The Self Righteous Person Is The Most Dangerous Person In The Room (Bible Study Matthew 7 Part 1)

Today I want to venture into Matthew 7.  Jesus is giving the sermon on the mount and this is the closing part of that sermon.  As I’ve mentioned several times it’s important to see this entire sermon (Matthew 5-7) as one line of thought, building on itself.  But we are pulling some truths out of it a piece at a time, which is also helpful.

In the opening of Matthew 7 Jesus is talking about the idea of judging others.  Here is what He says

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Now this might be one of the most misused scriptures in the bible.  People say this is Jesus saying that you should make no judgements.  But as we’ll see this is not the main idea here.

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Some Thoughts On The Lord’s Prayer (Bible Study Mark 6 Part 3)

We’ve been looking at Mark 6.  This is all part of the sermon on the mount and as I mentioned before, it’s a good idea to read the whole thing for context of each part.  However the parts have value even pulled out of the sermon.  We’ve looked at two things that I think have a great deal for us to consider today.  We looked at acting to be seen by others and then looked at the idea that where we put our treasure (money, time, energy, thoughts and effort) will dictate where our heart ends up.

Today I want to look at what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father.  Now let me just say off the bat there that many people have way more and better things to say than I do and I’ll be leaning heavily on some of them.  However, I thought I would offer some thoughts.

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Where Is Your Treasure? That Is Where Your Heart Will End Up (Mark 6 Bible Study Part 2)

We’ve been looking at Mark 6 which is part of the sermon on the mount.  Last time we looked at the idea of not doing or talking about righteousness to be seen by others.    Today I want to talk about verses 19-21.

Now Jesus has been talking about not doing acts of righteousness be it charitable giving, praying or fasting to be seen.  These are the examples He gives.  He says that if you do it to be seen, then you have received your reward – you’ve been seen.  But if you do it for the Kingdom – not to be seen – God sees it and will reward you.  He then begins to talk about rewards and treasures.  He says

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Now there is a lot of confusion over what the scriptures teach about money.  In a previous post we talked about two ways Christians get money wrong.  We also talked about the idea of living generously and talked about the question of ownership – do we own it or does God.

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Stop Praying (Posting) To Be Seen By Others (Matthew 6 Bible Study Part 1)

Today I want to start to take a look at Matthew 6.  I want to look at what it meant in context, and to carry that truth in a direction that I think is really important today.

Matthew 6 is in the middle of what is known as the sermon on the mount.  I want to be clear to state that it is always a little risky to pull parts of a sermon out.  There is an actual rhythm and order to this sermon from Jesus.  And this is in the middle.  However, there are also truths that we can pull out from the parts.

Chapter 6 starts out with a main statement in verse 1 and then gives three examples to explain it in the following verses.  Here is the overall point:

Don’t perform righteous deeds for other people to see them, if you do you will have no reward from God.

That’s the opening line in my language.  Feel fee to check your version.

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Must You Lust?

Many years ago I was at a men’s weekend golf outing.  It was an incredible time where we spent time golfing, getting to know each other and talking about Jesus.  Every morning and night we would circle up and someone would lead with a thought about Jesus.  But before that at each meeting one or two men would share their story.  They could share whatever they wanted about their life, usually a little of their past and then where they are now.

One night as one man in his late twenties was sharing, he shared a shocking secret with the group.  He said that he had never masturbated.  Now of course I knew from my evangelical training in avoiding all things sex that this was impossible.  After all, 99% of men masturbated, and the other 1% lied about it.

The problem was I believed him.  He wasn’t bragging about it, and no he wasn’t a teen groom and he didn’t even have the call of celibacy.  He just hadn’t done it.  What in the world would we hold him accountable for.  What promise could he keep?  Hahaha.  Man we are messed up.

There is so much that goes into the assumptions we make about men and singleness/marriage/sex that has been perpetuated by both our culture and the church that I can’t even begin to get into it all.

Let me begin with this.  I get that Christians are trying to help.  I respect the heck out of the desire to have men who live virtuous lives.  I agree we need that.  But how we go at that makes a huge difference in whether we actually help men achieve it.

Here’s the basic message to young men.

You WILL want sex.  All the time. While not exactly wrong, you must do everything you can to not think about it.  But you will.  Looking at a woman and wanting to sleep with her is wrong and pretty much the same as doing it.  But you will pretty much walk around doing that exact thing, forever, no matter what.  Victory over this is not really possible.  But you should be held accountable for it.  Women are holy and only give in because men demand it.  If it weren’t for men being controlled by lust, women would basically never sin. Therefore it is your job to be nice, not want sex until you are married and then be “the man sexually“, all the while knowing that you will still lust after every other hot woman that you see.

What kind of plan is this?

First, the desire for sex is not wrong.  In fact it is a huge part of why we get married.  We are created to be sexual beings.  We will desire sex.  We will be attracted.  None of that in and of itself is sin.  Read that again.

The bible does not say, “don’t desire sex”.  It does say, don’t be controlled by that desire. (OR ANY OTHER DESIRE).

Second.  Looking at a woman and thinking about sex is not the same as having sex with her.

People love to point at Matthew 5:28 and say that Jesus is saying that if you desire sex with a woman, that is the same as sleeping with her.  Well not exactly.  I don’t have space here to go into the whole thing although it’s for sure worthy of a post in and of itself.  But we need to stop using this as a way to beat the crap out of Christian men.

To begin with we need to understand that Jesus is giving a whole message (the sermon on the mount) that goes all together.  He has just stated that you need to be more righteous than the Pharisees.  In other words, they were following the letter of the law and Jesus is saying, “let’s get at the heart of it”.  He then basically says, “Here are some examples.” Take out the subtitles – It’s one sermon.  (Notice how we don’t have a bunch of messages about anger, oaths, fasting/religious activities etc. and we don’t suggest cutting body parts off.)

Jesus is also not equating looking at a woman with sleeping with her.  Without going into all of the Greek here, He is saying the sin of adultery starts before sex.  It has more to do with coveting the woman and actually considering how to be with her.  In other words, looking at her with the intent to engage in that activity.

Lust is actually not a sexual term per se.  It is a term of desire – where it becomes more of coveting of something.  I can lust after a lot of things.  James clearly writes that desire is not sin.  Even sexual desire.  Sin can come from evil desire.  But it doesn’t have to. The question is, where is your heart.  If a person’s heart is not right, that is when the desire (lust) grows into sin.

Jesus is saying it starts in the heart, not that every temptation or thought is equal to committing the sin.  This is why Paul writes to take every thought captive.  The battle starts in the heart.

Bottom line is – we don’t have to do it.  We’ve confused the idea that we will always struggle with SIN with the idea that we will always struggle with a particular sin.  But in truth we can grow and have victory over certain sins through Jesus.

So how do we get victory?  I will share more about that.  But the point here today is that we are not destined to give in to the lusts of our flesh.

What have you been taught about men and sexual desire, lust and sexual sin?