Thursday, March 15, 2007

Temptation: 2 Different Responses. A Sermon

Q. What does the Bible's account of Creation say about God?
Read Gen 1: 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25 (It was good), 1:31 (Indeed it was very good), 2: 15 (Adam in the Garden, given responsibility for it, named animals) 2:18 (Given a helper), 2:17 (God gives only one law).
A. God is good all the time; all the time God is good. (African Proverb)
Gen 3:1- The Serpent appears. Why Satan chose the serpent? More cunning than the other animals God had created.
"Has not God said..." Satan wanted Eve to think of God in a way contrary to all the evidence of Creation. He is trying to get her to think that God was holding out on them as to all the good things in life. "Does God want what is best for you?" he is asking Eve.
Gen 3:4-5. Satans strategy to cause one to sin revealed here:
1. Make us doubt God.
2. To present sin as a positive good: "It isn't really sin." Not only deny the danger of sin, but present it as a positive good. Assert its positive effects.
3. Give a false image of God.
Example: The issue of all forms of pre-marital and extra-marital sex. Satan tries to convince us that God is some kind of cosmic-killjoy who really does not want us to be fullfilled in all areas of life. We convince ourselves we must take action (sin) to bring about this fullfillment, otherwise, we will not experience all that life has to offer.
Gen 3:6. Eve reasons to herself: It is good for food (lean not on your own understanding), it is pleasant to the eyes (it satisfies her sensual appetites) and the tree is desirable to make one wise, to be like God (pride).
IITim. 2:14 states that while Eve was deceived, Adam was not. Then why did Adam eat the fruit? Because his wife wanted him to. You will often find that when you are tempted to sin, the temptation will be in the form of relationships. Eli would not reign in his sons because he honored them above God. We fear that to honor God above all will destroy our relationships. Perhaps it will. If you claim to folllow Christ and have never had one relationship sour or end because of it, you must ask yourself who is more important: the Lord or the relationship. For the words of Jesus on this subject, see Matt. 10: 34-39.
Gen 3:7. The eyes of both Adam and Eve were opened and they were ashamed of their nakedness.
Why did Adam and Eve listen to Satan? They were under no persecution, nor were they fasting forty days like Jesus in the wilderness. They did not have scripture to battle Satan as Jesus did, but God had provided all the evidence they needed to refute Satan's lies about God. They should have known that God had nothing but good in store for them. They should have resisted their pride and remained as they were.
How did Jesus handle Satan differently?
Luke 4:3. "If you are the Son of God..." The temptation was not just only hunger on Jesus's part. Satan was basing his temptation based on Jesus's Sonship. He wanted Jesus to try to prove his identity through mere tricks rather than the Old Testament criteria Jesus gave as proof in Luke4: 18-19. Satan was trying to locate any pride in Jesus so he act upon it as he did with Adam and Eve.
Luke 4:4. Jesus replies to temptation with the Word.
Luke4:5-6. Satan is trying to get Jesus try to do God's will, to make things right, in a way other than the Father's. Again Jesus replies with God's word.
Luke4: 9-12. Satan again tries to tempt Jesus, looking for any pride on Jesus's part, any desire to declare who He is in a way apart from the Father's will. Again, Jesus replies from the Word.
Luke4:13. Satan is through for now, but he has not given up. He will return at a more opportune time, with a much more subtle strategy. When?
Matt 16:13-23. Jesus and his disciples have just had a significant moment of fellowship together as Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God. But then Jesus announces that He must die, and Peter rebukes Him. Jesus reply: "Get behind me Satan!" In the same way that Satan used Eve to cause Adam to sin, here Satan is using Jesus's relationship with Peter to tempt Jesus to forsake the will of the Father. Temptation through a loved one. Jesus chose the Father's will over His love of Peter. Will we love the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit above all other relationships?
The version relied upon was the NKJV.

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