There's a lot of debate in educational circles about the creation of the world.
Was creation a divine act of God or just a cosmic coincidence? Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues his teaching series called Growing Deep in the Christian Life. In this portion of our study, we'll discover that it's not our role to defend creation. But to declare it, and part of that declaration is facing our own depravity, what began in perfection has been marred by our sinfulness.
Chuck titled his message From Creation to Corruption. We're in Genesis chapter 3. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, now look carefully, she took from its fruit and ate, and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. That's where the trouble began. Up until then, there was innocence coursing through the bloodstream of mankind. But at this moment, depravity entered the human bloodstream. Verse 7, then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. But their hiding isn't over.
It's just begun. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And the Lord God called and said to the man, where are you? He knew where they were.
Well Adam does respond, I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid. That's a new one. Because I was naked.
That's another new one. So I hid myself. God answers, who told you you were naked? Seems so strange to us today, because we've never known innocence.
Any hint of nakedness brings shame and embarrassment. That's why he says to Adam, who told you you were naked? And now before an answer, have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? Trouble has entered the home of Adam and Eve. Created in innocence and beauty, they now find themselves distant from the one who made them.
Because at this moment in time, depravity, the presence of sin has invaded their lives. God confronts them and there is this unforgettable dialogue between God and Adam and Eve and the serpent that follows. He says, did you eat from the tree? And the man said, the woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate. Notice how he preceded I ate with all of that other stuff.
That's also very common. Rather than, yes, guilty as charged, he says, now God, if it hadn't been for the woman you gave me, I probably would still be pure. But because of what you did and she did, I ate. Then he faces the woman, the man, the Lord God said to the woman, what is this that you have done?
She said, the snake, the serpent, he deceived me and yes, I ate. We will do anything on earth to keep from saying I am responsible, no one else. In fact, we love substitutes. That came to my mind when I found an interesting ad in a newspaper, something called Rent a Jogger. For $1.95, the ad promises, rent me and I will jog for you at least one mile each day, weather permitting, for the next year. A customer gets a suitable framed certificate attesting to the world that your jogger is securing for you the benefits of a healthful glow, extraordinary stamina, an exciting muscle tone, and power-filled sense of total well-being. Rent a Jogger is the idea of this man, 45-year-old stockbroker from the Queens in New York City, who is also the guy who runs for you. Believe it or not, within several days after the ads appeared, 322 people sent him $1.95, which more than paid for the ads. Those idiots, I can't believe something.
Rent a Jogger. When it comes to wrong, we'd like to rent a sinner. We'll do anything to keep from saying I have sinned. We'll cover up, we'll hide, we'll rationalize, we'll point to somebody else, we'll find a scapegoat, we'll do anything but say I ate from the tree.
They finally said it. And the curse that fell has left us in a desperate set of affairs. Desperate. Webster says depraved means marked by corruption or evil, perverted, crooked. It's important that you understand this is an internal disease.
You can't detect it from the outside. People don't look depraved, most people. Most of us do a masterful job of covering up. But never doubt it, underneath, deep down inside, there is this disease that eats away at us and creates in our thoughts, in our words, and in our actions, sinfulness. One theologian describes it this way. This doctrine has suffered from many misconceptions. For the average person would define total depravity by saying that it means that man is as bad as he can be. However, if we adopt that as an acceptable definition, immediately our theology is brought into question. Because we know men who are not as bad as they can be.
We know many who are good men, kind men, generous, moral men, men who contribute much in the home and in the community. Rather, and this is a good word, rather the doctrine of depravity says that man is as bad off as he can be. There is a vast difference between being as bad as one can be and being as bad off as we can be. Addison Leach said it best of all. If depravity were blue, we'd be blue all over. Cut us anywhere and you'll find blue. Cut into the realm of our hidden world and there is blue all over us. If I could put on a screen the thought life of those who are hearing this message right now, pick any one of us. Present speaker included.
There would be a scandal in this place. The tragedy is we don't look like it. We look good. We look clean. We're among the beautiful people.
I think we look better than our world has ever looked physically. But there's something deep within that is depraved. It's called our nature. That's why you can't clean up your act. That's why you can't handle your lust. That's why you can't say no to certain temptations. That's why you fight, fight, fight with all kind of promises before God and yet you can't seem to turn it off.
You can't seem to keep your promises. Cain couldn't either. Born to Adam and Eve, his brother followed named Abel. Cain kept the fields. His brother kept the sheep. And there was a conflict between the two of them because of a requirement from God. Cain was rejected. Abel was accepted. Cain hated his brother Abel. Chapter 4.
Look. Verse 8. Cain told Abel, his brother, about it. And it came about when they were in the field. Genesis 4, 8. When they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, his brother, and killed him.
Why? Mentally he was veiled and darkened. Emotionally he was fragile. Mentally he was stubborn. Spiritually he was dead. Physically he was prone to illness. And he took a knife and he slit the throat of his brother as he had often seen Abel kill the sheep.
I don't know if you watched the television docudrama sometime back. It was called Into Thin Air. It was a tragic story of a young collegian in Canada who decided to go to school in the United States and drove the family Volkswagen van down to Colorado. Or that was his plan. The family was a little concerned about the condition of the car and warned him he may have some fuel pump trouble.
And he seemed secure at that problem and went on his way. But the tragedy increased in that they lost contact with the boy. And as time passed, it became obvious that wrong had occurred and they even ultimately realized the boy must have been killed.
Indeed he was. The murderers were finally caught. And there is a remarkable scene toward the end of this drama. Where the guilty murderer sits in the office of the FBI investigator and is answering questions rather calmly during this interrogation. And when he gets to the actual killing it is incredible how cool his remarks seem.
He makes a statement, and so we killed him. Flashing back is the scene in the van where the boy is bound and gagged in the back. And you see them as they drag the boy out into the snow. Back to the FBI room and so we killed him.
Back to the scene, one man has a knife and stabs repeatedly into the chest of the boy. Flash back and so we killed him. Flashing back to the scene on the slopes as they drag him to a rapid moving stream and a waterfall and they dump him.
Red fills the whole stream and he goes over the waterfall and his body floats down. Flash back and so we killed him. We killed him.
The worst thing one can do when listening or watching such a program is to say, how terrible a man and how much better I am. Because in the heart of every one of us is the same murder. We may not stab with a knife, but we stab with our mouth.
We stab with our thoughts, we stab with our looks. But for the grace of God I could have confessed to the same thing. And so could you.
Why? Chapter 5 verse 1. This is the book of the generations of Adam in the day when God created man. He made Adam in the likeness of God. Verse 3. When Adam had lived 130 years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness. Look!
Look! Verse 1. In the likeness of God, that's Adam. In Adam's likeness, that's Seth.
When Adam gave birth, when Eve gave birth, when there was the joining of the two of them and the womb giving forth life, it was in Adam's likeness. Why? Because depravity had intercepted and it will never give the ball back. Never. Not on this earth. In his own likeness and they named him Seth.
Now tragedy upon tragedy is that the disease has spread. It isn't limited to the Old Testament. It isn't limited to the family of Adam and Eve. In fact, Romans chapter 3.
Please turn. New Testament, first century AD. Romans 3, 10 through 18. You will read news that is as relevant as this morning's newspaper.
You can see the sites as I read the record. Romans 3, 9. What then? Are we better than they?
Not at all. For we've already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin as it is written. Now listen to your biography as I read you mine. There is none righteous, not even one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks for God. All have turned aside. Together they have become useless. There is none who does good.
There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave. Their tongues, with their tongues they keep deceiving. The poison of asps is under their lips whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their way. And the path of peace have they not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes. A cartoon in a recent New Yorker magazine read, as a man was watching television for a business report, closing averages in the human scene were mixed today. Brotherly love was down two points. Self-interest gained a half. Vanity showed no movement.
And guarded optimism slipped a point in the sluggish trading. Overall, really, nothing changed. Why?
Why? In our enlightened age, in this modern America, with all of the niceties of life, what do you mean nothing changed? We mean depravity is still with us. In fact, Romans 5, verse 12, as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin.
Note that. There was a king named sin. There was a queen named death. Both of them rule over mankind. And it says, so death spread to all men because all sinned. And now here's our problem. Here's our problem.
We suffer from the same disease. A book 20 centuries old isn't out of date. It just tells us our story in ancient terms.
But still true, still relevant. I've talked to you about where you live and where you've been living this past week. I've told you my life story. We've got the disease. That's the root problem, depravity. We've got another problem. That root problem yields fruit, sinfulness, sinful thoughts, sinful words, sinful actions. Our problem is, furthermore, there's nobody on earth who can help us. Show me one person who isn't in the category of a sinner, and I want to go to him.
I need help. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again.
I was thinking about that not long ago to give you some idea of the depth of my thoughts. And I decided to go down to the library and do some study on Humpty Dumpty. I will never forget the librarian's face when I said, Have you anything in the research stacks on Humpty Dumpty?
She just stared at me and I thought I'd put it another way. How about the etymology of Humpty? That didn't help either. But I found some interesting things. I found that it was never connected with an egg. Never an egg.
That was added later. Why an egg? Why an egg? I discovered that perhaps it was put together by a rather creative colonial teacher in those ancient days of our United States when children sat on hard oak benches and learned the ABCs. Because in the age-old New England Primer there was a quaint couplet not unlike Humpty Dumpty that reads, In Adam's fall we send all. Xerxes the Great did die. And so must you and I. It was used to teach children the letters A and X.
Who knows but what some teacher thought of a rhyme that would even teach more letters. For after all, king sin and queen death still reigned in the 17th and 18th and 19th centuries. We need help.
We need somebody to put us together again. Verse 17 chapter 5 of Romans. If by the transgression of the one, Adam, death reigned through the one, Adam, much more those who receive the abundance of grace. This is the good part. And the gift of righteousness will reign in life through one. Jesus Christ.
Is that good news? Is that a great message? There's the one to whom you can turn. You won't find anybody on earth who qualifies as a sinless sacrifice.
It takes perfection. That's why he was virgin born. Guarded from sin, God intercepted the birth process, placed in Mary's womb the embryo, perfectly designed to provide the sinless sacrifice. The lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world, the thinker put together the thought. And then the thing was born, a little babe in Bethlehem's manger, who went to the cross having lived a perfect life and satisfied all the righteous demands of a holy God against sin, when once for all he placed them on him.
So I'm going to give you a revised edition of Humpty Dumpty. Jesus Christ came to our wall. Jesus Christ died for our fall. He overcame queen death. He dethroned king sin through grace. He put us together again.
Isn't that great? That's not bad for a theologian to write up something like that. The best part, he put us together again. He blended us. He picked up the pieces.
He found the mass, the scrambled eggs, and he unscrambled it. To put it in the terms of a philosopher, wherever there is a sin, there must have been a preceding sinner. And wherever there is a sinner, there must be a savior. And there is.
And there is. May we bow together please? Just for a moment, just for a moment. Eyes closed. See the darkness inside your head with your eyes closed? That's your condition spiritually without Christ. Now you can open your eyes and think everything's light and cheery and beautiful and bright, but the truth is you're all darkness within. You need grace.
Amazing grace. That would come to a wretch like you and like me and forgive you. Because you're lost and you're sinful. He has come and he waits for you to let him in. He came to our wall and he died for our fall. He came to put us together again. Believe in him now. Don't put this off.
Right there, right where you're sitting. Don't delay another minute. Say, Jesus Christ, I take you now as my own. Cleanse me. Forgive me. I need you. I need your grace.
And he'll come. How sweet is the sound our Father that saved a wretch like us. We once were lost, but now we're found.
We were blind, but now we have sight. Thank you for Christ who came to our wall and died for our fall. We take him now. We reject him no longer. And we come in his name for his sake.
Amen. From Creation to Corruption. That's the title of today's message from Chuck Swindoll. And it's the 11th sermon in a 22-part series called Growing Deep in the Christian Life. This series on doctrine truly embodies what Insight for Living is all about. We provide clear biblical teaching to engage your mind, ignite your heart, and equip your will so that you can grow deeper and stronger in your walk with God. And these daily programs are made possible by men and women just like yourself who value Chuck's teaching and want to see it continue. Maybe today is the day you'll raise your hand and cast your vote in favor of keeping Insight for Living available to everyone. There's no more powerful means to help us than by automating your monthly donation.
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If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or go online to insight.org slash store. Cruise ships leave the harbor for Alaska all the time, but there's only one that's hosted by Inside for Living Ministries. You're invited to travel with Chuck Swindoll this summer. Every moment of your vacation is thoughtfully prepared and protected so that you can enjoy the perfect balance of rest, adventure, relaxation, sightseeing, and just plain fun. All in the company of those who share your respect for God's word and God's creation.
Yeah, I'll put it this way. God had a very good day when he created Alaska. I was awestruck by the majestic mountains, the wildlife, the quaint little seaports. All my life, I've wanted to see a glacier.
When I stepped out on the deck of our ship and witnessed the massive wall of ice, wow, it was truly breathtaking. Escape with Inside for Living Ministries to the great frontier, July 1st through July 8th, 2023. Call 1-888-447-0444. That's 1-888-447-0444 or learn more at insight.org slash events.
The tour to Alaska is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer. Join Chuck Swindoll when he presents a revealing message called Exposing the Dark Side. That's next time on Insight for Living. The preceding message, From Creation to Corruption, was copyrighted in 1985, 1987, 2005, and 2011, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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