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2021 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Moving From Lust to Purity - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Moving From Lust to Purity - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Moving From Lust to Purity - Part 2
TOPICS: Invincible, Lust, Immorality, Purity, Adultery

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Lust is like a deadly disease. No one can see it from the outside, but it fills the mind of its host like an invisible cancer. Before long, those thoughts take root in our lives and the victim succumbs to the painful consequences of sin. The truth is no one is immune from sexual temptation. So how can we avoid becoming its next victim? Well, today I'm going to share with you three practical principles for overcoming impure thoughts. My message is titled, "Moving from Lust to Purity" in our series, "Invincible" here on Pathway to Victory.

Let's go back to verse 14 for a moment and let me give you this formula for sin in practical terms that James is talking about. What he's saying is corrupt desires plus the right bait plus the wrong choice equals sin. He says in verse 14, "Each one is tempted when he is carried away". He's talking about our corrupt desires, our lust. That word translated carried away is the Greek word elko. This sin virus has messed up our natural impulses so that now whenever God says yes to something, our first impulse is to say no. And when God says no to something, our first impulse is to say yes. And so we've got these inward lusts, these cravings for things that are outside the will of God. So temptation begins with these corrupt desires, but that's not all. Each person is tempted when he's carried away and enticed. That's what bait refers to.

In fact, the Greek word enticed is a fisherman's term. It means to hook, it refers to the hooking of a fish. You know how that works, how you dangle the right bait in front of a fish in order to get it to bite. I'll have to confess to you I absolutely hate fishing. I remember when I went to my first, or my second church in Wichita Falls, there was an old deacon there who wanted to build a relationship with me and later became a great friend, but he thought the way to do it was through fishing. So he invited me to come out with him fishing one Saturday morning at some ungodly hour. Wanted me to get up and get in this boat with him. Can you just imagine me out there in a boat with this guy? And we were fishing and so I had my line in the water, and it stayed there, stayed there, not a nibble, not anything. While on the other end of the boat my deacon friend was just pulling out fish one after another.

And I said, "Bob, what's the secret? Why are you so successful? I'm such a failure at this". He said, "Preacher, two things. First of all, if you're going to catch fish, you've got to smell like a fish. You got up this morning, I can tell you showered, you shaved, you put on that cologne. No fish is going to get in a mile of you". But he said, "This morning, I didn't take a shower". He really didn't need to tell me that, I'd already figured that one out earlier. "I didn't put on any cologne, anything. You've got to smell like a fish. The second thing is you've got to use the right bait. See, not all fish are attracted by the same bait. You've got to know what bait to use for what fish. And when you drop that right bait down into the water, that fish, who is overwhelmed by his hunger, he's blinded by his hunger, he sees that piece of attractive bait and he bites at it, not realizing there is a hook in the middle of it that will destroy its life".

Now folks, Satan is the master fisherman. Can he read your mind? He doesn't have to, he's been watching you for a long time. He knows what appeals to you. He knows what times that you're particularly vulnerable, and he knows what bait to drop in front of you at just the right time. For some people, the bait is sex. For other people, the bait is money. For other people it's recognition. But he knows when you're weak, when you've been disappointed, when you've been hurt. And at just the right time, he's dropped that pieces of bait in front of you. Corrupt desires plus the right bait plus the wrong choice equals sin. And sin, when it fully is accomplished, brings forth death.

You know, we see a great illustration of the power of lust to destroy a person's life in the story of Samson. Do you remember his story in Judges 13 through 16? Samson was literally as well as spiritually blinded by his own lust. In Judges 13, Israel was going through a difficult time. It was the time of the judges. It was a time they were being attacked by the ungodly pagan Philistines. And God told a woman that she was going to be the mother of the deliverer of Israel. His name would be Samson. He'd be dedicated to God, a nazarite who didn't drink strong wine, didn't cut his hair and so forth. But when we see Samson, we find these words in chapter 14, verse one, "He went down to Timnah". Now, Timnah's not just a geographical location. Over and over in his life you see that phrase, he went down, he went down. That is, the older he got, the further he moved away from God. He went down to Timnah, and the first recorded words out of Samson's mouth were these words, "I saw a woman. I saw a woman and she looked good to me".

Literally, that word good is right, she looked right to me. The only problem is this woman may have been right in Samson's eyes, but not in God's eyes for she was a Philistine, an unbeliever. And his parents begged Samson not to take her as a wife. He said, "I want her, I know what I like, and I want her and I want her now". And so he married this Philistine woman, and she ended up being murdered. You would think that would be enough to make him turn back to God. No, then he went down to Gaza. And there he got involved with a prostitute, and ultimately he got involved with a third Philistine woman who brought him down, Delilah. She discovered the secret of his strength, cut his hair and the spirit of the Lord departed from him and he didn't even realize it. He ended up being captured by the Philistines. The first thing they did was to gouge his eyes out. He could no longer see, his eyes that had gotten him into so much trouble were taken out of him. And he became a grinder at the mill in a Philistine prison. All because of the destructive power of lust. I saw and I wanted, I saw and I wanted.

No one summarizes the tragic story of Samson any more effectively than Chuck Swindoll. He writes, "Samson was a HE-man with a SHE-weakness. The strong man of Dan was taken captive and became a slave in the enemy's camp. His eyes were gouged out of his head and he was appointed to be the grinder in the Philistine prison. Lust, the jailer, binds, blinds, and grinds. The pride of Israel who once held the highest office in the land and was now the bald headed clown of philistia. A pathetic, hollow, shell of humanity. His eyes would never wander again. His life once filled with promise and dignity was now a portrait of hopeless, helpless despair. Chalk up another victim for lust. The perfumed memories of erotic pleasure in Timnah and Gaza were now overwhelmed by the putrid stench of a Philistine dungeon". Without realizing that Solomon had already written the epitaph for Samson's tombstone, Proverbs five, "His own iniquities will capture the wicked and he will be held with the cords of his own sin. He will die for the lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he will go astray". That's the ultimate end of lust.

How can we gain victory over the lust that everyone deals with in one way or another? Let me share with you three practical principles for moving from lust to purity. Number one, write this down. Remember that no one is immune from the destructive power of lust. No one is immune from the destructive power of lust. I hope you're going to remember what I say. There is a kind of teaching out there, a belief system that says, even among Christians, that well, teenagers, once they graduate from high school, whether they go to college or do something else, they're out on their own for the first time, and this is a time for them to experiment, to kind of sow their wild oats, to figure out what they want. And really you get a free pass for sinning during this time. You're expected to do that. You're expected to run a little bit wild.

And it's okay, because after a few years you can always come back to God. Don't fall for that lie. First of all, the habits, the practices you get involved in right now will be a part of your life forever. You are forming habits and practices that won't stop once you get married. I've seen this so many times, people get involved in sexual immorality, having a number of sexual partners, or pornography. They get married, and as a couple, they come in, they say, "We thought that would end when we got married". No, it doesn't end when you get married. So many couples cripple their marriages because they bring all this sexual baggage from the past with them into the marriage. Sin is destructive, it becomes a habit. It's like wrapping a string around your hand.

The first time you can break loose of that string, but you keep wrapping it over and over again, you can't get loose from that string. It's the same way with habits and practices. They'll be a part of your life forever. And secondly, don't think you can come back to God anytime you want to. It's not like a switch you flip on and off. You can move so far away from God that you can never come back, you know why? Not because he doesn't want you back, it's because you don't want to come back. And when you get to that place, there's no hope whatsoever. This is the time of your life, contrary to what people are going to say to you, you need to live as closely to God as possible, because you're making the decisions that will impact your life forever, whom to marry, what career to choose. This is the time you need to hear God as clearly as you possibly can.

Nobody is immune from the destructive power of lust. A man like David, who was noble, a strong man like Samson, a wise man like Solomon, all of them were destroyed by lust. And by the way, we often say that sex doesn't begin in the bedroom, it begins in the mind. That's not where it starts, it starts with the eyes. That's how it gets into the mind to begin with. And lust is always trying to get into your mind. Through the television screen, it woos us. Through the internet, it welcomes us. Through magazines, it winks at us. And that's why we've got to be very careful, teenagers and all of us, what we allow ourselves to look at. In job 31:1 job said, "I have made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman". It's okay to glance maybe once. It's that second glance, that third glance, that gaze of something that's wrong that leads to sin. So that's why job said, "I've made a promise with my eyes. I'm not even going to look".

And that leads to a second principle. Not only remember that nobody is immune from lust, secondly, replaced lustful thoughts with God's thoughts. You know, Martin Luther famously said, "We can't keep the birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from building a nest in our hair". And that's the important thing to remember, when a lustful thought comes into your mind, you may not be able to control whether it comes into your mind, you do control what you do with that thought. And the only hope for getting it out of your mind is to confront that thought with the truth of God's word. That's why David said in Psalm 119:9 to 11, "How can a young man keep his way pure"? Or young woman? "By keeping it according to your word. With all my heart I have sought you. Do not let me wander from your commandments. You word I've treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you".

When those thoughts come, you don't have time to go look up a verse in the Bible and search through. There's something in here somewhere, I know. You need God's word right then, just like Jesus used it in the wilderness to replace Satan's thoughts with God's thoughts. I ended up memorizing not just chapters but entire books of the New Testament that still 40 plus years later come back to my mind. Not just when I'm preaching, but when I'm in a challenging situation. The only way to dispel wrong thoughts is to replace them with the right thoughts that come from God's word. Let me mention a couple to all of you that you might want to jot down and commit to memory. First Corinthians 6:18 through 20. "Flee immorality, for every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body". Or here's a real simple one to memorize, Galatians 6:7. "Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked. Whatever a person sows, this shall he also reap". Sin has consequences, don't be deceived. Replace lustful thoughts with God's thoughts.

And the final principle, remember, replace, thirdly, realize that lust is insatiable and destructive. It is insatiable and destructive. Satan's lie from the very beginning was the one he whispered into eve's ear, "Do this. Eat this forbidden fruit and all of your dreams will come true. You will be satisfied". Listen to me, there is no amount of sin that can satisfy an empty heart. It's impossible. Lust, the desire for that thing that is outside God's will, it's insatiable, and it's ultimately destructive.

I remember reading years ago an account of how Eskimos kill a wolf that is terrorizing their little village, and this is what the Eskimo would do. He would take a sharp, large knife, and he would cover the blade of that knife in animal blood. He would wait till it froze. And then he'd put a second layer of animal blood on there. Wait till it froze, a third, a fourth, until the blade was completely concealed. And then he would take that knife and place it upright in the frozen snow. During the night, a wolf, attracted by the smell of the blood, would come and he would begin to lick that blade, not knowing there was a blade in the center of it. And the more he tasted that blood, the more ferociously he would lick that knife, faster and faster and faster and faster.

He was so overcome with the desire for that blood he didn't even notice the sharp sting of the blade, nor did it recognize when the blood it was consuming became the wolf's own blood. Instead, he kept thirsting and thirsting and thirsting, trying to satisfy himself with his own blood until ultimately he fell dead in the snow. What a perfect picture of the insatiable and destructive way of lust. Each person is tempted when he is carried away and tempted by his own lust. And when lust is conceived, it brings forth sin. And when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
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