These are my notes for teaching at the Cornerstone on Sunday, June 28, 2020.
Part 3 of Broken. Genesis 3:6-13.
This is part three of our teaching series on what it means to be human.
Last week, I sort of left things hanging. I described how sin has infected us like a virus. It creates sinful desires in our hearts that result in choices and actions that are unhealthy, unwise, unhelpful and ungodly. This explains why we do what we do.
Today, is the practical application of that teaching.
Ever since Adam and Eve went rogue, sin has shown up in predictable patterns. Learning the patterns helps us get ready to resist. We'll see what's happening and we won't be ambushed. Instead of falling into sin, we'll stand firm in godliness.
Because of Jesus, we can replace the sinful patterns with something better. His presence in us by his Spirit gives us supernatural power to change our lives. To live in that power, we have to see what's coming at us and recognize the patterns before it's too late.
The opportunity to sin comes in four basic pattern that are dichotomies or choices. Once you see this, you'll be so prepared to win the fight for godliness.
Genesis 3 is a good starting point. Let's turn there.
SIN'S FOUR BASIC PATTERNS
Let's begin with some background:
In the beginning, God created the world and everything in it. It was all good, very good in fact. He placed the man and the woman in a garden paradise and provided for them in great abundance. He blessed them and gave their lives meaning and purpose - rule the world, work it, take care of it, and fill it with kids.
There was only one restriction:
(Genesis 2:15-17) 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 from it you will certainly die.”
God withheld one thing from them for their own good, to protect them. The tree was the symbol of God's exclusive right to decide what is good and what is evil. Humans don't get to decide that. Only God.
God told Adam, "If you decide what is good and evil, you'll die" meaning that Adam would be on his own, without God, cut off from his source of life.
So, the man and woman decided they knew better than God and the rest is history. Ever since then, we see the same four patterns at work in our lives.
Take a look at Genesis 3:6-13 ...
(Genesis 3:6-13) 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; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The four patterns are right there in the passage and they are like a template for life. Let's look at them now:
1. TRUST GOD vs. DOUBT GOD - verse 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.
This is the mother pattern that gives birth to the other three. Do you ever find yourself doubting God's goodness and thinking that God is holding out on you? That's what happened in the Garden.
Imagine yourself in that garden Paradise - almost heaven on earth. Everything you need is provided in abundance. Food, water, gorgeous wife, hunky husband, perfect love, no clothes, God showing up to chat. Friendly animals. Hammock slung between two palms. 72 degrees. Sunny, low humidity. Perfection.
Why in the world did they decide to eat the forbidden fruit? Simple. They doubted his goodness and love. They decided the tree was more reliable than God for food and wisdom. Dumb, dumb, dumb!
Don't we do the same, especially when life gets hard? Suddenly we go from all smiles and hallelujahs to God's forgotten me, he doesn't care, he doesn't love me.
Really? Is God ever like that? Of course not. I learned a great, helpful principle: never doubt in the dark what was true in the light. If God is good in the good times, he's still good in the hard times.
(Psalm 145:13) The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
When Israel marched into the desert - without water or crops anywhere in sight, they forgot that God had delivered them from slavery by power and miracles. They doubted his goodness and love and started whining and complaining. Worship turned to worry. Gratitude turned into a very bad attitude. the Bible records fourteen separate complaints during their desert journeys. Here's one example:
(Exodus 16:2-3) In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”
Watch out for the trust versus doubt pattern in your life. Fight back. Remember Jesus and his cross and declare, "God loves me. He is faithful. He keeps his promises. I will trust him."
A great way to fight doubt and build trust in God is to memorize Psalm 23:6 and tell it to yourself every day:
(Psalms 23:6) Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We went into some detail on trust versus doubt because it is the mother pattern that gives birth to the other three. Let's briefly look at the other three so we can learn to recognize them and fight back.
2. DEPENDENCE ON GOD vs. INDEPENDENCE FROM GOD - verses 8-10.
... They hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
God designed humans to need him. When we hide from God, it's like our declaration of independence. We're saying, I'll take care of myself. I'll do things my way.
The Bible word for that kind of independence from God is folly or foolishness and the results are ugly:
(Psalms 14:1) The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
There are clear signs that we are living without God:
We lose interest in hearing or reading the Bible.
We don't apply the Bible's teachings to our lives.
We don't pray or we don't pray like it matters.
Gratitude turns into a bad attitude.
When you see any of those signs, fight back. Be honest with God and ask him to light the fire again. Pray:
(Psalms 85:6) Will you not revive us (me) again, that your people (I) may rejoice in you?
(Romans 12:11) Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
3. TRUTH FROM GOD vs. LIES FROM SATAN - verse 13.
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
I believe we have seriously underestimated the influence of satanic deception in our lives. Evil spirits wage war against us daily. Their goal is to destroy our faith by selling us lies.
(1 Peter 5:8-9) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith ...
How can we fight back. Three essentials:
Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee (James 4:7).
(James 4:7) Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Equip yourself with God's truth so you can recognize a satanic deception when you see it. Become a student of Bible and theology.
(James 4:4, 8, 12) It is written … It is written … It is written …
Follow Jesus and his teachings without compromise. Filter out the daily bombardment of lies. Reject godless ideology that doesn't square with his teachings.
(Matthew 7:24-25) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
4. HARMONY vs. BLAME AND SHAME - verses 7, 10, 12.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
One bad decision threw the world into blame and shame mode. If you had to guess, how much of your life is affected by conflict or strife or pointing fingers? It could be at work or at the little league or in your family. It could even be a war inside of you.
Blame is external conflict - fighting with other people. Shame is internal conflict - fighting with ourselves.
I believe Satan watched Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and immediately told them: You're a total failure. You're naked, you're vulnerable, you're not safe, you're going to be scrutinized by your husband/wife and you won't measure up.
They responded in fear and went into attack mode. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the devil. Both hid from God. And blame and shame became our new normal. Am I right or am I right?
This fourth pattern is so important that we'll take a second look at it next time in a teaching called Us Versus Them.
Those are the four basic patterns that lead to our sinful choices and actions. Once you see it, you can see all kinds of patterns:
Love versus hate.
Joy versus sorrow,
Gratitude versus attitude.
Forgiveness versus bitterness.
Giving versus taking.
Encouraging versus Undermining.
Stoned versus sober.
Sexual purity versus sexual immorality.
And on and on.
Living by faith in Jesus gives us the mind and the will to fight back. Joined to Jesus we have died to the power of sin and we have been raised to new life. His power at work in us gives us the ability to make godly choices and to live godly lives.
To win the battle, we must learn to recognize the four basic patterns by which sin comes against us. Then, we'll be prepared to fight back against doubt, Independence, deception, and shame/blame.
Ask yourself: Am I living by faith in Jesus. Do I believe his power is at work in me now? Am I living in trust, dependence, truth, and harmony? Have you I been fighting back against sin? Am I discouraged?
Let's take all that to the Lord in prayer.