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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.

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Title: The Point of Pleasure

Text: Nehemiah 8:10

MP: God has nothing against pleasure – he’d just rather give you joy.

SERMON NOTES:

“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___

<Nehemiah 8:9-12>>

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?


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