We're in a verse-by-verse study of the first book in the Bible, the book of Genesis, and we're ready to move on today into chapter 23 where Abraham's beloved wife Sarah dies. And this is what we want to talk about today. We want to talk about death and the Christians.
So, let's dig in. Remember, here in Genesis 23, it has been over 20 years since Abraham went through the traumatic death. It's that test that God put him through in chapter 22 regarding the sacrifice of his son Isaac. As we open chapter 23, Sarah, his wife, is 127 years old and Abraham is 137 years old. So, let's pick up verse 1. Now, Sarah lived to be 127 years old and died at Kiryath-arba, that is Hebron, in the land of Canaan. We'll show you a map so you get to see where Hebron is.
It's just south of modern-day Jerusalem. Verse 2. And Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. Then Abraham arose from beside his dead wife and said to the Hittites, they were the people group that were dominant in the land of Canaan at this time, I am an alien and a stranger among you, he said. Sell me some property for a burial site that I may bury my dead here.
Let me summarize what happens next. The Hittites were very amenable. They were very kind and respectful. They offered Abraham any piece of land he wanted. And he chose the cave of Machpelah right there in Hebron.
Verse 11. And Ephron, who owned this cave, said to Abraham, know my lord, listen to me, I give you this field and the cave that's in it, bury your dead. And Abraham said to Ephron, I will pay the price of the field, accept it from me so that I can bury my dead.
You understand what's going on here? Ephron wanted to give Abraham free of charge this cave. And Abraham said, no, no, no, I want to buy it. And the reason for that is because Abraham wanted to make sure that the ownership of this cave would never be disputed in the future. And that's why he insisted on paying market value.
Four hundred pieces of silver, along with getting a legal transfer of the title. Watch verse 17. So Ephron's field in Machpelah was deeded over to Abraham as his property. And after this, Abraham buried his wife Sarah in the cave of Machpelah facing Mamre, which is Hebron, in the land of Canaan. So the field and the cave that is in it were deeded over to Abraham by the Hittites for burial site. And we should mention that not only is Sarah buried in this cave, but also Abraham, her husband, also Isaac, their son, also Rebecca, Isaac's wife, also Jacob, one of Isaac's sons, and Leah, one of Jacob's wives are all buried in this cave. And so you can understand why down through the centuries the Israelites memorialized this spot. And in fact, in the time of Herod the Great, 37 B.C.
to 4 B.C., just before the birth of Christ, they built an enormous mausoleum over the cave, which still stands in Hebron to this very day. All right. Now that's as far as we're going to go in our passage today because we're going to stop now and we're going to ask our most important question. So Loudon, Prince William, Bethesda, on the Internet campus, down in the Edge community here, Tysons, are we ready? We're ready. All right. Come on now.
Nice and loud. One, two, three. Two, one. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Come on now. Ready? One more time.
One, two, three. Much better. You say, all right, Lon, I see the chapter I got, you know, as Sarah died.
OK, I got it. What difference does that make to me? Well, let's talk about that, because, friends, we're all going to die. And the question is, why? Why do people die? Well, to get that answer, we've got to go to the Bible. And when we do, the Bible says, Romans Chapter 5, verse 12, the apostle Paul writes, Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, who was this one man? Adam, right? And the next three words, death through sin.
Say it again. Death through sin. The Bible teaches, my friends, that death was not a part of God's original creation. Rather, death is a penalty for Adam's sin that God allowed into the world. In fact, in Genesis Chapter 2, verse 17, you'll remember that back in the Garden of Eden, God said to Adam, If you eat from that tree, I've told you not to, you shall surely die. Adam ate, and indeed the penalty God promised came on him and the entire human race.
You say, wait a minute. Well, see, that's the problem. Why did it come on the entire human race? I mean, Adam was the one that did that.
It's his problem. He should have died. Why did the rest of us die? Oh, my friends, listen to Romans Chapter 5, verse 12.
It goes on to say, Therefore, just as through one man Adam sin entered the world and death through sin, watch, so death spread to all men because all sin. You say, But, Lon, I didn't sin. I wasn't there.
I did not eat that fruit. Why is God holding me liable for what Adam did? Well, that's an excellent question. And by asking that question, it brings us to one of the bedrock principles of the word of God, one of the bedrock principles of God's plan of salvation. If you and I understand this, God's entire plan of salvation makes perfect sense, and the entire Bible makes perfect sense.
So this is a theological discussion. I want you to put your thinking caps on. Got them?
Got them on? All right, here we go. Stay with me. In God's mind, the Bible teaches there are only two races of people in the world spiritually, Adam's race and Jesus Christ's race. This is why 1 Corinthians 15 22 says, For as what are the next two words? In Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. This is it. These are the two races.
These are our two choices. Everybody in this world in the sight of God is either in Adam or they are in Christ. Now, the Bible teaches that God knows you and God loves you and God cares about you as an individual. But that doesn't change the fact that first and foremost, God sees you and me as part of a spiritual race and treats us accordingly. And as a member of a race, the Bible says you and I have a union with the head of our race. We call this the doctrine of federal headship.
Very important. Adam is the federal head of his race. Jesus Christ is the federal head of his race. Listen carefully now. And because of our union with the head of our race, whatever they've done before God, good or bad, is automatically imputed.
It is automatically passed on to every single member of their race. You say, I don't think I understand this. Yes, you do. He said, I don't think I do.
Yes, you do. If you're an American, you understand this. In fact, if you're a Britisher, you understand this. In fact, if you come from most countries, you understand this. But let's talk about America. Here in America, as American citizens, the president of the United States is the federal head of America.
Whatever he promises somebody, whatever he agrees to with somebody, whatever he commits to with somebody, you and I as Americans, we live with the consequences of what he did or said, whether we like it or not, because he is the federal head of our society, of our nation. For example, a few years ago, the federal head of America, President Jimmy Carter, decided to give away the Panama Canal. Now, I didn't want to give away the Panama Canal. I like the Panama Canal. I wanted to keep the Panama Canal for ourselves. Whether that's right or wrong doesn't matter. The point is, once he made that commitment to the nation of Panama, I live with the consequences of what he did because he's the federal head of America. Everybody, you got that?
All right. So this is the principle we're talking about here. Adam did more than leave behind a bad example as the federal head of our race, because we're all born in Adam when we come into this world. He made us all sinners in the sight of God because he's a sinner in the sight of God.
He gave away our righteous standing before God by what he did in the garden, and in its place he brought judgment, condemnation, hell, and eternal separation from God upon all of us who are in his race. You say, wow, this whole race thing is really a bummer, isn't it? Yeah. No, it's not a bummer because this race thing is the exact mechanism God used to create the plan of salvation. Watch. When Jesus Christ came into the world, he came into the world, the Bible says, to establish a new race. We call it in Christ.
We just read about it a moment ago over which he is the federal head. And praise the Lord, this second Adam, the federal head of this second race, had a very different career than the first Adam. The career of our second Adam is described in Hebrews 4.15 as being without sin. It was his life that he lived was a life of perfect obedience to God. There was no condemnation in it, no judgment before God in it of any kind. And this is the great news of the Bible.
Don't miss this. It's the great news of the Bible is that as believers in Jesus, because we have a new race that we join, we also have a new federal head who is righteous and perfect and uncondemned and worthy of heaven and worthy of eternal life. And because of our union with him, God sees all of us who are in his race in the very same way.
Do we understand that? Praise the Lord. If you don't believe me, let's look at some of the Bible.
All right. Romans Chapter eight, verse one. There is now, the Bible says, no condemnation to those who are what? In Christ. When we join the race of Jesus Christ because he is the federal head of our race, enjoys no condemnation from God. We in his race enjoy no condemnation from God.
How about this? First Corinthians fifteen, twenty two for as an Adam all die. So what in Christ all will be made alive.
Why? Because he's alive forever, risen from the dead. Right. So everybody in his race is alive forever and going to be risen from the dead. Hey, Ephesians Chapter one, verse three says, well, the first two words in Christ. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because Jesus, the head of our race, enjoys every blessing that God could possibly give someone.
We enjoy all of those blessings as well as members of his race. Second Corinthians five seventeen. If anyone is in Christ, they become a new person. Old things pass away. Behold, all things become new.
Hey, join a new race, become a new person. Praise the Lord. Yeah. And one more.
And I love this one. Ephesians two six says next first two words. What are they in Christ?
That's right. God has seated us in the heavenly places with Jesus. You understand what this is saying? This is saying that as a believer in Jesus Christ, as a member of Jesus Christ's new race, as a person who is in Christ, in God's mind, you and I are already seated in heaven with Jesus. God is just waiting for you and me to finish our jobs down here on earth so we can go up to heaven and take our seat. Praise God for that, huh?
And that seat is already there and got your name on it and nobody else can sit in it. It's just waiting for you to finish and get there. This is this is amazing.
We could keep going, but I think you got the point. How great is it to be in Christ? Huh? How great is that? To be in a new race with a union to a new federal head. Praise the Lord and praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. Now, let's summarize and say this. Understood properly, salvation is essentially a matter of changing races spiritually.
It's a matter of accepting God's offer to transfer us out of Adam's race with all of its sin and judgment and into Jesus Christ's race with all of its blessing and all of its holiness. Listen to me now. Watch.
Look here. This is how God solved the problem of sin and death and hell. He solved the problem by creating a new race for you and me to join.
You got it? All right. Now, the question I want to close with today is, so have you changed races? My friend, listen to me. You dare not leave this life still in Adam. You dare not go out of this life in Adam's race. You will face the full wrath of God if you do that against your sins and you will end up in hell for all of eternity.
Don't you let anybody tell you anything different. And what's more, nobody can work their way out of Adam's race. Nobody can earn their way out of Adam's race. Nobody can be good enough to get out of Adam's race to transfer you from being in Adam to being in Christ. God has to do that.
You can't do that, nor can I. And God says he will do it for anybody who will renounce all of their human effort to try to get into heaven and pay for their sins and save themselves. And instead, we'll trust what Jesus did on the cross for them, shedding his blood to pay for their sin. That's the switch that we flick. And when we flick that switch by putting our faith in Christ, God immediately transfers us from Adam's race to Christ's race, never, ever, ever, ever to go back again. You have been transferred and that's it.
It's done. And this is what you're really offering people when you go out and share Christ. Now, you may not want to explain all this to them right off the bat because it might be a little much, but when you say to somebody, we want you to receive Christ. When you say to somebody, we want you to accept Christ. When you say to somebody, we want you to ask Jesus in your life. What you are really asking them to do is to flip the switch that suddenly allows God to take them out of Adam's race and put them in Christ's race.
You got that? And that's how salvation works. Once we are in Christ's race, we are seen by God as benefiting from everything the head of our race did. And that's why we go to heaven. And that's why we have eternal life. And that's why we have all the blessings that we get. And that's why we become God's children.
And that's why there's no condemnation ever to us and on and on and on. We're not in a race that's condemned anymore. We're in a race that has holiness and beauty and obedience.
Jesus' race. And you know, I got to tell you, for 44 years, I've enjoyed being in Jesus' race. For 44 years, I've enjoyed all the blessings that come with being in Jesus' race. For 44 years, I've enjoyed the privilege of going into the presence of God as one of His children and telling Him what's on my heart and watching Him intervene in my life and do amazing things because I'm in Christ. For 44 years, I've enjoyed the privilege of knowing that when I die, I'm going to heaven because of the work of Christ, because of what my federal head did, and I'm going there for a gazillion and 44 years. Amen?
And if you're in Christ, all of that belongs to you as well. Now, let's go back to the question I asked you a minute ago. Have you transferred changed races? If you're here and you have, great.
We should rejoice in that every single day that God loved us enough to make a new race for us. But if you haven't, folks, I want to warn you, you are on very dangerous ground, but you can change that today right where you sit. You can transfer races right where you sit today.
You don't have to do backflips. You don't have to do anything except flip the switch by renouncing everything you've ever trusted to save you and putting that faith in Jesus Christ. Let's give you the chance to do that right now. Let's bow our heads together. And with our heads bowed and our eyes closed, here's what we're going to do. We're going to pray a little short prayer. I'm going to pray one phrase at a time out loud. I want you then to pray that same phrase silently. And all we're going to do is tell God that you're here today flipping the switch and you want him to transfer you into Christ.
Let's pray. Lord Jesus, I come to you today because I want to change races. I want to leave Adam's race with all of its condemnation and judgment. And I want to transfer into Jesus' race with all of its holiness and blessing. And so today, in obedience to your word, I pronounce everything I've ever trusted. My good works, my religious activity, my trying to be a good person. And I embrace what Jesus did for me on the cross, shedding his blood to pay for my sin.
Lord, I flick that switch today. Lord, I ask you to be true to your promise, which I know you will, and transfer me today. May my new life in Christ begin today.
I give you my heart and my life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Friends, if you know the Lord, if you're in Christ's race, I don't care what else is going wrong on a given day.
Man, you got something going right. You are in Christ with all the blessings that come with it. And that's where we need to focus because one of these days all these troubles will be behind us and we will not just be in Christ, we will be with Christ. Amen. In heaven.
And what a day that will be. So in Christ alone, that's our safe place. In Christ alone, that's our entry into heaven. In Christ alone, that's our strength from day to day as followers of Jesus. Thank God that there's a place for people in Adam's race to go or else we'd all be in big trouble.
But we have Christ. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-18 23:08:20 / 2023-03-18 23:16:24 / 8