Sunday, January 16, 2005

Problems and Solutions

Read Romans 5:12-21


Intro: Some sermons are easier to write than others.

  1. My hope is that my preaching reflects the purpose of the scripture we are examining that day.

  2. I really do not want to go off on some tangent that reflects my biases rather than God's.

  3. I expect, in spite of my intentions, that I sometimes do this. I apologize if I have ever missed the point – God holds me responsible for accurately reflecting His thoughts and His ways.

  4. But there are times where it would be hard to miss the point of a passage.

  5. I suspect when I mention that today's sermon is about two men, your response is going to be that all to common teen response - “Duh^” And you will immediately know that those two men will be Adam and Jesus.

  6. In Romans 5 – Paul is not merely using Adam and Jesus to illustrate his points; rather, Paul is giving us some basic theology that help us to understand the nature of man and his need for redemption.

Tran. I want to spend the next few minutes looking at what Paul is wanting his readers to know about Adam and Jesus. The lessons are important, for they provide a basic understanding of how God perceives man. And, because we want to see our world as God sees it, it also provides considerable guidance as to how we need to see those around us and how we need to see ourselves.

  1. Lessons from Adam

      1. As I read through this morning's passage, it is very clear that Paul understands sin as having a common source – and that source is Adam.

        1. You may or may not believe in a literal interpretation of the first book of Genesis – I do.

        2. Regardless, it is very clear that that the underlying lesson here is that sin has a common origin.

        3. Theologically – it is said that Adam was the representative for us all. When he sinned, we all sinned.

(Ill.) The best illustration that I have heard is this – After the US Senate agrees to a treaty with a foreign power, it still is not valid until the President signs the treaty. When the President finally signs the treaty he is not signing it for himself – he is signing it for all of us. As a country, as a citizen of this country, once the President has signed a treaty, we are committed to it provisions.

      1. But Paul has something else for us here – Every one has sinned.

        1. Nothing new – Paul has already said it in Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

        2. You see you might want to say, “But Pastor Floyd, I'm a pretty good person.” And it may be true – but you still are a person who sins. Like everyone else in this room, you don't live up to your own expectations for yourself. And if you don't live up to your own expectations, how can you expect to live up to God's expectations for you. You can't!

      2. And because you sin, you can't blame anyone else.

        1. It would be easy to blame my parents for my sin. After all I grew up in dysfunctional home where my father was a compulsive gambler and probably an alcoholic. Counseling has helped me understand why I am broken – but it does not relieve me of being responsible for my own sin.

        2. It might be easy to blame Adam for my sin. I mean if he had never sinned, sin would have never entered the human race and I would never have sinned. I suppose I could do that – but it didn't work for Adam – he couldn't blame Eve. And it didn't work for Eve – she couldn't blame the serpent.

        3. Here is the key application – I am responsible for my own behavior, I cannot blame anyone else.

      3. And here is the final lesson from Adam – there are consequences for sin

        1. Paul is preparing us for his reminder in Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

        2. Death is ultimately a separation from God – a gap has occurred between me and God. A gap has occurred between you and God

        3. Spiritual death has eternal consequences – but it also effects us today. It effects our relationships to our families, it effects our attitudes, it effects our abilities to feel and response to our feelings. Spiritual death wears us down – we may not be dead, but we may feel dead.

        4. A gap that you and I cannot cross.

  1. Lessons from Christ

    1. A gap that you and I cannot cross – but Christ has.

(Ill.) A number of years ago my family started attending family camp every memorial day and every labor day. Timberlake was a wonderful place and a couple of years into our visits they added a obstacle course. At one point in the course we had to cross the creek. There was no easy way across. It was too deep. But there was a way across – a bridge made of tires. It was the only way across, and the only way to complete the rest of the course. We have this gap between God and ourselves – with no easy way to close that gap. Yet God has provided a way. John 14:6 says it better than me, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father but by me.” Jesus knew that he filled that gap, he provide the only way, the only way, for us to know God.

    1. Though Jesus is the only way for us to know God, he is the way for everyone to approach God. Everyone. The person from downtown Rochester. The person across the street from the church. The person across the street from your home. And even you. We cannot be good enough, we cannot say the right things, we cannot dress well enough – only by placing our faith in Jesus Christ can do we have the hope of spending eternity with Jesus. And eternity starts today.

    2. And that is the last point – just as there is a consequence for sin, there is a consequence for placing our faith in Jesus Christ and scripture calls that consequence eternal life.

        1. Eternal life starts the minute we receive Jesus

        2. Now that does not mean that all your problems are over – it does not mean that life will no longer be tough

        3. It does mean that God is beginning to make you into the person he wants you to be. It is a life long journey – a journey that every Christian is on.

        4. Is he finished – no.

(Ill.) PBPGINFWMY – Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet.

Conclusion: Let me conclude by asking you to do something.

  1. Turn to the person on your left – do you see them? There sitting next to you is a sinner.

  2. Turn to the person on your right – do you see them? There sitting next to you is a sinner.

  3. Now look at the person sitting between the person on your right and the person on your left. Do you see them? That person is a sinner too.

  4. Now I want you to remind that person in the middle that there is a solution to that problem called sin.

  5. That solution is Jesus Christ.

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