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The Remedy for Our Disease, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2023 7:05 am

The Remedy for Our Disease, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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February 15, 2023 7:05 am

Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Returning to Our Roots


When you're physically sick, there's nothing like a good old remedy to alleviate your pain and cure your illness. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll presents a life-giving metaphor that compares our physical ailments to our spiritual dilemma. You see, every man, woman, and child has a life-threatening spiritual disease, our depravity, our sinfulness. And during the next half hour, you'll gain a whole new appreciation for the sacrifice paid on our behalf in order to cure the sin problem once and for all.

Chuck titled his message The Remedy for Our Disease. What happened off the coast of South China, the harbor that overlooked that area called Macau, Portuguese settlers many centuries ago built a massive cathedral. They took years to build it and they thought it would stand forever, but in the passing of time, the force of the winds from a typhoon literally swept the thing into ruins and the only thing that remained standing was the front wall that sort of stood like a massive fortress at least from the front. And atop that wall was a huge bronze cross and there it stood.

In fact, it stood for centuries, almost as if to say you can tear down the other part of this cathedral, but you will not cause ruin to come upon this cross. It was in 1825 when Sir John Bowering was in a terrible storm in the harbor of Macau in that very same region. And as a matter of fact, he was shipwrecked. He had no idea, though it was in the light of day, he had no idea where there was land.

If you've ever been at sea far enough and if you've ever been in a storm, you know how you can lose your perspective and not even have an understanding of where land is. And here he was without anyone near hanging onto the wreckage of the ship in this rugged harbor, sure to die. And what he really needed was some landmark and he looked into the distance and all he could see was from where he was, was a tiny cross. It was that same massive cross on top of that wall that refused to fall. Within a matter of weeks after he reflected upon his remarkable rescue, he sat down and put into words his gratitude to God for the deliverance. Someone later put music to those words and for the last 150 years and more, the church has sung the piece as one of its favorites. In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o'er the wrecks of time. All the light of sacred story gathers round its head sublime. You may not remember that third stanza, when the woes of life o'er take me, hopes deceive, fears annoy. Never shall the cross forsake me.

Lo, it glows with peace and joy. That which led to Bowring's rescue from the sea has led to our rescue from sin. But we need to understand that it isn't the cross that we honor. I know we refer to giving honor to the cross and we are to lift up the cross and we often wear on our person as a part of our apparel a cross, but it isn't the cross. It isn't even those original cross beams, those rugged blood-soaked pieces of timber that stood on Golgotha centuries ago that we honor. That's what gives me trouble every time I sing the old rugged cross.

I realize I'm really on shaky ground now because some of you have it as your favorite song, but if you ever look closely at the words of that song, you'll see that the perspective is missing. Again, the symbolism is alright, but if you take it literally, you're way off doctrinally. We don't cling to the cross. We will not exchange it someday for a crown. It is not the wood.

It is not the shape and it is not the element. It is the one who hung on it that we honor. And by the way, every time you see a cross with someone on it, understand that person simply doesn't understand.

The work is finished. He no more belongs on the cross than he belongs in the tomb. The cross is empty.

The tomb is empty because he's finished his work on the cross and he naturally has come down from the cross as he has come out of the grave to live for us, referring of course to Jesus Christ. I was amazed in looking through the hymnal at how many of our songs and our hymns revolve around the subject of the cross. Lift high the cross at Calvary, down at the cross where my Savior died. When I survey the wondrous cross beneath the cross of Jesus, were you there when they nailed him to the tree? I saw one hanging on a tree and I could go on 10 or 12 more familiar hymns that the church has sung down through the centuries. But again, remember, the cross is the symbol of what we honor.

The cross itself is not the point of honor. I don't know if you remember that in the Old Testament there was a reference to a bronze serpent that God gave the people of Israel. They were to look at that serpent and they would be healed from snakebite.

And those who refused to look were not healed and those who looked were healed. And it served its purpose and many were delivered from death simply because they looked at the bronze serpent. In fact, later John refers to that bronze serpent.

He said, even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up that whoever believes in him would never perish but have eternal life. Have you ever made a study of that bronze serpent? You know what the people of Israel did? You know they dragged it around the wilderness. They dragged it on into the land and they carried it with them even into the days of the kings and the prophets. In fact, they burnt incense to it. They made a fetish out of this bronze serpent. Nothing wrong with the serpent and certainly nothing wrong with the idea but it had served its purpose and they wouldn't give it up. Finally, one of the kings was led of God to put it aside, forgive me if this hits too close to home, but the cross itself is a piece of wood. Just a piece of wood.

It served its purpose and it's gone. But the Savior who died on that cross lives on. He is our glory.

He is our adoration. So understand when you sing about the cross, understand you really are singing about the Christ who died on it. Now, I want to talk for a while about the sacrifice of the Savior. I realize when I mention that, and I'd like to have you turn back to Isaiah chapter 53, I realize when I mention that most of us will never in our lifetime witness a sacrifice.

We've never seen one. We read of it a lot in the scriptures, but chances are good our eyes have never and will never behold a sacrifice where an animal is killed to provide forgiveness for someone else. In fact, most of us have lived in the city most if not all our lives and we've never even seen an animal slaughtered.

If you want to lose your appetite for beef, go to a slaughterhouse and you'll give it up quick until you're able to get the sight out of your mind. It is a bloody place. It is an awful place physically.

It is a terrible place to look at. So it was with sacrifices. But you know the interesting thing about this is that even though it's strange to us, it was as common to people in the early days as the courtroom scene is to us today.

You can hardly read the newspaper through without reading of some courtroom scene. It's a daily affair. The sacrifices in the ancient days were daily affairs. Blood flowed freely out of places of worship. Blood stained altars of stone and wood for centuries. Sheep could be heard bleating and screaming and gagging and dying as priests slit their throat and poured the blood out on an altar. You see in those days they had priests in places of worship just as we have attorneys in places of the court today. In those days they listened to the laws of Moses just as we today listen to the laws of the state and of our federal government. But that which tied people together with the living God was the blood sacrifice.

And for just a few minutes time I want to familiarize you with some things that maybe you haven't thought of before and certainly things you've never seen before. Now in the Old Testament there are two great predictions of Jesus' death on the cross, lengthy predictions. One is in Psalm 22 and the other one is in Isaiah 53. Psalm 22 emphasizes his person. Isaiah 53 emphasizes his work.

Psalm 22 helps you hear the agony of Christ on the cross. Isaiah 53 causes you to appreciate the completed work of Christ which is predicted by the prophet. So for a few minutes let's just take a look at the scene from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah.

Who has believed our message? asks the prophet. And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? And now referring to Christ yet to come in 750 years.

He grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of parched ground. He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon him. Nor appearance that we should be attracted to him.

Now understand exactly what that means. There was nothing in Jesus' physique that was attractive. There was nothing in his person as far as appearance was concerned that caused him to stand out from anyone else in his day. He looked like any other adult Jew. You would not have been attracted to him because of some glow that was upon him for there was no such thing.

When he walked across the sandy path he got dirty like everyone else. When he slept he slept like everyone else. When he arose in the morning I would imagine his hair was must just like everyone else's. He had all of the marks of humanity just like we. The difference was that inside he was perfect. He is God. He is deity.

But you couldn't tell it from the outside. That's what the prophet means when he says his appearance was not such that we would be attracted to him. And then suddenly he moves to the sacrifice.

Look at what he says. He was despised and forsaken of men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And like one from whom men hide their face he was despised and we did not esteem him. The Amplified Bible says we did not appreciate his worth. There was no one in his day who realized the value of his person.

The worth of his life. Oh there were some who believed and there were some who acknowledged that he certainly did the work of God and there were some who believed he in fact was God. But they didn't have the true appreciation for him that now centuries later as we've been able to reflect upon his life that we have today. Not in that day. I've heard it said that in order for a person to become great and to be seen as great that individual needs to die and be gone from the earth for many many years.

Then you realize the greatness. So it is with many of our presidents. So it is with many of our heroes. So it is with some of our missionaries.

Great men and women but it took their death for us to realize just how significant they were. So it is with Christ. We didn't esteem him. But now notice his work. Surely our griefs he himself bore. Our sorrows he carried. Yet we ourselves esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. Notice if you will it was our griefs. It was our sorrows. We ourselves are in the picture in verse 4. He is describing for us our need for the substitute. Our griefs, our sorrows, we ourselves smote him and despised him.

Why? Well we've been over that many times. Our depravity gives us blindness and we do not value his worth in our depravity. He was pierced through for our transgressions.

He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon him and by his scourging we are healed. Peter picks up that same thought in the first letter, the second chapter.

Well I want to have you look at that. 1 Peter chapter 2 toward the end of the chapter. Verse 21, 1 Peter 2 21. For you have been called for this purpose since Christ also suffered for you, see the substitute in action, he suffered for you leaving you an example for you to follow in his steps.

And what about him? He committed no sin nor was any deceit found in his mouth. While being reviled, now he's on the cross, he's suffering, while being reviled he did not revile in return. While suffering he uttered no threats but kept entrusting himself to him who judges righteously. Now the verse I wanted you to see. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree or on the cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness for by his wounds you were healed. Literally the word wounds is singular for by his stripe, welt, bruise.

In other words Peter who was an eyewitness at that time, Peter pictures our savior as one massive welt, one awful bruise. I will never forget an experience I had in elementary school. I was living in Houston and I was going to a little school on the east side of Houston and sitting in front of me was a fellow who, well we became friends over the years because we sat near each other and we were in those same grades right up through high school and I'll never forget coming to school one day and seeing marks on his shirt as he sat in front of me and I reached up and I called his name and I said you have something on your shirt.

He didn't want to talk to me about that. When we went outside for recess and I mentioned it again because by now it was coming through, he said come here I want to show you something. So we went in the boys room and he lifted his shirt up and I have never seen such stripes in my life. He had been beaten by his father. His father was an alcoholic I found out later and it wasn't uncommon for the boy to be battered by his dad and he said yeah I'll show you why my shirt is like that and he lifted up his shirt and I looked across his back and I couldn't stand what I saw. It was just one massive bruise so sore that he could hardly stand it, just the weight of his shirt on his back. When I read by his stripe, by his welt, by his bruise you were healed, I always think of that boys back.

But now this isn't simply a back, this is a body, this is a person. This is the savior. That's why Isaiah, we'll turn back now, that's why Isaiah describes him as being pierced through, crushed, chastened, and scourged. Why?

Why did that happen? Verse 6, because all of us, this is probably the clearest definition of depravity in one verse in all the Old Testament. All of us like sheep have gone astray. Each one of us, look at how it changes. First there's the universal all, and now there's the individual each one.

Each of us has turned to his own way. Now grace comes to our rescue where sin abounds, grace super abounds, but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him. Thomas Chisholm in 1941 wrote these words that became a favorite gospel hymn of the church for years. He was wounded for our transgressions, he bore our sins in his body on the tree. For our guilt he gave us peace, from our bondage gave release, and with his stripes, and with his stripes, and with his stripes our souls are healed.

He was numbered among transgressors, we did esteem him forsaken by his God. As our sacrifice he died that the law be satisfied, and all our sin, and all our sin, and all our sin was laid on him. Now I think we can overdo the physical part of the cross. I think I have perhaps been guilty of doing that in days past, and maybe you've heard sermons that emphasize the awful agony of the cross, and it was terrible. There has not been in the history of man I'm convinced no more painful way to die than to be crucified.

But it isn't the physical pain that is the worst part. It was the awful separation that occurred between the son and the father when all the sin was placed on the sacrifice. For the first and only time in all time the father and the son were separated. Because God the father could not look upon sin he turned away from his son causing the Lord Jesus to scream, Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani, my God my God why have you forsaken me? The reason was that he was at that moment bearing all of our iniquity which had fallen upon him. Atonement is an all inclusive word that describes in general all that Jesus Christ accomplished by his death on the cross. Etymologically atonement is the combination of the syllables at onement, meaning being at one with someone. The original term means to cover, carrying the thought of putting sin out of sight by covering it over with blood. You see since the earliest days as these Jews connected at onement with their Lord there was the emphasis on blood and sacrifices.

You know what? It never took away sins permanently. Never. When Christ died on that cross and poured out his blood he said, it is finished. You'll never offer another sacrifice.

It's not needed. This finishes the task. There's no more profound expression of grace, amazing grace, than when our Savior took our punishment on the cross. You're listening to Insight for Living and a message from Chuck Swindoll titled The Remedy for Our Disease. If you'd like to learn more about this ministry visit us online at Chuck has a book called Growing Deep in the Christian Life and it's carefully crafted to help you understand how to employ the core doctrines of your faith. To purchase a copy you can call us.

If you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888 or go online to slash store. Today's message from Chuck represents one small fraction of a larger 22-part series called Growing Deep in the Christian Life. It's a series that truly embodies what Insight for Living is all about. We provide clear biblical teaching on theology to engage your mind, ignite your heart, and equip your will so that you can grow deeper and stronger in your walk with God. The comments we receive from listeners like you consistently reinforce the value of Chuck's helpful books and his daily teaching on your station. Perhaps today is the day you'll raise your hand and in a sense cast your vote in favor of keeping Insight for Living available to everyone. We couldn't move forward without the financial support from grateful friends like you. In fact there's no more powerful means to help us than by automating your monthly donation. It's simple, doesn't take a long time to set up, but through your gifts you're providing a constant source of reliable Bible teaching for people who've come to rely on Chuck's daily presence. To provide for someone else what was once provided to you we invite you to become a monthly companion of grace right now by going to slash monthly companion. To make a one-time gift you can give us a call. If you're listening in the United States call 800-772-8888. I'm Bill Meyer. Chuck Swindoll continues his uplifting message about the remedy for our disease. That's next time on Insight for Living. The preceding message the remedy for our disease was copyrighted in 1985, 1987, 2005, 2011, and 2014 and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2014 by Charles R. Swindoll Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 22:22:49 / 2023-02-20 22:31:13 / 8

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