The Rescue of Fallen Man is the title of the Article before us today. Wow! Is there a more fitting title for the need of humanity in our day. Our world has been turned upside down in just a few short weeks as a viral pandemic spreads throughout the globe. We see a restless world that will not rest in Him. We see people afflicted with fear and anxiety as they fret over their health, their jobs, the economy—all while feeling socially isolated. Any illusion of security apart from God has evaporated overnight. We see grief and despair as the evil of COVID-19 robs the most vulnerable of life. Tomorrow, rather than the schools resuming regular instruction the hallways and classrooms throughout our nation will be silent. Conferences have been cancelled; weddings have been postponed; funerals have been limited in size. Plans have come to naught.
we need a rescuer to step into the fray in a powerful way. In all this uncertainty, we don’t just need a antidote we need THE ANTIDOTE! We need spiritual revival, repentance. He alone can bring the spiritually dead to life. Turn hearts. Comfort the grieving, the anxious, the despondent. He alone reveals your unchanging goodness to them in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I need a rescuer. A savior.”
After the last few sermons that should be clear. Oxford defines rescue as “the act of saving someone or something from a dangerous or difficult situation.” That is an understatement. This is not only dangerous or difficult. This is not covid-19. There if you get sick there is hope. But this disease. This is a hopeless situation. One of certain death. Look at what the confession says, “…man had plunged himself into physical and Spiritual death and made himself completely miserable.” Death and misery. If there is ever a difficult situation that one needed saving from, this is it.
And this virus is waking people up from the sleep that the live of ease had put them into. Many people, not having help in understanding, are haunted by fear of pain, terrified at the thought of a lingering illness, possibly leading to death. And they are confronted with what life is about. And the doctors all point to the great doctor. The great physician. Bodily illness awakens in humans the illness of the soul. When the soul is sick the body can still be healthy. But when the body is sick it often also shows the great need of the soul.
For it was not always like this. We were healthy. Whole. Full of joy, free from all sorrow. Then something terrible happened.. It is a story that starts all the way back in genesis 3. When we could not even face the one who loved us most, because of the depth of our betrayal.
You all know the story. God created everything good. It was beautiful. The earth was flourishing, Adam and Eve walked and talked with God on this earth. There was no sin. No death. No brokenness. It was happily ever after. Until one day one of the king’s creatures decided to rebel. He had been created with great glory and power, and instead of using it in service to his king, he became prideful, haughty, and rebelled along with many others.
It was this fallen prince that came to this kingdom and infiltrated it to convince the glory of creation to rebel with him. And they listened to their pride. And pride caused shame and guilt. Where before they had nothing to hide, living in service to the king. Now, their pride caused them to feel the shame of who they were, and what they had done. They had disobeyed – after a direct command had been given to them, with the specific punishment attached. Death.
It was late afternoon. Their king would normally come to fellowship with them. And they loved it. But that was yesterday. Something had happened since then. They had decided they didn’t need him. Now they were terrified. Full of guilt, and shame, so they ran and hid. And yet he came. Not only as a king, but as the ultimate healer.
As the ancient church father so beautifully put it, "But when man had been deceived…by the wicked demon...God came to man as a physician comes to a sick man" (St. John Chrysostom, Homily 7) God descended to Eden in the cool of the day, and called out, Adam, where are you? (Gen. 3:9). His first appearance to man after the sin of disobedience was not as a vengeful Judge, as the church father continues, "for God, when He finds a sinner, considers not how He may make him pay the penalty, but how He may amend him and make him better"
They heard him coming. Where are you? O how could he face his Maker, naked? He had so much to hide, and nothing to hide it with. And yet the call came: Where are you?! Do you year it?
Where are you?
This call still echoes though the ages. Adam – or Man – God is seeking you! Louder today then maybe in the last 50 years! He calls us in this pandemic, dare I say through this pandemic.
Through the ages the shame and guilt of what we have done overpower us to run and hide. And yet it is the voice of grace. Of goodness. Of Wisdom. Of a father seeking his lost children continues to echo through the halls of history off thousands of pulpits around this world.
He could have left them at that moment. But his seeking them was a sign of his immense pursuing grace and love. That voice of the Father – that Word – would one day become man in the person of Jesus Christ whom scripture says is the final word of God. In Christ God has fulfilled his rescue plan. In Christ those words become redemptive. And we see it all at the very beginning of the story here. Particularly in one verse genesis 3:15 the rescue verse. He was not going to leave his world, or his people under the control of this wicked rebellious prideful, hateful, liar of a prince. He would rescue them.
So lets look at how he does so.
The seed will crush your head.
1. The enmity
2. The recue
3. The end….
Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This marks the announcement of God’s plan. A promise of defeat for Satan, a word of assurance to the angels, and a message of hope for fallen humanity. It is all contained here in kernel form.Our God is on a mission that cannot fail: and this verse states mission. There is meaning and purpose to history a goal. And we have that hope we can share with the world. Especially now.
The significance of this passage can scarcely be overstated. In one short statement the underlying theme and meaning of all of history is laid bare. If the perspective that this verse gives is missing from your world you will not be able to understand the deep currents of reality, and your study of history will be led astray. Whether you are looking moment by moment seemingly insignificant history of your life, or the grand movements of mighty nation. This verse is their story. It’s our story. It’s the story of two kingdoms at war.
We already see this clearly in the book of Daniel. Satan’s kingdom and God’s kingdom; the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light, and then it is more clearly laid out in the New Testament. Until it become unmistakable in the book of revelation. As those who have the mark of the beast war against the children of God.
That is what we see in the words, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring.” Every person that has ever lived has been part of the one or the other kingdom. And they are in a fight to the death. We belonged to the kingdom of Darkness, but through Gods rescue plan set in motion in this verse “he has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.”
These two kingdoms are enemies. Not casual enemies, like a sports rivalry, or a friend you wont talk to at school because they hurt you. But mortal enemies, whose war would lead to much shedding of blood. Revelation makes clear this is a warlike enmity that genesis 3:15 is talking about.
God hates sin and Satan hates holiness. The disagreement isn’t over one issue, or even four issues, but a totality of issues. It is a conflict of worldviews. There is real antithesis. This is why Paul can say, for example, that “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:7-8). Jesus likewise taught that "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Mat 6:24)
There will be no terms of compromise in this war; no reconciliation of the governments; no fading feelings. God declared that He would crush the head of the serpent, thereby announcing in pictorial fashion, the final defeat of Satan. The cross would eventually deal the fatal blow, and in due time, the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire forever.
It should be stated clearly. The conflict is total and irreconcilable, and all of humanity occupies one of the two camps. There are no casual observers in the stadium of life. Choose this day who you will serve says Joshua.
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Satan has come in and taken what was never rightfully his. And he knows he took it. He even tries to bribe Jesus into worshipping him by offering to give all that was never his to take back to him! But God would reclaim what was his and drive out everything that opposed him not by the worship of Satan, or a treaty with evil – but with its total and utter destruction.
In this promise in Genesis 3:15, we have God telling all of creation but particularly Satan himself: I am not leaving. This does not belong to you. He would not forfeit the earth or a portion of its inhabitants to Satan.
He announces that indeed he will reclaim what is rightfully his, and crush Satan for His rebellion. The world and all that is in it belongs to God. And He comes after his people and calls them out of the darkness, and the bondage that Satan led them into. Out of the prison cell of their own misery, guilt and shame, and he goes out and seeks those who are his.
God as Creator owns the world. This world, however, has become infected with sin, and is occupied by foreign armies. It is this latter fact that allows Satan to, in a very real sense, offer the kingdoms of the world to Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). But that would not put an end to our misery and death. There is only one solution for people today as there has always been. Jesus the Messiah. And people are desperately looking for hope for purpose and meaning. Just read some articles in the major papers today. In an article in the Telegraph Philip Johnston writes in an article entitled, At times like this, we realise just how powerless mankind really is “, “How many times have we heard people say “Everything will be OK because scientists will work something out”, whether it be global warming or the pandemic? We are about to find out whether such optimism is justified. If it isn’t then I might be heading back to church.” Heading back to church as the last resort. When maybe it should have been the first resort.
Unlike the first Adam, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, overcomes Satan’s temptations and subdues the foul beast, and so reclaims all rights to the world. This world and its kingdoms belong to him. And his has arrived on the stage of history, and is being built. As the God-man, this king will eradicate evil and expand his kingdom to the four corners of the globe, effectively driving out Satan’s presence. In the end, every enemy will be made Christ’s footstool (Heb 10:12-13), and the world will be made right again. The rescue will be complete. The restoration total. And those who are low now will be exalted just a those who exalted themselves will be humbled. That is the end.
The serpent is going to be crushed, and it’s going to be done in a way that crushes him, even humiliates him. This is seen in the curse God pronounces upon the serpent. The text reads, “On your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life” (Gen 3:14). The idea of being brought low or humbled is bound up with the concept of being made to crawl along the ground and eat dust. It is a phrase designed for one’s enemies.
Similar expressions are used elsewhere in Scripture. In Psalm 72 we read: “May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust” (Psa 72:8-9)!
A similar thought is expressed in Micah 7
“The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might; they shall lay their hands on their mouths; their ears shall be deaf; they shall lick the dust like a serpent, like the crawling things of the earth; they shall come trembling out of their strongholds; they shall turn in dread to the LORD our God, and they shall be in fear of you.” (Mic 7:16-17)
There is no greater pain for those who are proud, and haughty to be humiliated before a watching world! And that will be the case for all who follow the prince of darkness that though they could rebel against God! But those who are poor, mourning, hungry, thirsty, humble persecuted are the blessed ones who will be lifted up and exalted. They are the blessed one.
And the head has been crushed, the death wound has been dealt, all that remains is the final end. Satan and the powers of darkness have been put to shame once when Jesus the Son of God publicly put the powers of darkness to shame by dying on a cross. When rather then exalting himself and grasping for heaven, he humbled himself and grasped his children out of the clutches of misery. This is why we speak not just of a future blessedness, but a present blessedness. For the kingdom of heaven has already invaded this earth!
As the confession says, “He comforted him with the promise that he would give his Son, born of woman, to crush the head of the serpent and to make man blessed. The end is the total and utter humiliation and end of Satan, and the exaltation and blessedness of a new humanity in Christ. Indeed this rescue plan has been promised in Genesis 3:15 fulfilled in Christ, and will be completed on the last day. It is magnificent. All of history is part of it, all of creation, and you and I!
Indeed one might echo the words of Spurgeon on this text, “There lie within it, as an oak lies within an acorn, all the great truths which make up the gospel of Christ.”
Dear church the rescue is complete. We are saved body and soul. The reality is ours by faith, and will one day be ours by sight. I hope you had the chance to read revelation 21-22 this week. Absolutely glorous chapters that paint the coming relatiy for the children of God! And today he is still calling, still in the business of saving, of rescuing his own whom he loves in Christ! Today every week again it is his voice calling, “Adam (or mankind), adam where are you!?
Adam, Adam, where are you?"
For though the curse has long be broken
Adam's sons are still the prisoners of their fears
Rushing helter-skelter to destruction with their fingers in their ears
While the Father's voice is calling with an urgency I've never heard before
"Won't you come in from the darkness now before it's time to finally close the door!"
"Adam, Adam, where are you?