And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The folly of sexual indifference? How surrender to lust keeps us from true happiness

The folly of sexual indifference? How surrender to lust keeps us from true happiness.

As we have been studying the Ten Commandments these last several weeks when appropriate, we now come by sequence to the seventh commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery”. Over the years I have seen that throughout scripture sexual sins tend to have a distinctive repulsiveness to God. As I have tried to understand this I have thusly collected the following notes. I hope that they become a useful tool to us all.

Seemingly, sexual temptation is not just a reality for males, but more and more it seems that women are engrossed is such cages. Worldliness and world values tend to know the axiom that “Sex Sells”. Unfortunately this is the wrapping of marketing from automobiles, books, films, and hamburgers. It seems that nothing is without a perverted twist. (Perverted means twisted out of proper shape) But the world is not solely responsible, for even those in monasteries have had like Augustine wished to emasculate themselves in order to stem the tide of lust. The issue is the heart. I hope that we can be educated by God’s word and moved by the Holy Spirit to gain that freedom that Christ purchased upon the cross for us. The battle may never be over on this earth, but we can become renewed and pure, the hope of Romans twelve, verses one and two.

What I present here is the negative voice of sex. Perhaps in some future allotment time will permit for me to write in the positive. So please think of these postings as chapters and appendices, not a more complete education.

So herein what follows are notes taken while studying….

Author=s Intentions
As I write, I intend to have less “I” in my life and more of God. Growing up selfish has great detriment to the self later on. As we look into the scriptures with intensity and an open heart for change, we begin to see not just a set of rules, but God. I want to see Jesus. He is the only one bigger than self. If I can see God then self will decrease. This is not about accomplishments or being better than someone else. It is about a right relationship with God, abiding in Him. So in this commandment and all the others, may I or rather we find and know God.

Selected Texts for Comments

"You shall not commit adultery.
(Exo 20:14 NASB)
Plain and simple. No room for adultery and its implicated manifestations. One of the first things that God wants in His people is a Holy Life. Respect for the marriage covenant is to reflect the glory of God and His nature. That is why God hates divorce, what He has joined together man should not separate.
Adultery is the very word God uses to describe how His people treat Him when they go after other gods. In the context of the Ten Commandments it is talking here about marriage. We see that three verses later it indicates further that you shall not covet your neighbors wife. The book of Leviticus (20:10-20) goes into a detailed synopsis of what to do in cases of rape or fornication.

"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. "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. "If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. (Mat 5:27-30 NASB)

This deep passage should make us tremble. For it deals with the heart and not just the act. For if the heart is bad the sin is present. The looking here implies to a looking with desire, curiosity and fantasy. Are not the realities of God greater than the fantasies of man? Whatever we desire we worship. What we behold and call beautiful or long for makes it a treasure. God alone is to be the Christian=s treasure.

The Greek word here is not the word for a simple mechanical transaction, (G1492). It is βλέ?ω. Blepo, which means to look at with a perceiving regard.

A mechanical transaction would be such that a person walks by and you recognize that it is a person, male or female. The lustful look considers the desirability of the person. It need not be a lengthy look relative to time. It involves the reason behind the look.

So here we have the standard spelled out. If we have a habit of lusting with the eyes then radical amputation needs to occur. Now this does not indicate we actually remove our eyes or cut off a hand. It means we do those things that prevent wandering eyes. We add internet filters. We get rid of the television. We not only mechanically prevent situations, we seek to change the source of the problem, the heart. (See chapter on changing habits)

Adam Clark states AMany would abhor to commit one external act before the eyes of men, in a temple of stone; and yet they are not afraid to commit a multitude of such acts in the temple of their hearts, and in the sight of God!@ Jesus is reflecting on the heart of man, not just the actions. For actions only reveal what is already within the heart.

Let us consider how the eye leads to the heart. They eye makes us aware of a temptation. This is then interpreted by the brain. It goes against memory, presupposition, calculates value and risk as well as a host of other functions. All of this affects the heart. IT leads to pondering, inquisitiveness, and reactions that come from the nature, whether sinful or good.

A great risk comes here. I call it Spiritual LSD. Like the psychotropic drug of the 60's fame, LSD opens you to unexpected recurrences of the trip. Lusting with the eye fills the mind with images that may be triggered at any moment.
Pornography builds upon itself in curiosity and fantasy. It requires more. Once a visual is caught it no longer satisfies, and another one is sought out. The lust of the eye places oneself upon a throne of fantasized worship. Where the object of the fantasy or actual act becomes the servant of the beholder.

Sending or perishing to Hell is referenced here, as in this sin may indicate the lack of saving faith.

The next posting will look at the method in which seduction often comes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Regaining Peace of Mind

The last several days, weeks for that matter, well, all year, has been a time of struggle. I guess you can’t be “The Persevering Pastor” without the practicality of having to persevere. I will spare the details for right now, but looking back I am thankful, although in many moments I was wrought in utter despair.

The last few days we have had busy schedules, and saw the passing of Praying Grandma. Three weeks ago I did not even think we would have a Christmas beyond the simple things previously purchased. But God has worked awesome things. More on that later too.

But at present, there is coming a clarity to me that must have accompanied the disciples when they woke Jesus to calm the stormy sea. Why oh why can I not learn this lesson, the mind stayed upon Christ is at perfect peace. I must find my joy in the thoughts, promises, and especially the Word of God rather than on my circumstances, He then brings the peace. This is an act of faith. By turning to God to see His faithfulness and promises is a step of faith. We may say with the father of the demon possessed boy “I believe, Help my unbelief”. And we should. I am thankful for the past year of pain now. God has proven Himself God in ways I had forgotten. I have wanted to grow, and growth comes through the need to persevere.

Perseverance is not only in pain. James says to count it all joy when we suffer various trials. In my way of thinking, affluence can be a trial. Now it is not even in the same category as our brothers and sisters whom are persecuted. But I look at it as a trial in the sense of “Whom do you serve”, and “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven”, and the lukewarmness of Revelation 3 that leads to wretchedness.

So the verse above teaches us that peace comes from God, and we can't be at peace without our minds (and hearts) upon Him. Like Paul, let us lay aside the encumbrances that ensnare us. Take time, are you in His peace? If not, why? The blood of Jesus was shed for that peace, let us glorify Him by abiding in Him.

So looking ahead to 2010, my greatest resolution is to get back to that time from which I have departed. It was a time of great growth through the seeking the glory of God in everything. Accompanied with this was unceasing prayer, scripture memory, and meeting with brothers and sisters to excitedly share the awesomeness of God in our lives.

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sermon Notes

Here are my rough sermon notes on the Sixth Commandment, thou shall not kill.
I only wish I had more time to clean them up for you.

The 6th Commandment"You shall not murder.
Exodus 20:13

Anger has been said to be drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Much of what I engage in is the dealing with people whom are unforgiving or angry. I can personally share that anger is a gremlin to the soul. Maybe even a thorn in your flesh.

As we look at what is being said here it is more than mechanics of doing law, its about the heart. This is a great occupation of the chief end of man, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. 2 Cor 5:17 reveals that those in Christ have a new nature. God evidences His grace by making us workers of grace. Scripture proves over and over that if we do not show forgiveness or grace, we ourselves are not of God.
• Pharisee and publican John 17
• Woman at the well receiving grace
• Woman washing Jesus feet with hair and tears, receiving grace.
• Servant whom was forgiven yet imprisoned one with a lesser due, did not receive grace.
• 1 John teaches if we do not love than we are not of God.

WARNING: Those who do not give grace are those who do not find grace.

Here is the rub, when we are attacked, wronged, mistreated, it is ultimately a test of our Christianity. We must rely upon Him, not our old nature.
Vengeance is Mine says the Lord, I will repay.

1. Let me give you the context of the nature of God….
'You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning. 'You shall not curse a deaf man, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD. 'You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly. 'You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD. 'You shall not hate your fellow countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him. 'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:13-18

God is not just proclaiming a morality of action, He is condemning any heart that seeks self reprisal.
• Partiality
• Care for the blind
• Foolish treatment of the deaf, taunting them
• Judging by deferment when you should act
• Hatred
• Bearing vengeance or grudge.

But heart matters matter
• Revere God
• Judgment shall have no injustice
• Reprove your neighbor as a help
• Love your neighbor.

Curing the heart shows the presence of God.
Our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees (Legalism)
All this has much to do with His kingdom, not of this world.
Sanctification process is the on going daily renewing of the mind and becoming Christ like. Morality is not the objective, it is Christlikeness.
Take steps of prevention, be proactive. Know the joy of the Lord.

Gospel hope
2. Leave no room for fault MECHANICS
No room for name calling, even in the heart
We give an account for every idle word
Make amends quickly
As much is possible on your account.

Murder, Anger, Name calling are all guilty, we will one day give an answer for it.
"You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. "Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent. Matthew 5:21-26

RACA was a quasi cussing

Gospel Example
3. Christ is our example HOPE IN CHRIST, as He works in our new nature

"You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. "Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. "For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? "If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:38-48

So what does this all say about the nature of God?
He is holy, willing to forgive, and He loves.
His love is to be reflected in His children. It reveals to a lost and dying world His great power to change us and give us humility through sanctification. He changes our hypocrisy and gives us the joy of knowing by experience the greatness of loving someone unto forgiveness.
The chief end of man is to enjoy God and glorify Him forever. You can not do that without loving your neighbor and enemies.

Romans 12 talks of being transformed by the renewing of the mind.
Verses of meditation to overcome anger

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32

For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Colossians 3:6-8

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. ames 1:19-22

Avoid- avoid those things which give rise to temptation
No- When temptation strikes, refuse it. Say NO and refuse to give thoughts to it.
Turn- turn away from the temptation and to the promises of God. Here is where scripture memory is the key to success.
Hold- Hold to the promises of God by remembering His faithfulness to you on the Cross and in the past
Enjoy- Enjoy the satisfaction of walking with Christ, worship Him in His provision.
Move- Move to an activity that will keep your mind away from the temptation.