What's Wrong With Gluttony? 04 OCTOBER 2020 | TRADITIONAL Service | REV GLADWIN LEE

What's Wrong With Gluttony?


Rev Gladwin Lee

Scripture Passage: Philippians 3:17-21 (NIV)


(Click on video below)


Summary | Gluttony is a sin affecting our bodies, spiritual growth and social responsibility.

Food forms a huge part of our lives, gathering family, friends to share and communicate together. John Koessler warns of the dangers of the evils of food and drink addictions masquerading as harmless pursuits. Labelling sin as disorders robs us from recognising the spiritual dimensions of healing needed. Paul was addressing two opposing groups on food: the legalistic, purist Judaists, and the indulgent pleasure-idolizing Antinomians. Gluttony is a sin of excessive consumption, with power to distort cravings, prioritising wrong choices, and degrading us into pleasure seekers, elevating Stomachs as our gods – v19. C.S. Lewis identified gluttonies of two types: excess and delicacy. The gluttony of excess dulls the appreciation and pleasure in the food, the company and God, our Creator-Provider. The gluttony of delicacy is narcissistic self-centred greedy obsession and addiction to luxury coupled with contempt for the ordinary. More common than the gluttony of excess, this fussiness should not be confused with responsible consumption for the sake of fair-trade practices.

Gluttony affects us in these areas:

  1. Stewardship – Our failure to curb cravings is a misuse of our appetite and abuse of our body.
  2. Social activity – We should be careful not to allow our consumption of food and drink to isolate us from others, or lead to neglect those around us.
  3. Spiritual activity – Eating is an opportunity for spiritual growth. God has used food and drink to teach his people such as His provision of daily manna to the Israelites while in the wilderness, and Jesus’ instituting of Holy Communion. These are grace provisions for the nourishing of our souls and bodies.

Jesus has broken the bonds of gluttony at the Cross, so who are you listening to, or obeying? Because how we eat, our attentiveness to others, and our spiritual growth, should all reflect this truth. God gives the gift of food for us to enjoy, to be nourished physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So run to get the prize, not aimlessly and be disqualified (1 Cor 9:24-27).

Shaping my appetites to follow God includes the following disciplines:

  1. Prayerful fasting - John Wesley advocated a twice-weekly discipline of self-denial, not as a hunger strike or health diet. Prayerful fasting must be centred on God as an opportunity to reorder our physical appetites to focus on spiritual appetites, remembering it is God who sustains, rediscovering his presence and power and reaffirming our God-dependence.
  2. Eat prayerfully - Use the meal opportunity for thanksgiving and appreciating the family and friends beside you. Engage in meaningful, sacred conversation. As host, offer a table where lives can be transformed into Christ-likeness.

Samson was blessed with godly parents, charisma, and strength, but lost his freedom, eyes, and strength, due to his gluttony of excess. He was only a vehicle for God’s power, but not a vessel for godliness.

Which appetite are you nurturing? Gluttony or godliness?

Let us discipline our appetites so that we may be vessels of godliness.

(Sermon Notes by Kwun Pillai)


1. Read Phil 3:18-21. Who are the 2 kinds of persons mentioned in this passage? In what ways are they different?

2. Recall the 2 types of gluttony. Describe how each one is expressed in our modern day society.

3. There are 3 aspects of our discipleship that are affected by gluttony.

a) Share examples of how you have observed gluttony affects these 3 aspects of our discipleship: Stewardship, Social, Spiritual Growth.

b) Which one of the 3 aspects of our discipleship do you find most relevant, and why?

4. Read 1 Cor 9:24-27. Share about a spiritual discipline which you are currently practicing, and how it has helped you to grow in Christian maturity.

5. The preacher shared 2 ways that can help us to shape our appetites to follow God: (i) prayerful fasting and (ii) eating prayerfully. Which one of the two ways would you consider doing for the coming week? Share how you would like your small group members to keep you in prayer and/or accountable.