Summary: Part 2 of 5 in a series on the false gods of this world (i.e. of our own creation) that vie to be the ultimate object of our worship.
INTRODUCTION: When our kids are little we take them to visit a pediatrician for “check-ups.” How are their eyes, their ears, and their growth rate? If anything is wrong with their physical health, we are glad to discover it, and move toward healing, though perhaps more infrequent, we do the same as adults… But when was the last time we allowed the Lord to administer a “check-up” on our hearts? Our deceitful, wandering, idol-chasing hearts… Having been introduced to this war of “power” that is being waged for our worship, we now move forward into some specific areas that are key to this battle… are we ready for a check-up?... “Say ah!”
BACKGROUND: What is it that we derive pleasure from? And is that pleasure something that is positive or detrimental to our spiritual wellbeing?
Am I excited about the movie I just watched because it was really good, or because it pushed the lines of decency/morality?
Am I feeling validated because someone liked my Facebook status, texted me or Tweeted at me?
If I’m having a good time with my friends, is it only because we’ve spent the past few hours gossiping or perhaps getting wasted?
Am I feeling attractive because my workout obsession is at an all-time high and my body mass is at an all-time low?
When I am grinning ear to ear, is it because I won, because I got what I wanted, because my selfish desire for some pleasure was satisfied?
• When it comes to the Biblical concept of pleasure, there is no greater example than Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, yet in that life he became the “poster child” for the excesses of pleasure
• Let’s consider the “characteristics of Solomon’s pleasure”
• (1) Comprehensive Picture (Ecclesiastes 2:10) I didn’t deny myself “ANYTHING” that would bring me pleasure! If it felt good, he would do and did do it!
• (2) Wine (2:3) He embraced the folly of wine and then came to see it as fruitless!
• (3) Nature (2:4-6) He built vineyards, groves of trees, pools of water etc.
• (4) Possessions (2:7-8a) He bought slaves, bread slaves, and amassed a fortune of Silver and Gold. 1st Kings 10, tells who the queen of Sheba was amazed at Solomon’s “Wisdom” and “Wealth”
• (5) Music (2:8b) Solomon like to rock out with the singers!
• (6) Women (2:8c) this is the one that has probably made Solomon the most famous, or should we say infamous!
• In almost a crude manner, Solomon admits that he did not withhold his sexual passions!
• 1st Kings 11:3 tells us of his obsession over the opposite sex… 700 Wives &300 Concubines
• Bible College Joke about Solomon, (are you one of my wives? No... would you like to be?) it's funny but the sad thing is it really isn’t a joking matter!
• Yet in the end it left him feeling empty (2:11)
• Hedonism looked great from out-side, but I soon became dis-satisfied. I had oodles of chicks, and saw thousands of flicks, and at day’s end I was left glassy-eyed
• Throughout time man has followed the impulses of his heart and the desires of his eyes
• We are innately no different. It is very easy for us to become consumed by our own desires. Those desires merely bring temporary satisfaction, yet we naively and passionately follow after them.
• When it comes to the problem that “counterfeit God of pleasure causes,” the prescription is a good dose of “Christian Hedonism” you heard me right “Hedonism,” so are you confused? Just follow me for a minute!
• Most people would see Love for God and Hedonism as diametrically opposed to one another, even the term “Christian hedonism” sounds like an oxymoron at first.
• After all, if “hedonism” is the pursuit of pleasure, then how can it be Christian?
• Well, the answer lay in the fact that pleasure, in and of itself isn’t “wrong” , it isn’t “anti-God”
• The term “Christian Hedonism” was coined by one of my favorite preacher/theologians, John Piper
• He coined the term as a catchy way to express a timeless truth: when we desire God with all our hearts, we will know pleasure beyond anything this world has to offer.
• Christian hedonism is not the pursuit of our own happiness as the greatest good; rather, Christian hedonism is the pursuit of the highest good (God’s glory), which will ultimately result in our greatest pleasure. “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him.”
• God has designed each of us with an innate desire to pursue pleasure. The problem is not that we seek pleasure; the problem is that we seek pleasure from idols, from “counterfeit gods” instead of from the Lord God Almighty!