The Case for Purity: Reflections on the Foolishness of Lust and the Supremacy of Christ Part 1

I started this exercise toward the tail end of summer to help myself combat particular sins that I struggle with. I had a hard time tracing why my thought life was prone to wander so I sought to do what Paul says in Colossians 3, to set the mind on things above. I needed to fill my mind with pure thoughts. The core of this endeavor involves exhorting myself from reflection and meditation on what the Bible says about purity in all regards.

It’s been a rather tedious study in terms of time but I’ve already gleaned a lot from the small part of Scripture I’ve covered. This has been tremendously helpful for filling my mind with the Word and personal meditation. If I say anything wrong, please correct me because I did this study without any source help – just what I generally know about Scripture. I realize this is particularly dangerous because I’m skewing Scripture a bit to address purity, lust and the supremacy of Christ, but I’m doing my best to keep things in context while being reflectional. As I read Matthew, I sought to reflect on points I thought were pertinent to the title.

The original goal was to go through the entire book of Matthew while I entertained the lofty goal of going through the entire NT. I stopped after Chapter 7 mostly because I became busy with school. I never intended to publish the work, but in light of the recent Berean sermons on purity, my only hope is to be of some assistance in the daily fight for holiness. I’ll publish it in four separate posts because this is a 12 page single-spaced word document …

Reflections on the Foolishness of Lust and the Supremacy of Christ Part 1
Reflections on the Foolishness of Lust and the Supremacy of Christ Part 2
Reflections on the Foolishness of Lust and the Supremacy of Christ Part 3
Reflections on the Foolishness of Lust and the Supremacy of Christ Part 4

I’m basically talking to myself. I think my conscience inherited this strange internal dialogue from being a tennis player. Also, I realize the title is very Piper-esque.
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Matthew 1:21 – Why did Jesus come into the world? Was it to establish an earthly kingdom or reveal the full extent of divine power? No, it was to save His people from their sins. It was a process that honored God that achieved a means for us to fulfill our original purpose, to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever as the Westminster Catechism dictates. You have been saved by an all-sufficient and glorious Christ from the clutches of sinful desire – you have a new master, should not you act accordingly?

Matthew 1:22 – The summation of the prophets is that you might be cleansed from filth of mind and deed through the manifold wisdom of God. Look to the Old Testament and how it points to Christ and the purity wrought by the divine transaction that He might become your righteousness! God has written a new law upon your heart as dictated by the prophets – where is the obedience? Where is the faithfulness? The prophets were not blessed with such a privilege, to witness the Savior and turn away from sin.

Matthew 1:23 – God is with us in a two-fold manner: in His divine omniscience and intimate fellowship paved by the blood of Christ. God revealed Himself in His fullness of deity in Jesus Christ and it is by faith that he dwells and possesses us. Is this not a fearful thing, that God dwells in and among His people, His eyes able to see the actions but more importantly, the heart? It will not be the actions but the motives that will be judged. Is not that a powerful case to deal with sin and seek purity in thought and deed? Should you not also be humbled that your life is laid bare before the Almighty and that you cannot hide, for He is indeed with His people.

Matthew 2:2 – The magi look upon a mere sign pointing to the Christ and you have witnessed the transforming work of the Savior in your life. They searched the night skies for a sign and you have seen the light that shines forth in the eye of the believer. You know the details and intricacies of the appointed hour when Christ would become a curse for you. Will you look upon Christ and His cross and use it as a license for sin so that grace may abound? By no means! Learn from the example of the Magi who had but a glimpse of Jesus and look at their desire to worship. They are earnest to deliver their praise, to traverse miles to honor a babe – but how glorious this babe was, the incarnate Christ. You have seen the power of the risen Christ and received His Spirit – can you also join them in a whole-hearted pursuit to glorify the Messiah? Worship with body and soul and do not violate those with the sinful desires of the flesh.

Matthew 2:3-4 – Do not be like the Pharisees. They knew the signs pointing to the birth of the Messiah and you see no urgency or desire to find the holy infant. Can you say why? Perhaps they were blinded by pride or apathy so that they did not care for the things of God as their lips often professed in front of the crowds. Will you be hindered by selfish motives when the signs point otherwise?  Do not desire comfort apart from Christ! Will you be burdened by apathy? Look to the truth of the incarnation (Philippians 2:5-11) and see the marvelous work. Do not live in your laziness, lusts, or youthful passions but seek Christ whom is worthy of worship.

Matthew 2:6 – Christ is the ruler and shepherd of Israel. Have you not been brought near into the glorious kingdom of Israel through the work of Christ? Should Christ not take His proper throne in your life, governing both thought and deed? There is no place for lust, for you listen to the decrees of a king and follow the voice of your beloved Shepherd. Let him govern and bring you back when you have gone astray. Though different in role, they are unified in love for the chief goal of making you more like the Savior who brought you out of darkness and into his marvelous light. Heed His commandments and give way for His correction for surely that leads to a life of holiness and purity. Remember: He rules your body and he rules your mind, for He is ‘God with us.’ Does that mean something to you? If not, pursue your flesh but you know that is a displeasing and even damning endeavor.

Matthew 2:10 – Do you exceedingly rejoice over anything? The shepherds were blessed to behold the infant Savior and they esteemed him a superior joy. Does this not make your lust look foolish? You have born witness to the Gospel, to that which is of first importance. Why seek something that brings the deceit of pleasure? Why not rejoice over what is eternal, which is the Word of God in pen and in divine being. The joy of Christ is greater than the fleeting pleasure of this world. An impure thought life can entertain but it cannot bring a lasting happiness. Will you think much upon Leonard Ravenhill’s quote which goes, “Entertainment is the devil’s substitute for joy!” Is that not all lust is – entertainment? It is the rogue thought of the flesh that seeks to damn a soul that cannot be condemned. It is for a moment but the consequences are hard to shake off. Seek to be captivated by the Savior and seek to be like the magi who experienced little compared to the knowledge revealed in Scripture available to you.

Matthew 2:11 – Gold, frankincense and myrrh are gifts fit for a king. Prostration in the face of royalty is fit for a king. According to the prophecy in Matthew 2:6, you see Christ as the divine Ruler. The implications of this are obvious, that our best is to be offered to the king in gift and in presence. Have you not just studied that the precious presence is with you wherever you desire to go? A spirit of giving everything in gratitude and reverence ought to be your posture, whether you are before the babe or beholding the One whose name is above all names. Recognize that these are both external expressions of the heart bent on praising one who is worthy. Can you offer your best when your motives are half-hearted or encumbered by sin? Will not lust and its associated actions bring about the downfall of the mind? Seek to offer your best to the king!

Matthew 2:16 – There will always be deliverance from the deceptions of the Devil and his schemes. Herod sought to use the motives of honest worship to put Christ to shame by means of trickery. He presumed that the magi were earnest people, yet fools that could further his selfish ambition. Can you see how the devil’s motives shines in light of Herod’s crude actions? What is the response of the worshipper of God? He will heed the word of God. What is the purpose of this study? The purpose is to hear the voice of God and to not fall into the deceit of the great deceiver. Do not feed the devil’s pride by fulfilling the purpose of the flesh whether by lust or vanity and seek the way of escape through the eternal hope of God’s Word. Trick the trickster!

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