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STOWELL: HOW PEOPLE GO ASTRAY
Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, in his book, Following Christ, asks the question:
HOW DO PEOPLE GO SO FAR ASTRAY SPIRITUALLY?
The question was prompted when Dr. Stowell read an article given to him from the local paper the about Tom Wilson who died, gunned down as a member of a Neo-Nazi gang.
Tom had grown up in the church he of which he was now the Pastor
• Active in the youth group
• Professed Christ as Savior and was Baptized
• He was "A very good student and won many points for faithful memory work, lesson completion, and attendance" according to his fourth-grade Sunday School Teacher.
How did he fall so far?
"That first step was, more probably, a choice to not listen to
the voice of the Spirit, to love his lusts more than Christ, or to
choose a friend who encouraged his stepping off the path. This sad story of a life inflicting incredible damage on the Name of Christ was played out, not by momentary, cataclysmic departure, but by the gradual erosion of a commitment to be a fully devoted follower of Christ."
Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, Following Christ, pg. 154
JOE STOWELL ASKS:
Who among us has not gone astray and indulged our flesh in some manor?
Who among us has not taken a detour after a driving ambition?
Who among us has not flirted in their mind with adultery?
Who among us has not risked stepping beyond the parameters of what is right?
WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT THE DANGER OF OVERCONFIDENCE
The Bottom Line:
So, if you think you are standing firm,
be careful that you don’t fall!
1 Cor 10:12 NIV
(From a sermon by Rick Finitzer, Watch Out for Ambushes, 10/28/2009)
In ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ Edmund’s love for ‘Turkish Delight’ caused him to betray his family. He fell into the trap set by the Witch and since it tasted so good he became obsessed with getting more ‘Turkish Delight’. The temptation of luscious ‘Turkish Delight’ became stronger even than his family loyalty; (that’s often what happens when a marriage breaks down due to adultery). Later in the book as the Witch prepares to kill Edmund he is rescued by troops from Aslan’s army. Next morning Edmund comes face to face with his brother Peter and his sisters Lucy and Susan. At this point there could have been an almighty family brawl, the type of brawl which I hope and pray you do not experience this Christmas!
But there’s no brawl and no harsh words. After talking with Edmund Aslan says, “Here is your brother; and there is no need to talk to him about what is past.”
Edmund shook hands with each of the others and said to each of them in turn, “I’m sorry”.
Aslan rescued Edmund, and Edmund was restored to his brothers and sisters. That’s how God desires to be with us. God says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Do you remember the story about Tony Toto, of Allentown, PA.? He operated a pizza parlor there. Tony Toto survived at least 5 attempts on his life, all arranged for or carried out by his dear wife, Frances, & her lover.
Twice she arranged for assailants to beat him over the head with baseball bats. On one occasion she put a tripwire across the basement stairs in their house, hoping that he would trip over it & plummet to his death.
Twice she arranged for him to be shot. The first time she drugged his chicken soup so he would sleep soundly, & he was shot in the head, but miraculously survived. The 2nd time he was shot in the chest, but only sustained minor injuries. Now this is a picture of a real happy couple, isn’t it?
Even more miraculous than Tony’s survival was his attitude toward his wife once he found out she was responsible for all of this. Tony, a self?confessed lady’s man himself, said that he held his wife blameless.
When she was found guilty & sent to prison for arranging for his murder, he took their 4 children & visited her every week - every single week. Then when she was released from prison, she went back to their red brick home to resume her married life with Tony.
With his arm around her, Tony said, "We’re more in love now than ever before. I don’t understand why people break up over silly little things."
Bruce Wilkinson, author of Prayer of Jabez, said:
Sexual immorality is a threshold sin. On one side of the threshold is immorality and on the other is purity. On one side are guilt, lying, deceit, addiction, and shame, an on the other side are freedom, honesty, transparency, liberty, and a clear conscience. Believers who are in bondage to immorality find that unless they exper...
1. The 1990 Kinsey Report states that around 50% of all married
people will commit adultery during their lifetime.
a. The number is usually about 5% higher among men.
b. Women are less likely to commit adultery but not by much.
2. Some other studies propose even higher numbers than the ones given
above claiming that the adultery rate is around 70%.
a. I find that number hard to believe.
b. I don’t think it is 70% and I find the 50% number a little hard
to swallow as well.
c. Whatever the number it is too high.
3. An article in a 1997 issue of Newsweek magazine noted that various
surveys suggest that as many as 30 percent of male Protestant
ministers have had sexual relationships with women other than
4. The Journal of Pastoral Care in 1993 reported a survey of Southern Baptist pastors in which 14 percent acknowledged they had engaged
in "sexual behavior inappropriate to a minister."
5. A 1988 survey of nearly 1000 Protestant clergy by Leadership magazine found that 12 percent admitted to sexual intercourse outside of marriage. The researchers also interviewed nearly 1000 subscribers
to Christianity Today who were not pastors. Of those 1000 people, 23 percent had engaged extramarital sex
6. The numbers are both good and bad.
i. The level of adultery within the church is half of what the
national level is.
ii. The level of adultery among ministers is 1\5th of the
national level is.
b. The Bad:
i. 1 in every 4 Christians has committed adultery.
ii. 1 in every 10 ministers has committed adultery, thus
ruining their ministries and tainting the church.
Hilda Houlding co-ordinator of the Calgary Family Service Bureau, made this comment “An affair is often an attempt to find a little bit of paradise on the side, pursuing the belief that if one just finds the right sexual partner there will be instant happiness and everything will fall into place. An affair is often able to fulfil this myth, until itself becomes a relationship that has to be worked at and looked at in a long term light. Seen in this way “paradise” soon becomes a prison”
As we begin this new series on the Bible I thought I’d share some Biblical Bloopers with you. These are s-lightly skewed scriptural insights from children of Christian and Jewish faiths:
- In the first book of the Bible, Guinessis, God got tired of creating the world, so he took
the Sabbath off.
- Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree.
- Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark.
- Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.
- Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is
bread made without any ingredients.
- The Egyptians were all drowned in the desert.
- Afterward. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Amendments.
- The First Commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.
- The Fifth Commandment is "Humor thy father and mother."
- The Seventh Commandment is "Thou shalt not admit adultery."
- The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed
- Solomon, one of David’s sons, has 300 wives and 700 porcupines.
- When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.
- When the three wise guys from the east side showed up, they found Jesus and the
- Jesus was born because Mary had an emaculate contraption. St. John, the Blacksmith,
dumped water on his head.
- Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which is "Do one to others before they do one to
- The Bible says a man is only supposed to have one wife. This is called monotony.
©1998 John Boy & Billy Inc.
On July 29, 1981, one of the most highly publicized and glamorous weddings in history took place.
• Britain’s Prince Charles married Lady Diana
• An estimated audience of 750 million people worldwide.
• 4500 pots of fresh flowers lined the route to St. Paul’s cathedral.
• 2500 people crowded that grand church where more than 75 technicians with 21 cameras worked to enable the world to watch this wedding.
• For many people, this was a modern fairy tale. A royal prince weds a lovely lady in a grand cathedral surrounded by adoring subjects.
• They were the envy of millions. They were rich, young, handsome. It was a "marriage made in heaven."
• Sadly, we know that the fairy tale became a nightmare. The couple grew more and more distant.
• Affairs ensued. The storybook marriage made in heaven eventually collapsed into adultery ...
Dave Stone co-pastors a very large church in Louisville, KY. On his desk he keeps a picture of his family, a picture of the church facility and a newspaper article of a well known pastor who had an affair. He keeps all this on his desk to remind him of who he is and who would be hurt if he was to ever sin sexually.
Philip Yancey relates how a professor Virginia Stem Owens assigned the Sermon on the Mount to her composition class at Texas A&M University. She asked her students to write a short essay on this passage of Scripture. Here is what one student wrote: “The things asked in this sermon are absurd. To look at a woman is adultery. That is the most extreme, stupid, unhuman statement that I have ever heard.” (The Jesus I Never Knew, p. 130).
Professor Owens reflected: “There is something exquisitely innocent about not realizing you shouldn’t call Jesus stupid…I find it strangely heartening that the Bible remains offensive to honest, ignorant ears, just as it was in the first century.” (Ibid.)