Used in a bad sense:
The Greek word “hedone” is used of the gratification of the natural desire or sinful desire (Lk. 8:14; Titus 3:3; Jas. 4:1, 3; 2 Pet. 2:13).
The Greek word “philedonos” means lovers of pleasure (2 Tim. 3:4).
The Greek word “spatalao” means riotous/undisciplined/wanton pleasure (1 Tim. 5:6; Jas. 5:5).
Other places in Scripture where pleasure is used in a bad sense: Isa. 58:13; Ezek. 16:36-37 (“arab”) 2 Thes. 2:12; Heb. 11:25 (“apolausis”).
Used in a good sense:
The Greek word “eudokia” means good pleasure or kind intention (Eph. 1:5, 9; Phil. 2:13) or desire (2 Thes. 1:11).
Other places in Scripture where pleasure is used in a good sense: Job 36:11; Psa. 16:11; 102:14; 149:4; Gen.18:12; 1 Chron. 28:4; Col. 1:19.
Eccles. 2:1 What did Solomon (1:1), who was the richest king on earth in his day (1 Ki. 3:13; 4:20-27) and had all the pleasures of life, have to say about pleasure/self-centered desires and/or activities (Heb. – “simchah”)?
Do you agree with Solomon that worldly, sensuous pleasure (gratification of the senses for self-centered motives) is meaningless/futile/vain?
[Solomon’s rhetorical question in verse 2 expects a negative answer of “pleasure accomplishes little or nothing”.].
What forms of pleasure (self-centered gratification) did Solomon indulge in (Eccles. 2:3-10)?
What did he finally say all this pleasure resulted in, including the pleasures (Heb. “taanug”) of sex with many women (Eccles. 2:11; 1 Ki. 11:1-3)?
[According to Deut. 17:17, kings were not to multiply wives, nor silver or gold for themselves.].
Do you think indulging in any or all of these pleasures would result in a different response from you?
Whose mind is consumed with pleasure (Eccles. 7:4)?
Do you daydream or fantasize about worldly or sensuous pleasures like those described in Eccles. 2:3-10?
Now that you’ve heard what God and Solomon have said about worldly, self-centered pleasure, what do you plan to do about your attitude and activities regarding this kind of pleasure?
[There are good types of pleasure (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual). It’s the kind that we can give to God (e.g., 1 Chron. 28:4; Psa. 149:4; Phil. 2:13), the kind we can give to edify other Christians (Rom. 15:2), the kind God gives to some or all believers (e.g., Psa. 16:11; Job 36:11; Eccles. 5:19-20) and the kind we can derive from God or things: spiritual (e.g., Israel/Zion, Psa. 102:14); physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual (e.g., “desire”/good pleasure for benefit/goodness from God, 2 Thes. 1:11), or things created by God and used properly (e.g., sex in marriage, Gen. 18:12 with Heb. 13:4).].
Prov. 21:17 Generally speaking, what will become of the person who loves (is heavily engrossed in; idolizes) pleasure/self-centered desires and/or actions?
Why is this proverb generally true?
Lk. 8:11, 14 After some people hear the word of God presented to them (the gospel of salvation) and then continue on with their daily lives, what chokes/kills their consideration and acceptance of God’s word (the gospel)?
What are some specific examples of pleasures (self-centered desires and/or activities that take priority over God, His will, and things spiritual) in this life that could choke/kill an individual’s consideration and acceptance of the gospel?
Do you know of anyone who initially considered becoming a Christian but then rejected or lost interest in this decision because of the pleasures of life (e.g., alcohol, illicit drugs, illicit sex, gambling, partying, clubbing, rock music, video games, pornography, materialistic buying, money splurging, cars, sports fanaticism, etc.)?
If so, what could you have said to help prevent this loss of interest in and acceptance of the gospel due to the person’s consumption with the pleasures of life?
Could this same thing happen to people who have already become Christians but whose spiritual growth is choked because of these same pleasures of life?
If so, what can you do to help prevent this from happening to you?
And what could you do or say to help prevent this from happening to your friends?
Titus 3:3 What does Paul tell Titus that they were once enslaved to?
Were you ever enslaved to or consumed by various pleasures (self-centered desires and/or activities) before you became a Christian?
If so, what (if you care to say)?
Do you think that you are still enslaved to any worldly pleasures (desires that hinder: your spiritual growth; your complete obedience to God/Jesus or the Bible; your time, service, attention, or dedication to God, His Word, your evangelizing, your building up believers spiritually, your participating in spiritual things, like Bible reading and prayer)?
If so, what do you plan to do about it?
Why, and how soon?
Jas. 4:1-3 What do people’s sensual pleasures, which arise from within their lives (sin natures) cause/produce?
Have you ever known of a Christian who got involved in a quarrel, conflict, even murder because of sensual pleasure (e.g., they wanted someone else’s: girl/boyfriend or spouse; illicit drugs; alcohol; money; possessions; pornographic magazine/video; car; clothes; musical talent or instrument; some experience, privilege, position – such as in sports, career; etc.)?
If so, what happened?
Have your desires to gratify your senses (sensual pleasures) ever motivated/caused you to get into a conflict with someone else?
If so, share an example.
Why don’t some Christians receive what they ask God for in prayer?
What are some things that people selfishly ask God for to spend on their own pleasures?
Have you ever selfishly asked God for something or somebody to spend/squander/waste on your own pleasures?
If so, what (if you want to answer)?
[What you ask God for should be to glorify/honor/please Him, not yourself.].
[Some pleasures are always sinful, like sexual immorality, drunkenness, gluttony, and illicit drugs. Other pleasures become sinful when they replace or hinder your God-given purpose and priorities in life of glorifying God through becoming Christ-like in character and mission (e.g., evangelizing the spiritually lost and building up believers spiritually).].
2 Pet. 2:13 What did false prophets/teachers do?
Do you know of religious leaders who have gotten drunk (caroused) or who have participated in wild parties that included orgies (revelry)?
Why do you think religious leaders do this?
Have you ever or do you still do either of these things since becoming a Christian?
If so, what do you plan to do so that it never happens again?
2 Tim. 3:1-5 According to verse 4, what will people in the last days (the period of time between Jesus’ first and second comings to earth – Heb. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:20; Acts 2:17) be lovers of, instead of God?
Which do you love: God or gratifying your sinful/self-centered desires, and why?
If you love God, how would the following verses apply: Lk. 16:13; 11:23; Jn. 14:15, 21; 12:26 with Mk. 1:17?
[Remember, the way you can determine whether or not, and how much, you love God/Jesus is by your obeying His commands (1 Jn. 5:3; Jn. 14:15) as opposed to doing your own thing.].
Does your love for any of the following characterize your life: sports; playing computer games; sexually-suggestive dancing; drinking alcohol; over-eating; expensive eating; illicit drugs; sexual fantasizing; material possessions; extravagant traveling; gambling; unedifying music, videos, T.V.; expensive clothes; jewelry; furniture; weight-lifting; martial arts; etc.?
Would others say that any of these things were “loves” (idols) of your life?
Or, does your love for any of these things supersede your love for God/Jesus (as seen by your obeying His purpose for your life in building up believers spiritually, seeking and saving the spiritually lost, and living a holy life – Matt. 28:19-20; Phil. 2:2 with Phil. 1:27; Eph. 4:11-13; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 2:9-12; Rom. 14:19; 1 Thes. 5:11)?
Do the following show that you’re a lover of God rather than a lover of pleasure: your objective in life is to glorify/honor God in all you do and are – 1 Cor. 10:31; 6:20; and your goals in life are targeted to helping you reach this objective of being Christ-like in character and mission; your priorities include: Bible reading, study, meditation; prayer; evangelism; building up believers into Christ-likeness; devoting your time, talent, and treasure to promoting Christ’s kingdom rather than your own selfish plans/desires?