Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The seduction of Adam and Eve in the Garden began an avalanche of sin and misery. Today, we assess the far-reaching consequences of mankind's fall, but also learn that God from the beginning had in mind a way to repair the damage.
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. Pastor Lutzer, we've come to your third message on God's Devil. Tell us what you mean by the serpent strikes back. First of all, Dave, I want to say that you're absolutely right that God knew from the beginning what was going to happen and the plan was already in place. Now, this message has to do with the fact that Satan has tried to thwart God's purposes.
You know, when God said that the seed of the woman would crush the seed of the serpent, Satan begins to attack God's seed, so to speak. And we'll understand what that means, but here's the thing, he always ends up losing. I'm so thankful for the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win. We believe very deeply that this spiritual truth is of such help to many people. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner?
That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Here's what you can do. Go to rtwoffer.com and then click on the endurance partner button. And of course, the amount that you contribute monthly is totally your choice.
Go to rtwoffer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now, I'm going to be giving you this info once again at the end of this message. For now, I want you to listen carefully to understand that Satan thinks he can take on God, but he's absolutely wrong. Some time ago, I heard a story about a man who very innocently pulled a stone from a mountain, and he triggered an avalanche. And I think that's the way it was with Adam and Eve. They ate of the fruit of the tree, not realizing that they were doing something that would have repercussions throughout the entire universe.
And you and I today are affected by the decision that they made. Let me be very clear in reminding you that when the angels fell, they were created individually, and so they fell individually. So it's not hard to believe that there were two-thirds of the angels that remained faithful to God and one-third that fell. But the human race is different. Our lives are connected with our parents and our grandparents, and because of that, Adam and Eve being our first parents, in effect, they are the ones who sinned, and all of us became tainted as a result of the fall. We are created with sin natures within us. We are under the condemnation of sin, all because the entire human race was therefore plunged into a life of sin and struggle with sin, all because of the decision of Adam and Eve, because we are a solidarity. We are bonded together.
There are no baby angels, but all of us came into this world through the birth process. We are all interrelated and connected. Now, last time in the message, we learned that God said that there would be enmity between thee and the woman, he said to the serpent, between thy seed and her seed.
What happened is this. Satan now began to think to himself, I am going to try to destroy the seed that God says is going to destroy me. So conflict is set up between Satan and God from that time forward.
And what we'd like to do today is to take our Bibles and to give a few instances of it as it is found in the Old Testament. So first of all, let us take our Bibles and turn to Genesis, Genesis, the fourth chapter. Here we have the story of Adam and Eve having children, and the first child that they have is called Cain. And the word Cain simply means begotten. He was the begotten one.
This is the son that God gave to Adam and Eve. And this entire chapter now is going to be a contrast between Abel, who was a righteous son, and Cain, who was a wicked one. The first strike that Satan makes is against the family, and his first strike is an attempt to destroy Abel, which he believed was the righteous seed. Now the man had relations with his wife, the Bible says, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord. And again she gave birth to his brother Abel, and Abel was a keeper of the flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought forth an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground, and Abel on his part also brought the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions, and the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering. But for Cain and his offering, he had no regard. Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Notice here the issue was really a religious one.
How does one approach God? Bible scholars have pointed out that Abel brought the firstlings of the flock. He brought blood, a blood offering, and Cain didn't. If that's the reason why the offering was accepted and Cain's was rejected, then there must have been some revelation that God gave regarding the kind of offering to be brought. Perhaps it is simply that Abel offered it in faith. It says in Hebrews chapter 11, by faith Abel offered onto God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain because he offered it in faith. We don't know exactly the reason why it was that God accepted Abel's offering and rejected Cain's, except that Abel was a righteous man who did believe, most assuredly, and Cain didn't. But this much we know, the antagonism between the brothers escalated.
As far as Cain was concerned, he felt that he had been very unfairly rejected. And you have all of those firstborn qualities, those leadership qualities, and those insecurities that firstborns sometimes have. And they all came to the service and the Bible says that he became jealous and very angry. Now you know, here at the Moody Church, we have a lot of people coming to us for counsel. In fact, as a staff, we discussed that in staff meeting.
We seem to have more people coming for counsel in the last couple of weeks than usual, and we're wondering how to handle the caseload. Well, as I was looking at this, I realized that God counsels Cain here. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could telephone the Moody Church and say, we need counsel because we're in trouble and we'd like to speak to God.
Wouldn't that be wonderful? Now, if you say that, we would probably have to refer you to other people. But here, God speaks to Cain. Cain is suffering from low self-esteem.
He's feeling rejected. And the Lord says to Cain in verse 6, why are you angry and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, your countenance will be lifted up. And if you do not well, sin is crouching at the door that is ready to destroy you and its desire is for you, but you must master it. So notice what the Lord says is, Cain, there's a way out of this.
All that you need to do is to do what is right and you'll be accepted. But Cain did not accept God's advice. The Bible says that he told Abel what happened and then he slew Abel, his brother. Now, you may say, well, Pastor Luther, this was just sibling rivalry. This is the way in which kids get along or don't get along.
Those of us who have been parents know that there are times when sometimes our children just do not see eye to eye on everything. Did you know that Satan was involved in this? It says in 1 John chapter 3 in the New Testament, it clarifies and says, why did Cain slay Abel? Because Cain was of that wicked one. Satan was involved.
And he slew him because he was righteous. Abel was righteous and therefore righteousness was a threat to Satan. And furthermore, Satan very probably thought that Abel was the promised seed and if he wiped him out, then he would be able to win the battle. And I can just imagine after Abel's blood is spilled on the ground, I can imagine Satan saying to himself, I won, I won, I won, I destroyed the promised seed. Well, of course he didn't because after Abel is slain, you know, God gives to Adam and Eve another son called Seth and that word Seth means substitute. And the devil begins to realize that no matter how many people he kills, God might always have someone else created, someone else will be born who could be the promised seed. So Satan realizes when he thought he had won, he really didn't.
Well, that's the first attack. We could go on to point out that the Lord put a mark upon Cain and Cain became a wanderer and later on it says in verse 16, Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain had relations with his wife. And you know, one of the big questions that is always asked is where did Cain get his wife?
People ask that question. Even those who should be concerned about where they might find a wife sometimes ask questions about where Cain got his. Well, the answer is he married one of his sisters or one of his cousins because the race was pure in those days and Adam and Eve had many different children. But Cain said my punishment is greater than I can bear. He began to discover something about sin. Despite the wonder of revenge, despite how good it felt to finally get rid of that brother, the consequences were very unacceptable. In the long run, it never pays to sin. People are concerned about whether or not O.J.
Simpson is guilty of the murders that we've heard so much about and the fact is as someone mentioned to me, even if he is free, if indeed he did those crimes, he will never be free. He will be condemned in his heart and someday he'll have to give account to God for it. Sin never pays. Well, you and I know of course that Adam and Eve were not the first parents that have had some difficulty raising Cain. As a matter of fact, there has been difficulty within the family.
Was I going too fast for some of you on that one? There have been difficulties in families ever since and Satan strikes the family, that unit that God has raised up that should propagate the faith and here he is. He tries to do it by destroying, by killing. Let's take another example, the sixth chapter of Genesis. Here is an attack against society. Satan said to himself, I cannot destroy the seed by killing.
Maybe I can destroy the seed by corrupting. Now this is a puzzling passage. It says in verse 1, it came about when men began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with man forever because he also is flesh.
Nevertheless, his day shall be one hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were upon the earth in those days and afterward when the sons of God came into the daughters of men and they bore children to them, those were the mighty men who were old men of renown. What in the world is going on here in the text? Who are these sons of God? Well, there are those who believe that the sons of God represent the godly line of Seth and the daughters of men represent the Canaanites. There are problems with that view and we can't go into detail about all of the problems except to say that, first of all, it's not clear at all that all of the descendants of Seth were that righteous. But furthermore, that expression, the sons of God, wherever it is used in the Old Testament always refers to angels.
For example, in the book of Job, it talks about, you know, the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord. Is it possible that these are fallen spirits, demonic spirits, cohabiting with human beings and bearing children? Well, a part of that is possible. It is possible for Satan and spirits to take a human form, we know that, even though they do not have the power to create as such, but they can actualize themselves. Satan did that to Jesus Christ and if demons are able to speak, that means that they are able to translate themselves into something material and there are those who have fallen into such perversions that they have had relations with evil spirits that have been actualized as human beings. I've read accounts and I've spoken to people and I believe that at least in some instances that has been true.
But I don't believe that that would beget children. So I take the point of view that the sons of God is really a reference to demonic spirits that are indwelling, inhabiting, energizing the people in that day. And as a result of that there were leaders that were born, but these were evil leaders that were involved with demons and immorality and the two inevitably go together. You know what I also believe?
I believe that these demons were so wicked that God decided to build a special place for them where they would be confined forever and they are not free to roam the earth today. You say, well why would you believe that? Notice what it says in second Peter. Now it may take you a moment to find it, but it may be a text you've not looked at for a while, so I'll give you a moment to find it. Second Peter chapter 2. This is talking about heresy. It's talking about apostates, those who deny the faith.
Here at the Moody Church we had an apostate a few weeks ago who denies the faith and there was a debate here regarding his heresies. And I might say that the judgment of God is upon the such not only individually but upon all those who would believe their teachings. And all that you need to do is to read the book of Jude and the book of second Peter and find out how much God hates apostasy.
But notice what it says. Chapter 2 verse 2, many will follow their sensuality and because of them the way of truth will be maligned. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their judgment from long ago is not idle and their destruction is not asleep. For if God did not spare angels when they sinned but cast them into hell, the Greek word is tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness reserved for judgment and did not spare the ancient world but preserved Noah.
Notice the context in which he says this. He's saying that God took these spirits that sinned, cast them into tartarus, committed them to pits of darkness, but he did spare Noah. This happened during the days of the flood just before the flood came because of the wickedness that was upon the earth there were some spirits that were so evil that God says I'm going to confine you so that you will not be able to rule the earth.
Tartarus, in the New Testament when Jesus was going to cast out a demon he said please don't send me to tartarus, that place of torment which really is not yet the lake of fire but which is a holding pen so to speak before the lake of fire comes. Now back to Genesis chapter 6, I want you to notice that the text says that the evil of men was great upon the earth. As a matter of fact we read these words, verse 6, then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord even is sorry that he makes man, doesn't mean that it took him by surprise, it simply means that God was grieved and he was going to have to begin again and he did with Noah who found grace in the sight of the Lord. First strike God says I'd like to kill them, it didn't work, Seth was born. Second strike I'm going to corrupt them, I want the entire human race to be involved in various kinds of perversion and sensuality so that God cannot even stand them anymore and so that God will judge the world and blot the human race out.
Once again Satan thought to himself it looks as if I am winning but, verse 8, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. There was someone righteous left who had not been contaminated with the things of the world. We look at our own society today filled with violence and filled with immorality and impurity. Sometimes I call people on the phone just to see how they're doing, no special agenda. I did that this last week, I phoned a family connected with Moody Church and heard something that made me so angry, so angry. Unbelievable, two lovely young girls molested by a grandfather as they learned about a week ago and then one of these young ladies also worse than molestation really with some neighbor I'm not sure exactly of all of the details and I say to myself where does all this perversion come from? How many are there out there that are molesting children that are doing those despicable things and listen, you know what that means? That means that there are people who are listening to me today who are molesting children, doing things that are despicable and if you fit into that category today let me tell you stop it, stop it in the name of Christ because you are doing the devil's work and by the way some of you mothers, you have husbands that are molesting your children and ruining their lives and you are pretending that you do not know because you don't want to face the consequences of what would happen if that man were found out.
Could I simply tell you today that go for help and blow his cover, blow his cover, deal with it. We look at movies today, the impurity of mind and heart and spirit, the pollution of soul, young people watching movies all of this foolishness and all of the sensuality and the violence and the occultism. It takes hours and hours of reading the scripture simply to purify the mind to get all of the pollution out of the minds of the hearts of even Christians today. Satan says first of all I want to destroy them by killing them, I can't kill them, I'll corrupt them, I will separate their souls from God.
Now listen to me very carefully if you are involved in sexual immorality of any form whether it is pornography, whether it is some form of perversion I want you to know today that you need to go for help because the iniquity, the iniquity that we face even within the church today grieves God. God says I'm sorry that I have made man. That was Satan's strike. Now there are other ways that Satan tried to blot out the seed, the good seed. Turn to 2 Kings 11 verse 1 for just a moment. 2 Kings 11 verse 1 we find that Satan has a woman on the throne who is going to do the devil's work and notice it says 2 Kings chapter 11 verse 1 when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead she arose and destroyed all of the royal offspring. We don't have time to go into the text in detail but I just want you to know that if she had destroyed all of the royal offspring the promises that God made that Jesus Christ would be born through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through the line of David would have not been fulfilled because she was going to kill everybody who was of the royal seed. Well would you believe that there was one who was spared and his name was Joash.
Somebody hid little Joash. This is Pastor Lutzer. The point is simply this that there are times when Satan thinks he's winning but actually in the end God makes sure that he is losing and perhaps we see this most clearly at the cross. I can imagine that when Jesus was crucified Satan was filled with glee. At last Jesus was dead but of course three days later Jesus rises from the dead and the cross of Jesus Christ was ultimately Satan's greatest defeat.
It's always that way when you take on God. I am so gratified by the many of you who support the ministry of Running to Win. Recently I was speaking at a conference and I met two endurance partners. You say who are endurance partners?
Well they are people who support the ministry of Running to Win regularly with their prayers and their gifts. If you want more info here's what you do go to rtwoffer.com. That's rtwoffer.com. When you're there click on the endurance partner button and of course your contribution is entirely your decision. Go to rtwoffer.com or if you prefer call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm going to give you that contact info again. You can go to rtwoffer.com click on the endurance partner button or you can call at 1-888-218-9337.
You can pick up the phone and you can call right now. 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. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God Satan turned his focus on stopping the future birth and death of Christ. The earth became a battlefield with humanity as Satan's victims. Next time more about Satan's tactics and how we must be on our guard continually as he seeks to devour us. This is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
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