You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. Home for thoughts to the contrary. Pastor Greg Laurie says, fill up on the Word of God.
Look, it's a good thing to carry a Bible in your purse or in your briefcase, but the best place to carry the Word of God is in your heart. Carry it in your heart. Memorize it. Is there a subject you know a lot about? Maybe you're a sports fan or like history. Maybe you know all about songs on the radio or you're a birdwatcher. When someone says something that's inaccurate in your particular specialty, alarm bells go off in your mind.
Nope, nope, nope. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says we each should be specialists in Scripture. And then when Satan tries to plant a thought that's contrary to the Bible, right away we'll say no, no, no. Well, we're in the Sermon on the Mount tonight, so I'm going to ask you to grab your Bible and turn to Matthew chapter 5. The title of my message is, How to Overcome Lust and Protect Your Mind. Let me take a quick poll before we begin. How many of you have ever been tempted to sin?
Raise your hand. You've been tempted to sin. How many of you have ever given in to those temptations before? Wow, this is a sinful crowd. You guys need to hear.
No, my hand was up with yours as well. Temptation comes in attractive packages, right? Satan makes bad stuff look good. He makes wicked things look appealing. He makes deadly things look like they're going to be the best experience you ever had.
He's a liar and he'll do whatever he needs to do to pull you down. So everybody gets tempted. But here's something to understand. It's not a sin to be tempted.
Did you know that? Have you ever heard of the fiery darts of the devil? They're like flaming arrows from hell that he fires at your brain. That doesn't mean you're a wicked person, though you are. But what it does mean is that you don't have to let that thought into your mind. It sort of knocks at the door of your imagination and you can say, No way. I'm not thinking about that.
Or you say, Hey, come right in and make yourself at home. That's up to you. So it's not a sin to be tempted. Let me take it a step further. If you're not being tempted, something's wrong with you spiritually. Why would the devil waste his time on someone that is not a threat to his kingdom? So if you've been coming under spiritual attack lately, that could be an indication that you're on the right track and that you're a threat to the devil.
So let's answer the question. Where does temptation come from? Now our immediate answer would be, Well, the devil, of course. And there's truth to that. But we need to understand we play a key role in our own temptation.
Listen. Satan needs our cooperation in this area to give in to temptation. Where there is no desire on my part, there is no temptation. We blame a lot of things on the devil and rightly so.
But we too are responsible. Now if you stop and think about the last time you gave in to any sin, chances are it started right here. Started right here in your imagination.
And then it led to actions. That's why it says in 2 Corinthians 11, 3, I'm afraid that as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds will somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. So it's your mind. Starts in your thinking. 2 Corinthians 10, 4, it says, We use God's mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and destroy false arguments. We capture our rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. So when those thoughts come it's like, Yes, you can come right in. No, you are not coming in.
You are not welcome here. So let's see what Jesus said now about how to deal with lust and immorality and how to keep our mind clean. Matthew 5, verse 27. You have heard the commandment that says you must not commit adultery. But I say, who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Let's stop there. So Jesus is not talking about a casual glance here. He's talking to a person who is engaged in a continual act of looking. In this usage, in this context, this is not talking about an incidental or involuntary glance, but an intentional and repeated gazing with the express purpose of lusting. So it's not just, oh, wow, look, there's a pretty girl. Or, oh, there's an attractive guy. No, it's not just that. Because you're going to notice that. No, the difference is, no, there's a pretty girl, or I'm going to go find a pretty girl or an attractive guy with the intention of lusting after them.
It's a different thing. And this isn't just for men looking lustfully at women. It's also for women looking lustfully at men. Or men looking lustfully at men and women looking lustfully at women.
There's no limit. Just anything outside of God's order. And think of the pornography problem today. You see, now it's not something for many that's considered forbidden.
There's no shame about it. You see it joked about on sitcoms. And you see movies like Fifty Shades of Grey bringing it to a larger mainstream audience. And if you engage in these things, and let me just say, if you are engaging and watching porn, this is not going to end well for you. And you are specifically doing something Jesus has told you not to do.
And let me explain why. Pornography is creating a desire in you that cannot be satisfied properly in any way. Because it's creating an unnatural desire. It's like you have an out of control fire and you're trying to put it out with gasoline.
It's just going to get worse and worse. And the Bible says, can a man take fire into his lap and not be burned? And the answer of course is no. So be practical. You know, if a scene comes on in a film that you should not be watching, did you know you can actually get up and leave your seat? But I paid for it. Yeah. So get up and walk out.
Better yet, demand a refund. Maybe you should do a little research on a movie before you go watch it. If you're watching something on your TV and this scene comes on you shouldn't be seeing, turn it off. Now this obviously includes conversations with members of the opposite sex. Don't engage in sexually suggestive conversations.
This obviously includes texting, which is sometimes called sexting. Right? Don't do that.
Because you're just headed down a road that's going to lead you to a miserable end. So you know think about these things. Think before you send that text.
And then let's remove this from sexual things and just everything. I posted something on Twitter the other day. I said, think before you tweet. Think before you tweet.
T-H-I-N-K. Run it through this grid. T. Is it true? H. Is it helpful? I. Is it inspiring? N. Is it necessary?
K. Is it kind? If it isn't, don't tweet it. That would eliminate a lot of my tweets. Good.
That would be great actually. Because Twitter, you know the whole world of Twitter has become a very hostile environment hasn't it? So we bring all of these thoughts into the captivity of Jesus Christ. All right so if you look at a woman or a man to lust after her it is like committing adultery. So what is the solution? Are you ready for it?
Let's find it. Verse 29. Jesus tells us what to do. If your eye, even if it is your good eye, causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. If your arm causes you to sin, even your best arm, cut it off. Well there you go.
Sounds like a good solution to me. You say, Greg are you making fun of the Bible? No. I am just pointing out that obviously Jesus is not speaking literally. Do I have to say that?
I hope you know. Even if I gouged out my right eye I could still sin with my left eye. Right? Even if I sinned with my right arm I could still sin with my left arm or my left hand. And so the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart you see. So it all comes down to the heart. So what is Jesus saying? In this culture the right hand was considered the dominant in best hand.
Sorry if you are a southpaw. And the right eye was considered the dominant in the best eye. So Jesus is saying not just cut off your arm or pluck out your eye but pluck out your best eye, cut off your dominant arm.
The point is simply this. Whatever would cause you to fall into sin must be dealt with decisively and quickly. This would be for instance let's say you struggle with your computer. It is always when you go online you are looking at all this stuff. You can put filters on your computer.
You can give your password to other people so they can look at what you are looking at on your computer. But let's just say that doesn't work. You literally could get rid of your stinking computer if you had to.
If that is what it took to keep you from being trapped by lust would that not be a practical step to take? Or how about your phone? I think some people would rather cut off their right arm than give up their phone.
But you know if your phone is your problem you know stink and trade in your smart phone and get one of those old school type phones that actually only make phone calls. Remember those? They still exist. You can buy them. You can't view media on them. You can't look at Instagram on them.
You can't post on them. You actually use the phone to make phone calls and that is it. That is the way it used to be in the old days. Now we carry these powerful computers around in our pocket that give us access to a lot of great things and a lot of really horrible things. And so we have to be very careful.
But do what you need to do. Now you may have heard this story but there was a man who was out climbing rocks. His name was Aaron Ralston. This happened a number of years ago.
In fact the film was made out of his life called 127 Hours. So Ralston was climbing in Utah when a boulder shifted pinning his arm. He tried everything he could to get out from under this boulder.
Nothing was working. Two days passed. He was hungry. He was thirsty. He was cold.
He realized that nobody was coming to rescue him. And the only way he could get out of there was he was going to have to take the worst step imaginable. He was going to have to cut off his own arm if he wanted to live.
This is a true story. He used a pocket knife. It took a long time. He cut his arm off, repelled 65 feet to the canyon floor and walked out. I guess he figured better to be alive with only one arm than dead with two. So he took radical action.
But it illustrates the point that Jesus is making. Do what needs to be done. Lay aside those things that would pull you down. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We're so moved to hear from listeners who join us from every background, every profession, and from all around the world. Hey all. Pastor Greg's life and ministry have been such a big part of my life here in New Zealand since I first saw a crusade movie of his back when I was 16.
I'm 46 now. Not sure I'd still be a Christian if it wasn't for some of Greg's messages that came along right at the time I needed them. Thanks. What a great encouragement to know that these daily studies in God's Word make an impact halfway across the world. If you'd like to contact Pastor Greg and tell him your story, email him, Greg at Harvest dot org.
Again, that's Greg at Harvest dot org. Well today, Pastor Greg is highlighting some important help for standing against the temptations that come our way. It's a message called How to Overcome Lust and Protect Your Mind. Okay, so now, what is the best defense to use when lustful thoughts come your way?
Here's the answer. It's the Word of God. Remember when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness? He said to Jesus, who had been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, hey, why don't you take that rock and turn it into an In-N-Out Burger? Well, that's not what the Bible says. It says a piece of bread.
But turn it into some food. And Jesus responded, it is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the Lord. Oh, the devil takes him to a high point of the temple.
Why don't you jump off of here and the angels will catch you. Jesus says it is written, you shall not tempt the Lord your God. The devil tells him to fall down and worship him.
And Jesus says it is written, you shall worship the Lord God and him only shall you serve. How did Christ defend himself against the onslaught of temptation? He used the Word of God. That's why you need to know Scripture. Psalm 119 verse 9 says, how will a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to your word. Psalm 119 11 says, your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you. Look it is a good thing to carry a Bible in your purse or in your briefcase.
But the best place to carry the Word of God is in your heart. Carry it in your heart. Memorize it. Well I can't memorize stuff.
Yeah you can. You memorize all kinds of stupid stuff all the time. You know you do. I have jingles in my mind.
I wish they would go away. Stats and information that means nothing going back decades is lodged in my brain. Don't tell me you can't memorize God's Word. I have verses in my mind memorized that I learned when I was 17 years old. And they are still in the brain today.
And those are precious to me. One of those verses is 1 Corinthians 10 13. It may have been one of the first verses I ever memorized. Which says, oh man I forgot it.
No I remember. It says, there is no temptation taking you but such is as common a man. God who is faithful will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able but will with the temptation make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. So that basically is saying whenever you have been tempted there was always a way out.
Wasn't there? There was always a way out. Sometimes it was as simple as the door. The off button.
The termination of a conversation. Or whatever it was. There was always a way out. And there is always a way out. So memorize the Word of God. Fill your mind with the Word of God. Know the Word of God.
And sometimes I even quote it out loud when things come my way. I will quote Scripture. You know it is interesting because in the armor of God given to us in Ephesians 6 we are to take the helmet of salvation and have our feet shot with the preparation of the gospel of peace and the shield of faith. But what is our sword? The sword of the Spirit. What is the sword of the Spirit?
Who knows? The Word of God. The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. It is the one offensive weapon God has given us in our spiritual armor. And so when you are dealing with temptation you pull that sword out and you use that sword and you use the Word of God and let it help you. There is an old Puritan expression I read that I really like. It is the expulsive power of a new affection. The expulsive power of a new affection. What does that mean?
It means something is so powerful that it is more attractive to you than the other thing. You want to get a child to drop something. Give them something better in its place. And they will be playing with whatever it is they are playing with.
And then you go check this out. Right? The new affection is the Lord. The new affection is a relationship with Jesus. The new affection is walking in closeness with Him. That is the expulsive power of a new affection.
Expulsive meaning it pushes the old stuff out. I don't want that stuff in my life anymore. I don't want that garbage in my life anymore. I have something far better in its place and the far better thing is knowing God. So let me close by asking do you know God? You may know about God but do you know God?
And do you know Him in a personal way? You see this is why Jesus came and died on the cross for our sin. Because we have all broken His commandments and we have all fallen short of His standards and we have all messed up. Every one of us have given in to temptation. Every one of us have done things we are ashamed of.
But here is the good news. Jesus shed His blood for every sin you have ever committed. And if you will admit your sin, not make excuses for it, not blame it on someone else, not even blaming it all on the devil, but own it.
Say yeah no I did that and I shouldn't have done it. And if you will turn from it, repent of it and ask God to forgive you He will. And maybe some of you need to do that right now. Maybe there are some of you here that don't have the confidence that Jesus is living inside of you. You don't know for certain that if you were to die you would go to heaven.
But you would like to know that. That can happen for you right now. And we are going to pray. And I am going to give you an opportunity to ask Christ to come into your life. And an opportunity for others who may be of sin to ask the Lord to forgive them. Let's all bow our heads to our prayer. Father thank You for loving us so much. You sent Jesus Christ Your Son to die on the cross and our place. And Lord Jesus thank You for coming and laying Your life down. And thank You for Your incredible offer of forgiveness. And now I pray for any person here, any person listening, watching, wherever they may be. If they don't have this relationship with You.
If they don't know You in a personal way. I pray Your Holy Spirit will convict and convince them of their sin and bring them to Yourself now. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. This Johnny Cash documentary is just days away.
That's right. What do you think will surprise people the most when they see Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon? I think they'll be surprised by the amazing quality of it. I think they'll be surprised by the people that we interviewed that talked about the faith of Johnny Cash.
Like Winona Judd, Marty Stewart, Tim McGraw, Sheryl Crow, and others. I think they'll be surprised at how badly Johnny fell. But I think they'll also be surprised by that strong faith that sustained him through life.
The faith that he returned to toward the end of his life. I think they'll not only be surprised, I think they'll be inspired. Because this is a powerful film. It's like a modern retelling of the story of the prodigal son. I think one other surprise they'll find is that the gospel is presented in this film as well. Because it's a gospel that changed Johnny's life. He believed it.
Even though he strayed from it at times. So this is a powerful film. I don't think you've ever seen a film quite like this. The closest thing we've done would be Steve McQueen, The Salvation of an American Icon.
But this goes to the next level and beyond. So we want you to see this brand new film that's coming to a theater near you as a Fathom event. So here's Dave to tell you more about how you can get tickets to see this brand new documentary film done by the Irwin brothers.
Best known for their films, American Underdog, I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe, and the soon to be released, Jesus Revolution. Dave, tell them how they can get their tickets. Yeah, it's real easy. Just go to harvest.org. You'll find more details there and you can even arrange your tickets while you're online. And by the way, tickets are limited and they're going fast. We're making them available to say thank you to those who stand with us and support our outreach with a generous donation. Our outreach not only here on A New Beginning, but through our evangelistic events.
And through this evangelistic film, Johnny Cash, The Redemption of an American Icon. What are the dates of this Fathom event? You'll find them listed on our website at harvest.org. It's coming up soon, so get in touch right away.
Go to harvest.org or call us any time 24-7 at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300. Pastor Greg, you spoke today about having a relationship with the Lord. Someone can enter into that kind of relationship with God right now, can't they? Yeah, they really can. That's the amazing thing. I think people are surprised that it doesn't take years to become a Christian. It doesn't take months. It doesn't take weeks. It doesn't take days.
It doesn't even take hours. You can believe on the spot. And I would like to lead you in a prayer where you can ask for His forgiveness. A prayer where you can receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Savior and Lord. So if you want Christ to come into your life, if you want Him to forgive you of your sin, if you want a second chance in life, if you want to go to heaven when you die, stop what you're doing and pray after me these words. Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I'm sorry for my sin.
And I turn from it now, and I choose to follow You from this moment forward. As Savior and Lord, as God and friend, thank You for loving me and calling me and forgiving me. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. Amen. And listen, if you have just prayed those words with Pastor Greg and meant them sincerely, the Lord has heard you and forgiven you of your sin.
The Bible tells us Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanses from all unrighteousness. And we'd like to send you some materials to help you begin to live this new life. We call out our New Believers Growth Packet. Just ask for it, and we'll send it to you free of charge if you prayed for the first time today with Pastor Greg. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. We are here to take your call around the clock. Again, that's 1-800-821-3300.
Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or just go online to harvest.org and click Know God. Well, next time Pastor Greg offers some help for those times when the burdens of life begin piling up. Just like when the trash can is overflowing, it's time to take out the trash.
We'll learn how to do that next time. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. Thanks for listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. Helping people everywhere know God. Sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a Harvest Partner at harvest.org.
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