The Devil deceived Eve by making God look like a cruel taskmaster in her eyes. And even in our day, this is still one of his top devices in ruining souls. Do you believe the same subtle lie that Eve did? Do you believe that God is against you?
This excerpt is from the full sermon, “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil“.
I wonder this, whether I’m speaking just now to any perhaps young person, anybody that’s got parents that are Christians here. Maybe you’re an adult. Do you have thoughts – this is the question – especially you young people, do any of you have thoughts in your heart that are exactly like the ones that Eve had right before she ate? “God’s holding out.” You’ve got some idea God is some sort of monster. He’s against you. “He’s against me!” “It just feels like He’s against me.” It feels like I can never do right. It feels like He’s always trying to take away the fun. He’s always trying to take away the fulfillment. He’s always trying to spoil the enjoyment of life. Do you think to yourself: you know what, I’m going to give up this Christianity stuff. I don’t like this. I don’t like it that my parents bring me here. I’ve got to getaway. Do you feel like it’s holding you down?
It’s so restrictive. It’s so inconvenient. It’s robbed you of so much. It’s so narrow. Perhaps you dream about life out there. “Oh, I’m missing it!” You can watch the movies or you can watch the commercials. Young people and all the glory, right? The beautiful cars and they go to the beach and they climb the mountains and they’re skiing. You watch all this and it’s like wow, I’m being robbed of something! I’ve got to go to that church on Sunday with my parents. Ugh! Christians look so miserable. People out there look like they’re having such fun and they’re at the bars. They’ve got all these women and all these men and everybody’s beautiful. And I come here. It’s on the Eastside and it looks like an old warehouse. We go in there and we hear this and all it is is rules, rules, rules! And you see, the devil: “Eve, it’s just rules.” “He won’t let you eat of any tree in the garden.” And you know that’s how he put it at first. “Has God said you can’t eat of any tree in the garden?” He just tried to put that thought in there. “It’s just so restrictive! See how restrictive He is? He won’t let you eat any tree in the garden.” But she messed up. You don’t start dialoging with him. “Well, no, that’s not exactly what He said…” Any of you young people, you’re waiting, eager. Just waiting to really start living. By the way, you wouldn’t be the first one to feel that way. David’s over here nodding. You know what? I was 16 one time. I was 18 one time. I was 21 one time. The sound of the word “Gospel” – it’s like, that just sounds kind of religious. And I don’t know what all that means, but it doesn’t sound like good news in my ears. It sounds narrow. It sounds like it’s going to cramp my style. I want the kind of religion where there’s a God, He smiles on me, when I die I’m going to go to heaven, but let me have my sin. Let me live it up. That’s what I wanted. All that stuff? That sounds like rattling chains that you’re going to tie me up with. And seriously, I mean I would have been. You put me in a church on a Sunday, I would have been like a caged animal. Like let me out of here! So you wouldn’t be the first one that’s felt that way. Lots of us have felt that way. We know. Do you imagine somehow God and this Christian way of life – it’s against you? “God is against me.” See, that’s what Satan wanted her to feel, that God is against you. God’s an enemy. God’s a monster. God’s jealous. God’s small. God’s selfish. The real issue isn’t how shiny the fruit is. The real issue is: This is a God you’ve got to get away from, break free from. This is a God who is opposed to your best interests, opposed to your joy, opposed to your fun, opposed to your happiness. God’s unfair. He wants you to doubt His goodness. You see this for what it is. It’s the same old thing that Adam and Eve did then, and it just gets repeated today. You say what do you mean? Do you know what God did for them? There’s a peach tree. No worms. Try that. I don’t know how it was, but can you imagine the Lord walking with them in the cool of the garden. He takes them over to the peach tree and He says, “Adam, Eve, try this one.” “I designed this one and it’s good.” “Try this one.” Like, “wow! That’s really good!” “Have you ever had a strawberry?” “What’s that?” “Come over here!” “Try that!” In spite of all that God had done for them they believed the lie. And that’s what people go on believing today. People look at family. I have family. I get together with them at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I have family. (incomplete thought) A man gets married – God created sex. The devil didn’t create that. Intimacy, warmth. A home. A place you go in when it’s cold and it’s warm, or you go in when it’s hot and it’s cool. And there’s food. We can walk into an HEB or a Costco today and the food! Look what God has given to us. And see, you young people, you’ve got clothing on. I remember one time we were down at the homeless shelter and we had a Korean family with us. And the husband looked. Do you know what a lot of the homeless people do? Clothes are so abundant that they get brand new clothes, they wear them, and when they’re dirty, they just throw them away. That’s what a lot of homeless people do because clothing is so abundant. And this Korean man looked at a shirt that a homeless person just cast on the ground. He said in Korea, you’d never see that. We have so much. God has given you so much and you say God’s against me. The sunset, the pleasures of this world, the beauties, the comforts. “But God’s against me!” Look at Golgotha! Hear the Son of God: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” God sent His Son into this world to die for sinners. “But God’s against me!” “God’s against me!” You need to wake up to the facts! That’s insanity! He’s not against you! God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. It’s the lie of the devil. He’s not against you. And His commandments are meant for your safety. Repent – change your mind about the way you’re running to hell. Is that so bad? Is that so offensive to you? Change your mind. Change your mind about this. Change! Turn! Turn from running over the cliff. It’s so perilous. It’s leading to your destruction. Embrace My Son. He’ll take you to paradise. He’ll be a Husband to you. Oh, there are joys and pleasures forevermore at His right hand. The devil told our first parents: “Don’t believe it. Don’t trust God. He can’t be trusted. Trust me. I’ll tell you the truth.” But it wasn’t the truth. He murdered them. And he’s been a murderer from the beginning. And they did die. He said, “eat it.” “Eat as much as you like.” “You won’t die.” But they did die. And you see God is bidding you: Life. Life. Eternal life. I offer it to you. An abundance of life. A paradise of life. This excerpt was taken from the full sermon: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil by Tim Conway from Genesis 2.