FROM HEDONISM TO HOLINESS 8/09/18

By admin at 2018-09-03 • 0 collector • 78 pageviews

"And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:15, 17)"

Scripture Reading: Romans 6

Objective: To understand the importance of abandoning a life of idolatry and lust, and to discover the joy of living to please our Lord Jesus with a holy life.

Introduction: The Greek word for pleasure is hedone -- where we get the word hedonism. For those in Greek world, it made no sense to live to please God because they did'nt believe in a relational God. Instead they lived to please themselves and created a philosophy to justify that very thing. As these people defined the ultimate good as a maxi-mal pleasure and minimal pain, the only question that remained was how best to go about realizing this. One school of thought  sought to maximize pleasure by abandoning inhibitions:" if it feels good, do it." Adherents to this thought believed ecstasy was transcendent contact with the spiritual word through the re-lease of their soul. Therefore, they indulged themselves in lavish feasts, sexual frenzies, and altered states of consciousness through drugs and alcohol. Such abandonment to desire is usually what we mean by hedo-nism. It is to be owned by sinful lusts. The philosopher Epicurus advanced an alternative school of thought. He saw the downside of unbridled hedonism, with its hangovers, sexual diseases, insatiable appetites,maximizing and enslaving addiction. To him, this was not minimizing pain or maximizing pleasure at all. The solution was not in the extremes but in a refined balance. He developed Epicureanism, a sophisticated hedonism of discriminating taste for the finest things in life; gourmet, dining, the choicest wine, expensive clothing, and exquisite comforts. If this sound familiar, it is because a moderated hedonism of Epicurus still thrives today. The problem with hedonism is not the desire for pleasure and aversion to pain -- healthy, God given impulses. The problem is elevating these natural inclination to the highest good. For us christians, doing so can tempt us to tolerate this world view and give lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as Paul warned (2 Timothy 3:1 - 4). Rather than ruling our desires, our desire rules us.That is hedonism. We were born with a sinful nature. God hates evil, and when we sin, we are authors of evil. In Roman 1:2, Paul says all humanity is in sin and under Gods wrath. In Roman 3 - 4, Paul describes God's answer to this universal human dilemma: justification by faith in Jesus Christ. Then in Roman 5-6, Paul talks about the freedom we have in Christ. as new creatures in Him, we are no longer owned by sinful nature; we are servants of righteousness   (6:16-20). how blessed we are to be delivered from the powerful, oppressive addiction of sin! Sanctification is the lifelong process of growing in Christ, allowing Him to transform us day by day into His likeness. That is the holy life He calls us to, being holy as God is holy (Leviticus 11:44 ; 1 Peter 1:16), surrendered to the lordship of Christ. He, not sin, is our master now.

Questions for Study and Discussion

  1. Define hedonism. Where do the word and its philosophy come from? Do you see its influence in the society today? Why is hedonism so popular, and what does it make an idol of?

  2. Relate Paul's list of sins in Romans 1:28 - 32 with the spirit of hedonism. What do these sins have in common, and where does Paul locate the origin of this bondage? verse 28.

  3. How does Paul liken the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-4? In what ways is love perverted? How does verse 5 provide a warning to the church, and how does verse 8 echo Romans 1:28 and 12:2?

  4. Summarize the major themes in Romans 1:6. Read and discuss chapter 6, and relate our new life in Christ (w. 15-23). Compare with 2 Corinthians 5:15-17.

  5. Discuss Leviticus 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:16 and the importance of ho-liness in the Christian life. How does misguided personal pleasure hurt the church?

Conclusion

In Romans 6:1,2, Paul asks, and answers a critical question about our freedom in Christ. "Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid". Paul is telling us that the christian life is more than just a forgiven life; is a transformed life. In Jesus Christ we have been moved from death to life, from sin nature to God's holy nature. Why would we ever want to go back and become enslaved to sin again?

Apply this Week

List the ways your life focuses on seeking your own pleasures or seeking what pleases God. Pray that your great pleasures are things that pleases Him. 

2 Replies | Last update 2018-09-04
2018-09-04   #1

I would like you to include the question section in the write up to enable complete discussion. Thanks Elder Emeka

2018-09-04   #2

Ok I will add the remaining sections.

Chidebe Willie

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