Sermons

Summary: Traces the Big Lie - that we may sin and not die - from Eden to End Times.

“The BIG Lie”

March 6, 2011

1 John 3:4-10

“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.”

Adam and Eve lived in paradise. The temperature was mild. Food was abundant, nutritious and so tasty. Water was fresh and pure. They lived in a state of perpetual joy and love. They were created that way. They never knew anything else. They felt so loved by each other. They felt so loved by their Creator. Adam and Eve were innocent about everything. Everything was pure with them. Life was a pleasure - filled with wonderful and exciting things.

One day, up slithered Satan dressed as the most beautiful and crafty creature in the place. He approached Eve in her innocence and says,

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 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.’”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 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...”

Genesis 3:1-7

Can you see Eve, so beautiful, so innocent, so pure – just happily enjoying what God had created for them. And then this creature speaks to her, which must not have been that unusual because she apparently wasn’t shocked by it. And the serpent, for the first time in her life, creates doubt. She wasn’t used to deceit and deception and exaggeration and false accusations. She had only known truth and honesty. She listened when he said the “Big Lie”. “You will not die if you sin.” He was saying so much more – God is a liar; God can not be trusted. God withholds good from us. There is wisdom to be gained apart from God.” And Eve had a choice. She could walk away – or she could listen. She listened. She bought in on the ‘Big Lie’. She chose to believe God lied and this creature told the truth. We have been suffering for it ever since – and we continue to buy into the lie.

Paul was mentoring a young pastor by the name of Timothy. We know of two letters he wrote to him. There may have been more. The wise old saint wrote Timothy and said,

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

A time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Why? They want a doctrine to accommodate their own fallen desires. They will invite, and cal,l pastors and teachers who will say what their itching ears want to hear. What do they want to hear? They want to hear the ‘Big Lie” – “you can do your own thing and not die. You can sin and not die.”

He is accepted by most religious academics of our day as the most important scholar in the ancient western church. Born in North Africa, his mother was a Christian but his father remained a pagan until late in life. At the age of nineteen, he read some writings by the philosopher Cicero that led him into his fascination with philosophical questions and methods. That influence would remain with him throughout his life. After a few years in the Gnostic cult, as a Manichean, he became attracted to and influenced by the more skeptical positions of the Academic philosophers. He was tempted in the direction of Christianity when he arrived at Milan in 383, but he rejected it. He turned first to a metaphysical way of philosophy called Neo-Platonism. Later he met the great saint, Ambrose, who was a reluctant godly bishop. It was he who is credited with leading him to Christ and conversion and who baptized him in 387.

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