by Chip Miller
Gen. 3:14-15; Luke 2:1-8
12/24/2012 Christmas Eve services at FPC Macon, GA
INTRO  – The account of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, really begins in the opening chapters of Genesis.  In the first 2 chapters we have the creation of all there is. Creation of the earth and the plants and the animals and with man. God calls him “Adam” which means “from the ground.”  God creates a helper for Adam. His wife.  They have perfect fellowship with God and with one another. No shame. No guilt.  God had made them. They walked and talked with God. Adam was to name the animals and tend the garden of Eden.   God had given one prohibition. Not to eat of a certain tree…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.   The command had with it a threat… “for when you eat of it, you will surely die.”

But beginning in Gen. 3, something goes terribly wrong. You may not realize it, but you and I are affected by what happened here every day of our lives.

I.                   THE TRAGEDY IN THE GARDEN

Chp. 3:1 – the serpent.  Who was this serpent? The fullest answer is given in Revelation 12:9: “The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world….” So the serpent in the garden is the devil (which means slanderer), and Satan (which means accuser), and the deceiver of the whole world. Jesus calls him “the evil one” and “the ruler of this world”.  He is subtle and shrewd and he is evil and brilliant at the same time. This is seen in how shrewd he is with tempting the woman. V. 4-5.

You and I need to remember this when we are tempted. When we face spiritual warfare, we must know the tactics of our enemy.

He is subtle in his attacks.  Never a frontal attack. He tempts in subtle ways.  Always elusive and refined and cunning and calculating.  Illus.  Picture within a picture. It is subtle, but it is there.  That is why he is called the deceiver. He causes us to fall through deception. A deceiver will promise what he cannot give and then give what he did not promise.

He tempts  where you are most vulnerable.  Satan did not attack Eve in the area of her marriage. It was a marriage made in heaven. He did not tempt in the area of provisions…she had all the creature comforts she needed. He attacked in the area of pride.  Satan first led her to dissatisfaction with the honor the Lord had given her. He convinced her to question the dignity of her condition. “Did god really say, you must not eat from any tree in the garden?  God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened. Gen. 3:1,5. In effect, Satan is her, “Look at yourself. God has kept the best from you. How can you live with yourself when God has treated you this way?”

Don’t we do the same?   We daily experience the goodness of God. The blessings of God still surround us. But we often find little satisfaction in his kindnesses so we turn away from God and pursue the poison of the forbidden fruit of sin.  So Satan’s deception takes many forms.   

Third tactic, He always questions the word of God.  Are you sure that is what God said?  It will also be subtle. Doubt. 2nd guessing.  Doubts creep in and begins to take hold.   He succeeds in leading the woman and Adam into sin….

II.                TRAGEDY STRIKES (3:6)

They disobey. At that moment they died spiritually. They no longer had complete open fellowship with God. This is the FALL into sin.

V. 7 – Separation and hiding from one another. Their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked..fig leaves for coverings. Shame. Guilt. Innocence lost.

V. 8 – Separation from God. They hide from Him. They knew they had done precisely what God has told them not to do. They had eaten from the tree. And now God was coming to mete out judgment.

V. 14 – Instead, God pronounces only a token judgment. The woman would have pain in childbirth and would struggle for supremacy with her husband. The man would continue to work but now the work would be difficult and frustrating and in the end he would return to the dust from which he had come.

V. 15 – As part of God’s judgment on Satan there is a promise of his defeat…but with it is the promise of a Deliverer. This is pointing ahead to Jesus…who could come from the woman as her offspring.

III.             V. 15 – CHRISTMAS IN THE GARDEN – Hope in the midst of  Judgment

This describes a Conflict between Satan and the woman and her offspring.  Remember Satan had been an exalted angel who had rebelled against God earlier. He had not been satisfied with his position. He was unsuccessful in his rebellion. He was cast down from his high position. But now he has appeared on earth to do two thingsFirst, he wanted to draw Adam and Eve away from God by causing them to break God’s law and bring the judgment of God upon them, as it had fallen on him. Second, he wanted Adam and Eve to follow him. He wanted their allegiance.    He succeeded in his first goal – he got them to sin. But he was unsuccessful in his 2nd goal.  We see here God’s grace. Left to ourselves we would sin and follow Satan and happily go to hell. But one aspect of graceis that God does not allow that to happen. God has created conflict between ourselves and Satan. This limits the hold sin has on you and makes it possible for you to hear God’s voice and to respond to him. This is God’s mercy and grace. So even in the pronouncement of judgment there was hope.

But the chief reason for this verse is the message of hope of a deliverer to come. This is the first promise in the Bible of the coming Christ. The first announcement of the Christian gospel.  This too is a struggle and involves conflict. Deadly conflict. This conflict will result with the deliverer being wounded or struck in the heel by Satan, but then destroying Satan by crushing his head.

How did Satan strike the deliverer….Jesus?  Numerous ways.:

When Jesus was born, Satan worked in the mind of King Herod to cause him to lash out against this one who would be king. He called for the murder of all the male infants 2 years and younger. But God had warned Joseph and Mary in a dream and they escaped to Egypt.

When Jesus began his public ministry Satan struck again. He confronted Jesus in the wilderness and tried to turn him aside from the path God had marked out for him. But Jesus defeated Satan by applying the word of God.

Satan’s hatred of Jesus erupts again and again throughout his life and ministry. On one occasion Satan moves the citizens of Nazareth to try to murder Jesus by throwing him off a cliff.

When he was unsuccessful with the masses of the people Satan whipped up the hatred of the religious leaders, who plotted against Jesus, tried to catch him in some crime punishable by death, and sent soldiers to arrest him.  So Satan was the master plotter intent on the murder of the son of God. He also is not a quitter. He succeeded in penetrating the group of Jesus closes followers..his disciples. He entered the heart of Judas and moved him to betray Jesus. That leads to the events of the final day. Jesus is arrested by night, hastily tried before the Jewish high court, is taken before the Roman governor Pilate, is flogged, sentenced to die, walks to Golgotha, and finally is crucified.

From Satan’s point of view, the day of Jesus’ death must have smelled like….Victory!Success.  He had hit a home run – he had murdered God’s own son. What a triumph!! What a victory!!  But in that moment of apparent victory we have the words of Gen. 3:15…the prophecy which said the coming one would be bruised by Satan on the heel but would at the same time crush his head.

Satan had succeeded in bruising the deliverer, but it was not a defeat. ON the third day, Jesus rose from the tomb triumphant!!  As for Satan? His triumph was short-lived. Temporary. And now the Son of God would crush his head.

Back to the garden. What Satan realized is that God is just and must punish sin. He thought if he could get our first parents to sin, then the wrath of god would fall on them. What Satan did not know is how God could be both just in punishing sin and merciful in saving sinners. He failed to understand how much God loved Adam and Eve, how Jesus had been sent by God to bear sin’s punishment and that his own power would be broken in the process.

So what about Adam and Eve? Did they believe in this deliverer to come?  There is good reason here to believe they did. Some say so because of what happens in v. 20 when Adam calls his wife Eve. God did not name Eve, Adam did. Before this she is called the woman. She was called Eve by Adam. Why? The answer is in the meaning of her name: “Life” or “life-giver.” Adam must have been thinking of how God has promised a deliverer to come, a deliverer who is going to be bruised for us. He will suffer death in our place and he will destroy the works of the devil. That deliverer is going to be born of you, Eve, for God called him your offspring.  So he names her “life-giver.” He believed in the deliverer to come. When they had their first child, Eve calls him Cain or “Here he is!” Apparently she was thinking this was the deliverer to come.Even though he was not, she had the right idea. She was looking ahead to the one who would be born who would be their deliverer. She is staking her life and her future on the truth and trustworthiness of God’s promise.

CONCLUSION – But we know the rest of the story. We know that the promise of God was not fulfilled to Eve, but centuries later in Luke 2. And this Jesus who is born is the deliverer whose heal would be bruised. Who himself becomes the deliverer who will crush the head of the serpent. Who himself will save you if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead.

John 8:12 – “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”