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Pandora's Box

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
June 12, 2020 8:00 am

Pandora's Box

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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One British physician suggested some time ago of doing away with the family completely. He said it is primarily the conditioning device for an imperialistic Western worldview. Kate Millet, who is a prominent feminist, wrote, the family must go because it oppresses and enslaves women.

The trouble is these are the elitists who are teaching in the universities and in the schools. This is the politically correct rendition. Paul calls it a distortion, depravity and rebellion. He calls it the expression of evil in a society that abandons God. You abandon God, you abandon family. You can't abandon God's will and God's commands without there being consequences.

We desperately need the power of God through His Word to be successful. God's Word defines and points out the sins that we might be blind to. It also clarifies the consequences of our sin. There's a Greek legend about Pandora's box that illustrates the consequences of sin once you let it out of the box. Though the story is a myth, the moral isn't. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, Stephen Davey takes you to Romans 1 where Paul reveals the consequences of sin, both immediate and delayed.

This lesson is called Pandora's box. In Greek mythology, the god Prometheus stole fire from heaven and gave it to the race of men he had created. He stole it from another god, the chief god of the pantheon. His name was Zeus. Zeus became so furious with mankind for receiving the gift of fire from Prometheus that Zeus decided to punish man.

He designed his punishment. Thus, he created the first woman. That is only mythology, men, right? Amen. Ladies, that is only mythology.

Amen. Zeus did not just create any woman. He created a beautiful woman he named Pandora. Along with this beautiful woman, he created an ornate and beautiful box and gave it to Pandora as a gift. What he did not tell her was that inside the gift were all of the evil and suffering and disease and trouble and disaster that would bring endless pain and suffering to humanity.

When he gave it to her, he simply told her not to open it. But eventually, driven by curiosity, Pandora opened the box and everything began to fly out. In her horror, she attempted to close the box, but before she could put the lid back on it, all of the evil and tragedy and despair and pain had been released. Everything had escaped the box except for one thing.

She unknowingly, as she quickly put the lid back on the box, had left the one good thing trapped inside. Hope had been unable to escape and it was now forever trapped inside Pandora's box. Disease without hope of remedy, tragedy without any hope of joy, pain without hope of relief, despair without any hope of escape. Now Pandora's box was a myth obviously created in an attempt to explain the origin of evil and also the despair surrounding mankind.

In a small way, the myth is real. Mankind is without hope. He is hopelessly wandering. He is hopelessly enslaved to tragedy and pain. He is hopelessly diseased and dying. He is hopelessly unfulfilled and searching. He is hopelessly sinful and spiritually impoverished and spiritually needy.

Why? Well, the Bible gives the answer. He is hopeless because he has refused hope. Romans chapter one has informed us that mankind has refused to acknowledge God. They have abandoned God. Man has in effect thrown away the antidote.

He swims away from the lifeboat, which is Christ in his shed blood. But man would rather look to himself for the answer. He would rather place his faith in himself rather than in Christ. He would rather try to create a cure for his despair and some sort of distraction for his wandering rather than look to Christ. So man in effect lives out the myth.

He has everything but hope. Paul said in Romans chapter one in verse 21 that he professes to be wise. Earlier in verse 21, the latter party says they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened. That is, mankind is simply wanders and speculates, trying to come to the answer, trying to come up with the cure, trying to find the way of escape at all the time, refusing what God has offered.

And he can't find the answer. The writer of scripture tells us that they are always searching for the truth, always learning more, but never able to come to the truth. I was standing in the line this past week at the grocery store and Oprah Winfrey's magazine caught my eye with the title of an article on the cover that said, A Journey to the Center of Yourself. It was intriguing.

I bought the magazine and was not surprised. First time I'd ever read anything from her, but it was a mixture of Christian terminology right next to Zen Buddhism. It was the humanism of self empowerment and self fulfillment and self satisfaction and sufficiency right alongside the mentions of Jesus, which is typical of our pluralistic day and the wanderings of people who do not have the truth.

One article was entitled Take Your Freedom. Oprah spent a weekend of silence. She wrote about it in her article. She and her friends had taken off to spend some time at her farm, and evidently they spent a weekend of silence, although they did have lectures. She brought along her yoga instructor for yoga, meditation and lectures, which were, as you read them, basically a convoluted mixture of Eastern religion and humanism. They were on this weekend to find themselves and rediscover, quote, the center and quote of wholeness, which is a buzzword for humanism. Basically, she completes her description of this weekend of yoga and silence by writing these words. She speaks as a prophet of her own generation, our generation. Our real power comes from knowing who we are, and that begins with looking inside ourselves in silence. I have always believed you really need no gurus, no leaders, no guides, just yourself. You have all your own best answers. What you're trying to find is already there. Be still and know it.

She couldn't be more deceived. The Bible does not say be still and know ourselves, but be still and know Psalm 26 10. Be still and know God. The Bible does not teach us that our real power is in knowing ourselves. But according to Christ's own words in John 15 five without me, you can do nothing. Paul wrote, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4 13. Our power and our wisdom, our strength comes from Christ without us at best residing within us.

Then power comes through Christ who lives inside of us. Wisdom and truth do not come from our hearts. The Bible says the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.

Who can know it? I'm here to warn you. Do not listen to your heart. It will deceive you. Your emotions will deceive you unless they are submitted to the Holy Spirit who resides within you. I've had a people tell me all sorts of things that they can do without guilt or hesitation, believing that they are right.

Deceived. James did not say if any man lacks wisdom, let him ask his heart. Says if any man likes wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally.

You want a free heart? Jesus Christ said, If you abide in my word, in other words, this objective standard of truth, the word, the words of Jesus Christ, if you in other words, meditate on my word, not silence, if you focus on my word, not yourself, if you concentrate on my truth, not on what your heart tells you to do, then Jesus says you are truly disciples of mine and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. John 8 31 and 32. The truth is man does not want freedom in Christ. He wants freedom from Christ. He does not want wisdom from God.

He wants wisdom apart from God. He has abandoned God. And so he searches his own heart and is deceived to abandon God. Paul has informed us in Chapter one is to have God abandon you. And the consequences of abandoning God are given to us in this chapter. Refusing the God of the Bible is similar to opening Pandora's box.

All of the potential evil can be the experience of every person. The heart that abandons God finds everything but hope. The latter part of Romans one has simply detailed the consequences of hopeless humanity. And verse 28 begins by saying, and just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God abandoned them to a depraved mind. In other words, they chose to ignore God. They didn't see any worth in pursuing God. So God gave their minds over to depravity is one author wrote the human mind that considers God worthless becomes worthless. The human mind that finds no purpose for God finds life without purpose.

God gave them over. He writes to a depraved mind to do those things which are not proper. And now what Paul will simply do is list 21 sins. He'll just lay them out and all we have time really to do this morning is to read the list and maybe illustrate here or there and define them.

And our assignment for this morning is to find ourselves in the list. The only hope comes in finding yourself here and running to the savior for cleansing. He says that depraved man, verse 29 is filled with all unrighteousness. That's a categorical term which could be defined this way, despising whatever God loves and loving whatever God despises. There are people out there.

You talk to them. If you tell them what God wants, they'll do the opposite. They hate whatever God loves and they love whatever God hates.

And the more they learn about what God loves, the more they try to act out on what God hates. So they are filled with the opposite of things related to God's character. They are also, he says, filled with wickedness. This is also a categorical broad term which could be defined totally bent toward corruption. That is corrupt in every purpose, corrupt in every way. Third, they are also filled with greed. Greed is grasping for what you do not have. In other words it is craving more of anything and everything. Our Western system of economics is largely based upon greed.

It doesn't thrive unless we are somehow convinced that we need more. So society is bent and filling us as it were with greed. Evil, this is a vicious delight in harming others. You could render this word malicious, a vicious delight in harming others.

Number five in his list, in the expressions of depravity, full of envy. Now there is a difference between envy and greed that ought to be noted. Greed is grasping for more of what you do not have. Envy is grasping for what someone else has. It leads to all sorts of things. In fact, it leads to murderers, the next word in this list. Murder is the ultimate expression of envy.

In other words, you take from them what you do not want them to have and that is the ultimate thing, their life. In Matthew 27, 17, Jesus is standing on trial before Pilate and Pilate says to the crowd, who do you want me to release to you, Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ? For he knew that they delivered him up for envy. They hated him. He had popularity, they wanted it. He had power, they wanted it. He had the people's attention, they wanted it.

So they wanted him put to death. This word murder follows envy not only in this list, but also in life. Number seven is strife.

This is affection for arguing. Number eight is deceit. This is luring others with sinful bait.

In fact, the original Greek word is fish bait. It is baiting the hook with sin and deceiving others to follow. Number nine is malice. You could define this as viciousness as a way of life. A person who is habitually vicious toward others, typically by the use of their hands, they are always hurting other people.

It is followed by a similar vice. He says they are gossips. This is one who ruins lives in secret.

A malicious person uses his hands to hurt. A gossip uses his tongue to hurt. You notice Paul does not say they gossip. He says they are gossips. This is their lifestyle, correctly translating I believe the implication of the Greek word. By the way, if you want to turn off a gossip, as a surefire way, just start out at the beginning of the conversation by asking them, may I quote you?

Probably take care of it. Verse 30, slanderers. These are ones who ruin people in public. While gossip is secret defamation, slander is public defamation. In fact, the word can be translated defamer.

The 12th simply called haters of God. That is one who attempts to ruin God's reputation. It's interesting to me at first sight, following gossip and slander, you'd find this word.

It seemed to me to be out of order or out of place, but actually it fits very well. The gossip or the slanderer so speaks against the character of another person as to ruin their reputation. This word refers to one who speaks publicly against God in an attempt to ruin the reputation of God and the church. They hate God.

And though they publicly attempt to ruin his reputation, they are always talking him down. Number 13 is insolent. This is one who mixes pride with brutality. There is pride and arrogance, but there is the mixture of physical brutality. This is the bully. Ever grow up around a bully? We had a bully in my neighborhood.

He was bigger, stronger, and he knew it. He lived in the cul-de-sac around from our home. Name was Frankie. Great name for a bully.

For some reason, names just fit certain people. Frankie. I remember when I was about 11, my friend and I decided to ride our bikes, pedal our bikes past his house, assuming he was inside yelling names at him.

The only thing in our ignorance we forgot, we shouted the names as we rode into the cul-de-sac and not out of the cul-de-sac. Frankie, who had been in the side yard unbeknownst to us, came barreling around the corner before we even finished the loop. Very fast.

Terrifyingly fast. And I will never forget the feeling of his hand as he grabbed my shirttail. He caught me, not my friend, whom I would have willingly sacrificed to him at that moment. And I lived to tell the story only because my mother was yelled at by my two brothers who yelled, Mommy, Frankie's got Stevie, or something to that effect. And she raced out of the house through the backyard over a fence.

She saved my life, which was embarrassing to me. And I found out later my brothers didn't really get off the fence. They just yelled at her.

They were enjoying the view from the top of that fence, watching the show. And they will be judged, I'm sure, in the coming judgment because of it. The 14th expression is arrogant.

Similar. This is a person with a pedestal personality. Number 15, boastful. This is the dialect of the arrogant. In other words, this is the way the person speaks, who is filled with himself. Their chief subject of conversation is themselves.

And that's irritating, isn't it? Charles Spurgeon wrote 100 years ago, the average Christian can't seem to kill a mouse without it being published in the Gazette. I wonder the reason God doesn't do more with us is because we're so busy patting ourselves on the back for what he's already done. The 16th expression is inventors of evil. That is, they are committed to corrupt creativity. They invent ways of doing evil things.

They lie on their beds, the scriptures tell us, inventing sin and evil. While God is the creator of all things that are pure and holy, man is the creator of all that is evil. Someone comes up with the idea of global communication through the internet and others invent new ways to peddle pornography. The world of fashion is continually inventing new ways to depict sensuality and provoke lust. Sinful mankind is incredibly innovative at displaying, encouraging, promoting, advertising, broadcasting, selling, legalizing, showcasing sin.

Left to ourselves, we invent evil. Number 17, disobedient to parents. We could define it as refusing to accept God's primary arrangement of authority and influence. The addition to this list of this sin should strike fear into the heart of every young person. It is intended as well to strike fear into the heart of every parent.

I doubt any of us would ever put that in the list. Paul does. Disobedience is not a small thing to God. Disobey parents who are the symbol of authority. You grow up and disobey God. 18, without understanding. We could define it this way, an irreparable learning disability regarding spiritual things. You talk to him about truly spiritual things and he'll think you're a fool. Without understanding.

19, untrustworthy. We could define this as someone with whom a handshake is meaningless. These are men and women who make promises and do not keep promises. Everything from the basic not keeping an appointment you said you'd keep to not following through with responsibilities, signing contracts you will not keep, making marriage vows you will break, nations signing peace treaties with others, knowing full well at the table they have no intention of fulfilling the terms. Evil man says to one another, we will do this and we will do that and they know in their heart they will not do this, they will not do that.

They will look at you and smile and shake their head and your hand and say I will do that. Society that abandons God then is filled with people who abandon one another. If the price is right, if the circumstances are convenient, they will abandon each other. It is depravity.

20, unloving. That is without a heart of affection. It's a literal reference to natural affection. That is the affection between a parent and child, a husband to a wife, children to parents, family relationships. Depraved society loses the ability to understand and appreciate the family basically is what that word means. We are living in a day when the family is being attacked like no other. One British physician suggested some time ago of doing away with the family completely. He said it is primarily the conditioning device for an imperialistic Western worldview. Kate Millet who is a prominent feminist wrote in her book called Sexual Politics that the family must go because it oppresses and enslaves women. The leader within the National Organization of Women said she is seeking to eliminate all marriage and motherhood because as she says here, marriage is legalized servitude and family relations are the basis for all human oppression. How tragic that that is her view of family and probably her experience.

The trouble is these are the elitists who are teaching in the universities and in the schools. This is the politically correct rendition. Paul calls it a distortion. He calls it a characteristic of depravity and rebellion. He calls it the expression of evil in a society that abandons God.

You abandon God, you abandon family. It's interesting to me that the last characteristic of a perverted, distorted, self-centered society is the word unmerciful. Verse 31, the latter part unmerciful, that is without a shred of compassion. The word could be translated ruthless. As Rome decayed and fell apart, it was experiencing the rise of its biggest sport, gladiatorial games where bloodthirsty people regularly watched other people kill one another for the pleasure of the crowd. These are the ultimate expressions of depravity, but we haven't reached the bottom of the sewer of human nature yet.

It gets worse. Paul now describes for us the ultimate endorsement of depravity. Look at verse 32. And although they know the ordinance of God, you remember they have it written in their heart by virtue of their conscience. Although they know they're sinning when they do those bad things, the guilt they feel is their conscience. Even though they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death or judgment, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. So we could summarize from about verse 24 to the end of this chapter this way, rejection of God leads to an acceptance of sin. Secondly, acceptance of sin leads to an approval of sin. And third, approval of sin finally degenerates into applause for sin.

Accepted, approved, applauded. One man wrote to justify one's own sin is wicked enough, but to approve and encourage others to sin is immeasurably worse. And so sinners band together around common perversions. The prophet Isaiah warned the 21st century generation with these words, woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant men and mixing strong drink, who justify the wicked for a bribe and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right.

Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble and dry grass collapses into the flame, so their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust. For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts and despise the word of the Holy One of Israel. You couldn't find a better caption for our generation than that one. Like manner, Paul delivers the same warning to the believers in Rome. He has revealed God's judgment on sin. He has revealed God's judgment on sinners.

This chapter one comes to a close. He has recorded for us the ultimate expressions of depravity, the ultimate endorsement of depravity. The question remains, what is the ultimate escape from depravity? Paul isn't going to give that until he gets to Chapter three. We'll be there shortly. But he leads men and women everywhere to come to the realization that they are sinners, corrupt and evil in need of the Savior. What is the ultimate escape? Let me give you three steps.

Number one, admission. I'm a sinner, Lord. I'm corrupt.

I'm evil. And every day I prove the fact that I am a sinner because I sin. Confession follows admission or please forgive my sin. For those who are unbelievers, you pray that prayer and you acknowledge your sinfulness to him and he saves you. For those who are saved, you acknowledge specific sin to him and fellowship is restored.

There is submission, then admission, confession, submission. Lord, I repent and turn from my heart's yearnings from the deception of my heart. I turn my life over to your spirit, who is the true guide and giver of life. And I promise to follow your word, which is the true manual that leads us in life. Hope, by the way, did escape Pandora's box, maybe not in the myth, but in reality. It came in the form of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who promises us if we confess our sin, not our excuses, not our defenses.

If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And with that, we close not only this lesson, but this current series. This is Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Today's lesson is called Pandora's Box and comes from the nine part series entitled The Banquet Table of Consequences.

We've taken this series and put it in a beautifully bound CD set. You can order that set from the store on our web page. Again, it's called The Banquet Table of Consequences and it comes from Romans 1. The website is wisdomonline.org or you can call us and we can help you over the phone. Dial 866-48-bible or 866-482-4253 and we can assist you. By the way, when a member of the wisdom team answers your call, be sure and ask about our magazine, Heart to Heart. If you haven't seen it yet, we can tell you more about how you can get a copy. I'm Scott Wiley and for Stephen and all of us here, I thank you for listening. Have a great weekend and join us Monday for more Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-06 13:33:36 / 2024-02-06 13:43:41 / 10

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