God is interested in family harmony and confession between husband and wife. If your prayers aren't being answered, take a look at your relationship with your spouse!
“GOODBY TO PARADISE”
PRIVATE We discovered in Genesis chapter 2 last session, God created a beautiful relationship that is between husband and wife. No sooner had God created that relationship than Satan set about the wheels of motion to destroy that relationship. You will find in chapter 3 the tragic fall of man. I think chapter 3 of Genesis is the saddest, most tragic chapter in all the Bible. Yet you will find as we study this chapter this morning that interwoven into the tragic tapestry of Chapter 3 you will discover the threads of hope and salvation. It says in verse 1 of Chapter 3 that the serpent was crafty, and oh how Satan is indeed crafty. In fact, two times we are warned of Satan in scriptures by the apostles. In II Corinthians, chapter 2:11, Paul exhorts the church in Corinth not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes. The word scheme is the original word agnumen which means mindset or mentality. Because Satan has a mentality, he has a mindset, he has a way of thinking, and I think he would discover that type of thinking in the humanistic philosophy of today’s society. Paul will also warn the church in Galatia in chapter 6:11 to “Put on the entire armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The word wiles there could be translated schemes; but it comes from a different original word--the word methodios, from which we get our word method. So we discover from the writings of Scripture that Satan has a mindset, a mentality, and he also has a method. You’re going to discover along with me in chapter 3 of Genesis the methodology of Satan and its five faceted deception. Would you look with me please in Genesis chapter 3. We’re going to look at the five- fold scheme of Satan in tempting Eve. If you have those notes, I think it will be helpful; because I have a lot to give you this morning, and we’re going to cover a lot of ground.
The first of this five-fold scheme in tempting Eve is that he appeared in a form to deceive. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” Evidently Satan took the form of the serpent. This was one of the creations of God. It was beautiful. Now you’ve got to understand that we’re talking about before the fall. The serpent like any being or beast was that of having a wonderful relationship with mankind. It was a beautiful thing and the skin of the serpent gave off its beautiful colors. So there was no need to fear. Perhaps the beautiful colors were attractive to the woman, and so Satan chose to inhabit the serpent. So he inhabited a serpent because he wanted to take a form that would deceive. You need to understand that Satan is not running around town wearing a bright, red suit with a long tail and a pitchfork, fangs, shoveling coal. He’s an angel of light. He will take whatever appearance necessary to deceive. With Eve it was the form of a serpent.
I think, secondly, Satan not only appeared in a form to deceive, but he cast doubt on the word of God. Look at the last part of verse one. “And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed has God said, you shall not eat from every tree of the garden?’” He casually suggests, “Eve, has God said this?” And, if a serpent can smile, he smiled. “Do you really think God meant you couldn’t eat from every tree?” You see that you need to understand that Satan is not coming across as some brash, rude character. Shakespeare said it well when he wrote, “The prince of darkness is a gentleman.” The serpent came in to beguile her and asked a simple polite question, “Say, did God say that?” But he sowing by that in her mind a seed of doubt.
I want you to notice the response of woman in verses 2 & 3. “And the woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said you shall not eat from it or touch it.’” That’s not in there, God didn’t say that. He only said you couldn’t eat it. “But you shall not eat from it or touch it lest you die.”
I want you to notice the third thing in Satan’s temptation. That is he denies the truth of God’s word. Look at verse 4. “And the serpent said to the woman, (Now he’s a little brash.) ‘You surely shall not die.’” Mark it down, ladies and gentlemen. Every temptation is an opportunity to either believe the words of Satan or the words of God. God said, “Eat of it and die.” Satan said, “Eat it and you won’t die.”
You understand, men and women, when you sin, you are either believing the words of God or the lies of Satan. God always tells the truth. John 8:24 declares that “Satan is the father of lies.” One of the things Satan will do as he did with Eve is pull you from the words of God, sow seeds of doubt in your mind about the Words of God so that you will one day deny the words of God and follow the words of Satan.
Fourthly, he attributed to God evil motives. Verse 5, the first part. This is the amazing thing about this entire temptation to me. He suggests, he dares to imply. Verse 5, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it, your eyes will be open.” Now, it’s God who’s jealous. It’s God who is the one who cowardly protects His throne. Satan would suggest to woman, “Look, if you eat, God’s afraid. He knows that you will be like Him. And he trembles at the thought. He is an envious God. He is jealous of his character.” Satan attributes to God the evil motives when God holds our best interest at heart. He is doubting the goodness of God. You know something, men and women, when you and I face temptation, we come to that same conclusion. Is God really good in withholding this from me? Could He be better to me if He allowed this for me? Satan says, “Oh, God isn’t as good to you as He could be, because He’d give you this.” So he doubts the goodness of God, and he attributes to God evil motives.
The last thing in number 5 is he promises blessings through disobedience. In the last part of verse 5, “And you will be like God knowing good and evil.” Listen, he says, “Sin will pay off. It’ll bring dividends.” And it will for a season, but, make no mistake, obedience to the words of Satan does offer benefit, but it’s only temporary. Where obedience to the Word of God offers benefit, but they are eternal. That’s the difference we find in Genesis, chapter 3. “Eat it,” Satan says, “And you will be like your creator. Eat it, and you will be like God.”
I was watching one talk show and this woman was channeling. If you aren’t aware of what that is, perhaps some of you younger people, that is where some spirit from some other planet, some other universal life, inhabits the body and speaks through the body of a human. That human becomes the channel through which the spirit speaks. This isn’t something new. It’s as old as sin. I was watching this one particular talk show and this woman was channeling this spirit that had a strange Scottish accent. I think, if I had been from Scotland, I would have been offended. But it had some Scottish accent and finally somebody fortunately from the audience raised the question, “Why did you come to planet Earth?” I mean, if you rule some universal planet out there, if you have your own kingdom, why take the time to come to Earth? I will never forget that girl’s answer. Without even a blink of the eye, she said in this strange accent, “I have come to let man know that he is divine.” It’s the lie of Satan. Man, woman, you are God. He has transgressed the boundary between the Creator and the creature.
You say, “But I don’t believe in channeling.” Let me ask you this. Would you espouse the words of one man who wrote this that basically states the same thing? “Our responsibility is to direct our own lives, and we do not claim to be in need of forgiveness or salvation.” In other words, I am the authority in my life. I run my life. I call the shots in my life. What are you saying? That I am the God in my life. There is no other authority. No higher being. I live as He does not exist. And that’s possible not only for an unbeliever but for believer alike.
Look at verse 6. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food.” That’s the physical lure. “And that it was a delight to the eyes.” That’s the emotional lure. “And that the tree was desirable to make one wise.” That’s the intellectual lure. “ She took from its fruit and ate. And she gave also to her husband. And he ate.” Do you notice the three things? The emotional, the physical, the intellectual lure? There are times when it will make perfect sense to disobey God. There will be times in your life when it will just make common sense to do something other than what God declares. Talk to someone who does not follow God. And they have their logic. And God says that though it may make sense to you now, there is coming judgment ultimately that brings death.
Now, I want to give you a three-fold discovery of sin. Number One: They discovered their nakedness because of their sin. Verse 7, the first part: “And the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked.” The word knew here is the Hebrew word that could be translated: they had intellectual insight. All of a sudden, they knew something was wrong.
The second thing that they discovered was self effort. Look at the next part of verse 7: “And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin covers.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is the first religious act of history. This is the first act of self effort to somehow cover over sin. To somehow make myself better than I know I am. I think what we see here is the first religious act of human history. When Adam, knowing that there is something wrong, something amiss, take it into his own hands to remedy the situation. My friend, let me suggest to you that, if you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, you can come to church, but that’s a fig leaf. You can pray prayers. Those are fig leaves. You can give money to church. You can give money away. You can attend a Bible study. You may even teach one. Fig leaves. Human self effort to pull yourself up, to salve your conscience when you’ve never dealt with sin. That’s what they did here.
They also discovered, thirdly, fear. Verses 8: “And they heard the sound of the Lord God.” That’s not the sound of His voice by the way. That’s the literal sound of the Lord God walking. Evidently He had taken some kind of human form or some kind of form that could make Him known to the senses of man. We don’t know what kind of form that was. It may not have been a human form. “But they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And the man and the wife-- look what they did--hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amond the trees of the garden.” They discovered fear. Imagine. “Adam, I hear God. He’s coming.” “Eve, I hear Him too. Let’s run.” And they run, and they hide behind some tree. And there they are cowering and trmebling. In fear, where before the fall, perfect openness and communion with God. Now they’re hiding behind some shrub. So was the nature of man. Because of sin, you and I do not run to God. We run from Him.
There is something beautiful, though, in this expression. In the next verse, “When the Lord God called the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” Because you may run from Him; but, ladies and gentlemen, God has come to you. God has come to remedy the situation. And though you do not want Him, though you may not know Him, God in the person of Jesus Christ who declared in the Gospel of Luke, “I am come to seek and to save that which was lost.” God seeks after us. If it were left up to us, we would remain behind the shrub if it were not for His grace. And the tragedy of this whole situation is that Adam and Eve hiding over here behind this tree thought that they could get away from God. Thought that somehow God didn’t know. They’re about to learn a lesson that you and I often forget. That’s that God knows everything. They haven’t been clued in on that yet. They thought that they could hide behind the bark of this tree and get away from it. You and I often forget that God knows our sin as well. You start at such a young age revealing the lack of understanding that God knows all. You try it out on your parents first. That’s where it first starts. You didn’t have to have anyone teach you that either.
One of my little boys walked into the living room this past week, and he had the silliest grin on his face. I was sitting in a chair. Kids are so dumb. If he did something wrong, he should just act normal. But it’s that silly little grin that he was giving me. And here he is walking by me, and he had his hands behind his back. His silly little grin got my attention, and I noticed his hands were behind his back and he was walking like this past me. Bright kid. We are as silly when we sin and give God some pious smile as if He won’t see. He won’t know.
Hebrews chapter 4 reads: “Before Him all things are naked and open.”
I want to give you something else, however, and that is the four-fold disintegration. Boy, this is a long outline, isn’t it? We’ve got to move. A four-fold disintegration. The first is the disintegration of fellowship with God. In verses 9 and 10: “And the Lord God called the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked.’” That’s a lie. “So I hid myself.” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden and I sinned,” he should have said. But he said, “I was naked so I hid myself before openness and communication now hiding in guilt.”
Secondly, the disintegration of marital unity. Verse 11 and 12: I want you to note this carefully. “And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree which I commanded you not to eat?’” Boy, God is just like a parent isn’t He? Did you do what I told you not to do? Here’s Adam, I mean he’s called in on the carpet. There is no way out. What did he do? “Well, Lord, she, the one you gave me, she did it.” Put on your imagination for just a moment. We don’t have it in the text. But I doubt Eve took that sitting down. I think the blood started going up in her neck. Her face flushed. That little vein there - ten times the size. She probably stomped her foot and said, “What? What do you mean I made you do it, I can’t make you do anything.” And Adam said, “Well, you gave me the fruit.” Here they are having the first spat in marital history. It’s a lulu. Then she probably looks at the Lord and says, “Lord, I can’t believe this man blames me.” And God says in the next verse, “Well, what’s this you have done?” Now Eve’s on the carpet. So she says, “Uh, the serpent, he made me do it.” Now Adam’s hot. Oh boy. “What do you mean the serpent? You got on me because I blamed you and now you’re blaming the serpent. Here they go. Yap! Yap! Yap! Yap! Yap! Boy it’s a good one. How did they learn these techniques? Why before this thing, they had never argued, perfect harmony. Now at the drop of a hat--bang, at each other’s throats. I’ll tell you why, because sin brought about a loss in marital harmony.
Three things drastically changed. The first A is that marriage lost its harmony. They blamed each other. I don’t know where they learned the techniques of arguing, but boy they were masters at it. All of a sudden. I read where one newly wed couple told some friends, “We decided we wouldn’t go to sleep at night mad at one another. We haven’t had any sleep for three weeks now.” That’s so true. Why? Because it just comes naturally. What was unnatural in the garden, that is arguing, a complaining spirit, is now natural.
Let me give you two other things that drastically changed. Secondly, woman, let her be, lost her naturally submissive spirit. Look at verse 16: We’ll get back to verse 15 in a moment. “To the woman He said, (This is because of the sin or the fall.) I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you shall bring forth children. Yet your desire shall be for your husband.” Now the word desire could be translated crave. It is a pursuit. You could translate this phrase, “Your craving will be over your husband.” In other words, now because of the fall, it comes naturally for a woman to desire to form, manipulate, and move her husband. The reason that you, ladies, do that is because it’s part of your nature now. Because of sin. Her desire, that means her emotional being, is now exaggerated. Where once her husband was his, now she would seek to possess him. She now seeks to manipulate, to fashion, to form him after her own will.
I want you to notice that what makes it even worse is letter C. That is that man has lost his naturally loving headship. Would you notice the last part of verse 16. “And he shall rule over you.” The implication here of course is the exaggerated sense where now man will not lovingly lead. Man will tyrannically rule. He will subjugate woman. He will press her down. Where you find countries without the Word that gives us the solution, you will find women who are nothing more than beasts, objects. Even in America where the Word is not learned and loved, you will find women as objects, toys, beasts of burden. Why? Why does man find it so easy to subjugate? Why does man find it so easy to tyrannically rule. It is because of sin. It comes naturally now to mankind to rule, to dominate without love.
The third disintegration is the disintegration of man’s paradise. Verses 17-19 read “And to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you saying you shall not eat from it, is the ground because of you?’” In other words, what came naturally to the ground will be an unnatural thing. That’s why when you plant tomatoes, what do you get? You get tomatoes and weeds. You plant flowers, and what do you get? You get flowers and weeds. Why? Because, for every weed that grows, the earth is bearing witness that it is also under the curse. That which was unnatural is now natural.
“All the days of your life you shall eat from the toil of it both thorns and thistles shall grow for you,” verse 18. The Hebrew, in fact, could read, “It shall grow for you by itself.” “And you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread.” I always use to think that man would have to sweat to get bread until I had the privilege of studying the original. What this literally means is that man toils and he sweats, and interspersed between man and toiling, he sits down to eat. In other words, work is broken up by his meals. Even when he sits down to eat, he is still sweating. Man is cursed now by being forced to plow an unyielding soil to work. Even in his eating, he does not rest.
You will notice also the disintegration of physical immortality. The last part of verse 19: “Til you return to the ground because from it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Let me give you quickly a four-fold deliverance. First of all, victory is promised. Look at verse 15 now. Well, let’s back up to verse 13. “Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you’ve done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ And the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.’” But notice the promise, this is called the proto evangelly. This is the first promise of the Gospel. Verse 15: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed.” We have two ways to interpret, and I think both are correct. One is immediate and the other one is prophetic. The first interpretation is that the seed of the woman will be at enmity. That is the woman following God had enmity with the seed of the serpent. There is a clash from then on until God reigns between those who believe God and those who do not believe God. They will be at war. But I want you to notice there’s a prophetic utterance as well. They change from the plural to the singular, “And he (not they) shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Who is he? You know it. Jesus Christ. Now, when it says that the serpent will bruise his heel, I’ve been told, I guess it’s true, I never want to experience it, but, if a serpent bites you, the best place to be bitten with the least results is the heel. In other words what he is saying is to the serpent, you’re going to prick the coming savior, but it will have no effect. But he will crush your head. Now, if you want to kill a serpent, you don’t cut off its tail. You don’t crush its tail. You crush its head, which means that ultimately he is brought to ruin. This is the promise of Jesus Christ. Where would this take place? Where would the crushing occur? Where would the bruising of the heel take place? On the cross!! Where the Savior’s heel was pricked. But to no effect, because He gained the victory over the grave. In that act He forever broke the power of sin that the serpent had over mankind. The promise is given.
Secondly, marital unity can be experienced. We go to the writings of Paul in Ephesians, chapter 5, and he says some unusual words where he writes, “Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the spirit.” Which doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you go back into history and you understand the thinking of the Greeks as they taught in their mythology that their god, Zeus, one day had a son. His son’s name was Dionysius. Dionysius was called the god of wine, and the Greeks believed that, in their religious system, they must become drunk with wine. They would, of course, practice all kinds of perversion and filthiness. They called it religion. In order to be able to practice such heinous crimes and sins against one another, they would become drunk to dull the senses and quiet the conscience. This evidently was pervasive in the Ephesian socity. So Paul comes along and says, “Now look, in worshipping God, don’t become drunk with wine. Don’t be controlled by wine. Don’t be filled with that substance, but instead be controlled by the spirit of God.” Guess what’s the first thing out of the bag as a result to being submissive to the Spirit of God. Wives submitting to husbands. Husbands loving their wives. Marital unity can be experienced only if the power of Satan is quenched in the life of the believer in his practice (??) by yielding to the Spirit of God.
Thirdly, paradise will be re-established. This is a promise. Revelation 21:1a: “And I saw a new heaven.” And guess what else? “A new earth.” See, you and I think Heaven is a floating cloud up there. It’s also the re-establishment of paradise. Planet earth is once again made like in the days of creation for man to enjoy.
Fourthly, physical immortality will be assured. Will you turn to Revelation, chapter 22. I want us to read. Will you follow along as I read some wonderful verses of Scripture. Rev. 22 verses 1-5: “For all those who believe in Jesus Christ, (this is the promise). “You are no longer under Satan’s dominion, but you are now serving the kingdom of God and his future coming kingdom.” Look what it is going to be like. Chapter 22. Notice the reference now to Genesis, chapter 3. You’ll see some implications that go back to Genesis, chapter 3. “And he showed me a river of water, the water of life, clear as crystal coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb. And in the middle of its street and on either side of the river was the tree of life.” Now in Genesis 3 at the end man is kept from the tree of life. But once again, it’s available, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. “And there shall no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it. And his bondservants shall serve Him and they shall see His face, once again fellowship. And His name shall be on their foreheads, and there shall no longer be any night. And they shall have no need of the light of the lamp nor the light of the sun because the Lord God shall illumine them, and they (that is the blood bought redeemed ones) shall reign forever and forever.”
Genesis, chapter 3, the curse, the fall, the expulsion, goodby to paradise. God closes the door on Eden. Revelation, chapter 22, promises one the coming paradise, the coming kingdom. And those who believe in the Lamb will be able to participate in that coming kingdom.
Let me give you three applications and we’re finished. Number one: In the final analysis, sin never pays. It costs. Let me read you Genesis, chapter 3, verses 23 and 24. Was it worth it for Adam and Eve to eat, to believe the lie of Satan? “Therefore, the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out. And at the east of the Garden of Eden He stationed the cherub and the flaming sword which turned in every direction.” Literally it means that there wasn’t a sword that was on fire, there was a flame that was shaped like a sword, and it moved in every direction. That is as if it were lightning and it flashed all around that tree as quick as you could see. It is an awesome thing to think that there were cheribum, angels stationed around that tree and this flashing of light all about it to keep man from coming in. It turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
Secondly, harmony in the home begins in the heart. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit dwelling within--every believer. To be controlled is the key. It is in that control that brings that harmonious state back once again.
Number three: Paradise is designed for sinners. For sinners. But those who’ve been forgiven. In a cemetery in Strasburgh, Pennsylvania, is the tomb of a soldier that died during the Civil War. Among that tombstone, of course, were many others. Abraham Lincoln sought to honor a soldier in a particular way. So he chose one particular soldier’s tombstone. Underneath his name and date of birth and death, he had written into the stone these words, “Abraham Lincoln’s substitute.” That soldier symbolized the fact that those who died in battle died so that others could live.
Men and women, you are either living under the curse of Genesis, chapter 3, or you have the promise of Revelation, chapter 22. What makes the difference? That you can look at the cross of Christ, that you can think in your mind there Jesus Christ died one day for you, and can you put your name on the cross, Stephen Davey’s substitute. He died so that I can live. If you can’t see your name, if you’ve never gone to the cross, you’re under the curse. If you’ve gone to the cross, paradise and abundant life now, marital harmony now, forgiveness for sin now will be once again experienced. Let’s pray.