#312 – THE POWER OF IMPURE VISION (23/3/21)
I’ve heard people liken impure looking to window shopping - it’s okay to look but not touch! However, Jesus is teaching us that looking is touching. looking is shoplifting!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
‘lust’ is not an appreciation of beauty. It’s about ‘coveting’ - to set the heart upon; it’s stealing an image to meditate on.
Jesus loves us. He’s not teaching this in order to ruin our fun. He knows that a person who indulges in impure looking will harm themselves and others. Jesus says about vision,
‘The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!’ (Matthew 5:22-23)
What we look at has a massive effect on us. Many studies show that looking at pornography is addictive. It’s also true that we may not look at porn, but still have a habit of impure looking. An article from the ‘fight the new drug’ website, in an article entitled, ‘Is Porn Addiction Even A Real Thing?’ states,
‘Much like the tobacco industry was able to convince people for so many years that smoking had no harmful effects, the porn industry and their supporters are capitalising on the fact that pornography has been normalised by our society to the point that it doesn’t seem harmful. In fact, some supporters of porn are even starting to claim that porn has positive and beneficial effects…In addition to showing the addictive effects of porn, a growing number of studies are showing other very real ways that porn harms people and relationships. For example, .. porn use is linked to sexual addiction to sexual problems and lower arousal to sexual cues. … it’s linking to less sexual satisfaction and lower relationship quality… many studies show that compulsive porn use leads to depression, anxiety and poorer mental health functioning in general. The list goes on, and it’s growing every day.’
Here is a helpful overview video of this topic
Are you endeavouring to only look in ways that are pleasing to God? Purity is costly. Habits of impure looking must be starved. One must pray and engage the will to avoid this kind of behaviour. Having a group of supportive Christian friends - we these call Running partners - is vital if you are to be free from impurity. Ecclesiastes speaks of this when it says,
‘Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
To start a running partnership, go to,
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - PURITY IS COSTLY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What is the most beautiful thing you've ever seen and why do you think this?
On Sunday we continued our 'Sent' discipleship series by looking at Jesus' teaching regarding adultery and sexual purity.
You have to agree that our culture is very confused and confusing regarding sexual ethics. The things we are encouraged to watch are saturated with sexually explicit imagery; whilst this is so, we are also told to respect and not objectify one another!
It's important that we understand Jesus' teaching on sexual purity and that we help to teach others where we can, particularly if we are parents.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30)
i) Impurity is costly
Firstly, Jesus is teaching that the command not to commit adultery - to be faithful to our spouse - is still in place. We are to do the costly work of doing all that we can to build healthy marriages.
Secondly, Impurit is costly in a number of ways:
i) Your marriage will be weakened
ii) You will lose the respect of your spouse
iii) It damages our relationship with God. He is angry with our sin - it grieves the Holy Spirit and we will receive His discipline.
iv) If you are single, it will damage your ability to make a commitment to someone and it pollutes your friendships.
v) Impurity costs a broken society - Impurity leads to ever increasing harassment and sexually deviant behaviour.
vi) It will send us to hell if we are unrepentant - impurity can reveal that we are not really a Christian.
ii) Purity is costly
Jesus' words about losing a hand or eye reveal that purity will be costly to us.
To have sexually pure relationships is not easy. You will be fighting against the tide of culture, the flesh and the devil. However, Purity is precious and so is worth the hard work.
i) You’ll be mocked - It’s costly to keep because your friends may mock you for still being a virgin and for believing in no sex before marriage.
ii) Breaking an addiction is hard - Purity is costly because impurity is addictive.
iii) You lose what you like - Purity is costly, it’s like cutting off what is valuable.
iv) Purity is costly in that it takes time and effort to invest in your marriage or friendships.
iv) However, purity is costly because it is precious. It comes with eternal worth and gain. Every area of your life will be blessed through purity. And it comes with the great promise,
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?
2. How would you define purity and impurity in the context of Jesus' teaching here in Matthew 5?
3. What does Psalm 119:9-11, teach us about how one can be pure? How are you, or could you put the principles of Psalm 119:9-11 into practice?
4. How does investing in good Christian friends help us in our pursuit of purity?
5. Are you in a 'Running Partners' group? Quickly look at the link below to find out what these are and how to start them
6. Do you want prayer for anything?
Serving, Investing and inviting
The way we seek purity in our relationships is a witness to the world. Let's take a moment to share and pray about how we are serving, investing and inviting into our community.
1) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?
2) How are you planning to serve invest and invite?
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