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June 17, 2022 1:00 am
Addictions are widespread in our culture—even our churches. We all have the potential for failure. Of course, we want change to happen like the flip of a switch. But it takes effort and time. In this message from Matthew 5, we learn three steps to break the cycle of addiction and sin. Though it is a process, not an event, we can find freedom.
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Rain forests looking to Jesus, breaking the cycle of moral failure is a process not an event viewer requires three things. Something to believe something to do and something to share today we focus on what each of us must do in order to be free. Please stay with the Moody Church in Chicago.
This is running to win with Dr. Erwin listserv whose clear teaching of sauce make it across the finish line pastor Luther there are many broken people listening who need a word of hope. Is it really possible for them to break the cycle of moral failure, what you know Dave, building on the image that you just gave us mainly broken people. One of the most basic truths is that they have to give him all the pieces of their lives doesn't mean that life is going to be easy, but it is going to be different and you know running to win exist to help people do just that.
To run successfully all the way to the finish line as we frequently say we are here also to give people resources. If you've been blessed as a result of this ministry, as I frequently pointed out, it is because other people have invested in this ministry, would you consider becoming an endurance partner that someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Here's what you do for info you go to RTW offer.com course when you're there you click on the endurance partner button or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. As you listen to this message, ask yourself this question. Who else needs to hear what is being said. So what I want you to believe. I want you to believe that Jesus the son is stronger than slavery. What you see yourself as a son and a daughter of a Almighty want you to know that you have a sense of dignity that the thoughts that you have about yourself as being so unlovable are not God's thoughts about you.
They are your thoughts, not his.
He loves you. He cares about you and your fully and completely redeemable in the most thorough way imaginable. The sun makes us free indeed is a second thing that I want you to do and that is want you to do something to believe something to do something now for this I do ask you to turn to Matthew chapter 5 were going to use a different passage Matthew five where Jesus in a familiar passage on the sermon on the Mount says these words in verse 27, by the way it is so wonderful to hear you turning in your Bibles to the passages that we indicate. And I hope that you always bring your Bible to church. Matthew 527 you have heard that it was said, do not commit adultery. I say to you whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart, Jesus here is is making a statement of universal indictment and then notice if you're right, I causes you to sin. I like the translation that's a stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Jesus is talking about the battle that we are going to have with lust and the whole imagery here is if you're right. I uses the eye because we as men particularly are easily stimulated by the eye in a way that perhaps women do not fully understand if your hand which oftentimes is used in stimulation, particularly in relationship to a woman if your hand is causing you to fall into the pit and the imagery there is a pit you know that has a what shall we say it's dug into the ground and it's covered with light branches and leaves in the animal does not know that the pit is there, but he falls in. If it's your eye or your hand. Jesus said couch or I and cut off your hand you say well pastor Luther isn't speaking literally is he know he isn't obviously because it would be possible for you to cut out your right I and still lost with your left or to cut off your right hand and still be a moral but what Jesus is saying in the strongest possible way. Is this what ever you need to do to separate yourself from that which is falling into the pit from that which causes you to fall into the pit. Do you even if it is drastic. What about that well first of all, amputation is painful.
Isn't it gouging out your eye. Of course it hurts with crude tools. No anesthetic and hurts and some of you have to give up relationships that hurt you to give up friendships that are causing you to send you have to break relationships. Some of you have to flee from temptation. You have to run from other people.
You have to change jobs.
You say that's drastic. Jesus says do it.
Some of you have to take your Blockbuster card and you have to take in acts and smash it into a thousand pieces. Some of you have to and your cable television subscription there Christians who have HBO or Showtime some of the stations that show pornography and what you need to do is to just do it. Some of you have to unplug your television set.
There is a friend and he knows that I use them as an illustration, so he's here today it's fine as long as that on Naaman who a year ago. Unplug this television set, and he told us not only is his mind a lot purer, but he said that he said that when he was sick the other day he was tempted to plug it in fight. You know I've done so long without it not done so well, why should I begin that now Jesus is saying what ever you need to do if it means getting rid of your computer do it all. I need email you say don't give me that we live for years and years and years and years and years without a map some time ago I was on vacation in my secretary had to deal with 700 emails that emails were supposed to simplify our lives.
I thought all these friends.
Here's a good article.
Here's a joke here is this here this. We need email Jesus is saying what ever you need to do, even if it hurts and then of course it is also thorough amputation cutting out your eyes, cutting off your hand if the cancer patient. What would you think of a doctor who says well you know we could've gotten it all, but we kept a little bit of cancer because you know the time might come when you might want a little bit a cancer so we decided to manage it.
Rather than get rid of it to that's our problem. We always leave a bridge to that sin. We confess it, but there's always that bridge there. The idea of going cold turkey is unthinkable.
So week so we keep that in our minds and hearts and we keep the bridge. One of the Puritan writer says that when it comes to sin we should do like Paul did when he shook the Viper into the fire and when we leave sin, it should not be with the intention of seeing it again.
It is thorough, it is worthwhile.
Jesus said, it's better so I wouldn't want to have one eye and one hand only.
I know none of us what we would be able to fulfill all of our aspirations, but my goodness, if that's what's standing between me and have my soul is so much more worth than my body.
It is better for me to arrive in heaven with one eye than to be in hell with two eyes. It is better. It is better what is it that we lose when we have submit submit to these obsessions that control us. You know what we lose we lose the blessing and the friendship of God because God is always at arms length.
He's always there in the distance. We may pray to him.
In desperation, but there's no fellowship two years ago a pastor who is really addicted to pornography, wrote an article that occurred in leadership magazine. They got more responses from that article leadership than any other article they had ever published until that time, but he said the thing that finally motivated him to come clean and to change was this it was the absence of the presence of God. He said the thing that hurt him the most was the words of Jesus. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. When were in pure in heart.
We can't really see God. We know that he is there. We keep putting them off and we keep saying him to deal with this later at another time. Why because because we don't want to just face the issue and say you know we've grieved debt, and that's why we know that dealing with this is worth while. So I given you something to believe that son ship is more powerful than slavery, I given you something to do, namely to burn all the bridges that lead back to the same sin. Now let me give you something to share because many of you are listening to this and you're saying pastor Luther, you're absolutely right and I am going to deal with this issue this afternoon God and I have this little talk. Nobody's going to know about it except God. And I are some things that it's okay just for you and God to know about. There's a lot in my life that is between me and God. But I need to tell you this, that, when it really comes to the issue of these obsessions, you cannot do it alone. It's equivalent to a finger that's bleeding saying I'm bleeding.
I'm going to heal, but I'm gonna do it independently of the body is cut me off put me in the fridge and got and I will get healed. Know the whole purpose of being linked to the body is for help. Let me give you two reasons. First of all, the Bible says confess your faults one to another, that you may be healed.
Normally we think of physical healing, but I believe in context.
There's powerful reasons to believe that it's spiritual healing. This past summer I spent an hour with a man who was addicted to pornography and actually very immoral and then God changed him and now for the last 10, 15 years gives lectures in churches how to overcome these addictions. You know the name of his organization which I forget is something like this for how to have healthy relationships. I felt strange foreign organization that is helping people overcome these addictions but he said no. He said what happens is you need a healthy relationship. Somebody needs to know your story and yet affirm you.
Somebody needs to be able to say even though you've done that you are part of the human family and were all struggling together and I affirm you as an individual who has worth and value, and relationship, and also it is necessary for accountability.
Accountability because you really can't do it alone. Let me tell you two separate stories, but because they are so parallel. I will tell them is one story, one was a man who struggled with visiting prostitutes and the other was a homosexual coming out of the lifestyle, but falling again and again.
Both of them independently in these stories are totally independent had friends who said when you're tempted call me anytime of the day or night so they would call any time of the day or night, so you don't hear his somebody would be cruising along looking for a person with whom they could have this relationship and saying to himself, one that explained it this way if I Lord, if I see a phone booth will call my friend right so much to his displeasure. He saw phone booth that he called his friend, his friend talked him out of what he was about to do and went over and blessed them, and stayed up all night with him and ministered to him. And this happened a few times and in both of these instances, these men say this that now that they look back over a period of time they can hardly believe that they once did what they knew they once did the costs. It's almost as if it's different world they been changed at the level of the desire and that's why we need one another. That's why accountability is so important you say will is that all is that all is there more to the story. The next message in this series is going to deal with the whole issue of the care of your soul and how the disciplines of the Christian life become a part of it. All of these messages, none of which can stand alone, but I have given you something to believe something to do and something you must share with a friend. Somebody in this world needs to know who you are and the firm you and love you and hold you accountable and what happens as a result, the temptations lose their power.
It's been my experience I think that most of us over estimate her ability to handle temptation. We think we can take it on know we can were weak to member the story of Homer's Odyssey, Ulysses Ulysses was on his way home to be reunited with his wife, while the Ulysses was gone, fighting in the Trojan war. He had a relationship with a goddess who warned him that on the way home. There was an enchanted island that had sirens beautiful women who sirens songs were so alluring that it was known that sailors often sailed to their death. Captains of ships going one direction over heard the siren song and were so seduced that they changed the course of their ships, not knowing that there were jagged rocks under the sparkling waters and the men were so overcome by lust that they would hop into the water.
Even before the ship broke to pieces, and they were devoured by these sirens with their ravenous appetites. Ulysses bless him knew how weak he was. So, as they were sailing in the direction of the island, knowing that they had to go at least some yards some miles past, it he asked all of the sailors to put wax in their ears, but he knew that that was not enough for him, with or without wax. So yes the sailors to tie him to the mass of the ship to tie him down and then he says, no matter how much I beg and plead and cajole or manipulate or threaten do not on time E until we are well past the island and we cannot hear the song of the siren's anymore my dear friend, I want you to know that there are many enchanted islands in route to the holy city, and we look about and we see many people at various levels of pain and shame and devastation brought about by the sirens that come to us from the world from the temptations that allure us and there times when we must tie one another to the mass of the ship and simply say in order for me to sail past these temptations, which I cannot handle.
I need the body of Christ. I need to experience. First of all that's on the ship is more powerful than slavery. He breaks the power of canceled sin. Sin has to be canceled, but it's power needs to be broken to be breaks the power of canceled sin. And secondly there's something I have to do I have to get rid of the thing that is constantly causing me to fail matter how drastic the action is the number three I have to connect with the body. I have to be a part of the healing community because I need help. If the sun shall make you free. You'll experience freedom plus join me as we pray father we come to you today is as those who stand in need of your matchless grace and we ask today father that you might grant us the ability to just do what the Holy Spirit is told us to do whatever there is in our lives that needs to be broken.
Come father and father were so bound by her own our own selves, our own images we ask today. Father Holy Spirit is been poured out to the church come to us how many of you say today, Pastor Luther, God has spoken to me and I intend to follow through with what you said would you raise your hands placed throughout the auditorium. God bless you. God bless you up in the balcony.
I see those hands. Several of you others of you here on the floor. I see those hands too many really to account father we ask in Jesus name. In Jesus name would you cause those who have heard this message today to follow through. Those who were too ashamed to raise their hands. Those who knew they should. But Lord, the power is so great we resist Satan we resist sin and we stand in the liberty with which Jesus has purchased us. We ask in his name on them.
But my friend, the battle can be very intense To very interestingly, in my devotional time this morning I read a verse from second Timothy, where Paul says that he trust God to keep him from every evil deed and bring him safely into the heavenly kingdom that's what were trusting God for I have in my hands a letter from someone who says after a bad childhood. I was on my own.
I was a rebel without a cause from the age of 15, but God revealed himself to me. I was given a Bible and then he said I started to listen to MCM know what would that stand for. That's an apt Moody church media app. I'm learning to be a better husband.
After 18 years, and grandfather because of Pastor Luther's teaching and he goes on to thank us for our ministry. You my friend have a part in testimonies just like this and we receive them because of the investment that many people have made in the ministry of running to win. And by the way, speaking of that app, it certainly is available.
Moody church media app but would you consider helping us. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner that someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Of course, the amount that you give is entirely your decision. Here's what you can do. Go to RTW offer.com RTW offer.com and when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Let me give you that contact info again and thanks in advance for helping us.
Thank you for your investment of your prayers and your gifts go to RTW offer.com when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 King David's lust burned for Bathsheba. Another man's wife of baby was conceived and the king ended up sanctioning murder to cover up a scandal, but David admitted his sin, sought forgiveness, and found restoration with God. Next time the final message in this series as we examine a man who was known not out. Thanks for listening for Dr. Erwin loser this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the church