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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, November 27, 2016

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).

The first man Adam was created by God in perfect innocence. He was placed in a beautiful Garden. Every tree in that Garden was good for food. Adam could reach up and pluck delicious food. He had no worries and no enemies in that lovely Garden. All of the animals and birds were vegetarians.  There were none that would hurt the man or harm him in any way. The man himself was a vegetarian, so he had no need to kill animals to eat their flesh. Everything in the Garden of Eden was peaceful. There were no storms for him to hide from, for it never rained. “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:6). The man had nothing to worry about. He had no diseases to make him sick. He had no enemies to fight against him, and no animals to fear. It was a perfect paradise.

And Adam had no sin to trouble him. He had no sin nature within him, no psychological problems to worry him. Adam was at peace within himself. Adam was at peace with God. It was a perfect paradise. He didn’t even need to worry about finding a girlfriend. God made a perfect, beautiful, pleasing girl to comfort him and help him as his wife. So he was never lonely. Since she was perfect, there was no chance of her breaking his heart, no chance of her leaving him, no possibility that she would ever stop loving him or leave him. Since there was no sin she satisfied his every sexual desire and need without displeasing God. It was a perfect paradise.

God spoke to him every day in perfect harmony. He was never tempted then. He did not need to do anything to appease God’s wrath, for there was no wrath to appease. He lived with a beautiful woman who loved him. He lived in a garden full of delicious food. He was at peace with God. It was a perfect paradise.

And God gave him only one law. And it was a very easy law for him to keep. Only one very easy commandment to obey. God said to him, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). That’s all God required of him. All he had to do was not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was a very easy law to keep. It was a perfect paradise.

However, there was one other person in the Garden. Satan was there. He had been one of the angels in Heaven. But he rebelled against God and was cast out onto the earth. Satan was the enemy of God. But Adam was protected from him by the Lord. The only way Satan could hurt the heart of God was to get Adam to rebel against God too.

There were two trees that were most important in that Garden. The first was the tree of life. If Adam kept eating the fruit of that tree, he would live forever in the paradise of Eden (Genesis 3:22). But if he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would die. It was a perfect paradise – with only one law to obey – eat from the tree of life and live forever. That was the positive side of the law. Eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and you will die. That was the negative side of the law. It was a very simple law – and easy to obey. Eat from this tree and live forever. Eat of the other tree and you will die. It was a perfect paradise with one, and only one, law to obey – a very, very easy law to obey.

Now, because God protected Adam and his wife, Satan could not harm them. All he could do was tempt them, tempt them to break that simple law. Satan was not a writhing snake. That happened later when God cursed him and the serpent. But now, at this time, Satan had entered some creature in the Garden. As later he and his demons entered into the swine at Christ’s command. Here, however, he appeared as “an angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:14).

We do not know what the original serpent looked like. But we know it had legs. And we know that it must have been a creature they saw often in the Garden of Eden, for Eve was not frightened by it. We also know that Satan had entered this animal and spoke through its mouth to the wife of Adam. She was not surprised when it spoke to her. She had probably spoken with it many times and got used to talking with it. That is the way he does even today. He speaks to sinners in their minds, until they get used to him, and are not afraid of him.

One day Eve was alone in the Garden. Adam was somewhere else tending the Garden “to dress it and to keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Eve was in the midst of the Garden, gazing at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is when Satan came to her. That is when the serpent whispered to her, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Then the serpent questioned the Word of God. That is what Satan does even today. He tempts us not to believe the Word of God in the Bible. He tempts us not to believe what God says to us. He tempts us not to believe what a pastor says to us as he preaches the Word of God to us. But, more than that, Satan twisted God’s Word by implying that she could also eat of the deadly tree, since God had said, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat.” Shakespeare said, “The Devil can quote Scripture to his purpose.” Here the Devil left out the second part of God’s message, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The serpent left out that part of God’s Word. Twice in the Bible we are warned not to leave out any words of Scripture, in Deuteronomy 12:32 and in Revelation 22:19, where it says, “If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city…” This evil is taught in every liberal seminary in the world. Young men studying for the ministry are taught that parts of the Bible are not true. This was taught to me at the liberal seminary I attended. It ruins a man’s ministry if he believes this evil teaching. The Apostle Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable…” (II Timothy 3:16). Every word of the Scriptures was inspired by God in the original Hebrew and Greek. That is why I strictly stick to the King James Bible. The modern Bibles leave out the words “and fasting” in Mark 9:29, or change “virgin” to “young woman” in Isaiah 7:14. These changes are based on only two old copies of Scripture, which I believe were tainted by the incipient Gnosticism of the copyists.

At the liberal seminary I attended they told us to bring a Revised Standard Bible to class. But I disobeyed them and always took the King James Bible with me. I do not trust the “new” translations at all, and neither should you. Sometimes I quote from them where they correspond to the King James, but I never use them in my private reading or as the main text in any of my sermons. I have made it a life-long habit to stick with the King James Bible, and so should you!

The Serpent questioned and twisted the pure Word of God when he tempted Eve in the Garden that day. God had plainly told the couple not to eat the forbidden fruit. But only not to eat. God said nothing to them about not “touching.” When Eve said, “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” she added to the Word of God. This violated Deuteronomy 12:32, where God said, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto…” (Deuteronomy 12:32). This command was given again in Revelation 22:18,

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18).

Liberals twist and leave out parts of God’s Word. Cults like the Mormons add to the Word of God in the Book of Mormon. Thus the temptation was to leave out part of God’s Word, or to add to it. The Koran leaves out Christ’s crucifixion. The cults add to it, as do the Christian Scientists, adding to it the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. Tampering with the Word of God is at the root of all false teachings. Thus adding to or leaving out parts of the Bible replicate the temptation of Eve to this very day, and are at the heart of all heresies.

Now the Serpent had taken Eve so far in temptation that she would listen to Satan’s outright attack on God’s Word. He said to her, “Ye shall not surely die” if you eat the forbidden fruit.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (Genesis 3:6, 7).

They had disobeyed the Word of God. Now they knew they were naked sinners. Instead of repenting and asking God for mercy, “they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (Genesis 3:7). That is exactly what sinners do today. They try to cover up their sins in various ways, by doing “good works” or by attempting to save themselves by “having a form of godliness” (II Timothy 3:5).

Now when they heard the voice of God calling to them, “Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God…And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:8, 9). Dr. W. A. Criswell said,

The saddest sentence God ever uttered is this, “Adam, where art thou?” [Before this] the man and the woman had met the Lord with heavenly eagerness…it was always a glad, glorious hour when [God] came to talk with them. They had no fear. But now [they had sinned]. The man was afraid. Both were ashamed. And the Lord calls with a sob in his voice, “O Adam, where art thou, and what hast thou done?” The answer to that heartbroken question is the whole story of sin and grace and atonement (W. A. Criswell, Ph.D., Basic Bible Sermons on the Cross, Broadman Press, 1990, p. 55).

God calls to you tonight, “Oh sinner, where art thou?”

“And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Genesis 3:9).


Now I will give you the application of this passage and this text. Where are you tonight?

1.  Are you hiding from God? All who refuse to repent and come to Christ are hiding from God. Is that you? Are you hiding from God when the Holy Spirit calls you to Christ? Is that your sin tonight?

2.  Are you hiding from God because you refuse to believe the Bible? Has Satan got you to think that God’s Word is just an old book? That you don’t have to believe it? Has he told you there is no Heaven to gain and no Hell to fear? Is that your sin tonight?

3.  Do you think that you are living a good and moral life? Do you think that you are good enough, that you don’t need to confess your sin and be saved by Christ’s atonement? Is your good and moral life enough to save you? Is that the lie Satan has told you? Is that what you believe? Is that your sin tonight?

4.  When God came down in revival did you feel convicted of your sin, the sin of your mind and wicked heart? Did you look at those who wept over their sin and think they were weak or foolish? Do you think that now? Has Satan made you think that those who weep and repent are foolish? Is that your sin tonight?

5.  When you heard John Cagan struggle with sin to the point of not being able to sleep, did you think he was a little bit strange? Did you think this was not needed, that it was just a foolish boy worrying about sin? Has Satan made you think that John Cagan was too emotional? That nothing like that is needed in your soul? Is that your sin tonight?

6.  When I tell you that in a real conversion you will have to struggle against sin and feel deep sadness for your sin, did you listen to Satan? Did you reject what I said, and think you are OK the way you are? Is that your sin tonight?

7.  When you heard me say that, did you think the sins you commit are very small and will not condemn you to Hell? Did you believe Satan when he put that thought in your mind? Do you think your sins are so small that God will not judge you? Is that your sin tonight?

8.  Did you keep on having lost friends? Did you think God will bless you and save you, even though you have friends who are not Christians? When you heard the Bible say, “Whosoever…will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4) did you give up worldly friends? Or did you think it was OK to stay friends with them? Did Satan put that in your heart? Is that your sin tonight?

9.  Did you continue to think about having sex with someone you know – even someone in this church – did Satan tell you it was OK to think those thoughts and inflame your lust with them? Is that your sin tonight?

10.  Did you think it is OK to spend hours playing video games? Or did Satan tell you it was only harmless fun? Is that your sin tonight?

11.  Are you afraid of me as the pastor? Why are you afraid of me? Is it because I am too strict? Is it because you find some fault in what I say or do? Has Satan made you fear me because you are hiding from God, and therefore blame me for not being perfect? Can you say with John Cagan what he said about me in his sermon this morning, “Thank God for Our Pastor!”? Do you love me for “watching for your soul” – or do you fear me and hide your secret life from me, as God’s spokesman, as Adam hid from God lest his secret life be rebuked? Has Satan made you afraid of me? Is that your sin tonight? (Hebrews 13:17).

12.  Did you desire a certain person as your boyfriend or girlfriend without speaking to the pastor first? Did you trust the pastor who leads the church, or did you hide from him, as Adam did in the Garden? Is that your sin tonight?

13.  Is there some dark thing in your heart that keeps your mouth closed when we ask you, “Will you trust Christ?” Is that what Satan has told you? Has he told you that if you don’t say anything you will be excused for rejecting Jesus? Is that your sin tonight?

14.  Are you jealous of someone in the church? Are you jealous that they are praised but you are not? Is that your sin tonight?

15.  Do you refuse to come when the invitation is given? Do you reject what the Bible says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise”? Are you such a fool that you refused to be counseled at the end of a sermon? Is that your sin tonight?

Is this or any other sins I have mentioned what kept you from trusting Christ during the time of revival in our church this year? “Oh Adam, where art thou?” Did you hear the voice of God speak to you about your sin? And did you say with Adam, “I heard thy voice…and I was afraid…and I hid myself”? I leave you with two verses of Scripture,

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

Please stand together. Dr. Cagan, John Cagan and I will be here in front of the pulpit to counsel anyone who is ready to turn from sin and trust the Lord Jesus Christ – and be cleansed of all sin by His precious Blood. As we sing hymn number 7, just leave your seat and come here to the front. It’s number 7.

Fill all my vision, Saviour, I pray,
   Let me see only Jesus today;
Though through the valley Thou leadest me,
   Thy fadeless glory encompasseth me.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy Holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, every desire
   Keep for Thy glory; my soul inspire,
With Thy perfection, Thy holy love,
   Flooding my pathway with light from above.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy Holy Image reflected in me.

Fill all my vision, let naught of sin
   Shadow the brightness shining within.
Let me see only Thy blessed face,
   Feasting my soul on Thy infinite grace.
Fill all my vision, Saviour divine,
   Till with Thy glory my spirit shall shine.
Fill all my vision, that all may see
   Thy Holy Image reflected in me.
(“Fill All My Vision” by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, 1895-1985).

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Noah Song: Genesis 3:8-10.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Search Me, O God” (Psalm 139:23-24)/
“I Am Coming, Lord” (by Lewis Hartsough, 1828-1919; chorus only).