Summary: Playing with sin will eventually move you out of the will of God.

Title: Are you committed to following Christ?

Have you ever looked at another individual and thought to yourself: ‘that person is going to do great things?’ Why did you think that about them? More than likely it was because you looked at and considered all of the advantages that they had. You looked at their home life, spiritual life, education, financial, and social standing. And based upon your observations you concluded that if anyone were to ever succeed in life it would be them. And we have all done that haven’t we? But we have also watched as many of those same people began to falter on their uphill climb, only to lose their footing, and thus beginning that long and slow descent down the mountain that we call success. And when they finally hit the floor of the valley below they did not in any way, shape, or form, resemble what they were in the past – they had changed that much.

30 years ago Hollywood produced a movie that captured the very essence of what I have just told you. The movie was called A Portrait of Dorian Gray. The main character of the story, Dorian Gray, was from a noble family. He was a religious man who possessed money, looks, social standing, and a godly aunt who had had great influence on his moral and religious upbringing. If anyone had reason to succeed it was Dorian. And he did succeed until the day that he began to associate with another man, who was also rich, who also had social standing, but who served the god of sensual pleasure. As their relationship grew and they did more things together Dorian’s loyalties became divided. And even though he tried to maintain what he was, at least outwardly, something came alive within him, the lust to please himself regardless of the cost to himself or to others.

And once he opened the door to his own unchecked desires Dorian began that long, progressive, and slow descent to the canyon below. And as he fell he began to change in little ways at first, but as he continued his down hill journey he picked up speed and he began to change in bigger ways. Eventually he found himself doing things that he would have at one time considered unimaginable, such as murder. And when he finally hit rock bottom he didn’t look anything like the man he had been 20 years earlier. But even though he had changed so much his eyes were opened to what he had become and he died a miserable death, crying out to God for forgiveness, because he finally recognized just how far he had fallen. Long before the movie A Portrait of Dorian Gray was produced the Bible pictured for us a life lived in much the same way. That life belonged to none other than King Solomon, the son of King David and Bathsheba. For those who wish to read it later the story of his life can be found in 1 Kings and in 1st and 2nd Chronicles. Solomon’s story was one of glory, fame, majesty, and ultimate shame, apostasy, rejection, and failure. Like Dorian Gray, Solomon began life in the best position possible. He was the favored son of David, Bathsheba, and God.

He was surrounded by positive influences. His mother and father were godly people and his father was even known as a man after God’s own heart. He inherited a kingdom that was stable, prosperous, faithful to God, and rising in prominence among the nations of the world. And as heir to the throne he was secure financially, socially, and he received the best that the nation could afford – he lacked nothing.

And the scripture tells us that in everything that he put his hand to, such as farming, shipbuilding, gold mining, and trading, he excelled, and he excelled because God was with him. And the one thing that crowned all of his achievements, the one thing that made him successful and made him what he was, was the love that he had for the God of his father David. And because he was careful to put God first in everything he and the people he led prospered both physically and spiritually. And these are historical facts, for history tells us that the nation of Israel was so prosperous and so stable that she became the envy of the nations around her. Those other nations around her marveled at her glory, and at the king who led her. As a matter of fact the scripture records a portion of that glory as it was seen through the eyes of the queen of Sheba. Listen to what it says:

“Now when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great company, with camels that bore spices, very much gold, and precious stones; and when she came to Solomon, she spoke with him about all that was in her heart. So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all of the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his servants, the service of his waiters and their apparel, his cupbearers, and his entryway by which he went up to the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her. Then she said to the king: it was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” (1 Kings 10:1-9)

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