Pretend to make the winning putt at the Masters.
Kids pretend all the time. Boys pretend to put out fires and catch bad guys. Girls play house which probably explains why they are so far ahead of us when it comes to marriage – they’ve practiced their entire life. Let’s be honest! How many fires have you guys actually put out?
Halloween is a time kids love to be able to dress up and pretend to be a certain character.
But as we grow up the desire to pretend to be someone else is supposed to eventually fade away.
Unless your name is Frank Abignale. Frank has served as a special consultant to the FBI and to fortune 500 companies for years. But at age 16 Frank wasn’t finished pretending. Watch this clip of his life and you’ll see what I mean. (Video)
While few of us will ever take pretending to the kind of art form that Frank did, there is still a tendency for us to wear invisible masks and pretend to be something we are not. It happens all the time. People pretend at work, in friendships, at home, and at church. Unfortunately few adults seem to be comfortable enough with themselves not to pretend. The fear of disapproval, rejection, and condemnation often causes adults to pretend. We’re not always on the outside what we really are on the inside. We have this overwhelming sense to look a little better or more together than pure honesty would reveal. So we wear a mask!
Where did this overwhelming desire to hide from others come from? Does it really harm anyone if we hide behind our masks? What can we do, that will enable us to take off our masks and finally be content to be ourselves? Those are some of the things we want to look at this morning.
If you have a Bible with you this morning and would like to read along we’re going to look in Genesis 3:6-11; however, if you prefer, you can read along with us on the screen this morning.
The first thing we’re confronted with in this passage is what happened to make Adam and Eve put on the mask in the first place. I’ll try to sum it up for you as precisely as I know how.
They were promised a false bill of goods. They were told that if they abandoned God’s ways that life would be more exciting, and offer more thrills and things than they ever imagined. They would no longer be restricted by a bunch of rules and regulations that God and religion requires. So they did what any self respecting person would do – they ditched God’s ways for the promises of the high life.
Vs. 7 shows us the delivery truck backing up to the house as Adam and Eve stand expectantly and excited about what would be on the truck. They can hardly wait to experience their new life. As they ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden – the back of the delivery truck opened! The Bible says their eyes were opened. That means they comprehended and had understanding of something that was previously hidden from view. What was in the truck?
· Nakedness – The word naked certainly means nudity, but it also has other meanings such as inadequacy, destitute.
· In other words what happened was they went shopping for furniture at Grand Home furnishing and when the delivery truck arrived it was full of yard sale furniture.
· It certainly wasn’t what they expected. It was totally inadequate! It was not as advertised. The problem was that there was no warranty and they had to accept it as is.
So what do you do when you’ve made a huge mistake in your life and there is no way to make it right? We have two choices:
· Admit we made a mistake
· Pretend that it’s exactly what we wanted
· The emperor’s new clothes
Adam and Eve decided to pretend. So they came up with a plan: Let’s make us a mask and wear the mask and then we can pretend that everything is great! (Vs. 7)
But was everything ok? What exactly are we trying to accomplish when we wear the mask?
We hide what is inside of us
· When they realized that they had made a mistake there was disappointment with what was delivered.
· The mask allowed them so they thought to hide their disappointment and dissatisfaction with their life.
· How many times have we found ourselves looking at our lives and feeling disappointment and dissatisfaction with where we are in life? But everyone around us keeps telling us how much we should be enjoying our circumstances.
· So we have to put on the mask and pretend that everything is great in life when we’re filled with dissatisfaction and disappointment.
· They were able to hide their own imperfections. They were keenly aware at this point that they were missing something. Something was wrong with them on the inside.
· Someone once said that men would rather die than to reveal to others what they know is true about themselves.
· We live in fear constantly with this thought, “What if people really knew what I was like?”
· We struggle in our lives with so much stuff it’s not funny.
· Lust, Greed, Jealousy, Anger, Addictions of all kinds, lying, Self-image, etc.
· So we go to the store and pick out the mask that we think others will like and we wear it
· We usually shop for a mask that will cause others to think what a wonderful person we are because we’re certain they would never have anything to do with us if they saw us as we really are without the mask.
· We live with this pressure that we have to “have it all together”
· Now you can see where that comes from – remember that Adam and Eve did have it all together – they were perfect at creation. Now that they had abandoned the ways of God they realized that they were no longer perfect.
· But they couldn’t bring themselves to admit it – so they chose to wear the mask.
Now I’m certain that many are not convinced that the mask is such a bad thing. Who does it really hurt if we choose to wear the mask? What harm is there to pretend? In many eyes they look at mask wearing as no harm no foul. Since almost everybody wears a mask, how can it be so wrong?
The Harm Caused from wearing the Mask
Wearing the Mask affects us personally
· It prevents us from being honest with ourselves (1 John 1:8)
· If we are not honest with ourselves then we are stuck
· That’s the problem with the mask – once you choose to wear the mask – you’re stuck with the image you chose. You can’t ever change it without someone noticing.
· You can never advance beyond where you are right now.
· Is that really the way you want to live your life? Stuck with all of your struggles and imperfections?
Wearing the Mask affects our relationships with others
· Before the delivery truck arrived Adam and Eve lived with no secrets Gen. 2:25
· But once the truck arrived they hid from each other Gen. 3:7
· They hid from the honest and open thoughts of each other
· Once we start hiding from each other the relationship will deteriorate Gen 3:12
· We need to understand that the mask is affecting you in more ways than you even realize
· It’s keeping you from enjoying a real friendship
· It’s keeping you from having a real marriage
· It’s keeping you from having the kind of relationship with your children you desire
· It’s preventing you from being able to benefit from your relationships at church
Wearing the Mask affects our relationship with God
· The word hid means to draw back from to conceal information so it may not be known
· They hid among the trees – it is a determined action and it is defensive in nature
· For the first time in their lives they were afraid of God – it was a fear of being discovered
· The mask deceives us into thinking that it’s better if we hide from God.
· We wear the mask to church because we’re afraid of being discovered by God for who we really are
· We wear the mask because we’re afraid of what God is going to do once we are discovered; we’re afraid that God has it out for us. (Gen. 3:10)
· We wear the mask because we don’t realize how much God really loves us
· God didn’t come condemning – but rather seeking out Adam.
· Today we try to hide from God not realizing that the mask is preventing us from experiencing God’s love for us.
· Jesus said on two different occasions, “I am come to seek and to save that which is lost.” I have not come to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.
· That mask you were is separating you from God’s love and best for you.
How Do You Remove the Mask?
God knew that Adam and Eve were stuck behind the mask with no real solution to their problem and no way of knowing how to remove the mask.
Risk the Unknown (Where are you?)
It was an invitation for Adam to leave behind his safe place and risk what he could not see
· Adam found safety among the trees but was he willing to find out if there was anything better.
· Some people want to approach life always hiding behind the mask because it feels safer than not knowing what will happen when the mask is removed.
· Remember Frank Abignale? Remember when he finally reached the point that he was willing to tell the truth and stop hiding – it was because he realized that there was more to life than hiding – but it requires taking a risk.
· That’s what we’re asking you to do with Crosspoint. We’re asking you to look beyond what you see here today and believe that this is the starting point of something you may have never experienced before.
· You can play it safe and look for a church that has all the trappings already – or you can take a risk have the opportunity to witness the miraculous hand of God at work as he opens one door after another and provides us what we need.
· You can play it safe or you can hang around and watch people’s lives who have had little exposure to God before, transformed in ways you never imagined.
· You can play it safe or you can risk the unknown and allow God to use you to make a difference in people’s lives in ways you never imagined.
· It’s all about taking the next step when it comes to taking off the mask.
Fellowship with God again. (Where are you?)
· According to Vs. 8 God was in the habit of conversing with Adam and Eve on a Daily basis.
· Those conversations probably revealed to Adam and Eve what God was truly like
· Those conversations probably revealed his purpose for their existence.
· Those conversations probably involved instructions on how they could live life to it’s fullest
· When God asked, “Where are you?” He’s in effect saying, “As long as you wear the mask that conversation can’t take place.
· God no longer personally comes from heaven to walk with us each day….But those conversations with God are still possible.
· When we pick up the Bible it is God’s conversation with us. He tells us what he is really like, what our purpose is in life, and instructions on how to maximize our life.
· The more you read the Bible the less you will have a desire to wear a mask, because you will grow more confident in God.
· Vulnerability requires security. Security ultimately comes from God.
· Because we have so much confidence in God we have no fear of transparency and we can lay down the mask.
Confession of our faults (Gen. 3:11) (1 John 1:9)
· Secrecy is the power of fear, addictions, and sin
· If we are willing to confess our faults to God, then he can remove the need for the mask.
This morning many of us are wearing the mask. It’s such a powerful temptation to put it own. It hides so much that is wrong about us. But it’s also destroying us inwardly, our relationships with others and with God.
Are you willing to lay down the mask this morning? Can we be the kind of church where people don’t have to pretend or wear a mask?
Putting down the mask is hard work. But we can’t have the kind of marriage or family or friendships or success in life we really crave until we lay down the mask.
Remember how disappointed Adam and Eve were when the delivery truck finally arrived. One thing is for certain…you will never be disappointed with the result of laying down the mask.
You will experience God’s love for you
You will experience the Friendship of God
You will experience relationships in your life the way they were originally intended.
Come on – Take off you mask this morning…be willing to risk the unknown.