Summary: Satan is no different today than he has ever been; the nature of temptation and sin is really no different. Christians can better fight against evil by going back to Genesis and discovering how Satan operates.
Do you ever get the feeling that Satan has changed?
When I look at how evil our world has become and consider the temptations that people are faced with, I am tempted to say that Satan has changed. I’m tempted to say that the nature of sin has changed.
Sometimes it appears that our ancestors had an easier life because it seems that they weren’t faced with many of the problems that we see today. After all, Moses didn’t have to deal with pornography on the Internet. Isaiah wasn’t tempted to sniff glue or smoke crack. David didn’t have to face the temptation of cheating on his taxes. And surely Paul wasn’t tempted to drive too fast.
But when I read my Bible, I realize that Satan is no different today than he has ever been, the nature of temptation and sin is really no different, and the nature of the human race certainly remains the same.
So, what I’ve decided to do tonight is to take you all the way back to the beginning. Back to the very first human beings, back to the first temptation, and back to the first sin. And I hope that by doing so, we can learn better how to understand the nature of temptation, the nature of sin, and the nature of our tempter - Satan - and how we as Christians can better fight against the evil that so desperately wants to defeat us.
Genesis 3 tells the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve and the consequences of their sin. So, I would like to encourage you to pay close attention and read along with me as we take a few moments this evening to study this story and consider it’s implications for our lives today.
But before we do, please bow with me as we go to God in prayer.
Context: God has created the world and all that is in it.
And as a grand finale He creates man. Genesis 1: 26-27. A man named Adam and his helper named Eve.
He has given man a beautiful paradise in which to live and work, all the food he can eat, and only three simple commands:
The first and second commands are found in chapter 1 verse 28 where he says ". . . Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth" ( which was the first commandment) "and subdue it and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (which was the second commandment).
So, we see here that God has given these two commands (which, by the way are positive commands, not negative commands - as human beings it seems that we are often more tempted to do the forbidden as opposed to not doing what is commanded to do) and no others (according to the scriptures), and as far as we know, man has obeyed, or is in the process of obeying these two commands - being fruitful and multiplying and subduing and ruling over the earth.
Then, in chapter 2, verse 16, Adam and Eve receive their first negative command ( in other words, a "thou shalt not" type of command) ". . . And the Lord God commanded the man, "you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
And after this command is given, you don’t have to read too much further until you see old Satan come along and rear his ugly head.
As we read this text, we should realize that not only are we getting to see the very nature and the very tactics of the one who tempts us to sin against our God, but we are also privileged to learn from the mistakes of God’s first people.
You see, it might be a little different if we didn’t know anything about Satan and how he goes about tempting and deceiving people. A person might even be so bold as to shake an angry fist at God and say "How am I supposed to avoid sin and fight temptation when I don’t even know anything about my enemy?" But folks, we can’t say that because God has given us Satan’s game plan.
Now, I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but I tend to use a good many illustrations from when I used to play football and from when I was in the Army. And I know that there are a good many of you who never played football, and a good many who were never in the military. So, don’t worry. All my illustrations don’t come from those two sources.