Have you ever wished to be a Joan of Arc? Helen of Troy? Golda Meier? Corrie Ten Boom? Beverly LaHaye? A woman who did something to change the course of history?
An acclaimed artist, musician, doctor or scholar? Perhaps someone who found the cure for cancer or diabetes?
I doubt that the ones mentioned above even thought their actions would make a lasting note in history, but they acted with courage and conviction.
The women above made a difference in their world but there are two women who changed the whole course of world history. We can’t duplicate what these two women did, but we can learn from their example and both teach important lessons.
Two women … Eve and Mary …
One was married to the first Adam and the other gave birth to the second Adam.
One changed a totally peacefully perfect world into a sinful place.
One gave birth to the perfect Son of God who came to bring peace to us.
Let’s look at their choices …
First, Eve. Everything was perfect. It didn’t just look perfect, it was perfect! You can’t improve on perfect! She had a smart, articulate, handsome attentive, yes PERFECT husband. No children to run after, didn’t have to cook or clean or sew and she was probably a perfect “10”! Human life was perfect and all plant life was perfect. It is hard for me to imagine perfection!
Then Satan came in the form of a serpent. He must have been a beautiful creature and telling her half-truths (which then IS a lie) began to tempt her with the ONE thing she didn’t have. And with that discontent entered her heart. Perfection was simply not good enough for her! Genesis 2:17, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it …” That was it, just that one thing. She had EVERYTHING but THAT ONE THING and now she wanted that one thing!
DISCONTENT! Webster’s dictionary defines it as “dissatisfaction”.
Have you ever been discontented? We are so blessed here in America and to most of the world even the poor among us are rich. And yet we long for more. We want more. We can’t even go to the mall without bringing something back whether we need it or not.
The challenge was presented to her and she failed! And with her failing and succumbing to temptation, perfection was lost, sin and death entered the world and we today deal with the consequences of that one fateful decision.
Perfection, purity, innocence … all was gone in that instant.
What decisions have you made that have affected your life and your family’s life in a negative way? I’m certainly not going to have a confessional here today but you can answer that in your heart.
ALL of us are tempted and tested. We have questions, we have doubts, we have desires. Satan knows that and he makes it his mission to “get” us.
What do you do when tempted by the devil?
It is not sin when Satan tempts us. The sin comes in when we listen to him! We begin to entertain his questions, propositions, hesitations. If we give him our attention then we become inclined to DO and ACT on his suggestions.
The Word of God says to “submit to God and resist the enemy” (James 4:7)! We cannot do it in ourselves … we need to KNOW the Word and to act of it.
We can be saved a lot of trouble if we obey God and not Satan!
Now Mary. Whereas Eve’s world was perfect, Mary’s world was far from perfect.
Her people were under oppression and ruled by Rome. Women were looked upon as not as equal with men and the outlook was not good.
And into this far from perfect world an angel appeared to Mary with startling news. Remember “someone” came to Eve also! “Someone” in the form of another, Satan in the form of a serpent who came to plant seeds of doubt resulting in sin. The “someone” appearing to Mary came with an announcement of good news but that which would have life-changing consequences for her and for the world!
“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”. WOW, that is surprising enough, an angel appearing to a woman! Good news (favored one the Lord is with you), and a blessing! But what did it mean???
Then the angel tells her that she is going to be with child and lets her know THIS CHILD that she will carry IS the Messiah of the world!
At this point Mary is faced with a decision. She can either recoil and say “Oh, no, not me! You’ve got the wrong girl! I’ll lose my husband to be, my reputation, etc.” OR she can submit herself to the will of the Father.
We know the rest of the story. She submitted to Father with this incredible statement, “Let it be to me according to your word.” Utter, total, unconditional complete surrender to the will of God. And what was the result? We are given the opportunity to KNOW Jesus, to be His child, to accept His sacrifice for us on Calvary, to spend eternity with Him in heaven FOREVER!
As I said previously, you and I will never be in the same position as either Eve or Mary. Yet we WILL face decisions that will altar our own life and that of our descendants after us.
Decisions such as “whom should I marry?”, “am I committed to this marriage even when problems arise?”, what do you do when faced with a compromising decision as to infidelity, drugs, etc.
We all face decisions everyday, not all are of great consequence, but many are and we are responsible for those that affect our relationship with God and those decisions WILL hurt or help our children after us.
We face decisions between faith or fear, obedience or disobedience, trust or run. And the greatest decision of all is “what do I do with Christ and His sacrifice for me on the cross?”
At the very beginning I mentioned that the two women I would be talking about had something in common. One was married to the first Adam and the other gave birth to the second Adam. What does that mean?
Romans 5 gives us the answer. Death came by one and LIFE came by the other!
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For 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. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12-21 ESV).
My husband loves to teach Romans and could expound on this passage much more eloquently than me but let me at least share this. The disobedient act of one man (woman) brought sin and its penalty of death upon the human race. Just as the disobedient act of one man brought sin into the world, the obedient act of one man (and the woman who made it possible) counteracted this deed and made righteousness and eternal life available for humankind.
(1) Adam’s act was an offense, a deliberate going astray; Christ’s deed was one of grace.
(2) Adam’s sin resulted in condemnation, whereas Christ’s deed of grace brought justification and life.
(3) Adam is characterized by disobedience, while Christ is characterized by obedience.
We are in Adam by birth but in Christ by faith. In Adam by birth we are condemned and die, but because of Christ’s redemptive work we can be justified and live if we are in Him by faith.
The first decision you must make is “what do I do with Christ?” and then “how do I live my life?” In disobedience by following what I want to do, or living and making decision by what HE wants of me?
In the first garden man said, “not Thy will be done but my will be done” but in the second garden Jesus said, “not My will but Thy will be done”. It’s the age long battle of our will verses God’s will. All of life is either “Thine” or “mine.” How are you going to live? Bad choices or right choices may not have immediate results, but results WILL follow.
You may not be a WORLD changer but you will affect the lives (your world) of those around you, your spouse, your children, your neighborhood, your church and who knows, your life may affect a life that WILL be a world changer.
… the mother of an evangelist
… the father of one who finds a cure for cancer
… the prayer warrior who leads a child to Christ
Let me close with this story. Nearly 70 years ago the father of a dear friend of ours pastored a church in Pennsylvania. He would go door to door telling people about Jesus and inviting them to church. One day he visited a couple and the next Sunday the couple came to church and in the Sunday School class this couple was saved. The next Sunday they brought their children and they were saved, five boys and three girls. As a result ALL five boys became ministers and all three girls married ministers. Two of the boys were Bible College Presidents. Many of the grandchildren are in ministry today.
All this was the result of people who were willing to take risks, to knock on doors, to invite people to church, to pray with those people to accept Christ.
Did they change their world? You betcha’! So can you!