Preached on Dec, 31, 2017
When we look at the grand narrative of the Bible, the coming of Christ is a high point for us. But to appreciate how high of a point it is we must go to the lowest point. When we read the Bible we can think of it as a meta narrative, or grand story, in this sense we see Creation, Fall, Redemption, Consummation.
As you go through life it is easy to forget the grand narrative of the Bible and our place in it. When hard times happen when life feels overwhelming you can remember that there is a big story in place and that it is not about us. I hope that this is as encouraging for you as it is for me.
To understand Christmas, we have to understand Sin. Where does Sin come from, why does sin happen. The very root of everything that is wrong with the world today is because of sin.
Every war, every divorce, argument, hurtful words is because sin entered the world. Even the most secular person will acknowledge that something is not quite right.
The Word of God contains the answer to this question. Today we are going to be looking in the book of Genesis and learning a few things about sin and the Adversary Satan who seeks to corrupt our view of God and limit our ability to worship Jesus Christ our Lord.
We have a warped view of sin in our world, and I am not talking just about today, but all history has examples of how we have taken sin lightly.
I was at the dentist and saw a poster for some type of teeth straightener, and on the poster, it said “A smile so bright it’s sinful” What do you think they are trying to imply there?
A reason I wanted to preach this text to you today is because I want you to sing the songs we did today and be overwhelmed. Overwhelmed because you realize this is not something that happened only but keeps happening. Because we do the same things repeatedly. Realizing that God sent His son for us, as wretched and pitifully unworthy as we are.
My desire is that;
You will be more exact in your worship of Christ by knowing three tactics of the Adversary
The Book of Genesis is history, it is not a fable and is not an analogy, this is what happened!
We do not have the time for me to give a full defense of this view, but let us for just a second look at the Genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:38) we could spend most of the day examining evidence for this but I only get to preach once a year so we must move on.
God has just created the whole world, He created man and all this was VERY GOOD. Man is placed in the garden and given charge over it to be the image barers of God in this place. Even though this place is perfect something happens. That something is sin.
Working definition of sin is: Any lack of conformity to God’s law or any transgression against His will. Sin is not a created entity or person. Sin is a lack of something, Cold is a lack of heat, darkness is a lack of light. God did not create sin, sin is the nonconformity to God, this is important to understand because many people will try to argue God created sin and that is false.
Let us examine how sin entered into our world.
“Now the Serpent” STOP, who is this character? Moses does not give much detail and the word used is pretty ambiguous in meaning as it can mean dragon, or snake, or reptile, we can deduce from later on in the chapter that this creature stood upright in some way since God later curses it to crawl on the ground, but we do not know much from this segment. However Revelation 9:12 brings us some light to this
“So the great dragon was thrown out—the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world”
An Israelite reading this would consider a serpent as unclean and not as a creature of wisdom.
Sounds like this character here. Based on this we can consider that Satan is speaking through this creature in some way. We will address this character as the Adversary.
“Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”
I want you to notice two things here, first the serpent is a created being, second the title of God used is Yahweh, that is the sovereign name of God, He is the Lord of it all.
The importance of this being a created being is that it removes any notion of dualism, this is not another being outside of the created order.
The traditional opinion among Jewish and Christian interpreters is that the serpent is Satan’s instrument. Luther explained: “The devil was permitted to enter beasts, as he here entered the serpent. For there is no doubt that it was a real serpent in which Satan was and in which he conversed with Eve”
Now this is the first tactic the Adversary uses.
1) The Adversary- Confuses
He tries to confuse you on the character of God. Look carefully at the name for God that is being used. This talking snake calls God by a generic term for God. He doesn’t use the sovereign name that predominates the previous chapter, he tries to unseat God from the throne in Eve’s mind.
If you have never owned a car and are car shopping and someone calls a FORD, Fix or repair daily, or found on road dead that would cause you to question the character of that vehicle, you would probably not look into buying that type of vehicle, and what about all the recall on Toyota products that would cause concern in a new car buyer.
That is how The Adversary works, he plants confusion in your mind. However, if you are an experienced vehicle owner and you owned a FORD you might just shrug off the insults to the vehicle and acknowledge that you know where its weakness is and how you plan to take care of it.
The Adversary tries to confuse you. As to the character of God
-Did God really say, try to confuse the Word of God
Now listen to this, this created creature asks Eve, did God really say? That is are you sure God said this? But here is the trick, he turns God’s command from a positive to a negative. In Genesis 2: 16-17 it says;
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.
God says you can eat from any tree, just not this one. The Adversary however says you can’t eat from any of them?
Don’t we just hate those words? You can’t have that, you can’t eat that, you can’t touch that. What is our response? Oh yes I can, watch me!
So the Adversary tries to confuse what God said by turning it from how much freedom God gives us to how restrictive it is.
Watch how the woman changes her use of language while in conversation with the Adversary.
She identifies the tree according to its location rather than its significance;
she refers to “God” as the serpent had done, rather than “the Lord”
Now the next tactic is that.
The Adversary- Causes doubt
-Causes you to doubt the character of God
vs 4, No you will not die says the Tempter, Now, he is emboldened to even deny God’s word. He goes on to say God just doesn’t want you to be like Him, that’s why he restricts you. Eve is trapped by referring to God just like the Adversary did using generic God instead of Lord God. This Adversary knows his craft, why did Satan fall to begin with? Isaiah 14:12 discusses how Satan wanted to be higher than God and was therefore cast out, so Satan knows what it is like to desire to be like God and the results of that action.
-Causes you to doubt the word of God
In this same way He wants you to doubt the word of God. God said those things to keep you from seeing good and evil. The master manipulator knows He hooked Eve by getting her to talk to him. Eve could have just as easily said “why are you talking snake? Get out of here!” instead she decides to have a conversation. This conversation leads her to question the goodness of God and the goodness of his word.
Probably one of the greatest disservices we can do to the Word of God is to think that what God said is subject to our judgment. “Who are we oh man to talk back to God?” Satan is a master manipulator and gets Eve to question God’s words and to even think that some other creature knows better than God. Eve’s failure in the garden was that she submitted to the Serpent what was God’s. She abdicated her throne to a talking creature that was also made by God.
The last tactic we see in this passage is how
The Adversary- works on the imagination.
Look what Eve does next, she looks at the tree and sees how nice it looked. How could a good God keep such nice fruit from her. What would it be like to eat that tasty fruit.
What would it be like without God’s rules. Why would a loving God not want me to live with my boyfriend/Girlfriend? I mean we love each other and we are happy. Or why would a loving God not want me cheat on that test, he wants me to succeed right? Surely he did not mean I should not lie or steal.
Or if I don’t watch this TV series I wont know what’s going on and God wants me to be happy right.
I can date/marry this guy/girl and convert them because I know God wants me to be happy.
We do this type of stuff today, we look on God’s commands as suggestions or as something we just have to do because.
We question God, we let our imagination go wild with possibilities, look at Eve she saw that it was good for food and could make her wise.
Thus we have the fall. Adam and Eve both complicit in their crimes were ashamed like never before, embarrassed by their nakedness like never before. If you read on you see both God’s judgment and His grace in His interactions with humanity.
But this is why we need Jesus.
Jesus is more than a cute kid in a manger, he is the Snake headcrusher, He did what Adam and Eve could not do, when tempted in the desert how did Jesus respond? With Scripture, Jesus did not enter into a discussion with Satan, Jesus did not think that He knew better than Scripture, Jesus spoke with authority and let the authority of Scripture speak.
Our worship becomes more exact.
“What is sin?
It is the glory of God not honored.
The holiness of God not reverenced.
The greatness of God not admired.
The power of God not praised.
The truth of God not sought.
The wisdom of God not esteemed.
The beauty of God not treasured.
The goodness of God not savored.
The faithfulness of God not trusted.
The commandments of God not obeyed.
The justice of God not respected.
The wrath of God not feared.
The grace of God not cherished.
The presence of God not prized.
The person of God not loved.
That is sin.”
― John Piper
Our worship becomes more exact as we realize that our human reasoning and understanding is corrupted by sin, the only way to overcome it is with Jesus. When we worship God we worship in Spirit and truth, knowing the truth of our wickedness is essential to how we worship.
“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.”
― John R.W. Stott
As we dwell on the evilness of sin and the consequences of it in this world, think of the Las Vegas shooting. The very next chapter, the very next generation after the fall do you remember what happens? Cain kills Able. One single generation and they are killing each other. God in his infinite mercy has provided us with the solution, Jesus Christ.
What can we do about this sin that is in us as believers in Jesus?
Nothing, absolutely nothing
It is grace alone that changes the heart of humans.
We need to examine ourselves and run to the only power that can fight our temptation.
We need Jesus now as we did then. The only way to right the wrong of sin is with Jesus. Jesus is the answer to our sin problem.
If you don’t know Jesus, now is the time to know him.
If you are living in sin, now is the time to stop thinking you know better and submit to Him.
If you have not followed through with believers baptism, now is the time to make that right.
If you are not on our membership roles, that is you have been coming for years and have never came forward now is the time to stop living in rebellion and submit to a local church, we would love to be that church. If any of these things convict you, now is the time to come forward and make it right, tomorrow is never promised, all you ever really have is right now.