The fall of man is not just a children's story, but a historical account that teaches us a great deal about God, the accuser, and us. The great temptation is to make ourselves ultimate, to put ourselves in the middle when Christ is the true center of the universe. We must trust God in our temptation, in our sin, and for our redemption.
Jonah & The Whale
Daniel & The Lions' Den
David & Goliath
Male: Mariah, it's story time! A long, long time ago in a land far, far away…
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There's always been the great irony for me that we take these stories in the Bible, and we read them to our children. "Come here. Gather around. Before you go to bed, let me tell you about when the manifestation of all evil and wickedness possessed a serpent and tempted two grown naked adults into disobeying God and caused all the evil and wickedness as we know as reality today. Then we're going to go to sleep."
We don't even let our girls watch Scooby-Doo because they have bad dreams, but we're like, "Come here. Let me tell you about when God destroyed the world." The thing about it is these are not children's stories. They weren't meant to be anyways. These are historical events. They actually happened. They were told by oral tradition. That's why they're such great, easy stories to tell, because they were told over and over and over.
The reason they were told over and over and over is because they teach us tremendous truths about the character of God, tremendous truths about the Accuser and evil (wickedness) in the world, tremendous truths about us and our responsibility and our interaction with God. These are not children's stories. These are history.
So we study history so as not to repeat it or to observe what was done well and to do that for ourselves. I'll start here this morning, just to give you another historical context. Nicolaus Copernicus. If you recognize that name, he was an astronomer from the 1500s. He was made famous for his heliocentric system.
The heliocentric system said that the sun was in the middle of our galaxy. The problem with that, and what Nicolaus Copernicus was imprisoned for was at that time, they believed in a geocentric system. The geocentric system says that earth was in the middle of it all, that everything orbited around earth. So the way that you combat fiction, the way that you combat lies is with the truth. That's what Nicolaus Copernicus did.
I tell you that story not just to point out the way that you combat lies is with the truth, but to say this. We have, since the beginning of creation, tried to place ourselves at the center of this story. We don't want to worship God or to be with God or to see God as king. We want to be king. We want to be worshiped. We want to be God.
This is how the Enemy tempts us. The way to battle that temptation is with the truth, to fix our eyes and our minds on the truth, to put the truth at the center of it all, and to see everything by that truth. The great temptation for us this morning is to put ourselves at the center. This morning, we're going to look at one of the most important stories in the history of the world. It actually happened, and because it happened, the way that the world is is really a result of that.
So we need to know that so when we're questioned about things, like, "How you reconcile God to this?" we need to know how to give an account, and we do that. A lot of the truths and a lot of that account comes from the story that we'll be in this morning. We're going to talk about trusting God is at the center, and that reality is how we overcome temptation and sin. Specifically, we're going to look at what it looks like to trust God in temptation, what it looks like trust God in sin, and really, before you leave here this morning, what it looks like to trust God for redemption.
Here's what I want you to hear from me. I don't think that it's like you're going to leave here, you're going to go through this world, and then there's going to be a moment when you're tempted, and in that moment, that's when you need to trust God. It was never meant to be like that. You were made for relationship with God, so that when you're in that moment of temptation, he's already right there, and you already know how to respond. That is what it means to be a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ. Somehow we've moved away from that, and we think that God is this lifeline, this lifeguard to come in and save us when we get into a bind.
Let me start in Genesis 2, just to set up context. We're going to be in Genesis 3. If you have your Bibles, turn with me to Genesis 3. In Genesis 2:15, "Then the LORD God took the man…" We know that God has created everything. There's this rhythm in Genesis 1. "He said it. It was, and it was good. He said it. It was, and it was good. He spoke it into existence. It was, and it was good." This is the Lord God creating.
"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." So we know work existed before the the fall. "And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 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.'"
This is what God is saying. God is not here to rip you off. He said, "I made this place for you, this paradise for you. Go at it and have fun. You can do all sorts of things. You can have fun. You can play. There are lots of things. There are animals to play with and name, and all of this stuff for you to do. But don't eat from that tree because if you do, you'll die."
The best picture I can give you for this is our backyard. A far stretch from Eden, of course. For our girls, I have said, "There's a playground." I put a slide back there and some swings. Their tricycles are back there. Their bicycles are back there. There's this sidewalk they play on and some sidewalk chalk. There's all of this stuff for them to do out there. We bought this old house. We've been slowly bringing it back to life.
There was this pool in the backyard that was dead. We've been slowly bringing it back to life. I tell them, "You can play with anything. If you get in that water, you're going to die." They don't know how to swim. "You do anything you want back here, but if you touch the water, you're going to die." This is a loving parent. This is a loving God saying, "If you do this, you will die."
This is a big book. What I want you to know is at this time of Adam, this is the entire Bible. So Adam has one memory verse. "If you eat that, you will die." Memory verse. Got it. There was no Bible. There was a pamphlet. "Here you go, Adam." There was like a fortune cookie thing. "Read this. You eat from that tree, you're going to die. Now, you can play in that tree. You can have a fruit fight with the animals if you want, but if you eat it, you're going to die."
The Scripture says at the end of Genesis 2 (this is so important) that there was no shame. There were no insecurities. There was no shame in anything they did. Anything that they did was not wrong. It just was, and they didn't feel bad for it. There was no shame. There was no regret in the beginning. Eden was a real place, is a real place (still is in this world today). People have sought it out. They believe it's between the Tigris and the Euphrates in the Middle East. It may be covered by the Persian Sea now. We don't know. We know there's an angel that guards it, the Scripture tells us.
But this was a real place; it is a real place today. Another interesting fact just before we dive into the text is that science has now traced all of men back to what they call a Y-chromosomal Adam, to one being. They've traced all of humanity, all of living humans, back to one woman called the mitochondrial Eve. That's what scientists call her.
The Y-chromosomal Adam and the mitochondrial Eve. They have discovered what the Bible has told us to be true. We have come from two individuals (Adam and Eve). Genesis 3. "Now the serpent…" Revelation tells us the Serpent is Satan. "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"?'
** The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.'' 'You will not certainly die,' the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'"**
My first point this morning is what does it look like to trust God in temptation? See, Eve is faced with the first temptation that the world has ever known. The Serpent is there, and he is tempting her. This is to define temptation. Temptation simply asks you who is ultimate. "Are you ultimate? Is that thing you want ultimate? Are your kids ultimate? Or is God ultimate? Is Satan ultimate, or is God ultimate?"
Synonyms with temptation are lure away and pull. This is the Enemy trying to pull you away from God at the center of your life. The Enemy is coming to you and saying, "No, there's something else that is ultimate. You should be at the center. I should be at the center. Your kids should be at the center. That thing should be at the center." He's trying to displace God at the center of your life, so you have a question. "Will I worship God and honor his Word, or will I worship Satan and be pulled away?"
People say that this is the first fall. It is not the first fall. This is the first human fall, and actually, the second fall. When God created, there were two beings. God created human beings (that's you and me), and God created spirit beings, otherwise known as the angels. In the spirit realm, before Genesis 3 took place, there was a war in heaven. This was Satan (Lucifer), an angel, bowing up against God saying, "I don't want to be with you. I want to be you. I think I could be a better you than you are."
We see this account in the Scriptures both in Isaiah and Ezekiel. God sends Satan to this world. Satan takes one-third of the angel army with him. Now, we know them as demons. So Satan is here, the Accuser, speaking the language of lies in this world, trying to pull us out of relationship with God, a right relationship with God. This is his job description. This is what he does. Right now, this morning, he's after you. Children's stories.
So this is the message of demonic powers in our world. "You should be God." People think the satanic church worships Satan. They do not. The satanic church actually holds a mass to mock organized religion. The satanic church has one mantra. That mantra is this. "You should do whatever you want."
To put a word on it, it's called hedonism. The satanic church teaches hedonism. That you are ultimate, and you should do whatever feels good to you. When you live your life like that, when you live your life trying to satisfy your fleshly desires, you have more in common with the satanic church than you do the church of Jesus Christ, Jesus' church. As I've said before, the opposite of loving God is not hating God. The opposite of loving God is loving yourself ultimately.
The Scripture says that Satan is crafty. This means he smart. He's smarter than you. He knows you. He hates you, and he wants to kill you. Right now, this morning, you are under his attack. Here are some times when you are under attack that we can take from this observation with Eve.
1 . You are under attack when you are not in close relationship with God. This is Satan's game plan. He's going to try to turn you against God. He's going to try to make you doubt God. Let me show you that from the Scripture. Every time you see in Genesis 2 in your Bible that it says, "the Lord God," the Hebrew there is Yĕhovah'elohiym. That translates to, "I will be what I will be, the Lord. I will be what I will be, God."
Here, when Satan says God's name, for the first time, you see that Yĕhovah drop, and Satan just says 'elohiym. He dumbs down who God is. He makes him look not powerful. He wants you not to think of his character. He says, "'Elohiym didn't say that." He says, "Yĕhovah 'elohiym says…" Satan says, "'Elohiym didn't say that. That's not what he said." He's trying to make you think less of God. The first time you ever see a question mark in the Bible is actually Satan. He says, "Did God say…?" He wants you to question God. This is his game plan.
2 . You are under attack when you do not know his Word. Eve changed the word of God. God said, "Don't eat it," and Eve said, "God said don't touch or eat it." God didn't say, "Don't touch it." This is the first example of legalism in the Scripture. That's when we add to the Word of God. Do we understand what legalism is?
Legalismis when we say, "This is what it means to be a Christian. You don't watch R-rated movies, you don't listen to rap music, you don't drink alcohol, and you certainly don't dance. That's what it means to believe in Jesus." It doesn't say that in the Scripture. We start taking these principles out of our own experience, and we start applying them to others and saying, "This is what it means."
I'll give you an example. I spoke at a marriage conference this week. I spoke specifically on the topic of pornography, and I talked about removing access. I said, "You may need to get your computer out of your house." But if I said, "What it means to follow Jesus is not to have a computer in your house," that would be legalism. It's not legalism for me not to have a computer in my house.
That may be the line of accountability that I need to flee sexual immorality and rightly pursue God, but if I tell you, "This is what it means to be a Christian," I've added to the Word of God. Eve did this. "God said, 'Don't touch the fruit.'" God didn't say that. So what Satan does is Satan flat out opposes God. He speaks the language of lies, and he says, "You won't die." God said, "You will die." Satan said, "You won't die. That's not going to happen. God's a liar." No, Satan is a liar.
3 . You are under attack when you have strong desires. This is important. You are always under attack. Like right now, you're under attack. But you are susceptible to attack when you have strong desires. This is what I want you to hear from me. Satan doesn't tempt you with things you don't want. He tempts you with things you want.
So when you really, really, really, really, really want something, you have to take stock, take a deep breath, and say, "Okay. Is this of God, or is this my flesh, or is this the world, or is this Enemy, these forces that I battle?" Check this out. Satan is not coming and tempting you with broccoli and brussels sprouts. He's tempting you with chocolate cake. He's saying, "No, this is what you want. Eat this. This thing that you already naturally want…"
Eve was hungry, so he comes and goes, "Oh, you're hungry? Here, I have something for you to eat." "God said no, I shouldn't eat or touch it." "Ah, you can touch it. You can eat it. It will be just fine." It wasn't just fine. So he tempts us with something we like. It looks like him saying, "You deserve it. Poor you. You can't eat from any of these trees?"
I'm the most susceptible to attacks when I'm tired. I have an infant in the home. I'm tired a lot right now. I just know this about myself. I'll walk around every now and then. I'm like, "Man, I deserve a nap." I tell Monica, "I deserve a nap." That's what the Enemy does. He comes. He's like, "Come here. You don't have to do that. You deserve to lay down and get you a good nap."
What happens then is he's like, "You should be God." So when I'm tired, and I feel as though I'm drifting from God, what happens is I'm like, "Where are my security blankets?" Do you know what I mean by that? I don't do this often, but I've done it, and I'm just being vulnerable with you. I know I'm losing all credibility right up front, but I'll go on my bank account, and I'm like, "Where's my security blanket? What do we have in savings?"
Then I'll usually get depressed, and I'll turn to social media. What are people saying about me because I want to be God? Are people saying kind things about me? I need to build my self-esteem. How many followers do I have? How many friends on Facebook do I have? I want to be God." You don't want to be God. That's a lot to manage. He's God. We would be crushed under that role. See, Satan wins when you feel sorry for yourself.
"You got ripped off. You don't have to wait until your married. Don't do that. You don't get to live there in that neighborhood? Your kids don't get to go to that school? Oh, poor you. You have to be married to that. You don't know what he's like. You don't know what she's like. Poor you. Don't bow to that. You don't need to be in that. Just jump out of that." Satan's saying, "You got ripped off. You got dealt a bad hand."
Satan thinks he is ultimate, but he'll make you think you're ultimate because he just doesn't want you to think God is ultimate. Satan thinks he's ultimate. He's deceived. He thinks he's ultimate, but he doesn't care if you think you're ultimate. In fact, his strategy is to get you to think that you're ultimate, just so that you don't think God is ultimate. Just so that you don't put God at the center of all of this, he'll tempt you and try to pull you away, and he doesn't care what you believe to do it.
Trusting God in temptation is believing God is good, he is loving and in control. Trusting God in temptation means you trusting that God is good, that God is loving, and that God is in control. The essence of our temptation is control. We want to be like God. So Satan comes and says, "If you eat from it, you will be like God." Here's the crazy thing. They already were like God. Were they not made in God's image. They were made in God's image to rule over this place, the fish in the sea, and the animals on the land. They were already like God.
Satan comes, and he takes this thing that you already have, but you just don't see that you have it, and he says, "You don't have it. Poor you." What I want you to hear me this morning passionately say to you is that he's after you. He wants to take you away from your right relationship with God, kill, steal, and destroy you. He's after your kids. He knows you. He's smart. He has a game plan. He knows what you love. He knows how you think. He studies you, and he wants to take you out.
He's better than you except you have the Holy Spirit who's infinitely better than him. Amen? Amen. He wins. But don't go out unarmed. So how will you respond in the midst of temptation, because everyone this morning is facing temptation. How will you respond? How did they, in this children's story, respond?
Verse 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…" This is crazy. We blame Eve. Adam was right there. " … and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, 'Where are you?' He answered, 'I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.'
And he said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?' The man said, 'The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.' Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?'
The woman said, 'The serpent deceived me, and I ate.' So the Lord God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.' To the woman he said, 'I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.'
To Adam he said, 'Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, "You must not eat from it," cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.'"
In a moment, tsunamis and hurricanes and cancer and miscarriages and infertility and everything wicked and evil and disgusting and sad that we know comes flooding in. So what do we do? My second point is we trust God when we sin. How do we trust God when we sin? This is really a contradiction in terms because to define sin, sin in choosing not to trust God. It seems like that point is a contradiction. Trusting God when we sin when sin is choosing not to trust God.
But how do we trust God with our sin? How do we respond in our sin? To go back to the first point, we only sin because we don't trust God is good, we don't trust God is powerful, and we don't trust that he loves us. Sin seems good to us. It says in verse 6, "It looked good." It satisfied her desire, and it gave her knowledge. It gave her something good. So you can't just judge sin by the outcome because sin may give you what seems to be a good outcome.
You may get a husband by way of sin. You may get a wife by way of sin. You may get a child by way of sin. You may get good things by way of sin, but sin will ultimately, always, always, always cost you something. So it looked good, it did good, but was it good? Do we trust God to define what is good, or do we trust our desires? Do we trust what we want? Do we trust what we think?
What's happened here for Eve is her desire, her hunger, her appetite has now become sin. It looks like this in James. James 1:14: " … but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." It is your desire where sin starts, your appetite where sin starts. She gave some to Adam, who was with her. So it's interesting to me.
Eve gets a bad rap in this story. Eve wasn't even there when God gave the instruction. When God handed Adam the fortune cookie Bible and said, "Whatever you do, just don't eat from this tree," Eve wasn't there. God made Eve after that. Adam gave her instruction. We don't know where the ball was dropped in that, but somewhere it was dropped. So Adam was right there when she ate it. A lot of theologians believe that he was just watching to see if she'd die. This is the story of a passive man.
It says in verse 8, "When they heard the Lord.." There in your Bible, there's some interesting language there. There in your Bible, there's probably a footnote, and underneath that footnote, it probably says wind. Here's why. When they translated this originally from the Hebrew into the Greek, they took the Hebrew words for cool and day, and they translated it cool and day. A lot of people use that to stamp the time.
You can argue with me here. Go and study it. I personally believe that what this is saying is those same words can be used for wind and storm. "When they heard the Lord coming in like wind, like a storm," because they know that God is never passive against our sin. God is never just walking around, he's never casual about our sin. So I believe what you're seeing here is this beautiful picture…stay with me…of God's wrath met by grace.
In the Hebrew, it's really fast. "She saw. She took. She ate. She offered. He ate." The Jewish child would be sitting on the edge of his seat. How is God going to respond? Then you see God go, "Wsshhhh. Adam, where are you? Adam, did you do that thing I told you not to do? What have you done?" You see God's wrath.
The Hebrew child would've said, "God's going to come in and tear them to shreds, rip them to pieces." No. You see his wrath, his quick response, throttled by his grace. God always moves towards us for the purpose of repentance. We're learning about God here. Children's stories. God always moves to us, towards us, for the purpose of repentance. He comes in and says, "What have you done?"
Like a parent who sees their child playing in the street. "Come here. What are you doing?" Like a child. One time Presley actually fell in that pool. Monica turned around and saw what no parent ever wanted to see, and that's her child flailing in that pool trying to swim (she can't swim). I'm in the flower garden (watching her, evidentially). Monica knocks on the window, I turn around, and somehow, supernaturally fly from where I'm at into the pool (iPhone, wallet, and all) and grab her and pull her out. Why? Because she's in danger and a loving parent… Wsshhh. I want to be right there.
This is God moving towards you for the purpose of putting it back together, making it right again. Man never looks for God. God is not lost. If someone tells you, "I'm searching for God," no, you're not. God is not lost. He seeks you out. God is looking for you. So this is the first sin.
Then you see the first act of religion. Man tries to cover up his sin with sewn fig leaves. This is the first act of religion. Man's effort to cover his own sin. Then you see God come. "Where are you?" This is the first invitation. Adam repents. "Adam, repent for what you've done." This is the first invitation that God gives Adam to be restored.
"Who told you were naked?" Second invitation, but no repentance from Adam. God calls you out of the darkness. "Adam, come out from behind that bush. Adam, come out of the darkness into the light." What are you doing this morning? What sins in your life are you hiding? What do you think you're going to take from your grave, or what are you holding onto? Saying you're a follower of Jesus, but hiding areas of your life. "Adam, come forth."
The results of our sin are the same as it was in the garden. We feel shame. We try to cover it up. We try to hide it. We try to justify it. "This is why I did it." That is to make excuses. We try to justify. We blame. "Well, it's them. They did it. Everybody else was. She did it. He did it." Then we get angry. "The woman you gave me…"
I've called many people out in sin. I've been called out in sin many times. Often, the response is anger. "How dare you?" It's silly that we respond this way. We point blame and justify. One time Presley was about 3, and Finley was 2, and they were playing outside. This time we put a mesh fence behind that pool.
I look out there, and Presley is trying to pick her sister up. She has her face mashed up against that mesh fence, trying to pick her up. I go out there. I'm like, "Presley, what are you doing?" I see a bunch of rocks in the pool. I'm like, "Presley, did you throw rocks in the pool?" Right about that time, she opens her hand, and all these rocks fall out. She goes, "No."
"Presley, there weren't rocks in the pool a while ago. Now there are rocks in the pool. Did you throw rocks in the pool?"
"Presley, how did the rocks that weren't in the pool before you got outside get in the pool?"
"Finley did it."
Finley couldn't even throw. She was 2. She could do that, but she couldn't release. I'm like, "Presley, Finley didn't do it. How did the rocks get in the pool? I need you to tell me."
"Okay. Finley did it."
"All right, Presley. If Finley did it, then Finley's going to get a spanking. Finley, come with me. Hey Presley, I'm going to take Finley into the room. She's going to get spanking. Is there anything you want to tell me before I do that?"
"Yeah. She threw the rocks in the pool."
I take Finley to the room. I'm like Parenting 101. I don't know what to do. I'm like, "What do I do?" So I take her back there, and I'm thinking, "What do I do God? Give me something. Give me something. Give me something." I go back outside. "Presley, is there anything else you want to tell me?"
She's like, "Yeah. I'm sorry about Finley throwing the rocks in the pool." There's this guy living with us. He was upstairs. Right about then, he pulls up the window, and Presley sees an opportunity to divert from her sin. She goes, "Hi, Matt." He goes, "Hi. Hey, Presley. Did I just see you throwing rocks in the pool?" She was crushed.
It's cute when you're 3. It's cute when you're 4. But don't you go to sin, and look over your shoulder to see if somebody is watching you? Is God not always watching you? Is he not always right there with you when you do that thing that you know that you shouldn't do, one too many, or you go in that place, or you to go to that place that you said you wouldn't, or you call that person, or you buy that thing? Is God not right there in the thick of it? Do we stop trusting that he's with us, and he sees all things, and he's powerful, and he knows everything?
It's silly to hide behind the bush. Trusting God looks like repentance. God wanted repentance. "God, I'm so sorry I've chosen poorly. Forgive me." Don't confuse confession with repentance. Confession is important. James 5:16 and 1 John 1:7 and 9. Confession communicates your sin. Repentance turns from it. Confession communicates your sin. Repentance turns from it.
Confession says, "I did this." Repentance says, "I won't do this again. I will pursue God. I will decide it. I will choose in my heart to follow God, to put God at the center, to no longer be at the center, but put God at the center. I will do what I need to do to flee from that which is costing me a right relationship with God. I believed the Enemy, the Accuser, the liar, and I will listen to God from here on out." God wanted repentance.
You might think, "Why did they do that? Why did they eat the fruit?" You would eat the fruit. If you don't think you would, leave here and not sin. That's all you have to do. Leave this place, and don't sin to prove that you wouldn't eat the fruit. The reality of it is that our sin has consequences. Every time our sin has consequences. Every time.
"To the woman, he says, 'Childbearing is now hard.'" I've never done it, but I've heard it's hard. I've heard it's painful. Usually, when they show it on TV, it looks like a woman being tortured. So he's saying, "Now this." Before, childbearing wouldn't have been difficult. Now it's difficult, but I don't think that's the all-inclusive to what that means. Now there are miscarriages. Now there is infertility. Now you have a child, and they war against you.
You don't have to teach your child how to sin. I don't have to say, "Presley, why don't you every now and then not tell the truth to balance this whole picture out. Every now and then, would you not share your toys every time?" You have to teach them how to do right because they naturally hold onto things. "Mine." They live in a "meocentric" world. The world revolves around me. We are at the center of the world.
It says something pretty interesting in verse 16. It says, "Your desire will be for your husband…" I read that, and I'm like, "Well, that isn't so bad. That doesn't seem like a consequence at all. In fact, let the fall happen right here in this bedroom. Let her desire be for her husband. That's not so bad." That's not what it means. Here's what it means.
That your desire will be for your husband's role. That you will want to be head over that which God has placed him head over, and you will war against that. "I will want that." It looks like this. Husband comes home. Corrects something. Says, "Why don't you do this?" Maybe in the wrong way like, "Hey, let's do this."
"How dare you. You don't know. I'm here all day. You're not here. I'm out there doing that little work thing, and you think you're going to come home and tell me how to raise these kids who are my kids. I've been the one raising our kids all day, and you're going to come home and try to correct me?" Your desire will be for your husband's role.
I just noticed around here of families that I get to spend some time with… There's a family that has a hard time in the biblical church. It is the family of the passive husband and the overbearing wife. I've seen that family church hop over and over. Try out this church. Try out this church. Try out this church, until somebody will say, "That's just the way it should be. You should be passive, and you should be strong-willed and overbearing in that way." That's just not what God said.
People will get mad at Paul where he says in Colossians and Ephesians and Titus, that the husband is the head. But it wasn't Paul. It was Genesis. People will get mad at Todd when he rightly teaches that from the Word. It's not Todd. It's God. In Genesis 3, it's the order that God has put in place. You can get mad at that, but you'll just be proving it right. You can hate that, but you'll just be proving the Scripture right.
My wife is amazing at this. I feel like we have a good balance. She's given me permission to say this. One thing I have noticed is when we're driving here on Sunday (I work here, by the way. This is where I show up every day), and she'll say, "You need to turn here." I said, "You mean to tell me this place that I work at every single day of my life… I need to turn right here? This is my turn?" I knew I should've dropped that one. Conviction. Monica is an amazing woman. Really and truly, she's incredible. That might've hit close to home for some of you.
Let's pick on Adam for a minute. The passive man. Now, your work is toilsome. You were right there, and God seems to take it out harder on Adam all throughout the Scripture. The sin of Adam. He kept his mouth shut, and so now work is hard. Before the fall, there was work, but now work is hard.
Have you ever gone to get in your car to go to work, and the battery is dead? Then you jump in another car. You show up late, and then you're late for that meeting. So you go to print something out, and the printer doesn't work. You think, "I'll just pull it up on the Internet." You go to get online, and the Internet's down? Your work is fighting against you. Now your work is toilsome.
Before the fall was work, but now, men are tempted to find identity in work, to make their work everything, to be god in their work, to make it ultimate and say things like, "I'm doing this for you. I just want to provide for you at the expense of you. I want to be the provider at the expense of my family, at the expense of you knowing me, at the expense of me being present." Man is tempted now to be passive and to take a back seat and say, "Let me just do this over here and find identity in this, and you do your thing here at home.
It's the great, monotonous irony. One of the most monotonous ironies I've ever seen is this reality that man works the ground so that the ground will bear fruit, so he can eat from the ground only to die and return to the ground and be fertilizer. It's humorous. It's so ironic. The sin of Adam caused the consequence of death. Children's stories. Verse 20.
"Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living. The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life…'" This is another tree in the garden. "'…and eat, and live forever.' So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken."
Here's what I want to point out to you about the character of God. God did not abandon them. God made clothes for them. This is the God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, stopping what he's doing, coming here, and saying, "Let me clothe you, so you feel no shame." Before they had sewn fig leaves, so they had clothes, but now God kills and animal and covers them with the skin of an animal.
This is the first sacrifice. Sin causes death. Something had to die. God kills it and covers them with its skin. This was the introduction to a sacrificial system that would exist now for thousands of years until the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus Christ would come. He allowed them to have children who would war against them, to work the field that would war against them. So how do we get back to Eden, because I just want to be back in Eden? I just want to be back there.
Romans 5:17: "For if, by the trespass of the one man [Adam] , death reigned through that one man [Adam] , how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as one trespass…" That's here in Genesis 3.
"…resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners [you and me] , so also through the obedience of the one man [Adam] the many will be made righteous."
Adam was passive. He was a terrible Adam. He was a terrible savior. He sat there in the back and watched his bride do what would ultimately cause death in her life, and Jesus is the perfect Adam, a perfect Savior, coming here to proactively give his life for his bride (you and me). It's an amazing truth. Jesus is a better Adam. Jesus is a perfect Adam. What does it look like to trust God in redemption?
I skipped Genesis 3:15. It says this. "And I will put enmity [hatred] between you and the woman…" He's talking to the Serpent. " … and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Your Scripture might say, "You will bruise his heel." This is what is known as the protoevangelium. Proto means first. Evangelium is where we get the word evangelism. It actually comes from the word gospel. The first gospel. It's right here in Genesis 3. Jesus is here right at the center of Genesis 3.
You have the offspring of Eve by way of Mary coming, and crushing the Serpent and in the process wounding himself. The gospel. If somebody asked you, "How could you believe Christianity when there are these other religions that are older? Buddhism is older." No. Did you know if you go and research that the Islamic religion, the Buddhist religion, the Hindu religion were founded…
If you go look at Judaism, and it says, "The beginning of time." Christ came 2,013 years ago in the flesh, but he was there in the beginning. "All things were made by him and for him," Colossians 1 says. Then here, three chapters into the first book of the Bible, you see Christ show up. He's coming. The foreshadowing of the gospel. So Christianity is the oldest religion in the world.
God's ultimate display of his goodness in him is him coming to rescue us. The first Adam failed. The second Adam, Jesus, succeeded. Now, stay with me, because I think you'll like this. First Corinthians 15:45 says Jesus is the second Adam. Jesus begins his ministry in the wilderness. He gets baptized. He's let out into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, right where Adam left off.
Adam is sent out into the wilderness. Jesus goes out into the wilderness and picks up right where Adam left off. The Serpent shows up, and he quotes Scripture just like he did to Eve. He misquotes Scripture. He misquotes Psalm 91 out of context. Adam was silent, but Jesus now responds with the truth. How do you overcome temptation? You respond with the truth. You know the truth.
Jesus quotes Deuteronomy three times. He just slices the Serpent with his sword. Satan tempts Jesus with food. First, the fruit in the garden. Now bread. Jesus is hungry. Probably hungrier than Eve (he hasn't eaten in 40 days). He has an appetite for that food, but Jesus responds, "Man does not live on bread alone." He responds with Scripture.
Satan tempts him with his pride. He says, "You can rule over everything if you just worship me in the same way he did. Eve, if you eat from this, you will be like God." Jesus says, "I'm already like God. I am God," and he responds with Scripture. He said, "I don't need to eat that. I don't need to do that. I won't worship you. I'll worship the one true God."
Jesus, the Scripture says, was tempted in every way that you and I are. Tempted to commit adultery. Tempted towards materialism. Tempted to glorify himself in the midst of success in his ministry instead of God. Tempted to break the Ten Commandments. But Hebrews 4:15 says, "He was without sin."
Luke 22:3 says, "That Satan now, the Accuser now, possesses Judas and causes him to hand Jesus over to be murdered. So Jesus goes, and he dies on this instrument of destruction. Satan does the happy dance until three days later, Jesus raises from the dead. In the ultimate defeat, crushing that which accuses us of our sins, the Accuser. Victory is Christ; Jesus wins.
So we battle temptation by trusting God's character. We battle sin with repentance, and trusting God in redemption is trusting that the Son as it at the center, that Jesus is at the center of everything. Not running towards him when we need saving, but walking with him constantly, in tight relationship, putting him at the center of our lives.
There was a tree in the garden. Why? Why would God put a tree there? As a test of trust. "Do you love me? Do you trust me?" Now, at the center of our faith, there's another tree. "Do you trust me?" If you are in obedience to the tree that is the cross, then you will live forever and eat from the other tree that shows up again in Revelation 22, the Tree of Life, the one from which if you eat of it, you will live forever. Eden reinstated with the Tree of Life there.
You and I, if you've trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, get to eat from the Tree of Life. Praise God, that's good news. So this is what we live under. This truth. Here's what I'm trying to tell you. The closest you will get to Eden here is living in complete trust with and trust of God. When you try to be God, you're going to be left worried and stressed out and depressed.
This is why I believe narcissism and depression are so closely linked. I'm not saying if you're depressed, you're narcissistic. I'm saying if you're narcissistic, you're probably depressed. When you start thinking too much of you, you can't handle the pressures of this world. But when you acknowledge that God is holding all of this together, and you live in close relationship with him, suddenly you can. By his Spirit in you, you can.
I spent some time at a pool. I loved going to the pool growing up and was actually a lifeguard at a pool. I remember this one particular day I wasn't lifeguarding, but I was there. There was this kid there with the babysitter. He had floaties on. He kept running. The lifeguard kept blowing the whistle, saying, "You can't run. You can't run." He just kept breaking all the rules, and he kind of mocked the lifeguard.
I remember this one thing. He looked at him and stuck out his tongue. It was like, "Ha!Who are you? You're not the boss of me." He kept doing this deal all day long. The lifeguard had to go talk to the babysitters like, "Hey, control your kid. It's a result of the fall right there. Come on." So he kept doing his deal as a lifeguard. Kid kept doing that.
They were going to leave. The babysitter turned her back for a moment. The kid had taken off his floaties. The kid ran and jumped in the water and sank to the bottom. That lifeguard, who he had mocked, left his seat and ran after the kid, swam the length of the pool, grabbed him, lifted him up, and put him to safety.
This is what God does for us. We are drowning in our sin. God leaves his throne and comes to us. He moves towards us for repentance and lifts you to safety. The only place where that illustration breaks down is he takes you kicking and screaming. We would rather drown. He saves us against our will.
Do you realize this morning, as you came in here that you're drowning? That you need a Savior? Not a magic prayer so that you'd be with God, but today, as you leave here, the Enemy is after you. You need to walk with Christ to find victory over the temptation and sin that is coming at you from all directions.
It happened to you since you've been on this property. You've been tempted to sin since you pulled up. "Hey, don't you want that car? Hey, don't you want that wife? Hey, don't you want that husband or his wallet or his job? Hey, what about that? Who is this joker up there? That's not Todd." That's sin. Wickedness. He's tempting you. He's saying, "You should be God." The only way to claim victory is for you to put Jesus at the center. We don't just need Jesus to save us. We need him to help us through temptation and declare victory over sin.
I've noticed this lifespan of Christianity for some of us in Dallas is you go from convert to Christian (love Jesus; tell everybody about Jesus) to consumer ("What's in it for me? Is the preaching good? Is the worship good? Are the chairs comfortable? Is the coffee hot?") to critic ("Look at all them. Look at what all they do wrong").
The worst off in the room is not the sinner. It's the person who thinks they're good, the person who thinks they can swim well and play the game well and doesn't need saving. "God saved me. I don't need him anymore." It's not those momentary temptations that take you out. It is the slow, exhausting drift of the heart.
You slowly moving out of that close, intimate relationship with God. What is the solution that you would leave here and ask yourself, 'What in my life is pulling me out of a close intimate relationship with God? I need to kill it, or it's going to kill me. How can I put Jesus at the center?"
I believe that the Son is at the center. We are right here on this earth, moving around the sun at about 70,000 miles per hour, and the earth is spinning at about 1,000 miles per hour. If you were God, all of this would be spinning out of control. But the reality of it is the gravitational pull of the sun, which is 333,000 times the mass of the earth is holding it all together because God designed it that way. You need not sit there and worry about moving and spinning out of control because God is holding it all together, and as you leave here, you acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will set your path straight.
The Son, Jesus, is in the middle, and nothing else belongs in the middle. It is through a right relationship with Christ that we have access to the Creator of the heavens and the earth. You must keep him in the middle. When he's not in the middle, your life is spinning out of control with temptation and sin. Let me pray that we would keep him in the middle.
God, our Father in heaven, your name is holy above all names. All glory and honor and power is yours, O Lord. Father, I pray that you would give us in this day what we need in this day; Father, that we would walk with you. Father, I pray that you would bring your kingdom here to this place, that you would so with us, through the working of the ground, through the toil and the sweat of our brow, that would bring back Eden here, and that we would do that by putting Jesus in the center.
Father, we long for Eden. Help us to put Jesus in the middle of our lives, the center of our lives. Lord, as this song is sung over us, I pray that you would stir our hearts around the truths of your Scriptures that we heard. In the name of Christ, amen.