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Sharing the Gospel - Answering Questions about Man and the Fall Print E-mail
Sharing the Gospel

Sunday Evening, April 23, 2006

I.  Introduction:
 Most people that you talk to, if they are honest, recognize that there is something wrong with the human race.  Most people do not think that everything is perfect and that humans are not in need of any help.  Of course, the question becomes: what is the problem with the human race?  Tonight, as we look at our second heading, namely Man and the Fall, we will be considering the Christianís answer to the question of what is wrong with the human race.  For believers, the problem is sin, or manís rebellion against a holy God.

II.  A Brief Summary of Man and the Fall:

 After laying out what we believe about God and Creation, namely that He has created us and is now Judge over us, and concluding with the question: So, how will they (Adam and Eve) respond to Godís command, our presentation of the gospel moves to the second heading of Man and the Fall.  The following is what we have under that heading:

The very next chapter of the Bible tells us that Adam and Eve did eat of the tree that God told them not to and because of their disobedience, God cursed them (see Genesis 3).  The Bible calls this the Fall of man and teaches that every human being, save One, has been born as sinners against Almighty God (Romans 1-3, esp. 3:23).  If we are honest with ourselves, we must recognize the fact that we too are sinners and that we too have not followed God, but have rebelled and gone our own way.  The reality that all men have sinned and rebelled against God introduces the great dilemma of the Bible:  How can a holy God, who can have nothing to do with sin and wickedness, love rebellious humanity?  What real hope can we as sinners have?

This paragraph explains what Christians believe about Manís relation to God.  We want to emphasize the Fall, or the event that caused humanity to have a problem.  Since the Fall, humanity has had a problem, namely sin.  We want to make it clear as we are sharing the gospel that we believe that the problem with humanity is not lack of love, lack of food, lack of generosity, or something of that nature.  Rather, all of these are symptoms of a much larger problem, the sin problem.  We do not love because we are born sinners.  Many people in the world are hungry because the Fall has taken itís toll on all of life, including nature.  We are not generous because we are selfish by nature.  The problem with humanity is sin. 

And not only does sin result in all of these other problems within humanity, but it also results in our being estranged from God.  Ultimately our sin is not just against one another, but against a Holy God who spoke us into existence.  As we are explaining this part of the gospel to others, we want them to feel the weight of the sin problem.  This is not just a Ďmake a few adjustmentsí type problem.  No, this is a desperate problem because we cannot fix it ourselves.  The remedy is beyond us.  Also, we want them to see that the sin problem is a personal problem.  This is not some problem that others simply struggle with.  No, this is a problem that they struggle with, that we struggle with, that everyone struggles with on a personal level.  You may even want to ask them at this point if they agree with the idea that they have a sin problem (if they say that they do not, see below).  As we come to the closing questions listed above, we want the listener to sense this despair.  Unless someone, or something, outside of us intervenes, we are hopeless as sinners before God.  These thoughts introduce the glorious good news of Christís life and work, which we look at under our next heading of Christ and Redemption.

III.  Possible Questions concerning Man and the Fall:

 A.  If God is love, then surely he will not punish me for my sins?  This thought is at times, unfortunately, prevalent even among those in the Church.  Basically, what is happening is a minimizing of Godís holiness in light of His love.  We do not have time to cover why this happens and everything involved in such thoughts, yet, I do want to emphasize the importance of Godís holiness.  Numerous passages make it clear that God is holy and that He expects us to be holy as well (Genesis 2:16-17, Isaiah 6:1-7, Matthew 5:48, 1 Peter 1:13-16, Revelation 4:8).  As we see in the Matthew and Peter passage, Godís holiness demands that we be holy as well.  Of course, we may ask at this point: what does holiness mean?  There are two sides to holiness.  First, holiness, the term, refers to something that is Ďset apart.í  Thus, we understand that the Bible teaches us that God is Ďset apartí from us.  We are the creatures but He is the Creator.  In the same way, a life that is holy is Ďset apartí from lives not lived for the Lord.

This is not spiritual elitism crying Ďwe are better than you,í for our holiness is a gift of God (see Hebrews 12:10).  Rather, we simply understand that Christians are to live lives that have been Ďset apartí unto God.  This leads to the second side of holiness, which is closely tied to the first.  Second, holiness refers to moral purity.  God is always right.  He is completely pure.  Nothing He does is morally questionable, for He is holy.  Thus, when we talk about people being holy, we understand that that refers to people being morally pure in their thoughts and actions.  This of course leads us back to our sin problem.  We are not holy because we are sinners.  In order for us to be holy someone must deal with our sin problem.

Thus, when people minimize the holiness of God in order to emphasize His love, we must reply with what the Bible says about God.  The Bible says that God is love and God is holy.  Thus, we believe that God is both loving and holy.  To minimize either of these is to misunderstand the Bible and what it reveals about God.

 B.  Maybe I have sinned, but am I really that bad?    This question reflects a misunderstanding of just how wicked it is for us, the creatures, to disobey God, the Creator.  At its core, it makes light of our sin and minimizes the horrible reality of our sin against God.  The person may view men as basically good, sure we all make mistakes, but in the end we are not that bad.  In order to respond to such thoughts, we must emphasize the wickedness of sin.  The Bible does not take our sin lightly.  Consider such passages as: Genesis 3, 6:5, Romans 3:9-18, 23, 5:12-21, Ephesians 2:1-3.  These passages make it clear that our sin is a serious problem and cannot be taken lightly.  Also, as you move from heading two to heading three, you could make the point that if sin was not that big of deal, then why did Christ have to die?  When Christ prayed in the garden and asked the Father to let the cup of His wrath pass from Him, basically the Father lied to Him if sin is no big deal. 

IV.  Conclusion:

 At the end of the day, these two questions to Man and the Fall either minimize the holiness of God or minimize the sinfulness of man.  In fact, they really go hand in hand because to minimize either of these is to minimize the other.  Thus, if we face these questions we want to be sure and emphasize what the Bible has to say about Godís holiness and what the Bible has to say about manís sinfulness.  We pray that the text will convict them of their utter need for a Savior from their sin. 

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 April 2006 )

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