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THE CHRISTMAS CONFLICT

(SERMON #66 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, December 9, 2012

“And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).


I hope that you will never think of the serpent in Genesis as a fable or myth. The Book of Genesis is intended to be read as real history. There was a real serpent. There was a real Garden of Eden. There was a real Adam and a real Eve, who really sinned. As a result the human race is really fallen, and mankind is really totally depraved.

The Book of Revelation calls Lucifer “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). The Devil sought to tempt Eve and destroy the human race. But he could not appear to her as a spirit, for a spirit is invisible. Therefore he had to enter the body of a living creature, as he and his demons entered into a herd of swine in the days of Christ. And so, determined to lead the human race into sin, Satan entered into the body of that reptile.

When God came to deal with the serpent, He did not question whether he was guilty or not. God already knew of the serpent’s guilt. And so God pronounced this sentence upon it,

“Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (Genesis 3:14).

This must have encouraged our first parents. Satan was their enemy. He had led them into sin and ruin. He was also God’s enemy. And so God told the Devil that He would send the “seed of the woman,” and by Him Satan’s head would receive a mortal bruise, and mankind would be blest.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

I will point out three things from that text.

I. First, the woman’s seed points to Christ.

The “seed of the woman” can only be a reference to a human descendant of Eve who would have no human father. Throughout the Bible “seed” refers only to the issue of men, the “seed” that fertilizes the woman’s egg. Therefore the “seed of the woman” would have to be miraculously implanted in a woman’s womb. Therefore this prophecy points clearly to the future virgin birth of Christ. By being implanted in the womb of the Virgin Mary, Christ would not inherit the sin nature which would disqualify every son of Adam from being a Saviour from sin. As the angel Gabriel said to Mary,

“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

II. Second, there would be unending war between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

God said,

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed…” (Genesis 3:15).

Enmity, hostility, hatred – forever, between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Dr. John Gill (1697-1771) said, “And it is also true of Satan and the church of God in all ages, between whom there is an irreconcilable hatred, and a perpetual war: And between thy seed and her seed…evil angels and also wicked men [that Christ] called serpents; and a generation of vipers on the one hand, and the people of God on the other, the seed of the church: the latter of which are hated and persecuted by the former, and so it has been since this affair happened” (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, p. 27; comment on Genesis 3:15).

Here we see the perpetual, unending war between the forces of Satan and the forces of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ spoke plainly about those who have Satan as their father, and are thus his seed. He said to them,

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do…” (John 8:44).

And in the first Epistle of John we read,

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (I John 3:10).

The seed of the serpent are “the children of the devil.” The seed of the woman are “the children of God.” That is the statement of I John 3:10. The division became clear very early, when Cain murdered his brother Abel. Cain was of the seed of the serpent. Abel was of the seed of the woman, which is Christ. The Bible says,

“Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous” (I John 3:12).

The children of Satan, the seed of the serpent, have a natural hostility, hatred, and enmity toward the children of Christ, the seed of the woman. Jesus called the “seed of the serpent” the “world.” Under the domination of the Devil, this present world is an enemy of true Christians. Jesus said,

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” The “world” is the seed of the serpent. They hate the seed of the woman, who are the seed of Christ. That is why Christians are hated and persecuted today.

You don’t have to explain that to children. If one of them becomes a real Christian, the others will immediately gang up on him and tease him. They will say things like, “You think you’re such a goodie goodie!” From a very early age, children of the serpent have enmity and hatred toward the children of Christ. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed” (Genesis 3:15). It even happens in the adult church. When the lost teenagers in the church see one of their friends become a serious Christian, they will turn from him, talk behind his back, slander him, and deliberately look for faults in him, so they can talk bad about him. Every pastor’s child goes through that mental torture. Years ago, when some wicked people were in charge of our Sunday School, my boys were constantly made to sit in the corner, and disciplined for even the slightest thing, and often for nothing at all. This was done, of course, because of their enmity toward the pastor, and ultimately, toward God. Every child that comes through any church has to go through this test, or they cannot be a real Christian! A children’s song makes all this clear,

Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will serve the King?
   Who will be His helpers, Other lives to bring?
Who will leave the world’s side? Who will face the foe?
   Who is on the Lord’s side? Who for Him will go?
(“Who is on the Lord’s Side?” by Frances R. Havergal, 1836-1879).

Most adults in the church don’t realize that the Sunday School, or children’s group, is always a fierce battleground between the seed of the serpent and the seed of Christ.

Of course, that is also true for every adult as well. Preachers are often cowed and intimidated by unconverted people in their congregations. Usually, today, pastors don’t realize why certain people in their churches are against them. I believe that the greatest problem facing godly pastors is the turmoil caused in their churches by members who are of the seed of the serpent, rather than the seed of Christ. Lost church members cause constant problems in their congregations.

This friction goes on in the workplace as well. A Christian in the workplace is often singled out and blamed or criticized for very minor things. If you are working, you know what I mean. And I am telling you this so you won’t think there is something wrong with you. It’s a cross that every real Christian has to bear.

What about Christmas? After all, this sermon is titled, “The Christmas Conflict.” And that’s a good title, because there is a lot of conflict going on over Christmas today. News commentator Bill O’Reilly calls it “The War on Christmas.” The Governor of an Eastern state refuses to call the state tree a “Christmas tree.” He calls it a “Holiday tree.” There’s been a lot of talk about that.

Billy Graham’s current Decision (December, 2012) magazine has an article titled “Fighting Back When Society Censors Christ.” The article told about a mother who had seen many moms come to the local school and talk about various holidays, religions and cultures. When she asked if she could do the same for Christmas, she was told “yes.” “Like the other moms, she started by explaining the basis of the holiday by reading from a book. Her book, however, was the Bible. When she pulled it out, you would have thought she ignited a bomb. The teacher immediately said, ‘Oh, NO! You’ll have to put that away.’ It was embarrassing. While other books, religious or not, were allowed, the Bible was not. This all happened in front of the children” (Decision, 12, 2012, p. 4).

Senior citizens in Winter Park, Florida were recently banned from singing Christmas carols in their own homes. In New York City, the NYC Environmental Protection Agency permitted its employees to have Hanukkah banners and to celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali, but banned Christmas banners, red and green decorations, and Christmas trees. In Plano, Texas school officials prohibited children from giving out pencils imprinted with the words “Jesus is the reason for the season.” A school official there even banned children from writing “Merry Christmas” in notes to soldiers in Iraq. In New York City, a parent objected to a school’s holiday display, which included menorahs and the Muslim Star and Crescent – but banned a Nativity scene. Both a federal district court and the appeals court held that Nativity scenes should remain banned from the public school’s holiday display, while the menorahs and Muslim Star and Crescents could remain because, according to the courts, “students would not perceive these displays to be endorsing Judaism or Islam.” The Decision article said, “Unfortunately, this type of religious censorship is all too common around Christmas time.” And you know this is true. In many places you can’t even say “Merry Christmas” anymore. Now it’s always “Happy Holidays.” Whenever anyone says that to me, I always reply, “Merry Christmas!” But it is increasingly clear that the “seed of the serpent” hates to celebrate the birth of Christ, and they attack those Christians who are trying to keep Christmas a Christian holiday!

I have been viciously attacked for telling young people they need to be in church on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. They say I am a legalistic tyrant for telling you to be in church rather than some dance hall or drunken party. Now you know where that kind of talk is coming from! God said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed...” The “seed of the serpent” will always be against the “seed of Christ.” There’s nothing new about that! The serpent’s people don’t want you in church on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve! I certainly hope you don’t listen to them! Be with us in church at Christmas and at New Year’s Eve!

Now, how are you going to celebrate Christmas? Are you going to be with those who belong to the “seed of the serpent”? Or will you be here in church with us? That is “The Christmas Conflict.” Nothing has changed since the Garden of Eden! “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed...” There is a war going on between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. But there is one more point.

III. Third, Christ will win the war.

The text ends by saying, “...it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

That is the end of the great conflict. Satan, who leads the powers of evil in this world, will fight against God to the end. But in the end Christ, the seed of the woman, will bruise Satan’s head. That is a mortal blow! This was accomplished when the Lord Jesus died on the Cross, for by dying He honored the law, put away sin, slew death, and defeated Hell! And when Christ rose from the dead, Spurgeon said, “he unhinged the gate of the sepulchre and carried it away, as Samson carried the gates of Gaza – post and bar, and all; when he opened the doorways of heaven and led captivity captive; then, indeed the head of the dragon was broken. What can Satan do now?...Christ hath crushed him...the seed of the woman hath broken the power of the enemy! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! He hath cast down the prince of darkness from his high places. Did not he himself say, ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven’? He hath bruised the serpent’s head.

This bruise upon the head of the evil [one] is a mortal stroke. If he had been bruised upon the tail, or upon the neck, he might have survived; but the Lord shall utterly slay the kingdom of evil, and crush out its power...Christ himself, the seed of the woman, shall come a second time, and he shall reign on earth...and his right hand shall exalt his people. His foot shall tread down their enemy. May you and I be among that happy throng that shall salute the Seed of the Woman in his second advent – [when He comes down from Heaven to reign over all the earth]. By the Seed of the Woman is Paradise restored to us, and all the mischief of the Fall is undone...” (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Serpent’s Sentence,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1974 reprint, volume XXXVI, pp. 527, 528).

Now, I ask you, which side are you on? Are you with the seed of the serpent – or are you with the seed of the woman, which is Christ? It’s one or the other. Which is it for you? Which side are you really on in your heart? Are you with Christ, or are you with the serpent’s people? Everyone here this morning is on one side or the other! I pray that you will leave the serpent’s side, and come over with Jesus and His people. Jesus will pardon your sin and give you eternal life. Jesus’ side is the winning side. Come to Him. Trust Him. Salvation will be yours through His sin-cleansing Blood! And if you wish to speak with us about the salvation of your soul, please leave your seat and step to the back of the room right now. Mr. Lee, please lead us in prayer.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: I John 3:10-13.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Who is on the Lord’s Side?” (by Frances R. Havergal, 1836-1879).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE CHRISTMAS CONFLICT

(SERMON #66 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).

(Revelation 12:9)

I.   First, the woman’s seed points to Christ, Luke 1:35; Genesis 3:15.

II.  Second, there would be unending war between the seed of the
woman and the seed of the serpent, Genesis 3:15a; John 8:44;
I John 3:10, 12; John 15:18-19.

III. Third, Christ will win the war, Genesis 3:15b.