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a. Four Main Sections to the Bible
i. Creation – Genesis 1-2
(1) God the Creator – Genesis 1:1
ii. Fall – Genesis 3
(1) Man the Sinner – Genesis 3:9
iii. Redemption – Genesis 4 – Revelation 20
(1) Son of God – Messiah – Matthew 1:21
iv. Restoration – Revelation 21-22
(1) Back to the Garden – Revelation 22:3
b. God Created Everything
i. All He does is good
ii. He owns everything
iii. He has the right of command over everything
iv. He should be Worshipped
c. Genesis 1 and 2
i. Prepare us to hear answer to the question: “Why are things not good now?”
2. Today we enter into chapter 3 – the fall of Adam and the consequent fall of the whole human race.
a. There are many things that can be said and asked about things we find in Genesis 3. I must restrict myself to sticking to the topic at hand – the plot line of the Bible which in Genesis three is the fall and its consequences.
i. The conversation between the woman and the serpent is fraught with difficulty.
(1) Why is Satan never identified as the culprit who uses the snake? It really doesn’t matter. The point of the account is that they are being tempted to do that which God forbid them from doing.
(2) Why is there no element of surprise in Eve regarding a talking snake?
(a) Perhaps she was. Perhaps that is why she was so taken in by what he said.
This is a creature over which God has given her dominion. But here it is speaking to her. …
(3) Is this a real snake or just a disguise of the devil?
(a) It is a real snake that the devil uses for his purposes
(4) Why a snake? Verse 1 answers that. There is something crafty about snakes that Satan can use.
(a) There are no other viable creatures to pose as. Satan cannot come as a man or an angel. Eve has no idea that snakes can’t talk. Everything is new to her…
(i) How do we know that before the fall some animals couldn’t talk anyway? Well, that is too Narnia like and we dare not enter into that world of fantasy and impose it on eternal truth.
3. The Fall – Man the Sinner – Genesis 3
a. The serpent
i. This is a real snake. It is not just the devil looking like a snake. It is one of the animals that God had created as verse 1says. It is one of the animals that God pronounced “very good” in 1:31.
ii. How do we know it is Satan?
(1) Rev. 12:9, 20:2
(a) Again we note the unity of the Book in tying the serpents in the first and last Books of the Bible together and being identified as one and the same.
(2) This text never identifies him as the devil – but the Bible is a whole Book and the identity that Satan is given in Rev. 12 suffices for us.
b. The temptation –
i. Verse 1 – Did God really say? – doubt upon the Word of God
ii. Verse 2 – You will not surely die – contradiction of the Word of God
iii. Verse 3 – You will be like God – Addition to the Word of God
c. The Sin
d. The consequences of the fall
i. First of all, it needs to be noted with great emphasis that sin has consequences.
(1) This is greatly disputed today. It is said that to believe that God holds people accountable for their actions and that the ultimate consequence is eternal separation form God in hell is to believe in a God that is the product of old tribalism. We who are enlightened know better.
(a) Such a response is an attack upon the cross. Holding to the Gospel starts right here in the very beginning. Get this wrong just a little bit and by the time you get to the life of Christ there is no longer any recognition of the Gospel that the Bible promotes.
(2) The consequences of sin take the form of judgement from God (see the pain in child birth and pain in work; death; hell;) and the natural enmity with God that now afflicts all the human race.
ii. Immediately Upon Adam and Eve
(1) Shame – 3:7a
(2) Failure – 3:7b
(3) Fear – 3:8, 10
(4) Broken Fellowship – 3:8-13
iii. The curse
(1) On the serpent – 3:14
(a) crawl – Why punish a dumb animal? It wasn’t the snake’s fault that he was used to tempt A&E. Isaiah 65:11 – The snake is a reminder of what occurred in the garden. Making a dumb animal a perpetual reminder of why the world is in the mess we are in is not out of line here. It is a testimony of the value of human life over animal and a testimony of hope for people created in God’s image. Victory is coming one day – and that victory is the ruin of the serpent.
(b) crushed – Note that it is not the seed of the snake that will be crushed. The serpent’s seed will be the enemy of the woman’s seed, but when her seed does his work, it is not just the serpent’s seed he will crush. He will crush the snake itself. This does not mean that Jesus will one day put an end to snakes. It means that He will put an end to Satan. See Revelation 20:7-10
(2) On the woman
(a) pain – a physiological change in women? In babies?
(b) desire – the first result of the fall will be disharmony in the family.
(3) On the man
iv. In Nature
(1) Romans 8:20-23
(a) We point this out to demonstrate that the fall is a cataclysmic event. The universe is turned upside down.
(2) Genesis 1:29-30
(a) Pre-fall will have no death. Death is a product of the fall. Genesis 2:17 has far more reaching effects than just the death of Adam. Death enters the world. Does this mean that if not for the fall there would be no poisonous snakes, stinging insects, spiders that inject venom into helpless prey etc.? I do not know. I know that if not for the fall we wouldn’t be hurt by poisonous snakes, bee stings and spiders. And perhaps all of these things are a reminder of just how all encompassing the fall was.
v. Upon humanity – The consequences of sin are a major theme of the rest of the Bible.
(1) Physical Death – Genesis 5:5, 6, 11, 14, 17, 20, 27.
(a) Except for Enoch – 5:24 – The consequences of sin are horrible and final .. But they are not insurmountable. Even the results of the fall can be overcome. How? By God. In those who walk with Him. Was Enoch sinless? No. …
(2) Genesis 6:5f – Totally wicked.
(a) We must never think that the days are more evil today than they have been
in the past. People are not more wicked. They are equally wicked. There have been periods in the history of the church when revival has occurred and the cultures and societies in which they happen have been greatly benefited. Christians talk about getting back to days when God was honoured in the culture. That is a prayer for revival. We want revival. I would love to see people turning to God in great numbers and showing it with the burning of the porn and marriage reconciliation and people returning things they have stolen from stores (The number 1 and 2 things stolen from Speelman’s Bookstore? Bibles and Christian CDs!!). A revival marked by church attendance, sacrificial living, prayer meetings bursting at the seams, justice for the poor, honesty in politics … . We should pray for such a movement of God to occur. But that is not our destination. That is not what we long for most of all. What we long for most of all is “back to the garden”. We do not long for the “good old days”. We long for heaven. We long for seeing Jesus face to face and therefore being like Him. Our cry is “revive us again” but not as much as it is “Even so, come Lord Jesus”. Dear ones, the fall has cursed the whole universe. Do you long for God to be glorified everywhere? Do you long for an end to godlessness and destruction and disease … … ?
(3) Genesis 6:8 – Noah found favour with God. The word is grace. He found grace – or – grace found him. Was Noah sinless? No. Did he have sins that deserved the wrath of God? Of course. But his life was gripped by grace and he lived with a Godward bent. He repented when he sinned and struggled to maintain his walk with God and God saw it and honoured it and used this man for the continuation of the human race.
(4) Genesis 8:21 – The flood is over. Noah and the crew of the ark have disembarked. Noah has offered a sacrifice to God in thanks fo what He has done. God’s response – “I will never do this flood thing again” – Why not? “Because humanity is too wicked”. [Note the textual issue here in verse 21 – “for” or “even though”. “for” fits the context and theme better.] How’s that? And the point is that if He is going to destroy the earth every time the world’s inhabitants get carried away with their sin, there will be a deluge every generation. A flood is not going to cure the problem. It will eradicate sinners, but it will not make the remaining ones less sinful. They will bear children who will not all believe and another flood will be necessary, and another, and another and another. And the history of mankind will circulate around floods that wipe them out and sin that will not go away and must be flooded off the planet every generation. This is the problem set in motion by A&E eating the fruit.
(5) Genesis 11:4
(a) “make a name for ourselves” – with who? Who else is there? No one. They want to make a name for themselves to God.
(b) “Lest we be dispersed…” cf. Gen. 1:28. God has commanded dispersion. The whole earth is to be filled with people who declare, from their hearts, in word and deed, the magnificent worth of God. But no – mankind has come to the point where he knows better. So what will God do? He will do what will force mankind to be dispersed throughout all the world. And the reason He does that is because He has every intention of ensuring that the original commandment to mankind is fulfilled. So now we have a planet teeming with people in every corner of the globe – but they do not live for the praise of God’s glory. But they one day will. Rev. 7:9-10.
(6) Romans 5:12-20 – Here is where we really see the magnitude of what Adam did. In Romans 5:12-20 Paul is comparing the results of the work of Adam (sin) with the results of the work of Christ (righteousness).
(a) verse 12 – Adam brought sin into the world
(b) verse 12 – That sin brought death to all people because in Adam we are all guilty of sin. We are born guilty of sin. We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners.
(c) verse 13 – People died even before there was a law to break.
(d) verse 14 – even though people cannot be found guilty of breaking the law when there is no law, people died due to sin even before the law was made because Adam represented the whole human race (just like Christ came as a representative of all His people.)
(e) verse 15 – Just as Adam sinned and brought death to all people so Jesus never sinned and brought life to many.
(f) verse 16 – Adam brought condemnation as a representative. Jesus Christ brought justification.
(g) verse 17 – Adam’s sin meant the reign of death over all humanity. Jesus Christ righteousness means life to all who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness. Those who receive that from Christ will reign.
(h) verse 18 – Adam’s one act of sin led to condemnation for all men. Christ’s one act of righteousness leads to justification for all men (all those who believe; all for whom He did all He did;)
(i) verse 19 – Adam’s one act of disobedience means many (all) were made sinners. Christ’s one act of obedience means many will be made righteous.
(j) verse 20 – Where sin abounded … . We have seen how Adam’s sin has abounded. What can overcome it? What hope is there? The seed of the woman – crushing the head of the serpent. Hallelujah. People may want to complain about being blamed for Adam’s sin. But salvation is the very same. Jesus lived the sinlessly righteous life and through faith we get credited with it. God treats us as if we had lived as righteously as Christ. We demonstrate the disobedience of Adam all the time. By grace God brings us to live in the imitation of Christ. What a glory the cross is. And that is what the bible is all about.
e. The Remedy for Sin – The rest of the Bible is an exposition of this text.
i. 3:15 – The crushing of the serpent’s head
(1) See a hint in the clothing God supplies – He kills an animal – 3:21
ii. The seed of the woman
(1) A human being
(a) God promises that the seed of the woman is going to put an end to the serpent and his work. Read through the Old Testament and see if you can find any who can put the death blow to Satan. Will it be Moses? Moses isn’t even allowed into the Promised Land. Will the Promised land itself be the place of refuge where the effects of the fall are not felt. Just read Joshua and Judges and I Samuel through to the end of II Chronicles and see that the Promised Land was certainly not free from the effects of what A&E had done. You read through the OT at one level and there is a frustration that no judge, no king, no prophet, no priest, no amount of sacrifice is able to do what God has promised will be done through the seed of the woman.
(b) At another level however we are constantly being told that the promise has not been forgotten. He will deal the death blow to the serpent. He is coming. There is hope … . The Bible is not a message of how mankind has ruined everything. It is more a message of how God is fixing everything up.
Dear ones, we live in the age when the promise of the serpent crushing seed has been fulfilled. Jesus has come. Satan has been defeated. You can know freedom from the penalty and power of the nature you inherited from your first parents.
You are in Adam. You can be in Christ. You are still under the curse. You can know the blessing of God in Christ. You are still a slave to the sinful nature. You can know freedom through Christ. You are still under the judgement of God. You can know the verdict of “not guilty” if you will turn from sin and turn to Christ. You have no righteousness of your own by which God should pardon you. Jesus has all the righteousness you need. God requires absolute sinless perfection in order to get into His presence fo eternity. Only in Christ can you have that.
Come and know freedom from the awful mess that A&E started on that day when they committed the first sin. That sin is yours and only Christ can liberate you from it.