and NASCAR, marry a woman who’s into that. Okay? It’s no problem. Don’t marry the woman who loves merlot and shoe shopping. It’s not gonna go good.
If you feel called to missions, marry a woman who wants to go on a mission. If you feel called to live in the woods, marry a woman who loves the woods. It’s okay, just marry each after its own kind. You gotta find somebody who’s a fit. Who’s a fit – who fits who you are – suitable. There’s a match there. And it’s a helper, a woman is a helper. A woman is tremendously helpful.
Now, a lot of people, “Aw, that’s sexist. That’s sexist, sexist, sexist!”
No, it’s not. Not like our day, where we treat women with all the dignity of a rental car. You gotta realize the way we treat women as a culture is not so good. When the Bible says “helper,” it’s not a bad thing. Hebrews and Psalms says that God is our helper. That doesn’t mean he’s junior varsity. He’s a good God.
And also, God helps me. We have one of the songs that we sing for worship, that God is an ever-present help in trouble – out of the Psalms. We see in the New Testament, one of the names for the Holy Spirit is the Helper. God helps us. God has helped me. God has helped you. God has helped us all.
So, the woman being a helper here is not a denigration. It’s a good thing. It’s a good thing. Let’s talk a little bit about this, since we’re all together.
How many of you women believe that a wife should submit to her husband. Okay, both of you have read those verses, and you believe them. Good.
Okay. That’s in Colossians. Its’ in Ephesians. It’s in 1 Peter. That’s what it says. Now, here’s my fear. Many women don’t know what that means. Most men don’t know what that means. Most men think that when a wife submits to her husband, they think that means that she shuts up and lets him do what he wants. Nah. She helps him. She helps him. Here’s my point: Any man who wants to honor God and live his life without consulting his wife is a foolish man – foolish man.
Now, ladies, you’re job is not just to submit. I see this all the time with women. They come here for counseling appointments. I’ll be like talking to the husband and wife, “Now, what’s going on?” He’s like, “Oh, man,” – he gets off on some crazy, weird, wild, nutty doctrine. Right? He got Internet access, the next thing you know, he’s a cult leader. He’s just off on something nuts.
Or he gets into some cockamamie business plan. He’s gonna start this company. “Whoo, it’ll be great.” No. Or he gets off into some weird investment strategy – the guy gets off on something. Everything comes apart. The whole family’s in shipwreck. You’re sitting there with a couple. You look at the wife and you say, “Well, what do you think?” And she says, “Well, I saw it coming. I totally knew this was gonna happen.” “Why didn’t you say something?” “I was being submissive.”
Don’t be submissive. Be helpful.
Be helpful. Be helpful. Ladies, your job, your hope, your goal is for your husband. Help that guy. He needs help.
He needs a lot of help. That’s why God made you. You know what? That’s why the Bible says, “A prudent wife is from the Lord.” Get a wife who’s smart. Get a wife who’s insightful. And literally, in Proverbs 31, this woman is the woman who does good, not harm, all the days of her life. That’s the kind of lady we’re talking about.
And here what it means is it means – the poetic imagery here is that she’s the one who stands face to face. Okay, now this has a positive [Sound of Kiss] – has a very positive dimension to it. All right, we’re all for that. Right? Stand face to face and – you know, it’s good, we’re all for it.
But sometimes, it literally means the woman who gets in your face. “Hey, I love you, but what are you doin’? This is a dumb idea. All right, where are we goin’? This is not smart.” Sometimes the best thing the woman can do is get in the man’s face. Now, the Bible says respectfully, which is like, “Dear Meathead.”
So, you know, you just gotta sell it, cause guys – we’re fragile. We – you gotta be nice. Respect is a big deal. But how many women think that being submissive means letting the man do whatever he foolishly pleases, without ever speaking wisdom into the relationship. Ladies, ladies – before the Bible speaks of submission, it speaks of helpfulness. Helpfulness is the priority. You do it in a respectful way, but you help.
Guys, that’s why you want a smart wife, why you want a prayerful wife, a Bible-reading, Jesus-loving, insightful, well-read, well-rounded wife. She’s helpful. Is my wife helpful? I tell you what, she’s tremendously helpful. She’s done me good, not harm.
The Bible says that the wounds of a friend are to be trusted much. You know, if your wife’s your friend, and she hurts you with something, praise God. She’s just trying to help. My wife – I tell you what. She is my friend, my lover, my confidante, my counselor. I run things by her. She’s very wise – very wise. Very wise. She helps me.
I’m thinking through strategies for the church, and for our family. I’m thinking through doctrinal issues. I’m thinking through all kinds of things. Who do I talk to? My wife. I run everything by my wife. The few things I didn’t were honestly the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. “Oh, I got it all figured out. Oh – I ruined it. That wasn’t good, I shoulda –”
And see, when God gives a good woman to a man, that man is foolish if he doesn’t avail himself to the wisdom and insight and helpfulness of the woman. He then is acting as if he were still alone, and that’s not good. She’s there because he needs her, and if she isn’t welcome and doesn’t have the courage to help, then he’s still functioning in the capacity of being alone. He’s still acting like a single guy, with no help or input.
Honestly, I can’t do my job without my wife. Without my wife, Mars Hill does not exist. I’m a basket case, burned out, and gone. My job as a pastor is to pour myself out. I come home. Who fills me up? My wife. Who loves me? My wife. Who encourages me? My wife. Who counsels me? My wife. Who helps me think through strategy, planning, prayer, doctrine? My wife. My wife.
She’d be the first to tell ya that I lead the family and make decisions. And I take responsibility for the decisions. But absolutely, in every way, we are one. And without her, I am in grave, grave, grave trouble. I would have died a million deaths, and there’s no way that I would be doing what I’m doing today without her.
How many of you men married a helpful woman? All right. Praise God for the helpful women. Praise God for the helpful women. And some women, in the name of submission, sin by omission – not doing the right thing, not doing anything, in the name of being biblical – that’s not.
If your husbands getting off doctrinally, if he’s getting off financially, if he’s getting off morally, you need to help him. Not just follow him, but help him. This is so important, and we are a church that believes firmly that men should love their wives. And lead their families. And lead their homes. And take responsibility. But at the same time, we cannot overlook the significance of the fact that apart from the aid of a godly woman, a man is prone to grave error and danger.
You need each other. I need my wife desperately. I love her. I really do. I met her when I was 17. I married her when I was 21. We’ve been – I just turned 34. So we’ve been together 17 years. We’ve been married 13 years. I tell you what, I trust her. I trust her to do me good, not harm. And I know that whatever she says or does, her intention is to help me. I trust her more than anyone. I trust her more than anyone. And I have found her to be more helpful than anyone. Honestly.
How many of you men, when you think of your wife, man, you say, “Thank God for this woman. I could not be or do anything without her help”? Do you articulate that to her? Do you communicate that to her? Does she know that? If not, boy oh boy, you’re really missing the point of Genesis 2.
So, God’s gonna make a helper suitable. What’s he bring along next? Animals.
God comes to Adam, “You’re not doin’ so good. You need some help.” Okay, now women, you want to marry a man you can help. Not a man you could fix. A lot of women are like, “Well, he can’t read, and he’s got a drug addiction, but he lives in a really nice tent.”
No, that’s fixing. Helping a man is a man who loves God and has gone as far as he can, and he now needs a woman’s help to take it to the next level. And so what God’s gonna do here, God’s gonna bring before the man a bunch of animals. “You need help. Here’s an aardvark.” This is a little weird.
“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and the birds of the air.” God made all the animals. “He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” Okay, now what you see here is Adam is a fully intelligent, functional man. He’s not java man. He’s not sitting there with his pants around his ankles, the snot comin’ out of his nose, and his finger in his ear – “Goat.”
He’s not that guy. All right? He’s not that guy. He’s a mature, functional guy. God speaks, he understands language. He names the animals. He creates animals. He classifies animals into categories. This is the beginning of science. It’s the issue of classification. Adam is a human being. He’s not some half-monkey/half-man, sitting there eating Cheetos, pickin’ his nose. This is a real guy. And God gives him a duty, and speaks to him, and then the man exercises his dominion, and it all works out well.
“So, the man gave names to” – not every single animal, ‘cause that would, I believe, take more than a day, but particular animals – “the livestock, the birds, and the beasts.” Three categories of animals. God brings sections of each to him, Adam names them. Now here’s the great understatement of the Bible: “But for Adam, no suitable helper was found.”
Here’s Adam – God comes down, “I love you, but you know, you need a wife. You need a mate. You need a spouse.” Adam’s like, “Whoo, yes.” “How about an aardvark?” “No, no thank you.” “How about a goat?” “Well, it’s got horns. That’s not good.” “How about the cow.” “Uh – no.”
“How about a monkey? You want a monkey in a white dress? We could put her down -” “No, that’s not so good.” Now, God’s gonna make the woman. What does the woman look like? We have no idea, but compared to the options, she’s a hottie, that’s what she is.
And I think this is where God’s going, “You can have a woman or a goat.” “Well, that’s a hot lookin’ woman, I tell you that right there, boy. Compared to the aardvark, she’s amazing. Look at that.” And here’s my point where I’m going with this, men. Your standard of beauty is your wife. It’s your wife – that’s the point. Animals or this woman, one woman. We don’t know if she’s tall, short, voluptuous, skinny, redhead, blonde, brunette – we don’t know what she is. We just know she’s better than the alternatives.
Some of you guys, you’re like a guy in the cereal aisle at the store. You got too many choices. You’re, “Oh, here’s a godly woman. There’s a godly woman. Oh, I just – Lucky Charms or Fruity Puffs? I don’t know what to do.”
You know, look, if it was eat mud or have a cookie, you’d go, “I don’t care what kind of cookie that is, that’s a good cookie right there.” And you would thank God for his provision. Now, the standard of beauty is not objective. It’s your wife. It’s your wife, gentlemen. If you marry a brunette, you like a brunette. Not brunettes.
If you – my wife asks me this, “Well, are you gonna think I’m attractive when I’m 80?” “When you’re 80, I’m going to be into – I’m going to be into this grandma. That’s what I’m gonna be into. This 80-year-old, wrinkled grandma. That’s what I’m gonna be into.” The key is, gentlemen, marry a woman you’re attracted to, marry a slow woman, and chase her. Chase her around the house and enjoy her. Okay?
But your standard of beauty is your wife. Now, too many guys – too many guys do this. They do “wife of the imagination.” Single guys are notorious for this. “Oh, I’m just waiting for that perfect woman. That’s what I’m waiting for.” It’s like, two things: She doesn’t exist, and if she does, she’s not gonna marry you, ‘cause she’s got options.
So, you gotta deal with reality, and you can’t have this imaginary picture of a woman. This is where guys download porno from the Internet, and they’re lusting after woman, where Job 31:1 says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look after a woman lustfully.” You know, Paul says to be a one-woman man. Guys who aren’t, all of a sudden they have this criteria, “Oh, the women just don’t meet my standards.”
Look, if your choice was a goat or a woman – yeah.
So, here’s God’s answer. You don’t like the goat? I’ll make you a lady. “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep.” I think the point here is this, to get anything done, the guy needs to go to sleep, get outta the way, so God could get something done. If this is Eden, I think there’s a big BarcaLounger. The guy just sorta kicks it for a while. “ – and while he was sleeping, God took one of the man’s ribs and closed up that place with flesh.” Rips a rib outta the guy and then does a miracle healing, puts him back together. Very, very nice. And he’s gonna make the woman.
“Then the Lord God made a woman –” Men, where do women come from? God. Yes. That’s why they’re great. Now, not all women are great. Right, women? Don’t make me hang out here like a sexist, right?
Back me up. Some women are crowns, some women are cancers, according to Proverbs. Some women are a glory, some women are like a kick in another place.
And the truth is that not every woman is a crown. Some are a cancer. God, though, makes a good woman. Okay, your goal, gentlemen, is not just to get a wife. To get a helpful wife. To get a godly wife. That’s your goal. God makes the first wife. God makes the first woman. God makes the first marriage. God’s answer to the man’s loneliness does not allow bisexuality, homosexuality, pedophilia, bestiality, polygamy, adultery, fornication, cohabitation – not at all. God creates marriage – one man, one woman. There’s a big debate about that right now, ‘cause nobody reads their Bible.
The Bible’s very clear. Marriage comes from God – one man, one woman. That’s it. That’s it. That’s God’s solution. God’s solution is one man, one woman.
So, the Lord God causes the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up that place with flesh. Then the Lord God made the woman,” – a good woman, a helpful woman, Eve, the mother of us all – “from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” Oh, this is good. I mean, you can hear the R&B in the background. I mean, it’s –
It’s really good, this one right here. Now, the first thing, where does the woman come from? Right here – his side. Right? The feminist says, “Oh, the women should be out front.” And the chauvinist says, “No, they should be behind.” And the Bible says, “No, they should be alongside.”
Right here. Equal, lover, helper, friend, fellow image bearer of God, necessary second half of me. She comes from me. She complements me. She’s the other half of me. We don’t have any gender conflict. We don’t have any gender wars. We just have a husband and a wife.
I always tell my wife – how many of you ladies love to cuddle with your husband? Are you a snuggler?
I am. I love to snuggle with my wife. My son is like me, too. He’s 3, and we’re always jockeying for cuddle space with my wife.
And he’s crowding in, that little guy.
I love to hold my wife. I love it when she leans into me. Ladies, do you love it when you lean into your husband, he puts his arm around you? I gotta go home.
You’re snuggling. Don’t you love that? I love that. I always tell my wife, “Welcome home. This is where you come from. Right here.” She’s from here. She belongs here. We’re snuggling. She’s back to home-sweet-home, right where she belongs. I think that’s exactly where the woman belongs, right here. Held, loved, tender, right alongside. Not out front in domination. Not following behind in denigration. Right here. This is my wife, right here. Together, holding hands, embracing, snuggling, cuddling, affection, love.
And brought the woman to the man. This is so good. God did – was she wearing a wedding dress? No.
It was great. Make a note, ladies. Get married, be naked, it’s biblical, amen.
Wow. Things have really gone bad since Genesis 2, haven’t they? They get married in a garden, nice. Not a lot of decoration. It’s already set up. Nice wedding. Here’s the deal. God makes the woman. God takes her like the father and walks her down the aisle to the wedding. Oh, this is good. Isn’t this good? This is so good.
Some of you ladies say, “Man, I wish my dad had walked me down the aisle, but my dad’s not a good, godly man. He doesn’t know the Lord. I tell you what, Eve didn’t have a daddy to walk her down the aisle, but the Lord God was there. And he’s a father to the fatherless. He walks her down the aisle, gives her away. Whoo, it’s good. It’s very good.
Hey, gentlemen, I gotta suggestion for you single guys. Why don’t you go after the woman in front of ya? I mean, not literally in front of you right now.
Metaphorically, okay? God comes to Adam and says, “You need a wife.” Adam’s like, “Okay, okay. I agree.” God says, “Here’s a lady.” “I guess this is my wife.” So many men are chasing the woman of fantasy and imagination, that they overlook the woman that’s already in front of them. There’s some great women in this room. There’s some other women, too.
But there’s some great women in this room. And there’s a lot of men, who need a wife, that are not considering those women because they have this unrealistic, airbrushed fantasyland that they are pursuing in folly, not looking at what God has already put right in front of them.
You men need to take a careful look at the women that are right in front of you. If they love the Lord, if they serve the Lord, if they enjoy your company, maybe that’s who you should consider. Maybe you need not run all over the earth and take out personal ads, and maybe you not need to be someone who’s just desperate and frantic.
Maybe God will do as he did for Adam and just take the woman that he has made to be with you and just put her right in front of you – right in your Bible study, or in your place of service, or maybe the activity you’re involved in – she’s there. I see so many great women overlooked by men who are looking for some unrealistic standard, when the wife that would be perfect and helpful and suitable is right there. And they look around her instead of at her.
Gentlemen, let me give you an encouragement. Look at the women that God puts in front of you. If you are wanting a wife, you need a wife, look at the women that God puts in front of you. Get to know and love those women, respectfully, and if one should capture your heart, then pursue that woman in a noble way.
This is how great it is. God makes the woman, walks her down the aisle like the father, gives her away. He officiates as the first pastor at the first wedding ceremony. [Whistle] This is beautiful. Isn’t this beautiful? It’s just perfect. The man needs to say something, though. Gentlemen, how you talk to the woman – very important.
Has Eve had a big day?
Let’s review. She got made.
That’s a big deal. She met God. She’s naked, going to her wedding.
Right? For a lot of you ladies, that’s too much for one day. That’s a lot.
She’s gonna meet her husband. First person she’s ever met. He’s gonna need to say something. He’d better be careful.
Gentlemen, choose your words carefully – very carefully. Here’s what he does. He sings to her. Oh – I mean, you can hear the Teddy Pendergrass in this – it’s just so good. It’s just – it’s just old-school R&B. If I – I just feel like puttin’ on a little old-school R&B, ‘cause that’s just the whole backdrop to this great, poetic love story.
And what he does, he sings to her. That’s why women always go for the musicians.
It’s all the way back to – he could have track marks, live in a tent, be illiterate – “He played me a song. I love him.” It works every time.
So the man’s gonna sing to her in the Hebrew. It’s a love song. Oh, this is good. This guy – mm – he has got it all figured. Gentlemen, the ladies love poetry. They love verse and rhyme and song. They’re beautiful. They need to be communicated to in a way that is beautiful, and they appreciate that. They appreciate that.
And the man sings to her. This is the first recorded words we have in human history before sin enters the world, and it’s of a man singing. Some have postulated that we began as poets, and we’ve descended into prose. That we didn’t start talking until we sin. Maybe that’s why people like musicals, because we were meant to sing through life.
You see this, too, in the compositional form of Genesis throughout the book. The patriarchs keep breaking in with poetic insertions and song. It’s as if to be a patriarch, you need to have a good voice. Oh, it’s good. He sings to her. Oh, this is so good. “This is now bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh,” – it rhymes in the Hebrew. “She shall be called ‘woman,’” yes!
Yes, it’s a woman. Men, be careful what you call your wife. Be careful. Some of you have bad words for your wife. Don’t use those words. They’re prophetic. [Chuckle] I call my wife – I’ll let you in on our little name. I call her “Beauty.” That’s what I call my wife. I’ve always called my wife “Beauty.” Okay? It’s our private thing. It’s my name for her. She blushes when I call her Beauty. And I love that about her.
If you call her that, they’ll never find your body, but that’s what I call her.
I call her Beauty, that’s my wife. How many of you women, you’re husband has a name he calls you – good name, beautiful name, sweet little name. That’s what Adam does. Gives a little name to his wife. Sociologists say that we only name those we love. We give nicknames to the people we’re most endeared to. Adam looks at Eve, gives her a little name.
Gentlemen, you should have poetic speech. You should have metaphor and poetry, and you should have lovely names for your wives. That’s what God intends. It goes on. Here’s an insertion of commentary from Moses, our author, “For this reason,” – what reason? What reason? The wife. Gentlemen, is a woman incentive?
How many guys have you seen, classic underachiever, he meets a glorious woman. Next thing you know, that guy’s pulling it together.
“Hey, I wanna marry her. I gotta get a job.”
“I gotta leave my parents’ house.”
“I can’t take her on a honeymoon on a BMX bike. I gotta come up with a plan.”
Right? A woman is incentive. Now ladies, some of you ladies, don’t settle. Make the guy rise to the occasion. Make him leave his mother and father. Make him get a place to live. Make him get a job. Make him take care of himself. If he can’t take care of himself, he can’t take care of you, and he definitely can’t take care of your kids. Don’t be a foolish woman. Get a man you can help, not a man you have to fix. That’s a man who’s got his life together. And if you come alongside of him, the two of you could build a wonderful future.
A man gets incentive from a woman. Oh. A lot of ladies are like, “Well, he says he loves me. He just can’t find –” Look, if he loves you, he will get seven jobs. He will live off of Red Bull.
He will sleep in his truck. He will get it done. He will get it done.
He’ll sell a kidney. He will get it done.
He will figure it out. He just will. Man, when I wanted to marry Grace, we were 21, we were in college, flat broke. That’s it, man, we’re getting married. I gotta job. I said, “I wanna work two shifts: 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., and then 1:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. I want to work 16 hours through the night. They said, “Well, we can’t pay you overtime, which is against the law, but if you’ll do ‘em both –” Good, I’m working 16 hours. I’m sleeping in my truck. I’m working seven days a week. Why? I wanna marry Grace.
You know what? I’ll take a nap in the future. I wanna marry Grace. That’s it. If the only thing between me and her is a few bucks, I’ll figure it out. I’ll figure it out.
But you get my point. You figure it out. Somebody goes, “I just don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I don’t know what to do.” And I – “She’s glorious, I’m figuring this out.” I got incentive. I’m gonna close this deal. So, here’s the process. A man does what – gentlemen? Leaves his mother and father. First things first. Grow up. Be a man. Take care of yourself. Get your own place to live. Get your own car. Get your own job. Get your own career. Figure out your own theology. Pick your own church. Take care of yourself.
And you say, “You know what? Now I’m ready to love my wife and to have some kids. I’m ready to take care of somebody else.” Leave your mother and father. Leave your mother and father. Leave your mother and father.
This also includes emotionally. Right? It doesn’t mean you hate or distain your mother and father, but you grow up. I talked to a guy recently, he said, “It’s so sad. My son left. He went off to college.” Praise God. It’s the guy who’s in your house with his wife and his four kids – that’s the guy who’s gonna drive you nuts.
The guy who goes to college to figure out his career to make money so he could get married – praise God. It’s maturity. It’s responsibility. Men – it’s a good thing. Isn’t it a great thing, guys, when you get to the point where you say, “This is my place to live – apartment or house. This is my car, my bills, my budget, my job, my paycheck. This feels good. I’m feeling like a man.” You feel like you got a little responsibility. “Feel like I’m worth something. I can carry my head high. I don’t need to go home and get busted by my mom for curfew, have my dad yell at me ‘cause I didn’t mow the lawn and I ate all the Cheetos.”
Right? So first thing, leave your mother and father. Then, get married. Get married. Be united to your wife. Get married. Marriage is for men, not for boys. A lot of boys think, “If I get married, that’ll make me a man.” [Chuckle] My son thinks he can drive my truck.
Just because you get married doesn’t mean you’re a man. Marriage is for men, not for boys. Lots of men get married, and they ruin women and children. Marriage is for men. Be a man, get married. And then, third thing, they will become one flesh. That’s sex. We’re for it. We vote yes.
That’s our official position – pro-fruit and naked married people. We’re for it.
This is our official position theologically. The problem is, nobody obeys, or very few people obey this process. Moses says this is the three-fold process. Jesus reiterates it, and so does Paul. Now those are big guns.
The prophets, the law, the Epistles, and the incarnate Lord God. Right? That’s the dream team right there.
If they say something, write that down. Like “Okay, this seems to count here. This seems to really matter, cause they all said it.” What they say is, “A man grows up, gets married, and then he gets to have sexual intimacy with his wife.”
Boys just want to have sexual intimacy with a woman. They don’t wanna grow up. They don’t wanna take responsibility. They don’t wanna get married. They just want to have a naked woman. Nah – guys, that’s foolish. That’s the Tree of Death. That’s folly. That’s sin. That’s rebellion. That’s wrong. That’s evil. That’s evil.
Gentlemen, your goal – I shouldn’t say this, but I will –
How many men want a naked woman?
Okay? The rest are lying.
Do we affirm that goal? Yes. The only thing we want to stress is there’s a means to that end. See, a non-Christian guy and a Christian guy want the same thing. They want to be naked with a woman. The difference between the Christian and the non-Christian man is the man obeys God, eats from Tree of Life, does it as a man in a biblical way so that he can enjoy his wife.
A godless man tries to subvert all that God does and just go pick fruit off the Tree of Death. The Christian and the non-Christian man want the same thing. The Christian and the non-Christian man go about it in entirely different ways. Entirely different ways. The Christian man does it biblically. He grows up. That’s why through the Bible, the picture that’s continually given is that men take a wife, and that women are given in marriage.
This is where a godly father lovingly protects his daughter. You know? With a firearm and a dog and small weapons.
And a man has to get through the father to get to the daughter. So, a man has to take initiative, and then the woman is given in marriage. We are absolutely for marriage. We’re absolutely for marital intimacy. We just believe that as Hebrews says, that the marriage bed should be considered sacred by all.
What that means is, you shouldn’t be going to bed with anybody. There should be no sexual activity. It says among God’s people there shouldn’t even be a hint of sexual immorality – the Apostle Paul’s language. This process works. Any time we do something other than this process, something terrible happens. Okay? We are pro-intimacy. We are pro-marriage. We are pro-sex. We are pro. We want you to get married. We want you to fall in love. We want you to enjoy one another. We want you to have a great time in your bedroom.
But if you don’t obey God, and you take from the Tree of Death instead of the Tree of Life, you will not be able to experience what Genesis 2:25 guarantees, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no –” Wow. Most of us consider shame and nudity as synonyms. According to the Bible, in marriage those are antonyms. Naked and shame – those have nothing to do with each other. Right? They only have something to do with one another when sin has entered into the equation.
Here’s the truth. If you are sexually promiscuous, outside of or prior to your marriage in any way – this can be with your imagination or with your hands or your body, this can be with any part of who you are, what will happen is you will feel defiled and dirty and shameful, because your conscience will condemn you. And the Holy Spirit will convict you.
That will not just go away when you get married. When you get married, the things you did before you were married and you felt shame for, you’ll still feel shame, even though now they’re okay, because you will have habituated yourself to guilt and shame. That’s why a lot of women who are sexually active before marriage, when they get married, they can’t undress in front of their husband. They feel dirty.
That’s why a lot of men who are sexually active before marriage, when they put their hands on their wife, they feel dirty, like they’re defiling this beautiful gift that God has given them. See, again, we’re like foolish kids. God says life and death – please don’t kill yourself.
And we say, “Oh, you’re just a guy who’s taking away our freedom, and you don’t want us to have fun and have sex and be liberated, and you’re such a prudish God.” And God says, “No, I’m tellin ya, if you disobey me, there’s no life in that. If you eat from the Tree of Death, you’re gonna kill your sexuality. You’re gonna kill your marriage. You’re gonna kill your intimacy. You’re gonna kill your joy. What I have for ya is fun, happy, loving, marital intimacy and pleasure.”
Who do you think made the body? It wasn’t a big accident. It wasn’t like God looked down and said, “I can believe they figured that out. I never even thought of that.”
“That’s shocking. I never woulda guessed.” God made the man. God made the woman. God made the man and the woman to be one flesh. God intends for men and women to enjoy one another and have a great time – in the covenant of marriage.
And the key is this. It’s not just about the sex. It’s about the intimacy. That’s why he uses the word “one flesh.” One flesh. Sex outside of marriage is two people using each other. Sex inside of marriage is two people becoming one. And the word here for one is very important. It’s the same word that God uses in Deuteronomy 6:4 – it’s called the “shema” – the Jews, the Orthodox Jews to this day speak it on a few occasions each day. It says, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, he is one.” That as the Father, Son, and Spirit are one, the man and the woman are supposed to be one.
Let me ask you this, guys. If you love the Lord, if you help each other, if you’re for each other, if you do not have sin between you, if you do not have shame in your marriage bed, if the two of you are free to enjoy all that God has given, and you are one, will you be satisfied? Of course. The problem is that if we eat of the Tree of Death, it alters our palate, and we continue to consume death until we kill ourselves, anticipating that at some point it will cause us to feel full.
The truth is, the only thing that satisfies us is the Tree of Life – obedience, goodness, love, joy, marriage, covenant, intimacy, respect, caring for one another, being together as one. Being together as one. Guys, I love ya – I really do. To me, this is a hugely important issue. Many of you are single. Many of you are newly married. Statistically, almost all of you will be married.
Some of you have already committed tremendous sexual sin. Me even talking about this makes you feel ashamed. Me even using the word “naked” – you just feel a little weird about it because there’s already shame associated with it because you have an unbiblical view of the human body and love.
I speak on behalf of the elders. We really want you to fall in love. We want you to be married. We want you to take good care of each other. We want you to grow old together. We want the husbands to have the wife as their object of beauty, and the sole place where all their desires pursue.
We want the women to be helpful. We want the marriage bed to be pure. We want the marriage covenant to be fun. We want your lives to be enduring and endearing. That’s what we want for you. That’s what God wants for you.
And I know this brings up all kinds of shame and guilt and conviction for us all. The good news is this, though we have partaken of the Tree of Death, and we have all sinned in many ways – word, thought, and deed, the Lord Jesus Christ, this great God who is our Maker, he came into human history, and Hebrews says, “He was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin.” Isn’t that great?
Does he understand where you’re at in temptation, maybe immaturity? He does. Did he sin? No. That’s why Paul says that we also have a way of escape when we, too, are tempted, just like Jesus was able to avoid sin, though he was tempted. Though we, too, as tempted have the opportunity to avoid sin through the grace of the Lord Jesus.
Jesus goes to the cross. He took upon himself, friends, all of our sin, including all of our sexual sin, All the male immaturity. All the women who are cancers and not crowns. All of the sexual perversion and disgust. All of the guilt and shame. Jesus took that all upon himself.
You know what he did? He died. The wage for sin is death. We partook of the Tree of Death, and Jesus died for us. Isn’t that great? Man, you’re loved. You’re really loved. Three days later, he rose. He conquered sin and death. It gives you forgiveness, cleansing, healing, renewal, refreshment. He makes you a new creation. He allows old things to pass away and all things to become new.
And here’s the point: Some people divide history into epochs or dispensations or covenants. I’ll give you one way to break down the history of the world – weddings. History begins with a wedding. Jesus conducts his first ministry at a wedding. At some point, almost all of us will be involved in our own wedding.
What comes in Revelation 19 at the end of time? What culminates human history? A wedding, Revelation 19:5-10. In the end, there will be another wedding. We looked at the first wedding. There will be a final wedding. In the final wedding, who will be the groom? Jesus. In the final wedding, who will be the bride? The Church.
In the final wedding, the bride will be wearing – the Church will be wearing white, showing that we have been cleansed of our sin, that Jesus has renewed us and made us clean and whole. He’s taken away our dirt. And our filth. And our defilement. And our shame. And our selfishness. And our silliness. And he has done his good work.
At that time, we will get not only the creation, but we’ll get a new creation as a gift, just as Adam was given creation as a gift, we’ll be given new creation as a gift. What’ll be in the middle of that creation, friends? Another garden. Do you know we’re gonna be there, those of us who love Jesus? We’re gonna be there.
You know what’s gonna be in the middle of that garden? A tree – the Tree of Life. You know what we’re gonna eat? We’re gonna eat of life, not death, forever together. There’s also gonna be a river in that place, according to Revelation. That river has as its fountainhead a throne. Do you know who sits on that throne? Jesus. Jesus.
That’s why I believe people love weddings. I believe that human history began with a wedding. It ends with a wedding, and in the middle, the weddings are the closest we get to the picture of the Kingdom of God – beloved, affection, covenant commitment, hope, joy, song, celebration, feasting, friends.
History culminates with a great wedding. Its why you and I love to go to weddings. Don’t you love it when people who love each other get married? Isn’t it a great day and a great party? There’s something in us that just loves that moment. It’s because that’s where we come from, that’s where we’re going.
It’s because we were built for life and love and joy and unity and peace. And every bad, wicked, sinful, evil thing that has happened is us killing ourselves as foolish people in rebellion against God, partaking of death, when life was there all the while.
So, what are you gonna do? Some of you are never coming back.
[Bronx Cheer] You’re just gonna go eat of the Tree of Death, anticipating that in time, it will cause health. I promise you this, it won’t. I tell you that not to condemn ya, just to point out the obvious.
Some of you are here right now and your marriages are not good. They are not Genesis 2. You have settled for enduring life together, rather than endearing life together. You need to do your business, you married couples, before you partake of communion. If you’re here with someone that you should not be seeing, you need to dump them tonight.
All right? I mean, if you shouldn’t be together, don’t be together. If you’re here and you are sexually active in an inappropriate way, you need to repent of your sin. If you’re sexually active outside of marriage with someone who’s with you, you need to repent to them before you partake of communion.
Friends, tonight let’s just get rid of the shame. Let’s just get rid of the shame. Give it to the Lord Jesus. He died. Receive his forgiveness. Daily just walk by the Tree of Death and partake of the Tree of Life. Go back to the place in Genesis 2 where God intended love, marriage, unity, sexuality, freedom, joy, happiness, singing, embracing, respecting one another in God’s good name.
Is this possible through the Lord Jesus Christ? Totally. It’s not only possible, it’s certain. Apart from him, there is no hope. We just eat of death, eat of death, eat of death. Kill ourselves. Kill our sex drive. Kill our marriages. Kill our children. Kill our future. Kill our families. Kill ourselves. Kill our culture. Kill ourselves – die.
Guys, God loves ya. He’s the living God. He has so much more for ya. He has more for you than you would ever intend for yourself, because he’s better than you are. I love ya, I gotta leave it in your hands. I gotta leave it in your hands. I’ll close the book, I’ll pray. It’s up to you. Just like God saying, “Here’s your choice, life or death. You make the call. It’s up to you – you make the call.”
I give you my pitch. I’ve given you the Word of God as well as I can. It’s up to you. What are you gonna do? Where are you gonna eat? You going for life? You going for death? What fruit you pickin’? What fruit you pickin’, what life you livin’? It’s up to you. I love you. I hope you make the right choice. I pray you will.
For you men, I’ll close with this. I love you guys. When God wanted to build a culture, he started with a man. When God wanted to redeem a culture, he started with a man. What God wants to do at our church and in our city and in our midst begins with you men. It begins with you men – you single, young men. You single, young men.
I Corinthians 11:7 says that you are the – what, young men? The glory of God. You men are the glory of God. Tonight we give you your dignity back. You’re men. You’re God’s men. You’re men built for more than what pagans who don’t know God foolishly run around doing, touting as freedom, when it’s nothing more than death.
It’s up to you men. I know we have some great men in this room. I know we have some future great men in this room. And I’m praying for you all, gentlemen. Women, children, generations are depending upon whether or not you will partake of the Tree of Life or the Tree of Death. It’s a very sacred night.
I will pray. We’ll partake of communion, remembering Jesus’ body and blood. We’ll sing and celebrate. We’ll long for that great Kingdom day in the end, when we’ll sit at Jesus’ table and feast together.
We’ll give of our tithes and offerings. We’ll give him our shame. We’ll take his forgiveness, and we will learn by God’s good grace to walk by death every day and choose life.
Lord Jesus, we do love you. Thank you for loving us. God, I pray for my brothers. I pray for these men. God, these men grow up in a day where pornography and perversion and pressure is intense. Many of these men have already experienced sexual sin of various kinds. They’re already laboring under guilt and shame and condemnation. They’re already feeling as if they are incapable of being responsible or mature.
God, I pray you would give them their dignity back. I pray that you would allow them to see the glory of God when they look in the mirror in the morning. God, I pray you would allow them to see what I see, when I see these young men. I see hope. I see the future. I see your hand, shaping handcrafted image bearers, sacred men with important Kingdom work to do.
God, I pray for the ladies, that they would not settle out of anxiety or desperation or loneliness. That God, they would wait for you to walk them down the aisle. That they would wait for you to appoint them to the right man who would be their husband. I pray, God, that they would not be desperate, that they would be patient and prayerful.
God, I pray for those women who don’t have a father, that you would be a father for them, protecting and loving them, encouraging them, walking with them – arm in arm. God, I pray for those women who are married or will be married, that they will be very helpful – not just quiet and passive and thinking that by saying and doing nothing, that they are accomplishing their objectives. And in fact, they would be helpful in any and every way possible.
I pray, God, that the women would not be feminists, out ahead of their husbands, and that the husbands would not be chauvinists, out ahead of their wives, but together, the husbands and wives in this church would do good Kingdom work together, arm in arm, hand in hand, side by side, with lots of song and love and poetry and affection.
God, we pray for this kind of world in our midst. We know that we are in a day that is nothing like Genesis 2. By your good grace, we hope to arrive back at that place where you intended us to be, and we trust it in God’s good name, and we receive it by faith in the Lord Jesus. Amen.