Summary: This message concludes our exploration of the three deadly viruses that plague the church. This message continues the discussion of the virus of temporal values such as Esau held.
“Recalibrating Our Values 2”
The Bible warns against three deadly viruses that threaten the effectiveness of the church of Jesus Christ.
? Guard against failing to appropriate God’s amazing enabling grace; available and sufficient.
? Guard against bitter roots; pervasive and destructive.
? Guard against living according to temporal values.
Failure to daily appropriate God’s enabling grace results in a lack of spiritual power.
Failure to prevent and eradicate bitter roots of negativity results in a lack of inner peace.
Failure to pursue Christ above everything else results in a lack of eternal purpose.
We ALL live and make decisions about life according to a personal philosophy. We live our life by our beliefs. We decide how we will live based on what we believe is most important. What is worth living for? Why are we here? We will invest our treasured resources like our time, physical and emotional energy, money and possessions based on our philosophy of life.
We put a value on the attainment of possessions, power, prestige, physical looks, achievement, money, friends, home, recognition, fame, ability, sports, experiences, travel, being loved and accepted, heritage, good marriage, meaningful relationships, well behaved kids, perfect job, entertainment, feeling good, escaping pain, avoiding conflict, relationship with God and the pursuit of spiritual purposes. Most people did not consciously sit down one day and adopt a personal philosophy. It developed over time. The bottom line? We live by that philosophy nonetheless. It would be beneficial to take some time to try to discover what actually directs our decisions. It all boils down to what we believe will bring pleasure, possessions and prominence.
Feel good, acquire things, and feel important. These are actually God-ingrained longings. We run into trouble when we pursue these things through the wrong means. The Bible is clear that the ultimate fulfillment of our God-designed longings comes through our pursuit of and connection with God Himself.
In His right hand are pleasures evermore.
He gives us all things to enjoy.
He exalts us when we humble ourselves in His presence.
Ask yourself, “Do I live by pleasure or principle.” Are my choices based on what feels right or is right?
Our present passage from Hebrews 12:16 refers to Esau’s choice to live by temporal pleasure rather than eternal principle.
Seeing to it that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.
I. Be carefully guarded
A. Guard against self-centered sensuality
Esau was a man driven by his senses. He is what we would call a “hedonist”. Immediate pleasure or whatever is pleasing to the senses carried the highest value. He sacrificed his eternal birthright for a momentary satisfaction of physical hunger. So often we pass over spiritual opportunity for physical satisfaction whether it be food, sexual stimulation, good feelings, adrenaline rush or new and exciting experiences. We are a sensualized and sexualized culture always looking for that fresh stirring of excitement. Esau focused on the sensual. He sacrificed the important for the immediate. For the hedonist, life revolves around attaining the next pleasure be it a pleasing taste, touch, smell, sight, hearing through sex, drugs, entertainment, activities, food, drink. Everything has to do with appealing to the senses. Just consider what the commercials actually appeal to. Paul warned Timothy that in the last days there would arise those who would be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. If God satisfies my senses I will pursue Him. If I don’t feel all warm and fuzzy, I ignore Him. If church makes me feel good then I am interested. If not, I will go somewhere that does.
How many of our decisions have to do with how it makes us feel?
It is not about right or wrong actions but pleasing or non-pleasing feelings.
Addictions are all about feeling better. Comfort eating. Numbing negative feelings with substance abuse. Sexual addiction. Entertainment to distract from the reality of life. Amusement (no thinking).
God is not opposed to feeling good. It becomes a problem when feeling good takes center stage; when feeling good becomes more important than living right; when pleasure violates principle.
We must continually be on guard against a sensually driven life.
B. Guard against man-centered materialism
The close cousin to hedonism is materialism. A materialist considers the acquisition of possessions the highest value. Scripture labeled Esau “godless.” This term describes a person who lives a “life without God”. We consider earthly things more important than spiritual things. Esau found little use for his godly heritage. He despised a most precious gift of God (his birthright) to satisfy his immediate physical appetite. The Hebrew birthright was a God-given heritage awarding a double portion of earthly inheritance and blessing along with God’s spiritual blessing in order to be the channel of God’s blessing to the rest of the family. It carried both a material and spiritual component. Esau flippantly forfeited this special divine privilege and responsibility for a moment of physical relief. God confers this eternal birthright to be a glorious channel of His blessing to every Christian. God gives us great privilege and responsibility to disseminate His valuable spiritual treasure to the world around us.