The Love and the Path of Freedom – Purity 731
Purity 731 05/14/2022 Purity 731 Podcast
Today’s photo of a memorial tree on the shores of the Hudson River at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park comes to us from a friend who honors the memory of her father, who’s favorite saying was “One Day at a Time”, by planting flowers around its base. It’s been nine years since my friend started doing this labor of love in remembrance of her departed father. The memorial was established at Riverfront Park because my friend’s father loved the river and the lighthouse there. She includes American flags in the display because her father loved this country and the freedom we all enjoy.
This year my friend used the occasion of remembering and honoring her father to think of others and their desire for freedom by asking her friends on social media if anyone had miniature Ukrainian flags that she could add to her father’s display to show her family’s support for their struggle. It’s amazing. On the occasion where my friend could have just been thinking of her loss, or the love of her father, she thought about others and how they should be free.
The true love of freedom goes beyond us. When you are set free, the joy you receive makes you want to share it, by telling others about it and by hoping others experience it too. Like love, when you experience freedom, you want everyone to know it and to keep it.
Well, its Saturday and Jesus said
36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Jesus Christ was true to His words because He has set me free and just like my friend desires that the people of the Ukraine be able to enjoy their freedom, it is my sincerest wish that all my friends not only enjoy their personal freedom to enjoy this weekend in whatever ways that would give them the most peace, but it is my wish that they would experience the “freedom indeed” that comes from not only making Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior but that is enjoyed all the more when we make the daily decision to live as one of His disciples by “walking in the Spirit”.
My “Spirit Walk” with Christ has led me through the darkness of addictions, bad relationships, and negative mind states to a place where I not only enjoy the light of freedom in Christ for myself but feel utterly compelled to share the “good news: and continually bear witness of the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to save, but to also transform the lives of, all who come to Him.
Today my love of life and freedom in Christ is leading me to try the new experience of white water rafting today as my wife, TammyLyn, and I will be traveling to Warrensburg to navigate the “17 mile Hudson River Gorge” with friends and a Wild Waters Outdoor Center certified guide.
I signed us up when a friend offered me the opportunity months ago without fully realizing what I was signing up for. I imagined a somewhat leisurely trip down the Hudson, but I got a wake up call the other night when the rafting company required my wife and I to sign liability wavers, as in, so we don’t sue them if we should be injured or should die on today’s trip! In looking at what we signed ourselves up for, my wife informed me that life vests, wetsuits with booties, and helmets are provided.
Helmets? Life vests? Wet suits? Okay, so apparently, we are doing the “real deal” today!
So to be honest, I am excited by the prospect of today’s adventure, but I am also hoping our experienced certified white water rafting guide will bring us safely through without injury, or death!
But as much as I may trust our guide today, I won’t just trust in them to keep me safe. I pray everyday for the Lord to lead me through whatever I face and today will be no different. I know the Lord loves me and that He has protected me in the past and I trust Him to do so in the future but even if some unforeseen mishap should befall me, I know that the Lord will be there to give me strength and peace, come what may.
So keep walking and talking with God. It’s the weekend so let’s enjoy our freedom to try something new, or to do the familiar activities that enjoy, or to just rest and relax. The Lord wants us to enjoy our lives but He also calls us to be “free indeed” through His Son. And brother and sister, I can tell you as a “Holy Spirit certified guide in walking the path of Christian Discipleship”, the going may not always be easy, and no two trips are the same but the path is true and the destinations along the way may not always be what you expect but the journey is worth taking and somehow always leads to good.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
Today’s Bible verse encourages a life of purity, and it indicates that if our lives are clean we will be prepared for the good works that the Lord would have us walk into.
A life of purity is about as counter cultural as you can get in the strange new world of our society. With fornication and living together as a “normal” option for heterosexuals, the legalization of homosexual marriage, and the popularization of every conceivable sexual bent and perversion out there for the offering, the idea of purity is a foreign concept for not only the world at large but also within the professed body of Christ.
I was “born again” when I was 38 so with outgoing into detail I have to admit that I sowed my “wild sexual oats” outside of the approved area of a committed marriage relationship at times. It was only well after I was saved, and repented of my addictions to alcohol and drugs, that I was given a revelation of the importance of a pure life.
After I got “clean and sober”, I realized just how dirty I still was and how what I had always thought of as “sexual liberation” was actually bondage to the flesh and honestly a sex addiction. What I thought of as my exercising my rights to meet my sexual needs (in whatever way I could think of, or negotiate), was not only a fleshly habit that turned into addiction, it was also a sin!
As I became increasingly free in Christ, my heart was convicted by the truth of God’s word that repeatedly commands us to forsake fornication, adultery, and sexual immorality. Those three terms basically cover all the outlets for sexual expression other than the sex between a husband and wife in marriage. To be clear, that is one man and one woman in marriage with one another, only, that is the only form of sexual expression or practice that is acceptable, and blessed, by the Lord.
That’s the principle that is drawn from the Bible and it’s the principle that Christians should live by.
I know. I used to think that because we are forgiven we can do whatever we like. “
“The blood of Jesus covers our sins, so He will just have to accept my sexual sin and welcome me into His kingdom like it our not!”
That’s not what scripture says.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT2) says
9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,
10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
I know what you might be thinking. “Wait a minute! I thought I was forgiven of those sins! Past, present, and future, right?
While we are forgiven for all of our sins, the call on us, as Christians, is to repent and to turn from our sin. Christ told the woman caught adultery:
John 8:11 (NLT2)
11 “…. Go and sin no more.”
In response to the question of whether, as Christians, we should just go on sinning so grace could abound all the more, The Apostle Paul emphatically says:
Romans 6:2 (NKJV)
2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
So, we are supposed to change. Although we once sinned, we are not supposed to keep on living in our sin. In regard to that list of sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 , the Apostle Paul demonstrates that Christians forsake those sins by saying in:
1 Corinthians 6:11 (NLT2)
11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
So right there, we are told that we can overcome these signs by calling on the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. With their help we can be free, we can be pure.
Ask me how I know.
So today’s verse that encourages us to live a pure and clean life, so that we can be ready for the good works God has for us, is not an isolated instance of the call on our lives to be pure.
Who the Son sets free is free indeed, and that freedom includes the freedom to forsake sexual sin and lead a life of purity. It may seem impossible, but all things the God commands us to do are possible with His help.
So think about your sex life? Is there any activity that falls outside of the boundaries of heterosexual sex between one man and one woman in marriage going on? If so, that activity is not only sin, it is bondage to the flesh, and the Lord would have you to be free of it by turning from it to a pure life.
It’s not a popular message I know, but a pure life that is clean is God’s will for every man and woman. Sex is a beautiful gift that God wants us to enjoy in a committed marriage relationship where the emphasis is on love more and not satisfying needs or feeding selfish desires.
So seek a pure life in Christ, and not just in the area of sex but in all the areas of our lives. God wants us to be holy as He is holy and our efforts to live a pure life will be rewarded by Him and prepare us to be used for His purposes.
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 John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
Why I Use the Phrase “Wartime Lifestyle”
Sometimes I use the phrase “wartime lifestyle” or “wartime mind-set.” The phrase is helpful—but also lopsided. For me it is mainly helpful. It tells me that there is a war going on in the world between Christ and Satan, truth and falsehood, belief and unbelief. It tells me that there are weapons to be funded and used, but that these weapons are not swords or guns or bombs but the Gospel and prayer and self-sacrificing love (2 Corinthians 10:3–5). And it tells me that the stakes of this conflict are higher than any other war in history; they are eternal and infinite: heaven or hell, eternal joy or eternal torment (Matthew 25:46).
I need to hear this message again and again, because I drift into a peacetime mind-set as certainly as rain falls down and flames go up. I am wired by nature to love the same toys that the world loves. I start to fit in. I start to love what others love. I start to call earth “home.” Before you know it, I am calling luxuries “needs” and using my money just the way unbelievers do. I begin to forget the war. I don’t think much about people perishing. Missions and unreached peoples drop out of my mind. I stop dreaming about the triumphs of grace. I sink into a secular mind-set that looks first to what man can do, not what God can do. It is a terrible sickness. And I thank God for those who have forced me again and again toward a wartime mind-set.
What It Looks Like in Wartime
I thank God for Ralph Winter, for example, who not only wrote powerfully about a wartime lifestyle, but has lived it as a missionary, professor, founder of the U. S. Center for World Mission, and tireless advocate for the unreached peoples of the world. He gave the following vivid illustration of the difference between a wartime and a peacetime mentality about the use of our possessions.
The Queen Mary, lying in repose in the harbor at Long Beach, California, is a fascinating museum of the past. Used both as a luxury liner in peacetime and a troop transport during the Second World War, its present status as a museum the length of three football fields affords a stunning contrast between the lifestyles appropriate in peace and war. On one side of a partition you see the dining room reconstructed to depict the peacetime table setting that was appropriate to the wealthy patrons of high culture for whom a dazzling array of knives and forks and spoons held no mysteries. On the other side of the partition the evidences of wartime austerities are in sharp contrast. One metal tray with indentations replaces fifteen plates and saucers. Bunks, not just double but eight tiers high, explain why the peace-time complement of 3000 gave way to 15,000 people on board in wartime. How repugnant to the peacetime masters this transformation must have been! To do it took a national emergency, of course. The survival of a nation depended on it. The essence of the Great Commission today is that the survival of many millions of people depends on its fulfillment.
Given the vulnerability of my heart to the seduction of the peacetime mind-set, which is pushed into my mind every day by media and entertainment, I need these images and these reminders. We are at war, whether the stocks are falling or climbing, whether the terrorists are hitting or hiding, whether we are healthy or sick. Both pleasure and pain are laced with poison, ready to kill us with the diseases of pride or despair. The repeated biblical warning to “be alert” fits the wartime image. And I need this warning every day.
Why Not Speak of a “Simple Lifestyle”?
It is more helpful to think of a wartime lifestyle than a merely simple lifestyle. Simplicity may have a romantic ring and a certain aesthetic appeal that is foreign to the dirty business of mercy in the dangerous places of the world. Simplicity may also overlook the fact that, in wartime, major expenses for complex weapons and troop training are needed. These may not look simple, and may be very expensive, but the whole country sacrifices to make them happen. Simplicity may be inwardly directed and may benefit no one else. A wartime lifestyle implies that there is a great and worthy cause for which to spend and be spent (2 Corinthians 12:15).
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship