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Spiritual Viruses: Part 3

Matthew 6:25; 33

25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life… 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The Coronavirus has alerted otherwise passive affluent cultures like our that life is fragile. Prosperity, comfort and security are precarious.

However, the Bible plainly tells us NOT to worry, or be anxious or live in fear.

DO NOT WORRY: all inclusive.

Jesus knew what He was commanding. He knew the effects of life. DO NOT WORRY.

  • 1 Peter 5:6–7 (NKJV)  6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,   7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

What do we worry about? The “cares” of this world.

Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious [worry] for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (NKJV)

Paul gives us several reasons not to worry:

Philippians 4:5 – Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (NKJV)

Philippians 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)

When we read the verse in light of the entire book of Philippians we find its true meaning:

  • No matter what the situation, hardship, sacrifice or circumstance, when we have the right thinking, right attitudes, right praying and right living we will find that we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength to live both in joy and victorious power.

Practical Application – How to Not Worry

  • Remember who you are praying to and who is in control…
  • Be honest with God about what is worrying you…
  • Give thanks in all situations, hardships and circumstances

Ending Worry When It Tempts You

  • Worry doesn’t have the power to prevent anything bad from happening in your life.

Recognize how much worry harms you. 

  • Worrying doesn’t benefit you in any way, but it does harm you in many ways.
  • Worry also wastes valuable time and energy that you could be using for better activities.

Distinguish between worry and concern. 

  • While it’s healthy to be concerned about something, it’s unhealthy to worry about it.

Identify what triggers worry in your life. 

  • Once you understand what triggers worry in your life, you can begin to guard against worry in those situations.
  • Know your Bible so you can respond with “it is written…”

2 Peter 1:3–4 (NKJV)  3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,   4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

CHOOSE not to worry… feelings follow choice 

  • If you struggle with worry, you cannot wait until you FEEL like now worrying

Trust God to carry your burdens

  • He said he would; he commands us to cast our cares and burdens on Him

Develop healthier lifestyle habits including what fills your mind

  • Exercise and good nutrition help us not to be weak or depressed physically
  • Fill your mind with the WORD instead of endless amounts of TV, movies, social media and other spiritual garbage

Transcend your circumstances

  • When you focus your thoughts too much on your circumstances, it’s easy for your mind to wander off into worrying.
  • Understand that God is control, this life is temporary, all of the problems are going to end soon and forever

Cultivate contentment 

1 Timothy 6:6 (NKJV)  6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

  • Our culture cultivates relentless discontent
  • This is a fertile ground for worry when that discontentment is not quickly remedied

But What If I Choose to Keep Worrying?

Worry ruins the present, but even more important for the believer is to recognize that worry is sin.

Worry means you are striking out at God.

  • When you worry, you are saying in effect, “God, I just don’t think I can trust You.”
  • Worry strikes a blow at God’s integrity and love for you.

Worry means you are disbelieving Scripture.

  • The Bible says don’t worry, if you do it anyway, you disbelieve the Bible

Worry means you are being mastered by circumstances.

  • Let the truths of God’s Word, not your circumstances, control your thinking.
  • If you believe God can save you from eternal Hell, also believe He can help you in this world as He has promised.

Romans 8:15 (NKJV) For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

  • No Fear. We are safe and secure in God’s hands.

Otherwise, you have MUCH to fear.

  • A life without the blessed assurances of God and the gift of eternal life is an existence ruled by unpredictable circumstances of which only one thing is for sure: if things are not bad now, just hang on, they will be soon.
  • Fear! Fear! Fear… that’s the truthful message for those who don’t know God.

For those who do know God: NO FEAR!   KNOW GOD, NO FEAR

Proverbs 3:25 (NKJV) Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;

There are a lot of ways “sudden terror” and trouble can rear its ugly head in our lives.

  • And there always will be until God dissolves this sin-cursed world and gifts us with a New Heaven and New Earth, as well as a sin-free glorified eternal body.

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

If only there was never a reason to fear… then for sure, I would never fear. Sorry, doesn’t work that way.

  • God is with you. God will strengthen you. God will see you through.
  • God will hold you up, walk with you and see you across the finish line.

Don’t fear, don’t be discouraged, don’t worry… there is no reason to for He is your God.

John 14:27 (NKJV) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Apart from Jesus, life goes something like this for the vast majority of humans: you’re born, life sucks, you die.  Pretty depressing. Apart from Jesus it certainly is.

  • With Jesus, there is peace.
  • We live above life’s turmoil and out of reach of temporary trials and hardships because we live anchored in our Lord’s promises about this life and the next.
  • With Jesus, we live with an eternal perspective knowing this life is VERY brief and eternal life awaits.
  • With Jesus, we don’t fear because we believe that no matter what happens in this life, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ and our future home in Paradise with Him.

With Jesus… peace. With Jesus… no troubled heart. With Jesus… no fear.


Spiritual Viruses: Part 2

Matthew 6:25; 33

25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life… 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The Coronavirus has alerted otherwise passive affluent cultures like our that life is fragile. Prosperity, comfort and security are precarious.

However, the Bible plainly tells us NOT to worry, or be anxious or live in fear.

DO NOT WORRY: all inclusive.

Jesus knew what He was commanding. He knew the effects of life. DO NOT WORRY.

  • Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)  15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
  • It is a command, an imperative; not suggestion, not an option, not good advice… a COMMAND
  • To do otherwise is to disobey Jesus.

Worry

  • Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)  22 Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
  • 1 Peter 5:6–7 (NKJV)  6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,   7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

What do we worry about? The “cares” of this world.

Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious [worry] for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; (NKJV)

  • Nothing… the Bible defines that as “nothing”. All encompassing..

Paul gives us several reasons not to worry:

Philippians 4:5 – Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (NKJV)

  • The Lord is at hand, meaning that He is near,
  • He is accessible and He is paying attention.

A key to ending worry is acknowledging Christ’s presence [He is NEAR] and be secure in it.

Philippians 4:6-7 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)

This peace then sets up a guard in our heart, and in our mind, protecting us from worry and anxiety.

All of this preparation of the mind and heart and attitudes leads us up to one of the cornerstone passages of the Bible:

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)

When we read the verse in light of the entire book of Philippians we find its true meaning:

  • No matter what the situation, hardship, sacrifice or circumstance, when we have the right thinking, right attitudes, right praying and right living we will find that we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength to live both in joy and victorious power.

There is no need to worry because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

  • There is no need to get caught up in the cares of this life because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • There is no need to be insecure about the future because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • There is no need to live even a moment without joy because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Because we believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us…

  • and because we know who wins,
  • and because we know where our future home is,
  • and because we have put the past behind us and are pressing on toward the prize,
  • and because we have counted all things but loss for the sake of Christ,
  • and because we know that to live is Christ and to die is even better,
  • and because we know that our willingness to be humble will result in future exultation…

…we come to understand why the Lord clearly and confidently tells us to never worry, never be anxious about anything, ever.

Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV)


Spiritual Viruses: Part 1

Matthew 6:25-33

25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,  29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

The Coronavirus has alerted otherwise passive affluent cultures like our that life is fragile. Prosperity, comfort and security are precarious.

As our culture adapts to the new world of pandemic viruses, we see a massive rise in anxiety, worry, fear, depression and even suicide.

Anxiety is an inner feeling of apprehension, uneasiness, worry, and/or dread that is accompanied by a heightened physical arousal.

  • The Bible uses the term anxiety or worry in two ways. Both are common.
  • Anxiety that is realistic concern is neither condemned nor forbidden.
  • Anxiety that is fret and worry is more distressing and, at its core, reflects a lack of confidence in God and a tendency to take burdens on to ourselves.

However, the Bible plainly tells us NOT to worry, or be anxious or live in fear.

  • It is a command so to do these things then becomes a SIN because does not command us to NOT do something which He then does not give us the ability to achieve.

Let’s see if there are any loopholes in God’s command not to WORRY:

  • Do not worry about what you will eat:  food, sustenance.
  • Do no worry about what you will drink: water, the highest necessity for life next to breathing.
  • Do not work about your body: health, imprisonment, clothing, freedom, sickness, dying.
  • DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR LIFE.  That covers everything.

DO NOT WORRY: all inclusive.

Jesus knew what He was commanding. He knew the effects of life. DO NOT WORRY.

  • Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)  15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
  • It is a command, an imperative; not suggestion, not an option, not good advice… a COMMAND
  • To do otherwise is to disobey Jesus.

A Biblical Dialogue on Materialism & Wealth

As I was finishing up a sermon for this Sunday on the dangers of materialism (Jesus said it makes Him want to throw up! Rev. 3), I finished the message with a compilation of verses that I will give to my flock as a Biblical dialog they can keep and read. Pure Scripture… thought you might want to print and keep in your Bible and read it OFTEN! BR

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

Luke 12:15 “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Luke 12:33-34 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.  1 Timothy 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.  1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Proverbs 11:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Mark 4:19 But the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Haggai 2:8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. Deuteronomy 6:5  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 1 Corinthians 4:7 What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

1 Timothy 6:6-8 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.


Jesus, Lust & Adultery

I am preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t usually post my sermon notes on this website but it is a topic so critical in our culture today that I wanted to put my notes out for anyone to use them.

Matthew 5:27-30 Adultery & Lust

Matt 5:27 “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.

They got married and loved each other more than anything else in the whole world. They bought a home, had children and built a life together. They lived life and supported each other through good times and bad.

Then he has an affair with another woman. She was “happily” married too —a devoted wife and mother. She says she still loves her husband. Of course she loves her children and doesn’t want to hurt them… but she needs this. She can’t help it. She deserves to be happy.

  • It is not amazing that men and women get involved in sexual sin.
  • What is amazing is how much they are willing to pay for it.

Long-standing relationships of love and trust are shattered.

  • Kids lose their parents and are scarred by sorrow and guilt.
  • People surrender their careers, their reputations, their homes, their savings, their friends and their relationship with God—all in the pursuit of happiness or sometimes they admit, just the thrill of sex — a thrill that inevitable vanishes and leaves the stench of guilt and destruction.

Why do people risk so much to gain so little?

  1. First, you don’t realize how much sexual sin is going to cost.
  2. Sex is a powerful force that must be diligently constrained to the God ordained confines of marriage. Any other expression of it outside marriage ALWAYS is destructive.
    1. Sexual rewards are deceptive initially offering HUGE incentives but always paying out a pittance and attaching a huge penalty
  3. Sexual sin is sneaky… you don’t wake up one day as a good and faithful Christian spouse and decide “I think I’ll commit adultery”
    1. It starts with something very small and innocent—something that looks so harmless, it’s easy to allow. It starts with a desire.
    2. It creeps up on you one lust at a time, one allowance of sexual sin at a time
    3. It is a little comprise here, a little sin there, the dulling of guilt and shame
    4. It doesn’t help things that society promotes, encourages and enables lust and adultery relentlessly (there is even a website where you can sign up and meeting other people who want to “discretely” commit adultery)

Jesus Addresses Adultery

Many commentaries immediately discuss sexual immorality in a general sense when discussing Matt 5:27-30 but Jesus is not talking about sexual immorality in a general sense here. It’s speaking of ADULTERY.

  • Adultery is a very specific sin.
  • Adultery is a sin that is committed by a married person who engages in an illicit intimate relationship outside that marriage.
  • Adultery is a very specific sexual sin (Greek = moicheuo).
  • Porneia is another Greek term, used more broadly for sexual immorality, but it is not what we are talking about here.

Adultery is a marital sin; it is a sin that is to be taken very seriously. Here’s how serious God takes it:

Deuteronomy 22:22 (NKJV) —22 “If a man is found lying with a woman married to a husband, then both of them shall die—the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall put away the evil from Israel.

Malachi 2:13–16 (NKJV) —13 And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. 14 Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. 15 But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. 16 “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.”

A Male sin?

  • It seems that males are the first to fall to lust generally speaking in culture but the Bible makes clear in Romans that as a society degenerates, women follow the same path.
  • Women now account for just as much adultery, divorce and (almost) porn watching as men
  • The feminist movement has sought to remove the distinctions from male and female and with regards to sexual purity and adultery, they have pretty much succeeded.

Mental Adultery

Jesus speaks of mental adultery. Everybody is guilty of this. Nobody gets off the hook on this charge of mental adultery.

“But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27).

  • The form of this word, “looks” emphasizes not just a look, but much more than a look. It is “leering”: looking or gazing in a lascivious or unpleasant way.

It’s not a sin to see and recognize BEAUTY or attractiveness.

  • “Looking” is not called a sin. “Looking with lust” is… its more than just a mental  observation or our instant and natural evaluation of whether someone is “good looking” or not.
  • It is the stopping, the going back with the eyes and “locking on” with sexual imagination, wishful thinking and desire that Jesus is speaking about.
  • It is looking at a person that God has placed OFF LIMITS to you sexually and yet you entertain and invite those desires and indulge them… even if just in your mind

IMPORTANT NOTE #1:

  • The verse says “committed adultery in the heart”
  • There is a difference in the physical act of adultery versus the mental act
  • Both are condemned as sexual sin in God’s eyes but there is no doubting that the physical consummation of adultery brings with it a whole set of destructive consequences in the life of the adulterers
  • This is to warn the mental adulterer who may think “well I’m already guilty of adultery in my heart, I might as well act on it”

IMPORTANT NOTE #2: this has nothing to do with “looking” in the marriage relationship, ie. longing looks at your spouse that stir up sexual desire.

  • The marriage relationship is where sexual desiring, sexual looking, sexual wishes are appropriately fulfilled.
  • There is no hint here of sexual relations within marriage being anything other than God-given and beautiful.
  • It is precisely because the gift of sex is God-given that Jesus seeks to protect it by stating this prohibition on both the act and attitude of adultery.

Looking To Lust

It is a very purposeful act, something we choose to do.

  • Its not the instant temptation that you quickly refuse and rebuke.
  • Its not lust rearing its head for a moment and you quickly turn from it.
  • Here the look is a lingering look that has lust as its purpose and goal.
  • Jesus has in mind using a woman’s “visual presence as a means of savoring the fantasized act”

Jesus is focusing on the look which longs to possess another person you are not married to for expressly sexual purposes.

  • Jesus connects the 7th commandment, the prohibition of adultery to the 10th, the prohibition of covetousness.
  • Lusting in your heart is the coveting a person you are not entitled to effectively committing adultery because the truth is, if you could get away with it with NO PENALTY OR DISCOVERY, you would do it.

A Very Thin Line

The distinction between “looking” and “lusting” is not a great chasm but a razor’s edge!

  • I’ve heard it said “the first look is free, it’s the second that is sinful
  • I think this is too simplistic because that would lead many to a habit of “one lustful look is okay, just don’t take the second look”.  The person who thinks like this would not try to avoid the first look but create a habit they don’t feel guilty about

The safer approach is to admit our tendency to lust and try to cultivate the self discipline of not “checking out” people (that is, looking at the attractive parts of their person for the sake of a quick sexual attraction evaluation).

  • It is a habit (“checking out”) that is either cultivated or actively must be suppressed
  • The habit of looking at a person and immediately evaluating them for sexual attractiveness

Admiring beauty… or lusting? Only you and God can decide which you are doing. A razor’s edge!

Sight & Sin

Look at the connection the Lord draws between sight and sin.

  • Other senses can be turned into instruments of sin too but sight is primary.
  • Stott said, that “deeds of shame are preceded by fantasies of shame, and the inflaming of the imagination by the indiscipline of the eyes”
  • Very little sin makes its way into actuality without having passed first through the eyes of the sinner.

Job 31:1 (NKJV) —1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?

Matthew 6:22–23 (NKJV) —22  “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

Psalm 119:37 (NKJV) —37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.

A Problem Unparalleled in History

No matter how decadent a society was (Rome, Greek, Corinthians, pagans, etc) they still had limited opportunity to see skin, immodesty and alluring images compared to us today.

  • Sexually alluring images are available instantly on any electronic device
  • Our culture is saturated with sexual images: mags, billboards, events, public display
  • Clothing is specifically designed to promote sexual desire
  • Biblical teaching on modesty is virtually absent from Christianity
  • Any attempts at modest dress guidelines are routinely ridiculed and harassed
  • Any application of shame or embarrassment about overt sexual display or immodesty are not shameful anymore (“slut shaming”)
  • Feminism has brought us a culture where a woman (or man) can be as lascivious as she pleases and it must never be “judged” or discouraged (called “empowering”)
  • It is never taught in culture (rarely in Churches) that dressing or acting immodestly and encouraging others to lust after you has a personal responsibility for the sin that it produces… only the person who lusts has any responsibility, if any

Deal With It

Matt5: 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.

We must deal drastically and radically with sin. “We must not pamper it, flirt with it, enjoy nibbling a little of it around the edges. We are to hate it, crush it, dig it out”

Colossians 3:4–5 (NKJV) —4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

  • We must never toy with sin or press its boundaries to discover how much we can get away with before we transgress.
  • In the case of adulterous lust, if your eye leads you astray, “tear it out.” If your hand is the culprit, cut it off.

Its not meant to be a literal act because lusting is in the heart and mind.

  • A lustful person would still lust even if they were blind and had no arms or legs.
  • They would lust in their mind

The point Jesus was making was DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to avoid lusting in  your heart, especially when it comes to adultery which doesn’t just affect your personal holiness, it affects your marriage.

Flee & Fill

2 Timothy 2:22 (NKJV) —22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

  • Don’t stand and fight lust. RUN! Turn away, get away from it.
  • Stay away from places, events, situations and devices that you know will offer up a lust buffet for you

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) —8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

  • After you flee, push out the lustful thoughts with Godly thoughts

1 Thessalonians 4:3–7 (NKJV) —3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.

Practical Advice

  1. Desire is an alarm.
    Like a proximity alarm. Action needs to be taken to avoid a collision. “Pull up, pull up” says the airplane cockpit when flying too low
  2. Recognize you are vulnerable.
  3. Watch your input.
  4. Dress thoughtfully.
  5. Watch your circumstances.
  6. Think consequences.
  7. Find satisfaction in marriage.
    Proverbs 5:15-20 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer– may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?
  8. Tell someone else.
  9. Run away.
    2 Timothy 2:22 (NKJV) —22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
  10. Rely on God’s Spirit for power, protection and help.

“The Shack” The Movie

With the movie version of “The Shack” about to come about and no doubt a fresh wave of adulation ready to sweep through the undiscerning Church, it’s a good time to remind you of what is dangerous and unScriptural about it.   Here are some excerpts from other writers, ending up with my original review of the book itself.

Just because something is popular in the Church doesn’t mean it is good, right or Godly. Do you think Satan attacks TRUTH down at the atheist get together or the witches coven? No… he sneaks into the Church through the hearts and minds of Biblically weak Believers. Don’t be part of it. Test all things. Prove all things. Measure everything by God’s Word.

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13 Heresies in The Shack

1. God the Father was crucified with Jesus.  Because God’s eyes are pure and cannot look upon sin, the Bible says that God would not look upon His own beloved Son as He hung on the Cross, carrying our sins (Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 27:45).

2. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice.  The Bible declares that God’s love and His justice are two sides of the same coin — equally a part of the personality and the character of God (Isaiah 61:8; Hosea 2:19).

3. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.  Jesus explained that only those who come to Him will be saved (John 14:6).

4. Hierarchical structures, whether they are in the Church or in the government, are evil.  Our God is a God of order (Job 25:2).

5. God will never judge people for their sins.  The Word of God repeatedly invites people to escape from the judgment of God by believing in Jesus Christ, His Son (Romans 2:16; 2 Timothy 4:1-3).

6. There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity.  The Bible says that Jesus submitted to the will of the Father. This doesn’t mean that one Person is higher or better than the other; just unique. Jesus said, “I came to do the will of Him who sent me. I am here to obey my Father.” Jesus also said, “I will send you the Holy Spirit” (John 4:34, 6:44, 14:26, 15:26).

7. God submits to human wishes and choices.  Far from God submitting to us, Jesus said, “Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life.” We are to submit to Him in all things, for His glory and because of what He has accomplished for us (Matthew 7:13-15).

8. Justice will never take place because of love.  The Bible teaches that when God’s love is rejected, and when the offer of salvation and forgiveness is rejected, justice must take place or God has sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for nothing (Matthew 12:20; Romans 3:25-26).

9. There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell.  Jesus’ own description of hell is vivid … it cannot be denied (Luke 12:5, 16:23).

10. Jesus is walking with all people in their different journeys to God, and it doesn’t matter which way you get to Him.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one will come to the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

11. Jesus is constantly being transformed along with us.  Jesus, who dwells in the splendor of heaven, sits at the right hand of God, reigning and ruling the universe. The Bible says, “In Him there is no change, for He is yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 11:12, 13:8; James 1:17).

12. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.  Jesus said, “Only those who believe in me will have eternal life” (John 3:15, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40).

13. The Bible is not true because it reduces God to paper.  The Bible is God-breathed. Sure, there were many men through 1,800 years who put pen to paper (so to speak), each from different professions and different backgrounds, but the Holy Spirit infused their work with God’s words. These men were writing the same message from Genesis to Revelation. If you want to read more about the place of Christ in the Scripture, read “We Preach Christ” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Source: http://www.generationcedar.com/main/2009/06/whats-wrong-with-the-shack-13-heresies.html

To watch the message by Michael Youssef on The Shack, click HERE.

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The Shack Reviewed by Tim Challies

Here is a pretty substantial review of the The Shack by one of the better Bible writer/teachers out there today, Tim Challies:

http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/a-review-of-the-shack-download-it-here

Excerpts:

Despite the great amount of poor theology, my greatest concern is probably this one: the book has a quietly subversive quality to it. Young seems set on undermining orthodox Christianity…. Throughout the book there is this kind of subversive strain teaching that new and fresh revelation is much more relevant and important than the kind of knowledge we gain in sermons or seminaries or Scripture.

This story is meant to teach theology that Young really believes to be true. The story is a wrapper for the theology. In theory this is well and good; in practice the book is only as good as its theology. And in this case, the theology just is not good enough. Because of the sheer volume of error and because of the importance of the doctrines reinvented by the author, I would encourage Christians, and especially young Christians, to decline this invitation to meet with God in The Shack. It is not worth reading for the story and certainly not worth reading for the theology.

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My original review a few years ago – edited a bit for brevity:

The Shack

 

FYI… this is not a statement on the character or motives of the author. I know NOTHING about him. Notice how the early Christians examined and tested everything they were taught, even from guys like the Apostle Paul:

nk 44_17_11_0_0_3" href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts+17:11" target="_blank">Acts 17:11 (emphasis mine) – Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

A review of the message or content is no JUDGMENT on the author, or those who read the book… not even those who LIKE the book.  Some of my very good friends think my review of this book is extreme, even sensationalist. I don’t doubt their motives or think less of them in any way.

The Shack (now 2017, the movie version) is another fad sweeping through Christianity, like “The Secret” or the latest “something of purpose”. I get discouraged at the existing general level of discernment and Scriptural knowledge in today’s Church that allows such obviously unScriptural materials to be welcomed into our midst, including previous titles such as:

  • Mary Baxter’s cultic and extra-Biblical “Divine Revelation of Heaven”
  • The metaphysical, new age success book “The Secret”
  • Pop psychology Bible paraphrases like Eugene Peterson’s “The Message”
  • Any number of humanistic, positive-thinking “success” books that relentlessly emphasize God’s desire for you to perpetually and continuously happy, healthy, rich and devoid of any hardship whatsoever appealing directly to our flesh and self focus

The author of The Shack, William Young, who otherwise appears to be sincere in his love for God, portrays God as a cool talking, hip, occasionally crude black woman. Portraying God as sinful human should be enough (with no further explanation) to label the book as idolatrous (making God into an image) and blasphemous (equating God to a sinful human).

End of story. I shouldn’t even have to go on. But, I do.

We’ve Come A Long Way Baby

A hundred years ago, even 50, even 20… this book would have been immediately exposed and rejected by Christians.  However, we’ve come “a long ways baby”.  Most Christians today cannot even DEFINE idolatry* or blasphemy* so how can we expect them to have the discernment* (the primary trait needed to see error) to recognize idolatry or blasphemy in a book that is such an entertaining and touching story?

The portrayal of God as a human apparently conveys the idea that God really does understands us, and is ready to relate to us on our level. What a HORRIBLE thought. I’ve had enough betrayal, misunderstandings and insults with other HUMANS… why would I want GOD to be HUMAN so I can relate to Him? I like God right where He is: perfect, holy, all-everything and infinitely above the flaws that make human interaction the heartbreaking disaster it so often is. I don’t want to serve a God who is like me… I want to serve a God who is, and will forever remain… … … … … … GOD!

Contrary to the premise (portraying God as human helps us relate to Him), seeing God as human would destroy my faith that He can relate to me. It takes a transcendent, eternal holy God who can see into the depths of my flawed heart for me to truly relate to Him (because all ability to deceive or hide is gone). I know I can KNOW God because I know He Knows that I know He knows. You know?

In the book, Jesus is a very human middle eastern fellow
and the Holy Spirit is an Asian woman.
Now, repeat the last three paragraphs, mix well,
and broil at 150 million degrees for eternity.

Again, just what I’ve said so far should be enough to have Christians immediately reject the book. But no such luck. This has become the latest sweeping fad to make God more “real” and understandable to an ever-increasing Biblically-uninterested and entertainment-minded Church. Christians have jumped on board with this “cool” book and sales have surpassed millions.

Even if nothing else about the book is considered (it’s many unScriptural statements and ideas), IDOLATRY is the most obvious transgression with the author creating his own image of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t use some Biblical symbolism such as a Lion or a Rock, he actually re-creates the Godhood in sinful human form. How can Christians by the millions stomach such an insult to their God and Savior no matter how innocent or well meaning the motive?

It Changed My Life… But It Is Not Bible Teaching

Reviews and testimonies frequently speak of how this book has “changed my life” and “other than the Bible” is “the most important book I’ve ever read”. Christians all over are starting study groups centered on this book. For those who want to characterize this book as an innocent parable or allusion, the fact that this book teaches theology, on purpose or not, is betrayed in the many comments by people stating in so many words it “changed how I see God”.

STOP… don’t pass up that last paragraph to quickly. Look at what I said. The most frequent response I get is that The Shack “doesn’t claim to be Scripture” or “revelation” or “theology” or “speaking for God”.  And yet, it “changed the life” of Christians who already have a Bible (and a Holy Spirit) available to them?  It’s “the most important” book they’ve read?  Study groups center on it?  But it’s just a little tale with no theological influence?

Uh, no.  A book with that much professed impact on Christians cannot claim it doesn’t teach doctrine, present theology or communicate truths.

The vocabulary and dialog of  The Shack is at times crude (which when assigned the Godhead, makes it blasphemous). Jesus is kissed by “god” and enjoys “her” humanness. Throughout the book, “god”, “jesus” and the “spirit”, are shown to be very human and very much like you and me, allowing us to more fully relate to them and increase our knowledge about their true nature (apparently better than the Bible does since so many Christians declare a “life changing” opinion of it). If that’s not teaching doctrine and theology, I’m not sure what is.

In light of that, this book must be judged for theological accuracy, where it fails.

The Problem: a man assigning words to God’s mouth. We cannot create “dialog” for God, Jesus or the Spirit without taking the words directly from Scripture. This is tantamount to declaring divine revelation, and at a minimum, is certainly an exercise in teaching a theological viewpoint. Think about it: how presumptuous of any human to think they can write and print words they THINK God would say (unless they are directly derived from what Scripture plainly declares)?

Even if we could get past the idolatry issue, and call it something akin to “Pilgrims Progress” (which Eugene Peterson, author “The Message” does indeed imply about his humanistic paraphrase of Scripture), the issue then becomes the fact that the book is full of theological error, some of it simply heretical. For more complete explanation of the theological errors, download Tim Challies review: http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/a-review-of-the-shack-download-it-here

Neither Satan Nor Oliver Stone Is Stupid

Satan is not stupid. He knows that people will read these types of books, and actually think it is either something God did say, or would say. More and more we see movies, dramatizations, psychology and these types of media replacing the sufficient Word of God.

Just like the movie “JFK” by Oliver Stone leaves crowds of gullible people thinking “that’s what really happened to President John Kennedy when he was shot in Dallas”, movies like Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and humanistic paraphrases like Peterson’s “The Message” leave multitudes of innocent but undiscerning Christians thinking “that’s what God is really like” or “that’s what really happened”.

We should never take license with anything concerning God. We should only illuminate and expound on what Scripture reveals to us when it comes to communicating God’s nature, character and words. Again the fact that “god” speaks in this book is absolutely an exercise in teaching theology, whether or not that is the author’s intention.

This book is another of a long line of attempts that have successfully undermined Christian’s knowledge and trust in the sufficiency of God’s Word (again, even if the author’s motives were innocent). When people commonly say a book “changed my life” and “I’ll never think about God the same way again” – people are saying this about the Shack – you can bet the book is theological statement. Sadly, it is an unBiblical theological statement.

The less we know about the Bible, the easier it is to be bored and go after these fads”, then not discern (there’s that word again) something that  should be avoided.

People who speak out against these fads are becoming increasingly criticized and dismissed as they dare to warn other Christians about the relentless onslaught of teaching/media that is undermining the Bible, the Gospel and Christianity. Deceiving entertainment, psychology, humanism, positive thinking, new age techniques and extra Biblical revelation… all things that should easily be recognized and shunned by Christianity have sadly been embraced with open arms (and often pulpits).

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Definitions*

Idolatry: replacing the True Nature and Attributes of God with the image, natures, traits or characteristics of our own imagination.  For example, if we see God as ONLY loving and merciful but not as a Judge or Jealous, we make God in OUR image (what we think versus what He declares).  If we create any physical image of God and worship it, or declare it to represent God, then we have created and idol (what WE think God looks like). That is why in Christianity we do not have statues of God or Jesus and bow down to them.

Blasphemy: a term derived from a Greek word meaning to injure the reputation of another (God). In the Bible it means showing contempt or a lack of reverence for God (nk 4_24_16_0_0_3" href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=numbers+24:16" target="_blank">Lev. 24:16; nk 41_2_7_0_0_3" href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark+2:7" target="_blank">Mark 2:7).  Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row, P., & Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). Harper’s Bible dictionary. Includes index. (1st ed.) (135). San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Discernment: the ability to evaluate and make a correct Godly judgment about what is right or wrong, good or evil.