Dead Even While We Live (1 Timothy 5:6)
The love of pleasure is an ever-increasing problem in this society; a bumper sticker read, “Follow your bliss.” Our Declaration of Independence states that men have been endowed by their Creator with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Resorts are now advertising for Spring Break. These ads promise college students a week full of parties and enjoyment.
In light of the state of the world, we need to examine the biblical teaching on pleasure so that we can honor God with the lives we live. Paul told Timothy that the one “who lives in pleasure is dead while [he] lives” (1 Tim 5:6). Tonight, we want to examine the Scriptures to see how this statement is so.
Pleasure is Temporary
Moses chose “to suffer affliction with the people of God [rather] than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb 11:25). There is no denying that sin is pleasurable; were sin not pleasurable people would not commit sin. Although sin brings pleasure, its pleasure is only temporary.
From David we learn that the pleasure of sin is temporary. Because of his sin with Bathsheba:
- Absalom slew Amnon (2 Sam 13:28-29)—Because David took Bathsheba to be his wife, God promised that the sword would never depart from David’s house (2 Sam 12:10).
- Absalom went into David’s concubines in the sight of all Israel (2 Sam 16:21-22)—God promised this would happen because of David’s adultery (2 Sam 12:11).
- David was able to have pleasure from Bathsheba, but that pleasure was short-lived; it was temporary.
Do you realize the pleasure of sin are temporary? If you choose to do so, you can enjoy all the pleasures of sin you ant. But this world and its pleasures are passing away: “The world is passing away, and the lust of it” (1 Jn 2:17). When this world vanishes in fire, it will not matter what pleasure we had in life; it will matter how closely we’ve lived to Christ.
Are your pleasures passing away?
Pleasure Brings Heartache
“Not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living” (Lk 15:13).
The Prodigal Son wanted to enjoy the pleasures of this world, so he asked his father for his inheritance. His father gave him his inheritance. And, he used that money on “wasteful” living, on pleasure.
Notice all the pain that was involved so this son could have pleasure:
The father hurt; the father was not whole while his son was away.
When he saw his son a long way off, he ran to him, fell on his neck, and kissed him. This was a father who was looking for his son. How else could he have seen him a long way off? This was a father who accepted his son back with love. His father threw a celebration when his son came back. This father reacted so joyously because he missed his son so terribly.
The son hurt.
He fed swine, which were unclean under the Law; no devout Jew would have anything to do with swine. He was so hungry that he would have eaten what the swine ate. He came back to his father and just wanted to be a servant; he did not consider himself worthy to be a son.
Pleasure today continues to bring heartache. Families are torn apart for a moment of pleasure. Parents spend countless nights worrying about a son or a daughter who has run away so that he can do whatever he wants. Is pleasure hurting your family?
Pleasure Causes Foolish Behavior
“When Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you’” (Mk 6:22).
Herod’s step-daughter (and niece) danced in front of him, and he was pleased. He told her that he would give her anything she wanted—he would have given her anything, up to half his kingdom. She asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod was “exceedingly sorry;” he didn’t want to kill John the Baptist, but because there was such a great crowd there he didn’t want to go back on his word.
Pleasure can do the same thing to us. We can lose our sense of reason attempting to achieve higher pleasure. So many lose their reasoning ability so that they can have some pleasure. Ted Bundy, the executed mass murderer, said in his last interview that pornography led to his behavior. At an early age, he began viewing soft-core pornography, that pornography that simply involves nudity. Then, he began viewing hardcore pornography, that pornography that depicts violence. Bundy became so caught up in this pornography that he began acting out on it.
Is pleasure causing you to lose your sense of reason? Are you acting foolishly because of pleasure?
Pleasure Brings False Security
Those in Babylon were saying, “We are enjoying ourselves; nothing evil can happen to us.” But God promised that the loss of children and widowhood would come upon them. They thought all was well because they were having fun. But disaster would come.
This rich man thought he had his life together. He had an abundance of possessions. He said to himself, “Take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” In other words, he said, “Enjoy the pleasures of life.” That very night God demanded his soul from him.
The rich man thought because he had pleasure, his life would be grand. But he forgot that there are more important things in life than pleasure. Life itself is temporary; we won’t live forever.
We do not need to base our feelings of security upon the pleasures we have in life. We need to base our feelings of security upon the Word of God and our obedience to it. Do you have a proper sense of security?
Pleasure Prevents Christians from Maturing
“The ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity” (Lk 8:14). Here, Jesus is giving the Parable of the Sower and discussing various kinds of soils among which seeds fell.
The seed which fell among the thorn represents that which when faced with the pleasures of life did not mature. They listened and cared about the gospel; they were really interested; they really wanted to do the right thing. They begin living the Christian life, but they do not mature.
Pleasure can prevent us from becoming what we should be spiritually. Pleasure can keep us from worshiping as we ought. Prayer can keep us from praying as we ought. Pleasure can keep us from a serious study of Scripture. Is pleasure preventing you from growing as you ought?
Pleasure Brings Death
“Stolen water” refers to a man’s getting sexual pleasure from a woman married to another man. Bread eaten in secret is pleasant, pleasurable. But the dead are at this woman’s banquet. The woman’s guests are in the depths of Sheol, the grave. The young man goes in seeking pleasure, but he ends up on hell’s road.
The New Testament equates pleasure with death (1 Tim 5:6). The New Testament also equates pleasure with sin (2 Tim 3:4; Tit 3:3).
Flies swarmed around honey. They ate and ate and ate. They wouldn’t move until every drop had been eaten. But their feet became so heavy with honey that they couldn’t fly. Such is an appropriate picture for those who live in pleasure.
Living for pleasure is the opposite of living for Christ. Will you live for Christ or for pleasure this very day?