Learning From The Kings, Pt. 4 (Nebuchadnezzar): Pride and Passion

Learning From The Kings, Pt. 4 (Nebuchadnezzar): Pride and Passion

Scripture: Job 22:29, Daniel 4:10, 1 Peter 2:11
Date: 09/18/1999 
This is the last of a series on learning lessons from the kings of Israel. Power corrupts and the kings show how it is easy to abuse their power. The story of Nebuchadnezzar teaches us what happens when we do not humble ourselves before God. King David also shows how pride turned him toward passion instead of the Lord.
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[Music] coming to you from the capital city of California, Amazing Facts presents, "the everlasting gospel." We're gathered with God's family of faith at the Sacramento central church. Together, we will explore the Bible with teacher, author, evangelist, pastor, Doug Batchelor. In the atmosphere of heart-felt prayer to our Savior and lord, moved by songs of love and praise for God and his amazing grace and inspired by the dedication and personal witness of our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. We will study the timeless, everlasting truths of God's Word. From messages which inspire us with the hope and freedom we have in Christ to practical down-to-earth sermons which give us the tools to live Godly lives in a secular society as well as messages that give Bible answers to our spiritual questions and look at what God says about the future.

There is sure to be something for everyone. So we invite you to join our family and experience the transforming power of God's Spirit in your life. Morning. I want to welcome everybody. For those who might be visiting with us in a special sense; we are continuing--actually today's the conclusion of a four-part series we've been going through on learning from the Kings, learning from the Kings.

And today's message is part four which is dealing with pride, power and passion. Now, pride has been connected with the last three messages because that was sort of one of the instigating elements in all the other problems. Pride, of course, is what led to the fall of lucifer. In our first message, I mentioned a Scripture and I asked you to recite a part of it with me. I'm gonna do that again.

Job 22:29. Job 22:29, I'll say it for you. "When they cast you down and you say exaltation will come then he will save the humble person. He will save the humble person." Why don't you say that with me? "He will save the humble person." That seems so simple and yet it's a profound truth that pride will separate us from God, but he will save the humble person. The Bible says that we must choose to humble ourselves.

Now, as we've already stated, the Kings had a special temptation because by virtue of their office and their authority, they had great power. And you've heard the expression that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When I was about 16 years old, I was living in boston. I worked part time as a thief, part time as a security guard. And I have another job I haven't told you much about but I worked in a factory where we would rust-proof the steel toes that go in boots.

It doesn't sound very exciting but it was an interesting job. We'd take these steel toes in these great big metal bins and we'd dump these in these chemicals and the bins would tumble to make sure that the rust-proofing chemicals penetrated all different areas of the steel toes. And then we'd dump them into another bin and rinse them and then dump them into a dryer and we were handling these steel toes all the day. Well, when I moved out to the cave after my experience in boston, I knew, when I got my hiking boots, I was going to get steel-toed boots. And something interesting, you know, you hurt your feet more when you have steel-toed boots then when you have normal boots.

You know why? Because just the fact that you know you are wearing steel-toed boots, you feel invincible and so you're kicking everything and you end up hurting your toes more. And you go to your friends and say, "go ahead, stomp on my foot. I've got steel toes." I was proud of my steel toes, and I was always hurting my toe 'cause I was pushing the envelope. Power tempts you to abuse that power. When a person has special power, there's a temptation to push it to the limits and abuse the power.

That was something that often happened to the monarchs. Now, I briefly referred, in our first message on learning from the Kings, to something I'm gonna spend a little more time with. Turn with me to the book of Daniel 4, king Nebuchadnezzar. Virtually all of the Bible is written by jews with a couple of exceptions. You know, I really think it's interesting that these aryan nazi extremists, you know, the supremacists, try to use the Bible to say it's okay to hate jews.

That to me is the height of ignorance because they're using the book written by jews to say you're not supposed to like jews. And these Jewish authors as proof of that... Help me, is there something wrong with that? But there are a couple of books in the Bible that were not written by jews. One chapter in Daniel, the chapter 4 is actually recited by Nebuchadnezzar and then, of course, the gospel of Luke in acts, which was written by Luke who was a gentile physician. Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream one night that he does not understand.

He's at the pinnacle of this authority and power. He subdued all the other empires, the golden kingdom of Babylon, enjoyed two of the seven wonders of the world, the ancient world. And he has this dream, he brings in all of his wise men to tell him what the dream means. He recites the dream and they don't know. After you've exhausted all the pagan possibilities, then you turn to God.

The pharaoh first went to his wise men. Daniel 2, king Nebuchadnezzar goes to his wise men and then he goes to God. Pharaoh goes to Joseph. Finally, they turn to Daniel again and Daniel says, "all right. Let's hear the dream.

" And the King says, "these were the visions of my head," verse 10, "while on my bed. While I was looking behold a tree in the midst of the earth and its height was great and the tree grew and became strong and its height reached to the heavens. It could be seen to the ends of all the earth and its leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant. And in it was food for all and the beasts of the field found shade under it and the birds of heaven dwelt in its branches and all flesh was fed from it. I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed and there was a watcher, a holy one, an angel, coming down from heaven and he cried aloud and said, 'thus, chop down the tree and cut off its branches.

Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit and the birds from its branches. Nevertheless, leave the stump and the roots in the earth bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven.'" Stay moist and vital, alive. "Let it be wet with the dew of heaven and let him graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth and let his heart be changed from that of a man-- let his heart be changed from that of a man and let him be given the heart of an animal and let seven times pass over him." Well, he tells this dream to Daniel. First he tells it to the wise men.

He later repeats it to Daniel. And Daniel says, "king--" here's the interpretation, verse 24-- oh, I'm sorry, verse 22. "It is you, o king, who have come to become strong for your greatness has grown and reached to the heavens, your dominion to the end of the earth. In as much as the King saw a watcher or holy one coming down from heaven and saying, 'chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and its root in the earth bound with a band of iron and bronze. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven and let him graze with the beast of the field.

' This is the interpretation, o king. This is the decree of the most high which has come upon my lord the King. They will drive you from men. Your dwelling will be with the beasts of the field and they'll make you eat grass like oxen, and they will wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times," that's seven years, "shall pass over you till you know that the most high rules in the Kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he chooses." One of the problems that the Kings often had is they thought that their office was by virtue of their brilliance and their achievement and their conquest and they earned it. And God was going to teach Nebuchadnezzar a lesson that, in essence, was telling him, "God sets over the Kingdoms, whoever he chooses, even the basest of men.

And if you forget this, I can prove to you that if I withdraw my spirit, you'll be nothing more than an animal. A beast's heart will be given you." Well, Nebuchadnezzar, this shook him up and Daniel gave him some counsel. He said, "here's my advice, break off your sins by doing what's right by righteousness and it might be a lengthening of your tranquility." Daniel knew that when you repent and humble yourself before the lord, he sometimes postpones judgment, a lot of cases of that in the Bible. Well, Nebuchadnezzar enjoyed another year of tranquility but then he forgot the admonition of Daniel. And you read in chapter 4:29, "all this came upon Nebuchadnezzar.

At the end of 12 months, he was walking about the royal palace." He's walking in his veranda and he's surveying this beautiful kingdom glittering in the setting sun. He's got the hanging gardens and the massive walls and the Euphrates river with boats inside the city going under the wall. And he's rebuilt the tower of babel that had crumbled. They called it the tower of marduk, seven step, what do you call that? Ziggurat? Step pyramid is what it was. And he's got all that before him.

And he surveys that and his heart begins to swell with pride the King spoke and said, "'is this not great Babylon that I have built for a royal dwelling place by my mighty power, for the honor of my majesty?' And his buttons began to pop and his head began to expand. And while the world was still in the King's mouth, a voice fell from heaven, 'king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken the Kingdom has departed from you and it will drive you from men and your dwelling will be with the beasts of the field. They'll make you eat grass like oxen and seven times shall pass over you till you know that the most high rules in the Kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he chooses.' That very hour, the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from men and ate grass like oxen. His body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagle's feathers and his nails lake bird's claws.

" Bees can drown in their own honey and Nebuchadnezzar had just drown in his own greatness. Evidently, after he made this proclamation exalting his own virtue--you know, one of the problems with power when you surround yourself with people that fear and respect your power, they're inclined to patronize, tell you what they think you want to hear and say, "oh, yes, you're great, you're wonderful. King, live forever, be exalted." And some of the millionaires and successful businessmen surround themselves with cronies. They call them "yes men," people who kiss up, tell the leaders and the powerful what they want to hear. And, you know, that just feeds their pride, feeds their ego, makes it worse and more incurable.

And Nebuchadnezzar was in that state and here he said, "this is great Babylon." And God then did something where he flipped the switch. And in my opinion, there's evidently part of the human brain that separates us from animals. We have an intellect with higher reasoning powers. Part of our brain is that which is shared by animals, that's controlled by the natural carnal desires that animals and humans share; whether it's sexual drive or drive for food or praise. And the little switch between the cerebellum and the cerebrum got cut.

I don't know what happened, what God did. I don't know how he did it but God said, "look, when you are controlled by pride, you are then a little more than an animal." And the Lord performed some kind of heavenly brain surgery in him and all of a sudden, he dropped down on the ground and began to grovel like a dog, like a beast. And when his counselors and advisors saw that he went mad-- and, you know, this is even in the history books that Nebuchadnezzar went mad for 7 years. They said, "this doesn't look good when people come to visit from other countries." And the people in the palace, I think they tried to keep it hush-hush because Babylon was secure, things were going well. They were afraid that setting up another king would be worse than folks not knowing.

They said, "the King is on leave. He's vacationing at his country home right now." And they took him, ushered him out of the palace, they corralled him and he groveled like an animal. You know how dogs really don't have any cultural discipline? I think it's funny. These folks train these dogs for dog shows, you know? And they poof out their hair and they shampoo them and they comb them and everything like that. And then they get around the other dogs, you know what they do? They act like dogs.

They don't shake hands that he way you and I do. And you and I are laughing 'cause you know dogs are embarrassing. You have a dog, you invite your company over. He's doing this... Don't do that at the dinner table.

You know why? They're animals, they're animals. Now, the reason I'm saying this is because pride leads to unbridled passion. David's pride led to two kinds of sin. There are two major sins that are expressed in David's life. One was his sin with bathsheba.

He thought, "hey, I'm the King." He walked on his veranda just like Nebuchadnezzar had and he saw all he surveyed was his and there was a beautiful girl. He said, "I'm the King. All the other pagan Kings take what they want. After all, I'm the King." And his pride led to his compromising his judgment. He gave reign to his passion.

Later he numbered Israel, his power. He wonders, "how big is my army? How powerful am i?" Where David, when he was small and humble, he said, "it doesn't matter how many soldiers he had. It doesn't matter that Goliath is taller, he's better equipped because I come with the Lord." His trust was in the Lord, but now he was trusting in Numbers. And again, he fell because of pride. Pride, power and passion was the downfall of many a monarch.

And I'll illustrate that as we go on here. Look at some examples. First of all, you can divide passion in a couple of categories. We have these natural carnal desires that war against the soul. Sometimes it might be the drive for intimacy or sex.

It's a word we don't like to say in church, but it is in the Bible. Or it might be a physical appetite, what we eat and drink. I'd like to read some principles to you that are found all the way through Scripture about a war that's raging right now in every person's life between the Spirit and the flesh. Pride paves the way for us to give into the flesh. Humility enables the Spirit.

Peter 2:11, I'm gonna give you a lot of Scripture. You may want to jot some of these down. "Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul." When we give reign to the fleshly lusts, whether it's what you eat or what you drink or some carnal passion, it chokes your spirituality. James 4:1, "where do wars and fightings come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?" Now, those that have not desired to be Christians don't feel this battle going on. When you make an effort to be a Christian, you have to go against--you need to resist the natural carnal desires that most of the world says, "hey, if it feels good, do it.

" If you're a Christian, you can't think that way, amen? If you're a Christian, you do not just give reign to your passions, but your passions must be controlled by the Spirit. Now sex is not a sin within the confines of marriage. Eating is not a sin when it's done for the right reasons. But when a person is governed by pride, they set aside those barriers and they give reign to their passions. There's a war going on in the hearts and minds of those who want to be led by the Spirit.

It's the flesh warring against the Spirit. Now, Romans 8 says more about this than any other place in the Bible. Romans 8, why don't you turn with me to verse 3? Paul explains this and he says, "for what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God, by sending his son in the likeness of sinful flesh on the account of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh that the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." It doesn't mean we stop having a flesh. We're not controlled by it. Sin should not have dominion over you.

"For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh. But those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death." If we live for our passions and pleasures, we will not enjoy everlasting life. You cannot be controlled by the flesh. "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace because the carnal mind is enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be.

So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if, indeed, the spirit of God dwells in you." Now, if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he is not his. A Christian cannot be controlled by the lower nature. When you train an animal, you typically play upon their carnal nature 'cause that's how they operate. If an animal misbehaves and does something wrong or performs something it's not supposed to do, they make it feel pain.

When it performs correctly, you praise the animal. You reward it with food and they associate things like that 'cause they're controlled by the lower fleshly nature. That's the way they think; it's normal. And I'm not trying to deride your pets that you love. One of the first things I do whenever I get a new dog or cat, whenever I feed them, I call out a certain name.

Whenever I put their food down, I pet them and I call out the name and it long before whenever I want them to come, I make that sound. I call out that name. They've come to associate that with food, food. That means food or praise. I'll be praised.

And sometimes you need them to come right away so you can use this. Incidentally, it does work with your children too, but that's not a good way to train your children. You want to transition them into being controlled, not be some kind of reward, but by their intellect. So pain, pleasure, praise are the tools that are used to train animals. Will it feel good? Will it feel bad? Will I be noticed? Those are the same criteria that control most people in their decision-making process.

Will it feel good? Will it feel bad or what will people think of me? Jesus never made a decision based on the carnal nature. Will it feel good? Did it feel good to go to the cross? Did it make him more popular? No. He made his decisions based on the Spirit. What was the will of God? A Christian cannot be controlled by the lower nature. Pride has a tendency to set aside that reasoning intellect and give permission for the flesh.

Let's look at some of the examples that are found among the monarchs. First of all, power is-- positions of authority, you're tempted to take credit for anything that happens in your dominion while you're on the throne. I always think it's interesting when any president is in office during a time of economic stability. The president always likes to glory in that. Economists know that these cycles of up and down in the economy are always the result of an administration that took place several years earlier.

You cannot experience an economic change by voting some person into office. It's usually policies that are affecting thing and it takes years for them to work themselves out. But it's always a joke when any president jumps into office and there's any kind of environmental prosperity. "I did it. It's me," and the economists laugh and they know it's because of decisions and policies that were implemented years earlier that you experience something.

It takes at least 4 years sometimes. It's like this woodpecker, martin luther used to talk about, pecking on a tree, proud woodpecker. And lightening struck the tree and it exploded and the woodpecker flew away and said, "look what I did. Look what I did." That's human nature. Now, there's a Scripture I want you to especially notice, Ecclesiastes 10:16-17.

We're gonna talk about eating and drinking and I try and find some other churchy world for sex. It's hard to do. Intimacy. Ecclesiastes 10, we're talking about passion, verse 16-17. Now, appetite is not necessarily an appetite for food.

An appetite can be an appetite for any kind of physical desire. "Woe to you, o land." What does woe mean? Oh, you're in bad shape. "Woe to you, o land, when your king is a child--" and child here means lack of self-control. You know how you have got to teach children self-control? They normally don't have it. You've got to teach them to obey Your Word instead of doing what they feel like doing? Children have a tendency to, sometimes, embarrass their parents 'cause they do whatever they feel like doing.

We were having dinner last night, one of our children just let out an earthshaking burp at the table. It was the natural response of dinner. And we had to explain we're not in saudi arabia. You don't do that. Children need to be taught to control these natural things.

"Woe to you, o land, when your king is a child," no self-control, "and your princes feast in the morning. Blessed are you, o land, when your king is The Son of nobles and your princes feast in the proper time for strength and not for drunkenness." Now, why does a Christian eat? Gluttony and drunkenness or because it's for strength? What should be the supreme thing we consider when we eat? How it tastes or is it good? Come on, am I going too fast? What should be the supreme thing that we consider when we're deciding what we eat? I'm not saying your food should taste bad but is that the priority? No, that's why we say the desert comes later. First thing is nutrition, then we'll try and think about something that tastes good because that should be the principle, eating for strength and not for drunkenness. Karen and I went on this cruise; about the only thing they do on the cruise is they feed you. And they even got a midnight buffet and they got these dessert tables.

Boy, I'll tell you what, talk about temptation. I mean, long after you eat enough to nourish your needs, they're still bringing entrees and chocolate-dipped strawberries and all kinds of exotic deserts. And, you know, it's really hard to say, "I know I've had more than I need and I had way more of what I don't need to say 'stop.'" And you can almost get drunk just through the delicacies that they're constantly bringing before for you. It's terrible temptation. Pray for us, we're going for a cruise with my dad in December.

[Laughing] Numbers 11, is eating-- has it been a temptation for God's people in the past? Have people fallen, due to lack of self-control, over what they eat? Have you read about esau who sold his birthright so he could have some beans right now? It was nutritious food. We need to know how to control our appetites. There's even a time for Christians not to eat when there's good food available. I think that we should spend time fasting over different things. I think we'd see more spirituality.

You know, fasting is not just for physical health. There are physical benefits. A lot of people in the world, who don't even believe in God, fast and they recognize the benefits of cleaning out your system. But, you know, the Bible seems to imply that when we set aside fleshly satisfaction and gratification, we're more inclined to be in tune with the Spirit. I'll say more about that in just a minute.

Numbers 11:4, "the mixed multitude who are among the children in Israel, they yielded to intense craving." They yielded to intense craving. Have you ever had that problem before? Both Karen and I are working on our weight a little bit. I know you're thinking, "well, you guys aren't having a serious problem." But we noticed that our clothes don't fit the way they used to fit. We think it's the cleaners that we're using, have things turned up too hot or something but that's probably not it. So we're kind of going back and forth and we're racing each other down the scale.

And boy, when you try to-- what's that dear? I'm still less than you are. Well, let's hope so. I won't go there. No, I'm not gonna go there. I know better.

I might enjoy it here in church now, but I'll live with it later so I'm not gonna go there. They yielded to intense craving. Have you ever tried to make changes in your eating habits? And it's a real struggle sometimes. And incidentally, do you know, it's a lot easier to be determined and resolved about eating and not eating certain things when you're full? But when you're hungry, your resolve starts to erode. They yielded to intense craving and they were plagued and they started thinking about oh, back in Egypt.

And they lusted after the fleshpots of Egypt and they weren't interested in the nutritious angel food that Godhead was providing for them. Philippians 3:19, "whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, whose glory is their shame, who set their mind on earthly things, whose God is their belly." You know, never has there ever been, in the history of the world, a civilization that had more abundance and more variety of delicacies to choose from. The Bible tell us in Proverbs, "if you're a man given to appetite, put a knife to your throat when you sit before a king and he sets his delicacies before you. If you're a man given to appetite, put a knife to your throat that you be not taken with his delicacies for they're a deceitful meat." Daniel had enough self-control to refuse the delicacies. He did not go to the midnight buffet of Babylon.

He was able to turn away from that and he ate for strength rather than drunkenness, and he was ten times wiser than all the other counselors who ate from the King's cafeteria. Does its matter what he eat? Can we see stories in the Bible where the Kings, through lack of self-control, suffered because of what they ate and drank? The reason that you and I are struggling with sin right now is because eve ate the wrong thing. So don't you ever tell me that we are legalistic has Christians because we believe that there should be--Christians should be discriminating in what we eat and what we drink. Your body's the temple of the Holy Spirit. There is a very strong connection between your mind, your spiritual strength, your commitment and your appetite.

Only in eternity will we really appreciate how real that connection is. So we need to pray for grace that God will allow us to be governed by the higher nature and not like animals. Eating, drinking; let's talk about drinking. You can see a number of stories in the Bible where Kings made some very bad decisions because they were drinking the wrong thing. King ben-hadad, greatly outnumbered Israel, surrounded samaria, made some unreasonable demands.

And the Bible says, king ben-hadad was in his tent, his pavilion, with all his officers in the middle of the day getting drunk. Kings, 20:16, "so they went out at noon, meanwhile, ben-hadad," smug and proud, "and his 32 Kings with him, or princes, were getting drunk at command post." That's a bad time to drink. And word came to ben-hadad, "it looks like some soldiers are coming out of the gates of samaria. What do you want to do?" And he's slobbering and slurring, he said, "well, if they've come out for peace, take them alive. If they come out for war, take them alive.

" That's not a very good strategy. People are trying to kill you, and you're trying to arrest them, but he was drunk. And ahab was able to defeat ben-hadad 'cause he was drunk. Daniel 5, you should not be too far away from there if you've still got your finger in Daniel 4. You know that story? How the Kingdom of Babylon, that golden kingdom fell? "Belshazzar the King," grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, "made a great feast for a thousand of his lords and drank wine in the presence of the thousand.

And while he tasted the wine, proud belshazzar, he gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels that his father, Nebuchadnezzar, had taken from the temple that was in Jerusalem that the King and his lords and wives in and concubines might drink from them. And they brought these golden vessels that had been sanctified for the worship of jehovah into that palace of Babylon," where they're having a party. They pour alcoholic beverages in them and they begin to proudly mock the God of heaven by toasting these idols of wood and stone and gold and silver and bronze. And you know what happened? While the King was drinking, proudly mocking the almighty, a bloodless hand began to glow and appear and write over by the wall in burning letters, "impending judgment." That night, that king lost the Kingdom. Ben-hadad lost the battle.

Belshazzar lost the Kingdom because they were not drinking the right thing. I want you to notice what somebody said to a king. He's sort of a missing king, a nebulous king in history called lemuel. In Proverbs 31:4-5. Incidentally, the word lemuel, we know what it means.

It means devoted to God. We don't know who he is. But this mother in Proverbs is speaking to her son who is a king. It might have been a nickname, lemuel. It could have been bathsheba talking to Solomon when he was a child.

We don't know, but here's what it says, "it is not for Kings, o, lemuel. It is not for Kings," twice emphasized, "to drink wine nor for princes intoxicating drink; lest they drink and forget the law and pervert the justice of all the afflicted," pervert judgment. Is not for Godly Kings to drink because it impairs your judgment. Now we know that too, right? If you're not supposed to drink and drive because it's dangerous to impair your judgment, if you're in battle with the devil, is it safe for to us drink alcohol if we're constantly being asSaulted with temptation? No. It weakens your discriminating ability to judge between good and evil.

Not only should Kings not drink, Leviticus 10:8-11, "then the lord spoke saying, 'do not drink wine or intoxicating drink. Aaron and his sons, the levites, the priests, nor your sons with you when you go to the tabernacle of meeting lest you die.'" Death penalty pronounced on those who had presumed to get drunk before they come before the Lord. Now there's three principles here I don't want to you miss. And I'm gonna hit it. I'm gonna hit it hard and I'm gonna move on.

I don't believe we're ever supposed to drink alcohol. I could recite all kinds of-- and it's a shame that I would even need to say this to predominantly Christians. I know that some are watching on television from different persuasions. You know, some Christians think it's okay to drink alcohol as long as you don't get blubbering drunk, and they try to misquote a few Scriptures. They don't understand what the word "wine" means in the Bible and using it in context.

But if you were to even set the Bible aside and use judgment and you were to consider that the majority of trouble that comes to our society comes through the medium of alcohol. Most of the traffic deaths, alcohol. Most of the people who are in jail, crimes committed while under the influence of alcohol. The child and spousal abuse, most of the time, alcohol is connected. People in the emergency room, in the insane asylum are there because of birth defects and injuries connected with alcohol.

How much should a Christian support that? What percentage can we support that industry? I don't think at all. Then you've got a couple of other biblical principles here. The Bible says, "Kings should not drink. Priests should not drink and especially when we're ministering before the Lord." You know what the Bible tells us about Christians in Revelations 1:5-6, "to him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood at the price of his blood, we became Kings and priests to his God and father." You and I are Kings and priests. And for that reason, we should not drink wine, amen? We are living now in the antitypical day of atonement, a time of judgment.

We are in the presence of the Lord. He's in the holy of holies. We should not be drunk if ever there was a time. If you think that you can torture the Bible to prove that somebody there got drunk and was blessed of God, and I don't think you can, well, maybe back there you could excuse it but not now because we are living in the age on whom the ends of the earth have come, amen? We need to be careful what he drink. The Bible says in Corinthians 10:31, "therefore whether you eat or whether you drink, do all to the glory of God.

" Pride often lead to Kings eating for drunkenness rather than for strength. You know in the Bible it's tells us that gluttons are not going to heaven. Gluttony, dealing with people who don't have control of what they eat and what they drink. Jesus tells us, "take heed to yourself," Luke 21 speaking of the second coming verse 34, Luke 21:34, "take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be weighed down with carousing and drunkenness in the cares of this life that that day comes upon you as a thief unexpectedly." the Lord is telling us that when he comes, people are gonna be preoccupied with eating and drinking. Now, this is something that is especially difficult for Christians to know how to relate to because God made us to eat.

God gave us taste buds. He wants us to enjoy food. God designed us with the plumbing for intimacy. It's not from the devil as some people would have us think. But you know what makes the difference is, he gave us these things and before man fell, man naturally was controlled by his higher nature.

When adam and eve sinned, we lost the dimension of our powers where man was no longer controlled by his higher nature, the lower nature was constantly taking control. You know, probably one of the simplest yet most profound things that I can say to you is that a Christian needs self-control. Now what I mean by that is the antithesis of love is selfishness. Our big battle is with self. We're constantly wanting to gratify and satisfy our physical needs and our ego, pride and stroking and sometimes even emotional.

A person without self-control is like a city without walls and it's not always easy because our bodies are a combination of the spirit and the higher intellect and reasoning powers, but we share things that animals have, these desires that war against the soul. And we need to pray for the grace of God, every day, to give us control over these lower natures. Because, you know, eating, you can't say, "I'm just not gonna ever eat again and that settles that." I can do that with smoking, but you can't do that with eating. Well, let me go on to the next subject and I'll expand on that a little bit. Sex, now what I'm gonna share will be appropriate so, don't get nervous.

But I had to tell you the context of what we're talking about. It's a blessing of God. It's a beautiful thing. It's how we all got here, in case you didn't know that, within the confines of marriage with the exception of adam and eve, everyone else that's how they got here. The devil takes every blessing of God and he perverts it.

He twists it. He distorts it. He brings it to extremes. He abuses it. But within its context, taste buds are a blessing.

Praise God. It doesn't hurt to eat. We all have to do it, right? But it can be taken to an extreme and it turns into gluttony. Within the confines of marriage, sex is a wonderful blessing, but it also can be abused and taken to extremes inside as well as outside of marriage. Now God does want us to know that there are times for withholding ourselves.

From food, it's called fasting and from intimacy in marriage. Let me read something to you that establishes this principle. Corinthians 7:2-6, "nevertheless because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife. Let each woman have her own husband." You notice he doesn't just say, "man have his wife." People say, "men own women." Well, here it says women own her husband too. It's a mutual relationship here.

And incidentally, in the areas of marital infidelity, it's about 50-50 between men and women. You would almost figure that out because it takes two every time, right? But everyone focuses on what David did with bathsheba and they forget that bathsheba did it with David too. "Nevertheless because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her and likewise also, the wife to her husband." Now that is not license for abuse. That's license for understanding that we are one flesh in marriage.

"The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does and likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body but the wife does. Do not deprive one another." Intimacy, in those relationships should never be used as a reward and punishment device. Sometimes we do counseling as pastors and we find out that people have been depriving each other to punish because there's been an argument. You hear men sometimes joking, "I was on the couch last night," and eluding to they had an argument. Karen and I have had our share of disagreements, I've never slept on the couch.

I've been tempted, but I never have. "Do not deprive one another except with content," that means mutual consent for a time, not indefinitely, "that you may give yourself to fasting and prayer." So you see, there is a time for people to withhold from physical gratification whether it's what you eat or what you drink or intimacy. You know when the Lord got ready to give the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel, he said, "wash your clothes." I believe they spent some time in fasting and prayer. And it says, "come not near your wives." In other words, refrain. This is a time of preparing yourselves, spiritually, by denying the flesh.

And notice that it's something that's not dictated by God or by the church, but it's something that you do on your own. Now I think there are times when the church might present to the people a special need and say, "we'd like to introduce, we'd like to recommend that you spend time in fasting and prayer." And there are all different kinds of ways of fasting. Esther did that for the people of God. You know, even though the word "God" is not mentioned in the book of Esther, it talks about basically fasting and praying for deliverance where they prayed for her 3 days before she went in before the King and God heard that prayer. But here it tells us that maintaining self-control and the purpose of denying yourself physical gratification can sometimes get things in the right perspective that the spiritual focus, spiritual satisfaction, needs to be the priority for Christians, am I right? And then notice what he says, "for a time, and come together again that satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

But I say this as a concession and not as a commandment." In other words, don't this indefinitely because then, you know, it can get out of hand. The Bible says, "it's better to marry than burn," meaning burn with passion. God doesn't want us getting so preoccupied, we go crazy. Some people do this when they're dieting. They control themselves so long, they go through these--you've heard about people, you know they're constantly up and down because they go through these radical diets where they deprive themselves everything.

It's not a natural lifestyle. And they become so obsessed that finally when they either reach their goal or they can't handle it anymore, they go hog wild once they start eating normally again and it's just out of control. That's why if you're going to fast, however you choose to fast, you ought to set a time on it and then be realistic. Don't do anything unreasonable. Now, there are proper times and places for eating, drinking and intimacy.

I had a special meeting with just the men in this church. Some of you men were there. I think it's been more than a year ago. When was that jim oliver? They called it "with doug unplugged," and we talked about this issue of sex because I'd never had a forum before where I could talk about something that is very important. You know, in the Bible it tells us the strongest man who ever lived, what was his name? Samson.

He fell in this area. The richest and the wisest man, what was his name? Solomon. Let's read that. Go with me to 1 Kings 11. I'm leaving some stuff out 'cause I'm watching the clock, but I want to read this one.

Kings 11, we read about all the wonderful things Solomon did and how he was loving the Lord and faithful, but he had a weakness. Verse 1, "but king Solomon--", whenever a chapter starts with the word, "but," it makes you cringe. Up to this point, Solomon was doing wonderful things. "But king Solomon loved many foreign women as well as the daughter of pharaoh," who was his first wife, "women of the moabites and the ammonites and the edomites and the zidonians and the hittites from the nations of whom the Lord has said to the children of Israel, 'you shall not intermarry with them nor they with you for surely they will turn away your hearts after their Gods.' Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives.

" Did it really say that? "Princesses and 300 concubines." Heard a kid reciting this verse to a friend. He said, "yeah, Solomon had wives, 300 porcupines." "For so it was when Solomon was old that his wives turned his heart after other Gods and his heart was not loyal to the Lord, his God, as was the heart of David, his father." And he went after these pagan Gods. Because he gave vent to this desire that he had for many women, pretty soon they were all around him hounding and blistering his ears and whining that he not respect them because he wouldn't set up idols to their Gods and they missed their hometown. How was it that Samson got an unscheduled haircut? How was it is that he finally gave up his riddle? But I'm just trying to emphasize something that is a delicate issue is that you look through the history of the Bible and a lot of God's great men, including David and Solomon and Samson and so many, fell in this area of sexual sin. You know, two of the Ten Commandments deal with that.

"Thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife." Because it's something that's day by day in our makeup, in our bodies, in our genes, and I'm speaking to men and women here, it's something that needs to be addressed that it's a problem that we cannot give reign to. Now whether it's food, what you eat or what you drink or passion, you know where we get in trouble? Right here... Everybody thinks that it starts at the mouth or somewhere lower. It starts right here. The Bible says, "sin is conceived right here.

" That's why David said, "I'll set no wicked thing before me." That's why Jesus said, "if a man thinketh to commit adultery in his heart," and the man thinks in his heart right here. You know where you get victory in a diet? It doesn't start with the taste buds, it starts with the resolve and the commitment committed to God empowered by his spirit right here. How much can we do without the Lord? Nothing. How much can we do with the Lord? All things are possible with God, the Bibles tell us. If we're going to have control, then we need to give our minds to the Lord.

The Bible says, "let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus." The only way we can have victory in these areas is as we surrender to the Lord. Corinthians 6:9-11, "do not be deceived." Now, he lists people who will be excluded from the Kingdom of heaven. Please notice, "do not be deceived. Neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor homosexuals nor sodomites nor thieves nor covetous nor drunkards nor revilers nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God and such were some of you. But you were washed.

You were sanctified. You were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." Out of the ten things that are specified that will exclude us from the Kingdom of God, four of them are sexual in nature. We almost never talk about this in church because it's, you know, it makes us uncomfortable. In the Hebrew culture, they hit this head on because they knew it was part of life. And the Bible is telling us that God can change us.

Notice here, and it includes homosexuals. I heard some guy on the radio say the other day, "a homosexual cannot be saved." And it says here, "some of you were these things." Notice, "in such were some of you." Were, what does "were" mean? Past tense. You're not anymore. Why? You've been washed. You've been sanctified.

You've been justified in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Real sanctification, real justification means you change your mind. You're not the same 'cause you're thinking different. You've given yourself to the Lord and he is now living in you. You're a new creature.

Why was Jesus called king of Kings? Why was he called the prince of princes? You know what a definition for nobility is; someone who is majestic or someone who is noble, someone who is monarch-like or dignified? It's a person who is controlled by their reasons and not by their passions. Did you get that? A noble person, a person with dignity is a person who is not controlled by their passions but they're controlled by what's right and wrong, their reasons. Jesus was king or Kings because he never consulted his passions when he made a decision. He consulted the will of The Father. In that battle in the garden of Gethsemane, he did not feel like going to the cross.

He did not feel like being separated from The Father by virtue of our sins. But he said, "not my will, thy will." And a Christian needs to be governed by the ultimate will of God, not my will, lord, but thy will be done. Jesus was hungry in the wilderness. He was thirsty on the cross. But never once not once in his life was he proud, not once in his life did he allow passion to control him.

And the Bible says that we can be like Christ if he lives out his life in us. Is that your desire, friends, to invite Christ to take control? Please turn to our closing hymn. Number 316, "live out your life within me." And let's stand together as a symbol that we're inviting the lord to live out his life in us. . [Music] live out thy life within me, o Jesus, king of Kings.

Be thou thyself the answer to all my questionings. Live out thy life within me, in all things have thy way. I, the transparent medium thy glory to display. Before we sing verse 2, I want you to look at the words. If you sing them you might not notice them.

"The temple has been yielded." What temple is that talking about? "And purified from sin." You know, if we want that temple to be purified, we must yield it. Paul says in Romans 12, "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present yourselves a living sacrifice, holy, that you place your body on the altar and that God can move in." And it says, "let thy shekinah glory now shine forth from within," God living in us, "that all the earth keep silent the body henceforth be thy silent gentle servant moved only as by thee." Is that your prayer, friends, that we might be moved only by God? If so, let's sing it together, verse 2. The temple has been yielded and purified of sin. Let thy shekinah glory now shine forth from within. And all the earth in silence the body henceforth be thy silent gentle servant moved only as by thee.

We read in Revelation where because of the sacrifice and blood of Jesus, we are invited to be a nation of Kings and priests. Now it's implied there that that means we live noble lives, amen? Where we not controlled by-- we all have these lower natures and God designed it. And as long as we're in this world, they're there but they should not be on the throne. Passion should not dictate your decisions. God wants us to be controlled by his spirit, not by the flesh, amen? I know that we all struggle.

Every one of us here, there's not one that's exempt, from the youngest to the oldest, we all struggle between these two natures that are warring. If you'd like to say, "lord, today I'm asking you to take the throne. I want to be controlled by your spirit," lift your hand in his presence now. And by doing so, you're giving him permission to live out his life in you. Let's sing the last verse together.

But restful, calm and pliant, from bend and bias free, awaiting thy decision when thou has need of me. Live out thy life within me. O Jesus, king of Kings. Be thou the glorious answer to all my questionings. Father in Heaven, lord as we've looked at the history of the Kings through the Scriptures, we can see them reproducing a lot of our behavior patterns.

We can see where they triumphed and where they fell. And lord, I pray that we can learn from their examples and not pattern our lives after their mistakes but after their victories. I pray, Dear Lord, that especially we can focus and fix our attention on Jesus who is our king, king of Kings, that he might be our role model in every situation. Lord, we thank you for the promise that we can live and reign with you as Kings through eternity. I pray that you'll grant us victory in these areas.

We struggle, sometimes, with what we eat, what we drink, our thoughts and impurity. And I pray that we can be cleansed, lord. All of us need to be sanctified and be justified. We cling to these promises that promise that we need not be ruled by the flesh, but Jesus and his spirit can be on the throne of our existence. Bless each one here, lord, I pray that you'll give us victory in our minds and in our hearts with what we choose to focus on and think about that we might have victory over the flesh and in our bodies.

We want to give you permission now to live out your life in us. And when people see us, when we speak to them, we pray that they will be hearing and seeing Jesus. And it's in his name we ask. Amen. [Music] happy Sabbath, pastor Jim.

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