God's End Game - Part 9

Series: My Preaching Bucket List

November 25, 2018
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

We are going all in trying to discover God’s End Game in this series, now on our ninth message.

End Game is a relatively recent phrase turned popular buzzword that has its origins in the game of chess. The end game involves the last few moves determining who wins the game.

It’s come to be defined as “The ultimate agenda or desired consequence of a planned series of events (often elaborate and unknown to outsiders).”

In the business world, end game is the secret strategy for market domination. 

In everyday dealings, someone might ask you what your end game is, and they want to know your plans for life or relationships or getting a job or whatever.

God’s end game is what he’s up to with us and the world. Where is he headed with everything?

To understand God’s endgame you have to go back to the beginning of the game and that is what the book of Genesis all about.

God made it all and it was “good.” God made us and it was “very good.” You had two perfect people living in a perfect place with a perfect, loving Father, and there was only one rule: don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Adam and Eve enjoyed something no one else ever has: unhindered fellowship with God. That fellowship with God was so sweet and real, God would actually walk about the garden and visit with Adam and Eve.

They lived in a world where you got to commune with God face-to-face, a world where you could actually, literally walk with God.

But, as you know, Eve was deceived by the serpent and broke the rule with Adam knowingly following, and when the smoke cleared, instead of running to meet God when he walked in the garden, they ran away and hid. Which led to the universal question God asked in Genesis 3:9

9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 

God wasn’t asking where Adam was geographically (He’s God!) but spiritually. Everything went further and further downhill after that with Adam blaming God and Eve for his rebellion and Eve blaming the serpent.

Because they broke the one rule, God cut off their access to the Garden, to the Tree of Life in the garden, which signified something...

Their sin brought shame, but it also brought a breaking of fellowship with God.

God cannot be in intimate relationship with anything or anyone sinful, it goes against his very nature. This breaking of fellowship with God is the death God warned them about when giving the one rule.

Romans 5:12 (ESV) — 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Their sin brought shame and a severing of their walk with God, but it also had a much more far-reaching impact, a cosmic consequence that lasts to this day. 

To understand how that’s so, let’s go back and cover the curse we were introduced to last week, looking at the players here in the opposite order they are addressed. So we have the curse concerning Adam…

Genesis 3:17–19 (ESV) — 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The penalty for Adam and all mankind is the toil and sweat and tears of daily life. One commentator says…

“Adam’s toil will be without relief until his final destiny of death... [He] is depicted as a broken farmer whose very meals, which are derived from the grain of his agrarian life, are spoiled by the fatigue of his striving… the man’s daily labors with their attendant woes are a perpetual reminder of sin’s rewards."

A lot of folks think man was cursed with having to work, as if we have Adam to thank for the daily grind of a 9-5, but that is not so. Work was part of God’s plan for man before the fall, it’s just that work, instead of being a joy and natural blessing, will now be hard, very hard - with the world itself working against us.

Since access to the tree of life has been cut off, this daily grind will wear away at man little by little until he finally wears out and returns to the dust from which he came.

In other words, we all will know physical death. Sin brought a spiritual death and a physical one.

Next, there’s the curse concerning Eve…

Genesis 3:16 (ESV) — 16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

We could dig into the details for sure here. There are countless paragraphs dedicated to explaining what exactly is going in verse 16 (many of which are just so off point). But since we’re sticking to the bigger picture, understand that the consequences for Eve were twofold.

1.) Pain in bearing children. That’s pretty easy to figure out. It may mean that before the fall having a baby would have been painless. Since he says “multiply your pain” it could also mean before the fall there was some pain but afterward much more. 

2.) Strife in her marriage relationship. Much has been written about this as well, also much of which is off point. 

If you take all the interpretations and look for a common thread of thought, you come away with the general idea that this means, as a result of the fall, there’ll be a battle of the sexes, for the want of a better way to put it. Man and woman in marriage, and in society, will struggle against each other.

Maybe another translation of this verse will help…

Genesis 3:16 (NLT) — 16 Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

To get a better grasp of this, we have to look back at God’s original intent for man and woman…

Genesis 1:26–28 (ESV) — 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Adam and Eve were both commissioned by God to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, subduing it, making it all like Eden. In that commissioning both had roles to play - roles of equal importance and worth.

Adam was to lead the way in living out God’s command, but it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to do without Eve.

He wasn’t able to accomplish it alone because he needed Eve’s help spiritually and emotionally…

Genesis 2:18 (ESV) — 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

But also, he needed Eve’s unique physical/biological ability to bear children. He couldn’t multiply or fill the earth without her. Her mind and heart and womb were crucial.

In the garden, there was a deep sense of equality between them. They were in a balanced, beautiful relationship, both willingly and lovingly, living out God’s plan.

But the fall that messed all that up.

Now Adam would have difficulty obeying God’s orders because the ground was cursed and working against him. Now Eve would have difficulty bearing children (pain) and being his helpmate (battle).

This is what a Christian marriage is supposed to remedy with the Spirit’s help. We have messed that up too.

Now we come to the curse and the serpent. It’s important to note “while the serpent, the woman, and Adam are all punished, only the serpent and the ground are “cursed.”

Genesis 3:14–15 (ESV) — 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

There’s an abundance of stuff out there on verse 14. Some say it reveals the serpent was originally a four-footed or even a two-footed animal that, as a result of the curse, lost its legs. Some also say you can trace our fear of snakes back to this pronouncement.

But we are going for the BIG PICTURE.

This first part of the curse deals more with the actual creature involved in the deception, the next part extends to the being behind the deception (the devil)…

15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

“I will put enmity between you and woman”

That word enmity means war. But how can the serpent and the woman be at war? Look at the next part, which explains.

“between your offspring and her offspring”

This war will occur between his offspring and hers. So now it’s moved from two folks (Eve and the devil) to a bunch of folks: their offspring. What can this mean? 

The next part gets very specific…

“he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

From two folks to lots of folks to two folks again. And now one of those folks is a “he" and he is going to do something to the other, which is “you,” referring to the devil.

God is telling Satan that, though he seemingly won this round, the Lord of all the earth is up to something big, and it’s going to involve a man who will be born of a woman. And that man is going to crush Satan's head (mortal blow) and in doing so it will bruise his heel (not mortal).

Do you remember me telling you about the Greek myth of Pandora, the first woman and how she was so curious about Epimetheus’ jar she opened it, releasing all kinds of plagues and evils on the world? The rest of that story is after every bad thing emptied out there was one thing left at the bottom: hope.

Maybe that’s no coincidence. In the middle of all this horror, we see a bright and shining light of hope.

If you look at 15 verse from the cross backward, you observe what many call the first preaching of the gospel.

R. Kent Hughes says, [Here in Genesis 3:15 we have a prophecy of the cross when Satan would strike the heel of Christ (the suffering on the cross), but Christ would strike Satan’s head (through his death and glorious resurrection). All Christians (those who are in Christ) participate in the crushing through Christ, so that Paul could write in the conclusion of the book of Romans, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (16:20).]

Romans 16:20 (ESV) — 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

This explains how Adam and Eve were saved. They were saved just like everyone else: coming to God through Jesus with faith and repentance.

It’s how Abraham was saved. 

Genesis 15:6 (ESV) — 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Being saved means believing in the revealed promises of God.

Conclusion: Let’s look back at something in chapter 2 that ties into the end of chapter 3 as we close today…

Genesis 1:29–30 (ESV) — 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Before the fall, all creatures, including man and lions and bears, ate plants. That means the lion would lay down with the lamb. You could go swimming with the dolphins and the sharks.

Every creature lived in blissful safety, free from the fear of being eaten by beast or man. 

Keep that in mind and look at two verses towards the end of chapter 3…

Genesis 3:20–21 (ESV) — 20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Here’s another verse we often whiz past. There is more here than I could ever understand. But I do know it signifies another awful consequence of man’s rebellion.

I make light of my dog, but she’s the sweetest thing in our house. Animals like her are a throwback to Eden in my mind. The thought of somebody hurting her just kills me.

Back in the garden that day, when God pronounced his curse on the ground and the serpent and when he pronounced his judgments on man, two innocent creatures experienced something they were never intended to.

You see, sin requires a hefty payment…

Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) — 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

One commentator wrote, “the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience and reflect a new reality for humanity—one that is characterized by pain and struggle.” And that pain and struggle seeped down into every nook and cranny of every living creature’s existence.

Now all creatures know a world “red in tooth and claw.”

Sin brought shame, a breaking of fellowship with God, a struggle in humanity (between the sexes, between good and evil), and a struggle in nature.

It gets even worse, and you don’t see it until the next chapter.

Oh, but there is hope today, for you.

Jn 3.16

God loved, God gave, if you believe, you receive.

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