The False Assurance of Pleasure in Sin

blindfoldedpeopleThere seems to be a desire in our culture to remove any and all barriers that would prevent an individual from experiencing his or her personal pleasure, a sense of enjoyment, happiness, or feeling of satisfaction in who they are and/or what they do.  All moral boundaries are being destroyed in the wake of an onslaught of hedonists seeking personal pleasure.  As long as there is a person who wants something from which he derives pleasure, he, and others who support him, will do whatever it takes to make that pleasurable experience available to him.

In the Garden of Eden, the serpent tempted Eve with pleasures that she felt couldn’t be hers God’s way.  Thus, the food she ate was good, delightful, and desirable.  As soon as Eve and Adam had their pleasurable experience, their relationship with God, with nature, and with themselves radically changed as sin entered into the world.

It wasn’t that God had denied Adam and Eve pleasure for there is no one or nothing more pleasurable than God Himself.  It was that they believed the lie of Satan who gave them a false assurance that what they didn’t have would bring far greater joy than what they did have.

And so it continues today.  There is no doubt that many sins are pleasurable in the moment.  They meet a need, scratch an “itch,” soothe a troubled soul, or numb a pain for a while.  But experiencing pleasure in sin doesn’t mean that God is wrong, that He has lied to me, or is denying me something critical to my life.  Experiencing pleasure in sin only shows how messed up I am.  That I can’t see the beauty of God, the joy of His Son, the peace of His Spirit, and the truth of His Word only shows what the effects of sin truly are.  My love of sin blinds me to true joy.  Paul says that “the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Which is why our God is so good to reveal Himself to us so that He shines “the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ” in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Be careful that you make the assumption that if something God forbids is pleasurable to you, it must mean that God has lied to you or He’s wrong.  It’s our hearts that have gone off the rails, not our Lord.  Remember David’s wisdom…

Psalm 16:11 (HCSB) 11  You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures.

Not I, But Christ

My friend Mark Moore asked me to do a guitar chart for a hymn he had run across sung by Scott Wesley Brown and called Not I But Christ.  For the first few times listening I focused on the music.  But the more I listened, the more I focused on the words.  The words were incredibly simple, yet powerful as they reminded me that it’s all about our Lord Jesus Christ.  And so I thought I’d share the song and the words that they might encourage you as well.

Not I, but Christ
Be honored, loved, exalted
Not I, but Christ
Be seen, be known be heard
In every look, in every word
Not I, but Christ

Not I, but Christ
To gently soothe in sorrow
Not I, but Christ
To wipe the falling tear
To lift the weary burden
To drive away all fear
No trace of me, He’s all I see
Not I, but Christ

Who Is My Neighbor?

goodsamaritanI preached Sunday from Luke 10:25-37 which is the parable of the Good Samaritan.  I talked about how evangelism and neighbor love go hand in hand.  To help our folks feel the impact of Jesus’ twist in the story, introducing a Samaritan as the hero to a Jewish audience, I shared these two scenarios with our congregation to hopefully help them feel the impact concerning who Jesus said was our neighbor…

A Christian man went to an anti-mosque rally as he joined other Christians in protesting the proposed building of a mosque in their community.  After the rally ended, the man walked to his car where he was beaten half to death and robbed of his wallet along with having his car stolen.

A Baptist pastor leaving the rally was walking to his car, saw the man, and continued on to his car thinking someone else would take care of this situation.  A second man, a Baptist deacon, also saw the victim, but also continued on without giving care to the victim.

A third man, a Muslim, saw the man, immediately called 911, and began to tend to the victim’s wounds.  The Muslim rode with the man in the ambulance to the ER and stayed near the man while he was evaluated by the ER staff.  Because the victim’s wallet had been stolen, the Muslim left his phone number and allowed the ER staff to run his credit card saying, “Whatever this man needs please give it to him.  And whatever it costs, please put it on my credit card.  If there is anything more he needs, please call me.” 

My second scenario went like this…

A Christian man went to an anti-gay marriage rally as he joined other Christians who were protesting the Supreme Court’s decision and lamenting its effects on our culture.  As he was leaving the rally and approaching his car, the man was viciously attacked and robbed of his wallet and car.

A Baptist pastor leaving the rally saw the man and continued on to his car.  A second man, a Baptist deacon, also saw the victim but offered no help to him.

A third man, a gay man, saw the man, called 911, and began tending to the victim’s wounds.  Once the ambulance arrived, the gay man followed the ambulance to the hospital where he remained as the ER staff cared for the victim.  The gay man left his phone number and allowed the staff to run his credit card saying, “Whatever this man needs please give it to him.  And no matter the costs, please put it on my credit card.  And if he needs anything, please call me.”

Too many of us limit the scope of the gospel through walls we erect.  We try to justify our bigotry towards others who are of a different ethnicity or who are struggling with sin.  Jesus does not allow for bigotry.  After all, He could have been the biggest bigot of all as He alone is righteous will we are all sinners.  But Jesus came to seek and save sinners, and has called those He’s saved to do the same.

The question remains: Who is my neighbor?  To whom will I be a good neighbor?

Evangelism & Loving Our Neighbor…The Notes

8.23.15_DLMS_Social_MediaI preached sermon 3 yesterday of our 5-week series Dr. Luke’s Prescription for Spiritual Health.  The sermon dealt with the parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37.  You can listen to the sermon here.  The notes are below…

  1. Neighbor love flows out of an all-encompassing love for God.
  1. Neighbor love sees people as God sees them.
  1. Neighbor love goes out of its way to meet the needs of others, no matter the cost.
  1. Meeting the physical needs of our neighbors is good but temporary. Meeting their spiritual needs has eternal value.

Evangelism & Loving Our Neighbor

8.23.15_DLMS_Social_MediaToday’s sermon is from Luke 10:25-37 dealing with neighbor love from Jesus telling of the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:25-37 (HCSB) 25  Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26  “What is written in the law?” He asked him. “How do you read it?” 27  He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. 28  “You’ve answered correctly,” He told him. “Do this and you will live.” 29  But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30  Jesus took up the question and said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. 31  A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32  In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33  But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. 34  He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35  The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’

36  “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37  “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”

Saturday Stuff, August 22, 2015

SaturdayStuff_socialmedia*Looks like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is getting a spin-off afterall.

*Michael Chiklis (who played the Thing in the previous 2 Fantastic Four movies) is joining season 2 of Fox’s Gotham.

*Here’s a look at Jon Bernthal as The Punisher who will be in season 2 of Netflix’s Marvel series Daredevil.

*Check out this promo for season 2 of The CW’s The Flash

*And here’s an extended promo for NBC’s Heroes Reborn series…

6-String Salvo, August 21, 2015

bigstock-Guitar-9506791. Ben Reaoch helpfully points out why gay marriage proponents can’t appeal to the abolitionist movement.

2. Here’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek post from Stephen Altrogge about the 7 types of people you meet in Sunday worship.

3. David Murray shares 8 reasons why Christians should want to change.

4. Kevin DeYoung offers 10 really helpful things to remember as we enter into the presidential campaign season.

5. Mark Altrogge reminds us of 27 reasons why every believer in Jesus should rejoice always.

6. Finally, here’s a good article from Nicholas Batzig on guardian angels.

And here’s Paul Simon with Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard