Jesus Reverses the Curse of Sin
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
- Chaos and the Curse
Joy to the World!
No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground!
He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.— Isaac Watts
- Blessings of God diminished
I say diminished because it is different for different people. But, to the degree that we live our lives according to the pattern of God that works, we will thrive. But there is no perfect environment now.
- Work: Thorns and thistles
- Marriage: Helpers to competitors
- Raising children: Joy and blessing to sorrow and pain. Obedience and honor to rebellion and replacement
- Relationship with God: Separated from God’s presence, purpose and place.
- Personal identity: Child of God reflecting His character to self- identification based upon interests and abilities. (Lamech)
The end result of the curse is loss of life, with the ultimate process ending in destruction of all of creation.
If we don’t recognize that this is true in our own lives personally, then we haven’t properly interacted with the text!
When we do trust in God’s ways, following Jesus’ teaching and character, then we are living the best that we can and we enter into God’s character and purpose for our lives.
- Marriage and family
Ephesians 5:21-6:4; Col 3:18-21
This is what Paul has already covered. Since we have the Word of Christ dwelling in us richly, since we have set our minds and desires on things above, this is where we should expect God to be at work in our lives to bring us blessing.
Marriage: submit to one another. Love one another. These things go together necessarily. Serve one another. Give to one another. John 13 Jesus washes the Disciples’ feet.
Manage children with understanding and love. They need to learn discipline, they don’t have it naturally. They are gonna push back, they are going to question. You are going to be like God. Love is patient, love is kind…
When we do that then we are living the best that we can and we enter into God’s character and purpose for that aspect of our lives.
- Work relationships as unto the Lord
It does not matter if you are the master or the slave, you are to work for and with each other in a manner that reflects the reality that we are living in God’s world. When we do that then we are living the best that we can and we enter into God’s character and purpose for that aspect of our lives.
Into this early Genesis topical outline, we have our passage today as it turns toward prayer from family and work. What aspect of the curse does prayer work to solve for us?
- The Purpose of Prayer and the Curse
- Prayer reconnects mankind and God
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
“One of us” knowing good and evil.
If you are that way then there is something else that you need to know. And that is that it is through death to unmet desire that you go from evil to good. And you are not in control of this. We must trust God with this! Prayer helps us with this process.
Banished from the Garden: In Revelation obviously, there is a return to the Garden
Jacob and Bethel: 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. 5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
Pillar of fire and cloud. (God with us)
Smoke that fills the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. (God with us)
In your own life personally, God has acted to show you that He is “with you.”
23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Isaiah 7: 13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Names for the Holy Spirit: Comforter, Counselor, Helper.
God with us
If Jesus were here in the room right now, how would that affect your problems? That is exactly the point of prayer. To get to that place!
And so Paul says,
- Be devoted to prayer
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Since we are focused on the curse and what is lost to sin, the relationship with God is what is actually the most profound thing lost.
Genesis 3: 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day,
23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
Can we have an awareness of God’s presence? It seems to me this is the point of Jesus’ ministry in our lives. As we live in submissive response to His teaching we draw near to God and God draws near to us. James 4:
Be watchful in prayer.
Watch for what? God. James 1 prayer for wisdom. Same idea.
Be thankful. Give God the credit for what God does. When we are thankful it is an expression of faith and faith builds on itself. The goal is to gain back what it is that we lost in the curse!!!
- The purpose of prayer is connection to God
This is a different purpose from getting from God what you ask God for.
- You have a need.
- The need brings you to God, making a request.
3a. God answers and you are thankful. Faith grows.
3b. God does not answer.
- You continue to ask because that is what Jesus tells us to do.
- You wait on God to act.
- You change your request based upon what God has revealed as His will.
If the point of prayer is getting something from God, then of what values is the time spent if you don’t get what you want? Is God just stringing us along? I don’t think so.
III. Jesus’ Prayer Principles
Jesus’ teaching on prayer reinforces this idea that the point of prayer is to connect us to God!
- Prayer is focused on God’s character and will
In the Lord’s Prayer:
Your daily bread for me. (Manna. I am the bread of life.)
Forgiveness of others and from God
Deliverance from temptation and evil.
All of these things that we pray are going to connect us to God, His plans and purposes for our lives and for all of creation!
- Persistence, not repetition
We are clearly instructed in several places to be persistent in our prayers! This means that they will go unanswered in the short term and in the long term they will be accomplishing a greater work!
Persistence is not meaningless repetition. Nor do we need everyone to pray with us!
Two or three: Not necessary to have thousands. Faith of a mustard seed.
We don’t need to be superhuman in our prayers for them to connect us to God, but we do need to pray in the way that Jesus instructed! We pray to a God who is there!
God is hidden, not hiding!
It doesn’t even matter if you have 100,000 people praying for you!
“They think they are heard because of their many words.”
Keep asking, seeking and knocking.
1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
- Pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit
Luke 11: 1One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”
5 Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I John 5: 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
The answer to the prayer is the connection to the Holy Spirit!!! God’s greatest gift to us is the gift of Himself!!