Summary: The point of pleasure is to point us towards heaven - a Good God always makes good things - Sex, Drink, Food, etc. Satan wants to twist them - But if we would have joy, we must learn to choose God.
Title: The Point of Pleasure
Text: Nehemiah 8:10
MP: God has nothing against pleasure – he’d just rather give you joy.
“THE POINT OF PLEASURE”
1. Pleasure p_oints__ us towards h_eaven_
Gen 1:26 – We were designed for relationship
Intimacy is a foretaste, Sex is a shadow
The God-shaped hole
Our hands are too small
2. Perversion t_wists_ us to h_ell____
Why do we sin?
What’s a Gnostic?
What does the word ‘pervert’ mean?
Filling up on the bread
3. Joy puts pleasure in p_erspective___
The story goes that an older man and his wife decided they were going to get fit. They exercised; they stopped eating deserts, and changed their diet to be only that which was required for optimal nutrition and health. Sure enough, their bodies responded positively, and as the aged they found themselves able to travel. But sadly, crossing a busy street in one of these cities, they were both struck by a bus and killed.
As they passed through the pearly gates, with Peter giving them tour of the ultimate heavenly city, they gawked at the splendor of the streets paved with gold, the cherubim sing praises to God, and generally marveled at all the joys around them. Swept up the emotion of the place, the man turned to his wife and said, “See Edna: If you hadn’t put us on that stupid diet, we would have been here five years ago!”
Yes, our text this morning is a little hard, because we are so conditioned to think that our bodies are Temples, and that fat is evil. Nowadays, we have to keep in shape – even pastors will preach healthy eating from the pews. Well, I am in shape! Round is a shape. Indeed, the ancients used to say that round was the shape of God himself.
This evening, I want to take us backwards in our text as we move towards rediscovering our joy. I hope you remember the context of this passage from last night – Israel’s great revival. The Wall has been rebuilt, the Temple has been rebuilt, and now God is rebuilding his people. But when they think about how far they have fallen, they weep. But God says – It’s ok. I want you to enjoy yourselves here. Take pleasure in what I have given you.
Notice how the priests tell the people: “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink the sweet drink!” If you’re having a hard time figuring out what they’re saying, just imagine going the Outback Steakhouse. The waiter brings out a bloomin’ onion, dripping with oil. Then he has a 16-ounce Prime Minister’s Prime Rib, perfectly marbled. And then there’s the salad. Which one brings you the most pleasure, eh?
Very simply, the priests are saying, have a good time! Enjoy the fat. God loves you. I should tell you that none other than Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
I think it’s time we stopped to ask ourselves a simple question: “If God wanted us to eat nothing but healthy green rabbit food, why did he make steak taste so good?”
Why does it so often seem that the things that are bad for us are so enjoyable? Why is sin pleasurable?
Pleasure points us toward heaven
I want to begin by thinking about pleasure for a moment. Now, ask any teenage boy what word comes to mind first when he thinks about pleasure, and you know what he’ll say. Sex. Of course.
At the risk of shocking you a little bit, I’m going to have to agree with the teenager. Sex is pleasurable. God made it that way.
Now, if you are offended that I have just used the word ‘sex’ in positive light in church, you can talk to me about it later. Before you get too far into your speech, I would like you to read this little book called The Song of Solomon – its in the middle of your Bibles – first.
So, what’s the one thing the world knows about sex? They think good Christians don’t do it. They fight their sexual urges. Why is it then that God made sex so pleasurable? Good question isn’t it.
When we do sex right, it models that intimacy. We get a taste of what it means to be one flesh – united in a fallen world that normally does nothing but tear us down and tear us apart.
In Genesis 1:26, God says, ‘Let us make man in our image.’ Already in one sentence you see the fundamental truth about the Trinity. The godhead lives in perfect relationship – perfect intimacy with himself. The Trinity is nothing but the perfect union of three in one. The closest thing I think about is when my wife and I become one flesh. Even that’s a pale image of it. But it’s a model.