Summary: Tonight I want to preach on Gluttony and give you a Scriptural picture of what it is and how we need to make sure it is not a part of our lives, as followers of Christ.
1 Cor. 6:12-20
Many of you will have heard of the called ‘Dieting under Stress’ diet. It goes something like this:
Breakfast: half a grapefruit, 1 slice dry whole wheat toast, 8 oz skim milk
Lunch: 4 oz lean boiled chicken, 1 cup steamed spinach, 1 cup herbal tea, 1 cookie
Snack: rest of cookies in packet, 2 pints Rocky Road ice cream, 1 jar hot fudge sauce, nuts, cherries, whipped cream
Dinner: 2 loaves garlic bread with cheese, large pizza, 2 liter of coke, 3 Mars Bars
Evening snack: an entire frozen cheesecake eaten directly from the freezer.
I suppose most of us can relate to gluttony in some way. Hunger cravings, desires, longings, appetite—wanting to feed your face. Maybe not quite to the excess of that little diet but in some way or another, we all know what it means to crave something. But are you a glutton? Do you have a problem with gluttony? My guess is most of you would think not. Sure, I like the odd chocolate fix but I’m not a glutton. Or even if you’re not really sure what a glutton is, you might still be reasonably confident it’s not you. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that you were probably surprised to see it even on the list. ‘Gluttony a deadly sin? In the top seven??’ I’ll go a step further and say, that if asked, ‘which of these seven sins do you think you struggle with most?” almost no-one will say gluttony.
Gluttony, it’s a word that conjures up certain images isn’t it? We have a pretty stereotyped idea of what a glutton looks like, of how to spot the person with a problem with gluttony. So, you know you’re a glutton when: you go to the zoo and you realize that kids are throwing you peanuts; you go to the beach and six people ask you to move because you’re blocking the sun and a kid asks to borrow the life preserver round your waist but you’re not wearing one; or you fall asleep on the beach and wake up to realize people are splashing water on you, dragging you to the water’s edge. Then there’s when an invitation to an exercise class says “wear loose clothing” and you think to yourself: “well if I had any loose clothing, I won’t have to go to an exercise class.”
Tonight I want to preach on Gluttony and give you a Scriptural picture of what it is and how we need to make sure it is not a part of our lives, as followers of Christ.
I. The Problem
• Eating too much? Being overweight? Is that all gluttony is?
o If it is – well most of you could breathe easy.
o If gluttony’s something you can just measure with the scales, then many could say, ‘gluttony’s not a problem for me’.
o But we’re going to see that, even if you don’t have a problem with eating, you may still have a problem with gluttony.
o In fact, the Bible says every person here today is a glutton.
o When you see what the Bible says this sin of gluttony’s all about, you might realize that you need to move it up your list of seven even to the top, alongside the other four we’ve looked at so far!
• You see, you can look at gluttony just in the narrow sense – and then it’d just be about feeding your face.
o And the Bible sure has plenty of warnings about that (Proverbs 23:20).
o That’s the narrower sense of what gluttony is: the craving of an empty stomach.
• But the Bible’s also got a whole lot to say about a broader sense of what gluttony is.
o Broader than just consuming too much food and drink.
o And one place you see this in detail is the Book of Ecclesiastes.
• Ecclesiastes is all about the bigger definition of gluttony: not just empty stomachs – but empty souls.
o Ecclesiastes 3:10 talks about God setting eternity in our hearts, that God has made us with a sense of longing, a yearning for fulfillment, a hunger for satisfaction, a kind of a spiritual vacuum: empty souls.
• The theologian Augustine called it a ‘God shaped hole’.
o And the point of course is, God’s the one who put it there, so only God can fill it.
o It’s the gospel: God made us, made us for relationship with him, so we have an in-built wiring to need God, we’ll never be satisfied outside of him.
• But the problem is that we rebelled against God.
o We’ve rejected God’s rightful place in our lives.
o Since Adam and Eve, we’ve taken our God-shaped hole and tried to fill it with all the wrong things.