Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"If You Are the Son of God" -- A Tale of Two Adams

Sermon for The FIRST SUNDAY in LENT

"‘If You Are the Son of God’ -- A Tale of Two Adams"

Text: Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. Rom 5:14-15, NKJ

"If you are the son of God, . . . "

just what does this mean?

First, and foremost it means you have a Father. As we pray in the Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer, "Our Father who art in heaven," this means that, in God, you have a true Father and that you are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence you may ask Him for every need of body and soul now as dear children ask their dear father. If you are the son of God it means knowing that He is such a perfect and loving Father that He would supply all these things even without your asking for them, but out of faith and love asking that He would continue to supply and nurture you in all you need and to forgive and deliver you from all that would harm you and separate you from Him and His Fatherly goodness.

And so you may learn that being the son of God is not an open question of if to be solved by your own desires and actions, but a fact of that forever settled by the desires of the Father and actions of his only begotten Son, you have set before you this day in our Scripture readings a Tale of Two Adams:

The First Adam, a son not begotten but created, demonstrates how not to be the son of God, and in fact loses his claim to son-ship and ours. -- by his lack of relying on God’s clear Word to him, neither praying nor preaching that Word in a time of temptation and need, and by his work to try covering up his ungratefulness and make a living on his own. [See the Lent 1 Old Testament Reading, Genesis 3:1-21]

The second Adam, not only demonstrates what it means to be the Son of God by confessing and praying His Father’s Word in His earthly ministry of preaching and miracles, but He also fulfills His son-ship by doing the work of His Father’s will to deliver us from our exile and make us sons again. [See the Lent 1 Gospel Reading, Matthew 4:1-11]

The First Adam, placed in the Paradise of Eden and walking in the very presence of God, listens to the tempting voice of the devil and heeds him rather than turning to God for His blessed Word.

The Second Adam, led into an unnamed desert wilderness, is tempted by the same voice of the same evil one and rejects him preferring the precious Word of His Father.

The First Adam, having everything set before him that he could ever need including every tree ... pleasant to the sight and good for food as well as the tree of Life, wants more.

The Second Adam, having neither food nor bodily nourishment of any sort, nothing either pleasant or desirous to the body for 40 days, craves nothing but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

The First Adam, dared by the devil to cheat death, tests God by ignoring His clear word that, 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.

The Second Adam, dared by the devil to cheat death by jumping off the pinnacle of the temple, trusts God His Father without testing the boundaries of His love.

The First Adam, created in the image of God, takes the word of a liar that promises you will be like God, and thereby loses what was already his.

The Second Adam, born in the likeness of man, rejects the word of that father of all lies who offers Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, retaining that which is given freely by God, His Father.

The First Adam, fails as the pastor of his wife, and allows her to be overcome with death absenting them from God’s Word.

The Second Adam is the Good Pastor who gives His life for His Bride, the church, and gives it abundantly through His ever present Word and Sacrament.

Through Baptism God has placed us in the paradise of His church, to walk in His presence and listen to His voice. Yet like the First Adam, we so often choose to turn our backs on Him and listen to our own reason led by the father of lies.

In the paradise of His church, God sets before us again everything that we could ever need, including the very body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Yet, like the First Adam we so often want something different, something more.

In the paradise of His church we know that here are no boundaries to His love so we need not put Him to the test. Yet, like the First Adam we so often test the Lord to rescue us from our own rebelliousness and desire to go on living in sin.
In the paradise of His church God gives us His glory, the glory of His one and only Son crucified and risen for us. Yet, like the First Adam, we so often want the glory without God, without the cross.

Born into this world of sin, we are the First Adam struggling against God, choosing that which is contrary to His will, destructive to our very souls and death to our bodies. Oh, we always know better than our Father don’t we? – Weekend recreation and entertainment instead of worship; getting along and having peace rather than living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; living together, divorcing from one spouse to get a better one; what we perceive to be important, what we desire, always seems to put as at odds with what our Father would have us want and do.

Thanks be to God this Tale of Two Adams has a happy ending. Reborn in the water of Holy Baptism, we are clothed in the righteousness of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, we are chosen by God according to His will, our souls are cleansed and we have the certain hope of the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.‘Tis a far, far better thing that the Second Adam has done, than the First Adam had done before.

The First Adam chose to disobey God thereby bringing death to himself and to the world. The Second Adam, being found in appearance as a man, ... humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Phil 2:8, NKJ).

The First Adam valued his own choice over the life given Him by God. The Second Adam valued your life over the choice to bypass death.

By the First Adam you were born into a world of sin and death.

By Baptism into death of the Second Adam you have died to sin and been born into eternal life.

By the First Adam you receive a body that wears out and decays, blood that runs cold and will pour into the earth.

By Holy Communion with the Second Adam you receive the body and blood of the very Son of God, a body that will never see decay and blood that will always be a river of life for you.

By the First Adam, God says that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

By the Second Adam God says to you, even today and every day by His Word and Sacrament, "if you are the son of God" is no longer a question in need of being be proved.

Now, by the grace of God in Christ Jesus the Second Adam, that you are the son of God is a fact, a done deal. For by virtue of the perfect life and the bitter suffering and death of the only begotten Son of God, and your Baptism into His death, you too are a beloved son of God -- forgiven all of you sins unto the resurrection of the body and life everlasting in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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