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Sermon 4: Don’t Be Fooled

For the month of September I was the guest speaker/preacher on Sunday mornings at Cypress Bible Church. The five-week series was titled “A Faith That Can Change the World.” Here’s a brief summary of the fourth sermon:

Don’t Be Fooled

Over the course of human history, there have been three people who have walked the earth without sin. Can you name them? …

Jesus is one. Who are the other two? …

The other two are… Adam and Eve, before “The Fall.”

Now, interestingly, the Bible contains detailed accounts of the serpent (i.e. the Devil) attempting to lead these three sinless people away from a trust relationship with God: Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and Jesus in the desert. By comparing and contrasting these two accounts, we can identify the tactics the serpent uses in his attempts to direct people away from trusting God, and we can observe what Jesus did differently than Adam and Eve in order to overcome temptation.

In the garden of Eden account, the serpent made a bold proclamation about what would and would not happen to Adam and Eve if they ate the forbidden fruit. The serpent said, “You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

In this brief statement, the serpent employs three tactics to convince Eve that God is not good, that God does not have her best interest in mind, and that God is not worthy to be trusted. First, the serpent tempts Eve with self-preservation, encouraging her to take matters into her own hands, suggesting that eating the forbidden fruit would somehow make her life better. Second, the serpent tempts Eve with self-promotion, stating that the forbidden fruit would give her God-like knowledge and status. And finally, the serpent misrepresents God’s original command, twisting God’s words in a clever fashion in order to portray God as a liar.

We see the Devil using these same tactics in Luke 4, when he tempted Jesus in the desert. Realizing that Jesus was hungry because he had not eaten for 40 days, the Devil tempted Jesus with self-preservation by trying to goad him into turning a stone into bread. After failing on this first attempt, the Devil tempted Jesus with self-promotion by offering him all the kingdoms of the world for simply bowing down to him. Jesus refused the Devils offer, and so, the Devil tried one more time, misrepresenting God’s words in an attempt to trick Jesus into killing himself. But again, Jesus refuted the Devil.

In these two accounts we see the Devil using the same three tactics of self-preservation, self-promotion, and misrepresenting God’s words, but with very different results. Adam and Eve chose to trust themselves—to do what seemed right in their own eyes—and they walked down a dark and deadly path. Jesus, however, trusted his heavenly Father and did not go astray. Unlike Adam and Eve, who relied on their own understanding and intuition, Luke 4 tells us that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and led by God. If Jesus, the Son of God, relied on the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to lead him, how much more should we?

To hear more about the scheming tactics of the serpent and how we can avoid being fooled into eating forbidden fruit, click on the podcast link below.

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About Leon Hayduchok

Comments

  1. Thank you for presenting a different aspect of these temptations. I’ve often heard sermons drawing the comparison (and rightly so) between Genesis 3:6 and 1 John 2:16 (lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life), but I don’t recall anyone comparing the temptations of Jesus and Adam & Eve. (If you did cover this while we were at Cornerstone … sorry for not catching it then, but at least I see it now!) Looking forward to studying this out more fully, starting with the podcast that I just downloaded. 🙂

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