We are going to continue in our series and pick up where I left off.
Today’s message is called. “Lust”.
That should peak yours interest… Let’s jump right into it.
Matthew 5:27–30 (ESV)
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
What is Lust?
Let me begin today with a question - What is Lust?
What do you think of when you hear the word lust?
For many people lust is word that conjures a sense of passion. Passionate desire, and often sexual passion.
One of the best definitions of the difference between love and lust that I had ever heard and it has stuck with me since then.
Love is the desire to benefit others, even at the expense of self.
Lust is the desire to benefit self, even at the expense of others.
Understanding that desire in and of it self is not wrong is important.
In fact, desire and passion when properly applied in life is a driving force of success.
Having desire - even very strong desire is not a sin.
God wants you to have desire, strong desire, passionate desire. The issue is what is the object of your desire?
In other words - What is your desire AIMED at?
You see one of the most damaging things in a Christians life is a lack of desire. Apathy.
The simple fact is most people attending church in the world today have little to no desire to do what pleases God.
And the vast majority of those same people have too much desire to do what pleases themselves.
So you see, it is not desire that is the problem - it is the TARGET of that desire that matters.
This is Idaho - and let me tell you that for the last two weeks I have missed Idaho. We love our freedom, we love God and we love our guns… can I get an Amen?
We are strong advocates of gun control - which means two hands and firm grip.
Did you know that desire can be aimed?
So I have this Bow - curtesy of - QRF Gun shop.
The key to effectiveness with this bow or any shooting weapon is accuracy.
The fact that it can shoot far is irrelevant
The fact that it is very powerful is irrelevant- IF the shots are not accurate.
How many of you think you are a pretty good shot?
How many of you have gotten better with practice?
We have no problem understanding that aim is something we learn todo with bullets and arrows. But when it comes to our desires we often have the Charlie Brown approach. We let our arrow go where ever it is easiest - and then we move the target to line up with our shot.
The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants...
We say things like, “The heart wants what the heart wants”. And when it suits us - we believe it.
Is that the truth? Are we victims of our desires?
Or are we the authors of our desires?
Some tastes are acquired, like coffee. No one likes black coffee the first time they drink it. But most coffee drinkers say the "need" coffee to start their day. How do we go from something we don't even like to something we need? Aim.
If you can understand the concept of an acquired taste - you know that desire can be and often is aimed.
One of the greatest desires that I hope you acquire is a passionate desire to let the Word of God be the source of truth in your life.
Matthew 5:27–28 (ESV)
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Now, most people can follow this logic pretty easily.
Jesus is saying that the act of sex with someone you are not married to is wrong, it is a sin, it is immoral. But He says the real issue is a heart issue.
It is not exclusively the act of sex with someone you are not married to, the intent of the heart that is also a sin.
Let’s take pornography for example.
Let’s look at some data to see the scope and effects of porn in society and the church.
1. Over 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites.
2. There are around 42 million porn websites, which totals around 370 million pages of porn.
3. The porn industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. It is also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC.
4. 47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home.
5. Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%.
6. 56% of American divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.
7. 70% of Christian youth pastors report that they have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with pornography in the past 12 months.
8. 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.
9. 59% of pastors said that married men seek their help for porn use.
This is not just a man issue either - Woman struggle with this as well.
10. 33% of women aged 25 and under search for porn at least once per month.
11. Only 13% of self-identified Christian women say they never watch porn—87% of Christian women have watched porn.
12. 55% of married men and 25% of married women say they watch porn at least once a month.
13. 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation. 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church.
How many of you would agree that we have a “Looking with lustful intent” problem in our culture today?
Porn is more accessible now than ever in human history.
Jesus is saying that looking with lust aims our heart towards adultery…
Pluck out your eye?
What can we do about it?
What SHOULD we DO about it?
Matthew 5:29–30 (ESV)
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
Jesus is saying we need to do whatever it takes to break the connection to our negative desires. To our lustful desires - our desire that seek to benefit self even at the expense of others.
How do we know this is not meant to be taken literally? How do we know we are not expected to pluck out our eyes and cut off our hands?
Your eye can not CAUSE you to sin.
Your foot does not CAUSE you to sin.
So what does CAUSE us to sin.
Sin is a heart issue.
Psalm 119:9–11 (ESV)
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Another reason we know that Jesus did not mean we are to literally cut off our hands is…
There is no record of any disciples taking this literally. Paul did not put in any of his letters the idea of self maiming to promote purity.
This is hyperbole. It is exaggerations for effect.
Shoot in the right direction
The problem we have is that once and arrow is lunched we can not get it back. It is like there is a rope tied to the arrows we shoot. Once shot - we are connected to the object of our desire.
The more arrows that have been shot - the more connected we are to that desire.
We cannot just stop desiring something - the only thing that can be done is to shoot more arrows in a new direction. Make that connection stronger and stronger and stronger in until that desire we used to have are weaker and weaker.
We have to tear it out, cut it off, get violent with those desires that holding us back from what God wants in our lives.
We have to pluck it out - cut it off. Stop. Playing games with lust.
The reason we continue in our lustful desires and temptations is
because we have yet to bring the same level of passion to our
repentance as we do to our lust.
I have great news for you today. There is freedom in Jesus! Freedom from the targets we should have never aimed our hearts at.
We need more arrows - aimed at the desire to benefit others even at the expense of self - and fewer and fewer arrows aimed at the desire to benefit self even at the expense of others.