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Copyr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

RUN

IT WAS A COOL, CLEAR MORNING,
WHICH WAS BOTH GOOD AND BAD.
IT WAS BAD BECAUSE HE CLEARLY SAW THINGS THAT WOULD SCARE ANYBODY
IT WAS GOOD BECAUSE HE WAS NOW RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE.
AND HE NEEDED TO SEE WHERE HE WAS GOING.

THE DAY STARTED AT A FRIEND'S FUNERAL
NOW HE WAS IN A FOOT RACE WITH HIS FRIEND
     -- THE SAME FRIEND HE BURIED. 

YOU SAY ALL RIGHT BRUCE, YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR WITH YOUR STORIES NOW!
DEAD PEOPLE DO NOT RUN AT THEIR OWN FUNERAL.
THEY LAY DOWN.
I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS STORY!

YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME?
TURN WITH ME TO ME TO 2 KINGS 13.  

I'LL GIVE YOU A LITTLE BACKGROUND WHILE WE ARE FINDING THE TEXT.
THE BOOK OF 2 KINGS CONTAINS THE STORY OF ELISHA, ONE OF THE MOST
PROMINENT PROPHETS AND TEACHERS IN ISRAEL.
TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR BIBLE HISTORY, ELISHA WAS THE ONE WHO DID NOT
GO UP TO HEAVEN IN A CHARIOT--THAT WAS ELIJAH.

ELISHA WAS ELIJAH'S HELPER. AND WHEN THE HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF
HEAVEN TOOK ELIJAH TO HEAVEN (2 KINGS 2:12-13) ELIJAH'S ROBE FELL
BACK DOWN TO EARTH TO ELISHA.

FROM THAT DAY ON, ELISHA TOOK OVER ELIJAH'S DUTIES.

ULTIMATELY ELISHA DIED AND WAS PLACED IN A TOMB. 
AND THAT BRINGS US TO OUR FANTASTIC FOOTNOTE.

READ 2 KINGS 13:20-21.

I CAN SEE IT ALL NOW:

     SAD AND SOLEMN OCCASION
     ALL OF A SUDDEN KILLER MOABITES APPEAR OUT OF NOWHERE
     SO THE MOURNERS, 
     NOT WANTING TO SUFFER THE SAME FATE AS THEIR FRIEND,
     QUICKLY TOSS HIM INTO A TOMB
     AND START RUNNING,

     RUNNING FOR THEIR LIVES

     THE BIBLE REPORTS THEY TOSSED THE DEAD GUY INTO ELISHA'S TOMB,
     WHEN THE CORPSE HIT ELISHA'S BONES, BOOM, HE CAME TO LIFE.

     OF COURSE IF THE DEAD GUY HAD BEEN ALIVE ALL ALONG, 
     HE WOULD HAVE HAD THE SAME FEAR OF THE MOABITES AS HIS
          FRIENDS.

     SO I CAN SEE IT NOW. AS SOON AS HE COMES ALIVE AND STANDS UP,
     HE SEES THE MOABITE RAIDERS COMING HIS WAY
     AND HE STARTS RUNNING
     RUNNING AFTER HIS FRIENDS.

     I HAVE NO DOUBT THEY WERE RUNNING FAST ON ACCOUNT OF THE 
          MOABITES,
     BUT WHEN THEY NOTICE THEIR DEAD FRIEND RUNNING AFTER THEM,
     I'VE GOT TO BELIEVE THEY TURNED UP THE POWER A NOTCH, 
     OR TWO. 
     OR THREE.

MY FRIENDS, I WANT TO TALK WITH YOU THIS MORNING ABOUT THE BENEFITS
OF RUNNING.  
I DON'T MEAN RUNNING AS IN HEALTH, FITNESS AND EXERCISE.

I'M TALKING ABOUT RUNNING AWAY FROM SIN.  

THESE GUYS IN 2 KINGS WERE RUNNING AWAY FROM THE MOABITES. 
THE DEVIL MADE THEM RUN, 
THEN A MIRACLE FROM GOD MADE THEM RUN EVEN HARDER.

IF THE DEVIL HASN'T GOT YOU RUNNING TODAY,
I WANT TO CONVINCE YOU THIS MORNING THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO RUN.

A FEW MONTHS AGO I WAS LISTENING TO SOME MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH
TALKING WITH THEIR TEENAGE CHILDREN.

THE KIDS WANTED TO DO SOMETHING, AND THE PARENTS WERE NOT SO SURE
IT WAS A GOOD IDEA.

THE KIDS SAID, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?"

I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT WHEN I WAS A TEEN I USED THAT SAME PHRASE,
"WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT."

IN FACT, I'M SURE THAT SAME QUESTION COMES TO MY MIND EVEN NOW.
WHEN I'M TRYING TO DETERMINE WHETHER I SHOULD DO SOMETHING THAT I
WANT TO DO.
I WANT TO DO IT, 
BUT HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT.
SO I ASK, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?"

MY BET IS THE YOUNGER YOU ARE, 
THE MORE CONVINCING THIS QUESTION IS.
WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CAUSE AN EFFECT IS NOT
AS CLEAR
SO, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?" IS A POWERFUL ARGUMENT.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?

MY WIFE IS MY BEST CRITIC FOR SERMONS
I LOVE TO HEAR HER SUGGESTIONS
AND A CONSISTENT CONCERN THAT SHE EXPRESSES IS THAT MY SERMONS ARE
GEARED TO PEOPLE MY AGE.

THIS MORNING I'M TALKING TO EVERYONE, 
BUT I WANT TO FOCUS ON THE YOUNG PEOPLE.
ANYBODY AT ANY AGE CAN MAKE A DECISION THAT RUINS THE REST OF THEIR
LIFE.
OR A DECISION THAT BENEFITS THE REST OF THEIR LIFE

BUT YOUNG PEOPLE: TEENS, EARLY 20'S,
ARE FORCED INTO MAKING A SERIES OF LIFE ALTERING DECISIONS:

     --DECISIONS CONCERNING THE OPPOSITE SEX. (AT LEAST I HOPE THE
     OPPOSITE SEX.) SUCH AS:
          WHO TO MARRY?
          WHETHER TO WAIT UNTIL MARRIAGE TO HAVE A MARRIAGE
               RELATIONSHIP.

     --DECISIONS ON HOW TO LIVE LIFE:
          TO LIVE AS A REBEL - WITH ATTITUDE THAT YOU ARE SMARTER
               THAN THE REST.
          OR TO LIVE AS ONE WHO COOPERATES.
          LIFE-LONG ADDICTIONS BEGIN AS YOUNG REBELLION.
               VIRGINIA SLIMS ADVERTISES ON THE THEME OF REBELLION.

     --WORK DECISIONS. WHICH MEANS DECISIONS ON EDUCATION.

THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE ON THESE TOPICS, YOUNG PEOPLE,  CAN BE 50
YEAR DECISIONS.

THE EVIDENCE IS ALL AROUND YOU. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LOOK VERY FAR.

AND TOO OFTEN THESE LIFE CHANGING DECISIONS ARE MADE AS THE RESULT
OF THE QUESTION: WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?
THE ANSWER I SUGGEST THIS MORNING IS: RUN!

TURN WITH ME TO 2 SAM 11:1-4A. READ

IF WE RE-READ THIS VERSE BY VERSE AND I ASKED YOU: WHAT'S WRONG
WITH THAT? 
I'LL BET WE WOULD GET TO THE LAST 5 WORDS OF THE TEXT --THE WORDS
"AND HE SLEPT WITH HER" BEFORE WE WOULD GET AGREEMENT THAT THERE
WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH WHAT DAVID WAS DOING.

LOOK AT VERSE 1 AGAIN. DAVID WAS KING. IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG WITH
STAYING HOME AND SENDING OUT THE TROOPS UNDER YOUR GENERAL?

THIS BRINGS US TO THE FIRST ILLUSTRATION OF WHAT I MEAN BY
"RUNNING."
THERE IS A BLESSING IN BEING BUSY.
WHEN PAUL WROTE ABOUT HELPING WIDOWS -- AND ONE OF THE MOST WORTHY
SUBJECTS FOR HELP IN THE BIBLE IS WIDOWS --
PAUL TOLD THE CHURCH IN 1 TIM 5:11-13 NOT TO PUT YOUNG WIDOWS ON
THE TOTAL SUPPORT LIST.
WHY?
BECAUSE IF THEY ARE IDLE THEY WILL GET INTO TROUBLE.  (SEE ALSO
ECCL. 9:10; PROV. 14:23; 31:27; PROV 6:6;21:25)

DAVID'S JOB HAD ALWAYS BEEN TO BE A MILITARY LEADER.
IT WAS GOD'S WORK TO EXPAND THE BOARDERS OF HIS NATION
SO WE FIND THAT DAVID IS NOT RUNNING, HE IS RESTING, AND HE TAKES
THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS A BAD DECISION.

VERSE 2 OF 2 SAM 11 FINDS DAVID WANDERING AROUND HIS ROOFTOP AT
NIGHT.
ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT?
GETTING A BREATH OF FRESH AIR.

WHILE WONDERING HE SURVEYS HIS NEIGHBOR'S HOMES.
HIS CIVIC DUTY. MAYBE ONE OF THEM MIGHT CATCH FIRE DURING THE
NIGHT! 
ANYTHING WRONG WITH LOOKING AROUND?
CERTAINLY NOT ADULTERY TO JUST BE LOOKING AROUND.

THIS BRINGS ME TO THE NEXT ASPECT OF RUNNING. A DEDICATED RUNNER IS
SINGLE-MINDED. HEBREWS 12:1-2 TELLS US TO RUN WITH OUR EYES FIXED
ON JESUS.

CONSIDER THIS: DAVID WAS THE KING. HE WAS ON THE ROOF OF THE
PALACE.
HE WAS A MAN WHO WAS AT THE PINNACLE OF HIS CAREER. HE WAS MASTER
OF ALL HE SURVEYED. 

THAT CAUSED HIS EYES TO BE FIXED ON WHAT HE WANTED INSTEAD OF WHAT
GOD WANTED.

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SEEN THIS SAME THING: WEALTHY MAN, 
ABOUT MY AGE: 
BUYS A NEW CAR, 
BUYS A NEW HOUSE, 
BUYS EVERYTHING THAT HIS HEART DESIRES. 
THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW HE HAS "BOUGHT" HIMSELF A NEW, YOUNG WIFE.

HIS COMPASS IN LIFE IS POINTED THE WRONG WAY. 
HIS FOCUS IN LIFE IS SERVING HIMSELF 
WHICH HAS REPLACED SERVING OTHERS -- ESPECIALLY HIS FAMILY.

LETS GET BACK TO OUR STORY: WHILE ON FIRE PATROL, v.2 TELLS US
DAVID HAPPENED TO SEE A WOMAN BATHING.
WELL, YOU CAN'T HELP THAT, CAN YOU?
IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT SHE MIGHT BE ON FIRE, YOU'VE GOT TO LOOK,
RIGHT?

THE TEXT TELLS US HE LOOKED LONG ENOUGH TO SEE THAT SHE WAS VERY
BEAUTIFUL.
BACK THEN KINGS COULD HAVE MORE THAN ONE WIFE, SO I CAN HEAR DAVID
SAY, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?" I'M KEEPING MY EYES OPEN FOR
POTENTIAL WIVES.

VERSE 3 TELL US THAT DAVID SENT SOMEONE TO GO FIND OUT ABOUT HER.

NOTHING WRONG WITH FINDING OUT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ONE OF YOUR
SUBJECTS, RIGHT? ESPECIALLY A BACKGROUND CHECK WOULD BE GOOD IF YOU
ARE THINKING ABOUT ADDING HER TO THE HAREM.

SO FAR WE HAVE AT BEST YELLOW LIGHTS ON THE ROAD OF LIFE.
BUT VERSE v.3 EXPLICITLY TELL US THAT THE RED LIGHTS WERE FLASHING
FOR DAVID.
VERSE 3 TELLS US THAT THE INVESTIGATOR KNOWS BATHSHEBA.
AND HE TELLS DAVID SHE IS MARRIED.

BUT WHAT'S WRONG WITH TALKING TO BEAUTIFUL MARRIED WOMEN?
LADIES, IS IT OK TO TALK TO BEAUTIFUL MARRIED MEN?

SO v.4 TELLS US THAT DAVID SENT FOR HER.
LET ME ASK YOU RIGHT HERE; 
WAS DAVID LOOKING FOR A GREAT CONVERSATIONALIST?
DID HE SEND FOR HER BECAUSE HE HAD NO ONE TO TALK TO?
NO.
THE CONTEXT OF THE STORY TELLS US HE SENT FOR HER BECAUSE SHE WAS
BEAUTIFUL.

EVEN THOUGH HE KNEW SHE WAS MARRIED.

UP TO NOW, ANSWERING THE QUESTION: "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?"
IS DIFFICULT, RIGHT?
I'VE TRIED TO POINT OUT THE PROBLEMS, 
BUT IS THERE ANY CLEAR SIN UP TO THIS POINT?

WHAT DO WE HAVE HERE?
WALKING?
LOOKING?
INVESTIGATING?
MEETING?

UNFORTUNATELY, THAT IS NOT THE END OF THE STORY. VERSE 4 SAYS DAVID
SLEPT WITH HER.
NOW WE CAN CLEARLY ANSWER THE QUESTION, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?"

IS ANYONE HERE SURPRISED WITH THE OUTCOME?
FRIENDS, THE ROAD TO SIN IS PROGRESSIVE.

WE ARE NOT SURPRISED BECAUSE WE COULD SEE THIS COMING.
IN EVERY "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?" WE COULD SEE THAT DAVID WAS
MOVING CLOSER AND CLOSER TOWARDS SIN.

IF WE ARE NOT SURPRISED,
THEN, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?" IS NOT THE QUESTION THAT WILL
RELIABLY KEEP US OUT OF TROUBLE.

INSTEAD WE SHOULD ALWAYS ASK OURSELVES ABOUT RUNNING. 
ARE WE RUNNING TOWARDS SIN OR TOWARDS GODLINESS?

WHEN "WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT" COMES UP,
THE ANSWER IS RUN.

I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS A KID SEEING A TV PROGRAM ABOUT A MAN-EATING
LION. APPARENTLY THIS LION HAD GOTTEN A TASTE FOR HUMAN FLESH, AND
I REMEMBER THE CAMERA SHOWED WHERE IT HAD MADE SOME SORT OF HOLE IN
THE BACK OF A HUT AND PULLED A CHILD OUT.

MAYBE YOU REMEMBER AN IRRATIONAL FEAR FROM YOUR YOUTH.
MAYBE YOU PARENTS REMEMBER AN IRRATIONAL FEAR THAT KEPT YOUR CHILD
AWAKE AT NIGHT.

I SHOULD NOT HAVE WATCHED THIS PROGRAM BECAUSE IT MADE A BIG
IMPRESSION ON ME.  I WOULD HAVE DREAMS ABOUT BEING DRAGGED FROM MY
HOUSE AND EATEN BY A LION.  I COULDN'T SLEEP SOMETIMES BECAUSE I
WAS THINKING ABOUT A LION GETTING ME.

THIS TV PROGRAM WAS SHOT IN AFRICA, NOT THE UNITED STATES.
I KNEW THAT. 
BUT LIONS CAN SWIM CAN'T THEY?
DO YOU KNOW HOW FAR A LION CAN SWIM? 
NEITHER DID I!
NOT KNOWING MADE IT POSSIBLE.

SINCE I GREW UP IN THE MIDWEST
THE LION WOULD HAVE TO EAT ITS WAY UP FROM FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN.
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THE POLICE CATCHING A LION?
NEITHER HAD I!

THE WALLS OF OUR HOUSE FOR THE FIRST FOUR FEET WERE SOLID CEMENT
BLOCK.

THE LION WOULD HAVE TO TEAR THROUGH THE CEMENT TO GET ME IN MY BED.
DO YOU KNOW WHETHER LION TEETH ARE STRONGER THAN CEMENT?
NEITHER DID I!

MY FRIENDS, BARRIER AFTER IMPOSSIBLE BARRIER LAY BETWEEN ME AND
THAT MAN-EATING LION IN AFRICA.
YET I WORRIED, AND GAVE THE MATTER CONSIDERABLE THOUGHT.

IN 1PETER 5:8 WE ARE TOLD THAT "THE DEVIL PROWLS AROUND LIKE A
ROARING LION LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO DEVOUR."
PETER TELLS US THAT THE DEVIL IS NOT LIKE MY LION.
THERE ARE NO PHYSICAL BARRIERS BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND YOU.
NO OCEAN.
NO FLORIDA
NO POLICE
NO CEMENT WALLS.

PETER TELLS US THE DEVIL IS A MAN-EATER
HE HAS A TASTE FOR HUMAN FLESH
YOUR FLESH
HE IS HUNGRY
HE IS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
HE'S IN THE HOUSE.

IN RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?"
RUN!

TURN WITH ME FIRST TO GENESIS 39. 

YOU REMEMBER THE STORY OF JOSEPH.

HOW HIS BROTHERS, OUT OF JEALOUSY SOLD HIM TO ISHMALITE SLAVERS
HE WAS TAKEN TO EGYPT WHERE POTIPHAR, THE CAPTAIN OF PHARAOH'S
GUARD BOUGHT HIM.

GOD BLESSED JOSEPH AND EVERYTHING HE DID. AND SO POTIPHAR PUT HIM
IN CHARGE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD, WHICH BROUGHT HIM TO THE ATTENTION OF
MRS. POTIPHAR.

JOSEPH, IN COMPARISON TO KING DAVID, WAS NOT MARRIED WHEN HE WAS IN
CHARGE OF POTIPHAR'S HOUSE.

LETS READ GENESIS 39: 6B-12.

JOSEPH UNDERSTOOD THE LION PROBLEM.
JOSEPH UNDERSTOOD THE "RUN" PRINCIPLE.

THE KEY TEXT IS IN v 10. "HE REFUSED... TO EVEN BE WITH HER."

JOSEPH COULD VERY WELL ASK, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH BEING NEAR MY
MASTER'S WIFE?"

BUT HE DID NOT. INSTEAD, VERSE 12 SAYS, HE WAS RUNNING.

JOSEPH REFUSED TO EVEN BE AROUND POTIPHAR'S WIFE.

MY FRIENDS, A RUNNER HAS SIN PHOBIA.
HE IS NOT TRYING TO GET AS CLOSE TO SIN AS POSSIBLE
HE IS TRYING TO GET AS FAR AWAY FROM SIN AS POSSIBLE!

2 TIM 2:22 TELLS US "FLEE THE EVIL DESIRES OF YOUTH, PURSUE
RIGHTEOUSNESS, FAITH, LOVE AND PEACE ...." 
PAUL TELLS TIMOTHY: RUN FROM EVIL, RUN TOWARDS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

MY FRIENDS I HAVE ONLY SPOKEN OF ONE SIN THIS MORNING - ADULTERY.
BUT RUNNING IS A UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE FOR ALL SIN.

I WANT YOU TO FOCUS ON THE SIN (OR SINS) THAT CREATE THE MOST
TROUBLE FOR YOU.

AREN'T YOU GLAD WE ARE NOT MIND READERS!
OK. FOCUS ON THE SIN THAT IS THE GREATEST PROBLEM FOR YOU.
IF YOU CANNOT DO THAT, I SUGGEST YOU NEED A CLEARER PICTURE OF
CHRIST.

GOT THAT PICTURE?

NOW THINK ABOUT WHAT LEADS YOU TOWARDS THAT SIN.
AVOID IT.

YOU MAY SAY, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, AVOID IT?"

TURN WITH ME TO EPHESIANS. THE LAST PART OF EPHESIANS 4 AND THE
FIRST PART OF EPHESIANS 5 TALK ABOUT THIS IDEA.

LETS LOOK AT EPHESIANS 4:28. READ.
IS YOUR WEAKNESS STEALING?
YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO STEAL.
YOU DON'T GO TO THE STORE TO LOOK AT WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO STEAL.

TO RUN FROM THE PROBLEM MEANS THAT YOU NOT ONLY WORK, BUT TO SHARE
YOUR STUFF WITH OTHERS. YOU GET AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE.

IS YOUR MOUTH YOUR SIN PROBLEM? READ 4:29.
YOU DON'T JUST AVOID SAYING BAD THINGS ABOUT PEOPLE
TO RUN MEANS THAT YOU MAKE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO SAY THINGS WHICH
BUILD OTHERS UP.

LETS MOVE DOWN A FEW VERSES AND READ EPH. 5:3-5.
IS GREED YOUR PROBLEM? (v.5 SAYS A GREEDY PERSON IS AN IDOLATER)
ARE YOU JEALOUS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE MORE STUFF THAN YOU?
IS YOUR PRIMARY FOCUS ON LIFE TO MAKE MORE MONEY?

PAUL SAYS NOT EVEN A HINT OF SIN SHOULD BE IN YOUR LIFE.

SO YOU SEE HOW PETER AND PAUL AGREE?  THE ANSWER TO SIN IS "RUN."

I'LL SAY IT AGAIN.
THE DEVIL IS A MAN-EATER
HE HAS A TASTE FOR HUMAN FLESH
YOUR FLESH
HE IS HUNGRY
HE IS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
HE'S IN YOUR HOUSE.

IN RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?"
RUN!