Sermon: What was the subject matter of my first one?
“Your life is going to be exactly what you choose to make it. Don’t kid yourself!” Those were the opening words of my first sermon. I actually don’t remember all the details of what I said in the sermon, but I’ll never forget those first words I stated. Those words meant a lot to me then and they still do now because life truly is all about decisions. We even have Scripture that sets forth this principle. Here’s an example of that.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. [Emphasis added]
This passage is far more about decision-making than planting seed and/or farming. The principle stated in this verse is just as true today as it was for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Let’s look at the record and see what was then said for them to know and apply.
1 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?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 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.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 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.
6 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.
We today can learn from this incident. Some people don’t believe in Satan, but it was in the Garden of Eden that he began his work to influence and deceive the thinking of all mankind. And from the very beginning he saw some success in that. Please note that the very first thing he did was to challenge the truthfulness of what God had said. Here in this passage, we see him planting seeds of doubt about it. Please read verse one again and fully consider what he said.
1 Now the serpent was more subtil [ARUM = subtle or crafty] 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? [Emphasis added]
It is so important that we see how this continues to be at the heart of Satan’s strategy even today. He does everything he can to make people turn away from the revelation of God’s word in Scripture. He wants people to think there’s no credibility with any of it, let alone any practical use for it. Next, you’re going to see that his deception of Eve came when she did not correctly understand what God had said. This, too, is a part of Satan’s strategy and tactics today. He plays on people’s ignorance. And what confusion he has created with that. The fact that we have numerous religions in the world and even thousands of denominations among those who profess to be Christians tells us he’s relentlessly creating confusion about God and what the Bible teaches concerning what He has said.
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 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. [Emphasis added]
There’s no record at all that says God told them not to touch the tree. As simple as this is, she completely misunderstood God’s policy about this. They were just told not to eat of it. Therefore, we see that Eve had a misunderstanding of God’s word on this. Don’t we have a whole lot of that today? Hasn’t this also caused a lot of division? Are you aware that Wikipedia says there are literally thousands of “Christian” denominations today. WHERE can the truth be found in all this? Since there’s such diversity in beliefs, doesn’t simple logic tell us that most people who participate in these groups must be wrong about a lot of their beliefs? Here in Genesis 3:3 we find that even Eve was confused in hers. Again, the Lord had told Adam that they were not to eat of this tree, but there’s no record at all that says they were never to touch it. And that leads to another important point about all this. Eve got her information second hand like we do. Even though there was a time when it was otherwise, we don’t get any information directly from God today; it all comes through the writings of people in the Scriptures. If one doesn’t know the Word of God, he can’t know the will of God. This is a part of why a correct understanding of the Bible is so important for each of us. Without a right understanding of it, we can’t even know God’s will for us let alone apply it.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God [THEOPNEUSTOS = god-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect [ARTIOS = brought to maturity], thoroughly furnished unto all good works. [Emphasis added]
In this next verse we see that Satan then came forth with a direct assault on God’s word. At first, he’d been quite subtle in his attack, but not here.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [Emphasis added]
The attack doesn’t get any more direct than that. He essentially told her God lied to her. But Satan promotes this sort of thing in every generation. Notice what our Lord had to say to the “religious” leaders during His earthly ministry.
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. [Emphasis added]
Today Satan uses human mouthpieces to present his lies for him. His objective, of course, is to deceive people. He works to blind them to the truth about all kinds of things but especially the gospel, one’s means of salvation.
2 Corinthians 4:4
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [Emphasis added]
It is sad to see but most churchgoers cannot even give a clear explanation of God’s means for their salvation, let alone things pertaining to the Christian way of life. And if they can’t even clearly state it, why should we think they’ve believed it.
Satan’s favorite tool for deception has always been “religious” people. Our Lord brought this principle out during the time of His earthly ministry. Matthew 23 is a whole chapter in the Bible about it, but here are a few summary verses on what these people do. In that day it was the “scribes and Pharisees” who were the “religious” leaders. These people who think this way function under quite a variety of different titles in every generation.
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. [Emphasis added]
Today the debates go on not only about the authority of the Bible, but there’s also constant debate over which translation is most reliable. As of 2022 all of the Bible has been translated into 724 languages, the New Testament has been translated into an additional 1,617 languages, and smaller portions of the Bible have been translated into 1,248 other languages according to Wycliffe Global Alliance. In the midst of all this there are those who try to tell us only the Old English King James Version or translation of the Bible is totally reliable. Isn’t it amazing that there are those who believe all these people of other languages have to learn King James English to read an accurate version of the Bible. For more information about that controversy, please read my articles about it.
Bible: What are we to think of the King James Version (KJV)?
KJV: Does it need correcting?
We now go back and continue with our next verse from Genesis 3.
5 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. [Emphasis added]
Satan always wants us to think we’ll be better off following his policy instead of God’s. In this he appeals to man’s pride, seeking to cause him to think he’ll be a superior person by disobeying God’s command and partaking of the fruit of the tree. Again, has anything changed? Not really! Just as it was Satan’s pride that got him in trouble with God, so it was for Adam and Eve and now people today. Satan even told them that they would be as gods, knowing good and evil. Such is certainly not the case at all. On one occasion our Lord had some startling words to say about such people.
14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. [Emphasis added]
The passage that comes to my mind here is one that states what everyone is faced with. These words were once uttered to the people of Israel regarding their situation. But the heart of this verse could apply to people in our time.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: [Emphasis added]
Here’s a similar passage that presents the same options.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Then notice their response. What will yours be?
16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; [Emphasis added]
The basic text that night for my first sermon warns about being religious but not being regenerate. This next text from Scripture speaks of this. These words were stated by our Lord to the people of Israel who had this same problem. Many were “religious” but unregenerate—unsaved.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day [speaking of the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15], Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Then we have this next paragraph that presents a stern warning to those who choose to live a life rejecting the authority of God’s Word.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. [Emphasis added]
It was this paragraph that made me realize that I needed to make some important changes in my life. What kind of life are you building? Upon what foundation are you building? The apostle Paul spoke of all this in his writings. He warns us that we’re to build our lives on the thinking of Jesus Christ that’s addressed to us through the apostle Paul’s teaching.
1 Corinthians 14:37
37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. [Emphasis added]
He also clearly tells us our reward as believers will be based on our obedience to those words.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me [Paul], as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. [Emphasis added]
Nothing impacts a person’s life and their eternity like the Word of God. It is the real gold, silver, and precious stones of life, having enduring value like nothing else. It can transform your life into one of great blessing. Since this is the first day of the rest of your life, if you haven’t already, why not resolve to complete your life with decisions that are centered around God’s Word? Your decision to do this one thing will be the most important one you will ever make.