First Sunday of Lent
February 13, 2005
The Epistle: Romans 5:12-19
Sermon: "Temptation, Sin and the Offering of Christ"

The Rev. William D. Oldland

The Epistle:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned - sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man's trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. If, because of the one man's trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. [But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.]

Luke 15:1-10

Temptation, Sin and the Offering of Christ 

First Sunday of Lent - February 13, 2005

Lord, he thought he'd make a man, Dem Bones gonna rise again. Took a little water, took a little sand, Dem Bones gonna rise again. 

Chorus: I know'd it brudder, Deed I know'd it brudder
I know'd it deed dem bones gonna rise again 

Thought he'd make a woman too, Dem bones gonna rise again
Didn't know xactly what to do, Dem bones gonna rise again. 

Took a rib from Adam.'s side, Dem bones gonna rise again
From that rib he shaped his bride, Dem bones gonna rise again. Chorus: 

Put them in a garden fair, Dem Bones gonna rise again 
Told them what they might eat there, Dem Bones gonna rise again. Chorus: 

Pears, peaches, plum and such, Dern bones gonna rise again.
But those apples you don't touch, Dern bones gonna rise again. Chorus: 

Long came a serpent six-foot three, Dem bones gonna rise again Wrapped himself around that tree, Dem bones gonna rise again. Chorus: 

He wrapped himself around that trunk, Dem bones gonna rise again. And his eye at Eve he wunk, Dem bones gonna rise again.

My those apples sho look fine, Dem bones gonna rise again
Take one the Lord won't mind, Dem bones gonna rise again.

Lord came down to look around, Oem bones gonna rise again.
Saw dose peelings on the ground, Oem bones gonna rise again.

The Lord he rose up in his wrath, Oem bones gonna rise again.
Chased dem down dat garden path, Oem bones gonna rise again.

This song is a great song. It was a fun and simple way to teach children about temptation and the Fall. The song tells us temptation will always be around us. Think about it for just a minute. God created the garden and temptation was there. God did not create temptation so where did it come from? In the song it comes through the serpent. Temptation is actually all around us. Temptation is part of living in the world. We get tempted in a hundred ways each and every day.

For example, we see a car we like. The temptation is to go out and buy one. We probably don't need it. We want it. The wanting is the root of temptation. We want something we can't have. The predominant thing we want, the one thing we want more than anything else is to be like God. We want to be able to have anything we want when we want it. We want wealth. We want possessions. We want to make our own decisions about our own life and the lives of others. We want to be served. We want to be like God. 

Now, I know we are all saying: "Wait a minute! I'm not that bad. I do not want everything. I just want a few things. I only want enough money so I won't have to worry. I only want the kind of house of which I have always dreamed. I only want love from the people I love and that I want to love me." The 'I wants' are the root of sin. The 'I wants' are how sin came into the world. Eve was tempted by the serpent to be like God. She wanted to be like God. Adam did too or he wouldn't have eaten. Then when they are caught, they try to hide. Then Adam tries to blame the whole hing on Eve and God. "Eve was the one who picked the fruit. None of this would have happened, od, f you hadn't made her to begin with." Adam is such a fine example of the male side of humanity. When we think about it they were not real bad either. They didn't kill or maim or hurt. hey just wanted to be like God. Trying to be like God is the definition of all sin. We try to be someone we are not. We are tempted to be the masters of our own destiny in any and all aspects of our lives. In small ways, in large ways, the manner doesn't matter. We are trying ultimately to be like God. There is no health in us. 

For this reason, because there is no health in us, Jesus has to come. Jesus comes to bring into the world the one thing we can not bring ourselves. He is the one being fully human and fully divine who can live in this world without sin. He is tempted like us. He is tempted with simple things like food. He is tempted with grand things like wealth and power. In all cases he chooses to follow God's will. He becomes the example for us. He is the bridge for us. The only way we can be redeemed, is for Jesus to finally offer his life for us all. Through his offering of his own life our sins are forgiven. Every time we have wanted something that didn't belong to us. Every time we have gotten angry at another and even thought them harm. Every time we have been jealous of someone. Every time we have desired to be the masters of our own destiny. Jesus died for every single one of them. Jesus died for your sins and my sins collectively. He died for the sins of everyone in the world who has lived, who is living and who is yet to be born. Through the resurrection our transformation becomes complete. We have an advocate with the Father who has lived as we have lived and knows the temptations we face. The entire action of reconciliation and redemption was done by God for us through Christ. 

Now, I can trust a God who is willing to live like us. I can believe in a God who has faced living in this world and suffering in this world's pain. I can worship a God who faced everything because this God loves me. One day, I will face Jesus Christ. In fact, one day we will all face Jesus Christ. What will we say when we meet him face to face? What will we do? Will we fall down and worship him, or will we still want to be in control of our own destiny?

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