Summary: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit” 1 Pet. 3:18a.
Theme: Christ the second Adam who won back the world to God
Text: Gen. 9:8-17; 1 Pet. 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15
A happy life is a life of faith filled with gratitude and thankfulness to God. We have enough reasons to be thankful, but unfortunately, instead of being thankful we take our blessings for granted. Sometimes we are even ungrateful for those blessings and think that it is our right and that we deserve what God gives us. If someone pushed you out of the way of an oncoming car and saved your life what would be your reaction? Would you think you deserved to be saved and so just walk away, or would you just say thank you and forget what had happened? Or would you be indebted to that person for life? How do we feel toward Jesus Christ who saved us from certain death? Do we just walk off not even being aware of the danger we were in or just say thank you to Him and forget what happened or do we feel indebted to Him for saving our lives? What should be our response to the One who saved us from a destiny of eternal suffering in hell and gave us eternal life in Heaven? Our response should be one of gratitude and thankfulness. Our response should be demonstrated by living a life that is focused on Christ and bears witness to what He had done for us. Should we not want everyone to know how Christ took a terrible sinner like us and washed us clean with His Blood? Should we not want everyone to know that Christ has made us righteous in the eyes of God? Should we not want everyone to know by the way we live what Christ has done for us? Through a righteous way of life we confirm that Jesus Christ the second Adam has won the world back to God.
Man was created for dominion for in Genesis God declared “Let us make man in our own image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of he sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth”. The Psalmist in Psalm 8 declares, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him. For you made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet.” Man was given the right to rule - have dominion - over all of Creation. Adam and Eve had authority over every living creature and that included serpents. The only power that Satan had was the power of influence. All he could do was to seek to influence their behaviour through lies and deception. And in a very cunning and subtle way, he planted seeds of doubt in Eve’s heart about God’s love, honesty and authority. He finally got her to believe that he was right and that God’s word was wrong. As a result she and Adam chose to eat of the tree of knowledge instead of the tree of life.
Satan often works among men and women by turning them from the truth and inciting them to believe a lie. This is the way he builds strongholds in their minds to blind them and prevent the light of the gospel from shining in. One very effective stronghold Satan is constantly building is the stronghold of unbelief – not believing the truth of God or doubting the truth of God. This was what Satan used in the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were allowed to eat the fruit of every tree in the garden except one. Satan denied the truth of God that Adam and Eve would surely die if they ate of the forbidden fruit thereby calling God a liar. By making them doubt the word of God Satan was able to convince Adam and Eve that eating the forbidden fruit, would rather be beneficial to them. Satan still seeks to use man’s curiosity and ego to forsake God’s truth. Satan not only focused Adam and Eve’s attention on this forbidden tree, but also on the “knowledge” which he promised it held for them. We know that this “knowledge” was not the good thing Satan represented it to be. We can now see why God forbade it. God knew that we could only relate to Him in faith and he gave man every opportunity to relate to Him in such a way. Through deceit they chose to relate to God through knowledge and this was not the way God wanted it to be. It was their pursuit of knowledge that got all of mankind into trouble. The same kind of activity goes on today with Satan making use of man’s ego and curiosity. God has given us the truth in Christ. Satan seeks to turn our attention away from the truth and away from Christ, by enticing us to seek a knowledge that is not only beyond Christ, but which is beyond the revelation of Scripture. Over and over again in Scripture Christians are warned against the pursuit of this forbidden knowledge. A minister once talked about how he was tempted in this area. A ‘so called’ minister of God told him that he had access to the truth that would enable him to walk on water as Jesus did. His reply was simply that he had not yet finished learning how to walk on the earth and he did not see the reason why he should want to walk on water. When man fell, God did not change His mind about His plan to fill the earth with sons and daughters whose lives would reflect the beauty of their God and who would relate to Him in faith. He immediately set in motion His plan of redemption. God’s Son, as the Son of man, would regain for redeemed man the authority to govern again.