Radical Christians in a Chaotic World; Responding Faithfully to the Temptation of Lust

Today’s sermon has several lists within.  To aid you in following along and making application, I have listed them below.

Mat 5:27-30  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  (28)  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  (29)  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.  (30)  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.

Three things necessary for sin,

  • Opportunity- a chance to do so,
  • Availability- items needed
  • Desire- a heart for sin

 

Serious Repenters

  • Confess sin without obscurity
  • Are willing to be under authority and accountability
  • Take ALL steps to remove stimulants
  • Desire fellowship with God, freeing separation and Hell
  • Change from pride of self-indulgence to a humility of glorifying God.
  • Their concern is to change, be free of sin, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
  • Will be radically deliberate in deliverance

 

Jesus died for that we not be enslaved to any sin.

Come to Christ with your sin to be set free.

Live purposefully in His strength.

  • Confess sin
  • Remove all temptations ( use Covenanteyes.com, Everaccountable.com as a means of guarding your internet use.)
  • Build an arsenal of scriptures to help combat temptation in the strength of God.
  • Devour the Word of God
  • Have accountability
  • Seek counseling
  • Prepare to be tested
  • Pray in the Spirit, knowing and trusting God.
  • Get to the heart of the problem rather than treating symptoms.
  • Essentially, fight against the gates of Hell.

Lists, Books, and Recommended Reading

History Day Research 045 - Copy

I love lists.  Calendars, electronic checkbooks, scraps of paper, and legal pads all bring me great organizational joy.  My accounting background still fondly remembers the moment I first laid eyes on Lotus 123.  My heart raced to exclaim that computers had been created for just such a purpose.  It all started early in life for me.  Going to the Danville public library to visit my grandmother found my childhood fascinated with the card catalog system for tracking those beautiful columns and rows of books.  It essentially combined my love for reading with my bent towards organization.  Today, I relish in the use of Evernote and Dropbox on my iPod.

Just the other night in a deacons meeting my heart quickened.  One of the brothers shared how after years of only reading his Bible and books for work he was taking it upon himself to begin reading, in which he might grow further in Christ.  Restraining myself from actually fist pumping in the air, I silently praised God for this breakthrough.  You see, I am a firm, ardent, and staunch believer that we should never stop learning.  We need to be discerning Bereans, who test and take to heart everything as to the glory of God.  Since we are to be worshippers in spirit and in truth the discipline of study is as imperative as rungs and sides of a ladder to reach greater heights in learning and application.  We learn, we apply, then we learn some more.

Learning is a means of sanctification.  It is critical to discipleship.

Therefore, today I would hope to encourage you all to learn.  Again, learning is a means of sanctification.  Below you will find my current recommended reading list, under several categories.  Some books might as well be included in several groupings.  However, my purpose here is to give each category of life its own set of tomes for indulgence.  I would love to get your feedback and hear of books you love.  Please write to me at seniorpastor@ekronbaptistchurch.com.

 

Ten Books I Want My Church Members to Read

  • The Bible- I don’t want to make the Bible a side suggestion. I want it to be the imperative.  There is no substitute here, and it should be devoured more than bread or water.
  • Prayer- Ole Hallesby
  • The Screwtape Letters- C S Lewis
  • The Atonement- Leon Morris
  • The Cost of Discipleship- Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book should be read annually as it wards against mediocrity.
  • Maximum Impact- Wayne Mack If we are to be the church, then we must know how to represent Christ and His message through love.
  • Spiritual Depression- Martyn Lloyd Jones. This book speaks to the depths of the soul in its desires and hope.
  • Desiring God- John Piper
  • Instruments in the Redeemers Hands- Paul Trip If you are a disciple you will be dealing with people.  This tome has helped me to enjoy the trials of ministry.
  • Christless Christianity- Michael Horton In a kaleidoscope world of “Christian” viewpoints, this book brings clarity to what we ought to see.

 

Ten Books for Apologetics

  • Who Made God? Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler
  • The Testimony of the Evangelists Simon Greenleaf
  • Between Heaven and Hell Peter Kreeft
  • The Defense Never Rests Craig Parton
  • I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist Norman Geisler & Frank Turek
  • Why I am a Christian John Stott
  • Tactics Gregory Koukl
  • Why Good Arguments Often Fail James Sire
  • Christianity and Liberalism J Greshem Machen
  • Mere Christianity C S Lewis

 

Ten Books for Youth to Read

  • Don’t Waste Your Life- John Piper
  • Do Hard Things- Alex and Brett Harris
  • Radical- David Platt
  • Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
  • God’s Passion for His Glory- John Piper
  • Respectable Sins- Jerry Bridges
  • Basic Christianity- John Stott
  • Worldliness- C J Mahaney
  • Preparing for Marriage- Wayne Mack. Many books on dating deal mainly with sex.  I ask, should not a book on dating delve into the natural result of such a relationship.  Let us help youth to understand what God requires of a marriage relationship before they initiate the giving away their affections.

 

10 Books for the Weary

  • When I don’t Desire God- John Piper
  • The Christian Life- Ole Hallesby
  • Life Together- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Beside Still Waters- Charles Spurgeon
  • Future Grace- John Piper
  • Revival- Martyn Lloyd Jones
  • How Long Oh Lord- D A Carson
  • Surprised by Suffering R C Sproul
  • Revival Richard Owen Roberts
  • Out of the Depths Martyn Lloyd Jones

 

Twelve Books for Leadership

  • The Reformed Pastor- Richard Baxter
  • Brother’s We are Not Professionals- John Piper
  • Lectures to My Students- Charles Spurgeon
  • Preaching and Preachers Martyn Lloyd Jones
  • Competent to Council- Jay Adams
  • Counseling- John Macarthur
  • How to Say it- Rosalie Maggio
  • The Art of the Personal Letter-Margaret Shepherd
  • Manners- Emily Post
  • Speaking the Truth in Love- David Powlison
  • The Deliberate Church- Mark Dever
  • Warnings to the Churches- J C Ryle

 

Ten Biographies You Need to Read

  • The Diary of David Brainard. Jonathan Edwards
  • Through Gates of Splendor. Elisabeth Elliot
  • Surprised by Joy. C S Lewis
  • The Life of John Newton
  • Foxes Book of Martyers
  • Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther- Peter Smith
  • The Hiding Place. Corrie TenBoon
  • Bonhoeffer. Eric Metaxas
  • Confessions. St. Augustine
  • The Insanity of God.  Nik Ripken

 

Ten Books for Married Couples

  • Sacred Marriage- Gary Thomas
  • Strengthening Your Marriage- Wayne Mack
  • This Momentary Marriage- John Piper
  • The Exemplary Husband- Stuart Scott
  • The Excellent Wife- Martha Peace
  • Uprooting Anger- Robert Jones
  • The Art of Divine Contentment- J C Ryle
  • How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong Leslie Vernick
  • God, Marriage, and Family Andreas Kostenberger
  • This Momentary Marriage John and Noel Piper

Five Books for Parents

  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart- Tedd Tripp
  • The Peacemaker- Ken Sande
  • Instructing a Child’s Heart- Tripp
  • Boys and Girls Playing Together- J C Ryle
  • Sacred Parenting- Gary Thomas

 

Other Books that need to be read……

  • Uprooting Anger Robert Jones
  • When People are Big and God is Small Ed Welch
  • The Atributes of God- A W Tozer
  • The Holiness of God- R C Sproul
  • The Cross Centered Life- C J Mahaney
  • Holiness J C Ryle
  • Instruments in the redeemer’s Hands- Tripp
  • The Heart of Addiction- Mark Shaw
  • Counsel from the Heart- Elise Fitzpatrick and Eric Johnson
  • Idols of the Heart- Elise Fitzpatrick
  • Lies Women Believe- Nancy Demoss
  • Unpacking Forgiveness- Chris Brauns.

Is Your Heart in It?

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Mar 7:6  

Now the context of this verse is that the Pharisees were teaching their traditions on par with the word of God.  They were wrapped up in attempted worship of God, not in spirit or truth, but in self-regulating candor.

At a casual glance, this episode teaches me two things.  First, doctrine does matter.  Second, the heart matters just as much.  Often we forget this. Jesus made this point explicitly clear when he instructed the woman at the well of Sychar, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” (John 4:23)

In the past, I have regrettably leaned too heavily on doctrine, grazing at times in legalism. It becomes prudent to remember the grace of God as part and parcel to application of Truth from Scripture.  The Pharisees were driven toward a form of holiness by doctrine, and we can learn from that, but they forgot grace. Doing so aborts the heart context of living out the gospel.

Grace is what takes Christianity from a mere religion of ethics to the glorious salvation that it is.  It is never based upon our works, but upon the nature of Almighty God.  If God has saved us, our hearts have been changed. Our new nature is to be ambassadors of that same grace.  Christ changes the motives and passions of believers

These days, by this Scripture, I find myself looking at my heart.  You see, we can be morally correct, as many of the Pharisees were.  Yet, our heart can be so full of pride that we are not living for Christ but our own self-righteousness.  We become more concerned with outward appearances and common standards that we fail to take Scripture to the point of sanctification.  The danger is we can fall back to living so much on our own strength (the legalism of accomplishment) that we quickly forget the need to abide in Him. (Living by the Spirit, Romans 8) I believe we all need to be greatly concerned with where our heart affections lie when it comes to God.

Grace does not ignore doctrine, it embraces it.  But, by the very nature of grace, one has affections of the heart for Christ, His church, and a lost world.  If we are not a people of grace, we are not a people of Christ.  Therefore, a battle rages, where is my heart?

As I look at my own life, I fear the failure to embrace grace. To go through the motions of the Sunday service unmoved, uninspired, and uncaring is a serious condemnation.  When Jesus pointed out the departed heart of the Pharisees, he brought forth an indictment worthy of us all.

A heart that is set toward Christ is desperate and relieved all at the same time.  We are desperate for Him to be pleased by our lives, desperate to abide in Him, and desperate to live by the Spirit, not the flesh.  At the same time, we are relieved, for we know the grace of God is upon us, we embrace the promises of His word, and we have reason to have hope despite a fallen world.  Together, these affections of the heart motivate us to abide in Him and make every aspect of living an act of doing all to the glory of God.

Thus, as Christians, our lives are Christ-centered because our heart is motivated by the work of the cross. As we live out our daily lives in ordinary experiences such as traffic, the trials of dealing with people, our own temptations to sin, and all the rigors of life, we are motivated to do all things for His glory, for our affections are upon Him, not the stuff of wood, hay, and stubble.

So please, think of it this way; Christianity is about a changed heart; not just grinding through a morality or set of beliefs regarding right and wrong.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  It longs for a renewing of our mind. (Romans 12:2) Daily, we seek the putting off the old man and putting on the new, and it incorporates the sanctifying work of keeping works with repentance.  Therefore, the key to all these standards is not the outward appearance, but the inner condition of the heart.

Let us therefore consider, as James 4 teaches, the raging war within our hearts.  May we become steadfast to be satisfied in Jesus and place our worshipful affections upon Him. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and yet loses his soul.