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January 11, 2021 1:00 am
We’re far from being the inherently good people our culture says we are. In fact, apart from certain restraints, we’re capable of unspeakable evil. In this message we take another step in our journey of self-discovery, a journey in which we’re finding out why we do what we do.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Morris looking to Jesus. Far from being the inherently good culture says we are certain restraints working unspeakable evil today. Another chapter in our journey of self-discovery journey in which we are finding out why we do what we do from the Moody Church this morning when it was clear helps us make it across the line. Mr. loser the violence that's tearing America apart is clear evidence that something is fundamentally wrong with people all day and you're absolutely right and I wish I have lots of time to discuss that with you there people in society today who believe that the only reason why people do evil is because of external circumstances change their circumstances and they will live righteously. The Bible however pinpoints the fact that the human heart is deceitful and wicked and we need to explain that and to understand it. But you know there's also an answer for the human heart and that is the transformation of Christ and new heart. I will give you. It's been my experience and I'm sure it is yours as well that people who have experienced that transfer of heart suddenly become generous and you know you today may be thinking about how you are going to distribute some of your gifts in the coming year. Would you consider running to win. Here's what you can do, go to endurance partners.org now. That of course is all one word, endurance, partners.org, or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'll be giving you this contact information again at the end of this message.
Thanks in advance for listening and for your partnership, George Stephanopoulos, who for many years was an advisor to President Clinton said these words during the days when the president's relationship with an intern made international headlines. The battle is all but over, and I'm still mystified by the Clinton paradox. How could a president so intelligent, so compassionate, so public spirited, so conscious of his place in history.
How could he act in such a stupid, selfish and self-destruct manner.
That's the question for today's sermon. Why is it that intelligent people sometimes do things that are selfish, self-destructive, stupid and sometimes even very evil. Why Freud has a history of being known in psychoanalysis for his psychoanalysis and he says that there is within us these urges. These drives and they are tempered by society and cultural restraints and we can be thankful for those restraints because if everyone followed his or her desires wherever they might lead to society would be nothing. Chaos now Freud was wrong in many respects because he did not believe in God and therefore some of his conclusions are skewed, but he does have a point.
Actually it's much more serious than that. Because it's not just for the restraints of society for which we can give thanks, but also that you and I have protect measures that we adopt to protect us from exposure from being the people that we really are and we hide our true selves from others. I've seen this happen many times I've had women say to me that when I dated him.
He was one man, after we were married.
He was another. I had no idea that he had such a hot temper I had no idea that he had lived a life of such deceit. All of that was hidden from me, and only now does it come out piece by the matter-of-fact, as a result of that, we had rationalizations because the mind is used as somehow justified the desires of the heart and so guilt is repressed, you have excuses that are made and believed and we like to deceive ourselves and deceive others, and if possible, even deceive God. Spiritual maturity as we learned in the last message is to be able to be integrated. That is to say that what you see outside and the light that we live publicly is basically the people whom we really are privately one day someone came to St. Francis of a sissy and said to him, not art thou, St. Francis, and he said yes and the peasant said, take heed that thou be as good as men believe they to be well. I wish I were as good as men.
Believe me to be.
We all desire that I desire that so that the image that we project is basically one of the integrity we say we love God and we love him we are not like the hypocrites about whom Jesus spoke this people they honor me with their lips, they say one thing on Sunday but quite a different thing on Monday, but their hearts. Jesus said, are far from the know you and I want to live like we love Christ because we indeed do love him. Why do intelligent people do bad things in order for us to get a handle on this. Let's take our Bibles and turn to Genesis chapter 3 where it all got started. Genesis chapter 3, we need to paint the context in which sin entered into the world. Particularly, we shall talk about evil even though Adam is more culpable but Genesis chapter 3 is an interesting context. The context is paradise want you to know that he was there with her husband and at this time. She did not yet have a sin nature. She did not have evil desires. She was after a manner of speaking perfect. Also, listen up, ladies. Think about this for a moment she was married to a perfect husband. Oh boy didn't have to tell him that he was lazy didn't have to have any insecurities. There was no competition with supermodels who grace our new stands, none of that didn't have to worry about the woman next door who is spending too much time with her husband and off hours didn't have all those worries, no insecurities.
She was perfect. Her husband was perfect and they lived in a perfect environment.
Think about it when she hungry she could eat all that she wanted did CG desired beauty. There were the trees of the garden and the flowers of the garden and all the beauty that she could possibly imagine.
Did you want a happy marriage. Imagine it no arguments in the home.
No worries about money at this point, no discussion regarding problems with the children that will come later, here she is in a perfect environment. All you say but she needed unconditional love. She added she had it from her husband that she had it from God. And in that context. Her curiosity got the best of her. She still thought to herself, you know, if I do not go with what the serpent says there is a certain intrigue that this tree has for me and if I don't needed. I will always wonder what it would have been like and in that context, she still disobeyed God.
Today we had behaviorism. Behaviorism says that people aren't evil. It is actually society that is the reason that people steal this because they're hungry they commit murder because society makes certain ground rules that instigates them to commit murder. While that's part of the story. Most assuredly, but it's not the whole story and indicated that in the shootings that take place in our high schools that oftentimes these kids are from wealthy good" homes, so it isn't just society that is evil.
It is we who are evil, but at this point he did not have that nature yet. Furthermore I'm reminded, as I open this passage that she sinned against great light she's sand in the face of incredible blessings from God.
There is only one tree that they were not to eat of even the tree of life was apparently one that was not prohibited. If they had eaten at data been immortalized as good innocent people. If I understand the text.did not say don't eat of it.
He said there is one tree in the midst of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Do not eat it for in the day that you eat there. All of you shall die.
Hundreds of trees that she could eat from just one negative and that was the basis upon which she decided to disobey you. I've known people like Eve. Many of us are that way sometimes sinning against great light you have those were brought up in good churches, good homes, praying parents good Sunday schools and they still do very evil.
This things and they turn from God what's going on here in the text in chapter 3 Eve basically was intrigued by her desires, though at this point they were not yet sinful. And if you ask me will why did she choose against God. In light of the fact that she didn't have these desires we just have to say that that is mysterious. We do not know why no that she did.
It says in James chapter 1 and I love this expression in the NIV it says that we sin when we are dragging their way by our own desires and enticed. We are basically desire driven facts do not matter much when it comes to behavior intelligence is not where it sat. Arguments will not cut it there helpful in a certain context, but they will not change behavior. Woody Allen was right. The heart wants what it wants in the mind that are full in line with the mistakes that thieves desires dragged her away to do I'm not going to read the entire first part of the third chapter because I'm going to assume that you are familiar with it. My text today is chapter 3 verse six when the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and also desirable for gaining wisdom. She took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her all Hebrew scholars agree that Adam was there in the garden. While this was happening and he ate it in the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made for themselves. The next message in this series has to do with shame but notice the mistake she made. First of all, she preferred her perceptions to God's word. You see, God had said do not eat of it. That was the morning Satan made a promise in the day that you eat of it you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
And here she was needing to make a decision between the two and the tree looked good. In fact, the tree was good. Everything that God created was good. Can't imagine that it was a bad tree. The problem is that God decided that this tree would be a basis of a test, God could've said something else he could have said, the moment you cross the stream you are going to die but he chose a tree and God said this is the way in which I'm going to give you an opportunity to choose either for me or against me.
So God built into something like the tree that was good inherent consequences that could not be seen by the human eye, and so even stood there and she looked at it and she decided to redefine God's prohibition. You'll notice the text will read it again. She saw that the tree was good for food. She looked at it and she said it will benefit my body and pleasing to the eye. She said it will benefit my soul, the aesthetic part of me and it was desirable to gain the wisdom it will help my mind and so there she stood, and she decided that she would go with what the serpent said her conclusion. Her conclusion was that God's instructions were not as important as the perceptions and the desires of the immediate moment.
And now she didn't say to Adam. Adam, I have decided to disobey God, she didn't say it that way. She no doubt says I decided to eat of the fruit of this tree so that I might benefit and receive.
It's good fruit she redefined God's instructions and we do that. Seldom do you say we plan to continue in immorality. No no no.
Nobody says that unless the repenting or thinking about repenting or being very honest, we redefine sin up the street from us. There is a pastor who decided to marry to homosexuals in all of us know that that was in the news some time ago actually a couple of years ago, and no one says well I what we are doing is retaking an illicit relationship here and that trying to covered over with a with a bow. Is that all that you need to do is to read the literature in the newspaper reports and it is all about loving thing to do. It is the right thing because this is love.
It's taking what God has said, redefining it so that we can live with it so that we can rationalize it. And so our desires can lived out my wife and I are acquainted with the family were young woman perhaps in her early 20s has decided to move in with a married man. Maybe he's divorced by now. I'm not sure but she decided to do that see of several children and so they're living together she's been warned and admonished by her mother. She's been admonished by her other siblings or friends of Calder on the phone and said you better get out of this relationship it sinful. It's destructive, it cannot and well it will not end well in this life and it most assuredly will not put you in good stead in eternity. God is at stake here. When you think her response was to just say all of course come to think of it this is evil. How can I be this foolish. I don't want to go on all offending God. I know that for every mile I take out of God's will and I have a mild to come back so the sooner I end this relationship, the better so that I can live with myself and be in fellowship with God and receive his forgiveness and the acceptance of God's people. Of course, how could I be so stupid. Now that's not what you say she's saying mother you taught us to love one another and I love this man and I'm just fulfilling the will of God in showing the love and living with someone whom we are really bonded with. This is the loving thing to do notice it perceptions take priority over God's command and God's word. Our perceptions are sometimes wrong. You know, left to ourselves. We most assuredly would think that the earth is stationary and the sun is really revolving around the earth when in point of fact, science now tells us it is the opposite way and that the earth is the one that is tilting toward the sun causing sunrises and sons and and there's no way we know what God programmed into disobedience that's known only to him, but the serpent was saying TE very clearly was even feel don't think.
Don't use your intellect, reject God's instructions and do that which is most urgent and most immediate, but redefine it as something very good and helpful. I was the first mistake. She preferred God's perceptions to God's word.
Secondly, she took the words of the serpent rather than the word of God. Now this gets intriguing because it says in first Timothy that Adam was not deceived.
He ate knowingly but he was deceived.
This is first Timothy chapter 2 it was a genuine deception and that means that she thought for whatever reason that the words of the serpent were more authoritative than God's words. She thought that the serpent had insight into what this tree was all about and its consequences that were really even hidden from God. God says you shall die. The serpent says you shall not really die God's motives are in your he's concerned that if you eat your going to end up being like he is and he doesn't want Betty's insecure he doesn't want the competition.
And that's really the reason why you're not supposed she bought a lie and so she accepted that.
Now what the serpent did tell her was partly true. You know it says in verse 22 of this chapter that God himself says that man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.
Let me explain it this way. God knows all about evil, but he knows it like a surgeon might know something about a disease, this is Pastor Luther and of course my point.
There is that God knows evil. Not that he has personally done it or experienced it. But he knows the depth of the evil in our hearts, and he sees it.
You know the ministry of running to win exists to help people to make it across the finish line in the process we analyze culture, we analyze the human heart is the sermon series has done, but at the end of the day. We always point people to Jesus Christ. We believe that he is the answer to the deepest needs of the human heart.
And of course it is only he who can take us across the line the finish line, so to speak. I want to thank the many of you who support this ministry and if you might be interested in becoming an endurance partner endurance partners are people who stand with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts you want to know more.
Here's what you do go to endurance partners.org that's endurance partners.org or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 thanks in advance for helping us get the gospel to as many people as possible. We expose sin, but we also expose the answer in Jesus Christ to give us a call 1-888-218-9337 time again for you to ask Pastor Luther a question you may have about the Bible or the Christian life.
Many of us have deep wounds from the wrongs done to us by others. Henrietta is among those facing this and she writes I'm interested in knowing more about how to forgive people who have wronged me, and how would I know I actually have forgiven them. I have to pray about it because the hurt does not go away.
It usually comes back and then I want to be angry all over again. So how can I succeed in forgiving them. Will Henrietta I speak to you today with a great deal of compassion because I know the bitterness is so destructive, and sometimes it sticks like Velcro to the human heart, but I do need to make a couple of comments. First, a bowl, you need to lay it down even if there is no possibility of reconciliation with the people who have hurt you. You need to simply say God I give this up, I turn it over to you. The Bible says vengeance is mine, I will recompense, says the Lord.
So my question to you, Henrietta.
Is this you have enough faith to believe that God's going to take care of it in his own time and in his own way so that you can walk free. You say Pastor Luther know my faith isn't that great. But here's what you do you come before the Lord, and you simply choose to let go and to trust him. And when you're desperate. It's amazing how much he will help you and even grant you the ability to trust now what happens when the feelings return.
When those feelings of bitterness. Return what you do is you do the same thing again which you will discover is that over a period of time, you'll be free from the bitterness and you'll do yourself a favor you'll honor God. Remember this somebody has well said that bitterness is like swallowing poison and then expecting your enemy to die. You see, you aren't hurting your enemy because of your anger.
Henrietta you're hurting yourself. As soon as you listen to this. You get on your knees and you spend enough time there to give it all to God. Thank you Dr. Luther. We hope Henrietta.
This is been helpful to you if you'd like to hear your question answered no to our firstname.lastname@example.org and click on ask Pastor Luther or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to is running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 tomorrow. The sad reality that many people no longer repent of their sins, they manage them. We are so deceived. We think we are okay as long as we keep our sins and balance.
Don't miss part two of this compelling message. This is Damon Hollister running to win is sponsored the Moody Church