Summary: If we were to put this sermon into one sentence it would be: "By the sin of Adam, all human beings became sinners and were alienated from God; by the righteousness of Jesus Christ, all human beings became righteous and are restored to a right relationshi
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, 1601 Prater Road, Chattanooga, TN www.eastridgeumc.com
We have all been asked to clean up someone else’s mess from time to time.
Sometimes those messes are small, like a child spilling a glass of milk, but sometimes the messes are huge and take lots of time and energy to clean up.
Messes can happen anytime and anywhere, and we all make them, do we not?
Our Old Testament Lesson for this morning is about the person who made the biggest mess of all time.
The first human being, Adam, messed up big-time when he and his wife disobeyed God.
Their sin caused them to be kicked out of Paradise and to eventually suffer death.
Adam’s mess was so big that all of his descendants, and all of us here this morning, you and me have been tragically effected by it.
We are all born into a sinful situation, separated from God, and destined to die.
Saint Augustine put it grimly: “When a man is born, he is already born with death, because he contracts it from Adam.”
And we all live in solidarity with Adam as we can all relate to Oscar Wilde who wrote, “I can resist everything except temptation.”
It is only Christ, the Second and Perfect Adam Who came and was able to resist temptation for our sake.
Tonight during our 6:30 pm worship we will look at some of the temptations of Christ as He dueled with the Devil in the wilderness.
How was Christ able to overcome temptation?
How does Christ enable us to do the same?
This morning, Paul reminds us of how Adam messed up so that the world is now in a state of sin and death.
But Paul does not stop there; he goes on to proclaim the Good News that the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, broke the power of sin, brought new life, and cleaned up Adam’s mess!!!
What does that mean for you and for me?
It means that there is hope for us.
It means that we do not have to be mired in sin; we no longer have to wallow in a life of despair and isolation from God’s love, joy, and peace.
It means that while we may never be perfectly obedient, the One Who was perfectly obedient has paid the price for us, has forgiven us, and has bled on a Cross to reconcile us to God!!!
There once was a sculptor who was really pleased with his work.
It was an awesome statue, and it looked good in the town square.
The person for whom the statue was being made had lived in the little seaport town all his life, and had become famous when, at great risk to his life, he had rescued single-handedly a boatload of people caught on the rocks in a winter storm.
The town was very grateful and asked the sculptor to make a statue of him.
But it wasn’t long before trouble arrived.
The next summer a gang of kids rampaged the little main street.
They broke a couple of windows, and when they got to the statue they took turns running and jumping and kicking it with both feet in the air.
After a few minutes of this, the statue, which hadn’t been made for this, snapped off its base and crashed into the road, smashing into pieces.
The town council was determined not to be beaten, so they called the sculptor.
They wanted the statue remade exactly as it had originally been.
But the sculptor had a better idea.
He would remake it alright—but out of much tougher material.
It would look better too!
He wasn’t just going to put things back as they had been.
This was an opportunity to do something really spectacular!!!
The main point I’m trying to make is that what God has done in the One Man Jesus is far, far more than simply putting the human race back where it was before the mess of sin.
The statue has been remade, and it is far better than before!!!
It isn’t just a case of “what they knocked down, God will put back up.”
Nor is it a case of “what they did wickedly, God will do graciously.”
God has done far, far more!!!
The “trespass” and the “gift” are not equal and opposite!
Death is purely negative.
God’s gift of life can’t simply be compared to it.
God took the initiative in a situation where there was nothing but sin to be seen, coming to a place where humanity was in ruins, and died the death we deserve—fully sacrificed—showed us the full-extent of God’s love for us!!!
In verse 15 of Romans 5 Paul tells us, “the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”