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ADAM’S APRON CANNOT HIDE YOU!
(SERMON #91 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:6-8).
When I was young I was taught the theory of evolution. Every living thing on earth evolved from the first life form. I believed it. Now I believe what the Bible says,
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7).
What changed my mind from believing that man evolved from lower forms of life? My mind was not changed by studying the subject. There are many books which teach that evolution is a lie. But I did not read them. They did become useful later. But the books against evolution played no part in my change of thought. None at all. I rejected evolution the very moment I was converted. It was an act of God. It was God Himself that changed my mind. It was God who converted me from that false theory. In the New Testament the Greek word translated “convert” means “to turn around or reverse” (Strong). In a real conversion our minds are turned around and reversed. God turned my mind around and reversed my thoughts from the lie of Darwinian evolution to the truth of creation. You see, evolution was very important to me. But in a brief moment I was converted by trusting Jesus. And in that brief moment of conversion God suddenly turned my mind around and reversed my thinking – and in that moment I knew in my mind that evolution was a lie, a Satanic lie. And in that moment I knew that God created the first man from the dust. Dr. Henry M. Morris said, “Man’s body was formed out of the elements of the earth, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and others” (The Defender’s Study Bible; note on Genesis 2:7). The same elements in the earth are also the same elements found in man’s body. Thus when I was converted, I knew for sure that the first man was created from the earth – and I rejected as science fiction the lie that man evolved from lower forms of life.
The first man Adam was created perfectly innocent. He was placed in a beautiful garden. Every tree in the Garden produced delicious fruit. All Adam had to do was reach up and pluck it. Since all animals and birds were vegetarians, Adam had no enemies. Then God made a beautiful wife for him. They lived in that perfect environment. God came down in the late afternoon each day and communed with them. There was no sin to interrupt their communion with God.
However, Satan was there. He was a great angel of God who rebelled. And God cast him down from Heaven to the earth. He could not attack Adam and Eve. God protected them from being directly harmed by Satan. All Satan could do was tempt them. And there was only one thing he could tempt them with. It was the temptation to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God had told them that they would die if they ate that fruit.
Satan had taken possession of the body of a serpent. And Satan spoke through the mouth of this creature. Later a donkey spoke to the false prophet Balaam.
Adam and Eve could have lived forever in that wonderful garden. They could have lived on forever, without growing old. They could have lived forever without any disease, without any heartache, without any sorrow or pain. They would never have to die.
But there was one very simple law they had to obey. A very easy law, and the only law God told them to obey.
“Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
That was the only law God gave them.
There was someone else in that Garden. Satan was there. There was only one way Satan could tempt them, because there was only one law they could break. So Satan tempted them to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. He tempted Eve by telling her God was wrong. She listened to him and ate the forbidden fruit.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (Genesis 3:6, 7).
As soon as they ate the forbidden fruit they became sinners. They were no longer innocent. They were now sinners by nature. Their very nature was changed. Changed from innocence to sinfulness. Now they had a sin nature. Now they knew they were sinners. And now they tried to cover up their sin with aprons made of fig leaves. More than that, they tried to hide from God in the trees of the Garden.
The Devil had accomplished his evil plan. They became sinners. The moment they ate of the forbidden fruit they became “dead in trespasses and sins.” Now they were “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:1, 5). Not only were they dead spiritually, they now saw God as their enemy. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). They were now enemies of God in their ruined, carnal minds.
Even worse, Adam’s ruined nature and spiritually dead soul would be inherited by all his offspring – by everyone on earth. For “by Adam’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners” (Romans 5:19; KJV, ESV). “Therefore…by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (Romans 5:18). Adam’s original sin is in your heart. Your heart is corrupted and your heart is sinful. This is the root of all sins you commit. A sinful nature is transmitted to you from Adam. “We are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners, born with a nature enslaved to sin” (The Reformation Study Bible; note on page 781). “Man [is] dead in sin [and] is not able by his own strength to convert himself” (Westminster Confession, IX, 3).
Thus you are a child of Adam. His sin-nature is inherited (transmitted) to the whole human race. You are a slave of sin. Nothing you can do or say can help you to be saved. By nature you are a sinner. Reading and studying the Bible will not save you. Being in church every Sunday will not save you. I know a man who has never missed church in his whole life. He has never missed a single church service. But that man is still lost. He is “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5).
You may hear hundreds of salvation sermons, but they will have not helped you. Why? Because you are a slave of sin, “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
You say, “That isn’t me!” But you are wrong. That is you. Just like Adam, you try to cover your sins, as he did with an apron of fig leaves. You try to cover your sins by doing good. I did that for five years.
At the age of fifteen I saw my dead grandmother in a coffin. It shattered me inside. While they were burying her I ran away into the trees at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale. I ran and ran and ran – until I was drenched in sweat and fell gasping on the ground. Then God came down on me like He did on Jacob. And Jacob said, “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not” (Genesis 28:16). But Jacob was not saved then, and neither was I. But from that moment on I was convinced that God was real and I was a sinner. For the next five years I was tormented by my sin. I tried every possible way to stop the torment. I prayed every day. I read the Bible every day. I went to church every Sunday morning and every Sunday night. I went to prayer meeting every Wednesday night. I came forward at every invitation. I dedicated and rededicated my life to God every single Sunday night. I prayed a “sinner’s prayer” over and over again. At seventeen I dedicated my life to preach the Gospel. Later I dedicated my life to be a missionary. But none of that did me any good! The more I tried to be good, the more sinful I felt. I was miserable and horrified that I was a sinner. All my good works were like the apron that Adam put on to hide his nakedness from God. But still I was a naked sinner in God’s eyes – and I knew it. I said I was saved. But every time I said I was saved I knew it was a lie. God was not pleased with me at all – and I knew it. I was under conviction of sin for five years. They were five years of torment, fear and guilt.
Let me apply that to you. You have been here in church, thinking you are saved. But deep down in your heart you know it’s a lie. You knew it was a lie during the revival God sent. Others were confessing their sins and finding peace in Christ. But you kept telling yourself how good you were. Sinner, your fig leaf apron cannot hide you from God! You will never, ever have peace with God until you admit you are a lost hypocrite. Until you admit you are lost you will never be saved!
This morning John Cagan preached a sermon – “God is Right and You are Wrong.” John Cagan said, “I struggled back and forth with God for many sleepless nights over it. I did everything in my power to push God and my sin out of my mind, because I knew God was right and I was wrong, but I did not want to admit it…The experience was very painful.”
John Cagan was a child of Adam, trying to hide from God. He said, “The reality that I was wrong kept rapping at the windows of my soul. The more I tried to ignore it, the more obvious the evasions became.” Are you feeling like that this evening? If you feel some of what John Cagan and I felt, it means that God is calling you. But it will not be an effectual call unless you feel so uncomfortable that you will do anything – anything in the world to stop the anguish and pain God is sending you. The anguish and pain God is sending you is given to break you down and make you willing to trust Jesus.
The famous Norwegian evangelist O. Hallesby said this:
“The sinner is saved when sin has become so unendurable to him that he desires a complete reconciliation with God and desires to be saved from his sins, not only his anxiety and restlessness” (O. Hallesby, Letters on Revival by Dr. E. Porter, reprinted by Linde Publications, 1992, p. 192).
Christ did not die on the Cross to make you feel better. He did not die to make you happy. He did not die to give you an assurance of your salvation. That often comes months or years after you are actually saved. But it seldom comes at the moment of conversion. Most people do not have any feeling of assurance when they are converted. They trust Christ. Their sins are blotted out. But for most people there is no assurance of salvation for days, months or even years. I myself did not realize I was saved until six months after Christ saved me. Those who look for assurance of salvation never get saved. I have never seen a single person saved who was looking for a feeling of assurance.
Christ died for one reason and one reason only – to save you from sin and convert your heart from that of a child of Adam to a child of God – to change you from loving only yourself to loving Jesus Christ.
Many of you come forward because you want to feel better. You desire to have your anxiety and fear removed, but you never get saved. I have known people that came forward literally scores of times and were never saved because all they wanted was freedom from anxiety and fear. All they wanted was a feeling. Like John Cagan and myself, you must find sin unendurable – so that you can’t stand yourself anymore the way you are. Only then will you turn to Jesus and be saved from your sin. We are not psychologists. We are preachers. We do not try to solve your psychological problems. We are trying to get you to be very concerned with your sinful heart, so that you cannot stand living any longer the way you are. Until that happens you will never be saved.
Here is an example of that. A man came to our church many years ago. He seemed like a good man. He came to every service. But he argued with me repeatedly saying, “I am saved!” Over and over I said, “You are not saved” because I knew the man’s background in detail. Over and over he rebuked me and said, “I am saved.” One night in a prayer meeting he shouted, “Dr. Hymers, I am saved.” I was torn in two because I didn’t want to lose him. But God said to me, “You don’t have him anyway – give him Hell!” And I did just that! I rebuked him so strongly I thought I would never see him again. But a few days later I read John Cagan’s whole testimony in a sermon. But I did not give an invitation for some reason. I forget why I didn’t. That afternoon this man found me. He said, “I would have repented if you had given an invitation.” I said, “I’ll give one tonight.” He was miserable all afternoon. His sin had become “unendurable to him and he desired a complete reconciliation with God and desired to be saved from his sins, not only from his anxiety and restlessness,” as Dr. Hallesby said.
That night when I gave the invitation he came forward in tears. In a few minutes he was saved from a life of sin by Jesus. He had been hiding behind an apron of fig leaves for years. But that night he came to Jesus and was washed clean by the Saviour’s Blood!
Have you ever felt like that man and John Cagan and me? Has sin become unendurable to you? Have the sins of your heart become unbearable? Are you tormented by the sins of your heart? Do you feel any of what John Cagan and I and Mr. Nickell felt? As long as you look for a “feeling” you will never find your sin unendurable. You will only feel anxiety and restlessness. For Jesus did not die on the Cross to save you from anxiety and restlessness – or any other bad feeling. He died on the Cross and rose again to change your sinful heart, the heart you inherited from Adam, to a Christian heart. He died on the Cross to change you inwardly from a selfish sinner into a real Christian, someone who has had their Adamic heart changed to a Christian heart. Your heart can only be changed by a conversion. Conversion means “changed.” Only God can do that. And He will only do it when you find your sin unbearable.
This morning John Cagan told of a woman who said, “For a long time I kept looking for a feeling to prove my salvation. Even though Dr. Hymers and Dr. Cagan told me over and over and over again – not to look for a feeling.” This woman was hiding her sin by demanding a feeling! John Cagan said, “You trust in your senses. You believe only in what you can feel. Because you cannot ‘feel’ Christ, you will not trust Him… You must either continue trusting your senses and feelings until you are burning in the fires of Hell, or you must admit that you are wrong, that God is right, and trust Jesus by faith and without a feeling.”
My dear friends, I intended to speak longer, but my time is gone. The Adam in your nature has kept you from having peace with God long enough. Stop hiding from Him, and do it now! You will never have peace with God unless you give up your false ideas. Unless you stop hiding your sin. Repent now, before it is too late. Stop hiding your sin and come directly to Jesus Christ. He will cleanse your sin with His Blood. He will give you peace with God. He died on the Cross to pay for your sins. Confess your sin to Jesus and come to Him now. Trust Jesus now before it is too late. Dr. Cagan, John Cagan and I will be here at the altar. While the others are going to the Fellowship Hall to have dinner, come down here and let us speak to you about Christ and His Blood, and be washed clean before you go home tonight. Amen.
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(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Noah Song: Genesis 3:6-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Search Me, O God” (Psalm 139:23-24).