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In Genesis 9 we read about Noah after the flood. He proceeded to plant a vineyard and drank some of its wine and then lay in his tent passed out and completely naked. His son Ham passed by and saw his nakedness and proceeded to make fun of his father while the other two sons walked in the tent backwards with a blanket and covered their father without looking upon his nakedness. We then read about Gideon this morning from Judges chapter 8. God had just helped him win a miraculous battle with only 300 men and now the people wanted to make him their king. He refuses this and rightfully says that the Lord shall be the one to rule over them. However, he did ask for one piece of gold from each person and from that gold he made an ephod from the gold and displayed it in his town for all to see. It then says that all of Israel prostituted themselves by worshipping this ephod and therefore this became a snare or a trap for Gideon. 2 Samuel 11 tells us the story of David seeing a naked woman bathing on her roof and rather than turning away he stairs at her and acquires about her identity. He summons her to his palace and sleeps with her. She later finds out that she is pregnant and then through a series of events he tries to cover up his sin by getting her husband Uriah the Hittite killed. David’s son Solomon becomes king after David’s death and asks God for wisdom to rule this great nation. God gives him this wisdom and much more. However, Solomon becomes ensnared by foreign women and ends up with 700 wives of royal birth and then 300 concubines. These women lead him astray and he ends up building shrines and temples to their god’s and worships them as well. In Mark Chapter 14 Jesus is anointed with some expensive perfume and this upsets the disciples, especially Judas. They say that it was a waste and that it could have been sold and the money given to the poor. This was the last straw for Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples and he went to the Chief priest and agreed to betray Jesus for money. All 5 of these men have something in common. They all had been raised to a high level of esteem and then all fell into deep sin.
There is this notion or teaching in our world today that humanity is good by nature. We may ask how this can be when there is so much evil in the world today. Well those who follow this theory will say that those who do evil just need to find a way to build up their self esteem so that they can feel good about themselves and then do good. They will also look to some event or something from their past or upbringing to cast blame on for why they would be acting out in evil. Some will a lot of times blame the father that they must have been abused by there father so now they are acting out. If they can just heal from the pain from their father then they would be acting good. They say that it cannot be the person to blame as every person is good by nature.
Ephesians 2 says that we were once dead in our transgressions and by our nature we were deserving of wrath. We all lived to gratify our flesh and followed our own desires and thoughts. However, by the grace and mercy of God we are now made alive in Christ as he died for us even while we were sinners. Romans 3:9-20 tells us that no one is righteous and that Jews and gentiles are alike being under the power of sin. Verse 12 says, “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” This seems to contradict the notion that the humanity is good at heart. In reality, because of sin we are by nature all evil. It is because of this that there is so much evil and destruction in our world. The so-called self-esteem movement is a false belief and doctrine. It sounds good on the surface but its belief is based on a lie.
We see this to be the case in all 5 examples of men given today. These were men chosen by God and raised up to such a high-level esteem and they all managed to fail in some way. No matter how high or how righteous these men may have seemed, they too were able to fall into sin. This is proof that Paul’s message in Romans and in Ephesians is true. Not one of us is good and not one of us is above reproach. The concept of human goodness is just a myth and the doctrine of human goodness leaves out an important person and that is God.
The disciples of Jesus understood their fall risk very well. During the last Passover dinner that Jesus shared with his friends he informs them that one of them will betray him. The entire house then is filled with trouble. They all ask if it is them. Not one of them assume that it could not be themselves. Everyone of them was asking “is it me, who is it?” They ask this because they understand that they themselves are also not above reproach. They all have a fall risk of their own.
The world likes to believe that humans start out as good and then do bad however it is just a “mistake” or “bad judgment” when they do wrong. However, the bible says that because of sin humans start out as bad and then they need a savior and a teacher to help them to be good. Friday was the 19-year anniversary of the attack on the United States on our own soil. We thought that nothing like this could happen in our country. I think we were all shocked that people could be capable of doing such evil as this. To a world that believes that humanity is good this would be a shock. However, for those who understand scripture this should not be a shock at all. We are al capable of such evil. It only takes the right temptation and the right propensity for sin to bring us to make such atrocities towards others. This day on 9/11/2001 is a reminder that there is evil in the world and there are evil people. However, this day also proves that just as much as people are capable of doing evil, they are just as much as capable of doing good when given the chance. On that day we saw fire fighters and police officers put their lives on the line to rescue people out of the destruction. We also saw that on flight 93, passengers took the decision to act and fight back and by doing so they saved countless lives at the sacrifice of their own. Just before that decision they recited the Lord’s prayer and Psalm 23. They acknowledged the love of their creator and then went to battle against evil. This goodness and bravery of those passengers and flight crew was not something that was naturally within them. This goodness was developed through a faith in God and a belief and pride in what it means to be an American.
The truth is though we are all capable of such evil as these terrorists were. It just takes the right temptation and the right propensity for sin to make us fall. For Noah it was drunkenness, for Gideon it was pride and idolatry, for David it was lust, for Solomon it was also lust and idolatry, then for Judas it was greed. These little parasites get into our lives and they can cause us to stumble no matter how high up we rise. This is why we are in need of a savior. Just as a hospital put signs and a wrist band that certain patients are a fall risk, we need to understand the same for ourselves and our souls. This is why we need Jesus and this is why we all need the Holy Spirit just. We are all at a fall risk because not one of us is good by nature. However, if we let Him, the Holy Spirit can change our lives and protect us from falling just as the hospital staff and nurses help their patients who are at a risk from falling as well.
Don’t believe in the myth that there is such a thing as human goodness. Humans are capable of doing evil just as much as they are capable of doing good. The reality is that not one of us is good without God’s mercy and the transformation through the Holy Spirit. No amount of self-acknowledgment or self esteem can ever correct this issue for you. Only acknowledging our creator and savior can we even dream to begin to do good and fix our issue of the lack of human goodness. What propensity do you have today that is making you a fall risk? I urge you to acknowledge this and flee from that temptation just as Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife when she tried to tempt him to sleep with her. Above all acknowledge your need for a savior and your need for the Holy Spirit.