#1 (THE "TEMPTATION" SERIES)
"TEMPTATION TO GO OWN WAY!"
TEXT: Gen. 2:25-3:24
The world scoffs at the Christian message about sin and the fall of man in the persons of Adam and Eve. Their attitude is: "So what is the big deal over eating an apple?" What they don't understand is the effect of that one act of disobedience. Temptation and sin are no minor problems, and it is not a laughing matter!
ILLUS: IN 1868 A FRENCHMAN IMPORTED A FEW GYPSY MOTHS TO THIS COUNTRY TO CROSSBREED THEM WITH SILK WORMS. ONE NIGHT A FEW OF THEM ESCAPED FROM THE CAGE AT HIS HOME IN MELROSE, MASS. HE WAS TERRIFIED AND QUICKLY NOTIFIED HIS NEIGHBORS FOR HELP, BUT THEY LAUGHED AT HIM FOR MAKING SUCH A BIG DEAL OUT OF A FEW SMALL MOTHS! 20 YEARS LATER EVERY BIT OF GREEN FOLIAGE FOR MILES AROUND MELROSE WAS DEVOURED, AND TODAY WE SPEND IN EXCESS OF $75,000,000 EVERY YEAR JUST TO KEEP THE GYPSY MOTH UNDER CONTROL IN NEW ENGLAND! WHAT SEEMED SMALL AT THE MOMENT HAS SHOWN JUST HOW REALLY DEVASTATING A DECISION CAN BE LATER! -- SUCH WAS ADAM AND EVE'S SIN! – Source Unknown
The greatest temptation and the easiest to fall into is the temptation to go our own way in life! It was this temptation that led to the fall of man in the beginning ... and it is still the greatest temptation that many yield to.
PROP. SENT: The Bible will teach us that we must be careful not to yield to the temptation to go our own way, to think that we can do just fine without God!
I. DOUBTING GOD'S WORD! 2:25-3:3
1. Notice that this verse states that "Adam and Eve were both naked and they felt no shame." (NIV)
a. There was no sense of evil, no shame ... they were in perfect harmony with God and each other ... no sin!
b. There were no questions at this point about God's Word ... they accepted His Word without question; they walked in perfect obedience to God's Word.
c. No wonder David so often talked about how wonderful it was to those who loved God's Word, there is security in His Word.
2. They had nothing to “hide” so to speak, nakedness was not a problem for there was no sinful nature to deal with.
3. They felt quite safe and secure in God's Word ... no doubts ... YET!
ILLUS: A MAN WAS ATTEMPTING ONE NIGHT TO CROSS A WIDE FROZEN RIVER THOUGH OTHERS HAD ASSURED HIM HE COULD JUST SIMPLY WALK OVER WITH EASE. HE COULD HAVE TAKEN THEIR WORD ON IT BUT HE WAS DOUBTFUL ABOUT THEIR WORD! WHEN HE BEGAN, OUT OF SIGHT OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAD GIVEN THEIR WORD, HE DROPPED TO HIS STOMACH AND BEGAN THE LONG SLOW CRAWL OVER THE ICE. HE WAS NERVOUS THE WHOLE TIME FOR A CRACK TO BEGIN AND FOR HIS LIFE TO SINK INTO THE FROZEN WATERS. IT DIDN'T MATTER THAT THE NATIVES HAD GIVEN THEIR WORD THAT IT WAS MORE THAN SAFE, HE HAD HIS DOUBTS ... AFTER A LONG SLOW CRAWL ON HIS BELLY AS HE WAS NEARING THE MIDDLE OF THE RIVER HE HEARD A SICKENING SOUND ... IT WAS LOUD AND SOMEWHAT IN THE DISTANCE COMING TOWARD HIM. HE NEARLY PANICKED AND NOW FELT HIS DOUBTS WERE CERTAINLY JUSTIFIED. COLD, FROZEN AND FEARFUL HE LOOKED UP AND LOW AND BEHOLD COMING TOWARD HIM WAS A HEAVY TEAM OF HORSES PULLING A LOAD OF PIG IRON. IT WAS MAKING ITS REGULAR CROSSING AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR WHEN THE RIVER WAS SO FROZEN THAT IT COULD SUPPORT A TRAIN IF NECESSARY! NOW HE FELT STUPID ON HIS STOMACH CRAWLING SLOWLY OVER THE ICE AS THE TEAM OF HORSE AND THE WAGON OF PIG IRON PASSED HIM BY! HIS DOUBTS HAD KEPT HIM FROM MAKING PROGRESS LIKE HE COULD HAVE. HE COULD HAVE BEEN ACROSS ALREADY EASILY AND WITHOUT GETTING FROZEN IN THE PROCESS, BUT HE DOUBTED THEIR WORD! DOUBT HAD CERTAINLY SLOWED HIM DONE! – Source Unknown
4. Without doubting they were secure and free, but this would soon change as Satan plants a little seed of doubt!
a. Sin always begins with doubt about God's Word!
b. Doubt then flows into disobedience!
B. Suspicion 3:1-3
1. Of all the creatures, the serpent was quite crafty. Satan employs his nature to get Eve!
a. This is always the way Satan works, he uses and exploits other’s, he uses their qualities and twists things to his own ends!
b. Satan’s ploy is to create doubt about what God said!
c. This is still the way he works in the world today.
2. It should be no surprise to us that unbelievers doubt the validity of God's Word, this is what keeps them from having to confess their sinfulness.
a. If they really believed the Word of God they would be faced with the reality that they are sinners and lost without Christ!
b. They would be faced with the need to confess Christ and get saved!
c. It is doubt that keeps them from acting on God's Word!
3. Satan throws suspicion into the mind of Eve about what God’s Word!
a. And notice that it seems to be working too!
b. Notice also that Eve adds something here to God's Word, she adds, "... and you must not touch it...” but God hadn't said that, only that she shouldn’t eat it!
c. Is it possible that her addition about touching it indicated that she had been hanging around that particular tree!?
4. Her statement indicated that the doubt Satan was trying to plant was working:
a. She was playing with the temptation if she was even thinking about touching it, but wasn’t planning on eating it!
b. How many times have people gotten themselves in trouble by "playing" with temptation!?
ILLUS: A BOY NAMED BOB WAS TOLD ONE DAY BY HIS MOTHER NOT TO GO IN SWIMMING IN A NEARBY POND. SHE TOLD HIM NOT TO GIVE IN TO THE TEMPTATION AS HE WALKED BY IT ON HIS WAY TO THE BALL PARK. HE ASSURED HER THAT HE WOULDN'T GIVE IN TO TEMPTATION. HOWEVER, LATER HIS MOM DISCOVERED HE HAD DISOBEYED AND IN TALKING WITH HIM FIGURED OUT WHY? BOB SAID HE TOOK HIS SWIMMING TRUNKS WITH HIM JUST IN CASE HE HAD TO GIVE INTO TEMPTATION, BUT HE INTENDED ALL ALONG NOT TO GIVE IN! HOW MANY DO THIS TODAY? THEY INTEND TO FIGHT CERTAIN TEMPTATIONS … BUT THEN THEY PUT THEMSELVES RIGHT NEAR OR IN THE SITUATIONS THAT OFFER THEIR TEMPTATION A WAY TO BE FILLED!? – Source Unknown
5. Once the doubts were in place the next logical step … DISOBEDIENCE!
II. DISOBEYING GOD'S WORD 3:4-20
A. Seduction! 3:4-5
1. Now comes the next stage of temptation, from doubt about God’s Word to outright rejection of God’s Word!
a. Satan now offers an outright lie, mixed with some truth!
(1. “You will not die” (The lie!)
(2. “You will know good from evil.” (The truth)
b. Satan has always been good at mixing truth with lies; this is what makes people fall for his ways! (This is what happens in cults)
c. Satan has seduced this world into thinking that they can solve their own sinful nature problems, without Christ of course!
2. Satan tries to make disobeying God look beneficial, they will be so much wiser and much more independent without God! This is the same tactic he uses with the world still!
a. Satan was claiming God lied to them; it was therefore their choice who now to believe!
b. Tell people you believe God's Word and see the response you get!
3. Satan knows that should they choose to not believe God's Word he has them right where he wants them!
4. Satan makes their disobedience look attractive. He tells them how much they will come to know good and evil, just like God!
a. He makes the goal attractive and positive sounding!
b. He still does the same today with temptation to sin.
ILLUS: DURING THE MIDDLE AGES WHEN THE APOSTATE CHURCH WAS PERSECUTING THE REAL PEOPLE OF GOD, THE SPANISH INQUISITORS USED AN INSTRUMENT OF TORTURE CALLED THE "VIRGIN." IT WAS A BEAUTIFULLY FORMED STATUE OF A WOMAN DRESSED IN GORGEOUS ROBES WITH AN INVITING SMILE ON HER FACE AND HER ARMS OUTSTRETCHED TO EMBRACE YOU. INTO HER ARMS THEY WOULD LEAD THE POOR VICTIMS, AS THEY EMBRACED HER THEY WOULD SUDDENLY FEEL THE THRUST INTO THEIR BODIES OF SEVERAL DOZEN HIDDEN KNIVES! WHAT APPEARED TO BE BEAUTIFUL WAS DEADLY! THIS IS JUST THE WAY SATAN ALWAYS MAKES SIN LOOK … AND WITH THE SAME EFFECT -- DEATH! – Source Unknown
B. Self-Reliance! 3:6-7
1. Notice how Eve responds to Satan’s request to go ahead and eat, she begins rationalizing the positive side to Satan’s temptation!
a. Eve reasoned the fruit was good for food – desirable and beneficial use!
b. Eve noticed it was "pleasing to the eye" (looked good!)
c. She even saw a way to make herself better than the way God had made her. (Independence from God, to doubt that He had been good)
2. Satan was offering Eve a chance to make something of herself apart from Adam, and from God!
a. Our culture is doing the same with marriage today, instead of uniting a couple it is breeding “independence” as the way to go.
b. This was not how God had made Adam and Eve, they were not made to be independent of each other, NOR independent from God.
3. Sin is nothing more than the elevation of self!
a. This was Satan's sin at his fall!
b. He now seeks to drag others down with him, still his goal today!
c. But to do this, he must make choosing sin a good, beneficial, and appealing choice!
ILLUS: A FATHER AND SON WERE WALKING ALONG THE STREETS OF PARIS ONE NIGHT. THEY PASSED A PLACE THAT WAS BRILLIANTLY LIT; IT WAS DECORATED WITH ALL THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW. SOFT MUSIC EMANATED FROM WITHIN, AND THE FRAGRANCE OF ARABIAN SPICES FLOWED OUTWARD FROM THE OPEN WINDOWS. THE SON ASKED, “WHAT IS THAT FATHER?” THE FATHER ANSWERED, “THAT MY SON IS HELL!” THE BOY LOOKED QUITE SURPRISED AND HE ASKED HOW THIS COULD BE WITH ALL THE COLOR AND GLITTER AND GLAMOUR EMANATING FROM WITHIN? IT ALL LOOKED SO NICE; IT SMELLED SO NICE, ETC. WHAT’S MORE, THE SON POINTED OUT THAT THE SIGN OUT FRONT READ, “FREE ADMISSION!” THE FATHER SAID TO HIS SON, “IT MIGHT BE FREE TO GET IN, BUT IT WILL COST YOUR SOUL TO GET OUT!” IT MIGHT LOOK GOOD, IT MIGHT BE APPEALING, BUT WITHIN IS DEATH, MAYBE NOT IMMEDIATELY, BUT IT IS THERE. SIN IS MADE TO BE APPEALING, AND DEADLY! – Source Unknown
4. Those who sin like to take others with them, notice that Eve took the fruit and gave some to her HUSBAND WHO WAS WITH HER! 3:6b
a. It makes it easier to give in when you have someone to do it with you!
b. This is why it is important to break away from those you have learned sinful habits with, especially when we are trying to break free from certain sins!
5. Adam too buys into the "self-reliant" logic and so participates in sinning along with Eve.
6. The biggest temptation of all is SELF-RELIANCE, that we don’t need God!
a. This is the basic stance of the world today!
b. This is the trumpet blast of unbelievers.
c. It is also the thing that leads to the fall of Christians today!
7. Sure enough, part of what Satan said came true after they ate, “their eyes were opened,” and now they felt ashamed and naked!
a. They knew good and evil, but unlike God they knew it from a fallen nature and not as God who had a perfect nature. They were NOTHING like God as Satan had promised them, Satan’s lie hit full force now, they were quite the opposite of God!
b. In an attempt to hide their sense of “being exposed” (naked) they sew fig leaves together to cover their sense of shame, their attempt to regain a sense of dignity.
c. You will note however that their OWN ATTEMPT TO COVER THEIR SIN AND SHAME failed! How do we know? They still went and hid themselves from God!
d. One does not hide from God when you are “clean.”
B. Shame! 3:8-20
1. As God’s presence comes near them they run and hide.
a. This is still the reaction to God’s presence by unbelievers, why do you think they get uncomfortable in Church?
b. They feel exposed and naked; they are ashamed! This is the fruit of sin.
2. One of the first things sin brings is FEAR!
a. Hence they hide from God.
b. They are now afraid of God.
3. God however is still interested in them, this is GRACE! He asks them why they are hiding, and who told them they were naked? God was seeking them out, as He continues to do today.
a. And now we see the fallen nature and its true spirit. Adam blames his wife Eve for his terrible situation, a pattern still found in the world today – we blame others for our shortcomings and sin.
b. Actually, in a sense Adam was actually trying to BLAME GOD! Notice Adam’s statement, “The woman YOU GAVE ME did give me to eat…”
c. And of course, Eve turns around and blames the serpent!
d. The serpent says nothing. If Satan was still nearby, he must have been laughing!
4. Now God announces in reverse order the price tag for their rebellion against God, for their attempts at self-reliance. In one sense God is going to give them what they wanted and what they sought … a chance to do it on their own, and this will mean hard tough work!
a. The serpent is the first to get his punishment, he is cursed to eat dust and crawl on his belly all his days and to be at odds with humanity. Prophetically in verse 15 there is a hint however that the seed of the woman would one day crush the serpent altogether, the first real glimmer of hope for redemption for mankind.
b Eve will find bearing children a painful experience and her role to her husband will now change from a perfect equal to more of a subservient role (not less in value to God, but sin will destroy true equality in society)
c. For Adam, he will find providing a tough task ... the earth will rebel against his rulership even as he rebelled against God's rulership. Thorns and thistles will slow the production of crops and thus his needs being met!
d. Ultimately, they both will return to the dust they were made from, indeed the seed of death started the very day they ate! Their spirit died immediately the day they ate, the warning from God was that the day they ate of the fruit they would die, this is what caused the immediate sensation of being "exposed" or naked!
5. What great loss from so small an act! But it only appeared to be a “small act” … in reality it was a huge statement … to turn away from God!
a. It wasn’t the fruit that was evil; it was their act of disobedience and independence from God.
b. This is the way sin is, it is what we do … going our own way and ignoring God’s Word that always gets us into trouble.
Ill. DELIVERANCE GOD'S WAY! 3:21-24
A. Sacrifice 3:21
1. God needed to solve their problem of shame and nakedness. Their own attempts to cover their shame with the fig leaves hadn’t worked ... they were still hiding even with them on!
a. These fig leaves represented man’s best efforts at covering his own sinfulness – a failed effort both then and now!
b. God had a better covering for them, one that will at least for now cover their shame, but it involved something innocent dying! God made the first blood sacrifice in order to "put skins" on them!
(1. This is no doubt how man first discovered the principle that there must be the "shedding of blood for the remission of sin."
(2. God offered the first blood sacrifice ... and ultimately in Christ the last one too!
c. Adam and Eve witnessed the shedding of blood in order for them to be properly clothed and their shame covered, something else died for them to live!
2. This is the very basis behind Christ's sacrifice, all our "fig leaf” attempts in this world to cover our sin will prove fruitless. Our own mechanisms for covering our sins will never be good enough. We MUST be clothed upon with Christ’s righteousness; His sacrifice for our sins must be accepted. It was the shedding of His blood and the covering of His righteousness that alone covers our sins.
a. They now could approach God again after He covered them from the blood sacrifice He alone had made!
b. Jesus did this for all mankind, we must accept the “SKIN” however in order to be covered, that “SKIN” is Christ’s own righteousness, not our own.
ILLUS: IN EUROPE There is a lamb carved high up in a bell tower of a church. a visitor asked for an explanation, stating that they had seen several carved images of lambs throughout europe but never one in a bell tower. the EXPLANATION was this: years ago when the church was being built a man who was working on the tower fell from the scaffolding just when they WERE placing a rock in the tower. after his fall, the workers all rushed to the GROUND to see if he was still alive and to their amazement they found him just fine! He had fallen into a flock of sheep below and had landed on a lamb which had absorbed the fall for him LEAVING HIM fine and unhurt, however, the lamb was dead. That lamb had saved his life at the cost of its own, exactly what the “lamb of god” (Jesus) had done for us. So they carved the rock into a lamb to remind them of the saving work of christ! – Source Unknown
B. Safety 3:22-24
1. Now, God in an act of mercy drives Adam and Eve from the garden, WHY?
a. This was not an act of punishment as much as it was an act of mercy and love … for in the garden was another tree called the “tree of life,” and if they ate from it now they would live forever in the fallen state of sin with no hope of redemption. God did not want them to be condemned forever, so He drives them out from further damage, to put into place a plan to redeem them forever.
b. This was therefore an act of kindness of God's part, to allow for healing them completely later!
2. God was concerned about their safety, their eternal safety!
a. If they fell to the temptation to eat before they were a sinner what might they do with the tree of life now that they were a sinner?
b. God therefore removes from them this next temptation so that they could be saved again!
3. God's great love has made a way for us to escape the temptation of going our own way, have you taken it? His name is JESUS!
CONCLUSION: How ironic, Satan said, "take and eat" and it led to man's destruction, later Jesus comes and says, "take and eat" and it leads to our redemption! Satan's design was to separate us from God, Jesus’ design is to unite us back to God …what a difference! The essence of sin is acting independent from God, to go it alone and do it our own way! Man's problem has always been to go it alone! Apart from God there is no life, for we are only the creature -- He alone is the Creator! Moving away from God is moving away from Heaven, that leaves only Hell as the final destination! The greatest temptation you will face will be to do it your way, not His way, to go it alone without Him and to avoid His Word! Don't take this route; it is full of shame, fear, nakedness, and death. Don't repeat Adam and Eve's error!