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Tuesday, February 6, 2024

“I Never Touched Her!” – Getting Concrete about “Abstract Sin” - Purity 1267

 

“I Never Touched Her!” – Getting Concrete about “Abstract Sin” - Purity 1267

Purity 1267 02/06/2024 Purity 1267 Podcast

Purity 1267 on YouTube: 



Good morning,

Today’s photo of the painting the “Assumption of the Virgin” (1708-1712) by Sebastiano Ricci comes to us from yours truly as I capture this work of art on my iPhone back on December 9th, 2023, during my visit to the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield Massachusetts.  

Well, It’s Tuesday and I am not touching the “Assumption of the Virgin” with a ten-foot pole because despite my Roman – Irish – Polish – Catholic upbringing I am simultaneously proud and ashamed to say I really don’t know much about it and I think that might be a good thing. Mariology is the theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the Catholic tradition has some beliefs about the blessed mother that, I’ll say it as kindly as I can, are not necessarily clearly drawn from the Bible and may be a tad bit idolatrous…  

Anyway, I didn’t intend to bring up Mary at all and we will leave her alone.  The topic of today’s message surrounds sexual immorality and the fact that some men, and women I sure, consider the expression of their sexuality – regardless of how they express it – to not be a sin.  

As we rely on God’s word for wisdom and moral standards, we stand on the fact that sexual immorality is any sexual activity that is not between one man and woman who are bound by a marriage covenant.  So be it solo, homo, or heterosexual sex, outside of what happens between a husband and a wife in their marriage –  is sexual immorality and the Bible calls us to repent of it – that is we are to be sexually pure – to turn from our masturbation or fornication and to not do it again.  If you can’t, believe it or not you can rightfully consider yourself to be in bondage to sexual sin – and perhaps even consider yourself a sexual addict.    

Of course, the world and even the body of Christ can excuse their sexual immorality as “normal” and they may only agree in the “abstract that it is a sin” – that can’t reasonably be overcome.   The attitude toward sexual immorality is permissive in culture, for sure – and then some, but is even present in the church to the point that pastors won’t preach too much on it because they may offend the multitudes in the body of Christ who are not married, or who are open about their “alternative lifestyle” or who are secretly in bondage to “porn” – the seemingly Christian or polite code word for masturbation.  

The permissive attitudes toward sexual sin is on sliding scale in some circles. Homosexuality is to be rightfully condemned as sin but so is sex outside of marriage and masturbation. Sin is sin and rather than developing some hierarchy of sexual sin we should rightfully encourage repentance of them all.

And I hate to say it, Jesus rose the bar even higher in terms of sexual purity.   He said in:

Matthew 5:27-30 (NKJV)
27  "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'
28  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29  If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
30  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

I bring all this up because of the permissive attitudes toward sexual sin and the damage it can do to our souls.  Our hearts become hardened when we fail to crucify the flesh and resist sexual temptation.  

Recently, I counseled a brother who is going through a divorce. In our discussions it was revealed that he had an “emotional affair” – a friendship with a woman who was not his wife that was physically pure but was emotionally bonding and even though this man and woman supposedly never had sex – I didn’t press for details about hugs, or kisses, - this man’s heart and thoughts were with this woman intimately. When questioned about whether he ever masturbated to the thoughts or images of this other woman, he admitted he did.   So was this man guilty of adultery?  

He never touched her. But his heart and his mind did and he touched himself to completion towards her.   While he could claim that he never “committed adultery”,  Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:27-30 would expose as a liar.  He did commit adultery in his heart and that’s what matters to the Lord otherwise Jesus would have never said it.  

So yeah, what we do matters, but what we think matters too. What our hearts burn for matters and if our hearts and minds lead us beyond temptation into the contemplation or completion of sexual sin, we need to repent and pursue purity. 

Even though my friend “never touched her” – his emotional affair was discovered and the betrayal and the doubt that his wife experienced was real. He broke his marriage vows. He sinned against himself, his wife, and the Lord – it’s something he shouldn’t take lightly. Its something he should be ashamed of and something that should drive him to examine his life and how he has given himself over to sin.  

The good news is that through faith in Christ our sexual sins can be forgiven but when we fail to repent of our sins we will suffer from guilt, shame or hardened heart as we disrupt the relationship we have with the Lord through our wanton sin or in the worst case scenario we may eventually be exposed as someone who never gave his heart to the Lord because we wouldn’t surrender it from the lust of the flesh.   

Jesus didn’t tell us to pluck out our his or to cut off our hands to keep us from sinning for nothing.  Our sins can separate us from the Lord and Jesus was telling us to cut it out of our lives completely.  

Remember, Jesus gave mercy to the woman caught in adultery but before she left his presence he said:

John 8:11 (NKJV)
11 "… go and sin no more."

So seek to surrender your bodies a living sacrifice and to treat them like the temples of the Holy Spirit by taking sexual sin seriously and seeking the life of goodness and purity that only Jesus can make possible. Jesus was tempted in every way as we are but without sin – including sexual sin – so follow Him.

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For those who want more evidence for Christianity than my simple encouragements provide, I offer apologist, Frank Turek’s website, https://crossexamined.org/ .

Today’s Bible verses come to us from “The Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling” By John G. Kruis.

( While Bible verses on various topics of Counseling can be found with a quick Google search, we encourage you to purchase this resource to support the late author’s work. (https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Scripture-Reference-Counseling-Kruis-ebook/dp/B00CIUJZT2?ref_=ast_author_dp )

This morning’s meditation verses come from the section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

Psalm 34:11-14 (NLT2)
11  Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD.
12  Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?
13  Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!
14  Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

Today’s verse is the second of two passages of scripture that fall under the eighth point of our counseling reference guide resource’s section on Communication, Gossip, and Lying.

8.     The Lord detests lying.

Today’s verses tell us to fear the Lord to turn away from evil and to do good.  They also tell us to not speak evil or to tell lies. 

In my friend’s case, stating “I never touched her.” may have been true in the flesh, but it was a big lie in the heart and mind. In the spirit, it was evil.  

So look at your sin honestly, tell the truth, repent of the evil, and do good.    

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As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.

Today we continue sharing from “According to Your Word: Morning and Evening Through the New Testament” By Stephen F. Olford – A Collection of Devotional Journals: 1940-1941.

As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage you all to purchase Olford’s books for your own private study and to support his work.  This resource is available online for less than $10 at many sites.

MORNING READING: MATTHEW 27

“Truly this was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54

The rest of the verse qualifies this great statement: “So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” (v. 54).

They watched Jesus. They saw His wonderful behavior from Gabbatha to Golgotha. They saw the “sorrow and love flow mingled down.”3 They heard His words.

They “saw the earthquake and the things that had happened.” The veil rent in twain – two or three miles away. This was in fulfillment of His own Word. The earth did quake – the very universe trembled in His presence. The dead arose. He was Resurrection and Life.

“They feared greatly.” Here was reverence, awe, and trepidation – for they were in the presence of the Son of God.

Your presence always brings reverence and awe.
Truly, You are the Son of God![1]

---------------------------more tomorrow------------------------

Join our “Victory over the Darkness”, “The Bondage Breaker”, "Freedom in Christ" series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!

at https://mt4christ247.podbean.com, You can also find it on Apple podcasts

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mt4christ247s-podcast/id1551615154). The mt4christ247 podcast is also available on Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartradio, and Audible.com. 

These teachings are also available on the MT4Christ247 YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@MT4Christ247

Email me at mt4christ247@gmail.com to receive the class materials, share your progress, and to be encouraged.

My wife, TammyLyn, also offers Christian encouragement via her Ask Seek Knock blog (https://tammylynask.blogspot.com/ ),  her Facebook Group: Ask, Seek, Knock (https://www.facebook.com/groups/529047851449098 ) and her podcast Ask, Seek, and Knock on Podbean (https://feed.podbean.com/tammalyn78/feed.xml)

“The views, opinions, and commentary of this publication are those of the author, M.T. Clark, only, and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of any of the photographers, artists, ministries, or other authors of the other works that may be included in this publication, and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of any entities the author may represent.”

Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship


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