God's Plan for Redemption

Steve Viars December 6, 2008 Genesis 3:1-21

 

- all year we’ve been talking about Seeking God’s Plan

- that theme was chosen primarily because this has been a year where we had the responsibility as a church family to determine our next 5 year strategic ministry plan…

- thank the Lord that work is behind us now and if you haven’t picked up a copy of the plan document, I would encourage you to do so…

- of course we all understand the balance of that found in passages like Proverbs 16:1 - The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

- in other words, we want the concepts outlined in this document to be fulfilled only to the degree to which they match God’s perfect plan for us…

- that then raises a rather important point – do you really believe that God has a plan for you, and does He have a plan for us, and does He have a plan for our community and for our world?...

- does God do strategic planning?...

- that is a great question to ask at Christmastime…because one of the wonderful aspects of the Christmas story is that these events were clearly part of God’s plans hundreds, and in some cases thousands of years before they occurred…

- which is why we want to conclude our annual theme this year with a study this Christmas season on God’s Plan for Our Messiah

- with that in mind, I’d like to invite you to open your Bible to Genesis chapter 3 this morning…

- you probably don’t need the page number for that one, but since I’m such a creature of habit, you can find Genesis chapter 3 on page 2 of the front section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- the overall point this morning is that God started talking to man about the gift of His Son as early as the Garden of Eden…the way the Person and work of Christ fulfills OT prophecy absolutely takes your breath away…

- now I probably should clear this issue away right at the beginning…

- some who hear this today may wonder if we really believe that Adam and Eve were literal people, and that the events recorded in Genesis 3 about the Garden of Eden really happened…

- and our answer to that is, yes we do…

- we believe the Bible is the literal and authoritative Word of God…if you have questions about why we would come to that conclusion, we would be happy to sit down and talk with you about it…

- but removing a passage of Scripture like this would be a fatal error for lots of reasons…

- one of them is that Jesus often spoke about Adam and Eve as if they were literal people…we often read this passage during a wedding ceremony…

- Matthew 19:4-6 - And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

- Jesus would have been deceiving people if He would have acted like these events in the early chapters of Genesis happened when He really didn’t believe that they did…

- the apostle Paul also regularly referred to Adam and Eve as literal, historical figures…

- I mentioned this passage at Men of Faith a couple of weeks ago, but it so clearly makes the point…2 Corinthians 11:3 - But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

- and we could multiply passages like this all morning, but the point is – for those who would want to ignore the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis and then try to start believing Scripture at Genesis 12 --- that position rapidly unravels as you start studying God’s Word…

- it really is a unit…and we choose to take God at His Word…that’s one of the reasons our church is named “faith”…

- we also believe that this text is packed with an incredible amount of truth that people like you and me really need, and can really benefit from…

- so let’s dig in here, and see what we can learn about God’s plan for our Messiah.

- read Genesis 3:1-21

- as we said, this passage is packed with truth – but the crux is at the end of verse 15 – “And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

- The Lord’s first words about the coming Messiah explained God’s Plan for Our Redemption

- in the time we have remaining, let’s think about:

I. The Necessity of God’s Plan

II. The Power of God’s Plan

III. The Implications of God’s Plan.

I. The Necessity of God’s Plan.

- of course this great announcement in verse 15 was not given in a vacuum…

- the passage opens by explaining…

A. Satan’s deception.

- now, let me just give all of us a gentle warning about zoning out here…

- I realize some, perhaps many could say, PV, I’ve studied these verses before…

- that’s fine, but there’s a difference between “having studied” something, and “practically applying it in everyday life today…”…

- when I see the lackadaisical way some of us live, I wonder how much we have truly been impacted by what we’re reading here…

- if we really believe what’s being taught here – many of us would be a whole lot more careful about the way we live than we sometimes are…

- [that’s a nice way of saying to all of us – listen up…]

- now, what does this text tell us…

1. known for being crafty, cunning, shrewd, and subtle.

- in the Bible that concept is sometimes used in a positive way…

- but here the meaning has more to do with definitions like that of the English word subtlety…

- “not open or direct, crafty, sly”

- “delicately suggestive, not grossly obvious”

- “working insidiously, not easily detected”

- that’s what Satan, as he took the form of a snake, was like… [crafty, cunning, shrewd, and subtle…]

2. loves to undermine God’s goodness.

- Here’s Adam and Eve in a perfect environment with everything that you could possibly imagine…

- and somehow Satan had to try to motivate Eve to question God’s goodness…

- so he asked her a question to which he already knew the answer…

- v. 1 – Indeed, has God said “you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?”...

- Satan knew the answer to that question was “no”…

- but he put her in a position to focus on the one prohibition to show whether they obey the God who had made them…

- and Eve took the bait…

- the wisest thing for her to do would have been to recognize his subtlety and run like crazy…

- or to have gone and found her husband so she could benefit from the protection and leadership God had given…

- or, if she was going to take him on…to have pointed out Satan’s obvious error…no, God has given us great freedom and great provision because He is good and worthy of our praise and our obedience…but it was too late…

- vv. 2-3 - The woman said to the serpent, “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, or you will die.’ ”

- that was exactly what Satan wanted – the focus to be turned on what they did not have, and what God had forbidden…with one question, even in a perfect environment with beauty and provision that you and I can only imagine, he’s already positioned Eve to question whether the Creator is good…

- and then he does what Satan will always do…because…

3. is a consummate liar.

- Genesis 3:4 - The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!”

- now please compare that to what God had just told them in chapter 2, verse 16-17…

- Genesis 2:16-17 - The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

- that is what Satan always does…again, he is the consummate liar who would love nothing more than for you to deny some aspect of the word of God…

- and the pressure in this culture is immense…

- we had someone leave our church not that long ago because they did not like the fact that we taught what the Scripture says about the role of the husband and the role of the wife…

- apparently they thought such notions needed a 21st century makeover…

- “has God really said that?”…”that’s not really true…”…

- now, any application of our applications of the Scripture, or interpretations of the Scripture ought to be wide open to question, and investigation – there’s nothing wrong with that…

- but we need to very cautious about ever dismissing any aspect of Scripture simply because it rubs us the wrong way…or because it doesn’t appeal to the modern mind…

- frankly, the Bible is like sandpaper whose purpose it is to grind off the edges of our lives that are displeasing to God…

- if His Word doesn’t grind on you from time to time, I’m not sure we’re letting it do its job…

- Satan is a consummate liar – and one of his central methods is on display in this text, undermining and contradicting the revealed Word of God…

- Jesus summarized this emphasis in one of His exchanges with the Pharisees…John 8:44 - You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. 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.

- that’s one of the take aways from this study – if Satan is truly like this, then is your life characterized by the appropriate amount of vigilance about guarding your mind and heart from being deceived?...

- that’s why Paul told us to… Ephesians 6:10-13 - 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.For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

- do those kind of verses sound cheesy to you, kind of like a spoof on Saturday Night Live…or would you say – I understand that satan is a consummate liar and that he loves to undermine God and His Word and I am taking every precaution I think of in order to win this struggle…

- now, let’s get back to the text…

- Eve should have either run, gotten her husband, or recognized satan for the liar he was and smacked him upside his deceiving little head…and some Bible students believe that at this point, the snake would have had legs and could have stood upright (that’s about to change…)

- now, to organize what happens next, think about… 1 John 2:16 - For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

B. Man’s rebellion.

- the failure was threefold…

1. Its content.

a. the lust of the flesh

- v. 6 - Genesis 3:6a - When the woman saw that the tree was good for food,

b. the lust of the eyes

- v. 6b - and that it was a delight to the eyes,

c. the pride of life

- v. 6c - and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

- and of course the issue wasn’t eating fruit, it was disregarding and disobeying God’s Word…

- and what was it that satan said – you won’t surely die…and remember that death in the Bible is always separation…and what was introduced into their existence the moment they sinned?...death…

- by the way, this is one of the many reasons we do not believe in macro-evolution as it is taught by atheistic humanism…because you cannot have evolution without having death…death was introduced into the God’s world as a result of violating God’s commands…not as a part of His creative plan…

2. Its effect.

a. separation from God.

- what did they do in verse 8?...

- Genesis 3:8 - They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

- can you imagine the sheer lunacy of trying to hide from God?...

b. separation from each another.

- v. 12 – the woman you gave to me

- v. 13 – the serpent deceived me

c. physical death

- v. 21 – the Lord God made garments of skin…

- cf. the repetitive refrain of Genesis 5 – and he died…

d. the possibility of the “second death”

- v. 24 – so He drove the man out…

- Revelation 20:14 - …This is the second death, the lake of fire.

- Romans 5:12 - Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—

- James 1:14-15 - But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

- and every one of us could talk about how that passage is true, not just because it happened in a chapter in the OT, but because it happens in our lives as well…

- now, where does all of this bring us logically?...

- I sure hope somebody has a plan…let’s talk about…

II. The Power of God’s Plan.

- Genesis 3:15 is known in theological texts as the protoevangelion

- thousands of years, God told Satan, Adam, and Eve exactly what was going to happen…

A. God declared war on sin.

- 3:15a - And I will put enmity between you and the woman

- and please notice the wording of that verse carefully…

- God made it clear to satan that His Word was the truth…and His Word would come to pass…

- and then God said something that must have both intrigued and terrified satan when He spoke of…

- 3:15b - …and between your seed and her seed

- and before could figure out what her seed meant, God made this astounding prediction…

- 3:15c - He shall bruise you on the head…

- that’s why it is so fabulous to watch the wise men outsmart Herod who tried the murder the baby Jesus…you can feel the pressure on Satan’s head…

- and then you have to cheer when Jesus overcomes all of Satan’s tests in the wilderness…the pressure’s greater…

- and then you watch Christ’s power as He casts out demons…and as He reverses sin’s physical effects in the lives of people who were hurting…

- satan must have been terrified when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead…what a strange twist on “you won’t surely die…”

- and then even before his crucifixion, Jesus announces, John 12:31-32 - “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.  And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

- Satan’s head was about to be crushed…

- no wonder the church would use this as a cry of encouragement and victory…

Romans 16:20 - The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

- but there’s another part of the plan…

- sin cannot be overlooked, or ignored, or magically washed away…there has to be a price…

- one of the key messages of the Bible is -- Hebrews 9:22 - And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

- in other words, sin demands a sacrifice…

- Which is why…

B. God promised a redeemer.

- what is the last phrase in verse 15?...

- v. 15d – And you shall bruise him on the heel.

- what a curious statement…

- on the one hand, the meaning is obvious – whatever satan, you are able to do to the seed of the woman---it will not compare to what will eventually happen to you…

- also curious because perhaps now, if the snake ever had legs or was able to stand…those days are over…

- and while he has some power, it is most certainly limited in comparison what the seed of the woman can do…

- but still…in the quietness of that garden…God and God alone knew the significance of those words…

- being bruised on the heel meant dying on the cross…

- and while it could be minimized because the price was only a temporary one…it was still extremely significant for the one willing to pay it…

- our redemption has always been part of God’s plan…

- earlier we read Romans 5:12-14 – here’s the next verses in that passage…

Romans 5:15-17 - But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

- now, what are…

III. The Implications of this Plan.

A. To your eternal destiny.

- every person here has to decide how you are going to respond to what we’re studying…

- one of the clear messages of this text is that everyone has to make decisions, and there are clear consequences to what you decide…

- I’m sure there will be folks here today who believed that we’re all God’s children, and we try to live a good life, and then God takes us all to heaven…

- if this text is true – then that is clearly not God’s plan…

- we all recognize Adam and Eve’s disobedience all too well…

- and remember, sin demands a sacrifice…

- and the question you need to answer is – have you accepted the free gift of salvation that is available in and through Christ?...

- Can you say this with the apostle Paul?... Colossians 1:13-14 - For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

- wouldn’t it be a terrible thing is God had one plan for your redemption, and you chose to try to get there a different way?...

B. To your growth.

1 John 3:8 - …The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 2:13 - …I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one…

Titus 2:14 - who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

C. To your family.

D. To the way you view death.

Hebrews 2:14-15 - Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

E. To the way you plan.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video