Are We Called to Give Up Pleasure?

Examining The Question, "What Does The Bible Say About Temporary Pleasures?".

Dan Franklin
Apr 3, 2022    41m
By examining the question, "What does the Bible say about temporary pleasures?" we learn the value of the eternal pleasures promised to those who believe in Jesus. When we know that we're saved and forgiven, we can turn our noses up at that offer of fleeting pleasure because we know the real pleasure giver. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Dan Franklin: [00:00:19] Faith sacrifices pleasures, that's what we're going to be talking about today. This is the final week of five weeks going through this extended passage in Hebrews Chapter 11, talking about how men and women walked by faith, and talking about the fact that if we really walk by faith n Jesus, it's going to cost us, it's going to be expensive. And this morning, we're going to talk about one of the costs of faith, and that's that faith sacrifices pleasures. Now, just to sort of define the term, when we're talking about pleasures, what we're talking about is things that bring us enjoyment in life. So it can have to do with food, it can have to do with something that you drink, it can have to do with sex, it can have to do with rest, and sleep, and relaxation. Just think of life and think of all of the things that you enjoy, those are pleasures. Faith sacrifices pleasures, who’s in?

Dan Franklin: [00:01:23] You guys are like, this is a hard sell. And I recognize that this is a hard sell talking about this right now. Some of you are thinking that life is hard enough, I need that stuff, I need a break, I need a breath, I need those things that bring enjoyment because life is hard, and life is frustrating, and sometimes life is boring, and so I need those things to bring me those moments of pleasure. This is a hard sell, some of you are saying, why would anybody do this? And when you're saying why would anybody do this, what you're basically thinking is, I don't want to know right now how to do this, I don't even think that I do want to do this. You're going to be a hard sell on this because you're not convinced that it would be worthwhile to do this.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:04] But I also wanted to say, some of you are saying, why would anybody do this? And you actually mean that question. Because what you're thinking right now is I know, I know, I read God's word, I know what I'm called to do. And I know that there are certain things that are enjoyable, and that are pleasures that I'm supposed to leave behind, either because they're sinful or because God is going to call me to something else. I know, and I've tried, and I just don't think I can do it. I keep relapsing, and I keep going back to old stuff, I don't think that I can get there. So when you're asking why would anybody do this, you actually mean, I need you to help me, I need to know why somebody would do this because otherwise, I'm never going to succeed.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:45] And I just want to say, if you're here and you're hopeless about that right now, if you're like, I get it, I know where this is going, I know that there's stuff that I need to do, I know that there's stuff I need to repent of, but you are just not optimistic that you're going to do it. Here's what I want you to do this morning, I want to invite you to grab a hold of hope this morning. And the hope is not that I'm going to give such a great sermon that you're finally going to turn it around, the hope is that the Holy Spirit, who we just sang about, and God's living word, is going to lead you to greater victory than you believe is possible right now.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:19] There is hope as we face this, and as we get into this idea of faith, sacrificing pleasure, as we've done throughout the previous weeks, we get to look at the life of somebody who lived this out. We get to look at the life of Moses, as the author of Hebrews talks back about him in Chapter 11 verses 23 through 26. And here, I'm just going to tell you right now what we're going to talk about, we're going to talk about three things that we need to do if we're going to really walk by faith in a way that we sacrifice pleasures. I'll tell you all three of them right now. The first is this, you need to know who you are. Number two is you need to choose temporary loss. And number three is that you've got to look forward, not back. Know who you are, choose temporary loss, and look forward, not back.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:15] Let's get into the first one, know who you are. Starting in verse 23, we've just heard it, but let's look at it again, "By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict." And so this is sort of a first, as we get into the story of Moses because unlike Abraham and Noah and others who were talked about, Moses's story begins not with Moses, but with Moses's parents and an act of faith that they practiced.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:47] And everything that we're going to go through this morning, if you want to later on go back, you can read Exodus 1, and then, especially Exodus 2, and that walks through this story that we're going to go through. And what happened at this time is that the Hebrews, the Israelites, were in Egypt and they were enslaved. They were being oppressed by Pharaoh and by the Egyptians, they were oppressed and put to hard labor, but despite the fact that they had all this hardship in their lives, they just kept having babies and babies and more babies and more babies. And eventually, the Pharaoh of Egypt said, if they keep doing this, they're going to outnumber us, and it's going to be hard to enslave people that are greater than us. And so Pharaoh had a policy idea of how to handle this, and the policy idea is we're going to take every male Hebrew child and drown them in the Nile River, and that will keep them from becoming strong enough to rebel against us. And it was at that time in history that Moses was born, and instead of his parents turning Moses over to be drowned in the Nile River, they hid him for three months. And you might notice as you're looking at it, that there are two reasons that are given for why they hid him. The first one is kind of hard to understand, it says they recognized that he was no ordinary child. Which strikes us as odd, we're like, so if he was an ordinary child, he would have been like, don't worry about it, like what's going on with this? And this is the same thing that's said in Exodus 2, it's sort of cryptic about he was no ordinary child, and it might have to do with his appearance, it might have to do with something else. I'm going to be honest with you, this is not totally clear what's going on here, other than there was some sense in just by looking at him and seeing the way that he was, that Moses's parents recognized that there's something different, there's something big that's supposed to happen with this child. And that inspired them all the more to say, we've got to hide them. so they hid them for three months.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:36] And it says the first reason was they recognized he was no ordinary child, and the second reason was because they were not afraid of the king's edict. Now, here's why this is weird, when you're afraid, what do you sometimes do? You hide. So it's like they hid him because they weren't afraid. But here's what this means, we've talked in some of the previous weeks about the whole concept of the fear of the Lord. And the idea behind the fear of the Lord is that you take God more seriously than anything else that you might be afraid of. And here are Moses's parents recognizing, if we get caught, we are dead, but they took God more seriously than they took the King, so they hid Moses for three months. And then, eventually, Moses's mother put him in a little basket and floated him down the Nile River where there were a whole bunch of reeds, and Pharaoh's daughters came out and found him and decided to adopt him into her own family.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:31] Moses ended up being raised as an Egyptian, and that brings us to verse 24, where we get to see what Moses did by faith, "By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.". Now, how many of you, at some point in your life, have seen some movie depiction of the life of Moses? All right, a whole bunch of us, you know Ten Commandments, Prince of Egypt, there are all kinds of ones that are done. I'm not trying to rag on all of them, but here's the deal, usually in the Moses movies, there's some moment where Moses suddenly finds out that he's a Jew. He'd grown up in Egypt, and suddenly it's revealed to him and it rocks his world. That almost 100% did not happen, it is highly likely that Moses grew up knowing that he was a Jew, but that he'd been adopted into the family. There's no moment in Exodus and no moment in Scripture where it records this supremely amazing moment where Moses has this revelation, he knew that he was a Jew. And when he grew up, he had a choice before him, and his choice was I can continue to experience all the benefits of living like an Egyptian, or I can reject that, and I can decide to identify with the Jewish people. He refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:52] And this is where we get into this first idea that I've already talked about, Moses knew who he was. Now here's the deal, I know there's a risk even using this phrase to say if you're going to walk by faith, and if you're going to deny yourself pleasure, you need to know who you are. Because usually in our culture, when we use this phrase, we're talking about what is your personality type? What is your Enneagram number? Are you an introvert or are you an extrovert, are you this sort of person or that sort of person? That's not what I'm talking about at all, if you get some kind of help from that stuff, all right, sure, go ahead and go for it, that is not the core of who you are. The whole point is this, it wasn't that Moses suddenly realized, you know what, I'm an introvert, so I'm going to go hang out with the Jews. Moses knew he was a Jew, and it wasn't even about ethnicity at this point, it wasn't about him saying, I've got to get back to my ethnic roots. It was about Moses believing those are the people of God, and I'd rather be poor with the people of God than be rich with the oppressors. And so he chose to identify with the people of God, that's what it meant, that he knew who he was.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:03] And when we talk about this idea, I think that you all get this, the whole concept of identity is really, really important to us at a gut level. We crave to know who we are. We crave an identity. In fact, a quick story about this. When I was in college, I had a group of friends that I spent a lot of time with. One of my friends was named Mitch, and Mitch's sister came to visit one time, and so he came around and he introduced her to the whole group of friends because we were spending time together. And when he got to me, this is what he said, he said, this is my friend Dan, he's the most sarcastic person I've ever met. Now, here's a funny thing, some of you are like, whoa, savage, like, he really got you. That's not how I felt at all, I felt elated, I was happy to take that on. It's not that I was shooting for that, it's not that I was trying to be that guy, but when I heard that, I suddenly felt like, now I know where I fit into this group of friends and I'm more than willing to take it, I'll be the sarcastic guy if that means that I belong.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:11] Now, here's the point of what I'm telling you, we will accept an inferior identity as long as it's an identity, and our world is offering us inferior identities every day of the week. You are vulnerable to taking on just any identity that will help you feel like, now I kind of know who I am, now I know where I fit in. You need to know who you are. And so first things first, for everybody in here, regardless of your background, regardless of anything about you, let me tell you something about who you are, you are a precious creation of a loving God. You have been created on purpose by a God who didn't have to make you but loved enough that he wanted to share his creativity and love with you, you are a precious creation of a loving God, that's number one.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:09] And now let me speak to anybody in here who's a believer in Jesus, because you have some further things about who you are. You are an adopted child of God the Father. Amen? You have been bought and cleansed by the blood of the Son of God. Jesus Christ. Amen? You are indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Amen? You need to know who you are. And in those moments, when temptation is at the heat, and you're experiencing all of that, you need to know who you are.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:46] Last week, last Sunday at the Oscars, you guys all heard about the slap? It was kind of underreported, and so I wanted to make sure that you guys...So I'm going to break some news, and I'll explain it very carefully so that you guys all know what happened. But it was at the Oscars, and Chris Rock, the comedian, got up and he told a joke about Will Smith's wife, and Will Smith walked up to the stage and slapped him across the face, much to the horror of everybody who was watching. The joke that Chris Rock told, depending on where you land, was either a funny joke, a kind of insensitive joke, or the worst thing any human being has ever said, it's somewhere between those things. But when I heard about it, because I didn't hear about it until the next day. When I heard about it and saw the video, there were many things that went through my mind, but the biggest thing that went through my mind was this. I wish right before this happened, I could.= have been sitting next to Will Smith and reminded him, you're Will Smith, you are one of the most famous actors in the history of movies, don't do this. Do remember who you are? You're not just a new actor, you're not just some guy that's in a dispute, you are Will Smith, don't lower yourself to this, don't do this. Even if you think that it was provoked and he was justified, you're Will Smith, don't do this. It's like any time I hear about some celebrity or politician getting into a Twitter battle with some troll. I'm like, why are you doing this? You are a famous actor, or you are the president of the United States, don't do this, remember who you are. Here's the deal, sometimes we're in a situation where we are in the heat of temptation towards some kind of pleasure, and we know it's wrong, but we're just being told, click that, look at that, eat that, drink that, say that, and it feels overwhelming. And a lot of times in those moments, we feel like the greatest ammunition that we have is to say, don't do it, don't do it, don't do it, don't do it. Here's what I want you to know, in that moment, in the heat of temptation, instead of saying, don't do it, don't do it, don't do it, what you should be saying is, remember who you are, remember the God who has adopted you, remember the Savior who has bought you, remember the Spirit who indwells you, remember who you are.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:04] Know who you are, and then as we move on, the second thing we're going to talk about is the idea of choosing temporary losses. There's no way around this, but let's look at how this played out in Moses because we have two things that are said about him that are parallel, they talk about the choice that he made. In verse 25, we read, "He, Moses, chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin." And so obviously the mistreatment relates to the fact that the Israelites were slaves, and he was going to identify with the slaves and experience mistreatment, and it talks about the fleeting pleasures of sin. Moses was experiencing a life where he had everything that he could have wanted to eat any time he wanted it, everything he wanted to drink any time he wanted it, rest and relaxation and a life of leisure whenever he wanted it, probably access to all the sex that he wanted any time he wanted it, Moses had the life that most of us dream of. And here's what the author of Hebrews says, the author of Hebrews says, Here was Moses, and door number one was the pleasures of Egypt, and door number two was mistreatment with the people of God, and he chose door number two.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:27] And just a couple of things, also, about the pleasures, it talks about the fleeting pleasures of sin, and we need to talk about this for a minute because this gives us some insight. It's easy for us, we're a hyper-individualistic culture in the United States, and even amongst, a lot of times, a church like ours, we tend to be people who think of things that way, we think of things in very, very individualistic terms. There are benefits to that, there are good things about that, but there are also drawbacks because when it talks about the whole idea of fleeting pleasures of sin, this isn't just talking about personal sin that Moses would have been tempted to do. What it's talking about is the idea that he was a part of an oppressive regime, and every benefit that he was experiencing was a result of sin and oppression. It wasn't just, hey, Moses, you're not supposed to sleep with her, she's not your wife. It was, Moses, all of the riches and all the benefits and all the leisure that u-you're experiencing, you're experiencing because of rampant sin and oppression, and he needed to make a choice.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:29] For the last, probably at least decade, the term social justice has been used a lot. I don't use it a lot, and I'm going to tell you the two reasons why I don't, and they may not be the reasons that you're thinking they are. The first reason is this, my life experience has shown me that when people use the term social justice, almost nobody means the same thing. So I've had so many conversations with somebody, and I keep saying, wait, what you're saying, I don't think that's what I'm saying when I use this. Some of people, the way that they define it, is totally biblical and totally right. Sometimes the way that people are using the term, it's way off and it's not biblical at all. So I don't use the term typically because I just don't find that people are saying the same thing. Here's the second reason why I don't use this term, it's because justice, by definition, is social. There's no justice that isn't in the social realm, justice has to do with how we treat one another.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:23] And so whether or not some of you are going to continue to use the term, if you do, I just say define it clearly, because people aren't all saying the same thing. But biblical justice doesn't even need an adjective, we don't need to say social justice because justice is social, and that ties into what's going on here. We might look at Moses and we might say, well, Moses, as long as you personally aren't engaging in sin, then you can just sort of keep your head down and do your thing, and all of the other ones, all of the other oppressors, they're the ones who are guilty. But that's not how Moses saw it at all, that's not how God sees it, that's not how Scripture depicts it.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:58] This was not just Moses being a part of a regime that had sin and had some flaws, this was a regime that was built on sin and oppression. And Moses knew that if I'm benefiting from all of this, I'm a part of it. Some of you are part of businesses right now, and you've got some big decisions to make. Because it's not just that there's some sin, and it's not just that there are people that use bad language at your business, it's that there are unethical things going on that are bringing in the money that's paying your paycheck. And you're tempted to say, I'm not doing it, I'm just going to keep my head down, I'm just going to do my thing, they're guilty, I'm not part of this. If your income is coming because of sin being perpetuated, you are a part of it, Moses was a part of it.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:51] And I know if we're going to get deep into this, there'd be a much bigger discussion. But I want to flag it for you because some of you are in this right now, and you know, I'm not personally sinning, but by doing my job I'm enabling sin to increase, and the reason I have a paycheck is because of that happening. You need to ask yourself, are you willing to walk away from the pleasures of sin in order to make sure that sin doesn't persist? Moses had two choices, door number one was the pleasures of Egypt, door number two was mistreatment with the people of God. And verse 26 says basically the same thing in different terms, it says, "He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt."

Dan Franklin: [00:20:35] So once again, he furthers this down, he doubles down. Door number one, pleasures, and not just pleasures, but also treasures. You've got all the pleasures that you can have access to, you've got all the treasures of Egypt. Door number two is mistreatment, but it doesn't stop there, disgrace also. And did you notice something in verse 26, it doesn't just say disgrace, it says disgrace for the sake of Christ, and that's weird because Moses lived a long time before Jesus showed up, so the disgrace of Christ is what He chose. Here's what I think is going on here, the author of Hebrews, maybe not surprisingly, is writing to Hebrews. Yeah, no laughter at that, okay, I thought that might get someone. First-century Jewish Christians are the ones reading this letter, and they're under the strong temptation to ditch out on Jesus and go back to Judaism because they're experiencing the disgrace of Christ. They're estranged from their countrymen. They're losing money and losing income. Some of them are having their property taken away. Some of them are ending up going to prison. They're experiencing all this difficulty and they're asking the question, is it worth it? And so when he throws this in here to say, even Moses, Moses, before Jesus ever showed up symbolically, when he identified with God's people, he was identifying with the disgrace of Christ. He's giving them, and he's giving us a clue, that's exactly what we're doing, we're standing in line with Moses when we hold on, even though there's disgrace involved with following Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:12] And as we talked about several weeks ago with Noah, if you follow Jesus by faith, you will lose the admiration of people around you. Door number one, pleasures, and treasures. Door number two, mistreatment, and disgrace. Who in the world is choosing door number two? Well, obviously Moses is. Do you know who else is? Every person who has ever chosen to follow Jesus. If you become a Christian, you're choosing door number two. All the apostles chose door number two, different ones had different levels of stability and success, especially the Apostle Paul, who had really high status among the Jewish nation. When he chose Jesus, he chose mistreatment and estrangement and imprisonment and torment and scorn and death. You look at Jesus, and you're like health and wealth message does not work there with the apostle Paul, his life got worse when he followed Jesus. He chose mistreatment and disgrace over treasures and pleasures.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:15] But it's not just the people in the Bible, every single one of us, if you choose to follow Jesus, you will be taking temporary losses. You will be choosing door number two. I mean, just think, just even in our culture, some of the surface things that we as Christians do that are different than the world around us. We're the ones that are still holding on to the idea, hey, sex is for marriage, and we reserve sex for marriage, that's taking a loss. We're saying, all right, yeah, eating is fine and food is good, but we're not meant to overdo it, we're not meant to be led by our stomachs. Alcohol is a good gift from God, but don't get drunk, don't get high, and don't sort of escape in those different ways. Yeah, money is good, but we're meant to be generous. Yes, sleep is good, but we're not meant to be lazy. We're constantly telling ourselves, no, no, no, don't go too far down the line with that pleasure, we are constantly choosing door number two if we're going to walk with Jesus, we're constantly choosing to take temporary losses.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:10] And actually, that reminds me, there's a word in verse 25 that I didn't really talk about, that's pretty important. Some of you already see it, do you know what that word is? Fleeting. The fleeting pleasures of sin. There's a clue right in there of where all this is going. It says Moses could have enjoyed the fleeting pleasures of sin. Do you know what fleeting means? It means passing, temporary, I think of it like a birthday candle, where you light it and you know it's not going to be lit for very long because either it's about to be blown out or those birthday candles last like 12 seconds before they're burned down to the wick. Fleeting, it's there, and that's the way that sin works, we all know this. It's like, yeah, you just give in, you know, there's the sex or there's the food or there's this drink or whatever it is, and in the moment you're like, yeah, it was great, and then it's gone. The fleeting pleasures of sin. In fact, here's what we need to take in, God is not telling us to deny desire. Do you know what God is telling us? Delay it. The fleeting pleasures of sin.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:19] And this leads into the last thing that we'll talk about. Know who you are? Choose temporary losses. And finally, number three, look forward, not back. Here's what we read in the last part of verse 26. we get why Moses did this, it says, "Because he was looking ahead to his reward.". Moses wasn't simply saying, this is the right thing, so I'll do it, he was looking ahead to the reward. There's a verse in the same chapter, back in verse 6 of Hebrews 11, we've quoted this each week because it's an important verse. Just listen to it, it says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God." As Gary said a couple of weeks ago, the only life that pleases God is a life of faith. It's impossible to please God without faith because anyone who comes to you must believe two things, they must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Of the core things that we need to believe about God, number one is that he exists, and that's a big one. And right after that is to believe that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Core to believing in God is believing that he is a rewarder. And that's important because some of us look at this idea and we're like, he was doing it for the reward. And we feel like that's kind of unspiritual, like that's kind of mercenary right there, that's not...You should do it because it's the right thing, regardless of the reward, but the author of Hebrews says he did it for the reward. He did it for the reward, and you want to know what else? Neither you nor any other human being on the planet does anything, except doing things for the reward. You might think that you do, but you don't. If you go to the gym, there's not a single person who is at the gym regularly. who isn't doing it for the reward? The reward might be the loss of weight. The reward might be they look better. The reward might be, I burn these calories so I can eat a cupcake later on in the day. Everybody is doing what they are doing for the reward. And you might even be sitting there being like, no, no, no, for me, I do it because it's the right thing to do. Let me translate, you do it so that you can feel good about being the kind of person who does the right thing, that's your reward. Everything everyone does, they always do for the reward, however it's defined, don't think that you're better than this.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:53] God made us, and do you know what he says? He says, do it for the reward. Do it, have faith in God that he is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him. Moses did it for the reward. And none of us are ever going to give up the pleasures, or at least delay the pleasures that are available to us in the world, unless we believe that the reward outpaces what we've given up.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:19] Let's just run an imaginary scenario right here. Let's say tomorrow I came, and I said to you, I have put $10,000 in your bank account. First of all, you'd be like, thank you. But I said this, I said, here's the deal, you have access to it, you can use it whenever you want. But if you don't touch it for three months, for 90 days, if you don't touch it and don't take any of that money out of the account, then I will come back in three months and instead of 10,000, it'll be a million. All right. How many of you feel like I could do that? All right, a pretty high percentage. Some of you didn't raise your hand, I don't know why, we all would do it. We all, most of us are like, yeah, I could do that. That would be hard because 10,000 would be nice right now, I've got some ideas of how to use that. But I can hold off on three months for the million, I could do that. Let's say instead I did this, the same thing tomorrow I come to you, and I say I've put $10,000 in your account, but here's what I want to invite you to do, don't use any of it until I come back and tell you. And if you don't use any of it until I come back and tell you, I'll make it worth your while. Now, who's in? You guys are like, maybe. It changes the equation, doesn't it? Back when you knew exactly how long you needed to wait, and exactly what kind of reward you were getting, you're like, I'm in, I can do that. When it gets vague is when it gets difficult. When suddenly you're saying, well, I don't know how long I'm going to wait, I don't know if I want to wait that long. And he didn't tell me exactly what the reward is and so I don't know if it's going to be worth it. I'll tell you the only reason why you should take me up on that offer, which, by the way, I'm not going to give you. But the only reason why you should take me up on that offer is if you firmly believe that you can trust that I have the resources to give you something great and that you also firmly believe that I'm the kind of guy who's trustworthy to follow through on that. It switches where the faith is in some ways because it switches the faith from the reward to the rewarder. Our primary call is not to have faith in an idea, or in a system, or in a certain order that God has worked out in the universe, our core calling is to have our faith in God himself, not just the reward but the rewarder.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:41] And I love here, it says Moses was looking ahead, he was looking forward. If he was looking ahead, where was he not looking? He was not looking back. And he had left a lot of pleasures back there in Egypt, it would have been easy for Moses to look back and say, there's a lot of good stuff back there. And if he was looking back, where might he have wanted to go? Back.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:03] In fact, there's a story in the Book of Genesis that talks about somebody looking back. Remember this, the story is in Genesis chapter 19, if you want to look it up later, it's a great, uplifting story. God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah because they were just gross in immorality and oppression and injustice, they were terrible cities, and so God decided to destroy them. But out of mercy to Abraham, he warned Abraham's nephew Lot and Lot's family. And he even through angels, took them out of the city and said, all right, you're going to go to this other town instead and you're going to be there and you're going to be saved from all of this demolition that's happening there. And he said as you're going to this city that will be your salvation, don't look back. And as they were leaving, Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:53] Looking back leads to going back. There might be some things that you've left behind, and you find yourself sitting around just romanticizing about how nice it was. You're thinking about all the times you used to have the group of friends you used to get drunk with, and you're like, those were good times. Which may mean you don't remember quite as clearly, but you're like, those were good times. And maybe, I don't mean to make light of it, maybe in a real way, you were like, you know what? It was nice when I was so stressed out that I could just relieve stress that way, that was really nice. Maybe you're thinking back to your single days and maybe you were really promiscuous and you're like, you know, before I got on this whole thing of the Bible and talking about saving sex for marriage, I was having a lot of fun, I was sort of doing whatever I wanted. You know, before all this, I could get high. Before all this, I could get drunk. Before all this, I could spend my money however I wanted. And you're looking back, and you're romanticizing about the good old days. If you're looking back, you're probably going to want to go back, look ahead.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:53] Look forward, not back, and you're looking forward to the reward. And here's the tough thing about that, the reward is not spelled out as clearly as we want it to be spelled out. Now, we're not completely in the dark, I'll give you some things that are part of the reward. Part of the reward of walking by faith in Jesus means that you end up being set free from the oppressive sins that enslave you. You end up getting to have the joy of saying, it's not that I'm not allowed to have a drink but thank God I'm at a point that I don't have to have a drink, you experience the joy of that kind of freedom. Not only do you experience the joy of that kind of freedom, but you experience the joy of a clear conscience before God, and that's nothing to turn your nose at, that when you're having times of prayer before God, you're coming to him, and you know your conscience is clean, you know that you're pure before him and you're looking to walk with him.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:48] Do you know what else? If you're really walking by faith in God, it's not going to improve every relationship, but it's going to improve a lot of your relationships. You're going to have a lot more harmony in your life because suddenly you're treating people as you would want to be treated, and there's a lot of joy and benefits that come along with this. But here's the biggest one, if you walk by faith in God, do you know what you get? God, you get the greatest prize. And this is all I think, if you go back and read Exodus, you don't get God laying out this very clear idea to Moses for what the reward was. I think it went only as deep as this, Moses said, there are the Israelites, God is with them, that's where I want to be. That seemed to get as far as it went, that he knew that his reward was God himself and fellowship with God. And that he also believed in God enough to know, whatever I give up, that kind of God who spoke creation into existence, and that kind of God as Moses would be a precursor to, much later on we get to know, gave his one and only Son for us. A God of perfect power and a God of perfect love, you know what, that's the kind of God that I can trust and be willing to give up these temporary pleasures.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:11] Once again, we're not even called to deny pleasure, we're called to delay it. And we got to ask ourselves, not what precisely is God going to do? We've got to ask ourselves; do I really trust him? Am I really willing to walk in faith with the mystery of not knowing exactly how God is going to make it pay off, but knowing He's the kind of God that always makes it pay off? Because let me just say, if you're dealing with temptations and you're denying yourself pleasure, you're saying no to pleasure because you don't want to get caught, that's fine, use that, but that's going to wear out. If you're denying yourself pleasure because you're like, I just feel better about myself when I do this, hey, use that, but that's going to wear out also. But if you are denying yourself pleasure because you say, you know what, there's a God who I trust with every ounce of my being, and there's nothing that I leave behind that He won't make more than worth my while in the end, that's going to last. When you're in the heat of temptation, there are two things you should be thinking about. You should be thinking about who you are before God, and you should be thinking about who God is before you, and you'll find that pleasures seem to look more and more fleeting compared to what God is going to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:34] Now here's what I want to do. I don't just want to say, all right, amen, and move on from this, I want us to take this in for a moment. Because this is not only the conclusion of this passage, but this is the conclusion of five weeks of us saying, you know what, we want, we want as a church, we want as families, we want as individuals, we want to walk by faith in the living God. And here's a deal, if you're really living this way, if you're living in a way that you're actually giving up pleasures that the world just takes as a given, that is one of the things that makes us stand out to the world that they would ask the question, what in the world makes it worth it? And you get to answer with Jesus making it worth it. The stakes are big for this, again remember three weeks ago when Jeff had the students and the kids in here stand up and we just took in the reality, you choosing to say Jesus is better, is sending a message to your kids that Jesus is better. If there is no pleasure, you are willing to give up for Jesus, the message that you're sending to your kids is Jesus is worth it when it doesn't inconvenience me. The stakes are big brothers and sisters, we need to take this on. And I think we all recognize that this is not easy to do, we need one another. And so here's what we're going to do, we are going to respond in prayer to this. In a moment, I'm going to have you get up, you're just going to gather with a group of three or four people around you, and here's what I want to say, this time is not for talking to one another, this time is for talking to God. Exchange names later, you can all do that, that's great. Find out who you are praying with, but we want to pray. And here's what we want to pray for, we want to pray for God to convince us that walking with him is going to be better than anything that we leave behind. And we want God to shine the light of the Gospel through us as we live lives that are saying we're willing to sacrifice anything for following Jesus, even the pleasures that people take for granted.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:23] So after a couple of moments, I'm going to bring us back together and close in prayer. But right now, stand up, gather with three or four people around you, if you want to put your arms around each other or hold hands, you can do that, let's go straight to prayer.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:35] Father God, we lift these requests to you right now, thank you, that you hear us, thank you, that you don't hear chaos like some of us do, you hear every voice that's being lifted to you. Father, we bring ourselves to you and we confess we are bad at this, and the moment we get overwhelmed, and the moment we get blinded and all we see is the pleasure being offered to us, Father, I pray that you lead us to know at the deepest level of ourselves who we are, to know that we're saved and that we're forgiven and that we can turn our noses up at that offer of fleeting pleasure because we know the real pleasure giver, we know the real rewarder. Father, convince us that you are the real rewarder.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:19] Father, I pray for any brothers and sisters in here who are convicted because they're a part of something, even if they're not personally sitting within it, they're a part of something that they're saying, I need to get out of this, I need to not be part of the fleeting pleasures of sin just because it gives me a paycheck. Give them the courage to be willing to step out, give them a testimony where others around them will say, why in the world would you give this up? And that the light of Jesus will shine. because we'll say that Jesus is worthwhile. Shine the light of the Gospel through us, lead us, lead those who are right now in the heat of things and saying, I don't think I can get out, to come and get help, to get accountability and support, and to have brothers and sisters walking with them through it. But Father, we pray that you lead us to trust you in the deepest parts of ourselves, and we pray that you lead us to shine the light of the Gospel around us. In Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:15] And let me just ask you, I'm going to ask you to remain standing as I read a word of benediction for us. As I do this, there's going to be some folks that they're heading to the front now, there's going to be some people on either side of the stage, because some of you right now are like, all right, I prayed, but I need help. And there's going to be some people who are going to be happy to pray with you or talk about the next steps with you.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:36] But let me just once again read as our benediction, Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.". Amen? Have a wonderful Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848