The Champion Revealed

JesusChampion1

Scripture:  Genesis 3:15

The battle happens to all of us – it hits at different times, in different areas, in different ways.  Sometimes it happens when you go on a date with a person to whom you are really attracted.  Sometimes it happens when you get serious about paying your bills and living within a budget.  Sometimes it happens when you’re determined to eat more healthy food, and you encounter food that isn’t healthy at all.  Sometimes it happens within a marriage, when a husband and wife are at odds and they can’t seem to find a meeting of the minds.  At some point, we all awaken to the reality that life is a battle, that we are in a war.  If you feel like you are in a battle, it is because you are.  If you feel like you are a war, it is because one is raging all around you.  2 Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.”  Ephesians 6:12-13 reads, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”  There are no conscientious objectors to this war, there are no deferments from the battlefield.  No one else is going to take your place in the struggle – you can’t escape it.  There may be one battle that we fight, or there may be a variety of battles.  John Daly, the PGA golfer, battles alcohol.  Tiger Woods battles lust.  Mike Tyson battles anger.  Drew Carey, the actor, battled depression so severely that he tried to take his life twice before the age of 20.  We all fight our own wars, we all face constant battles.  For us it may be greed or selfishness, bitterness or pride.  Everywhere we look, battles are being fought.  The Democrats and the Republicans are battling in Washington, D.C.  In other countries the people are fighting against their own governments.  We are always in the midst of a war of one kind or another.  Over the next three Sundays, we’ll be looking at how wars ultimately started, how we can win, and how they will end.  We’ll see that according to the Bible there is a Champion promised by God who will prevail over all the conflict.  Beginning with Genesis 3, God began describing to us the One who will win a victory over Satan, sin and conflict.  This Champion is the only Person capable of triumph and of securing peace.  The story begins in the Garden of Eden, a place of perfect peace.  There were only two people there, Adam and Eve.  They were at perfect peace with God, perfect peace with one another, and perfect peace with themselves.  Then, something happened that plunged them and the rest of mankind after them into conflict.  The battle started then, and it has raged ever since then.  God’s solution to the problem that began in the Garden of Eden is found in Genesis 3:15, “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.”  This passage is the very first in the Bible that gives us a promise and prophecy.  God is telling us that He will send a Champion to defeat sin and Satan.  The champion is Jesus.  Throughout OT a Deliverer is promised, but the story begins here.  Through this passage, we learn three things about our need for a Savior.

First of all, we need a champion to face a foe we cannot beat.  A famous law school professor used to begin his first class every year by writing two numbers on the blackboard:  four and two, side-by-side.  Then he would ask, “What is the solution?”  One student would respond, “Six!”  Another would respond, “Two!”  Then several would shout, “Eight!”  The professor would shake his head “no” in response.  Then he said there was one fatal error they all made.  He said, “There is one reason why you cannot find the solution, and that is because you have failed to ask a key question:  What is the problem?  “Class, unless you know what the problem is, you will never find the solution.”  We are living in a world today that is searching for an answer to a problem it hasn’t identified.  No one can deny that the world is in a mess.  It is a mess morally, it is a mess financially, it is a mess politically, it is a mess socially.  All of these problems however, are a symptom of a greater problem – we are a mess spiritually.  We have never seen more interest in spiritual things than in our lifetime, yet we are looking in all the wrong places for the answers.  This problem goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, to the serpent.  If you’re not familiar with the story let me summarize.  Adam and Eve had a perfect environment.  They had perfect bodies, and perfect living conditions.  Everything was exactly as they needed it to be – there was nothing they lacked.  There was only one boundary in their entire universe, just one.  God told them, “You can eat of any tree in the Garden, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Don’t eat from that tree.”  That was it!  Obey one single rule, and you can enjoy everything else that your heart desires.  Things were going well until the serpent approached them.  Genesis 3:1-3 tells us, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”  Eve was under no obligation to respond at all to the serpent, also known in the Bible as Satan or the devil.  She didn’t have to say anything, but she began talking with him.  We should never start a discussion with the devil – it will always get us into trouble.  I read this past week about a lady who came home from a shopping spree.  Her husband asked, “What did you buy?”  She looked at him with an expression of shame and regret and said, “I bought a $500 dress.”  He exploded and said, “Why on earth did you do such a thing?”  She said, “The devil made me do it.”  He said, “Why didn’t you just say, ‘Satan, get behind me?”  She said, “Oh I did, and he told me it looked just as good from the back!”  Once Eve began the dialog with Satan, she caved.  Genesis 3:6 tells us, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”  Now we may think, “Wait a minute – that story is about Adam and Eve.  Just because they gave into the devil doesn’t mean that I will do the same.”  If they could not defeat Satan in a perfect world, what chance do you have in a sinful world?  You have no chance whatsoever apart from Jesus.  Some of you this morning may be secretly miserable.  You’re hooked on pornography, or drugs or sex.  You’re enslaved to your sin.  You may be trying to quit them, but you can’t.  You’re facing a foe you cannot beat.  God gave Adam and Eve a choice.  He provided them with the way to peace and happiness, but they rejected it.  From that moment until now, our number one enemy is the snake in the grass, the devil.  It’s important we realize that the devil is very much alive and active in your marriage, in your family, in your thought life, and in your work and school life.  On your own, he is a foe you cannot beat.

Then second, we need a champion to fight a war we cannot win.  Adam and Eve knew immediately after they ate the fruit that everything had changed for them.  Genesis 3:7 says, “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.”  For the very first time, Adam and Eve experienced the sensation of shame.  For the very first time, they were touched by the feeling of fear.  For the very first time, they knew the gloom of guilt.  Why did everything change?  The war had begun.  God said to Adam in Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  Wait a minute preacher!  Adam and Eve didn’t die – God must have missed it somehow.  Yes, they did die.  When they ate of the fruit, they began fighting in a battle for their lives.  They lost.  Every single one of us from that day until now is fighting in a battle for our lives, and each one of us will lose.  Apart from Jesus, you cannot win.  Following their sin Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, because they had become at odds with God.  They were in rebellion against Him.  Then in Genesis 3:15 we read, “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.”  What does enmity mean?  Webster’s online defines it as, “positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will”  So between human beings and the serpent, there is enmity.  There are two levels of this hatred, the first is on the physical level.  The vast majority of people don’t like snakes – they don’t want to be near a snake, they are not comfortable with snakes.  The vast majority of snakes don’t get along well with people – they are usually ready to strike when approached.  There are exceptions, but that’s the general rule – humans and snakes do not get along, at all.  That’s the enmity God put there.  In the beginning Eve was very cozy with the serpent –with the sin she committed and with God’s prophecy, the coziness is over.  Then there is the spiritual level of this enmity.  Satan would lash out at Jesus, causing him to suffer, but Jesus would crush his head and destroy his power.  From the offspring of the woman would come a Champion that would win this battle.  So today we are fighting a war we cannot win.  We fight it from outside influences, and we fight it from our selfishness and stubbornness.  Apart from the Champion, we cannot win.

Then, we see in this passage that we need a Champion to forgive a wrong we cannot right.  Our passage again says, “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.”  To Eve, this verse is a promise, saying that one day one of her offspring will make things right.  A very important part of this verse is the phrase translated “her offspring.”  Literally the translation is “seed” — it is used over 300 times in the Bible, and this verse is the only place it refers to the seed of the woman.  In every other place it refers to the seed of the man.  Technically and medically, a woman does not have the seed.  The man has the seed.  This particular offspring would be special, not having a human father.  For this seed to forgive the wrong, he would have to be sinless.  Only a sinless man could undo the sin man had done.  Only a sinless man could forgive a wrong that could not be righted.  So this seed is both the Son of Man, born of woman, and the Son of God, born of God.  The Champion will be both God and man.  With this Champion, two bruisings would occur.  The serpent would bruise his heel, he would wound him.  Isaiah 53:5 says of Jesus, But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (NKJV)  The Champion however, would bruise the serpent’s head.  The serpent would be subdued, his power to harm would be gone.
Romans 16:20 says to us today, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet….”  Not only does Jesus prevail over Satan, but we do too through Jesus.  We have a Champion who forgives a wrong that we cannot right.  The question you face is,
“Will I choose to win in life, or will I choose to lose?”  If you choose to win, you will choose to serve Jesus.  If you choose not to serve Jesus, you lose, because you can only prevail by following Him.  What will your choice be?

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