Sermon Title: The Tree of Life
Text: Genesis 2:7-9; Revelation 22:1-5
Brief summary (what’s the point of this text/sermon?)
One of the most amazing things about the Bible is its beautiful unity and cohesiveness . . . It tells one, over-arching story about what God is doing in the world. One remarkable symbol of that is the Tree of Life, which is mentioned first in the creation narrative of Genesis 1-2. Then, after the Fall, God casts humanity out of the Garden of Eden and away from the Tree.
But it’s interesting that we find subtle references to the Tree throughout Scripture. At various places in the Old Testament, echoes of the Tree are found in the Tabernacle and Temple. And then we find the culmination of the story at the very end of the Bible when John sees us reunited with the Tree once again. So in a way the Tree of Life frames the entire biblical narrative: it’s mentioned at the beginning of Creation, and it’s emphasized in the last two chapters of Scripture.
In this sermon, we studied how the Tree symbolizes God’s presence and how the Fall led to our being separated from him. We also emphasized the beauty of what God has waiting for us: that day when all of God’s people will once again eat of the Tree of Life and will be restored to his presence in a way that we can only imagine.
How do I live out the implications of this passage? (Discussion starters to help with applying the sermon to our lives)
- The Tree of Life represented God’s provisions for his creation—i.e., God gave us everything we needed. Yet we still gave in to the serpent’s temptation, thinking we needed something more. Why do we turn elsewhere instead of looking to God for provision?
- A major theme of Scripture is God’s desire to dwell with his creation (including us). Discuss how believing that God actually wants to be with us helps us feel his love even more.
- If God wants to be with his creation, why will he allow some people to be separated from him eternally?
- Since Genesis 3 and God’s removing us from the Tree of Life, our dwelling with God has always been mediated (i.e., we haven’t had direct contact with him): we accessed him through animal sacrifice, through the priesthood, through the tabernacle/temple, etc. Now it’s through Jesus, so it’s closer than it’s been since the Garden, but it’s still mediated. How will this change in the New Jerusalem?
- Consider these two passages: “‘But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live’” (Exodus 33:20); and “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads” (Revelation 22:3-4). What changed? What is the significance of this change?
- How does the anticipation of being in God’s presence shape the way you live daily?
- What are some substitute “Trees of Life” that people turn to today?