Jentezen Franklin - The High Cost Of Low Living
I want to talk to you for a few moments this morning on the high cost to low living. The high cost to low living. It was the king's birthday, and he had called in all of his commanders of his military forces, and all of his friends, and he was throwing a huge celebration. A party. A grand occasion. There was lots of drinking, lots of eating, lots of celebration, gift exchanging. And the Bible said that just before this occasion that Herod and his wife had gone to the banks of the Jordan River to hear this wild man, John, preach. And when he preached with such force, and such anointing, and such authority, it moved people.
But then he looked at Herod and his wife, and he said it's not right, and it's not lawful for you to be married to your brother's wife. You're living in adultery, and it's not right. And when John, in boldness, did that, it humiliated the king. But the Bible really draws the attention to his wife that he was living in adultery with. She became infuriated, and she hated John the Baptist. Now there's a difference - Herod was not a bad man. Even though he had him immediately arrested and threw him in his prison, he showed him special favor. The Bible indicates that. He took care of him. He would even go down and sit, and visit, and listen to him as he preached to the other prisoners. It's pretty amazing for a powerful king to go down into his dungeon and listen to someone incarcerated.
And it tells me that Herod was not a bad man, but he was a weak man. And Herod's downfall was not that he was evil and he hated John. He was a weak man. And if you become a weak person, and you don't deal with the weakness, it's a matter of time before you start doing bad things. And so the day comes when he's celebrating his birthday - Herod is. And the crowd is happy. And then comes the time - after the food is gone, and the drink is flowing, it's time for the entertainment. And the Bible said that it would be a dance number by the step-daughter of Herod. And the Bible does not say what kind of dance it was. It could have been the hokey pokey. But that's not what it's all about. I think there's more to it.
Come on. That's a good joke, and you know it is. I think there was a little more to this dance. Let's read in between the spaces. After being all liquored up, the crowd is going absolutely crazy. And Herod himself has so let himself go, so overtaken with lust, and with pleasure, and drunkenness. He wasn't a bad man. He was a weak man. That now, because he's in the wrong atmosphere with the wrong people, is about to do a bad thing. And the Bible said that the dance pleased Herod. Herod was not his real name. It was his given name. Herod means, in Greek, hero. He was given hero status, and so what she did fed the hero part of him. The part that likes that power and that ego.
There's a hero part of every boy. Boys want to be heroes. That's why we climb trees. That's why boys stuff stuff up their nose when they're little. It's something about it. You know, you can say to a little boy, now don't you ever eat that deodorizer in the toilet, boy, that you see - that blue deodorizer - 'cause that will kill you. And you'll come back in, and that boy will have blue stuff all over his - it's just something about us. And so when it says he was a hero - Herod is the hero, and the Bible said she pleased him. The word pleased in the Greek means the lifting of an anchor and getting carried away. Wow. Any restraint that he had, she so pleased him that he lifted the anchor and got carried away.
The Bible said that there's pleasure in sin for a season. Moses chose God rather than the pleasures of sin for a season. And in this moment of hero status, he gets all carried away, and he's so into the moment that he makes a big statement, and he says you can have anything up to half that I own. Ask of me what you want. What will the girl ask for? Everybody - you could hear a pin drop in that room. What will she ask for? Will she want her own palace? Will she want mountains of gold? What will she want? Will she want diamonds and rubies? This could change her life. This could alter her the rest of her life. This could change everything. She can have anything she wants.
And instead of answering the question - notice when it's time to pay the high cost of low living, you don't decide the cost. Nor did the girl. But she goes over into another room. She says I'll be right back, and she goes over into another room. And her mother, who hated John the Baptist, was sitting in the shadows of that room. And she says Mother, what should I ask for? It's the opportunity of a lifetime. What should I do, Mother? And she said ask for John the Baptist's head on a platter. Hear the bitterness. Hear the evil. Are you sure?
That's exactly what you need to ask for. I don't ever want to hear that voice of repentance again. He kept screaming to me repent, repent, repent. I don't ever want to feel conviction again. I don't ever want to hear that voice again. I want you to cut that head off so you stop that voice in our life. The Bible said that she came in, and she said, I want for the payment of the dance the head of John the Baptist on a platter. And the scripture said - catch it - Herod was exceedingly sorry. Whatever makes the hero happy makes the king sorry. Whatever pleases the Herod in us breaks the heart of the king in us.
Every man and every person here has two natures inside of you. The nature of the Herod or the hero side - the ego side, the flesh side - or the king side. And if you please the hero side, you will always make the king side exceedingly sorry. The story speaks to every one of us in everyday life. Let me give it to you. Herod the hero speaks of our flesh and our carnal desires. Herod's step-daughter, the dancer, speaks of the pleasures of the world. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life.
The enticing web that Satan spreads. The dancing daughter is Satan's web. She dances, and she's on every billboard, and she's on every computer screen, and she's constantly trying to enter into our life. To feed the hero, to feed the ego, to feed the carnal desires. But there's also another character that is seen, and Satan does not want you to rule and reign as the king over your home, and over your flesh, and over your family. He wants to destroy you. And Herodias speaks of Satan himself. The wife of Herod, Herodias, speaks of Satan himself.
Notice that the decision was made in the shadows of another room. What the cost would be for the dance. She was really the brains behind the whole set-up. Just as Satan sits in the dark. He never reveals himself, and he allows us to feed our ego, and feed the hero, and feed the carnal desires, and says you can dance with it, and you can play with it, and it won't hurt you. But notice in the shadows, she's lurking. And she's the decider of the cost of the dance. Not you. You don't decide how much you will pay for that dance. She does. You don't get to choose the price you pay for the dance. I'll pay this, I'll pay that. You don't get to decide.
The cost of the dance will be decided in another room by someone else that is a type of Satan. You may look at the price tag of your dance, whatever your dance is with the flesh, and you may decide that it's a price you're willing to pay. You put a price tag on it, and it's how much it's going to cost you, and that's what you've decided. But you don't decide the high cost of low living. She decided. That mother. I can see that daughter, who's just a reflection of her mother, only much, much - many years younger. And the mother's older, and she says to her, get me the head of that John the Baptist on a platter. I want the head of John. John, that voice that kept preaching repent, repent, repent, repent, repent.
Go another way. Change your way. Stop going and doing what you're doing. And she was saying I don't want to hear that voice of conviction anymore. I want to be in this relationship. I know it's not of God. I'm married to this man, and we're in incest. In an incestual relationship, and I don't want a voice convicting me, making me feel guilty. I love this situation, I love this flesh, I love this sin that I'm in, and I want the voice of conviction to die. The voice is telling me to convert, to change, to repent, to go a different way. I don't want to hear it anymore. I don't want it.
The cost of the dance is it cuts the head off of repentance. When John's head rolls, you'll never hear repent again. John, you'll never cry in her ear change, change, change. I'm saying to you today that if there's things in your life that are compromised, and you know that it's open sin, and you're hearing a voice that's saying change, change, change, repent, repent, you are so blessed, and you don't know it. The day that is dangerous is when you no longer hear that voice. It means you have had to pay the price for the dancer, which is to cut off that voice. His voice will be silenced once the head rolls. The price of the dance.
The voice of repentance in your heart will cease. And things that used to convict you, and things that used to bother you, and things you wouldn't go around, look at, get around, be near - suddenly you've cut off the voice that says change, stop, stop, repent, repent. And you no longer hear that voice.
Now imagine with me when John's head rolled, Herod and Herodias, his wife, were immediately reconciled. All that tension was gone out of the marriage. We're going to get along good now. And, you know, when you stop coming to church, and when you stop hearing the Word, you get along good with the devil. You get along good with your sin. It's when you come to church and Franklin Jentezen has a message from God right up in your business that you start feeling the tension. It's called conviction.
The cry to change is now gone. The cry to repent is now gone, so they're getting along good now. They're holding hands in the courtyard. Lovey-dovey. They're reconciled. There's no conviction. There's no sense of guilt. There's no sense of wrong-doing 'cause nobody's preaching against it. The preacher's head is gone. The voice is silenced. I'm good. That's how people sit in the church. If you think you're going to change me, you're crazy. I hear you. I feel you today.
If you think you're going to make me stop doing what my flesh and my ego loves, you can't stop me. I'm going to dance with the dancer. If that's the case, and you don't feel convicted by it anymore, can I just get blunt? If you don't feel convicted about getting drunk, or you don't feel convicted about sleeping with your girlfriend, or you don't even feel convicted about going out with that boy and doing things that you know are not - you don't even feel convicted cheating on your wife, you don't even feel convicted looking at that computer, you don't even feel convicted anymore - what you have done is you have already paid the dancer.
There's no conviction. There's no sense of condemnation. And when you do wrong and feel no guilt, you've lost the voice of repentance. My God, if you feel anything in this room while I'm preaching to you, wherever you're watching this program, and you're doing things that you know are not right, and while I'm preaching, the Holy Spirit is bringing up your dancer, you ought to thank God that voice is still in your ear. It's proof of your salvation. It's proof of the Holy Spirit residing in your heart.
Somebody praise God for conviction. The church has lost this. We don't even talk about sin. We don't even talk about wrong. We don't even talk about morality in the house of God. And if we won't talk about it, the world never will, preachers. And if the church loses the voice of repentance, we've lost it all. John has to meet you first before Jesus will ever meet you. He was the forerunner, and if you don't repent, you never get the encounter of the presence of Jesus. If you lose the voice of conviction and repentance of your sin, then you lose the presence of Jesus. Because he's the forerunner of the real thing, Jesus Christ.
The final payment for the dancer is one of the saddest scriptures in the Bible that I'm coming to a close with. It's the final payment to the dancer that every person has to pay if you - here's what I want to say. If at some point he would have stopped the dance in the middle of the dance, he wouldn't have had to pay for the dancer. What I'm saying to you is, stop the dance. Stop it. Stop it now. Stop it while God's grace has you covered. Stop it while there's forgiveness. Stop it while you're hearing the voice saying change, change, change. Stop, stop, stop. Repent, repent, repent. Stop it now. Because if you stop before the dance is finished, you don't have to pay for the dance.
That's what the cross was about. The cross covers us. But if you don't get out of it, you're going to have to pay the high cost of low living. Stop the affair. Stop the lunches with the secretary. Stop. It's going to cost you your children. You want somebody else to walk your daughter down the aisle 'cause she can't stand you 'cause you cheated on her mother? Yeah, I need to put my head on a platter. I'm getting people mad and angry at me. But you know what? It's the truth. It's going to cost you.
Stop. Stop the dance. Stop it. Stop the drinking. Stop the hypocrisy. Stop the shady stuff. Stop the lying, the stealing, the cheating in the business. Stop the dance. Because you can't do wrong and be all right. You're going to pay for the dance. But if you stop now - if you're doing illegal stuff, stop now. God's grace may cover you. But if you don't - see Revelation said there's a space of grace. And I'm telling you, I feel the Holy Spirit right now. Revelation talks about a space of grace. It means God will give you a time, but you've got this much. You got a beginning and an end to repent of that thing, and get out of that living with somebody you're not married. Stop the dance. Stop it. God's given you grace.
Now get out. Because if you keep staying, you're going to have to pay the high cost of low living. And you don't decide the cost. The devil does. It might cost you your children. It might cost you your freedom. It might cost you your reputation. It might cost you your marriage. It might cost you your respect. You don't decide the cost. The devil does. And we see the final payment of the dance in Luke 23:8. Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad. Do you know how long it's been? For it had been a long time. He had wanted for a long time to see him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.
Listen to this now. The only man in the Bible that Jesus did not speak to that He encountered was Herod. Why? Because if you stop and cut off the voice of repentance in your life, Jesus has nothing else to say to you. And one day, He will say depart from me, you worker of iniquity. I never knew you. It's a serious thing to cut off conviction. Sear your heart, as the Bible said, with a hot iron to where you're cold and calloused, and you can go out and do things, and it doesn't bother you anymore because you've cut off the head. You've silenced the voice of repentance. And He said nothing to him.
If you don't have the voice of repentance in your life, conviction in your life, preaching to you continually and you responding, there will come a point where you will cut that voice off, and you'll no longer hear Jesus. Folks, it's so easy in the days and times in which we live to be lulled to sleep and to feed the flesh.
But God has sent me today with this message for you to say there's a high cost to low living, but you don't have to pay that price if you'll stop the dance now. You're not listening to me by accident. You're not hearing this particular message by happen chance. This is the mercy and the space of grace. Do not harden your heart. Do not play games with God. This is the day of repentance, and there's a voice saying repent. Change. Go a different direction. Stop it. And if you'll heed that voice and repent of your sins, Jesus will wash you, Jesus will cleanse you, Jesus will fill you with the Holy Spirit, and Jesus will empower you to live a victorious life. If you believe that, thank Him for His grace.