Monday, January 21, 2019

God In Genesis #2: Righteous Chapter 3

God In Genesis #2: Righteous Chapter 3

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Last week we began a series from Genesis with the purpose of see the character and attributes of God through the book. Genesis is the book of beginnings from the universe to mankind, but it is also the book of beginnings of our knowledge of God as He reveals himself to Adam, Abraham and Moses. I pray we can look with their eyes and see anew the wonder of our God.

At risk of bring the sermon to a screaming theological halt let me give you a list or as we theologian like to call it a catalog of the attributes of God or if you really want to sound like a theology with a beard to your navel and hair over your ears, a catalog of the perfections of God. Are you ready? Are you sure? Some of you look a little shy or nervous. Okay, here we go.

Catalog of the Perfections or Characteristics of God

Eternity: The attribute of eternity means that God exists endlessly. His existence extends endlessly backward and forward (from our viewpoint of time) without any interruption or limitation caused by succession of events.

Immutability: God is unchangeable and thus unchanging.

Infinity: God has no bounds or limits. He is in no way limited by the universe or by time-space boundaries.

Love: Love in God is seeking the highest good and glory of His perfections.

The Big Three O’s

Omnipotence: God is all-powerful and able to do anything consistent with His own nature.

Omnipresence: God is everywhere present with His whole being at all times.

Omniscience: God knows everything, things actual and possible, effortlessly and equally well.

Sovereignty: Ultimately God is in complete control of all things, though He may choose to let certain events happen according to natural laws that He has ordained.

Truth: God is true. He is consistent with Himself, that He is all that He should be, that He has revealed Himself as He really is, and that He and His revelation are completely reliable.

Holiness: In respect to God, holiness means not only that He is separate from all that is unclean and evil but also that He is pure and thus distinct from all others.

Righteousness: Though related to holiness, righteousness is nevertheless a distinct attribute of God. Holiness relates to God’s separateness; righteousness, to His justice.
- Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth.

Now then tell me the truth, after that list how many are ready to go Bible College and become theologians? Not that many, maybe I should go through the list again. “The catalog of the ….”

It is the last attribute of perfection, God’s righteousness that we see displayed in Genesis 3 which is our text today.

Denying God Genesis 3:1-5

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.  

The Dragon, The Serpent, Satan

The serpent was Satan, later called the Dragon of Revelation.
In the vast majority of passages (70 out of 83) Satan is called either Satan or the Devil. In addition to these two several other names are used and they give us a picture of the fallen angel, once called Lucifer, the morning star but now called Satan, the adversary or the Devil, the accuser. He is called Tempter (Matthew 4:5; 1 Thes. 3:5); Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24); Enemy (Matthew 13:39); Evil One (Matthew 13:19, 38; 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 3:12, and particularly 5:18); Belial (2 Cor. 6:15); Adversary, (1 Peter 5:8); Deceiver  (Rev. 12:9); Dragon (Rev. 12:3); Father of Lies (John 8:44); Murderer (John 8:44); Sinner (1 John 3:8 - The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

In Genesis 3 we see the beginning of our knowledge of Satan as he takes control of the serpent and uses this form to tempt Eve and try and destroy God’s greatest creation man and in Revelation we see a picture of him from before creation to end of the ages, as he mounts an attack on heaven and then turns to destroy God people, Israel.

Revelation 12:3-9  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
We see him bound for a thousand years during the Christ 1000 year kingdom on earth

Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
And finally we see his end.

Revelation 20:10  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
After all the trouble and strife with Satan, the question must come to mind.
Why did God allow the serpent/ Satan to tempt Eve?

The Serpent and Us

At risk of sounding like we are oversimplifying things, it actually is a simple answer and it points to another of God’s attributes, His sovereignty and one of man’s likeness to God, free will.
I like what A W Tozer says, “God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. …A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.” ― A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

When man was made in the image of God, part of the spiritual and intellectual image was free will, the ability to choose. Without that we could never have real fellowship with God for we could not freely choose Him, and fellowship was why God created us. Without choice, without free will there is noo fellowship with God and the purpose of creation is lost.

There is no free will without choice. God did not make Satan sin anymore than he made man to sin but in his Omniscience he knew that in giving that ability to the angels and to man, that Satan would fall and so would man. Man’s free will is just as real as his sin, but remember God is omniscient and He is not taken by surprise.

Let’s look now at the actual temptation of Eve and Adam with her.

Defying God Genesis 3:6

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The Temptation and Defeat

We do not know how long Adam and Even were in the Garden before the Serpent came. Was it on the 8th day of creation? (That would make it the beginning of all bad Mondays) Or was it 10,000 years after creation? We don’t really know. I doubt Satan would have waited too long, but we can hope that they enjoyed God’s perfect paradise for several years before they fell.
In this passage, I want us to look not so much at Eve or Adam, nor do I want us to blame them for our current sinful state. Believe me had we been in their place we problem wouldn’t have lasted as long as they did. I want us to look at the temptation itself. 

Look again at Genesis 3:6

  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Notice three things that Eve was tempted with. 1)The tree was good for food. It was not poisonous, nor covered in thorns. 2) It was pleasant to the eyes. It looked good. 3) It was desirable because it would make a person wise. (Probably like coffee today.)

In this three pronged attack Eve was taken and she then took the fruit and look closer at what the Bible says, she gave it to Adam “with her.” It seems he was standing right there as Eve was being tempted and didn’t say a thing. (If this was a couple today we could imagine that it would be like him watching the Cowboys or the Saints, while his wife is fighting off a home invader. “I’ll be there in a minute, honey.”)

Next I want you to look at what John says, in 1 John 2:16 as he talks about the temptation that all of us face in the world today.
  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Do you see the connection with Gen 3? Eve saw it was good for food, John warns us about the lust of the flesh. Even saw it was pleasant to the eyes, John says one of the temptations of the world is the lust of the eyes. Eve wanted the fruit to make her wise, something that she could glory and have pride in, John says beware of the pride of life.

The temptation of Eve, the beginnings of all temptations, takes the same form of what you and I face every day. This is another reason why I believe if we had been there, we would have fallen just as hard and fast as Adam and Eve because the same temptations are being used by Satan in our world today and we are not withstanding them. We give in to them every single day.

There is one more temptation we should look at in Matthew 4:1-11
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.  And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.  Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,  And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.  Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.  Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

Did you see them? The same temptations that Satan used on Eve and the same temptations that he uses on us daily, he tried to use on Jesus Christ. Jesus had been fasting and Satan said make these stone bread, that is the lust of the flesh. The devil took him to the top of the temple and said, if you are the Son of God, jump and let the angel catch you. He was appealing to Jesus’ pride. Then he showed him all the kingdoms of the world, the lust of the eyes.

Do you also see the difference between these three passages? Eve was tempted and fell, you and I are tempted, and we fall, but praise God, when Jesus was tempted, He was victorious. At the end of Eve temptation there is shame, at the end our temptation there is guilt but at the end of Jesus’ temptation Satan is sent away in defeat by the command of Jesus Christ, The Son of God, very God of very God. Somebody say, Hallelujah!

The Temptation and Victory

The lesson of course is very plain. If you would have deliverance from the fall of Adam’s sin. If you would have salvation from your own defeat at the hands of this world and sin then you must not trust in your power as a human being, nor in your own unique power as an individual. The world tells us over and over and over again, “Believe in yourself.” That is the pride of life, that is what brought Adam and Eve to death and that is what will destroy us. You must not believe in yourself you must believe in someone much greater than yourself, someone who went face to face with the Devil, the tempter, the destroyer, the deceiver and commanded him to slink away in his defeat. You need to believe in Jesus, Christ. The only one who ever beat Satan, sin and even death. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 20:31
 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 16:31
 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Romans 10:9
 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Transition: Lets look at one last thing back in Genesis because after denying God there will always come a day we must Deal with God and we see this with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:7

Dealing With God

Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

Now God as judge arraigns Adam and Eve,

Genesis 3:9-13  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Adam and Eve Confronted by God

In Adam and Eve we see the two ways we can deal with God. First, they try to hide, but you can’t hide from an omniscient, omnipresent God and so God finds them and confronts them. In His righteousness he passes judgment upon them as the rest of Chapter 3 tells us. Death comes into their lives and they are driven from the Garden to the toil, pain and suffering of a world now tainted by their own sin.  

But notice verse 21 Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

God did not leave them in their guilt, in their shame and in their inadequate attempt to cover their sin. The Bible says He made coats of skins. God took one of those innocent creatures from the Garden and he slew that animal and made coats to cover them in their sin. Adam and Eve then accepted God’s gift, they took the covering of a slain innocent in place of their own works that covered nothing.

One Day We Will Have to Deal With God

We are just like Adam and Eve our original parents. We would have fallen to the Tempter if we had been in the Garden. We know this because we fall today. Our sin in fact is worse than theirs for we are responsible for all that God has revealed to us in His word. Every warning, every caution, every prohibition and every example of those who did not heed those warnings.
We are like them in another way, we have the same end to our sin and the choices we did or didn’t make. One day we, just like they will have to deal with God.

One of those warnings of scripture in is Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
Adam and Eve sowed to their flesh and they reaped death. It is no different for us, but I pray we can also be like them when God found them in the cool of Garden that day. Yes, sin had its consequences, but by God’s grace it also had a covering. They made the wrong choice in the Garden but the made the right choice before God. When He offered them His gift to cover their sin, they clothed themselves with that gift brought by the death of another.
Paul talks about this in Romans 5

Romans 5:6-9
 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Romans 5:18-19
 Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Can you imagine that day in the Garden as God confronted Adam and Eve, can you imagine the shame of their sin but most importantly can you see them as God hold out to them His gift, bought to them by the shed blood of an innocent? Can you imagine reaching out and taking that gift from the had of God?

As dramatic as that scene plays out in your imagination it is nothing compared to your own Day with God. It could be today and through the words of scripture God once again holds out to you His gift bought by the shed blood of his own innocent Son, Jesus. Spiritually, that is as real right now as it was historically real back then.

You will deal with God and in His presence know you are a sinner and accept His gift or you will try and hide until one day, you’ll hid now more. At the Great White Throne there will no more place to hide. O the sorrow of those who have to deal with God after they leave this world unsaved, unforgiven. Then there will no longer be the hand of God holding out His gift but then only a sword.
We’ve seen the relationship between the beginning of Genesis and the endings of Revelation lets look at this last one in Revelation 20:11-15 
 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.


Don’t wait to deal with God. He is looking for each of us, guilty as we are but he brings the gift of forgiveness, the covering for our sin, the shed blood of His son. Run to him today and take that wonderful gift.

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