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Dr. Ed Young - Run from Lust

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    Dr. Ed Young - Run from Lust
TOPICS: Happy People :), Lust

"Happy People Run from Lust". That's our title. Do you think the title is true? Could it be the reason we, in the United States of America, with all of our affluence, are still rated among the most unhappy people on the earth, could it be the reason is we do not run from lust, we run toward lust and run with lust? What does Jesus say? Interesting, our Scripture, Matthew chapter 5. We're in the Sermon on the Mount. He's talking about how kingdom kids live, men and women, teenagers live, who are in Christ. And we've decided to live a Christian life in his kingdom on this earth. We have to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. In other words, we cannot be a part of these statistics. We have to be moving in the exact opposite direction if we are kingdom kids, kingdom men, kingdom women.

Jesus talks about this clearly in Matthew 5:27 following, he says: "'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,'" could be a man, woman looks at a man, "for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart". First of all, this whole thought pattern today is about one thing, purity. Well, you can get a good crowd up if you're gonna talk about purity, can't you? Our subject today is purity. I know we're all interested in that. I don't know anything in the church that's more unpopular to speak about than holiness except purity, and they're, in one way, synonyms.

Purity, Jesus, first of all, in our first verse, 27, talks about traditional purity. "It was said, you have heard," remember, that's our little outline all the way through. "You have heard, but I say unto you". He says, "You have heard, 'Thou shalt not commit adultery.'" Have you ever heard of that one, folks? That's the seventh commandment, Exodus 20, verse 14. Adultery is wrong. "You shall not commit adultery". And traditional purity would say that if you don't have sex outside of marriage, you haven't broken the seventh commandment. And some here may say, "Well, at least I haven't broken that one. Man, I've broken a lot of 'em, but I've not broken that one".

So, let's first of all define, what is adultery? "Adultery" is "sex outside of the marriage covenant," period, sex outside the marriage covenant. And by the way, the idea that adultery is a serious sin and a overwhelming problem isn't new. You look at all the major religions of the world, from Islam, in Christianity, the Orthodox part of the church, the Protestant part of the church, the Catholic part of the church, and you look at all the religions, almost without exception, they say, "Adultery is deadly and adultery is wrong. Sex outside of marriage is wrong". That is a traditional view of purity. This is what Jesus is teaching.

Now, but then he elevates, he lifts up the standard. He said, "Oh, let me tell you about radical purity," and that's the second part. He says that "anyone looks on a woman with lust in their heart, they are guilty of adultery". The same thing, if a woman looks on a man. And therefore, we read this provision of Jesus. All of us here, there are no exceptions, young and old, if you wanna debate with me, I'll meet with ya after church, all of us are guilty of adultery. In fact, all of us have broken every one of the Ten Commandments, every single person here, period. In the heart, what does it say? "If you look upon someone". And so, first of all, we look and then that look is followed by the imagination, imagination in your mind. It's all right to look.

Billy Graham said, "To look once at a beautiful woman is to say, 'Hey, she's beautiful, she's lovely.'" No problem with that. It is that second look, that's what gets us in trouble. Go to any swimming pool, go to any lake, go to any affair and you'll see men, primarily, with their lecherous looks. They just size up. Some men almost have it built in to their eyes, into their look. And you say, "Well, what's wrong with that"? What we do, we have a pornograph up here in our minds, ladies and gentlemen. And when we look, that's one thing, but when we play that over and over and have those sensual thoughts, Jesus says, "Bang, you are guilty of adultery". This is deadly.

Now, why is adultery wrong? That's a good question. Well, we know it's wrong. Well, why is it wrong? Now, I could give a long list. I've written a whole book on pure sex. I've written in several books, chapters after chapters. I've preached hundreds of sermons on this topic. So, when we leave, don't say, "You didn't mention, you left out..." Well, hello? So, this is not exhaustive, but let me say it as simply as I can. What is wrong with adultery is it divides that which cannot be divided. That's the primary reason adultery is wrong. Listen carefully, it divides that which cannot be divided. It takes the body over here and divides it from the soul, the mind, the will, the spirit, the essence of the rest of you and the rest of me. It's the idea that the body can do this and be disengaged from all the rest of us. And it breaks a sacred contract with God and it breaks contract if you are in Christ with him that we've made with him. It is deadly.

How deadly is divorce? Many statistics, one stands out in my mind. When there is adultery in a relationship, only 34% of those marriages survive and thrive, 34%. Healing can take place, and Jesus' healing hand works in the lives of people. Forgiveness can take place, but it's very difficult. Now, you put Christian counseling in the picture, and biblical understanding, the statistics increase for the marriage to survive. But it is deadly because it divides that which cannot be divided. In other words, you do not own yourself, I do not own myself, if you're married and I'm married. I'm owned by my mate and my mate is owned by me. We are one. We divide the body over here. And by the way, the Bible teaches that this is the only sin we commit that affects the inside of you and affects the inside of me. It is indeed a deadly, deadly, deadly sin.

So, here we are, sensual society everywhere you turn. What in the world do we do? How can we live a radically pure life in a radically sinful, secular, puristic, unclean society? How do you do it? How can anybody possibly survive it? It's just everywhere you go. You can't avoid it. What do we do? Jesus tells us. I left out two verses. Look what he says. He said: "'If your right eye makes you stumble,'" look on a woman with lust, "tear it out and throw it away from you; it is better for you to lose one of your parts of your body, than your whole body be thrown into hell". Whew, verse 30: "'If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than your whole body to go into hell.'"

Well, how does that operate? "My right eye has offended me. I've looked on a woman with lust. I have ripped it out. Whoa, my right hand, my right hand is guilty. I've cut it off". Looks like I'm going to be pure now, doesn't it? "No, my left hand, oh, it's got me in trouble. And my left eye, had to gouge it out. And I went somewhere I shouldn't have gone. I've cut off both feet. I'm just a stump". But I still got my mind and the pornographic machine working inside of me, see? This is not to be taken literally. But many people in church history took this literally.

Origin of Alexander, he was emasculated. He became a eunuch so he would be pure. Anthony, Saint Anthony, went to Egypt in the desert with a bunch of monks and they locked themselves up, a bunch of guys, praying, fasting, working, denying themselves of food, beating their bodies, and he lived there for almost 35 years. And when he came out and Saint Anthony wrote his autobiography, they asked him, "Saint Anthony, in all this denial and privation and prayer and chanting and singing and working there in the desert for these years, did you become a pure man"? He said, "No," he said, "sometimes when I was working for food, I would think, 'If I worked this hard out in the world, I'd be rich.'" And he said, "Sometimes when I was reading the Scripture, I would say as I was writing, 'You know, I have the gift of intelligence, and if I were writing books out in the secular world, I'd be famous.'" And then he said, "Finally, when I would start a fire and I saw the smoke from the fire was coming up and it began to look like a sensual woman," he said, "I knew that living the monastic life just doesn't work".

Jesus isn't talking about monastic living. He isn't talking about gouging out eyes, cutting off hands. He is saying, "We have to deal with lust radically". It takes radical answers to clean up your life and to clean up my life. And we can't decide how to do that without the Holy Spirit. And therefore, look at Romans chapter 8. And by the way, I probably shouldn't tell you this. I'll spur debates. If you said, "Take one chapter in the Bible, which is the greatest, the best"? I'd take Romans 8. I could speak on Roman 8 for 100 years and not even begin to touch the hem of the garment. That's how powerful this chapter is. And this particular verse here, Romans 8, verse 12, speaks to our question. What's our question? How do we live a pure life in a sensual world? Look what it says: "So then, brethren," verse 12, Romans 8, "we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh, for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you're putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live".

In other words, we have to put to death, that's the radical answer, the arms, the eyes, the deeds of the body. How in the world do we do that? The Holy Spirit identifies the deeds of the body and tells us, "You can't go there. You can't read that. You can't be a part of that". And we have to deal radically with the sin of lust. Sin dealt with effectively is sin dealt with radically. Death, the Holy Spirit will tell you and me that which we are to turn over to him so he can kill it in your life and in my life. So, what do we do? What is the answer to live this clean life? You have to make a covenant with your eyes. That's the first thing. By the way, the book of Job, the 34th chapter, and the 1st verse, says: "Job made a covenant with his eyes so he would not look on women," literally, a virgin, "with lust".

Now, isn't that interesting? Did you know that Job is the oldest book in the Bible? And he was way, way, way, way, way back there, thousands of years ago, the first book in Holy Scripture, and here's Job wrestling with lust. Isn't that something? "Well, I thought he just came into..." Oh, no, and he says the way he's handled it, he made a covenant with his eyes. What does that mean? We make a contract that how we look and where we go and how we think and what we read and what we contemplate on... you see, we can take on our little phones now. We can take on iPads. It's all available. It's all piped into our houses, piped into our hands, into our pockets. It covers all of our society. We have to make a covenant with God, a covenant with our eyes.

That's the first thing we have to do, the first thing we have to do. We kill, we confess the lust, let him take it. The second thing we do, we turn our sex life over to Jesus Christ, and it'll come alive in a way you can't even imagine. You see, lust has to do with pleasure and love has to do with a person. Men go out and say, "Boy, I just wanna get..." It's impersonal, it is deadly, it is demeaning, it is damning. Whereas love is a entirely different dimension. A lot of people fall in lust and they think they've fallen in love and they live a terrible, terrible life. So we have to make a covenant with our eyes. We have to say, "Lord, I turn not only my life but particularly, my thought life, I turn it over to Jesus Christ".

And that is a giant step of being a pure person in a very, very sensual society. Oop, wait a minute. I left out something. Would you believe? Oh, did you notice what I did not emphasize in this verses? Hmm, look back here, the latter part of verse 29, it says, this is Jesus talking: "'Than your whole body to be thrown into hell.'" Hmm, latter part of verse 30: "'Than your whole body to go into hell.'" Now, somebody who's not a Baptist, you might say, "That's what I thought. Sex, hellfire, and damnation, that's those Baptists. I expected that this morning". What in the world is Jesus talking about? He's connected sexual impurity and lust and adultery with hell. Hmm, by the way, every writer of the New Testament deals with hell in one way or another. Jesus deals with hell 2 times more than all the other writers of the New Testament put together. Or Jesus deals with hell twice over all of what the writers of the New Testament deal with.

And you say, "Well, I like Jesus as the God of grace and forgiveness. And all this hell business..." No, Jesus is pointing about a very, very important fact. He is saying that somehow, sexual immorality and sexual promiscuity and adultery or fornication, or the whole area of porneia, is a gateway that causes people like you and me to slide all the way back into hell. Whoa, in other words, what happens? Our life gets totaled. What does it mean when a life is totaled? We say a car is totaled. We say it cannot be repaired. It cannot be restored for the purpose for which it was made and designed, right? A car is totaled. And when someone is totaled, all of a sudden, that person cannot function for the purpose and the reason God brought life to them in the first place. And when our souls get totaled, we reside permanently in hell.

You say, "Well, I can't understand a God who sends people..." Oh, no, God doesn't send anybody to hell, anybody. "Why does God..."? God doesn't send anybody to hell. What happens? When we reject the healing, loving, forgiving hand of Jesus Christ and we go down, particularly, this sexual avenue, our lives get totaled. It doesn't mean we don't exist any more than a car does not exist when it's totaled. It means it can no longer perform for the purpose for which it was designed and made. And when that happens, guess what? We're totally narcissistic egotists. Somebody who is totaled, their soul is totaled, they can't give love. They can't receive love. They can't really serve, and they can't be served. They're totaled, they have destroyed the reason for which God gave them a soul and life forever in the beginning. They still exist, but by refusing the healing touch, forgiving grace of Jesus Christ, they reside forever in hell.

Jesus is saying that sexual sin has a way of pushing us into areas, going to places we don't wanna go and staying there longer than we wanted to stay. And someone who engages consistently in sexual sin, the joy comes out of your life. Purpose comes out of your life. A secret life begins to appear and darkness and shadows begin to grow. And suddenly, there is unhappiness. A happy person runs from lust. That's all the way through the Bible. Joseph would have slept with Mrs. Potiphar, she had been Miss Egypt, she was a knockout, a beauty queen, had he not run. Paul said to young Timothy, "Timothy, you're a young guy, you have a lot of lusts". He said, "Flee, run from those lusts". In other words, there has to be a confession and an execution. Then we have to make a covenant with our eyes. Then we have to turn our sex life especially over to the Lord Jesus Christ.

You say, "Well, can you be more practical than that"? Let me be as practical and as clear as I know how to be. There was a guy years ago in Alaska who raised dogs and they would fight and they would gamble. It was legal then. And he had a black dog and a white dog. And he'd bring his dogs into the dog fight there in Alaska and a large amount of money would bet whose dog would win. They'd bring their dogs, they'd fight. And every time this man bet on his black dog, the black dog won. Every time this man bet on the white dog, the white dog won. And so, finally, he just got rich, big-time gambling. And then he said, "You know, I've got enough money. I don't need any more money". And he said, "I'm not gonna raise dogs to fight any longer". And some guys went to him and said, "Look, you are a master. Every time you bet on the white dog in the other fights, the white dog would. Every time you'd bet on the black dog, the black dog would win. How did you know which dog was going to win every single time"? He said, "It's easy, it's the one that I fed".

Whose going to win in your battle with lust? You and the Lord, or the devil? It's the one you feed. We feed the beauty and the lovely, the gentle, that which is of good report. Paul says to Timothy, "Think on these things". You might here a little rinky-tink piano and say, "Boy, I like to hear that little rinky-tink piano and all the notes," until you hear a symphony and begin to understand the magnificence of music. That's what happens. The symphony of those things that are pure and fine and wholesome drowns out all the sensual, lustful darkness that would pervade and is pervading so many lives. Feed in worship and prayer, good relationships, fun encounters, hobbies and activities that challenge you that you enjoy that are uplifting. Find times to do things with your mate and build in that covenant a sacred holiness that God only can give. Feed your life. Feed your life, and you'll win for the Lord Jesus Christ every single time.
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