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New Beginnings Part 5

Genesis  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We have spent the last several weeks talking about who God is and why He created.
We’ve seen some characteristics that must be true about God before time even began, we saw Him create all things by speaking them into existence. We saw a close up of His crowning jewel of creation, man.
And last week we discussed the intention of marriage designed by God. 
We have seen up to this point, perfection.
God creates and claims that it is good. Last week we saw that it was not good for man to be alone but God gave Adam the perfect solution in Eve.
Up to this point in the text everything is perfect. Adam and Eve are essentially living in heaven on earth. 
Now if we were unfamiliar with the Genesis story and we were to stop here we could look at Genesis 1&2 and then look at our world today and it would cause us to think something had to have happened.
There has to be a major shift to be able to go from perfection, paradise, all things good in the garden to now chaos, killing, drugs, poverty, etc. etc.
The text we will cover over the next couple of weeks will explain just that.
What exactly happened and today we will focus on specifically why.
The reality is, we could spend a whole year talking about this passage and the implications of it and how the rest of Scripture ties into it.
How this leads us to the cross and immediately points us to the need of Jesus.
So my goal here is to not get tied down into one particular thing or place.
We talked the first week about how we come to Genesis often looking for answers that Genesis isn’t concerned with providing.
There’s again, a lot of questions that rise from this text that Genesis isn’t worried about answering. So, instead of trying to come at Genesis 3 from every angle and view and attempt to answer every question we are going to discuss some of the big things we see and the implications of those things in our lives. 
Now, questions aren’t bad. Using the whole of Scripture to answer specific questions to understand God better is a biblical, Godly, healthy thing to do but we just don’t have the time to cover it all in 40 min on a Sunday.
What I will encourage you to do is write questions down. Take them to your group to discuss and dive into. If you have specific questions about some of the stuff we’ve covered or will cover then write them in your connection card at and we will do our best to answer them.
So, our focus will be: what is Genesis saying and why is it important?
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’?”
Immediately there are all sorts of questions that could be asked.
Where did the serpent come from? How did it gain access to paradise? How could it talk? Why weren’t Adam and Eve seemingly surprised that it could talk? Could all animals talk before the fall? 
Like I said, we could try to answer a ton of questions but the truth is there are some things that we do know and there are some things we just don’t know with any type of certainty. 
We can conclude from Revelation 12:9 where Satan is referred to as “that ancient serpent” that the serpent is probably the devil or at the very least a representation of him. 
Revelation 12:9 NIV
9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
So far in our text leading up to this point, we’ve seen how God works.
We’ve seen His intention for us through creation, marriage, His design for us to dwell and rest in Him.
Now the story is going to shift and it’s going to show us how the enemy works and how and why we fall into sin over and over again.

Big Idea: Chasing temptation will take you further and hold you longer than you would ever dream

If we are called to spiritual warfare, it would be wise to know the tactics of the enemy.
So let’s look at how the enemy deceives and tempts Adam and Eve into sin so that we may learn what to look for and how to guard against it in our own lives.

First we will see that temptation to sin is often subtle.

I think it’s clear that both Adam and Eve were not expecting the day to go as it does.
I don’t think they woke up saying “I think a serpent is going to trick me into sinning against God which will then affect billions of people for thousands of years.”
Adam and Eve were just spending another day in paradise. But then Eve spots the serpent. It’s a beautiful creation. It’s voice is captivating.
The serpent was truly cunning in its approach but temptation typically is.
It typically comes when we least expect it.
Here is the warning: When everything is going well in your life, beware!
We tend to think that the enemy attacks us when we are down on our luck and sometimes it does happen that way. But we are just as likely, or perhaps even more likely, to be tempted when things are going well.
When we think that life is good, job is good, marriage is good, finances are good, my family's health is good. When everything in life seems to be good, be ready! Because most often when things are good we put our guard down.
We slip into easing off of our time with the Lord because, well, we don't really need Him like we do when life is out of control.
Or we slowly stop coming to church or engaging with other believers to be challenged, sharpened, and cared for because everything is all good.
Temptation is often subtle and unexpected. 
Genesis 3:1–3 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.’ ”

Temptation will shift your theology. 

Now I dont think that while we are being tempted we often thing about our theology. But, whether we think of it this way or not, it’s true.
The serpent is going to begin to play a game with Eve. He’s going to ask a question in a way that will cause Eve to think about where her understanding of God lies.
Really it boils down to: How well does Eve know the Word of God?
And I would ask you the same.
We see that Eve knows the Word of God pretty well. But not well enough. She knows the general but is hazy on the details. So the serpent is going to attack on her lack of specific knowledge.
He says “Did God really say?” Did he really? Are you sure?
And so temptation is going to cause us, like it does Eve, to question what we know about God.
In her response Eve makes 3 mistakes.
#1 she downplays the permission. God says in Gen 2:16 that they could eat from ANY tree in the garden. Eve responds with “we can eat from the trees.”
Now it’s subtle, but once again, temptation is. She lessens the permission God gives her. She takes all the blessings God had given her and belittles them.
#2 she adds to the prohibition.
God forbids them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but Eve adds “and you must not touch it.” She adds to God’s prohibition.
3 She downplays the judgement she would receive if she disobeys.
God had said, “You will surely die” but Eve says “you will die.”
Once again, it’s subtle but it’s monumental in how she views God and her sin. 
Essentially this is what Eve does in the conversation with the serpent that leads to her sin and the Fall of all humanity.

She downplays the goodness of God, she oversells His restrictiveness, and she minimizes the consequences of her disobedience. 

If this is how the enemy attacked Eve then this is the watch-out for us when it comes to our theology of God.
#1 We will easily fall into sin if we do not think that God is for our good and after our joy.
If God is just some cosmic killjoy who is after our suffering for what we did then why would we listen to the things he tells us not to do?
But if God is truly good and he is for us, not against us and he is after us having joy, rest, and peace in Him then all that He says must line up with that. 
#2. We will easily fall into sin if we believe that all God is, is restrictive.
A set of do’s and don’ts. So when God says not to do something or to do something, we must consider that even if we don’t completely understand why we can’t or should do it, that it must be for our good because He is good. And it must be because He loves us because God is love.
#3 We will easily fall into sin if we think that our sin is minimal.
The serpent immediately attacks the doctrine of God’s judgement and begins to cause Eve to doubt it.
Why does he attack this doctrine? Why doesn’t he just attack God's existence all together? Why doesn’t he attack the deity of Christ or God being trinity?
Because, if you are convinced that you can get away with sin, sooner or later you’re going to do it.
If you think that no one will know, no one will notice, no one will ever call you to account for your actions, you’ll eventually give in. Why not commit adultery if you think you can get away with it? Why not steal or kill or sleep around? If there are no consequences for sin, there is no reason not to indulge in your wildest desires.
So we must always see the goodness of God, always view his prohibitions as His love, and always feel the weight of our sin.
When we begin to do anything other than that then we are primed for sin.
Genesis 3:4–6 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.” 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.

Temptation will cause doubt and will heighten your desire.

Now we see that the serpent openly and directly denies what God said.
In the Hebrew this reads, “Not, surely you will die.”
The serpent takes the very phrase of God and puts “not” in front of it.
Which means that, the serpent actually knew the word of God better than Eve did.
So, you better know your Bible before you start going to war with the devil. 
The serpent implies that God is holding something back from Eve that would make her more happy. He says “You will be like God.” I mean who doesn’t want that? The serpents’ words were designed to make Eve feel deprived and cheated by God. He begins to maker her doubt.
1 John 2:15–16 NIV
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
Her response reveals how clever the enemy really is. He has her on 3 different levels. He has heightened her desire to sin.
It says that she saw that the fruit was “good for food”. (Lust of the flesh)
It was pleasing to the eye. (Lust of the eyes)
desirable for gaining wisdom. (The pride of life)
Here is what we see.
The serpent has Eve right where he wants her before she ever even commits a sin.
When we start meddling with “forbidden fruit” we are already in trouble.
You’ve committed sin in your heart long before you’ve taken that first bite.
If you don’t want to get trapped, don’t stop to inspect the fruit. Don’t spend time thinking about how nice it would be, how good it would feel, or how much you deserve it.
What happens is we begin to fall into a game of self-pity.
We play this game in a lot of different ways. We’ll say things like “I know that God says not to have sex outside of marriage, but I really love him and God wants me to be happy.” “I know God says to abstain from sexual impurity but I want to look at this because it makes me feel good.” “I know God says stealing is wrong but I’m in need and God doesn’t want me to be in need.” “I know God says not to lie but telling the truth is difficult and God doesn't want my life to be difficult.”
And on and on we go. Coming up with one rationalization after another.
When we start saying “ I know God are on the verge of making a terrible mistake.
We can always justify our disobedience if we try hard enough. 
And so we see Eve eat the fruit and it says “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Now Adam finally makes his way onto the scene. But where has he been? It says he was with her so it’s as if he was there the whole time. But there in the background. Taking a back seat in a scene he should have been leading. 
Now, we can get into, well Eve ate first so she’s to blame? Or was it Adam for not stepping in when he should have?
Was it Eve for being deceived? 1 Tim 2:14 will tell us that it was Eve who was deceived. But that means that Adam flat out knew it was wrong and still did it?
I don’t think Genesis is too concerned with who sinned first and who is to blame. I think it safe to say that they both sinned. They both disobeyed and didn’t live up to God’s good intention for their lives. 
It’s also probably of importance to realize that Eve was not there when God commanded Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
We would assume that Eve heard it from Adam
So was Eve really misusing the Word of God to the Serpent or did Adam not convey it properly?
The text doesn’t tell us and so I think it’s silly to get tied up in who did what, when, and who is most responsible when we see that they are both held responsible by God and they both bring judgement to the world.

Let’s talk some takeaways and reminders from this passage:

Remember in Genesis 2:15 that God commanded Adam and Eve to care for the garden or guard it.
When the serpent started to question the Word of God Adam and Eve’s immediate response should have been to drive the serpent out of the garden.
They were called to protect it and they failed to do that.
Believers: Don’t let your guard down! We are called to protect the world around us. Protect our spouses, our families, our church. Don’t allow the enemy to have a place. Don’t flirt with temptation.
If you’re going to be good at spiritual warfare (which we are all called to) you better know the Word of God.
It’s a lack of knowledge on the specifics of the Word of God that leads Eve to disobey God.
We must drench ourselves in the Word to be able to fight the attacks of the enemy. It is our sword.
It should become 2nd nature that when we feel tempted, when we feel doubt, when we feel anxious that our attack against that is to begin to search our hearts for the Word of God to fight against the enemy.
Don’t become isolated in your attempt to fight temptation.
Where was Adam in all of this. He might have been present but he wasn’t contributing.
I was watching an elephant show the other day. The lions try to isolate the babies.
Find some people who you can place around you to go to spiritual war with.
Don’t try to fight all of your temptations alone. Surround yourself with godly, biblically literate people.
Don’t talk to temptation. Don’t flirt with temptation. Don’t even mess around with something that leads to sin. We run, we flee from it, resist it, fight against it. 
The last thing we see from temptation is that temptation leads to sin and the result of sin is always catastrophic.
This is what we will discuss next week. The result of our sin but the remedy that we have in Jesus.
As Adam is the “head” of the marriage he is also the “federal head” meaning that through Adam sin entered the world. So when we enter the world we enter it as sinners. So next week we will talk about the consequences of sin.
But it’s important to note this morning that the original sin is the continual sin.
When we fall into temptation and sin what we are saying is that I am a better god than God himself. (Give space to think)
When we choose to do something God forbids than we are saying no this is better for me and I know that because I’m a better god.
When we say that if God was good there wouldn’t be any famine or disease or wars, what we are saying is that I would be a better god.
When Adam and Eve took of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were given a power that they were never designed to have. The power to choose what is good and what is evil.
You would make a terrible god!
Take Away: God is the only perfect god.
Andrew Farley - “when you are in conflict with God, you are wrong.”
I don’t know where everyone is at in this room.
I don’t know your struggles, I dont know your temptations
I don’t know what you’re hiding
I don’t know what you’ve done in your past
What I do know is that there is a God in heaven that is perfect
And even though we may be sinners who have fallen into temptation more times than we want to admit we have a Father who continues to love us
A father in heaven who has grace and mercy for us
A father in heaven who still chases after us and still accepts us how we are
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