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The Serpent In Our Garden Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
February 3, 2022 1:00 am

The Serpent In Our Garden Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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February 3, 2022 1:00 am

One key difference between God and Satan is that God always speaks truth, while Satan always lies. Once Adam and Eve believed the lie and rebelled against God, there was nothing they could do. All of us since birth have been contaminated with sin. But God offers the hope of deliverance even in the destructive aftermath of sin. What’s the truth that can deliver us?  

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. One key difference between God and Satan is that God always speaks truth and Satan always lies. Our job, to recognize the lies that can send people to the same hell that is reserved for Satan. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line.

Our series on God's Devil is continuing today as we resume our visit to the Garden of Eden. Pastor Lutzer, Satan has been a deceiver from the very beginning. You know, Dave, he sure has been a deceiver and he is deceiving multitudes.

And you're absolutely right, the way in which he does it is through lies, deception, pointing people in the wrong direction, giving them the impression that they're doing the right thing. That's why we have to stick with the Word of God. I believe so deeply in a book I've written entitled God's Devil. And remember, the subtitle is The Incredible Story of How Satan's Rebellion Serves God's Purposes. You know, one of the things that I realize and that I wrote about in this book is that Satan decided to be equal with God, but of course he failed and he should have known that. I even think he might have regretted the decision that he made, but in the end, he is going to be shown to be a deceiver, a liar, and will be in the fiery pit forever.

God is the winner. I wrote this book to encourage people. Here's what you can do for a gift of any amount. This book can be yours.

Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Look for God's Devil. And now listen carefully. What he wants people to do is to have a spiritual, religious experience that they think is an experience with God and actually it is an experience with him.

It is his most dazzling deception. It is the counterpart to the new birth. Jesus said that unless we are born again, we shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. And he is saying that unless you have this experience of enlightenment, you will not be a member of the initiated.

When my wife and I were on the boat last year on that trip to Alaska, there was a lecture given regarding the Indians up in Alaska and how they work people through the process of conversion and spiritual enlightenment and everyone needs the experience if they're going to have power, we were told. Well, that's the second lie. Then there's the lie of pantheism. You will be like God. Nobody can think that we are going to be like God in the sense of being the creator of the sun, the moon, the stars. There's only one way to be like God and that is to say that everything is God. God is all and all is God. And once you say that, you see, then you can run onto Malibu beach shouting, I'm God, I'm God, I'm God.

And how thankful we are that Shirley MacLaine was wrong when she said that. Now, the point to be made is that pantheism, the belief that God is all and all is God makes the lie believable. You shall be like God. So we have people today running around saying, I'm God, I'm God.

Well, there's another lie and that is the lie of relativism. You will know good from evil and you'll be able to do it without consulting God. You'll know the difference between good and evil just by being yourself and being able to make that judgment.

And we know the tragedies, the unbelievable tragedies and cruelty that has come about as a result of that belief. And then finally, number five, you have hedonism. It says when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and a tree that was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate and she gave also to her husband with her, who was with her there, and he also ate. Whatever feels good, do it.

And it's not just whatever feels good, do it, but whatever feels good, believe it. The tree was good for food. It was a delight to the eyes. It was desirable to make one wise. How many times have you heard people say, how could something so beautiful be sinful as a relationship that they might be involved in?

A tree to be desired to make one wise and it just feels so right. And you look at our society today and that's exactly where we are. If you ever see those talk shows, some of which should never be seen or heard, you'll find that everybody's giving his own opinion. Well, I feel that this is right, or as far as I'm concerned, I think that this is right. It's Genesis chapter three, verse six, all over again. Whatever I feel, Satan says to people today, I don't want you to think, just feel.

Do away with old doctrines and come together in that great grand sense of unity of mystical experience where you feel just right. Well, there you have it. Well, the Bible says that Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree and what a catastrophe. You see, what happened is Adam here dropped the scepter. He dropped the scepter and Satan picked it up.

This is astounding. Do you realize that Adam was given authority over this serpent? The Lord had said to him in chapter one, verse 28, he said, yes, be fruitful and multiply and have authority, he says, very middle of verse 26, over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the face of the earth, you have authority over it. Do you realize that Adam could have said to that serpent, serpent, buzz off. If that's the way you speak to serpents, I'm not sure exactly how that would come out in Hebrew, but get out of here. And the serpent would have had to obey because Adam was given authority over this creature. And isn't it interesting that a creature that was subordinate to Adam ended up being the creature that deceived him and ended up having authority over him.

And so the scepter was dropped and Satan picked the scepter up and he became the God of this world and he became the one now who would be given awesome authority and power under the providential government of God because he failed or rather because Adam and Eve failed the test and they disobeyed God and catastrophe broke out throughout the whole universe. There is a story, which may or may not be true, of a construction firm that had the responsibility of receiving bids to build a building. And if you know anything about those construction firms, when they receive those bids, they are looking for the person who would bring in the lowest bid, all things being equal, that person, that contractor would then get the job.

But it's very important obviously that these bids be given in secret. Well there was a contractor who walked into the offices of this large construction firm that was looking for bids with the application in his hand. And he went into the office and no one was around. And he looked at the huge mahogany desk and he noticed that there on the desk was the application from one of his competitors. All that he would need to do is to look at the figure that he had written down, that is his competitor, and then he would change his to come in just a tad lower and he would have the multi-million dollar job. The only problem was that right on that figure that was listed there on the application there was a can of Coca-Cola standing there, blocking his ability to see the amount. He was tempted to move the can but then he thought that someone might come into the office and he paced back and forth and he looked again and there was no one around and no one could be seen.

And he thought to himself, I'll lift it up just quickly and then I'll put it down and I'll have seen the figure that is listed there. And he lifted it up quickly and instantly thousands of BBs spilled out onto the desk and then onto the floor. That's what happened with Adam and Eve. They thought to themselves whatever the consequences of disobedience might be we can contain them, we can handle them, they can't be that bad. And what they didn't realize was that suddenly they opened the floodgate and all of these BBs spilled throughout the whole universe and the whole universe eventually became contaminated and they realized now that the genie was out of the bottle. There was nothing that they could do. They were contaminated with sin and their seed would be contaminated with sin and the whole universe would feel the effects of a single decision.

Notice what happened. First of all, they knew that they were alienated from God. It says in verse 8, they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. God with whom they had walked was now cut off from them.

He was near because he is indeed omnipresent but emotionally and spiritually he wasn't there for them. They felt the power of guilt and the Lord God speaks to them and he says, where are you? And Adam said, I heard the sound of the in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and I hid myself. And the Lord God said, who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree? Where have I commanded you not to eat?

Notice the effects of sin. The man said, yes, I'm guilty. It's not me. It's not my brother. It is me. Oh Lord. Is that what it says?

No. I want you to notice that the man blamed his wife even though there wasn't a chance in the world that he had married the wrong one. He said, the woman whom thou gavest me, this weak-willed woman whom you gave me, you chose her. She took of the tree and then, well, what's a guy supposed to do when he's standing next to her? And she's disobeying.

I had to disobey too. It's been said, you know, that the man blamed the woman. The woman, of course, she says, the serpent beguiled me.

The man blamed the woman. The woman blamed the serpent and the serpent didn't have a leg to stand on. And that is the story of the human race. The passing of the buffalo and the passing of the buck.

Now notice what happens. The Lord curses the serpent. Verse 14, because you have done this, cursed are you more than all the cattle and more than every beast of the field. On your belly you shall go and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. The serpent, it is said, is the only creature that has ever been created that cannot move backwards. He can only always slither forwards relentlessly on now that he symbolizes the disobedience of Satan.

Always moving ahead even though eventually there will be defeat. And then, of course, you have problems with the ground. Cursed is the ground, verse 18 and verse 17. And then the family is cursed long before Nicole Brown Simpson was murdered and Ron Goldman.

Long before that happened, you find in the fourth chapter that Abel ends up being murdered by his brother Cain. And the whole history of the human race now is polluted by sin and the BBs, as it were, have spread over all the earth and nature too. And you and I have our cans of BBs. And we mess up our lives. We make wrong decisions and we go our own way. And we find that the law of unintended consequences happens to us just like it happened to Adam and Eve.

We didn't intend that this small decision have such bitter effects, but it does. Well, let me ask you a question. Where is God in all this? Where is God? We pick it up in verse 15. God is speaking to the serpent and he says, I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel. The contrast is there between two wounds. The seed of the woman, if it was the woman who was deceived and ate and then gave to her husband, it will be the woman now who will bear the child who will crush the head of the serpent. And while the head of the serpent is being crushed into the dust, the best that the serpent will be able to do is to nip the heel of the woman's seed.

Just a small wound. It will be a wound that will be restored in three days when Christ is raised from the dead. But the serpent himself will be crushed.

Having reached and taken the scepter from man, he now is cut with a blade. He must now, as it were, eat dust. He must now, as it were, be despised because God is on the scene. And need I tell you that this situation in Genesis 3 was not an emergency? It was not as if God was in heaven saying, now what am I going to do now that man has disobeyed?

Oh, no. As the Bible begins to unfold book by book and century by century, we come to the New Testament and we discover that we were chosen in Christ before, before the foundation of the world. And we read in the book of Titus, whom God, who cannot lie, promised eternal life before the world began. And we begin to see that it is part of a grand scheme and that where sin abounds, grace is going to abound more. People say to me, well, Pastor Lutzer, it's one thing for me to have problems in my life because of what others have done to me, but what about those decisions I have made? What about the foolish choices?

A man was driving in the rain faster than he should have driven and hit someone and that person was killed. And so he says to himself, how can I ever, ever be free of the guilt? And we must be reminded that God is there just as much to help us when we spill our can of BBs as he was when he helped Adam and Eve after they spilled theirs. God is there and the purpose of the cross is going to be to repair what appears to us to be irreparable and God is going to show himself mighty and strong. Even here in the text, you can begin to see what God is going to do. Because in Genesis chapter 3, you'll notice that the first thing he does is he clothes Adam and Eve.

It says, verse 20, now the man called his wife's name Eve because she was the mother of all the living. Verse 21, and the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. God says, I'm going to cleanse you from your sin. We're going to wipe out the sin that you have committed. Secondly, I'm going to clothe you.

I'm going to give you dignity and this is we're going to see in this series of messages is going to be one of Satan's most angry and most frustrating facts with which he has to deal. The human beings that have fallen so deeply into sin are going to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ and become his brothers and his heirs. I am going to cleanse you. I'm going to clothe you and I'm going to care for you.

I'm going to care for you. The Lord God right here takes Adam and Eve out of the garden so that they do not eat of the tree of life so that they might not be preserved forever in their sinfulness and death is going to become a doorway by which God is going to recreate their bodies and to finally make them members of God's family forever. And there are all kinds of exciting things that God is going to do to display his grace and his wonder. I want you to know today that God is with you.

God is here to deliver you, to free you, to cleanse you, to forgive you and to take the shattered experience of your own can of BBs and to cleanse the sin and to put things back together again. You and I, I'm sure, have all seen someone give chalk talks. We don't see it as often as we used to. They used to do this in churches quite often and one of the things that people who do these things like to do is to take a beautiful screen, a beautiful background and then take a piece of chalk or paint and just splatter it against the beautiful background and you look at it and it is ugly and it is a blotch and it seems hopeless and you wonder why they've taken such a beautiful scene and made it look so awful. But then they begin to work and soon they take a bit of this color and a bit of that color and a bit of the other color and soon the blotch becomes a part of the scenery. And I've seen it as you have too.

I think Dr. Sweeting does this. The blotch actually turns out to be the cross. And when it's all over, there's a beautiful painting. That's what God does with people who have blown it. Here's David who commits adultery with Bathsheba and even commits murder and ends up eventually marrying Bathsheba and they have a son and they call the son Solomon and the Bible says and God loved him and Solomon becomes the ancestor of Christ. Now isn't that grace? Isn't that grace?

Isn't that taking a blotch and painting it so that it becomes beautiful? And God takes a man like John Newton who used to give people prizes to tell him of some sin that he had not yet committed. And he did all the evil that one can imagine. And yet he's converted and he writes the song that we sang today, Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost and now is found. Was blind but now I see. And so the third chapter of the book of Genesis for all of its ugliness is going to become the backdrop in which God is going to do something beautiful in your life and in mine as the Redeemer who cleanses, who clothes and who cares for his people and helps them on their way. Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. Satan will always be the loser but those who trust Christ will be the winners because in him we too have crushed the head of the serpent. And in him we too have authority over the serpent just as Adam did though he did not exercise it because in him, in Christ, we will, we will overcome and let us pray. And our Father, we do praise and thank you today for the wonder of your love, for your forgiveness, for your cleansing and we pray today for those whose lives have been ruined by sin, ruined by addictions, by wrong decisions, by foolish marriages, ruined because of immorality.

And yet Father they come to you and you are there for them for situations just like that, just like that. You are ready for Adam and Eve and you're ready for us to bind up, to cleanse, to forgive, to make a new and to change. Grant us that faith today and thank you for the assurance that we win. In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.

Well my dear friend today isn't it wonderful to know that in the end we do win? You know I've often thought about the devil, the decision that he made to be like God. What was he thinking? Of course he could never be like God. I think if he had been able to foresee all of the consequences of his decision he might not have decided to rebel against God.

He didn't see what was coming. Just like us it's possible that we can make decisions but we have no control over those consequences. I've written a book to build faith in your heart. It's entitled God's Devil because Luther is quoted as saying even the devil is God's devil.

For a gift of any amount it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to rtwoffer.com. And by the way, thank you so much for supporting this ministry.

Because of you we're so thankful that running to win is in more than 20 different countries of the world. The world needs the message of the cross and the victory of Christ. So ask for the book God's Devil. Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.

As a matter of fact you can pick up the phone right now and call 1-888-218-9337. You can write to us at Running to Win 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard Chicago Illinois 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. The seduction of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden began an avalanche of sin and misery. Next time we'll assess the far reaching consequences of mankind's fall but also learn that God from the very beginning had in mind a way to repair the damage. Don't miss The Serpent Strikes Back on our next program. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-13 12:56:00 / 2023-06-13 13:04:38 / 9

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