Summary: Jesus endured temptations, and so can we with His help.
All right, let me ask you a question. If the team that you’re rooting for-- if they knew the other team’s plays, in other words all this week they knew exactly what play the other team was going to run every time. It was all scripted out right there for you. Do you think that your team would have a chance to win if they went into the game knowing every play the other team was going to run? And what if it was only three plays? What if the other team only had three plays and you knew when they were going to run one of those three plays? Do you think your team, even the Jets and even Chicago, might have a chance to win? You know who I’m rooting for already, right? All right. I’m praying for a Green Bay-Pittsburgh Super Bowl, all right? So for the rest of you, I’m sorry. That’s who I’m praying for. All right. So if your team does know those three plays, chances are you would be well prepared to win the game.
In Scripture our enemy, the one who wants to steal, kill, and destroy from us really only has three plays in his playbook. And he has been running them perfectly, executing them very well now for thousands of years. And he’s not had to really add anything to his arsenal of plays because the three that I’m about to describe work so well.
Now one of my most prized possessions that I have in my office and I was showing it off this week is that I have a signed book, a signed copy of John Wooden’s last book before he passed away and it says, “To Brady from John Wooden.” And somebody knew that I was a big basketball fan and I’m an admirer of John Wooden. They got the book; they knew him and got the book signed for me. And I was showing people my John Wooden-signed autographed book this week. I was bragging on it.
But John Wooden and guys like John Wooden and Vince Lombardi if you know anything about sports, and I’m not trying to overwhelm you with sports analogies this morning, but these guys what made them brilliant coaches is not because they were extravagant in the way they coached. In fact, they were brilliant because they simplified the game of football and the game of basketball. John Wooden almost never looked at the opponent’s game film. He never scouted another team. He would just tell his team we’re going to do the fundamentals, everybody that played UCLA, and they won like nine national championships. But everybody that played UCLA knew exactly what they were going to do, but they couldn’t stop them because UCLA they fundamentally just did it better than everybody else. They rebounded, played defense, and shot the basketball better than everybody else. It didn’t matter what you did against them, they were successful.
Well I’m not comparing Vince Lombardi and John Wooden to a Satan. But our enemy only has three plays and we know what they are, yet we still find ourselves being overwhelmed by them. So let’s pick it up here. Let’s find out what these three things are.
In Genesis chapter 3, Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve have been formed. They’re now set in the Garden of Eden. God has given Adam and Eve tremendous authority. He says now not only name the animals but rule and multiply the land in which I’ve given you. You can eat anything in the garden you want except from this tree. You cannot eat the fruit from this tree. Yet the serpent, the cunning crafty serpent, comes to Eve and to Adam and says, “Listen. You know why God doesn’t want you to have that forbidden fruit? You know why he doesn’t want you to have this because if you were to eat of that fruit, you would become like God.” He begins to whisper these subtle lies to them. And Adam and Eve, they commit the original sin because they believed a lie.
Now I want you to write this down if you’re taking notes this morning. All of us have sinned. All of us are sinners. All of us have fallen short of the glory of God, the Scripture says. All of us will probably commit sins before the Christ returns. All sin is caused though by us believing a subtle lie, a lie. We believe it and we act upon what we hear and what we believe, what we see and what we believe. That’s how we act upon it and that’s how sin comes into all of our lives.
So in Genesis chapter 3, I want you to notice the three things that is pointed out here. Verse 6 — “When the woman saw the fruit...” Notice that the eyes work here, “...when the woman saw the fruit of the tree was good for food.” So the first thing she noticed with her eyes was that fruit was tempting. The fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye. Notice that the first two are what? Things that she is seeing. She saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom. “And she took some and ate it. And she also gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it.” So the three things here—notice the three things—the tree was good for food, it was pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom.