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Exposing the Dark Side, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
February 10, 2023 7:05 am

Exposing the Dark Side, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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February 10, 2023 7:05 am

Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Returning to Our Roots


What's the big deal with biblical doctrine? Does doctrine really matter? Right now on Insight for Living, we're conducting an in-depth study on some of the great doctrines of our faith. It's called Growing Deep in the Christian Life. According to Chuck Swindoll, when we become passive about theological absolutes, we're setting ourselves up for disaster. To admit our shortcomings, our depravity, we spare ourselves from deadly mistakes.

Our study begins right where we left off last time, in Numbers chapter 20. Chuck titled his message, Exposing the Dark Side. He's a good man. He's a leader. He's God's spokesman.

But he has a depraved nature, and you can't trust it. Moses chapter 20, verse 2. There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. Now I don't know the last time you were really thirsty. Really thirsty. But just for a minute, try to imagine your cotton mouth. You have to have something liquid, and you can't find something to drink. And that's the way these people were. Is it not a place of grain, figs, or vines, or pomegranates?

Nor is there water to drink. Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. If you have ever led a group of people who are coming down on you, you know how Moses feels at this moment. Times come before the Lord and fall on your face and say, What in the world do I have to do? Lord, intervene. Take charge.

And other things. You say other things as well when you're falling on your face before God. Verse 8. The Lord said, Take the rod. You and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water.

Take them out of the rock for them and the beast to drink. Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as he had commanded him. Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock, and now Moses preaches a little sermon. Now God didn't tell him to preach a sermon. He just said, Go out and speak to the rock.

But Moses is led to say something else. Shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock? And he lifted up his rod and he struck the rock twice. Reminds me of these baseball players when they don't get a hit. And God, would you have brought water out of the rock?

No way. But grace brings water, even when there's disobedience. Why would Moses, this good man, strike the rock when God had just said, Speak to it. Because he is depraved. He has a dark side. He doesn't want anybody to see.

On occasion, it is on display. Before you get too picky with Moses, just think about rods and rocks in your life. Think about the times that you knew what was best and you did what was worst. When you realized in your heart that patience pays off and you acted impatiently. The worst possible thing you could have said and you knifed someone right to shreds. You know why you did it? Because you're depraved. You have a dark side and maybe it's a temper. Maybe it's greed. Maybe it's gossip. Maybe it's lust. It could be envy, jealousy, or a hundred other things I could know.

We all have them and they are often our besetting sins. From Noah and Moses we turn to perhaps the most popular of all in the Old Testament. 1 Samuel chapter 13. The man after God's heart. This great hero, David. My favorite piece of sculpture is a work of Michelangelo of David.

White marble. Stands at the end of a long corridor and some of you have seen it. And you look at the statue and you stand in awe not only of a man's ability with a chisel but of God's marvelous plan in taking a fellow from a flock of sheep.

Owned by his daddy. And bringing him to feed Jacob his people and Israel his inheritance. So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart and he guided them by the skillfulness of his hands. At the end of Psalm 78 those words appear. That's David. In fact the earliest reference to David, and this is significant, is in 1 Samuel 13 verses 13 and 14. As Samuel speaks to Saul who has forfeited the right to rule the people. Samuel said to Saul, you've acted foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God which he commanded you.

For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure Saul. The Lord has sought out for himself, here is the first reference to David, a man after his own heart. You can put in the margin of your Bible reference to David. That's the earliest description of the man God was looking for when he was looking for David.

A man after his own heart. And the Lord has appointed him as a ruler over his people because you've not kept what the Lord commanded you. Now we could spend the rest of our time looking at the life of David.

We can't do that. He stays faithful to God for almost 15 years while jealous Saul hunts him down. He takes a nation that's at the bottom in morale and he expands its boundaries from 6,000 to 60,000 square miles. He establishes trade routes with the world. He puts the nation on the map. He gives them a military force that causes other nations to respect them.

The flag of Israel flies higher in the days of David than it ever flew in the history of Israel. What a leader. What a hero. What a man of battle. What a courageous, faithful man of God. You want somebody to respect as a leader, you don't have to go much further than David.

Until you get to 2 Samuel 11, you knew it was coming. In the height of his career, the only spot I can find on his record is the mystery of many men in the Old Testament. He's a polygamist.

I don't know why God let him get away with that, so don't plan to ask me that question, okay? One of the mysteries to me in the Old Testament is why God blessed men so marvelously who had multiple wives. David was one of them. Many wives.

My record is correct. I think he had over 12 wives. But aside from that, David is a man who continues to walk with God and lead the nation correctly until one day when he should have been in battle, he walks on his roof. Verse 2, evening came and David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house.

That wasn't uncommon. That was the place where men of state often relaxed, a place above the humdrum of the street, the noise and the publicity of that area. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful in appearance. David sent and inquired about the woman and one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? Interesting that he mentions to David she's someone's wife. Maybe the servant knew David's mind. David sent messengers and took her and when she came to him, he lay with her. When she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house and she conceived and she sent a message and told David, I am pregnant.

And you know the story. Not only has our hero been involved with another woman outside wedlock, he certainly didn't need another woman. He has now found himself in a place of intense compromise and pressure.

The thought of abortion was never in their mind, interestingly, certainly not. She was pregnant with his child and the result was he had to do something about her husband. He tried to mask the story, brought the man back from battle, hoped that he would sleep with his wife and Uriah didn't. He was more faithful to the cause of Israel than David was and finally David told Joab to put him in the heat of the battle and of course he was killed.

Joab sent the message back knowing the heart of his leader and he said you be sure and tell him that Uriah was killed. Chapter 12 you have Nathan coming and saying to him, you are the man, verse 7. Now how could a man as godly as David fall as far as he did with Bathsheba? How could he kill a man on the battlefield? How could he live the life of a hypocrite for almost a year?

How could David do that? He's our man. He's that faithful shepherd.

He's the giant killer. He's depraved, that's how. He has a nature that will never improve. He has lust just like every man and every woman hearing my words right now and he yielded to it.

It sang its sweet song and he talked himself into it. He was responsible just as you and I are every time we yield. Here is an awful story that is very, very familiar and I want to remind you it will help you keep your balance. When your respected leaders fall, they like you have a nature and they like you yield on occasion against God.

Most of you have been down the pike far enough to know, we're turning now to Matthew chapter 16. Most of you have been down the road far enough to know that you cannot trust your nature. Just a little word of counsel, don't get yourself in a situation where your nature takes charge. If you are weakened by the opposite sex, you have to keep yourself out of those tempting situations where you will yield. If you do not, it is only a matter of time and you will yield. It will be your fault and you will play the fool.

The same is true for me. It is terribly important, especially in the area of personal morality, that you keep a distance when there is the temptation to be involved in illicit activity. I'm trying to say all that the nice way and I hope you take it strongly because we're living in a day when it's being rationalized and compromised and everybody just convincing themselves it's okay. If you're sleeping with somebody out of wedlock, you're in sin, you're displeasing God. If you're walking away from God in an area of sexual activity, it is hurting your testimony and hurting the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Get back in line. Claim the grace that's coming to you through Christ and as David did, say, I have sinned and turn around and face the music. And if you are in ministry in doing that, clean up your life or get out of the ministry.

Do us all a favor. Just step out of the ministry and say, I have sinned. I have forfeited the right to lead a flock.

I've compromised. I've ruined my testimony and I will not ruin the testimony of a church. Matthew 16 is the story of Peter, perhaps his greatest hour, when the Lord said to Peter, who do men say the Son of Man is, verse 13, he says, some say John the Baptist and some say Elijah, verse 14, Jeremiah, one of the prophets, and he said, but to Peter, who do you say that I am? This is his greatest moment up till now. And Peter said to him, thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. What a moment. What a great statement. For once, Peter doesn't put his foot in his mouth.

It is terrific. And I think the Lord wanted to applaud him. In fact, he told him that flesh and blood hadn't revealed that to him. It came from the very portals of heaven.

God revealed that to you. A little later on, Mark chapter 14, our friend Peter is again with his Lord. The Lord is telling him about the future. Mark 14, 27, Jesus said to all those disciples, you will all fall away from me because it's written, I will strike down the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered. And after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee. But Peter said, here we are with Peter, verse 29, even though all may fall away, I will not.

He meant, well, I've said things like that, haven't you? Haven't you, in a moment of great emotional gush, given God great promises? I'll be with you every day of this year, January 1. January 4, Lord, I've missed the last two days, but I'm back.

No, I will never fall away. And Jesus said, truly, I say to you, this very night before a cock crows twice, three times you'll deny me. And that's exactly what happened. How can it be that this great man who made those wonderful statements and really did stand alone when those disciples were lacking in courage and lacking in answers, you've got to say Peter at least stood alone and said the right thing many times. Now he follows his Lord far away and denies him three times, 66 through 72.

Look at the last verse. Immediately a cock crowed, second time, and Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, before a cock crows twice you will deny me three times, and he began to weep. I don't think there is any weeping quite as bitter as the weeping brought on by failure.

It's a terrible time. I have a good friend who has failed the Lord, and he has failed the Lord tragically. And he has stepped away from leadership and ministry. And he is right now going through the weeping time. He knows he has forfeited the right to lead, and now that he's come clean, he realizes the heinous condition of his soul during this period of time when he was compromising. And like Peter, he is weeping before God. Why did Peter do that?

Why did my friend do that? Why am I prone to wander? Because of the dark side. Paul is the final man, and it doesn't take long to see his statement, Romans chapter 7. I think is the finest explanation of this old nature anywhere in the scriptures. Romans 7 verses 14 to 24. We've looked at Noah and Moses and David. In the New Testament, we're looking at Peter and Paul. Romans chapter 7, verse 15. This is Paul's testimony.

Here is this great man of God, the theologian par excellence, the missionary, the apostle, the founder of churches, the man who hammered out our theology in the New Testament, wrote more of the New Testament than any other writer, says Romans 7, 15. That which I am doing I do not understand. For I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. If I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the law, confessing that it is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me.

He doesn't stop there. I know that nothing good dwells in me. That is, in my flesh. For the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish I do not, but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. Does that sound like yesterday?

Does that sound like last week? Does that sound like a testimony of your life? If I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good.

That's pretty clear, isn't it? That's how come we fail. That's how come we sin.

That's how come we yield to an old nature. Even though we wish to do good, evil is present in us. There's one great exception and you know who he is. His name is Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ. Scripture says three things of Christ. He knew no sin. He had no sin. He did no sin. No sin nature. Born without sin. Lived without sinfulness.

Knowing no sin, having no sin, doing no sin, he qualifies as the lamb who can hear us in our sin and cleanse us. So we have really two options, very simply. First, we can opt to live as victims of an old nature, for sin is present in us. Or we can live as victors through the power of Jesus Christ.

The last thing I want to do is leave in your mind that you're a helpless victim of that old nature. Each one of these people we've studied made a deliberate decision to sin. They weren't duped.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise. They played into the hand of the old nature and they carried out exactly what the old nature performs and that is sin. I encourage you to live as a victor through the power of Jesus Christ. As you face the evil, as you come across it, as it rears its head, claim the power of God that you haven't in yourself. Lord, right now, at this moment, I'm weak. You're strong. I'm stepping away from it and your power is going to give me the grace to get through this. And walk away.

Stand firm. Listen in closing to Peter Marshall's prayer. We acknowledge with bitterness and true repentance that cross and selfish thoughts have entered our minds. We acknowledge that we have permitted our minds to wander through unclean and forbidden ways. We have toyed with that which we knew was not for us. We have desired that which we should not have. We acknowledge that often we have deceived ourselves where our plain duty lay. We confess before thee our ears are often deaf to the whisper of thy call, our eyes often blind to the signs of thy guidance. Make us willing to be changed even though it requires surgery of the soul and the therapy of discipline. Make our hearts warm and soft that we may receive the blessing of thy forgiveness. I would like all of us to bow before our Father at this moment, each one as though we were the only person hearing these things alone in our thoughts. For all I know, someone hearing these words is right now on the verge of some act of rebellion or disobedience. And you came to hear this message almost inadvertently.

Suddenly you're hearing your life pass in review. I challenge you to opt for the life of a victor, to refuse to see yourself as a victim unless, of course, you're without Christ. And indeed, if you are, you cannot stop doing wrong. So I invite you either to come to Christ by faith or to claim the Lord Jesus Christ's power within you, having come to him earlier in your life.

Whichever applies, do it. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Father, thank you for making the message clear as we have worked our way through this study. Thank you for giving us Christ and with him all things richly to enjoy.

Thank you for the debt he paid and paid in full on our behalf. Thank you, Father, that we can know your righteousness in our position and a life of righteousness and holiness far different from what we could have ever lived on our own. Thank you for making us right with yourself through faith in your Son. I pray that those who have never come to know you will do so now by simply believing in him, taking the gift that you offer by faith. In Jesus' name, I ask this.

Amen. You're listening to Insight for Living. And if you found your heart resonating with Chuck Swindoll's closing prayer, let me direct you to our website where you'll find details on how you can place your trust in Jesus Christ. Nothing could be more important right now than taking this step toward a relationship with God.

So please go to Whether you're a brand new Christian or you've been following God for decades, all of us need to make further progress. So as your next step in growing deeper in the Christian life, let me tell you about a book that Chuck Swindoll wrote.

It's one that coincides with this current teaching series. Growing Deep in the Christian Life contains 22 chapters. It's filled with humorous stories and down-to-earth applications, and each one reveals the practical side of theology and how solid doctrine helps us grow deeper in the Christian life. To purchase a copy of Chuck's book, Growing Deep in the Christian Life, give us a call.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to slash store. Chuck's teaching on your radio station is made possible in part by those who give generously. We're also grateful to our station partners who provide a platform each day. It's a collaborative effort between Inside for Living Ministries, your radio station, and the people in our listening family who faithfully support us. If it's been a while since you've reached out with a contribution, or maybe you've never done that, we invite you to join us in this worthy effort to help our listening family grow deeper in the Christian life. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll continues his helpful series on growing deep in the Christian life. That's right here on Insight for Living. Strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-09 14:18:52 / 2023-02-09 14:27:47 / 9

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