Friday, June 24, 2011

Attributes of Holiness – Control of Appetites

Philippians 4:12 – 13

Attributes of Holiness – Control of Appetites

[B.T. Roberts re-examined]

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. [13] I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” [Philippians 4:12 – 13]

***** “True holiness has its influence on every part of our nature.” *****

I. Holiness is the default control over bodily appetites. (Roberts addresses what we would call addictions: alcohol, tobacco, and opium.)

A. Natural appetites are given to us for a good purpose.

1. They are not sinful when kept in proper boundaries.

2. “They were not intended to be our masters.” [B.T. Roberts]

3. They must be governed and guarded:

a. Reason.

b. Conscience.

c. The Word of God.

[B.T. Roberts suggested those three.]

4. KEY issue is “bondage.”

II. “One who is holy never indulges his appetites in an unlawful manner.” [B.T. Roberts]

A. Choices:

1. Starve or steal?

2. Jesus’ example: temptation…. “turn these stones into bread.”

B. What are the questions and principles involved?

1. “Remember that there is something more to be considered than simply whatever what is presented will assuage hunger, or satisfy thirst.” [B.T. Roberts]

2. Questions:

a. “Have I the right to it?”

b. “Can I obtain the right on conditions with which I may lawfully comply?”

E.g. Esau did not steal… he sold his birthright to gratify his hunger.

3. Principle: “bodily appetites clamor for indulgence.”

a. Satan used them in the Garden to tempt Eve.

b. The holy person will exercise care that they are not being deceived by the appetites.

III. “True holiness will give one such control over his appetites that he will not indulge them in an inordinate degree.”

A. Eat to live or live to eat?

1. Wants vs need… (“easily satisfied”)

2. “He who spends large sums of money to gratify his own pampered tastes, while so many are perishing of want, may be orthodox and polite, but he is not holy.” [B. T. Roberts.

3. Idea: deny luxuries in order to minister to others necessities.

B. Motive: Duty to God or self-gratification?

IV. “True holiness saves those who enjoy it from unnatural, depraved appetites… formed by sinful indulgence.” [B. T. Roberts]

A. The slippery slope:

1. Nobody likes the indulgence at first…. Some make us sick at the beginning.

2. Revolt turns to momentary enjoyment.

3. Enjoyment becomes stimulation towards excitement.

4. Excitement gives way to pleasure.

5. When pleasure wears off, it is replaced by “languor and depression.”

6. This state becomes “insupportable” and drives us to the stimulant at any cost. (Craving)

7. “An appetite is formed that the victims will gratify at the expense of everything which men hold dear.” [B.T. Roberts]

B. “The only safe course is to avoid the beginning!” [B.T. Roberts]

1. Problem: these things brutalize and enslave.

2. Solution: sincerely repent (1 John 1:9)

V. Problem with these appetites:

A. Their characteristic…

1. They are not godly (can’t even pretend they are).

2. They are not indifferent (unless the person is deceived or deluded).

3. They are unrighteous (in effect and nature).

B. One cannot continue in holiness AND unholy habits.

1. At issue: “filthiness of the flesh” or cleansing of holiness.

2. Addictions break down the body and mind.

3. These things destroy the Christian’s credibility and witness.

4. God is not glorified in these things.

C. “No man has the right to spend the Lord’s money in this way.” [B. T. Roberts]

1. God gives us the ability to gain wealth.

2. This should be used to advance God’s cause.

3. “A Christian man cannot spend his money as he wills, but must use it as the Lord wills.”

D. Eventually these things become “idols.”

1. Appetites formed in sin.

2. Indulgences which do no good.

VI. Where to begin?

A. “Seek earnestly to be delivered from bondage to your animal nature, and you will be delivered.”

B. Seek holiness… “It changes us in our appetites.” (Old things pass away, what we once loved we hate.)

C. “Give yourself no rest until this thorough work is wrought in you.” [B.T. Roberts]

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