Playing with Fire

June 24, 2018 Preacher: Luis A. Cardenas Series: Proverbs

Topic: English Passage: Proverbs 6:20-35

Read Passage: PROVERBS 6:20-35

Some of you, maybe not most, know about a podcast called “The Briefing” by Albert Mohler. Al Mohler is the president of the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, and “The Briefing” is a daily, 20-minute segment covering 3of the major news stories of the day and how we should think about them from a Christian perspective. I’d highly recommend it to you.

This past Thursday, Richard asked me to listen to it, and one of the stories was discussing a report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which was then reported in the New York Times.

This was a national survey of teenagers indicating that there was a growing sense of fear and despair among them. Those were the key words: fear and despair. The report stated: “An adolescent’s life can be bleak.” It can be depressing, hopeless.

Mohler pointed out that adolescence is never easy. It’s a stormy time of life when they are growing out of childhood into recognized adulthood. There’s an internal struggle with self-identity. But though there are bleak moments, it doesn’t have to be altogether bleak. And the tough times help bring maturity for adulthood.

He also mentioned that what the secular media won’t ever deal with is the clear connection between skyrocketing rates of despair and difficulty and the skyrocketing rates of children in a home without a stable two-parent household. Those are always correlated.

I’ve heard secular reports that say things like “growing up with both parents in the home is a kind of privilege.” But it was said with almost a disdain. Like it’s an unfair advantage, rather than what should be the norm. Never is the aim of that kind of statement to say that the biblical design for marriage is the best. They just won’t say that.

As Christians we know that God placed into creation, for the benefit of all mankind, the structures of marriage and the family. God intended children to be brought up in a home with a father and a mother committed to one another and to God. And yet, we also know that the curse of sin doesn’t always make that possible.

Mohler said that when we hear stories about the difficulties on teenagers, we should have a concern for them and for society. Culture is removing the pillars God put in place to help teenagers get through a difficult time. The world is telling teens they need to be liberated, rather than connected.

And extending that idea of a family, Mohler reminds us that this also applies to the church. Statistics have testified that young people who have happy and healthy experiences in a church go through adolescence in a healthier way.

One research study said that if a teenager has even one adult relationship, one person who cares about them personally outside of mom and dad, he or she is far more likely to emerge as a healthy adult and stay connected with the church and with the faith.

We can’t remove the struggles of adolescence, but we should be able to make sure teenagers don’t go through them alone. And as a church, we have a special opportunity to do that for those who don’t come from a healthy family. That’s what Mohler was reminding us of.

The conclusion from the CDC was this: “There’s strong data to show that family support, and attention by parents to what you’re doing, can make the difference in an adolescents’ life.”

I actually heard a secular radio host recently talking about political issues and then he brought up child poverty. And he said: “You want to end child poverty? Put kids in a home with both parents. That’s the single greatest statistic for a kids’ success.”

Mohler ended that segment by pointing out that though the CDC feels compelled to say that, we don’t need to hear it from the CDC because we’ve already been told that by a higher authority.

God has told us that it is the duty of every father and mother to train their children—to raise them in the discipling and instruction of the Lord. And like I’ve said many times before, the clearest example we get of a father giving his attention and energy to teaching his son is the book of Proverbs.

The topic we come to today, is not a new one. Important topic = sexuality. Important for an individual and for the health of a society. Three lessons for pursuing sexual purity that honors God and invites His blessing.

  • Have an attentive heart (vv. 20-23)
    [Tenga un corazón atento]
  • Keep a safe distance (vv. 24-25)
    [Mantenga una distancia segura]
  • Know the fearful consequences (vv. 26-35)
    [Conozca las terribles consecuencias]
  1. Have an attentive heart (vv. 20-23)
    [Tenga un corazón atento]
  • Commands ( 20-21): Observe, do not forsake, bind, tie
  • “Father and Mother” work together to instruct. Mentioned together 12 times in Proverbs (1:8)
  • Emphasize the importance of a command
  • Kids: be alert to your parent’s teachings “for this is right (Eph 6:1)
  • Deut 21:18-21 — a stubborn and rebellious son was stoned to death.
  • Deut 27:16 — Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother. Amen.
  • Binding and tying we meant to be taken figuratively, but many Jews, even today honor it literally. Repeating Deut. 6: Don’t let this slip past your mind. Be attentive to it.
  • Most of all, write it on your heart. Etch it in.
  • Stay fixed on this.
  • Results of an attentive heart ( 22-23): guidance, care, watchfulness, protection, more instruction, correction, assistance.
  • Transition to a specific type of protection in verse 24.
  1. Maintain a safe distance (vv. 24-25)
    [Mantenga una distancia segura]
  • There are evil woman in this world. This isn’t just talk about their morals, it’s describing the effect they will have on you. The word “evil” here has a broader meaning than just moral wickedness. It’s also used to describe something that is a calamity or a disaster. It’s used for something that is extremely unpleasant. This woman is not just sinful. She will ruin your life.
  • And again, like we saw back in chapter 5, there’s a reference to her smooth tongue, her smooth words. She is enticing. She is attractive. She flatters with her words. She appeals to you.
  • And even if we’re talking about lust at the level of the mind, we have to recognize that there is an appeal. There is a physical attraction to look at that image or at that person. So, what’s the advice? VERSE 25.
  • How do you change your desires? How do you obey a command not to want something that you want?
  • You do it by faith! By faith! Hebrews 11:24-27 – Moses chose God over his natural pleasures. He “considered” (thought about) greater riches/reward. (Piper: Theology trumps biology). Go back to Proverbs.
  • Earlier (5:8) we were told keep you way FAR from her. Don’t go near her house. Avoid her. Now, the father is saying “avoid the look.”
  • Eyelid comes from the word for “flutter/fly.” Eye-catching… Don’t underestimate the power of the eye. Don’t downplay it.
  • The modeling industry and the makeup industry both understand the power even of the eye. In Old Testament Time, women were much more covered up, and so the power of the eye might have even been multiplied.
  • Ladies, there is a type of immodesty in clothing that is dangerous, right? We all know that. Don’t dress to seduce. Don’t dress to distract or to draw attention.
  • But beyond the immodesty of clothing, there is also the immodesty of an alluring heart. You can be fully clothed and still send the message to someone that says: “I like you. Come over here and say hello.” That’s the power of the eyes.
  • And men, we need to recognize that power and Guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23. Watch over your heart.
  • And one of the way we guard our hearts is by guarding our eyes.
  • High school friend (non-believer) after checking out a girl: “You can look in the window, you just can’t go in the house.” Wrong message.
  • God’s message. Don’t go near the house! Don’t look in the window! Avoid that glance!
  • Twenty years ago, I remember being taught a lesson from the top Christian Psychologist (famous) — Twelve Steps to Intimacy. (1) Eye to body. (2) Eye to Eye. (3) Voice to voice, etc. According to that counselor #1-8 are acceptable, and #9-12 are only for marriage.
    • That kind of approach is severely misguided, and it misses the approach of Scripture which aims at the heart, not at creating some kind of external rule.
    • God never says “this is as far as you can go.” He says “Some things are definitely out of bounds, but what you need to do is stay away. Stay away.”
  • Example: Rich father, loves his daughter dearly, wants the best for her. Looking for a driver to take his daughter and her friends out on a birthday party.
    • Interviewing drivers from the fancy car rental company. Who’s the best driver among you? They know he’ll give a big tip.
    • One of the competitions we have is see who can drive the longest with his eyes completely closed? “I’ve made it to 5 seconds. No accident.”
    • Man #2: I’ve made it to 8 seconds with no incident.
    • Man #3: I’ve gone 10 second with my eyes shut and didn’t have a single problem.
    • “And you?” (Driver #4) “Uh… I don’t close my eyes while I drive.” That’s the man who gets chosen. He’s not playing with fire. He’s staying away. He will be the safest.
  • People talk as if they can’t control their emotions. That’s not completely accurate (e.g. phone call changes your tone).
  • Your mind is a like a muscle. And your eyes are controlled my muscles. You can learn to control it. To direct it. To focus it… Drown out dangerous thoughts. They can CAPTURE you. They can grip you.
  • How can we stay away? How can we be motivated to holiness?
  1. Know the dangerous consequences (vv. 26-35)
    [Conozca las terribles consecuencias]
  • It can cost you your life! ( 26)
    • First half of the verse can be taken two different ways. (1) The loaf (disk) of bread is either the price of the woman, or what it reduces a man to (translations differ). Either way, it’s a reference to what it will cost you.
    • The second half of the verse is the cost of an adulterous relationship. That woman will hunt you (stalk you).
    • She wants more than just the physical relationship. She will take EVERYTHING!
  • There is no escape! ( 27-29)
    • You play with fire, you’re gonna get burned! Don’t flirt with this.
    • You don’t handle something hot without suffering the consequences. Keep your distance!
    • Kids and the iron—We don’t tell them: Well, if it’s plugged in and if the knob is turned on, then don’t touch it on the bottom, but every other place at any other time, it’s fine. No! We say: Don’t touch it. Don’t go near it.
    • 26-27 are rhetorical questions. Answer is NO. You will be branded/scorched by this relationship.
    • Almost all of you can think of examples. The adulterer faces consequences, if not temporal, then eternal.
    • 29—You will not get off the hook!
  • VERSES 30-33
    • Every thief must make restitution. How much more the one who has stolen the wife of another!
    • OT Law required paying back double, triple, or even 4x back. You can’t profit from sin.
    • “Sevenfold” (v. 31) = fully, completely. Even if it meant forfeiting everything or becoming a slave.
    • But if there’s sexual sin, and a breach of trust, how does that get paid back fully?
  • VERSES 32-33
    • Adultery, is absolute foolishness. This is the mouse taking the cheese, when he knows there’s a spring loaded blade attached. It’s just stupidity! No one will argue it was worth it.
    • “Your soul” will be destroyed (literal reading of v. 32b)
    • 33 = wounds and disgrace, ruined reputation/name. Like a loud-mouthed boxer who get absolutely demolished in the boxing ring. No one will forget it.
    • What’s the agency of this man’s punishment?
  • VERSES 34-35
    • You can pay a man back for his TV. You can pay him back for a stolen car. But what can you do to a man if you’ve taken his intimacy with his wife?
    • What will this man do to you? OT – he will turn you in to the courts and you will be stoned to death.
    • He will not be appeased any other way…
    • What about the jealous of God? What about the wrath of God?
    • How does that get fixed?
    • 2 PETER 2:4 context = judgment of false teachers and their sensuality
      • Angels condemned in darkness/hell (v. 4)
      • World condemned in a flood (v. 5)
      • Sodom and Gomorrah condemned by fire and brimstone (v. 6)
    • BUT, God rescues his own.
      • Noah in the flood
      • Lot in Sodom (oppressed by the sin around him, v. 7-9
      • 1 Cor 10:13 – there is a way of escape
      • Heb 4 – go to the throne of grace for mercy and grace to help in time of need.

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