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 …
I actually extended it to five parts because I realized each SOTM chapter is rather long …
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
Reflections on the Foolishness of Lust and the Supremacy of Christ Part 5
I’m basically talking/interrogating 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.
Matthew 5:2, 7:29 – Why should you care for the Sermon on the Mount and the gems contained inside? These are the words of Christ for living and they wield an authority unheard of in both secular and religious worlds. Did not Christ claim to be God? Why don’t you sit under the teaching of the perfect school master and take notes? This is no ordinary lecture but it is open for all to attend. There is no paper test but your exam is the life you live and the motives which governed it. He has much to say concerning purity of the mind and body so let Him open His mouth as you open your heart.
Matthew 5:3 – Who inherits the kingdom of heaven? It is those who count themselves poor, even bankrupt and look to the one who has creator rights and thus possesses everything. You must understand that everything is a gift and your riches are found in your restored purpose, to give God glory. Sinful desires, in particular sensual sin, are selfish; they seek to serve the flesh in a passing world. Will Christ be a sufficient and sustaining joy or will you turn to paths that fail? Seek to join the poor in spirit, for their hearts and minds are focused on the heavenly kingdom from which all blessings and good gifts flow.
Matthew 5:5 – What is the nature of sexual sin? It is violent. It is the act of forcing someone against their will and without their knowing to submit to fanciful lies projected by media. What does the schoolmaster say here? Those who are gentle will inherit the Earth. Be kind in thought and deed, for that is the will of your Father – to love others! Where is your sense of meekness? There is no place for rough housing unless you are seeking to do away with the devil and mortify sin. Let your mind focus on the heavenly things and do not harm your fellow man, which also wages war against the soul.
Matthew 5:6 – There is an appetite that is pleasing to the Lord; let your natural being crave for righteousness. Lust is but a desire to gratify the flesh, a hunger that is altogether repulsive toward the Lord. Do not forget that your obedience is no longer to sin nor to the flesh, but you are a new creation in Christ. Your heart has been changed and your desires follow a new master. Sexual perversion and sin only satisfy for a moment though the trickery of the devil would have you believe otherwise. Do you want to be satisfied? Lay hold of the truth that the cross and its accomplishments are sufficient, that they fill up the new man so that there can be no competing affections. Through the Gospel you have come to know the righteousness of God!
Matthew 5:8 – What is the hope of heaven? Is it in the heavenly mansion? Is it in the streets of gold or seeing those who have gone before? They are all great blessings, but the privilege of faith is that the invisible becomes visible, that you shall see God in all His splendor. The human imagination can scarce entertain such grand thoughts, to gaze upon Love and to walk with Him for an eternity. Who does Christ say can see God? It is those who are pure in heart that will dwell in the temple of the Lord forever. Remind yourself of the purpose of these reflections. It is not something to be produced and given to others for encouragement, but it is to cut off a sin that clings much too tightly. The goal is purity in all its dimensions. The means is mortification of sin through thoughtful and correct reflection on the Word of God, and while you are at it, go to war on your knees! Will you give the Spirit His sword so He can do His work? Do you desire to look upon Beauty and esteem it worthy? Strive to be pure in heart.
Matthew 5:16 – How did Christ’s light shine forth? His good works pointed away from self and to eternity’s shore. Take a step back though – what is this sermon about? It is not so much about action or abstaining from deed but this is about the motives which drive a man. How can one have good works when their heart is yearning for darkness, for that abyss of indulging the flesh and satisfying ungodly pleasure? You may be able to encourage people apart from good motives but that is because God works in spite of your secret life. Will you let the light of Christ shine bright in your life? It can only come from a pure heart, for you may know a man according to the deeds and words that proceed from such a place. Let your light shine into the darkness of souls and fill your brethren with the joy of Christ.
Matthew 5:17-19 – The law says that a lazy glance and a capricious thought is deserving of hellfire. You are guilty beyond measure and deserve the chief death, one of eternal duration. Yet look at this glorious statement, that Christ came to fulfill the law that cursed and condemned you. Is the law a bad thing? Is it oppressive that the law leaves no place for sensual sin and heathen cravings? May it never be so, for the law points you to proper living and more importantly, to the cross where your punishment was served and your Savior died. Oh, but my Savior lives and he has returned to the glorious existence from before time to reign not only over the earth, but also your mortal body. Let Him fulfill His purpose in you as He fulfilled His purpose for you, down to the last letter and the smallest stroke. Jesus Christ has dotted the I’s and crossed His T’s so that you might know righteousness, not lewdness. Will you be like the unblemished lamb? The requirement is to keep and teach the commandments of Scripture and you have been given the Spirit to do so in love. Praise God that He would perfectly fulfill what you could not even start to pursue.
Matthew 5:21-25 – What exactly is murder? At first glance it is the physical death of another wrought by guilty hands and sinful intent. A double-take shows that anger is the murder of the heart. Look again, and the slip of the tongue which is genuine in spite grants you an eternal death sentence. Is the Lord being extreme or have you lost sight of the law and reduced it to lip service and formality? It is about the heart! This is why lust is such a horrid thing. It kills its object because it dehumanizes them and reduces them to the level of obedient beast. If you goad an ox, it will move. A good dog will shake on command. Is not sensual fabrication degrading, even murder? Aren’t you reducing people to the level of an animal, essentially robbing them of their humanity? Stop killing them with your pride, your harmful words, and your thought life! Do you want to worship and offer your best to God? Let your conscious be clear and confess your sin to the Most High. Remember you have sinned against the Lord! Surely there is no escape from the eternal prison
Matthew 5:27-30 – You must first consider what is more heinous: murder or adultery? Alright, perhaps they are equal in weight in the sense of condemnation, but which one do you think the Lord feels is worse? The language of Scripture betrays the mystery for surely adultery is the more treacherous sin. Survey the Bible and see how often Israel is portrayed as an adulterer and painted as a harlot. Man cannot kill God, but he can choose to love another when that love ought to be reserved for the Lord. Adultery paints a picture that contains a message that is an all-too clear reflection of man’s spiritual condition. God chooses an image of a whore to explain much of the Old Testament. Can you see the disgust of God toward lust? It destroys the vertical and the horizontal. By playing the harlot with a woman you commit cosmic treason against your First Love! You betray one to love something that will entertain but for a short while and the deadening of your conscience to sin is certain. Look at how stiff your neck will become! Why is the divine Schoolmaster so strict concerning wandering eyes? Why not stripes instead of mutilation? The Savior wants you to see the gravity of a careless gaze from both the eyes of the flesh and the eyes of the heart. Look at the reaction of the man in Jesus’ illustration. He is quick to identify his sin and is swift to cut it off so he may remain pure. The man’s eyes may be put out but it is the pure in heart that will see the Lord! Blind in one life to gaze upon an unchanging beauty in the next. Is your desire to have your eyes opened to glory or to vanity? That phrase ‘stumble’ carries far more weight than you will understand in this life. To stumble is to sin and to sin is to offend a holy God. One rogue thought should lead a man to repentance. Two rogue thoughts should lead a man to tear out his reality in this life to ensure a Christ-exalting future one. How will you guard yourself from stumbling? Fill your mind heavenly things and spiritual truths. Leave no place for wandering thoughts. How can a young man keep his way pure? Store up the Word in your heart and keep the commandments! Put away your lewd music and the mire of Hollywood, for they invade the thought life by planting destructive images – you know for yourself that one moment can undo weeks of study. Let the Bible light the way for it shines forth the light of heaven. Let God call you out of your sinful darkness and if necessary, your physical darkness for the promise of marvelous light holds true to the pure in heart.
Matthew 5:31-32 – Unchasity is a word that has described the human race and your existence since the day you were born. Let a man divorce his wife if she is found unfaithful! Let no one marry the harlot, but wait! Is that not the Gospel? The God of the universe has joined himself with a shameful people and let no man separate what God has put together! Has God committed adultery? How can a good God be in the presence of wicked men, or how can God be just and the justifier of man who is but dust? Is it possible? Yes, by a new and living way! The Gospel reveals that God is no adulterer but shows that He is rich in mercy and grace according to His divine wisdom. What is the goal? Worship. Glory. Praise. Will you let them reign in your mortal body? Lay aside your vertical and horizontal unchasity and set your mind on the Gospel for He clothes adulterers in spotless robes.
Matthew 5:33-37 – Why should you be faithful to your word? It is because anything beyond this is evil. To commit evil is to sin. Do you remember the consequence of Adam’s small sin? It took nothing short of the precious blood of Christ to remedy the elect. To go back on your word and to recant your confession of sin reveals your unfaithfulness to the Lord. To fall back into sensual sin is to commit at least two sins, both which find their root in unfaithfulness. Will the Lord find a faithful man on this earth? Trust that the Lord is enough in thought and deed, for if He does not fill your soul then something else will. God knows that oaths are too great for a man to carry out but expects you to be a good steward of your words, which in turn reflects the heart. The Lord is looking for a bride and it is up to you to say, “Yes.”
Matthew 5:48 – Why do you love Christ? You may be able to list a host of reasons but never forget that He is glorious because He did all things perfectly. You cannot gloss over the perfection of Christ because it is His spotless righteousness that God sees instead of your filthy rags. What is the great goal of God before the beginning of time? To make you like Christ, to enable you and your mind to do things unto the glory of God. In light of the first five chapters of Matthew, there is abundant reason to cast off sensual desire and wary thoughts but the chief motivator ought not to be negative but positive in that you may become more like your Savior. Will you fall short? Sure you will, but the Gospel picks you up and gives wings that bring you closer to Christ-likeness.