Sunday, June 14, 2015

Victory Series Bible Study Week 6: The Challenge in the Garden

Greetings Gents!

This week begins a new phase in our Men's Bible study. We now move away from discussing nature of God and the original intent for which he created Man. We now discuss the origin of man's fall from grace and the challenge of the adversary in our lives. The verse we base this week's study on Genesis 3: 1-24:

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life."

In the Bible, if God can be considered the protagonist or hero of the story, then Satan is unquestionably the antagonist or villain. While not directly identified in Genesis, the serpent who tempted Adam and Eve has historically been identified as Satan by church leaders and scholars. The New Testament refers to Satan as "the tempter" and "the father of lies" (Matthew 4:3 and John 8:44). The lie that Satan used to ultimately deceive and doom Adam and Eve was convincing Eve that, by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, that Adam and Eve would become as gods in their own right. They thus would not need God.

As author Neil T. Anderson points out, Satan, in a distorted way, was accurate in his assertion that eating the forbidden fruit would cause Adam and Eve to be as gods: "To have knowledge of good and evil means to be the one who determines what is good and evil or what is true and untrue." By eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve effectively rejected God's authority and chose to believe that they now held his power and were now acting like gods. The result of this was spiritual death (a broken relationship with God) for Adam and Eve and all their descendants.

The point to be taken from this story is that Satan's primary goal is to convince humanity that they can live independently of God. However, as has been discussed before, living independently of God is in direct violation of his plan for us and results in spiritual death and all that accompanies this condition. What we must remember is that we as men cannot truly be men by attempting to live independent of God. By doing this we cut ourselves off from the source of our life and destroy the foundation upon which we are built.

Fortunately for us, God did not allow Satan to have a complete victory after his successful temptation of Adam and Eve. He instead laid the groundwork for man's eventual redemption through Jesus Christ. This is God's greatest gift to us. While one act can condemn us in life, one act can also redeem.

"But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." Romans 5: 15

Questions we should consider over the course of the week:
-Why do you think Satan could successfully tempt Eve by telling her she could be like God? How does he continue to do this to people today?
-What are the immediate and long term consequences of Adam and Eve's rebellion? How does it affect us today?
- Considering what humanity lost during the fall from grace, what would Jesus have to do in order to restore it?
- Since the devil is still roaring around like a hungry lion, what can you do to prevent yourself from being deceived?


I hope everyone has a fantastic week. Stay strong, gents!

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