Avoiding a Lukewarm Life part 2 – The Throne of God

In part 1 we showed how God said to the church of Laodicea that they are neither hot nor cold, they are lukewarm, and as a result he would vomit them out of his mouth. We discussed how God is disgusted by our lives when we choose the garbage of earth over Him. Now let us take time to focus on Heaven, and why it is so much better to follow God.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. – Revelation 3:19-21

God gives us these harsh words not to tear us down, but so we would be convicted and repent. And if we overcome, we will get to sit on the throne of God with God.

The Throne of God

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne – Revelation 4:2

John gets a glimpse of the throne of God and of God who sits on the throne. I cannot imagine how scared he must have been at the sheer awesome display of the throne room of God! I know Iwould freak out by it. Form a picture in our mind of what this scene must have looked like as we follow the apostle John.

And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. – Revelation 4:3-4

Jasper and sardius are both red gems. John sees a being, God, sitting on the throne and the only way he can describe him is to say he is like gems we have on earth, surrounded by an emerald rainbow. Around the throne there are 24 thrones where the elders sit, clothed in white robes and crowns of gold on their heads.

And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. – Revelation 4:5-6

While these twenty four elders are seated around the throne there is lightning and thunder flashing from the God’s throne. In front of the throne are seven lamps which are likely huge bonfires. These fires are not there for light, since if you are in the presence of God you do not need any light. And in front of this there is a sea, or an ocean, of glass like crystal.

And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “ Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”
– Revelation 4:6-8

Around the throne there are four creatures that are full of eyes, each with six wings, shouting day and night “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God almight!” This very instant these creatures are before the throne of Heaven shouting this. Creatures that if we would see them we would freak out! Imagine what would happen if one of these appeared right above you right now? But they are consumed with the presence of God because that is how Awesome God is!

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “ You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” – Revelation 4:9-11

After the four beasts shout this the twenty four elders are so overwhelmed that they just bow to God, casting their crowns of gold to God singing their own song of praise. Do you think these elders are regretting being here? Are they grumbling feeling forced to do this? No, being in the presence of God has a way of making you not think about yourself because of the awesomeness of God.  And if you do think about yourself the only thought that occurs to you is how unclean you are!

When Daniel had a vision of the Lord he instantly fell weak and was speechless. When Jesus touched him telling him to speak is the only time he got the nerve up to speak, and what did he say?

My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength.  For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me. – Daniel 10:16-17

Isaiah had a very similar experience, when he saw a vision of the Lord he became aware of how unrighteous he was before a Holy and perfect God.

Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts. – Isaiah 6:5

So you are standing here before the throne of God, feeling exactly how little and wretched you are compared to God and there are these four creatures with wings singing praises to God, and then the twenty four elders bow to God singing their own song, all while flashes like lightning and sounds like thunder are pouring out of the throne of God. You have these seven massive lamp stands and all of this has an ocean of glass and crystal.  Is that an amazing vision or what?

You are not thinking big enough!

I guarantee that no matter what image you have in your mind right now, it is no where even close to as amazing as the real thing! God is that awesome, heaven is that awesome, and we get to be there. Not only be there, but be seated on the throne with God!

Is that a humbling thought or what? It is not our greatness that brings us that glory, but what Christ did. All of this, is available for those who overcome.

And to think, that you would rather focus on … on what? On tv? on a car? on a bigger house? On green pieces of paper that the government demands to take from you and you will spend your life working to get more of? Is it really worth it?

Is it any wonder why God wants to vomit you out of his mouth?

Or to vomit me out of his mouth?

The Apostle Paul was once stoned to death and dragged outside the city.  When the other apostles found him they all got up and Paul led the charge back into the city that just killed him (or nearly killed him)!  (Acts 14:19)  Why would Paul go back into a city where the people just executed him?  Because Paul knew that there is something worth living for besides this worthless life! It is possible that Paul had a vision of heaven (2 Corinthians 12) which would have fueled this further.  After you have seen the glory of God how can we focus on the things of this earth?

How would our lives be different if we had such a vision of heaven? How would our lives be different if we just believed what the Bible said about heaven so we did not need our own vision?

If I only (fill in blank) God would approve of me more, right?

There’s one concern that ought to outweigh all others – and that is this: To be able to answer the question, “How can I be right with God?”

How can a person know that they stand in God’s favor and not under His judgment?

How can they be confident that when this life is over, they’re accepted and not condemned before the Heavenly Judge?

What is righteousness? It simply means to BE in the right; being in the place where God approves us.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, righteousness was conditioned on obedience to the Law. For ancient Israel, being right with God was about what a person did or didn’t do. It was based in their works, how well they performed in light of the commands and statutes of God. The blood of the sacrifice provided a covering to hide their guilt from God. As soon as they sinned, they were no longer right until they brought another sacrifice and once more covered over their guilt.

The only time they could be confident they were okay with God was when the smoke of their sacrifice ascended to heaven. But how long would it be before they sinned once more & another sacrifice would be needed?

While Israel’s righteousness was based on their performance of and obedience to the law, ours is based, not in our performance, but in Christ’s.

The only way a person can be right with God is to obey Him. For Israel, that obedience was to the Law; our obedience is to believe in Christ – who lived a life of perfect righteousness before God.

Being right with God is all about works – the only issue is whose works we stand in – ours or Christ’s! Either we come to God in ourselves, bringing our own merit and effort, or we come to God in Christ, standing in His merit.

The prophet Isaiah tells us what a righteousness based on our works is like. In Isaiah 64:6 we read, “We are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.”

The Apostle Paul was someone who went through a radical transformation when he realized that being right with God was not about what he did but by believing in what Christ had done.

Philippians 3:4-9
4bIf anyone thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Paul was a standout among his peers when it came to morality and keeping the rules of his religion as a Jew. When Jesus met him on the Road to Damascus, Paul came to realize that the righteousness he needed wasn’t based in his works, his performance, but came through faith in Christ who had already performed FOR him.

He goes on to say in Philippians 3:8-9 “8Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.

There it is right there…we can attempt to gain acceptance and righteousness with God through our own works, or we can be right with Him through the One He’s already accepted.

Which do you choose?

Psalm 27:4 “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.”

David knew the only way to enjoy fellowship with God was to be right with Him, and the only time he felt truly right with God was at the tabernacle, offering sacrifice to Him.

The same is true for us – our confidence in fellowship with God comes through sacrifice, but not the offering of a goat or bull; our sacrifice is Jesus Christ, and what He offered on the cross was enough for all time.

His is a perfect sacrifice that forever cleanses those who come to Him. Our righteousness, and so our fellowship with God, is not the see-saw experience of the Israelite under the law, it’s a confident expectation that because Jesus is eternally right with God and we are in Him, then we too are right with God & can enjoy the most intimate communion with Him every moment of every day, no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

Now we have the answer to that most important of all questions – “How can a person be right with God.” Through faith in Jesus Christ; that what He did in living a sinless and perfect life, then dying for us and rising again from the dead, provides the ground upon which we can stand accepted by God for all eternity.

Christian, God already accepts you completely in Christ! You cannot make God accept or love you more!

Your fellowship with God is not based on your performance, on whether or not you’ve been a good boy or girl. your fellowship with God is based on your new relationship with God through faith in Jesus and what HE’S done.

In other words, the Father looks at you in the same way He looks at the Son, with full and unreserved acceptance and love. YOU now are His son, His daughter, and as such,your standing before God is based on relationship, not performance.

Many of us base our approach to God like a service based on our efforts instead of realizing we are His sons and daughters. We think that it’s all up to us, that we have to perform and that our closeness to God is based on how well we’re doing. We think God’s acceptance and blessing is based on what we do.

What God would have us know today is that because of what Christ HAS DONE, we cannot make ourselves more acceptable to Him! The great secret of intimacy with God is to let go of self-effort in earning our way to His favor, and instead, taking by faith what is already ours.

Some think, “Oh if I only read the Bible more often…or prayed more often…or evangelized more…that God would love me more and His favor would shine upon me more”. No! Christian, because of Christ, God loves you and accepts you just as much now as if you did all those things…those things are good, but those things will not incur more favor with God. Since God has fully accepted Christ, since you are IN Christ, God has fully accepted you! By saying these things to yourself, you are creating your own works based righteousness, not God based. Essentially telling yourself that if you do these things under your own effort, that God would accept you more.

There are those who say that a message like this is dangerous because it sounds like it doesn’t matter what we do – that because God accepts us in Christ, obedience doesn’t matter.

Can the Christian live a morally careless life and still be right with God? Can a believer live IN sin and be righteous In Christ at the same time? Of course not!

The evidence we are truly God’s sons and daughters is a growing family resemblance – we will look ever more like our Father. The fruit of genuine faith is not perfection but growth toward it.

As you stand before God, do you come in yourself, or Christ? If you come in Christ, then know this, God fully accepts and loves you without reserve. God yearns for you to just bask in that love and acceptance and that you would forever be free from fear and worry.

As Christopher quoted a few days ago, 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”

If you come in yourself, and think that you can be right before God in your own works, you are tragically mistaken. You see, you’re basing your ideas on what God accepts by comparing yourself to other people instead of God’s standard. God doesn’t measure you against other people, grade on the bell curve – His standard is perfection.

Since no one but Jesus meets the criteria, no one gets in any other way but through Him.

An Inductive Study Through Genesis 3

-How long did Adam and Eve they the goodness of Eden before the Fall took place? What did their day consist of? Just how intimate was their communion with God? These things aren’t spelled out for us though our curiosity runs high.

-The lack of narrative about these things reminds us that the Bible doesn’t purport to be an exhaustive historical record. Its theme is to reveal God’s plan of redemption and so it centers it’s story around this theme. It tells us only what we need to know so that we might find the answers we need to live as God desires.

-This isn’t myth, or some legend that was concocted to explain evil. Adam and Eve were real historical figures. Eden was a real place and the Fall was an historical event.

-We have to understand the story this way because of a couple of crucial factors:
1) Jesus referred to Adam and Eve as real people and based his teaching on marriage on the account of their union recorded in Genesis 2. [Matthew 19, Mark 10] Now, either Jesus was mistaken, or He was telling the truth. His resurrection from the dead proves Him to be THE reliable source of all truth so we ought to take His reference to Adam and Eve as factual.
2) The Apostle Paul refers to Adam as a literal person and makes him one of two representatives of all humanity.
1 Corinthians 15:20-22 – But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:45 – And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.”
The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Romans 5:12-15 – Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned . . . Nevertheless death reigned from Adam . . . who is a type of Him who was to come. . . . For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

-All people are descendants of the first Adam in a physical sense, and so are under the curse and ban of sin. Think of it this way – the dominion of Earth had been given to Adam. When Adam and Eve fell, they surrendered that dominion to the devil. They became slaves of sin, and all children born to a slave are also slaves. Slaves have no legal rights so no one was qualified to enter the contest to secure man’s freedom and restore his lost dominion. Only free men can free slaves. Slaves cannot free slaves.

-All that was – until Christ. Because he was born of a virgin, the stain and curse of Adam’s sin was not passed on to Him. He was a free man and so able to enter the contest to rescue man and deliver him from bondage to sin and death.

-The great difference between Adam and Christ is that whereas all people are automatically linked to Adam by physical birth, they must chose to link to Christ by spiritual birth – which comes through placing your trust in Him. The sons and daughters of Adam must come to Christ and ask Him to put the key of salvation to their chains of sin.

-In these verses, Paul is saying we are either in Adam or in Christ; one or the other. Adam must be a real historical figure and the Fall a real event, or the Person and Work of Christ lose their power to save us.

With that as background and foundation, let’s dive into Genesis 3

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

-Though Satan isn’t mentioned in this chapter, it’s clear that he’s the one who’s behind this. In John 8:44, Jesus refers to him as the murderer from the beginning and the father of lies. In Rev. 12:9 and 20:2 refer to the devil as “the great dragon . . . that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.” In Ezekiel 28:13-19, we’re told that Satan was in Eden. Other passages link Satan with a serpent. [Job 26:13; Isaiah 51:9]

-Because of the judgment God lays on the serpent, it’s reasonable to conclude that it originally stood upright and was a creature of beauty. We conclude this because it’s the devil’s standard tactic to present himself as an angel of light, as Paul says in 2 Cor. 11:14. So he comes to Eve in a form that would commend itself to her attention. But his union with the serpent has produced something that was far more intelligent and crafty than any of the beasts God had created.

-The question arises at this point – where did Satan come from? In Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 we find the main passage which speak about the origin of the devil. He began as a heavenly creature named Lucifer who was the highest of all God’s creations. He was one of the cherubim who had great beauty and wisdom implanted in his being. Musical instruments were a part of his equipment and it appears he was charged with the task of leading the heavenly host in the worship of God.

-But something happened inside Lucifer that proved his undoing; pride moved him to seek to become the object of worship instead of contenting himself to lead worship. Scripture does not give us the reason behind this change but there is a legend from the Jews which may give us some insight.

-It is said that when Lucifer found out about God’s plan to make man, a creature of the dust into whom He would put His Spirit, and then would eventually raise man to the place of being God’s eternal companion, and that Lucifer would be serving UNDER that dirt-born creature, he balked. Lucifer decided that such a plan was absurd and that if this was God’s plan then heaven needed a new ruler. He convinced a third of the angels to join him in rebellion and assaulted God’s throne.

-But of course he was defeated – and instead of surrendering, his pride drove him to become God’s adversary – which is what the name Satan means. Since man was the focal point of the controversy between God and Satan, the war between them centers on the fate of man; humanity becomes the battleground and prize. Satan wants to rob God of His companion, and of course, God wants to redeem man and bring Him home.

-Satan begins by asking Eve about God’s command. . . “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’ Notice how cunning & crafty he is! He doesn’t want Eve to consider God’s goodness or all the freedom and blessing she enjoyed. No – he wanted her to focus her attention on the one prohibition God had given.

-Isn’t this just what Satan does to us today? He’s always planting thoughts in our minds about what we DON’T have and what we CAN’T do, but never what we DO have, what God HAS blessed us with, and the freedoms we DO have in Christ. No, Satan’s always attempting to make us focus on the negative in life, even if it’s not intended to BE a negative, Satan has a way of twisting something good so that it looks to be negative (i.e. the fact that we shouldn’t get drunk and be sexually immoral, the fact that some of us our poor materially [which in itself could truly be a blessing from God because our poorness may keep us rich in the Spirit]). He makes us focus on what we cannot do and what we do not have rather than what we can do, and do have.

-So Satan asks a question that seems to cast her understanding of God’s word into some doubt…”Did God really say you can’t eat of every tree?” See how crafty the devil is? He’s already twisting the Word of God into something other than what it means.

-In Ch. 2 God was quite clear – they were free to eat of all the trees save one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So the devil comes with a simple bit of twisted logic and says – “Well that means you can’t eat of all the trees!” Now, until the devil said this – it was all quite clear to Eve – she could eat of all the trees except that one! Listening to the serpent she begins to get a little confused because just what does all and every mean now? Instead of considering all she’s free to do, her attention is drawn to what’s forbidden.

-In 2 Cor. 11:3, Paul says that Eve was deceived by the craftiness of Satan. We would do well to remember this when it comes to temptation. The devil is a master at twisting things around and getting us to focus on that which we ought not entertain.

-We will never outsmart him, we need to trust in Christ and run to Him to protect us when tempted. The spiritually mature know the very most effective way to resist temptation is to pray, praise, and to bring temptation into the light of Christ’s presence.

Genesis 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, . . .

-Let’s stop right there – Eve doesn’t seem surprised that the serpent talked to her. This may mean that prior to the Fall some of the animals had the power of speech – or it may mean that besides communing with God, Adam and Eve also communed with some of the angels who took shape and form in some way. In any case, Eve doesn’t seem put off by the serpent’s communication.

Genesis 3:2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3but 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.’”

-Eve rehearses the command of God – and she gets it right, right up to the end, but then she adds something. God had told them not to eat; He never said anything about touching it.

-It seems that in their zeal to keep God’s command not to eat of the forbidden tree they had also set up a personal fence around it that said they wouldn’t even touch it. But the mistake Eve made was in equating her convictions about how to obey God with the Word of God itself.

-You see, the danger of this is when I elevate my personal convictions about what God would have me do to the place of the Word of God, then they aren’t just for me anymore, they apply to you too. For example, if I find television offensive and am stumbled by it, so I unplug it and put it in the garage, that’s great! But if I equate that conviction with Paul’s command to not be conformed to this world, then I am going to start expecting YOU to unplug your TV too. And if I visit your home and see a TV, well, then I’m going to think your relationship with the Lord is deficient.

-Elevating personal convictions about how to obey God to the place of scripture is called legalism. There is nothing wrong with having personal convictions about how to obey the commands of God – in fact, having such convictions is good! What’s wrong is when we demand others live by our convictions.

-We must discern the difference between the Word of God and our personal decisions on how to respond to it.

Genesis 3:4-5 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
5For 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.”

-The fact of the matter is, the bottom line of their eating of the fruit was death – immediate spiritual death and eventual physical death. And besides that, they would plunge the earth under the curse where death becomes the inevitable end of all living things.

In his cunning, the devil insinuated that the reason why God prohibited them eating of the forbidden tree was because it would grant them something God wanted to keep for Himself – knowledge! Yeah – he told Eve that by disobeying God, she would gain a benefit. Sin, he said, would lead to wisdom and experience and the knowledge of good and evil.

-Now, the fact is, she already knew good; she just had no knowledge or experience of evil. There are lots of things God never intended man to know, because knowing them would mean thwarting the knowledge and experience He wanted mankind to have.

-Another lie the devil told Eve is that if she ate she would be like God. It’s interesting that in Isaiah 14:14, this was one of the aspirations that motivated Lucifer’s rebellion against God. He decided to try this appeal on Eve too.

-You know it’s interesting that what the devil said to Eve here is the same thing he says to us in temptation.
1) “You will not die.” Don’t worry about the consequences of sin! You can duck them; you’ll evade the fallout. Don’t think about the consequences, just think about the sweetness of the fruit!
2) “Your eyes will be opened.” Sin will enhance your life! God has drawn tight boundaries around you but life has so much more to offer!
3) “You will be like God.”

-The bottom line for Eve was the idea that she didn’t have to answer to God any longer. She could be independent and be on the same level as He. Instead of existing FOR HIM, she could exist for herself; living by her own rules and reality.

-It’s interesting that this is precisely the lie we see fostered in all of the occult and most clearly in the New Age Movement. According to a 1992 survey, 12 million Americans are active participants in the New Age movement. Another 30 million are avidly interested. If all these people were brought together in a church-like organization, it would be the 3rd largest religious denomination in America.

-Almost all of the cults teach that man is or can become a god by advancing in the secret knowledge the cult possesses and passes out to those who are proven worthy. This is the promise of Mormonism, The Way, Scientology, EST, Hinduism, and a host of other groups.

-But it’s an empty promise because there are two indisputable truths in the universe;
1) There is a God.
2) You are not He! And you never will be!

Genesis 3:6-7 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

-Eve touched the fruit – nothing happened. So she became emboldened and took a bite.Then she gave some to Adam and He ate. And immediately – just as was promised, their eyes were opened and they realized their choice had been the wrong one.

In 1 John 2:15-16 John identifies the 3 basic avenues temptation falls in to.

15Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world –the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.

-John mentions . . .
1) “The lust of the flesh” = “the woman saw that the tree was good for food” There is the constant desire of the body for carnal satisfaction. How much of the world is aimed at promising some new sensation, some new pleasure that will make living more fun?
2) “The lust of the eyes” = “the woman saw that the tree . . . was pleasant to the eyes” The appeal here was to her soul for the eyes are the window to the soul. They provide light for the mind and stimulate the emotions.
3) “The pride of life” = “the woman saw that the tree was . . . desirable to make one wise” This was an appeal to her spirit – to gain spiritual insight and arrive at the place of independence from God. Again, the whole world system is designed to create in us a false sense of security and independence.

-What’s disturbing is why Adam followed Eve.

-Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:14 – “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

-Eve fell because she was deceived; Adam’s fall was based on something other than the deception that drove Eve. Though the root of Adam’s choice isn’t identified here, many have suggested it was born out of a desire to be with Eve, even if being with her meant joining her in sin. Eve was tricked into sinning; Adam knew exactly what he was doing.

Genesis 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

-They’d been naked before, remember? That’s what 2:25 told us; but they weren’t bothered by their nakedness then. For some reason, now they’re ashamed and feel the need to hide themselves. The difference is the feeling of guilt. They’ve done something wrong and feel the loss of God’s approval and acceptance.

-Before the fall, as man and woman bore the untarnished image and likeness of God, it’s likely they too were clothed with light. But the moment they ate of the forbidden fruit, the image of God was shattered and the light went out. Aware of their nakedness, they set about to cover themselves and grabbed some fig leaves.

-Fig leaves have tiny hairs on them that would make these garments extremely uncomfortable and itchy! But this serves up a perfect picture of man’s own attempts to cover over his sin and guilt. They serve as a fitting picture of man-invented religion. At best, all human-originated religion can do is remind man of his failure as it provides an inadequate covering for his sense of guilt.

-When you think about those cults and religions that make works the basis of salvation you realize that is exactly what happens. When your relationship with God is based on performance, on how many works you’ve managed to rack up, you can never be sure you’ve accumulated enough points to earn God’s acceptance. The entire time you’re trying to earn brownie points, you’re also adding on some demerits. You can never rest in the confidence you’ve done enough.

-Those fig-leaves of Adam and Eve speak of a works-based religion. But they don’t cut it, as the story goes on to prove.

– What body part do you suppose Adam and Eve covered up? Study of many different cultures of the world show that above all other body parts, the genitals are the ones that are more likely to be covered. You see, the result of their failure would now be passed on to all of their descendants, and their descendants would of course come through the agency of their union in this way. Man and woman’s modesty in regards to covering this part of their body is the spiritual echo of Adam and Eve’s sense of shame in realizing what they had bequeathed to all of their descendants for all of time.

-What does this mean then when a culture allows people to expose this area, when people lose their sense of shame of being naked? It means that culture has become some immersed in sin, and so defiant toward God that it has lost its sense of shame. That culture stands poised on the edge of destruction. It cannot stand because it has embraced death.

-It is said that man is the only animal with the capacity to blush. When he no longer blushes, he has become just one of the animals!

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the sound 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 among the trees of the garden.

-The Bible is clear that no one has seen God the Father, but Jesus did make several appearances on earth before His incarnation in Bethlehem. So it seems it the regular habit of God to come and commune with Adam and Eve.

-Why did they hide? If they were confident in the sufficiency of their new fig-leaf garments, why did they hide? As soon as they heard God, they realized their efforts were useless.

-How many people today think that the way to God is through good works? Most do! Ask anyone why they think they’re going to heaven and they’ll say that it’s because they are a good person. They’re in for a rude shock when they enter the throne room of heaven and face the Heavenly Judge.

-It’s not about good works or being a good person! The best man or woman is still a sinner and falls short of the glory of God. Only God can provide the help we need.

-The evidence that Adam and Eve have lost something central and crucial to their lives is the foolish idea that they could hide from God. Here’s the primary evidence that they have already suffered a mortal spiritual blow.

Genesis 3:9-10 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 So he [Adam] said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

-Look at the fruit of eating the forbidden fruit – fear, self-consciousness, guilt, stupidity!!!!!!

Genesis 3:11-13 And He [God] said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
12Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
13And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

-How typical – Adam blames his wife! Eve was a quick study and learned from her husband; when confronted with sin – blame someone else.

Genesis 3:14-15 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

-God didn’t ask Satan any questions as He had of Adam and Eve because there was nothing to teach him. The curse on the serpent has two parts. The first is directed at the animal Satan possessed, the second is directed at Satan himself.

-First – if the serpent had been a beautiful, upright and intelligent creature before, from now on it is condemned to slide on its belly through the dirt. The early sense of open approach that the serpent had had toward the woman will now cease as well. God says that enmity, ill-will, will be the normal state of affairs between women and snakes. This is pretty generally the rule!

-Second, God switches the direction of the curse and aims it at Satan There is no doubt that verse 15 is a prophecy of Jesus’ ultimate defeat of Satan.

-In the Bible and in the Jewish way of thinking, it’s the man who provides the seed. The reference here to the seed of the woman is a clear reference to the virgin birth.

-This is known as the protoevangelium, the first gospel. God is giving here the promise of One who will come through the woman, not by agency of the man. It’s clear by the use of the pronouns, “He” and “His” that God is speaking of a specific person. This One who is to come, will bruise, or crush, satan’s head. But in that act, His own heel will be bruised.

-What a perfect picture of the Cross – the place where God, in the person of Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, defeated the devil and destroyed his long work of sin and rebellion, but in the process, was Himself bruised by the crucifixion.

-The devil’s wound was mortal, inflicted on his head, his authority, his power and dominion. Jesus’s wound was only incidental – in His heel.

-It’s crucial we realize that what God says here in the cursing of the Serpent and Satan is not some add on and emergency measure He had to improvise because of man’s failure. God knew from the beginning that Adam & Eve would Fall. So He took up their failure and used it as the means of doing something even greater.

-God’s plan wasn’t ‘set back’ when Adam and Eve sinned, because God’s plan was to bring forth something greater than innocent man; God wanted to bring forth redeemed man. A redeemed man is greater than an innocent man.

-Here’s the great lesson we can learn from this – God does not will evil! But because God is infinite in His wisdom, goodness, and power, He can take evil and weave it into an even greater manifestation of His glory! No matter what Satan or evil men and women do, God will take it up and redeem it! He will make of it something awesome!

-A story’s been told of a weaver who was making a beautiful tapestry of bright colors; red, yellow, blue, gold, and green. The design was gorgeous. But the people who stopped to watch him were amazed that the weaver so often used the black yarn. It seemed that in between each line of brightly colored thread was a line of black. From the backside, the tapestry seemed all dark, but when they came around to the front they saw the colors and beauty of the scene the weaver wrought. He explained, “The black thread is the background upon which the colors sit. Without the black, the colors would all blend and become a confusion.”

-And so it is with sin, it’s the black thread God weaves into His great plan. He takes sin, guts it of its evil, transforms it into a lesson learned about His truth, His mercy, His forgiveness, and then weaves it into the tapestry of our lives and of history. When we stand back and look at His work of redemption all we can say is – “All things do indeed work together for good!”

Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”

-It’s interesting to note that while most animals that give live birth do so with a measure of pain, none seems to bear the torment of a human woman.

-God adds an additional curse to the woman and it has to do with her relationship with her husband. It was always part of God’s order for marriage that the man would be the head of the relationship – we see that in ch. 2, but there was an amiable equality that existed between Adam and Eve before the Fall that is now lost.

-There’s the introduction of the idea here that there will be tension between men and women and especially in the marital relationship. The word “desire” here used is also used in Genesis 4:7 of the desire of sin to master Cain. It presents the idea of wanting to dominate and take over.

-God is saying that Eve will find herself in competition with Adam, but in the end, he shall have the place of dominion over her.

Genesis 3:17-19 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. 18Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. 19In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

-Because of Adam’s sin, there is a curse upon all creation. Before the curse on man, the ground only produced good. After the curse, it will still produce good, but thorns and thistles will come faster and easier than the good fruit. We see this at work today in our gardens, when it seems like only the weeds and the unwanted plants seem to grow better and faster than the plants we WANT growing.

-Adam worked before the curse, but it was all joy. Now his work had a cursed element to it; pain, weariness, and frustration would dog his steps.

-The final curse was that after laboring a lifetime of toil and sweat in the dirt, he would return to it in death.

-What the First Adam brought in to the world through the Fall, Jesus, the Last Adam has born away on the Cross.
Did sin bring pain in childbirth? No one knew more pain than Jesus did when He, through His suffering, brought many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10).
Did sin bring conflict between man and woman? Jesus endured greater conflict to bring our salvation (Hebrews 12:3).
Did thorns come with sin? Jesus endured a crown of thorns to bring our salvation. (John 19:2).
Did sin bring sweat? Jesus sweat, as it were, great drops of blood to win our salvation (Luke 22:44).
Did sin bring sorrow? Jesus became The Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief, to save us (Isaiah 53:3).
Did sin bring death? Jesus tasted death for everyone that we might be saved (Hebrews 2:9).

Genesis 3:20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

-We’re so used to referring to the woman as Eve we may not notice that this is the first time that name is actually used. The name “Eve” means “living” and reflects Adam’s faith in the promise of God that He would provide for their redemption through the see of the woman. His naming her also demonstrates his embracing his role as her head.

Genesis 3:21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.

-Hebrews 9:22 makes it clear that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The fig-leaf coverings Adam and Eve had wangled together didn’t suffice so God, in His grace made new coverings for them. But it took the life of some animals to do so – showing them the hideousness of sin and just what it costs.

-It must have been an inordinately sad day for the first man and woman as they experienced the fall, then witnessed the death of a couple of the animals, creatures they had had close and familiar contact with, just so they could be covered.

-The effects of sin are multiplying before their eyes. One bite of the fruit and look at all the devastation, loss, sorrow, pain and grief! There is no such thing as a little sin!

Genesis 3:22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”

-Here is God taking counsel within the persons of the Trinity. When He says, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil,” don’t read this as a fulfillment of what the devil said to Eve. Satan had promised something good – the real result was evil.

-The other tree that mentioned in the Garden is the Tree of Life. Of this tree Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten – but if they did so now, they would be perpetually locked in a state of sin and separation from God. So God takes action to make sure they didn’t eat of that tree as well.

Genesis 3:23-24 therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. 24So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

-Note that-the way was guarded TO the Tree. The reason why is because God wants man to have access to the Tree of Life but only under the right set of circumstances – when he’s been redeemed from sin.

-We find the Tree of life in the Book of Revelation; it’s growing in the new Heavens and New earth and provides healing for the nations.

-One last thing to see here – God stationed cherubim at the edge of the Garden. The cherubim are those mighty and august creatures we see surrounding God’s throne. They are like God’s heavenly bodyguards. At least 2 of them were dispatched to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

-This seems like overkill if all they were tasked to do was keep man out. After all, one average run of the mill angel was enough to exact the judgment on the firstborn of Egypt and to slay the 185,000 in the army of Assyria in one night. [2 Kings 19:35]

-If one angel has that kind of power, one would have been sufficient to protect the tree of Life if the threat was only from man. It wasn’t – and that’s why God stations cherubim there – because the threat was from another cherub – the one who’d fallen and started this whole mess in the first place.

-It was probably satan’s next step to get Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree of Life and forever seal their fate and his dominion over them. God was not about to let that happen.

Son of Perdition – Revealing the AntiChrist

Son of Perdition: Revealing the Antichrist
By Matt

One of the biggest points of interest in studying the end times is the figure known as the Antichrist. He is a man who would imitate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But who exactly will the Antichrist be? Modern theologians and others have pointed to different people in different roles– everything from the Catholic Pope to a President of the United States to a Secretary-General of the United Nations. The Bible does not specifically identify the Antichrist, but it lays out the attributes of this man and his role in the Tribulation.

1. The Antichrist will be exceedingly sinful.
In the book of 2 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul gives a description of the man called Antichrist. He begins in verse three: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…”
Paul speaks here of a specific man– a man of sin and the son of perdition. These terms speak of a person who totally rejects the grace, power, and sovereignty of Almighty God.

2. The Antichrist will conquer the world through diplomacy.
In Revelation 6:1, John witnesses the Lamb open the first of the Seal Judgments. John writes: “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”
The man who sits on this white horse has a bow in his hand. Notice, however, that there are no arrows with this bow. This bow cannot be used as a physical weapon without arrows. This tells us that when he conquers the world, he will triumph through diplomacy, not bloodshed. This aspect of his rule will attract the world’s adoration– temporary peace will be one of the tools with which the Antichrist will deceive the world.

3. The Antichrist will have the authority of Satan.
Later, in Revelation 13, John writes: “Now the beast I which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:2)
The Antichrist will rule the world with the authority of Satan– his master will be Satan, and he will worship Satan.

4. The Antichrist will be falsely killed and falsely resurrected.
John continues in Revelation 13, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” (Revelation 13:3)
One of the greatest false miracles the Antichrist will perform to sway the world will be a false death and resurrection. Verse 14 indicates that he will be wounded by the sword and will live– it will be a false death. Consquently, it will result in a false resurrection. This will solidify the world’s worship of the beast (Antichrist). There will be those who believe that the Antichrist is savior of the world.

5. The Antichrist will kill anyone who does not worship him.
Speaking of the false prophet who will proclaim the Antichrist, John writes: “He was granted to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)
At the beginning of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will proclaim world peace and religious tolerance. But eventually, after convincing the world that he is a deity, he will execute anyone who does not worship him. This will force believers during the time to go into hiding to avoid detection by the Antichrist.

6. The Antichrist will demand absolute loyalty from the world.
In speaking of the false prophet will speaks for the Antichrist, John writes: “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, nor the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16)
This mark, which may be in the form of a tattoo, a brand, or anything as advanced as biochip technology, will be administered to the world. It will be the ultimate sign of loyalty to the Antichrist and to Satan.

7. The Antichrist will breach the temple of God and exalt himself.
Paul continues in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
The Antichrist will exhibit qualities of Satan himself. Satan tried to exalt himself about God, much in the same way that the Antichrist will. He will go so far as to enter the temple of God in Jerusalem and will sit on God’s throne. He will proclaim himself to be God, and the world will believe that he is God.

8. The Antichrist will be destroyed at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul goes on in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”
When Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation, He will destroy the Antichrist. Revelation 19:20 says this: “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
This is the Antichrist’s fate. For seven years he will rule the world. But at the end, the Lord Jesus Christ, the one true God, will prevail. The Antichrist and the false prophet will be cast into hell, to be tormented forever.