Summary: Eve's fall into sin is an example to us of the steps in which we fall into sin through temptation today and yet we overcome temptation through the grace and strength of Jesus Christ.
Nancy Reagan was visiting Longfellow Elementary School in Oakland California in 1982 and was asked by a schoolgirl what to do if she was offered drugs. The first lady responded by saying: “Just say no.” And from that moment the “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign began and spread throughout the country and internationally. “Just say no” is what it means to stand against temptation when it arises. Can we just say no?
What does it mean to be a Christian? First, it means that you are a redeemed child of God – living for the glory of Jesus Christ. But it also means that you are an enemy of Satan. Every Christian is in a war – a life-and-death struggle with a vicious enemy. There is a saying that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. But there is another similar saying: “The Devil hates you and has a terrible plan for your life!” He will do anything to make you fall, to keep you from growing spiritually, to discourage you and cause you to give up on God. The enemy never quits – he never gets tired. Praise God we have a Lord who is more powerful and gives us victory in the battle as we trust in him!
This morning we are continuing in the foundational matters of Genesis. Last week we looked at God as the master provider. And this morning we continue to look at God our master and his great warning – battle ahead! Be ready!
Here in the very beautiful and perfect Garden of Eden the battle begins for God’s children. We find the serpent suddenly in Chapter 3 verse 1. That alone is evidence that something happened between the creation of the perfect universe and this verse because God does not create evil but only good. There was a rebellion against God in the heavenly places as one of the highest angels sought the authority and glory of God and he was cast out of heaven along with many other angels who followed him. (see Isaiah 14 or Ezek. 27).
And so we have the first battle for the soul of a human being in the Garden of Eden as Satan in the form of a serpent attacks Eve – how? Through temptation. And it is through her experience of temptation that we learn the common strategy of the enemy that he also uses to this day. If he was able to get a perfect man and woman to sin, he will do the same to you and I who are born sinners and vulnerable.
What is temptation? It is not sin. If you are tempted you don’t have to confess it to God. If temptation was sin, then Jesus sinned because the Bible describes how he was tempted by the Devil on at least two occasions.
Temptation is the thought in your head to do something against God’s will. That thought can come from one of three sources – either your own sinful flesh. We are born in sin and that nature often rears its ugly head and temptations come from our own mind. Sometimes the temptation comes from the world around us that pulls us in to its rebellion against God. Third, temptation comes from Satan or more likely his demons who plant thoughts in our minds.
No matter where it comes from, the temptation is not sin but the option to sin. Temptation can very quickly become sin as James says in 1:14 – “carried away and enticed by his own lust.” This means that if you take the original thought and dwell on it and desire it and carry the action through in your mind it has turned to sin without any outward action. That’s what it means to be “carried away” by lust. You desire it. And that is the ultimate goal of the enemy!
Satan has a strategy. Genesis describes him as crafty as he tempts us through our flesh, the world or directly. What are his strategies as we fight temptation?
Temptation is UNEXPECTED – Be on the alert!
Satan is very crafty, he doesn’t tempt when we are expecting it or when we are ready for it but temptation come when we least expect and when we are most vulnerable.
Look at Eve. How was she vulnerable? Eve knew God’s Word. She was perfect. She was very close to God. She seemed safe. This is why the Scripture reminds us: “Be on the alert!” The enemy is not stupid – he will come when the watchmen are sleeping and easily attack the city.
Since he is very crafty, the enemy will attack not at your strongest point but at your weakest. He won’t bother dealing with an area which you won’t give in to. He’ll attack at an area in which you struggle with and at times and places in which you are most vulnerable.