Advent Week 2
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned -- 18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:12, 18-19 (NKJV)
Intro: The advent season reminds us of the gift that came.
Day 6 - Meditation –Throughout the Old Testament, God’s people were waiting. Every struggle, every hardship could be endured because they believed that one day a Messiah was coming, and in the day of His coming, they would live in safety and freedom. Certainly, the Israelites did not understand exactly what this meant. They hoped for freedom from foreign oppression. But God’s plan had to do with freedom from debt to sin. The bondage one feels when in financial debt is great and can lead to all kinds of trouble. How much greater is the debt people incur with the acts of sin. It requires a sacrifice, loss of life. “For the wages of sin is death” The Jews of Jesus’ time knew this well; the temple floor ran red with the blood of offerings. The practice of making atonement was part of their culture. But when Jesus suffered and died on the cross, as a sin offering, He paid that debt once for all. God is calling all people all the slaves, all the prodigals, all the losers to start over again on level ground. What a celebration we will have when we realize what this really means! This Christmas, before we go out and spend all of our money on the wants of this life, perhaps we should take a few minutes to thank the One who was born to pay all of our debts.
Illustration: Lay potato chips, can’t have just one. Once you bit into one chip you realize you can’t eat just one, you must have more. The spiritual chip can only be enjoyed when you have more than one bit (read)!
Application: This gift came because of one man.
The gift that came amplifies Love: “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10
The Gift that came because of a problem and this problem can be fixed through a person, and that person offers peace.
The Gift that came fixed the problem:
1. There is a problem: vs.12
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
The problem is we have all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God! Sin is the cause of death, and Adam was the cause of sin. He was the author of apostasy. Whatever theories may say, one thing is clear: Adam was the cause of sin in the very same way in which Christ is the cause of righteousness.
“Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2
A person does not become a sinner by committing sins but rather commits sins because their by nature a sinner. That is also part of the problem, by nature we sin. Sin brings several kinds of death. Death is separation, and Adam’s first death was spiritual separation from God, which Adam experienced immediately after his disobedience. The unsaved are “darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.” The unregenerate are very much alive to the world, but they are dead to God and to the things of God.
A second, and obvious, kind of death that sin brings is physical, separation from fellow human beings. A third kind of death that sin brings is eternal, referred to in Scripture as the second death; this death not only brings eternal separation from God but also eternal torment in hell.
The unbeliever has reason to fear all three deaths. Spiritual death prevents his earthly happiness; physical death will bring an end to opportunity for salvation; and eternal death will bring everlasting punishment. But no kind of death should be feared by believers. They are saved permanently by Christ from spiritual and eternal death, and their physical death (or rapture) will usher them into His divine presence. For believers Christ has removed the fear of death, that’s the gift that came. That fixes the problem.
Because of an unrighteous man sin came, because of a righteous man sin can be forgiven.
The Gift that came was a person:
2. There is a person: vs.18
“Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 This person is the answer to man’s problem, to the nakedness man exposes themselves too.”
There is an interesting parallelism here: In one person there came sin and in another person came life! So life to all men here refers exclusively to those who trust in Christ. Salvation comes only to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. What a gift that person (Christ) gives! Another look at this parallelism reveals the essence of Adam’s one transgression which was disobedience, whereas the essence of Christ’s one act of righteousness was obedience. When God commanded Adam not to eat of the forbidden fruit, Adam disobeyed and brought death. When God sent His only begotten Son into the world to suffer and die, the Son obeyed and brought life.
Adam’s disobedience caused him and his descendants to be made sinners by nature. In the same way, but with the exact opposite effect, Christ’s obedience causes those who believe in Him to be made righteous by nature. From beginning to end, Jesus’ earthly life was characterized by perfect obedience to His heavenly Father. In His incarnation, “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
The person who genuinely belongs to Jesus Christ will reflect that same spirit of obedience, because he has Christ’s own life within him. When a person places his trust in Christ, he not only is declared righteous forensically but is actually made righteous, that is, given an inward righteousness that must and will bear fruit. As long as a believer is in the flesh, they will have the shortcomings and weaknesses of the flesh, and their righteousness will not be manifested perfectly. But if a person’s life is characterized by sin and shows no fruit of the Holy Spirit, that person has no legitimate claim on Christ. The person who is made righteous by Christ will live righteously.
Christ is the gift that fixes the problem. He is more than a patch to plug a leak; He is more than a piece of Duct tape to hold something in place. He is more than a rubber band attached to hold parts together. He is more than superglue that bonds separate surfaces. Nothing can separate the believer from the love of God and the gift that came; however, you got to open it! You must by faith receive and believe.
The Gift that came offers peace:
3. There is a peace: vs.19
“So also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.”
The gift that came willingly died so man could have peace. This peace can be like a shirt or pants that you put on when you dress yourself. After you dress, to avoid the embarrassment you leave your clothes on, unless you choose to run around naked. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself; I am going to leave my clothes on! If you take your clothes off you expose yourself. In the spiritual sense nakedness is exposure to sin and worldly desires. There is no peace! For the Christian, when you accepted Christ you put on, or clothed yourself with Him: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27 (NIV)
God’s gift allows us to have permanent peace, He rescues us: “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.” Psalm 34:19 (NLT)
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33
This is not a worldly peace it is a Godly peace!
"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:14 That’s the gift that came!
"Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." Romans 10:13
The Gift of Christmas is the person Jesus Christ, there is a problem, sin. Sin is the stain that shows the dirt, grim and mess of unrighteousness. Christ is the bleach that washes our sins away and allows us to wear new garments of purity and righteousness. Without the acceptances of this gift, you cannot wear the garment of Christ, or have real peace.
Repeat of intro: God is calling all people all the slaves, all the prodigals, all the losers to start over again on level ground. What a celebration we will have when we realize what this really means! This Christmas, before we go out and spend all of our money on the wants of this life, perhaps we should take a few minutes to thank the One who was born to pay all of our debts.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A LOSER START OVER AGAIN ON LEVEL GROUND: TAKE THE GIFT!
In : Sermon
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