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Monday, June 24, 2024

Killing Lust with the Cross of Christ

Audio Transcript

Welcome again. As , on this podcast we cowl the subject of lust from a wide range of angles. We did so once more on Monday. It’s most likely the class of query we get requested about greater than another. You’ll see all the numerous methods this subject has come up on the podcast in that digest I put collectively on pages 309–329 within the new Ask Pastor John e book.

On Monday, Pastor John, in APJ 2047, you inspired a spouse to confront her husband about erotic literature she discovered on his cellphone. And from confrontation comes conviction and repentance, we hope, which is a part of the lifelong self-discipline of killing lust inside ourselves. We should root the sin of lust from our lives. And to do this, we’d be helpless on our personal. We couldn’t do it on our personal. And so, we aren’t referred to as to battle alone. Most notably, we now have the gospel. And we’d like the gospel right here as a result of the one sin we will ever purge from our lives is canceled sin. Step 1: Sin is canceled by the blood of Christ; we’re justified earlier than God. Then, step 2: We purge that sin from our lives. We will’t ever get that backward. Sin canceled, then sin purged — one other tremendous essential theme on the podcast through the years, as you possibly can see within the APJ e book on web page 274.

So, utilizing the gospel to purge sin is our subject right this moment. It’s becoming as a result of right this moment in our Navigators Bible Studying Plan we’re studying in regards to the homicide of Christ in Mark 15:33–41. Pastor John, you have got talked in regards to the position of visualizing Christ’s crucifixion in our battle towards lustful ideas. Lust is so typically a visual battle. So, it is smart that this battle is fought visually, or a minimum of within the visuals of the creativeness. For this function, you employ an acronym. You created an acronym for this referred to as ANTHEM. That’s essential right here, to struggle lust, and notably the H in ANTHEM, which you outline as this: “Maintain a stupendous imaginative and prescient of Jesus in your thoughts till it triumphs over the opposite sensual imaginative and prescient.” So, within the struggle towards lust, how essential is it to have this “lovely imaginative and prescient of Jesus,” and the way does this give you the results you want within the second of temptation? What’s taking place as you maintain this picture in your creativeness?

Properly, Tony, I’ve had historical past with actually dangerous methods of utilizing visualization in prayer. So, despite the fact that the query isn’t precisely that, let me begin there.

Footage can start to displace the phrase of Scripture as the middle of God’s saving communication. And that’s actually harmful. We will edge proper as much as and transgress the intention of the second commandment — “Don’t make any graven photos for worship.” There’s an strategy that I’ve run into — it’s fairly widespread; a minimum of it was — to therapeutic prayer the place individuals are instructed to return into their painful previous and visualize a scene of, say, abuse, sexual abuse. And, for instance, “Think about Jesus, image Jesus, strolling into the room and choosing you up and hugging you and caring for you.”

“Considered one of my methods in making an attempt to obey Jesus is to struggle nudity in my thoughts with Christ’s distress on the cross.”

And there are issues with that type of counseling, it appears to me, as a result of it’s international to Scripture. You don’t discover any sample fairly like that in Scripture, and it’s often slanted away from a few of the facets of the position that Jesus performs — particularly, in windfall portraying him solely as a comforter and never as a sovereign, and never as a decide, and never because the one who’s going to deal with that perpetrator with violence sometime. It tends to be simply tender and delicate and heat — and due to this fact slanted. It tends to oversimplify and over-psychologize what’s actually wanted.

The therapeutic of the soul entails a profound non secular notion not solely of a young, affectionate Jesus, however of the total which means of the cross and the truth of the Holy Spirit and God’s methods and justice and judgments. So, there are actual risks that I’ve encountered on this complete space of visualization in prayer.

Visible Phrases

However let me get again to the constructive aspect. Jesus is the everlasting Phrase, and he turned flesh (John 1:14). So, we all know he had a physique. Individuals checked out him — they might see him with their bodily eyes — in contrast to God the Father, who can’t be visualized in that means. I don’t suppose we should always image God the Father as a grandfather with a white beard. I believe that’s an enormous mistake. However Jesus had flesh and bones.

And right here’s one other level: some phrases don’t invoke visible realities — like love, hate, proper, incorrect, type. These are basic, principial sorts of phrases. However different phrases do essentially evoke photos in our minds: cross, blood, nails, spear, aspect of physique, arms, ft, thorns, beard, spit, rod, solar darkened, hill. You’ll be able to’t say these phrases with out seeing one thing, as a result of these phrases are names of sights. You see a hand; you place a phrase on a hand; you anticipate individuals to course of that phrase and have a type of hand visualized of their thoughts — no particular hand, however the thought of hand is being visualized of their thoughts.

So, whenever you learn, “Concerning the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice” (Matthew 27:46), now you’ve obtained sounds as nicely. There are phrases that designate sounds, like loud voice. That phrase is meant to conjure one thing in your thoughts regarding “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (Matthew 27:46). And it was loud. The phrase loud is used to make you are feeling and suppose loud. After which Jesus calls out with a loud voice, “Father, into your arms I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46). The purpose of these very phrases is to get our minds listening to one thing, and phrases like beard and spit are purported to get our minds seeing one thing.

“In Paul’s thoughts, the religion to kill sin every single day in his life was strengthened by remembering the love of Christ.”

After which right here’s one pointer from the apostle that inclines me to go forward and kind this picture in my thoughts. Galatians 3:1: “O silly Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was earlier than your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” Now, what does that imply? I don’t suppose it means Paul obtained out a bit of chalk and drew Jesus, however it means, evidently, that he portrayed (with phrases via the gospel) the cross so vividly that he says, “It was like I used to be doing it earlier than your very eyes.” He used the phrases eyes right here. “It was earlier than your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed.”

So, perhaps he means, “I’m embodying this with my sufferings; I’m talking it in such a means which you can see it.”

Battle Picture with Picture

And so, again to ANTHEM and the entire battle with lust. Considered one of my methods, Tony, in making an attempt to obey Jesus — tearing out my eyes, and placing sin to loss of life, and counting myself lifeless — is to struggle nudity (let’s simply take that as a concrete instance) in my thoughts with Christ’s distress on the cross. So, nudity is an image in my thoughts. Now, I’ve argued that Christ’s distress on the cross is an image in my thoughts. Christ died to make me pure. This lustful thought will not be pure. Subsequently, if I willingly maintain this picture in my thoughts, I’m taking a spear and thrusting it into the aspect of Jesus. I image myself about to do this. I image him saying, “I really like you. I really like you. I’m dying to free you from that bondage to lust.”

And I image a battered physique — and perhaps I ought to qualify: It’s not photographic. I don’t have a specific face in view; I don’t know what Jesus appeared like. I don’t decide a film star from The Ardour of the Christ or no matter. I don’t have a specific face for me. He doesn’t appear to be any actor. I don’t get that particular. It’s a word-created image, not a photo-created image.

It’s what I believe Paul did when he mentioned in Galatians 2:20, “The life I now reside within the flesh I reside by religion within the Son of God, who liked me.” Now, he may have stopped proper there, couldn’t he? However he added, “and gave himself for me.” In Paul’s thoughts, the religion to kill sin every single day in his life was strengthened by remembering the love of Christ for him. And the love of Christ is emblazoned in Paul’s thoughts as he considered him as crucified. “He gave himself for me.” And Paul noticed crucified individuals. They had been on the hills. It was horrible. And when he mentioned, “Christ gave himself for me,” I can’t imagine that he didn’t have some image — if not photographic — in his thoughts of Christ struggling profoundly for his purity. And thus, his religion was empowered to defeat lust.

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