Lesson 22 - July 22
Bubbles! Bubbles! Toils and Troubles
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
Recently in Germany, I was watching my grandsons blow soap bubbles out in the yard. They were having such a good time, running after them, trying to pop them, and just playing with them in general. As I was watching, it struck me that we treat the things and pleasures of this world as we do those soap bubbles that we blew as children. We run after them and chase them, touch them, try to catch them, and see how far we can get involved with them without them popping.
So why do we chase worldly bubbles?
1. Worldly Bubbles Entice Us. James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. When those soap bubbles are blowing in the wind, they seem to just entice us and draw us to them. Worldly pleasures are like that too. We see an advertisement in a magazine, something on television, or something associated with the world that just lures us and pulls us in. Temptations are all around us.
In Luke 15 the prodigal son was drawn to the world and all it’s pleasures. Let’s look at the two things that the prodigal son wanted in verse 12.
· Give ME my inheritance He wanted money and the things and possession of the world which he was to inherit. He wanted to get all the father would give him so he could enjoy it NOW. He had not earned it; therefore, he did not deserve it. He was selfish and self- centered, and disrespectful - but this didn’t matter to him.
· Give ME my independence This is what he really wanted - the rights to his own life. He wanted freedom - to make his own decisions. Sadly, he got all he wanted. Don’t know why the father gave in, maybe he had hoped his son would come to his senses.
Luke 15:13 says that the son wasted his substance and lived how? riotous living -- He lived extravagantly and he lived with harlots (vs. 30). He had wrapped his life up in the pleasure and security of the world; but when his money was gone, everything was gone (just like the bubbles), there was nothing left to help him. As a result:
A. He suffered destitution. vs. 14
B. He suffered natural disaster - a famine struck. vs. 14
C. He suffered enslavement and humiliation vs. 15
D. He suffered the loss of all friends vs. 16
E. He suffered hunger vs. 17
Praise the Lord that the son did come to his senses (vs. 17). He remembered how his father had been able to provide for him. He remembered the sense of belonging, of being part of a family and of the many times of fellowshipping together among all the friends and servants of his father. He remembered the love, joy and peace that his father had and he hoped that the father had a little more to spare.
We are surrounded with worldly bubbles and we must resist them and avoid being tempted by them. What does Proverbs 1:10 tells us to do if sinners entice us? consent thou not. None of us are immune to the influences of the world, and neither are our children. We need to remain focused and strongly aware that each of us can be deceived. If we are not careful, we will give in to enticing temptations. We need to prayerfully guard ourselves and our children from going along with fleshly desires such as: dressing like the world, listening to the wrong type of music, smoking, drinking, hatefulness.
Write I Corinthians 10:13: _____________________________________________
2. Worldly Bubbles Are Pretty. Soap bubbles are amazing to watch. Aren't they? All those reflections of light just make them so beautiful to look at. The world can make sin look pretty too. The devil is masterful at deceit. It is his trademark and we are to be on guard for it.
'My Goodness' Satan and the world does their best to make sin so beautiful and appealing. The billboards around town show women in enticing clothing telling you to come to their bar. There are advertisements showing how cool it is to smoke and drink. There are music videos on television that says sex is fun.
This reminds me of David when he was up on his roof in the cool of the evening and he so happens to look over to another roof top and sees a woman bathing. This is perhaps one of the most well-known stories in the Old Testament. David sinned. He should have been at war but he wasn't. He couldn't sleep so he got up and roamed his palace. He was bored. We have an old wives saying: "Idle hands are the devil's tools." Notice the progression of sin: 2 Samuel 11:2-4
· David LOOKED. He saw a woman bathing.
· David ADMIRED her. He noticed her beauty - it was more than just a passing glance.
· David INQUIRED about her. He took it to the next level, making it more personal.
· David CONTACTED her.
· David SINNED with her.
Sin begins with a thought, with a gentle pulling on the flaws of our heart. We don’t just fall head first into a full blown sin (the sleeping with Bathsheba part). It is a progression that could have been stopped in its tracks at any time. David could have:
· Looked away.
· Not sent the messengers.
· Tore up the information.
· Controlled the thoughts he was having about the woman.
· Not invited her to his palace.
There is always an escape route. You may say -- “Oh, that was just a man. Women are different!” We as women are not immune to Satan’s attraction and appeals - we are just as guilty. It totally shocks me as the way women want to dress in the summertime. If you go out to the village, you will see people working in their underwear. You go to a restaurant near the beach and you will see people sitting in their underwear. I admit, in this heat, I also would like to go to the beach and splash in the water. But I must be careful to not only keep my body covered decently but that I am not being expose (or my family) to other people who have such little regard for morality.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Satan made sin beautiful - our flesh desires to have its beauty but the ends thereof are the destruction, failure, disappointment, guiltiness and death.
3. Worldly Bubbles Are Fun. Children have so much fun with soap bubbles. At a wedding in Kharkov last month, we blew bubbles on the bride & groom as they exited the church. However, before the bride and groom came out, we were already blowing bubbles at one other - we were all acting like children! Sin has a way of enticing us with fun too. Sin promises pleasure without consequences, love without commitment, fulfillment without sacrifice. Sin pledges that things, circumstances, and/or people will satisfy you without God’s direction or blessing.
Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10) come to my mind when thinking about chasing worldly bubbles. Sapphira means “beautiful.” Ananias means “Jehovah is gracious,” and God certainly had been gracious to him for He had given him a beautiful wife, blessed him with material possessions, forgiven his sins, and brought him into fellowship with people who truly cared for him. A man couldn’t ask for much more than that. Their names make them sound like they were a perfect couple!
But Ananias wanted more, and so did his wife. In Acts, Christians were donating land to give to the poor and persecuted Christian. The Christians who sold their possessions and gave the money to the church probably received enthusiastic praise from the entire congregation. AND Ananias & Sapphira wanted this praise. They wanted to be more than just members of the church; they wanted to be ‘prominent’ members. They wanted the recognition and praise -- and that brings us to their sin.
Ananias and Sapphira also owned some property and so they schemed together and came up with a plan to sell it while holding back some of the profit for themselves. They would still look good at the church and make some extra cash on the side. They probably already had ideas what to spend it on. Thus began their chasing after bubbles.
Let’s look at the impact of their punishment. The Apostle Peter did not call down judgment from heaven. He merely exposed Ananias’ hypocrisy by the insight God gave him. “And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last” (Acts 5:5). God popped his bubble quickly. We do not know how they got Ananias buried without Sapphira knowing about it, but they did. Maybe they could not find Sapphira at the moment. She may have been off on a shopping spree, spending some of that money they had deceitfully held back. Three hours later she came in looking for her husband, oblivious to what had transpired. You know the story -- her bubble quickly popped too.
If we could just make better choices like Moses did. We know that Hebrews chapter 11 lists the “Heroes of Faith”. In verse 24 - 26 it says: "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt:
For 40 years Moses had everything that a person on earth could ever want: education, fame, wealth, possessions, power, responsibility, and a home! But Moses gave it all up. He sacrificed everything for God and His promises. Look at all the things that Moses accomplished for God because of that choice of not chasing the worldly bubbles that were blowing right in the wind before him. Think at how much we could have accomplish for Christ if we'd be a little more focused on Jesus and not on the bubbles world has to offer.
Every time Moses turned away from what was in the world and every time he chose to walk by faith in God, God never failed to show Himself mighty on behalf of his behalf.
Conclusion: Kids learn quickly that bubbles are fragile. Sometimes you can put your hand out and catch them but without much force normally they'll pop and dissipate. When you start messing around with sin and worldly bubbles, you will find they too pop quickly. Worldly ways are not satisfying. There is no substance to them. They'll dissipate into the wind without warning. AND there will always be consequences to deal with. Just as we saw with the Prodigal Son and with King David -- they suffered the consequences of the folly of their sins. A man once said “While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.”
If we are living for Christ, fellowshipping with Him on a daily basis, engaging in a strong prayer life, then we'll be more able to resist those bubbles that come floating by to tempt us. Only toils and troubles will come in the end if we aren't living for Christ, as we should be.