Summary: This sermon asks and answers the question, "Who, besides yourself, is most to blame for your life’s problems?"

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Death Rules

Romans 5:12-19

[Thanks to Timothy Peck,, for his contributions to this message.]

INTRO: Did you watch the Super Bowl last week? Did your team win? There’s been a lot of talk in the media this week about the Super Bowl, most of it about how impressive the New England Patriots are. But there has been another major theme – about who fromt he Eagles gets the blame for losing the game. Virtually all of it focused on the Eagles quarterback, Donovan McNabb. Every news person, sports commentator, writer, that I heard or read has gone on and on about how McNabb blew it, didn’t come through, failed in this biggest of games. This despite the fact that he threw for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns – he still received all the blame. It was all his fault. His teammates defended him – one in particular came out and said McNabb was very ill, and no one knew it. But McNabb responded to that by saying, no, I was fine. He accepted the blame. He was willing to shoulder responsibility. Pretty impressive.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to another man who shoulders a lot of blame, and he deserves it. As I do, I’d like you to think about this question: Who, besides yourself, is most to blame for your life’s problems? Who, besides you, can be blamed for the messed up parts of your life?

Turn with me to the Book of Romans, chapter 5, where we will meet someone who has a lot of blame to shoulder.

Read Romans 5:12

A. Sin entered the world through Adam

Our text begins, “just as sin entered the world through one man.” Sin came about because of one man. Who is that one man? Adam. Scripture puts the blame for human sin squarely on Adam. According to the Bible, Adam and his wife Eve were the first two human beings in human history. In the Garden of Eden, God told them clearly not to eat the fruit of a certain tree – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But Adam disobeyed God’s command and ate the fruit. In some mysterious way Adam’s disobedience against God allowed sin and its power into his life, his world, and into the human race.

B. Death followed sin into the world

Verse 12 in our text goes on to say “and death through sin,” meaning that death also entered the world, because of sin. Adam let sin in, and sin brought death along behind it. The great commentator Cranfield wrote, “Death followed sin like a shadow, going wherever sin traveled.” The Bible is very clear about this: Sin always leads to death. They go hand in hand. Sin kills. If it wasn’t for sin, there would be no death. Think about that for a moment. One chapter later, Paul would say it this way: Romans 6:23a

“For the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23

The death that entered the world includes physical death (our physical mortality), spiritual death (separation from God), and eventual eternal death (eternal separation from God’s presence and love).

So often we think, or are told, that something God considers sin is what we need in order to have life. Maybe your boyfriend is encouraging you to have sex or your friends are pressuring you to. You think this is what you need for a good life, but the result will be death – something will die.

Have you ever known someone who has given in to bitterness or selfishness, and watch them “die?”

C. Death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.

Our text [Romans 5:12] goes on to say, “and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” Once death was in the world, in Adam, it spread from Adam to everyone. “All men” means “all people,” as in “all mankind.” You’ve probably noticed that men aren’t the only ones who die…

Adam’s sin brought death to everyone, because his sin spread to everyone.

You see, once sin entered into the world, it was like a virus that spread. I read recently about an entire national forest in Oregon that had been infected by a fungus (The Daily News [8/5/00], from This fungus started as a single microscopic spore, but it’s been weaving its way through this forest for about 2,400 years, killing tress as it grows. Today this fungus has infected 2,200 acres of this national forest. Essentially the fungus is a gigantic mushroom you can’t see from the ground, but it’s killed hundreds of thousands of tress, all from a single spore. That’s similar to how Adam’s sin opened the door for sin and death to spread like a fungus through the entire human race. [Tim Peck,].

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