Lust & Mental Purity (Matthew 5:28)
Today I preached a new sermon on sexual purity. In the process I wrote down many verses, tips & resources that I have developed over the years. Thanks to technology, there are five ways you may access these materials:
1) You may watch my sermon, below
2) You may listen to my sermon here
3) You may download the free program « X-mind » (Windows/Mac/Linux) and then download and view my sermon notes (over 6 pages of info, organized beautifully into a collapsable/expandable spider-web of information)
5) You may read on, as I have put together a rough transcript of the sermon
If you know of other helpful resources on this topic, please bless us all by providing links in the comments!
If these resources are helpful to you, please remember to share the link with others!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. » ~ Jesus, Matthew 5:28
Walk with God
– The pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8, Psalm 24)– The pure can ascend God’s holy hill (Psalm 24)
– Jesus said « be holy, as my father is holy » (1 Peter 1:16)
Power in Prayer
– God desires men to pray, lifting holy hands (1 Timothy 2:8)
– The prayers of the righteous man accomplish much (James 5:16) (thus, the opposite is true)
– God does not listen to the soul with unconfessed sins (Psalms 66:18)
– God does not listen to the man who deals unfaithfully with the wife of his youth (Malachi 2:14-16)
Marriage & Children
[These topics were skimmed over in the sermon, but I have much to say about them in the pdf/word/x-mind version of my notes]
You may be (permanently?) disqualified from ministry (1 Corinthians 9:27)
Consider Bill Clinton, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggart
1) Whatever good they may have done, they are known first and foremost for their failures
2) For the Christians, all the good they have done for the kingdom is more than undone by this one failure
Your legacy will be marked by your sexual successes & failures, amplified through your family & ministry.
1. It is not a sin to be tempted (Hebrews 4:15)
* See Also: SHAME increases our vulnerability Colossians 3:1
2. Our temptations are common to humankind. You are not alone (1 Corinthians 10:13)
3. Every temptation can be overcome, through the power of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:13)
4. The battle gets easier with every victory (Proverbs 4:18)
5. « Health » is like being in shape: one never arrives, but one gets better and better at repelling disease (temptation) and staying in shape
6. We are not to seek temptation, but to pray against it (Matthew 6:13, Luke 11:4)
7. Temptations are not from God (James 1:13), but from..
a) FLESH We are tempted by created desires, combined with fallen nature (James 1:14)
b) SATAN & demons tempt us (Genesis 3)
c) THE WORLD: human society, ruled by Satan, opposd to God (Luke 4:6-8)
Scripture Memory (Psa. 119:9-11)
Longer Memory Passages
If you are struggling, spend time memorizing these longer passages.
Romans 6 & 8
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Short Memory Verses
Like Jesus in the wilderness, we should have quick Bible-verses to shoot back at Satan when tempted
2 Timothy 2:22
1 Corinthians 10:13
Passages for reflection
These are some longer passages to read, reflect on, perhaps write a Bible-study on, and spend time mulling over the principles they can teach us on sexuality
Proverbs 5 & 7
2 Samuel 11, 13-19
1 Corinthians 7
Song of Solomon
Remaining connected to God in Jesus (John 15:1-7)
control the things you can control, in order to gain control over what is now out of control
– Fasting/dieting (1 Corinthians 9:25)
– Exercise (1 Corinthians 9:27)
– Suffering ends temptation (1 Peter 4:1)
(That is NOT to say that we are to cause ourselves to suffer for the purpose of suffering, as the monks did in the middle ages. We are nowhere commanded to hurt ourselves: and doing so to pay for our sins would be an affront to the sacrifice of Jesus.) but…
— Discipline your body to the point of pain (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)
— Resist sin « to the point of blood » (Hebrews 12:4)
— Consider persecutions joy (James 1:2)
Abstaining from certain otherwise good things (Matthew 18:8-9)
If we should be prepared to part with an eye or a hand to stay pure, certainly we can also part with certain other things, if they are causing a hindrance to us personally.
Limiting of certain otherwise good things
…never after certain hours?
…never in certain company?
…never without certain company?
1) Be careful not to place your confidence in your legalisms. In themselves, they have no power to restrain lusts. The gas in your engine is Jesus Christ. If a branch is stuck in the gears of your engine, by all means remove it. But do not believe that removing all hindrances will make you victorious. We need Jesus, not legalisms. (Colossians 3)
2) Be careful not to push your legalisms onto other people. Read 1 Corinthians 9-10 & Romans 14-15. Consider that if you are making rules for yourself, you are a « weaker Christian » in that context. Accept those who are stronger without passing judgment on their freedom. To their own master they stand or fall.
Become satisfied in your wife (Proverbs 5:18)
Let me ask you something. In one year from now, if you began feeling strong sexual attractions to another person’s spouse, who would you call. If you have no-one to call, you have a problem. We all need someone to watch our backs sometimes.
1. It is not good for a man to be alone (Genesis 2:18, Hebrews 10:25)
2. Man-to-man (2 Timothy 2:2) & woman-to-woman (Titus 2:3-5) the great things of the faith are passed on
3. We all need a Paul sometimes to tell us – as he told Timothy – to « flee the passions of youth and pursue righteousness, etc. » (2 Tim. 2:22)
4. Confession brings healing (James 5:16)
(this is an aspect often overlooked by individualistic Western protestants. Unless we confess our sins out loud, to another, there is not deep healing for the pain of sin, and the cycle continues)
We are all vulnerable at certain times. That is not an excuse to fall in temptation (since God has given inside of every temptation a way of escape 1 Cor. 10:13). Rather, we identify & prepare for difficult times. Like a driver on a road, we must look both near and far, preparing for difficulties that may arise.
1. ANGER (especially long-term, unresolved anger) makes us vulnerable (Ephesians 4:26-27)
– This is a powerful vulnerability: it is like anger opens the door wide for Satan
– I know of at least one famous pastor who shared almost falling into sin in a season where he held onto bitterness against his wife
2. SHAME increases our vulnerability Colossians 3:1
– Your identity is not your past & present sin
– You are seated with Christ in the heavenlies!
– That means you are currently, right now, in the spiritual fellowship & presence of all the great saints of old
– Live up to your divine identity in Christ, not the identity that Satan wishes to push on you
* Remember that it is not a sin to be tempted. Don’t let that shame hold you captive!
3. PRIDE makes us vulnerable to attack (1 Corinthians 10:12)
4. INACTIVITY (forced or chosen) at portentous times increases vulnerability (2 Samuel 11)
5. DOUBTS open us up to attack, since faith is our shield (Ephesians 6:16)
6. The Lion attacks the sick, tired, depressed, alone, weak, wounded and/or disoriented (1 Peter 5:8)
7. (Singles) Awakening love before the time intensifies temptation (Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, 8:4)
8. (Engaged) Delaying marriage can intensify temptations (1 Corinthians 7:9)
9. (Married) Abstaining without mutual consent or for long periods gives opportunity (1 Corinthians 7:5)
I would like to conclude by revisiting a point that I skimmed over at the beginning. Why do we pursue purity? Because we must protect our families. We are daily engaged in a spiritual war against Satan & demons (Ephesians 6:12). Their purpose is to 1) Steal, 2) Kill, 3) Destroy (John 10:10). As a husband/father, God has appointed you as « head » of your home (Ephesians 5). However, whatever has overcome you has enslaved you (2 Peter 2:19). If Satan/sin has defeated you, the « strong man » of the house, he may do as he wishes with the rest of your family (Matthew 12:29).
Consider for a moment your daughters. Think of the future. Think of them through the brutal eyes of the roaring lion. What does he wish to steal from her? Consider sons & grand-children. Whom does Satan wish to kill? Consider your family and legacy. What does Satan wish to destroy?
Now just think of yourself for a moment. The man of the home – the strong man. Imagine yourself tied up, completely overcome by your sins. Imagine that Satan had his way, and was able to do exactly what he wished with your family. What would that look like?
On the contrary, consider 1 John 2:14-15. You are no longer children, who only know the Father. But you must become « young men. » Who are what?
2) The word of God abides in you
3) You have overcome the evil one
Finally, let us consider Isaiah 32:1-1.
Behold, a king will reign righteously
And princes will rule justly.
This is God’s vision for us men: that Jesus will reign righteously over us, and that we will rule justly.
Each will be like a refuge from the wind
And a shelter from the storm,
Like streams of water in a dry country,
Like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land.
If we become strong, if the Word of God abides in us, and if we have overcome the Evil One, we will be able to be this to our families.