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Genesis 3:1-6 - Man and Woman’s First Steps Into Sin

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Introduction:

The world is full of lawlessness, crime, immorality, adultery, drugs, drunkenness, lying, stealing, cheating, greed, covetousness, extravagance, indulgence, murder, assaults, war—all kinds of sin and evil.  But this has not always been true.

There was a time when the world was perfect, a time when there was not a single act of violence or evil upon earth.  In fact, an evil deed had never been committed.  The earth was perfect; both man and woman were sinless.  They knew only harmony and peace, satisfaction and fulfillment, love, joy, and peace—all the fulness of life prevailed.  Perfection ruled and reigned.

            What happened?  What destroyed the perfection and caused such devastation and lawlessness upon earth?  What corrupted the heart of man?  This is what I want to talk to you about.  This passage reveals so much about temptation and sin. 

A.           The serpent (v.1a).

1.            “The serpent was more cunning that any beast of the field…”  (v.1a).

a)            The devil, Satan himself, is called the serpent (Revelation 12:9).

(1)           Some questions that need to be asked:
(a)           Does this mean that Satan possessed or energized a real living serpent and spoke through the creature?  Many great commentators hold to this view.
(b)           Does it mean that Satan actually transformed himself into a serpent (NIV)?
(c)           Could this just be a picture of Satan himself?
(d)           Is it possible to know which is meant?  Is Scripture clear about how Satan tempted man?

(2)           In determining just who or what the serpent was, these facts need to be noted:
(a)           The serpent—when first created—apparently walked upright and was a most magnificent creature (Genesis 3:14).
(b)           The craftiness of the serpent is compared to the craftiness of the beast of the field.  Scripture says the serpent was more “subtle” (crafty, clever, shrewd) than any of the animals upon earth (Genesis 3:1).
(c)           Scripture gives examples where Satan had the power to use people as his tools and speak through them.

(i)            Peter (Matthew 16:22-23).

(ii)            Demon-possessed people (Matthew 8:28-34; Acts 16:16-18).

(d)           All creation was created perfect by God, even the serpent.

(i)             If we say that the serpent was a literal serpent used as an evil tool by Satan, then we have a problem explaining how creation was perfect: how could an animal be used as an evil tool in a world of perfect animals?

(ii)            This is the reason some interpreters say that Satan actually transformed or clothed himself as a serpent (NIV, Genesis 3:1).

(3)           Jesus Christ Himself tells us that Satan was behind the tragic fall of man (John 8:44):

Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44, NKJV)

(4)           Paul also says that Satan was behind the fall of man (2Cor.11:3, 14).

Speaking to those in Corinth he said "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ…”  "And no wonder!  For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." (2Cor.11:3, 14)


!!!!! (5)           Satan had been the most exalted angel ever created by God but sinned and fell (Is.14:12-15).

(6)           The Bible teaches that Satan has some control over the earth (2Cor.4:3-4).
(a)           Scripture calls Satan the god of this world (2Cor.4:3-4).
(b)           Scripture calls Satan the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:40; 16:11).
(c)           Scripture calls Satan the prince of the power of the air (Eph.2:2).
(d)           Scripture calls Satan the ruler of the darkness of this world (Eph.6:12).
(e)           Satan is the king of a kingdom (Matt.12:26).
(f)            Satan has his grip upon the whole world (1Jn5:19).

b)            The Bible teaches that Satan struggles and fights against God and His will.

(1)           Satan’s purpose in fighting against God is twofold.
(a)           Satan’s purpose is power and worship: Satan wants to receive as much of the power and worship of the universe as possible (Daniel 3:1ff).
(b)           Satan’s purpose is to hurt and cut the heart of God.  Why? 

(i)             Because God has judged and condemned him for rebelling against God.  Therefore, Satan does all he can to get back at God. 

(ii)            The best way he can do this is to turn the hearts of people away from God and lead them to sin and to follow the way of evil.

c)            Satan was to be used by God.

(1)           Satan was to be used by God to test man, to give man the opportunity to choose God by exercising his free will.
(2)           You have the most powerful thing on the face of the earth YOUR FREE WILL TO CHOOSE.
(3)           In order to exercise his free will for God, man had to be tempted.  So God had to create a situation whereby man could exercise his will and choose to obey and follow God.  And what better way than to demand that man not eat from one of the trees in the Garden

B.           Step 1: Being confronted with suggestive, enticing, and tempting thoughts (v.1b).

1.            “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden…’?  (v.1b).

a)            Temptation involves our thoughts.

(1)           Several things are immediately noticed about Eve and the temptation that attacked her:
(a)           Eve was alone.  She had gone off without her husband, Adam.
(b)           Eve was where she did not belong.  She was standing by the forbidden tree.
(c)           Eve was apparently thinking about the tree and its delicious looking fruit.
(d)           Eve was not keeping a watchful eye against temptation.
(e)           We have someone else in Scripture who did the same thing:

(i)             Achan (Joshua 7:20-21).

(ii)            David (2Sam.11:1-5).

b)            Temptation involves questioning God’s Word.

(1)           Note that Satan misquoted God’s Word (3:1).  The thought was planted in Eve’s mind, the suggestive thought...
(a)           that she was missing out on something.
(b)           that the most delicious fruit was the very thing being forbidden.
(c)           that something good was being withheld and kept from her.
(d)           that she must not miss what looked good and would probably feel and taste good.
(e)           that perhaps God’s Word is causing us to miss something that is delicious.

C.           Step 2: Entertaining and discussing the thoughts (v.2).

1.            “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees…”  (v.2).

a)            Controlling your imagination (1 Peter 1:14).                                                  

(1)           Before you were a believer you really were subject to the fancy of your own lusts.  You had no real ability to control your heart, your mind, and your desires, no ability to control your imagination.
(2)           Let's begin to understand our imagination by going to (Genesis 6:5): When God looked down at man He saw that his imagination was evil continually.
(3)           Over in the eighth chapter of Genesis we find a second reference to this (Gen.8:21): Again God diagnosis man as having an evil imagination.
(4)           Now the Bible talks about the heart and when the Bible talks about the heart it means the mind, particularly the Old Testament.  The heart is the idea of the mind.  The heart of man is desperately wicked, it's deceitful...its wicked… that's the mind. 
(5)           Now in the mind is a place, it's not an actual location, but in the mind is a capacity for imagination.  And imagination is the place where sin is conceived, where is fantasized and where sin is energized.  If we are going to control sin, it has to be controlled in the imagination.

b)            The source of temptations (James 1:13-15).

(1)           Go back to verse 14, "Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by...what?  His own...lust."
(2)           The problem is not the world around us, or the exposure to something, the problem is you & me.  What produces sin is not something outside of us but something inside of us.
(3)           We are tempted when we are internally carried away by our lust and lust begins to conceive and it brings forth the child and the child is sin.
(4)           Imagination is really a wonderful thing.  It's a creative source inside of us.  It's where those people who have a dream for some achievement in life begin to cultivate that dream that ultimately comes to fruition in their life.
(5)           Now imagination is somehow more profound than thinking. 
(a)           It is what energizes the thought into fantasy, what activates the emotion and the will to produce the action.  The thought comes; it's energized in the imagination that moves the emotion. 
(b)           The emotion moves the will, the will creates the action and in the case of sin the action creates death...as James says.

c)            The battle for the Christian.

(1)           And as your imagination as a Christian functions, it has to battle because you know what is right and you're tempted with what is wrong.

That's why it is so critical to hear the words of Joshua 1:8, he says "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night."  Why?  "So that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it."

That's why Psalm 19:14 says, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer."  (Psalm 19:14, NASB95)

This was a monumental day for Israel and David prays "I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You." (1 Chronicles 29:17-18, NKJV)

Now, let’s get back to Eve, Genesis chapter 3


!!! 2.            “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees…”  (v.2).

a)            This is what Eve did.

(1)           Eve entertained and discussed the suggestive thought.  Note that she omits the word “every” or “all” from “every tree” (Genesis 2:16).  She simply says, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees”
(a)           The point is this: God’s goodness in giving all the trees to her is being dimmed in her mind.  Her thoughts have slipped from God’s goodness: she is no longer focused upon all that God has done for her.
(b)           When we forget about the Lord’s goodness to us and all that He has done for us, we tend to do as Eve did.
(2)           Eve began to feel that God’s command was too strict and restrictive: in responding to Satan’s question, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’  She is now doubting the Word of God.
(a)           Satan wants us to doubt God’s and feel as though we are missing out on something.
(3)           Eve began to think about the consequence of the sin: Eve began to lighten the consequences of sin when she said, “lest you die” or “you will die.”  This is not what God had said.  God had said that man would “surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

D.           Step 3: Doubting the consequences of God’s Word (v.3).

1.            “Has God indeed said…”  (v.1) God has said, “You shall not eat it nor shall you touch it (v.3).

a)            Accepting the lie.

(1)           She rationalized and felt that the warning of God’s Word would not apply to her. 
(2)           God’s warning about sin and its consequences stand.  There is no escape from the judgment upon sin.

Sin pays you back "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23, NKJV)

Speaking about the return of Jesus, Paul said "When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power," (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, NKJV)

Peter said "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them." (2 Peter 2:20-21, NKJV)

(3)           The declaration of God’s Word and of God’s Son is clear: the choice is ours.

Speaking to the Pharisees, Jesus said "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."  (John 8:24, NKJV)


!! E.           Step 4: Thinking that one will gain more and be fulfilled (v.4-5).

1.            “The serpent said, “You shall not surely die… eyes will be opened… be like God…”  (v.4-5).

a)            Personal fulfillment – the final step.

(1)           This is the final step in temptation.  When we have allowed our minds to get this far with suggestive and enticing thoughts, it is difficult—if not impossible—to turn back from sin.
(a)           There is the thought that we have needs that cannot be met any other way; the thought that the temptation will meet our needs more than what God has given us.

(i)             This is exactly what Satan said to Eve: “God knows that when you eat of this tree, your needs are going to be met far more than if you don’t eat of it.

(ii)            God has not provided the best for you, not in the most fulfilling way.”

(b)           There is the thought that our eyes will be opened, that we will never know if we don’t experience it.

(i)             This is what Satan said to Eve: “If you eat of the tree—do this thing—you will know more about it, how good it feels and tastes.

(ii)            You cannot know whether it is good or bad until you actually experience it.”

(c)           There is the thought of position, power, strength, self-sufficiency and independence; the thought of being ones own person and determining one’s own destiny and fate.

(i)             This is what Satan promised Eve: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

(ii)            If you do this thing, you will be your own person and you can determine what is good or evil for yourself.

F.            Step 5: Looking and desiring—lusting (v.6a).

1.            “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, desirable to make one wise…”  (v.6a).

a)            Eve’s flesh lusted after the tree. 

(1)           She saw that the tree was good for food.  When she looked at it she should have remembered that God said do not eat of it forgetfulness is something Satan uses against us.  Remember that Satan uses the world to tempt us:

John says to "Love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." (1 John 2:15-16, NASB95)

Paul speaks about the deeds of the flesh in Galatians, he says "The deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”  (Galatians 5:19-21, NASB95)

(2)           Also, she went to a place that she should never have gone to.  Christians fall into sin because they go to places they ought not to go.
(a)           If you’re on a diet don’t hang out at the donut shop.
(b)           If you had problems with alcohol, don’t go to the bar to witness.  You get the point.


!!!! b)            Eve’s eyes lusted after the tree.

(1)           What are the sins most often committed by the lust of the eyes?  Scripture mentions these:
(a)           There is the lust of the eyes for sex:

Jesus said "That everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  (Matthew 5:28, NASB95)

Peter said there are those who have "Eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;" (2 Peter 2:14, NASB95)

To do what is right, we need to be as Job who said "I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?"  (Job 31:1, NASB95)

(b)           There is the lust of the eyes after all kinds of evil:

What we put into our eyes effects our whole body "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Matthew 6:23, NASB95)

(c)           There is the lust of the eyes after the things of other people.

Jesus warns us by saying "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”" (Luke 12:15)

(d)           There is the lust of the eyes after all the pleasures and possessions of the world:

Solomon had anything he wanted at his disposal and said "All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor." (Ecclesiastes 2:10, NASB95)

(e)           There is the lust of the eyes after wine, drugs, and alcoholic drinks:

Its interesting what the writer of Proverbs says "Who has woe?  Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly;" (Proverbs 23:29-31, NASB95)

c)            Eve lusted after the pride of life.

(1)           She saw that the tree was desirable for gaining knowledge, experience, and wisdom.  Eve wanted to determine what was good for her and what was bad (evil).
(a)           God warns us against pride and conceit:

We should never think we are above others "Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly.  Do not be wise in your own estimation." (Romans 12:16, NASB95)

Knowledge can puff up and Paul says "If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know" (1 Corinthians 8:2, NASB95)

(b)           God warns against self-sufficiency and self-exaltation:

Jesus said "“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."  (Matthew 23:12, NASB95)

We must never get caught in the trap of self-sufficiency as this man did "‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”   “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’" (Luke 12:19-20, NASB95)

(c)           God warns against spiritual pride:

Jesus told about a Pharisee who "Stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector." (Luke 18:11, NASB95)

The Pharisees thought they knew the truth but "Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains." (John 9:41, NASB95)


!! G.           Step 6: Committing the sin: Taking and eating the forbidden fruit (v.6b).

1.            “She took of its fruit and ate…”  (v.6b).

a)            Sin had already taken place in Eve’s heart.

(1)           Eve had already sinned inwardly, within her thoughts.  Now she was to sin outwardly; she was going to commit the act.  
(2)           We can’t always tell when a person is sinning inwardly, within his heart.  Eve’s sin until now could not be seen by man’s eye.  But now, the sin of her heart is ready to be seen.

Before we taste sin, the Psalmist says "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" (Psalm 34:8, NKJV)

When we are temped and see the sin, remember to see Jesus, the writer of Hebrews says "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, know listen to this, Jesus tasted death for everyone" (Heb.2:9)

H.           Step 7: Leading others to sin: Being a stumblingblock (v.6c).

1.            “She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate…”  (v.6c).

a)            Adam’s temptation was the same as Eve’s.

(1)           Eve uses the same arguments that Satan used on her:                                                   
(a)           Eve presented the suggestive and tempting thought to Adam.
(b)           Adam entertained and discussed the thought.
(c)           Adam then began to doubt the consequence of God’s Word.  Think about this, this is really important: Eve was standing before him the same as always: the penalty of death had not fallen upon her.  What God had said had not happened to her.
(d)           Adam thought he could experience more by eating the forbidden fruit.
(e)           Adam looked, desired, and lusted after the forbidden fruit.
(f)            Adam ate of the fruit.

b)            Sin entered the world through the man, Adam (Romans 5:12).

(1)           Adam was the one who knowingly and deliberately brought sin into the world. 
(2)           A person who knows and deliberately does wrong is always more guilty than the person who is deceived and does wrong.

Scripture says "It was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression."  (1 Timothy 2:14, NASB95)

c)            We must not be a stumbling block to others.

(1)           This is one of the most serious sins ever committed by a person.  Scripture severely warns us—we must not be a stumblingblock to others (Matthew 18:2-6).

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus said to His disciples "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! “  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble." (Luke 17:1-2)

James says that "we all stumble in many ways.  A moral laps… not doing what is right.  If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well."(James 3:2)

(2)           What should I do in order to not be a stumbling block?

Þ                  Abiding in the light & loving your brother or sister in Christ will not make you stumble.  "The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.  The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him."  (1 John 2:9-10)

Þ                  Turn to 2nd Peter 1:5-10

Þ                  In the closing of his letter, Jude says "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy," (Jude 24)

I.  Man and Woman’s First Steps Into Sin, 3:1-6

A.  The serpent (v.1a).

 

B.  Step 1: Being confronted with suggestive, enticing, and tempting thoughts (v.1b).

 

C.  Step 2: Entertaining and discussing the thoughts (v.2).

 

D.  Step 3: Doubting the consequences of God’s Word (v.3).

 

E.  Step 4: Thinking that one will gain more and be fulfilled (v.4-5).

 

F.  Step 5: Looking and desiring—lusting (v.6a).

 

G.  Step 6: Committing the sin: Taking and eating the forbidden fruit (v.6b).

 

H.  Step 7: Leading others to sin: Being a stumblingblock (v.6c).

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