Summary: What Christians are doing to handle lust is not working. This sermon in the "Problems: Untying What's Tying You Up" is part 2 of our treatment of the knot of lust, dealing with how the church can help those struggling with with the problem.
Untying the Knot of Lust (Part 2)
Problems: Untying What’s Tying You Up
June 9, 2013
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation of this sermon is available upon request by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Turn to James 5
Illus. – Bent over his desk, penknife in hand, Thomas Jefferson sliced at the pages of his Bible, deleting select passages and pasting them together to create a Bible to his liking. It became known as the “Jefferson Bible,” two pages of which you see on the screen.
What didn’t make it into the Jefferson Bible was anything that conflicted with his personal worldview.
Hell?—It can’t be…Clip, clip, clip.
God’s wrath against sin?—Nope…Clip, clip, clip.
The supernatural?—Clip, clip, clip.
In this next slide you see an example of this, where he retained only five words of Luke 14:4: “And they held their peace”. Let me read all of verse 4 for you as it was actually written: “And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go.” As a deist, Jefferson denied the supernatural…so he just clipped it out.
If you’re a Christian, I’m sure you shudder at such arrogant presumption. But to be honest, many Christians and churches have created a Bible of our own making.
Not a physical one, perhaps, but a cut-and-paste job just the same. Because if we ignore any portion of God’s Word, whether intentionally, conveniently, or deliberately—we too are guilty of Jefferson’s offence. I believe churches have done that with two neglected scriptures we’ll examine today.
We’re in a series on problems titled “Untying What’s Tying You Up,” and we’ve covered a range of things that tie people up—worry, fear, anger, bitterness, envy, and last week, lust.
In examining lust last week, we saw how pervasive lust is, what Jesus said about it (which is basically a zero-tolerance policy), and how we can keep from getting tied up by lust.
• First we said we each have a PERSONAL responsibility to fight against lust—to say “no” to lust triggers, and when we can, control our exposure level to lust triggers.
• Second, we saw that SPOUSES have a responsibility to lovingly help one another from lusting by meeting one another’s sexual needs.
But I believe THE CHURCH has a role to play in helping all of us with lust—one of the biggest issues God’s people face every day.
And both of the scriptures we’ll look at are neglected today—scriptures that many in the church have clipped out of their Bibles.
Today, let’s paste them back where they belong by seeing two ways the church and God’s people can help one another keep from getting tied up in the knot of lust.
I. FIRST WE MUST BE A COMMUNITY OF MUTUAL ACCOUNTABILITY.
James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Somewhere along the way the church changed from being a HOSPITAL for sick people needing to be healed and to get better to a THEATER where actors play a part.
You see, we’re all sinful creatures. Yes, God is working in areas in our lives and we’re growing in God’s grace. Some of us are in Intensive Care, while others of us are just outpatients. But the truth is, we ALL still struggle with the cancer of sin to some degree.
But you know what we do?—We hide our sins and try to put on a mask of HOLINESS, or a mask of VICTORY, or a mask of “I’ve got it together spiritually,” when in reality, we’re massively failing in a certain area of our lives.
If we play-act a false spirituality, and don’t honestly admit it when we’re struggling with an area of failure, we have to hide our sins lest someone realize we’re faking it.
But the Bible is clear that we should not hide our sins:
• Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”
• Job, the most righteous man in his day, said, “…I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom.” (Job 31:33)
• When David sinned with Bathsheba, his secret guilt was so strong that he said in Psalms 32:3-4 – “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.”
Some sins are simply matters of saying, “Okay, that’s sin, and I’m not doing that any more by God’s power…and then we just stop doing them.”
But let’s be honest; those aren’t the things we really struggle with the most, are they? We conquered those long ago soon after we found Christ. The things that trouble us now are what we often call our “besetting sins”—those sins we confess and forsake—but which are so deeply rooted in our very nature that time and again we find ourselves falling back and doing them again.