Examining the events of The Fall and Eve’s dialogue with the serpent, Derek points out that there are three downward steps Eve took concerning the Word of God. First, she doubted God's Word. Next, she disbelieved it. And, finally, she disobeyed it. But in God’s infinite mercy, He sent Jesus to bring us back to Himself.
If we look back at the history of the last hundred years or so, toward the end of the nineteenth century, there was a movement of theologians that questioned whether the Bible was really the accurate inspired word of God or whether it was a compilation of documents and so on. And that movement spread to other countries--to Norway, to Britain, and finally to America. But the consequences of entertaining unbelief concerning the word of God are so disastrous that we each of us need to consider.
This original question was raised in Germany by German theologians. And out of Germany have come two men who have probably caused more human suffering than almost any other men in human history. The first was Karl Marx and the second was Adolph Hitler and in my opinion they were the direct product of questioning the Scripture. When we entertain the question we have opened the way for the power of Satan.
“The serpent said, ‘Has God indeed said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; [She didn’t want to acknowledge that there were any limits, you see.] but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”
You see there are three downward steps. In the English language each of them begins with the letter D in regard to the word of God—to Doubt it, to Disbelieve it, and the third step is to Disobey it. And when you get into doubt you will begin to disbelieve. And when you disbelieve, in due course, you will disobey. We cannot afford to entertain Satan’s questions about the Scriptures. It sounds very intellectual. It sounds very, what would I say, honest. We have to admit we don’t know. But it’s the way to disaster. And so, probably all of us are familiar with the tragic scene that followed.
Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and she gave to her husband and they both ate and their eyes were open. And when they got knowledge, you know the first thing they knew? They knew they were naked. That’s the first knowledge that came through eating. And they were expelled from the garden.
But God in his infinite mercy did not give up on the human race. He had a plan and He was determined to fulfill it. I want to turn to a Scripture in James chapter 4 verse 5. Now there are as many different ways of translating this verse as there are translations, but I will give you what I believe to be the right way, and it happens to come from a version called the New American Standard. And it makes sense. James 4:5,
“Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘He jealously desires the Spirit that He has caused to dwell in us?’”
God jealously desires the Spirit that He has caused to dwell in us. When He breathed Himself into God, into man, He established a love relationship that He has never been willing to cancel or revoke. In spite of all the evil that we have done, in spite of all the tragedies and disasters that sin has brought upon us, God jealously desires the Spirit that He caused to dwell in us. Some people don’t like the phrase that God is a jealous God. But to me it’s an amazing example of God’s condescension. That He’s willing to be jealous of people like you and me. That He wants our love so much that He’s jealous if we love in a way that’s contrary to that. And so in due time over the centuries, God worked out a plan to reconcile man to Himself, and the plan was Jesus.
I love the story of Zacchaeus in Luke chapter 19. This is the outworking of God’s redemptive plan. Luke 19, it says,
“Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.”
He was also hated, because the Jewish people hated those who collected taxes from them on behalf of the Romans. They were also usually dishonest. They made illegitimate gains for themselves. However, he had heard that Jesus was passing that way,
“so he wanted to see him, but he could not because of the crowd because he was of short stature. [He couldn’t see over the heads of the crowd.] So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.”
If you go on a tour in Israel the guides will probably take you to the sycamore tree in Jericho which of course is not the, but what they will point out to you which is very interesting that a sycamore tree has very smooth bark and it’s branches begin rather high up the stem. So to climb a sycamore tree is not easy. There are no little low branches and the bark is slippery, so I don’t know what Zacchaeus did. Maybe he jumped up, caught hold with his arms and pulled himself up, but it meant a lot of effort. Furthermore, he was a wealthy man and it was rather undignified to be seen climbing a tree. But he was there and he just wanted one glimpse of Jesus. That’s all he expected to get. But as Jesus passed by he would be able to look at Him above the heads of the crowd, but something happened he had never anticipated. When Jesus got to the place He stopped, he looked up and he said, “Zacchaeus hurry up and come down. I’m going to stay at your house tonight.”
I noticed that Jesus never had to be introduced to anybody. Nobody said, “That’s Zacchaeus the tax collector.” Jesus knew him immediately. And I don’t know that Zacchaeus could understand what was being said. “I want to stop at your house tonight.” So he climbed down and came with Jesus to the house and all the people were criticizing. “He’s gone to be guest with the tax collector, a man who takes unfair taxes.”
“Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord I give half of my property I give to the poor; and if I’ve taken anything from anybody by false accusation, I’ll pay them back fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house...’”
One thing I notice about salvation is it affects what you do with your money. If you claim to be saved and you never change the way that you handle your money, I doubt whether you’re saved. Because the moment that salvation came to Zacchaeus his was of handling money was totally different.
And then when they all criticized He said this, verse 10 of Luke 19,
“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
So God never gave up on that breath that He breathed into that body of clay. And ultimately He sent Jesus to bring it back to Himself. He came to seek and to save that which was lost and cut off. That was why Jesus came. He came for the descendants of Adam. His favorite title which occurs more than forty times in the New Testament, the Son of Adam. He was the Son of David, the Son of Abraham, but He called Himself the Son of Adam, the representative of the Adamic race. He came to save us. That’s how valuable we are in the sight of God.
There’s a passage in 1 Corinthians 15, which is very exciting to me. 1 Corinthians 15:45 and following.
“And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam [the first Adam and you know Adam in Hebrew is directly connected with the word for earth which is Adama. So his name indicated he was taken from the earth.] ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam [that’s Jesus] became a life-giving spirit.’”
The first man was of the earth, earthy. The second man is the Lord from heaven. So Jesus has two titles and it’s very important to get them in the right order. First of all he was the last Adam. He was the end of the whole Adamic inheritance. All the sin and rebellion and the evil was cut off at His death. When He died, it died. When He was buried, it was buried. And when He rose again, He rose as the second man: a new kind of man, a new race, the Emmanuel race, the God man race, the race in which God and man are united in one nature. And that is what we are born into through faith.