Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
God loves freedom, and He came in the person of Jesus so that you would be free. Listen, this is how startling it is, and this is how wonderful the Gospel is. All of the freedom and beauty and wonder of a life of uninterrupted fellowship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden has been restored to every person who accepts Jesus Christ.
That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called Unleashed, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program today, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. You can find out more about it and even receive a copy of your very own for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer at pastoralan.org. Find out more about it and make your request or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Again, our website, pastoralan.org. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. No fear of that ultimate fear that's behind all others. No fear of death.
Imagine that. No sense of the mortality that hangs over them. No fear of disease or decline of health or fear of running out of provision.
No worry. No dread. No angst of any type.
No tyranny of the urgent. They were free to learn. They were free to grow. They were free to share their lives. No one was pushing them.
No one was pressuring them. Whatever they did was from faith and hope and joy. They were free to laugh. They were free to give. They were free to enjoy life. And they were free from sin. And what we'll see is that the picture of freedom for the Christian is in the Word of God is largely related to this. From the movement from bondage to sin to freedom from sin. And in the beginning, they were just free from sin. And what this means is they didn't have any of the misery that comes with all of the sin of our lives.
I mean, just imagine it. I mean, no covetousness. So they never had that miserable feeling of like, I wish I had what they wish I had what they had.
They never had that. No envy. No greed. There was no lust. No adultery.
No betrayal. There was no sin. And so they not only didn't have their own sin, but they didn't suffer the consequences of someone else's sin. There were no murderers. There were no thieves. There were no bullies. It was a place of ultimate freedom.
They were free indeed. If you ever want to know who God is and what He wants for humanity, start here at this paradise in a garden called Eden that was expansive and beautiful with this man and this woman that were made in the image of God, and it was just bursting with freedom. So the nature of the temptation was that this serpent who slithered in to the garden essentially sought to not only twist what God had said, but plant an idea that God had not said at all. For the serpent said, did God actually say, you shall not eat of any tree of the garden?
Well, this deception is the polar opposite of what God had said. God had said, eat of every tree except for one. And the serpent said, did God say don't eat of any of the trees?
And at first the woman is clarifying, saying, well, no, no, no. He said just don't eat of the one in the middle. But you see where the primal temptation comes. And here's the essence of that temptation. Is that Adam and Eve were tempted to think that any restraint, even if it's just don't eat of that one tree in the middle, that any rule, any restraint, any form of obedience was diminishing their freedom. They were tempted to believe that God, by denying them the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was somehow limiting their freedom. That God was limiting the blessing that He had for them. But they were tempted to believe that God, by denying them the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was limiting the blessing that He had for them. That they would be somehow more blessed and more free if they had this one more tree, one more fruit.
How many thousands of different fruits did they have? And the temptation was to think that this one that you don't have is going to be the thing that's going to give you more freedom. Listen, let's just start this right here, right now, as part of the deep essence of what real freedom is about. And it runs completely contrary to this age. And that is the temptation is to believe that more always means more freedom.
And it does not. I'm married to one woman. One wonderful woman. And she is my best friend. And she is my prayer partner and my ministry partner. And she is the love of my life. And she is my sweetheart. And she is my romance partner. And she is my co-parenting of two children.
And she is, she's my wife. And I don't need another. If I did try to have another woman or two, would there be more freedom? There would not. It would be a very bad thing.
It would be very bad in many different ways. In the first place, all the freedoms that I enjoy with my wife would be contaminated if there was another. In other words, I have freedom with my wife because she's not leaving me and I'm not leaving her. And so when I am myself with her, I need not be ashamed. And I can grow and show my weaknesses to her. But if I were to try to add more, all of that would be lost, wouldn't it? And not to mention everything else, it would be lost like my job and probably my name in the newspaper.
So all of that is at work. It is an idolatrous illusion, a deception to think that you get more freedom by getting more of everything. More choices do not make you more free. They came, Adam and Eve, came into a lie that they could be or should be something other than the humans that they were made to be. They wanted to be like God, not realizing they were already like God.
They were made in the image of God and reflected God's glory and represented God on this earth and were tempted to believe that they were inadequate and they needed something else in order to be more free. And so when they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, what happened so, so tragically was that all of this freedom that they had was suddenly gone. I was speaking to a friend this week and we were talking about this text and about this sermon series and he chuckled to remember a story of one of his kids who when the son was 18 years old went through a rebellious time. There he was, a senior in high school, 18 and feeling all grown up. And so the boy came to his dad and he said, dad, he said, you know, I just think, you know, we've had a lot of differences and all. He said, I just think I'd be better off living somewhere else. And he said, I have a friend who is, you know, said I could come live at their house. And the father said to the son, he said, well, I love you very, very much and I would miss you being here every day so much.
And won't you reconsider? I love you, son. And so I said, no, I really, I'm of age. I really, I'm ready to move out. And the father said, well, okay, just know that I'm always here for you.
I love you. And shall I help you pack your things? And so this wise father knew it wasn't going to last long. He just knew it wasn't. So he just went through the motions with him and he packed up his things. He took them over to his friend's house and he knew it was going to be a disaster because the friend was in a household with a single mom who was woefully alcoholic, prone to being passed out half of the day.
And there was very little provision there. And several, three kids there from different dads, none of whom were around anywhere. And the father dropped off his son. Two weeks later, the son came and met with his father and he said, dad, he said, I think the one more thing that I need is I just need some money. And he said, I tell you, he said, dad, if you give me $1,000, I just, then you won't have to hear from me anymore.
And this was a man who worked hard as a professional and had a right many assets. And he was just smiling on the inside thinking, I can't believe he's asking for $1,000. And he finally said, son, he said, well, I think if you knew more than you know, you'd ask for more than $1,000. And he was thinking about what this son's eventual inheritance would be one day.
So the boy thought about it and he said, well, how about $2,000? And the father said, no, son, I tell you, if you're going to be at home and you're going to be in relationship with me every day, I want to provide for your every need. He said, but if you want to be on your own, then you're going to have to be on your own. And he said, no, son, I'll tell you, if you're going to be on your own. And so he took him back over to the house. Two weeks later, he got a phone call from his son. His son said, dad, you are right.
I'm wrong. Can I come home? And he went and he told him stories about this woman in his house being passed out. Couldn't even wake her up to nobody to take him to school. Didn't have a car.
Didn't have any, they said there was hardly any food in the house whatsoever. And can I please come back home? That's Alan Wright. And we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. This is what the Lord says. I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings. The city will be rebuilt on her ruins and the palace will stand in its proper place. Those timeless words from Jeremiah 30 reveal the heart of God. He loves to restore. In ancient times, cities would often be rebuilt on top of the ruins of the former city.
The new city would stand higher with safer walls and a greater perspective. In Pastor Alan Wright's eight message CD album, Out of the Ruins, you'll discover how God can rebuild your life gloriously out of yesterday's disappointments. When you make your gift to Alan Wright Ministries today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org.
Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. If I just could live on my own and you give me a thousand dollars, then I'd be free.
Really. What we see in the Scripture is a paradox. That freedom is not found out on your own. Freedom is found in the loving Father's house. Freedom is found in the garden in submission to the Lord. And where there's something that they didn't understand, like why can we not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? When you're freely submitted to God, the question is only a question that is handed over to mystery because the wonder of it all is the goodness of God in all of His purposes.
And the question is is the goodness of God in all of His provision, in all of His wisdom, and He knows so much more than I do that I'm just so glad to be yielded to Him. And so it is that Adam and Eve, as soon as they ate, they were no longer free. They lost the freedom from shame. They lost the freedom from fear. They lost the freedom of angst. They lost the freedom to have a relationship with one another and with God that was unhindered.
And now they're hiding and they're isolated and they're lonely. And God sets them out from the garden and they lost everything that they had so cherished. And then comes the mercy of God. What does God do when disobedient children are duped by the devil into believing an idolatrous illusion and run after their own will rather than God's and therein lose real freedom? Here's what happened back to Genesis 3 verse 22.
Look at it again. The Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever. And the English Standard Version has a dash. And the reason that there is a dash there is because in the Hebrew, this sentence is a fragment. It is an unfinished sentence. There may be some other place in the Bible where God doesn't finish His own sentence, but I don't know where it is.
This is God. Being so horrified by the thought of completing the sentence that He won't do it. You know that feeling? Have you ever had something that you just, I'm not even going to speak of it? You might start a sentence and you say, well, I don't even want to speak of that because if I did, and if such and such happens, then, and you just don't even finish the sentence because the consequences are too dire. It's just too bad. I won't even, I can't even speak of that because the consequences are too dire. It's just too bad.
I won't even, I can't even speak of it. And that's what God did here. There was something that He was so concerned about, something was so grievous to Him that even the thought of it made Him halt mid-sense, and God wouldn't let the words come out of His mouth. Instead, He just stopped. And what He did was He instantly took action. He halted His sentence, He took action, and He immediately moved them away from the tree of life, and He put a chair of them with flaming swords to guard the way so that they could not come back to the tree of life. What was He doing?
I believe that it's this. I believe that God thought it was just unbearably painful to even envision that Adam and Eve in the state of condemnation would come and eat of the tree of eternity and wind up in an immortal condition of condemnation. It was too unbearable to God. And so with all of His passion, He stopped mid-sentence, and the God of grace essentially said, quickly get the chair of Him around the tree of life, quickly, quickly, because now that He's in sinful condition, now that He's under the weight of guilt, now that He's in shame, now that He's in condemnation, we cannot allow the man to eat of the tree of immortality and make the condition permanent. Do not let Him come back and live in an eternal state of guilt and death.
Do not let Him make permanent the sin that He has done. Quickly, guard the tree of life. It was, I believe, the mercy of God. And as soon as God had looked upon Adam and Eve who had lost all their freedom, beloved, know this, God looked to the Son at His right hand, and He knew the plan, that He was going to send a second Adam, and He was going to restore the way to the tree of life. As soon as He sent Adam out, He made the plan whereby anybody who comes to be born again, and a second Adam, would be welcomed back to the very tree of life. For that tree, it never went away.
It's always been there. It was there in Psalm 1, blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of mockers, but is delights in the law of the Lord. And on His law, He meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit. It was there in the song of songs. As the bride sings, as an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. The tree was hidden through Proverbs. Wisdom is a tree of life, Proverbs 3 says. Isaiah prophesied of it, oh depths of the earth, Isaiah 44, break forth into singing, oh mountains, oh forest, and every tree in it tucked away in Jeremiah's prophecy in 17 verse 7, blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when the heat comes. The tree was in Ezekiel's vision of the temple, Ezekiel 41, the patterns all around on the walls of this temple.
It was carved of cherubim and palm trees, and a palm tree between cherub and cherub. It's there in the book of the prophet Joel in chapter 2. Fear not, oh land, be glad and rejoice. The Lord's done great things. Fear not, you beast of the field, for pastures, the wilderness are green. The tree bears its fruit. Even now in Matthew 3, the ax is laid to the root of tree, but therefore that tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down. But in Matthew 7, every healthy tree that bears fruit is sustained. Luke 13, the kingdom of God's like a mustard seed that grows into a big tree. And when John has his vision on the Isle of Potmos, he sees that tree.
He sees it in the spirit. Revelation 2, 7, to the one who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life. Revelation 22 verse 2, through the middle of the city, this is John's vision, also on either side of the river, in the middle of it, the tree of life with its 12 kinds of fruit, and the leaves of the tree with a healing for the nations. In Revelation 22, 14, blessed are those who wash their robes so they may have the right to the tree of life, and they may enter the city by the gates.
Wow. In other words, this story begins with a beautiful garden and a tree of life and a man and a woman that are free. And it ends with beauty and wonder and glory and a tree of life and all who have their robes washed by the blood of the Lamb eating of that tree of life. God loves freedom, and He came in the person of Jesus so that you would be free.
Listen, this is how startling it is, and this is how wonderful the Gospel is. All of the freedom and beauty and wonder of a life of uninterrupted fellowship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden has been restored to every person who accepts Jesus Christ. It means that we are so thoroughly redeemed and so thoroughly cleansed that we are free indeed. Those whom the Son sets free are free indeed. Freedom, beloved, comes through radical submission and trust of God.
It is found in the Father's palace, not away from Him. I'm saying it's really only the submitted dog that can go unleashed, and that's the Gospel. Alan Wright and today's teaching, Freedom Through Submission. Alan is back with us here in the studio and sharing a parting good news thought for all of us today. Stick with us. This is what the Lord says. I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings. The city will be rebuilt on her ruins and the palace will stand in its proper place. Those timeless words from Jeremiah 30 reveal the heart of God. He loves to restore. In ancient times, cities would often be rebuilt on top of the ruins of the former city.
The new city would stand higher with safer walls and a greater perspective. In Pastor Alan Wright's eight message CD album, Out of the Ruins, you'll discover how God can rebuild your life gloriously out of yesterday's disappointments. When you make your gift to Alan Wright Ministries today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, pastoralan.org. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at pastoralan.org. Alan, here we are at the conclusion of this first teaching, but right here still at the beginning of our series on Unleash Freedom Through Submission. And boy, when you talk about it here, it really just makes sense. So for that person right now, who's looking for the takeaway, what to do next?
What'd you tell them? Well, remember, as we were just discussing, there are two trees in that garden in the middle, tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. And the temptation is to think I will be more free if I keep all of my options open, including eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but that's when they lost their freedom. Real freedom comes from the tree of life. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other freedoms get added unto you. Don't be duped by the culture.
Freedom, real freedom comes through submission. Delivered right to your email inbox, free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastoralan.org. That's pastoralan.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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