Before we move on, I want to make sure we notice something. What is lust? Lust is adultery. What is lust? It’s desiring what adultery would accomplish but doing it in our minds. Meditating on it, enjoying it, taking it in, in our minds. That is what lust is. It is adultery. But I want you to notice that what Jesus is teaching here indicates a tremendous care on God’s part for the part of you no one ever sees. He’s not just after your public obedience. He’s not just up after you keeping up appearances. He’s not just after you keeping yourself out of trouble. He’s not just after you giving a stiff arm and keeping the family together. He’s after your heart. What’s happening inside of you that no one but God can see? That’s what Jesus is after. He’s after the very depths of your being. Who you are in the hidden place as more than one Puritan said I am sure, Is who you are before God, and that is it. The modern ethics of our day says. If you want to do something, it doesn’t hurt anybody. There’s no problem with that. If you want to smoke pot, no one gets hurt. That’s no problem. This kind of thinking is a problem for at least two reasons.
First, we might not be as good at knowing what isn’t hurting people as we think.
The second and by far the most important problem with this kind of thinking is that it says, if I’m not hurting anyone, then what’s the big deal?
Well, the problem is that it misses that we were meant not for ourselves, not for our neighbors, but for God. What are your actions doing to God? Do you know there’s no one more. Sensitive in the universe to what’s happening in your heart than God, not you, not your spouse, not your closest friends. God is intimately and actively and continually aware of every motion of your heart. He knows you better than you know yourself, and he cares more than you care about what’s happening where no one can see. Our inner world was made for God’s pleasure. Our inner lives are ultimately not private. They are always open to the one who knows all things. And he is deeply interested in what is going on in our hearts. It’s true that if you fantasize about another man’s wife, you may never act on those fantasies. But your thoughts are known to God and he cares about what you’re thinking. He cares about the one you’re thinking about. He is out to preserve his or her dignity. Sanctity, holiness more than you are. And He wants the holiness and dignity and integrity of every single human being that was ever made. He wants that upheld in every mind that was ever made. God wants to be exalted everywhere. God wants to be everything in everyone. He wants to be adored and glorified, and he wants his truth to be perceived in the remotest mind. The most hidden secrets of the heart. When he says: This is my image. He wants everyone to say to stand at attention and say and I will treat it as such. It’s not my plaything. It’s not my place for perverted pleasures. It’s yours God. Everyone I look at is yours and me, the one doing the looking. I am yours to everything belongs to God Everything is for God. God is everything. God is the most important thing in every single circumstance and in every mind. And so adultery in the mind is adultery, because the one who’s offended by adultery is God. We’ve got all these politicians telling us that broken families destroy civilizations. It’s absolutely true. And it’s so secondary. The great sin of adultery is the sin against God. It’s God who matters in any and every motion of our hearts. The Bible says, Man looks on the outward appearance. The guy looks clean cut. That guy looks faithful. That guy looks like he’s got it together. That person puts on a good front. Man looks on the outer appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. What does he see? God wants to create people who aren’t acting. He wants to create a new people who aren’t faking it. God wants to create people who love Him and love His commands from the heart. The goal is not that you convince your parents you’re pure and then you sneak into sin. The goal is not that you convince your spouse that you’re pure or your church that you’re pure, and then you sneak in to sin. The goal is to be known by God and for God. To say Blessed is the pure and heart. They will see God. What are you going to do on your first day in hell? Exult that you tricked everyone but God? Will that be your comfort? As the weeping and gnashing of teeth begins? Everybody thought I was pure. Everyone except the one who mattered.
Christian… When Jesus calls you to flee lust, he is calling you to what your heart most deeply wants. Remember, you can’t separate the parts of the Sermon on the Mount. It’s a sermon that was written for the poor and heart, for those who are pure in heart, for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. It’s a sermon for the born again. There was one book ahead in my library called Sermons for the Spiritual Man Sermons for Christians. That’s what the Sermon on the Mount is. It can affect an unbeliever like me. Sure it can. It can save an unbeliever like I was the first time I read it. But it’s for the regenerate. It it’s for the born again. It’s saying your heart has been made new. It wants to be pure. It hungers and thirst for righteousness. Now here’s what I want of you. Eliminate lust from your heart ax it out, chop it out, gouge it out. Do whatever it takes, eliminate it utterly. You will never be happier. Because your heart will be what it was meant to be. A sanctuary for communion with the Almighty, with the Savior, with the Prince of Peace, with the Lord of Love. And Beloved if you hear Jesus commands to keep all your lust out of your heart, and you’re still planning that hook up, still keeping that girl’s number in your pocket, still planning to look at that pornography, still planning to dress immodestly, to feel someone else’s desire for you. Then I want to tell you what Jesus told a man one night in the Gospel of John. You must be born again. You need a new heart. You need a new set of desires implanted in your soul. You can hear Jesus commands all you want, but if you are dead in your trespasses, and sins. They will never have any appeal to you, you must be saved. You must be born again. Christianity is supernatural. It comes in and it makes new people. And those new people want what Jesus has got. They long for the teaching He brings.
This excerpt was taken from the full sermon Fighting Lust preached by Ryan Fullerton at Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.