Sermon title: Adam’s Sin Brought Death; Christ Brings New Life

Romans 5:12-21

Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, September 12, 2021

 

 

“A talking snake? You’ve got to be kidding.”

 

That’s some people’s reaction

when they begin reading the 3rd Chapter of Genesis.

 

The first verse says,

Now the serpent was more crafty

than any beast of the field

that the LORD God had made.

And he said to the woman,

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat

from any tree in the garden?’

 

Some people read through the Creation account

in the first two chapters,

but when they get to the third chapter

and encounter a talking serpent,

they’ve had enough.

 

They slam the Bible shut,

with the aim of never opening it again.

 

Their reaction is like those in Jesus’ audience

who heard him speak parables,

but walked away without seeking the meaning—

--or those who heard Jesus talk about

eating his flesh and drinking his blood,

and who walked out on him, disgusted.

 

Those who waited for Jesus to explain his hard sayings

ended up being truly blessed.

 

And those who wait for

an explanation of the talking snake

are likewise blessed in the end.

 

But they have to keep reading,

in order to find that explanation.

 

Actually, they have to read the whole Bible,

or, at least, skip ahead to its last book, the Revelation.

There, in the 12th Chapter,

we finally get an explanation of the talking serpent.

 

It identifies him as Satan the Devil, where it speaks of

"that ancient serpent

called the devil and Satan,

the deceiver of the whole world."

 

Yes, that serpent in the Garden of Eden

was Satan the devil,using that snake

like a ventriloquist uses a dummy.

 

So, the explanation for that talking serpent

doesn’t come until nearly the end of the Bible.

 

But there were other hints along the way,

in the Gospels, as well.

 

So, let’s look at the rest of the Genesis account,

and see how the words of Jesus and the Apostles

help us understand what went on there.

 

1 Now the serpent was more crafty

than any beast of the field

that the LORD God had made.

 

And he said to the woman,

“Did God really say, ‘You must not

eat from any tree in the garden?

 

2 The woman answered the serpent,

“We may eat the fruit of the trees

of the garden, 3 but about the fruit of

the tree in the middle of the garden,

God has said, ‘You must not eat of it

or touch it, or you will die.

 

4 “You will not surely die,”

the serpent told her. 5 “For God knows

that in the day you eat of it,

your eyes will be opened and you will

be like God, knowing good and evil.”

 

I think we all know what happened next:

the woman ate the fruit,

and then gave some to her husband, and he ate it, too.

 

So, Satan through the serpent

seduced Adam and Eve into violating God’s law—

the one and only prohibition

God had placed upon them—

not to eat the fruit of that one tree.

 

Satan did it by planting in their minds

evil thoughts about God:

that God was not being fair to them,

that God was denying them something good,

that God was cheating them

by not letting them eat from that one tree.

 

So, their action, by taking the forbidden fruit and eating it,

was a lot more serious than stealing a piece of fruit.

 

It involved casting suspicion on God,

that he was not being fair to them.

 

It amounted to accusing God of not being good,

accusing God of cheating them

and robbing them of something good for them.

 

But, Satan is a liar.

 

None of those accusations against God were true.

 

Instead of rejoicing in newfound wisdom

and knowledge of good and evil,

Adam and Eve were filled with guilt and shame.

 

They were so ashamed, they tried to cover their bodies.

 

And they tried to hide from God.

 

The account continues,

 

8 Then the man and his wife heard

the voice of the LORD God walking

in the garden in the breeze of the day,

and they hid themselves

from the presence of the LORD God

among the trees of the garden.

 

9 But the LORD God called out

to the man, “Where are you?”

 

10 “I heard Your voice in the garden,”

he replied, “and I was afraid

because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

 

Adam and Eve had sinned,

and sin causes guilt and shame,

and separation from God.

 

Satan had lied when he told them,

you will be like God,” if you eat that fruit.

 

Instead of being “like God,”

and confidently meeting him now as his equal,

they were ashamed and hid from God.

 

Satan’s temptations are always like that—

promising something wonderful

that will make us happy,

but actually leading only to guilt and shame

and separation from God.

 

Whether it’s the temptation to steal someone else’s money,

or to use mind-altering illicit drugs,

or to have sex outside of marriage,

or to have perverted sex in a same-sex relationship--

--Satan’s temptations are always lies,

empty promises of happiness

that really lead only to guilt and shame

and separation from God,

who is the source of real happiness.

 

When we fall for Satan’s lies,

and give in to his temptations,

we end up feeling like Adam and Eve,

ashamed and trying to hide from God.

---------------------------------------------

 

God next says to Adam,

 

11 “Who told you that you were naked?”

asked the LORD God. “Have you eaten

from the tree of which I commanded you

not to eat?”

 

12 And the man answered, “The woman

whom You gave me, she gave me fruit

from the tree, and I ate it.”

 

Notice, Adam blames his wife,

cowardly and selfishly placing the blame on her,

trying to save himself from suffering the penalty

by suggesting she is the one

who deserves to be punished, not him.

 

Adam also tries to place the blame on God, by saying,

“The woman whom You gave me” did this thing—

as if he was saying,

‘You gave her to me, God, so it’s really your fault.’

 

The woman, in turn, blamed the serpent.

 

“The serpent deceived me,” she replied,

and I ate.”

And it was, ultimately, the serpent’s fault—

the fault of Satan the devil, who deceived Eve.

 

That’s why Revelation  calls him,

“...that ancient serpent

called the devil and Satan,

the deceiver of the whole world.”

 

And, because he led Adam and Eve to their death,

our Lord Jesus said Satan

was a murderer from the beginning.”

------------------------------

 

God went on to pronounce judgment and punishments

on the serpent, the woman, and Adam.

 

Adam and Eve, who otherwise would have lived forever,

were now doomed to die.

 

God said to Adam,

 

17 “Because you have listened

to the voice of your wife

and have eaten from the tree

of which I commanded you not to eat,

cursed is the ground because of you;

through toil you will eat of it

all the days of your life.

 

18 Both thorns and thistles

it will yield for you, and

you will eat the plants of the field.

 

19 By the sweat of your brow

you will eat your bread,

until you return to the ground

because out of it were you taken.

For dust you are,

and to dust you shall return.”

 

Adam and Eve had not yet conceived any children,

so, when they did eventually produce offspring,

those children would inherit

the same fallen condition their parents were in.

 

Paul explains it like this in his letter to the Romans. He says,

 

12 When Adam sinned,

sin entered the world.

 

Adam’s sin brought death,

so death spread to everyone,

for everyone sinned.

 

Adam’s punishment included, not only death,

but also banishment from Paradise.

 

God expelled the fallen couple from the Garden of Eden.

 

Going back to Genesis, we read that God said,

 

22 “...lest he reach out his hand

and take also from the tree of life,

and eat, and live forever...”

 

23 Therefore the LORD God banished him

from the Garden of Eden to work the

ground from which he had been taken.

 

24 So He drove out the man and

stationed cherubim on the east side

of the Garden of Eden, along with

a whirling sword of flame

to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

The way to the tree of life was blocked for Adam & Eve,

and for all their offspring, including us.

 

The hope of everlasting life was lost.

 

But, was it lost forever?  No.

 

Just as we found the explanation of the talking snake

in the last book in our Bibles,

again we find the tree of life

mentioned there, too.

 

The message there to the church in Ephesus concludes,

"If you have ears, then, listen to

what the Spirit says to the churches!

‘To those who win the victory

I will give the right to eat the fruit

of the tree of life

that grows in the Garden of God.’”

 

And the conclusion of the Revelation

includes these words:

Blessed are those who wash their robes,

so that they may have the right

to the tree of life.

 

How do we wash our robes

and gain the right to the tree of life?

 

Revelation  says of saved individuals,

...they have washed their robes

and made them white

in the blood of the Lamb.

 

When we put faith in Jesus’ blood

that he shed on the cross like a sacrificed lamb,

the stain of our sins is washed away.

 

The Apostle Paul wrote in his Letter to the Romans,

 

... the sin of this one man, Adam,

brought death to many. But even greater

is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through

this other man, Jesus Christ.

 

And he added that

God’s free gift leads to our being made

right with God, even though we

are guilty of many sins.

 

“It’s not what you know—it’s who you know.”

 

That’s a common expression. 

 

You hear it in connection with the business world.

“It’s not what you know—it’s who you know.”

 

You hear it in regard to City Hall, State government,

and the federal government.

 

“It’s not what you know—it’s who you know.”

 

And the same thing applies

to gaining entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Toward the end of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said,

 

21 Not everyone who says to Me,

‘Lord, Lord,’

will enter the kingdom of heaven,

but only he who does the will

of My Father in heaven.

 

22 Many will say to Me on that day,

 

‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy

in Your name, and in Your name

drive out demons

and perform many miracles?’

 

23 Then I will tell them plainly,

I never knew you; depart from Me,

you workers of lawlessness!’

 

“I never knew you; depart from Me....”

 

Third-party observers would have thought

Jesus knew these people,

because—look at what they listed in their defense—

they had been prophesying in Jesus’ name.

 

They had been driving out demons in Jesus’ name.

 

They had been performing many miracles in Jesus’ name.

 

But Jesus tells them, “I never knew you.”

 

That’s because they were hypocrites.

 

Jesus doesn’t have a personal relationship with hypocrites.

 

They were putting on a show of being “Christians”

on the outside, but on the inside,

they were not really following Jesus at all.

They were secretly living evil lives,

following their own evil desires,

instead of following Christ.

 

They didn’t know him, and he didn’t know them.

 

So, when they come to the gates of Heaven,

and say, ‘Lord, Lord, let us come in,’

he will tell them,

“I never knew you. Get away from me.”

---------------------------------------------------

 

How do we make sure

that we don’t end up in that position ourselves?

 

By coming to Jesus personally,

recognizing that only he can save us from our sins.

 

By coming to Jesus personally,

and committing ourselves to follow him.

 

Just sitting in a pew at church and hearing about Jesus

won’t save us.

 

Publicly saying the Sinner’s Pray,

and getting baptized, and joining the church

won’t save us.

 

Only Jesus can save us.

 

I had an uncle who was an unbeliever—an atheist,

and he joined a church,

because he thought the contacts he would make there

would help him in his real estate business.

 

He was still an unbeliever and an atheist.

 

Joining that church didn’t save him.

 

Only Jesus can save us.

 

We need to come to him,

personally,   individually,

confessing that we need his salvation

and committing ourselves

to follow him as our Lord and Master.

 

Jesus said,

“‘I will never turn away anyone

who comes to me.’”  

 

The Scriptures tell us about him,

what we hear in church tells us about him,

and continuing to come to hear more about him

is fine, but it won’t save us,

until we make it our own

by personally turning to Jesus

in the secret inner being of our hearts and minds.

----------------------

 

When Christ was walking the earth,

people could become his followers

by going to him personally

and making that commitment.

 

Now Christ is in heaven and we are on earth.

 

But he can still receive us, if we come to him.

 

Jesus said,

“‘I will never turn away anyone

who comes to me.’”  

 

Adam & Eve lost their relationship with God.

 

You can get it back.

 

You need to get it back.

 

You can personally come to Jesus

privately in prayer at home.

 

Or, you can come to Jesus right now.

 

You can silently say in prayer,

“Jesus, save me from my sins.

I’m trusting you now, Jesus, to save me.

And I’m choosing to follow you.”

 

It doesn’t have to be those exact words,

but you can come to Jesus in prayer,

accepting him as your Savior,

and agreeing to follow him as your Lord.

 

You can say in prayer,

“Jesus, save me from my sins.

I’m trusting you now, Jesus, to save me.

And I’m choosing to follow you.”

 

He will honor that prayer,

and will begin to reveal himself to you.

 

He’ll receive you into his world-wide Church,

and into the eternal life that Adam lost.

 

The separation from God

that began in the Garden of Eden will end for you.

 

You will know God, and he will know you,

and will welcome you into his Kingdom.