Help for those struggling with sexual sins–Step 1: Admit the reality of the temptation.

While all sinful choices bring addictive like habits none seem to be quite so enslaving as the sexual sins. Perhaps that’s why Jesus addresses these sins as first taking place in the heart. 
27 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell  (Matthew 5:27-30).
 Jesus recommends a radical amputation to avoid such sins. It’s important to remember that he is still speaking about sins of the heart.  This is a radical surgery to desires, not a mutilation of the body. To be victorious, Jesus says,  You have to keep your eyes on the eternal destiny not the temporal pleasure.
 
I have found that there are three steps to doing business with these kinds of temptations.  (1) Admit the reality of the temptation, (2) Repent where sin has been committed, (3) Prepare for battle with the enemy.
 
When we admit the reality of the temptation we will walk in humility and we will seek accountability (1 Corinthians 10:12-14).
 
Steve Farrar reminds us of the importance of taking the temptation seriously.
We are in the greatest danger of all when we think we are safe. When a guy begins to think that this could never happen to him, then he needs to think again. I once heard Joe Aldrich, president of Multonomah School of the Bible, make a statement that sent a literal chill down my spine. Aldrich said, “Have you ever noticed how many men in the Bible failed in the second half of life? Our enemy is so cunning that he will wait forty or even fifty years to set a trap.” That’s precisely what happened to King David.
 
That’s why we can never deceive ourselves into thinking we are somehow “above” sexual sin. The moment you begin to view yourself in that light, you can be sure that your carcass will one day be hanging in cold storage (Steve Farrar, Point Man, p. 66)
Take seriously the temptation. No one is above it.
 
 This week: Help for those facing sexual temptation.
 
 

The Big Picture in your Bible Reading–Era 1: Creation

Perhaps you’ve heard it said, “I can’t see the forest for the trees.” Simply put it means that it is easy to get lost in the details of a project and not see the big picture. When it comes to reading a book, that goes back in history some 3,500 years, it is beneficial to keep the big picture in view.

If you started reading the Bible at the beginning of this year there’s a good chance you’re in the book of Genesis. Before you get too far into the forest, lets zoom that lens back to see the big picture. The following chart should be helpful. I have divided the Old Testament into 9 eras. Keeping the time eras in perspective is a means of keeping the big picture in view as you’re reading your Bible through.

Era 1: Creation (Genesis 1-11). Genesis is a book of beginnings.  Gene Getz writes,

As its name implies, it records the history of the beginning-the beginning of the universe, the beginning of life, the beginning of marriage and family, the beginning of the nation of Israel, and the beginning of the plan of salvation (Life Essentials Study Bible, p. 1)

There are four key events covered in the opening chapters of Genesis. I remember them with the following words: (1) Creation, (2) Fall, (3) Flood, (4) Nations.

The Creation Story is told in the first two chapters of Genesis. An excellent resource for further study and additional articles can be found at http://www.answersingenesis.org/

The Fall of Man is the next event in the book of GenesisAdam and Eve sin, and are cast from the garden. I find that I do more relational counseling out of Genesis chapters 3-4 than any other passage of the Bible. As you’re reading pay special attention to “how” the serpent tempts Eve (Gen. 3:1-6). Note Adam’s passive role and failure to protect his wife from the dangers of sin and the serpent (Gen. 3:6). See how quickly Adam and Eve throw “each other under the bus” when it comes to their blameshifting, and failure to take responsibility for their own sinful choices (Gen. 3:8-13). Finally, notice the consequence that comes to all of mankind as a result of their sinful choices (Gen. 3:14-24).

The World-Wide Flood is the result of increasing sin upon the earth (Genesis 6-10). God wonderfully protects Noah, his family and a hosts of animals in the ark as they survive a flood that brings devastation to the world as we know it.  Two excellent short videos can be retrieved from this blog at https://philmoser.com/2011/11/16/how-big-was-noahs-ark-2/ and https://philmoser.com/2011/11/17/facing-the-storms-of-life/

The Nations develop their separate identities when God confuses the people’s language (Genesis 11). He purposefully does this because of their growing independence (Gen.  11:6). It is not difficult to imagine the people milling around until they find people who speak and understand their language. Over time their unique ethnicity, culture, and even physiological differences develop.

Era 2: The  Patriarchs (Genesis 12-50)… Come back tomorrow as we continue to discuss the big picture…