The discussion questions this week come from Pastor Joe’s sermon on Genesis 3. You can read or listen to the sermon, but it’s not necessary for discussion. I’ll try to provide enough content to get everyone on the same page.
Genesis 3 has so many implications for our lives, and especially when it comes to temptation. The serpent tempted Eve by twisting what God said, and then outright contradicting what God said. Joe explains,
[Temptation] creates a false reality, a fantasy world, and it invites us to live in it. It tells us not to believe what God has said, and to instead believe lies about God: that his commands are miserly and he is the great Forbidder, rather than a lavish Father. And the applications are endless.
Think about your besetting sins: pride, bitterness, lust, anger, envy, manipulation. If you probe your temptation to those sins, you’ll see the exaggerations and the denials. Lust holds out the promise of short-term satisfaction while denying the long-term consequences to ourselves, our marriages, our bodies. Our anger is often provoked by some real injustice done against us. And thus our response feels justified because we forget that the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. When you are being tempted, remember that you are being invited into a monstrous, fantasy world, a distortion of reality.
Have you ever thought about temptation in this way? What are the “distorted realities” that you are most often invited into?
If temptation is an attack that invites you into distorted reality, what do you think is the best counter-attack?
[Get personal and practical: Personally, think about the distorted reality that temptation most commonly presents to you. Practically, what might you do to reject this distorted reality?]
Joe identifies three stages of sin that we see in Genesis 3.
1. Passivity — “Those who fall into great sin never fall far.” In other words, prior to the great sin, there is almost always gradual drift. There are small compromises that numb our consciences.
2. Idolatry — This is where drifting always leads. Eventually, you’re faced with the big decision. But if you’ve been drifting, if you’ve been silencing your conscience and quenching the Spirit, then when the moment of Choice comes, you’ll seize sin.
3. Abuse — Think about what Adam blaming his wife means. What is the consequence for eating? Death. So, when Adam blames Eve, he is effectively saying, “Kill her, not me.” He is supposed to protect her; instead he exposes her to judgment. He’s supposed to die for her. Instead, he tries to make her die for him. . . . The final stage of sin is abuse — ditching the gift to save your own skin.
And while this sequence — passivity, idolatry, abuse — applies to everyone, it is particularly relevant for those in authority.
How might this affect our typical day? Think over your normal routines. In what ways do these three stages help you pursue Christlikeness?
At the end of Genesis 3, Adam names his wife, Eve, “…because she was the mother of all living.”
This is surprising in light of the curse, but it begins to make more sense when we see it in light of the offspring promise in Genesis 3:15. Adam seems to remember his is a sign of hope.
All is not lost. God is not finished. There will be children. There will be a war. And in the end, there will be victory. And so when Adam gives his wife a personal name, that name reflects his faith in the promise and mercy of God. “She is the mother of all living.” There will be life. Death is not the last word.
The ultimate victory over sin and evil has been decided, and now we are waiting for its final consummation. No doubt, as Paul says, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). How does this truth impact you? How should it impact you? What are ways that we can continue to remind one another of this victory?