Finding God in Narnia part 4
Tasty Tidbits of Turkish Delight
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
January 8, 2006

 

For the past month, we’ve been talking about the land of Narnia. And when we started, we saw how four siblings… Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy… entered this land of Narnia by walking through a Wardrobe (or a closet) in a bedroom in an old mysterious house. Lucy was the first to enter Narnia, but when she returned and told the others, they wouldn’t believe her. Later on, Edmund found out that Lucy was telling the truth when he also stumbled into Narnia. And still later, Peter and Susan both entered Narnia.

But today, I want to focus in on Edmund and what happened to him just after he first arrived in Narnia.

Now, something you need to understand is that Edmund is the sort of kid you just want to smack upside the head. He’s rude, he’s arrogant, he resents his older brother, he enjoys teasing his younger sister to the point of tears, and he has a chip on his shoulder about where he fits into the family. Typical middle child. Oh wait, I’m a middle child. Forget all that.

But do remember this: at the time Edmund enters Narnia, Narnia is under the rule of the White Witch Jadis who has placed a curse on the land, making it a place where it is always winter but never Christmas. It’s a cold, bleak place, covered with snow, and it’s been like that for a hundred years with no end in sight. So when Edmund steps through the wardrobe into the snow-covered forest, the first thing that happens is, he’s cold. And then, as he stands there shivering, all of a sudden, he hears sleigh-bells. Which would normally be a good thing in winter, right? But not this time. You see, this sleigh belongs to Jadis, the White Witch, the very epitome of evil. Besides keeping Narnia under perpetual winter, she instills fear into the hearts of everyone in Narnia, and she turns her enemies to stone. And there she was… riding on her sleigh… and stopping right in front of Edmund.

When she first sees Edmund, she is abrasive and vile, insulting and demeaning toward him. However, once she realizes he is not just a beardless dwarf but rather a human, she changes her tune. You see, there are no humans in Narnia, at least not normally. But there is a prophecy that says 4 human children would come and rule Narnia. So if Jadis can capture one of those children, or better yet all 4, she would not need to be afraid of that prophecy.

So she softens her tone towards Edmund. She invites him onto the sleigh to sit beside her, offers him a blanket, gives him a hot drink, and then asks if he would like anything to eat. Edmund’s thoughts go to a traditional chewy candy eaten at Christmas that British children have enjoyed over the years – Turkish delight. So the White Witch takes a flask, pours out a small drop of liquid onto the ground, and magically appears a box filled with Turkish Delight, which she hands to Edmund. And to help you experience this story a little better, here’s a plate of Turkish Delight. I’ll let you hand this around and take a piece while I read what happened next from the book. Here… listen…

PASSAGE (pages 125-126 - summary: The Turkish Delight that the White Witch gives Edmund is enchanted, and places him under her control. He agrees to try to bring his siblings to her.)


So the Turkish Delight that that White Witch gave to Edmund was magical and placed him under her control. (Just like the Turkish Delight you just had places you under my control in my quest for world domination. : ) )

Well, maybe not. But by giving Edmund her special variety of Turkish Delight, Jadis is able to manipulate him into trying to get his siblings to go to her castle. It leads him to betray his brother and sisters. This Turkish Delight is magical… it’s addictive… it’s deceptive…. and it leads Edmund to go places and do things he never imagined he would.

You see, this Turkish Delight for Edmund worked much the same way that sin works in our lives. It lured him in, it addicted him, it trapped him, and it led him on to other things.

And so this morning, we’re going to talk about sin. I’m going to give you some facts about sin, and I suppose a good place to start would be to define what sin is.

 

What is Sin?

There are probably hundreds or even thousands of definitions I could give you… some better than others, but let me give you just three.

Collins Dictionary – the breaking of religious or moral law, especially through a willful act.

That’s a dictionary definition, but what does the Bible say? Well, the Old Testament never actually gives a definition of sin, but it does talk about sin and the general concept seems to be that sin is…

Old Testament – anything contrary to the known will of God.

And then we have the New Testament. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and the Greek word that is used throughout the New Testament for sin is an archery term that literally means…

New Testament – “missing the mark” (falling short of God’s standard).

It’s not living up to God’s expectations. And the truth is, every one of us had failed God in some way or other. A verse we looked at just last week told us…

Romans 3:23 (NLT)
For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

So all of us have sinned, and all of us are vulnerable to sin. Just like Edmund was vulnerable to the Turkish Delight. So with that in mind, let me give you…

 

Ten Troublesome Truths about Sin:
(Ten Tasty Tidbits of Turkish Delight)

1. Sin is most appealing when we are weakest.

When Edmund stumbled into the wardrobe, he was already grumpy and unpleasant. In the movie, it was the middle of the night so he was tired. And by the time he found the Witch, he was cold, lonely and scared. He was ripe for giving in to something.

Think about Cain in the Old Testament. Cain was jealous of his brother Abel. He was angry that Abel’s sacrifice was more acceptable to God than his own. And then the very first mention of the word “sin” is found in Genesis 4, when the Lord said to Cain…

Genesis 4:6-7 (NLT)
“Why are you so angry?... Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.”

Sin was ready to pounce on Cain because he was holding on to bitterness. God warned him about this, but Cain didn’t listen and he ended up murdering his brother.

Or how about Jesus Himself? In Matthew 4 we read…

Matthew 4:2-3 (NLT)
For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry. Then the Devil came…

Underline the word “then.” Notice that the Devil waited to tempt Jesus until Jesus was tired and hungry. Because when we are tired and hungry, or when we are angry, or weak, or frustrated, or lonely… that’s when sin seems the most appealing to us. That’s when we’re most likely to give in and do things we would rather not do. That’s why they say not to go shopping when you’re hungry. Because you’re more vulnerable to temptation when you’re weak.

Recognize this in your own life. Notice when you are the most vulnerable, and be alert.

 

2. Sin clouds how evil evil really is.

At first Jadis was very rude and cruel to Edmund. Then, all of a sudden, she changed her tone, and became very nice to him. And though he noticed the change, he didn’t seem to question why. And once the Turkish delight arrived, he threw off all inhibitions. You see, he couldn’t see how evil she really was.

In Southern Mexico lies the Cave of the Lighted House (I’m not even going to try the Mexican name… Cueva de Villa Luz). The Cave of the Lighted House… sounds like a pretty nice place, doesn’t it? And as you make your way to the cave you walk through a veritable paradise of tropical birds and lush rain forest. Underwater, the cave is fed by 20 underground springs… beautiful watercourses which teem with tiny fish. The cave itself is home to spectacular rock formations and beautiful ponds. The environment is inviting. Yet accept the invitation and you’ll soon be dead. You see, this Cave of the Lighted House is filled with poisonous gases.
Source: Scott Higgins. Information on the Cave obtained from National Geographic, May 2001.

Sin is just like this. It presents itself to us as something inviting, attractive, even life-giving. Yet in reality it’s poisonous and toxic. Hey, the Bible says…

2 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT)
Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light.

And if he can disguise himself, he can certainly disguise the ugliness of sin to look fun and safe and inviting.

 

3. Sin appears as what you want.

Jadis asked Edmund this question: “What would you like best to eat?” And that was what she used to trap him.

What do you want? You see, the only sins that really tempt us are the ones that offer what we want. If we want company, sin can offer us ways not to be so lonely. If we want money, sin can offer us ways to get or keep it. If we want power, sin can offer us ways to rise to the top.

How about Ananias in Acts chapter 8? Ananias was a man who wanted to be respected and admired by the other believers. Nothing wrong with that, is there? But what did he do? He went out, sold a piece of the property he owned, gave some of the money to the Church, but claimed that he gave it all! So what did Peter say to him?

Acts 5:3-4 (NLT)
“Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God.”

All he wanted was to be respected and admired. Nothing wrong with that. But the opportunity to lie appeared as an easy way to gain that respect and admiration. And he took it. Sin appears as what you want.

 

4. Sin clouds your judgment.

When Edmund started eating, he started talking, and what he said put his family and their friends in great danger. He didn’t notice how eager she was to meet his brother and sisters. Sin made Edmund not see clearly, and he lost common sense because of it.

A biblical example of this would be David. David had an affair with a married woman. He got her pregnant, and then had her husband killed so that he could marry the woman himself and cover up what he had done. Clearly, his initial sin clouded his judgment and led him to do even worse things.

(e.g. David in 2 Samuel 11-12)

 

5. Sin’s pleasure doesn’t last long.

“At last the Turkish Delight was all finished and Edmund was looking very hard at the empty box and wishing that she would ask him whether he would like some more.”
~ from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

Edmund quickly ate it all, and immediately wanted more.

Sin is like a drug… it gives you a temporary high. But the high wears off and you need more… and more… and more… and you move on to other, stronger things. It traps you.

Hebrews 11:25 describes the temporary nature of the pleasures of sin. Talking about Moses, it says…

Hebrews 11:25 (NLT)
He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.

Anyone who tells you sin isn’t fun is lying to you. Sin is fun, and it has pleasures. The problem is, the pleasures don’t last. Sin doesn’t satisfy for long. And when the pleasures fade, you find yourself in a worse condition than you were before.

 

6. Sin will eventually kill.

This Turkish Delight that the White Witch gave to Edmund was enchanted, and what Edmund did not know was that if he had been allowed, he could have kept eating it until he died of it. Eventually, the candy would have cost him his life.

James 1:15 (CEV)
…when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead.

What we earn from our sinfulness is death. It causes our spirits to crumple up, it snuffs out our prayers, and it mortifies our desire for God. I’ve said it before, but here it is again…

Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.

 

7. Sin promises better days ahead.

Jadis wanted to get Edmund’s siblings to her castle where she would turn them to stone, and so she promised Edmund that if he would bring his siblings to her, then he would rule as a king. She promised Edmund better days if he did what she wanted. Of course, when he actually did betray his brother and sisters, the White Witch reneged on her promise and put him in chains.

Sin lies to us, too. It says that we will be better off… We will feel better about ourselves… We will feel more important… but it’s all lies. Sin may promise better days, but it’s an empty promise. The truth is, sin only makes things worse.

And it’s always been that way, right back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sin promised that they could become gods and could grasp all knowledge, but the only knowledge they gained was the knowledge of shame and death.

(e.g. Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:1-7)

 

8. Sin lies about your importance.

Jadis told Edmund that he was the cleverest and handsomest young man she’d ever met. But at the time, Edmund had just finished devouring a plate of Turkish Delight. His face was red and his hands were sticky. He wasn’t particularly clever or handsome at that point, but he believed the lies.

Sin loves to say you are the most important person in the world. Sin says that everyone should listen to you and do what you want. Sin says what you think of yourself is most important.

Of course, none of this is true. What matters most is what God thinks of you. As the apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Rome…

Romans 12:3 (NIV)
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…

 

9. Sin leads to the betrayal of others.

Edmund promised to bring his siblings to the witch, even though he didn’t know the full extent of her plans for them. But still, he planned to turn them in to her.

Listen… your sin betrays others. It affects a lot more people than yourself. It betrays your family, it betrays your friends, it betrays your community, it betrays your church, and it betrays your God. Don’t get to thinking that sin is an isolated incident in your life. Because your life is not quarantined. Your sinfulness affects a lot of other people.

1 Corinthians 5:6 (NLT)
Don’t you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be affected?

Your actions have far-reaching consequences, even if you can’t see what those consequences are.

 

10. Sin spoils good things.

Edmund made the deal with the White Witch. And because of that deal, he was not able to enjoy other things later on. For example, when all four children were together in Narnia and were invited to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver for dinner, they went. And they were all enjoying the meal… all except Edmund. This is what C.S. Lewis wrote in the book…

“There’s nothing that spoils the taste of good ordinary food half so much as the memory of bad magic food.”
~ from “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

Once Edmund tasted the magical Turkish delight, nothing else would taste good. And so it is with sin. Sin steals the joy out of worship, which should taste wonderful. Sin steals the joy out of marriage, which should be fantastic. Sin steals unity out of a church, which should be a warm and friendly place. Sin steals, sin robs, sin cheapens, sin molests… sin spoils good things, to the point that bad things seem better than the good.

 

Okay, so there are ten things about sin. They took a while to get through, but I thought it was important that you understand the dangerous nature of sin. And I want you to want to avoid it. So how do you do that? How do you avoid sin? How do you overcome it? Well, rather than trying to cram it all into this message, we’re going to talk about that next week instead.

But this morning, just let me just say, sin is dangerous. Sin is addictive. Sin stains us. Sin hurts others. Sin separates us from God. And every one of us has sinned. But it’s not my goal to make you feel guilty and defeated today… I want you to have hope. Because sin is also avoidable and forgivable. We have One who can forgive us and erase the mark of sin in our lives. God promises in His Word…

Isaiah 1:18 (NLT)
No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.

That’s the promise that God makes to you. Sin is a terrible thing, but He can and will deal with it in your life, if you let Him. He’s a gentleman… He doesn’t intrude where He’s not welcome… but if you will invite Him into your life, then He will purify you and make you clean in His eyes.

 

Would you just close your eyes for a minute and think about this. I know that sin can seem like an abstract concept, but it’s also very real. It’s something each one of us deals with. And on our own, we’re really not able to overcome sin. Victory can only be found within a relationship with Jesus Christ.

So this morning, I’d like to pray with you… and I’d like to do that in two different ways. First of all, if you’re here and you’ve never entered into a relationship with Jesus but you’d like to do that this morning. I want you to know, you can. And maybe you don’t even understand it all right now. That’s okay. Jesus welcomes you anyway. So if you choose this morning to stop trying to live life your way and choose instead to live His way and get to know Him… then just slip up your hand. I’m not going to mention you by name or embarrass you in any way. Okay, if that’s you, then just in the quietness of your heart—you don’t have to pray it out loud—you can pray something like this…

“Jesus, thank you for offering me forgiveness and a fresh start. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done wrong and for trying to live life my way. Today I choose to live it your way. I welcome you into my life, and I ask you to teach me your ways. Thank you.

Now keep your eyes closed. Secondly, perhaps you decided long ago that you want to follow Jesus and live for Him, but you’ve found yourself trapped by a sinful pattern in your life. And you can’t get free. I want to encourage you to stop trying to do it on your own… trust Jesus. And it can still be a process, but you can have victory. I’d like to pray for you, too. Would you slip up your hand? Why don’t you pray something like this…

Jesus, I’m sorry. I’ve messed up. I know better, but I’ve chosen to give in to temptation anyway. So I ask for your forgiveness. And I ask that you help me with this. I trust You, and I know that you will see me through. In Jesus name, Amen.

Okay, you can open your eyes. If you prayed either of those prayers this morning, you need to know that’s only a first step. The next thing you need to do is talk to someone… someone who can encourage you and help you grow… someone who can hold you accountable… someone you trust who will be there for you.



[Much of this message adapted from material by Pat Cook]

 

 

 

 

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