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Friday, September 23, 2011

Witness sign on Colebrook Road near Mount Joy, Pennsylvania
We pass by these small witness signs all through Lancaster County.

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Note: Today's message is the third in a three part series on "Tyrannies of the Soul".

"The Tyranny Of The Forbidden"

"Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance" (2 Samuel 11:2)

In the last two messages we have dealt with "Tyrannies of The Soul". In this series we use the word "tyranny" to describe those compulsions that oppress the soul. The tyranny of the urgent is essentially the oppressive compulsion that I must do it now.  The tyranny of the discontent is essentially the oppressive compulsion that I must have it now.  The tyranny of the forbidden is essentially the oppressive compulsion that I must partake of the forbidden.

David eying BathshebaYears ago I heard a pastor preach a sermon titled "An Affair to Remember" dealing with David's sin with Bathsheba. We need these hard hitting reminders of the consequences of sin. I consider the lustful temptations common to all and the many times I have dealt pastorally or as a chaplain with those who have fallen into sin. I consider several friends from Bible College that gave into lustful temptation and sinned in this regard. I also consider the devastating impact it had on their spiritual lives, their families and their ministry. God's healing, forgiveness, and restoration are available from our merciful God but adultery permanently scores the initial foundation of trust between two individuals.

Ever since the fall the human condition has had such an allure to do what God has forbidden! Of course we inherited this genetic condition from Adam and Eve.  A line in a hymn states, "O how the world to evil allures me, O how my heart is tempted to sin" (from the hymn, "I Must Tell Jesus").

Consider this simple perspective of a country preacher.  Perhaps you've read or heard this truth before:
"Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
It will cost you more than you want to pay and
It will keep you longer than you want to stay."

One of the great cautions in life is an awareness of how this tyranny of the forbidden can slide one into decadence often taking place incrementally. Casting Crowns has a stirring song that deals with this spiritual condition called "Slow Fade." This is true for both the individual and societal levels.  Surely as the Prodigal left his father he did not aspire to feeding pigs or long to eat their feed!  People don't aspire to be addicts.  So often they will testify that they began with "just a little" tobacco or alcohol.  Consider other areas where this is true. "Just a little of the forbidden won't hurt" the devil continues to whisper.  After all, the fall began with just a single bite from the forbidden fruit.

The daily verse is innocuous enough; a successful king taking a walk at night on the roof of his home; a woman bathing, a quick (perhaps) glance of beauty. Thus far no real problem. A single observation of beauty is not a sinful act but can quickly lead to sin if the look becomes a gaze and the gaze becomes a lust and the lust is acted upon. And many of you know what follows is just that. We have here a profile of an individual's incremental slide into sin, the tyranny of the forbidden.

David's glance toward beauty turned into a lustful gaze. "David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"  What's he inquiring for?  He was a married man.  That should have settled it. And when the messenger reported that she is "the wife of Uriah the Hittite", that should have absolutely settled it then and there.

But "David sent messengers and took her."  It was all downhill from that point on.  The Life Application notes:  "The deeper the mess, the less we want to admit having caused it. It's much easier to stop sliding down a hill when you are near the top than when you are halfway down. The best solution is to stop sin before it starts."  Each time we resist sin's temptation we lay one more brick as we erect the restraining wall of resistance.

David rebuked by NathanThe chapter ends with this timeless assessment of sin from God's perspective: "But the thing David had done displeased the LORD." The following chapter and remainder of the book chronicle the brave prophet Nathan's rebuke and how the harsh consequences of David's sin affected his entire family and the nation. These are powerful reminders that sin always has consequences. One of the most convincing lies of Satan is, "Sure there are consequences for others, but your situation is special.  You're are an exception." We all must, in one way or another, deal with and overcome the tyranny of the forbidden. A lesson for us to heed is Joseph's classic statement in resisting the forbidden: "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily prayer: Father God, help each of us to understand the wiles of the devil and to be steadfast in our determination to resist temptation at each step. We readily acknowledge the tyranny of the forbidden and want to be self-controlled and alert, standing firm in the faith as we resist the devil who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking for someone to devour. Thank you for the power of the Holy Spirit to resist and to overcome. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Many years ago, William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the Salvation Army, wrote about the dangers to the gospel he saw coming in the next generation to follow him: I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration . . . and Heaven without Hell.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Must Tell Jesus"  Video  Elisha Hoffman wrote this hymn after having a lady come to him under much grief and worry, ringing her hands, she stated I do not know what to do, and Elisha Hoffman told her to tell it to Jesus alone....she remarked...that's it...that's it...I need to tell it to Jesus...and she that came with much worry left with great joy in her heart.

"Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"  Video  Jason Lavik I appreciate the candor of this line:
O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

"Slow Fade" Video  Casting Crowns  This is the song I referred to in the message and a song used in the movie "Fireproof"

"Prodigal Son"  Video  Keith Green  A ballad that tells the story of the Prodigal son.  Note: This song has a very long introduction!

"I Need You More"  Video  Lindell Cooley  "I never want to go back to my old life."

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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