Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 28 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House.  This is Pastor Bill and we are wrapping up our three part look at Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.”  In the first week we covered the phrase “put on” and talked about it being dressing up to send a message and equated it to the parable of the sower and the soil. Choosing to be good soil, choosing to put on the armor of God in honor.  In part two we looked at “whole armor” or Panopoly and that using this word communicates to us that this collection of armor is an impressive collection that will take great effort and time to collect. Now we get to talk about the schemes of the devil.  The word schemes there is the Greek word:

G3180 μεθοδεία methodeia meth-od-i'-ah From a compound of G3326 and G3593 [compare “method”]; traveling over, that is, travesty, (trickery): - wile, lie in wait.

In English it's the word method.  It also means travesty, trickery, or to lie in wait.  In Latin we say modus operandi, method of operation, or MO.  Let's talk about the MO of the devil. 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour."  The roaring lion is the one that is the largest most impressive specimen that stands on one side of a clearing and roars. The prey that he's looking to devour sees that massive creature and hears that awesomely terrifying roar, turns in the opposite direction and runs away.  Gives up all sense of sensibility and ends up running right into the arms of the younger, stronger, more fierce lions waiting on the other side of the clearing. They quickly finish off the prey and the roaring lion just meanders over and takes his fill.

The thing you have to realize about the roaring lion is this is the old lion.  He's lived a long life, he doesn't have as much energy as he used to, some of his teeth have fallen out and in order to actually finish off the prey would be quite the struggle for this lion.  He could still do it, he could finish off the prey, but it would be a lot of work for him. The devil works like this, he sets up camp between you and what the Lord has for you, roars, and sits back to watch the misdirection as his prey runs right into the arms of failure.

We can see this MO at work in Genesis 3.  "Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden’?”  This is where Eve tells the serpent that they can eat the fruit from every tree except one, and in fact they can’t even touch the fruit from that tree or they will die. Where’d she got that information from?  When God told Adam that they couldn’t eat from that tree Eve hadn't been created yet. So remember that means either Adam incorrectly retold God's words to Eve, or Eve retold them wrong to the serpent. Either way one of them embellished the word of God, twisted it, mixed it with a lie.

As a kid I remember hearing this story and I used to think, "Where's Adam? If Adam had only been there when this interaction happened that would be different!”  I would imagine Adam grabbing the serpent by the neck choking it, a huge wrestling match between the first man and this huge serpent. Eventually Adam would get the upper hand, he and his wife would have enjoyed smoked serpent for dinner, and they would have serpent jerky from the leftovers for the next few months.

If you're looking up the scriptures I mention as we go along, which you should be, now or later, because that's our MO here on The Berean Manifesto. Then look down at 3:6, “The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom.  So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” There are two takeaways from this verse. The first is that the serpent has Eve so twisted that she’s now looking at the fruit that just a moment ago she said she couldn’t even touch without dying and now believes it’s “desirable for obtaining wisdom.”  This isn’t true though, this is the lie that the serpent was selling without even saying it and she’s bought into it. She now believes this lie as the truth instead of the words of God to not eat the fruit.

The second takeaway is in that word “with” in the phrase “husband with her.”  It doesn't mean in the general sense. As in he was with her in the garden, but in reality he was on the other side of the garden oblivious to this interaction and she had to carry the fruit to him.  No, this is the word:

H5973 עִם ‛im eem From H6004; adverb or preposition, with (that is, in conjunction with), in varied applications; specifically equally with; often with prepositional prefix (and then usually unrepresented in English): - accompanying, against, and, as (X long as), before, beside, by (reason of), for all, from (among, between), in, like, more than, of, (un-) to, with (-al).

It means with, but it means it in the specific sense like the word beside.  Adam was right there beside her, this was his chance to speak up and set the record straight, but he didn't.  Adam just stood there watching the interaction, watching as things, very quickly, went south.

When the roaring lion roars, everyone has to deal with that threat in their own mind, in their own life, on their own terms. My wife and I can see the same threat coming, but we're both going to react to it in our own way.  Here Eve doesn't actually know exactly what God said, or thinks what God said needs to be improved upon. And if it’s Adams fault, he isn't going to fess up to his lie and course correct the situation. Either way, one of them opened up a foothold for the Devil and they both fell for his schemes.

At this point all the devil had to do was salt the truth. He saw that they saw him and that they were not going to confront him with the truth and so the serpent says, Genesis 3:4-5 “[4] "No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman. [5] “In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.””  Because the enemies victim doesn't know or isn’t going to champion the truth, the enemy doesn’t have to directly lie, it can simply mislead concerning the truth.

That's part of the MO of the devil, partial truth. He was a liar from the very beginning. The devil knows very well how to salt the truth.  Eve claims if she touches the fruit she will die. Eve’s confession is a lie. All the devil has to do is say, “You will not die.” He only has to tell the truth, or at least enough of the truth to be attractive.  They won’t die if they touch the fruit.

That's how the devil works, he plays on partial truth, he plays on fear, he plays on your inability to fess up. How do we prepare ourselves to stand up against those schemes? We put on the whole armor of God. We choose what camp, what type of soil we want to be in and we put on the armor so we can stand up against the schemes, the modus operandi of the devil.

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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