Our call to worship comes from Psalm 9:
1 I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
Silent Prayer: Let’s take a moment as we continue to prepare ourselves for this morning’s church service. Let us come before our Lord God in silent and individual prayer, silent and individually, and yet as the many members of Christ’s one body…. Let’s pray:
Lord God, may what we say and do and think, be to your glory,
In Jesus name we pray,
Greeting: Congregation of the Jesus our Saviour, our help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. Amen
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and Jesus the Christ
Singing: Let’s sing as we praise our Lord
Please turn with me to Psalm 103 as we take time to admit to our sinfulness before God, and express our thankfulness for His amazing grace in granting us forgiveness through Jesus..
1 Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Brothers and sisters, let’s respond in song. Let’s sing ReJoySing II No 319
Just before we call on Ben to lead us in pastoral and offertory prayer, lets take time for the offering this morning, for the local church
Bible reading: (Tom Houweling)
Lets sing again, this time BoW 295 (Christ the life of all living)
Brothers and Sisters,
When someone, or an organisation, asks someone else to represent them, to be their representative, it is no small thing.
And we run into people representing others in many spheres of life.
The Prime Minister, for instance, represents the people of Australia.
When the Wallabies travel to South Africa, to play the Springboks, and they get beaten, they represent the people of Australia. If they win, they do, too, of course!
Which of course points to another dimension of representation – the deed, or deeds, of the representative reflect back on the person or persons the representative, represents, and as such, the consequences of the deed or deeds of the representative, are counted to those represented as much as it is on the representative himself.
What the representative does, whether good or bad, reflects on those he represents,
and if there are consequences, those represented, suffer or gain, as much from it as the representative him or herself. It is as if the two are really one and the same!
This has practical implications: it means that representation works in two directions:
It means that what the representative does, reflects on the people or person he represents, just as he carries in himself the reflection of the people he represents.
And so we may say that Adam, as we will find him in our text carries in him the characteristics of humankind – because he was the fits human being; and we, because we are represented by Adam, carry in us, the characteristics of Adam…
You will see where this leads too…
Brothers and sisters I have spent a bit of time explaining this, because it seems to me this is what Paul is getting at here in Romans 5 from verse 12 onwards.
What Paul is doing here in Romans 5, is pointing out that we as human beings, over the ages, have had basically two representatives
- Adam, and Jesus,
and that both have had a profound impact on the lives of every man women and child.
And now, here in Romans, he is about to compare them and, more importantly, spell out what it means for us as human beings throughout the ages – certainly even today!
And so, in verse 12, Paul goes and finds man’s first representative – Adam.
God made man and placed him on the earth, to represent Him, Paul is saying. And because Adam was the first man, the first human being, he represents all those who would spring from him. That’s easy to understand, isn’t it?
But, maybe we should test this first statement, with its two parts:
Was Adam’ God’s representative?
And while we are on the topic, did Adam even ever actually really exist? Isn’t he just a mythical figure to try and explain the un-explainable (as some say)? You see, if he was just a mythical figure, that would mean he is not really our representative – after all, we cannot spring from a mythical figure; we have to be the off spring of someone! Nothing can only beget…nothing! And we are not nothing, so we come from someone – and as Christians, we believe we are the creation of God…just like Adam was, except Adam came first, so he is our representative.
Brothers and sisters, the bible… and Paul …has no problem portraying Adam as a real person, an historical figure.
It is a modern phenomenon to discount Adam as an historical figure. Not a biblical one!
In fact, this very passage we are considering, is built on the assumption that Adam was a real person, created by God in a time and place as the Genesis story portrays it. Why else would Paul compare Adam and Christ in this passage, with the one person being a mythical figure, the other a real person (Jesus).
And, by the way, proof that this so, is readily available:
We find it, for one, in the genealogies recorded in the Bible:
Genesis - From Adam to Noah
5 This is the written account of Adam’s line.
When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.a”
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
And the one in In Luke 3:38; have a look at it…
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan, 38 the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
Even Jesus Himself, in Matthew 19:4 refers to Adam as an Historical figure:
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and he is quoting Genesis 1:27:
There is no reason for doubt: Adam was an Historical, real life person.
And as far as Adam being God’s representative, then: well, Genesis 1:27 also takes us right back to Adam as representative of God.
Please have a look at Genesis 1: 26-28, and take note of the language…
Gen 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,b and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
There can be little doubt, brothers and sisters, Adam, was God’s pattern for mankind. Adam, a real person, was God’s way of initiating the age of man, an age that would be represented by its first son Adam;
But it is not insignificant that God puts Adam on the earth…yes to be the representative of all of mankind to come, but also, importantly… God makes man to represent Him, to represent God, too.
That is what is meant when God says to man, “; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
And so, whether we like it or not, we, even today, are the representatives of God.
So, how does Adam go, in representing God?
Does Adam, God’s representative on earth; Adam, in who we are represented, does he act as the shining example of Him who sent him, God? Remember that God made Adam …good.
No! Adam does not want to be representative – Adam wants to be God himself.
And never mind, by the way, that it was actually the woman who misled him, and the fact that the serpent was really the one who started it all by tempting the woman – man messes up…
And God will hold is hold His representative responsible. Surely there is no surprise here.
God is a righteous God!
Now, if that is so, then surely we shouldn’t be too surprised to accept that all who came after him would be part and parcel in responsibility and accountability in every thing that Adam would do?
Some people say that we should not be held responsible for the deeds of one man.
It is this contemplated, maybe even spoken objection of mankind that Paul is addressing in this passage…a lot more of course, but also this.
If it was Adam who sinned….not us….why should we share in his punishment?
But this goes against the simple truth of the way things work, even in everyday life, doesn’t it?
We know are held responsible, or accountable, to the deeds of those in whose ancestry we share. What does God say in Exodus 20:
I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
And all of that, is what Paul is saying in verse 12 of Romans 5. He says, in Adam, we share in the result of Adam’s sin – death.
But thank God, he does not stop there…
You see, verse 12, is only the first part of a comparison…a comparison with another Adam, a second Adam, a dearly needed, much anticipated, Adam…
because clearly, the first Adam has left us in deep trouble.
And Paul wants us to understand that really well.
What happens in verses 13-17, is Paul’s way of explaining everything that we have just said.
And as he typically does, he finds a character in the Old Testament to further drive home the point.
This time it is Moses.
Paul is anticipating those who say “but how can we be punished for something we did not do ourselves:
Paul says…it is the result of sin that is carried over from Adam onwards. Do you want proof?
Death is all the proof you need. Just look around you, people continue to die.
And this was so even before Moses brought the Law down from the mountain, he is saying.
And he says so because again he is answering his critics: how can it be fair, they say, that God punished those who did not have God’s law and who could therefore not have known that they were sinning, no matter what they were doing?
(Paiu, in verse 20, he will say, be careful to bring in the law, or ignorance of the law, as an excuse.
At least those who died for the sins they inherited from Adam, before they had the law, had just their inherited sin to die for, the sin of their representative;
but you who have the law, you who know what I command you
(and even we know what this is - to love one another like we love our own selves and to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and might) … your sin is compounded.
Are we to be found innocent because, according to our reasoning, it is unfair that we be punished for something our common ancestor, Adam, did?
No! For not only do we have his sin, we continue to sin ourselves.
Let me ask…how did you go this past week…keeping God’s commandments?
No, we are in trouble. A better representative will help a lot!
It is clear, brother and sister, that we need a new beginning, a new Adam.
We need a new representative!
And now, in verse 18, Paul introduces just such a person, Jesus, our Lord and Saviour!
And now, this whole section is put in its full perspective.
It becomes clear …that Adam and Christ, is presented here, writes one theologian (Anders Nygren). Adam and Jesus are the respective heads of two drastically opposing ages:
Adam is the head of the age of Death;
Jesus is the head of the age …of Life.
And now we may take heart….
The life that Jesus brings, will overcome the death that Adam’s sin brought about.
And now Paul’s complete comparison also starts to make better sense:
Just like there is death for many in this fallen world through the one sin of Adam;
There is life for many, for all who believe in the one act of salvation of Jesus the Christ.
Now we can start to understand this, because, frankly, when one sees Paul first setting out to compare Adam and Jesus as our representatives, we think … but they are not alike at all.
Paul will explain:
Notice how in verse 18, Paul changes from statements of “not like” or “how much more” as in the preceding verses, but now he writes…”just as….so also…”
It is as if he is saying… but there is a comparison after all!
That comparison, he says, is that, although the outcome of the one deed of each of the men in the comparison is contrasted, as in verse 16, ” 16 Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
verse 18 now draws our attention again on the result of the acts of Adam and Jesus,
but it does so in a way that highlights the fact that it is
the deed of the one man, in both cases,
that resulted in the outcome for many – therein lies the comparison.
It was Adam’s deed that resulted in death…it is Jesus’ deed that resulted in our salvation!
And while we have all sinned, just like Adam, all deserving death,
we have done nothing, can do nothing, that could be considered as pay-back for our sinfulness.
That was achieved by Jesus alone, who through His one act of mercy and Love has brought life to all who believe.
Out of one man’s sin comes death to millions…
But now the sins of millions of millions will be paid for by one man,
all so that God may finally have a kingdom in the form that He intended it from the beginning
– a kingdom of sinless people who obey God’s every command, who will be worthy representatives of Him.
That is the type of representative we need…and so he sends us His son, Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, in conclusion… let’s revisit our unpacking of the concept of representation:
you will remember that we decided that representation works in two directions:
the actions of the representative reflects on the image of those represented;
just as those represented are seen in the person or deeds of the representative.
When Adam sins, his rebellion is visited on us, even to this day,
When Jesus comes, the new Adam, to give us a new beginning, a new testament, to take away that which makes us impure, unjustified, should not Jesus and his life be the life we take on in ourselves so that His representation of us remains true?
When he dies on the cross for you and me, taking our sins in His outstretched arms, should we not live lives that will display that our sins have been taken away from, so far away from us as the east is from the west?
And if we don’t, aren’t we simply continuing to crucify our Lord again and again and again?
Just as we are quick to say, no to demand, that we can not be held responsible for the sins of Adam, just so are we quick to identify with Pontius Pilate:
we wash our hands and declare ourselves innocent!
But as long as we continue to sin, we are not innocent. As long as we serve our many modern day gods; envy; lust; greed; worry; anger; jealousy; we continue to sin – we make light the death of Jesus on the cross.
And it does not help to say that it was not us who crucified our Lord?
For if Jesus is our representative, the representative that brought us life, then we remain represented in Him and of Him and our lives should display it.
What will we say… that I am not Adam… even more, that it was not us who crucified our Lord?
How does the song go…”were you there when they crucified my Lord?
What will we say….no, not me! I wasn’t there!
The way we continue to live our lives, in many cases, leaves us with just one answer – we were there!
Horatius Bonar, a 19th century hymn writer, wrote these words:
T’was I that shed the sacred blood
I nailed Him to the tree
I crucified the Christ of God
I joined the mockery
Brothers and sisters, who is our representative:
Does our lives show that it is Adam, or does our lives show that we are represented by Jesus?
Are we, as Christians, Jesus’ representatives here on earth until he will soon come again?
Or is Adam our champion – he who would be God in himself?
May our lives this week, and onwards, reflect the love of Jesus – He who came so that we may have a new representative – Him, the prince of Peace and love and Glory to God, for ever and ever,
Lets sing: BoW 302
a Hebrew adam
b Hebrew; Syriac all the wild animals