Sermons

Summary: One of the basic truths we learned from the account of the fall is that it is not a good start, but a good ending, that is most important.

A young boy came home from his first day of school and confessed to his

father that he told a lie. The father asked why he did it and the boy said,

"Well, dad, when they asked me where I was born it seemed so sissy to say

The Woman's Hospital, so I said the Yankee Stadium." So often the truth

seems sissy in comparison to fiction, and so there is a tendency to ignore facts

and interpret life to fit ones wishes. This is a common attitude when it comes

to the account of Adam and Eve. It is alright for fun and light hearted conversation,

but it would seem too sissy to take it as a serious account of the

origin of man and sin, and so people have pushed it aside, and filled up books

with speculation which has no foundation, but does seem more dignified.

It is true that the story is simple, for it was written for people with simple

and unscientific views of life. If the revelation was given in our day God

would, no doubt, give us more information, but since He gave it in the day of

Moses it is natural that it should be in a form fitting the need of that age. In

spite of its simplicity, there is no other source through which we can gain so

much information about origins, life, sin, death, and God's purpose in the

world. Gen. 3 tells us what no philosopher or scientist could ever tell us

concerning why man is the way he is.

It is the story of the most fantastic of all failures. Nobody ever had a

better start than Adam and Eve. They had a great start, but they didn't

continue, and so they fell. One of the basic truths we learned from the account

of the fall is that it is not a good start, but a good ending, that is most

important. It is not the seed that quickly sprouts and gets a good start in

growth, but which then withers in the sun for lack of depth that counts for

anything. It is the seed that however poor a start it gets arrives at the point of

bearing fruit that really counts. It is he who endures to the end that shall be

saved, and not just he who gets off to a good start.

A golfer writes, "A long drive, straight down the middle of the fairway,

does give a man a tremendous advantage, but it is not decisive. One can have

an impressive beginning and end up very badly, and one can have a miserable

start and a thrilling finish. As one golfer exultingly reported to me, I was in

the rough all the way, and then pared the hole." A good start doesn't count

because you don't add the scored until you finish. This is a principle that

applies to all of life.

Benjamin Robert Haydon was a painter in London in the early part of the

19th century. His first painting was accepted by the Academy, and then

followed a succession of large historical painting that gained for him the

reputation of being one of the greatest painters for centuries. The art critic

raved about him. Wordsworth said of his painting "Christ Entering

Jerusalem," that it was worth waiting half of century to complete. The whole

of Piccadilly was blocked by the carriages of those who came to see this

marvelous painting. Leigh Hunt said of one of his works, "It is a bit of

embodied lightening."

What a start he had on the road to fame, wealth, and influence. But

Halford Luccock says that by the turn of the century his name was not even

known in the world of art. His rapid success in the beginning filled his heart

with pride and he wanted to be the king of painters. He began to write abusive

and bitter letters of satire about his rivals and critics. This caused him to lose

his popularity as quickly as he gained it. He was soon friendless and

bankrupt. His terrific success was reversed to a tragic struggle just to survive.

Finally, in despair he ended his own life. This poor ending destroyed

everything gained by the good start. Better to be like those who start was

miserable, but who had a glorious ending. Just as it is true-

That lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And departing leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time.

So it is also true-

Lives of brilliant failures all remind us

A good start is not enough.

We must forget the road behind us,

And press on however rough.

As we examine the account of the most tragic of all brilliant failures I trust

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