CALLED TO BE THE HEART OF GOD IN THE COMMUNITY

Sermons

In the Garden - Come Home

Rev. Mark Schaefer, March 5, 2017
Part of the God's Dwelling Place series, preached at a Sunday Morning service
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It is with a sad heart that I let you know that Pastor Alisa was not able to preach this Sunday as her husband, Chris, had a loss in his family. His Grandmother, whom he wrote about so beautifully in his Lenten Devotional from 2016, passed way, so they are away for a celebration of her life.

Strikingly, I think Chris' devotional from last year helps us to prepare for this sermon. There, he talks about how his Grandmother created a home for her family - a place to find new life. Just before one of the Scriptures for this sermon (Genesis 3:1-9), God has created a home - a place of new life - for Adam and Eve in the Garden.

Think about your own home of origin. What was it like? Was it a place that you always wanted to go back to, or was it a place you wanted independence from? Why?

This Lent, we are considering the belief that God desires to reside in us, and God desires that we reside in God. But do we strive to stay there, or do we seek independence from God? Why?

My hope and prayer is that this Lenten season will help all of us to strive to stay there (even as God often leads us to new places).

I am pleased to say that Rev. Mark Schaefer, the University Chaplain for American University and a United Methodist Elder, was here to guide us into the Genesis passage noted above as well as Matthew 4:1-11. So, I hope you'll take some time for reflection and prayer around these Scriptures as you prepare to enter into God's presence by listening to this sermon.

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Genesis 3:1-9

3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (ESV)

Matthew 4:1-11

4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (ESV)

Psalm 120

A Song of Ascents.

120:1 In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
Deliver me, O Lord,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.

What shall be given to you,
and what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
A warrior's sharp arrows,
with glowing coals of the broom tree!

Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
I am for peace,
but when I speak, they are for war! (ESV)

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