Sermon Title: Perils in Paradise pt3                                                                                       Sermon Text: Gen. 3:14-15

Intro: There are two aspects of the Christmas season that I really like. First...I like presents. And what I like about them is getting something unexpected. Even though I give a list to my wife, kids and parents, I still am surprised. Even though I buy things for myself and tell Kathy to wrap them up and give them to me for Christmas, I forget and am surprised Christmas morning.  And then there are those things that I truly didn't expect to receive and cherish even more.

     I like presents because of the  unexpected surprise of  receiving them on Christmas morning. But even more than that, I like what God has done which is the reason we truly celebrate Christmas in the first place. He did the unexpected.

     To a world of sin and darkness, God gave us the gift of grace in sending  His Son, Jesus Christ to defeat sin and give to us the light of God's love. Even though there were prophesies of his coming, the people of his day never expected it.

     The first of those prophesies of Christ's coming was given in a most unexpected place. The first showering of God's grace, God's blessing comes at the place no one would expect to find it. Because it is found in judgment.

     Adam and Eve had believed Satan rather than God and sinned in the Garden of Eden. God came to judge their sin. This is the setting for the first prophesy of Christ coming..the first showering of God's grace...the unexpected wonder of Christmas in its very first form.

     It is here in our text in the next two weeks that we will see blessing in the guise of cursing. Hope in the company of despair. Victory in the throws of defeat. Life in the promise of death.

     Even in declaring judgment on our first parents and on we who are their offspring, God softened the blow, limited the effects of sin and preserved much that makes like bearable, even enjoyable. He made human existence hard but still hopeful. He offered hope to sinful people who deserve hell.

     Scattered throughout this description of enmity, struggle, pain and death are several glimmers of hope...blessings in disguise that we must be careful not to miss. Surprisingly, Gen. 3:14-24, although God's judgment upon sinfulness, is really the first steps forward toward the covenant of grace. As God judges he also works to restore. That is the wonderful grace of God in action.

Trans: The sermon this morning is titled 'Peril's in Paradise' pt 3 but could be subtitled 'Blessings in Disguise' as that will be our job for the next two weeks. We will look beneath the curse and judgment of God to see how they are in fact, a blessing to wayward sinners leading them to a restored relationship with our gracious God.

Read: Gen. 3:14

Cursing
1. Serpent: Crawl on Belly/Eat Dust
     Some scholars believe this implies that the serpent originally walked upright. While others see this as figurative language since snakes don't really eat dust. I agree. The curse on the serpent, remember it is Satan in disguise, is that of humiliation and defeat. And that is where the blessing to humanity comes in.

Blessing

1. Serpent: Utter humiliation and defeat
     Anyone like TV westerns? Then you have heard this on numerous occasions. 'All right, you snake, throw out your gun and crawl out on your belly, hands first! ' or 'Just give me a chance boss and I'll make em eat dust!' This is a Sunday School lesson in action.

     Satan, the once great arch angel had been kicked out of heaven and now forced to crawl about the earth, defeated, humiliated for all eternity. That is his fate. And our blessing. We know the limit and future of our enemy.  And that should bring hope to the follower of Jesus Christ.

Read: Gen. 3:15a

Cursing
2. Satan: Enmity with woman and her seed
     Enmity means war. Satan and his seed are cursed by God with being at constant war with the woman and her seed.

    The seed of the serpent are those who reject Jesus Christ and His authority over them, who confidently depend on their own good works to get them to heaven.

     The seed of the woman is Christ and all those who by faith have entered into God's kingdom and service, who have recognized and accepted Christ's rule and authority over their lives.

     The curse is that Satan and all those who reject Christ as Lord and Savior are ultimately at war with Christ and all those who by faith trust in Christ as their Savior. The first evidence of this in Scripture is found in Ch. 4 in Cain's hatred and killing of Abel his brother. Different seeds as we will see in a couple weeks.

Blessing

2. a) Godly hatred of sin
     Can you see the blessing in disguise? God has placed in the hearts of those who are His children by  faith in Christ, a godly hatred of sin and evil. This is grace and a blessing in disguise!

 Let me give you an illustration.

ILL: There's a story of a farmer who was notoriously abusive. He was abusive of his workers, he was abusive of his animals and he used incredibly abusive language even to his children and to his wife. He was a notoriously hard man. He was cynical about religion.
     But during a revival in his town he was saved, and it was a dramatic conversion. And for many weeks his life was totally changed. He was a pleasure to live with and his wife could hardly take in the dramatic change that occurred in his life. No longer the abusive language and behavior. No longer the mistreatment of the domestic animals and of the folks who helped them at the farm. A complete change apparently.
     And then after a few weeks had gone by, in a moment of frustration, he broke into a rage, and suddenly he was back into his old form of behavior for a moment. He was speaking the same wicked words that he used to speak. He was speaking harshly to the servants. He was abusive of the animals, and then in the midst of this rage he broke down in sobs.
     He ran to the house. He threw himself on the kitchen table. His wife was at the sink and at the stove preparing for the evening meal, and he sobbed uncontrollably. And finally when he collected himself, his wife said to him, "What is the matter?" And he began to explain that he was no different than he had ever been before. That he had spoken with the same kind of language and he had acted with the same kind of behavior.
    And his wife said to him, "Oh no, my dear, there is all the difference in the world." Because you would do this before with not the slightest tinge of remorse or repentance, and now your heart is broken over the behavior.'

     You see it. There was a new principle of life in him. As a believer he was at enmity with the sin in his life. He could no longer be satisfied with that kind of sinful behavior. In fact his sinful behavior repulsed him to the point of tears.

     This kind of enmity is called  spiritual warfare. This is the spiritual battle of Romans 7. It is our flesh, sin, warring against the Spirit in our lives. It is the spiritual battle that every Christian fights.

    Perhaps even now you are fighting a spiritual battle with sin. You know what God wants, what He expects. You are learning what it means to walk in His Spirit. Yet, you still, at times, desire to walk in the flesh..to rebel, to sin.  You fight but sometimes you lose the battle and sin.

     The question is to each one here this morning , When you sin, are you  so overwhelmed with grief and sorrow that you confess and seek God's forgiveness. Do you feel like the man in the illustration? As a Believer in Jesus Christ, you should.

     The blessing in this curse is that God has planted a spiritual enmity in our hearts so that we no longer love or even desire to tolerate sin in our lives. We long to see sin destroyed in our lives and we realize that is only possible by depending upon the continued grace of God.

         If you are without guilt for sin, without sorrow for the offenses made against God and  others.

         If the things of God are not as exciting to you as the things of man.

         If you desire autonomy instead of dependence upon the Word and Spirit of God.

     Then you better examine yourself because there is a problem. If there is no enmity with sin, then you may be in the wrong seed packet. You may be raising Cain in more ways than one.

     b) War declared between Jesus Christ and Satan
     Not only is this war between the seed of the serpent and the seed of woman, but war is declared between a specific seed of the serpent (Satan) and a specific seed of the woman (Jesus Christ).

     This blessing in disguise assures the believer that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is on their side. That He is fighting each and every battle with sin right alongside of them. To know we don't fight alone is great comfort to the Believer.

Read: Gen. 3:15b

Cursing

3. Satan: Bruise the heel of the specific seed of the woman

     This curse refers to the specific seed of the serpent (Satan) and the woman (Christ).  And Satan understood very keenly what this war meant .

     -Satan tried to win the war when he incited Cain to kill his brother..he lost, Seth came along and from him a godly people came.

     -Satan tried to win the war when he incited Pharaoh to kill all the baby boys of the captive Israelites...he lost, Moses led the people of God to freedom.

     -Satan tried to win the war when we incited Hamaan to have the king exterminate all the Israelites in his kingdom. ..but he lost, Esther in faith, spoke to the king and saved her people.

     -Satan tried to win the war when he incited King Herod to kill the messiah along with all other boys 2 and under in  Bethlehem...but he lost, Jesus, Mary and Joseph traveled to Egypt.

     -Satan tried to win the war when he incited the unbelieving Jews to crucify their only hope of salvation.

 He bruised Jesus' heel in the death and burial of Jesus the Messiah. All this happened and Satan was rather proud of himself and his work.

     BUT, he lost. It was Satan's bruising of the heel, the death of Christ that brought about the blessing of the triumph in Christ's resurrection from the dead.

Blessing

3. The First Gospel : Jesus Christ will crush Satan
     This last enmity between Satan and Jesus assures us, not only of hope but of victory. Jesus, according to this text will, and has in already in history crushed Satan. Here is the very first prophesy in Scripture which looks down the centuries to the day when Jesus would be born of Mary in Bethlehem.

    It is by God's grace that He told Adam and Eve that
        -Even though Satan had deceived them,
        -Even though he had led them to sin,
        -Even though he and they would be punished  and judged for sin,

     One would come who would utterly humiliate and defeat and crush the tempter, Satan. A Redeemer would come. Jesus!

     We celebrate that promise of the seed of the  woman that would come in the fulfillment in Jesus Christ at Christmas. That is why this is to be a joyous time.

     We celebrate that promise of the seed that would come from the woman who would crush the head of Satan in its fulfillment at Easter.

     Where the bruise didn't stop the Lord as he burst from the tomb and crushed the head of  Satan with his glorious and triumphant resurrection from the dead.

    The war is over, Satan is defeated and life is promised to all the woman's seed who by faith believe in Jesus Christ, the promised seed of Gen. 3:15.

Conclusion
 We will stop here and look at the rest of chapter 3 next week. But I want to leave you with this.

     Aren't you glad that although God always punishes sin, there is another side to him?

     Aren't you glad that in grace he is showing us great blessing in disguise.

     Aren't you glad that he, by his grace, reaches out to you?

 My challenge is...are you seeing Him,

    Are you believing in Him and are you reaching back to Him?
 
 

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Calvary Baptist Church
Oceanport, N.J.