Your Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

by Pastor Pete Panitzke on August 22, 2019

This morning I realized that I have my own person “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” (See Genesis 2:16-17; 3:6-7).
On my daily journey as part of the Fellowship of the Empty Tomb (a reference to the Easter sermon. See attached daily Bible reading), I was reading ahead into Romans 16 and found this statement: “I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:19-20).
Good and evil. Adam and Eve had a choice in the Garden of Eden, and so do I.
My choice isn’t to eat from a tree, but I am tempted toward other forbidden fruit. And every day, yes really every moment of my life, I have a choice: Will I choose to obey God or choose to disobey him? Will I choose good or evil?
It is this constant choice that is on my mind as I prepare for the message this week. According to Romans 7:14-25 (click here to read), we all have a common problem. Evil is always present within us. But God has created within us the “new self” that has been restored to the holy image of God, the part of us that wants to do God’s will. And Paul talks about that new self as the “real me.”
Yes, you and I will fail. The “old self” will lead us to choose evil over and over again. We will eat from our forbidden tree. But remember Paul’s closing promise: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (See the promise of the Savior in Genesis 3:15 to understand the reference).
This weekend we will focus most of our time, not on the times that we have eaten of our forbidden tree, but of the fact that the Son (Romans 8:1-4), the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:5-14) and the Father (Romans 8:15-16) assure us that we are never facing Satan alone. Our God has crushed Satan under his feet, and by faith, daily we do too. And one of the greatest joys of heaven? We’ll see Satan crushed once for all and we will enjoy the perfect peace of the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve lost.
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). Alleluia!
Shrink the Church!
You don’t hear that call very often. Why would any of God’s people want the church to be smaller?
“Shrink the Church” was one of the phrases used last evening when our small group Bible study leaders gathered.
“Shrink the Church” was the key benefit of being in a small group. In a large church like St. Paul’s, you can feel like no one knows you. But when you become part of a small group, the church “shrinks” in that there are people whom you know very well who care about you, pray for you and can encourage you.

Shrink the Church – 4 Ways
Here are four ways to Shrink the Church:

  • Join a small group. Reply to this email to register for GroupLink on Tuesday, September 24 at 6:30 pm where you can meet others interested in forming new small groups.
  • Attend Financial Peace University, beginning Wednesday September 11 at 6:30 pm. This is a small group using Dave Ramsey’s nationally known course to get a better handle on your finances. Register by emailing me.
  • Attend Following the Promise Bible study with Pastor Nate on Tuesdays at 7 pm or Sundays at 8:30 am. Email him at for more information.
  • Enroll your children in Kids Club which begins on Sunday, September 8 at 9:15 am. Register online here.

Attached is St. Paul’s News including our plans for the Family Church 2.0 this fall.
Hope to see you in worship. If you can't be present, join the life stream on Sunday at 10:15 (click here) or on Facebook at The Bridge at St. Paul's. You can also watch the sermon within 24 hours of the service at Let's see together how Grace Wins Every Time!
Pastor Pete


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