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The Dangers of Unguarded Moments

Tagged With: / David's Spiritual Secret

DSS-18

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Remember that incredible postscript to an incredible life? Has it stopped you yet and made you soberly think about where your life, habits, and secret thoughts are headed?

Listen as I read and emphasize that one word God emphasizes for us.

1 Kings 15:5 because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. NKJV

God forgives the sins, and God forgets the iniquities. But the consequences and loss are recorded in the Bible, God’s forever settled in Heaven Word.

We on this side of the cross have many advantages, one of them the finished revelation of God in this book called the Bible. Two of the greatest New Testament writers simplify our daily lives. Peter says that every day of our lives we are stalked by a ravenous lion called the Devil. Paul adds that we will get devoured if we don’t take heed. Here are their words.

[1 Peter 5:8“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. [1 Corinthians 10:12]Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” NKJV

 Beware of allowing any unguarded moments in your life, thinking that you are safe from sin’s reach, and that it won’t bother you anymore; it is at that moment the ravenous devourer himself is crouching and preparing to spring. That is what David discovered, only it was too late!

We began this morning a careful look at the three final eras of David’s life. We continue this evening because they need to be studied and heeded by all of us.

  • Unguarded Moments lead to SIN—Uriah and Bathsheba. First is the saddest chapter, the darkest and the one we all wince at—his sin with Bathsheba. 2 Samuel 11
  • Inevitable Consequences lead to PAIN—Absolom and Shimei. These are the chapters that record the many years of painful consequences because of David’s sin. 2 Samuel 12-21, 24
  • Humble Obedience lead to JOY—Solomon, Psalms and the Temple. And last, the final days of David’s life. When we see that despite the failures of Bathsheba incident—David truly was after God’s own heart. We see him end well, using his final days for God’s glory. 2 Samuel 22-23

There are lessons to be learned from David that are very difficult, but so necessary. For any and all of us today ring Paul’s words across the twisted wreckage of so many lives that litter the highway of the redeemed—

1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. NKJV

Unguarded Moments Lead to Sin

David the giant killer, killed by the giant of lust, took six dreadful steps downward. He was enticed, baited, hooked and reeled in by lust. Then lust destroyed David’s life and testimony. It’s very insightful how this occurred, note his downward steps.

  1. David Desensitized his conscience by incomplete obedience (2 Sam 5:13).
  2. David Relaxed his grip on personal purity (2 Sam 11:1).
  3. David Fixated his heart on physical desires (2 Sam 11:2).
  4. David Rationalized his mind about wrong decisions (2 Sam 11:3).
  5. David Plunged his life into lustful sin (2 Sam 11:4).
  6. David Destroyed his testimony by the sin of a moment of stolen pleasure. Death, deceit, murder, immorality and spiritual oppression, poverty and famine of the soul are only a few offspring of this act of momentary pleasure.

v     First, David Desensitized His Conscience by Incomplete Obedience

David desensitized his conscience by incomplete obedience. This is the first sign of what was going to happen. This was just carelessness, a slight wandering, just a tinyloosening in a socially acceptable area.  I actually believe that the entire horrible mess of the sin of David’s unguarded moments with Bathsheba was sparked by small disobediences back in the earlier days.

 David relaxed his grip on the way God asked him to live. Watch the unfolding of the story of these deadly little things David allowed into his life. Here is the record of his early days as king:

2 Samuel 5:13 And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem,

[Remember David has already been king for seven years. This verse sounds like you’re just reading the news—nothing major, nothing bad, it’s kind of neutral– after he had come from Hebron.]

Also more sons and daughters were born to David.

[So you ask, was it really wrong? Didn’t all the men back then do it? Didn’t Abraham have multiple wives? You know Jacob had several wives. Why they’re all God’s people is it really so bad? But if God says it is wrong, it is wrong even if everybody does it! Yes, but 600 years after Abraham God told Moses to write down His rules for future kings.]

Remember Deuteronomy 17 was the only instructions for the King of Israel given by God? Remember that David was the second king, following one who crashed and burned because of his disobedience? So I am sure David would have carefully listened to these words from the God he so loved for His leaders in Deuteronomy 17:15-20. But as time went on David chose to ignore those instructions.

 So, because of ignoring that little warning from God, David’s life moves on without God’s protection.

  1. David Desensitized his conscience by incomplete obedience 2 Sam 5:13
  2. David Relaxed his grip on personal purity 2 Sam 11:1
  3. David Fixated his heart on physical desires v. 2
  4. David Rationalized his mind about wrong decisions v. 3
  5. David Plunged his life into lustful sin v. 4
  6. David Destroyed his testimony by the sin of a moment of stolen pleasure. Death, deceit, murder, immorality and spiritual oppression, poverty and famine of the soul are only a few offspring of this act of momentary pleasure.

v     Second, David Relaxed His Grip on Personal Purity (2 Sam 11:1)

David had let little things slide in his life—things went so well he forgot to be on guard. David at the height of his life lost his grip on purity and he was playing with dandelions in the presence of the ravenous lion of lust.

We need to be doing what it takes to maintain purity in our lives.

Jesus told us once how serious we must be about sexual sin. Most people dismiss His words as hyperbole, overkill or something. But at this moment in David’s life—maybe we should read Christ’s words again and ponder them personally?

Please turn back to the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5, and listen with new ears to His Christ’s words:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell” (Matthew 5:27-30).

Now, let me share part of an article from someone I really respect, that I read in a magazine once that was written about this verse.

Jesus, the Radical[1]

“Why does Jesus paint this shocking picture? I believe He wants us to take radical steps, to do whatever is necessary to deal with sexual temptation.

Now, the hand and eye are not the causes of sin. A blind man can still lust and a man without a hand can still steal. But the eye is a means of access for both godly and ungodly input. And the hand is a means of performing righteous or sinful acts. We must therefore govern what the eye looks at and the hand does.

If we take Jesus seriously, we need to think far more radically about sexual purity.
The battle is too intense, and the stakes are too high to approach purity casually or gradually.

Some men fall into mental adultery through lingerie ads, billboards, women joggers in tight pants, women with low cut blouses or short skirts, cheerleaders or dancers, movies, TV shows, and commercials of the beer-and-bikini variety. Some men’s weakness is the Sunday newspaper’s ad inserts or nearly any magazine.

So, stop looking. And then stop putting yourself in the position to look!

If you have to get rid of your TV to guard your purity, do it.

If it means you can’t go to games because of how dancers or cheerleaders dress and perform, so be it. If it means you have to lower your head and close your eyes, so be it. If you’re embarrassed to do that, stay home.

Tell your wife about your struggles. Or if you’re single, tell a godly friend. If you need to drop the newspaper because of those ads, fine. If you need your wife to go through it first and pull out the offending inserts, ask her.

Romans 13:14 instructs us to “make no provision for the flesh” (NASB).

It’s a sin to deliberately put ourselves in a position where we’ll likely commit sin. Whether it’s the lingerie department, the swimming pool, or the workout room at an athletic club–if it trips you up, stay away from it.

Proverbs describes the loose woman meeting up with the foolish man after dark (seeProverbs 7:8-9). We must stay away from people, places, and contexts that make sin more likely.

If it’s certain bookstores or hangouts, stay away from them.

If cable or satellite TV or network TV, old friends from high school, the Internet, or computers are your problem, get rid of them.

Just say no to whatever is pulling you away from Jesus. Remember, if you want a different outcome, you must make different choices.

If you can’t be around women wearing swimsuits without looking and lusting, then don’t go on vacation where women wear swimsuits. If that means not going water-skiing or to a favorite resort, fine. If it means being unable to go on a church-sponsored retreat, don’t go.

Sound drastic? Compare it to gouging out an eye or cutting off a hand!

“But…”

But there are hardly any decent TV shows anymore. Then stop watching TV. Read books. Have conversations.

But all the newer novels have sex scenes. Then read the old novels. Read fiction from Christian publishers.

But I’ve subscribed to Sports Illustrated for thirty years, back before they had the swimsuit issue. They have it now. So drop your subscription. And tell them why.

But it’s almost impossible to rent a movie without sex and offensive language. There are Christian movie review sites that can help you make good selections for family viewing. There are also services which offer edited movies, television adaptors which edit profanity, and DVD software that cuts offensive scenes from movies.

But suppose there were no decent movies – what then? I enjoy good movies, but the Bible never commands us, “Watch movies.” It does command us, “Guard your heart.”

It’s a battle–battles get bloody. Do whatever it takes to walk in purity!

A friend wrote a daily contract that asks these questions:

“Are you willing to do whatever’s necessary to protect your sexual sobriety? Ask God for help? Call on others? Go to meetings? Read literature? Set boundaries and not cross them? Be brutally honest?”

Too Radical?

But you’re talking about withdrawing from the culture. What you’re saying is too radical.

No, what I’m saying is nothing. Jesus said, “If it would keep you from sexual temptation, you’d be better off poking out your eye and cutting off your hand.” Now that’s radical.

Many claim they’re serious about purity, but then they say, “No way; I’m not going to give up cable TV,” or “I’m not going to have my wife hold the computer password.”

Followers of Jesus have endured torture and given their lives in obedience to Him. And we’re whining about giving up cable?

When Jesus called us to take up our crosses and follow Him (see Matthew 10:38), didn’t that imply sacrifices greater than forgoing Internet access?

How sold out are you to the battle for purity?

How desperate are you to have victory over sin?

How radical are you willing to get for your Lord?

How much do you want the joy and peace that can be found only in Him?”

Purity comes only to those who truly want it. For David that desire came too late; will it come to late for you also?

  1. David Desensitized his conscience by incomplete obedience 2 Sam 5:13
  2. David Relaxed his grip on personal purity 2 Sam 11:1
  3. David Fixated his heart on physical desires v. 2
  4. David Rationalized his mind about wrong decisions v. 3
  5. David Plunged his life into lustful sin v. 4
  6. David Destroyed his testimony by  the sin of a moment of stolen pleasure. Death, deceit, murder, immorality and spiritual oppression, poverty and famine of the soul are only a few offspring of this act of momentary pleasure.

v     David Fixated His Heart on Physical Desires (2 Sam 11:2

David started thinking about his sexual desire and that’s all he thought about. In the ancient world the king always built on a hill because then the enemies were at a disadvantage. So here David is in the biggest house and the highest house in the whole city of Jerusalem, and he’s wandering around at night on the roof of his house looking down around the barriers that others would have in their way. David could see over walls, fences, and screens—he sees past all of that because of his position in the highest house. But, he didn’t look away from the temptation, rather he engaged in watching, this became lust-filled staring.

In this period of restlessness, with time on his hands, moments of listlessness, boredom, and wandering the palace he uses the highest spot in the city to take an innocent peek at his neighbors wife. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.

And so as he took a quick peek over the wall at his neighbor’s wife. Jerusalem at this time was not that big and so it wouldn’t be he didn’t know who lived down there.  The king knew his subjects. That was one of his mightiest warrior’s homes— he knew whose house that was, he knew whose wife lived there, he knew who she was.

But what I want to underline for you is there is no such thing as an innocent peek at another man’s wife; there is no such thing as an innocent peek at an off-color TV show; there is no such thing as an innocent peek at pornographic materials.

There is no innocent trying out of intoxicating alcohol; There is no innocent trying out of enslaving cigarettes. There is no innocent trying out of debilitating drugs. There is no innocent trying out of premarital sexual relations.

These are steps to life-crippling habits that can destroy your testimony and usefulness for Christ! There’s no innocent peak at lust! David fixed his heart on his physical desires so immediately his mind starts clicking.

Temptations around us all abound. Because temptation to sin is so powerful, we need help. This morning the best, and the only real help is Christ–the Refuge for the tempted.

Now before any of us check out because this message isn’t for us, open with me to James 1.13-14.

James 1:13-15 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (NKJV)

James 1:13-15 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (NAS)

Note that James, the very first New Testament pastor, of the first New Testament church, the first leader of the Church of Jerusalem, and our Lord’s earthly brother—doesn’t say “if” but he says “when.”

God’s Word says temptation is inevitable, temptation is inescapable, temptation is going to follow us all through our earthly lives.

Temptation is inevitable. So listen up, this message is for ALL of us. But this message hinges on one word—lust.

Lust (epithumia “super desires”) is dreadful, dangerous, and deadly. Lust is surrounding us and in various forms, planted within us—and is either pursued for pleasure or fled from for righteousness. Listen carefully to Paul—

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee [P A Impv. “I command you to always flee”] also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (NKJV)

Note he doesn’t merely say when you are a youth to flee. No, he says “youthful lusts” the lusts that we nurture and feed as young people–are going to chase us through life. So we must all decide to flee lust, no matter what our age.

However large we grow those ravenous wolves of lust in our youth—that is how large they will be as they chase us through life. Why should we flee these lusts that tempt us to sin against God? Because they cost us far more than we could ever imagine. And that is what we will see in David’s life.

Our God is jealous this morning.

He loved us, bought us, found us, drew us, cleaned us and now lives within us by His Holy Spirit. Have you thought deeply about what it means to have a Jealous God living in you? Have you thought about what would offend someone who loved us so much that He wants us to be utterly loyal to Him?

  • The Lust of the Flesh is to chase pleasures or the Cravings of the Body
  • The Lust of the Eyes to chase Stuff or the Lustings of the Eyes
  • The Pride of Life is to chase status  or the Boastings of the Mouth
  1. David Desensitized his conscience by incomplete obedience 2 Sam 5:13
  2. David Relaxed his grip on personal purity 2 Sam 11:1
  3. David Fixated his heart on physical desires v. 2
  4. David Rationalized his mind about wrong decisions v. 3
  5. David Plunged his life into lustful sin v. 4
  6. David Destroyed his testimony by  the sin of a moment of stolen pleasure. Death, deceit, murder, immorality and spiritual oppression, poverty and famine of the soul are only a few offspring of this act of momentary pleasure.

v     David Rationalized His Mind About Wrong Decisions

  1. 3 he started saying—well it’s not that bad—only once— nobody will know. We have infinite capacity for rationalization.

David learned what a horrible thing sin is. It deceives with all those glittering promises. It destroys with the precision of a surgeon.

Over the years countless men who have descended into sexual sins have been asked the same question–“What could have been done to prevent this?” Most answer nearly the same thing with haunting pain and precision, “If only I had really known, really thought through and weighed what it would cost me and my family and my Lord, I honestly believe I would never have done it.”

I keep in the back of my Bible[2] (the one that is always with me at work, at home, and whenever I travel) a very pointed reminder of the consequences of sexual sin. I use this list as an encouragement to refocus on the Lord and take any steps of wisdom and purity necessary at the moment temptation, in any form strikes! We must always remember to put the focus where Scripture does–on the love of God and the fear of God, both of which should act in concert to motivate us to holy obedience.

My Personalized List of Anticipated Consequences of Immorality Towards My God— 

  • Grieving my Lord; displeasing the One whose opinion most matters.
  • Dragging Christ’s sacred reputation into the mud.
  • Losing my reward and commendation from God.
  • Dreading the day that I will have to look Jesus in the face at His judgment seat and give an account of why I did it.
  • Forcing God’s chastening upon my life in various ways.
  • Prompting laughter, rejoicing and blasphemous smugness by those who disrespect God and the church (2 Samuel 12:14).
  • Bringing great pleasure to Satan, the Enemy of God.

Towards My Wife and Family—

  • Heaping untold hurt on Bonnie, my best friend and loyal wife.
  • Forfeiting Bonnie’s respect and trust.
  • Giving up my credibility with my beloved sons and daughters, John II, Estelle, James, Julia-Grace, Joseph, Jeremiah, Elisha, and Elisabeth. (“Why listen to a man who betrayed Mom and us?”)
  • Realizing that if my blindness should continue or my family be unable to forgive, I could lose my wife and my children forever.
  • Bringing years of shame to my family. (“Why isn’t Daddy a pastor anymore?” Plus all the cruel comments of others who would invariably find out.)
  • Plaguing memories and flashbacks that could taint future intimacy with my wife.

 Towards My Church and Ministry— 

  • Bringing years of shame to my church families I have served all these years.
  • Bringing years of shame and hurt to my fellow pastors and elders. Royce, Steve, Gerry, Elmer, Tim, Stan, Jim, Ted, Allen, Travis,
  • Bringing years of shame and hurt to my friends, and especially those I’ve led to Christ and discipled. List of names: Paul, Douglas, Kurt,
  • Realizing that guilt is awfully hard to shake-even though God would forgive me, would I forgive myself?
  • Following in the shameful footsteps of men I know of whose immorality forfeited their ministry and caused me to shudder. List of these names: Roy, David , etc.
  • Causing innocent people to suffer around me when they get hit by my shrapnel (a la Achan).

 Towards Myself— 

  • Disqualifying myself after having preached to others.
  • Giving up the things I am called to and love to do-teach and preach and write and minister to others. Forfeiting forever certain opportunities to serve God. Years of training and experience in ministry wasted for a long period of time, maybe permanently.
  • Being haunted by my sin as I look in the eyes of others, and having it all dredged up again wherever I go and whatever I do.
  • Undermining the hard work and prayers of others by saying to our community “this is a hypocrite-who can take seriously anything he and his church have said and done?”
  • Heaping judgment and endless problems on the person I would have committed adultery with.
  • Catching possible diseases: gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, and AIDS (pain, constant reminder to me and my wife, possible infection of Bonnie, or in the case of AIDS, even causing her death, as well as mine.)
  • Causing possible pregnancy, with its personal and financial implications, including a lifelong reminder of sin to me and my family.
  • Loss of self-respect, discrediting my own name, and invoking shame and lifelong embarrassment upon myself. 

[1] http://afajournal.org/2003/september/903purity.asp

[2]  This list was adapted for my use from Randy Alcorn’s message called: “Deterring Immorality by Counting Its Cost–The exorbitant price of sexual sin” found at this website: http://afajournal.org/2003/september/903purity.asp

 
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