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 6:1-6, 6:16-18 – The paramount theme of this section is secrecy, or rather to do all things to please the Lord. Note how Christ affectionately says Father. Oh what a powerful phrase, to be able to call the Lord of glory, father. How you should treasure this privilege, to have a Father who will never fail. Why would you desire to be noticed by men when your heavenly Father is ever before you? He sees your motives in public and in private. Will you make it your aim to please Him? What you do in secret reveals much about your character. Secrecy is not limited only to times when you are alone, but also every thought you entertain, for man is often under the impression that no one will ever know the mind. Man is deceived! There are no secrets withheld from the Father; you are transparent whether you like it or not. Who cares about man’s opinion… it will lead you down a dangerous path of contention and comparison, a fellowship rooted in the law. Moses looked to the reward in the midst of suffering and self-denial – will you not also do the same? You must do so in a secret place. Do not sound the trumpets of self righteousness and do not claim falsehood in the streets – seek to be pure in holy communion before God.
Matthew 6:9 – This is an important concept that must be understood if you are to combat impurity. Remember that your Father is in heaven and that he lords and sees all in His divine realm. Where will you hide from the creator? He is a place that is beyond your highest thought and resides in a place of purity surveying the land for a faithful man. Will you be one or will you play the two-fold adulterer against man and God and act in firm contrast to His Word? He sees you. You would be a fool to believe you can escape His gaze. He is the God who is above all and is worthy of honor, reverence, and praise. See the phrase “Hallowed be Your name.” Your lips may say one thing but your mind and your deeds can be a thousand miles away running in the opposite direction. Hallowed be the name of God in your life as an act of worship! You idiot! He who is above all ought to reign over your adulterous heart. From where do these emotions come from? Don’t you have a new heart with His laws? Are you succumbing to the devil’s lies? Why don’t you consider the implications of a hallowed God and do away with the foolishness of impurity.
Matthew 6:10 – Where is God’s kingdom? Is it Israel? Is it the entire world? Certainly there will be a day when Zion will be established in all its glory but consider your soul. Who is its captain? Who governs and rules your faculties? You are not your own and you were bought with a great price! Christ’s kingdom is in your heart for He resides in you. Will you let Him work in you or will you abuse Him as the permanent resident of your life? Your body is on earth and your flesh will soon pass away but that does not mean that Christ cannot be your master! So often you think that the kingdom is “out there” in some distant place but He resides inside! Oh Lord my heart longs to be a habitation fit for thee! Let the Lord rule righteously with justice and mercy in the small nation of Anthony Locke. Sing, “Let Your Kingdom come” in your own life as well as for the nations. Pray that He will quicken His pace to make you more like Christ and thus have His will be done in this passing world. Pray that He will make your faculties His own. Heaven is a wonderful place but you ought to earnestly pray that Heaven will touch earth in your life and that you may do all to His glory through His power. What goes on in heaven that demands our prayers and attention on earth? Genuine worship. God is seeking those who will worship Him on earth as the holy creatures sing in heaven. Will you join in the cry and let Him govern your all?
Matthew 6:11 – Man shall not live on bread alone but from every word that proceeds from the mouth of your glorious God. God is the provider for the flesh and the sustenance of the soul and both are necessary for life. Plead from the father for nourishment knowing that those who ask in faith receive according to His will. It is His will to feed you but you must ask lest you starve. How will you ward off impurity and lust? Fill your mind with the Word of God and set it unto heavenly things. You battle the deceit of sin with the Word of truth, just as Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil. The devil cannot manipulate your reality if you feast on the Bible daily. Do not fall into the pleasure of sin but remind yourself of the delightful promises of Scripture which offer real hope for the here-and-now and the life to come.
Matthew 6:12 – Your debt may be paid but your intentional transgression still tramples on the Savior. Come and plead with Him to restore you anew and give you the means and the power to fight sin. Your chains are gone and you have been set free but your union with the flesh makes you prone to sin. Prone to sin but it has no power over you! Christ has seen it fit to deliver you from such a life. You have a new nature and the old man has been put away but the devil is the master of twisting the Words of God and using them for his pleasure – just look at Eve in the garden. You can be bold to enter the throne room of Christ but you cannot bring your sin that encumbers with you. Pray for forgiveness for He is a God who grants new mercies every morning.
Matthew 6:13 – How will you be delivered? How will you be able to discern the narrow way that glorifies God in all actions? You pray earnestly to God, through Jesus, by the Spirit to understand the truth of the Word so that you may destroy speculations and see through deception. Do not pray while you are being tempted but pray for the God-given ability to avoid what is idolatrous and deceiving. You are to flee idolatry, but you ought to never see it in the first place if you abide in Christ and His Word. Resist the devil and he will flee from you! Note how the prayer ends, with a sense of victory and joy. Your confidence is grounded that God has the power and will justly rule His kingdoms for His glory. As mentioned earlier, that kingdom includes your soul! The power of God keeps your soul and writes His commandments on the fleshy tablets of your heart. Will you remember your purpose in your prayer as well, to glorify God? This is a prayer of adoration, a plea for governance, a cry of dependence and a shout of victory. It is possible to defeat sin so long as you live in the power of the triune God. Pray, pray, pray!
Matthew 6:19-21 – Anthony Locke, where is your treasure? Does it rest in what is eternal or does it pursue the whimsical fancies of the flesh that only entertain for a moment? See what the divine Schoolmaster says – “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven!” Heaven is where the imperishable pure worship of God resounds forever. What is symbolic of the use of the terms “moth” and “rust”? It indicates that with each passing day the earthly treasure will give into decay and be destroyed. As time marches on the earthly things that once felt new and shiny slip into obscurity never to be acknowledged by man. Is that not what lust is – a momentary prize to please for a short while? Why indulge in what will not last when there is a wealth of treasure to be found and preserved at and through the glorious work of the Gospel? Seek to lay up possessions in a place where the one who steals and destroys has no power to enter. The devil cannot gain a foothold when your thoughts are so filled with future grace. Behold the gems of Calvary in its unchangeable nature; nothing Satan puts before you can forfeit the greatest of prizes. Where does your heart desire to be? It cannot be divided and it cannot serve two masters. Let your treasure be with God.
Matthew 6:22-23 – Notice how the eye imagery occurs again. Blessed be the pure in heart for they will see God. Let the eye be cast away if it causes the body to stumble, for it is better to be blind and abstain from sin so that the soul may be preserved. Here we see that clear eyes not only have eternal motivations but also incentives for the sojourner passing through a passing world. Let your body be filled with light, as one on a hill that cannot be extinguished. Will you smother your lamp with lust? Will you quench the God-given light with bad eyes, prone to wander thus leading the mind to stumble? Bad eyes result in a great darkness, which has ramifications in this life and the next. In such a pitch black night, will there be hope for you to find your way out? If you find yourself with impure eyes, plead for the mercy of God for He has already brought you out of darkness into His marvelous light so that you may praise Him! Praise God not only with your heart and mind but also with your eyes. You can know all the doctrine and practice all the good deeds you want but if your eyes are not pure then surely you are greatly deceived.
Matthew 6:26, 30-31 – Okay you need to break down motives and be honest with yourself. Why do people indulge in fanciful lusts, to deceive the body into believing it is engaging in something real? It is because men lack faith. Will not the Lord provide in His sovereignty the sanctifying joy of life called marriage? If He does not, isn’t that by His perfect plan to His praise? Do not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough in itself to worry. Will you be like the prodigal son who demands the future in the present? Look at how that man squandered the riches dedicated to some future time. You insult the Father with such a request! Wouldn’t it be better to put your hope in the Father’s inheritance and His provision? Don’t be selfish! Lust is the embodiment of greed so put it to death. God’s provision is enough for the birds and it will be enough for you, for Christ was sent not to shed His blood for the animals but for men. Cut off the head of unbelief and let faith reign in your mortal body!
Matthew 6:32-33 – You are no Gentile, Anthony Locke. You have been joined to the nation of Israel through the marvelous work of the cross so you abide by a new and better law. The Gentiles are the ones that pursue and indulge their flesh and pursue beauty that is fleeting, but you serve a new master! Your God created you with the bodily functions and cravings that you desire but will provide them in due time. Will you be patient with your body but earnest to seek the Lord? Put the Lord at the forefront of your thoughts and affections and surely God will work all things for your Christ-like conformity. How does one seek first the kingdom? Recall Matthew 5:3 for it is the poor in Spirit who seek and inherit the kingdom of heaven. Will you humble yourself before the Lord, cast aside the filth of pride, and trust in the Lord’s daily provision? Do not say that you plan on doing certain things thus allowing you to take the future for the present, but set a desperate pace daily unto the glory of God.
Matthew 6:34 – Are you anxious for tomorrow? Are you worried that your ungodly desires will not be fulfilled before you die or the Lord takes you? Why do you assume the position of the prodigal? See that your sin rebels against the Father and takes the future for the present only to be squandered. You are wasting a God-given gift by devaluing what God has sanctioned from heaven. Why live in the future when you have the present to live? Tomorrow will take care of itself. Seek the Lord while He is near! Call upon Him while He may be found. Do not be like the prodigal who seeks the future apart from the Father but long for the daily provision of heaven from daily communion with an Almighty God. Have faith, dear sir and God will surely deliver you.