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SCRIPTURE READING: Proverbs 6: 27-33
Our new house has a fireplace, so Iím learning how to build good hearty fires. You want one that burns brightly and puts out at least some heat without sending out smoke into the room. Iím learning that keeping a fire going involves using a fire poker to turn and move logs so they will burn better. But I also learned that if you arenít careful you can literally send a log rolling out of the fireplace and right into your lap. That potential for catastrophe gave me a new sense of meaning when I read Proverbs 6:27: Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? You might ask, who on earth would be dumb enough to think he can scoop fire into his lap and not get burned? Well, unfortunately, it happens all the time. Every person who commits sexual sin is scooping fire into his lap. And sooner or later they ALL get burned.
Thatís why God has built a FIREWALL around sexual intimacy. That FIREWALL is called MARRIAGE. And anything outside that protective wall will burn its victim. The 7th Commandment out of the 10 Commandments says, You shall not commit adultery. But youíre not going to hear that verse quoted a lot.
Instead, youíll hear Thereís nothing wrong with any kind of sex between consenting partners. After all, How can it be wrong if it feels right? Love is always good as long as no one gets hurt. In movies and TV and books, sex is presented as recreation. One contemporary writer put is this way: Nothing spoils a game more than those who take it seriously. So people jump in and out of the fireplace. And by the time they wise up, they have been horribly scorched and scared.
Chapter 7 of Proverbs tells the story of one young man who walked too close to the flames. The warning is given to a man, but it applies to men or women who are tempted to sin. The wise writer is looking out his window. Listen to what he sees:
1. Walking near fire Proverbs 7:6-9
At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.
This young man has already made a big mistake. Heís walking near the fire. Heís walking TOWARD temptation. Heís either incredibly stupid or incredibly proud Ö or more likely both. He thinks he can flirt with the fire but not get burned. Notice that heís walking into the darkness Ö Heís intentionally going to the wrong place at the wrong time.
Every person Iíve known who fell into sexual sin started with this step. They walked near the fire. They pretend that stroll is innocent. The little office flirtation didnít mean anything Ė they donít know how it got out of hand.
After all, thereís nothing wrong with having lunch together, is there? Lonely people need a friend to talk to about their troubles, donít they? If that friend is of the opposite gender, wellÖ whatís wrong with that?
People canít just sit at home can they? Everyone needs to get out and party a little. And if thereís some drinking or drugs, well Ö people have to relax now and then, donít they?
Thatís the kind of thinking this young man in Proverbs had.
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