SE7EN DEADLY SINS: Lust (Proverbs 5)

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Mankind’s Seven Mistresses[1]

His wife was gone. Sure, last night looked like a lot of nights recently. She’d walked out many times before, but this was different. The abandonment, the adultery, and the deception had mounted a massive assault on their marriage and family. Had it been three men in just six months? He feared there were more. Again and again, she’d wrecked the family’s affairs with her own. She had spent and overspent the family budget to please another guy—another illicit, irrational, imaginary love. Their marriage, once sweet, had become a nightmare. Those first days, maybe even months, of marital bliss felt so distant and unfamiliar. It was hard for her husband to believe they were ever even real. Two children—a son and a daughter—were the real victims, loved by dad, but left by mom. They were conceived and raised in despair and misery. Their dad had always hoped things would change. He even promised that things would be different, that the loneliness and betrayal they’d known their whole lives would be turned for good—for hope, belonging, and love. Not knowing what to say to his confused and wounded children that night, dad knelt down between their beds, and he prayed: “God, please rescue my bride—the mother of my precious children—”

Several years later, on a hot afternoon in August, the husband was walking downtown through a local park. His oldest, a teenager now, had left an assignment on the kitchen table, so he was dropping it off at school. He could walk from his office, and usually even enjoyed the break and exercise, but it was uncomfortable today. Temperatures had soared to record highs, leaving most people hiding inside until evening. He saw a woman, though—the only soul he’d seen since he left work. She was exhausted, disheveled, and desperate. She was squeezing every last drop out of a public drinking fountain, clinging to it like she might drown if she let go. As he walked closer, he started to make out her face. “Hannah? . . . Is that you?” He looked into her eyes and saw the face he knew so well, the woman who had hurt him so deeply. She was still his wife. She looked around uncomfortably, as if she was waiting for someone else to walk by and discover her shame. She had left so much for so very little. She left the provision, safety, and intimacy of a truly good man for a treadmill of temporary pleasure and terrible, destructive life choices. The other men always seemed so attractive, but they never truly loved her, and the relationships never lasted. “Why are you out here, Hannah?” “I have nowhere else to go, and I had to get away from him. . . . I’m tired, and scared, and thirsty.”

“Come home, Hannah. You know I will take care of you—whatever you need. I’ll provide for you and protect you. You’ll never be thirsty again.” After several hard, awkward, silent moments, she finally looked back up at him, feeling lost, embarrassed, and ashamed. He was smiling. It wasn’t the cute, naïve, playful smile she saw on their first dates together. No, it had been replaced with something deeper, more refined, and durable. “I love you,” he said. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing, what she was hearing. “But you don’t know what I’ve done . . . where I’ve been.” “No, I do. I know about the men. I know about the one at your apartment right now, and the six that came before him. I know each of their names, Hannah. Come home.” “No, you don’t understand. I’m not worthy of you anymore.” “Hannah, I never loved you because you were worthy. I loved you because you were mine. And even though you ran away and gave yourself to other men, I choose to love and forgive you. Even though you walked away from our family, I have remained steadfast; Even though you defiled our marriage bed and failed our hopes, I have remained faithful to you. I will take you back to be with me as my bride, remade in beauty.

 

–        We are Hannah, each one of us. The names of our seven affairs are Pride, Sloth and Gluttony, Envy and Greed, Wrath, and Lust.

–        And the betrayed, but faithful husband is Jesus—our first love, our lost love, our renewed love.

–        The seven deadly sins are some of the most promiscuous and prevalent in history.

–        The origination of the seven sins likely started in the 4th Century and later popularized in the 6th Century with Pope Gregory ranking the degrees of sins.[2] Other theologians in church history have compared and contrasted lists.

–        Sin does stain and separate our relationship with God.

o   Isaiah 59:2 “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”

o   Cf. Deuteronomy 32:20; Ezekiel 39:29; Micah 3:4; Psalm 13:1; 27:9; 44:24; 51:9; 69:17; 88:14; 102:2; 104:29; 143:7)

o   Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt 5:8)

o   “without holiness, no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14)

è Why do we not consider that our sin hides away God’s face? Are we too prideful thinking our sin is not as bad as other people, or do we minimize our sinful actions, or is our overall view of God too small that we do not realize His holiness, His worth, His wrath and His judgment?

o   à If you sense your prayers are not being heard by God, evaluate your confession of sin.

o   Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

–        However, because of the gospel of Jesus Christ – God sent Jesus to remove the penalty and power of sin.

–        Therefore, there is no sin that is too great that the Christian cannot overcome. And there is no sin that cannot be forgiven, apart from rejection of Christ (Matthew 12:32).

–        Yet, we must not compromise with our culture and merely proclaim half the gospel. We speak or spread half the gospel when we remove repentance from faith; when we love what God loves but do not hate what God hates.

o   To plant flowers but not remove weeds is futility.

o   To drive a car without keeping maintenance is futility.

o   To have morals without also turning away from sin is to miss the face of God.

–        Series Purpose: To identify areas of our life and church where we are missing God’s face and favor through examining the gospel’s power over prevalent sins.

o   Lust (Feb 14) / Wrath (Feb 21) / Envy & Greed (Feb 28) / Sloth & Gluttony (Mar 6) / Pride (Mar 13)

EXAMINE       Se7en Deadly Sins                Lust

Lust: consuming and uncontrollable desire for things that dishonors God and disrespects the value of God’s provision.

Lust is in contrast to love. Lust is an impulse, whereas love is a pledge. In other words, lust is a short-term urge whereas love is a long-term union. The Bible provides repeated examples of dangerous and damning consequences resulting from lust, and contrasts them with the path of faithfulness and love in God’s ways.

Today we will explore the biblical perspective of lust, specifically from the book of Proverbs, for the purpose of identifying our sin and influencing us to find our satisfaction in Christ, finding His face and favor.

Proverbs 5 (Proverbs 5 – 7 warn against lust, fornication [sex before marriage], adultery [sex outside marriage])

Lust commences in the mind/heart (Proverbs 5:1)

The Proverbs are a collection of sayings, known for its concise and clever statements about human nature and living life. Many Proverbs were written by King Solomon, who wrote over 3000 proverbs (1Kings 4:32). Therefore, the wisdom of Proverbs are both royal and relational.

Royal leadership. Solomon, as king, understood if the nation was to succeed that he would need kingly wisdom beyond his own abilities. He was king and ruler and needed to rule well. As goes the king so goes the nation… “When the righteous increase the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2

Relational lessons. Solomon writes to his sons, as well as the sons of the nation – and to us today, to express truth lessons for relating to God and others.

–       references to teaching a “son” repeatedly 24+x (1:8, 1:10; 1:15; 2:1; 3:1; 3:11; 3:21; 4:1; 4:10; 4:20; 5:1; 6:1; 6:20; 7:1; 7:24; 7:32; 10:1; 13:1; 15:20; 19:13; 24:13; 24:21; 27:11; 31:2).

–       Chapters 1 – 9 are an introductory message from Solomon to his son. These chapters establish the foundation for life and wisdom.

–       Solomon is saying, “I have found wisdom and it is pure gold. You can have it too… here, it is available!” Solomon’s wisdom is more than intelligence & IQ & information – it’s about transformation bringing together knowledge and understanding to create discernment & wisdom.

–       Like Psalms is to prayer, Proverbs is to life’s purpose.

The context of Proverbs 5 is Solomon addressing the topic of lust by communicating the starting point – wisdom and understanding. It is interesting to note this passage refers to wisdom as “my” wisdom, since it’s the only time wisdom is belonging to someone perhaps other than God.[3] If the writer is Solomon, then his personal background plays a unique element. Solomon had over 700 wives and 300 concubines, who turned his heart away from the Lord (1Kings 11:3-4).

Proverbs frequently implores the reader to gain wisdom, pursue it far greater than any treasure or other object in life.[4] Here Solomon calls his son to be attentive and incline his ear to wisdom and understanding for the purpose of discretion/understanding.

In light of the theme of lust, one can see how lust starts in the mind/heart. Proverbs would view the mind as synonymous with the heart. The one who rejects protecting their heart from lust is characterized throughout Proverbs

–       Proverbs 5:12-13 “How I hated discipline and my heart despised reproof. I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.”

–       Proverbs 6:25 “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you”

–       Proverbs 7:25 “Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths.”

–       Proverbs 4:23 “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

–       James 1:13-15 “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself temps no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

o   Sinful heart desires lead to disobedience, demands and devotion and then result in death.

For Believer: Heart vision and value for the worth & worship of Jesus Christ.

–       Who has your heart?

–       Who or what makes you happy?

–       Who or what can solve your biggest life problem?

–       Where do you turn in leisure… in stress… in escape… in celebration????

 

For Unbeliever: Heart security and shelter

–       Will the longing and lust for _____ really lead to your security and satisfaction? Think with the end in mind and does the path you’re on lead to the desired destination?

–       If you think lust, specifically sexual lust, is not such a big deal:[5]

o   Then why are most people’s regrets related to sex? Ex. “Pastor I need to tell you what no one else knows….” and it’s generally related to some element of sex.

o   Then why is pornography a major cause for disruptive and dividing relationships?

  • Brain neurons and chemicals are elevated through stimuli such that a person bonds with that specific activity or partner. So, when a specific stimuli (internet porn) is substituted instead of a partner (spouse), then the bonding is hijacked and lessened with the partner. Or, this is also the case with persons with multiple sexual partners.[6]

o   Then why is adultery so devastating to spouse and family?

o   Then why is sexual abuse so disturbing and dominating a person’s life outlook? Ex. “I won’t go to church because I was abused as a child…” “I can’t relate to or trust other men bc I was raped…”

 

è God in His Person and plan is the only shelter for your heart.

 

Lust is consumed in the senses.

Solomon continues to instruct his son on the dangers of lust through personifying lust.

Ears. Be careful to who you listen and the information that you take in.

–       Proverbs 5:3-4 “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood [bitter tasting plant], sharp as a two-edged sword.”

–       Proverbs 6:24 “the evil woman with her smooth tongue”

–       Proverbs 7:5 “the forbidden woman with her smooth words”

–       Proverbs 7:13-21 “She seizes and kisses him, and with bold face… with much seductive speech she persuades him with her smooth talk she compels him.”

 

Eyes. Be careful what you watch.

–       Proverbs 5:5-6 “Her feet go down to death, her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander and she does not know it.”

–       Proverbs 5:21 “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord and he ponders all his paths.”

–       Proverbs 6:25“Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes”

–       Proverbs 7:10-12 “And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.” IMG_5113

–       Proverbs 11:22 “Like a gold ring in a pigs snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.”

–       Proverbs 31-30 “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

–       Matthew 6:22-23 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”

–       eye watching– eyes are window to the soul (- Shakespeare)

–       SO, in lust (pornographic), imagine that image of a person looking back at you in the eye. That is a real person with personality, intelligence, emotions, value, relationships, heart issues…

o   Lust removes the relationship with another living person; it objectifies.

 

è Senses are God-given. We are not to remove senses from life and worship but redeem them to God’s glory rather than self-serving.[7]

o   Randy Alcorn, The Purity Principle says,

“[Those who lust] swap God’s present and future blessing for something they can immediately see, taste, or feel. But that something never satisfies… Every day, Christian men and women forfeit future happiness for the sake of temporary sexual stimulation. Like drug addicts, we go from fix to fix, trading the contentment of righteous living for the quick hits that always leave us empty, craving more.” (p. 12-13)

o   Abundant life according to God’s plan has much to savor, to see, to feel, and experience (John 10:10). Do you believe that?

 

Lust can be overcome

Solomon is writing out of faith not fear. He understands the heartache and hopelessness of wandering away from God out of lust. Solomon’s hope is to protect his son from harm and offer a promise to something greater if he follows life according to God.

 

Attention to God’s Word. God gave the Bible so we can know Him and be equipped for life. Fighting lust is not just a physical battle but a spiritual one. Therefore, you must use the proper weapons. When Jesus encountered temptation He used Scripture to defend and attack against the pervasiveness of sin (Matthew 4).

–       Proverbs 5:1 “be attentive to wisdom, incline your ear to understanding”

–       Proverbs 5:7 “do not depart from the words of my mouth”

–       Proverbs 5:23 “He dies for lack of discipline”

–       Psalm 119:9,11 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.”

–       2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Align with God’s plan. God’s plan for sexual intimacy is good. Sex is not bad or dirty, but a gift God created for humanity to enjoy (Gen 1:28). God designed intimacy for a husband and wife in marriage covenant. Yet, when we do not follow God’s plan there are dangerous and disastrous consequences.

–       Proverbs 5:15-20 “Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, stream of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?”

–       Proverbs 6:27-29 “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.”

Avoid compromise. Addictions must be fought with a hard determined look at reality. Those who struggle with lust can track where, when and how they have failed in order to anticipate when temptation is arriving. We must set and keep boundaries that God has designed for our joy and protection (Psalm 16:6 “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places”).

–       Proverbs 5:8 “Keep your way far from her; and do not go near the door of her house.”

o   Safeguard from the opportunity to sin. Keep computers, televisions, and any other screen use in public locations and not in private viewing. Minimize screen use at night when you are physically and emotionally exhausted from daily activity. Utilize protection software. If you travel, block channels.

o   Matthew 5:29 “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

o   Ephesians 5:3 “not even a hint of sexual immorality or impurity named among you”

 

–       Proverbs 5:13-14 “listen to the voice of teachers and instructors… in the assembled congregation”

o   Accountability is key to overcoming addiction.

 

APPLY/THINK

Ultimately, lust is a lordship issue. Who is your god: culture or Christ?

If we are not fighting lust, then Jesus is not our Lord.

–       Matthew 5:29 “It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”

–       1Corinthians 6:13-20 “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body… Shall I take my body and make them members of [another not in marriage]? Never! … For as it is written, ‘The two shall become one flesh’… Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

–       Galatians 5:19-21 “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality… and things like these… those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

–       Colossians 3:6 “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire… On account of these the wrath of God is coming.”

–       1Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the [unbelievers] who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things… For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

We must love what God loves, but hate what God hates. We must not have half the gospel for loving the good but we must include in our faith the action of repentance from things that diminish, discourage, distract, and deject the vitality and vision of God in our lives.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

[1] Adapted from Marshal Segal, Killjoys: The Seven Deadly Sins, (Desiring God, 2015), p. V – VIII.

[2] http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Seven_Deadly_Sins

[3] Roland Murphy, Word Biblical Commentary: Proverbs 5:1.

[4] Proverbs 3:13; 3:21; 4:5; 5:1; 7:4; 8:11; 10:13; 10:23:10:31; 16:16; 23:23;

[5] Section adapted from message by J.D. Greear, “The Power of Sex” Proverbs 5.

[6] See Hooked: How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children (a book written by secular scientists not faith based). Also http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-pornography-and-the-brain.

[7] See J. Brent Bill and Beth Booram, Awaken Your Senses: Exercises For Exploring The Wonder Of God.

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