Yes, I neglected to turn on my microphone at the beginning of this message. I apologize.
The Way Into Sin
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
In order to have good, there must be a choice for evil. This is the world we live in. And so, for all practical purposes, all of our lives are lived around the idea that we must learn to choose the good. Another way to say this is that we need to learn to listen to the voices of the good and not the voices of the evil. We will look at the different voices in this passage and how to respond to them.
First, let’s consider the negative voice of the serpent.
- The Serpent is Subtle
How is it possible that having a tempter in the Garden is good? But that is what the text says. Can you have goodness without temptation? This is similar to the book of Job and Satan’s argument: Does Job fear you for no reason? You have blessed him, therefore he behaves. Well, the book of Job shows that true integrity is demonstrated only when things are tough. That is the only time that faith is necessary. And it is the difficulty that reveals character. It is the difficulty that forges character. Will we trust in the God that we do not see? Well, it depends on what we are looking at and who we are listening to!
- The word means clever in a bad sense
The serpent has an ensnaring voice.
Satan goes to Eve, who heard the law from Adam, not God. He will get at Adam through Eve, which Adam loves best and needs most of all created things.
- Satan undercuts rather than opposes God
“Did God actually say…”
Create doubt in the goodness of God, the love of God, the wisdom of God, the power of God. If you cannot do that, then create doubt in the Word of God. Was it really God who said… maybe it was just Adam? Eve didn’t hear it from God. She is going to have to trust the word of Adam. Just like we trust the words of the Biblical writers.
- The Serpent lies using the truth
- You will not surely die.
- Your eyes will be open.
- You will be more like God.
Context in life is very important. “It depends upon what the definition of “is” is.”
Think about the things that tempt us. They are good things. James 1 has a very important discussion of sin, temptation and good things:
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, (crown is a reward. Life is the reward!!) which God has promised to those who love him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
God does not tempt. God does test! A temptation is meant to kill. A test is meant to reveal the good that is there. The circumstances are the same in our lives.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, what was revealed? Was it a great temptation? How do we know? What did the test reveal to you?
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Deuteronomy 8: Every word that proceeds…
Matthew 4: Every word that proceeds…
We are tempted by good things because we are not good. We are lured away by our own desires. Desire as an end in itself will slip into sin and sin will end in death. This is the natural course of things. Romans 1 style. Now, Satan would have us call what is good bad. And that’s not right either. Good things are good. Think of the excuses given by Adam and Eve and the blaming. The thing that is not good is me! Now, think about happiness and where it comes from. It is a by-product of a life well lived. But if you pursue happiness you end up not finding it. It will find you if you apply yourself to properly pursuing life in the blessings of God. You will find shalom as it comes from God and God alone! Remember, life comes from God!!
- Others in the world agree with Satan
What about the voices of other people?
Matthew 18: 7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!
Woe is the opposite of blessing!
Eve fills this role in Adam’s life.
The serpent fills this role in Eve’s life.
Romans 1: 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
This is the tip of the spear of depravity. Not only do people continue to do things that they know are evil, they approve of others and invite them to come along and fellowship in them as well. This is how sin works. From gossip to sexual immorality to hatred and bigotry and greediness.
- Eve Has Her Own Voice
- Your voice is your valued perception of the world
What do you love? What do you desire? What do you pursue? What do you fix your eyes on?
Jesus says in Matt 6: 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
Eye=perception. What is really valuable? The Matt 6 section is a comparison in the value of money vs. God as a master in our lives. What do we see as valuable? Can we be fooled into thinking we are serving God when we are serving money? (I hate this question!) What makes a clear eye? What gives light?
John 8: 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
- What does Eve perceive?
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate
Good for food.
A source of greater wisdom.
- What does Eve not consider?
The voice of God has spoken!
Why would one disregard the voice of God? They would just listen to another voice.
John 10: 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
III. God Has Already Spoken!
- This is the ultimate concern
How does God create? By His Word! How does He create life?
Can God force His will on people? Does He force His will? Why or why not? What does God do instead? He speaks His will and desires to influence through relationship love!
- God’s Word reveals what we need for life
John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Again John 8: 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Matt 17: 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
- If only Eve, If only I
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
- God’s voice is the be our voice
Kingdom of priests holy nation.
I Peter 2: 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
I Peter 4: 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Luke 8: 18 Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.”