Buck Commander Sunday

Buck Commander Sunday

Good morning and welcome to Buck Commander Sunday!
To get started, we’re going to watch a brief video to explain what inspired this event.
Well, I suppose we could look around here this morning and pretty much come to the same conclusion.  Camo, boots, trucks, fisherman, and hunters.  WELCOME REDNECKS!!!
Well, December 1st isn’t too far away and most of us here are already ready to go out and take down that trophy buck.  Archery is over and that buck is still out there alive and well teasing you on the trail cam.  He better enjoy the next few weeks of his life.  Right?
Now I have to be completely honest this morning.  I’m not thrilled about the thought of waking up early in the morning and heading out in the freezing night air to my tree stand waiting for daylight.  However, as soon as you see that deer cautiously walking by you, nothing compares to that adrenaline rush that overwhelms your whole body!  Oh, it’s on and you’re going down!  For us, one of the best verses in the Bible is where God showed Peter a bunch of those four footed critters and told him:
Acts 10:13
Get up. Kill and eat.
There was a guy who had just taken down his trophy buck.  After gutting it, he tied a rope around its neck and he and his buddy started back for his truck.  The deer was so large that he was struggling quite a bit as his truck was at the top of a pretty steep hill.  He and his buddy passed another hunter up in his stand during their struggle.  He yelled down and said, “Hey, nice buck!  Well, I’m not one to tell people what to do and how to do it, but it would be easier if you drug that deer the other way so that the antlers aren’t digging into the ground and catching on the twigs and downed branches.”  The guy shrugged his shoulders and took the hunter’s advice.  He told his buddy, “Wow, he was right, this is so much easier!  But how is dragging this deer down the hill hind-end first ever going to get us back to my truck?”
Two young men were out hunting, when they run into a game warden.
One of them drops their gun, and takes off running.
After quite the hike, the warden finally caught up with and stopped the young man.
The warden, out of breath and enraged, said “Show me your hunting license!”
The young man unclipped it from his hat, and handed the warden his license.
The warden said “If you had a valid license, then why did you start running like that?”
The young man said “Because my buddy doesn’t have one!”
Alright, well, we’re going to get started this morning and what better place to start than right at the beginning?  Please turn to Genesis chapter 3.
Now I don’t know about you all, but I like being alone.  Especially out fishing or hunting.  In my opinion, it just doesn’t get much better than sitting out in the woods or beside a creek just me, God, and His great creation.  However, God saw the redneck man in the beginning hanging out just like that and said that it wasn’t good for him to be alone.  Why is this?  Well, God probably saw that alone, man would do some stuff like this:
* Redneck fail video *
So, unlike the way things went in that video, in the beginning, everything was perfect.  To ensure that things got done, God created woman to be man’s helper and brought her to him in the very first wedding ceremony ever.  Adam and Eve had it made!  They were living in a paradise where everything went just as planned.  When Adam started into a project, there were no surprises or unexpected frustrations.  When he planted, everything sprouted up perfectly with no weeds to get in the way.  They both went about naked, but not afraid, all of the time.  Adam never needed to camo up because none of the animals were afraid of him.  Life was awesome!
Fruits from any tree, except one, was food for them.  Other than that, it was pretty well an anything-goes paradise!
Then, something happened…
Genesis 3
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Adam and Eve screwed up; they did what they were told not to do.  All of us here, this morning, have done exactly the same.
After their sin, the very first thing that happened is that they realized that they had messed up.  They had one of those moments like when you jump a ramp and mid-air realize that this isn’t going to end so well, or you’re at the top of an extension ladder and it starts to slip off to the side.
After they realized that they had messed up, their response was to sew together something to cover it up.  We still have the same tendency today.  When we realize that we’ve screwed up, we initially want to find some way to blame it on something or someone and to take the heat off of ourselves.  We often even start sewing together a good cover up story or break out the duct tape and gorilla glue hoping to fix things up so that our screw up won’t even be noticed.  However, that usually doesn’t work out so well…
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, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
Since the cover up wasn’t going so well, they decided to run and hide.  Rednecks, here is where the love of camo all first started.  They decided to run for the hills, throw on some realtree, and hide out in the trees.  The problem is that a game of hide-and-seek with God is just no fun at all!  Nope, try all that you want, but you can’t run nor hide from God!  God knows everything about everything, even before everything happens.  We just can’t hide ourselves, nor our sin, from God Almighty!
We’re just kind of like this:
9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
I think it’s interesting that God, knowing already exactly what had happened, calls out to the man.  He didn’t call the snake to Himself, nor the woman.  He called to the man basically saying, “Time to man-up!”  Instead of manning up, however, Adam sissied out…
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

The blame game begins and, simultaneously, Adam blames God and the woman in an attempt to excuse what he did.  He confessed that he ate from the tree that he wasn’t supposed to eat from, but he adds blame and excuses to that confession.

13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Now the woman is not off of the hook, God does turn to her after hearing Adam’s lame response.  Unfortunately, she goes right along with Adam’s cover up story and, simultaneously, blames God and the serpent.
Both Adam and Eve blamed God for their own actions.  All of us can relate to this, though.
We love to throw on our camo and scent blockers and climb trees to hide from the unsuspecting deer below.  We don’t want our presence to be known and go to great lengths to keep it that way.  However, it seems like every single time we get comfortable and ready for the kill, that squirrel comes along.  It scurries over to the tree right next to us and stares at us chattering away with everything it has.  It feels like after all of our effort to hide ourselves, our cover is blown and it is infuriating!
Too often, we try and do the same with our sin.  We think that somehow we can cover it up with doing and being good so that God won’t see it.  We run away from Him and hide.  Whenever all of these attempts fall through, we face God and blame Him.
However, none of this is the way that God wants things to be.  After Adam and Eve blew it, God came up with a game plan not to cover up their sin, but to eliminate it altogether.  He wants to hang out with us comfortably like good friends.  He doesn’t want that awkwardness that exists between Him and ourselves that sin creates.  He wants honesty and transparency, not face paint and knit together camo.  God cared about Adam and Eve so much that He didn’t want them to make that same mistake again.  He lined up Adam, Eve, and the serpent and gave them a good old fashioned butt whoopin’!
The snake was cursed and had to slither around in the dust forever, getting its head crushed by mankind and biting the heal of mankind.  Women now have severely painful labor during child birth.  Men now work hard and experience all kinds of strife and opposition to their work.  They were all banished from a land of perfection into a land of lack.  God killed an animal and made them clothes from its skin.  However, this was all temporary!
God then made a way where there was no way.  He stepped down from Heaven and became a man just like all of us.  He was tempted and tried in the same way that all of us are and yet He didn’t bow down to sin.  He lived the perfect, sinless life, then gave it away.  He paid the price for our sin so that we don’t have to pay it ourselves.  He rose again to life defeating sin and death so that, through Jesus alone, they no longer rule over us!  Instead of being banished from Him, we are now called to come to Him just as we are; broken, sinful, angry, depressed, however we are.  As we come to Him, we’re made brand new and our sins are all taken away.  He then gives us the power to overcome!
Today, God asks us the same thing that He asked Adam and Eve’s firstborn boy:
Genesis 4:6-7
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
God has given us the authority and the ability not only to rule over the animals of the earth; to hunt, kill, and eat them, but He has also given us authority and the ability to rule over sin.  Sin doesn’t rule us, we rule sin by the grace of God.
When we do sin, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit living inside of us will call it out, just like that chirping squirrel.  However, God doesn’t point it out to shame and condemn us, God points it out because He wants to free us from it and get rid of it for us.  He doesn’t want that awkwardness in our relationship where we have to deceitfully cover things up and hide.  He wants us to be free!  He doesn’t want us to run from Him, He wants us to run to Him!
This morning, I believe that God is calling us.  Many of us here feel that tugging of God on our hearts, calling us to come back home; to stop running and trying to hide from Him.  God’s desire this morning is to set us free, give us new life, and lift the many heavy burdens that we’re carrying.  If you feel that tugging of God this morning, please come on down to the altar during this last song and run to God.  He’s waiting here to welcome you with open arms to restore you!  If you’re lost and wandering, come stumbling in like a prodigal child.  It’s time for us to lift up our heads and let God’s gates of glory open wide into our lives!