INTRODUCTION: Fall of the Roman Empire – “Available to us is the work of Edward Gibbon who, in 1787, after 20 years of labor, completed his The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In it he attributed the fall of the Empire as being
- The rapid increase of divorce; the undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of human society.
- Higher and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and circuses for the populace.
- The mad craze for pleasure; sports becoming every year more exciting and more brutal.
- The building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within, the decadence of the people.
- The decay of religionfaith fading into mere form, losing touch with life and becoming impotent to ward and guide the people.
from The Seven Laws of the Harvest by John W. Lawrence (page 26).
- THE EARTHLINESS OF LOVING PLEASURE
- He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. (Psalm 147:10)
- The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. (Psalm 147:11)
- For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (Titus 3:3)
- THE EMPTINESS OF LOVING PLEASURE
- I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:1) (Read Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)
- Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
- But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. (1Timothy 5:6)
- THE REBELLION IN LOVING PLEASURE
- Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. (Isaiah 58:3)
- If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: (Isaiah 58:13)
- And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; (2 Peter 2:13)
- Do You Love Him? True Christians are differenced and distinguished not only from all heathens and infidels, but also from all bare nominal Christians, by their love to Jesus Christ. It is the property of covetous persons to love worldly wealth and riches. It is the property of ambitious persons to love worldly honor and dignities. It is the property of voluptuous persons to love sensual pleasures and delights; and it is the property of true Christians to love Jesus Christ, whom they have never seen. from The True Christians Love to the Unseen Christ (page 11) by Thomas Vincent (1634-1678).
- THE DANGERS OF LOVING PLEASURE
- He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich. (Proverbs 21:17)
- And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. (Luke 8:14)
- Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (2 Timothy 3:4)
- Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; (Hebrews 11:25)
- THE END OF LOVING PLEASURE
- Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:32)
- My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me. (Isaiah 21:4)
- Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: (Isaiah 47:8)
- That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:12)
- Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. (James 5:5)
CONCLUSION: A Nobler Ambition – The following poem though anonymously written, is found in The Song of the Soul Set Free by S. Franklin Logsdon (page 22). See Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 3:17.
O souls that are seeking for pleasure,
Your pleasures and follies pursue;
Content with the prizes and fortunes
This world is now offering you.
Well, mine is a nobler ambition,
I seek for a richer reward;
I want to be Christlike and holy—
I want to be more like my Lord.