The Seven Deadly Sins: LUST!
Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1‑6; Galatians 5:16
Theme: Christians must flee the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the
eyes and instead walk in the Spirit.'
I want to begin my sermon this morning by telling you a story about a young man that showed lots of promise, but who's life ended tragically all because he could not control his lust.
He was a young man who, seemingly, had everything going for him. His birth was literally an answer to prayer. His parents desperately wanted a child and they petitioned the Lord to bless them with a baby. To their joy a boy was born and they dedicated that young man to God. They gave him a name that means A Little Bit of Sunshine.
This young man grew up in a Godly home, with loving parents who dotted on him and spoiled him almost beyond belief. He was strong and handsome and courageous. He had wit and a sense of humor and enjoyed a good riddle. He was undoubtedly the life of the party anywhere he went. He was a rugged outdoors-men and would probably be considered a >man's man.' There were times in his life when he showed flashes of true spiritual strength, but they were usually short‑lived.
This young man had everything going for him, but his life was tragically cut short in the prime of his life. His name? Samson!
Samson is considered a >hero of the faith' in the Old Testament. But the very same Scriptures that lift him up as an Israeli hero also paint a very sad picture of a man who's life never measured up to what it could have been. The Bible is very honest about Samson's short comings. He was irresponsible, short on personal holiness, and a man who's uncontrolled sensuality ultimately brought his downfall. Samson could not get a handle on his lust.
Thousands of years later, as we sit here this morning, lust is a sin that is still as serious and still as deadly as it ever was. A bumper sticker on a car I saw in Denver while on vacation back over Christmas is a commentary on our culture and the grip that lust has over the hearts and minds of our citizens. It read: Wanted: A Meaningful Overnight Relationship.
Let's take a look at what the Scriptures say about this deadly sin.
I. LUST IS PASSION GONE WRONG
1. most people have come to equate lust with sexual desire
a. in many cases in Scripture, lust does refer to illicit sexual
b. consequently, if we are not struggling with illicit sexual
thoughts or behavior, we assume we are free from lust
c. nothing could be further from the truth
2. in both Old and New Testaments desire is described as
basic attributes of human nature
a. desire B even strong desire B can be good B especially
when it=s desire for the things of God
1) we see this most clearly in what the Hebrews call the
Deuteronomy 6:4‑5 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God
[is] one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
2) in Hebrew culture the whole person was involved
3) God is to be our most important desire and we are to
desire Him with our whole being B our entire personality we desire the things of God
3. but when desire is either out of bounds or out of balance it
become hurtful, destructive and sinful
Romans 6:12-13 ALet not sin therefore reign in your mortal
body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.@ KJV
a. a passionate sexual desire for you spouse is in bounds
1) but a passionate sexual desire for your neighbor=s
spouse is out of bounds
2) sexual lust toward anyone but your spouse is desire
that is out of balance with God=s will
b. a passionate desire for leadership that pursues a life of
service is in bounds
1) but a passionate desire for leadership that pursues
individual favor and personal enrichment at the expense of others is out of bounds
2) lust for power or leadership that is not characterized by
a life of service is out of balance with God=s will
c. a passionate desire toward fellowship with one=s friends is
1) but a passionate desire for fellowship with one=s
friends at the expense of study or personal integrity or commitment to family is out of bounds
2) lust for acceptance that never says no to friends is out
of balance with God=s will
4. defined this way, no one is free from the battle with lust
A. DESIRE WHEN UNLEASED AND UNCONTROLLED
BECOMES A LUST THAT CONSUMES OUR ENTIRE PERSONALITY
ILLUS. Detrich Bonhoeffer is one of my heros of the faith. He was
a German pastor who resisted Hitler was ultimately executed by the Nazis. His manuscript entitled Temptation gives a vivid description of our tendency to turn off the warnings of our conscience when sin's allurements wink at us. He writes: "In our members there is a slumbering inclination towards desire which is both sudden and fierce. With irresistible power desire seizes mastery over the flesh. All at once a secret, smoldering fire is kindled. The flesh burns and is in flames. It makes no difference whether it is sexual desire, or ambition, or vanity, or desire for revenge, or love of fame and power, or greed for money, or, finally, that strange desire for the beauty of the world, of nature. Joy in God is... extinguished in us and we seek all our joy in the creature.
At this moment God is quite unreal to us, he loses all reality, and only desire for the creature is real; the only reality is the devil. Satan does not here fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God. And now his falsehood is added to this proof of strength. The lust thus aroused envelopes the mind and will of man in deepest darkness. The powers of clear discrimination and of decision are taken from us. The questions present themselves: "Is what the flesh desires really sin in this case?" "Is it really not permitted to me, yes B expected of me, now, here, in my particular situation, to appease desire?" The tempter puts me in a privileged position as he tried to put the hungry Son of God in a privileged position. I boast of my privilege against God. It is here that everything within me rises up against the Word of God."
3. society caters to our baser or sinful nature and encourages
us to lust after a wide variety of things
a. power . . .
b. popularity . . .
c. prosperity . . .
d. and the list goes on and on
4. without a doubt, however, the word is best understood with
our culture's preoccupation with sex and sensuality
ILLUS. In Eternity magazine, Hugh Hefner, editor of Playboy,
embraces the hedonistic philosophy that has overwhelmed our
culture, "Sex is a function of the body. A drive which man
shares with animals. Like eating, drinking and sleeping. It's a
physical demand that must be satisfied. If you don't satisfy it
you will have all sorts of neurosis and repression psychosis.
Sex is here to stay. Let's forget the prudery that makes us
hide from it. Throw away those inhibitions, find a girl who's like
minded and let yourself go."
a. and that is exactly what many in our culture have done
b. the movies, the TV soap operas, and Madison Avenue
advertisers have convinced Americans that sex brings happiness
c. too many of our teenagers and young adults have bought
the lie and assume that the message is true
5. this preoccupation with sex is not new
a. the Roman culture that predominated the world in which
the apostle Paul preached and ministered was famous or I should say infamous for its lasciviousness behavior
ILLUS. In 79 AD Mt. Vesuvius erupted and buried the city of
Pompeii. The city lay forgotten for centuries until it was rediscovered in the last century. As archeologists began to excavate the ruins they were amazed at the state of preservation of thousands of frescoes and mosaics. What amazed them more were the scenes of sexual carnality and debauchery depicted in many of them. Because they are so old, archeologists consider them ancient treasures.
If the scenes from many of those frescoes and mosaics were recent photographs, we would consider them obscene. They comprise the world's oldest known pornography!
6. I'm sure that if you had asked young Samson whether‑or‑not
he had a problem with lust, he might have smirked and said, "Of course not. I just like women."
a. we like to think that this sin is not a problem in the Body
of Christ, but if you think it is not a problem you're only fooling yourself
ILLUS. In 1992 Josh McDowell commissioned a nation‑
wide survey of Christian teenagers. It was one of the largest studies ever done of young people. What it discovered is disturbing. By high school graduation 43% of kids in evangelical, fundamental churches have had sexual intercourse. Of those 12‑18 years of age, 65% have been involved in some other kind of serious sexual content such as direct caressing or petting. 36% did not believe that premarital sexual intercourse was morally unacceptable!
b. now, let me hasten to say that I do not mean to pick
solely on our teenagers
1) they are not the only ones who must deal with the sin
c. uncontrollable lust is a very serious problem among
adults in our society as well
ILLUS. The sale of pornographic literature in the U.S.
amounts to over $8 billion dollars annually. Psychologists tell us that addiction to pornography is one of the strongest addictions there is. It builds a mental stronghold and creates a bondage that many in our society struggle with B especially men and teenage boys.
7. Samson had a problem with lust: So do many in the Body of
Galatians 5:17 "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the
Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."
II. LUST INDULGES IN SELF‑GRATIFICATION WITHOUT
REGARD FOR OTHERS
1. it's obvious that Samson rarely, if ever, thought of how his
actions affected others
2. Samson confused lust with genuine love, but discovered too
late that lust serves as a cheap imitation of passion
a. lust is the one night stand, but love is making a life long
b. lust can't wait to sexually express itself, but true love
1) love knows that there is a right time and a right place
2) that right time and that right place is called marriage
ILLUS. Chuck Swindol, a popular writer and radio
preacher, tells the story of a young man seeking wise counsel from his grandfather regarding sexual behavior. He says to his grandfather, "Grandpa, in your day you didn't have all of these serious sexually transmitted diseases. What did you wear to have safe sex?" Without batting an eye, the old man shot back quickly, "A wedding ring!"
c. lust has no interest in its partner and thus can have many
1) but love understands that there is not only a right time
and a right place, but also a right person
d. lust lives for the back seat, but love lives for the person
A. UNCONTROLLABLE LUST IS DESTRUCTIVE AND
ILLUS. David and Bath‑Sheba, Ahab and Jezebel, Herod and his
step‑daughter, Ananiras and Saphira, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker.
1. lust, uncontrolled, destroys your character
2. lust, uncontrolled, destroys relationships
3. lust, uncontrolled, destroys families
4. lust, uncontrolled, even can destroy your life (AIDS)
a. the New Testament testifies that, within the human
experience, if sinful desires are gratified instead of crucified they become a consuming fire
Colossians 3:5 "Mortify therefore your members which are
upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:"
b. these behaviors, according to Paul, are marks of
heathenism and a heathen is one who does not know God
III. GOD CAN GIVE US THE VICTORY OVER LUST
1. lust is a powerful drive
ILLUS. Frederick Beuchner writes that lust is the craving for
salt by a man dying for thirst.
2. but with every temptation, Christ offers us a way out
A. WAY OUT #1 B EXPERIENCE THE GRACE AND FORGIVENESS OF GOD
1. knowing God is basic to living a holy life
2. lust is a sin that cannot be overcome outside of a
relationship with the living God through Jesus Christ
3. if you=re here this morning and you=ve never been born
again, give you heart and life to Jesus
B. WAY OUT #2 B FLEE IT
2 Timothy 2:22 "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow
righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the
Lord out of a pure heart."
1. it's interesting that he says flee youthful lusts
a. as we get older our lusts change
b. the lusts of a 20‑year‑old man may not be the things a
40‑year‑old man lusts for and the things a 40‑year‑old man lusts for may not be the things a 60‑year‑old man lusts for
2. the best illustration of someone fleeing a situation where lust
might have prevailed is Joseph in the Old Testament
a. Potopher's wife kept insisting that Joseph have sex with
b. Joseph kept resisting
1) Joseph teaches us that when it come to temptation, we
must think long term
2) the characteristic of lust is: "I want it and I want it now"
3) I have no doubt that Joseph was emotionally and
spiritually stealed against this woman's advances when they came because he knew they were coming and he prepared himself
C. WAY OUT #3 B CRUCIFY IT
Galatians 5:24 "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts."
1. dead men can't sin
2. if you are dead to sin, sin no longer has to be master over
3. Paul insists that we are, by faith, to so associate ourselves
with the death of Christ, that we become immune to the
temptations of the world
a. every morning, our first act of faith ought to be to reckon
ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto Christ'
D. WAY OUT #4 B WALK IN THE SPIRIT
Galatians 5:16 [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall
not fulfil the lust of the flesh.@
1. the verb used here literally means to keep on walking
2. as a believer walks through life he or she should depend on
the indwelling Holy Spirit for guidance and power
3. when we are under the Spirit's control, we will not, we
absolutely will not, gratify the desires of the sinful nature
CON. Samson is considered a hero of the faith' in the Old Testament. But the very same Scriptures that lift him up as an Israeli hero also paint a very sad picture of a man who's life never measured up to what it could have been. The Bible is very honest about Samson's short comings. He was irresponsible, short on personal holiness, and a man who's uncontrolled sensuality ultimately brought his downfall. Samson could not get a handle on his lust.
Christians must flee the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and instead walk in the Spirit.'