Freedom From Addictions

Scripture: John 8:36, Proverbs 23:29-35, 1 Peter 3:3-4
Date: 03/12/2011 
Lesson: 11
The Bible says everyone is a slave, either to sin or to righteousness. Many substances and behaviors cause physical addictions that work to keep sinners distant from God.
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you this morning who are joining us wherever you are joining us from. We welcome you to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church for another "central study hour." Thank you so much for writing in with your hymn requests. And this morning you're going to have a very, very special treat. Michael j. Harris is visiting with us from ventura county in California, which is about an hour north of l.

a. He's going to be singing our songs this morning. He's picked them, and I know that you are going to be very, very blessed. Michael is a Christian recording artist who has an incredible testimony that if you go to his website, they'll find more out about you, right? Yes, Christ is-- Christismyrock.

com. Go visit Michael's website and you can get his music and his book. And you will be very, very blessed. So this morning Michael is going to be singing, "for those tears I died" and "have thine own way." Welcome Michael. Thank you debbie.

Happy Sabbath everyone. [Music] you said you'd come to share all my sorrows, you said you'd be there for all my tomorrows; I came so close to sending you away, but just like you promised you came there to stay; I just had to pray! And Jesus said come to the water, stand by my side, I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied; I felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried, and I strove to remind you that for those tears I died. O Jesus, I give you my heart and my soul, for I know that without you I'd never be whole; I know you're here now and always will be. Your love loosed my chains and in you I am free. But Jesus why me? Sing with me, won't you? And Jesus said come to the water, stand by my side, I know you are thirsty, you won't be denied; I felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried, so I strove to remind you that for those tears I died.

So I strove to remind you that for those tears I died. Do you love him this morning? Can you trust him this morning? Are you willing to give all to Jesus this morning? Allow him to have his way in your life. [Music] have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Make me and mold me after thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still. Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Search me and try me, master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, as in thy presence humbly I bow.

Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way! Hold o'er my being absolute sway! Fill with thy spirit 'til all shall see Christ only, always, living in me. Christ only, always, living in me. I trust that you will have a Happy Sabbath. God bless you all. Were you blessed? Thank you, Michael.

Once again if you want information on Michael, Christ is our-- Let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, today we ask that you will just take our hearts, take our minds. We surrender our wickedness. We surrender these polluted, filthy hearts to you.

We ask you to please have your way in our lives. We want to see your face. We want to be in heaven. And may the things of this world not seem so tantalizing that we would throw away everlasting life for the fleeting things. Father, we thank you so much for loving us and for blessing us with a holy Sabbath day.

We take it for granted, I believe, in this country where we have so much ease. But I pray that you will be with each and every one here, those around the world who are suffering for their faith, that you will give them extra strength this Sabbath morning. Please be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together. We thank you so much for Pastor Doug and his ministry. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He is our senior pastor here at central church. Thank you, debbie. Thank you, Michael. That was a treat.

Morning, friends. We're glad we could study the word together in freedom. Amen? I want to welcome everybody here, central church, our class visitors, members. And those who are part of the extended class or who are studying with us via television or radio right now, or the internet. And we think we've gotten a lot of the bugs worked out of the streaming.

And we're hoping that we can hear from our friends that are watching or studying with us live streaming right now. The lesson we're dealing with today is lesson number 11 in the study guide, dealing with "the Bible and human emotions." And we'll get to that in just a moment, but there's a free offer we'd like to mention that goes along with today's study. And the free offer is called, "tips for resisting temptation." And if you'd like a free copy of that, all you have to do is call the number 866-study-more, 866-788-3966. And we'll send that to you. And also we have a memory verse for today's lesson.

I'd invite you to say that with me. The memory verse comes from John 8:36, John 8:36. I'm reading from the new king James version. You ready? "Therefore if The Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." Why don't we do that one more time. "Therefore if The Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

" And of course, Jesus said, "the truth will set you free." And Jesus is the truth. So the word, Christ is the word. The word of Christ, the truth, sets us free. There's power in the word to set us free. Well, we're going to be talking about a spectrum of different kinds of addictions that people grapple with, and how they can have the victory or freedom from those addictions.

Now I've recruited dr. David derose to help me again. And I did give him a little warning this time. Because some of what we're going to deal with also there are physiological things you might want to know about some of these different addictions. And I thought it would be helpful to have his perspective as both a pastor and a doctor to help.

So we're going to do a little team teaching on this subject today. First thing we're going to talk about is addiction in general. Now you and I talked a little bit about this last night. I've got a theory that we are sort of created by God to be, and I kind of hesitate using the word, but for the sake of this lesson, we're created to be addicted to God. Now when you look at what an addiction does to a person's life, there's really nothing wrong with those things if God is the addiction.

If we plan our life around him and we can't get enough of him and we'd sell everything we have to get more of him, that'd be a good thing. But the theory is that if you are not in love with and obsessed with God, then you just need to ask the question, what is your addiction? 'Cause it's something else. Well, doug, another way to look at it is God has hardwired us to have a number of different sensations that come right into the deepest part of our brain. We call it the limbic system. And one of those things we're wired for is for pleasure.

And God desires us to find our pleasure in him. In this world of sin, we also have the capacity to experience pain. God put that in our frame in the perfect world. But he only gave us pain after sin. And it was designed to be a blessing.

So we have this powerful inputs of both pleasure and pain that are really at the heart of our being, at the heart of our consciousness. And God wants us to fill those pleasure-senses with him. He wants to--the Bible says in psalm 37:4, "delight yourself in the Lord and he will give thee the desires of your heart." So it's really powerful to look at this from the way God created us. That's a good point. Sometimes we think that if you're a Christian, you're not supposed to do anything that's pleasurable.

And really, that's not true. I'm trying to remember the verse, it's either psalm 16 or 116. It's Karen's favorite. It says, "at thy right hand are pleasures forevermore." And it's speaking of the redeemed. And so, you know, God created us to enjoy pleasure.

But if we don't find our pleasure in him, at his right hand, we'll be looking for it in all the wrong places. Yeah, the other fascinating thing about this, doug, is a lot of us when we talk about pleasure and pain, you know, pain is something that most of us try to avoid. It's really kind of the antithesis, if you will, pleasure. And yet pain is also designed by God to be a blessing. Many of the addictions that we get into are because we're trying to avoid pain.

And yet God allows pain to come into our life to help us show a greater need that we have. Ultimately that need is him. But I see it all the time at new start there at weimar. We have many people come with chronic pain. Maybe it's from diabetes.

Maybe they have diabetic neuropathy. The purpose of that pain is not to get them to buy lyrica, you know, an anti-pain medicine, or take narcotics. That pain is trying to show them something better. God has natural solutions for pain, both spiritually and physically. And so the pain drives them to find the solution.

That's right, looking for something better. And that's really, when we speak about health ministry, or ministry in general, we're trying to point people to something better. And pain calls us to look for something better and we, what do we do? We medicate it. We get into addictions. God is trying to help us see the bigger picture.

And we have the privilege of looking at that this morning. That's right. Now we don't have time in this lesson to talk about the broad spectrum of addictions that are out there. I wanted to start out really with a verse from the Bible. If you go to 1 John 2:17, I think I've got this memorized, but I'm going to look it up anyway.

And it tells us here in chapter 2:15, we'll start with. "Do not love the world," 1 John 2:15, "do not love the world or the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of The Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--" now here he describes a spectrum of addictions-- "the lust of the flesh," there's the physical ones, "the lust of the eyes," there's those that may come through the sight, "and the pride of life," might be from vanity or money, power, "is not of The Father but is of the world. And the world will pass away, and the lust of it," the lust of the world, "but he that does the will of God will last forever.

" So almost any temptation or addiction you could look at can fall into one of these three categories. Now how many times was Jesus tempted in the wilderness there. Three principle areas of temptation. He overcame in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, you study those three temptations, to tell us that we can get the victory in any area. Amen.

Yeah, this is powerful because a lot of times when we speak about addictions, especially in a church context, people think we're talking about it to point blame. God is trying to free us like the opening text that we had. The Son does want to make you free. And that's the good news. Jesus has won that victory, and he wants to give it to each one of us.

Amen. Now in the lesson it talks about a variety of different addictions. We got one on alcohol, sex addiction, gambling, the love of money and personal image. Let's start for a moment with alcohol. I'm going to just ask for a show of hands, just to demonstrate something.

Please participate. I'm not going to put you on the spot and ask if you're an alcoholic. You may be and may want to volunteer that. But if you have known growing up somebody who you would consider to be an alcoholic, let me see your hand. Alright, do we have a problem then? It affects--everybody's life here has been affected by this in some capacity.

And I don't mean to be disrespectful, but my parents both struggled with alcohol and other drugs. And so when you see it, you know that it can cause a lot of misery. Now what especially concerns me about alcohol, let me just set the stage here a little bit. Alcohol is probably the most devastating drug addiction in North America anyway. I've heard over half of the people who are in the emergency room are there because of accidents from alcohol.

Over half the people who are in prison are there because of crimes committed or accidents. Sometimes manslaughter connected with alcohol. Over half of the abuse that happens with women and children, maybe men too, in families, alcohol is connected with it. Birth defects--and I could go right down the line. And in spite of that, do you sometimes hear Christians defend drinking a little bit of alcohol.

How much should a Christian support that industry that causes over 50% of all the misery? And look at what the financial burden is on every one of you through the taxes to support the prisons, the medical problems, the defects, the injuries related with alcohol, the counseling. How can a Christian support that a little bit? Should a Christian drink any alcohol? Now I haven't read a verse yet. There's verses in the Bible. You have any thoughts on that before I dive in there? Well, you know, one of the things that immediately comes to mind, doug, we talk about all these big problems. And they are related to alcohol, but if any of you were a pilot, how much alcohol would they let you drink as a commercial pilot? It's zero.

And the reason for it is neurochemically alcohol impairs judgment. For Christians in the world that we live in, do we have a higher calling, a more challenging calling? Are we in a more difficult situation than a pilot behind the wheel. I would like to suggest we are. Walking the Christian walk, living a Christ-filled life requires our full intellectual capacities. And I don't want to take even a drop of alcohol because we know measurably that impairs first of all our frontal lobe, where our wisdom, our judgment, our foresight, our moral powers are.

And we could go through study after study, doug, where people take a little bit of alcohol, and that threshold is lowered for other acts of indiscretion, other ways that we misrepresent Jesus or set ourselves up for other addiction. Yeah, there's examples in the Bible. Now the reason I'm pressing this is because I run into folks that say, "well, Jesus turned the water into wine." Of course we know he made grape juice. But just set that aside for a second, talking about the examples of how it lowers your wits. Noah drinks wine; he wanders around naked.

Lot drinks wine; he sleeps with his daughters. He never would have done it otherwise. David gets uriah to drink 'til he's drunk hoping that he'll go against his conscience, but it doesn't work, but typically it does. And how often do young men sometimes say to a young lady, "just have a drink." And they're hoping that it will lower their resolve against whatever their moral barriers or boundaries might be. I think everybody here knows that alcohol doesn't strengthen you spiritually.

It weakens your ability to resist temptation and to make good decisions. And how many people have sobered up? Not only is there of course the sickness connected with it, but then they sober up and then they have all that repentance for things, embarrassing things they've done. Or hurt people and said things. And there's really nothing good about it. You know, and that's why this whole line about moderate drinking is so insidious.

And if we took the time to look at the medical evidence on this, one of my favorite studies is the oxford vegetarian study. This is not a study of Seventh-day Adventists. They find people that are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, they get no heart benefits from alcohol. I mean this is the thing that people typically tout. They say, you know, it's good for your heart.

Well, there are some heart benefits. I'm not going to minimize it, in people who aren't eating enough fruits and vegetables. Because where do all alcoholic beverages come from? It's from grain or they come from fruit, right? Yeah, they're all from plant products. So there still are some healthy things in those products. I'm not going to say it's totally evil, but that's how satan gets us.

He gets us by showing us something quote "good" in something that has a collectively negative influence in our lives. So as we look at all these addictive things, doug, what we're going to find is every one of them has some aspects that are good. Or that something some might say, "well this is a good recreation," or this is something that's wholesome in some way. But when it's put in that packaging apart from God, that's where it becomes destructive. That's right.

Well with that we probably ought to read some verses here. Proverbs 23, and I'm going to read verses 29 to 35. "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without a cause?" They're not fighting in a battle, "wounds without cause." "Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look upon the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly." It might be attractive. And boy do they ever try to advertise alcohol in an attractive way.

"At the last--" notice at first you might enjoy it. It might give you a warm, fuzzy feeling. I used to drink. I know how it is. "But at the last it bites like a serpent, it stings like a viper.

Your eyes will see strange things, your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or one who lies at the top of the mast." What a reckless thing to do to sleep in the crow's nest, rocking back and forth, you fall to your death. "They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I didn't feel it." Here's an alcoholic condition. "When I awake, that I may seek another drink?" It's just, it's a way of life. And wounds without cause, misery, woe is what it describes in the Bible.

Why would a Christian want to do that? Now we should be full of a spirit. You know, sometimes you see a liquor store, it'll say, "beer, wine, and spirits." Why do they call it spirits? 'Cause people who drink do get spirit-filled, but not the right kind of spirit. Now we're going to talk about this in this verse, Ephesians 5:18. "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit." You know that text in Proverbs that we looked at just a moment ago, Pastor Doug, I've often used that concept in people dealing with many addictions. It speaks of wine being like a serpent or an adder, or a poisonous snake.

In working with people with addictions over the years, I've often said to them, "what would you do if you found in your home, you walked into the door, and you see a rattlesnake in your house?" This was a very effective illustration when I lived in the New York city area. They all said they'd run and you know, call somebody. In Oklahoma it didn't work so well. They'd fry it up probably. They would all, you know, take care of it themselves.

But that aside, I tell people that because many individuals who have addictions, whether it's nicotine, whether it's alcohol, whether it's other things, they think they can keep those things in their environment. And I said, "look at, here's the Bible. It's making this comparison. This is like a poisonous snake." There are people that have pet rattlesnakes. But they're dangerous.

I mean if they get out, if you're not careful with it, you can get bitten and you can even die. Why would you want something like this in your environment? If you're trying to get success over addictions, whether it's alcohol or anything else, get it all out of your house, all out of your environment. Don't say it's going to strengthen your resolve. Good point. You know I was thinking, I've heard, and you might have the stats on this, that one out of seven people that drinks becomes either an alcoholic or problem drinker.

I'm not sure the terminology. Well, there's all kinds of statistics, and I've seen different figures. You know, 'cause different populations we're looking at. Part of the issue is, doug, and why people hear different Numbers, is we're all wired a little bit differently in our brains. Some of us have predispositions to different addictions and other people don't.

Certain races have predilections for alcoholism, whereas others may tend to other addictive-type behaviors. So the important thing to me is not whether it's one in five or one in seven or one in twenty. The point is, many people who start out just as quote "social drinkers," they may even be social drinkers for many years. When they get into a very stressful situation, when life gets very intense, that alcohol can become like that serpent, that they thought they were handling it fine. It was just a pet.

They enjoyed it. And then it really stings them, it destroys their life. It becomes an addiction. Yeah. Yeah.

I was going to say that I heard it was one out of seven people. And I thought would you keep a dog that bit one out of seven kids that came to your house? Eventually you'd say why would you want that around? Now we've got to move along. By the way, we have a book you can read for free at the Amazing Facts website. It's called, "alcohol and the Christian." It's got--it's a simple book, simple study. It has a lot of resources and Scriptures about what the Bible says, the fermented, the unfermented.

And I wish we had more time to talk about that. But just if you go to, look under the free library, "alcohol and the Christian." And if you got questions on that or you may want to send a link to somebody that's worried or wondering about that subject. Now the principle of alcohol is obviously something--a lot of people may have no problem with alcohol, but there's a lot of people that have crack addictions, heroin addictions, all kinds of different drugs that are out there. Some people can be addicted to sugar or caffeine. There's all kinds of different addictions.

So the principles are for victory are really the same and what it does to you. Yeah, I think this is something we really want to emphasize in this study. Whatever you're dealing with, I mean the point of this study is not to pile further guilt on you. We know people tuning in, we know those of you here in the audience, you have things that you're dealing with, 'cause this is the human condition. Without God just filling our lives, that human nature craves other things to take the place of God.

And so the message is whatever the addiction, whatever the problem, even if it's not an addiction, if it's something that's pulling you away from Jesus, it's something you want out of your life. And God promises to give you freedom in that area. That's right. You know, something we didn't mention, one of the big addictions that causes--i think it's one of the number one killers is of course tobacco. Huge.

And I struggle with that. And my heart goes out to those that are struggling with it, but he gave me victory. Praise God. Amen. He can give anybody victory.

And it's the power of God that does it. Alright, something else in the lesson. This is a delicate subject, but really we need to talk about it. Now I believe in the old adage that if you're going to hit something, hit it hard and then move on. Well it's in the lesson.

We're going to hit it. We're going to hit it hard and then we'll move on. I think most of us here are adults, 'cause the kids are all in their Sabbath school classes right now. Some of those watching, just be advised if there are kids in the room, we're going to talk about sex addictions now. Let me tell you why this is a very important problem.

According to the brigham young university internet studies, every day there are 68 million pornographic search engine requests. And someone, I read last night and I don't have the reference, that Google, 7% of all the websites that are registered by Google are pornographic. Wow. Seven percent. This would explain why, "every 39 minutes a new pornographic video is being created in the United States," and why "the pornography industry has larger revenues than microsoft--" listen to this--"the pornography industry has larger revenues than microsoft, Google, amazon, ebay, yahoo, apple, netflix combined.

" By the way, this is from the "internet filter software review" by jerry ropelato. Worldwide pornography revenues just in 2006 were $97.6 billion. Well, in order to have all that production and all that money coming in, there's a lot of customers out there. Now when I was growing up there were liquor stores that had seedy magazines. And you'd see a few teenage boys gathered around with a centerfold giggling.

And it was sort of a rare occurrence. But with the internet, a whole new dynamic has been created where usually within a few strokes of a key in the privacy of a person's home or in their office, people can step into a very sordid world. And a lot of people have not been able to resist that temptation. "Adults admitting to internet sexual addiction: 10%." Notice it says "admitting." "Of that 10%, between 10% and 28% are women." That's from the website. It is a big problem.

And statistics in the church, as a pastor I can tell you a lot of families struggle with this. And statistics in the church, I don't know that they're a lot better or different from those in the world. It is a big problem. Jesus told us to "be in the world, but not of the world." Right. Part of the challenge is in our culture today, it's not just the availability of what we would call frank pornography, but it's what has happened to the moral standards in our world.

You do not have to go to pornographic sites to see scantily clad people anymore. It's on primetime television. On the highway. Yeah, exactly. It's everywhere.

And I shouldn't say it everywhere because we actually can control those inputs. For those of you that have problems in this area, you need to consider being on a diet where you remove these things. That's what we do with food problems. We remove these things totally from someone's diet. That's what we do with tobacco.

We get all the tobacco out of the house. We do it with alcohol. You need to do it with pornography. And it's not just frank porn that we're talking about. It's those ads in the magazines.

It's the television that you're watching. Maybe you're just going to get rid of the regular television and the dish network, and you're just going to get the--you know, and 3abn and hope channel or something. Yeah, well, I like that idea. Keep going. [Laughs] let me give you a verse.

I want someone to read Genesis 1:27-28. Who has that? "God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and he said to them, 'be fruitful and multiply in number; fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'" Was there anything in the wording when God spoke to them about male and female, where God giggled or there was any shame with adam and eve when he first created sex? In fact it was better than that. When God created male and female he said we were being created in his image. To me that's one of the most amazing things.

That procreative ability is the ability--it's not God's ability, we can't create out of nothing. But it's akin to the ability that the Godhead has. And it only happens when they were acting in concert, The Father, son and Holy Spirit, there in Genesis 1, are creating. God is sharing that amazing capacity with humankind. That's right.

It says, "let us make man in our image." Now in the lesson you've got also Proverbs 5:18. I'll read this one, Proverbs 5:18-22... You'll notice in this verse, it speaks in a very positive way when it talks about love and sex within a marriage, that it should be pleasant. And that's a good thing. But going outside of those bounds, it's a sin, calls it a sin.

And it calls it immoral. Now with David and bathsheba, how did that sin begin? Began with the lust of the eyes, didn't it? That's right, a look. Alright, read for us, Esther, job 31:1. "I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?" Of course this works both ways, men and women. Is-- "make a covenant with our eyes?" What does that mean? Means to-- well exactly what it implies.

We're making an agreement. It's in our heart, but it's with our eyes that we're not going to look on things that would lead us in the direction of temptation. So when something, some imagery comes into your mind, you immediately do what? You immediately turn your attention in some other direction. It's really an important principle, doug. And we probably should mention this.

As we speak about addictions, many people make the mistake of only focusing on what they're not going to do. That's actually a fairly weak decision. I mean it has to start there. You have to say, "look at, I'm saying no to alcohol." "I'm saying no to pornography." "I'm saying no to gambling," whatever the issue is. But more than that, you need to say "yes" to what? When you're tempted to look at that website, when you're tempted to go to the liquor store, what are you going to do instead? And so God tries to fill our mind with positive things, whether you're memorizing Scripture, whether you're thinking of Christian service, whatever it is, whether it's exercise.

Replace the bad habits with something good. "Overcome evil," the Bible says, "with good." That's right, Romans somewhere. "Overcome evil with good." That's a good principle. Now this is an important verse because it's dealing with mary magdalene. What if you are struggling with some addiction, and you've prayed and God gives you the victory, and you backslide.

You know how many young people come to me and they say, "Pastor Doug, I keep making the same mistake," whatever it is. And just this week, counseled with someone struggling with alcohol. And they said, "you know, I just wonder if I've grieved away the Holy Spirit, because I overcame it. Everything was fine. I've gone back two or three times now.

It must be hopeless for me." There's a story in the Bible that might give us some encouragement. Read for us Luke 8:2. "And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, mary called magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons." You read this in the book, "Desire of Ages," page 568, speaking of mary. "Mary had been looked upon as a great sinner, but Christ knew the circumstances that had shaped her life. He might have extinguished every spark of hope in her soul, but he did not.

It was he who had lifted her from despair and ruin." Notice here. "Seven times she heard his rebuke of the demons that controlled her heart and mind." Seven times she had fallen back into her old patterns, whatever they were. And came back to Jesus and was forgiven again and she heard his voice again set her free. I think there's a quote in the book, "steps to Christ," "we may often have to weep at the feet of Jesus." And so if a person gets discouraged, and you know, you've had the victory and you fall and you overcome again, whatever the addiction might be. As a Christian what makes--what makes it different? Well there's a powerful verse that goes along with this that gives us an answer.

It's in Micah 7:8, says there, "rejoice not against me, o mine enemy; when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me." The beautiful thing about that is even when we've fallen, God is still with us. And this is the thing that makes the difference, because God is still with us. He doesn't cast you off when you make a mistake. And in fact, doug, in the addiction community we know something. And that is--and it's classic is with tobacco smoking--every time a person fails in their efforts to succeed in overcoming an addictive behavior, rightly taken they can learn lessons that actually empower them to greater success the next time they quit.

You actually see where you've fallen. And you know, Paul said, "forgetting those things that are behind, I press forward to the Mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus." Well, when we see where we've fallen, we realize where we shouldn't be looking. And we realize more our need to focus on Jesus in practical ways. So these are powerful concepts for the Christian. Yeah, a person might be caught off guard because they were unprepared for a way, a vehicle, an avenue where a temptation comes.

When it does happen, they say, "I'm going to block that entrance from here on." Exactly. And so they can learn from that experience. I'm going to read in 1 Corinthians 7:2--i got it here, you can read it. Sure. 1 Corinthians 7:2, why don't you read that passage for us?.

.. You know this is an important passage, because it's telling us that part of the purpose for the marital relationship is that, that pleasure might be found in that relationship. One of the things that pornography does, it's so devastating, is a man or a woman is then finding that satisfaction, at least the physical aspect, outside of the relationship, to the depravation of their partner. And it causes all kinds of problems in the relationship. How did Joseph, we're going to go back to him, how did he deal with that? Where'd we go? Les, go ahead, you're going to read that for us.

Genesis 39:10, "so it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her." You know, I think this is a very important verse because it's saying that he knew that there was a source of temptation there. It never tells us whether or not potiphar's wife was good looking or not. We're assuming that if he's a high official in the palace of the pharaoh, that maybe he had an attractive wife. And it was a struggle for Joseph. Here he's a healthy young man, he'd you know been a slave.

And he resisted that temptation. He realized maybe it was a temptation. He said, "I won't even be with her." And at one point, she grabs onto him. And he could have thrown his hands in the air and said, "Lord, I tried as long as I could, but what am I supposed to do now?" And I think, you know, someone said, "we're supposed to flee from temptation, but most people crawl away and hope it catches them." But Joseph really did flee. It says, "resist the devil, he'll flee from you.

" But he fled from temptation. Even when he had to shake himself free from his robe. And of course she felt so spurned, she falsely accused him after that. But he avoided the places of temptation. If you struggle with alcohol, don't take that aisle in the supermarket that goes by all the wine and spirits.

I mean, you know, and going back and forth. You'd laugh--maybe I shouldn't tell you all this. It has nothing to do with that section of the Market. But I struggle with ice cream. I'm--I'm a vegan.

I mean I'm such a hypocrite. I only drink soy milk and rice dream. But sometimes--at one point I was drinking--i was eating half a gallon of ice cream a day. Now that's been 20 years ago. Praise the Lord.

And then I got down to it was just one pint of haagen-dazs a day. And but you know, I worked--and then I got where I said, you know, I notice I'm congested. I don't feel good. I gotta stop this. But oh, it was so good.

And then I got where--i got to where it was half a pint a day. I felt like I'm really getting--making progress. And then I pretty much quit. I mean I fall off the wagon sometimes. You all pray for me.

But you know what's funny? I go to the Market, I went yesterday, and I made up my mind, "tofutti, tofutti, tofutti, tofutti, tofutti." But I had to push my cart down through the frozen food. And if I see it's on sale, a little voice says, "but it's on sale, doug. Ben and jerry's, haagen-dazs on sale." And this little voice says, "why are you going to push your cart down there to see if it's on sale?" Now I'm not condemning all of you that may eat ice cream, saying it's a sin, but for me it was a struggle and I got to stay away from that stuff. I feel so much better if I don't eat it. And but it's the same principle.

I think people struggle with certain things. There's parts of the supermarket you need to stay away from. You know what I'm saying? You're touching on a number of really important principles. One of them is simply this. The real power when it comes to behavior change is in making clean breaks.

Isn't it interesting that if you look at the Ten Commandments, God never said it would be a good idea to cut back on adultery. Have you noticed that? I mean every one of the commandments is an all or none commandment, because there's power in that. So if God's convicting you to make a clean break with ice cream, you should make a clean break. If he's not convicting you of that, you know, enjoy your ice cream. You see the point? The Holy Spirit is able to individually direct us.

But here's the other thing, doug, that you really touched on. And people always ask me, some people have problems with soft drinks. They may have caffeine problems. They may have anxiety, sleeplessness. And they say, "well how about using the caffeine-free coke? I'm used to using the caffeinated," they tell me.

And I say if you just take a substitute that looks and tastes similar to the object of your desire, you don't develop that full capacity of developing new enjoyments. So although the tofutti may be a better choice, it may not be actually helping you to make that clean break. Just something to consider, doug. I know it's probably the last time we'll ever be up here together. [Laughter] now what about the two pints I bought yesterday? Well, you know, honestly my kids like that stuff and they haven't been convicted they need to make a clean break.

But I know--ha! I know what you're saying. If you're always--if you still keep buying the wham instead of the real pork, you're creating at least the craving for the real thing. You know what I'm saying? It's kind of like the kids who say, "oh, I won't listen to rock anymore, just Christian rock." Yeah, we sometimes, we try and find that middle ground. Alright, I have to pray about that one. I want to read one more on--before we leave the subject of sexual addiction.

1 Corinthians 6:18-19, I'll read this. "Flee sexual immorality." Isn't that what Joseph did? "Flee," run the other way... You know, one thing that really I think gives you victory in a broad spectrum of temptations is maintain an awareness that God is not only with you, but in you. You know, I struggled with smoking. And I started at 13, but my dad used to tell me, "I better never catch you smoking," even though he smoked.

And I found it was really easy to resist the temptation to smoke when my dad was there. You know what I'm saying? Just having his presence actually helped resist it. Now there's a promise here to get victory. 1 Peter 4, verse--what did I say? One and two. Go ahead, jolyne.

.. He's telling us we can have victory over these things. Alright, we've got to move on quickly to the subject of gambling. Would you let me before we do that--" sure. Just give one other point here.

Because when it comes to sexual addiction, you and I are both married, so we've been speaking from the standpoint of married individuals. And I kind of heard that in the dialogue. But we looked at 1 Corinthians 7. The context of 1 Corinthians 7, that chapter starts out with verse 1, Paul is saying, look at, "it's good for a man not to touch a woman." And I don't want us to fall into this trap, doug. Even though God created sex as something pleasurable, some of us actually God has called to celibacy, called to singleness.

That is actually a gift as well. There are other pleasures that God gives beside that. And in our world, what we're being told is if we're single, well then these things are alright. "Well, I'm not compromising any relationship because I need this pleasure," or "I don't have an interest for someone in the same sex, so I have to have this pleasure that God created me with." God has given us many avenues of pleasure. Think about the angels in heaven that are singing, "holy, holy, holy!" They are rejoicing in God being in his presence.

I actually think God's called everybody to celibacy at some point in their life. Good point. Before you're married. There are even times within marriage, Paul said if a husband and wife agree to fast and pray and leave that aside. And what about people when they lose a spouse and they're widows and widowers and they're single again? Exactly.

So it seems like in everybody's life, at some point, he's asking us to exercise self-control and victory in this area. Amen. Okay, gambling. Why is gambling listed among the addictions in our lesson? Is it an addiction? Should Christians be involved in a small way in something that can be an addictive behavior? So what are you going to do with your lotto ticket? It is interesting, doug. These very same pathways.

We talk in neuroanatomy about certain centers in the brain, the nucleus accumbens, the ventral tegmental area. You don't need to remember all those things, but those same pathways that are involved in drug addiction are actually activated in gambling addiction as well. So really nobody ever starts smoking planning to be a nicotine addict. That's not how it works. It's the same with gambling.

No one says, "well look at, I'm going to start gambling so I can have a gambling addiction." Yeah, they usually just visit--and sometimes it's late in life. Somebody they're successful, they've got a family, they've got a job, and for whatever reason they--new indian casino will go in next door and they think, "oh, think I'll just--" you know, "food's good there. It's cheap. I'll pull on the slot machine once. Oh hey, this is kind of invigorating.

" Do it again. "Oh, I got so close that time." Do it again. Next thing you know, they can be addicted. And it can wreck their lives. Now here in Sacramento we're not too far away from reno.

Of course we don't have to be anymore. The biggest indian casino in California is about 2 miles away from Amazing Facts office. Keep in mind, we were there first. I just want everyone to know that. And I have never been through the doors.

I want you to know that too, because a lot of people say, "oh, I would never gamble, but the food there is good." And I don't want to support the business at all. I don't think it's--what would people think if they saw Pastor Doug walking through the doors? "Oh, I'm just here to eat!" Well, doug, listen, listen. You fessed up. I'm going to fess up right now. I've been in casinos before.

I do a lot of work with native Americans. And that's often where they hold conferences and things. Yeah, well I have been las vegas. When you land in las vegas, there's slot machines in the airport. Yeah, amazing, isn't it? So that's--I'm not talking about that.

By the way, the slots, just by actual research are more addictive than table games. That's what the research indicates. Not that you should play table games instead. Now what are the biblical principles that deal with why Christians--how many times does the word "gambling" appear in the Bible? Well, they gambled at the foot of Christ for his clothes. You ever think about that? In connection with the crucifixion of Jesus, there was gambling.

Then you've got of course Proverbs 28:20... What's happening in gambling? Isn't a person trying to get rich quick? And at the expense often of other people's losing. The house isn't just deciding to be generous. They're getting their bank from people's losing. And you're trying to get some of that that has been a misery for other people.

And when it comes to the lottery, I think most of us know that the traditionally it is people of lower income that are buying lottery tickets. And it's not helping the poor. It's actually creating a deeper class of poor by selling these tickets. And someone said your chance of winning the lottery are about as good as being bitten by a shark on dry land. That may be an exaggeration, but I get the point.

Yeah. Let me put it this way, doug. I think this is really important to emphasize. We've been talking about a principle. And that is we saw it in Joseph's life.

And that is he had this attitude that he was in God's presence, that God was seeing him. If you look at Exodus 2, when Moses slew the Egyptian, do any of you remember what he did before he killed him? He looked to the right and the left. That's right. If you're doing anything and looking to your right and to your left, you know, at the grocery counter where they've got the lotto tickets, this is a warning. Okay, just pick up on this.

Live as if you're in the presence of God, only nurture those things that strengthen you in your spiritual life. Even if you never became addicted to these things, are they deepening your love for Jesus, or are you trying to tune on to the television and see what the lotto Numbers were for the day? Right? Anything where you have shame or cannot have transparency is suspect in your life and should be guarded against. We've got two minutes left. Let me just see here. Love of money.

Luke 12, I'll give this to you, David. You can read this. Luke 12:15. Okay, Luke 12:15, the words of Jesus, "take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Happiness does not come from the abundance of things. People want too much.

Gene, why don't you read that verse for us in 1 Timothy 6:10... Can some people be addicted to money? Sometimes we call 'em workaholics. It's not that they love work, as much as they love money, and they get the money through the work. And how much is enough? You know, you talk to people who are millionaires and they might think they're happy until they meet a room full of billionaires, and then they're not happy anymore. What does Jesus say? Matthew 19:23, you don't often hear sermons on this.

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'assuredly, I say to you it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.'" Are there going to be some rich people in heaven? For sure. Are they the majority or exception? Exception. What are their names? Name some of 'em that you can think of. Solomon.

Solomon, yeah, but it got him in trouble too. Abraham. He repented at the end. Abraham. You got job.

You know what, I think we need to just guard against the concept that our satisfaction is going to come from the abundance of things. You notice it said here in 1 Timothy 6, "greediness." And then Paul says, "those that are rich among you." He assumed there would be some rich in the church. He said, "those that are rich among you should be ready to distribute," willing to give. Thoughts on that? I mean it's powerful. We need to cultivate, again, these Christian virtues.

So if God has blessed you with something, don't cling to that. I mean there's things it speaks about personal appearance. It speaks about money. It can be accomplishment. Some people are workaholics, not because they're making so much money, but they're getting that reward of a job well done.

God has created us to enjoy these pleasures appropriately. And as you mentioned, in Psalms it speaks of, "pleasures at his right hand, joys forevermore." That's where we find our fulfillment in him. Amen. That's a good point to close on, 'cause we're out of time. Don't forget, we do have a free offer.

And that offer is called, "tips for resisting temptation. We'll send you a copy. Call the number: 866-788-3966. And God willing, we'll study again together next Sabbath.

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