Michael Youssef - From Valley to Victory - Part 7
You know, you could not possibly watch television for any length of time without being bombarded by these commercials that entice us to try to get our genetic makeup tested. You know what I'm talking about? Yeah? An article recently published in the Oxford University Press reads, and I quote it in part, says, "They", talking about these companies that are making a fortune doing all this stuff. It said, "They often use acts of deliberate manipulation as well as actual distortion of the historic reality that they are supposed to document". End of quote.
But there are also some who blame their genes for their immorality. "Well, I just couldn't help my immoral behavior. It's in my genes. It's just the way I am". That's their excuse. "That's just the way I was born". The truth of the matter is, the Bible tells us there are some inherited genes that every human being on the face of the earth have inherited and are born with, and the Bible tells us that we all have inherited and born with Adam's defective genes of rebellion against God. That one you can take to the bank. On many university campuses today, it is fashionable among the progressive left, the militant secular humanists to say that man is really born very good. He's only got corrupted by capitalism. Right.
But the Scripture makes it very clear that while we are born in sin and while we are inheritors of Adam's sin and rebellion and his genes of rebellion, while by nature we are born at enmity with God, the cross of Jesus Christ can transform us into the very image of Christ himself. Anyone who says, "I cannot help it. I cannot help my immoral behavior because that's just the way I was born," that person has never experienced the transforming power of the cross of Christ and they don't want to. That person refuses to accept the indescribable power of the Holy Spirit that can work in us, that power that can turn us from sinners into saints, that power that can change us from rebellion against God to being in a relationship with God.
The root of the tree of our lives is the inherited sin. We know that. That's the root of it. It's the sin nature, but the Holy Spirit can produce his fruit in us, defying our roots and the root of sin nature. The root of the tree of our lives is born of a seed of self-centeredness, but the power of God's Holy Spirit can defy those inherited genes and produces in us the fruit of the Spirit. In Romans chapter 5, verses 12 to 21, the Apostle Paul after showing us that salvation is by grace alone, and that is not the cheap grace that is preached in many a pulpit today, this is the grace of God that transform lives.
As you've heard me quote Spurgeon many times, the grace that does not change your life is not the grace of Jesus Christ, and that salvation comes with the six-fold guarantees that we saw in the very last message. Here he explained the origin of sin and the only solution to sin. Here he goes again. The Apostle Paul is anticipating the questions of the readers, and the question here is this: "Why is it that so many owe so much only to one person"? Great question. And so here he begins by providing an analysis, a contrast, if you like, between Adam and Jesus. The two are not equal. I'm going to show you in a minute. But a contrast between the acts of those two men.
Please follow with me Romans 5, beginning at verse 12 all the way to 21. I actually have simplified and boiled down this whole passage into three sentences: "Adam fell, Christ arose, and the believer wins". Have you got that? I mean, that's very simple. Come on, let's say it together. "Adam... fell, Christ rose, believers win". Verses 12 to 14, we see Adam fell and took all of humanity down with him. Verses 15 to 19, Jesus arose and he raised the believers up with him from death. Thirdly, verses 20 to 21, the believers are the winners.
Let's look at these very quickly. When Adam decided to activate his rebellious genes, he had to face the consequences of his actions. More importantly, he passed these defective genes to every one of us, to all of humanity. The question that has plagued humanity ever since the beginning of time is: "Why does death reign supreme? Why must everyone die? How can death be so indisputable victor over mankind"? People asked that question for hundreds of thousands of years, and here in Romans chapter 5, verses 12 and 13 and 14, Paul answers the question in a logical sequence.
Follow it with me, please. He said first, it was Adam's sin against God that activated the power of sin. That activation of the power of sin brought Adam and all of his descendants physical death. Please don't misunderstand what the Apostle Paul is saying here. He is not saying that sin and rebellion against God originated with Adam. That's not what he's saying. In fact, sin originated with Satan when he rebelled against God and tried to conduct a coup d'état in heaven and he got thrown out of heaven. Adam had a choice. "Should I obey Satan or should I obey God"?
Beloved, listen to me. All you need to do is breathe and realize that you and I are facing that same question every single day, many times a day. "Should I obey the Word of God and what I know God's Word has said or should I go with the temptation of Satan"? We are faced this every time, and in most times they're very clear. Occasionally, they're ambiguous. Either way, we have a choice. The Bible says that even for the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, those who have received a new nature in Christ, inside of us those two natures are fighting with each other, the flesh against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.
I know you heard me say this before; that inside of us are two dogs. They're fighting. The dog you feed is going to defeat the weak dog, okay? Which one do you feed on a daily basis, the flesh or the Spirit? Just in case anyone here... I know I heard this through my days of working which is back in the days of Noah. But in case one person here is saying, "Man, this miserable Adam, you know, he got us into trouble. If I were there, I wouldn't have fallen for this". Right. You and I would have exactly been where Adam was. You see, we by nature want to do what we're told not to do.
Listen to me. Someone might say, "Wait a minute, Michael. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Why does the Bible hold Adam responsible? Why does Adam get all of the flak? Didn't Eve sin first? Why does Adam get the full blame and not Eve"? Well, I'm glad you asked. I want to answer the question. As a matter of fact, I can tell you this and don't shoot me, but this happened, really. Nineteen eighty-nine, I was in a meeting with a large number of very militant feminists. I'm telling you, I stood out like a sore thumb. But their debate was, "We need to get the Bible translators. We need to get the theologians to stop referring to God in the masculine pronoun: he, Father, and all of". I mean, it was going on, it was going on, and I didn't want to fight. I kept my mouth shut. But when I was young, I always had the sense of ludicrous in me.
Now that I'm a little older, hopefully a little wiser. And I said, "Can I ask a question?" and they groaned. Whenever I'd get up to say something in those meetings, I used to be booed before I say anything. I said, "Can we also refer to Satan as she"? Man, I was nearly stoned to death. In all seriousness, in all seriousness, you need to understand when Eve sinned and then she invited Adam to join her, she actually thought that she was doing Adam a favor. Understand that. You see, when Satan told her that eating of that fruit, this forbidden fruit is going to make her great, will be just like God, she did not want her husband to miss out on the blessing. Eve is the first person who lived the lyrics of the song, "Stand By Your Man".
You see, Eve wanted her husband to get ahead. Eve wanted her husband to succeed in life. Eve wanted her husband to climb the corporate ladder. Eve wanted her husband to receive promotion, and you say, "That's just natural". But it was Adam's responsibility to have said "No". Are you with me? It was Adam's responsibility to take the spiritual leadership in the home. It was Adam's responsibility to bring his wife to repentance and confession. It was Adam's responsibility to say to his wife, "Evie, sugar plum, do you remember what God said? Evie, buttercup, let's go to God and ask for forgiveness". But instead, he fell for it headfirst.
See, that's why the Bible talks about the sin of Adam, and from that time on, all the sins that our children inherit, inherit from the father. So, mom, every time you spank your little boy, you're spanking daddy out of him. To make things worse, instead of acknowledging what he did and ask God to forgive him, he blamed God. He said, "God, it's really your fault. You gave me this woman". I'm going to move on. I've got to go home today and have lunch. I want to tell you what the Scripture says. And Paul is telling us here in verses 12 to 14 of Romans chapter 5 that the real poison that that fruit had was death, not only for Adam, but for all of his descendants, for you and me. Even babies die not because they've committed any sin, but because they're still born in sin and therefore sin brings death and because they are a recipient of sin nature.
Don't miss this very important point Paul is making here. Please don't miss it. A person does not become a sinner by committing sin, but rather a person commits a sin because by nature he's a sinner. Did you get that? A person does not become a thief when he steals, but he steals because he's greedy. No wonder Jesus said in Matthew 15:19, "For out of the heart comes evil thoughts; murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander". Sin leads to death. Death leads to separation from God, and Adam experienced that separation immediately when he was thrown out of the garden as a result of disobedience. You know, I've heard people through the years who say, "It's not fair. It's not fair. Adam sinned and we all kind of inherit his mistake". Beloved, neither is it fair for the sinless, perfect, holy Son of God to carry the sin and pay the wages of the sin of everyone who believes in him.
Adam fell; Christ arose, verses 15 to 19. Because Adam chose to activate his rebellious genes, all humanity is born with these defective genes. You want to find out your origin? The Bible tells you what they are. They're defective genes, and therefore, all will experience physical death. But when Christ rose from the grave, he made it possible for all who believe in him to rise with him, never to die eternally. The believers will never die. Physically they'll die, but eternally they will reign and rule supreme with Christ. Adam's one big act brought us damnation, but Christ's one big act on the cross brought us salvation. Adam's selfish assertion brought a curse and death, brokenness, and endless graves and endless grief, but Christ's sacrifice brought grace, power, and joy to all who call upon his name. Adam's insistence upon having his own way brought humanity low into the state of utter helplessness and set us into an eternal grave, but Christ's willingness to go with the Father's way made it possible for you, and you, and you, and me to live beyond the grave into the glories of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Here's something you cannot miss. Paul is not saying that Adam and Jesus are perfect parallel. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. The Mormons teach that and many other cults. That's a heresy. They're not perfect parallel. Paul is merely contrasting the two acts, one destructive and the other restorative. Adam brought death once, Jesus brought life forever. Adam's disobedience brought guilt once, Christ's death brings forgiveness for his believers for all of eternity. Adam's disobedience grasped equality with God, but Jesus's obedience caused him to lay aside for a season, his own equality with God which he had before all foundation of the earth. Adam fell, Jesus rose, the believer wins. When Adam fell, he brought about one-dimensional death, one-dimensional death, but the gift of grace provides us with multi-dimensional resurrection from the death. Death is measurable, grace is immeasurable. Death is great, but eternal life is far greater. Hear me right, please.
Here's the most fantastic news of all. It is the most fantastic news of all. Don't miss it. If you have never accepted the good news, today you can do that. Here's the most fantastic news of all. The gift of grace did not merely restore the believers to the state of Adam's state before he fell. No, no, no, no, no. The gift of grace did not only reverse the curse of death but forgiveness and cleansing us from sin. Indeed, the gift of grace provides a way for the redeemed of the Lord to put on the full righteousness and the glory of God.
Verses 20 and 21, look at them with me, please. Paul is saying that even though the Law of Moses was given, but when it was given and the reason for it, it was not to give us life. That was not the purpose of why God gave the law to Moses. It is not to give us life. It can never give us life. The law was given as a temporary custodian. Why? For the purpose of sending people running into the grace of God. Hear me right. This is important. Only the grace of Jesus can defeat sin. Only the grace of Jesus can overwhelm sin. Only the grace of Jesus can subjugate sin. Only the grace of Jesus can permanently cover sin from the sight of God. That's why only those who are recipient of the grace of God are going to make it to heaven, and if you do not have it, you can receive it today, whether you're watching around the world or you're here in this place.
Verse 20 says, "Where sin increases, grace also abounds even more". Listen to me. There are some false preachers going around saying that means: "The more I sin, the more I experience the grace of God, so sin boldly". That's a lie from the pit of hell. It's a lie from the pit of hell. What does that mean? It means that when Adam fell, Jesus rose, and the believer wins. Where sin is found, grace overwhelms it. Where sin is acknowledged and confessed, and repented of, grace covers it completely. Oh, but if sin is rationalized and explained away and sort of given all sorts of explanations and why and who and what for, that sin will fester like a cancer in the body.
When you're tempted to think that your sins are too great, remember that the grace of God is greater than your sin. When you're tempted to think that your guilt is too powerful, remember the grace of God is far more powerful than your guilt. When you're tempted to think that your past sins are too dark, remember the grace of God is brighter and will dissipate the darkness of your past. When you are tempted to think that Satan is too powerful and you cannot resist, remember that God is more powerful than Satan ever hoped to be. When you are tempted to doubt your salvation, remember it is well with your soul because Jesus said so.