I wanted to direct anyone who reads this to a friend of mine. Josh Patrick is the minister at Grace Crossing Church in Memphis, Tn. He continually (and not by any design on his part) calls me to places in God's word that I need to be. He doesn't do it by messaging me or calling me, he just posts a tweet or a blog telling everyone where he's at in the word. That's it. And continually He effects me for the Kingdom. Thanks Josh.
This week on his blog http://joshpatrick.wordpress.comJosh asked for help on this week's sermon. Josh has been walking through the Sermon on the Mount, and came upon this passage: Matt. 5:27-30
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
Being understandably nervous about this passage, Josh asked anyone in the blogosphere to comment. So I jumped. I just wanted to help Josh, but I ended up convicting and reviving something within myself. I had to post it on here because I think it has so much to do with worship.
I think the most important word in the entire passage - and the one that should convict us all - is HEART. Most of the time when I read this passage, the word that jumps off the page is lust - or lustful intent. Lust is a word that packs a wallop. It means something to everyone, and is still not thrown around lightly. However, I believe Jesus' intent is for all of us to see the true sinful nature that rests in all men, and to throw our our heart and replace it with God's. (Another passage referencing this is Ephesians 4:17-32)
Before Jesus talks about plucking out our eye or cutting off our hand - an obvious reference to seeing and doing - He addresses the true problem - our heart. Our problem with pornography today is not about its availability - it is about our heart. Our problem with men dressing women down with their eyes on the street because of what they look like is not about our eyes - or even their dress. Our problem is our heart. The problems with rape, incest, abuse and all detestable treatment of women starts in the heart. It starts with a look of lust or want and then the seeds of sin take over - and these seeds are being strewn about our entire culture. You can't drive down an interstate without seeing a billboard referencing sex. You can't turn on popular music without hearing something about sex. Sex isn't even about what it was intended for anymore, and Jesus told us to stop it at its root: In our hearts. Jesus is letting us know we cannot let sin take root in our lives ever! We have to stop it before it starts. The battle for our purity is raging all around us and Jesus is calling us to take whatever means necessary to keep it from entering into our hearts.
Jesus went to the extreme with the Sermon on the Mount. He did it for a reason. He did it because He can see that we won't go far enough. We think certain efforts are enough. We will only go so far to stop sin from entering our lives. Jesus says do anything and everything you can to keep sin out of your lives. This is a war and you have to defend your spirit. The wages of sin is death and I don't know anyone who really wants to die when abundant life is another option.
The song "Take My Life" by Scott Underwood of Vineyard Music comes to mind. "So take my heart and form it. Take my mind, transform it. Take my will, conform it to Yours to Yours o Lord" Lord, David cried out to you to create in him a clean heart. Father I pray that we search out hearts and find the darkness that resides there. May the light of Your Son shine into these places, purifying us and cleansing us.
Worship has to do with our hearts. We've got to fight to keep ours pure.