Today's sermon is the seventh of a ten part series called, "The Lies of Satan". So far we've examined different lies that Satan uses in our modern day.
Today we'll hop into the time machine of Scripture and revisit the first lies that Satan presented to the human race. May the Holy Spirit equip us to stand against Satan's lies, shielded by faith, and armed with the Word of God. Amen.
Genesis 3:1-6 (ESV)
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 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.
We need to remember what was at stake here. At the beginning of this six verse reading, the human race was perfect and sinless. By the end of this reading everything had changed. Sin and death had entered the world, and all because of Satan's lies.
Bumps and bruises. Sorrow and guilt. Mourning and frustration. Every pain you've ever experienced can be traced back to this event.
Every historical atrocity, every shocking headline, every late night news story that tightened your stomach - can be traced back to this event.
What was at stake here?
The life, peace and joy of the human race. The uncorrupted beauty of the universe. These things were are at stake when Satan entered the garden of Eden in the form of a serpent.
The unbelieving world around us likes to treat this story like a fairy-tale. Satan, of course, loves this. When people consider Genesis a fairy-tale they do not look closely to examine Satan's methods. But today, we will.
Essentially, we'll be asking three questions today. What can we learn from Satan's lies? What can we learn from Eve's reaction? And what do we learn from God's response? May the Holy Spirit bless our study today with insight from His Word. Amen.
So, what can we learn from Satan's lies?
Well, first of all let's hear those lies again. Verse 1,
"He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”" (Genesis 3:1b-5 ESV).Satan uses three different lies here. The first is a lie of implication. It's kind of a soft lie. He says, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" (verse 1).
Technically, Satan doesn't make a direct statement here, he just asks a question. But the implication is clear. He's planting the idea that God just might be a little too strict.
When you refinish a piece of furniture, or a wood floor, it's helpful to do a little sanding between final coats of sealer. Not a lot, just enough sanding to rough up the surface so the next layer sticks. That's what Satan is doing with this first lie of implication. He's roughing up God's reputation so that the next lie will stick.
The sinful world does the same thing today. It roughs up God's image by presenting a slightly skewed image of God to us. Every time we see a movie or read a book that describes God different than Scripture does, Satan's soft lie is there. What IF God were different than you've been told in the Bible? This readies the surface of God's reputation for the obvious lie to stick.
Eve responded to Satan's first question by setting him straight. Of course God didn't say all the trees were off limits. On the contrary, God said that they could eat from any of the trees, just not the one in the middle of the garden. That one would kill them.
To which Satan replied, "You will not surely die" (verse 4). The obvious lie is like a slap to the face. It hits you so hard that it spins you around. Now you're not sure which way is right. The obvious lie benefits from a bit of preparation because it's so obvious. And it also benefits from a little work after it's presented.
Ever stick a hook on the wall? You know, one of those little plastic hooks that go on with a little adhesive strip? The directs say that you should apply pressure for 30 seconds and then let it dry for a few hours before using it.
The obvious lie needs a little pressure too before you can try to hang anything on it.
In the garden, Satan immediately applied pressure to make his obvious lie hold fast. He said, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (verse 4).
This final lie of Satan adds weight to the obvious lie. You could call it the power lie. It's the lie that ties the others together and makes them a force that keeps growing. Or you could call it the simmering lie because it sits on the backburner of a person's mind getting stronger and stronger.
Satan's power lie presents God as a liar who has some evil intention for lying to Adam and Eve. But there's still time. If Eve acts quickly, there is still a way to escape God's clutches and elevate herself to His level.
Many of Satan's lies are power lies which invite us to put ourselves in the driver's seat. To make decisions apart from God's will. They appeal to our egos, suggesting that by disobedience we can gain wisdom that we couldn't otherwise. If we stay in the moral straight-jacket of God's commands, we'll never know what true happiness is. But, if we disobey, that's where freedom and life begins.
Of course, that's not what Adam and Eve would tell you. They knew what real life was like. They communed with God on a daily basis. They knew what a sinless world was like. They would not agree that disobedience leads to happiness. They would be the first to tell you that sin leads to death.
Adam and Eve saw physical death first hand when their son Cain murdered his brother Abel. They saw spiritual death in Cain's too. Though Cain spoke face to face with God, he refused to trust in God.
Eve could have told you that it was the most horrible lie when Satan told her, "You will not die". For all of her descendants have been born spiritually separated from God. They have been born spiritually dead - because of her sin and Adam's sin.
So, to review, Satan used three lies when he tempted Eve. He used a lie of implication to rough up God's image. He used an obvious lie to turn the tables and make God appear like an evil tyrant. And, he used a simmering, power lie to suggest that Eve could escape God's clutches and elevate herself above Him by eating from the forbidden tree.
Now, let's turn to Eve. What can we learn from Eve's reaction?
When we accept a lie, we're leaning on something other than God's Word. Eve's reaction to Satan reveals some of the unreliable things that people lean on instead of trusting what God says. Look once more at 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" (Genesis 3:6 ESV).After Satan stopped speaking, Eve stood there looking at the forbidden tree as if through an invisible doorway. There was a new possibility in her life. She could step through this door and take what God had forbidden.
And as she looked she saw three things.
First, the fruit was good for food. In other words, it was similar to other food she had eaten. Satan wasn't suggesting she eat rocks off the ground, he was suggesting something reasonable. This fruit looked like other fruit, why not eat from this tree?
The sinful heart still responds in this way. If it'll work, why not do it? Lies can work. Stealing can make you rich. We are designed for sexual interaction. But just because something will work, just because something CAN be done, doesn't make it right. Just because we are presented the opportunity to do something, does not mean that's what God wants us to do.
The second response of Eve was to note that the fruit was a delight to the eyes. Not only did it appear edible, it was downright beautiful.
How many times doesn't the outward beauty of something suck us into a bad decision? How many things have you bought because of the outward packaging, only to find that the actual product was a piece of junk? Outward beauty doesn't ensure quality.
How many times have we rushed into sin because it looked like fun, only to find that it had serious consequences. Better to trust the guiding word of our loving God.
Eve's last response to the fruit on the tree was to note that it was desirable to make one wise. In other words, she had accepted Satan's lie that this fruit would make her like God, knowing good and evil, and that she would not die.
Wisdom gained from doing something is a great thing when it isn't sinful. In fact that's sometimes the best way to learn something knew. By experience. But when that experience is sinful, it becomes a curse. You can't un-know evil when you have experienced it. Like the images that you see in movies can't be unseen, or the things you hear or read that you can't forget. Satan was being truthful when he said Eve would know good and evil. Eve did come to know evil by doing evil, something that she could never undo, or erase.
And neither can we undo what we have done. You and I cannot erase the sinful nature that we got from our parents. You and I cannot unsay the horrible things we've said or un-think the things that we have thought.
But God can, and has.
After Satan's lie, came God's promise. He promised the serpent,
"15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,In other words, one day a Savior would come from Eve's descendants. And that Savior would oppose Satan and destroy his power over mankind. This happened when God's Son was born into the human race, lived a perfect life, and offered Himself as THE sinless sacrifice for all sinners.
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15 ESV).
When Satan promised Eve that she would not die, it was a lie. But when God promised the same thing because of the Savior to come, that was the trust. As Romans 6, verse 23 says...
"...the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23 NIV).Simply put, "In Christ, you will not die".
As Jesus once said...
"...I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26 ESV).Will we have to experience physical death, sure. But will we be separated from God forever, NO. In Christ our sins are forgiven and we are united to our gracious Creator once more.
In Christ, we will not die.
This is what we learn from God's response. Right after the fall into sin, God's response was love. He made the promise that He would rescue Adam and Eve from the death their sin had brought upon them. And that promise stands for us today.
So, what have we learned today? Well, we've learned that Satan is crafty. He uses lots of difference lies to accomplish his agenda. We've learned that when a person stops leaning on God's word all they have left is untrustworthy stuff like outward appearance with which to judge things. And we've been reminded that God's first action after Adam and Eve's sin was to promise them a Savior.
So, how can we safeguard our families against Satan's lies? By returning daily to God's book. Where we learn the real truth about Satan's lies, and where we hear the real truth from God's mouth. May God draw us ever back to His Word, Amen.