Title: THE DEADLY DRIFT OF COMPROMISE – Part I
Text: Proverbs 7:1-27
Illus. – Cohort student that I mentor at WJU called for counsel; he’s a youth minister; drifting moral behavior; had to withdraw from school to get his life back in order. “How could this have happened? Where did I go wrong? Why did I have to end up like this?”
The time to ask these questions is not after we’ve blown it and brought disgrace and ruin upon ourselves. The time to ask these questions is before we’re ever faced with temptation!
I’m not the originator of that thought…Solomon was, centuries ago when, as a father, he penned some advice to his son. As we read chapter 7 of Proverbs, keep in mind this is a father who wants his son to turn out right. He’s telling his son ahead of time what to expect, and what to avoid. His words may have been written with an ink quill on papyrus long ago, but they are preventative medicine to any child of Solomon many centuries removed. As I read them, it’s like the ink has barely dried. This chapter is really about compromise.
Solomon wants his son to understand the process a person goes through when giving in to temptation. To illustrate his point, he describes a young man who gives in to the enticements of a prostitute. But the lessons we are going to gain from this passage go far beyond this illustration. His wisdom will help us with all kinds of compromising situations. Let your spiritual father, Solomon, speak to your heart about your own battles with compromise. (Pray)
I. 7:1-5 Positive Exhortation Before a Negative Illustration.
A. Solomon realizes how far wisdom carried him, so he encourages his son to hold on to wisdom.
B. Treasure it; keep it in front of you, in your conscious thoughts; use physical reminders; memorize it; make it your close friend.
C. How will wisdom help? Wisdom is the skill of applying God’s Word to daily situations. It is the means that will help you maintain your integrity.
D. We need to cultivate an insatiable thirst for wisdom. Every day drink deeply from God’s Word.
II. 7:6-7 Compromise Flourishes When the Decision to Do Right is Not Made Ahead of Time.
A. Right away we can tell he is headed for trouble: “A naïve youth lacking sense.” This gives you an insight into his moral immaturity.
B. “Naïve” means he has no clear moral standards. He’s never made up his mind about the values he will live by. He just goes with the flow of whatever the current is flowing beside him.
C. It’s like spending a bonus check…you have to decide before you go to the store. Overcoming moral temptations is just the same. You have to make up your mind ahead of time what you will do.
D. Satan makes sure the steps of compromise are very small so they are not recognized. That’s why we need to decide right now not to live the approved norm of the rest of the world!
III. 7:8-9 Compromise Occurs When You Underestimate Evil and Flirt With Temptation.
A. Wow! This guy is playing with fire and the prostitute hasn’t even entered the story yet! But you know something is coming because he’s in the wrong place at the wrong time!
B. He has no business in that part of the town, at that time of the night. It’s obvious he’s flirting with temptation.
C. There are some who say that playing with evil doesn’t have to lead to sin. To me, that is not only foolish, but it’s ungodly! “What fellowship does light have with darkness?”
D. If you are a man pursuing godliness, you make every effort to keep yourself as pure as you can…not see how much you can get away with! It’s always dangerous to underestimate evil!
IV. 7:10-11 Compromise is Always Just a Choice Away.
A. In this situation compromise lurks in the form of a prostitute. Opportunities for compromise are everywhere. After all, Satan is aggressive, always waiting for you, ready to pounce. Gen. 4:7 “Desire” – teshuqah – to want to take the role of authority, to dominate. “Master” – mashal – to rule, to subdue.
B. Prov. 7:12 Guys, evil is all around us, and if we play with it, it will inevitably bring us down!
C. There are 3 dangerous sources of evil we need to expose:
1) The World – it’s the value system around you that does not put Christ first in their lives. 1 Jn 2:15-16
2) The Flesh – this is the source of evil that is present in ourselves. Gal. 5:19-21 Some of us have no trouble identifying ourselves in that list. For the rest of you, you’re covered in the phrase “and things like these.”
3) The Devil – Satan is your sworn enemy. He’s conniving…he works in concert with the world and the flesh to entice us to compromise. 1 Pet. 5:8 Peter said “roaring lion”…not barking poodle. He’s on the loose, he’s dangerous, and he’s hungry! He’s powerful, and his purpose is to eat you for lunch!
D. Like the prostitute in Prov. 7, the temptation to compromise is everywhere. It’s just a choice away. It can happen to anyone…anytime…anywhere.
Think about this guys, Satan has 6,000 years of experience of bending the human mind. He’s very patient. It’s a plan to soften us up by gradually weakening our spiritual defenses through worldly compromise…the slow trickle of erosion that goes unseen by the unsuspecting eye. By gradual erosion, he is diluting our moral resolve that won’t endure the real test when he come at us with a baited trap that we just cannot resist.
The trap is sprung…he’s waiting for you to take the fatal step! Is his patient plan working? Look at the movies you watch…look at the things you secretly embrace in your heart. What imagination scenarios do you go over and over in your mind? What change has taken place over the last 20 years? Will another 20 years find you being able to distinguish light from darkness? Satan appears as an angel of light…but it’s only tinsel!! The True Light, the bright Morning Star is JESUS!!!
Satan’s strategy is that the DMZ zone between the Lord’s side and his own side is a wide zone…that way no one really knows where the crossing-over line is!! So the soldier ventures out at night, a little step here, a little step there, because the seductive lady on the other side knows his eyes are fixed on her…not on the buried land mine!!
Is there anyone out there that sees the danger and will sound the alarm?!! Nothing can be more compassionate than to interrupt your brother from going the wrong direction with a warning, and then fall on your knees together to ask for strength to fight the fight!! We MUST warn one another…the DMZ zone is widening right in front of our eyes! When there’s no guard at the post, the enemy deceitfully infiltrates the camp to seduce the unsuspecting! Num. 25:1-12, 16-18 Rom. 13:12
Title: THE DEADLY DRIFT OF COMPROMISE – Part II
Text: Proverbs 7:1-27
I’ve got my own story of compromise as a young man. I grew up in a Christian home. I couldn’t have asked for better roots. I grew up being taught the Bible. But like the young man in Proverbs 7, I too began to flirt with temptation. I didn’t last long on the football team or the wrestling team in high school because of my knees. Since I didn’t associate with the jocks, the only place I found my niche was with singing in the choir and the men’s chorus. Today I appreciate that time spent in music, but back in high school that wasn’t the “cool” thing to do to gain acceptance with the crowd at large. So I began hang out at the Pizza hut where everyone gathered to be noticed, and to drink beer (at 18 you could buy beer). From there my weakening towards alcohol spiraled downward.
When you’re drifting in compromise, all sorts of evil comes into your soul. I was headed down the wrong path…down hill…and I was running as fast as I could to destruction. One day I found myself on the foothills north of my home in Clifton, Colorado, doubting God, crying and yelling at Him. I told God I wasn’t sure I believed in Him any more, and I needed Him to do a miracle just for me so I could get my life turned around. I stood in front of a hill, closed my eyes, and asked Him to move it when I opened my eyes. I opened them and the hill was still there. My faith sank into despair. I quietly got back in the car and drove and drove and drove.
It wasn’t until several months later that God turned my life around at a Christ in Youth rally in Albuquerque, NM.
I’ve been the young man who’s messed up by compromising. God’s put my life in order by His grace. It’s a wonder He uses me at all…but, then again, that’s grace! Now I’m a father of three sons. I’ve counseled them many a time as they go through the same compromise struggles. And so here I am…if God will use me as your spiritual father…I want to share a father’s heart with my spiritual sons…just like Solomon did with his son. (Pray)
Prov. 7:1-12 Let’s pick up where we left off last time.
V. 7:13-17 Compromise Entices Through Flattery and Fantasy.
A. Having never made up his mind about his moral convictions…having placed himself directly in temptation’s path…and having met someone who is far craftier than he…the young man is ready to swallow the bait that will hook him into evil.
B. Notice compromise opens with flattery (13-15). Nearly all temptation has a bit of flattery in it…even if it’s nothing more than thinking you can get away with something.
C. Secondly, compromise also uses fantasy (16-17). Guys, temptation is often a battle for the imagination. It paints a picture in the mind about how we’d be better off if we would compromise. You’re the moth flying too close to the fire!
VI. 7:18 Compromise Ensnares Through Rationalization and Deception.
A. The next lure in the adulteress’s tackle box is rationalization. A rationalization simply appling a good purpose to something that is inherently wrong. She calls what they are about to do, “drinking their fill of love.”
B. But it’s not love, is it?…it’s wrong…it’s immoral…and it’s offensive to God!
C. Do you rationalize? Let me ask it another way: How good are you with coming up with good reasons for bad actions? You’re probably a genius at it. “C’mon Ralph, everybody does it!” “Who’s going to know?” “A little bit won’t hurt me!” “After this one time, I’ll quit!” Sound familiar?
D. Next the woman deceives the young man, saying there will be no consequences of their sin. 7:19-20 Evil tries to convince us that no one will know…that there will be no consequences. But it’s a lie!
E. Rationalization has filled our jails…gotten people fired…destroyed reputations…and caused ministers to fall. Even if our wrong escapes the sight of others…it never escapes the notice of our Omniscient God!
F. Illus. – God sent Abraham to rescue Lot out of a compromising situation in Sodom. Lot is told that God is going to destroy Sodom. Look at the rationalization Lot replies to Abraham with. Gen. 19:17-20 “Let me escape here…it’s only a small town.”
G. Guys, gradual compromises can blind the senses and distort your judgment!!!!
VI. 7:22 Compromise Finally Occurs with a Refusal to Think About Our Actions.
A. The adulteress has used all her wiles to get him into bed with her. He quickly follows.
B. This is a vivid description of the moment of compromise. After all the subtle lies he has swallowed, he is like a dumb, helpless ox about to be slaughtered. And yet it is his choice!! “Suddenly” he makes up his mind and he follows her. He chooses to follow her into ruin!
C. Compromise is always our decision! And usually it’s a sudden decision. We don’t sit there and reason it out. We don’t reflect what Scripture has to say about it. We just want to do it, suddenly! Ja. 1:14-15
VII.7:22-23 Compromise Always Costs.
A. It’s not clear what happens to this young man. Perhaps the husband returns home and finds them. Maybe his sin is discovered by the community. Or it could be that he contracts a venereal disease and slowly wastes away. But one thing is for sure…his compromise “cost him his life!”
B. All sin has the same consequence. “The wages of sin in death.” That consequence may come tomorrow, or it may not be discovered for a long time…but we can never escape the repercussions of moral compromise.
C. Remember my college student? He traded his most valuable possession…his integrity…for a few brief moments of pleasure. Drifting…asleep on the surfboard…the current has carried him out to sea, and with no wave to catch back to the shore…the jaws of Satan bursts from the deep and knocks him off the board…and eats him for lunch!!!
How does moral compromise happen? It happens when we fail to commit ahead of time to do the right thing; by underestimating evil and flirting with temptation; by failing to recognize compromise lurking at every corner; by failing to resist smooth flatteries and enticing fantasies; by giving in to slick rationalizations; by a sudden, deliberate choice to give in to sin; and failing to consider the costly consequences of sin.
You know what? The remarkable thing about everyone who has compromised morally or ethically…is that they are just like you and me! You and I are just as vulnerable as my college student. The most dangerous attitude we could ever adopt is one that many of the fallen adopted: “It can’t happen to me!” Oh, yes it can! Paul warns us in 1 Cor. 10:12, “Let him who thinks he stands, take heed, lest he fall.”
What are we going to do to help each other through the pitfalls of compromise?
Not lot ago, there was a series of photos in a magazine about Jose Cubera. Cubera was one of the top bullfighters in Spain. The photos showed how he had lanced a bull with the last and most deadly thrust of his swords, and the bull had fallen in the dust of the arena. As the spectators jumped to their feet with a roar, Cubera raised his arms to accept their thundering praise.
The photos show that Cubera had turned his back on the bull. It suddenly rallied, and in a final desperate rage, gored the bullfighter right through the back! Both Cubera and the bull died in a pool of blood in the arena!
Brother…if you see that others have compromised their moral or ethical integrity…if they have turned their back because of compromise…will you warn them of the charging bull?! Will you cover their back?
Say to the brother at your side: “I’VE GOT YOUR BACK!! I’VE GOT YOUR BACK!!”