Tag: Temptation

Mile Marker |Jacoby’s First Expositional Message |Genesis 3:1-9

Genesis 3:1-9 “Serpentology”

…let’s feed upon Christ incarnate, God’s very Word!

This morning we are going to talk about something everyone has in common. From Ghandi to Eminem, Mother Mary to Joseph Stalin, from Charlie Sheen to Constantine’s mother Helen, from Yanokovich to the Dahli Llama. It’s a thing called sin.

It’s why no one is perfect. It’s why we can never attain to this idea we have of perfection. It’s why no one is fully satisfied. It’s what brings death, corruption, small lies and big lies. Sin is why there are no perfect governments, why we have family problems, and why nothing is quite the way anybody thinks things in their life should be. Sin affects everything from our diets to the world economy. Sin is why there are potholes in the road. It keeps us in bondage to our habits and shows us our limitations in being the kind of people we want to be.

Genesis 1-3 is one of the most important sections of the Bible. It is not poetry or a metaphor explaining the cosmos. Hebrew grammar has definite grammar rules for poetry and these grammatical structures are not found in Genesis. Adam is listed in the genealogies in Genesis and in the genealogy in the Gospel of Luke. Luke, written by a historian, was not metaphorical by any means, neither was it a poem. Today we are talking about two real people.

Genesis is a book of first things. Here we see the first marriage, the first law, the first sin, and the first sacrifice. We also see the first designer clothes, and the first love song! Adam exclaimed, “She is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!” ’Sounds like a hit song to me!

Genesis 3 explains the fallenness of the world. To paraphrase the Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal,
‘the doctrine of how sin began seems hard to accept, but once accepted, it explains so much of the world we live in!’

Nothing, nothing else explains this lingering curse we all know is ever present. Genesis 3 is foundational for the Christian worldview. Evolution says we are progressing. We are not progressing! We are stuck on the same circus wheel. We are in bondage to sin!

Genesis 3 is the reason all of us long for something more. My friends we were made for another world. A world with a garden where God is!
Please open your Bible’s to Genesis 3:1-9. English speakers please follow in your English Bibles as we read together in Russian.

James 1:13-15,
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Let’s take a look at how this process developed in the heart and mind of a woman who had never sinned before.
This passage not only tells us why the world is the way it is, but gives us insight into the nature of God and the schemes of the devil! Paul tells us not to be ignorant of his tactics (2 Cor 2:11). So we are going to look at 10 tactics the devil may use, as we take a glance at Serpentology!

To keep this topic in perspective, listen to C.S. Lewis,
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors…”

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

1. STUDIES HIS VICTIM

Our first encounter with the devil. The serpent was more crafty than any animal God had made. This serpent was Satan’s instrument. He did not approach Eve in a way that surprised her. We do not know for sure, but perhaps before the fall Adam and Eve were able to communicate with animals. Notice the serpent winds up being craftier than the man as well.
Satan is too crafty for us. If we engage him in combat we lose. Our only hope against him is Jesus.

2. SEEKS THEIR WEAKNESS

The devil has observed the first man and knew of the two trees. His approach would be subtle and sly. We know from the book of Timothy (2) that Adam was not deceived by the serpent. So, he found their weakness and would strike at Adam through the woman. He would come in an appealing form, speaking through a serpent! We cannot be dogmatic, but perhaps before the fall they could speak to the animals.

3. STEALTH APPROACH

Keep in mind that Adam and Eve fell to his tactics. The devil has been deceiving for thousands of years. He’s an expert at what he does. He observes us to find a weakness and comes undetected. He tempts us in such a way as we never realize he was there. Some of our sinful attitudes, our doubts, our proud thoughts, things which are often a natural part of our thinking, originated outside of our minds, found their way in and made a home there. We never realized who we were talking to perhaps because of unfamiliarity with what sin is, our proclivity to sin in this way, or our unfamiliarity with truth.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

4. SPEAKS FIRST

After we sin we can look back and ask, when did it all start?
The idea to sin, originated with the devil, and he initiated the temptation. He comes seeking to temp us. He’s not coming to have tea with us. He has a reason for his visit and his middle name starts with “T”.
He also calls God “God” instead of “Lord” as Eve does. The devil will seek to cultivate irreverence in you for God. He will not make God out to be our personal King, but portray him in more of an abstract manner.

“Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

5. SUPPORTS SELF SUFFICIENCY

In Genesis 2:16 we see what God really said,
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

First came God’s expression of generosity! He gave them many trees to eat from! But, the serpent only focuses on the forbidden.
“Did God actually say?”

He begins creating confusion. Did God really say you couldn’t eat? He appears to be innocently misunderstanding what God said, and pretending to be concerned about Eve. Eve, I’m so concerned about you.

Satan works in stealth mode and sympathizes with us to gain our trust. He sympathizes with our desire to be treated right, to want to promote ourselves, to be noticed, to be in control, to have our rights met. Anything that has to do with self, independence from God, he sympathizes with our sinful whims and exploits them in such a way that we accept his ideas!
And we trust him, like a friend, so concerned as he is to defend us against such an indifferent and insensitive God.

With all God’s given us….Did God really not allow you to have that job? Did God take your grandma from you? Did God cause you to be born this way? With this deficiency? And slowly we begin to burn against God, when he has provided so much! As we converse with the devil, slowly, God becomes ”god” and ceases to be “Lord”.

And the woman said to the serpent,
Eve conversed with the tempter. Often we begin to have a conversation with the enemy not realizing the potential danger. The answer? To flee to the Gospel! To recognize a lie we must know the truth well!

“God has provided more than enough! He is good! He knows what is best and if he prohibits me from anything, it is because he loves me!”
She didn’t recognize the devil’s disguise.

We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die
We see here Eve’s minor correction of the devil with mention of God’s provision. But, she now calls God “God” instead of “LORD”. We see the subtle influence from her new slithery friend.

Eve said, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die
God did not say “lest you touch it”. However, God said they would SURELY die, and here Eve says, “lest they die.” She minimizes the certainty of death and leaves it in question. Almost as if to say, “if we touch it, we could die…”

Immediately the serpent smells the compromise and senses the opportunity strike. He says,

“You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil

6. SOWS UNBELIEF

He sows doubt in God’s Word. He studied the woman and came promising what she would most covet. Wisdom- to be more like God than she already was. The Word tells us she was made in God’s image, but she desired to be elevated and pursue her own glory, a lesser glory than God has, and as it would turn out, a lesser glory than she currently had.
Whatever it is where you are the weakest, that which you would most easily desire more than God, you will find Satan trying give it to you.

Satan promises the best, but pays with the worst; he promises honor, and pays with disgrace; he promises pleasure, and pays with pain; he promises profit, and pays with loss; he promises life, and pays with death.

You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil

7. SKEWS PICTURE OF GOD

The serpent is painting God to be someone He is not. He has repainted this copy for centuries. He insists God is keeping something good from us. Ultimately all sin stems from unbelief in God. We fail to believe He is good. We fail to believe His Word. We look at the world and see the problem and blame Him!
Concerning salvation we lack trust in Him. He is not big enough for us. Consciously or unconsciously we work for His love and try to save ourselves, maybe not realizing we are seeking our own glory! We fail to believe that His completed work is all we need. All attempts at justifying ourselves by righteous acts, is at the root, disbelief in the Gospel.

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil
The serpent only mentions what Eve would gain, never what it would cost. Our sin is not presented to us as something that will cost us, but as something where we gain, something we think we deserve, some unnamed payoff, such as pleasure, or some temporal earthly satisfaction, which does not deliver on its promise. Under the serpent’s hypnosis, our mouths begin to water with lust.

8. STRIKES

Eve’s eyes would be opened to what? They would be opened to something she was not supposed to see. Was the serpent calling God a liar? If so, was God really threatened by them being promoted? He was their creator and had made them in His own image. Or, was the serpent saying that God never said that at all? Did God really say? Either way, Eve was deceived, we know from the Bible, and her picture of God was blurred.

Was God holding something back from Eve? What is God supposedly keeping from us that the devil likes to wave in our face? Something we somehow believe we are supposed to have. How does he appeal to our sense to want to be praised? To desire to be in charge? To have our way? To decide for ourselves what is right and wrong? To elevate ourselves and seek our own glory? A lesser glory? Eve did not esteem God’s glory but sought her own.

Puritan John Owen says, “We think God is keeping something from us. Men think all things would be very glorious if they might be done according to their mind. Perhaps, indeed, they would – but with their glory, not the glory of God.”

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil

9. SINKS IN HIS TEETH

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil
It was a true statement in a certain sense. Look ahead at verse 7, “The eyes of both were opened,
and verse 22. God says, “Behold the man has become like one of us knowing good and evil.”

It was a play on words, a half truth at best. To what would their eyes be opened? In what way would they be like God, knowing good and evil? Was he suggesting they would possess omnipotence? Was he tempting Eve in her naivety with becoming a Deity?

Adam and Eve became more like God in understanding, and less like God in glory!

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

10. SLITHERS AWAY

Satan slithers away while the enchantment continues in Eve’s mind. Often after Satan has suggested a thought we unknowingly begin to own the thought as our own. Of course, to protect ourselves from this we must fill our minds with the blessed truths of the Gospel. Namely, in this instance, that God is God and we are not!

It was becoming less important to Eve what God wanted, what God said, who God was, what he had given them. Increasing importance was given to the sight of the fruit and what it offered her. It promised a finite being infinite knowledge- but would only result in death.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food

She “saw”. She “believed”… Eve began to believe her desire was good. It was lust. So easily we fall for the ancient trick that our desires, which are really lusts, are good and God wants us to have them.

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes

Nothing about the tree spoke of death. Eve, in her innocence, had never known sin or evil. Nothing in the tree seemed threatening. You could see that you could eat it, and it was good to look at. It was food, so it must be okay to eat. We eat the other fruit, why not this one?

We too rationalize our actions. As our eyes are entertained with the things around us, which God in his love keeps from us, we somehow come to believe that since it’s pretty, it must be good. Sin does not cry out from the roofs, “take me, I am death!” No, it is attractive and fits in with all the other beautiful stuff, and so if it feels good, do it. We are all animals so why not have sex? Why not experiment with drugs, they are natural? We smoke everything else! We are not hurting anyone. Anything to kill the boredom! Even crucify God!

it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise

Whatever this precisely meant, “to make one wise”, we know it is what finite Eve wanted, because it is where the serpent struck and where Eve fell. She wanted to be wise. Eve saw God was limitless and she was limited. She wanted her own glory and made it about her want, her will! She promoted the glory of a created thing rather than the glory of the Creator. Today, this same ancient sin dwells securely in many modern hearts!

She believed the lie thinking “we won’t die, we will be made like God!” To be deceived to this is not an excuse for sin. Eve decided for herself what was right—to be God rather than enjoy God.

she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her
Sin. Those of us addicted to sin, in love with sin, bound to sin, what do we do when we are alone in sin? We invite others into our misery.
Would Adam reject the offer?

and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he…

STOP! TIME OUT!

Stop! This action is about to effect all of humanity for ages to come. Think about what you are about to do. Is it worth it? Will you trade your innocence for independence, and its consequences, for a woman? God tells us in verse 17 that Adam listened to the voice of the woman. We also know from the Apostle Paul that Adam was not deceived!

It was by this willful rebellion that Paul says in Romans 5:12,
“sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men”.

In some incomprehensible way, Adam’s sin was laid on us all. All of creation was damaged by what was about to happen. It may be something hard to accept, but the sooner it is received, the sooner we find the remedy.

Some may argue, “It is not fair that Adam’s sin is put on me. I should be judged for my own actions. Adam was appointed by God as our perfect representative. Now, in the state we are born, have only the ability to sin. Adam was created with the ability to sin or not to sin and, Adam sinned. You or I would not, could not have done better than Adam did, as he had more freedom and was in a far more advantageous state of existence than you or I.

Somehow we get the idea that we are wiser than Adam or that we could have done a better job than God. This is a masterful deception itself, and if we think about it, we will discover ourselves trying to rise to the position of God. We want to remake his decisions. The enemy has been sleeping in our bed!

So, why did God place this tree there if He knew in advance the outcome?

For sake of time, today, we will say this. Adam was made with the ability to sin or not to sin. After the fall, condemnation came to all men and we are born spiritually dead, because of Adam’s sin, and we do not have the ability to not sin, unless we are born again in Jesus Christ. As Christians, in Christ, we gain a new liberty with power over sin. After Christ returns and we take on our glorified bodies we will have an inability to sin. This is a greater state than Adam ever had! The end is even better than the beginning.

In Ecclesiastes it says “He has made everything beautiful in its time…” (3:11)

In 2 Corinthians it says that “our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory which far outweighs them all!” No matter your trial, your pain, the amount of your suffering, it can’t hold any water next to the glory which shall be revealed in you, child of God!

The end is better than the now, and is even more glorious than the beginning. In short, God knows perfectly and infinitely knows what He’s doing! The tree made opportunity for another tree in the center of history which showcases the splendor and majesty of Christ’s work! Had we never fallen, God’s overflowing overwhelming goodness would not have been showcased and placed on full display as in His redemptive rescue! Friends, Jesus saves. He saves so well that He allows opportunities for Him to save us. What is your trial? What is your pain? How have you fallen? How will you let God be God and make the end better then the beginning? It’s what He does!

she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Adam failed God, himself, all of us and he failed Eve by making her his god. The implications of this action were profound. Whether we want to accept it or not, we must come to terms with it. However this occurred, it could only be in such a way, by a perfect and infinitely wise design, that God was perfectly just and Adam wholly responsible.
How often do we choose sin although we are not deceived? We know what we are doing but the immediate payoff, seems more important to us. Like Adam we decide what is right or wrong for ourselves. Suddenly, truth becomes relative.

Adam should have found his satisfaction in God. Not in God’s gift!

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked

Their eyes were opened. But open to what? Did Eve receive what was coveted? Not at all. Adam was realizing the cost of his sin. They were now, walking dead. Spiritual death claimed them and physically they began dying slowly. Creation became enslaved to entropy.

and they knew that they were naked

Expecting wisdom and god-likeness, they became ashamed. Their innocence lost and a new awareness of a bad change. Their nakedness became their new identity. Their new identity was rooted in rebellion.

This was not just a feeling of guilt, but deep shame, having to do with who they now were. And it caused them to hide, as shame does. Glory shines! Shame hides!
We think somehow we can pay for our sin and cover our shame by doing good things. Adam and Eve attempted to cover themselves but couldn’t. They were still naked and exposed. Fellowship with God and their relationship with each other was damaged. No longer would people know the harmony of living together without sin.

And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths
Adam and Eve attempt covering themselves. It would prove to be insufficient. In verse 21 we see that God clothes them with garments of skin! God makes a provision by a sacrifice of the innocent, the first sign of God’s provision. The fig leaves are a picture of religion. Religious people try to cover themselves, try to cover their own guilt. It will never be our religious commitments which cover our shame- only God.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Whatever distorted concept they had of God, they knew enough of who He was that it provoked a reaction of fear in Adam and Eve. Because of shame and fear, they hid.

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
But, does God come in a rage of fury? He comes walking in the garden. Instead of remaining distant, instead of bringing justice, we hear a loving tone in the voice of Him who sees and knows all. He asks Adam,
“Where are you?”

Where are you today? Are you hurting? Are you struggling with shame and hiding in the trees? How has guilt and shame effected your life? God knows. And although He knows, he pursues you.
He knows you are hiding and he still gently asks, “Where are you?”

Mark has been encouraging us lately to be reading our Bible’s. He gave us some questions to ask ourselves as we finish each paragraph. Like Mark said, let’s think in paragraphs. To read one paragraph of the Bible a day and ask yourselves these questions will transform your life! You can add me to the list of witnesses who believe that.
Does anyone remember what those questions are? There were five of them in all.

I am going to introduce to you two additional questions you may add if you like. The first one is to ask, how is this passage connected to Jesus? The second is, how is this passage connected to the Gospel? All of the Bible is in some way connected to Jesus Christ and to the Gospel. The Bible is not just a bunch of historical data. It is meant to give us life, it is meant to have meaning, it is meant to transform us.

How is today’s passage connected to Jesus and the Gospel?
How can Jesus help me with temptation?
How can the Gospel help me with temptation?

Is the answer to overcoming temptation as Oscar Wilde said in his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray,
“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself…?”

The answer is not to yield to it, but to kill it!

I will give you a couple answers for each of these questions.
How is today’s passage connected to Jesus and the Gospel?

Firstly, in the broad context, it makes Jesus work and the Gospel necessary. Without the fall we would have no need for Jesus to save us.
Also, it shows us that we need Jesus. We need Jesus help against this crafty foe and we cannot depend on ourselves to save ourselves. Our fig leaves are insufficient coverings.
How can Jesus help me with temptation?

As we look upon the cross, we see what our sin did to our LORD. We can read Isaiah 53 and see what suffering He endured on behalf of our own sin.
Jesus was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. Because the same spirit which rose Jesus from the grave lives in me, I can have power to depend on Him to say, “no.” to temptation.
How can the Gospel help me with temptation?

As I meditate on the wonders of God’s love displayed in the cross it should compel me to worship. As I worship God and my desire for Him grows my desire for other things will diminish.
The Gospel of grace tells me that my salvation is not dependant on me in any way. Knowing this, helps me to remember where my victory comes from. It does not come from willpower but in dependence on the grace of God. The Gospel reminds me of my need for God. God cannot fail! It is only by trying some other way, in our hearts, that failure is possible.

And there are many other ways these truths can be applied to temptation, which is why it is so crucial to know Jesus and to understand the Gospel. But, the answer is always somehow in Jesus, as the Word says,
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor 15:22

There is another element which God has designed for us to have in corporate worship. It’s called fellowship. So, the message is over, but church isn’t over, it’s never over because we are the church. So, let’s be the church and love one another and fellowship together. Fellowship is when we gather and speak about the things of God, topics with a Christo-centric focus. This being said:

Find one or two people who are struggling with a trial or a temptation and pray for them.
Work together to find one or two verses which apply to the situation and commit to memorizing them.
Why is Scripture memory important?

David said in the Psalms, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word”, and, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9 &11)

It helps us to know God so the enemy cannot distort our picture of Him. It also helps us to know exactly what God said, and what God meant, to avoid being deceived.