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Genesis 3:1-13

Learning to Stand

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • March 18, 2018

We need to understand what happened in Genesis 3 to gain the insight we need to stand in victory. We know we have forgiveness of sin in Christ Jesus, and praise God that we do, but God wants us to grow in our faith so we can walk victoriously. In other words, sin does not have to master over us; we can be victorious.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Transcription
Learning to Stand

Genesis 3:1-13                                                                                             March 17-18, 2018

Genesis 3 is the story of the fall of man. Each of us is affected by what happened the day Adam and Eve rebelled against God. We all carry the consequences of their decision every day, but we also face something similar ourselves on a regular basis.

We need to understand what happened in this story and gain the insight we need to stand in victory. We know we have forgiveness of sin in Christ Jesus, and praise God that we do, but God wants us to grow in our faith so we can walk victoriously. In other words, sin does not have to master over us; we can be victorious.

That’s why studying this story is so important; we gain the insight we need to stand when we understand the schemes of the enemy and become prepared to walk as God wants us to walk.

I. The Battle is Spiritual

  • The first character we see in the chapter is “the serpent of old” as he is called in the book of Revelation.
  • This is Satan of course, and though he is referred to as the serpent, he does not present himself here as an ugly beast. Eve is not even slightly alarmed at his presence or appearance. She isn’t suspicious or defensive
  • In other words, he wasn’t wearing a plaid jacket, he didn’t have a scar on his face and he wasn’t wearing a black hat.
  • This story gives us insights into the nature of the enemy’s schemes and spiritual warfare.

A. He comes as an angel of light

  • This is perfectly in keeping with the fact that the ‘serpent of old,’ or Satan, the devil, was a liar from the beginning.Jesus said of him…

John 8:44, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

  • The nature of deception is to deceive; therefore, the schemes of the enemy include coming in the appearance of something that looks good, that looks attractive or enticing.
  • We saw in the book of Revelation that the Antichrist comes as a genius of diplomacy and will be hailed as a hero by the nations of the world.

 

2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

  • The root of the word serpent in the Hebrew has a secondary meaning ‘to shine.’
B.  He draws you to what you don’t have
  • The serpent came questioning, but not because he was looking for information, the questions were leading her toward doubt.
  • “Indeed, did God say that you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?”He was driving her to the one thing she didn’t have.

 

  • “From the trees in the garden we may eat, but from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’”Eve responded.
  • There was only one restriction, only one thing she didn’t have, and he was drawing her towards it.
  • At this point, she had everything; she was the most beautiful woman who ever lived.Of course, at this point, she was the only woman who ever lived; and she was the most brilliant, the wittiest and the most fit, she had no bills, no children waking her up at night, and no in-laws.There was nothing lacking.They lived in Paradise, in a beautiful garden planted by God himself.
  • But there was that one thing she didn’t have, and he was drawing her toward it.And now, because we have inherited our sin nature from Adam and Eve we have the same problem.Instead of appreciating all the things we have… in our flesh, we focus on what we don’t have or shouldn’t have; and when you focus on the things you don’t have, even the things you do have lose their meaning.

C.  He draws you to justify sin

  • Verse 6 - when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise…
  • Those are good things, nothing wrong there, what could possibly be wrong with eating from this tree?
  • What’s wrong with it is that eating from it is simple disobedience to God.The one simple thing was that God said not to do it.
  • Notice that each justification was a deeper desire; good for food, a delight to the eyes, and finally, desirable to make one wise.
  • Once the heart’s desire is locked onto something, it will make a convert of the mind.In other words, people will say the stupidest things to justify their sin. Sin affects judgment; professing to be wise, they become fools.

Romans 1:18,22, …of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…professing to be wise, they become fools.

II.Stand Firm Therefore

  • The dialogue between Eve and “the shining one” is a lesson in deception; to understand how Eve was deceived is to learn how to stand victoriously ourselves.

Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-14, Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil… and having done everything to stand firm, stand firm therefore.

1 Peter 5:8-9, Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith,

A. Stand on the rock of God’s Word

  • At first, the serpent drew Eve to doubt what God had said. He begins by asking a question that is far off the mark from what God said; suggesting that God was overly strict, “Indeed, has God said that you shall not eat from any tree in the garden?”
  • The serpent then moves to straight-out contradicting what God said and even questioning God’s motives, “You surely shall not die!But God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God and He gets very upset about that, I should know.”
  • He’s driving a wedge, drawing her away from trusting what God said. If Satan can get her to doubt God’s Word, it’s the first step in separating her from God.
  • You see this attack in the world all the time.

Illus – When someone gives their life to Christ they often face that same question from some of their old friends in the world, “You believe the bible? Don’t you know that was written by men?” Or, “don’t you know that it’s full of contradictions?”

Illus – Or when young kids head off to college only to face atheist professors professing to be wise and challenging everyone’s faith. They are trying to do the same thing that Satan was doing in the garden, separating people from God.

  • The answer is to stand on the rock of God’s Word and not be moved.
  • When Jesus was tempted in the desert, He responded to each temptation with the words, “It is written…”
  • After Jesus had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, He then became hungry.The tempter came and said to Him, “Since You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
Matthew 4:4, But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

Ephesians 6:13, 16-17, Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day… in addition to all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

A. Don’t add or subtract from God’s Word

  • Eve’s answer is close to what God said, but she leaves out and adds to it. She says, “From the fruit of the trees we may eat.” She left out, from any tree you may eat freely… She left out the abundance and lavishness of God’s allowance.
  • “But from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God told us not to eat from it or even touch it lest we die.” Now she’s adding to what God said. He never said not to touch it, now she’s making extra restrictions that go beyond what God said.
  • That’s the beginning of religion -- adding to God’s Word traditions and restrictions that God didn’t say.
  • The problem with adding to God’s Word is that it becomes a burden God never intended… 
Illus – In the Mishna, a Jewish book that interprets the Law, it says that there 39 ways to break the Sabbath and 39 ways to break each of those 39 ways. In other words, there were 1,521 ways to break the Sabbath. We were in Jerusalem on the Sabbath and because it was Shabbat, we couldn’t take the bus, that would be lighting a fire. You can’t push an elevator button or turn on a light switch. But you can walk more than eight miles up and down the hills of Jerusalem!

Matthew 23:4, “The scribes and Pharisees tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.”

  • The problem with taking away from God’s word is that you lose the lavishness of God’s grace and you lose the power of the truth.

Mark 4:14-15, 19, “The sower sows the word.These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sound; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them… And others are those who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

A. What God does is good

  • Notice Satan boldly contradicts what God said, “You surely shall not die!” The Liar is calling the Giver of truth a liar! And the problem is that what Satan was half-true.
  • They didn’t physically die on the day they ate of that tree, although their death warrants were surely written that day.However, they did die spiritually, and it caused separation from God.
  • And that’s man’s problem today.People can be physically alive, but very much dead spiritually.
  • That’s why you must be born again.You were born physically, but what’s dead is the spiritual part of you that brings you into fellowship with God.
  • You need to be born again spiritually and being made alive spiritually, you can have fellowship with the living God that’s far beyond what you can experience physically.

Romans 6:21-23, Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 16:11, You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Learning To Stand

Genesis 3:3-13

March 17-18, 2018

So here we are Genesis 3, and we are of course going through the entire Bible, and we just finished Revelation. Just a reminder then that the Wednesday service is really the connecting of the dots. That's where we go verse by verse by verse, and then we take a section out of that and look into it more deeply on the weekend services. Don't forget Wednesday. We love our Wednesday service. God uses it in a great way.

Here we are in Genesis 3 and of course, it's the famous story of the fall of man. This is such an important story because every one of us is affected today by what happened when Adam and Eve rebelled against God. We are all facing the consequences of that decision, but it's important for us to recognize that we're also all facing something similar to that on a regular basis in our own lives. Therefore, we need to understand what happened in the story and gain insight for how to gain victory, to stand in victory for our own lives. Because we understand, therefore, there are sin in our lives or sin in this world, and we praise God for the forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Having said that, we also must recognize that God wants us to grow our faith and our relationship to the Lord so that we can stand victoriously. Sin does not need, must not master over us. We can be victorious. That's why studying the story is so important because we gain those insights in how to stand, how to be victorious.

Let's read it; Genesis chapter 3, and we begin in verse 1. "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Indeed, has God said, You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" which isn't what He said at all. And the woman said to the serpent, "Well from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die." And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die."

He's like directly contradicting what God had said. "You that is not true. You surely will not die." Here's why, he says, "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you'll be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, well then she took from the fruit and she ate. And then she gave also to her husband and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and then they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together to make for themselves loin coverings. Which cannot be comfortable. Fig leaves are not known for their comfort and their soft supple ways. You are with me on this, right? This cannot be good.

Now God's going to answer in a very amazing way which speaks towards Jesus Christ. But would you notice also it says that now they are naked and ashamed, essentially. It's important to recognize because in the chapter 4 it says that they were naked and unashamed. It's important to recognize that there would be a glory upon them when God made them, and here's my point.

You remember when Moses went up to the mountain, Mount Sinai, to receive the law, and he was in the presence of the Lord during those days. And it tells us that when he came down from the mountain after being in the presence of the Lord that there was actually like a physical radiance. There was an illuminance of glory upon him after being in the presence of the Lord.

So here is Adam and Eve in the presence of the Lord on a daily basis so we understand then that there would be this glory upon them, and thus, they are naked but unashamed. You see because there is an illuminance of glory upon them. Now they've fallen, now they've sinned, and they are naked and ashamed. Hence, they sew these fig leaves together to hide or to cover themselves. In verse 8 says, "Then they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." This is when God would take these times of fellowship with Adam and Eve walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

What a glorious picture of the desire of God for relationship and nearness and fellowship. He comes into the cool of the day, but the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. The Lord God called to the man and he said to him, "Where are you?" Then he said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. So I hid myself." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked, have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? And the man responded, "It was that woman."

Thus began a long tradition of blaming someone else. It was that woman but would you notice this. He also adds, "It was that woman that you gave me." Yes, exactly. He's blaming God too. "It was that woman that you gave and she gave to me from the tree and then I ate." Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" And the woman said, "It was the serpent who deceived me and I ate".

I. The Battle is Spiritual

Okay, now we are going to look at more verses on Wednesday. These are the verses I want us to look at because of their insight particularly in the nature of spiritual battle. The battle is spiritual. We are seeing here unfolding a battle for the souls. A spiritual battle.

A.He comes as an angel of light

Now, this is important for what it means to all of us? All right. The first character we see in the story is the serpent who is called the serpent of old in the book of Revelation that we were just recently studying. Of course, it defines and tells us that Satan, the devil himself, who is presenting himself here as the serpent though he does not present himself as an ugly beast. I say that because Eve is not even slightly alarmed at his presence or his appearance. She's not suspicious or defensive. In other words, he's not wearing a blood jacket. Wouldn't it be great, right? If all the wrongful or lying people that deceived wore a blood jacket or something that we could know. No, he doesn't have a scar in his face, he's not wearing a black hat. In other words, he's a deceiver, and he comes as an angel of light.

This story is filled with important insight into the nature of the enemy's schemes and of spiritual warfare. He comes as an angel of light. Perfectly in keeping with the fact that he is the serpent, the liar, the devil, who as Jesus said, a liar from the beginning. In fact, John 8:44, you've got to read John 8 sometime, it is an amazing chapter. Here He says of him, He says, "He was a murderer from the beginning and he doesn't stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he is speaking from his own nature, for he is a liar and he is the father of lies". This is important because the nature of deception is to deceive, therefore the schemes of the enemy include the appearance of something that looks good or looks attractive or looks enticing.

We were just recently in the book of Revelation, and there is an example of this because it tells us that the anti-Christ when he comes to the end of the age will actually come in the appearance of someone who's good. He will be hailed as the hero, a diplomatic genius, able to do that which no man has been able to do which is bring peace in the Middle East. And make a covenant with the nations and Israel. So, he comes as a hero and good, but he is inspired by none other than Satan himself. So, we got to understand the nature of spiritual warfare.

Paul speaks of this in Corinthians 11 because he says, "Such men are false apostles. They are deceitful workers disguising themselves even as apostles of Christ." And he said, "No wonder even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore, it's not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness but who is in will be according to their deeds. For they are inspired by none other than Satan himself. The word serpent interestingly has a double meaning. One in the Hebrew, Nahash, has the hissing sound 'sh' and that's part of its meaning, but it also means like shinning. In fact, when Moses made, if you remember the story, he actually makes a brass serpent and later it's called Nehushtan. It has an aspect of shinning to it. That's the nature of deception. The shining one. This is an important insight. He's showing us for spiritual battle.

B.He draws you to what you don’t have

 

Because notice this also at the story that he draws you to what you don't have. Here comes the serpent. He comes using questions, and he's using questions not because he wants information, because questions are powerful, and they are going to be used to draw her toward doubt. "Indeed, did God say that you shall not eat from any tree at the garden?" He's driving her to the one thing she didn't have. So she says, "From the trees in the garden we may eat but from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die'," she responds. This is one restriction. There is this one thing she didn't have and he was drawing her towards it.

For this point, she had everything. She was the most beautiful woman in the world. Of course at this point, she was the only woman in the world but she was and she is the most beautiful woman in the world, she was the most brilliant, she was the wittiest, she was the most fit, she had the best figure, she had no bills, there were no children keeping her up at night, there was no mother-in-law to compare her cooking to.

They were living in paradise. They were living in a garden planted by God himself. How beautiful was that? There was nothing lacking they had everything. But there was that one thing they didn't have, and he was drawing her toward it. Now because we have inherited our sin nature from Adam and Eve, we find a very similar tendency in all of us. We all find ourselves drawn to that which we don't have rather than appreciating what we do have. In fact, the nature of the flesh is obvious. Just try going on a diet. As soon as you tell yourself, no, I will not have sweets, I will not have desserts. As soon as you say no like that, what is the thing your body wants? What is the thing you are craving all day long? Now you want it more than ever before.

You go on the mission trips sometimes and you come back, and I'll tell you what, it will change your perspective. Because we are so in our normal average everyday life we're drawn to what we don't have. We focus on what we don't have rather than appreciating what we do have. Which God, is a theme all the way through the Bible about the heart that gives thanks. The heart that has gratitude in it. But we're drawn to what we don't have, we begin to complain because of what we don't have. You go on mission’s trips. I remember the first time I went to the Congo, DRC, in Kinshasa, capital city. There are 8 million people. I was just shocked because the city seems like it was the dump. There was no city dump because people just throw; lining the streets there's garbage, refuse and pollution.

We never saw the sun. It was just an orange glow in the sky. Talk about roads. When you go so called roads, and you go there and you come here, and it's like, "Oh, our roads are like so smooth." You won't complain anymore about, "Oh, there are potholes in the roads. They don't take you-- They are so smooth."

Then you want to talk about driving. You will appreciate drivers in America so much more when you go to Africa because they drive with one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand on the horn. Whoever can get their nose in first that's the one-- Every man for himself. That's the way it is. Then you come back to America, it's like you will not complain about people cutting you off ever again. Like, "Oh, this is so blessed." It changes your perspective.

See our problem is, in our flesh we focus on what we don't have, and here's the thing. When you focus on what you don't have, then even the things that you do have lose their meaning. When you focus on what you don't have even the things that you do have lose their meaning.

C.He draws you to justify sin

Such is the nature of spiritual battle. And that which is within us. Because then notice this thing next in the story. He drives you to justify sin. Giving us insight now into the nature of this battle, he drives you to justify it, rationalize it.

Look at verse 6. Now after this straightforward contradicting what God said, then it says, in verse 6, "Well then when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and it's a delight to the eyes and the tree is desirable to make one wise." In other words, those are good things. Are those good things? Like what could be wrong. Maybe it's good for food. It's a delight of the eye. You think God would have made it ugly. Why did He have to make it look so nice, so good, and it's desirable to make one wise, nothing wrong with that.

What could possibly be wrong with eating from this tree? Well, what's wrong with it is that eating from it is simple disobedience to God. The one simple thing was that God said not to do it. Would you notice now there's justification? It's like touches on a deeper and deeper desire. Good for food. Then delight to the eyes or desirable to make one wise. See once the heart locks onto something it will make a convert of the mind. Do you know what I mean by this?

As soon as the heart locks on it will make a convert of the mind. In other words, people will say the stupidest things to justify to talk themselves into. In other words, sin affects judgement. It distorts the mind. Sin will make a fool of one who would normally or otherwise be wise.

In Romans 1:18-22, "Of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness it says, professing to be wise, they become fools."

II. Stand Firm Therefore

We gain this insight in the spiritual battle for a reason because God is showing us these things that we might be spiritually victorious to take our stand. Stand firm, therefore, is what God wants us to do in responses to spiritual battle.

This dialogue between Eve and the shining one is a lesson in deception. To understand how Eve is deceived is to understand how to be victorious. Because of the insight so that we can gain.

Notice Ephesians 6. Ephesians 6 is one of those wondrous chapters on spiritual warfare that gives us insight and then victory. He says, "Finally be strong in the Lord, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." And having done everything to stand firm then take your stand. Be victorious. Stand firm, therefore. Like 1 Peter 5: 8-9. Be of sober spirit. In your spirit be awake, be alert, be sober. Be on the alert your adversary, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour but resist him. How? By being firm in your faith.

A.Stand on the rock of God’s Word

Therefore, here is the insight we need to understand. Stand on the rock. Take your stand on the rock of God's word. At first the serpent is drawing Eve to doubt what God said. He begins by asking this question that's far off the mark of what God said. Suggesting that God was being overly strict. Indeed, has God said that you shall not eat from any tree of the garden? He moves from that and finally he culminates it in a straight out contradiction of what God said. That is not true. Yes, what God said to you, that is not true. That's not going to happen, surely you won't die. Then he even questions God's motives. I'll tell you why he's saying that. God knows that in the day that you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God. I'll tell you what God gets really upset about people trying to be like Him.

I know you should ask me, I know this. He's driving a wedge, he's drawing her away from trusting what God said. If the enemy can get you to doubt God's word, he's won a victory. If the enemy can get you to doubt, it's the first step in separating you from God. It's like you see it in the world. Someone comes into faith and cries, and then they share it with their old friends that are in the world, and they respond, "What, you actually believe the Bible?" They're doing the same thing, they're trying to drive a wedge. You send a young college student off to college only to face atheist professors challenging them in their faith. Doing the same thing that Satan did at the garden, separating people from God. You believe that stuff? The answer is to stand on the rock of God's Word and not be moved.

Remember when Jesus was tempted in the desert. This is how He begins His ministry, He is fasting 40 days, 40 nights in the desert, and at the end of this He is physically hungry. It tells us that the tempter came and said to Him, "Since you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread." Would you notice how Jesus responds because how Jesus response is an insight for our own spiritual victory. Matthew 4:4, "He answered and He said, 'It is written'." With each of these that the tempter brought Jesus response the same way beginning with "It is written."

Take your stand on the Word of God. That rock that does not move. Stand on that rock. He then added these words, "Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that precedes from the mouth of God." Man will not live on bread alone. No. We are physical people but our life, real life does not come from bread alone but comes from every word that precedes from the mouth of God. Take your stand on the Word of God.

Ephesians 6 again, here is this chapter that tells us that victory is spiritual warfare. Paul adds, "Therefore take up the full armor of God so that you will be able to resist in the evil day. Then in addition to all, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God."

A.Don’t add or subtract from God’s Word

The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. Take your stand on the word. Then we have this insight, don't add to and don't subtract from God's Word because that's what we see in the story.

Don't add to, don't subtract from God's Word. See Eve answers close to what God said but she leaves out, and she adds to it. She says, "From the fruit of the trees we may eat." You left out some stuffs there. She left out, "From any tree, we may eat freely." She left out the abundance and lavishness of God's allowance. See how God had, of course then He adds the exception but the lavishness you can eat from any tree and you can do it freely, lavishly, generously. She missed that part.

Notice this then she says, "But from the fruit of the tree in the middle of garden, God told us not to eat from it or even touch it, lest we die." Now she's adding to what God said. He never said not to touch it. Now she's making extra restrictions that go beyond what God said and this I suggest to you is the beginning of religion. When you start adding to God's words, traditions and restrictions that God didn't say. You are adding burdens. God never intended for His word to be burdensome.

God intended for His word to be an edification to the soul, to bless with lavish grace. Not to be a burden. See Matthew 23:4, Jesus spoke to it in confronting the Jewish leaders of the day and He said, "Listen the Scribes and the Pharisees, these Jewish leaders. They tie up heavy and they lay them on men's shoulders but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger." In contrast, Jesus said, "Come unto me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and you will find rest for your soul."

Take my burden, my burden is easy, my yoke is light, and you'll find rest for your soul. In contrast, the Mishnah is a Jewish book that interprets the Law. Now, this rabbinical interpreting is really important because it carries the weight and the authority of the law. So, the Mishnah says that there are like 39 different ways that you can break the Sabbath and there are 39 ways to break each one of those 39 ways.

In other words, there are 1,521 ways to break the Sabbath. That's in the Mishnah. Today, there are more. Because the rabbis make these interpretations that carry the weight of law and they become burdensome. For example, I mentioned this on Wednesday, we were recently in-- Matthew and I were in Israel, and were in Jerusalem this day, and our guide I mentioned was a major in the Israeli Defense Forces, is also an Orthodox Jew. On Sabbath, he says, "Tomorrow is Sabbath. I want you to know we will not have the bus. We will not be taking the bus."

Leave it to me, then to challenge that, I say, "Excuse me, what verse are you using that will justify why we are not taking the bus?" Then at first, it comes to him that hard and I said, "No, can you give us like the exact verse?" Then he says, "Well you know you're not to light a fire and see each of those spark plugs, if you turn the key on the bus, each of those spark plugs are going to light a spark and that's lighting a fire." I say, "How do we get from here to there?"

He said, "Well that's the rabbis. The rabbis interpret the law in this way. I say, "Then why don't we take an electric car? "No, no, because the rabbis have determined that rather than distinguishing one from the other, all cars and all buses are out." I said, "Really so we're going to walk?" "Yes, we're going to walk all day long." "On the Sabbath?" "On the Sabbath" I say, "I think I remember reading that you're only allowed to walk so far." I'm thinking, "Oh, I'm hoping so." We're only allowed to walk so far on the Sabbath. He said, "No, no, that's outside the city."

"What, I don't remember that. That's not in there." He said, "Oh no the rabbis have decided." Oh, these rabbis. "So, we can't walk outside the city but inside the city, we can walk as much as we want." "Yes, exactly and that's what we're going to be doing. We're not leaving the city." Up and down eight miles the next day, but then we come to the hotel and the hotel has Sabbath elevators. Sabbath elevators where it opens and closes at every floor so that you don't have to push the button.

We can't push the button, but we can walk eight miles? Yes. We are adding burdens and restrictions that God didn't say. The problem is that it's never the heart of God to be burdensome, but God wants us to have the lavishness of His Grace. The problem of adding to and of taking away. When you take away from God's word you're losing out on the lavishness of God's grace and you're losing the power of the truth.

In Mark 4, Jesus is giving a parable, and He's making the analogy between a farmer that is sowing seed of wheat or barley or whatever and to the sowing of God's word and it lands on different types of soils which represent different types of hearts. He says, Mark 4, "The sower sows the word." Then he describes these different hearts. He said, "Now these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown and when they hear immediately Satan comes and takes away the words that was sown in them.

Satan very much would like to snatch the word because the word is power. The Word of God is power. He very much wants to snatch it but then He adds this, He said, "Others are those who've heard the word but then the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, the desires for other things they enter and then choke out

the word, and it becomes unfruitful. If you can get the word to be choked out, then you lose out on the fruitfulness and the blessing and the lavishness and the power. God's word is power in our lives.

C.What God does is good

Here's what we understand from reading these stories, this chapter. What God does is good. Notice that Satan is directly contradicting what God said so as to make it appear that what God is doing is not good, which is an amazing thing here.

Let's understand what's happening. The liar is calling the giver of truth a liar. What's interesting is that he's using a half-truth to do it. That's the nature of deception. In other words, they didn't physically die on the day that they ate of the tree, although their death warrants were written. They did die spiritually, and it caused separation from God. That's man's problem right there; separation.

People are physically alive, but they're very much dead spiritually. That's why Jesus said you must be born again. That which is born of flesh is flesh. People are physically alive, but what's dead is the spiritual part. The spiritual part is what brings a person into fellowship with the living God. You may be physically alive, but your soul was made by God. God made your soul to be spiritually alive.

God never intended people to walk around dead. So many people are; they're dead inside. Their hearts are empty. There's this longing, there's this searching. They're just empty inside, they're dead inside. Jesus said, "I have come that you would have life and have it abundantly to the full. For the joy of the Lord is our strength." God made our soul. God made our soul to be alive and your soul is alive when you have a living relationship to the living God through his Son, Jesus Christ.

Like Romans chapter 6. Romans chapter 6 draws this comparison, "Therefore what benefit did you gain from the things which you are now ashamed?". Now that is a powerful verse right there. I remember when I first read that verse it hit me so hard. Like, "That's good. That's accurate. You're right Lord. What benefit did I gain from the things of which I am now ashamed?". For the outcome of those things is death.

Now, having been freed from sin and a slave to God, you derive your benefit, the good. What God does is good. It results in sanctification. The outcome is eternal life. The wages of sin is death. The free gift, the lavish gift, the gracious gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. They joy of the Lord is our strength. Let your soul be alive. Psalm 16:11. Oh Lord, you will make known to me the path of life.

For in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand there are pleasures for ever more. You know that God wants you to be alive. What He does is good. What He does is good. He is the one who is pursuing relationship to those that are dead. They may be physically alive, but they're dead spiritually. God knows that and He wants to answer that by pursuing each one of those who are spiritually dead that they might come into a relationship to the living God and they'd be alive. God wants you to be alive. He's the answer. He's the hope. He's the hope that the soul is searching for. Just open your heart.

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