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"Did God Really Say?"

"It All Starts Here"  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  27:04
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So Let’s look at Genesis Chapter 3 today. Let me start with prayer.
Prayer
Genesis 3:1–7 NIV
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Before we begin. let’s back up a few verses to set the familiar stage. Genesis chapter 2, beginning with verse 19.
Genesis 2:19–20 NIV
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.
No suitable Helper for Adam is found in all the animals. Animals are good companions, a man’s best friend is his dog, and all that, but God says they are not enough. They are not in the image of God. They are not according to God, they don’t have a Spirit that is breathed out by God.
People often read this passage, and bring to it their own personal ideas of gender roles. Sometimes, people read the word “helper” and immediately jump to an idea of a somehow lower status. Like the little boy is following Dad around, holding the tools, while Dad does the important work.
That is not the intended meaning of the text here. The text here, speaks of more of a partnership-one aiding the other. One commentator John Walton, after doing an extensive analysis of the two Hebrew words here translated as suitable and helper, concluded that Adam was a suitable helper for Eve.
I asked Lisa to help us demonstrate this idea through Music. First Lisa if you will play the melody line of a song, for us.
It is still a song, just as each person is still an individual, but it is lacking something, it is incomplete. It is not good for man to be alone. Now, you could actually play that same thing on 2 pianos, but it is still just that, the same thing.
Now Lisa play it with the other hand, the harmony line. See how the Harmony line fills out the song it makes the music more complete. Either one is not somehow less important than the melody, it is its own unique thing, but together they fill in for one another. There are several verses in our text that reinforce this idea.
Genesis 1:27 NIV
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Now we already talked about this but, we see male and female.
Then this whole passage seems to speak that way also.
Genesis 2:21–24 NIV
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
The y become one flesh.
SO there there they are. Adam and Eve, they are living in the Garden Greatly blessed-highly favored.
Genesis 2:25 NIV
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
There is no shame, because there is no guilt. Nothing is wrong. God, with his images, in relationship with Him. They, in relationship with one another. A relationship that is problem free. No shame, no need to hide their bodies from another. Abundant food, access to the tree of life, eternal life. Man and woman together with God, loving one another, no shame. God’s creation is good, very good. Life is good . This life can go on. There is just that one little rule. It really is quite small isn’t it.
Genesis 2:16–17 NIV
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
One tree is all. Just don’t eat from the one tree. For if you do you will surely die. They can eat from all the other tress, the tree of life for instance, just not this one tree.
This rule is in a form that is quite familiar in ancient times, but it may not be familiar to us. It is in the form of a covenant. A covenant in basic terms is an agreement between two parties. The were common in the ancient near east, and they can take many forms and be quite complicated. To us it is similar to a contract. But while a contract. is mostly legal, a covenant is more than that. There is usually an oath involved, and penalties for violation.
There are a lot of details involved in this covenant that are not for our purposes today, in basic terms it has been sometimes referred to as the Adamic Covenant or the Covenant of works. This covenant of works is between two parties. God and man his creation. God is the Authority. Man is subordinate because he has been created but God, he owes his very existence to God.
A Royal Covenant (Works)
Parties-God (King) and Adam (Subject)
Terms-Freedom to enjoy the blessings, but don’t eat from one tree
Penalty for violation-Death
The way this agreement works is it is initiated, or started or given from God to man. Man did not sit down at the negotiating table and say, “I like what you did here God, but I’m going to need to need more vacation time”. That is not how this thing worked, it’s God’s covenant. He is the King- He makes the rules, what he says goes.
God has a part in this covenant. God provides the blessings. The blessing of living in the garden, having an abundant food supply. The blessing of eating from any tree of the garden. God provides the blessing of providing Adam and Eve with work in the garden and dominion over the animals. God gives them each other for a relationship. God is in fellowship with his images. God provides the blessing of the Sabbath rest, and Adam and Eve can eat from the tree of life, and they don’t die.
God agrees to provide those blessings, but for Adam to enjoy the blessings he must not do one thing-eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The penalty for violating the agreement is death.
God wants or God desires that Adam and Eve fulfill the covenant. It is God’s will that they live in the garden, and enjoy the blessings that God has provided.
This will of God is different than one we talked about two weeks ago in Genesis one. In Genesis one we saw God’s sovereign or decretive will. The sovereign will of God is demonstrated when God creates. God wills it and it happens. For instance. He speaks and the universe comes into existence. We pointed out that God is good, and right and just, and holy. Because of that everything that God wills must be consistent with that character. That is who God is, what he does is consistent with who He is. So, we said whenever God’s will is followed it is good.
Whenever God’s will is followed it is good.
Today, here, we are talking of a different will of God. It is called God’s perceptive will, or revealed will. This is the will of God that focuses on what God desires. This perceptive will is also called His revealed will. It is called that because God has revealed His desires to us in word. He has revealed to Adam that he is supposed to not eat from the tree. He has revealed to us us the 10 commandments, He has revealed the Gospel to us., and desires that all come to Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. But God gives His images the option of following or not following His revealed will.
God’s revealed will may or may not be followed.
God leaves it in our hands. We don’t always follow the commandments. God desires that all come to Him. God's revealed will is that all will come to believe the gospel, yet when the Gospel is preached not all the people in the room believe, not all come to follow God’s revealed will. If following God’s will is good, then not following God’s will is not good.
Whenever God’s will is not followed, it is sin
To review, God made an agreement with Adam and Eve called a covenant, the covenant of works, Adam and Eve are free to enjoy the blessings, as long as they don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil. That is God’s revealed will for Adam for Adam and Eve. They have a choice to follow God’s revealed will for them or not. They know the penalty for violation is death.
Then enters the serpent. And He tempts them, to not follow God’s will
Genesis 3:1 NIV
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Temptations are the desire to not follow God’s revealed will. For example, God’s revealed will for us is to love one another. Jesus said,
John 13:34 NIV
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
That is God’s revealed will for us, that we love one another,. Sometimes, however we are tempted to place our desires ahead of our brothers and sisters desires. We are tempted to not follow God’s revealed will. We are tempted to sin. We have not sinned yet, temptation is just the desire or the motivation to not follow God’s will.
In order to not follow temptations all the way through to sin, it may helpful for us to look at the anatomy of a temptation.
Temptations
Mostly ordinary
Diminish our view of God.
Downplay sin’s consequences.
Elevate the view of self.
Mostly Ordinary
I say mostly because there are certainly occasions and times that they are not, but for the most part, they are everyday common occurences. Notice our text in Genesis.
Genesis 3:1–2 NIV
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
The serpent comes to Eve in the garden, right in her domain, her workplace, her home. Also, God walks in the Garden. Adam and Eve are right there with God. They are not outside or separate, she is not prowling around the dark recesses. When temptations come to us, they often come in an ordinary way. When we are at home or at work or....even in church.
Also, notice the text does not let us know that she is afraid or frightened. There is an element of calm. Also, the serpent does not go for some big outright lie. He doesn’t say Eve there is no God. They are surrounded with evidence of God, his creation is all around them. Temptations are mostly small and unnoticeable. The enemy mostly does not tempt us here to rob a bank, but the enemy may tempt us to not give as much.
Diminish our view of God
Next, temptations take the right view of God, and distort it, lessen it, twist it. Look at the text again.
Genesis 3:1 NIV
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The serpent, first causes a doubt in her mind. Did God really say, you must not from any tree in the garden. Actually, she could it from all the trees it was just the one that she couldn’t east from. This little statement causes her to focus on the restriction, and ignore the blessing. She tries to get it back, but with the restriction firmly planted in her mind, she also focuses on the penalty.
Genesis 3:2–3 NIV
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”
We may eat from trees, but boy God said we should’t even touch that other fruit, even if we touch we are going to die. See even though Eve is blessed beyond measure. She is with her husband, they in the garden they have abundant food, a day of rest, no guilt, no shame, all provided by God, somehow her view of God is that he is restricting them. Can’t even touch that tree-of course that wasn’t even in the original covenant, she has now added it in. It even gets worse.
Genesis 3:4–5 NIV
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Now, according to the serpent, God is not telling the truth, you will not certainly die, and God is holding back something from them. Something that is good for them, EVEN THOUGH we know God has only good in mind for them. In fact when Adam didn’;t have all he needed-a suitable helpmate God said it was not good, and provided Him with what was good.
Eve is now seeing her God, the all good, creator who made her in his image as a God who is restricting, penalizing, holding back, the tiny restriction in the world of blessing has become the thing that God won’t let her have.
When we have temptations we diminish God in some way. We are convinced is not providing us with what we deserve, we forget that he is all good, we in some way look at him less. Paul Tripp said, long before it becomes a sin problem, it has become an Awe Problem. A problem with us not being in awe of God, the God who has invited us into a relationship with Him.
We forget that Jesus Christ loved us so much that he died on the cross for our sins, not to hold us to a restriction but to call us into fellowship with him. Did God really say? of course God really said, the resurrection proves that the Lord Jesus is who he says and God has forgiven our sins at the cross. Somehow as we approach temptation we are not thinking clearly about who God is.
Temptations downplay sins consequences
Whenever we are in the middle of temptation the consequences of following God’s will are downplayed.
Genesis 3:4 NIV
4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.
When we are tempted to not share our time talent or money with the church, we think to ourselves, other people will do it, I’m just one person it is no big deal. When we do not love one another we don’t realize we may be hurting each other deeply by our actions, that may impact their family and home life. The truth is when we do not follow God’s will the entire community suffers. Paul said when one part of the body suffers all suffer.
This is not even to mention how we have treated the relationship that we have God our father. Again, Jesus died to bring us into fellowship with him, he suffered so that we could walk with the Holy Spirit, so that we could be filled with the fruit of the spirit, when we sin the Bible says we grieve the Holy Spirit of God in Ephesians 4:30. We are still part of God’s family, we are still children of God, but now we are disobedient children, and are not following in our Father’s business.
Temptations elevate self.
Genesis 3:5–6 NIV
5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
The woman wants to decide for herself what is Good and what is evil. She wants that to rest with her, not with someone else. It is good for food. Never mind that God was the one deciding what was for food-all the other trees-pleasing to the eye-yet they had all of creation to gaze at. She felt she was entitled to this thing that God had withheld from her. She is deciding what is good for her, what is pleasing, and what is wise.
That is how a temptation causes us to fall.
First in our mind, in mostly ordinary manner, small stuff, lustful glances, anger stealing we in our mind begin to question who God is. He is either not all good, not all kind or loving of us, or merciful, not all powerful, doesn't provide for us doesn't love us doesn't bother with us because we are too small. Something. That is why we read our Bibles and devotions and pray to stay focused on Who he really is. But after we have it set that he is not going to provide or hasn’t we say it’s ok we can do that. As long as it isn’t hurting anybody-who cares. Then we elevate ourself, I’m deserving, that person hurt me first, I need to hurt them back, I should have my way I’ve done all this for God, then we simplu decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. It’s ok I should get his, and we fallen into sin.
But thanks be to God, Thanks be to God we have an advocate, an Advocate that stands in front of the Father, An advocate on the Lord Jesus Chrsist who has faced every temtation that is common to man, and overcame them. And he did this well by humbeling himself, not elevating himself and dying on a cross for our sins according to the revealed will of the Father so that through faith in Him, we may come into fellowship with God our father, and live filled with the Holy SPirit.
In Jesus name
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