Self RestraintBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, October 18, 2009.
SELF-RESTRAINT Sober: “Moderate, temperate, avoiding excess, in respect of the use of food and drink; not given to the indulgence of appetite. Of demeanor, speech, etc.: Grave, serious, solemn, indicating or implying a serious mind or purpose.” Moderation: “Limitation, restriction; a fixed limit; a restricting provision or clause. Control, rule, governance.” Temperance: “The practice or habit of restraining oneself in provocation, passion, desire, etc.; rational self-restraint.” I. There is a profound need in our society to be reminded of the value of self-restraint. A. The “land of plenty” has accommodated a terrible increase in obesity from childhood through old age. 1. The basic food group of the American diet is sugar, fat and salt. 2. The increase in “fast-food” intake paired with a decrease in physical activity has produced expected results. 3. A generation of undisciplined over-indulgers has perpetuated that condition to the next generation. B. Our society pursues pleasure and levity as the grand goals of life. 1. A substantial amount of our economy revolves around sports and entertainment. 2. Personal pleasures have displaced the importance of duties to God. 2TI 3:4. 3. Churches too often resort to gossamer programs to placate the pleasure-seeking masses and keep the pews and coffers full. a. Shallow emotionalism has largely replaced reason and sound doctrine in many churches. JER 23:32; ZEP 3:4. b. Simply put, our culture's Christianity has conformed to the world when it should have been doing the opposite. ROM 12:2. c. The underlying assumption for this is that doctrine discourages attendance. But doctrine is supposed to discourage attendance----of the fleshly-minded! JOH 6:26, 61-68 c/w 1TI 4:16. C. Public education has seen an increase in outings, games, sports and “fluff” while SAT scores have plummeted. D. Television, movies, computers and the internet are the consuming interest of the masses. 1. The word amuse comes from the Old French amuse-r: “to put into a stupid stare; to cause to stare stupidly.” 2. A subordinate definition of amuse means “to divert the attention of the enemy from one's real designs.” E. These are the earmarks of people who have forgotten God; a people in grave trouble. DEU 8:11-14; EZE 16:49; ISA 47:7-8; 1TH 5:3. II. Christians are urged to soberness. 1TH 5:6-8; 1PE 1:13; 4:7; 5:8. A. Pastors must especially cultivate soberness and temperance. 1TI 3:2; TIT 1:8; ECC 10:1. B. Deacons must be sober and temperate. 1TI 3:8. C. Pastors' and deacons' wives likewise are to be sober. 1TI 3:11. D. Senior men and women should be sober. TIT 2:2-3. E. Young people are to be taught to be sober. TIT 2:4, 6. F. This is an important lesson of grace. TIT 2:11-12. G. Our self-restraint should be evident to all. PHIL 4:5. H. Solomon's life is a testimony to the vanity of excesses. ECC 2:1, 10-11. III. Temperance is an integral part of conversion. ACT 24:25. A. Life BEFORE Christ is one of servitude to our lusts. EPH 2:3; TIT 3:3. B. Life AFTER Christ should be markedly different. 1PE 4:3. C. We must rule over our desires, not be ruled by them. 1CO 6:12; 9:25-27. IV. Biblical soberness is lunacy to the world. 1PE 4:4; ACT 26:24-25. A. If walking in the ways of God evokes a charge of madness, we are in good company. JOH 10:20; MAT 10:25. B. Paul's madness was PRIOR to his conversion. ACT 26:11. C. Christianity should be a model of order, not madness. 1CO 14:23, 32-33, 40; 2TI 1:7. D. You can be a crazy fool only for Christ. 2CO 5:13; 1CO 4:10. V. Self-restraint means limiting what goes into our mouths. A. We are warned against overindulgence in food. LUK 21:34. 1. Surfeiting: “Feeding to excess, sickening or disordering by overfeeding, filling or supplying to excess.” 2. We must use discernment in our eating habits. ECC 10:17. 3. Eat to live; don't live to eat! B. We are warned against overindulgence in drink. EPH 5:18; 1PE 4:3. C. Excesses rob men of health, wealth and peace. PRO 23:20-21, 29-30. D. They who refuse this instruction are idolaters. PHIL 3:19. VI. Self-restraint means limiting what comes out of our mouths, even in that which is permissible. A. There is a time for speaking, but not always. ECC 3:7. B. Certain jestings are not appropriate. EPH 5:4. C. Church services demand extra consideration. ECC 5:1-3. D. The person who governs his tongue can govern his body. JAM 3:2. VII. Self-restraint means limiting our passions. PRO 25:28. A. Ungoverned feelings lead to moral corruption. EPH 4:19. B. Anger must be carefully checked. EPH 4:26; JAM 1:19; PRO 16:32. C. Even joy must be kept in check. LUK 24:41. VIII. Self-restraint means limiting our pursuit of pleasures. A. Unfettered pursuit of pleasures is characteristic of the unsaved. TIT 3:3. B. One can become addicted to pleasure. ISA 47:8. C. The love of pleasure will lead to poverty. PRO 21:17. D. A characteristic of perilous times is when people are lovers of pleasure more than of God. 2TI 3:1, 4. E. Cares and pleasures of life can choke the word of God. LUK 8:14. F. A wise man will consider the solemn things of this world. ECC 7:2-6. G. God by His grace gives His saints lasting pleasure that can never be overindulged. ISA 35:10; ROM 5:11. 1. This pleasure does not depend upon earthly things. HAB 3:17-18. 2. This pleasure can be had even in persecutions and troubles. LUK 6:22-23; JAM 1:2. 3. This pleasure can be had, should be had alway. PHIL 4:4. 4. God is our EXCEEDING joy. PSA 43:3-4. 5. We should prefer God's house ABOVE our chief joy. PSA 137:5-6; 84:10. 6. Heaven is a place of endless pleasure. PSA 16:11; REV 21:4.