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The Latest Fashion in Fig Leaves

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 31, 2020 1:00 am

The Latest Fashion in Fig Leaves

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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Vendors one of many is wrong. He didn't want to admit he's sinful.

So he covers himself with religious ceremony and ritual.

I personally believe there are people treat church like fig leaves the hide inside the church and at least in our country, the average church is accommodating it, they say, here we will talk about your shame or your guilt or your sin nor the need for Redeemer command and seal beside we think we can hide from God in the air, but somehow he cannot see the need some steeple some ceremony and impress others externally fails every time it began in the Garden of when Adam tried to use fig leaves to cover his guilt. Ever since then men and women have tried to cover their guilt with religious observances and even various forms of penance today on wisdom for the heart. Stephen Davey returns to our got religion series were in Romans chapter 2 today and Stephen has a message for you, entitled the latest fashion and for glands, I want to show you the first religious act in human history and will spend at least half of our time here, beginning with Genesis chapter 2 is I set the stage for what Paul will say. Centuries later, in Romans chapter 2 for familiar with chapter 2 and three of Genesis you know that Satan will come to tempt Eve in the garden. Both Adam and Eve were both created by God as adult male and female and they were told by God not to eat of the tree that represented knowledge of good and evil. God warned Adam in chapter 2 verse 16 of the book of Genesis with these words, the Lord God commanded the man saying from any tree of the garden you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat for the day that you eat from it you shall surely die. So Adam was given the choice, God created the scenario where mankind would choose whether or not they would obey and love them. Adam had not yet committed sin and would thus live forever in the physical state he was in, but as God warned him here if he chose to sin, he would begin to die ultimately die physically and a consequence of course exists to this day, for the Bible tells us that the wages of sin is what is death. In other words, one of the undeniable proof that we have Adam's nature.

And then we have also chosen to sin is that we will all experience barring the rapture of the body.

We will all experience physical death. We will all die physically. Chapter 3 of Genesis opens then with Satan inhabiting the serpent who comes to tempt even he does it by revealing to her the beauty and goodness, and potential deliciousness of this fruit of this one tree that God told him not eat from. They've been told they could eat from all the trees there were probably hundreds of them.

I don't have any trees bear fruit, but all of them were at their disposal, except this one. But isn't it just like human nature to want that one. I have talked to people over the years who have the most logical sounding rhetoric for defending their sin that you can imagine physical reasoning, emotional reasonings, intellectual defenses of their sin and they reached the conclusion. What I am doing is the right thing to do. Even though God says no. Jonah reveals the depth of their deception, for they've been blinded by the god of this world to believe what is right is that which God is said is wrong. You've heard that the book of Genesis is the book of beginnings. Perhaps most of the beginnings are wonderful things. However, in this passage. There are several firsts that are not so wonderful. Here is the first time in human history that God has been disobeyed. Call it what you will. It is crass independence.

It is disobedience to the word of God. This is the first time it's happened that's not all. Verse seven says, then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked. This is the first time mankind experienced shame. Their innocence is gone forever.

They are ashamed of their physical nakedness. The passage continues on in verse seven to tell us they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves longing coverings. This is mankind's first attempt at self cleansing up to this point everything that they have has been provided by God. But now, knowing they have disobeyed God they can't very well go to him and say we we feel shame at being naked and so they do it themselves. They attempt to hide their sense of guilt and their sense of shame at having sin. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the first religious act of human history. Verse eight.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. This is not the sound of God's voice, at least not yet. But the literal sound of God walking which then indicates to us that God is taken some physical form, manifesting himself and some what we would call theophany or perhaps if it's the second person of the Trinity a Christophe any some physical manifestation, where he literally came to walk with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day sweet intimate fellowship between the creator and the created. The text tells us in verse eight, the latter part of the man and wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. This is the very first reference you have man hiding from God.

They have been hiding ever since this is the first expression of them hiding but I thought that Heather fig leaves on. They do, they had dealt with their sin and shame and they had created these fig leaf coverings.

Why not just parade in front of God and act as if nothing has happened and say will what you think of his outfit. No for them and for mankind today. Religion seems to make sense. The work of our hands seems to be the things to do.

The self covering the attempts at self cleansing seem to make sense until you stand in the presence of holy God. And then the foolishness of it strikes you Bible tells us nothing is hidden from sight. He Artie knows everything about us, even the motives of our hearts. Nothing can cover that verse nine tells us then the Lord God called the man where are you, doesn't God know worry is course he does. This is the first time God is seen seeking man offering man an invitation to restore fellowship, and so he begins to ask a series of questions we'll have time to go and all of them but this is the first time God is seen as seeking after man man hides from God. God seeks after man, Luke 1910, Jesus Christ.

At the same things that I've come to see and save those who are lost in the Gospel of John chapter 4 verse 23 were told that the father seeks after those who will worship him in spirit and in truth. God is on a seek and deliver mission, and this is the first expression of it here.

In that same chapter verse 10 Adam said well I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked so I hid myself to do notice that admission.

I was afraid the first time. Verb fear appears to say that Adam you got your your fig leaves on there's nothing to be afraid of my friend, you tell the most devout religious person you know is trusting in their works, rather than in Christ alone. You tell them that person never misses a mass or a service you tell the one that gives their money to the poor and the charity you tell the one the volunteers and civic duties and in Christian duties. You tell the ones who even teach courses in Sunday school at the local assembly.

They are doing their best. There, trusting, and that you asked them how they feel about meeting God and they will if they are honest, say I'm afraid, but are we all.

Yes, in a very real sense we all are, however, for the one is been redeemed. The book of Hebrews tells us that we can march, arrived boldly at the throne of God. How, by virtue of the blood of Jesus Christ that has cleansed our hearts and given us the text says full assurance will come with our hands admiring our roads with any kind of assurance would only say were afraid, my friend. If you do not have faith in Christ alone. You can come to church today. But that's just a fig leaf.

You could pray those prayers are fig leaves you can do all sorts of good things you can attend Bible studies.

You can give your money away and even teach perhaps.

But if you've never dealt with your sin and you're simply attempting with religious activity to cover over it. You're not admitting you're cherishing it you're doing it but you just as soon keep it and so you try to cover it with something in religious activity seems to be a good thing to cover it with. When God appears ultimately you will run God asked him another question.

Verse 11. Who told you that you were naked. Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat. This is, like the parents they know the answer, and they asked questions. Knowing the answer, but that when here you as the child give the answer guineas pulling out of Adam, the potential confession. This is an opportunity for Adam to say yes, I have sinned. I did that. What is he say instead. The man said verse 12.

The woman, not a very good start. Adam the woman whom you gave to be with me. She gave me from the tree and I know she may be doing.

Did you get the subtle indication here that Adam saying woman you gave me.

She was your idea. Lord you gave her to me. Everything was fine in the garden until you brought her to me and it's been trouble ever since I can imagine Eve standing there infuriated the blood rushing to her cheeks that the vein in her neck right about here is about 10 times the size God ever intended to be known, she said, but I bet she had a few words to say God just as all right if that's the tactic in the tank. Verse 13 he said to the woman will what is this, you've done and the woman said the serpent deceived me, and I this text is the first indication that marriage counselor for can make a lot of money. Here is the very first moment of marital discord in human history before the day began, there was fellowship between Adam and Eve, and there was fallacy between Adam and Eve and God knows sin to ruin paradise now there is sin or shame. There's guilt and there is this first sighting of of man-made religion to cover it all over in the form of two aprons made from fig leaves and that's never changed from that point of this man-made religion is always had a lot in common with fig leaves. Let me suggest at least a few things they have in common. Number one fig leaves are man's ceremonial attempts to avoid accountability man is one of Millie's wrong. He didn't want to admit he's sinful. So he covers himself with religious ceremony and ritual. I personally believe there are people tree church like fig leaves the hide inside the church and at least in our country, the average church is accommodating it, they say, come here and we will talk about your shame or your guilt or your sin nor the need for Redeemer command and hide when I asked you be safe in their we think we can hide from God in the air, but somehow he cannot see but need some steeple or some ceremony. David said if I sent to heaven you're there if I make my bed and she will of the grave.

Behold, you are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there your hand will lead me in your right hand will a hold of me if I say, surely the darkness will cover me in the light around me will be denied even the darkness is not dark to you in the night is as bright as the day on 139 can hide. You cannot avoid final accountability to God cannot hide from him behind your religious fig leaves. Secondly, fig leaves are man's desperate attempt to salve a guilty conscience as we have already discovered in Romans chapter 2 man was created with a conscience that God had given him, and it whispers to him that he's sinful and naked before God and mankind knows that he is sinful. He knows he has shame. He knows that he's wrong. He knows that he has committed sin, and so he says listen all will burn a candle or are over here annoy me with some boiler or over there a cover me with water or watch I'll give us some money away. Will somebody please silence shame religion is man's most popular method of silencing the ship third fig leaves are man's self-centered attempt to impress others and ignore true godliness. If you fast-forward the tape of human history and you go into the days of Christ, he is speaking to the religious leaders of his day. In Matthew 23.

They have the pious appearances and they have the pietistic disciplines and activities, but they do not have a purified heart and a relationship with God through Christ Jesus will say to them, they do all their deeds to be noticed by men. They do everything they do to be seen by men. They fast, they pray they give to be seen by men.

He says in that text, for they broadened their phylacteries. Phylacteries was out was a little box in which they would insert a verse from the tour of the law and they would put the box on her left forearm and then they would as they prayed places across their hearts, and they would have one on her forehead with strips of leather and as if it were covering their mind and they did this when they prayed in their discipline of praying and he saying here. They broadened their phylacteries a these big boxes is exaggerating, but they just trumpet the fact of people that had worked were praying and they are impressive to people who watch them.

Jesus says that them what you you outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and sin see the eyes of man, the religious person has it altogether if God is impressed with anybody. He's impressed with a faithful Jew and Paul is given us all of the reasons why back in Romans chapter 2 now he is told us that they have the law, they are proud of their monotheism. They know the will of God day they have discernment into the things which are right and wrong and they teach those who do not know, and they preach a moral absolutes. And all of that without having the hearts that is in love with God. The heart that is obedient to the law of God.

They sound good. They seem to have it all down. But Paul, by the inspiring influence of the Holy Spirit sort of pulls off the mask from their religiosity and reveals that while their lips, praise Jehovah. Their hearts are far from him. Now Paul is anticipated the response. The response will be to point to their circumcision to the faithful Jew by virtue of chapter 2 is is backed into a corner. He knew that he did what he did to be seen.

He knew that he didn't have a heart of love for God.

If you knew that he didn't obey the word the law, the Torah knew that the faithful Jew at that point of being confronted with the reality that everything they had was inadequate they would say. But wait, I have the mark of the covenant.

I've been circumcised. Thus, I am a son of Abraham.

He knew they'd play that last card, it would be their last hope. And he will present now in these next few verses three basic principles to reveal that circumcision is in and of itself just another fashion in fig leaves in the first principle was this religious rituals cannot replace righteous living. Look at verse 25 will start back in verse 23 you who boast in the law through your breaking the law do you dishonor God for the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you, just as it is written for indeed circumcision is a values he anticipates will say okay, but I've been circumcised.

He says yes indeed circumcision is of value.

If you want to circle that word in your text. If you practice the law, but if you are a transgressor of the law. That is, you don't care about the law, your circumcision has become on circumcision. In other words, religious rituals, even if they in and of themselves are an act of obedience. They do not count as a replacement for godly living. Now mind you rituals have their place, traditions may have their value. Paul is not saying here that the outward ritual is a worthless thing.

He is simply saying that a symbol of covenant obedience is worthless without the lifestyle of obedience because on to say verse 26 so if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the law will not his on circumcision be regarded as circumcision. In other words, the mandalas a godly life but hasn't been circumcised with that mark of the covenant. He is better off than the man who has been marked but lives a life of disregard of the law.

Why because circumcision was simply a physical mark was required by God as a covenant sign going back to the time of Abraham, but it represented a love for God, it represented their distinction from all of the other nations that they were the people of God, and they were to live lives of holy distinction. So what was better to have the march and not have love for God or to have love for God and not the mark will post answers obvious, just as God spoke to the prophet Samuel concerning animal sacrifices and for Samuel 1522, he said, has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord.

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, which was stunning news to the Jew. Of course, God never intended for their faith to be placed in that mark that physical mark, but faith to be placed in God himself. But the people would be gone.

And by the time of Christ, and certainly Paul had begun to believe that the physical mark was good enough without any internal relationship. If if the man could be marked and his sons and daughters come through as it were. That mark then they would be safe.

They would be in the covenant, they would be children of Abraham regardless of an internal heart and attitude and obedience. Paul is destroying that presumption.

Second principle was this trust in external activity will not protect against eternal accountability.

Paul goes on to verse 27 to say will not. He who is physically uncircumcised is referring to a Gentile will not. He was physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the law, will he not judge you will his lifestyle. In effect, not be a judgment to you. Though you have the letter of the law and circumcision, but you are a transgressor of the law. The third principle is this religious roots do not guarantee God's approval and he sort of tightens the net as he gets closer to his his argument.

Verse 28 for he is not a Jew who is one outwardly could insert the word only, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh only verse 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, here's another shocking true believe that in a sense their Jewishness was a physical mark and it was bloodline to Abraham and he saying it is in truth said that's part of it, but but it's also a matter of the heart. Religion will always emphasize the work of the hands true Christianity true faith in God will always emphasize the work of the what the heart religion will always focus on what we do approval before God focuses on why we do what we do. Do you pray why do you give money to the poor. Why do you fast. Why you're in church today. Why she religion never asks the question why if you just do it and just check off the boxes you're safe. Christianity says not an and I want to know why because it's a matter of the heart man looks on the outward appearance, but God. The Bible says looks on the heart. Well, how we do away with fig leaves, but to give you three things to consider since religion is always in the process of making aprons. God is at work however on the heart. How do we avoid religiosity the ritual without the reality number one fig leaves must be acknowledged as thoroughly inadequate. Nine. On reading between the lines, but for Adam and Eve. Some time back then as they were making them they thought was a good idea. I don't know which one came up with the first Nevada evil to said no that's a great idea. That'll that'll take care of our shame Eve Eve. Adam, all that's that's it. That's what were missing somewhere back there in the garden. They came up with this idea and I patted each other on the back and said that that'll cover our shame, but it didn't put all they had to show for their sewing lesson was more guilt or shame, more uncertainty now they're hiding behind a tree in the garden, God fig leaves must be acknowledged as thoroughly inadequate. Second of all fig leaves must be exchanged with true confession is what the gospel has bad news before it has good news tells a person that there is center and they need to admit to that, and then it says there's a Savior for sinners.

Jesus didn't die on the cross for excuses. He died to pay the penalty of our sin. So fig leaves must be exchanged with true confession third fig leaves must be replaced with God's atoning substitute. Mankind's first religious act was sewing leaves together God's first redemptive act was taking the life of an innocent animal to be two of them creating skins to cover Adam and Eve was adjusted leather would last longer than leaves no bearing on that actin that was an act.

I believe God fully explained to them because one of the next things you see as Cain and Abel bringing their sacrifices to God and one of them brought an animal and got accepted that would is the issue of atonement.

Somebody dies for sin buried in that act, the principle of atonement where someone will take your punishment and dies so that you can go free.

There in the first few pages of Genesis. Lay the picture of this coming Lamb who would die sin world on the cross of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice alone can do that for you and for me, so I recommend ladies and gentlemen, with all the passion in my being that if you haven't already, I encourage you to put away the leaves. They can cover whatever happens to be your latest fashion. Whatever the work of your hands is whatever those needs are that you accomplish leaving that by them you will gain approval. Paul has shattered that for the faithful. Judy shatters that for the religious man of our day. Put away the leaves your heart to the Lord, trying to cover your guilt with any other than Jesus atoning sacrifice. I hope this lesson has challenged you. Thanks for tuning in today.

This is wisdom for the heart. The Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey, I invite you to learn more about us by visiting our website, which you'll we post the complete archive of Stephen's Bible teaching ministry. We also post each days broadcasts. So if you ever miss one of these lessons, you can go to our website to keep caught up.

All of these resources are available on that site free of charge and you can access it you can also use our smart phone app as well. We have a magazine that includes articles written by Stephen to help you dive deep into various topics related to the Christian life. The magazine also has a daily devotional guide that you can use to remain grounded in God's word every day a new month of devotionals begins tomorrow and if you don't receive it. Call us in the office and we can send you one right away. Our number is 86 648 Bible. That's 866484253. We'd love to talk with you and introduce you to this resource heart-to-heart magazine called today if you have a comment question or would like more information you can send us an email if you address it to info@wisdom online. Thanks again for joining us today.

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