Summary: We learn from the greatest failure ever, how Satan sets us up for failure; but how God sets us up for forgiveness and restoration.
We read here about the greatest failure of all time. The failure of Adam & Eve to resist the temptation to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Think of how they failed!
They enjoyed every advantage. They lived in a perfect environment, were each married to the perfect person (in fact, you could say they were made for each other), enjoyed intimate and unlimited fellowship with the creator, and had their whole life before them! Yet, despite all these advantages, they nevertheless made a mistake that led to the condemnation of the entire human race!
When it comes to failure, this story should encourage and instruct us. This story encourages us because we know that no matter how bad our failure, unlike that of Adam & Eve, it is will not adversely affect the spiritual and eternal welfare of the entire human race. This story instructs us, however, in how Satan leads us to failure and how God lead us from failure to forgiveness and restoration. God never gives up on His children! Even in times of failure, His voice calls out to us!
1. How Satan Sets Us Up For Failure - vs. 1-8
We are told that the temptation of Adam & Eve came through a serpent. Who was working through the serpent? The devil, himself (Revelation 12:9 - “That ancient serpent, called the devil”).
A. Satan Works In Our Lives To Deceive Us - vs. 1-5
Satan sets us up for failure by getting us to think our way is better than God’s way. How? He seeks to deceive us. . .
1) Through Doubt - v. lb
Satan led Eve to doubt God’s Word! He cast doubt on its authority - “Did God really say this?” and its acceptability - “You must not eat from any tree in the garden.” Through leading Adam & Eve to doubt God’s Word, he led them to also doubt God’s love and good intentions.
If he can, Satan will lead us to doubt if the Bible is a book we can rely on to guide our lives. He knows if he can get us doubting the authority of God’s Word, it’s a simple step to doubt God’s love, believing that God’s Word cannot be trusted to be in our best interest. This sets us up to go our way rather than God’s way, which always leads to failure!
2) Through Denial - v. 4
Once doubt was entertained, Satan followed up with outright denial of the truth! He is still in the business of denying the truth of God’s Word!
3) Through Delusion - v. 5
Satan led Adam & Eve to accept a false reality! He actually led them to believe that they could do a better job running their lives than the One who had created them! Now here is where the devil starts in setting us up for failure: He seeks to get us to doubt the truth, so that we might eventually deny the truth, and accept a delusion as truth!
What delusion Satan wants you to accept? That you can be your own God, do your own thing, live your own life, make our own decisions, and do a better job at it than your creator! This lie is at the heart of all of the devil’s dealings with men (John 8:44). “The lie” that one can do better doing things their way, rather than God's way, was the reason Lucifer (Satan) lost his place in heaven and was cast out and eternally condemned (Isaiah 14:12-14), it is what keeps people today from coming to Christ (Ephesians 2:2), and it is what will be used to deceive the entire world so that Satan’s antichrist might rule the world in the last days (2 Thessalonians 2:11). “The lie” is the instrument Satan uses to keep unbelievers under condemnation, and if he can, lead believers to confusion, compromise, and eventual calamity!
How do we counter Satan’s lie? With God’s truth! If we are going to avoid the failures Satan has in mind for us, we must LEARN THE TRUTH! Part of the reason for Satan’s success with Adam & Eve, was their lack of adequate knowledge of the truth (v. 3; 2:16-17)!
B. Satan works In Our Lives To Defeat Us - v. 6
l) By Turning A Look Into Lust.
2) By Turning A Desire Into A Decision.
3) By Turning A Choice Into A Chain.
4) By Turning The Sinner Into A Seducer.
Jesus made it clear that He has two kinds of followers (Matthew 12:30) - we are either gathering people to Christ, or scattering people away from Christ.
Satan’s strategy is to lead as many believers as possible into daily compromise so that he might keep as many unbelievers as possible under eternal condemnation.