Various Voices – The Serpent

*Note: Today’s sermon was delivered by Michael P.

If I have learnt anything over my nearly 30 years of being a teacher, it is always someone else’s fault! Very rarely does a student own up and say, I started it!  Almost always it was him, or it was her that start the fight/squabble/etc!

And to quote one of the responses in the Anglican Prayer Book:-

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, World without end, Amen!

Today is week two of our sermon series Various Voices, and this desire to blame others is nearly as old as the Universe itself!

So, let’s go back to the beginning, where did it all go wrong?

When we look around at society today, We seem to see that we’re living in a time where acceptance plays a big part in our society.

We’re living in a time where everybody is looking for an excuse to do what they want to do…

We’re living in a time where everybody wants the green light to act according to their will and their way…

We’re living in an ‘anything goes, just let it flow’ society…

We want what we want so badly, that we’ll do just about anything and listen to just about anybody to get it…

And we see from our reading from Genesis that there is nothing new under the sun.  When we go right back to the beginning, we see all the same attitudes then, as we see now.

In our text we see that in spite of the fact of what God had already said (Gen 2:16-17), Adam & Eve had already set their sights on what they wanted and all they needed was justification to act on it.

We see three distinct phases to The Fall

  1. The Set Up (Gen. 3:1-6)

Satan is subtle (cunning: crafty, calculating, shrewd, and sly)…

Jesus describes Satan like this

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

One of Satan’s main objectives is to convince you to do something you shouldn’t do.

Verse 1 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’?”

When you listen to the devil, he tries to do two things:

  1. He makes you question God’s Word.
  2. Makes God look harsher than He is.

You need to understand that in the Garden they had only one rule: don’t eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

There were hundreds of trees to eat from but they passed them to get to this one. The devil will try to set you up for a fall by twisting the truth, after all that is what lying is, twisting the truth.

Eve joins with this twisting truth

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.’ ”

This is not what God had said, Eve had added the bit about touching the tree.  This is another trick when we are trying to justify the wrong things we do. Isn’t easier to disobey God if we can try and make out that he is being unreasonable?

This is all part of the Set Up.  Then when the subtlety stops working the devil steps up the game and he goes on to call God a liar!

4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The enemy will entice you and hook you with half-truths. Satan wasn’t really lying; he just didn’t tell the whole truth, he showed Eve the pleasurable things but left out the end result, which was death.

Sin may be pleasurable for a season but the end is always death.

The devil will show you the pleasures but not the possible problems:

The pleasures of illicit sex, but not the results of… emotional pain and heartache

The pleasures of drugs, but not the results of… Addiction

The reality is that actions have consequences and however tempting sin looks, there are consequences and they are rarely good ones.

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, and he ate it. 7 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.

On what do we base our moral decisions?

Is it God’s Law or do we say, “If it feels good do it…!”

The problem is when you decide to make your own moral rules based on what you think and not what God says, it’s like making yourself God.

Understand that as human beings we have appetites: For things like: food, power, money, popularity, sex…. These appetites aren’t wrong to have but we have to understand what God expects of us, and why he expects certain behaviors.

Many people see God as a spoil sport, only interested in stopping our fun and enjoyment of life, but ultimately, it is because he made us and knows us that he gave us these rules.

It we buy a washing machine and put our crockery inside and turn it on, we would not be surprised if everything came out broken.  We follow the maker’s instructions.

Yet we know what our Maker says is the best way to live and then we are surprised when things go wrong.

After the Set up comes

  1. THE COVER UP (Gen. 3:7-13)

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.

Covering up your sin may hide it from others but not from God.

They tried to hide behind things:

  1. The fig leaves: covered their sin
  2. The Trees: They were trying to hide their sins behind the good things that they did (tending the Garden).

We hide behind our good deeds, our outward appearance, we are more interested in what the world thinks that what God thinks.

That’s why God has to expose and convict us when we when try to Cover Up.

God is always willing to call to us, we hear His voice in our daily prayer, at church, or just when our conscience is being pricked.

9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

God didn’t call out because He didn’t where Adam was.

It was because He wanted Adam to know where He was.

Adam was embarrassed and ashamed and he just couldn’t face to come into God’s presence.  And this is just what the Devil wants, you see when we refuse to come into the presence of God we become locked in our sin and the Devil has won.

God loves us, and He must expose our Cover Ups to bring us back into the place that you need to be in Him.

But Adam does what we all do; he began to blame others for his mistake.

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.”

He blamed the woman… He blamed God… He literally blamed everyone but himself!

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Understand that Cover Up is nothing more than an excuse for your actions

  1. The Devil made me do it.
  2. My parents didn’t raise me properly.
  3. I’ve got so much peer pressure.
  4. Every body else is doing it.

And the list goes on and on, it’s always someone else’s fault!

You see it’s never about your gossiping tongue it’s about the horrible thing they did.

It’s never about that lie it’s about how you couldn’t trust that person with the truth.

Eve started it but Adam was standing there when God said not to eat of that fruit.  He made a personal choice to disobey God.

The blame game started right back at the beginning, and it goes on today.

After the Cover Up there will always be

III. THE PAY UP (Gen 3:14-19)

Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Nothing in this life comes without a consequence.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

When you get caught in The Hype of the world you’re destined to be Set Up by the devil and lured into all kinds of sin…

As a result of your Set Up, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a Cover Up to hide what you’ve done… But the day will surely come when it’s time to Pay Up!

Our sin has real consequences, it destroys relationships, relationship with family, friends and ultimately with God.  It can also have real physical consequences in our lives, addiction, disease, pain, shame, humiliation, etc.

All sounds a bit bleak doesn’t it?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God has provided a way of escape for us.  God provided what it took for us to be delivered from the price of the Set Up and the Cover Up and the Pay Off.

 6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Our human nature, from the very beginning, was to turn our backs on God, and yet He has always and will always come looking for us.  Just as he called out to Adam in the garden, he continues to call out to you and me, not because he doesn’t know where we are, but so that we will know where he is.

He is calling us not to tell us off, but to tell us how much he loves us and that we don’t need to hide anymore.

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