Genesis 3:1-5 Learning to Sin

February 16, 2014

Genesis 3:1-5

Learning to Sin


Children’s Sermon:  Simon Says

Who can tell us how to play Simon Says?

What happens if you don’t do what Simon says?

So, Simon makes a rule and everyone is supposed to follow it.  If someone breaks Simon’s rule, they have to sit down.

Let’s play.


Let me read to you from the Bible about the rule God gave the first man and woman.  Gen 2:16-17.  What was allowed?  What was not allowed?  If the man and woman did what God told them to do they could live in the beautiful garden forever, but if they break God’s rule, they will die.  We are about to read the next chapter of Genesis and see what they decide to do.  What do you think they should do?  Obey God?  We’ll see!


Intro:  We’ve just sung “In The Garden”, where God “walks with me and he talks with me, and He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.”  We think of these words as a look forward to eternity with God in heaven, and sometimes as speaking to those intimate times we’ve shared with Jesus, but I imagine that this could be the hymn of remorse Adam and Eve sang as they remembered how their relationship with God had been before they made the choice to disobey and break the covenant God had made with them.


Review:  God delightedly creates the world and calls it good.  God creates man and sees that it’s not good that man is alone.  God creates a “suitable helper” for man.  This is what happens next . . .


Gen 3:1-5


“The serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals”.  This crafty enemy of God begins a conversation with the woman by misrepresenting the covenant God had made with them.  He misconstrued the directions.  In Gen 2:16 God says to the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” By misrepresenting what God said, the serpent immediately puts the woman on the defensive.  Great tactic.  Has that ever happened to you? In order to defend yourself in an attack you exaggerate the truth?  Same here.


The serpent is attacking the character of God.  He is trying to put into the woman’s mind that God is miserly and withholding good from his creation.  The serpent attempts to criticize the character of God, “depicted by implication as selfish, jealous, oppressive and repressive.”[1]  In your experience, what are some motives people have for ruining the reputation of another?  Perhaps they want to gain the upper hand, or they want to appear as caring to win an advantage or to just “win” against some perceived enemy.  Is it an election year??


I know of a church that is leaving the PCUSA and is not sure where they want their new denominational home to be.  In the congregation is a person who is a strong proponent for the EPC.  In order to win his argument he is speaking misguidedly about ECO.  He has decided that because of the name, all we are is a bunch of tree-huggers.  Interesting.  I’m pretty sure that’s not what we signed up for and I haven’t come across that in any of the polity.  What is this person’s motivation?  To win his battle and get what he wants.  It is not about the truth or what may be best for that church.


God forgive me for the times I have tried to sway someone with mistruth!  But do you see what the Serpent is after here?  Doubt the goodness of God.


The woman counters the attack with an exaggeration of the rule God had made.  She tells this intruder that he is incorrect, that they can enjoy all the fruit of all the trees except for the one in the middle of the garden and that one, they can’t even touch!  Where did that come from?


The serpent reassures her that she won’t die, but a transformation of another sort will take place and God knows all about it.  He insinuates that God doesn’t want her to eat the tree because it will give her the same gift God has of knowing the difference between good and evil. 


Interesting that God did not intend for us to know the difference.  It would be worthwhile thinking that one through, but not today.


It’s important to note that when the serpent/Satan/enemy of God encountered the woman, it was not by accident.  He approached her with intention to mess with her head, get under her skin, distract her from the truth, and have it all result in her breaking the covenant with God.  Have you ever watched someone just ruin something for someone else on purpose?  It’s ugly. And here is another Downton Abbey illustration!  (Mr. Bates ruined via Mrs. Bates’ suicide!)   It’s an action precipitated by the attitude of, “If I can’t have it, then neither shall you.”  That’s what happened here.


Satan distracts from what we know to be true.  One of the tools of God’s enemy is to get us to challenge what we understand to be Scripturally true.  Did you see the news this week that

Israeli archeologists’ discovery suggests the Bible is wrong about camels 

Archaeologists of Tel Aviv University claim camels came to biblical lands centuries after the time of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph; scholars debate impact on historical accuracy of the Bible


From the very beginning, there have always been challenges to what God has said.  We, as believers and followers of Christ have been and always will be challenged to hang on to what Scripture tells us is true.  Do not be alarmed.  Do be grounded. The ONLY way to be grounded is to read and study the Word of God.  Cling to it.  Cherish it. Believe it!



Concl.  In Genesis 3:1-5 we catch a glimpse of how the enemy of God works to leads us away from obedience to God and into sin.  I want to invite you to think about and perhaps identify how the enemy of God works in your life.  How does the enemy of God hook you? What truths from Scripture that you grew up with are you tempted to doubt?  What does the enemy of God use to distract you from what is written in the Word?


Is it the claims of science?  For as great a gift as science is, when we give it precedence over the Word of God does it not call into question our trust in God’s truth?


Is it the claim of new societal norms – which are constantly in flux?  As important as it is to be culturally relevant, it is vital that we do so while remaining true to Scripture and acknowledging that there are things that are right and things that are wrong (sin) and we need to be aware of this as we seek to right the wrongs around us.  You see, the enemy of God would have us believe that there is no such thing as sin.


Is it the claims of the media?  News reports are helpful, but do we always get the whole story?  I am guilty of repeating news that I have not heard or understood fully and if I allow it to shape my opinion of a person or a situation, that is not a decision based on truth but on hearsay.


Is it your own self-centeredness?  I have a relative who chooses to have his own brand of truth.  It’s whatever he thinks is right and makes sense to him regardless of what the Word of God says or what the facts are.  Do you choose your own understanding over God’s declared truth because it makes more sense to your own worldview or is easier to stomach?


Satan did not stop tempting humans away from the Word of God once he was successful in the garden.  In that instance he won the battle but not the war.  The battle wages on and the enemy of God is still at work among us today.  He wants us to discount the Word of God.  He wants us to believe we are wise without God’s Word to guide us. He wants us to put our faith in scientific discovery rather than believe God’s Word.


How do you play into his hands?  Is there anything you need to renounce this morning?  I will give you some space and time to take care of that as we enter into prayer now . . .  (silence)


[1] Henri Blocher, In The Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis, (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1984), 139.