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Looks Can Kill: Winning the Battle with Temptation
Matthew 5:27-30
Nate Heitzig

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Matthew 5 (NKJV™)
27 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'
28 "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
30 "And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Many have heard the saying, "If looks could kill…" The truth is, looks can kill, spiritually speaking: temptation leads to sin and sin leads to death. In this teaching, Pastor Nate Heitzig examines two admittedly uncomfortable topics: temptation and adultery. In light of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5:21-31, two strategies emerge for how to stop temptation before it starts, and how to stop temptation once it starts.

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Looks Can Kill: Winning the Battle with Temptation - Matthew 5:27-30 - Nate Heitzig

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Lord God, we come before you right now. And as we do, we come with expectant hearts believing that you want to speak to us, believing that you want to change us, believing that you want to transform us. And Lord, we know that the primary way by which you bring about life change is through your word. And so as we open up your word, we pray that you would open up our hearts and our minds and that we would leave this place better than when we came, that you would unearth some things that might be painful for us to talk about, but it would be with the purpose of change in our hearts. In Jesus' name we pray, and everyone who agreed said, Amen.

Hey, I want to talk to you today about a subject that honestly really stinks. It's a subject that many of you will be uncomfortable with, that's going to be difficult for many of you to hear, but it's a message that needs to be looked at both scripturally and honestly. And I'm warning you up front, this is going to be one of those messages that you're going to sit there and the whole time you're going to be thinking, is he talking directly to me? Did he follow me around this week? This is one of those messages that you feel that tug, you feel that uncomfort where you just kind of want to squirm and you wonder if the person next to you knows things about you that they shouldn't know.

It's going to be one of those kind of messages. But I want to let you know that's a good thing because that feeling is the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit's purpose, and desire, and role within your life is to transform and to change your heart. And the primary way that he does that is through the word of God. And so we're believing for some great things this morning.

The area we're talking about is an area that is devastating families all around us. And sadly, not even the church is immune from its reach. And that subject that we're talking about today is temptation and adultery. Anyone ever heard it said, if looks could kill? Anyone ever heard that phrase before? Come on, I know you guys have. There we go, thank you. Are you guys alive today? I hope so.

I want to let you know looks can kill. Not only can they kill, looks do kill. Every single day, millions of people's lives are destroyed because of one look, because of one glance, because of one decision, one path that they choose to go down. And so today our message title is Looks Can Kill, subtitled is Winning the Battle with Temptation. And today we're going to see two strategies that God has given us in order to battle and to win the battle with temptation. And number one, that is stopping that before it starts. And number two, stopping it once it starts.

See, temptation is so dangerous because temptation leads to sin. And sin leads to death. Looks can kill because so often in our lives it doesn't stop with a look, it leads to something else. It leads to a sin. And that sin leads to death, both spiritual and sometimes even physical. Now you might say, well Nate, I would never fall into such a sin. This is a great message, I'm sure a lot of people need to hear this, but I have a great marriage. My spouse and I have an ideal marriage. I'm a good Christian, I grew up in the church. Look, I want you to know that it doesn't matter if you grew up in the church, if you go to church, if you work in the church, if you serve in the church. If you went to Lifetrack, it doesn't matter.

Samson worked for the Lord and yet he fell into sexual sin with Delilah. David worked for the Lord, and yet he murdered a man because he knocked up his wife. Peter worked for the Lord, and yet he denied Christ publicly. Just because you grew up in the church, you go to church, or you work at church, it doesn't mean that you're exempt or immune from temptation and sin. As a matter of fact, I would you know that it actually simply makes you a bigger target for it.

If you are walking with the Lord, if you're serving the Lord, if you're active in the church, you have a bigger target on your back than those who don't. Because when you become a threat to Satan, Satan wants to threaten you. When you become a threat to hell, to the gates of hell, Satan's desire then is to bring the gates of hell to you. It's to make your life hell. Because he realizes that as long as you're walking with God, as long as you're effective in your relationship with Jesus, you are a threat to Satan.

And so his desire is to neutralize that threat. It is to take you down. It is to make you fall. And so he will bring you even greater temptation. And the effect of giving in to that temptation can be absolutely devastating. Because by giving in to temptation, you can lose in a moment what it took a lifetime to build.

See, we're all in the business of building legacies. We want to build a legacy for our family, want to build a legacy for our kids, want to build a legacy for our business. And when we give in to temptation, in one moment we can lose what has taken our entire lives to build. All those walls, all those bricks, all that effort, all that work can come crashing and tumbling down.

So think of today as preventative maintenance. Oswald Chambers said, an unguarded strength is a double weakness. So I'll let you know if you have a strong marriage, this message is especially for you. If you have a strong relationship, you need to hear this even more. Because if you have a strong marriage but you stop doing preventative maintenance, you stop guarding it, if you have an unguarded strength, it will become your greatest weakness. And it will become the area in your life that Satan most targets, that he most pursues, that he most desires to destroy. So we need to constantly be making sure that we are preventing that breakdown.

Now, although sexual temptation has been with us since the fall of man, I think you'd agree with me in noting that its destructive power and its reach are more widespread today than, I think, ever before. Lust and temptation seem to drive the economy of our generation. Historians will no doubt look back on our civilization, on our culture as one that was obsessed with sex. All you have to do is look at the media to see how these two things are driving our economy.

I took a look at some past and present hit songs, and I wasn't surprised to find that many of those songs have to do with sex. Anyone remember the hit song from this past year called Despacito? So catchy, right? (SINGING) Despacito, you don't know any of the words after that. But it's a really catchy song. Well, that song, all those lyrics that you can't understand, well, that song is saying despacito means slowly. And the song is saying slowly I want to undress you in kisses slowly. And then it goes on to say a whole bunch of things that I can't really talk about a church.

Ed Sheeran's Shape of You says I'm in love with your body. And last night you were in my room, and now my bed sheets smell like you. Every day discovering something brand new, I'm in love with your body. Taylor Swift, she seems innocent, right? She has a song called Dress that says, I only bought this dress so you could take it off, so take it off. Carve your name into my bedpost, because I don't like you like a best friend. I only bought this dress so you could take it off.

And of course, Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven, says I'm born again. That's good! Wait. I'm born again every time you spend the night, cause your sex takes me to paradise. I don't think Bruno quite understands what being born again and what paradise really are, does he?

The age old adage, sex sells, has never been more true than it is today. Case in point, if you want to wash your hair and have millions of models hunt you like an animal, simply get Axe body spray. It makes dirty boys clean. Hey, if you want to eat a hamburger, why not eat the hamburger with the half nude model taking a big bite out of it on TV? Which by the way, can I just say is disgusting? Seen anyone naked eat food is just gross. And I don't care how pretty your face is, I don't want to see a closeup of anyone's mouth biting into a hamburger. It's just disgusting. I don't want to watch you eat. Please don't do that.

If you want to buy a website, why not buy a website from the company that uses naked women to sell their websites? I mean, this is literally what society is telling you, that if you buy these things you're going to have more sex. You're going to have more relationships. You're going to have-- I mean, it doesn't even make sense, right? How would buying a website from a company make you more appealing to women? It doesn't make sense. And yet society uses it to sell products.

Time Magazine Online says that when the sexual freedoms of the '70s were challenged by a rising moral militancy in the '80s, people believed that the sexual revolution would be rebuffed. But Time noted, and it said, "the sexual revolution has not been rebuffed, it has merely been absorbed into our culture."

Isn't that true? Our culture now has this innate sexual perversion. I found some interesting statistics on sex. Adults aged 20 to 59 have an average of five to six sexual partners during their lifetime. 2/3 of college students have been in a friends with benefits relationship. The average male loses his virginity at age 16. The average female loses her virginity at age 17. Here's a crazy one. The average American TV watcher now views 14,000 references to sex in the course of one year.

What is that doing to us? Well, there's a movie that came out recently called Don Juan, and it's about John Martello, who is a strong, handsome, good old fashioned guy. His buddies call him Don Juan due to his ability to pull a different woman every weekend. But even the finest fling doesn't compare to the bliss that he finds alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Couldn't that be a biopic story of so many of the youth today, of so many men today? I read a startling statistic, and it said that now the average age that kids both male and female are first introduced to pornographic images is between 8 to 11 years old. The first exposure to pornography.

The world has changed. Sexual perversion and temptation are everywhere. So the question is, can temptation be resisted? Well, the Bible says that it can. And the Bible says that it should. And the Bible promises a special blessing to anyone who does. James 1:12 says, "blessed is the man who endures temptation. For when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him."

Church, that's what we're all after, isn't it? To finish the race well for the crown of glory, for eternal paradise. Look, sex doesn't take you to paradise, but Jesus does. Jesus does. And when you're born again, and you begin to walk in that relationship with Christ that he intended you to do, if you do that properly, if you resist temptation, the reward is the crown. Is a prize in heaven.

And so let's open up the word of God and let's see how Jesus deals with temptation. Matthew chapter 5 verse 27, let's read it together. "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'you shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you, for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you, for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell."

Here in this text, Jesus illustrates the importance of a change in heart and what that has to do with adultery. Now, this passage isn't focused so much on the actual act of adultery. Rather, it's focused on the desire behind it and how we can have deliverance from it. Jesus goes beyond the actual act of adultery to the root of it. And look at verse 28, that's where we see our first points, where we see the root of the sin. It says, "I say to you, whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart."

Our first point is stopping it before it starts. Now, before Jesus tells us how to deal with temptation, he gets to the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter is just that, it's our heart. Because if our hearts and our attitudes are right, then our actions will be also. Now, I've seen so many people that get this whole entire thing backwards, and they do it even for church. Some people say that they need to get back to church, they want to go to church, but their lives are just too messed up. And so they need to fix their life before they come back to church. They need to solve their alcohol addiction, they need to solve their drug addiction, they need to get rid of their gambling problem, they need to have a better marriage, and then they'll come to church. Because they feel that they can't be accepted by God until their life is an acceptable thing to receive.

And that's getting the whole entire idea backwards. We don't need to start with the actions, we need to start with the heart. People feel shame. They think they need to get their act right, but it's the opposite. You need to get your heart right, and then your actions will get better. You need to focus on what's inside before you start looking at what's outside. You need to focus on your relationship with Jesus before you focus on your relationship with others. Come on, somebody.

Amen.

You need to focus on what's really important. And by the way, this universal. I was just in Brazil. I got back yesterday, and I was in a village. And we were working with a missions organization that does relief work. And we went to a home of a child who is sponsored by this relief work. We were talking to the mom and the mom was saying, you know, I know I need to go back to church. But my husband and I, we have a drinking problem. We drink way too much. And I just know that I need to fix that before I come back to church.

And we were talking to her and saying, no, no, you've got it wrong. You need to come as you are. You need to come exactly where you're at. Don't fix yourself before you come, come and let God fix you. Because he's going to do a way better job fixing you than you ever could fixing yourself. You don't need to fix yourself before you come to church. You need to come to church and let God fix you. You need to let him fix your broken heart and then your actions will be better.

Let's stop getting the cart before the horse. Let's start getting it in the correct order. Let's allow God to fix the broken pieces of our lives, because he's going to build us into a way better masterpiece and picture than we were even before we fell into whatever sin we're in now. So let's get to the heart.

See, sin isn't just a matter of actions and deeds, it is something within the heart that leads to the action. And what we have to really concentrate on isn't so much the sins, plural. What we need to focus on is the sin, singular. See, sins are nothing but the symptoms of a disease called sin. Sins, the plural, are symptoms of the disease sin, singular. And it's not the symptoms that matter as much as the disease. Because it's the disease that kills, not the symptoms.

So I want you to know today that if you're here and you struggle with temptation in any area, if you came through these doors and you feel a little out of place, you feel like you don't belong here, I want to let you know that you're exactly where you need to be. If you struggle with the temptation to drink alcohol, welcome to the club. If you struggle with the temptation to do drugs, welcome to the club. If you struggle with the temptation for pornography, or the temptation for gambling, welcome to the club. Because guess what? We all deal with temptation. We are all sinners. We are all lost. We are all destitute and depleted without the saving power of Jesus Christ.

And so when you're here, you're family. When you're here, there's no judgment. There's no ostracisation. You are here and this is a safe place. And God loves you, and God desires to do a heart transplant in you. And you don't need to fix yourself. You don't have to try to be something you aren't. You need to come as you are and allow God to turn you into something that you can be. That's the essence, that's the basic truth of the gospel.

So some of us come in here, we're trying so hard to fix this one thing. We have this temptation, we have this addiction. And all of our focus, all of our energy is spent focusing on this one thing. I just got to fix it, I just got to get better. I just got to-- I just got to stop looking at pornography, I just have to stop gambling, have to stop drinking. And we have all of our energy focused on this one singular thing, this symptom. But you need to know that you're focusing on the wrong thing.

The thing that you need to focus on isn't outside, it's inside. If you focus on your heart, if you focus on your relationship with Jesus, if you allow that to grow, if you nurture that, I promise you, I promise the things on the outside will naturally begin to go away as you focus on what's inside.

See, sin deceives me into thinking that because I haven't done the actual deed I'm all right. As long as I don't do it, I'm OK. But the question isn't did you do it, the question is, why didn't you do it? Was it out of pure motives or impure motives? Did you not do that sin because you genuinely knew it would grieve the heart of Jesus? Did you not do that sin because you built up safeguards in your life, biblical truths in your life, and when that sin came, you knew it was a lie from Satan so you were able to rebuff Satan and walk in the accounts of the godly? Or did you simply not do it because you didn't have the courage? Did you simply not take that step, did you simply not fall into that sin because you were just scared of getting caught?

What's the motive, what's the reason behind it? See, if I still want to do it, my problem still exists. The root is still there. This is what the pharisees did. They majored on external things, thinking that actions were more important than attitude. Jesus spoke to them in Luke 16:15. And he said, you are they which justify yourselves before men. But God knows your heart. That's powerful, right? Hey you made your actions, all these things, but God knows your heart. That's like one of those, uh, come on, girl, God knows your heart. That's like the ultimate Jesus juke, right? These people think they got it all together and Jesus said, uh-uh, God knows your heart. For that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Whoa. Makes me question and wonder what I esteem. I want to make sure that I esteem the right things, right? That I esteem that which is godly, that which is honorable, that I esteem that which is true, pure, undefiled religion, caring for widows and orphans, caring for the oppressed, caring for those who are in need, caring for the destitute and the downtrodden.

Look, mankind, human beings, we esteem that which is really great. We esteem the juggernauts of industry. We esteem money and stock markets. And we esteem all these outward great things, God esteems the heart. He esteems what's inside, he esteems what you can't see, what you can't judge, what you can't look at.

Jesus addresses this very trait when he shows the Pharisees observe the letter of the law, but they completely missed the point. So Jesus here in the Sermon on the Mount deals with the attitudes as opposed to the actions, because he knows that you can be sinning in your heart without ever actually committing the sin outwardly. And I'll let you know, that kind of sin is more spiritually destructive than any other kind because it's hidden. Because no one knows. Because you can sit here and listen to a message and say, Amen, that's good. And you can nod your head. And all the while be thinking, man, I hope the person next to me doesn't know what I'm really doing. I hope the person next to me doesn't know the sin that's really in my heart.

And we can hide it. And we can pretend that we're righteous just like the Pharisees. But inside we're destitute. Because Jesus also knows that in practically every act of adultery there was first, before the act, the thinking and fantasizing about it that ultimately led to the actual act. So many of us are affairs waiting to happen.

What do I mean by that? Well, when you sow a thought, you reap an act. When you sow an act, you reap a habit. When you sow a habit, you reap a character. And when you sow a character, you reap a destiny. See, it starts with your thoughts, starts with your mind, it starts with your heart. And if you're not guarding your heart, you're just destruction waiting to happen. You're just waiting for that ignition, and it's all going to blow up.

So Jesus starts with the look. He says, whoever looks at a woman. Now, this doesn't just mean a casual glance. But in the Greek it refers to the continuous act of looking. In this usage, the idea isn't that of incidental or involuntary glance, but of intentional and repeated gazing. Come on, guys. There's a difference between noticing and gazing, isn't there? Maybe your wife's caught you in this before when a girl walks by and your head moves and they have to elbow you. Hey, stop it.

There is a difference ladies, we know this. You guys-- we know this like I'm a lady. We know this. No. Ladies, you know this, right? There's a difference between a look and a gaze. There's a difference between a glance and a gaze. Jesus isn't speaking of unexpected and unavoidable exposure to sexual temptation. Rather, Jesus is speaking of the person who intentionally puts themself in a place of vulnerability. The person who, if they're exposed, they give the devil a foothold by letting it infiltrate their thought processes.

Martin Luther put it this way. You can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair. I like that, right? You can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair. Look, it's not your fault that the world around you is sinful. You can't help it that TV, and songs, and music is overly sexualized. You can't help that.

But also it's not your job to be the morality police. It's not your job to walk around and say, well, I struggle with lustful thoughts, so hey you, put some more clothes on because that's just inappropriate. It's not your job. No one cares what you think. That's not what you're supposed to do. It's not your fault that there's 16,000 sexual references that you're going to see on TV this year. But guess what? You can turn the TV off. You can't control the TV, but you can turn it off. You can't control other people, but you can control yourself. And that's the gist of this passage. You are responsible for your actions. You're responsible for your eyes. You're responsible for your hands. So keep yourself from sin.

You can't control what the world does, but you can control what you do. It's why Job set in Job 31:1, I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. If my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes-- my heart has been led by my eyes-- or if my hands have been defiled, then may others eat what I have sown, and made my crops be uprooted.

See, David wasn't at fault because he happened to see Bathsheba bathing. He couldn't have helped noticing her. You know, and also on that same point, one has to wonder if Bathsheba knew that he would be there, and if she intentionally put herself in a place where she would be seen. I mean, come on. Who bathes on their roof in the middle of the day?

Look, I live in a neighborhood where the homes are kind of tiered and you can see down into the backyard of the person's home in front of you, and I don't bathe naked on my lawn. That's just weird. Who does that? See, we got to realize that it's a two way street. If lustful looking is bad, then those who dress and expose themselves with the desire to be looked at and lusted after are no less guilty.

David's sin wasn't seeing her, it was continuously looking at her. And then it was dramatically acting on those impulses as he misused his considerable power as king and had her brought to his chambers. David was an affair waiting to happen. See, David wasn't a young believer. He obviously knew better, but he lowered his guard. When he should have been leading his troops into battle, he was idle. There's no mention made of the harp in this season of David's life. David was known as a worshipper, as a songwriter, but he's not writing songs during this period of his life. He's not worshipping. He's not doing what God has called him to do.

Some also believe that David was around 39 years old at this time, which simply means that David had been a great warrior, he had his glory days, he had done great things for the Lord. But oftentimes at this time in life, many men are realizing very quickly that time is marching by. Perhaps they haven't accomplished the goals that they've set out for themselves. Maybe some well-placed temptation of a young girl who thinks that this guy walks on water finds a receptivity within that man's heart. He was an affair waiting to happen.

This is why a man and a wife need to continue to communicate. Look, the greatest strength that you have to fight the battle of temptation within your marriage is intimacy. The best way you can fend off Satan, the best way you can fend off temptations between you and your wife or you and your husband is by fostering intimacy within the relationship that God has given you. Foster relational and communication intimacy.

Your spouse should be your best friend. Remember, we talked about this a few weeks ago. Malachi 2:14 says, "the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth to whom you have been faithless although she is your companion and your wife." Remember, what does companion mean? It means one who you are united with in thoughts, goals, plans, and efforts. That's relational intimacy.

When we're companions with our spouse, Satan can't get between us because we're connected, we're united. We should also find intimacy in romantic and sexual fulfillment, as well. To be intimate. Now, you need to write this down, because this is huge. This could change your view of temptation within your marriage. Because you have a role to play in guarding your spouse from temptation. We like to think that it's personal, that I'm responsible for temptation, but you have a role to play in guarding your spouse, your significant other, from temptation.

Write this down. A lack of marital intimacy in the bed and at the table is a breeding ground for temptation. A lack of marital intimacy in the bed and at the table is a breeding ground for temptation. Now, I can hear all the guys are cheering in their heart and they're like, that's right Nate, come on, tell my wife we need to have more sex. That's right. Guys, you're missing what I'm saying.

I said in the bed and at the table. In the bed and at the table. This is so crucial. This is so important. Guys, intimacy isn't achieved when you have sex. It's not. A lot of guys like to try to trick girls into thinking that it is. Oh, can we just be intimate? What does that mean to you? You just want to have sex really quick? You want to come home when your wife wants to talk, you say, I don't want to talk, I've had too long of a day. I don't want to have a discussion. But then three hours later you ask for sex. And when she doesn't want to, you wonder why?

Because there's no intimacy. Because all you care about is the sexual gratification, not true intimacy. When you have true intimacy, it can make sex much better. It can further strengthen intimacy. But intimacy is achieved through conversation. And predictably, Satan's going to hit you in your perceived area of vulnerability. He's going to size you up, he's going to hit you where he thinks he can bring you down. So therefore, victory over temptation comes from being prepared for it.

Jesus said, keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation. Satan's going to hit you where he knows you're weak. So if you don't have a healthy sex life, Satan's going to bring someone into your spouse's life who promises them sexual fulfillment. Maybe not someone, maybe it will be something. Maybe you'll be a well-placed pop-up ad that will get your spouse's mind turning. Maybe it'll be a cute young thing on Instagram that follows them and they think, oh, maybe I got a shot.

They'll bring something that promises them what they feel is lacking. If you don't have a healthy conversational life, and you never communicate to your spouse, I promise you Satan is going to bring your spouse someone who listens to and affirms them, and compliments them, and tells them they deserve so much better. Husbands, wives, date your spouse or the devil will. Date your spouse or the devil will.

Look, Satan's got it out for your spouse. He thinks they are phat, pretty hot and tempting. He wants all of them. He wants to pursue them. He wants to be intimate with them. Satan wants to whisper sweet nothings into their ears. He wants to let your spouse know you deserve so much better. He wants to let your spouse know, you deserve a better sex life. Your wife's not giving you the sex life you deserve, you deserve a good sex life. You know what, since you deserve it, why don't you take it?

He wants to whisper to your wife, you know what? You deserve someone who listens to you. You deserve someone who cares about you. You know what, your husband's not giving that to you. Why don't you talk to that guy at work who's been complimenting you each day for the past week? Just do it. You deserve it.

A poll of women, when asked why they were unfaithful-- surprise, wasn't sex. 10% responded it was for lust, but 21% said it was for the thrill of romance. Guys, girls, we need to be careful about the standards that we're setting for ourselves. We have two areas of this camp, and I think both are equally as destructive. Pornography, that's obvious, right? And chick flicks. Romantic comedies. I think these two things are incredibly destructive into the lives and into the views that we look for within men and women that we are going to date and that we're going to marry.

One's obvious, the other one's not so obvious, is it? You think, what's so wrong with a romantic comedy? Well, we begin to get into this place where we see this guy, and he's so handsome, he's so nice, and he's so romantic. I mean, sure, it helps that he has a six pack and he happens to have an Australian voice. That's just icing on the cake. But man, the way he proposed to her, he ran down the jet way. He didn't even care there was security there. He got on one knee, he proposed, but she still left him. She went to France and then two years later they met in a coffee shop in New York City. And it was just meant to be! And he spends four hours listening to her talk every night.

And we say, man, it's just too good to be true. Yeah, it's too good to be true. It's not real. They're actors. It's fake. It doesn't exist. And so we begin to look at it and say, well, honey, why don't you ever do those things? You proposed to me at an Italian restaurant on a Tuesday night. And we begin to judge the other person.

And then guys with pornography, we see pornography and it seems so exciting, and thrilling. And they're trying all these new things. We look at our wife and we say, well, you know what? Why don't we ever do those things? Why don't you ever do that? Why aren't you like that? Why aren't you exploring our sexual intimacy?

Because it's not real. Because it's fake. Because it's not reality. We're building up for ourselves these false views of what guys and girls are supposed to be, and your spouse can never live up to it because that is not reality. That is fake, that is false. They are actors. They are paid.

That's why Proverbs 5:15 says drink water from your own cistern. Running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares, let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Church, don't drink the Kool-Aid. The water's fine. The world wants to trick you and say, water, who needs water? It doesn't even taste good, it's so old and-- Gatorade, that's what you need. Gatorade, that's the thirst quencher. And look how pretty the bottle is, it's way sexier than water.

No, water is good. You need water. Drink the water from your own cistern. Don't allow the world to trick you into needing-- making you think that you need it from somewhere else. Drink water from your own well. A husband and a wife need to keep one another from temptation by remaining physically, sexually, emotionally, relationally, and conversationally active with one another. So before you decry your spouse for falling into temptation, ask yourself, am I doing everything I can to help my spouse? Am I doing everything I can to keep my spouse from falling into temptation?

See, with Satan, there are always strings attached. There's always strings attached. Nothing is ever free. For sin, there is always a price. So he wants to bring it to you and make you think that there is no strings attached, that there's no consequences, that you can get away with it for free. He just says, hey, it's fine, just indulge. Just look at that website. You can erase your internet history later. Hey, it's fine. Just have a conversation with that guy via Facebook Messenger. You can just delete the conversation and pretend it never existed. Hey, it's fine, it's just a one night stand. It doesn't mean anything. You don't actually love them. No one has to know.

But there's always a price. For Jesus, the price was worship. For Samson, the price was his strength and his eyes. For David the price was his son and his testimony. For Judas, the price was eternity. The thing is that Satan will never tell you the cost of your sin before you do it. He'll always let you know after hey, by the way when you did? here's the payment, and it's demanded right now in full. He'll never tell you the cost before, only after.

He won't tell you that the cost of sex and lust is emptiness and a lack of self-worth. He won't tell you that the cost of addiction is helplessness and slavery. He won't tell you that the ultimate cost of your sin is your eternity. It's why we are always better off to obey God and to trust in his provision than to impatiently and selfishly provide for our own needs in any way that would cause us to disobey or compromise his word.

Philippians 4:8 says, "finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--" you get the gist? A lot of good stuff. All these good things, anything that is excellent or praiseworthy think about those things. Put into your heart what is good and push out what is bad.

The first strategy to winning the battle with temptation is to avoid placing ourselves in tempting situations. It's easier to manage a fire in a fire pit than it is in a forest. But sometimes that fire gets out. When that fire gets out, it can burn trees, it can kill people, kill firefighters, kill civilians, burn down houses. It can bring immeasurable destruction. We've got to keep the fire in the pits. We can't let it get out. Temptation will destroy your family, will destroy your loved ones, it will destroy your home. It will leave a wake of devastation.

But sometimes the fire does get out, doesn't it? David couldn't help but see Bathsheba, and that fire started. So now Jesus gives us his solution to the problem of lust. Look at verse 29, our second point is stopping it once it starts. Verse 29, "if your right eye causes you to sin pluck it out and cast it from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell."

Here, Jesus points out the way of deliverance from this sin. Now obviously, Jesus isn't speaking literally. If the problem is in the heart, then what good is it to pluck out your eye or cut off your hand? If the right eye were gone, the left one could still look lustfully. If the right hand were gone, the left one could still carry on sinful acts. But in the Jewish culture, the right hand represented a person's best and most precious facilities. The right eye represented one's best vision, the right hand one's best skills. Jesus' point here is that we should be willing to give up whatever is necessary to keep us from falling into this sin.

What does that mean for you? Maybe it means giving up your job. Maybe it means giving up your phone. Maybe you got to go back to a flip phone. But guess what? Your relationship with your wife, your conversation with your husband is more important than text messages. Maybe it means giving up friendships so that you can invest in the friendship that really matters, your friendship with your spouse. Maybe it means giving up your computer. Anything that morally or spiritually traps us, that causes us to fall into sin and stay there should be eliminated quickly and totally.

It's a matter of the heart. That is, in essence, how Satan always operates. He promised Eve that by eating the forbidden fruit, she would not die as God warned, but that she would, in fact, become God herself. Satan tempts us. Why do you set your standards so high? Don't be such a prude. Don't be so legalistic. You can get what you want by cutting a corner here, by shading the truth there. Sometimes he'll even make it sound spiritual.

Well, you know what? If you were just not quite as high and mighty, if you would get off your high horse, you could witness to people better. If you were just a little bit more like them, you'd have more of an open door into talking to them about the gospel. And he shades the truth. This same temptation no doubt came to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Just bow. You don't have to mean it. Just have sex with her. You don't have to mean it, you don't have to love her. Doesn't matter if you don't love them. Or Daniel knowing that if he prayed as before that his fate could be death. But he realized it was better to die than to face compromise.

Compromise is the most lethal trap that Satan has. It's perhaps his greatest and most effective tool, just lowering your guard a little. Dropping your standard a notch. Satan never come to you and offers you the whole kit and caboodle package. Hey, I've got an offer for you. Do you want to get addicted to drugs, lose your job, lose your home, end up on the street with no money, and then five years from now you can die of an overdose?

No, he doesn't make offers like that. Never comes to you says, hey, I've got an offer for you. You want to have sex with this girl, get her pregnant, lose your family, lose your wife? Your kids are never going to talk to you again, you're going to go through a bitter divorce filing, you're going to have to split up all your things, and you're going to be miserable for the rest of your life with somebody that you don't love?

No, no. He doesn't offer that. He offers you just a little bit. Just drop your standard a little bit. It's a temptation to lower our standard in order to extend our reach. It's a sin to endanger our integrity in order to enlarge our influence. What we have to do is to the best of our abilities guard our minds. If a scene comes on in a movie that offends us, get up and walk out. If something sexually suggestive comes on TV, turn the channel or turn it off. If a conversation with a member of the opposite sex becomes sexually suggestive, end it.

Because Satan realizes that a little compromise today can mean a big one later. That one little lustful look can lead to an adulterous relationship. That one night stand can lead to a lifetime of regret. That one hit can lead to addiction. And just so you know, it's always one of whatever it is. People always say, it was just one drink, it's just one joint, it's just one kiss. But guess what? It's always just one of whatever it is, and it's always just one joint that eventually leads years later to a drug addiction. It's always just one kiss that leads later on the next morning waking up feeling dirty and defiled. It's always just one look at porn that leads to being addicted and depressed. And you might say, Nate, how could this happen? The answer, slowly.

See there's no such thing as a quick one night fling. When you cross that line of protection that God has erected around you and your spouse's life, you do so at your own peril. The repercussions of it can go on for months, years, or even a lifetime. And if you've ever tried to cross that line, you know that it's not easy. Because the Bible says, "whom the Lord loves, he chastens." So he makes it hard for you. When you make a decision you know you shouldn't do, you feel a check in your spirit.

And you might say, well Nate, it's easier than you think. I couldn't help myself. I just fell into it. It's not my fault. It might seem that way. But what about the weeks, even months, or perhaps years that you allowed your mind and imagination to be polluted with impure thoughts as you fantasized about this prospect? And after a while, that didn't do it for you anymore so you cross a new line. And you begin to flirt and spend more time with this individual. And then that doesn't satisfy any longer. And so soon you start having long talks with them, baring your soul. And then somehow you become justified in your heart that this is all right. And you make that leap into adultery.

And then you say, that's it, it's over. I'm never going to do it again, it's done. I'm going to cut it off. But it's not that easy. Because if you choose to not tell your spouse, now you have to live with the fear that this thing's one day going to surface and that you're going to have to deal with the consequences of it after that.

And so the guilt eats away at you for months, for years as you try to cover your footprints, as you try to pretend that it never happened. How did it start? Slowly. First it began with apathy. Apathy for where God has you, apathy for your marriage. You say, man, we don't have the fireworks like we once had. We're just not as in love with each other anymore. We don't talk to each other anymore. Our sex life isn't as great as it was. And you become apathetic.

And that apathy leads to atrophy. Because you're apathetic, because you don't really care about your marriage anymore, you stop investing in it. You stop building into it. And any muscle that you don't use eventually atrophies. And so your marriage begins to break down and atrophy, wasting away your spiritual state. And then comes the agony. The agony of being stuck in a state of sin.

Now as we close, I want to leave you guys with four things. Four things that if you're currently stuck in a state of temptation or you see inclinations in your heart leading you to a place you don't want to go, four things that if you do will build up your resistance to this area of attack. Number one, this is always the most important, walk with God.

We started before. It's the heart, not the action. So focus on your heart. If an individual is truly walking with God, it will give them, like Joseph, the power, the will, and the resources to stand up against temptation. David failed to do this, and instead he was spiritually idle, and thus vulnerable.

Number two, walk with your spouse. Spend time aggressively developing friendship and romance in your marriage. The best defense is a good offense. If you don't date your spouse, Satan will. So aggressively spend time walking with your spouse. Third, don't walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Avoid at all costs relationships and friendships that are flirty. Avoid friendships with those who would encourage such activity. Flee those relationships, and instead walk with people who are godly. Get plugged into a connect group, find people who can keep you accountable, people who know your temptations and can help you battle them.

And then fourth and finally, count the cost. Guys, count the cost. Find someone who didn't and ask them. Count the cost. Remember some of the warnings that we brought up. These, along with an intense love for God and your spouse, will see you through the rough waters of sexual temptation. So may God help us. May He change our hearts and our minds. May He help us be good stewards of what we program into them. May He help us finish our race well, and may He help us resist the subtle trap of temptation.

As we close, just want to speak really quick to those of you who might be in here and you're saying, Nate, I wish I would have heard this a year ago. I wish I would have heard this message before I made a big decision, before I made a step across the line that I can't get past now. I wish I would have heard this before I lost my marriage. I wish I would have heard this before I lost my kids.

To you I want to tell you that God can restore the years that the locusts have eaten. Though your sin is great, his sacrifice is greater. He can wash your dirty soul. He can bring sight to the blind. He can loose the captives free. He can take the bondage and the weight of sin, the shame and the guilt you feel, and he can make them as far as the east is from the west. You might feel like you're down, but you are not out. You always have a do-over with God. With God, there is always another chance. You have a chance right now. So you choose this day whom you serve. You don't look at the past, you look at your future. Because your future is what awaits you. So you look to Jesus today and you realize that there is still a plan for you. God still has a place for you. If you receive it, God's got it for you.

And I also need you to know there is a place for you here at this church. The people you're around, you might feel like, man, this isn't where I should be. Maybe you feel like that lady in Brazil, you feel like you just don't belong. You've got to clean up your act. I want you to know that you're exactly where you need to be. You're exactly where God wants you.

Because we're all sinners saved by grace. Every one of us. The person next to you, they've gone through struggles you don't even know about. And just as much as you want to hide yours from them, they want to hide theirs from you. I struggled for years with a pornography addiction. I struggled for years looking at women lustfully. Thank God he brought me through it. Thank God I have a stronger marriage and relationship than I ever could have imagined. But the church is a place for you. There is a place for sinners in the church. There's a place for sinners at the foot of the cross. God restores our soul, he washes us white as snow. But it's got to start with your heart.

If you don't have a relationship with Jesus, if your heart's not right, all these tools, all these resources, they're not going to help you. Because you're just going to be striving to fix actions when your heart still doesn't have a relationship. So as we close, I wonder if you're here today and you don't have a relationship with Jesus. Maybe you never have. Maybe you've been faking it for a long time. But you really want to see growth in your life. You really want to see that next step happen in your marriage. You need to give your life to Jesus today.

Maybe you're here, and you made a big decision and you ruined your life, you ruined your family's life. And you just desperately want to know what the next step is for you. The next step for you is to walk towards God. The next step for you is to rededicate your life to Him. The next step for you is to choose this day whom you're going to serve, is to this day begin to walk with God.

Lord, we thank you, we praise you for your word and the work that it does in our lives. Lord, I pray that you would keep us from temptation. I pray that you would guard our hearts against the snares of the enemy. And Lord, I pray that you will lead us and guide us in paths of righteousness for your name's sake.

Lord, I pray right now for anyone in here this morning who doesn't have a relationship with you. Lord, maybe they've never had one, or maybe they've walked away from you. But Lord, they realize at this moment they need you. They realize that they need forgiving. They need grace, they need peace. Maybe they're stuck in some addiction. Maybe it's drugs, maybe it's alcohol, maybe it's gambling, maybe it's pornography. Maybe they're in an adulterous affair. Maybe they're just dealing now with the effects of their sin, and they just need something.

Lord, help them to realize what they need is you. They need to cling to you. And this is a safe place. If you're here this morning, you're willing to admit that you're a sinner in need of saving, if you're willing to admit that you need Jesus Christ in your life, if you want to know beyond a shadow of doubt that your sins are forgiven, both past, present and future, if you want to know that your eternal destination is heaven, then right now where you're at, I just want you to raise your hand and say, Nate, I need Jesus. Pray for me.

This is a contract you're making with God. This isn't between me and you. I see your hand over in the family room. Anyone else, just raise up your hand. In the middle to my right, raise it up. Amen. To my right over here, raise it up high. If God is speaking to you in this moment. Several of you here to the left, another one over here to the left. If God is calling you right now, you respond. He's throwing out a life preserver. But you got to reach out and grab it.

Amen right here. Lord, I thank you for all these hands across the sanctuary, Lord. Too many than what I can see. I pray that you would give them courage. Lord, I pray that you'd help them to stand and walk with you. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. Hey, would you stand? We're going to close and we're going to sing a song. But I'm going to ask that as we do, if you raised your hand up acknowledging your need for Jesus, that you get up for where you are right now and you come down here and say a prayer to accept him into your heart. Even as I'm talking, you come right now. You don't be afraid, you say, Nate, I'm all about raising my hand up in a dark room, but I don't want to stand up for Jesus.

Look, if you can't walk with Jesus in the council of the godly, how are you going to do it out there when you're around the ungodly? This is your opportunity. You can cement your faith. You can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your sins are forgiven. You can know that today you have a new chance, you have a new lease on life. God's not done using you yet. There is still more for you. There is still something for you here in this life.

You come right now, give your life to Jesus Christ. In this moment, I promise you you won't regret it. And maybe you're sitting there thinking about what the person next to you thinks. Guess what? It doesn't matter what they think, it only matters what He thinks. They didn't die for you, Jesus did. And you're getting your life right with him. So you come right now. We're going to sing this chorus one time. And as we do, you get up from where you are and you come say this prayer. You come, come on.

[MUSIC - "RECKLESS LOVE"]

(SINGING) Oh, the overwhelming, never ending reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, fights till I'm found, leaves the 99. I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it. Still, you give yourself away. Oh, the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God.

Yes, Lord, yes, Jesus. Lord, we thank you that you come after the-- you leave the 99, you come after the one. When we're lost, when we're destitute, you seek us, you come to us. And so Lord, I pray right now as we're closing with all these people who've made this courageous decision, Lord, I pray for the one. I pray for the person who's sitting out there right now and they feel the Holy Spirit speaking to them, and they're pushing him away.

If that's you, don't push him away. I said at the beginning of this message, there's going to be a message that you're going to feel like God's speaking to you. If God is speaking to you right now, that is a good thing. Don't push him away. If you feel even a shadow in your heart that you need to do this, get up. Have courage. Have faith. You are joined by people who will celebrate your decision, who will rejoice with you right now. Push aside the lies of Satan. Grab onto the promises of God. Anyone else right now in this moment you know you need to be here, you come. You are welcome here. Anyone else before we pray?

Amen. Well for those of you who have come forward, I'm going to lead you now in a prayer. It's a simple prayer to accept Jesus Christ. There's nothing magical about this. You're not going to say this and start floating or get Yoda powers. What you are going to get is a knowledge that your sins are forgiven. That the things that you have done that you know have hurt the heart of God, that those are forgiven. And that here today in this place, you have a new life in Him. And that if you were to die, you're going to go to heaven.

So what's important that you say these words from your heart you say them to Jesus. Repeat after me. Say, Lord, I know that I'm a sinner. I know that I've done many things that have hurt you. But I believe you died for those things. And I believe you rose from the dead. So come into my life, fill me with your Holy Spirit, help me to live for you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Come on, let's give them a round of applause.

We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

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Looks Can Kill: Winning the Battle with Temptation - Matthew 5:27-30 - Nate Heitzig

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Lord God, we come before you right now. And as we do, we come with expectant hearts believing that you want to speak to us, believing that you want to change us, believing that you want to transform us. And Lord, we know that the primary way by which you bring about life change is through your word. And so as we open up your word, we pray that you would open up our hearts and our minds and that we would leave this place better than when we came, that you would unearth some things that might be painful for us to talk about, but it would be with the purpose of change in our hearts. In Jesus' name we pray, and everyone who agreed said, Amen.

Hey, I want to talk to you today about a subject that honestly really stinks. It's a subject that many of you will be uncomfortable with, that's going to be difficult for many of you to hear, but it's a message that needs to be looked at both scripturally and honestly. And I'm warning you up front, this is going to be one of those messages that you're going to sit there and the whole time you're going to be thinking, is he talking directly to me? Did he follow me around this week? This is one of those messages that you feel that tug, you feel that uncomfort where you just kind of want to squirm and you wonder if the person next to you knows things about you that they shouldn't know.

It's going to be one of those kind of messages. But I want to let you know that's a good thing because that feeling is the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit's purpose, and desire, and role within your life is to transform and to change your heart. And the primary way that he does that is through the word of God. And so we're believing for some great things this morning.

The area we're talking about is an area that is devastating families all around us. And sadly, not even the church is immune from its reach. And that subject that we're talking about today is temptation and adultery. Anyone ever heard it said, if looks could kill? Anyone ever heard that phrase before? Come on, I know you guys have. There we go, thank you. Are you guys alive today? I hope so.

I want to let you know looks can kill. Not only can they kill, looks do kill. Every single day, millions of people's lives are destroyed because of one look, because of one glance, because of one decision, one path that they choose to go down. And so today our message title is Looks Can Kill, subtitled is Winning the Battle with Temptation. And today we're going to see two strategies that God has given us in order to battle and to win the battle with temptation. And number one, that is stopping that before it starts. And number two, stopping it once it starts.

See, temptation is so dangerous because temptation leads to sin. And sin leads to death. Looks can kill because so often in our lives it doesn't stop with a look, it leads to something else. It leads to a sin. And that sin leads to death, both spiritual and sometimes even physical. Now you might say, well Nate, I would never fall into such a sin. This is a great message, I'm sure a lot of people need to hear this, but I have a great marriage. My spouse and I have an ideal marriage. I'm a good Christian, I grew up in the church. Look, I want you to know that it doesn't matter if you grew up in the church, if you go to church, if you work in the church, if you serve in the church. If you went to Lifetrack, it doesn't matter.

Samson worked for the Lord and yet he fell into sexual sin with Delilah. David worked for the Lord, and yet he murdered a man because he knocked up his wife. Peter worked for the Lord, and yet he denied Christ publicly. Just because you grew up in the church, you go to church, or you work at church, it doesn't mean that you're exempt or immune from temptation and sin. As a matter of fact, I would you know that it actually simply makes you a bigger target for it.

If you are walking with the Lord, if you're serving the Lord, if you're active in the church, you have a bigger target on your back than those who don't. Because when you become a threat to Satan, Satan wants to threaten you. When you become a threat to hell, to the gates of hell, Satan's desire then is to bring the gates of hell to you. It's to make your life hell. Because he realizes that as long as you're walking with God, as long as you're effective in your relationship with Jesus, you are a threat to Satan.

And so his desire is to neutralize that threat. It is to take you down. It is to make you fall. And so he will bring you even greater temptation. And the effect of giving in to that temptation can be absolutely devastating. Because by giving in to temptation, you can lose in a moment what it took a lifetime to build.

See, we're all in the business of building legacies. We want to build a legacy for our family, want to build a legacy for our kids, want to build a legacy for our business. And when we give in to temptation, in one moment we can lose what has taken our entire lives to build. All those walls, all those bricks, all that effort, all that work can come crashing and tumbling down.

So think of today as preventative maintenance. Oswald Chambers said, an unguarded strength is a double weakness. So I'll let you know if you have a strong marriage, this message is especially for you. If you have a strong relationship, you need to hear this even more. Because if you have a strong marriage but you stop doing preventative maintenance, you stop guarding it, if you have an unguarded strength, it will become your greatest weakness. And it will become the area in your life that Satan most targets, that he most pursues, that he most desires to destroy. So we need to constantly be making sure that we are preventing that breakdown.

Now, although sexual temptation has been with us since the fall of man, I think you'd agree with me in noting that its destructive power and its reach are more widespread today than, I think, ever before. Lust and temptation seem to drive the economy of our generation. Historians will no doubt look back on our civilization, on our culture as one that was obsessed with sex. All you have to do is look at the media to see how these two things are driving our economy.

I took a look at some past and present hit songs, and I wasn't surprised to find that many of those songs have to do with sex. Anyone remember the hit song from this past year called Despacito? So catchy, right? (SINGING) Despacito, you don't know any of the words after that. But it's a really catchy song. Well, that song, all those lyrics that you can't understand, well, that song is saying despacito means slowly. And the song is saying slowly I want to undress you in kisses slowly. And then it goes on to say a whole bunch of things that I can't really talk about a church.

Ed Sheeran's Shape of You says I'm in love with your body. And last night you were in my room, and now my bed sheets smell like you. Every day discovering something brand new, I'm in love with your body. Taylor Swift, she seems innocent, right? She has a song called Dress that says, I only bought this dress so you could take it off, so take it off. Carve your name into my bedpost, because I don't like you like a best friend. I only bought this dress so you could take it off.

And of course, Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven, says I'm born again. That's good! Wait. I'm born again every time you spend the night, cause your sex takes me to paradise. I don't think Bruno quite understands what being born again and what paradise really are, does he?

The age old adage, sex sells, has never been more true than it is today. Case in point, if you want to wash your hair and have millions of models hunt you like an animal, simply get Axe body spray. It makes dirty boys clean. Hey, if you want to eat a hamburger, why not eat the hamburger with the half nude model taking a big bite out of it on TV? Which by the way, can I just say is disgusting? Seen anyone naked eat food is just gross. And I don't care how pretty your face is, I don't want to see a closeup of anyone's mouth biting into a hamburger. It's just disgusting. I don't want to watch you eat. Please don't do that.

If you want to buy a website, why not buy a website from the company that uses naked women to sell their websites? I mean, this is literally what society is telling you, that if you buy these things you're going to have more sex. You're going to have more relationships. You're going to have-- I mean, it doesn't even make sense, right? How would buying a website from a company make you more appealing to women? It doesn't make sense. And yet society uses it to sell products.

Time Magazine Online says that when the sexual freedoms of the '70s were challenged by a rising moral militancy in the '80s, people believed that the sexual revolution would be rebuffed. But Time noted, and it said, "the sexual revolution has not been rebuffed, it has merely been absorbed into our culture."

Isn't that true? Our culture now has this innate sexual perversion. I found some interesting statistics on sex. Adults aged 20 to 59 have an average of five to six sexual partners during their lifetime. 2/3 of college students have been in a friends with benefits relationship. The average male loses his virginity at age 16. The average female loses her virginity at age 17. Here's a crazy one. The average American TV watcher now views 14,000 references to sex in the course of one year.

What is that doing to us? Well, there's a movie that came out recently called Don Juan, and it's about John Martello, who is a strong, handsome, good old fashioned guy. His buddies call him Don Juan due to his ability to pull a different woman every weekend. But even the finest fling doesn't compare to the bliss that he finds alone in front of the computer watching pornography. Couldn't that be a biopic story of so many of the youth today, of so many men today? I read a startling statistic, and it said that now the average age that kids both male and female are first introduced to pornographic images is between 8 to 11 years old. The first exposure to pornography.

The world has changed. Sexual perversion and temptation are everywhere. So the question is, can temptation be resisted? Well, the Bible says that it can. And the Bible says that it should. And the Bible promises a special blessing to anyone who does. James 1:12 says, "blessed is the man who endures temptation. For when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him."

Church, that's what we're all after, isn't it? To finish the race well for the crown of glory, for eternal paradise. Look, sex doesn't take you to paradise, but Jesus does. Jesus does. And when you're born again, and you begin to walk in that relationship with Christ that he intended you to do, if you do that properly, if you resist temptation, the reward is the crown. Is a prize in heaven.

And so let's open up the word of God and let's see how Jesus deals with temptation. Matthew chapter 5 verse 27, let's read it together. "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'you shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you, for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you, for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell."

Here in this text, Jesus illustrates the importance of a change in heart and what that has to do with adultery. Now, this passage isn't focused so much on the actual act of adultery. Rather, it's focused on the desire behind it and how we can have deliverance from it. Jesus goes beyond the actual act of adultery to the root of it. And look at verse 28, that's where we see our first points, where we see the root of the sin. It says, "I say to you, whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart."

Our first point is stopping it before it starts. Now, before Jesus tells us how to deal with temptation, he gets to the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter is just that, it's our heart. Because if our hearts and our attitudes are right, then our actions will be also. Now, I've seen so many people that get this whole entire thing backwards, and they do it even for church. Some people say that they need to get back to church, they want to go to church, but their lives are just too messed up. And so they need to fix their life before they come back to church. They need to solve their alcohol addiction, they need to solve their drug addiction, they need to get rid of their gambling problem, they need to have a better marriage, and then they'll come to church. Because they feel that they can't be accepted by God until their life is an acceptable thing to receive.

And that's getting the whole entire idea backwards. We don't need to start with the actions, we need to start with the heart. People feel shame. They think they need to get their act right, but it's the opposite. You need to get your heart right, and then your actions will get better. You need to focus on what's inside before you start looking at what's outside. You need to focus on your relationship with Jesus before you focus on your relationship with others. Come on, somebody.

Amen.

You need to focus on what's really important. And by the way, this universal. I was just in Brazil. I got back yesterday, and I was in a village. And we were working with a missions organization that does relief work. And we went to a home of a child who is sponsored by this relief work. We were talking to the mom and the mom was saying, you know, I know I need to go back to church. But my husband and I, we have a drinking problem. We drink way too much. And I just know that I need to fix that before I come back to church.

And we were talking to her and saying, no, no, you've got it wrong. You need to come as you are. You need to come exactly where you're at. Don't fix yourself before you come, come and let God fix you. Because he's going to do a way better job fixing you than you ever could fixing yourself. You don't need to fix yourself before you come to church. You need to come to church and let God fix you. You need to let him fix your broken heart and then your actions will be better.

Let's stop getting the cart before the horse. Let's start getting it in the correct order. Let's allow God to fix the broken pieces of our lives, because he's going to build us into a way better masterpiece and picture than we were even before we fell into whatever sin we're in now. So let's get to the heart.

See, sin isn't just a matter of actions and deeds, it is something within the heart that leads to the action. And what we have to really concentrate on isn't so much the sins, plural. What we need to focus on is the sin, singular. See, sins are nothing but the symptoms of a disease called sin. Sins, the plural, are symptoms of the disease sin, singular. And it's not the symptoms that matter as much as the disease. Because it's the disease that kills, not the symptoms.

So I want you to know today that if you're here and you struggle with temptation in any area, if you came through these doors and you feel a little out of place, you feel like you don't belong here, I want to let you know that you're exactly where you need to be. If you struggle with the temptation to drink alcohol, welcome to the club. If you struggle with the temptation to do drugs, welcome to the club. If you struggle with the temptation for pornography, or the temptation for gambling, welcome to the club. Because guess what? We all deal with temptation. We are all sinners. We are all lost. We are all destitute and depleted without the saving power of Jesus Christ.

And so when you're here, you're family. When you're here, there's no judgment. There's no ostracisation. You are here and this is a safe place. And God loves you, and God desires to do a heart transplant in you. And you don't need to fix yourself. You don't have to try to be something you aren't. You need to come as you are and allow God to turn you into something that you can be. That's the essence, that's the basic truth of the gospel.

So some of us come in here, we're trying so hard to fix this one thing. We have this temptation, we have this addiction. And all of our focus, all of our energy is spent focusing on this one thing. I just got to fix it, I just got to get better. I just got to-- I just got to stop looking at pornography, I just have to stop gambling, have to stop drinking. And we have all of our energy focused on this one singular thing, this symptom. But you need to know that you're focusing on the wrong thing.

The thing that you need to focus on isn't outside, it's inside. If you focus on your heart, if you focus on your relationship with Jesus, if you allow that to grow, if you nurture that, I promise you, I promise the things on the outside will naturally begin to go away as you focus on what's inside.

See, sin deceives me into thinking that because I haven't done the actual deed I'm all right. As long as I don't do it, I'm OK. But the question isn't did you do it, the question is, why didn't you do it? Was it out of pure motives or impure motives? Did you not do that sin because you genuinely knew it would grieve the heart of Jesus? Did you not do that sin because you built up safeguards in your life, biblical truths in your life, and when that sin came, you knew it was a lie from Satan so you were able to rebuff Satan and walk in the accounts of the godly? Or did you simply not do it because you didn't have the courage? Did you simply not take that step, did you simply not fall into that sin because you were just scared of getting caught?

What's the motive, what's the reason behind it? See, if I still want to do it, my problem still exists. The root is still there. This is what the pharisees did. They majored on external things, thinking that actions were more important than attitude. Jesus spoke to them in Luke 16:15. And he said, you are they which justify yourselves before men. But God knows your heart. That's powerful, right? Hey you made your actions, all these things, but God knows your heart. That's like one of those, uh, come on, girl, God knows your heart. That's like the ultimate Jesus juke, right? These people think they got it all together and Jesus said, uh-uh, God knows your heart. For that which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Whoa. Makes me question and wonder what I esteem. I want to make sure that I esteem the right things, right? That I esteem that which is godly, that which is honorable, that I esteem that which is true, pure, undefiled religion, caring for widows and orphans, caring for the oppressed, caring for those who are in need, caring for the destitute and the downtrodden.

Look, mankind, human beings, we esteem that which is really great. We esteem the juggernauts of industry. We esteem money and stock markets. And we esteem all these outward great things, God esteems the heart. He esteems what's inside, he esteems what you can't see, what you can't judge, what you can't look at.

Jesus addresses this very trait when he shows the Pharisees observe the letter of the law, but they completely missed the point. So Jesus here in the Sermon on the Mount deals with the attitudes as opposed to the actions, because he knows that you can be sinning in your heart without ever actually committing the sin outwardly. And I'll let you know, that kind of sin is more spiritually destructive than any other kind because it's hidden. Because no one knows. Because you can sit here and listen to a message and say, Amen, that's good. And you can nod your head. And all the while be thinking, man, I hope the person next to me doesn't know what I'm really doing. I hope the person next to me doesn't know the sin that's really in my heart.

And we can hide it. And we can pretend that we're righteous just like the Pharisees. But inside we're destitute. Because Jesus also knows that in practically every act of adultery there was first, before the act, the thinking and fantasizing about it that ultimately led to the actual act. So many of us are affairs waiting to happen.

What do I mean by that? Well, when you sow a thought, you reap an act. When you sow an act, you reap a habit. When you sow a habit, you reap a character. And when you sow a character, you reap a destiny. See, it starts with your thoughts, starts with your mind, it starts with your heart. And if you're not guarding your heart, you're just destruction waiting to happen. You're just waiting for that ignition, and it's all going to blow up.

So Jesus starts with the look. He says, whoever looks at a woman. Now, this doesn't just mean a casual glance. But in the Greek it refers to the continuous act of looking. In this usage, the idea isn't that of incidental or involuntary glance, but of intentional and repeated gazing. Come on, guys. There's a difference between noticing and gazing, isn't there? Maybe your wife's caught you in this before when a girl walks by and your head moves and they have to elbow you. Hey, stop it.

There is a difference ladies, we know this. You guys-- we know this like I'm a lady. We know this. No. Ladies, you know this, right? There's a difference between a look and a gaze. There's a difference between a glance and a gaze. Jesus isn't speaking of unexpected and unavoidable exposure to sexual temptation. Rather, Jesus is speaking of the person who intentionally puts themself in a place of vulnerability. The person who, if they're exposed, they give the devil a foothold by letting it infiltrate their thought processes.

Martin Luther put it this way. You can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair. I like that, right? You can't stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from building a nest in your hair. Look, it's not your fault that the world around you is sinful. You can't help it that TV, and songs, and music is overly sexualized. You can't help that.

But also it's not your job to be the morality police. It's not your job to walk around and say, well, I struggle with lustful thoughts, so hey you, put some more clothes on because that's just inappropriate. It's not your job. No one cares what you think. That's not what you're supposed to do. It's not your fault that there's 16,000 sexual references that you're going to see on TV this year. But guess what? You can turn the TV off. You can't control the TV, but you can turn it off. You can't control other people, but you can control yourself. And that's the gist of this passage. You are responsible for your actions. You're responsible for your eyes. You're responsible for your hands. So keep yourself from sin.

You can't control what the world does, but you can control what you do. It's why Job set in Job 31:1, I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl. If my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes-- my heart has been led by my eyes-- or if my hands have been defiled, then may others eat what I have sown, and made my crops be uprooted.

See, David wasn't at fault because he happened to see Bathsheba bathing. He couldn't have helped noticing her. You know, and also on that same point, one has to wonder if Bathsheba knew that he would be there, and if she intentionally put herself in a place where she would be seen. I mean, come on. Who bathes on their roof in the middle of the day?

Look, I live in a neighborhood where the homes are kind of tiered and you can see down into the backyard of the person's home in front of you, and I don't bathe naked on my lawn. That's just weird. Who does that? See, we got to realize that it's a two way street. If lustful looking is bad, then those who dress and expose themselves with the desire to be looked at and lusted after are no less guilty.

David's sin wasn't seeing her, it was continuously looking at her. And then it was dramatically acting on those impulses as he misused his considerable power as king and had her brought to his chambers. David was an affair waiting to happen. See, David wasn't a young believer. He obviously knew better, but he lowered his guard. When he should have been leading his troops into battle, he was idle. There's no mention made of the harp in this season of David's life. David was known as a worshipper, as a songwriter, but he's not writing songs during this period of his life. He's not worshipping. He's not doing what God has called him to do.

Some also believe that David was around 39 years old at this time, which simply means that David had been a great warrior, he had his glory days, he had done great things for the Lord. But oftentimes at this time in life, many men are realizing very quickly that time is marching by. Perhaps they haven't accomplished the goals that they've set out for themselves. Maybe some well-placed temptation of a young girl who thinks that this guy walks on water finds a receptivity within that man's heart. He was an affair waiting to happen.

This is why a man and a wife need to continue to communicate. Look, the greatest strength that you have to fight the battle of temptation within your marriage is intimacy. The best way you can fend off Satan, the best way you can fend off temptations between you and your wife or you and your husband is by fostering intimacy within the relationship that God has given you. Foster relational and communication intimacy.

Your spouse should be your best friend. Remember, we talked about this a few weeks ago. Malachi 2:14 says, "the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth to whom you have been faithless although she is your companion and your wife." Remember, what does companion mean? It means one who you are united with in thoughts, goals, plans, and efforts. That's relational intimacy.

When we're companions with our spouse, Satan can't get between us because we're connected, we're united. We should also find intimacy in romantic and sexual fulfillment, as well. To be intimate. Now, you need to write this down, because this is huge. This could change your view of temptation within your marriage. Because you have a role to play in guarding your spouse from temptation. We like to think that it's personal, that I'm responsible for temptation, but you have a role to play in guarding your spouse, your significant other, from temptation.

Write this down. A lack of marital intimacy in the bed and at the table is a breeding ground for temptation. A lack of marital intimacy in the bed and at the table is a breeding ground for temptation. Now, I can hear all the guys are cheering in their heart and they're like, that's right Nate, come on, tell my wife we need to have more sex. That's right. Guys, you're missing what I'm saying.

I said in the bed and at the table. In the bed and at the table. This is so crucial. This is so important. Guys, intimacy isn't achieved when you have sex. It's not. A lot of guys like to try to trick girls into thinking that it is. Oh, can we just be intimate? What does that mean to you? You just want to have sex really quick? You want to come home when your wife wants to talk, you say, I don't want to talk, I've had too long of a day. I don't want to have a discussion. But then three hours later you ask for sex. And when she doesn't want to, you wonder why?

Because there's no intimacy. Because all you care about is the sexual gratification, not true intimacy. When you have true intimacy, it can make sex much better. It can further strengthen intimacy. But intimacy is achieved through conversation. And predictably, Satan's going to hit you in your perceived area of vulnerability. He's going to size you up, he's going to hit you where he thinks he can bring you down. So therefore, victory over temptation comes from being prepared for it.

Jesus said, keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation. Satan's going to hit you where he knows you're weak. So if you don't have a healthy sex life, Satan's going to bring someone into your spouse's life who promises them sexual fulfillment. Maybe not someone, maybe it will be something. Maybe you'll be a well-placed pop-up ad that will get your spouse's mind turning. Maybe it'll be a cute young thing on Instagram that follows them and they think, oh, maybe I got a shot.

They'll bring something that promises them what they feel is lacking. If you don't have a healthy conversational life, and you never communicate to your spouse, I promise you Satan is going to bring your spouse someone who listens to and affirms them, and compliments them, and tells them they deserve so much better. Husbands, wives, date your spouse or the devil will. Date your spouse or the devil will.

Look, Satan's got it out for your spouse. He thinks they are phat, pretty hot and tempting. He wants all of them. He wants to pursue them. He wants to be intimate with them. Satan wants to whisper sweet nothings into their ears. He wants to let your spouse know you deserve so much better. He wants to let your spouse know, you deserve a better sex life. Your wife's not giving you the sex life you deserve, you deserve a good sex life. You know what, since you deserve it, why don't you take it?

He wants to whisper to your wife, you know what? You deserve someone who listens to you. You deserve someone who cares about you. You know what, your husband's not giving that to you. Why don't you talk to that guy at work who's been complimenting you each day for the past week? Just do it. You deserve it.

A poll of women, when asked why they were unfaithful-- surprise, wasn't sex. 10% responded it was for lust, but 21% said it was for the thrill of romance. Guys, girls, we need to be careful about the standards that we're setting for ourselves. We have two areas of this camp, and I think both are equally as destructive. Pornography, that's obvious, right? And chick flicks. Romantic comedies. I think these two things are incredibly destructive into the lives and into the views that we look for within men and women that we are going to date and that we're going to marry.

One's obvious, the other one's not so obvious, is it? You think, what's so wrong with a romantic comedy? Well, we begin to get into this place where we see this guy, and he's so handsome, he's so nice, and he's so romantic. I mean, sure, it helps that he has a six pack and he happens to have an Australian voice. That's just icing on the cake. But man, the way he proposed to her, he ran down the jet way. He didn't even care there was security there. He got on one knee, he proposed, but she still left him. She went to France and then two years later they met in a coffee shop in New York City. And it was just meant to be! And he spends four hours listening to her talk every night.

And we say, man, it's just too good to be true. Yeah, it's too good to be true. It's not real. They're actors. It's fake. It doesn't exist. And so we begin to look at it and say, well, honey, why don't you ever do those things? You proposed to me at an Italian restaurant on a Tuesday night. And we begin to judge the other person.

And then guys with pornography, we see pornography and it seems so exciting, and thrilling. And they're trying all these new things. We look at our wife and we say, well, you know what? Why don't we ever do those things? Why don't you ever do that? Why aren't you like that? Why aren't you exploring our sexual intimacy?

Because it's not real. Because it's fake. Because it's not reality. We're building up for ourselves these false views of what guys and girls are supposed to be, and your spouse can never live up to it because that is not reality. That is fake, that is false. They are actors. They are paid.

That's why Proverbs 5:15 says drink water from your own cistern. Running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares, let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Church, don't drink the Kool-Aid. The water's fine. The world wants to trick you and say, water, who needs water? It doesn't even taste good, it's so old and-- Gatorade, that's what you need. Gatorade, that's the thirst quencher. And look how pretty the bottle is, it's way sexier than water.

No, water is good. You need water. Drink the water from your own cistern. Don't allow the world to trick you into needing-- making you think that you need it from somewhere else. Drink water from your own well. A husband and a wife need to keep one another from temptation by remaining physically, sexually, emotionally, relationally, and conversationally active with one another. So before you decry your spouse for falling into temptation, ask yourself, am I doing everything I can to help my spouse? Am I doing everything I can to keep my spouse from falling into temptation?

See, with Satan, there are always strings attached. There's always strings attached. Nothing is ever free. For sin, there is always a price. So he wants to bring it to you and make you think that there is no strings attached, that there's no consequences, that you can get away with it for free. He just says, hey, it's fine, just indulge. Just look at that website. You can erase your internet history later. Hey, it's fine. Just have a conversation with that guy via Facebook Messenger. You can just delete the conversation and pretend it never existed. Hey, it's fine, it's just a one night stand. It doesn't mean anything. You don't actually love them. No one has to know.

But there's always a price. For Jesus, the price was worship. For Samson, the price was his strength and his eyes. For David the price was his son and his testimony. For Judas, the price was eternity. The thing is that Satan will never tell you the cost of your sin before you do it. He'll always let you know after hey, by the way when you did? here's the payment, and it's demanded right now in full. He'll never tell you the cost before, only after.

He won't tell you that the cost of sex and lust is emptiness and a lack of self-worth. He won't tell you that the cost of addiction is helplessness and slavery. He won't tell you that the ultimate cost of your sin is your eternity. It's why we are always better off to obey God and to trust in his provision than to impatiently and selfishly provide for our own needs in any way that would cause us to disobey or compromise his word.

Philippians 4:8 says, "finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--" you get the gist? A lot of good stuff. All these good things, anything that is excellent or praiseworthy think about those things. Put into your heart what is good and push out what is bad.

The first strategy to winning the battle with temptation is to avoid placing ourselves in tempting situations. It's easier to manage a fire in a fire pit than it is in a forest. But sometimes that fire gets out. When that fire gets out, it can burn trees, it can kill people, kill firefighters, kill civilians, burn down houses. It can bring immeasurable destruction. We've got to keep the fire in the pits. We can't let it get out. Temptation will destroy your family, will destroy your loved ones, it will destroy your home. It will leave a wake of devastation.

But sometimes the fire does get out, doesn't it? David couldn't help but see Bathsheba, and that fire started. So now Jesus gives us his solution to the problem of lust. Look at verse 29, our second point is stopping it once it starts. Verse 29, "if your right eye causes you to sin pluck it out and cast it from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell."

Here, Jesus points out the way of deliverance from this sin. Now obviously, Jesus isn't speaking literally. If the problem is in the heart, then what good is it to pluck out your eye or cut off your hand? If the right eye were gone, the left one could still look lustfully. If the right hand were gone, the left one could still carry on sinful acts. But in the Jewish culture, the right hand represented a person's best and most precious facilities. The right eye represented one's best vision, the right hand one's best skills. Jesus' point here is that we should be willing to give up whatever is necessary to keep us from falling into this sin.

What does that mean for you? Maybe it means giving up your job. Maybe it means giving up your phone. Maybe you got to go back to a flip phone. But guess what? Your relationship with your wife, your conversation with your husband is more important than text messages. Maybe it means giving up friendships so that you can invest in the friendship that really matters, your friendship with your spouse. Maybe it means giving up your computer. Anything that morally or spiritually traps us, that causes us to fall into sin and stay there should be eliminated quickly and totally.

It's a matter of the heart. That is, in essence, how Satan always operates. He promised Eve that by eating the forbidden fruit, she would not die as God warned, but that she would, in fact, become God herself. Satan tempts us. Why do you set your standards so high? Don't be such a prude. Don't be so legalistic. You can get what you want by cutting a corner here, by shading the truth there. Sometimes he'll even make it sound spiritual.

Well, you know what? If you were just not quite as high and mighty, if you would get off your high horse, you could witness to people better. If you were just a little bit more like them, you'd have more of an open door into talking to them about the gospel. And he shades the truth. This same temptation no doubt came to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Just bow. You don't have to mean it. Just have sex with her. You don't have to mean it, you don't have to love her. Doesn't matter if you don't love them. Or Daniel knowing that if he prayed as before that his fate could be death. But he realized it was better to die than to face compromise.

Compromise is the most lethal trap that Satan has. It's perhaps his greatest and most effective tool, just lowering your guard a little. Dropping your standard a notch. Satan never come to you and offers you the whole kit and caboodle package. Hey, I've got an offer for you. Do you want to get addicted to drugs, lose your job, lose your home, end up on the street with no money, and then five years from now you can die of an overdose?

No, he doesn't make offers like that. Never comes to you says, hey, I've got an offer for you. You want to have sex with this girl, get her pregnant, lose your family, lose your wife? Your kids are never going to talk to you again, you're going to go through a bitter divorce filing, you're going to have to split up all your things, and you're going to be miserable for the rest of your life with somebody that you don't love?

No, no. He doesn't offer that. He offers you just a little bit. Just drop your standard a little bit. It's a temptation to lower our standard in order to extend our reach. It's a sin to endanger our integrity in order to enlarge our influence. What we have to do is to the best of our abilities guard our minds. If a scene comes on in a movie that offends us, get up and walk out. If something sexually suggestive comes on TV, turn the channel or turn it off. If a conversation with a member of the opposite sex becomes sexually suggestive, end it.

Because Satan realizes that a little compromise today can mean a big one later. That one little lustful look can lead to an adulterous relationship. That one night stand can lead to a lifetime of regret. That one hit can lead to addiction. And just so you know, it's always one of whatever it is. People always say, it was just one drink, it's just one joint, it's just one kiss. But guess what? It's always just one of whatever it is, and it's always just one joint that eventually leads years later to a drug addiction. It's always just one kiss that leads later on the next morning waking up feeling dirty and defiled. It's always just one look at porn that leads to being addicted and depressed. And you might say, Nate, how could this happen? The answer, slowly.

See there's no such thing as a quick one night fling. When you cross that line of protection that God has erected around you and your spouse's life, you do so at your own peril. The repercussions of it can go on for months, years, or even a lifetime. And if you've ever tried to cross that line, you know that it's not easy. Because the Bible says, "whom the Lord loves, he chastens." So he makes it hard for you. When you make a decision you know you shouldn't do, you feel a check in your spirit.

And you might say, well Nate, it's easier than you think. I couldn't help myself. I just fell into it. It's not my fault. It might seem that way. But what about the weeks, even months, or perhaps years that you allowed your mind and imagination to be polluted with impure thoughts as you fantasized about this prospect? And after a while, that didn't do it for you anymore so you cross a new line. And you begin to flirt and spend more time with this individual. And then that doesn't satisfy any longer. And so soon you start having long talks with them, baring your soul. And then somehow you become justified in your heart that this is all right. And you make that leap into adultery.

And then you say, that's it, it's over. I'm never going to do it again, it's done. I'm going to cut it off. But it's not that easy. Because if you choose to not tell your spouse, now you have to live with the fear that this thing's one day going to surface and that you're going to have to deal with the consequences of it after that.

And so the guilt eats away at you for months, for years as you try to cover your footprints, as you try to pretend that it never happened. How did it start? Slowly. First it began with apathy. Apathy for where God has you, apathy for your marriage. You say, man, we don't have the fireworks like we once had. We're just not as in love with each other anymore. We don't talk to each other anymore. Our sex life isn't as great as it was. And you become apathetic.

And that apathy leads to atrophy. Because you're apathetic, because you don't really care about your marriage anymore, you stop investing in it. You stop building into it. And any muscle that you don't use eventually atrophies. And so your marriage begins to break down and atrophy, wasting away your spiritual state. And then comes the agony. The agony of being stuck in a state of sin.

Now as we close, I want to leave you guys with four things. Four things that if you're currently stuck in a state of temptation or you see inclinations in your heart leading you to a place you don't want to go, four things that if you do will build up your resistance to this area of attack. Number one, this is always the most important, walk with God.

We started before. It's the heart, not the action. So focus on your heart. If an individual is truly walking with God, it will give them, like Joseph, the power, the will, and the resources to stand up against temptation. David failed to do this, and instead he was spiritually idle, and thus vulnerable.

Number two, walk with your spouse. Spend time aggressively developing friendship and romance in your marriage. The best defense is a good offense. If you don't date your spouse, Satan will. So aggressively spend time walking with your spouse. Third, don't walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Avoid at all costs relationships and friendships that are flirty. Avoid friendships with those who would encourage such activity. Flee those relationships, and instead walk with people who are godly. Get plugged into a connect group, find people who can keep you accountable, people who know your temptations and can help you battle them.

And then fourth and finally, count the cost. Guys, count the cost. Find someone who didn't and ask them. Count the cost. Remember some of the warnings that we brought up. These, along with an intense love for God and your spouse, will see you through the rough waters of sexual temptation. So may God help us. May He change our hearts and our minds. May He help us be good stewards of what we program into them. May He help us finish our race well, and may He help us resist the subtle trap of temptation.

As we close, just want to speak really quick to those of you who might be in here and you're saying, Nate, I wish I would have heard this a year ago. I wish I would have heard this message before I made a big decision, before I made a step across the line that I can't get past now. I wish I would have heard this before I lost my marriage. I wish I would have heard this before I lost my kids.

To you I want to tell you that God can restore the years that the locusts have eaten. Though your sin is great, his sacrifice is greater. He can wash your dirty soul. He can bring sight to the blind. He can loose the captives free. He can take the bondage and the weight of sin, the shame and the guilt you feel, and he can make them as far as the east is from the west. You might feel like you're down, but you are not out. You always have a do-over with God. With God, there is always another chance. You have a chance right now. So you choose this day whom you serve. You don't look at the past, you look at your future. Because your future is what awaits you. So you look to Jesus today and you realize that there is still a plan for you. God still has a place for you. If you receive it, God's got it for you.

And I also need you to know there is a place for you here at this church. The people you're around, you might feel like, man, this isn't where I should be. Maybe you feel like that lady in Brazil, you feel like you just don't belong. You've got to clean up your act. I want you to know that you're exactly where you need to be. You're exactly where God wants you.

Because we're all sinners saved by grace. Every one of us. The person next to you, they've gone through struggles you don't even know about. And just as much as you want to hide yours from them, they want to hide theirs from you. I struggled for years with a pornography addiction. I struggled for years looking at women lustfully. Thank God he brought me through it. Thank God I have a stronger marriage and relationship than I ever could have imagined. But the church is a place for you. There is a place for sinners in the church. There's a place for sinners at the foot of the cross. God restores our soul, he washes us white as snow. But it's got to start with your heart.

If you don't have a relationship with Jesus, if your heart's not right, all these tools, all these resources, they're not going to help you. Because you're just going to be striving to fix actions when your heart still doesn't have a relationship. So as we close, I wonder if you're here today and you don't have a relationship with Jesus. Maybe you never have. Maybe you've been faking it for a long time. But you really want to see growth in your life. You really want to see that next step happen in your marriage. You need to give your life to Jesus today.

Maybe you're here, and you made a big decision and you ruined your life, you ruined your family's life. And you just desperately want to know what the next step is for you. The next step for you is to walk towards God. The next step for you is to rededicate your life to Him. The next step for you is to choose this day whom you're going to serve, is to this day begin to walk with God.

Lord, we thank you, we praise you for your word and the work that it does in our lives. Lord, I pray that you would keep us from temptation. I pray that you would guard our hearts against the snares of the enemy. And Lord, I pray that you will lead us and guide us in paths of righteousness for your name's sake.

Lord, I pray right now for anyone in here this morning who doesn't have a relationship with you. Lord, maybe they've never had one, or maybe they've walked away from you. But Lord, they realize at this moment they need you. They realize that they need forgiving. They need grace, they need peace. Maybe they're stuck in some addiction. Maybe it's drugs, maybe it's alcohol, maybe it's gambling, maybe it's pornography. Maybe they're in an adulterous affair. Maybe they're just dealing now with the effects of their sin, and they just need something.

Lord, help them to realize what they need is you. They need to cling to you. And this is a safe place. If you're here this morning, you're willing to admit that you're a sinner in need of saving, if you're willing to admit that you need Jesus Christ in your life, if you want to know beyond a shadow of doubt that your sins are forgiven, both past, present and future, if you want to know that your eternal destination is heaven, then right now where you're at, I just want you to raise your hand and say, Nate, I need Jesus. Pray for me.

This is a contract you're making with God. This isn't between me and you. I see your hand over in the family room. Anyone else, just raise up your hand. In the middle to my right, raise it up. Amen. To my right over here, raise it up high. If God is speaking to you in this moment. Several of you here to the left, another one over here to the left. If God is calling you right now, you respond. He's throwing out a life preserver. But you got to reach out and grab it.

Amen right here. Lord, I thank you for all these hands across the sanctuary, Lord. Too many than what I can see. I pray that you would give them courage. Lord, I pray that you'd help them to stand and walk with you. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. Hey, would you stand? We're going to close and we're going to sing a song. But I'm going to ask that as we do, if you raised your hand up acknowledging your need for Jesus, that you get up for where you are right now and you come down here and say a prayer to accept him into your heart. Even as I'm talking, you come right now. You don't be afraid, you say, Nate, I'm all about raising my hand up in a dark room, but I don't want to stand up for Jesus.

Look, if you can't walk with Jesus in the council of the godly, how are you going to do it out there when you're around the ungodly? This is your opportunity. You can cement your faith. You can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your sins are forgiven. You can know that today you have a new chance, you have a new lease on life. God's not done using you yet. There is still more for you. There is still something for you here in this life.

You come right now, give your life to Jesus Christ. In this moment, I promise you you won't regret it. And maybe you're sitting there thinking about what the person next to you thinks. Guess what? It doesn't matter what they think, it only matters what He thinks. They didn't die for you, Jesus did. And you're getting your life right with him. So you come right now. We're going to sing this chorus one time. And as we do, you get up from where you are and you come say this prayer. You come, come on.

[MUSIC - "RECKLESS LOVE"]

(SINGING) Oh, the overwhelming, never ending reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, fights till I'm found, leaves the 99. I couldn't earn it, I don't deserve it. Still, you give yourself away. Oh, the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God.

Yes, Lord, yes, Jesus. Lord, we thank you that you come after the-- you leave the 99, you come after the one. When we're lost, when we're destitute, you seek us, you come to us. And so Lord, I pray right now as we're closing with all these people who've made this courageous decision, Lord, I pray for the one. I pray for the person who's sitting out there right now and they feel the Holy Spirit speaking to them, and they're pushing him away.

If that's you, don't push him away. I said at the beginning of this message, there's going to be a message that you're going to feel like God's speaking to you. If God is speaking to you right now, that is a good thing. Don't push him away. If you feel even a shadow in your heart that you need to do this, get up. Have courage. Have faith. You are joined by people who will celebrate your decision, who will rejoice with you right now. Push aside the lies of Satan. Grab onto the promises of God. Anyone else right now in this moment you know you need to be here, you come. You are welcome here. Anyone else before we pray?

Amen. Well for those of you who have come forward, I'm going to lead you now in a prayer. It's a simple prayer to accept Jesus Christ. There's nothing magical about this. You're not going to say this and start floating or get Yoda powers. What you are going to get is a knowledge that your sins are forgiven. That the things that you have done that you know have hurt the heart of God, that those are forgiven. And that here today in this place, you have a new life in Him. And that if you were to die, you're going to go to heaven.

So what's important that you say these words from your heart you say them to Jesus. Repeat after me. Say, Lord, I know that I'm a sinner. I know that I've done many things that have hurt you. But I believe you died for those things. And I believe you rose from the dead. So come into my life, fill me with your Holy Spirit, help me to live for you. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. Come on, let's give them a round of applause.

We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. How will you put the truths that you learned into action in your life? Let us know. Email us at mystory@calvarynm.church. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.

Additional Messages in this Series

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7/29/2018
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Meet the Architect
Psalm 127
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
In this first message of our Smart Home series, we focus on the foundational elements. Let’s meet the Architect of the home and the family—God Himself. His blueprints for the people He creates include satisfying relationships and integrated operation. We should make sure to build alongside of Him so that our homes become satisfying places of refuge, palaces of joy, and platforms for worship. Let’s take a fresh look at Solomon’s instruction.
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8/5/2018
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Get Prequalified—Finding a Mate
Genesis 24; Genesis 29
Skip Heitzig
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Dating can be exciting. It can also get weird and end poorly. I like the common sense of one who quipped, "Some people are unmarried for the same reason that some drivers run out of gas. They pass too many filling stations looking for their favorite brand!" Though dating was unknown in biblical times, let’s look at five principles in budding relationships to help you prequalify to build a solid, long-lasting, and satisfying Smart Home.
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8/12/2018
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Get Prequalified—The Minimalist Home
1 Corinthians 7; Matthew 19
Skip Heitzig
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Should the top priority of a single person be to get married? Can a Smart Home also be a minimalistic home—with just one occupant? Why is it that singleness is sometimes considered less acceptable than marriage? Can the single life be a full, enriching, and positive experience? Perhaps you’ve lost your mate or you’re still waiting to find one. Or maybe you’re happy to stay single. Today let’s consider singleness and celibacy in light of Scripture.
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8/19/2018
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Following the Blueprint—A Husband’s Love
Ephesians 5:25-32
Skip Heitzig
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To live in a Smart Home, occupants must follow the architect’s blueprint. God, the inventor of marriage, has given roles to husbands and wives so they can live together in harmony and joy. The basic role of a husband is to love his wife. This love is explained and described by the architect in the building documents found in Ephesians 5. This kind of love that a husband lavishes on his wife will enable her to fulfill her role with greater ease and deeper contentment.
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8/26/2018
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Following the Blueprint—A Wife’s Submission
Ephesians 5:22-24
Skip Heitzig
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When it comes to a family’s roles within the home, the “S” word (submission) can generate controversy. To modern ears, God’s standards can seem out-of-date and even distasteful to some. But I am suggesting that the quickest way to fulfillment for a married woman is to discover the freedom of her role as properly understood in Scripture. So let’s jump in and unpack this role and see how it is meant to correspond to a husband’s loving leadership.
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9/2/2018
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Building Your Future Home with Care
Ephesians 5:15-21
Skip Heitzig
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The construction of a house is no small undertaking. After the blueprints have been drawn up and approved, there are a series of steps to take to ensure the building is strong and durable. The verses we are considering today give us the preliminary features necessary to live peacefully with another person. Before the roles of family members can ever be exercised successfully, these considerations come first.
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9/9/2018
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Till Death Do Us Part—What You Need to Know to Make Marriage Last
Genesis 2; Mark 10
Skip Heitzig
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Is a lifetime commitment to a spouse even reasonable? Does permanence have to become a goal if it means a couple just has to grin and bear it? What if a marriage hinders one’s personal growth and self-fulfillment? Today I want to make a case not just for getting married but also for staying married. Let’s go back to the divine architect’s original prototype to understand what He had in mind when coming up with this idea of marriage.
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9/16/2018
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The Master Bedroom: Components of Marital Intimacy
Proverbs 5:15-21
Skip Heitzig
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Being intimate with your spouse involves more than just sex (though it certainly includes that). Intimacy is a sense of caring and affection in which one can be totally vulnerable with someone without the fear of being hurt or misunderstood. The physical/sexual factor should only enhance that. Intimacy is essential if a marriage is going to thrive. Let’s recover four components of marital intimacy.
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9/30/2018
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Communication Breakdown
Nate Heitzig
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God’s plan for the family is to build, strengthen, and protect it. But Satan has declared war on the family as he seeks to undermine, weaken, and destroy it. The statistics are staggering: the divorce rate has risen over 700 percent in this century, and there is one divorce for every 1.8 marriages. Since communication is key to oneness in marriage, Nate Heitzig examines the Scriptures to find how to deal with communication breakdown in a marriage, both how to prevent it and how to repair it.
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10/7/2018
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A Smart Home...with In-Laws?
Genesis 28-31
Skip Heitzig
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Every wedding creates a blended family. Marriage not only joins a man and a woman, it blends the extended family of mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and brothers-in-law. The odds for dysfunction run pretty high. Today we consider the roles of God, parents, in-laws, and married children doing life together. How can in-laws be prevented from becoming outlaws? Four principles apply:
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10/21/2018
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Money Matters for the Smart Home
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Skip Heitzig
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The issue of money in a marriage is a primary source of conflict and worry, so much so that this conflict often leads to collapse. How can a married couple handle their finances so the marriage relationship isn’t damaged? Using an example of the apostle Paul’s plan to raise funds for the Jerusalem church, let’s get some solid pointers on the believer’s (and hence believing couples’) relationship to finances. Like it or not, money matters.
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11/4/2018
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A Mother's Role in the Smart Home
1 Samuel 1
Skip Heitzig
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A mother's love is great—it sets the standard of unconditional love. God has done and continues to do great things through women. The Bible records numerous faithful and spiritually fruitful women, such as Jochebed (Moses' mother), Ruth, Esther, Elizabeth, and Mary. In 1 Samuel, we meet Hannah, a woman whose faith modeled three powerful truths about mothers.
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11/11/2018
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The Single-Parent Family
Acts 16; 2 Timothy 1
Skip Heitzig
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Some of the most struggling and lonely people in our congregation may be those who are single parents. They may be moms, dads, divorced, or never married. They may be young teenagers; they may be older grandparents—but they all have this in common: they are raising children by themselves. Does the Bible speak to this? Are there any clues for Christians to understand so we can help bear the load of single parents among us? Yes, there are. Let’s take a look at them.
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11/18/2018
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The Fundamentals of Family and Fatherhood
Ephesians 6:1-4
Nate Heitzig
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The American family is in crisis, and children are among its many victims. Evidence of the effects of broken families on children is everywhere: 12 million teenagers are drug addicts, teenage suicide has risen over 400 percent, and 1.5 million teenage girls will become pregnant out of wedlock (650,000 of those pregnancies will end in abortion). According to the Los Angeles Times, the most reliable predicter for these behaviors is family structure. If there has ever been a time for a godly upbringing, it is now. In this teaching, Pastor Nate looks at the fundamentals of a healthy family, including parents’ responsibility to their children and children’s responsibility to their parents.
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There are 14 additional messages in this series.