Summary: In Proverbs God teaches us to avoid sexual sin such as adultery at all costs, lest we get burned.
A few weeks ago we began a sermon series from the book of Proverbs so that we could learn God’s wisdom and make the right choices, God’s choice, in our everyday life. The primary author of Proverbs was Solomon and the Bible says God gave King Solomon more wisdom than any other person. His wisdom and insight and the breadth of his understanding was as measureless as the sand on the seashore (1 Ki. 4:29). Solomon collected this wisdom and put in the book of Proverbs.
As I was preparing for this series and trying to determine what topics to preach on, because there are so many covered by Solomon, I noticed that Solomon dedicated almost three entire chapters (5,6 & 7) to teach his son about the lure of sexual sin, particularly adultery, and the wisdom of steering clear of it. One thing has not changed in the three thousand years since Solomon’s time, the temptation of sexual sin is still very real, and we are surrounded by it all the time. The television programmers and advertising world knows this hard fact, “sex sells.” Amy and I were watching a television show a few weeks back on one of the big four television networks, and an ad came on showing snippits of all the shows coming up that Friday night. I kid you not, in every single clip representing every show there was either someone sleeping with someone else, partial nudity, or . One of the shows is one of the most popular among my generation, Grey’s Anatomy. We are constantly surrounded by a culture which glamorizes sex, whether it is premarital sex, adultery, pornography, you name it. It isn’t shameful anymore, it is mainstream. Of course we are not called to live according to the culture. We are called to live according to God’s wisdom, and his design for our life.
Solomon realized the danger of sexual sin and he tried to warn his son. For the title of the sermon, “playing with fire,” I chose one of the images Solomon used of dabbling in sexual sin, fire.
Prov. 6:27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? 28 Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?
Obviously the answer to both questions is, no! If you play with fire, sooner or later, you will get burned, and the same is true of sexual sin, you will eventually get burned.
1. Avoid Walking Near Fire –(Proverbs 7:6-8)
In Proverbs 7:6-8 Solomon tells about a young man he observed as he looked out through his window one evening around twilight, as the sun was going down. This young man was walking near the corner of the street where a seductive woman lived. He then took a turn down the street she lived on walking near her house. Of course the woman came out to greet him kissed him and seduced him by telling him things like, “I came out to meet you; I was looking just for you.” She even used religious language to make it sound respectable, “I have my fellowship offering.” The fellowship offering was an animal sacrifice offered to God at the Temple and it was cooked there and part of the meal the person brought back home to eat. In other words she was saying, “I have this meal with no one to eat it with me.” She went on to say she had prepared her bed with the finest perfumes, and her husband was gone away for a long time. In other words her words were like honey, smooth as oil (5:3). And sure enough like an “ox going to slaughter” or “like a deer stepping into a noose,” as Solomon writes, the man fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
Whose fault was it that this young man found himself in the arms of this woman? While the woman obviously was to blame for seducing the young man, Solomon’s point was to share with his son that it was the young man’s own mistake for placing himself in the position where he would get tempted. In other words, he chose to walk near the fire.
People who fall into sexual sin always start with this step. They walk near the fire. They pretend the casual stroll by temptation is innocent. The little office flirtation didn’t mean anything. Flipping by the provocative channel on TV is no big deal. Looking at the inappropriate magazines or clicking on the graphic website doesn’t hurt anybody.
Avoid the Office Relationship
One of the most common places people walk near the fire is at the office. The coworker begins paying more attention to you and you think they care more about you than your spouse does. A comment you might hear is “They actually listen to me, they treat me better than my spouse.” Perhaps it becomes a little office flirtation which is supposedly harmless. If you begin rationalize your need to spend more time with this person you are walking to close to the fire, and there is no good which will come from it. Work is one of the easiest places to fall because you have the opportunity. You might be spending large amounts of time with the opposite gender, and generally people are at their best, they look good, they are dressed nice, makeup on, putting on the kind, friendly, mask.