THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT MEN
A. Introduction: All of us want more power from God. According to the Bible, it is in the preaching of the Cross that we find the power of God. I Cor 1:18
1. What does it mean to preach the Cross?
a. The Apostle Paul used the word Cross and the word gospel interchangeably. I Cor 1:17
b. I Cor 15:1-4--To Paul preaching the gospel meant preaching the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
c. The Cross is an inclusive term which refers to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
2. The Holy Spirit also inspire Paul to write that the gospel, or the preaching of the Cross, is the power of God unto salvation. Rom 1:16
a. The word salvation (SOTERIA, SOZO) means deliverance, preservation, safety, healing, wholeness or soundness.
b. Through the Cross of Christ -- the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus -- God has met every human need by providing salvation (deliverance, preservation, safety, healing, wholeness or soundness) for every part of our being -- spirit, soul, and body.
3. To fully benefit from the preaching of the Cross you must understand identification.
a. The word itself is not found in the Bible, but the principle is there.
b. Identification works like this: I wasn't there, but what happened there affects me as though I was there.
1. The Bible teaches that we were crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20), we were buried with Christ (Rom 6:4), and we were raised with Christ (Eph 2:5).
2. We weren't there, but whatever happened at the Cross, in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, affects us as though we were there.
c. That is why we need the preaching of the Cross -- so that we know what happened to us in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
4. We are taking some time to study the Cross -- the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ -- so that we may experience more of the power of God unto salvation in our lives.
a. In this lesson we want to deal with the two most important men in history -- Adam and Jesus.
1. Remember, although Jesus was and is fully God and fully man, when He was on earth He did not live as God. Phil 2:6-8; Matt 4:1; Matt 8:24; Matt 21:18; Heb 2:9,14
2. Jesus lived as a man in union with God the Father, living by the life of God in His human spirit. John 6:57; 14:9-11
b. Both men, Adam and Jesus, are representative men. A representative stands or acts for another.
1. As representatives, each man, through his actions, affected the entire human race.
2. Adam, through his disobedience, brought misfortune and death to the race. Jesus, through His obedience, brought life and blessing to the race.
c. We want to deal with each man -- what they did and how what they did affected the human race.
B. Let's briefly review some things we said last week about Adam and his actions.
1. Remember God's motive behind creation. He desired a family of sons and daughters with whom He could have a relationship. Isa 45:18; Eph 1:4,5
a. God made man in His own image and likeness -- as much like Himself as a creature can be like his creator, so that relationship was possible. Gen 1:26
b. And, God made man with the capacity to be like Jesus, to be conformed to the image of Christ in character and power, in his spirit, soul, and body.
c. God created Adam and Eve. His plan was to let them and their children have the privilege of bringing His family into existence by natural processes.
2. However, the first man, Adam, disobeyed God. As the head or first of the human race, as a representative man, his actions affected the entire race because all of us were in Adam. Gen 3:6
a. Rom 5:12--When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned. (Living)
b. Through Adam's disobedience, a fundamental change took place in the human race.
1. Adam's first born son, Cain, killed his brother and lied about it. Gen 4:1-9
2. Beings made in the image of God were now displaying the characteristics of Satan. The makeup of human nature had changed. John 8:44; I John 3:12
c. This fundamental change in the human nature was passed down to the rest of the race as each new generation was born to men.
1. We are born with a sin nature, and as soon as we are old enough, we willfully rebel against God. Eph 2:1-3
2. The result of all of this is that death reigns in our lives. Death is the consequence of sin.
Rom 6:23; Gen 2:17; Deut 28:15-68
d. We see the principle of identification at work here. I wasn't there in the Garden of Eden with Adam, but what happened there affects me as though I was there.
3. We can see from all of this that man's problem is more than what he does, it's what he is.
a. He does what he does because of what he is. He is by nature a rebel, a child of Satan. I John 3:10
b. God's solution to all of this was and is the Cross -- the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
c. Through the Cross of Christ, God has dealt with what man is, what man does, and the consequences of both.
C. In I Cor 15:45-47 Jesus is called the Last Adam and the Second Man.
1. Jesus went to the Cross as the last Adam, as the representative of the entire human race or the race of Adam.
a. God punished the entire race of Adam through our representative, through our substitute.
b. God crucified and executed the race of Adam through Christ.
2. Here we see the principle of identification: I wasn't there, but what happened there affects me as though I was there. I was crucified with Christ. Gal 2:20
a. However, it goes farther than that. To identify actually means to make identical to so you can consider or treat the same.
b. At the Cross, Jesus identified with us. He became what we were. He went to the Cross for us as us. At the Cross, He was united to us in our fallen condition.
1. II Cor 5:21--We were in sin, so at the Cross, Jesus took our sin on Himself. Through identification, the man Jesus was made sin.
2. Gal 3:13--We were under a curse, so at the Cross Jesus identified with the fact that we were under a curse. He was made a curse for us.
c. When Jesus identified with us at the Cross God had to treat Him as us.
1. The wrath of God against our sins was poured out on Him. When God looked at Jesus He saw us.
2. God did to Jesus what would have, should have, been done to us to satisfy justice.
3. Jesus joined us, united Himself to us, identified Himself with us in our sin, death, and the curse or consequences of sin, in order to bring us out of those things.
a. Because Jesus was and is God at the same time He was and is man, the value of His person is such that He could satisfy the claims of divine justice against us.
b. Once the price for our sin was paid, because Jesus had no sin of His own, He was able to come out of sin, death, and its consequences.
1. Because He had united Himself to us on the Cross, identified Himself with us, we were still united with Him at the resurrection.
2. When He came out of sin, death, and its consequences, we did, too.
3. Jesus rose from the dead as the Second Man, the head of the new race, a race of new creatures.
Col 1:18; II Cor 5:17
c. Jesus went to death, through death, to bring us out of death. Heb 2:14
1. II Cor 5:21--Jesus was made sin so we could be made righteous.
2. Gal 3:13--Jesus was made a curse so we could be blessed.
D. As representative men, the actions of Adam and Jesus had a profound effect on the human race.
1. Adam, as a representative man, through his disobedience, brought judgment and condemnation on
a. By one man, Adam, death came, and all died and death reigned.
b. By one man, Adam, many were made sinners.
2. Jesus, as a representative man, through His obedience, brought justification to the race.
a. By one man, Jesus, came life, and many were made alive and can reign in life.
b. By one man, Jesus, many were made righteous.
c. v15,17--Note, the power of God's grace through the Cross, through identification, abounds much more than the sin and death which reigned through Adam.
3. Just as Adam lowered the whole human race through his disobedience, Jesus raised the whole race up to its intended level and we go from there.
a. All the evil due to us because of our sin and disobedience went to Jesus so that all the good due to Him for His obedience could come to us.
b. Everything that should have come to us in Adam as members of a fallen race went to Jesus on the Cross so that all He has and is could come to us in the resurrection.
c. All of this goes into effect in you and your life when you are born again.
4. All humans are either in Adam or in Christ. Through our first birth we were in Adam. Through our second birth we have been taken out of Adam and put into Christ. Col 1:13
a. II Cor 6:14,15--In Adam we were unrighteousness, darkness, and were of our spiritual father, Satan. In Christ we are righteous, light, and a particular member of the body of Christ.
b. Through our first birth, we are born into a fallen race, the human race, and we demonstrate those character traits -- murder, lying, etc.
c. Through our second birth we are born into the race of new creatures and we can demonstrate the same traits as the man Jesus.
1. I Cor 15:48,49--Now those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the dust -- earth-minded; and as is [the man] from heaven, so also [are those] who are of heaven -- heaven-minded. And just as we have borne the image of the [man] of dust, so shall we and so let us bear the image of the [man] of heaven. (Amp)
2. I Cor 15:49--The nature of that earth born man is shared by his earthly sons; the nature of the heaven born man, by his heavenly sons. (Knox)
5. Our relationship to God, our standing with God, is not based on anything we've done, but on the position given to us in Christ.
a. God's provision for us is not based on anything we've done, but on the position given us in Christ.
1. What belonged to us in Adam? Death, sickness, poverty, fear, torment, oppression, lack, defeat.
2. What belongs to us because we are in Christ? Life, peace, health, riches, deliverance, success, victory, justification, wisdom, righteousness, prosperity.
b. When we were in Adam all those things listed above just came to us. We didn't have to fast for them, pray for them, confess for them, have faith for them. They were ours because we were in Adam.
c. Just so, we don't have to fast, to pray, to confess, to have faith, to get the things in Christ listed above. They are already ours because we are in Christ. We just have to learn how to walk in the reality of it.
e. Conclusion: God's plan was and is to have a family of sons and daughters whom He can treat like Jesus, His perfect Son.
1. God wanted to make us sons and treat us as sons but couldn't do it because of our sin and fallen nature.
a. So, Jesus went to the Cross for us as us, as our representative, as our substitute. When Jesus identified with us on the Cross God had to treat Him as He would have treated us. In doing so, God was able to deal with our sins, our sin nature, and the consequence of our sins.
b. Because Jesus first identified with us and was made identical to us on the Cross, we can now identify with Him because we have been made identical to the man Jesus in His Resurrection.
c. God can now and does now see us and treat us as Jesus.
2. Jesus became what we were so that we can become what He is. What does it mean to be like the man Jesus?
a. It means to be a literal son of God by second birth. John 1:12; I John 5:1
b. It means to have the life of God in you to enable you to live as God desires. I John 5:11,12;
II Pet 1:4; I John 2:6
c. It means to be righteous or right with God -- in right standing with God. II Cor 5:21; Rom 5:18,19
d. It means to be free from the power of sin and death in all its forms. Rom 6:8-10
e. It means to be conformed to the image of Christ -- to be like Him in character and power.
3. We have been identified with Christ. We must now learn how to walk it out in our daily life.
a. We must learn, accept, agree with, and act like who and what we are now through the new birth -- members of a new race, new creatures, capable of demonstrating Jesus to the world around us.
b. And all of this is so because of the Cross -- the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.