Over the last couple of days we’ve been in the midst of a mini-series on Sexual Immorality to help us with our main series 6 Toxins That Affect Our Walk With God, and we have been talking about these Toxins because they were given to us by Jesus as He was preaching His Sermon on the Mount. We’ve been trying to illustrate that Jesus is trying to help us to see that the physical action of what we do is a result of these toxins that get into our hearts. Yeah, while it’s true that the actual physical acts of things like murder and adultery are certainly wrong, and as we’ve read Jesus say…they won’t go unpunished, but what Jesus is driving at is that there is a way to actually prevent the physical manifestation of sin…and that’s to cut it off at the root.
Where is the root of sin?
14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)
Lust is not a physical sin is it? I know that sometimes you can look at someone, and see that they may be lusting after something. However, when it comes to lust as a whole you cannot physically see lust can you? The answer to that question is no, and the reason the answer is no is because lust is a sin that affects the inner dwellings. It’s something that leads to sin being “conceived”. That brings up what happens when a woman conceives a child, and that’s how we’re going to illustrate where the sin of sexual immorality comes from.
Let’s take a closer look at lust shall we? Lust is a sinful longing; the inward sin which leads to the falling away from God (Romans 1:21). “Lust, the origin of sin, has its place in the heart, not of necessity, but because it is the center of all moral forces and impulses and of spiritual activity.” In (Mark 4:19) “lusts” are objects of desire. Here is one of the definitions of lust as defined by Webster’s Dictionary. To have an eager, passionate, and especially an inordinate or sinful desire, as for the gratification of the sexual appetite or of covetousness; — often with after.
The root of sin, as we see is in the heart, and it’s the birth place of every sin that we commit. Adultery, masturbation, and the like are fully matured physical manifestations of sin that was conceived in the heart. Listen, you can take all of the ultrasounds you want, and you can see the belly of a pregnant woman grow as the baby matures in the mother’s womb. While the baby is in the mother’s womb it gets all of the nutrients, and such that it needs to grow until after nine months or so it becomes a fully matured baby. All the signs that a woman is about to become a mother are there, but until child birth takes place even though you can see all the physical signs…there’s no baby until it’s brought forth into the world. The birth of a baby is the physical manifestation of a fully matured fetus…the fetus is the result of a woman’s egg that’s been fertilized by a man’s sperm. That’s where we get conception or when the baby is conceived.
Sin’s origin has its place in the heart. That’s where the root of all sin comes from, and that’s what Jesus is saying in Matthew 15:19. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” In both of these verses the Lord is addressing the root of sin which is an evil heart, and the only cure for an evil heart is one that’s totally surrendered to the Lord.
But just because a heart is offered and surrendered to the Lord that doesn’t mean that we’ll never be tempted. We will. There’s temptation all around us whether it be on television, in the supermarket, on the internet, and even wherever we work. We’re not inoculated and immune to sin because we ask Jesus into our hearts. That’s why we’re told to guard our hearts, why the psalmist writes that he’s hidden God’s word in his heart that he may not sin against God, and the whole reasoning behind that is that everything originates from our hearts.
The temptation of James 1:13-15 differs from that of that in verses 2-12, as the context shows. Here the source is identified as internal, from one’s own lust, and the outcome is death. In verses 2-12 the “temptations” or trials have an external origin in that they fall on man. The trials of verses 2-12 cannot be avoided, so believers are encouraged to endure them, and mature as a result. The temptations of verses 13-15 must be avoided, according to God’s express commandments (Romans 13:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22). The progression of sin from temptation to death, has an analogy in the physical life cycle: conception, birth, maturity, and death. James uses words with the same Greek root in verses 2-12 and 13-15 to express different concepts. Outwardly trials and temptations may appear the same, and what may start as a trial may develop into temptation, if not properly answered by the Word of God – (Study Notes from Nelson’s King James Study Bible)
Before I go on, I would like to add the study notes from Matthew 5:27-28 in here as well. I think that adding in these notes will help me to finally be able to finish this message, and do so with clarity.
Thou shalt not commit adultery was the demand of the Old Testament Law (Exodus 20:14). Jesus goes beyond this outward command to reveal that its act is the result of an inner attitude of lust. Whosoever looketh characterizes the man whose glance is not checked by holy restraint and results in an impure lusting after women. The act would follow if the opportunity were to occur. By taking His listener beyond the outward statement of the law to its real intention, Jesus was trying to get the listener’s attention off the physical and onto the spiritual. – (Study Notes from Nelson’s King James Study Bible)
I like the what’s written here. An inner attitude of lust. When you get into dealing with matters of the heart that’s really what we’re dealing with is our inner attitudes, and the root of where those inner attitudes come from. The outward acts are the physical manifestation of what is in an inner attitude. If it’s anger than if it’s left unattended to then as we saw with Cain it came to a point where he was so overcome by the anger and bitterness in his heart that he murdered his brother. When it’s sexual immorality what starts out as you just maybe what you think is an innocent lustful glance over at a woman or man if left to be unattended to can become something that’s worse.
I was married once, and part of the reason for the ending of my first marriage is because I had started an inappropriate relationship with the woman who was the scorekeeper for a softball team I played on with my brother in law. Now, at first, the relationship with this girl was harmless, but here’s how cunning and sneaky the devil can be. It wasn’t until the second year that I began to actually notice this woman, and it was also the first time I noticed that she had feelings towards me that I was unaware of. I won’t go into all of the details, but eventually I began to look upon her with lust in my heart. My wife at the time had no interest in my softball games, and really by the second year of softball we had begun growing apart for more reasons than I will talk about in this message. However, her lack of interest in my games allowed me plenty of time to spend with this woman because she was at every game. Eventually it also spilled over into the time that we went to the tavern to celebrate our wins, or drown the sorrows of our losses. She was at almost all of the after game festivities. So, what began as lustful thoughts now were being developed, and eventually there was a point where I realized that I had developed feelings for her (lustful feelings I mistook for love), and she also had developed feelings for me (also lustful feelings mistaken for love). It didn’t take long before the softball season ended, but my relationship with this woman continued. Eventually as the feelings grew more genuine we began meeting secretly, and it wasn’t long after that the physical part of the relationship began. Which eventually lead to the end of my first marriage.
You see. Had I stopped everything the moment that the lustful thoughts were conceived everything could have changed. But because I allowed those thoughts to be conceived, and developed it was only a matter of time before those thoughts eventually gave birth to an adulterous relationship with the scorekeeper for my softball team. At any time during the time of conception if I would’ve surrendered myself to the Lord, and stopped it before it got into the physical acts things could be a whole lot different right now. Truthfully, I believe that everything happened for a reason, and what the devil meant to use to destroy me God has taken to build a destiny…and what you see today is a result of God taking my mess and turning it into triumph.
I’m sure that I’ll have more opportunities in these next few days to get further and deeper into this whole thing, but I feel like somehow I’m just laying the ground work for a message that’s really going to drive home the facts and truth that when we deal with the deep things of the heart that’s when we’re going to receive all the God’s designed for us to have. The more I do this the more I realize that this is what I’ve been designed to do, and to think that I God’s using all that I’ve been through as an opportunity for me to give and bring Him glory for the changes that He’s made in my life is awe-striking. It’s amazing to me that God’s used so much of my life’s experiences to help me to become who He’s intended me to be.
The main understanding the we need to have to this point is that sexual immorality is birthed out of an inner attitude of lust that’s left uncontrolled and undealt with by the Word of God. I hope that you’ll continue to follow along with these messages, and I hope that you’re getting a lot out of them. I know that as I write them I’m learning myself.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Corinthians 16:23-24)
Blessing & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer