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James Merritt - Born Losers

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    James Merritt - Born Losers

Why are we all flawed? Why do we all do wrong? I mean, why can't just one person, think about the billions of people that have come and gone on this planet. Why can't just one person break the mold and get it right all the time? Now, you may say if you're a follower of Jesus, well, one person did. You're right. One person did. His name was Jesus. Of all the billions of people who have lived, He is the only human being who went through His entire life unmarked and unscathed by sin and moral failure, but again, that comes back to the question from me. If one guy did it, why can't one other guy do it? If somebody did it, why can't somebody else do it? Why can't somebody come along and just get it right? Why isn't anybody perfect and why can we be perfect? Or to put it plain and simple, what's wrong with everybody?

Why is it we've all got these flaws and all got these failures because when it comes to being perfect, there's one thing we all have to admit. We're all born losers. There are no winners, and it's frustrating. Why can't my four grandchildren be perfect? I understand about your grandchildren, but why can't my four grandchildren be perfect? Why is it that that little angel just turned into a little demon? Why is that? What is the problem. Well, for that problem, I want you to turn, as we've already been told, to the Book of Romans, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans. It's in the New Testament. And I want you to turn to Romans 5, and what you're going to find out today as we continue watching this movie called "Grace," we're going to find out there are two lead actors in the movie. One is named Adam and one is named Jesus. We've already said the plotline is grace.

And what I want you to do is go with me with Paul. He kind of takes us deep into this movie now, and the plot is going to get thicker, and it's going to get deeper, and he says let me tell you what the problem is and let me tell you what the solution is, okay. Here's our problem. Here's why we can't get it right and nobody can get it right and nobody ever will get it right except Jesus. Here's the problem. Number one, Paul says we are sinfully infected by Adam. We're all sinfully infected by Adam. Now, I remember when I was in college I had an accounting professor, and I took an auditing class, and he said look whatever you're trying to do in audit, you're going to come up with a... you're going to find problems. You're always going to these problems, and he said whenever you've got a problem, you'll never solve it completely until you know two things.

Number one, what is the problem, and number two, what caused the problem. That's the only way you'll solve it. Well, if you want to know what the problem, we'll get to the cause in a minute, but if you want to know what the problem is and why we're all messed up and why there's something wrong with everybody, if you want to know what the problem is, just turn on your news tonight at 11 o'clock or just turn on any news station when you get home or just go to the internet and read any news source you want to, and you'll see it everywhere. We call it errors. We call it mistakes. We call it misjudgments, but the Bible calls it sin. The world is full of sinners. So, okay? Again, I know all that, but why? Why are we all that way? And Paul says, okay, here's the simple answer in Verse 12, "Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man," he's talking about Adam. "Just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin and in this way death came to all people". We all die. Everybody dies.

One out of one people die. We all die because all sin. And Paul says, look, we all know what the two greatest problems are on our planet, right? Sin and death. We got a sin problem. So, we've got terrorists. We got murderers. We've got rapists. We've got thieves. We've got robbers. We've got child molesters. We've got a sin problem. Paul says we've also got a death problem. We've got cancer. We've got heart attacks. We've got illnesses. We've got all these kinds of things that everybody dies. So, he says let's raise this. Let's look at this one piece at a time. How did sin get into the world? He says, well, that's easy. Through Adam. He's the one man he was talking about. The first human being named Adam committed the first sin, and Adam became the door through which sin entered the world, but it got worse. When sin entered into the world, Pandora's box was opened because not only did sin come into the world, but death through sin.

So, Adam is the door through which sin enters the world. Sin is the door through which death enters the world, and by the way, the death he's talking about is not just physical death. The separation of the soul from the body. The death he's talking about is the separation of the spirit from God. He's talking about a physical death and a spiritual death. So, we know that Adam did eventually die, and every person since then has died. We all die. Paul said do you know we all die? Because according to Paul, he says we all sin. Now, this is important. Don't miss this. He didn't say that we die because we sin. Present tense, though we do. He said we die because we all sin. You say, well, what's the difference? Here's what he's saying. Well, it's true that we sin. Most of us probably sin, I think it's true to say. We will sin almost every single day. But why do we sin?

Well, the reason why we sin is because in Adam, we all sin. We all sin in Adam and when Adam sinned, he sinned. Adam infected the entire human race, and what Paul is wanting us to understand is this. Do you know why we sin? Because we're born that way. We are naturally born sinners. We are born with, if you want to call it, with a sin gene. In other words, we are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. Why are we all sinners? Because Adam's sin infected us. It's not just what we do. Sin is who we are. Now, we used to teach this in schools. I don't know if you know this or not, but the very first book that was ever printed in America, the very first book, was the "New England Primer". Some of you probably never even heard of this book, but it was the "New England Primer". It was the first reading text book that was designed for education in American college. It became the most successful educational text book published in the 18th century, and it was the foundational text book for every student in every school until around 1790.

Do you know what the first line ever printed in the first book ever printed in America was? First line? Ready for this? This is kind of amazing to me, particularly where we are today. The first line ever printed in any book in the United States of America was this line, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all". Do you think we teach today? "In Adam's fall, we sinned all". In other words, our earliest father said there's one lesson we want our kids to learn right off the bat and that is we are all born in sin. When Adam sinned, we all sin. We all carry this sin virus. Now, that shouldn't surprise you. To prove his point, Paul interrupts himself. So, he says this in Verse 13. He said, "Now, to be sure sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone's account where there is no law".

Let me just stop and tell you what he's talking about. What he's talking about is the time between Adam and Moses when God gave His commandments when God gave His law. He said there was this period of time that there was no law. Therefore, sin was not charged against anyone's account because there was no law. Nevertheless, he said, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. Even over those who did not sin by breaking a command as did Adam who is a pattern of the one to come. Now, stay with me. Here's what Paul's saying. Paul said look I know what some of you are thinking right now. You're saying wait a minute. How about people who sinned before the law was given? How about all of those people before Moses and after Adam? There were no commandments. There were no Ten Commandments.

How can people sin if there is no law to break? And Paul says, well, you have a point because if there is no law, people really aren't held accountable, but he said let me make a very crucial point. He said even though the presence of a law can reveal a sin, the absence of the law does not remove the sin. Let me tell you what he meant by that. You've got Adam and you've got Moses. Between those two there was no law. There was no commandment. Adam, he sinned because he broke a specific commandment. God said don't eat, and he ate. But from Adam until Moses there was no commandment. That was his sin and God held him accountable, but Paul says I understand where there is no law there is no accountability, but then Paul said but you've got a problem with your thinking because even though there was no law and sin was not charged because anybody who did wrong, here's the problem. Everyone between Adam and Moses still died.

So, here's my question, Paul says. We know that sin brings death. Right. But we also know that between Adam and Moses God did not charge them with sin because there was no law. Right. Then why did they die? Whose sin caused them to die, and Paul said there can only be one explanation. Everyone died because in Adam everyone sinned. When he sinned, we sinned. He infected and defected the entire human race with sin. We are inherently sinners because we have inherited a sinful nature, and the reason why we all are going to die is not because we all sin. The reason why we're all going to die is because we all sinned when Adam sinned. When he sinned, I sin. When death came to him, death came to me. Now, you say, man, that is very, very depressing and very, very discouraging. Well, it would be if that's where the story stopped, but now Paul says take heart. The bad news is we've all been sinfully infected by Adam. But here's the good news. We are spiritually corrected by Jesus. And what Paul is about to tell us is this.

Now, this is about to get good, so stay with me. I think you all will. What Paul is saying, I love that, okay, God bless you. Now listen. He's awake. What Paul is saying is this. The good news is the first Adam does not have to have the last say in your life. The first Adam does not have to tell you how you have to live your life. The first Adam does not tell you who you are or who you can be. So, get ready now. We're going to go a little deep. Verse 15, "But the gift," I'll tell you what that is in a moment, "is not like the trespassed". That is Adam's sin. "For if the many," that's really the whole world, "died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God," what's that word? Keep running into it. "How much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the," what, "grace of the one man," that's Jesus, Jesus Christ, "overflow to the many".

Now, here's what he's telling us. What Adam has done to you, Jesus has undone for you. What Adam has done to you, Jesus has undone for you, and the gift that he's talking about here is the gift of Jesus dying for us on the cross. So, here's what he says. He says, look, I get it. Adam's sin brought guilt. Jesus's death brought grace. Adam's sin ruined us. Jesus's death redeemed us. Adam's sin condemned us to eternal death. Jesus's death can give us eternal life. And Paul says, look, this is not just a one-to-one comparison because in some ways you can compare the first Adam to the second Adam, but in another way there's no way you can compare the first Adam to the second Adam. So, he says this in Verse 16, "Nor can the gift of God," that's Jesus. "Nor can the gift of God be compared to the result of one man's sin". The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

Here's what Paul's saying. Adam's sin brought us under the condemnation of God's judgment, but the death of Jesus puts us under the justification of God's grace and because of Adam, we're deemed guilty, and we are guilty. We talked about that last week. The evidence is there. We can't dispute it. The D.N.A. Got it all. Got the picture. Because of Adam, we're deemed guilty and doomed to eternal death, but because of Jesus, we can be declared not guilty and delivered to eternal life, and Paul says, look, let me just you this. He says, look, even though you can compare the first Adam and the second Adam in some ways, in a far bigger way there is a tremendous difference. And here's the difference. Verse 17, "For if by the trespass of the one man," and let's see if you're paying attention. Who is the one man? That's Adam.

All right. "Death reigned through that one man," which it does even until now. "How much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of," what's that word? "Of grace, and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the man Jesus Christ". So, here's what Paul is saying. Now, I know this is deep, but just hang with me. Paul says, look, Adam has doomed all of us to death. Adam ruined it for everybody. When Adam sinned, we all sin, but Jesus has come, but here's what Jesus did. It's not just that our death has been replaced by life. We're not just survivors. It's more than that. Where once death reigned over us, now we're the king. Death no longer rules us. We rule over death. Death is no longer our master. Death is now our slave. He says in other words because of Adam, we were all born slaves to sin, but through Jesus, now here's what he says, you weren't just redeemed from slavery. It's not that Jesus just let you out of jail and said okay, bye, bye, good luck.

It's that we were not only redeemed, we were elevated to a throne of grace to reign with Christ, and he said so many people stop to early with Jesus. It's not that Jesus came to me and said, boy, James, you've got a problem, man. You're shackled. You're handcuffed to sin, and you're handcuffed to death, and so we think, oh, well, so here's what Jesus did. He took the key of grace, and He just kind of unlocked the shackles, and He set us free. Paul says, oh, are you kidding? It's a lot bigger than that. He didn't just take the key of grace and unlock the shackles and set you free. He made you a king. He put you on a throne. You've been sinfully infected by Adam, but you've been more than spiritually corrected by Jesus. In other words, what Paul is trying to get us all to understand is this. We have gained a whole lot more in Jesus than we've ever lost in Adam.

So, let me give you this illustration. You're going through a little town, and it's a speed trap. You've ever been to a speed trap? We've all been to a... okay. So, you go through a little town. You going through this speed trap, and this police officer pulls you over, and here's what we think. This is kind of the way we think God works. So, the police officer pulls you over, and you're crying, and you're, you know, unless you're a man, and then you're really crying. And so, you're crying, and you say, oh, officer, please don't do this. I can't afford a ticket, and my insurance will go up, blah, blah, blah. I'm sorry. I promise I won't do it again. Please just don't give me a ticket. So, the officer says all right. I won't give you a ticket. And we think that's how God operates. No, that's mercy. God's primary way of operating with us is not mercy. It's grace.

So, here's what the analogy is. You go through the speed trap. You get caught. You beg the police officer not to give you a ticket, and the police officer says, look, I'm sorry. Justice has to be done, so I am going to write you a ticket. And you're boohooing, and you're bawling, and you're just, oh, this the worst day in your life, and you're so angry at the police officer, and you know, you just wish he would just fall into a vat of fire ants and all that kind of stuff, and then the officer says as he gives you the ticket, you see the ticket. Right? You're guilty, right? Yeah. Can I have the ticket back. Sure. Why? He takes the ticket back. He didn't tear it up. Can't do that. He says follow me down to the courtroom, courthouse. You go down to the courthouse. He pays your ticket off, but he doesn't just pay your ticket off. He gets the judge to wipe the slate clean so there's no record of the ticket on your record. Then, he makes you the mayor of the city.

That's the analogy. He says you gained a lot more in Jesus than you ever lost in Adam. And you say, golly, how could God do that? How in the world could God pull that off? How does that work? And that leads to this best part of all. Ready? This is where I think I'm excited now? You've seen nothing. Now, we're sinfully infected by Adam. We're spiritually corrected by Jesus but why? How does that work? Watch this. Because we are supremely affected by grace. And to make sure we don't miss the point that he's trying to make, Paul knows that he's kind of gone deep. He knows this is kind of heavy stuff. So, he says, okay, let me just kind of summarize what I just said to you.

So, he says this in Verse 18, "Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation," how many times have we heard that, right, "Just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act," death resurrection, "one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For justice through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, also through the obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous". He said, okay, this is what I've been you. Adam's disobedience resulted in the condemnation of all of us. Jesus's obedience resulted in the justification of all of us if we put our faith and trust in Him. What Adam did to us, Jesus undid for us.

Now watch this. This works both ways. You say, well, now, wait a minute. I wasn't with Adam when Adam sinned. No, you weren't with Adam, but you were in Adam. I was in Adam. We were all in Adam. So, when Adam sinned, we all sin, and we're all made sinners. We were not with Jesus when He died on the cross, but when you place your faith and trust in Him, guess where you are? You are now in Jesus. So, when Jesus died, you died. We're going to talk about this next week. When Jesus died, you died. And so, when you place your faith in Jesus, you are made righteous. Now, so far, so good, and he has Jewish readers who He is writing to. These Jewish Christians. They're tracking with him, but then he says something that just is an earthquake. It is a tremor. The law, God's commandments, was brought in so that the trespass, that's sin, so that the trespass might go away. He didn't said that. He said the law was brought in so that the trespass might increase.

Now, let me tell you what Paul is saying. Watch this. Jewish people thought that God gave the law and God gave them the Ten Commandments to show us how to be right with God by keeping the Ten Commandments. And so, Jewish people then, just like a lot of people now, they think, okay, I know how this works. I need my human goodness to cancel out Adam's badness. So, if my good outweighs my bad, maybe I'll be good to go with God. And then Paul says I've got news for you. The law doesn't decrease sin. The law actually increases sin. The law doesn't prevent sin. It actually provokes sin. He says you want to overcome being a born loser. Paul says it will never happen under law. It will only happen under grace. So, he says this. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more so that just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, you will notice I underscored these two words. Increase. I did that for a reason. The reason I did that is because in the English language you think those are the same words, but they're not. Those are actually two different words. They're just translated the same way. Now, this word increase is a word that means increase. It literally means to grow by numbers or to grow more or to be much or to be many. Has that feel of kind of, you know, being more and more and more. That's not the word Paul uses here. The word Paul uses there literally means to overflow. It means to super increase. It means to be far more than enough.

Now, this passage we've been reading, you've been picking it up. This passage uses the word grace five times which is more than any other similar passage in the Bible. So now we're going to make this real simple. I know it's been deep, but now let me tell you what Paul has been trying to say this whole time. He's saying, look, here's the bad news. We've all been infected by Adam. When he sinned, we sin, and we die because we sinned in him. But here's the good news. You ready? The good news is Adam's sin is no match for Jesus's death. Adam's sin and our sin is no match for God's grace. The dam of our sin can never stop the flood of God's grace. So, he says you know what? You turn on your television, you know what you'll see? You'll see sin flowing everywhere, but here's the good news, where sin flows grace overflows.

You see sin reigning everywhere, but where sin reigns grace floods. And what Paul is saying is this. When sin meets grace, sin always loses and grace always wins. When sin meets grace, I don't care what your sin is. You bring the biggest sin your involved right now. Bring it to the fight. Bring it to the table. Get into the ring. God's grace will win every single time. That's what he's been telling us this whole period. So, here's the bottom line. Here's the bottom line. We're all born losers in Adam, but we can all be born again winners in Jesus. So, I want to make this real practical now. Let's just bring this home to where you are right now. So, what's this got to do with you where you are right now? You've got pay your bills, try to make a marriage work, trying to be a good parent, trying to do this, trying to do that.

So, what's all this got to do with you? Real simple. Here we go. You ready? Got a question for you. Where are you? I mean, right now. Where are you? You say, well, dummy, I'm right here. You're looking at me. No, I don't mean physically. I mean spiritually. Where are you? When you get into your car today and you drive home, and you go through your neighborhood, you get into your car tomorrow and you go to work, you get on the bus to go to school I want you to remember this. Every neighbor you drive by, every person you work with, every kid you go to school with, everybody is in one of two places. They're either in Adam or they're in Christ. That's where everybody is. You're either in Adam or you're in Christ. Now, here's the bad news. We are all born in Adam, but we can be born again in Jesus. We are all under the law and that's a loser 'cause we're not going to keep it, but we can all be under grace.
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