Genesis 3:1-21 - Five Easy Steps to Ruin Your Life
TITLE: “Five Easy Steps to Ruin Your Life” (focus on Satan’s tactics / overcoming temptation)
TEXT: ; ;
SERIES: “Tempted & Fallen” Series
STICKY STATEMENT: God offers to save us from sinful self-destruction.
INTRO: Please open your Bibles again in to Genesis, chapter 3. We are in the middle of a three week series entitled, “Tempted and Fallen.” Last week we looked at the “fallen” part: Mankind is fallen into sin, but despite mankind’s fall, God’s grace is still available through Jesus Christ. Today we are focusing on how to battle temptation. Since we are at church, you may be anticipating a message about how to resist temptation. Strangely, we are actually going to do the opposite. We are going to see in a fool-proof plan for falling into sin every time - five easy steps to ruin our lives. I am hoping that exploring how to ruin our lives, will help us see clearly how to live our lives.
DISCLAIMER: These “steps” are what not to do. For joy, do the opposite! None of us begin with the goal to ruin our lives. It just happens automatically when we choose to live lives that are not centered on Christ. Today’s message is entitled, “Five Easy Steps to Ruin Your Life.” [Read ]
* Before we get to the five east steps, a little REALITY CHECK: The godless culture around us, the sinful nature within us, and the Evil One (Satan) against us are all committed to helping us ruin our lives…
If it is your goal to ruin your life, I have good news for you! You are going to have all kinds of outside help. First, we have the godless culture that surrounds us. Since the day of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden, we live in a sinful, cursed and broken world. Our culture is in conflict with the holy standard of living God desires for us. Almost everything in the culture around us is either outright contradictory to the things of God or is asking us to compromise the things of God to fit into culture. If we are going to live godly lives, “going with the flow” of culture, is not an option. The world around us is more than willing to help us ruin our lives.
Second, there is the sinful nature within each of us. The Bible makes it clear that every person on the planet is born a sinner. By nature, we are rebels against God. We are born with broken decision makers - our very lives are bent away from the things of God. Sometimes we Christians act confused when people without Jesus live like they don’t know Jesus. Actually that scenario makes sense. It should confuse us when Christians live like they don’t know Christ! And yet, even those of us who know Christ, still struggle with sin. Becoming a Christian means we have a new life in Christ and Holy Spirit to help us live victoriously over temptation and sin. At the same time, there is a war raging within us between the old desires of our pre-Christian lives, and God’s Spirit within us (). The sinful nature within us is more than willing to help us ruin our lives.
Third, there is Satan, the devil, the Evil One, a fallen angel, the enemy of God and man. He despises the fact that we are made in God’s image and have the ability to reflect God’s glory. His goal is to steal, kill, and destroy everything that is precious to the heart of God and that includes me and you. In , Jesus taught us to pray: 13 ...lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Satan and his demons are always willing to lend a hand to help us ruin our lives. If we ever make it our goal to live ruined lives we will have lots of help.
Step 1: Edit God’s Word to Meet your Personal Needs ():
(Follow Satan’s model: Doubt it, subtract from it, outright deny it if you can!) One of Satan’s favorite lies: “Did God really say?” = ...He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
A) Doubt God’s Word (3:1): Satan loves to destroy our lives. He loves to destroy our faith. He is an expert at it. Ruining ours lives, is his speciality. Doubting God’s Word is essential to ruining your life. You must question whether or not “absolute truth” even exists. Just assume that all truth is relative. Research (Barna) says, “Only one-third of all adults (34%) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances. Slightly less than half of the born again adults (46%) believe in absolute moral truth”- Thus, as you doubt God’s word and question truth, you will have lots of company!
B) Add to God’s Word (3:2-3): V2-3: Eve added a phrase to God’s command, “and you must not touch it.” The first legalist. She added to God’s word. (A legalist is a person who cannot distinguish between biblical commands and biblical convictions.) We must be careful to not add extra rules to God’s Word. Some people ruin their lives and eternity because they have thrown out God’s Word and live immorally. Others people ruin their lives and eternity because they were so “good,” moral, and self-righteous they never saw their need for Jesus. The Gospel says that all have sinned, none are good enough, and all need Jesus as our Forgiver and King.
C) Subtract from God’s Word - Outright deny it if you can (3:4): Satan outright contradicts’s God’s word, “You will not die if you sin.” = : 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.” ILLUS: Most of us have some truths in God’s Word that we wish we could tweak a little. “I don’t like what God’s Word says about…_________.” What would you put in the blank? Sin (in general), Overeating, Gossip, Hatred, Lust, Adultery, Forgiveness, Taxes, Tithing, Sharing Your Faith, etc, etc.
APPLY: Satan has been and will always be a deceiver. His goal is to trick us into ruining our lives. How can we know if Satan is deceiving us? Listen to what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. : ”3But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Paul feared that some believers would be deceived, and led away from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. Three questions: 1) Can you think of a time in your life when you were closer to God than you are today? 2) What happened? 3) What is God’s next right step for you?
What should a Christian believe about the Bible? It is God-breathed and essential for life. : 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. God is holy, perfect and true. God breathed out the Bible. Thus, the Bible is true. The Bible does not merely contain God’s Word- it IS God’s Word.
APPLY: What role will the Word of God have in our lives? We must choose: 1) Will we place Word of God first and let our lives be edited by it? Or 2) Will we place our personal desires first and edit God’s Word to accommodate our sin? Either choice has huge consequences. When we love God’s Word and ask Holy Spirit to help us live obedient lives, we experience joy, fulfillment, and holiness in our lives. On the other hand, when we take our own desires, our wants, our dreams, and our goals, and then bend, twist, and edit God’s word to accommodate what we want… we are well on your way to ruining your life.
Step 2: Always Assume that God is “keeping” His best from you ()
(Develop the attitude, “God is ‘cheating’ me and does not have my best interests at heart.)
In verse 5, Satan makes three counterclaims: 1) “You will not surely die!” 2) “Your eyes will be opened.” 3) “You will gain what belongs to God.” Notice what Satan is implying: “If God really loved you, Eve, He would be much more generous. God is holding out on you!” Satan wanted Eve to forget that God said they could eat freely from the trees of the Garden. Satan wanted the woman - and us to believe that God is a killjoy who prevents us from experiencing the best things of life. This is the crux of step 2.
To achieve step two, you need to believe that God does not have your best interests at heart. You need to develop the attitude that God is cheating you out of something He probably owes you. Whatever happens in life, always assume God is picking on you. As often as you can, picture God laughing at you. Picture Him enjoying watching you squirm. Picture Him keeping the best things of life all for Himself. Work hard to develop a lifestyle and mindset of discontentedness. Never be content with what you do have, but focus on what you don’t have. Focus on the fact that God could give you everything you want if He really wanted to. Develop a sense of entitlement. Believe that God and everyone around you “owes” you something. If God isn’t going to give you His “best” then go get your best for yourself and run over anyone or anything that gets in your way.
Well, how can we apply step 2 to our lives? Assuming God is keeping His best from us: 1) Sexual intimacy: God created physical intimacy to be a wonderful thing. Maybe all these rules about only doing that stuff within the bonds of marriage is because God is a killjoy who doesn’t like fun. (Think about it: God made you with sexual needs and surely He would not want you to miss an opportunity to fulfill them. Right?) 2) Finances: Assume God thinks it is funny when other people have stuff you wish you had. Cars, houses, status, etc… And let’s be honest, believing God is selfish and stingy, why would we tithe or give financially to His kingdom work? Now, the Bible says a lot of things about money, which you will need to delete (see step 1). For example, Jesus said that our heart will go where we spend our money. The Bible says 10% of our income (off the top) should go to the Lord’s work. If we give 10% to God, He’ll make the 90% go further than we could have made the 100% go. But if your goal is to wreck your life, don’t pay any attention to that. Just live for yourself and let your bank statement be a picture of how much you love you. 3) Marriage: Assume that the goal of marriage is your personal happiness. (God says marriage is about holiness, and holiness leads to happiness, but don’t worry about that.) When your spouse doesn’t meet your expectations, be mad at God for not knowing what kind of spouse you needed. 4) Job: Assume that God wants your job to be miserable and unfulfilling. Be envious whenever possible. 5) Elderly: Assume that God finds it humorous when parts of your body don’t work today that did work yesterday.
REALITY CHECK: For those of us who don’t want to ruin our lives: The Bible says God’s plans for your life are incredible. Jeremiah 29:11:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. God may not give us what we want because He knows what is best for us. ILLUS: Our 17 month old, Katie wants maple syrup as a dipping sauce for every meal. And she want to play in the street in front our house. We aren’t killjoys or keeping good things from her, we are simply trying to be good parents. How much more so is God’s parenting more perfect that ours! In summary, country theologian Garth Brooks may have been right, Maybe “some of God’s greatest gifts are “unanswered prayers.” But to ruin your life, don’t think about that stuff. Simply assume that God is keeping the best things from you, because He is selfish.
Step 3: When tempted, focus on the sin until you give in ()
(Become numb to Holy Spirit and blind to God’s plans for escaping from temptation.)
The Bible tells us to run away from temptation (), but notice how Eve responds after being tempted to sin. She stands there, focuses on the object of temptation, reaches out, takes the fruit, and sins.
Look at a NT passage to help us understand what happens in temptation = : 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
“each person is tempted” = Temptation is all around us, isn’t it? ILLUS: Like the little boy sitting under the farmer’s apple tree. The farmer said, “Are trying to steal an apple?” The boy answered, “No sir, I am trying not to.” NOTE: : In James, “temptation” and “trial” are the same Greek word. When we respond correctly, we overcome the “trial.” When we “give in” to the temptation, it is us who have chosen to sin.
: ILLUS: “dragged away” = a fishing metaphor. The bait on the end of a fisherman’s hook is enticing for the fish and when the fish bites, he is hooked and dragged away.
“by their own evil desire” = this is that sinful nature within each of us. ILLUS: How do you get people to touch wet paint? Put a “wet paint” sign on it. Rules and laws bring our sinful nature to action.
: A cause & effect chain of temptation and sin. After being hooked by sin, the metaphor changes to the process of conception and birth. ILLUS: When the the time drew near for the birth of our daughter Katie, you youth in our student ministry would ask very interesting questions. There was this one particular young lady who had a gift for saying things that probably should not be said. One day she asked me, “You you ever worry that your baby will be born ugly?” When the conversation was over, she encourage me by saying, “If your baby is born ugly, I’ll tell you the truth. (I never understood how that was supposed to encourage me, but anyway…) Here is what James is saying, after sinful desire conceives, it always give birth to the ugly twin babies of sin and death!
APPLY: How does temptation come to you? Temptations come at all stages of life; some things more tempting in certain seasons. There are seasons of temptation: 1) Youth: Primarily in the realm of the body: sex, drugs, violence, laziness, etc. 2) Middle Age: Primarily from the world: egocentric, wanting to be the biggest and best - house, lawn, car, business, achievements, awards, trophies, my this, my that. 3) Elderly Age: Devil longs to cause doubt and fear. QUESTIONS: In what areas of your life are you being tempted right now? What is culture inviting you to do? What is your sinful nature pulling you? What are Satan’s lies to you in this season of your life? When tempted, we are faced with the choice to focus on the sin, or to turn away from sin and focus on Christ.
TRANSITION / ILLUS: I read a funny story this week about a man on a diet. On this diet, doughnuts were not allowed. On the way to work, he had to drove past a doughnut shop. He was tempted as he thought to himself, “Just imagine how great a fresh doughnut and a steaming cup of coffee would be.” The man said to himself, “The man made a deal with himself: I will only stop if there is a place to park right at the front door.” Would you believe it? After circling the block five time, there it was - a parking place right in front!
ILLUS: A slow fade crossing the “line” of sin: Have you ever noticed how curious we are with “how far is too far?” We want to identify the “line” of sin is so we can get close to it, but not cross it. How far can we go before we have committed adultery? How much can a person drink before being drunk? How much can we disrespect our parents before we have failed to honor them? The list could go on and on. FACT: It is evidence of our sinful nature that we start the question with “how far can I go” rather that “How closely can i walk with Christ, my Lord?”
I know today is about how to ruin our lives. But there may be some here today, who are interested in a life of joy and freedom. If that is you, you need to know this fact: Jesus died on the cross to remove the power of sin over your life. The way to overcome temptation is through the power offered by the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at : 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. says that God ALWAYS provides us opportunities to escape from temptation. Always. This makes ruining our lives very simple. To ruin your life, just make sure that you never take God’s escape to safety. Don’t even keep your eyes open for a way out - just be blind to anything other than the opportunity to sin. Make it your goal to become numb to Holy Spirit and blind to God’s plans for escaping from temptation. To ruin your life, focus on sin and just keeping circling the block until the opportunity to right to fulfill your sinful desires. To love a joyful life, take God’s escape route away from temptation and drive on by.
APPLY: We will never reach sinless perfection this side of heaven, but there should be overall growth in holy living in every Christian’s life. New life in Christ isn’t about leaning to manage our sinful behaviors. New life in Christ is about having victory over sinful behaviors. As one author has said it, “Salvation is not about turning over a new leaf, but about living a new life.” New life is available in Christ. And if you are here today and your Christians life is being suffocated by sin, come to Christ and recommit to live life according to His plan and power.
Step 4: Always play the “Blame Game” ()
(Avoid taking any personal responsibility for your sins - “IT” is always someone else’s fault!) To wreck your life by blaming others the goal is to look around, but never inward, and definitely not upward.
LOOKING AROUND: Adam Blames the Woman God, Woman Blames the Serpent
ILLUS: To ruin your life, follow Adam and Eve’s example! “Go pro” at the Blame game. Become a professional “Blame Game” player. Any time your sins find you out, just look for someone to blame. Thankfully, our families, and friends provide a nearly endless supply of people to blame our sins on.
LOOKING INWARD: SCRIPT: : 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, sin entered the world. To “sin” literally means “to miss the mark.” Sin is mankind’s failure live up to God’s perfect standards of what is right and wrong. Sin is a universal condition. It affects us all. says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin is not just a problem because of the things we do or think. We are sinners in the very nature of who we are. Just as hereditary traits of eye color, skin color, and hair texture are passed from parents to children, so is the rebellious sin nature of Adam passed on to all humanity. says, “Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” We are born sinners “by nature” meaning that our “decision makers” are broken. asserts, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
LOOKING UPWARD: Let me ask you a very personal question this morning. Do you believe that Jesus Christ died for sin? Or do you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sin? : 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Admit You are a Sinner! God’s grace has been defined: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. The first step of receiving God’s grace is to recognize you need it. Now anytime you are around the Word of God, you may sense what Christians call “conviction.” Conviction is that work of Holy Spirit that draws us to recognize our sinfulness and run to Christ. To ruin your life, you must avoid feeling or responding to conviction. You may even find it helpful to stop going to church altogether, to avoid being around the Bible or Christian people.
WARNING: If you fail at STEP #4 you might accidentally end up looking within yourself, admitting your sin, and turning to God who offers forgiveness in Christ (: 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.). When we accept personal responsibility for our sin, we are ready to receive God’s forgiveness in Christ. We must admit our sin sickness to recognize we need a Savior. This is what Jesus meant when he said in and 32, 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” These are not things you want to do if your goal it to ruin your life! If you are going to be committed to ruining your life, you must take every opportunity to blame others for your sin.
Step 5: Once you have sinned, hide from God and try to “fix” Everything on your own (, )
(Don’t let it bother you that one of Satan’s favorite lies is convincing people that they can “fix” themselves.)
Those fig leaves represent mankind’s earliest attempt to fix the problem of sin on his own. What should we do once we have wrecked our lives? Good news: God seeks fallen creatures. “Where are you, Adam?” God hadn’t lost Adam, Adam had lost God. God knows we can’t fix ourselves. Our fig leaves don’t fool Him. He sees right through our feeble attempts to fix ourselves. God knows everything about us. He knows that best things about us and He knows the worst things about us. He knows the depths of our sinfulness better than we ever will. And yet even though He sees all our sinfulness, He chooses to love us anyway. And He proved His love for us when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. : 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God invites all who will come to trade their fig leaves for forgiveness. QUOTE: Evangelist Billy Sunday said that sinners can’t find God for the same reason criminals can’t find policeman: they aren’t looking!
TRUTH CHECK: Recognize Christ as the King who’s sacrificial death on the cross can make your life new.
Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation (). The Bible makes it clear that God is offering forgiveness and eternal life to every sinner and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. ()
WARNING: God desires to save your soul and cleanse your life. The danger in coming to Christ is that God wants to forgive your sins, give you eternal life in Heaven, and enable you to live a life of Christ-centered purpose here on earth (See ). God wants to save us from self-destruction!
INVITATION: RECALL NOTICE vs. Toyota Recall Notice…
How foolish for me to continue driving my car without getting the recalls fixed. How sad and unfortunate it will be if something does happen to my car while I am driving it and my life or someone else’s life is injured because of my lack of response. What about you today? Have you responded to the Creator’s recall notice upon your life? Many of you here today already have a saving relationship with Christ: “How long it has been since you’ve been drawn near to the Lord for a tune up?”
STICKY STATEMENT: God offers to save us from sinful self-destruction.
The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.
This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed “Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality,” or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.
Some of the symptoms include: 1) Loss of direction; 2) Foul vocal emissions; 3) Amnesia of origin; 4) Lack of peace and joy; 5) Selfish or violent behavior; 6) Depression or confusion in the mental component; 7) Fearfulness; 8) Idolatry; 9) Rebellion
The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect.
The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.
The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R. Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component.
No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it with: 1) Love; 2) Joy; 3) Peace; 4) Patience; 5) Kindness; 6) Goodness; 7) Faithfulness; 8) Gentleness; 9) Self-control
Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Believers’ Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.
WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Jesus.
DANGER: The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention!
P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by “Knee mail.”
: 5 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.