Sermon for 02.26.23 “The whole truth”

Lent 1, February 26, 2023
Text: Genesis 3:1–21
Theme: The whole truth
Other Lessons: Psalm 32:1–7; Romans 5:12–19; Matthew 4:1–11

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Old Testament lesson from Genesis 3 serves as our sermon text for
this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Ø Holy God, You know me better than I know myself, and You see me more
clearly. How impossible it seems that I could ever hide anything from You,
or even try to hide such things; but I do. Sometimes I pretend to be better
than I am. I do things I know will hurt others and act as though I am
blameless. But I am not. I am complicit, and I am guilty, and I am broken.
So I ask for Your forgiveness, because You love me more than I can imagine,
and You make me whole beyond my wildest dreams. This I ask in the name of
Jesus, who came to show me the way. Amen.

*Introduction *

A. In 2020, a new board game was released, produced by legendary game
designer Richard Garfield and seventy-four-time Jeopardy! winner Ken
a. With Jennings involved, it’s not surprising that it’s a trivia game.
b. Specifically, each of its trivia cards has a category, such as “Animals
with Blue Tongues,” and then it lists six possible answers, three of them
correct, three of them incorrect.
c. The game bills itself as a party game for all ages and people.
d. The name of the game? Half Truth.
e. Sounds like a lot of fun!
f. Imagine all the laughs and lighthearted banter.
g. Perhaps it evens out the playing field, because categories like
blue-tongued animals are truly trivial.
h. Care to join me in playing a game of Half Truth?
B. Of course, we already play the “game” of half-truth all the time. But
it’s not a fun party game when we’re trying to level the playing field of
our sinful lives by offering half-truths about our sin. It’s Satan’s game
(Gen 3:1–7). It doesn’t bring laughter and lighthearted banter, but only
tears and harsh words.

1. We often desire to cover sin by half-truths.
A. We try to cover sin by the half-truth of good we do to compensate for
it—as the first man and woman covered themselves with fig leaves.
1. Making ourselves look good, especially at the expense of others.
2. Trying to rationalize or downplay that what we have done is wrong.
A. “It’s not that bad.”
B. “Just a lapse in judgment; it won’t happen again.”
B. We try to cover sin by the half-truth that others are to
blame—redefining our relationships as adversarial, as Adam did with his
1. “Playing the blame game”
A. “The devil made me do it.”
B. “It’s the way my parents raised me.”
2. But here’s the sinful Saviortruth we can’t handle.
C. As with the first man and woman, our intimate knowledge of evil brings
shame for which we cannot compensate.
1. Imagine for a moment this sad reality:
A. After taking the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
Adam and Eve were able to snatch fruit from the tree of life.
B. Not only would they and the rest of humanity be sinners as we all are
now, but we would all be immortal!
1. What a miserable existence!
A. Full of sin!
B. No Savior!
C. Completely immortal!
D. As with the first man and woman, shifting responsibility may fool us but
will not answer Yahweh’s call to repentance.
1. Why should I confess and repent for something I did not do?
2. The end result is still the same: we will still die.
2. Christ is the Whole Truth Incarnate, who covers sin.
A. Christ covers our sin by taking full responsibility as the One promised
to crush the serpent’s head.
1. Verse 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between
your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall
bruise him on the heel.”
2. This verse is known as the “first gospel” (protoevangelium)
A. It serves as a summary of what the Gospel is all about.
B. Christ covers our sin because, being crushed on the cross, he truly paid
the whole price to compensate.
1. He covers our shame with himself.
A. Here again the words of the Absolution:
1. In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you
all your sins in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.
2. Forgive: that is, to lay aside our sins; Greek aphiēmi
B. We see this covering already taking place when he covers the man and
woman with animal garments.
1. Verse 21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and
clothed them.
2. A precursor to the sacrificial system.
3. This Whole Truth brings life.
A. We leave the garden, but life will come in Christ.
1. Amid death, the promise of more life will come through Eve.
A. Verse 20 Now the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the
mother of all the living.
2. Amid death, the promise of unending life will come through the seed of
the woman.
A. Verse 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between
your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall
bruise him on the heel.”
B. For now, then, that life will be a life of repentance:
1. Of sorrow for death wrought by my half-truths.
2. Of faith in the Truth Incarnate, who works life.

A. “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth, so help you God?”
1. “I do.”
2. But later on the stand, caught telling less than the whole truth: “You
can’t handle the truth.”
B. “Well, you have to understand: part of every tax dollar I pay winds up
funding abortions, so I figure I need to fudge a few extra deductions.”
1. That’s half true.
C. “Really, Mom, I wouldn’t have gotten home any sooner if I hadn’t stopped
at Nate’s.
1. I figured it was better to wait until the traffic let up.”
2. Probably a half-truth.
D. “The devil made me do it.”
1. Another half-truth.
E. The devil is great at playing the game of half-truths.
1. Entirely true.
2. And he demonstrated that oh so cleverly in our text for today.
3. But blaming it all on the devil is only a half-truth.
4. Eve, Adam, and we are wholly responsible for giving in to temptation.
5. Thank God he’s wholly true to us, keeping the promise he gave in the
garden to send a Savior for our sins.
F. It’s True, Half-Truths Condemn and Destroy Us, but the Whole Truth
Delivers Life in Christ.
G. Half-truths won’t even get you halfway to life.
1. Only the truth can bring life; only Jesus, who is the Whole Truth in the
flesh. Amen.
H. Let us pray:
Ø O Lord, I know that You are as close as my next breath, and at the same
time it feels as if there is a great distance between us. That distance is
sometimes a tragedy when I feel abandoned. That distance is sometimes a
force of evil when something conspires against me. That distance is
sometimes my foolish choices or my selfish acts, or the hurt I cause
another. I seek Your forgiveness. So assure me of Your closeness, Your
power, Your mercy, and Your ability to change my life for the good. In Your
great mercy, Amen.
I. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
J. In the Name of the Father…Amen.