1."The devil made me do it." Many of us are familiar with these words. They were made famous by comedian Flip Wilson who recently passed away. Whenever Flip got caught doing something wrong, he would flippantly say "the devil made me do it."
2. But with all respect to Flip, these words did not originate with him. For we hear them already in the first days of creation. For when God approaches Eve and asks her what it is she has done, her answer is "the devil made me do it."
3. Today we consider the word of God as in comes to us in the Jan. 2 readings of the Year Of The Bible. On New Year's Day considered the readings for Jan. 1. We focussed on God - our Creator, Provider, on His goodness. On His intended relation with mankind, with us. And it was all very good.
4. I liked those readings much more than those we will consider today. For that perfect, that intended, that eutopian relationship with God is shattered. Things are not the same and will not be the same again. Why? Because the devil made us do it? Yes, partly because of him, but also because of us.
1. As we look at what happened we will be able to see what it is that destroys or at least, hampers, our relationship with God.
2. In our passage we are introduced to Satan. He was an angel who was jealous of God. He led a rebellion against God, hoping that he would be able to sit in the throne of God. He wants to destroy God’s kingdom and His followers. He does not want anyone to have a right relationship with God. That is why he led A&E against God. That is why he led Herod to fear Jesus and try to kill Him. He did not want Jesus to come and die for our sins. He even tempted Jesus to try and stop Him from dying for our sins.
3. Well, this is the first time that Satan becomes active in God’s creation. The first time that he seduces us to rebel against God. And as we will see, his ways have not changed.
4. Satan tries to affect the way we think about God. W will look at 4 ways he does this. Ask yourself, "Do I ever think like this about God? Does Satan affect my view of God?" Remember he is deceptive and we need to be aware of his ways. Jesus tell us in John 8:44 for "he is a liar and the father of lies." And many of his lies are lies about God.
5. Satan wants us to have negative thoughts about God.
vs. 1 - "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
"Did God place all these things in the garden, these beautiful trees with delicious fruit on them, and then tell you that you cannot eat of them?
6. And I believe that’s how many people think of God today. "God is not fun. If you want to have fun and enjoy life, forget about God. He is all about rules, all about thou shalt nots."
7. Do we ever feel that way? Restricted because of God? Young people get free from home when they go to college. Some stop going to church and start the party life. They want to live, to have fun. And so they forget about God for a while. I have a feeling that some of us have gone through times like this. And maybe we still do.
8. Well, there are two things we need to consider:
a. First is God as restrictive as He is made out to be? Satan lied. A&E could not eat of one tree - the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He said they could not eat of any tree. So often Satan exaggerates the rules that God places before us.
b. The Pharisees did it in their day and many still do this today. I think of Jesus - who went to the home of sinner and dined with them. He enjoyed Himself, He like a good meal and a glass of wine with His friends.
c. We must be careful that as a church, as believers we do not send the wrong message to the unbelievers around us. I heard what is supposed to be a true story:
A woman in a church had been listening to a message by her pastor by evangelizing the neighbours people have. The next week she proudly told her passage that she had done just what he had suggested. The week before, when she came home, she saw her neighbour out on the driveway washing her car. So she went out to him and told him that he should not be washing her car on Sunday. Too bad she wasn’t there to see Jesus and his disciples picking grain on Sunday. She could have set them straight as well.