Charles Stanley - Sacrificing Your Future For The Pleasure Of The Moment
We're living in the "Now" generation. Whatever you want, most of which you can get it right now. That's both good and it's also dangerous. Many things you can't have, really spiritually, because it will destroy you. But if you really want it, you can get it one way or the other. We're living in the "Now" generation. Some things we need now, and some things we do not need now. Many people are living by the attitude, whatever I need, I can get one way or the other. And our Scripture is a good example of a person who paid the price. He wanted something. He got it, but there's a price. And you know the devil never tells you when he tempts you and offers you something that you know you shouldn't have. He doesn't tell you about the consequences. It's always about the fun, the joy, or whatever it might be.
So, I want you to listen to this message very carefully; because there are many people who are living in the now. They want it now. They're willing to pay whatever price is necessary to have it now. There's a passage of Scripture in Genesis, if you'll go back there for a moment, in the twenty-fifth chapter. And I want to give you a little background. And Abraham has had his sons; and now he got two grandsons, Jacob and Esau. And so, it's how they responded to a given situation in their life, which is an absolutely essential lesson for us to learn.
So, turn to the twenty-fifth chapter of Genesis, and begin if you will, let's start with verse twenty-five, they're just getting born and this is what happens, "Now, the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. Afterwards his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau, and Isaac was sixty years of age, when she gave birth to them. When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. Now, Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field," out hunting, "and he was famished," very hungry, "and Esau said to Jacob, 'Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff,'" it was a stew, "'for I am famished.' Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, 'First sell me your birthright.' Esau said, 'Behold I am about to die; so what use then is the birthright to me?'" Remember that, "And Jacob said, 'First swear to me,' so he swore to him, and sold him his birthright. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank and rose up and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright".
You say, Well, what's that all about? Well, you have to remember what the birthright meant. In those Hebrew terms, a birthright meant, one who had the most property when the father died. And he was the priest of the family, head of the family. He was the authority. And so, the birthright was a very, very precious possession in a Hebrew family. And so, what's happening here is that Esau comes in from hunting and he's famished and he's worn out and frazzled. He's been out for a long time, no doubt, and he's just about dead. And he sees this soup and smells of it and thinks, Oh my goodness! I need some of that! So, he said to his brother, I'd like to give me a big bowl of that, smells so good. And so, he said to him, Well, I'll give it to you, but "First sell me your birthright". That is, give up your right to the father's possession. Give up the fortune, the money. Give up your place in the family, the priesthood. Give up your authority in the family. That is, whoever had the birthright was supreme in the family.
And so, the Scripture says like this, listen, "And Jacob said, 'First swear to me,' so he swore to him, and sold him his birthright". And this, listen to this, "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright". Very careless and indifferent to it. So, this is a perfect picture of our society today. I want what I want, and I want it now. Don't tell me about the price, no problem. I'll have it one way or the other, but this is what I want. We're living in a generation that not only has a strong desire for most everything, but in this age we live in, can usually get about anything and everything you want. Used to, you'd have to go to the store and buy it. Now you just pick up an iPhone and call and they'll bring it to you. In fact, I'm trying to think of it, is there anything that we need we can't get by phone, if necessary? So this whole passage is about having a need and instead of counting the cost of the need, it's forgetting it because here's what he said.
Listen, but Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright". Esau said, "Behold I am about to die; so, what use then is the birthright to me"? He was about to die. He was just tired and worn out. He wasn't about to die. But at that moment, he said, "What is the most precious thing I could possibly have? What good is that to me right now. And there are a lot of people who are willing to live for today and forget tomorrow. In fact, there are many people who are only concerned about what they can have today; anyway they can get it. So, when I look at that passage of Scripture and I think about how we're living today; and nobody wants to talk about the consequences of sin. They just want to talk about the fun of it. And if you'll notice, any kind of a TV program you watch, it's all fun and laughter, and consequences are never concerned.
So, think about this. Is there any decision that you have made in your life that you look back and think, I should have thought. I should have considered the consequences. We don't like the word consequences. And so, we make decisions without thinking about the consequences. So, I want you to think about these questions. When does a person sacrifice their future for the pleasure of the moment? And the first one is this, when we disregard the sacred values in life. Let's go back to the Ten Commandments. They are very simple, very plain. God gave them to us as a law to live by, because it was best for us all. But just to mention a few of them, and that is you should not steal, there are consequences. You should not lie, there are consequences. You should not commit murder, there are consequences. Any of those, God says, Thou shalt not.
Now, think about this. Where we are today in our society, and the Supreme Court years ago decided, take the Ten Commandments down. That them off, take them off the courthouse. Take down the laws that you violate that will bring you consequences. Take them down. Why? Because we live in a society that does not want God telling us what we can't do. We want to do what we want to do. We want to do it now. Whatever we want, we want it now. And a second one, when we insist on immediate fulfillment of our desires. In other words, if I have a desire, I've got to have it, I want it fulfilled right now.
So, let's take two examples that happen all the time. King David was walking around the porch of his house one evening. And he noticed as he looked over the rail, he saw this beautiful woman. She was just about naked because she was bathing. And he looked. He could have kept going, cause he had a wife. He looked and he looked again, and finally he said to one of his officials, I want you to go get that woman and bring her up here. She got pregnant; He ended up having her husband "killed". Then let's take Samson, for example, strongest man in the world. He could do most anything. He was a hero among his people. And so, those who wanted to get him taken care of, what do they do? He was very immoral in his life, and so he visited this prostitute and that one and the other one. And so, Delilah was a special kind of lady to him and so he kept going to see her. Her goal was to find out what made him strong. So, he gave her three false answers; and each time, of course, he broke loose from those who tried to attack him. Finally, she convinced him. And so, foolishly, as he did, he told her that in order to be weak enough to be overtaken, you've got to cut my hair. And the result was that when they came after him, he had no strength. So, what did he do? They put him in prison. And not only put him in prison, they blinded his eyes, and that's the way he lived for a while.
Do you think that if he'd have thought twice, if he had known the consequences of becoming a prisoner walking round and round and round, as they do animals. Couldn't see anything; laughed at; jeered; taken out in front of the people when there was some famous thing going on, and they laughed at him, because no longer was he their enemy. And so, what happened? There he was, absolutely, listen to this. He absolutely wrecked, ruined his life because he wanted something right now and he wanted it bad enough. We reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow. Then I think about the fact that when our focus is on the world rather than the eternal.
Let me ask you a question. Are you thinking about something in your life that if you think twice, you absolutely would not do it? Or have you just decided that you're special and nobody will ever know, and you'll get by with it. You're playing the fool. We reap what we sow, more than we so, later than we sow, whether anybody else knows about it or not, God knows. Then we make irrevocable decisions in periods of physical and emotional weakness. And this is exactly what Esau did. In a moment of weakness, and not thinking about the future, what did he say? Ate a bowl of soup and said, You know what? I'm probably going to die out there anyway. And so, I'll sell you the birthright. Just give me soup now. What I want is available now. Listen carefully. Most anything you want, many anybodies you want, you can have it, if you're willing to pay the price. That's the dangerous society we live in. You want it, you can have it, if you're willing to pay the price, and there's always a price.
And I think about Esau, how many times he must have thought later, because he tried to kill his brother later on. But when he had the soup, he was satisfied, watch this. Sin only satisfies temporarily, whatever your plans are, I want to tell you, God's already seen them. He already knows the result. Think twice before you do something that you know, God sees it. It may be popular, but it's not the will of God for your life and you know it's not. And so, what we want to know is what can I have today? The question is, What does God want me to have and when does He want me to have it? That's the proper time; the right time. We live in a society that's sold out to sex and drugs and all the rest. So, when I think about that and I think about that bowl of soup, I want you to think about the bowl of soup that we have today. So, I'm going to stir it up really good so that whatever comes up first will come up first.
Well, in this bowl of soup today, is alcohol. You can buy all you want. You can drink all you want for a season. But ultimately, you're going to become a slave to it. You're going to wreck your family, wreck your children, separate from your wife. It's absolutely destructive. Now, the question is, Is that what you want in your life with there are consequences to alcoholism. There are consequences to just drinking. You drive home; have an accident; kill somebody. Or wake up with a bad conscience or ruin your family. Well, here's something else in this bowl of soup, prejudice. You have your prejudices about people. And so, people, some folks you just won't relate to, or want nothing to do with them or some country or whatever it might be. And you think, Well, that's perfectly alright. Not with God it's not.
And then I pick up another one here and that's drugs. No person hooked on drugs ever intended to get hooked on drugs. Drug addicts never intend to find themselves paying such large sums of money for something they shoot in their arm and only lasts a short period of time. It's the "Now" generation. I want it now. I want to feel good now. I want to be able to enjoy life now. What's the price of now? Any drug addict knows there's a price. Then in this bowl of soup is bitterness. Just bitter. You think somebody's wronged you. Things are not right and you get bitter and angry. And you think, Well, It's not going to hurt anybody. It's just what I feel. Oh yes, it does. Bitterness is very destructive. Your whole emotional being is affected by it. Nobody else may know why, but you know why. And so, you have to deal with that.
And then in this same bowl is adultery, a sin that we've almost legitimized today. And so, it's on the screen. It's in people's lives. It's in the music. You name it. And the idea is well, everybody doesn't do anything. But one night may cost you something for the rest of your life, or one day, or some relationship that you know is not right, but you do it anyway. We reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow. What is it going to take for us to learn that that principle is a divine, irrevocable law of God? You say, Well, nobody knows but he and myself or she an myself, nobody knows. God knows. And remember this. The laws of God are not determined by who knows. That has nothing to do with it. God knows. And unfaithfulness, disloyalty is a sin against God. And nobody in the world may ever know, but God knows, and you cannot sin against God without something happening.
In the same bowl is hatred. When you hate somebody, you despise somebody, it affects you. It affects your emotions, your health, your attitude, your relationship to God, your relationship to other people. And there are people who have become filled with hatred because of something that happened in their life that maybe they didn't cause it, somebody else did. But that doesn't mean I have to hold bitterness in my heart toward somebody else. Then, in this same bowl is unforgiveness. You and I can never justify unforgiveness. Jesus didn't. He never said "except". Unforgiveness is an emotion that we have. It's a feeling that we have. It's a decision that we make and it's a penalty that we pay. Jesus has forgiven us of every sin if we will ask Him. And no matter who you are and what's going on in your life, we have no justification for our unforgiveness. All of us have been wronged.
I think about people in fact every pastor's been wronged about different things that we weren't responsible for. Everybody is wronged at some point in their life. What's the right response? Forgiveness. Because unforgiveness eats away at the human life. It causes all kinds of diseases. And we have the power and the right and the pattern in Jesus to forgive no matter what people have done to us. So, think about it. Is it true in your life that you wanted some things that you knew they were absolutely not right; but you just had to have it. And so, you're an exception to God's judgment and so after a while, you'll just forget it and we'll get over it and we'll live through it, and so don't let it worry you. You better let it worry you. Because sin is destructive. It's a destroyer. And no matter who you are or what the sin may be, I just mentioned a few of them, and ask yourself the question, In your bowl, did you find any of these? If so, you need to ask God to forgive you and to lay it out clean and plain with Him. Lord, this is true in my life. It should not be.
I ask You to forgive me and to cleanse me. And Lord, if I need to make some changes in my life, or if I need to go to someone and ask for forgiveness, I must do it. I remember early in my first church, and I'd been preaching there for about a year or so. And something kept bothering me. It was my attitude toward my stepfather, because the way he treated me. And I'd get up and preach about forgiveness, and it's like the Lord would say, Hmmm? What's this about? Finally, I told it to my wife, We have to go back to my house and I have to sit down with my stepfather, and ask for forgiveness. And she said, Well, look at all the ways he treated you. I said, I know it. I could defend myself the rest of my life, but I have anger toward him, bitterness toward him, and I resent him. I've got to go settle it.
So, I remember going and sitting down across the table and I said to him, John, I came to ask you to forgive me. Oh, no you haven't, and he started defending me, not him, defending me. No, you didn't. He went on and on and I said, John, God has convicted me that I have anger in my heart, bitterness in my heart, resentment in my heart the way you treated my mother and me, but primarily her. And I want to ask you to forgive me. Well, he got up on the other side of the table and came around and hugged me and I said, No, I'm the guilty one. And so, we had a good conversation; we settled that.
So, ask yourself the question, Is there anything in your bowl that you need to deal with; because keeping it there will cause you to sacrifice God's best blessings He has in store for you. If you've never trusted Jesus, you've got to deal with it. One day you'll stand before Him and give an account for your life. Well, what about now? It's the here and now, right now. So, I pray that you'll ask God to forgive you, to cleanse you, and to make you the kind of person God wants you to be. Does it mean that you'll forget all the things back there that you, no. But it means this. When you ask God to forgive you and you mean it, God forgives you and He doesn't throw it up in your face again. That's not the way He is. You may remember it, but God forgives, and He no longer holds it against you. Does that mean all the consequences disappear when God has forgiven you? Not necessarily, depending upon the nature of the sin. But I pray to God that you'll be honest with the Lord and with yourself. And make corrections when you can make them. Commit yourself to the Lord and choose to walk in the path that He now has for you that you surrendered to Him. Amen?
And Father, we thank You for Your forgiveness, Your cleansing. You're willing to show us the fallacy of our ways and willing to give us another opportunity to be obedient to You. And I pray for somebody seated here today who's never trusted You as their personal Savior. God is willing to forgive you of your sin. He's willing to give you a new beginning. Does it wipe away the scars? No, but there is a new beginning, a new relationship, a new joy, a new peace, a sense of happiness that you've never known before. And I pray that right where you sit, right now, you will ask the Lord, Lord Jesus, I'm asking You to forgive me of my sin. And I'm trusting You, today, as my personal Savior, and trusting You to give me the strength to do what is right. And Father, we thank You that You hear those prayers, and You make the awesome, eternal difference in Jesus's name, amen.