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Terminal!

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
August 16, 2021 12:00 am

Terminal!

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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August 16, 2021 12:00 am

In 1 Corinthians chapter 15, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we can’t fully understand all that Christ gained for us at Calvary until we understand all that we really lost in Eden. In fact, the story of the Gospel is really a story of “Two different Adams: the one who obeyed God and the one who didn’t.” So join Stephen in his new series – The First and Second Adam – as he expounds that truth for us.

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Adam is the head of the human race. Paul is saying that we all sinned in Adam, our representative. Since you were in Adam, the head of the human race, when he sinned, you also can be in Christ. Haven't you wondered why he could say, I am crucified with Christ? I was raised with him.

How can he say that? Because in the mind of God, just as we were all in Adam, the head of our fallen race, we by faith become part of that body in Christ, now having been raised from the dead. As a Christian, you can't fully understand all that Jesus Christ gained for you at Calvary until you understand all that you lost in the Garden of Eden. In fact, people can't even respond to the gospel message without first admitting that they have a problem of sin, from which they need to be saved. The story of the gospel is really a story of two different Adams, the one who obeyed God and the one who didn't. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey begins a series from Romans 5 and 6 called The First and Second Adam.

We'll begin this series next with this message called Terminal. The first epidemic recorded in human history was called the Black Death, later known as the Bubonic Plague. It started in China around the year 1334, and it quickly spread to India and Persia, places in Russia and ultimately into Europe. Before it was over, millions of people died. Their symptoms involved the swelling of their throats and these black blotches that would appear on their bodies and faces.

And after a few days of high fever and pain, they would die. 60 million people died. If you can imagine the panic during these days, one out of every four Europeans died.

It affected every family and every home, every individual. Well, according to the Bible, that wasn't the first epidemic to affect mankind, and it would not be the worst. There is a plague of a different sort. It is a far more deadly epidemic that has spread throughout the world. It has infected now some 5 billion people. It is a plague called sin, and it is fatal.

And the statistics are consistent. One out of one dies. There aren't many people who want to talk about death. Well, there aren't many people who would stare death in the face and want to talk about it. Some are, it's interesting, Christianity Today recently carried excerpts of interviews with very old people. And humorous interviews they were, like Jeannie Calment, 120 years of age. Imagine, born in 1883, she was interviewed and asked to describe her vision for the future. She responded, very brief. Another woman was asked the benefits of living to the age of 102. And she answered, there's no peer pressure.

I like this lady's spunk. She had never married. She literally made a request in writing to her pastor named John Fetterman, who shared it with Christianity Today, to make sure there would be no male pallbearers at her funeral. She explained, they wouldn't take me out while I was alive. I'm not going to let them take me out when I'm dead. Death.

What a subject. Once when I was in middle school, we were traveling as a family and we were all packed into one hotel room, two boys on the floor, two sharing a bed, my mom and dad and the other. And she was still awake. For some reason, we were all asleep. And she told me that suddenly, without any reason or provocation, I sat up in bed and I looked at the wall across the room and I shouted out one word, death. And I laid back down and went to sleep. Of course, it ruined the night for my mother.

She checked on me constantly. An interesting thing. And how scary it would be for a parent to hear a child suddenly wake up and holler, death. Is that some sign? I have no idea what I was thinking or dreaming.

Perhaps I was calling for the end of my brothers. Who knows? Frankly, the world doesn't really want to think about the issue of death.

It would like to skirt it. There are a number of philosophies that have helped men deny it or ignore it. Let me give you some of them. One is fatalism. This could be called the doctrine of despair. This is the belief that events are fixed in advance. Man has no responsibility.

People are like leaves blown about by the wind. There's nothing you can do but see what fate brings you. Skepticism is another philosophy that endorses the view that nothing can be known for certain. We can't know God personally. There is no absolute answer regarding life or death. And any view that is dogmatic regarding death is presumptuous. The philosophy of Epicureanism or Hedonism would be another name, says life is all you get. So get all you can while you're alive.

Right? There are no moral restraints because your desires are sovereign. Don't listen to that little voice called conscience. Forget about tomorrow and any consequences. Certainly don't think about eternal consequences.

Today is all you have. So get all that you can get while you're alive. And it breeds great selfishness. Jerry DeLuca told the story about a man who lived this way. His chief end in life was to get as much money as he could. He loved money more than anything, but he hoarded it, too. He wouldn't let his poor wife hardly spend any of it. In fact, he selfishly told her that when he died, he wanted her to put all of his money in the casket with him.

He wanted to keep it all for himself, even a death. His wife promised she would dutifully. She said she would. He made her repeat the promise many times over in his declining years.

Every time she would promise. Sometime later, he died enormously wealthy. Sure enough, at the funeral just before the casket was closed, his wife put a box in there with him. The wife's close friend said, Now, look, I know you aren't foolish enough to put all the money in there with him, were you? She said, No, I promised him that I would put all of that money in the casket with him. The friend protested and said, Surely you can't mean that that you gave that selfish man this demand of his and you actually put all of that money in the casket with him. And she said, I did.

I wrote him a check. Another philosophy is evolutionism. This is the logical philosophy of a generation sort of trained to consider themselves nothing more than an animal. You're just in the process of living and dying. Why worry about death when you're no better off than a dog in life or death? You're just a part of some circle of life.

Your bones nourish some plant which feeds some animal, which perhaps will move and evolve into something better. Then there is universalism. Universalism was created by people who intuitively knew that there was a God and they probably would meet him one day. So they simply created a God who existed in their form and thinking. Some God who would want to make them happy above all. A God that would never ask you to believe in him because he believes in you. Isn't that wonderful? He will eventually embrace all people no matter what they believe.

Just be sincere and you're going to make it to God. Well, that's all we'll deal with here. But you bind all of the philosophies of man together and you get one main idea. We don't like the idea of death and we don't want to discuss it. So we'll come up with some way to deny it or ignore it or recreate it or simply refuse to believe it's going to happen. I think that's our culture more than any other philosophy living in this kind of state of denial. We're just going to live forever. We're not going to think about death. The philosophy of life that our culture embraces best expressed by this advertising slogan for face cream that says, quote, you've probably heard it, I don't intend to grow old gracefully.

I intend to fight it every step of the way. People are frantic today about defying age, whether it is the defying age creams, the wrinkle erasing shots, the facelifts and the health spas and the exercise regimes and the health foods and the vitamins and the Krispy Kreme. Oh, I don't know how that got in there, but that's my list. I'm not against exercise and a healthy diet and age defying creams. And maybe even a little Rogaine for men, huh? Worked a miracle on me. That's a rumor.

I don't use it. The tragedy is that someone can do all of the above for no other reason than to try and drown out the message that grows louder the older they get. You are going to die. More tragically is the hope of people like this recent baseball Hall of Famer who died as they planned. His body was handed over to a cryogenic center where his family shelled out one hundred and twenty thousand dollars.

They have his body frozen in hopes that eventually medical science will discover the answers to physical regeneration and immortality and bring him back to life. Why all of the philosophies and denials and speculations? Because the law of God that is written on the heart of man whispers it is appointed on the man once to what? To die.

And after that, the judgment. Mankind is terminally ill. He has been infected with the scourge and the plague of sin, and he has an appointment with death, which sin brings. Ladies and gentlemen, Christianity is the only explanation for universal sin and universal death.

And Christianity is the solution for both of them. I want you to turn in your Bibles to the explanation and solution. It's found in Romans five. Look at verse 12. As we travel along this particular interstate highway of divine truth, I want to give you three mile markers to note as we travel.

The first one is this. Adam initiated the universal epidemic of sin. Paul writes in Romans Chapter five, verse 12. Therefore, just as through one man, sin entered into the world.

Stop. Now, you might notice that Paul did not say that sin came into existence through Adam. Adam wasn't the first sinner, was he? Eve.

And then who else before her? Satan. Satan had already rebelled against God before the creation of Adam and Eve. So he comes to tempt them. But it would be Adam who is held responsible for introducing sin into the realm of humankind.

Maybe you're thinking, but now wait a second. Why would he be responsible? It was Eve who ate the fruit of the tree first.

That's true. But as the head of the woman, he was responsible. But also it was to the man that God commanded in Genesis 2 16. God, it says, commanded the man saying from any tree of the garden, you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat. For in the day that you eat from it, you will surely what?

You will surely die. Then the Lord God said after that, it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. In other words, God gave Adam the responsibility to obey him and to subjugate the earth and cultivate the garden and nourish this one that he will now create for him. Eve had not been formed yet. It was after God communicated this one prohibition to Adam that God then created for Adam, his lifelong partner to not only keep him from being lonely, but keep him out of trouble.

She was his help me. That is, among other things, she would help him obey the will of God and glorify God together with him. First, Timothy tells us more details about that scene.

We don't have time to turn. Let me just tell you, Paul informs us that Eve was deceived, but not Adam. That is, Eve literally believed the serpent who came along and said, God really didn't mean that if you ate that fruit, you'd die. Did God really say that?

He's really keeping something from you that is precious. It's going to make you wise and it will make you like God. You want to take a bite of this?

How bad could it be? And she did. She was deceived into believing that what she was doing was a good thing. Now Adam comes along and the Bible tells us back in the account in Genesis, she gave it to her husband and he ate it. There's no serpent around.

There's no deceiving message. Adam wasn't deceived. He was fully cognizant of the fact that if he ate it, he would be rebelling against the command of God. He was not deceived into believing it would make him wise. It would make him a little God.

He wasn't deceived. In other words, he was fully aware that he was choosing to violate the word of God. And he aided in utter rebellion against God. And so he is held responsible for introducing, then, sin. When he disobeyed God, sin entered into his life.

Theologians summarize it this way. Sin generated a constitutional change in his nature. He went from innocence to sinfulness. He now had an innate sinfulness that would be transmitted to every one of his descendants, including sinners like you and me.

If you go back and look at verse 12, just as through one man's sin entered into the world, you notice that that's a singular word, not plural. He is not talking about one particular act of disobedience. He's actually talking about this fundamental propensity to do unrighteous things. So that we never had to have a lesson in how to tell a lie, right?

But how to be honest. This propensity to evil would become the nature of man. And David would write in Psalm 51, In sin did my mother conceive me.

That language and grammar is confusing. He isn't saying that when his mother conceived him, she was sinning. What he is actually saying there is that he was a sinner at conception. One of the strongest texts, by the way, for the fact that life begins at conception. David is saying here that there is never a time, even at conception and from that point forward, where you do not possess Adam's nature. You are a sinner from conception on.

Let me move you to the next mile marker. Number two, the epidemic that Adam initiated is not only universal, but it is terminal. Paul writes in verse 12, look back there, just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin, so death spread to some men.

No, to all men. Why did Jesus have to die? He became sin for us, therefore he had to face and bear the penalty of sin.

And the wages of sin is what? Is death. What eventually happened to Adam? He died. And our forefathers, except for those two men who were given to us as a foretaste of the resurrection, who were taken to heaven without dying. You read the record of Genesis chapter six and you read over and over again. And he died.

And he died. Now Paul anticipates the Jews saying, and he brings up the argument in verses 13 and 14, now the law wasn't given until Moses, therefore how can a person be considered a sinner without the law of Moses being given? And he answers by in effect saying this, the law wasn't given, but man was still transgressing. You read the story of Noah. And what does God call all of the generation of man?

Wicked, right? Transgressors. You read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. All these things happened before the law of God declared thou shalt not kill, for one thing. And even before then, before they had the tablets of stone, they knew, having had the law written on their heart, that killing was wrong. And the proof, Paul will make here, that they had the law of God written on their heart, that they were transgressing, is that mankind was still, between Adam and Moses, what were they doing? They were dying. They were dying. Death is proof of sin. The Greek words here are chilling in their description. Paul writes, through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin.

Let me put it to you this way. Here's what he's saying. He's saying Adam opened the door to sin and invited him in and sin came in but then stopped at the doorway and held it open and said to death, come into. Some might argue, listen, I wasn't there in the garden. Why does God hold me responsible in Adam for having sinned?

That's a good question. If you're not sure that that's exactly what Paul is saying, you ought to look at how he tightens the noose at the end of verse 12. So death spread to all men because all what? All sinned. All sinned. Now he isn't saying that everybody eventually sins so they're going to die. This verb is actually in a tense that refers to a past event that creates a present state.

He is saying that everybody sinned in the past in Adam. This is where it's going to get challenging. Everything I've said up to this point is easy. This is where it gets challenging. You ought to look to the person next to you and just say, stay alert. Go ahead.

Just stay alert. Some of you are saying more than that to that person. Adam is the head of the human race. Paul is saying that we all sinned in Adam, our representative. Since we sinned in Adam, the head of the human race, the good news is we can be sinless if we are in Christ, the head of a new race.

Since you were in Adam, the head of the human race when he sinned, you also can be in Christ. You can say with Paul, haven't you wondered why he could say, I am crucified with Christ? In Romans 6 where it talks about I was buried with him. I was raised with him.

How can he say that? Because in the mind of God, just as we were all in Adam, the head of our fallen race, we by faith become part of that body in Christ now having been raised from the dead. So here's the contrast in Romans 5. Adam is the head of the human race into which we were born and we will die as sinners and go to hell. But Jesus Christ is the head of a new race into which we were born again by faith. And we will die as saints and go to heaven. The word saint in the Bible, the New Testament has never referred to somebody who died.

It's referred to somebody who's living. How can we be called saints? Jesus Christ who is the head of our new race and he is sinless and we are viewed as sinless.

That leads me to the last mile marker. Jesus Christ is the antidote then for terminal humanity. Look at verse 15. But the free gift, you ought to underline that phrase.

You'll see it a few times. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one, Adam, many died, the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. And the gift, there it is, is not like that which came through the one who sinned, for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation. But on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, Adam, death reigned, mark that, death reigned, he's king through the one. Much more those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ. Three times we are told that the antidote is free. We have the reign of death in Adam, we have the reign of life in Christ and that reign is given to us as a gift, a perfect gift, the free gift, verse 15.

The beginning of verse 16, the gift again, end of verse 16. The free gift is ours by faith. So what about death?

The enemy we don't like to talk about, in the mystery we resist. Death is now simply for the believer the hand that turns the latch and opens the door for us into heaven. Death for us is a defeated tyrant. He no longer reigns over the believer, yes, he's king in this world and everybody will bow to him physically, but he is nothing more for us than a hired hand like a bellhop who opens the door upon death and says to you, go on in, your king is waiting for you.

That's all he is to us. The cause of sin was the first Adam, the cure for sin is the second Adam. The first race of Adam is terminally infected. The race of the second Adam is forever healed. Isaiah the prophet said by his stripes, we are healed. That means the awful effects of evil, the putrid poison of sinfulness has been dealt with by Christ and our case is no longer permanent death but passing death into permanent life, amen. My friend, because of Adam, you were born into a funeral procession. That's why there's no lasting joy in anything this world can offer. That's why every promotion or thrill you get wears out.

No amount of money satisfies you. You are in a funeral procession, but through faith in Christ, you've left it. You've seen the emptiness of it. Would you ever think of riding in a hearse and saying, this is the car for me?

No. You have left by faith in Christ the funeral procession. And I want to tell you something, you have joined the wedding procession. You are now the bride of Christ. You know what that means? That means you have stepped out of the funeral march and you have gone and joined a wedding party.

Do you hear what I said? You've left the funeral procession and you are now headed for a wedding reception. And it's going to be one of those northern ones that sit down and all the fixings and all the expenses have been paid by Christ ahead of time.

The living Lord who will take his bride to himself. For those of Adam's race alone, there's no hope. Queen Elizabeth I said it on her deathbed, it is over. Now come to the end of it. This is the end, she lamented. Thomas Carlisle said, I am without hope.

Is that your fear as well? My friend, you are not ready to live until you are ready to die. Until you are ready to keep that appointment with God, you are not able to really live. So where are you today, a child of Adam or a child of God? You were not born into the family of God, you were born into the family of Adam and the right to your life is Satan, Jesus Christ told the religious leaders in John 8.44.

Your father is the devil, that is, he has the right over you and he will take you to hell, as it were. You have to be born out of that family that's going to hell and you have to be born again into another family, another race, a new race with a new head. Jesus Christ, the second Adam.

When you do that, you receive this gift. John recorded the promise that those who receive him, the living Lord, to them he gives the right, the power to become children of God. And I want to tell you that the epidemic of sin has been cured eternally in the family of God. You've been reminded of an important theological truth today. The cause of sin was the first Adam. He rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden and brought sin into the world. The cure for sin is the second Adam.

Jesus Christ defeated the power of sin and made salvation possible. We're going to continue examining this over the next two messages in this series called the first and second Adam. Thanks for joining us today.

This is Wisdom for the Heart. Our daily Bible message features the teaching ministry of Stephen Davey. I encourage you to install our app to your phone so that you can quickly and easily access all of our Bible-based resources. The app contains the audio and the transcript of each of these Bible messages. We also make available the archive of Stephen's Bible teaching ministry with the full-length sermons arranged by Book of the Bible. You can follow along in our daily Bible reading plan and more. The Wisdom International app will work with your smartphone, your tablet, or a smart TV.

It's free to install and use, and it's a great companion for your personal Bible study. If you have a comment, a question, or would like more information, call us today at 866-48-BIBLE or 866-482-4253. We're in the Eastern Time Zone, and our office is open today from 830 a.m. to 430 p.m. Send us an email if you address it to info at wisdomonline.org. Once again, that email address is info at wisdomonline.org. We'd be delighted to hear from you today. Thanks again for joining us. I hope you'll be with us next time as we bring you more wisdom for the heart. We'll be right back.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-15 11:16:13 / 2023-09-15 11:26:41 / 10

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