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Oh Be Careful Little Eyes Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 23, 2024 12:00 am

Oh Be Careful Little Eyes Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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April 23, 2024 12:00 am

Our modern culture bombards us with messages that distort God's design for sexuality. This can leave us feeling confused, trapped, and even ashamed. But the Bible offers a clear path to freedom. This episode explores the biblical teaching on sexual morality in a non-judgmental and compassionate way. Discover the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences of sexual sin, and importantly, the hope and transformation found in God’s grace. Learn practical steps to resist temptation, pursue purity, and experience true freedom.

Key Points Covered:

  • The Culture Clash: Why purity seems like an outdated concept and the harmful impact of society's message on our hearts.

  • The Consequences of Sin: Understanding the real-world risks of sexual immorality, from disease to broken relationships.

  • The Path to Purity: How the Bible provides a roadmap to overcoming temptation and living a life honoring to God.

  • Grace and Forgiveness: The transformative power of God's love and His ability to heal and restore.

If you're struggling with sexual sin, longing for a life of purity, or simply seeking to understand God's plan for your sexuality, this episode is for you. Discover how to combat the cultural chaos with biblical clarity and find the freedom you desire.

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What did Jesus mean when he said that if your right eye causes you to sin, you should pluck it out? If the problem is our heart, what good will it do to pluck out an eye or cut off a hand? I mean, can't the left eye lust if you have one left? Can't the left hand commit sin if that's the one left? Listen, beloved, you can be blind, deaf, mute, paralyzed, on a deserted island, and lust. Whether you're alone or with people, whether you're active or doing nothing, wherever you are, sin seems to be always crouching at the door. That's because more than anything else, sin is a problem of the heart. This is wisdom for the heart.

Stephen Davey is working his way through a series entitled Breaking Up Stony Ground. On our last broadcast, he began a message that we didn't have time to complete. We're going to do a little review, then bring you the second half of that message today. It's a message on the topic of lust, and Stephen's calling it, will be careful little eyes. Jesus says first, treat lust with uncompromising reality. It's sin. Secondly, we should treat lust with uncompromising severity.

Look at verse 29 again. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. Now let me clear up some potential misunderstandings here before anybody reaches for a chainsaw.

So just hang tight for just a moment. First, Jesus is not saying that people who've committed lustful or even physically immoral acts are destined for hell. The point isn't that they are doing them and they're going to hell. The point is they want to keep doing them and don't think they're sinful.

He says you're deceived. You want to justify it and defend it and continue it, you're actually headed for hell. Secondly, Jesus is not suggesting that you get out a literal knife and perform some kind of amputation.

Now watch this now. If the problem is our heart, what good will it do to pluck out an eye or cut off a hand, the right eye? I mean, can't the left eye lust if you have one left? Can't the left hand commit sin if that's the one left? Listen, beloved, you can be blind, deaf, mute, paralyzed on a deserted island and lust because we bring our hearts with us.

Now to the Jewish world, the right eye represented the best vision. It came to refer to your best plans, your cherished possessions. Jesus is effectively saying you need to give up that which you are cherishing. You need to give up whatever those plans are, those goals, if in fact they keep you within the grip of lust.

Deal with it. Treat sin with uncompromising severity at this point. Heath Lambert writes in his book, finally free on the same text of scripture, he writes this and I quote him, Jesus wants you to understand that you will need to get tough with your sin. You will need to employ extreme measures to limit access and starve temptation. If you want the life God offers, you will have to get serious about resisting sin. You'll have to be aggressive, get radical.

Amputation, even in this figurative sense, will not be easy. As I researched this text, I was reminded of a dear couple in our church who are thriving in their walk. They came to mind. I'll never forget when they came up to me after one of our morning services some time ago and the husband said, look, my wife and I, we stayed up until 2 a.m. yesterday morning throwing stuff away. In our pursuit, we were tired of being on the fence.

We were tired of being lukewarm and wishy washy and we just went around our house and we erased stuff, pulled stuff down, bagged stuff up, and we threw stuff away. That's dealing with temptation severely. It isn't how much temptation we can manage.

It's how far away from it we can stay. It will detract us and dilute our testimony and deceive our minds and it will eventually attempt to snuff out that fire for holiness that we want as we allow God's Spirit to break up stony ground and become sensitive to his voice and to his word again. Remember, though, throwing stuff away isn't going to change a lustful heart into a pure heart.

You'll just be a better looking Pharisee. Make sure it's an issue of the heart first that is repentant before God and then get real and you're going to call it sin and then by means of the grace of God, whatever you throw away is coming out of a heart attitude to pursue the holiness of God. By way of encouragement, we looked at that text in 1 Thessalonians for the sake of time and we'll look again, but in chapter four, Paul made that strong command we studied to abstain from sexual immorality. Keep in mind that before Paul said that, he began to paragraph by writing, finally, brethren, brothers and sisters. He's telling believers to abstain, to resist, to run, to repent.

So this is for us and all of us start fresh every day. If you go over one chapter in 1 Thessalonians to chapter five, you find this wonderful balance. In chapter four, we're told not to be involved in any sexual immorality. We're to make decisions.

We are to choose to abstain. In chapter five, he refers to sanctification in verse 23 and he says it this way, now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. There's the balance.

There's the balance. In chapter four, we're told to make choices that work toward our sanctification to establish disciplines, to set up parameters, to throw stuff away. And in chapter five, we're told that God will sanctify us entirely. There is that one sense that sanctification is the work of God on our behalf and he will complete it and perfect us when we see Christ and we're glorified in holy perfection and we long for that day. There's then the other sense, however, that we as believers choose to abstain. We choose to battle sin like John Bunyan said, we post guards at our senses. We keep the gates shut. We present our bodies, a living sacrifice unto God. We make right choices and battle sin at the ear gate and the nose gate and the eye gate and the feel gate and the mouth gate and every day we battle temptation that wants to come through one of those gates and we're never allowed to say, you know what, I think I'm going to sit this one out. God, you take care of that one all by yourself. That's imbalanced.

Nor should we say, you know what, God isn't going to help me so I'm going to have to do this all by myself. Here are a hundred things I'm going to start doing. Balance. As you battle at each gate, especially the eye gate, let me provide in the remainder of our time several steps to take in the right direction. Let me give you six steps in the right direction. By the way, this doesn't mean you're not going to sin or fail, but as one person said it so well, it does mean that your toes are pointed in the right direction.

I like that. Let's make sure our toes are pointed in the right direction. First, enlist the help of an honest friend. I'm going to kind of jump over the fact that we're going to call it sin.

It's going to be viewed as sin and we know it's wrong and we really want to stop it. Let's just jump to this one. Enlist the help of an honest friend. In a word, accountability.

Bring a mature friend of the same sex, by the way, into the battle. You're not tempting them. You're trusting them to hold you accountable. By the way, an accountability group, I have found over my years in pastoring, is absolutely ineffective if you don't want to be accountable. You can actually be unaccountable in an accountability group.

You can as easily lie to the other men or women in that accountability group as you can lie to your own heart. But for those who truly want to do battle and break habits, enlist the aid of a godly friend who will ask you those hard questions. I think this was the proper context of James chapter five, where we're told to confess our sins to one another, to pray for one another, that you may be healed. That text isn't guaranteeing some quick fix to physical healing.

In fact, it's talking about spiritual and mental and emotional healing by breaking the bonds of sin. Enlist the help of a godly friend who will help you post a guard at the eye gate and every other gate. Secondly, rebuild the fences and bar the door. In other words, you need to fence yourself in as much as you possibly can.

Now what that means is you're going to need to eliminate, to cut off your access to sinful temptation. You're not going to move to an island. You take your heart with you. But while we live in this world, let's be honest. Let's rebuild some fences that may have fallen over. So get creative. Stay tough.

Don't cut yourself any slack. Put your computer in your master bedroom with the screen facing the bed where your wife or your husband can see it. Put stronger filters on your computer. Give access to your computer to a friend who can remotely come on at any time. I can tell you the blessing knowing that we have an IT director here at Colonial and all of my stuff is connected here and he can come on at any time and sometimes he does. All of a sudden the mouse or the cursor starts moving and I know he's come in to work on something. It's actually very good for me to know he can come on at any time. I told him about those pictures too, by the way, in case he did.

Put a GPS on your smartphone and have that friend be able to track your movements at any given moment to know exactly where you are. Work, home, Krispy Kreme, whatever the temptation might be. Again, Heath Lambert writes this wonderful phrase. He says, our sin, catch this, our sin has turned us into inventors of evil. And we may end up finding more creative avenues for accessing pornography, especially as technological advances make it even more accessible. So be diligent to apply these steps with each new invention. Build fences, some call them hedges, bar the door.

Let me ask you a question. How serious is this issue to you? How serious is it?

How serious are we to break up stony ground to allow the seed of God's Word to bring fruit into holiness? Maybe you need to throw away your computer or your laptop or go back to an old flip phone without any internet access. You can barely even text. Get rid of cable. Get rid of television. It feels like an amputation. Now am I getting closer to pain?

Some of you are wincing. Stop going to the movies. Stop staying up at night unless you're reading a book, a good book.

The Bible will do. Take cold showers. Sleep in the freezer if you have to. I don't care. Take steps because this is serious.

Rebuild some fences and bar the door. Third, restock the shelves of your mind. The Bible doesn't just tell us to stop sinning. It doesn't just say stop lusting. It doesn't just say abstain from sexual immorality. We don't just lay aside the old self which is corrupted with evil lusts, Paul writes, but we also put on the new self which is right and holy living, Ephesians 4 22. So don't just empty the shelves and sweep it out. Your mind and heart and get rid of everything that's marginal or compromising or sinful. Restock those shelves with good books, good music, good activities, good friends, good movies. If I asked you what book are you reading, having none in the hopper is not a good sign.

Pick something by Spurgeon. Purchase the Valley of Vision. I'll read from it a little bit.

We've already referenced it. Read something. Fourth, remember you're being watched. I think that's good to know, isn't it? Oh, be careful little eyes what you see. Did you learn that when you were little? For the father up above is watching down in love. Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.

It's good for old eyes too, isn't it? One of the dangers of pornography online is anonymity. You're all alone. No one sees.

Oh, really? We're not that poor in our theology, are we? Does not the host of heaven swirl about us? Do not the angels observe even our worship tonight? Do not the demons also swirl about us? Do they not take notes on what seems to work in our lives? Is not God watching?

Do we really think there are no visible effects of secret sin? I remember as a 16 year old getting my driver's license. Do you remember that? Somebody had to think way back like me to the old days. 16 years old and sweet freedom. I was the kind of kid that I took driver's ed at the very earliest time I could get it and I got my license at the very earliest time I could get it.

So I got it in May on my birthday. I can remember when I was 16 my father had this huge Buick LeSabre. That's when they made cars really big. Remember the fins on those things?

Oh my, great stuff. Three miles to a gallon. Those kind of days. It didn't have air conditioning but then again neither did our home. That was before the days of central air. But we just rolled the windows down.

That was our air conditioning. I remember the summer after I got my license my cousins arrived from Minnesota for a little holiday and my favorite cousin Mark was among them. I told him I had my license and said hey let's go for a drive. So I asked my dad for the keys.

The whole family is there, uncles, aunts, cousins. I asked him at a very chaotic moment when he wasn't thinking straight and he gave me the keys but he did give me that look that he often gave me which communicated to me that I was his favorite son. It's the way I read it.

It's the way I interpreted it. He said son be careful. I said no dad don't worry we're just going to circle the block. I didn't tell him we were going to break the sound barrier.

We're just going to circle the block. I probably went five miles an hour down Red Brook Road. That road I lived on for 18 years and it empties out at a dead end. I turned right on that road. Mark sitting next to me in a big old buickless saber and it was 15, 16, 17 years old.

My parents were missionaries. Nothing was new. But it clunked along just fine and that road emptied into military highway.

If you're from that area that's the main drag. The light was red. I looked over at my cousin as we sat there and he looked at me and that light turned green. I know this will surprise you but when that light turned green I slammed that accelerator down and we shot forward. All the windows rolled down.

After about 15 minutes we got up to 30 miles an hour. We were flying. I looked in my rear view mirror and all of a sudden there was smoke billowing out behind me. I mean clouds of smoke. It was coming up on the right side of the car and the left side. We were engulfed in this cloud and I thought I'm not a mechanic but this can't be good.

That was the thought I had in my mind. I pulled over on military highway and we sat there. We finally got out and hiked across the service road to a dealership and I used their phone and called my dad. My uncle Lowell hopped in his car with my dad and they drove over to where we were.

It took them a couple of minutes to get there. On the way back Mark and I were sitting in the back seat hoping there wouldn't be too many questions. My father, I still remember him looking over at uncle Lowell and saying, he really was asking. My uncle was more of a mechanic.

He said to Lowell, how does something like that happen? And my uncle slammed the accelerator down and we shot forward. I have never forgiven my uncle for doing that by the way.

We still don't speak to this day. I thought be sure your sins will what? Find you out. Kids often to their detriment sneak around adults. We think we can sneak around God. Sin has a way of showing up. Consider pornography as the smoke pouring out of an unconsecrated heart. A warning from the goodness of God that it's time to deal honestly and realistically and severely with sin. Fifth, respond to every temptation with alarm. Respond to every temptation with alarm. Be frightened by sin.

Hate sin, don't you? You see it coming and alarm bells start ringing. Deal with it. In fact, I love the advice John Piper gave in his writings. He gave this perspective. He said, we must not give lustful thoughts or any sinful images or impulses more than five seconds before we mount a violent counter attack with the mind.

He writes, I mean that, five seconds. In the first two seconds, shout to yourself, no, get out of my head. Then the battle begins. See this is a mind war. The absolute necessity is to get the image and the impulse out of our minds.

How? He suggests this, get a counter image into your mind. It must be an image that is so powerful that the other image cannot survive. For an example, have you ever in the first five seconds of temptation focused on the scene of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?

Let me recommend that. Picture that. You have just seen something that invites fantasy. You have five seconds to get it out of your mind. Immediately demand of your mind that you fix its gaze on Christ, dying for you on the cross. Use all your mental power to see his lacerated back.

Focus. Thirty-nine lashes have left little flesh intact. He heaves with his breath up and down against the rough vertical beam of the cross. Each breath puts splinters into the lacerated flesh. He tries to pull away from the wood and the massive spikes through his wrist rip into the nerve endings and he screams with agony and pushes up with his feet to give some relief to his wrists. The bones and nerves in his pierced feet crush against each other with anguish and he cries out again.

There is no relief. His throat is raw with thirst. His voice reaches a high pitch of pain and sobs break over his pain-wracked body as every cry brings more and more pain. Now, he says, I am not thinking that sinful thought anymore. I am at Calvary. Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon his shoulders.

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers. It was my sin that held him there until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life.

I know that it is finished. It was my sin. It is that sin that held him there. Finally, number six, rehearse often your total weakness and need for the strength of Christ. Let me give you another hymn lyric worth remembering. Did we in our own strength confide? Our striving would be losing. We're not the right man on our side, the man of God's own choosing.

Dust, ask who that may be. Christ Jesus, it is he. Lord, sabbath is name.

From age to age the same and he must win the battle. With that Stephen concludes today's message entitled Oh Be Careful Little Eyes here on Wisdom for the Heart. Today's message was a practical look at how to effectively deal with sin. I was thinking that you may not have been in the position where you could take notes or write down the principles that Stephen shared today. If that's the case, it might help you to listen to this message again or even read a copy of Stephen's manuscript. We have those available for you on our website, which you'll find at wisdomonline.org.

They're also on our smartphone app. So using either of those resources, the website or the app, you can listen to each day's message and read the printed manuscript that Stephen speaks from. I invite you to claim your free membership in Friends of Wisdom. Friends of Wisdom is a group of people who receive weekly communication from Stephen by email. It's another way that you can receive encouragement from God's word.

Sometimes Stephen answers a question that has come in regarding the Bible or the Christian faith. Sometimes he sends an article he's written. At least once a month, our Friends of Wisdom receive a free digital resource. There's no cost or obligation to join. All you need to do is sign up and you'll start hearing from Stephen right away. The best way to get signed up is to visit wisdomonline.org forward slash friends. Once again, that's wisdomonline.org forward slash friends. There's a form on that page that's going to ask you to provide your first name and your email address and that's it. You'll be signed up and you'll start hearing from Stephen. I hope you'll do that today. When we come back next time Stephen's going to continue through this series that he's called Breaking Up Stony Ground. He'll continue looking at issues that can take root in the believer's heart. Hear on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-23 00:52:12 / 2024-04-23 01:01:24 / 9

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