Sun, Jul 29, 2007

SIN AND THE SAVIOR! GENESIS 3:1-7, 15, 21

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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SIN AND THE SAVIOR!
GENESIS 3:1-7, 15, 21
 

            Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Genesis chapter 3 as we look at SIN AND THE SAVIOR!  As we have seen in our study of Genesis so far, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and all life upon it. Everything was very good.  God also created Adam and Eve and placed them in this beautiful garden to live in and to fellowship with God in.  They walked together with God in this garden.

            All the beautiful birds, animals, sea life, plants, trees were there for them to enjoy, except for one. God warned Adam to stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, not to eat from it.  Everything else was there for them to enjoy except for this one tree. Now that may seem kind of strange, that God was setting them up for disaster, but not so. You see, there was a reason that God placed this tree of temptation in the garden.  I believe it gave them a choice, to obey the Lord or reject what the Lord said to them. You see, without a choice there really is no love but now they had a choice and based on their action it would show if they loved the Lord or not.

            That is where we will pick-up our study in Genesis chapter 3 as Satan tempts and deceives Eve to believe his lies.  Now, before we get to our text this morning, let me share with you this story that will help set the stage for our study this morning. We are told:

            Iron Eyes Cody is a native American actor who once did a TV spot for the Keep America Beautiful campaign. He was an Indian drifting alone in a canoe. As he saw how our waters are being polluted, a single tear rolled down his cheek, telling the whole story. This powerful public service commercial still shows up on TV screens after 17 years. In 1988 Cody repeated an old Indian legend in Guideposts magazine. Here it is:

            Many years ago, Indian youths would go away in solitude to prepare for manhood. One such youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, bright with flowers. There he fasted. But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow. I will test myself against the mountain, he thought. He put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak. When he reached the top he stood on the rim of the world he could see forever, and his heart swelled with pride.

            Then he heard a rustle at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake. Before he could move, the snake spoke. “I am about to die,” said the snake.  “It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing. There is no food and I am starving. Put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.” “No,” said the youth. “I am forewarned. I know your kind. You are a rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you will bite, and your bite will kill me.” “Not so,” said the snake. “I will treat you differently. If you do this for me, you will be special. I will not harm you.” The youth resisted for a while, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings. At last the youth tucked it under his shirt and carried it down to the valley.  There he laid it gently on the grass, when suddenly the snake coiled, rattled, and leapt, biting him on the leg. “But you promised . . .” cried the youth.

            “You knew what I was when you picked me up.” Said the snake as it slithered away.”

- Bits and Pieces, June 1990, pp. 5-7

            May we learn the lesson and turn from sin to the Savior.  May we use the wisdom God has given us and apply the truths of God found in the Word of God to our lives so that we may not be deceived. Temptation will always be there in this life, it is how we respond to it that really matters!  With that said, let’s begin reading in Genesis chapter 3, starting in verse 1 and see what the Lord has for us this morning.

GENESIS 3:1-7, 15, 21

            In this section I think it can be broken down in two different ways. First we are going to look at the Fall of Man with some of the consequences of his rebellion against God. And then we will look at the Remedy for Sin, to this missing the mark of perfection before God. Both are important points from which we can learn and grow from.

            First of all, before we look at these two points, the serpent spoken of here is the Devil, it is Satan who rebelled against God and took 1/3 of the angels with him. Yes, he possessed this creature known as a serpent, but with 100% confidence, this is Satan speaking here.  If you don’t believe me, listen to what John tells us in Revelation 12:9, So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. It is not speculation, it is the Devil!

1.  THE FALL OF MAN – GENESIS 3:1-7

            Like God warned Adam, He warns us of not partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He warns us of these various trees of temptation that are out there that only want to bring us death and destruction. God is not some kind of cosmic killjoy ruining all our fun but He is our heavenly Father that knows what is best for our lives and thus, He warns us of the dangers that are out there because He loves us and wants what is best for our livers, even though we might not see it that way!

            In verses 1-5 of Genesis chapter 3 we see three ways the Devil tempts us so that we will fall prey to his schemes and rebel against God. And please keep in mind that Eve thought she was doing good, she just didn’t listen to what God said and listened to the lies of the Devil and went by her feelings, and she was deceived.  That is what Paul tells us in II Corinthians 11:3, But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 

            Here is what Satan does and he hasn’t changed his ways in some 6,000 years!  He still uses these schemes, these devices because they still work, so why change? People fall prey to these lies as he gets them to: DOUBT GOD’S WORDDOUBT GOD’S JUDGMENT, andDOUBT GOD’S LOVE. Let’s look at these a little closer so we can learn the lesson and not fall prey to his devices!

            A.  DOUBT GOD’S WORD – GENESIS 3:1

            This is a problem that has gone on since the Garden of Eden and the fall of man, doubting God’s Word.  The Devil told a partial truth but mixed it with just a little lie and that lie would bring death and destruction to Eve. You see, God did tell Adam, who told Eve that they could partake of 99.9% of all the trees in the garden, but that one tree was off limits.  So Satan’s lie is only 0.1% you might say, he spoke 99.9% truth.  Do you see how deceptive he is? Satan will flood you with truth to believe one lie!

            And today we not only see the unsaved doubt and challenge God’s Word, but now the church is doing the same. They pick and choose what they like and what they don’t like to justify their sin. And look at the church and the bondage that many are in.  Now some of you may challenge me on that one but go into the Christian bookstores today and see the self-help books that are on the shelves.  Why are there so many?  Because we doubt God’s Word, we get ourselves into trouble and then we want a quick fix to resolve the situation.  Folks, that is not how it works. You are not sufficient to do this but our sufficiency is in Christ. We do not need self-help books, but the Word of God that is able to build us up and help us! We need the Lord!

            Let me give you an example of how God’s Word can help us.  After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He fasted for forty days and forty nights and he was hungry. It is then that Satan came at Him to tempt Him. He first offered Jesus bread, that He should turn those rocks into bread and satisfy His body appetite; after all, He was hungry!  And Jesus responded back, “ . . . ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’  Matthew 4:4.  Next Satan took Him to the pinnacle of the temple and said that He should jump off and the angles will protect Him, that is what the Word of God says.  And Jesus said, “ . . . ‘It is written again, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”’ Matthew 4:7. Lastly, Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, with one catch. That He would have to bow down and worship Satan. In other words, Satan was telling Jesus that He can have it all now, He didn’t have to wait, He didn’t have to go to the cross!  And Jesus responded by saying, “ . . . ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’”  Matthew 4:10.

            How did Jesus overcome these temptations that Satan was putting before Him?  But using the Word of God, believing it and applying it to His life and that is an example for us, to follow what He is showing us and use the Word of God to dispel the lies of the Devil!

            You see, God’s Word will set you free from the bondage of sin, from the lies of the Devil. Once Satan gets us to doubt God’s Word we are on a slippery slope ready to fall! God’s Word is PURE – Psalm 19:8, it is RESTRAINING – Psalm 119:11, it is PERFECT – Psalm 19:7, it is SURE – Psalm 111:7-8, it is TRUTH – Psalm 119:142, 151, 160, it isENDURING – Isaiah 40:8, it is EFFECTIVE – Isaiah 55:11, it is SANCTIFYING – Ephesians 5:26, it is HARMONIOUS – Acts 15:15, it is INSPIRED – II Peter 1:21, it isLIVING AND ACTIVE – Hebrews 4:12.

            God has given to us that which is good, that which is helpful, that which is beneficial to our lives and the Devil comes along and whispers in our ears, Has God indeed said? He wants us to doubt God’s Word.  Don’t believe his lies, follow the Lord according to His Word!

            Now Eve, instead of just saying to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you!” and fleeing, she ends up having a conversation with him.  Not only that, she adds to God’s Word, And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’  Genesis 3:2-3.  That is not what God has said but she adds to God’s Word and that is a very dangerous thing to do.  You see, where does it end?  It ends in confusion and God is not the author of confusion, Satan is!  And I can’t stress that enough – God’s Word is truth – believe it and apply it to your life, do not doubt it or you are opening yourself up to be deceived!

            B.  DOUBT GOD’S JUDGMENT – GENESIS 3:4

            Here we see Satan get Eve to doubt God’s judgment for her rebellion against Him. Satan loves to do that and he uses the longsuffering of God, the grace of God to get people to doubt the judgment of God or the consequences of their sins.

            In Psalm 10:11, as David cries out to God to judge the wicked, he says of the wicked,He has said in his heart, ‘God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.’  In other words, God doesn’t see what we do, God has forgotten or He doesn’t care or He can’t do anything about it, thus, we can do as we please.  That is a lie of the Devil!

            And you can see this played out today as you see how people lives their lives, even some Christians.  They live in such a way that it is contrary to the Word of God and they not only doubt God’s Word, but the doubt God’s judgment, You will not surely die! Thus, people eat, drink and they are merry because they are comfortable in their sin, they see no consequences for their rebellion against God, and they are not prepared to meet their Maker.

            And I will tell you this, when they stand before God in their own righteousness, which are like filthy rags, as their sin is exposed before Him, they will realize their error and how they bought into this lie of the Devil that God will not judge them for their actions. Yes, in this life we will also suffer the consequences for our sins, our rebellion against God.  As Christians, God will correct us with His chastening and for those that are not saved, it may draw them to the Lord.  Also, for some Christians, their rebellion against God will cause the Lord to bring them home early. That is not to say just because someone dies young that is what God is doing, not at all.  God has a plan, and it is perfect and He will do what is right for us. The key is obeying the Lord and walking in His ways and you don’t have to worry about God’s judgment!

            C.  DOUBTING GOD’S LOVE – GENESIS 3:5

            Here we see Satan get Eve to doubt God’s love for her. That God was holding something back that was good for her.  A lie that people, even Christians buy into!  For instance, “God is love and I love my girlfriend and in God’s eyes we are married, so having sex is okay before marriage, we love each other!” First of all, if you feel that way you don’t love each other, you lust after each other! And if you did love each other you would wait till after you were married to have sexual relations. Here is the bottom line, if you are involved in this, you are committing fornication and you need to stop now!

            I realize that many see this as God ruining their fun. Folks, sex is not evil, it is not wrong within marriage. In fact, Paul makes that very point in Hebrews 13:4 as he tells us,Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.  God is not trying to be some kind of cosmic killjoy; He knows what is best and loves us that much.

            The best and really tragic story I can share with you comes out of Pastor Mike Macintosh’s church.  He had a gentlemen going to his church that was not walking with the Lord like he should have been. He was going to the bars and one night he picked up this woman and took her home with him.  When he awoke in the morning he found that she was gone. He got up and went into the bathroom and there, written on the mirror of the bathroom in lipstick were these words, “Welcome to the world of AIDS!”  God says what He means and means what He says and we need to listen and obey. You see, don’t doubt God’s love, and understand the Devil doesn’t love you; he wants to bring you down!

            And what the Devil told Eve; many believe and act as if it were true. He told Eve that if she would partake of this fruit from this tree, she would be like God! Many act that way, ignoring the true and living God and acting as if they are God, doing their own thing. And folks, this whole New Age idea of being God is not new and it is coming into the church today, people believing we are God’s.  Wrong!  We are told in Isaiah 44:6, Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.’

            So as Eve took this all in and tried to reconcile this in her mind, going by her feelings, it was a battle – truth over deception and the truth lost, she believed his lies. You see, the sin was so sugar coated that she bought into it and took a bite of it, the temptation overtook her. She saw that this food was very good – the lust of the flesh. She saw that this food was pleasant to the eyes – the lust of the eyes.  And she saw that this fruit was able to make one wise – the pride of life.  That is exactly what John tells us in I John 2:16, that is what the world tempts us with, For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.

            Now Adam, we don’t know what he was doing, he was a guy, maybe watching a football game.  Whatever he was doing he was not watching over his wife, loving her, protecting her like he should have been. He was the spiritual leader of the family. Thus, Paul tells us in I Timothy 2:14, And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

            Does that mean Eve wasn’t wrong in what she did?  Not at all, she was responsible for her actions but Adam was suppose to lead her and protect her and he didn’t. And thus, sin came through Adam and infected the human race.  Paul tells us this in Romans 5:12,Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.  And in      I Corinthians 15:22 he tells us, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  All have this sin nature from Adam, inherited sin and they also have acquired sin, we all sin.

            Sin does permeate the lives of people, and it begins in the heart. Let me explain it like this.

            How does a worm get inside an apple?  Perhaps you think the worm burrows in from the outside. No, scientists have discovered that the worm comes from inside.  But how does he get in there? Simple! An insect lays an egg in the apple blossom. Sometime later, the worm hatches in the heart of the apple, then eats his way out. Sin, like the worm, begins in the heart and works out through a person’s thoughts, words, and actions.

                                                                                   - Heaven and Home Hour Radio Bulletin

           As soon as they sinned, the age of innocence was over for them and they saw each other’s nakedness. No longer were they clothed in the light of God but sin separated that relationship.  Look at our society today, that age of innocence is becoming younger and younger. We have kids that are involved in adult activities. We see little girls dressed like they are 20!  The language that they are speaking, the things they are doing. When I was a kid, and it was not that long ago, I still believe I lived in an age of innocence. That has truly changed. But the reality is, the age of innocence was lost in the Garden of Eden when Adam sinned!

            Now in seeing their nakedness, that their lives were open before God, they sewed fig leaves together and hid themselves. Not a great choice of material to use but maybe they thought that being uncomfortable, their itching would atone for their sins.  Folks, that too has not changed in 6,000 years.  Man still tries to work his way into heaven by being good, by causing affliction upon himself, by living a life of poverty, by bring suffering upon themselves and then thinking God is well pleased with these fig leaves! He is not. Let me explain:

            One of Satan’s most effective tactics down through the ages has been deception. He is a master at making things appear what they are not. A mixture of truth and error seems to serve his purposes much better than total error.

            Donald Grey Barnhouse illustrated this forcefully with the following story: “Duveen, the famous English art connoisseur, took his little daughter to the beach one day, but could not get her to go into the chilly water.  After persuasion failed, he borrowed a teakettle, built a fire, and heated a little water until it steamed beautifully. With much flourish, he poured it into the ocean. Greatly impressed, his daughter went in without murmur.” Barnhouse then made this application: Satan “dilutes an ocean of unbelief with a steaming teakettle of Christian ethics, and people go wading, self- satisfied, but unaware that they are bathing in unbelief.”

            The adversary is delighted when a person turns over a new leaf or engages in good works, just as long as he continues to reject the provision of God’s grace in salvation. Somehow the sinner completely ignores the fatal error of not trusting Christ because his life has been tempered with a teakettle of wholesome resolves.

            Our Lord’s words are very clear: “ . . . he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). Don’t be deceived by Satan’s clever ploy. You cannot dilute an ocean of cold unbelief with a little warm water of religiosity or good human endeavor.

                                                                                                                   - Source Unknown

            You see, if the Devil can confuse you about salvation, he has won! He doesn’t want you to be saved but sentenced to the Lake of Fire with him for eternity. He knows He can’t win and thus, he is going to try and take as many with him as he can. Thus, sin entered the world through Adam and is passed on to all mankind.  When Adam sinned his spirit immediately died, breaking his fellowship with God and now being controlled by his bodily appetites. His body began to wear down, slowly and over time it would now go back to the dust of the earth. That too has affected all of mankind.  But God does not leave us in that condition. You see, He gives us the remedy for sin, which is our second point this morning.

2.  THE REMEDY FOR SIN – GENESIS 3:15, 21

            The remedy for sin is not fig leaves or man’s efforts to accomplish some kind of atonement before God.  In fact, Paul tells us in Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the [free] gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  You see, the wages of sin is death or payment for our sin, and we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. The death spoken of here is eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire.  That is God’s judgment for your sin and it is fair, it is right, it is your payment for your rebellion!

            But, like I said, God does not leave us like this but He has provided a way out for us so our fellowship with God can be restored and we can enter into eternity with Him. In Genesis 3:15 I see the Lord speak of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Think about this for a minute. God created the heavens and the earth in 6 literal days and all life upon this planet. Everything was very good, but only for a page or two in our Bibles.  You see, then Adam sinned and thus, from Genesis chapter 3 on through Revelation chapter 22 we see God fixing that which man destroyed, that broken fellowship with God. It is a love story of God showing how much He loves us and was willing to pay the penalty for our sin so we can enjoy that fellowship with Him once again.

            You see, Satan will bruise the heel of the seed of the woman, Jesus Christ. Interestingly enough, it is man who carries the seed and thus, this may be a hint at the virgin birth of the Messiah. This bruising of His heel is not a deathblow, obviously, even though Jesus was crucified, He rose on the third day from the grave, conquering death! But Jesus will bruise the head of Satan, a deathblow you might say.  Ultimately he will be cast into the Lake of Fire and spend eternity there with all those who have rejected Jesus. It is a place that is called outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth!

            Now how do I know from Genesis that God will not accept a works salvation? Simple, look at Genesis 3:21 again. We are told, Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.  God did not even acknowledge the fig leaves they were wearing. He did not say to Adam, “He Adam, nice fig leaves. Eve did a great job. If she has some time can she make me some?”  No, instead He took a lamb, I believe, and made them tunics from the skin of this animal to wear.  “Big deal!” you might say. It is! You see, prior to Adam’s sin there was no death, they never saw animals die and now, right before their eyes God takes this little lamb and kills it so they can be covered by this skin.  Every time they moved, every time they looked at each other, they saw the result of their sin.

            Paul tells us in Hebrews 9:22, And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. In other words, the death of the innocent is needed to pay for the sins of the guilty. And keep in mind that the temple sacrifices could never take away a person’s sins; they only covered them for a time, until the next sin.  Animal sacrifices were made every evening and morning in the temple plus all the other sacrifices that were made and they increased tremendously during the feast days. Paul goes on to say in Hebrews chapter 9, starting in verse 24, For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another —  He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.  Hebrews 9:24-28.

            You see, Jesus is the Lamb of God, that perfect sacrifice that came to take away the sins of the world.  He was crucified on the feast of Passover as the Passover lambs were slain, the perfect sacrifice was also slain.   Peter tells us in I Peter 1:19, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.  And in I Peter 3:18 he tells us, For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.

            It is through the shed blood of Christ that we are cleansed as white as snow, that our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west to be remembered no more. Now people want to add to the finished work of Christ with their good works.  Think about that. Look at the finished work of the David by Michael Angelo.  It is a masterpiece. What if I tried to add to it and I started to paint it, chisel a little marble away here and there, put a mustache on him, maybe a ring in his ear, would that make this piece of art better? Of course not, it would cheapen it, it would ruin it, it would destroy it.  Thus, why do we think we can add to the finished work of Christ and make it better? Folks, we can’t!

            Listen carefully to what Paul tells us in Hebrews 10:11-12, And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.  Jesus sat down because the work was finished, the sacrifice was complete!  What the priest could never do in the temple, sit down because the work was never finished, the work of sacrifice, Jesus did sit down because He is the perfect sacrifice and because of the finished work He has done for us, we can have full assurance of our salvation because it is based on His finished work and not mine!

            As I bring this study to a close this morning, keep in mind that all of humanity are sinners separated from God, there is not one good, no not one! But God stepped in and reached down to sinful man, pulling us out of the mire of sin we were drowning in and placing our feet upon the Rock, Jesus Christ. He restored our fellowship with God and that fellowship is restored through Jesus Christ.  Thus, we can have assurance of our salvation because, like I said, it is based upon His finished work and not ours.

            If you don’t know the Lord this morning, if Jesus is not Lord and Savior of your life, then you are still dead in your sins. The remedy for that is to receive Jesus into your life. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to not only be your Savior but to be your Lord also and as soon as you do, you are saved, you are a child of God, all of yours sins have been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ!

            And for all of us, don’t listen to the lies of the Devil.  Don’t doubt God’s Word, don’t doubt God’s judgment and don’t doubt God’s love for you. Believe God’s Word and apply it to your life and you will do well. There are many trees of temptation out there that the enemy wants us to partake of and he will say whatever it takes to get us to take a bite of that fruit. Walk in fellowship with God and grow in the grace and knowledge of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who has come to take away the sins of the world!

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