TEXT: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-19
The students will understand that temptation comes to all, but that it is yielding to temptation that results in sin. They will further realize that if we ask for it, God does give strength to overcome temptation.
God put man in the Garden with the instructions to dress it and keep it. Undoubtedly the Creator felt that man would be happier if given some type of activity. God placed one restriction upon our fore parents and, sad to say, they failed to be obedient in that.
Verse 6 of our text states that the tree was “good for food,” “pleasant to the eyes,” and a tree “to make one wise.” Adam Clarke brings out that these are representative of the three sources from which all moral evil sprang.
They are exactly what the Apostle calls the desire of the flesh (the tree was good for food); the desire of the eye (the tree was pleasant to the sight); and the pride of life (the tree would bring wisdom).
The first sin in the universe was an act of free will in which the creature deliberately, responsibly, and with adequate understanding of the issues, chose to corrupt the holy, godly character with which God originally endowed His creation.
Temptation is the means by which Satan attempts to deceive mankind into disobeying God. It is the common lot of all. But a Christian who faces up to temptation and utilizes the source of his strength—the overcoming power of God—will not fall into sin as did Adam and Eve.
- What is the dictionary definition of the word tempt?
Response: Originally tempt meant “to test or try.” It is generally defined as “to try to persuade (a person), induce, entice, allure, especially to something sensually pleasurable or immoral.” However, it is important to make clear to your students that this lesson is dealing with temptation that would lead into sin. You might ask your students what some of the different types of temptation are.
- Give a definition of sin.
Response: Allow time for your students to give their definitions. Consider using 1 John 3:4 as part of your response. The dictionary defines sin as “the breaking of religious law or a moral principle, especially through a willful act.” Where there is no knowledge of good and evil, sin cannot be imputed. See Romans 5:13. Eve, who knew exactly what the Lord had told her not to do, transgressed when she yielded.
- Temptation always precedes sin and yet it is obvious the two are not the same. Yielding to Satan’s temptations is what causes sin. What means did God provide for Adam and Eve to escape yielding to the temptation?
Response: Your students may have a variety of answers. However, the main thought that should come from this question is the fact that God made man with the power of choice—He made man a free moral agent. He could have served God implicitly, obeying and believing Him. Through the ages of time man has been faced with making a choice between obeying God or giving in to temptation to do wrong. You may wish to ask for examples of Biblical characters who escaped sinning by their choice of not yielding to temptation. Some examples may include the three Hebrew children, Daniel, and Joseph.
- How did the serpent’s question, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” lead into temptation?
Response: His question contained the characteristic of instilling a doubt in the mind of Eve regarding God’s Word. Satan is a disputer, and many times he openly challenges; but at other times he comes quietly, and very subtly presents a question in the mind as to whether it is actually wrong to do something under certain circumstances. Ask the students to give some examples of how the devil uses these methods today.
- The devil promised Eve that she and Adam would be as gods, knowing good and evil. What could they gain by yielding?
Response: Since Adam and Eve had known nothing but good, the only thing they could gain was the knowledge of evil and the awful sorrow it causes in a life. This knowledge brought condemnation, and plunged the whole human race into sin.
- Sin was introduced by the first lie. What was the first lie? What are the characteristics of a lie?
Response: “Ye shall not surely die.” As sin was introduced by a lie, so has it been mainly sustained and propagated. Lies are conceived in the mind and heart. They may be uttered by the lips or they may be acted out in life. That which presents the unreal as truth, or is meant to deceive by what is said or unsaid, is a lie.
- Using 1 John 2:16, what are the points of contact with the world that would lead us into temptation?
Response: This question could lend itself to some lengthy discussion. You might want to split your class three ways for a few minutes and have each group explain one of the following: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Then bring the groups back together and have one person from each group tell what that group’s thoughts were. The class should conclude that their natural senses—sight, taste, touch, hearing, smell—are their contacts with the world. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life were all included in the first temptation, and every other one that has followed.
- John 17:15-16 indicates that we do not need to be taken out of the world in order to be kept from evil. List several things we can do to avoid being overcome by temptation.
Response: You may want to use a circle response to get a variety of answers. (Always remember to inform the students that if they prefer not to contribute, they may pass, and you will go on to the next student.) The students’ answers may include: fleeing from temptation, avoiding situations which would make one vulnerable to temptation, keeping a spirit of worship and praise to God in the heart, placing a high value on what God has said, fortifying themselves with the Word of God, and having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. See Isaiah 59:19.
Through man’s temptation and subsequent yielding, the curse of sin was brought into the world. But God offers mercy through His plan of redemption. The first promise of this is given in Genesis 3:15. On the Cross, the heel of the Savior was bruised in death, but the head of the serpent (Satan) is bruised every time a lost soul is redeemed or one of God’s redeemed withstands temptation.
Show your students two boxes—one wrapped beautifully and one plainly. Have something good or beautiful in the plain box; nothing in the fancy one. Explain how the things that look tempting may not always prove to be the best choice.
Needed: Mousetrap and bait (cheese). How could any mouse be dumb enough to walk into this big wooden trap? But when you set a trap, the mouse doesn’t look at the wood and springs and such. All he sees is the bait, that small bit of good cheese you have set there for him.
That is what traps him! Satan does the same thing. He doesn’t show you the big trap you will be caught up in if you sin. He just shows you the tantalizing bits of pleasure. But that moment of pleasure can trap you so that you are controlled by sin. Take a good look at the pleasures around you, then look beyond them to see where they will lead you. Don’t get trapped!
Take to class a fishhook and bait, mousetrap, flypaper, duck call, and other such traps and ask what they have in common. Discuss and list things that might be “traps” for us.
Have two students do a dialogue between Adam and Eve as she tempts him to bite into the forbidden fruit.