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Saved through His Life
Scripture: Romans 5:1-21
Track 2 of 3 in the History-Changing Words series
Running time: 30 minutes, 10 seconds.
Easter Sunday.

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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Sermon for Sunday, March 27, 2005
2nd sermon in a 3-part series
"Saved through His Life"
"He Has Risen!"
History-Changing Words
(Romans 5:12-21)
Copyright 2005 G. Charles Sackett

Well, I don't suppose you noticed when I went up last night in that last second block of that shot by the free throw line. They said it was Luther Head but it really wasn't, it was me. Well, at least it was vicariously me. And probably a whole lot of you were sitting there watching that thing come apart last night too.

It's funny how we tend to live through other people. In fact, it's often true that one person represents us all. Back in 1969, July 20, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon for the very first time and he tried to utter this statement. Now he didn't quite get it right but he came really close. This was what he was supposed to have said, "That's one small step for (a) man; one giant leap for mankind". What he was trying to say was that it was "a" person, him. Happened to be by the fate of things that he was the one who stepped on the moon for the very first time. But he did it as a representation of all of us. We all share in that accomplishment somehow. It's vitally important to understand how one man often represents the whole of us.

It's Easter, you know, 2005. But before we get there we need to do something else first. If you have your Bibles, would you go back to the beginning with me? Clear back to the very front of your Bible. Genesis 1. In this great story that God unfolds in front of us there is some stuff that we probably need to know if we're going to understand why we're here this morning.

Genesis 1 starts out this way. We'll just read a few verses together. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night". And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.
And he does that six days in a row. And each day, at the end of that he says, "it's good." In fact, when he gets to man, he says, "It's very good." It's a wonderful display of good Hebrew poetry. Lots of repetition and rhythm. Lots of parallelism. Lots of beauty created in the story to remind us that God is in control of the universe and has created this marvelous place that he. . . . . well, that he designs for us to enjoy, to appreciate.

In fact, he retells the story in Genesis 2. That's the way poetry works. You tell it once and then you tell the story again. Only the second time you tell the story you add some details to it. So in the first chapter we learned that he created man, male and female, he created them but when you come to Genesis 2 he's gonna expand the story just a little bit.

So look down here at Genesis 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens-- Genesis 2:7 --the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground--trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

What we read in Genesis 2, if we would finish the chapter, is that man lived in a garden with God. He walked and talked in the intimacy of fellowship with God. God just seemed to show up and they carried on conversation. Have no idea how long that lasted. There's no indication how long this experience went. We just know that Adam and Eve knew each other and there was no shame. There was an intimate relationship between them. There was an intimate relationship between them and God. They had meaningful work to do. They were told to take care of this garden; to manage it; to be stewards of it and they did. And it seemed that life was, in fact, "good".

Then we come to Genesis 3. Enter bad! Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"

And of course you know the story. She decides that she really does want some of that fruit from that tree so she eats from the tree and she asks Adam to eat from the tree and God shows up again in the garden looking for them. And now there has entered into the garden, shame. Not intimacy, not openness, but shame and embarrassment and guilt. And it isn't very long until after God has found them and carried on a conversation with them, that not only has shame and guilt entered into the garden but now toil, meaningless toil--weeds and work. Work without meaning has entered in and pain in child bearing has entered in and worst of all, death has come.

Interesting though, that the first to die was an animal sacrifice on behalf of Adam and Eve to provide for them clothing. And, of course, before we even get to the rest of the story we have the inkling, the hint, that God is not finished yet.

Genesis 3: "There will come one who will crush the head of Satan." Genesis 4 Well, we're not going to read the rest of the Bible but Genesis 4:1 is nothing more now than the ongoing telling of the story of how sin and death and pain and tragedy have entered into the world.

We don't get into the next chapter and all of a sudden two sons are killing each other. Death and personal tragedy! We walk a bit further in the story of course and we discover other characters, one after the other, who continue to live out this awful tale.

And it hasn't changed much has it? We turn on the news and you learn about a young man in Bemidji, Minnesota who kills his family and then kills five of his classmates. You turn on the evening news and you learn of another car bomb that has destroyed a building and they don't know whether there's anybody in the building or not but they'll find out how many have actually died. That trait that came in the garden through Adam seems to have haunted humanity up until today.
But it's Easter, so let me summarize those first little parts of the Bible, okay? Basically it says this. God created man to live in a Garden in intimacy with Him without shame and without guilt and without death and to just enjoy a relationship with God until Sin entered and kind of fouled everything up.

Now, I know it's Easter and we're supposed to get to that and we will. And you're wondering what we're doing in Genesis but I really am getting to Easter. Honest I am!

But, before we get there we have to make a stop if you would in Isaiah 65:17-25. We're at least making progress in the right direction. So, if you'll come to the middle of your Bible to Isaiah 65 there is an interesting reference in this chapter to Genesis 1. It seems to further the story.

Isaiah 65:17 "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

"Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the Lord.

Sounds a lot like that whole creation thing has been reversed. No more meaningless toil. No more death and shame. But we're back to a new heaven where God walks and talks with his people. There is an intimacy that is absolutely amazing. And it's the prediction of Isaiah that, that day of peace is coming.

Well, I know, you thought this was Easter and we're getting there.

But before we go, let's go to the other end of our Bibles if you don't mind. Over to Revelation, just the very opposite end of Genesis. And we'll just look at a little bit here in Revelation 21 & 22. We come to the last two chapters of our Bibles. Revelation 21:1 says, I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven with God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"

Revelation 21:22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Revelation 22:1-5 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

And somehow we're back in a garden-like experience with God. Trees and light and again, intimate fellowship with the Father. Walking and talking with Him. In God's great plan, it appears to me at least in looking at this is that what he really designed for us was life in a garden. Life with Him. Intimacy with His creation. Meaningful life without death and sorrow and pain. And something happened SIN entered into that picture through a man named Adam.

Remember that Neil Armstrong thing? "One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind". One man represents us all.

Just a couple more stops before we get to Easter. If you would come over to Romans 5:12 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 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

One man represented all of humanity. His name was Adam. And he sinned. And when he sinned he brought death into existence and even . . . . . . . . . . . .not yet in place, Paul makes it clear that death reigned over humanity. What one man did affected us all. And so we were all condemned to die, hopeless and helpless. It's a good thing that there is a verse 15. Romans 5:15 But 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! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

Even though death reigned because of one sin by one man, Paul repeatedly says how much more will grace reign through the righteousness of one sinless man. One man who did nothing wrong, one man who provided grace broad enough for all of humanity.

Just one more stop, Mark 14 and then we'll be there. Mark 14:32

They went to a place called Gethsemane. . . . .(maybe in your Bible at the top of the page it says The Garden of Gethsemane). On this fateful night having spent some time with his disciples in an upper room, he dismissed them and they together went to a place called the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus poured out sweat like great drops of blood in agony wishing that he did not have to do what he was about to do. But this classic line, Not my will, but yours be done.

God's great plan--intimacy with man. Life in a garden. A relationship between God and man that is characterized by his ability to simply walk and talk with God at all times and yet, this plan was completely messed up, interrupted by sin.

Jeremiah says it this way. The heart of man is deceitful above all. Paul says it this way. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And yet, God had not given up. He anticipated it in Genesis 3:15. There will come one who will crush the head of Satan.

He anticipated it in Isaiah 7:14 Behold a virgin shall conceive and bring forth a child and you shall call his name Immanuel.

Philippians 2 talks about the fact that this one who did not think equality with God something to be held onto but poured himself out and became in fashion like a man in taking upon himself the form of a servant, the appearance of a man, he became obedient unto death. Even death on a cross. That God might lift him up and highly exalt him and give him a name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

For man to live in the Garden with God, one man had to go through a garden of his own. To get from the Garden of Eden in Genesis 1 to the Garden we call Heaven in Revelation 21 Jesus had to pass through a Garden of Gethsemane so that you wouldn't have to. For man to live again, someone had to die for us. But even that is insufficient for if that tomb were still full, His death would be as meaningless as Adam's. But it's not full, it's empty.

We're here because it's Easter and we celebrate the risen Christ. The resurrection of the one who died for us so that you and I might not have to live under the condemnation of the sin of one man. We live under the grace of one man, Jesus Christ. His resurrected life is sufficient for us all.

I wasn't there when Neil Armstrong stepped out on the moon but I am a part of mankind, whom he represented. And I was not there the day that Jesus came out from a tomb. But I am among those who have claimed that as a part of his people.

He has made it possible for anyone who wants to overcome the tragedy of sin to have the beauty of life all over again. To walk in intimacy with God forever. And the only thing you have to do is identify with him in his death and resurrection. All you have to do is die to yourself, be buried and raised with Him and he gives you, as Paul says, life forever more.

In fact, next Sunday morning, when we come back together here, and we will, we're going to look at the 6th chapter of Romans which follows the 5th chapter of Romans which talks about how to identify with Jesus.

We're trying to tell you this Easter Sunday morning that what one man did for you is all it takes. And all you have to do is come to faith in Him. And you can have that garden experience of walking with God personally.

If you don't know how to do that, we invite you to come and talk to us. If it's troublesome to come in the middle of a service, there'll be people down in the Hospitality Room immediately afterwards and maybe you'll want to talk to them. Maybe there's somebody who's been responsible for you coming and visiting this morning or that you come with regularly. They could probably answer your questions. But whatever you do this Easter Sunday morning, don't live as if you're under the curse of Adam. Live under the grace of Jesus.

Let's stand together.