Easter 2017-Grace has a name-04/16/17

Message: ‘Grace has a name’

Texts: Romans 5:12-21; John 20:1-18

Introduction: Anyone know what an aptronym is? It’s comes from the Greek words for ‘aptitude’ and ‘name.’ An aptronym is when someone’s name is amusingly appropriate to their job. Like:

  • Dan Druff, Barber, Otto Nogo, Mechanic
  • Smiley, Orthodontist
  • Sonia Shears, Hairdresser
  • Smellsey. Podiatrist (Brian Bill)

Names to many, are of great importance. Businesses go to great lengths to come up with a name meant to give a specific identity to their product or their company. Like:

  • Pepsi, IBM, Exxon, Ford, McDonalds.

In our first text this morning (Romans 5:12-21)

  • We’ll be looking at two very recognizable names and the specific identity connected to each of them… and, we’ll see how those two names are connected to us.
  • We’ll also look at how the two names are similar and very different, and, how the difference between the two names is a great benefit to us.
  1. Romans 5:12-21 Grace reigns, thru Jesus

Read: Romans 5:12-21

OK, right off the bat, the two names being compared and contrasted in the text are Adam (of Adam and Eve) and Jesus.

  • Now, I realize as I read that text, some of your eyes were glazing over.

So, let’s break this down into manageable chunks.

Read: Romans 5:12-14

The Apostle Paul, writing to Christians in Rome, was explaining to them death and life. Pretty importance concepts. Here’s what he’s saying.

  • Death came to all humanity as a result of one event that took place, way back, in the Garden of Eden.
  • God told Adam not to eat the fruit of a certain tree in the garden. Adam chose not to listen to God and ate it.
  • That was disobedience to God and the Bible calls it sin.
  • Paul tells us that because Adam was the first human, God sees him as representing all humanity.

Paul is talking about representative corporate identity. Let me explain:

  • We have some misguided but very passionate NY Giants fans here at CBC.
  • They get excited when their team wins, which is not very often, hence the excitement. And, they get sad/angry when they lose.
  • Many wear clothes with the Giants name and logo on it to further identify with their favorite football team.

You see, in many different ways, we all share a corporate identity with those who we allow to represent us. Why is that? Because we take representation very seriously. And so does the Bible.

  • We see it with David and Goliath. Goliath was the champion of the Philistines and represented them in battle. David was the champion of the Israelites and represented them in battle.
  • The nation whose champion won, all benefited from the victory.

Understanding the concept of representation, of corporate identity, is key to unlocking the meaning of our text this morning. OK, back to the text.

  • So, Adam was guilty of sin against God, and since we’re all descendants of Adam, we too, all of us, every one of us, are guilty of sin against God… from birth. (representative corporate identity)
  • God, because He’s absolutely holy, must punish sin. So, God punished Adam by making him mortal. That meant Adam would die…physically.
  • But, because Adam was created by God and in God’s image, also had a spiritual part to him. And because of sin against God, Adam would die spiritually as well. (Separated from God forever)
  • So, Paul is saying that because we’re descendants of Adam, because we’re tainted with the guilt of Adam’s sin, we too, all of us, will die, both physically and spiritually.

Now, before you think it’s unfair that we suffer for something Adam did, Paul reminds us that apart from Adam’s sin, we all, every one of us, has chosen and still choose, to sin against God.

  • So we’re still, individually, guilty of sin against God and will be punished by God, with physical and spiritual death.
  • So, the first name we see in Romans 5 is Adam and what we read associated with his name, is not good for us.
  1. I’m sure that’s not what you thought you’d hear from me this Resurrection morning. But, it’s essential to the importance of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. And let me tell you why, from the rest of our Romans text.

Read: Romans 5:15-21

ILL: Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the kings horses and all the kings men. Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.

  • We’re all like Humpty Dumpty. We fell (that’s sin) and nothing we could do, will fix us.

BUT! That’s how verse 15 starts…But! And but is a HUGE word in the Bible. It often compares something bad with something good.

  • Here Adam’s disobedience was sin and his sin brought death to us all. That’s bad.
  • BUT, Jesus’ obedience to God brings justification and righteousness to all who place their faith in Him. That’s good!

Theologians call our representative corporate identity with Jesus,‘Union with Christ’ or being ‘In Christ.’

  • It’s our ‘union with Christ’ that makes it possible for us to end the pattern of sin and death.
  • Because Paul tells us that ‘In Christ’ we’re now following the pattern of ‘Grace and Life’.

So, Paul now contrasts the work of Adam with the greater work of Jesus.

  • He states that as a result of God’s grace, even though Adams disobedience/sin, brought death to everyone. Jesus’ perfect obedience to God, brings life where there was once only death.
  • Paul says that Adams sin brings condemnation, punishment to all.
  • But, Jesus’ sinless life brings justification and righteousness to those who believe in Him.

OK, let me stop here for a moment for some much needed definitions:

  • Grace: God giving us what we don’t deserve, and could never earn.
  • Justification: Is God seeing our sin, and instead of condemning us for it, takes Jesus’ sinless life and counts it as our own. In other words God completely destroys our slate of sin and replaces it with Jesus’ slate of sinlessness.
  • Righteousness: Has to do with moral purity. God by His amazing grace, declares us to be righteous, pure and in a right relationship with Him, because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross.

Here’s the big idea of Romans 5:12-21.

  • We identify with either the name of Adam or the name of Jesus. Either Adam represents us or Jesus resents us before God.
  • If it’s Adam, we’re still in our sin and are condemned by God. We’ll die both physically and spiritually and be forever separated from God.
  • If it’s Adam, death is always our future.
  • If it’s Jesus, our sin is forgiven, we’re in a right relationship with God, and we’ll share all eternity with Him in heaven.
  • If it’s Jesus, life, abundant and eternal life, is always our future.

Transition: Death and life. Is there anything more important than that? But hey wait… wasn’t Jesus crucified on a cross, isn’t that what Good Friday is about? Didn’t Jesus die? Yes! But…

  1. John 20:1-18 Grace available, thru Jesus

Read: John 20:1-18

Folks, we all know that Adam died. We all know that Jesus died. Yet, Paul compares the death of Adam with the life of Jesus.

  • How could he do that, unless… unless Jesus didn’t stay dead, unless Jesus rose from the dead, just as He had said He would do?

That’s what we read in John’s account of Jesus’ resurrection. Now, I put this after Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians, but chronologically it comes before.

  • In fact, it’s the basis for not only what the Apostle Paul wrote, but also, for what every other NT author writes.
  • Yes, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the very foundation of all of Christianity.
  • The resurrected Jesus has invaded history and new narratives are being written on the hearts of those, who by God’s grace, have placed their faith in Him.

One such person was Mary, from our text.

  • Jesus died. His body was placed in a tomb, like a cave.
  • There were customs for how someone’s body was cared for when they died.
  • Because of the Sabbath, that process wasn’t completed. So that’s why Mary’s at the tomb early Sunday morning.

When she arrives she notices the rock had been rolled away from the entrance to the cave. She’s… surprised and a bit worried thinking someone stole Jesus body.

  • So she runs to where Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John were hiding out. She tells them what she saw and they run to the tomb, only to find it empty.
  • They too are surprised, but go back home.
  • The text says they believed, but also that they didn’t understand what it meant that Jesus would rise from the dead.
  • I think that perhaps they had hope that Jesus might be alive, but they weren’t certain.

Then there’s Mary… Mary Magdalene. A woman who was a close follower of Jesus. A woman with a sinful past who found acceptance from Jesus.

  • She stays behind, at the empty tomb. She’s confused, sad and wondering why Jesus was not where He was supposed to be.

Then, she sees two angels and from Matthews account of this event, they tell her that Jesus is exactly where He said He would be… raised from the dead on the third day.

She turns around and sees a man standing there. She doesn’t know it’s Jesus until He calls her name… Mary!

  • There was no trumpet blast, no choir singing
  • There was no theological discussions on Hamartiology, Soteriology and Christology.

There was only the deep love and amazing grace she felt when Jesus called her name.

  • She had heard His voice many, many times.
  • She had heard Him call her name and it had brought such peace to her life that she immediately recognizes Jesus and falls to the ground before Him.
  • She knew that Jesus had died. Now she knows that Jesus is alive!
  • Mary… Believes, and her life is forever transformed, all because Jesus called her name.
  • Mary came to the tomb that morning expecting nothing but death. She left knowing there’s life, now and even after, death.

It was a very good Sunday morning for Mary!

Conclusion

  • Sin and death have a name… it’s Adam.
  • Grace and life have a name… it’s Jesus.

Allow me a few moments, in closing, to put all this together.

God wants us to know this Easter Morning that we are represented before Him by either Adam or by Jesus.

  • For those ‘In Adam’ God’s Word says, the soul that sins shall die.
  • For those ‘In Adam’ God’s Word says, there is no distinction, for all have sinned and the wages, the consequence of our sin, is death.
  • For those ‘In Jesus’ God’s Word says, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.
  • For those ‘In Jesus’ God’s Word says Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment,

but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)

  • ‘In Jesus’ God’s Word says To Jesus all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name. (Acts 10:43)
  • For those ‘In Jesus’ God’s Word says And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
  • For those ‘In Jesus’ God’s Word says Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • For those ‘In Jesus’ God’s Word says There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1, ESV)

One last text from the Apostle John

  • But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12)

There’s that name again, the only name…Jesus.

  • Perhaps, like Mary, Jesus is calling your name this Sunday morning.

Will you answer Him?