Your Dread Enemy
These are the readings for the Third Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
Adam and Eve ruined everything for everyone. They destined themselves for death. They took the perfect world that God created for everyone and put it under constant attack from all the demons. But God made a promise almost immediately. God said he would send a descendant of Eve to crush Satan’s power. Jesus, that descendant, demonstrated his authority over Satan even before he rose from the dead.
First Lesson – Genesis 3:8-15
Why were Adam and Eve hiding from God?
Adam and Eve hid from God because his nearness exposed their guilt. Satan had promised Eve that she would be like God; instead, Adam and Eve became fools, thinking they could hide from the One who sees all. And Adam and Eve ran away from their best friend, rather than turning to him and repenting. How tragic when we do the same!
How did Adam and Eve respond to being “found out”?
Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the snake. Adam, in effect, blamed God for the situation he was in that supposedly made him fall (“the woman you put here with me…she gave me…”) Look at your own response to being found out for your sin. Real repentance owns up to the full guilt of your reactions, as well as your previous actions.
How did God respond to Adam and Eve’s deadly fall?
God responded in amazing love by providing a way of escape. He set up the only plan to undo the damage of sin. He promised that a “seed” of the woman (Jesus) would crush Satan’s head, even when his own heel was struck. That promise came true when Jesus died for us and rose again.
Traditional Second Lesson – 2 Corinthians 4:13-18
What gave Paul and the apostles boldness to speak?
What you have in your heart and mind will show itself in what you say. Their “spirit of faith” was based on the assurance that since Jesus was raised from the dead, all believers will follow suit.
How did this affect them in their daily pains and troubles?
They didn’t “lose heart” even though their health was deteriorating and circumstances were hitting them hard. They saw those as “momentary” in comparison with what they were going to experience in eternity with Jesus. Instead, those things helped them keep the focus on what is eternal rather than the common short-sightedness connected with the material world.
Supplemental Second Lesson – Revelation 20:1-6
In Revelation 1:18, Jesus said he holds the keys of death and Hades. Who, then, is the angel?
This angel seems to be Jesus himself.
Will Jesus reign on earth for 1,000 years before judgment day?
No, Jesus will not reign visibly on earth for 1000 years before judgment day. He is reigning right now in heaven for 1000 years (a picture of the New Testament era). Those beheaded for their faith reign with him. They are winners, though when they died, they seemed losers to the world.
Gospel – Mark 3:20-35
What accusation did the religious leaders level against Jesus?
The leaders said that Jesus was demon-possessed (possessed by Beelzebub, “Lord of the Flies”). They claimed Jesus must be one of them if he could drive demons out.
How did he counter their argument?
Jesus said Satan could not survive if he worked against himself. “A house divided against itself will not stand.”
Is there any sin for which people will not be forgiven?
Those who turn against the Holy Spirit’s workings in their lives through the gospel and fall away from Christ shut him out. They persistently wall themselves off from the only thing that could save them—God’s forgiveness.