We live in a broken world with an enemy, Satan, who lies to us about God and His goodness. Satan’s tactics in Genesis 3 are the same ones he uses today. He wants us to question God’s instruction, understate sin’s consequences, be intrigued by sin’s offering, and be trapped in shame. The way to quit falling for Satan’s lies is to be filled with God’s truth.
Made for a New World | Isaiah 11:1-16
Made to Be Saved | Genesis 3:15, 21-24
Made to Work | Genesis 3:17-19
Made to Gospel Our Relationships | Genesis 3:12-13
Made for a World Without Shame | Genesis 3:7-11
Made for a Different World | Genesis 3:1-7
Made for Relationships: Marriage | Genesis 2:18-25
Made for Relationship | Genesis 2:18-20
Made to Rest | Genesis 2:1-3
Made to Flourish | Genesis 2:4-25
God’s Heart for The Nations | Revelation 7:9-17
Made in the Image of God | Genesis 1:26-27
Great Questions Q&A Panel + MADE: to Teach | Genesis 1-3, 2 Timothy 2:24-26
How to Hear From God | Genesis 1:1-31
The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit | Genesis 1:1-5
To Know God is to Worship God | Genesis 1:3-25
Is Your God Too Small? | Genesis 1:1-2
Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and from the beginning, he has used those lies to tempt people to sin. We can quit falling for Satan’s lies by standing on God’s truths. Genesis 3:1-7 shows us the four things that Satan tries to get us to do:
There is a parking lot in Austin, Texas, that I will never forget. It has been seared into my mind and my heart. It's a parking lot off MoPac and 2222. I'm sitting there, and there's an unmarked building and people slowly filing in. There I am in what I thought was my big-time fancy car, and I'm watching people walk into an A.A. meeting. I'd never been to an A.A. meeting before. I'd called earlier and said, "Hey, when is the next meeting? I think I may have a problem."
I'm sitting there in my car with it still running, and there's a war for my soul at that point. Everything in me is like, "Put it in reverse. Go to the bar and numb this pain. You can make all this go away." The other thought that was going through my mind was this flood of accusations. "Hey, you were dealt a good hand in life…good family, good upbringing. You had a good education, and look at where you are now. What have you done with your life that you're walking into an A.A. meeting? You're an alcoholic. You've ruined everything."
As I thought about how I got there, like, "How did this happen?" I remembered something from high school. It was an acrostic I used to use. It was NCE. I would tell my friends, "This is NCE." What it stood for was "This is a no-consequence environment. We're safe. Everything is fine. Nobody is going to get hurt. We can do what we want to do. No one is going to find out. We all trust each other. No one is going to drive. Everything will be fine. There is a no-consequence environment right here."
I believed that lie, because I didn't experience the fallout of sin in that moment, but here I was 12 years later, sitting in the parking lot of my first A.A. meeting, doctors telling me, "If you keep drinking, you will die," losing everything, living on a fraternity brother's couch, and I realized, "Oh, there is consequence." But that was the lie I believed: there is a no-consequence environment regarding sin and somehow I could escape the penalty and the fallout of sin.
I think all of us do the same thing on a daily basis. We're faced with these lies, like, "Well, what would it hurt? It's only a little, and it's not as bad as that. Nobody is going to know, and there could be worse things. At least it's not what I used to do." I think there are these small lies we hear in our minds to justify our sin. We rationalize and justify the sin, and then we minimize the fallout of it. We think, "It'll be okay. There's grace for that. It's not going to catch up with me. I'm doing a lot better than I used to." It's a lie from Satan to destroy us.
I believe if we don't repent and wake up, it won't be long before this will be a bad dream that we're living in from the sin. So, to navigate this life heavenward, what we have to grow (and what I hope to grow in all of us today, myself foremost) is a hatred for sin and a recognition and a reality of the lie and the Liar, Satan, and of the holiness of God that he calls us to.
Today, we are continuing our Made series, and today it is Made for a Different World. I was praying earlier with everyone who's serving right now, cameras and switchers and everything. As I was praying, I was like, "He remembers that we are dust," and I was praying, "We're dust comingled with spirit." This is just not home, and it's not as it should be, but there is a heavenly home where he's going to remove the presence and power and penalty of sin.
So, as we walk heavenward, we have to be mindful of this. We're walking through a war zone laden with traps with a very real enemy who is feeding our flesh to take us away from God. So, today, we're going to be talking about Satan, and you're going to see this in the order of the text: Satan, temptation, sin, and then the trap of sin and shame. It's going to be a real pick-me-up. That we would quit believing and acting upon Satan's lies and, instead, foundationally stand on God's truth; that we would quit taking the bait, as I did for all of those years and am still tempted to.
Today we're going to be going through Genesis 3:1-7. Here's the preview. This is the road map. You're going to see this throughout the passage. Satan gets us to question God's instruction. "Did God really say…?" Then he's going to get us to understate the consequence of sin. "It's not that bad." Thirdly, he's going to get us intrigued by sin's offerings…the goodness, though poisonous, the delight of it. Then, finally, to be trapped in sin and shame. That's the progression of the passage. It's the progression of every sin cycle we walk through in our lives.
Now, you have to think for a second, like, "Wait. What? Who?" because in the biblical narrative here within Genesis, there's no mention of Satan until we get this Serpent who's crafty. Everything would be different right now, today, if in that moment Eve would have been like, "Wait. Wait, wait, wait. Hey, Adam, Adam, have you talked to any of the animals?" and he was like, "No. Lion, what's up?" Roar. "Sheep?" Baa. "No, Eve. No, they don't talk. What are you talking about? Why are you even asking this?"
"Well, I was just, um, the Serpent just talked to me."
"No, no, no. Eve, get away. They don't talk. None of them talk. They all have sounds. They don't talk. That's different. God talks. The animals shouldn't be talking. Something is up."
Everything would have changed right then and there, but isn't life just like that? Everything is fine until it's not fine. It happens at this imperceivable rate. Eve is not in that moment like, "Hold up. That's suspicious." To demonstrate this I want to tell you something really personal, actually. It's a little bit of a blur because of young kids, but about three years ago, maybe, I left Laura and the kids and went to a patio. I was literally alone, by myself. It was sunny, kind of when springtime just hits and it's warm enough to sit outside. It's kind of cool, but you can feel the sun.
I'm sitting on a patio all by myself just drinking through the afternoon. It was a Sunday, actually. I just got wasted. It felt so good to escape the pressure, and the peace I had…even though poisonous, the peace. And it was a daydream. Everything was fine until it wasn't fine. I was on a road trip, three kids in the back, fussing, struggling. The truth of the matter is I haven't had a sip of alcohol in 17 years, but it was a daydream.
I'm just driving beside Laura. She's sitting right there. As I'm looking through the windshield with the hum of the highway, where I go…I can see it still in my mind's eye…is a patio getting drunk. "I would love to just be alone, not have fussing kids, the stress, the pain of whatever I'm going to walk into at work, and all the pressure. I just wish I could numb out on a patio." I'm literally driving, family in tow, 14 years sober, daydreaming about getting wasted. Everything was fine until it wasn't. I had started listening to a talking serpent who was whispering lies into my mind.
Who is this crafty serpent? Where is it/he from? We get a little bit of clue and context further on in the Bible. Isaiah 14:13 says, speaking of Satan, "You said in your heart…" There are five "I will" statements. "…I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." Satan's desire is to be like God.
Then in Ezekiel 28:12-13: "You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God…" Verse 14: "You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God…" Verse 17: "Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground…" Then in Revelation 12, we know that the ancient Dragon, the Serpent, who leads astray the entire world, was cast down.
So, here he is in the garden. He is the twisting Serpent who twists truth. He's the Father of Lies, the Enemy, the Accuser. The Adversary is the word for Satan. Ha satan…the Adversary. Later on we'll see the Accuser, the one who accuses the brethren day and night before the throne of God. What's his motive? His motive is to destroy. His motive is to kill.
He wanted to be like God, and because he couldn't, he's after God's creation. Like, "Okay, if I can't be like you, then I will kill those who love you. I'll get your creation to worship me. I'll lead them astray, and I'll take them in my wake to hell. You want them? I'll take them with me." Like a suicide bomber. "I'm going out, and I'm taking them with me."
He can't steal salvation, so he's content to wreck generations. Once you're Jesus', once you belong to the Lord, it says, no one can snatch you out of his hand. So, if you are in Christ and have escaped the penalty of hell forever because of your sin, then Satan is like, "All right. Then I'll just destroy you and the generations following."
Yesterday, I was feeding a rat peanut butter. It's not what it sounds like. Our garage was getting full of stuff, so I dropped down the attic door and was carrying these trunks and plastic bins up there into the attic. Facedown in peanut butter was this rat. I had fed it the peanut butter and led it to the peanut butter, and it died in that peanut butter. That is what Satan wants.
He's like, "I'll give you what you want because it's you I want. I want you dead. So I'll give you what you want. What is it? What is it you want? Do you want money? Do you want status? Do you want porn? How about some great, fulfilling sexual sin? What about control? Do you want worship? Do you want followers and 'likes'? I'll give it to you." He will have you facedown in it, dead. The wages of sin is death. It's his desire.
God wants obedience unto holiness; Satan wants your obedience unto destruction. God wants you to live by his Spirit; Satan wants you to live by your flesh. God wants you to be saved; Satan wants you to be depraved. God wants worship through spirit and truth; Satan wants your worship through sin and idols.
Here's the curious thing. He's in Genesis 3, right there. He's Satan. No mistaking it. Genesis 3, plain as day, crafty Serpent leads astray. Then you're like, "Where did he go? Genesis 4, 5, 6… Where is he? Where did he go?" Do you know he doesn't show up again until Job? First Chronicles… Do you know how far that is into the Old Testament? Leviticus mentions demons, not even Satan.
He's just like Poof! "I did my work. I sowed my seed of sin. I have infected the human race. Not long after, they're going to be killing each other…Cain and Lamech. All humans' minds set on evil all the time, every inclination. Got it. Work is done. This thing has been set in motion. It's a flywheel, perpetual sin. Spike the ball."
He just shows up on occasion. When God pulls back the curtain to let us know what's going on, he's there. He was there inciting Cain to kill Abel. He's there in every moment of temptation, but isn't that just like him to let us not have him within view and just think, "Well, that was just my thought. That was me thinking about getting wasted. Man, I'm such a fool." Rather, Satan fueling my flesh to get me to think about these things.
I have a doctor in the neighborhood I'll visit sometimes who's Jewish. I'm sharing the gospel with him, explaining to him, "Heaven, hell…Jesus is the only way." He's like, "I don't really believe in evil." I'm like, "You don't believe in evil? As a Jew, foremost… Like, the Holocaust. I would think you would believe in evil." He's like, "Oh, those are just man's constructions." I'm like, "Well, no. I mean, Satan is at work." He's like, "Satan doesn't even exist."
I'm like, "You know Satan is in the Jewish Scriptures, right?" He's like, "Well, my rabbi never talks about Satan." I'm like, "Well, you might need a new rabbi. He's in Genesis. He's in Job. He's in Zechariah, chapter 3. He's in Ezekiel and Isaiah. Satan is there in your Scriptures." He looks at me, and he goes, "Why would he never have told me that?" I know why. Because Satan doesn't want you to think he even exists. Poof! He's there, and he's at work. God is always at work, and so is Satan. He's a covert killer.
Satan questions Eve regarding God's instruction. He's getting us to question God's instruction. "This is a no-consequence environment." Even though I had been told, "Sin leads to death," he was like, "No, it doesn't. You won't experience any consequences. Watch. You'll get drunk. You're not going to die. Get high. You're not going to die. Look at porn. You're not going to die. Steal, lie, feel prideful…you're not going to die. There's no consequence."
You can't know God's way without knowing God's Word. You can't know the mind of God, as Satan or your flesh or the world questions you, apart from knowing the Word of God. So Eve responds. Not a good idea. "And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst [the middle] of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."'"
I need to say something here. Have you seen the movie War Room? It's about prayer. It's an awesome movie except for this one part. There's this one part where the old lady, who's a prayer warrior… I am not talking about not being that, but at some point, she starts walking through her house, and she's talking to Satan. She's literally speaking out loud to Satan.
We are never… Eve is doing it right here, and she never should have. She should have been like, "Hold up. I talk to God and Adam. I don't talk to you." In Zechariah, chapter 3, and in Jude, it's the same prayer. It says, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan." We don't engage in a dialogue with him. Rather, we call upon the Lord to rebuke him. So, sidebar there.
Eve responds well enough. God gives this instruction to Adam in chapter 2. He has passed it along to Eve at some point in time and even went a little further and was like, "Hey, Eve, not only don't eat it; don't even touch it. It's not worth it." So, that's what she's recounting to him, but the tempter persists. Because he persists, now you have to know the truth in order to discern the lie. You have to know, "Okay. What is God's Word? I'm talking to this talking snake, and he seems to know some stuff, so which one is true? How do I know what's true?"
Have y'all ever played "Two Truths and a Lie"? We're going to play it this morning. This could go horribly, but I'm going to try it. You're going to get to raise your hand for whatever you think is the lie. Here are three things. First, I have been shot by a shotgun. Second, I have a really, really bad tattoo. Third, I used to be a bartender on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas. Okay. What do you believe is the lie? There are two truths. There's one lie. What do you believe is the lie?
Hands up for "You've been shot with a shotgun." Okay, some hesitancy there. You have to be sure. Go all in. Don't raise your hand twice. I see you there. Second, I have a really bad tattoo. You're like, "Oh, it's that because you just hesitated." Suckers. Third, I used to be a bartender in Austin. Let's see those hands. No! I would have drunk all the product. I was not a bartender in Austin. Blake just raised his hand because he knows. (Oh, that's great. He just said, "I've seen the tattoo as well." And he regrets it. I have a parking lot seared in my brain. He has a bad tattoo.)
You have to know me in order to know the truth. I mean, there was a third of you who raised your hand for a total lie, like, "Oh, you were a bartender in Austin." I'm like, "No, I wasn't." I was their greatest patron. I was the patron saint (or patron sinner) of Sixth Street. But you didn't know, so you raised your hand. That's exactly what it is with God. We are filled and saturated with lies, and in order to spot the lie, we have to know the truth.
Apart from knowing the truth of God, we won't know the way of God, and thus we're going to be led astray by the lies of Satan, like Two Truths and a Lie, all day, every day, ad nauseam, on repeat. With every thought that goes through your mind, every advertisement you see, everything on social media, the temptations Satan whispers, to know the truth of God so you can reject and never raise your hand for the lie of Satan.
So, the question I want to ask you… What are the dark thoughts you have? Like me driving that day, just daydreaming about getting wasted in the afternoon, what's your dark thought? We all have them…lust, insecurity, critical spirit, suicide, self-harm, hate, bitterness, resentment. What's the dark thought?
Then, also, how to combat the dark thought. You combat the dark thought by bringing it into the light. Do you know what I did minutes later? So, I'm daydreaming, five minutes, getting drunk…kids, Laura. I finally was like, "Hey, babe, I have to tell you something." She was like, "Okay. What's up?" I was like, "For the last 5 or 10 minutes, all I've been doing is thinking about getting drunk. I've just been thinking about drinking, being alone, not being with you and the kids."
Her response was, "Oh, sweetheart, that's death. That was death to you before. It would be death to you again. That's a lie. It never brought about any good. Thank you so much for telling me." There was no shame or condemnation. I was met with this love and infusion of light and truth that just shattered that nightmare daydream, and I stopped having it, because things die in the light. Satan wants us to question God's instruction.
"If you can be like God, then you don't need anything else. So let me just tell them, 'Hey, you'll be like God. He's holding out on you. No, no, no. He's not protecting you. He's holding out on you.'" He wants Eve, he wants us, to doubt God, both his instruction and his intent. To doubt the instruction, like, "No, you're not going to die," and to doubt his intent. "Oh, no. I mean, even if you were to die, the only reason why he's saying that, why he's going so big, like, how you're going to die, is because he knows you'll be like him. No, it's his heart. It's a heart problem."
This is Satan's archetypal lie structure: doubt the instruction, doubt the heart and intent of God. So, first, it's no consequences. That's what he says. "You'll not surely die." I remember when I was a kid I went to youth group, and they said, "Sin leads to death." I don't know if it was my own fallen state or Satan's lie, but here is the lie I heard in that moment. "Sin leads to death." I'm like, "No, it doesn't. That's a scare tactic by a youth pastor. Nobody is dropping dead because of sin. That's just not true. There are not consequences to this. If nobody finds out, I'll be fine. There are no consequences." I was like, "Nah."
Then, probably 15 years later, I had a shotgun to my head with doctors telling me I was dying of alcoholism. Sin leads to death. The instruction here, when you think, "There are not consequences. Nobody is going to find out. This isn't going to catch up with me…a little cheating on my taxes, a little extra I'll take home from work, a little laziness at work (which is stealing also…time). No one is going to find out."
The no consequence… You just have to play the tape forward. Roll the tape. Be like, "Okay. All right. Satan, my flesh, my mind is telling me right now there's not going to be a consequence. Let's play the tape forward. What's going to happen if this continues? If I become a porn addict, if I become an alcoholic, if I become a control freak, if I become so fearful of every single circumstance and the crushing weight upon them rather than taking them to God…"
Just play it out. It's the instructions of Romans 6:21. Paul plays the tape. He says, "What benefit did you reap from the things you're now ashamed of? Those things result in death." He's asking us, by the Spirit, "Play the tape. I know you're tempted. I am too (Romans 7), so let's just roll this forward. What benefit did you ever get from it? What benefit did you ever get from a fifth of scotch on a Friday night? No. Play the tape."
The second thing is that God's instructions are wrong. I heard also as a kid (probably the same youth group) there was freedom in Christ. I was like, "No, there's not. There's not freedom in Christ. It's anything but freedom. He's keeping me from doing everything I want to do. He's like a cosmic hall monitor. There's no freedom." Until, at 30 years old, I was a slave to alcohol, and I was like, "Oh my goodness. This is what they were talking about. I didn't know I was a slave to sin. Of course I need freedom in Christ."
I didn't know I needed that until I realized I was enslaved to it. Satan deals with FOMO. "You're missing out. If you don't get to do that, you're going to be missing out. God is not trying to keep you free; he's trying to keep you from fun," which is the lie I believed. "He's not interested in your freedom. He's interested in you having less and less fun. That's what he wants to keep from you."
So, Eve takes the bait. She's like, "Wait. I'll be like God?" I think we think the exact same thing every time we sin. I read this, and I'm like, "Man, that's pretty messed up." Yahweh God walking in the garden, and she's like, "Nah. Nah." It's a coup. It's more of a coup than a fall.
She's like, "No, I don't want to serve you. I want to be like you. I'm going to be your equal. I'm coming after you. I know you told me not to eat it. I'm going to eat it. I'm going to be like you. I'm going to rule with you, maybe above you." It seems pretty messed up until we realize, "Oh, I do that every time I sin." Every time I sin, I'm saying, "I want to be like God. I am going to understate sin's consequences, and I'm going to be like God."
He's telling me not to look at or do or think or wish or act upon. I'm like, "Nah, I call the shots. In this area, at this time… You can have my eternity. I'll go to heaven when I die, but right now, I'm going to do what I want to do. Thanks for the instruction. I appreciate it, but I'm calling the shots today in this area with my dating, with my money, with my neighbor. I'm going to call the shots here, God. I'm going to be like you. I'm not going to answer to you. I want to be like you." We go for the shortcut. "I decide right or wrong."
So, the question I have for you right now… In your honest heart, what is something, through God's Word or conviction of the Holy Spirit, that God has said no to that you still want to pursue? We don't come here for information. We come here for transformation. So these questions I'm asking… Wrestle with them. Open your phone and take down a note. Write something in the margin of your Bible. For Eve, it was the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. For us, it might be life plans, sexual desire, finances, justice, or revenge.
Then how do you combat it? What I would offer to you is the phrase "When it's raining cats and dogs." You've heard the phrase, right? "It's raining cats and dogs." The origins, the etymology of the phrase… They say it came from Edinburgh. So, think old British 1500s, 1600s, bad sewer systems, bad drainage. They're still taking their bedpans and throwing them out the window. Just filth rampant.
After a torrential downpour, because they didn't have great sewage systems… The stray dogs and cats would live in these pipes and tunnels and gullies, so when there was a large downpour, the cats and dogs would drown. You're like, "Man, we're talking a lot of dead animals…the dead rat, the dead cats and dogs." Then, after the rain, they would come out into the streets of Edinburgh, and it would be like, "My goodness! Look at all of these dead cats and dogs."
It looked like God had just rained down cats and dogs. That's the phrase raining cats and dogs. It rained so hard it filled and flushed out all the filth of the underlying sewage system. What I would offer to you, when you start to understate sin's consequences, is what I would call spiritual displacement. You flood in the thoughts and things of God, and it displaces the filth that is within. It just pushes it out. It doesn't fight against it; it pushes it out, all that death. It just floods it out. Spiritual displacement.
I remember, before I was married…single, in seminary… I think I was in my third or fourth semester of Greek. I can picture myself sitting in the room. I'm staring at the professor, and a lustful thought goes through my mind. Y'all, we're learning to read the Scriptures in the original language, and I'm thinking about a lustful thought. In that moment, rather than be like, "No, no, no! Get back to Greek! Get back to Greek!" instead, I just started praying in the middle of class.
Down came the floodwaters of God and out went the filth of the lust. It's spiritual displacement. That's how we combat Satan's lies of him understating the consequences of sin. Lust and holiness can't coexist. Pride and humility can't coexist. They're repellent to each other. So, you bring in the things of God, and it flushes out the flesh and the lies of Satan. You think prayer, Scripture memory, Bible, worship music, even just talking to another believer. Satan wants us to question God's instruction. He wants us to understate sin's consequences.
Verse 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." At this point, and at every point in our lives… It is a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute crossroad. At this point, for Eve, desire beat out devotion, which is what happens every time.
When the temptation lies before us, it's like, "All right. Devotion to God; desire of the flesh. Devotion to God; desire of the flesh. Devotion to God; desire of the flesh. What am I going to do? What am I going to do? What am I going to do?" If you try to wrestle that on your own, desire of the flesh wins every time. Rather, you bring God into the fight.
Galatians 5:16: "If you walk by the Spirit, if you stay close to God, you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Desire beat out devotion. We have to keep it that devotion is beating out desire. Isn't it ironic? God said, "You can eat of any tree in the garden except that one," and out of all of the trees, here's Eve staring at this tree, like, "Why not this one?" He's like, "You'll die."
"Eve, there are all of the other trees."
We do the exact same thing. God is like, "Hey, I've given you life. I've given you adoption through the Father by the blood of the Son, now indwelt by the Spirit. I've given you every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. I've given you the body of Christ to walk through this life with. I've given you life, breath, and everything else for a life of holiness. I've given you my Word. I've given you daily bread. I've given you shelter."
We're like, "Yeah, I know, but…" He's like, "You'll die." We're like, "Yeah, I know, but really will I?" We do the exact same thing. "Yeah, but it looks good, and it's desirable, and I think it would actually help me." Judd, our 4-year-old, does this in our house. I mean, on the daily, he'll walk up to Laura. She's like, "Hey, buddy, what's wrong?" He'll be like, "Mom, I'm bored." Y'all, we could start a toy company out of our house. Laura probably will. She sells everything. If it's not nailed down, it is up for sale.
He does not have a toy problem; he has a heart problem. We tell him that. "Hey, Judd, we have toys for you. What you have right now is a heart issue. You just need to go be creative. You need to go play." He doesn't have a toy problem; he has a heart problem. It's the same with us. Every time we're enticed by sin, it's not a need problem; it's a heart problem. It's a me problem. I'm not content. It says in 1 Timothy 6, "Godliness with contentment is great gain."
You will suffer no loss. You won't be lacking for whatever tree of temptation is in your life because you'll be content with the things of God. It's not a toy issue; it's a heart issue. All sin is desirable at some level or we'd never do it. It has to be desirable at some level. There has to have this twist of good or we'd never do it. If it was all bad, we'd be like, "No, thanks."
If you ever go to Braum's with our family, here's what'll happen on the way home. Laura and I will get in the car, and the kids are so satisfied. They're so happy. Then one of us will look at each other and be like, "Sin." The reason we say it is not because ice cream is sinful, although Blake is probably like, "It is sin because you didn't eat Blue Bell."
It's sin because it's so good in the moment, and then the second it's done you're like, "Why did I just eat a double dip rocky road? Like, why did I do that? I had no benefit from that. All I feel now… I'm going to get a headache or a migraine because of the sugar intake. Why did I do that?" Because it was good in the moment. Then I'm just left with the consequences. "Man, I need to eat healthier. That was a stupid decision." It's just like sin…good in the moment, and then you're just left with it.
Eve had some of the fruit, and from that fruit has come every murder, every lie, every lust, every adultery, every control, every fear…from a bite of fruit. (I told you it was going to be a pick-me-up.) Then what's going on with Adam eating it? They talk about the passivity of Adam, but whatever it was, it couldn't have been sin, because we're told in 1 Timothy that Eve was the one who sinned first. So, whatever he was doing as he was standing and watching… Maybe it was horror. Maybe it was curiosity. I don't know what it was.
Whatever it was wasn't sin, but what was sin was when she took it and gave it to him and he ate of it. I think there's a parallel there within the verse, because we do the same thing. Someone gets led astray by a lie of Satan. Then they partake of it from their desires of the flesh, and then we justify our actions by theirs. We're like, "I mean, everybody kind of lives in this state of materialism and greed. I mean, it could be worse."
It's this "Everyone is doing it" thing that we have to tell our children. They're like, "But so-and-so gets to!" I'm like, "That's great. We don't." There's a level of, "Hey, that's great; we don't," as children of God. In the household of God, as the world does all this and we're like, "But they get to!" we're like, "Because of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of sin, we don't. There are certain things we say no to, and we don't partake."
This is the source code of every sin. In 1 John 2:16 it says, "For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh…" Jump back to Genesis 3. That's good for food. Desires of the flesh. Eve saw that it was good for food. "…the desires of the eyes…" She said it was a delight to the eyes. "…and pride of life…" This is desired to make one wise. Like, "Wait. I can be more than who I am right now because of this sin?" "…is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires…" The passage continues.
There's the source code, those three things, that we'll find the root of every fruit of sin that Satan offers to you. I sometimes will call them pleasures, measures, and treasures…pleasures of the flesh, treasures of the eyes, and measures of pride, like, "I'm better than them," or self-deprecating, like, "Oh, I'm such a loser," which is the shadow side of pride. You're still thinking a lot of yourself.
So, how do we combat this? How do we combat the desires of the flesh? We're intrigued by sin's offerings. Here's how. You never grocery shop when you're hungry. If grocery stores truly loved us, when I got to Trader Joe's, there would be a guy at the door, and he'd be like, "Hey, bro, come here." It would be like Costco. You couldn't get in unless you talked to the guy at the door. He'd be like, "Come here. So, tell me, how many?" You'd be like, "How many what?"
"How many calories?"
"Calories of what?"
"How many calories have you had today?"
If I was like, "2,000" he'd be like, "Welcome. Come on in. Have a good time shopping." If I got to that door and he was like, "How many?" and I was like, "Oh, bro, I had some coffee."
"Did you put anything in it?"
"No, it was black."
"Okay. Zero calories. What did you have for lunch?"
"I skipped lunch. I had a lot of meetings."
"Okay. You need to come back. Go get an Egg McMuffin. Don't come in here hungry, bro. You can't come in here hungry. Do you know what you're going to buy? You're going to buy pork dumplings. You're going to buy pumpkin cinnamon tortilla chips. You're going to be susceptible to everything. You know that sour cream popcorn? You're going to buy five bags. You don't want that, man. You're going to get home, and your wife is going to be like, 'Why did you do that?' You've got to get out of here. You can't shop hungry."
Spiritually we can't either. You cannot walk through this world… God is at the door like, "Are you filled up? Have you had enough?" Here's the axiom: only the full (spiritually satiated) resist the pull. Only the full resist the pull. You have to be filled up on the things of the Spirit before you walk out into the world with all of the flesh offerings, the temptations of the world, and Satan wanting to have you facedown in peanut butter, dead. So you have to be filled up.
You know this. You've gone grocery shopping, and you come home with all the stuff. It's the same thing. Do not walk out into that world until you're filled up. That is how you combat the desires of the flesh. So, here it is in recap before we get to our fourth. Satan wants us to question God's instruction. He wants to understate sin's consequences. He wants us to be intrigued by sin's offer.
You'll get done, and I want you to go do the dishes. I want you to go do the dishes for this very particular reason. When you do the dishes, you will have to touch that which you just ate, and there is something that happens. I don't know if it's mental, physical, supernatural, or all of the above, but as you're washing the dishes, you're going to be like, "Oh, gosh, these yams. I hate turkey. Ugh! Man! My aunt's stuffing with those gnarly onions in there." You're having to touch it.
What's crazy is they're the very things that you were, moments earlier, putting into your mouth with such delight, and then seconds later, you're disgusted as you're wiping it off. That's what has happened here in Genesis 3:7. Their eyes were opened after the delight of the sin. Then Satan turns the table. He goes from advocate, like, "Oh, you're going to love it. It's going to be awesome," to the accuser, like, "You filthy, rotten… You think you're a follower of Yahweh? You're disgusting! Look at you! You're naked, for crying out loud. Cover yourself!"
That's exactly what he does to us. And where is Satan now? He's gone. He leaves you trapped in your sin, shame, and accusation. The truism here is that the sin you enjoy is the same sin that destroys. What you think in a moment of weakness on a Friday night at midnight when you're all alone… That very thing you want to find enjoyable will be the very thing, moments later, that is so destructive to you. Though nothing can break your fellowship with God, there can be hindered fellowship.
Your solution for sin will never resolve the problem of sin. Your solution for sin (their fig leaves that they stitched together and tried to cover themselves) will never be your solution for sin. You can't "good work" your way out of it. You can't "quick thinking" your way out of it. You can't, as I thought, "no-consequence environment" your way out of it, because it's a supernatural problem that demands a supernatural answer.
So, how do you combat sin and shame? First John 1:7: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus…" The blood of Christ, not fig leaves of our own efforts. "…cleanses us from all sin." So, you confess to another. Just bring it out into the light with another person.
Then, secondly, it says in 1 John 1:9, just a little bit later, "If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." There is a cleansing by the washing of the blood of Jesus over your sin, and then a cleansing, as you're confessing to God, of all unrighteousness.
So, if you're struggling or just want to deepen your relationship with God… If you're like, "Man, I get it. I have heard you loud and clear about Satan, temptation, sin, and now shame. I'm there. I am fully convinced. My life is proof to it," I want to invite you to re:generation on Monday night. At 6:30, in this room, about 1,000 people gather to find healing from every sin under the sun, even those they don't even know they're dealing with. They're just like, "I just want to go and grow in the Lord this year. I can't even put my finger on it, but I'm just stuck." Welcome to re:generation every Monday. There's free kids' ministry for younger ones. (Don't bring your 15-year-old.)
Do you want to see where I was going all along? We have to quit falling for Satan's lies by standing on God's truth. First, Satan wants us to question God's instruction. Second, he wants us to understate sin's consequences. Third, he wants us to be intrigued by sin's offering, and fourth, trapped in sin and shame. It spells QUIT; that we would quit believing Satan's lies; that we would quit taking the bait of temptation; that we would quit thinking sin's offering, that desire becomes greater than our devotion to God; that we would quit efforting by our own willpower to get unstuck from sin.
Do you remember that A.A. meeting I walked into? I have never felt more shame in my life…ever. Yet there was no amount of A.A. meetings that could have ever gotten rid of that shame; no amount of me even quitting drinking that would have gotten rid of that shame. I can now stand on a stage and tell a few thousand of my closest friends about alcoholism, and not because I quit drinking. None of those things could be the fig leaves to remove my shame.
Jesus alone removes shame. Why? Because he offers the covering…not one that wastes away as a fig leaf, but he offers the eternal covering of his own blood…the very blood of Jesus shed for you as a covering for all of your shame and sin. Not only that. He doesn't just cover you with his blood but with his righteousness. He covers you, your unrighteousness with his righteousness.
Beyond that, on an ongoing basis, he covers you with prayer. It says he always lives to intercede for us. He is covering you, covering your sin, covering your shame, covering your regret, covering your remorse in prayer, that you can come out of hiding and be in right relationship with the Father through the Son and be made new, regeneration by the power of the Holy Spirit. There's a lyric you're about to sing, and it says:
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within…
He's right. There's guilt.
Upward I look and see him there,
Jesus, who made an end to all my sin.