Wednesday, 9 May 2012


Tonight is the second of our Experiencing God Bible Studies.  The topic is pleasure.


Reading: Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name. 
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

'God created man for nothing else but happiness' (Jonathan Edwards, American preacher 1703-1758). 
What do you make of this statement?  What is the relationship between sacrifice and pleasure (Matthew 16:24-27)?  What is the relationship between suffering and pleasure (2 Cor. 4:17 and 2 Cor. 6:10)?  What is the relationship between sin and pleasure (Hebrews 11:25)?  What do you think of Demas' world view (2 Tim. 4:10)? 

'God created man for nothing else but happiness'. Does that sound strange to you? What about Jesus' call to 'deny yourself and take up your cross' (Mark 8:34)?  Jesus calls us to deny ourselves so that in giving him control of our lives we might know life in relationship with him.  That is life in all its fullness (John 10:10).  He calls us to the joy of obedience, to live for a cause greater than ourselves and to know that he is with us even in our sorrows.
Sam Storms says that 'Christianity forbids no pleasure save those that lead to temporal misery and eternal woe ... God has forbidden you nothing that is conducive to your ultimate satisfaction and delight.'  He then explains that, 'Sin is the misguided and selfish determination to seek happiness in places where ultimately only emptiness and disillusionment are found.' 
Similarly, C. S. Lewis spoke of how, in living for sinful pleasures rather than enjoying God, we are 'like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.'
'Lord, I would rather be broken in your presence than whole and apart from You.  I desperately need You in every part of my life.  Please forgive me for all of the ways I've rejected You by choosing to depend on  my own strengths and abilitites' (Tommy Tenny).   

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