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John Bradshaw - Adam

John Bradshaw - Adam
John Bradshaw - Adam
TOPICS: Great Characters of the Bible, Adam

This is It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me. Regrets. We all have them, don't we? A doctor once tweeted, "What is your biggest regret"? He was expecting a few people to respond with answers like, "I regret working too much," or "I regret not spending enough time with the kids". Serious enough. He was surprised when people tweeted back saying they regretted not getting enough education, not being with loved ones when they died, driving when intoxicated and causing the death of another person.

One of the saddest regrets I know of came from a minister who was driving late one night and began to feel sleepy. He sensed the Holy Spirit telling him to pull over and get some rest, but before he could, he fell asleep and ran into a car being driven by a mother of five children. He mourned over those motherless children every day for the rest of his life. It was a regret he could never get relief from. Maybe you have regrets. Today in our series, "Great Characters of the Bible," I'm going to share with you the story of a man who let his wife influence him to make an unwise choice, and how that one action began a catastrophic tide of evil and resulted in indescribable woe to the human race. The man's name is... Adam.

And his story begins in the first book of the Bible, during the first week of Creation when God made the world. Let's read the first part of the verse. Genesis 1, verse 26: "And God said, 'Let us make man in our image.'" Now, we know that God is talking to someone, because "us" is plural, indicating there's more than one present. Paul agreed with this in the New Testament, Ephesians 3, verse 9, when he wrote, "And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ".

Now, did you catch that? God created all things through Jesus Christ. It had been a mystery throughout all the ages who that "us" was, but Paul laid it out for everyone to see and understand. The next part of the verse is mind-boggling. It says, "according to our likeness". To be made in the image of God is an incredible honor. How wonderful is that? He could have given no greater stamp of love than to make a person like Himself. The creation of Adam wasn't done on a whim. Every feature, every muscle, every organ, they were all designed. There was a divine blueprint. He was made to resemble his Creator, with eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to love and connect with.

Have you ever seen the intense delight on the face of a young child as he or she creates things with something like Play-Doh? If we can have that much fun creating with Play-Doh, imagine the anticipation and the excitement of Jesus as He kneels down and forms man out of the dust of the ground. The Bible continues the story in Genesis 2, verse 7: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being". Imagine this lifeless but beautifully formed body fashioned by the hands of God, and the Creator of the universe kneeling down and performing an act similar to resuscitation as He breathes life into dirt, and suddenly this being emerges with the intricate system of blood and veins and arteries and organs.

Some people claim this marvelous body evolved, but the Bible states that it was designed, with an immune system, a brain capable of learning, reasoning, loving, and storing more knowledge than any computer ever designed. With his perfectly clear eyesight, Adam looked right into the face of God. Can you imagine what that must have been like? I've got no doubt at all Jesus was smiling as He reached out His hand and, and pulled Adam up. They must have had a lot to talk about and a lot to discover. I can imagine God walking with Adam through the garden as He pointed out all the animals and gave Adam the honor of naming them. After a while, Adam's keen mind noticed something. All the male animals had a female partner.

As Adam looked expectantly at Jesus, his Creator smiled, and then the first surgery was performed as God took a rib from the side of Adam and formed the first woman. Later she's named Eve. It was the very first marriage. And I can tell you this: There was never a better place for a honeymoon than the Garden of Eden. The happy couple began their life by exploring the beautiful garden together. I don't know, maybe on the back of a very docile elephant or a tall giraffe, who knows. All the animals were tame at first. There was no fear of wild wolves. There was no poison ivy. There was no pain.

As you continue reading the second chapter of Genesis, you'll discover that there were gold and precious stones on the ground. There's no way to describe the pristine beauty of a world unmarred by factories, big cities, and poverty. "All of this is for you," God tells them, "except for one tree". Genesis 2:16 says, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die".

Of course, Adam had no real idea what death or evil meant, but he did know what love meant. God was love. God had created him in His own image. God had formed him with His own hands and breathed into him the breath of life. He enjoyed face-to-face conversations with Jesus and the angels. Adam had every reason to be happy and content with his life. He lived in a tropical paradise with all the wealth and beauty of the world at his feet. Nothing was withheld for him except for one tree. You know, many people have wondered why God gave Adam and Eve an option. Why didn't He just program them to automatically obey, like the sun and the moon? If God knows the beginning from the end, He knew what they'd have done, right? When we come back, we'll answer the question: Should God have allowed Adam and Eve the privilege of choice? That's straight ahead.

Thanks for joining me on It Is Written as we begin a new series, "Great Characters of the Bible". I've got a question for you. If God knew the end from the beginning, He knew what Adam and Eve would do, so should God have allowed Adam and Eve the privilege of choice? No doubt God had a problem on His hands. Adam and Eve weren't the only beings on earth. Lucifer, who'd once been the highest angel in heaven, was there, too. The Bible describes the situation in Isaiah 14, verse 12: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.'" Instead of being exalted above God, however, Lucifer was cast out of heaven.

Now, if God had killed Lucifer for rebelling against Him, the other heavenly beings would have served God out of fear. They would have forever questioned God's fairness. God wanted beings to love Him freely. So He allowed them the ability to exercise freedom of choice, even if the choice they made was a bad choice. Consider this: Would you want a robot spouse who does what you say because he or she is programmed to do so? Or would you prefer a spouse who wants to spend the rest of his or her life with you simply because he or she adores you? Would you prefer a spouse who cowers behind the door when you come home? Or one who rushes into your arms, eager for your embrace?

A friend of mine works at a shelter for abused spouses. Every day, women, and even some men, come in to hide from the very person who pledged to shelter and protect them for the rest of their life. Their stories are sad, and they're horrific. The ending's always the same. Eventually love is replaced by fear, because beating someone into submission only adds to the problem, doesn't fix it. The abused spouse or child will eventually walk away and never look back, because love is no longer the foundation of the relationship. Humans were created with the need to be loved and accepted. Freedom of choice is ingrained in each of us because the Creator made us that way. God will not force anyone to obey Him, so He gave humanity the ability to choose. He gave Adam and Eve the very simplest test: "You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die" - Genesis 3, verse 3.

The Bible doesn't say what made Eve approach the tree. It could have been curiosity, or it could have been that she was following one beautiful flower after another and wasn't aware of where she was going. Now, it seems as we read the Bible that somehow she had separated herself from her husband. Had Adam been with Eve when she approached a talking serpent, he undoubtedly would have warned her, "Honey, could anything be more obvious? Something isn't right with this picture". But Adam, it seems, wasn't there. The devil placed a seed of doubt in Eve's mind when he addressed her with this question: "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'"? His subtle surprise suggests that God was restricting or holding something back. Eve listened and objected.

So Satan changed his tactics to flattery and charm, hinting that God just didn't want her to be as wise as Him. She decided that there was something magical about the fruit because the other serpents and animals didn't talk, and this serpent was holding a conversation with her. Eve held the fruit in her hands. Since she didn't die immediately, she concluded God had made a mistake. She ate the fruit, and then she shared it with Adam. Adam knew exactly what had happened. No doubt God had warned him about the angel Lucifer who'd been cast out of heaven. Adam knew that the penalty for disobeying God was death. So Adam had a decision to make. It might be that because he couldn't stand the thought of living without Eve that he decided to share her fate. He seized the fruit that she offered, and he ate it.

According to 1 Timothy 2:14, Eve was deceived, but Adam knew full well what he was doing. Immediately the beautiful light of righteousness that shrouded them faded away. Their eyes were opened, and they both realized they were naked. They tried to sew fig leaves together to cover themselves. And then they ran to hide. You see, these are the behavioral patterns that began with Adam and Eve when they sinned, and they continue to this day. First, the sinner tries to cover up what he or she did wrong. And then, they run as far as possible from the consequences. The next one is playing the blame game. In this case, Adam blamed God and his wife: "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate". God turns to Eve and asks, "What have you done"? She replies, "The serpent deceived me".

God had been very clear. Death was the sentence, but not just for Adam and Eve; everything in the world began to slowly die. Like a fully charged flashlight, it's bright at first, so Adam and Eve were full of vitality. Their eyesight, clear, their skin, flawless, no wrinkles. But gradually, the flashlight gets dimmer and dimmer as the battery uses up its energy. So it was with Adam and Eve. So it is with us. We're born with energy and life, but as we get older, the battery gets dimmer and dimmer. To Eve, God said, "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children". To Adam, God declared, "Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field".

After being rejected, God was still looking out for Adam. "The ground is cursed for your sake". Work was meant to be a blessing. It's a physical blessing, providing exercise and sunshine, fresh air. It's a mental blessing because you have a sense of accomplishment. That sense of accomplishment brings forth praise to the Creator and so, therefore, it becomes a spiritual blessing to us as well. God continues: "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return". God is never caught by surprise. When we come back, God's beautiful plan of redemption is to restore Adam back in the Garden of Eden. But how would He do that? You'll see when we return.

Adam's story is sad. And if it ended with God telling him he would return to dust, if it ended that way, it'd be depressing. But it doesn't end there. God would not leave His children without hope. After cursing the serpent, He made it to crawl on its belly forever. Then God said, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel". "Enmity" means "hostility or hatred". In today's vocabulary, God was saying, "I will put hostility between Satan and my children". One of Adam and Eve's seed, Jesus, would take upon Himself human nature, and He would end the power of the serpent known as Satan. Satan, like a striking serpent, would try to kill Him. Just as a man would crush the head of a poisonous snake with his bare heel to save his children, so the Savior will sacrifice His own life to save those who love Him, and He will utterly crush the serpent's head.

This was the hope of Adam and Eve. The remorseful couple was sent out from the Garden of Eden, and the gate was guarded by an angel holding a sword to protect the tree of life. God didn't want them to eat the fruit and become immortal sinners. It was a huge price to pay for what some might consider to be a relatively small sin. But life went on. It went on, but things were different, very different. Food had been free in the garden; it was theirs for the picking. But now they had to grow it for themselves. Adam could deal with the hard work. He knew that he deserved it. But now animals began to prey on each other. Once friendly, they began to slink away from Adam's presence in fear, as if they, too, knew he was responsible for their plight. Flowers lost their petals. Trees lost their leaves. Eve cried in pain as she delivered sons and daughters. It was almost too much.

The only thing that kept Adam going was the hope that one of these sons would be the Seed to crush the serpent's head and restore their once-happy lives. But it wasn't to be. At least, at least it wasn't to be in Adam's lifetime. His first son, Cain, became the world's first murderer. In a fit of temper he slew his brother Abel. Death had come to Adam's family. Adam lost two sons that day, as Cain fled, a marked man. Imagine the grief and guilt that this first set of parents felt as they buried the lifeless form of their beloved son, knowing that sin and death came about because of their decision to disobey God. Do you remember how Adam was made in the image of God, completely sinless? That image changed as sin left its mark on his countenance, in his thoughts, and in his body.

Genesis 5, verse 3 says, "And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth". Adam's children inherited the fallen nature of their parents. As the years ticked by, Adam lived to be 930 years old. Remember, he was made perfect by the hands of God. There were no bad genetics passed down to him. Also there were no diseases prevalent, not like now. There was no diabetes. There was no cancer. Adam saw his children grow up to be parents. He saw his grandchildren grow up to be parents. Each generation, however, grew a little more rebellious as the curse of sin penetrated the earth. Adam did what he could to stay the tide of evil. He told the story of his creation and his fall to everyone who would listen. That's when God did something truly spectacular to encourage everyone.

Enoch was born, a descendant of Adam's son Seth. Adam was still living and telling everyone about his wonderful Creator and the promise to one day restore the Garden of Eden through his descendant. Adam would have told the story to Enoch. Enoch lived 65 years and then begat a son. It was after holding his little boy in his arms that Enoch's heart understood the sacrifice that God would one day make in giving His own Son to save the human family. Day and night he communed with God and grew in faith. This was the relationship that God craved with Adam in the garden. For 300 years, this relationship grew so strong between God and Enoch that the Bible says, "And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him". Enoch's translation into heaven was stirring. It was indisputable encouragement to all who chose to follow God. God was declaring that "He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him".

That's Hebrews 11 and verse 6. Think about this. Adam was born in a perfect world and chose to sin. Enoch was born in a sinful world and chose not to sin. We all have that choice. God's grace will be there for anyone who chooses Him. At one time Adam was the happiest man alive, but he also became the saddest man alive because he saw the terrible consequences of sin. Fortunately he died before the Flood. It may well have been too much for him to see the beautiful world God had created for him totally destroyed by water. But the condition of the world had become so deplorable that the Bible says, "The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth".

Genesis 6, verses 5 and 6. Adam could have lived in a perfect world, but for the lack of faith he showed when he and his wife ate the forbidden fruit. But the seed of Abraham, Jesus, came to this imperfect earth, and Jesus became "the second Adam". He was attacked from every side by Lucifer and Lucifer's wicked angels, but He chose not to succumb to Satan. He took the sentence of death so that you and I can have the gift of life. He has promised to restore Eden again. It's written in Isaiah 51, verse 3, "For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord". It is written in the last chapter of the Bible, "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have... right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city".

Today we stand on the brink of eternity, confronted every day with the choice Adam had to make. You could choose to ignore God's Word, or like Enoch, you could choose to walk with God every day. Adam repented of his sin, and God has promised to restore him to the Garden of Eden. I want to be there when the two Adams come face to face again. How about you? It's as easy as lifting up your eyes to heaven and saying, "God, I want to walk with You. Take my heart and make it Yours". Can you do that? Can you look in the direction of heaven right now? One thing about Adam's story is it gives us encouragement to know that God is a forgiving God, and if Adam can be saved after what he did, God definitely has a plan for you. Trust God with that plan. Let Him forgive you and remake you. Walk with Him every day, and know for certain that God will walk with you.

Our Father in heaven, we have much to learn from the story of Adam. We have much to learn about ourselves and much to learn about You. We recognize that in our humanity we are weak. We recognize that of ourselves we can do nothing. But we recognize that You are merciful and gracious, willing to forgive, and so now we repent, we repent of our sins, recognizing it was our sins that nailed Jesus to the old rugged cross. We believe that one day Jesus will come back to this earth, and that with Adam we can stand on the circle of the earth and say, "Lo, this is our God. We have waited for Him, and He will save us".

Friend, if there's any doubt in your mind about your relationship with God, your standing with God, invite Him now into your heart.

Father, for that person, I pray the gift of salvation, the assurance of salvation. I pray that now You'd speak to that heart, that heart might open up to You, and that you might live Your life in even the weakest sinner, making him or her strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus. Our Father, we thank You that there is a way back through Jesus. We thank You that You chose to restore Adam, and that You will indeed restore us. Bless us now. Keep us close to Your heart always. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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