WHERE ART THOU ?
Scripture Text: Genesis 3:9 "And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou ?"
The Bible is a book which contains many questions, and each of them demands an answer, especially when the question comes from the mouth of God. The question in our text was asked by God nearly 6,000 years ago, and yet it was no more appropriate then, than what it is today. Friend, the question for your consideration is "WHERE ART THOU ?" Yes, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
In the scriptural context of this question by God, we have our first parents, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and they have disobeyed their Creator by partaking of the forbidden fruit. In Genesis 2:16, 17, God told Adam that he could eat freely of any tree of the garden, "But 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." Well, you know what happened, the Devil beguiled Eve, who took of the forbidden fruit and gave it to Adam, who also ate of it. And friend, from that day forward they began to die physically; but more important, their sin had separated them from God, so that they actually died that day, spiritually.
In verses 7 and 8 of Chapter 3, we're told that "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." Friend, when the news reached Heaven that Adam and Eve had sinned, what did God do? Yes, He came down from Heaven to earth, to seek out the ones upon whom the sentence of death had fallen.
And what did Adam and Eve do after they sought to cover their nakedness, or sinfulness, by their own efforts, sewing fig leaves together for aprons? They hid from God amongst the trees of the garden. And it was then that they heard God say, "WHERE ART THOU ?" Yes, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
Friend, it was the voice of God's love, mercy, and grace that was seeking for those who had sinned. It was Adam and Eve who should have been doing the seeking. They should have been the ones going back and forth in the garden crying, "Oh God, where art Thou ?" But instead, God left the glories of Heaven and came down to earth to seek His rebel creatures, our first parents, Adam and Eve; not to cast them into a deserving Hell, but rather to provide an escape from the misery of their sin. And God found them hiding from Him "amongst the trees of the garden."
Yes, earlier when God had left Adam and Eve in the garden, they were in sweet communion and fellowship with their Creator. But once they had sinned, they had no desire to commune with God. They couldn't even bear to speak to Him, so they hid from God. And sad to say, the sin of Adam has brought forth all the sin and death we have in the world today. In Romans 5:12 we read, "Wherefore, as by one man(Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Again we're reminded in I Corinthians 15:22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." But after Adam and Eve sinned, and hid from God, what happened? The cry of a seeking God bursts the evening stillness with these three little words, "WHERE ART THOU ?" Yes, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
Friend, have you ever lain in bed, perhaps at the midnight hour, and the thoughts came to you"What is life all about? Where am I? Who am I? Where am I going? And what's going to be the end of it all, anyway?" Now to you who are young and energetic, "WHERE ART THOU ?" You who are old, with failing eyesight, increasing deafness, decreasing hair, and multiple aches and pains, tell me "WHERE ART THOU ?" And to you who may be young OR old, and laying on beds of suffering and probable death; as you are about to pass out into eternity"WHERE ART THOU ? "
It is relatively unimportant where we are in our own eyes, or even in the sight of our relatives, friends, or other associates. No, it doesn't really matter much what others may think about us, insofar as eternity is concerned; but the important question iswhat does God think about us? Yes, it is of vast importance to know where we are in the sight of a Holy God, from Whom we get our every breath.
Now before going any further, let's be clear on this very important fact, God is speaking to you as an individual. And this all-important question is one which demands your personal, immediate, and undivided attention. It was the very first question given by God to mankind, after his creature had sinned; and it was a very small audience to whom it was given, just Adam and Eve. So friend, please don't think that God is now speaking to anyone but y-o-u, YOU ! He is speaking to you as though you were alone in His presence, and the question He asks you is "WHERE ART THOU ?" Yes, where are you, SPIRITUALLY ? Are you saved and on your way to eternal bliss in Heaven, or are you still on that broad and crowded road to the place of eternal torment, which the Lord Jesus Christ called Hell ?
I would digress temporarily to make one point quite clear and emphatic; and that is, being a faithful and religious church member, of high moral values, and living a life of good works and being helpful to those in need, is no assurance that you're on your way to Heaven. No, it isn't what we do that gains our entrance into God's Heaven, but rather by you and I having faith in what God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has done for us at Calvary's cross. It was there that He paid a debt He didn't owe, for you and I who owed a debt we couldn't pay. Yes, He bore our sins in His own body on the cross. And all we have to do is to believe this God-given fact with all of our heart.
Is it possible that someone reading this message has professed to be saved many years ago, and yet you know down deep in your heart that you've made a false profession? If so, give it up! If you have no time for the things of God, give it up! If you don't have the love of Christ in your heart, give it up! If you don't read your Bible and spend time in praying to God, give it up! If you don't witness to the unsaved and present the Gospel to them, give it up! If you don't prefer Christian fellowship, rather than worldly companionship, then give it up! Yes, give up that false profession, and right now, just as you are, and where you are, acknowledge your sinful condition before God, and cry out like the Publican of Luke chapter 18, "God be merciful to me a sinner."
Furthermore my friend, please don't let your pride keep you from being in Heaven. Don't let the enemy of your soul, the Devil, delude you with a false profession. Yes, he likes you just the way you are, externally pure, pious, popular, and proud. In Jeremiah 17:9,10 we read, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins." Listen my friend, God knows all about you and your deceitful heart, but He still wants you to be in Heaven when you die, or when the Lord returns to claim from the world His own. So why not acknowledge your sinful condition in His sight, repent of your sins, and accept His great salvation, expressed in the sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, alone?
Now just a warning to those of you who perhaps have never heard the Gospel before. You've given no thought to your soul's eternal welfare. You're not a religious person, and never expect to be. You make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and the only time you hear or speak His name is in an expression of anger, pain, or shock. Friend, if God was to ask you the question today, "WHERE ART THOU ?", what would you say? Here you are, wallowing in the muck and mire of gross sin and iniquity. You're going in for all the worldly pleasures available, and your philosophy of life is "eat, drink and be merry." Friend, you're a sinner, and you know it; but you're not a bit concerned about the God-given fact that there is a Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun. However, unbeknown to you, you're in a spiritual coma; and you won't awaken from that condition until you open your eyes in Hell, and the ultimate Lake of Fire. Yes, and you're probably laughing, even now, but remember, there is no laughter in Hell !
Perhaps I'm speaking to someone who is relatively young, and in the very prime of life. To you I say, "Pause a few moments and answer God's question, "WHERE ART THOU ?" Take a look back along the road of time, and what do you see ? Yes, it's a cradle, and it hasn't been so long ago that your mother rocked you to sleep in it. Take another look back, and what do you see ? Yonder is a cemetery with the tombstone marking the resting place of Mom or Dad. When they died, didn't you promise yourself that their Saviour would be your Saviour too? And even before they died, didn't you stand at their bedside in the waning moments of their life, and promise that you would meet them in Heaven ? Friend, have you done anything to keep those promises ? Several years have rolled by, but are you any nearer to Heaven ? No, my friend, but your heart is getting harder; the night is getting darker; and perhaps sooner than you think, that dreaded monster called "DEATH" will be throwing it's shadow around you, and you'll remember God asking you the question, "WHERE ART THOU ?" Yes, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
Take another look back, and see the tombstone which rests atop the grave of a little child. Perhaps she was a pretty little girl, or he may have been a chubby little boy; and when God took them home to Heaven, you promised them that you would see them again in the Glory. But will you ? Friend, "WHERE ART THOU ?" Are you still unsaved, and therefore, under the condemnational wrath of God? Sermons that would have melted your eyes to tears several years ago, do they still cause you to be concerned about your soul ? Ah! My friend, I'm not trying to play on your sympathy; this is reality! Sin is a reality! Death is a reality! Hell is a reality! And you must answer God's question, either actively or passively, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
Now let's take another look, this time into the future! Up ahead we see still another tombstone, and it bears your name and birthdate, followed by a dash. And what will follow that dash; the date of your death, of course? Friend, if it should have today's date on it, where would your soul be? Now remember, there are only two places for you to be in eternity, either up in Heaven, or down in Hell. To which of these eternal destinations are you headed? Are you on the narrow road to Heaven, through faith in God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; or are you still unsaved, and therefore, still on the broad and crowded road to the place called Hell ? Yes, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
Do I hear someone saying, "Well I'm not worrying about dying, because I'm still young and in good health"? Friend, take a look at the obituary notices, and you'll find people dying at almost every age, daily. And think about this scenario, the coffin that is to bear your cold, lifeless body, may already be in the funeral director's garage, cellar, or other such storage facility, awaiting your loved one's choice of color and cost. Do I hear someone say, "He's too dramatic for me"? If so, then answer this question, "What could be more dramatic than life and death?Heaven or Hell ?" Yes, we're only here for a relatively short time, then off we go into an eternity of joy and comfort in the presence of God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; or else we drop into the place called Hell, with a destiny of unquenchable fire and unending torment. Tell me friend, in view of the fast-approaching eternity, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
Now that you've been made aware of this solemn question by God, Himself; where does that leave you ? Well, if the Holy Spirit and word of God has been bringing before you your lost spiritual condition in His sight, and you know that you should accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, but you are determined to do so later on in life, then you are NEGLECTING God's salvation. This warning is given in Hebrews 2:3, "How shall we escape if we NEGLECT so great salvation?" Friend, there is no escape! It is just as though you were drifting along on the river of life, and you're sitting comfortably in your little boat, at peace with the world, but not with God. Suddenly, you hear a warning from someone along the river bank; and they are warning you of the rapids and waterfall up ahead. However, you NEGLECT the warning, and with arms folded in self-assurance, over you go into the terrible abyss that Jesus Christ calls Hell. In view of this possible spiritual scenario, God asks the question, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
On the other hand, perhaps you are someone who has heard the Gospel many times, and you couldn't care less about your soul's eternal destiny. You live as good a life of morality as most people, and you don't believe that a loving God would cast a creature of His, like you, into a place of torment. To you, Hell is just a figment of man's imagination; an imaginary place used to scare people who are not living by the laws of man; or who stray from the generally-accepted modes of deportment. To you God asks, "WHERE ART THOU ?"
Several years ago, I was speaking before a group of students at a local State University one evening, and after the message, the program was open to the responsive remarks by the student attendees, concerning my Gospel message. One beautiful upper class coed arose and said, "I don't need Jesus Christ to die for my sins. I'll suffer for my own sins." And I hastened to assure her that she most certainly would suffer for her own sins. Friend, she was REJECTING God's salvation provided freely by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And we're given a very solemn warning in John 12:48, by the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, "He that REJECTETH Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." The bottom line is simply this: If you ACCEPT Him, He will ACCEPT you; however, if you REJECT Him, He will also REJECT you. The choice is yours, my friend, and no one can make it for you. Again God asks "WHERE ART THOU ?"
In conclusion, I'd like to remind you that you are making a very important decision today, and remember that "destiny is determined by decision". You've been reminded that you cannot reach Heaven by your so-called "good works", religious rituals and activities, high morality, education, culture, or ancestral background; and if you could, then there would have been no need for God's Son to become the sacrifice for our sins. But I thank God that He loved us so much that He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, down to this sin-cursed earth to die for sinful creatures like you and me. And as you answer God's question, "WHERE ART THOU ?", remember what we read in Joel 3:14, "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision." Yes, time is running out !
Friend, our text is God's question to you TODAY, "WHERE ART THOU ?" You're either "in Christ", where there is therefore now no condemnation; or else you're "without Christ, without hope, and without God in the world." Which is it? Are you saved, through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary, or are you still unsaved, and on the broad and crowded road to eternal damnation. Well, I'll leave you with the scriptural answer to our text for today, "WHERE ART THOU ?" And the answer is found in John 3:36, "HE THAT BELIEVETH ON THE SON HATH EVERLASTING LIFE: AND HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT THE SON SHALL NOT SEE LIFE; BUT THE WRATH OF GOD ABIDETH ON HIM. "
Now in view of eternity, and in love for your soul, I plead with you to acknowledge your sinful condition in God's sight; admit that you can't do anything of yourself to save your own soul; then simply trust in the sacrificial death, and subsequent resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, for your salvation. And friend, if you do, according to God, Who cannot lie, you'll be saved for time, and thank God, you'll be saved for all eternity. And remember, my friend, this is for eternity. YES, THIS IS FOR ETERNITY !
Evangelist: Minor C. Hawk