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Trouble in Paradise | How to Fight Temptation

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2024 3:00 am

Trouble in Paradise | How to Fight Temptation

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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May 15, 2024 3:00 am

In the Lord’s Prayer, we read “Lead us not into temptation.” Yeah, we certainly don’t want to go down that path. But haven’t you found that sometimes temptation comes up the path and finds us! Temptation is pervasive. It’s ubiquitous. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us dissect temptation. We’ll trace its roots all the way back to the Garden of Eden. And Pastor Greg offers some biblical insights on how to stop Satan’s attacks right in their tracks.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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A New Beginning
Greg Laurie

Hey everybody, you're listening to A New Beginning, which is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. If this program has impacted you, I'd love to hear from you. So just send an email to me at Again, it's

You can learn more about becoming a Harvest Partner by going to Wherever we are, whatever we're doing, temptation seems to find us. Coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us with our escape plan.

Here's what you need to remember. Every temptation can be resisted and overcome. Every temptation. The Bible says, blessed is the man that endures temptation for when he has tried, he'll receive the crown of life.

And the word blessed can be translated happy. You're happy when you overcome temptation. In the Lord's Prayer, we read, lead us not into temptation.

And we certainly don't want to go down that path. But haven't you found that sometimes temptation comes up the path and finds us? Temptation is pervasive.

It's ubiquitous. And today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us dissect temptation. We'll trace its roots all the way back to the Garden of Eden. And Pastor Greg offers some good biblical insights on how to stop Satan's attacks right in their tracks. So I heard about a pastor who was taking over at church. He didn't really know anybody there yet. So on the Saturday before that Sunday, he decided to go meet people in the congregation. So he met a few folks and he came to one home of one of his congregants and he knocked on the door and there was no answer. He knocked again, again, still no answer.

Knocked out one more time. And so he left his business card with his name on it. And then he wrote down Revelation 3 20, which of course says, behold, I stand at the door knock.

If any men hear my voice and open the door, I will come in. So the next day was Sunday and someone took that card the pastor gave to them and gave it to a nutcher to give back to the pastor. And the pastor looked at the card and they too had written a scripture reference. They wrote down Genesis 3 10 which says, I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked so I hid myself. So we'll actually get to that verse in this message today among others. So we've looked at the creation of all things. Now we're looking at the story of Adam and Eve's sin against God in the Garden of Eden. We're reading about the creation of men and women. And in Genesis 2 Moses zooms in from the cosmos to the Garden of Eden. This new section of Genesis deals with the relationship between God and man. So let's read together Genesis 2 verse 7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And man became a living being. The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and there he put the man whom he had formed and out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow and is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This word breathed is interesting. Verse 7 it's warmly personal. God was face to face with man and with the intimacy of a kiss or a little puff of air God brings man to life. And now drop down to verse 15. Then the Lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it and the Lord God commanded the man saying of every tree of the garden you may freely eat but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.

Let's stop there. Eden. The Garden of Eden. By the way the word Eden means delight. The very name Eden is used anonymously with with names and phrases like oh it's like Camelot or Atlantis or Utopia or Shangri-La. So we might think of Eden as a fictitious place but it was a real place that God placed Adam in. In this garden of absolute delight. It was a paradise beyond anything you could imagine.

I mean think of the most beautiful places you've ever been to. Eden was that and much more. Hand made by God himself. Untouched by sin.

It was literally perfect. Adam had the coolest job of all time. He was the gardener in the Garden of Eden. His job was to discover what the Lord had made.

To enjoy what God had created and to tend to this garden. But something was missing in Adam's life. And more specifically it wasn't a something it was a someone. But Adam didn't know that yet because he had not yet met the someone.

But here she comes. Genesis 2 verse 18. The Lord God said it's not good that man should be alone.

I will make a helper comparable to him. Dropped onto verse 21. And the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. And as he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man he made into a woman and he brought her to the man. Adam said this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh and they were both naked the man and the wife and they were not ashamed. So here are Adam and Eve in perfect paradise living the dream man.

You can't get any better than this. Surrounded by beauty. Surrounded by the most amazing wildlife. All the animals are docile and tame and and the greatest food to eat and it's so good. Well there was trouble in paradise. Enter the devil. Go to Genesis 3 verse 1. Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made and he said to the woman has God indeed said you will not eat of every tree of the garden? The woman said to the serpent well we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden God has said you shall not eat it nor touch it lest you die. The serpent said to the woman oh you will not surely die for God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be open and you will be like God knowing good and evil and when the woman saw the tree was good for food that it was pleasant to the eyes and desirable to make one wine she took of the fruit and she ate and she gave it to her husband with her and he ate and the eyes of both of them were open and they knew they were naked and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord called to Adam and said to him where are you? Adam said I heard your voice in the garden but I was afraid because I was naked so I hid myself. So here now we see how the devil seeks to attack and undermine us.

We see his four waves of attack that he uses over and over again. Interesting he comes as a snake a talking snake. Did other animals talk at this time before the fall?

I don't know. That'd be kind of cool having conversations with different animals but he comes as a snake. You know snakes are interesting creatures. When I was a young boy I was really an avid collector of snakes. I had boas and pythons and king snakes and gopher snakes and then I went out and caught snakes and you know snakes are not expressive creatures.

They're cold-blooded. Snakes don't show affection like a dog. You know dogs are so affectionate they want to be with you. You know when a dog's happy.

You know when a dog's sad. Cats they're more mysterious filled with murderous thoughts. They might occasionally lick you with their little weird sandpaper tongue. But even with a cat you can read them to a certain degree though they're a bit more mysterious than dogs. But reptiles snakes in particular you don't know if they're just kind of looking around or they're going to strike at you.

It's hard to tell. And so they're very clever. They're very sly and the devil is compared in the bible to a snake. I read a sad story about a large python that ate a chihuahua. Well what happened was some family had a snake that was their pet that slithered around the home and they had a chihuahua.

What could go wrong? And one day they found the snake in the chihuahua's bed and that should have been their first warning that trouble was coming to the chihuahua. So one morning the kids got up and went into the front room and there is the snake finishing off the chihuahua. But come on man I mean if a snake's in your bed trouble's gonna follow. And I think sometimes you think oh I can handle this temptation. I can control this vice. It won't get the better of me.

And next thing you know you're in trouble. That's how the devil works. He's subtle.

What does he do? He questioned the word of God. He did God really say what you thought. He said interesting.

Now coming back to something I mentioned earlier. Satan uses the name in the first chapter of Genesis. He uses the name of Genesis for God. Elohim. Did Elohim really say but remember the Lord introduced himself as Yahweh a more personal name. Hey did Elohim really say what you thought he said. And Satan also questioned the love of God. If God really loved you he'd let you do whatever you want.

No he loves you too much to let you do whatever you want. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. It's a joy to hear when the work we do here at Harvest Ministries truly impacts lives.

Listen to these comments from one of our listeners. Last year I watched the Jesus Revolution movie, ordered your New Believers Bible and started watching your Sunday sermons online. For 28 years I thought I was a Christian but honestly don't think I was saved until a year ago when I gave my life to Jesus. I'm 60 years old and recently found a Bible teaching church in my area and was baptized. Thank you so much for your influence and evangelism in my life.

I now know for sure that the Holy Spirit lives in me. Discover the many resources available to you at and while you're at it share your story. Write Pastor Greg an email. Send it to greg at That's greg at Well today Pastor Greg is showing us the pivotal moment in the Garden of Eden when sin entered the picture provoked by temptation from our spiritual adversary.

We continue now. The devil's primary objective is to separate you from God through sin. You know always be looking for ways to do that and once he succeeds once you take the bait that he offers then he'll come and condemn you. That's why he's called the accuser of the brethren on King James. But he will tempt you and then condemn you for giving in to his temptation.

You know say things to you like oh man don't read the Bible now that would be hypocritical. Don't you dare go to church. I mean when we've sinned we think I can't go to church after what I did this week. What do you think the church is? Think of the church like a hospital. Think of the church like a place that you go to get better. As I've often said the church is not a museum for saints. It's a hospital for sinners right. But the devil will try to keep you from church, keep you from God's people, keep you from opening the Bible, keep you from praying.

Don't listen to him. But that's what the devil does. Did God really say what you thought he said? And he introduces the assumption that God's word is subject to our judgment.

I don't know. Do we really want to listen to what God said in his word? And people do this all the time. They'll say things like well I'm a Christian and I love the Lord but I don't know if I agree with this part of the Bible. Because my God would never send a person to hell for living in rebellion against him and outside of his plan.

Or my God thinks doesn't. So well listen I don't know who your God is but he's not the God of the Bible. Someone once asked me what do you do when you come to a verse in the Bible you don't agree with?

My response was change your opinion because you're wrong. Now you want to make sure you've correctly interpreted that verse in context and so forth. But having said that the Bible is the source of all truth. And so we we believe this but the devil attacks the word of God. Really what he is implying is God is holding you away from something good. Man if God really loved you he'd let you do whatever you want. Why would he restrict you? Why would he say you can't eat of this tree? God's holding you back from this thing because in the day you eat of it you will be like a god yourself. You'll be a goddess knowing good and evil. He's a liar. If God tells you not to do something that's for your own good.

Is it really that bad? God gives us commandments. You shall not lie. You shall not steal. You shall not take the Lord's name in vain. You shall honor your mother and father. Live in these standards and by these principles because these are walls of protection keeping evil out. But we think oh no God's caging me in.

And the opposite is the case. Years ago we had a German shepherd and one day I looked out the window and saw him staring at something in the grass. What is that? And it was this brightly colored little finch. And so I walked out in the backyard and I thought this looks like someone's pet bird. And I put my index finger down. This bird hopped right on my finger.

So I walked into the kitchen. Kathy look what I found in the backyard. Beautiful little bird.

She was cooking something at that moment. Look at this bird. So we threw the bird in. We ate it. It was delicious. I have to. No that didn't happen. I made that up.

Just keep your attention. So where did this bird come from? It must be someone's pet. And Jonathan who was a little boy then said there's a kid down the street that their bird died and they have a cage. I said go get the cage. So he runs down the street.

Comes back. Puts the cage on the kitchen counter. I opened the door of the cage. He hops into the cage. He was so happy.

He gets on the swing. Happy days are here again. He didn't see that cage as a prison. He saw that cage as protection from my German shepherd who would have eaten him if I left him out there much longer. And when you understand the commandments and the principles of scripture in their proper context they're there to protect you. God says the Bible says no good thing will he withhold from those that walk uprightly. And then the devil denied the word of God. You know it's a short step from questioning the word of God to denying the word of God.

So what do we learn? Well don't get into conversations with the devil. The Bible says resist the devil and he will flee from you. And then the devil substitute his own lie. Hey man you become like a god knowing good and evil.

That was a complete lie. Listen command central of your life is your mind. You are the air traffic controller of your own mind. The air traffic controller tells one pilot he can take off. He tells another they can land. He tells another to change their altitude. He tells even another to change their attitude.

Probably not but but he's there directing directing people. And you decide what thoughts come into this mind of yours and what thoughts stay out. Paul writes about this in second Corinthians 10 when he says the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of this world. On the contrary we have divine power to demolish strongholds.

We demolish arguments in every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. And we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. So when that thought comes you say no I'm not letting that one in. That thought of fear. That thought of lust. That thought of vengeance. That thought of whatever it is that's not coming in here. Oh that thought.

That thought's coming in. That passage. That beautiful thought about the Lord that is going to come in. So we ask ourselves the question where is this thought coming from?

Here's what you need to remember. Every temptation can be resisted and overcome. Every temptation. The Bible says blessed is the man that endures temptation for when he has tried he'll receive the crown of life. And the word blessed can be translated happy.

Happy. You're happy when you overcome temptation. Then first Corinthians 10 13 says there is no temptation taking you but such as is common to man but God who is faithful will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able would what with the temptation make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. Good encouragement about the escape route available to all believers when temptation comes knocking. Pastor Greg Laurie with his message called trouble in paradise today here on a new beginning.

Now God gives his children help so we won't fall victim to our adversaries temptation but it's a different story with those who have never entered into a relationship with the Lord. It's a good time to ask have you ever come to the Lord and asked him to forgive your sins and be your savior and Lord? Pastor Greg what would you say to the person who wants to make that kind of change today?

What I would say is he's only a prayer away which means if you will call upon the name of the Lord right now through prayer he will hear your prayer and answer your prayer. Listen if you want Jesus Christ to come into your life if you want him to forgive you of your sin if you want to know that you go to heaven when you die just pray this prayer right now after me just pray Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for my sin and rose again from the dead I turn from my sin now and I choose to follow you from this moment forward as my savior and Lord as my God and my friend in Jesus name I pray amen. Amen and listen if you have just prayed that prayer and meant those words sincerely well we want to welcome you into the family of God and let us help you get started walking with the Lord each day. Pastor Greg wants to send you his New Believers Bible absolutely free along with some other helpful resources they'll help answer your questions and get you started off right as you live for God each day. Just let us know you prayed with Pastor Greg and that you want the New Believers Bible when you call 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to and click the words know God. Well we're happy to introduce a special guest who's with us today former cold case detective J. Warner Wallace. Jim has a new book called The Truth in True Crime exploring 15 issues in our culture and how they're connected to 15 of the crimes Jim has investigated over the years.

Pastor Greg over to you. You know it seems like almost every social ill in our country today is due to the broken home and specifically the absence of fathers. That's right juvenile delinquency drug use girls getting pregnant outside of marriage and the list just goes on and on and then tragically the pattern is repeated. You know the Bible says the sins of the parents are visited on the children. I don't believe there's some mysterious generational curse that's passed on but I think basically it's simply that we repeat the behavior that we have observed.

We learn it. You know as an example I came from a home where my mother was an alcoholic and she was married and divorced seven times. If I followed the trajectory my life could have gone in I could have very easily ended up that way but I'm thankful to say that Kathy and I just celebrated 50 years of marriage. I don't drink at all nor do I have any interest in drinking because I've seen of the devastation that brings but the point is Christ can break that cycle but if America would just go back to this structure of a father and a mother a man and a wife together raising their children obviously in the way of the Lord would be the best scenario but just to have a father there it can make all the difference in the world and so you write about this in your new book don't you?

Yeah as a matter of fact the studies are very consistent on this and I try to diagram these out and that's one of those chapters that for marriage and fatherhood where the diagram is huge because there's so many ways in which children flourish when they are raised by two biological parents in a low conflict setting that's kind of how they typically will put it two biological parents in a low conflict setting. Well this is the claim of scripture look you're right we were you know I was also not raised in an intact family like that I wasn't raised that way and I knew when I met Suzy 45 years ago that I was not going to repeat that yeah so I often will say it and I do like you I do weddings and when I do it I say this unromantic thing to the couple but you really have to get to a place where you love marriage more than you love your spouse if you can be in that position where you love marriage more than you love your spouse and I want a crazy good marriage with my spouse so therefore Suzy is the beneficiary I hope of the fact that I love marriage more than I love her well and that was my God before I knew God but if you look at it if there was no gospel the one thing we could adopt that would be the greatest change agent in culture would simply be intact marriage wow but that's so next to the gospel and that's why I think that was described as a picture of Christ in the church right yeah it is the most powerful human institution that is capable of doing the greatest good short of the gospel yes and so that's why I think the work you're doing where we gospel first but people who watch us and know about our marriages I think we're kind of I'm going to realize we're saying gospel first yeah marriages are close is there it's as far as human institutions go it is the number one human institution yeah you know another great thing for me Jim is you know not having a father growing up I met godly older men after I became a Christian pastor Chuck Smith was a a model and a mentor for me later I became friends with Billy Graham he too was a a model and a mentor I saw his marriage to his wife Ruth Chuck and his marriage to his wife Kay so I was able to not only hear them from the pulpit to be but to see how they lived as Christian men and and so here's the good news it maybe I'm talking to a mother who's a mother right now who is not married and you're saying well I'm in trouble I can never fix this but the good news is is there can be godly men that could step in it could be a youth pastor it could be an uncle it could be a grandfather it could just be another godly male role model to help you in that area especially in in the influencing of your child's life and you know and I think of kids you know that are conceived out of wedlock and they're put up for adoption and there are these loving families that are just literally standing in line to adopt a child and to be together and bring them up in that environment so great truths great insights from Jay Warner Wallace and his brand new book the truth and true crime and we're offering you this book uh for your gift of any size send what you can and we'll put it to good use and we'll send you a copy of this fascinating book the truth in true crime by former detective Jay Warner Wallace yeah that's right we have a copy ready for you just contact us and we'll get it on its way call 1-800-821-3300 call us anytime night or day at 1-800-821-3300 or go online to Hey everybody I want to encourage you to check out the new Harvest Plus app it's on Roku, Apple TV, and Google Play among others and you can stream incredible content on all major platforms for free you're going to find live events our evangelistic films like A Rush of Hope, Johnny Cash The Redemption of an American Icon, Steve McQueen The Salvation of an American Icon, and our newest film Fame plus our TV programs our podcast Harvest at Home and a lot more stream it all on any device for free using the new Harvest Plus app. Well next time more insight on how to stand against our adversary as we learn lessons born in the Garden of Eden. Join us here on A New Beginning with Master and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-15 05:27:16 / 2024-05-15 05:37:31 / 10

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