Today Derek looks at Satan’s motivational speech to Eve. He asserted that she could do and be whatever she wanted and not have to depend on God. She fell for it and Adam joined in causing all mankind to partake of this fallen nature. Our answer to this problem is to reverse it by surrendering our all to God.
Satan used a kind of motivation to persuade Eve. His motivation was, first of all, to cause her to distrust God’s goodness and then the suggestion that she and Adam could be like God. And the final clincher was that they could be like God without depending on God.
That’s the emphasis that I want to bring you this morning. The problem was not that they wanted to be like God, that’s not a bad motive. But, they wanted to be like God without depending on God.
But Satan did what he always does, he began to discredit the character of God. He suggested God as a tyrant. “He’s put you in this beautiful garden. True, it’s a lovely garden and everything you have is needed and you’re doing wonderfully. But... think what it would be like if you were free, if you could just do whatever you want. If you could find your own answers, you didn’t have to depend on God. See, God is treating you like a second class citizen. He’s not treating you the way you deserve. You deserve something more than that.”
And so she responded. She was moved by the motivation to be like God but without depending on God. The root error of Adam and Eve was the desire to be good without depending on God. Notice their motivation was not bad, it was very good to be like God—but, without depending on God. And they entered into a relationship of independence of God. They are our first parents.
When the Bible talks about the old man it never talks about the old German man or the old Russian man or the old Jewish man or the old Gentile man because it goes back beyond all that to our first parents, the old man, the old Adam. Adam never had any children until he was a rebel. And every descendant of Adam from that day to this has been born with rebellion inside. The essence of the rebellion is the desire to be independent of God.
I want to suggest to you that that’s the root of all your problems.
In the course of ministry and counseling I’ve met people who’ve traveled halfway around the world to get away from some problem, or maybe their wife, or their children, or something else. I tell them you can’t do that because you take your basic problem with you wherever you go. Your basic problem is inside you. You can’t run away from it. You can travel right around the world but you take it with you.
This basic problem which the Bible calls the flesh or the carnal nature or the old man, the old Adam, is the desire to be independent of God. Some of you, I think, have probably never really been confronted with this issue. I pray that the Holy Spirit will enable me to do it.
You see, there are many different ways of being independent of God and one of the commonest ways is religion. Most religious people use their religion to make them independent of God. I think that’s totally true of Judaism today. It does lip service to the Law of Moses but in actual fact it uses the Law as a basis of not depending on God. The same is true of multitudes of Christians. Christians who’ve got a very legalistic religion, they have to keep so many different rules. Actually, they are not depending on God, they’re depending on their rules. Their heart is alienated from God. And, the more religious they become the worse their problem. So don’t imagine that religion is necessarily a solution. Actually, I think most of the major problems in the world have been caused by religion.
So, what is the solution? Before I was a preacher I was a logician. Sometimes it still shows. One thing I like about the Bible is it’s the most logical book I’ve ever encountered in my life. You do not have to feel intellectually inferior for believing the Bible. The most logical treatise that I’ve ever encountered is the epistle to the Romans. People think it’s illogical because they don’t start with the basic presupposition or fundamental facts.
See, logic is like a computer. It’s no more accurate than the things you feed into it. If you feed error into a computer you’ll get very computed error coming out of it! It’s very accurate but it’s wrong. People say the Bible isn’t logical because they don’t start from the Bible basics. What we’re dealing with this morning are the basics of the Bible, the nature of man, the root of his problems. When people start with the supposition that man is basically good, left to himself he’ll do all right, that’s contrary to the Bible, it’s a lie and any computed information that comes out of it is deception.
So what is the solution? The solution is reverse the process of the fall. The fall started when Eve and then Adam distrusted God’s goodness, tried to be independent of God and the third thing which I didn’t point out, they trusted their senses more than the Word of God. If you look in verse 6 of Genesis 3, it says:
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food...”
What happened? She discarded her faith in the invisible Word of God and trusted her senses. That’s when she actually fell, when she saw that the tree was good.
So, the root problem was mistrusting the goodness of God, desiring to be independent of God and relying on the senses rather than on the Word of God.
The answer to the problem is just reverse the process. That’s all we have to do. We have to believe in God’s goodness. I’m amazed at the number of people I encounter who call themselves Christians but don’t trust God. They really don’t believe that God will do them good. If I surrender to God He’s going to ask something of me. Maybe He’ll send me as a missionary.
And I would say probably at least twenty percent of the people here this morning, you don’t really trust God. You’re afraid that if you really surrender to God He’ll do something, He’ll do a trick on you, He’ll ask something of you wouldn’t want to do.
So you see, your root problem is still the same as it was with Eve. Mistrust of the goodness of God. There’s no way back until you’re willing to trust God. That’s the only real solution. You have to trust God without knowing what He’s going to ask of you.
Lots of people say, “I’ll trust God if He does this or that.” That’s not trust. Trust is when you don’t know what He’ll do.
I have trusted God time and time again for more than fifty years. I want to tell you He does better for you than you’ll do for yourself. But because He did that for me, you’ve still got to believe for yourself.
So, you have to trust the goodness of God. God has demonstrated His love, as Paul says, in that He gave Christ to die for our sins. You need no other proof of God’s love than that fact.
Second, you have to lay down your independence. It’s a sin to desire to be independent of God. Did you know that? If you could only see it in the light of full truth it’s both ridiculous and terribly sinful to desire to be independent of God. Here’s the Almighty God, the Creator of the universe, the Lord of millions of angels, the One who controls the stars and the sea and the seasons and runs the universe. And here you are, a little ant somewhere on the floor. You say, “I want to be independent.” It’s ridiculous. If you could only see it, it’s absolutely absurd.