Summary: What is our biggest problem? Is there any solution? How does that affect me today, right now?
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM – THE BEST SOLUTION (Romans 5:12, 18-19)
What is a major theme you hear when you listen to the news? What is a major theme you see when you look at the world? When you look at your own life? Is there a theme?
One common theme is this – problems. When you watch the news, the theme is problems. The Enron disaster. The questionable judging in the figure skating competition. Terrorism. Problems. When you look at your own life, you often see problems – perhaps they are financial problems, family or personal problems, health problems.
What is the biggest of all the problems we have? It’s the one problem that no one likes to talk about -–the problem of death. Death is really everyone’s problem. Death doesn’t care who you are – regardless of your job, your physical condition, your family responsibilities, the number of people who depend on you – death doesn’t care about those things. It’s a problem that everyone has, regardless of who they are.
What is the death rate in the U.S., compared to Afghanistan? It’s the same - 100%. Death doesn’t care where you live, or how healthy or technological you are.
Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about the problem of death? Two reasons, I believe. Reason number one: because there is no solution. No one will ever come up with a cure for death, a way to prevent it. Another reason people don’t want to talk about death, is because no one really knows for sure what happens next. Is there really a heaven? Is there really a hell? Or, is it like in the movies – after you die you become a ghost and float around the earth? Or are you reincarnated and become a cat, or a tree? What happens after you die? There is great confusion, there is no solution, and because of that, no one wants to talk about it.
We live in a culture of denial. We pretend that death doesn’t exist, but it does. Rather than live in denial, let’s face this problem head-on this morning. Let’s look in the Bible, and as we do, you might be surprised to find that there is a solution to the problem of death.
Our text for this morning acknowledges that death is a problem In verse 12, it says that “death comes to all men.” In verse 14, it says that “death reigns.” But the Bible also tells us the cause of death. Perhaps if we knew the cause, we could find the solution. In verse 12, it says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” Sin is ultimately the cause of death. And it all began with one man – Adam.
In our Old Testament lesson for this morning, we see the biggest disaster in the history of the world – the fall into sin. Adam failed to obey God. And when that happened, sin entered the world. I don’t think people really understand the magnitude of what happened that day in the Garden of Eden.
Imagine being at your home, and you’re having a big get-together – family, friends. You receive a package, and on the package it says; “Anthrax – do not open.” But you decide to open it anyway. You struggle to open it up, and then the package bursts open, anthrax everywhere! All your family, all your friends – they inhale the anthrax and die. Ultimately, who’s fault is that? Yours!
When Adam sinned, thousands of years ago, it was as though he had opened a package he shouldn’t have opened. When he disobeyed, sin entered his body, entered the world, and affected everything and everybody. Billions and billions of people have been affected by that one moment in the Garden of Eden. Spiritual anthrax – sin, entered the world. And it’s lethal - it results in death. Because of what Adam did, our world has become one big spiritual ground zero, in the eyes of God.
From that moment on, people were born with the problem of sin. There is a test you can perform on yourself to see if you’ve been infected. Let’s do that this morning. Here it is – ask yourself – have I made any mistakes in the last week? Have I been selfish, even for a moment? Have I had any unkind thoughts? If you are honest, and answer yes to those questions, then you have been infected with the deadly disease of sin.
And physical death is the least of our problems – Verse 18 tells us, “The result of one trespass was condemnation for all men.” When Adam sinned, he not only brought sin and physical death into the world. He also brought condemnation. What happens after a person dies? Here we are told, “Condemnation.” In the Bible, “condemnation” means hell – eternal punishment for sin.