Formations Lesson for June 6- Sins of Excess- Lust and Gluttony
May 26 2010 by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville

Focal Passage: Proverbs 7:4-5, 21-23; 23:1-3, 19-21  

“Do this! Don’t do that!”

“This is right, that is wrong.”

Time-honored admonitions, for children and adults alike.

In the first century, philosophers and teachers composed lists of virtues for their students to cultivate and vices for them to avoid: “Do this! Don’t do that!”

The New Testament writers followed suit. Remember the six vices in 1 Peter 4:3, cited in last week’s lesson? (See also Mark 7:21-22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 2 Corinthians 12:20, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8 and Revelation 21:8 for vices; Philippians 4:8 and 2 Peter 1:5-7 for virtues.)

Paul lists 15 sins, “the works of the flesh,” followed by nine virtues, “the fruit of the Spirit,” in Galatians 5:19-23. Of the sins he says, “Those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of  God.” Pretty deadly.

In Romans 1:29-32 he cites 17 sins of the Gentiles, commenting that “those who do such things deserve to die.” Really deadly.

So a fourth century monk — some say John Cassian of Marseilles, others Evagrius of Pontus, in Greece — who listed eight especially insidious habits was on solid biblical ground. Two centuries later Pope Gregory I, writing about Job, reduced the list to what we now call the Seven Deadly Sins.

For her high school history class, Danielle, one of our youth, memorized the sins using the acrostic WASPLEG: Wrath (anger), Avarice (greed), Sloth, Pride, Lust, Envy and Gluttony. 

We know that all sins, not just seven, are deadly: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). And it doesn’t say “sins” (plural), but “sin” (singular) — that rebellion of heart by which “we have turned every one to our own way” (Isaiah 53:6). Individual sins are the outward symptoms of an interior spiritual condition.

Still, enumerating particular sins helps focus our attention. Today we begin a series of four lessons, taken from the book of Proverbs, on the Seven Deadly Sins. We start with lust and gluttony, paired together and labeled “sins of excess.” 

It’s a perfect match. TV programs oozing sensuality are paid for by commercials enticing us to buy junk food. Screenwriters and advertisers know our weaknesses better than we do.

The problem is not sex or food, both created by God and declared “good.” It’s when they become obsessions, dominating our lives.

It’s when they become perversions, used in ways God never intended. It’s when they become destructive, to ourselves and to others.

And we can’t condemn one and wink at the other. Both are sins and, without Christ, deadly.  
5/26/2010 7:11:00 AM by Ed Beddingfield, pastor, First Baptist Church, Fayetteville | with 0 comments

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