This sermon is part of the sermon series "The Warrior". See series.
It happens to all of us. It happens at different times, in different places, and in different ways. Sometimes it happens when you go out on your first date with a person you are really attracted to. Sometimes it happens when you start paying your own bills for the first time. Sometimes it happens when you wake up for the first time and experience depression, not knowing why. Sometimes it happens on your honeymoon. At some point, we all wake up to the brutal realization that life is a battle, and we are in a war.
Do you ever feel like life is a battle? You should, because it is. Do you ever feel like sometimes you are in a war? If you do, that is good, because you are. We all have to fight our own battles on a daily basis.
There are no conscientious objectors to this war. There are no deferments from this battlefield. Fame and fortune will not keep you out of the fight. John Daly, the PGA golfer, battles alcohol. Tiger Woods battles lust. Mike Tyson battles anger. Drew Carey, the host of "The Price Is Right," battled depression so badly that twice, before he was 20-years-old, he attempted to take his own life. The incredible Hulk battles a terrific temper. The truth is, we all fight our own wars, and we all face constant battles, whether it is greed, selfishness, or bitterness.
Everywhere you look, wars are being fought. There are wars between nations, wars between spouses, and wars between governments. Wars perpetually occur, and people are always willing to fight.
I have three questions about this war. How did it start? How can we win it? How will it end? The answers to these questions can be found in the story of the Warrior.
Beginning with Genesis 3, the Bible tells a story about a warrior, who is coincidentally also known as the Prince of Peace. He is the only warrior that is capable of winning this war. He alone will have the victory, and he alone will bring us everlasting peace.
The story begins in a garden, the Garden of Eden. It was a place of perfect peace. There were only two people in the garden: a man named Adam and a woman named Eve. They were at perfect peace with God, perfect peace with each other, and perfect peace with themselves. Then, something happened. To this day, it is the most tragic event in human history. This event plunged our world into a conflict that we continue to fight today.
God's solution to this problem is wrapped up in a single verse in Genesis 3 that provides hope for the entire world: "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
Amazingly, peace is wrapped up in a promise and a prophecy. This verse promises that a warrior will come to rescue us from conflict; it prophesies that this warrior is none other than Jesus Christ.
As we begin this three-part series titled The Warrior, you need to understand that the story of the Warrior is the story of the Bible. But it should also become the story of your life. You need a warrior who can fight the battle of life for you.
We face a foe we cannot beat
A great 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 call out, "Six." Another would cry out, "Two." Then several would shout out, "Eight!" In response to each answer, the teacher would shake his head no. Then the professor pointed out the 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 this 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 that is trying to find a solution to a problem that it hasn't properly identified. Nobody can deny this world is in a mess. It is in a mess morally. People debate the definition and meaning of marriage. We face terrorism on an unprecedented scale. Things we were once told were wrong are now right, and vice versa.
This world is in a mess politically. We are fighting two wars on two different fronts, and there is political unrest on almost every continent.
This world is in a mess economically. We are currently experiencing the worst global crisis since the Great Depression. America is running up deficits at an unprecedented rate. Entire cities in our nation and entire countries are on the brink of declaring bankruptcy.
But all of these problems are a symptom of a greater problem: this world is in a mess spiritually. We have never seen more interest in spiritual things in our lifetime, yet there has never been more cultural and societal chaos than now.
The problem, in one sense, goes all the way back to a snake in the grass. If you are not familiar with the story, let me catch you up. God created Adam and Eve. He put them in a perfect environment—the Garden of Eden. There was absolutely nothing that could make them do wrong. There was no pornography, no X-rated movies, and no one to envy. There was no need for greed, because they had everything they could possibly want. God said they could eat from any tree in the garden, except for one tree. It was off limits, out of bounds.
Then came the snake in the grass:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die'" (Genesis 3:1-3, NIV).
The Bible identifies this snake as Satan, popularly known as the Devil. All Adam and Eve had to do was simply say one single word, and they, and we, would have lived happily ever after. That word was no. But they made the mistake of dialoguing with the Devil. Let me warn you: never discuss anything with the Devil. Today, there are pregnant teenagers, drug-addicts, and spouses neck-deep in adultery because they dialogued with the Devil.
I heard about a lady who came home from a shopping spree one day, and her husband asked, "What did you buy?" She looked at him rather sheepishly and said, "I bought a 500-dollar dress." He hit the ceiling and said, "Why did you do that?" She said, "The Devil made me do it." He said, "Why didn't you just say, 'Satan, get thee behind me?'" She said, "I did, and he said it looked just as good from back there."
That is what happened to Eve; everything went south: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it" (Genesis 3:6).
You might think, That was Adam and Eve. That wasn't me. Just because they gave in to the Devil doesn't mean that I will. But think about it this way: If they could not defeat the Devil in a perfect world, what chance do you have in the world we live in right now? You don't have a chance apart from God. Some of you live miserable lives. Some of you are hooked on pornography, some of you are addicted to drugs, and some of you are sleeping around. You are enslaved to your sin. You might be trying to quit these things, but you can't. You face a foe you cannot beat.
God gave Adam and Eve a choice. He provided a way of life filled with peace and happiness, but they rejected that way. He gave them a word to obey, but they chose to disobey. He gave them the will to follow his plan, but they didn't do it. From that moment until now, your number one enemy and my number one enemy is that same snake in the grass. You need to understand that the Devil is alive, and he is busy on planet earth. He is alive and in your home, in your family, in your marriage, in your sex life, in your thought life, and in your work life. On your own, he is a foe you cannot beat.
We fight a war we cannot win
The moment sin entered our world, God declared war against Satan. Satan, on the other hand, declared war against both God and us.
Adam and Eve knew immediately that everything had changed: "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves" (Genesis 3:7). For the first time, Adam and Eve experienced the sickness of shame. For the first time, they were touched by the finger of fear. For the first time, they were haunted by the ghost of guilt. Do you know why? The war was on.
We don't fully realize how tragic this was. For the first time in human history, a man's wife had to go shopping for clothes. Imagine their conversation: "Adam," cried Eve,
To cover my carcass
I've ordered a fig leaf
From Neiman Marcus.
Remember, God made a promise to Adam. It was the first promise God ever made to anyone. He said, "But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die" (Genesis 2:17).
At first glance, it appears that God missed it. It does not appear that Adam and Eve died. But they did. According to the Bible, death is not primarily the separation of the soul from the body. It is primarily the separation of the spirit from God. The moment Adam and Eve ate that fruit, something inside of them died. Adam died immediately in his spirit, he began to die progressively in his soul, and ultimately his body would stop functioning. He died.
Ever since that moment, we have been in a war against sin. Apart from God, nobody has ever won that war. Apart from God, nobody ever will.
Do you know what we really are today apart from God? We are POWs—Prisoners of War. Look at what happened in verse 24: "After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24).
Why did God drive them out? He drove them out because they were no longer on his side. They had taken sides against God, and so now they were, because of sin, at war with God. Satan was not the only one in war with God. Humanity was now at war with God.
Now we come to this tremendous verse: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" (Genesis 3:15). The Lord said there would be enmity between the serpent and the woman, between her seed and his seed. Do you know what enmity means? It literally means war or conflict.
One of the top three most terrible days in the history of this nation was December 7, 1941, the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. President Franklin Roosevelt declared war, a war that would eventually cost 50 million lives, with these famous words: "This is the day which will live in infamy."
At the beginning of time, Satan dropped his bomb of sin on the Garden of Eden, and God basically said: This is the day that will live in infamy.
On that day, God declared war against sin, against Satan, and against anyone who would continue to rebel against him. From that moment until now, there has been, and there always will be, two wars that are going on. There is a war from without, and there is a war from within. There is a war going on right now between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. That's the war without. But there is also a war going on within. We do things we know we shouldn't do, and we don't do things we know we should do. We mess up and ask for forgiveness, but then we turn around and do the same sinful thing again. No matter how hard we try, we can't get things right. We can't be perfect.
But don't feel bad. Everybody fights this war. Tiger Woods, Barrack Obama, and the pope fight the war against sin. On your own, it is a war you cannot win.
Please understand, I am not being pessimistic; I am being realistic. In the history of this world, no mere human has ever won this war. No mere human ever will. That is why God's promise is so important. It tells us about the final outcome.
There is a warrior who cannot lose
Listen to this verse again: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" (Genesis 3:15). For the people of Israel, this verse became a ray of hope in a dark world. To Satan, it was God's declaration of war. To Eve, it was God's forgiving word. Although Eve had disobeyed God, one of her descendants would give birth to the one who would make things right.
The key to this verse is the phrase "her seed." The word seed is used over 300 times in the Bible, and this is the only time it is used to describe the seed of a woman. Every other time it describes the seed of a man. Technically and medically speaking, a woman does not have a seed. The woman has the egg; the man has the seed. Why would God speak of the seed of a woman? How can a woman have a seed?
There can only be one explanation, and it is found in Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). This was a prophecy about something only God could do. The Warrior is going to be a human being. He is going to have an earthly mother. But it says he is of the seed of a woman. He is not going to have an earthly father. But we know every child has to have a father. Therefore, the only father this child will have is the heavenly Father.
This seed could not be a son of a man like Adam; he would have failed just like Adam. He had to be a human in order to fight and win the battle that Adam lost. But only a sinless man could undo what a sinful man had done. In order to be a sinless man, he also had to be divine. Only God is sinless. Therefore, this seed was both the Son of Man and the Son of God.
From this point on, from the rest of the Old Testament to the Gospels, this mystery unfolds. A warrior is coming. He will be of the human race and come from a woman. He will not be an angel. He will not be a visitor from another world. He won't be just an ordinary human. He will also be God. This warrior is not just a man. This warrior is not just God. He is the God-man.
God prophesied that when the seed of the woman came, two bruisings would take place. He said, "He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel" (Genesis 3:15, NASB). The serpent's head would be bruised, and the Savior's heel would be bruised. The Warrior will not go unbloodied. He will not fight this battle without being wounded. He will be bruised. Isaiah says, "He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5, NJKV).
But there is a second bruising to take place, a bruising of the serpent's head. You don't have to be a doctor to figure out that the bruising of your brain is worse than the bruising of your foot. A bruise to the foot can cripple you, but a bruise to the head can kill you.
The Warrior took his bruising 2,000 years ago at a place called Calvary. But what about the snake? What about the bruising of his head? God promised that we are going to win this war if we belong in his army. If we are on the side of the Warrior, our victory is guaranteed. But he won't just win the fight for us; he will let us take part in the victory. Scripture says, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Romans 16:20, NIV). God is going to crush Satan. God is going to forever conquer sin. Satan will not just be under God's foot; he will be under our feet, too.
Adam started a war he could not win against a foe he could not beat. We face that same foe, and we fight that same war. However, we are going to win, because we have a warrior that cannot lose.
Some men were talking about the body of Christ, about which part of his body they would like to be, since the Bible says Christians make up the members of his body. One man said, "I would like to be his heart so I could love like he loves." Another said, "I would like to be his eyes so that I could see and understand the way he sees and understands." Another said, "I would like to be his brain so I could know everything he knows." But another man, who had come from a particularly hard, sinful life, who had been beaten and battered by the Devil most of his life until he gave his life to Jesus, smiled and said, "I would like to be one of his feet so that I could bruise the Devil's head." That day is coming, guaranteed, because of the Warrior.
James Merritt is the Senior Pastor of Cross Pointe Church. His media teaching ministry, Touchinglives, is broadcast around the country and throughout the world. Dr. Merritt is also the author of numerous books, including How to Impact and Influence Others.