INTRO.- Trapped. That doesn’t sound like fun. It sounds horrible.
ILL.- William Floyd Collins was a celebrated pioneer cave explorer in the early 1900s in central Kentucky, an area that is the location of hundreds of miles of interconnected caves, including the Mammoth Cave National Park.
On January 30, 1925, while trying to discover a new entrance to the system of underground caves that were a popular tourist attraction in Kentucky, Collins became trapped in a narrow crawl way 55 feet below the surface.
The reports about efforts to save Collins became a nationwide newspaper sensation and among the first major news stories to become a major sensation on the new technology of home radio.After four days during which Collins could be brought water and food, a collapse in the cave closed the entrance passageway to everything except voice contact.
Collins died of exposure, thirst, and starvation after about fourteen days underground, three days before a dug rescue shaft could reach his position. Collins' body was recovered two months later. Trapped in an underground cave. What a horrible way to die! But there’s a worse way to die!
ILL.- Bernie Madoff will die in prison, a prison of his own making. Madoff is that 76 year old investment advisor who made off with billions of dollars of people who believed in him. He is the admitted operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered to be the largest financial fraud in U.S. history. Madoff founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities in 1960, and was its chairman until his arrest on December 11, 2008.
On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies and admitted to turning his wealth management business into a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars. On June 29, 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, the maximum allowed. Bernie Madoff will not die from starvation, thirst and exposure but he will die from exposure to his own sinful greed.
Ephesians 5:5-6 “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person--such a man is an idolater--has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” Sin is our problem. Sin is what separates us from both God and men. Men can’t save us from our sins and take us to heaven but God can. So it’s vitally important, it’s totally important that we seek God’s help in overcoming being trapped by sin.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of the sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
PROP.- God’s wisdom says that anyone can be trapped by sin. Sin’s entrapment is listed in this chapter.
1- Entrapped by our words
2- Entrapped by our laziness
3- Entrapped by our hearts
4- Entrapped by our lust
I. ENTRAPPED BY OUR WORDS
1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, 2 if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, 3 then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!
ILL.- A good friend of mine said to me many years ago, “If there is ever anything I can do to help you, please let me know.” Was he wrong in saying those words? Could those words ever get a person into trouble?
Some years later I needed a job and I called that good friend. He was the general manager of a retail company and when I told him I needed a job he gave me a job. In fact, he gave the assistant manager’s job in one of the stores that he managed. Not long after he gave me that job I said to him, “Thanks for giving me this job.” He replied, “See that you keep it.”
I laughed but I knew what he meant. He wanted me to work at my job and not make him look a fool for hiring me.
Sometimes our words or our promises may entrap us and get us into trouble. Did you ever make a promise that you knew you couldn’t keep? Or did you allow someone to promise you something that you knew they couldn’t keep?
Like, someone who wants to borrow some money from you and they say, “I get paid next Friday and I will pay you back then.” And you know when you give them the money that they won’t pay you back next Friday and maybe never.
CEV reads: My child, suppose you agree to pay the debt of someone, who cannot repay a loan. Then you are trapped by your own words, and you are now in the power of someone else. Here is what you should do: Go and beg for permission to call off the agreement. Do this before you fall asleep or even get sleepy. Save yourself, just as a deer or a bird tries to escape from a hunter.
Trapped by our own words. We do this so very much in life. We say one thing but do another. “If you like your health care plan you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.” “If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor.”
We’ve heard this kind of talk a lot and it doesn’t hold water. Lying is a sin that traps people. If you don’t want to lie then don’t lie. Or else keep your mouth shut. It’s better to say nothing than to open your mouth and stick your foot in it.
Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” There are a host of ways that we are trapped in sin with our mouths or our speaking.
Psalm 5:9 “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies.”
Proverbs 15:2 “The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.”
Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Psalm 17:3 “Though you probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.”
This is the way it should be for us and the only way this will happen is if we allow the Lord to enter and change our hearts. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
II. ENTRAPPED BY OUR LAZINESS
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-- 11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.
ILL.- There an old story about an old mountaineer and his wife who were sitting in front of the fireplace one evening just whiling away the time. After a long silence, the wife said: "Jed, I think it's raining. Get up and to outside and see." The old mountaineer continued to gaze into the fire for a second, sighed, then said, "Aw, Ma, why don't we just call in the dog and see if he's wet."
You know as well as I do that some people are too lazy to get up to do anything. There are multitudes of people who gladly live off someone else or the government if they can get away with it.
ILL.- Someone wrote: “I find it disgusting for grown adults to live off anyone other than themselves. If you are are able to go out and work and make a life for yourself, do it! I know a grown man 28 years old lives at home with his mom playing video games all day, can't even motivate himself to buy his own pack of cigs everyday! I know some people have special circumstances preventing them from working or doing for themselves, and that's understandable, but when it comes down to pure laziness, get up and DO something!”
ILL.- For many years Monterey, a California coast town, was a pelican’s paradise. As the fisherman cleaned their fish, they flung the offal (innards) to the pelicans. The birds grew fat, lazy and contented. Eventually, however, the offals were used in other ways, and there were no longer snacks for the pelicans.
When the change came the pelicans made no effort to fish for themselves. They waited around, grew gaunt and thin. Many starved to death. They had forgotten how to fish for themselves.
The same thing applies to human beings. If you feed them all the time they will never learn to feed themselves.
Proverbs 10:4 “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Where do lazy hands come from? A lazy heart and mind.
II Thessalonians 3:6-10 6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." Our government needs to hear and heed this scripture!
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!
III. ENTRAPPED BY OUR HEARTS
12 A scoundrel and villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, 13 who winks with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, 14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart-- he always stirs up dissension. 15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed--without remedy.
A man who plots evil with deceit in his heart. That person has a heart problem!
ILL.- Some time ago while in the doctor’s office I was waiting to have my blood drawn in order to check my cholesterol. You know how the doctors want your total cholesterol below 200, if possible. Otherwise, plaque builds up in the arteries and can cause heart disease, heart attacks or strokes. I said something to the nurse that I thought I would stop taking my cholesterol medication and said, “Don’t you do it. My mother stopped taking her cholesterol medication and had a heart attack and died.”
I decided that if I wanted to live a while longer I’d better keep on taking my cholesterol medication. A healthy heart is a nice thing to have. Heart problems go much deeper than just your physical heart.
ILL. - Joseph M. Stowell III is the president of Cornerstone University and the author of over 20 Christian books. Stowell wrote: Heart is used in Scripture as the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide. It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity," "the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will," and "the center of a person. The place to which God turns."
Matthew 12:34-35 “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
Out of the overflow or the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and the person does. It’s the heart, the inner heart, the inner person that determines what we do and what we say.
Apparently, we must get our hearts right before we can ever do right or speak right. Some people plot evil with deceit in their heart.
ILL.- Saddam Hussein was dictator of Iraq from 1979 to 2003. During that time, about 2 million people died as a result of his actions. He authorized many attacks on people like the chemical attack on Kurdish village of Halabja, which killed 5,000 people. Saddam’s 1987-1988 campaign of terror against the Kurds killed 50,000 to 100,000. An Amnesty International report said, “victims of torture in Iraq are subjected to a wide range of forms of torture, including the gouging out of eyes, severe beatings, and electric shocks… some victims have died as a result and many have been left with permanent physical and psychological damage.” Saddam also had approximately 40 of his own relatives murdered. He executed over 400,000 Iraqis. Many of them were tortured to death and filmed so he could watch them at his house. In 2006, Saddam was hanged after being found guilty for being convinced of crimes against humanity by the Iraqi Special Tribunal.
Evil people abound and they’re not all murderers but they do plot various forms of evil. God help us. God save us. God save us from our own evil hearts.
IV. ENTRAPPED BY OUR LUST
25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, 26 for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. 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? 29 So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.
ILL.- I am reminded of the man who wrote in Reader’s Digest one time. He wrote: While my wife and I were shopping at a mall kiosk, a shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by. My eyes followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining, my wife asked, "Was it worth the trouble you're in?"
Matthew 5:27-28 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
It’s hard to improve on the words of Jesus. It’s fairly easy to become trapped by lust. We must constantly guard our hearts and our eyes to avoid it.
16 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: God hates sin and He doesn’t want us to get trapped by it. God hates sin but He loves the sinner.
ILL.- Someone wrote about a BUMBLEBEE: A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself. In many ways, we are like the bumblebee. We struggle with all our problems and sin, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!
Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Not only will Jesus give us rest but He’ll also give us release from the power of sin.