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.
At the end, he found himself betrayed, enslaved, blinded, and mocked by his enemies.
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 Jefferson City last week 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
#. most people have come to equate lust with sexual desire
#. in many cases in the Scripture, lust does indeed refer to illicit sexual desire
#. consequently, if we are not struggling with illicit sexual thoughts or behavior, we assume we are free from lust
#. nothing could be further from the truth
!! A. THE COLOR OF LUST
Throughout most of Western history, red is often used as the color symbolizing lust, as it is a ‘hot’ color, usually interpreted as sexy, strong, powerful, and sensual.
Christian artists often painted their devil as being red since he was seen as lustful and the father of lust.
There was a time when many cities had their ‘red-light’ districts where prostitution was confined to.
Two years ago, researchers at the University of Rochester concluded a scientific study that underscored what most women have known for a long time.
If you’re looking to catch a man, wear something red.
The research concluded that men aren't all that complicated when it comes to attraction toward the opposite sex.
The test subjects, all undergrads, judged women as sexier and more attractive if they wore red clothes or even appeared in a photo with a red border.
One of the researchers commented: "As much as men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree, their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive."
On the other hand, the experiment showed that the color red didn’t do a thing in attracting women toward men.
So guys, save your money—the red sports car ain’t necessarily gonna be a babe-magnate.
#. in the New Testament, the word most frequently translated lust simply means strong desire
#. the word can be use to describe a legitimate, godly desire
Jesus said to His disciples: /“ ... I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”/
(Luke 22:15, NIV)
#. the Apostle Paul, told the Philippian believers that he strongly desired to depart this life to be with the Lord (Phil 1:23), and in 1 Thess.
2:17 he strongly desired to be with his friends
#. desire, even strong desire—or lust—is not inconsistent with God’s purpose for our lives
#. we see this most clearly in what the Hebrews call the Shema—their daily call to worship
* 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."/
#. in Hebrew culture the whole person was involved in desiring God
God is to be our most important desire—our passion—and we are to desire Him with our whole being—heart, soul and might
#. on the other hand, we know from the Bible and from experience that strong desire, or lust, can be immoral and destructive
#. when desire is either out of bounds or out of balance it become hurtful, destructive and sinful
* Romans 6:12-13 /“Let 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 passionate sexual desire for you spouse is in bounds
#. but a passionate sexual desire for your neighbor’s spouse is out of bounds
#. sexual lust toward anyone but your spouse is desire that is out of balance with God’s will
a passionate desire for leadership that pursues a life of service is in bounds
#. but a passionate desire for leadership that pursues individual favor and personal enrichment at the expense of others is out of bounds
#. lust for power or leadership that is not characterized by a life of service is out of balance with God’s will
a passionate desire toward fellowship with one’s friends is inbounds
#. 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
#. lust for acceptance that never says no to friends is out of balance with God’s will
defined this way, no one is free from the battle with lust
!! B. THE CALAMITY OF LUST
#. desire when unleashed and uncontrolled becomes a lust that consumes our entire personality
#. just ask Samson
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 – 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."/
#. society caters to our baser or sinful nature and encourages us to lust after a wide variety of things
#. popularity ...
#. prosperity ...
#. and the list goes on and on
#. without a doubt, however, the word is best understood with our culture's preoccupation with sex and sensuality
Hugh Hefner, editor of Playboy magazine, openly embraces the hedonistic philosophy that has overwhelmed our culture.
In a Larry King interview Hefner once said, /"Sex is a function of the body.
A drive which man shares with animals.