1st Sunday in Lent – Sermon 26

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



“For as through the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners – so through the obedience of one man many will be made righteous”

Do you believe it ?

Do you Adam and Eve it?

or are we innocent until proven guilty ?

Can Jesus really set us free?

Our two readings consider the behaviour of the first and second Adam – of Adam in the garden of Eden and Christ on the cross – and what it means for us – We are going to look at each in turn to see if it helps us in our understanding and belief

First Point


Our OT reading describes what is commonly known as the “fall” – the temptation and the breakdown in the relationship between Adam and Eve and God in the garden of Eden –

Many of us read the OT as if it were the “bad old days” – before Jesus – but that’s not an accurate picture – The first three chapters of Genesis in particular give us a glimpse of how God intended His creation to live – in benevolence – abundance and obedience – until it was marred by human sin –

God made Adam – which in Hebrew – means “mankind” – in His image or nature – to enjoy an intimate relationship with Him – He gave us freedom to choose – whether to accept or reject Him – He gave us dominion over the rest of creation – but even though we have been given so much – we are still dependent on Him –

Eve was tempted by the serpent – with a doubt and a denial – doubt – whether the word of God would mean what it says – denial – that judgment would follow – Adam and Eve found the gifts that God provided more attractive than God Himself – and wanted to decide for themselves what was good and what was evil – they wanted self- rule rather than God rule –

After eating the fruit the couple were uncomfortable together – they covered themselves up – felt ashamed – both tried to put the blame elsewhere –

God had warned them that the day they chose to disobey they would die – and immediately their relationship with God died –

God’s punishment is spelled out in graphic terms in the rest of Chapter 3 – Adam’s created task would remain – but it would be a trying and bruising effort – that would continue until his death – when he would return to dust from which he had been formed –

the loving relationship that God wanted with Adam was broken by sin – and sin became part of human nature – spreading to the next generation – Adam was to see this for himself – when his sons begin to fight and he sees Cain kill Abel –

Their bid for moral independence – and attack on God’s sovereignty – had set the scene – for the rest of mankind – on a life that would try to ignore – or even deny that God exists –

We have all helped to make this world – the place it is – much of what we do is destructive – to the environment – and to ourselves – and to those who come after us – our sins leave their mark – both on individuals and our culture – and non of us can escape its influence – before we are old enough to know right from wrong – we become skillful in responding to the aggressive manipulative behaviour of others –

The heart of the problem is that we often don’t recognise our guilt – we plead innocence instead of guilty –

Nobody likes to be called a sinner – we find the word offensive – so we use other less threatening ideas – people don’t commit adultery – they have marital problems – we don’t steal the company stationary – we just borrow it – its not a lie – its being economical with the truth – it wasn’t my fault she gave me a £1 too much in my change –

we all have a considerable overdraft of sin – and cannot simply shrug off guilt – we have to face up to sin honestly – we need a fresh start – a new beginning – we need rescuing – some one to break sin’s power over us


Point 2


And such is God’s love that He sent His only Son to rescue us –

“the word became flesh, He made His home among us and we saw His glory – such Glory as befits the Fathers own Son – full of grace and truth”

God sent Jesus Christ His only Son – to become a man and to die on the cross for our sins – once and for all – so we can be forgiven and reconciled back to Him –

Jesus’ own explanation of His death is that He gave Himself as a ransom payment – a sacrifice – although He was innocent – He died a criminals death to show us the extent of God’s love for us –

Because of His death and resurrection – we can approach God through Jesus – and experience that intimate personal relationship – that God so desires

just as we are all affected and influenced by sin – so all who have faith in Jesus are restored to a right relationship with God –

Paul uses the word “one “ eleven times in our NT reading – he talks of one man – referring to both Adam and Christ – and presents them as respective heads of the old and new humanities –

just as one mans trespass brought sin and death into the world – so one mans sacrifice can bring salvation – and – God’s gift considerably outweighs the fall –

Paul uses the phrase “how much more” – to emphasise this – for God is superior to man – grace to sin – and life to death – and Christ’s work is superior in nature – and extent –
as Calvin wrote

“The grace of Christ belongs to a greater number than the condemnation contracted by the first man”

Jesus will raise many more than Adam will drag to death


Point 3 So what have we understood?


Genesis tells the story of many beginnings – the beginning of the universe – the beginning of sin – and perhaps the most important the beginning of God’s work to restore a sinful humanity – He had barely finished His creation when the human rebellion marred it – like spraying graffiti all over a work of art – or breaking up a sculpture – but God immediately tries to mend the broken pieces – to put right what has been spoiled –

He narrowed His scope from the whole universe to one man – Abraham – and from their to Moses – and the Israelite nation – and eventually back to the whole world again – through Jesus Christ –

Whether we believe there was a real Adam and Eve or think it was just an inspired story – which explains why our relationship with God was spoiled – is not important – which ever way we look at it – the story tells us a lot about the side effects of self rule – about temptation and about God and the importance of obedience –

From our very beginnings we have had a choice to make – to choose the way of the world – or to be obedient to God’s ways – to follow our natural instincts – or to follow the instincts of Christ – to take the road to death – or the pathway to salvation

In life we should ask ourselves – what would Jesus do ? – He not only taught about the life that God wants us to lead – He actually lived it – and showed us what God is like – that God’s love and Grace are immense –

we should also understand what Jesus did – He gave His life for our life – even if we were to do everything as Jesus would do it – we would never be good enough – to reach heaven without Jesus’ sacrifice –

Jesus’ death and His life are an example of how to face and endure injustice and how we should live in the world –

Jesus regenerates us by His spirit – and with that regeneration comes faith – and freedom – freedom from fear – He is always with us – freedom from ourselves – often our greatest enemy – freedom from others – because we focus on what God says we should do -and freedom from sin




Although the story of Adam and Eve is an ancient one – its consequences are very much part of us today – Because of that broken relationship with God – we sometimes express a sense of incompleteness and meaninglessness – we often “miss the mark” – fall short of giving the perfect response because there is so much within us that holds us back – and drags us down –

Jesus’ first call to us is to Himself – as Martin Luther said – "I do not know the way I take – but I know my guide" – Jesus is the way – the truth – and the life – through Him we have a direct pathway to God – and the promise of forgiveness and salvation – through Jesus we have the Glory of God breaking out into our lives – and the perfect answer to sin

Lent is a time of preparation for the coming passion and resurrection of Christ – (what better preparation can there be than to learn more about Him – perhaps by joining one of the local Lent lunches / groups) –

there is only one way to freedom – one saviour -and one hope for sinners –

through the one man on the cross we have the gift of forgiveness and the promise – that we too will be lifted up and become one with Christ –

Prayer to Finish

 In the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit