Empire of Desire

desireTITLE: Empire of Desire


PROPOSITION: To avoid building an empire of sinful desire we must 1) Know Our Own Desires, 2) Distinguish Between Legitimate and Illegitimate Desires, 3) Recognize Our Ultimate True Desire.

OBJECTIVE: The hearer should be able to impede sinful desires and facilitate desires for Jesus.

AIM: In this sermon, I want to impart some spiritual tools whereby the hearer will be able to recognize his/her desires.


1. Read: James 1:13-15 – “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

2. About the Text:

1) Older translations used the word “lust” in this passage.

2) Today, the word lust has a sexual connotation to it.

3) The ESV uses the word “desire” because this is broader than just sexual lust.

4) These could be desires for wealth, power, sex, beauty, popularity, etc.

5) There is no limit to the kinds of desires that occupy the minds of humanity.

6) When we simply focus on our own desires, we build an empire of desires that perpetuates itself into more and more desires.

7) There is no end to it.

8) The man who regularly views pornography will find that it ceases to satisfy him.

9) The person who pursues drug use will become desensitized to it.

10) The person who pursues wealth will find there is no end to pursuing it.

11) This is what James is talking about when he says that desire conceives sin and sin brings death.

12) What does the Bible have to say about our desires?

13) How do we prevent ourselves from building our own empire of desire?

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: To avoid building an empire of sinful desire we must . . .

I.   Know Our Own Desires

1. “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

2. This means knowing our sins.

1) Sin is not just a list of dos and don’ts.

2) It is the conflict of desires within us.

3) Paul calls it a law that works in my flesh.

4) “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members” (Romans 7:23).

3. I must know my actions and my motives.

a. Why do I do the things I do.

b. Why do I commit the sins I commit.

2) The ultimate answer is dissatisfaction with what God has made me to be.

3) This leads to feeling bad about ourselves and self-hatred.

4) When I feel bad, I find something to make me feel good.

5) Money, Shopping, Sex, Drugs (legal and illegal), Food, Beauty, Video Games, Television, Movies, etc.

6) Pretty soon, these are the only things that we are pursuing in life and we become what Paul describes in Romans 1:28-31.

7) “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful.”

4. Sinful desires are not our only desires

1) We can desire Jesus: “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.’” (Luke 9:23-24).

2) We can desire salvation: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1).

3) We can desire heaven: “For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:2).

4) We can desire to help the poor: “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10).

5. So what is the difference between the sinful desires and spiritual desires?

II.  Distinguish Between Legitimate and Illegitimate Desires

1. Sinful desires come from the flesh.

1) “For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death” (Romans 7:5).

2) “But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead” (Romans 7:8).

3) Read Romans 8:5-8

4) “Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Ephesians 2:3).

5) “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).

6) “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

2. Spiritual desires come from the spirit.

1) “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

2) Read Romans 8:5-9

3) Read Galatians 5:16-18, and 22-26.

3. Christians have put to death the flesh so that the spirit may rule.

1) Galatians 5:24 – And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

2) Romans 6:1-4

3) Galatians 2:20

4) 2 Corinthians 5:16-17

III. Recognize Our Ultimate True Desire

1. What or Who is our ultimate true desire?

2. “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You” (Psalm 73:25).

3. “Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You; The desire of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You. With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:8-9).

4. “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:6-9).

5. “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.’” (Luke 9:23-24).

6. “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Phil.1:23).

7. Read Hebrews 11:13-16

8. We need to create an Empire of Desire for Jesus!


1. How do we avoid an Empire of Sinful Desire?

1) Know Our Own Desires

2) Distinguish Between Legitimate and Illegitimate Desires

3) Recognize Our Ultimate True Desire

2. Invitation

1) Make Jesus your desire.

2) “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).