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LOVE LIMITLESS # 1 AMLove Limitless

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork.

The firmament or the sky declares the glory or the bigness of God, since He created all things, and there is not anything that is made that he has not created. So how big is the universe? This is just one site that tries to estimate the vastness of the universe. http://www.space.com/25303-how-many-galaxies-are-in-the-universe.html

200 Billion Galaxies in the observable universe and what lies beyond that? A galaxy such as the one we are in, called the Milky Way, is big. The Milky Way is a barred spiral galaxy some 100,000–120,000 light-years in diameter which contains 100–400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets as well. Get the picture!

The size of the universe is so vast and beyond our comprehension and this verse says the universe declares the glory or the bigness, wonder, power of God. God is big, and since the bible declares that God is love, then obviously love is limitless; infinite. As God’s love is limitless, so also is His holiness and His justice. So let’s begin at the beginning.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1) God created man in His own image, after His likeness (Gen 1:26) God the Father desired offspring, to have sons and daughters with whom He could have fellowship. As God created the first man Adam, He created him with the capacity to know and understand and communicate with Him. Adam walked with God in the cool of the garden. (Gen 3:8)

To deepen the fellowship and have true love from His offspring, He made man with free will. This was a two edged sword giving man the capacity to walk away from God or come to Him and choose to love Him for who He is. To make room for the bigness of this decision God made a way for redemption and salvation for man should He choose to walk away and then need to return. God in His infinite wisdom choose His only begotten son to give his life as a sacrifice and ransom to pay for the wrongs of the whole of mankind that would come. (Rev 13:8)

In ages past some of the angels, created beings had also chosen to walk away from obedience and had fallen, there was no way back for them since they already possessed their eternal state. This creation of man in mortal attire provides his opportunity on earth to know God, and choose to serve Him before the final judgement that sets his eternity.

And so God created man and in his choices, he chose to disobey God and he was cast out of the garden and he tilled the ground for food and his wife bore children in the pain of childbirth. (Gen 3:16-23) One son murdered another and lawlessness grew, until the time of Noah when God said: Gen 6: 5-7

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.

And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart.

So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them.(AMP)

God is holy. Perfectly Holy, without any sin or blemish. God is righteous, and He is unable to accept wrong doing, sin, and overlook it. If righteous men, as judges, must punish lawless men found guilty; and we expect them not to let off a criminal for his misdeeds, how much more would we expect a Holy and righteous God to punish every wrong man commits? Not only is God just and righteous, He is the judge of all and He sets the standard of what is right and wrong. (Remember how big He is) It is God’s holiness that requires He be just and execute judgement on all wrong doing.

As Noah’s offspring populate the earth again, God promises to never judge the earth in the same manner again – that is, with a flood. He desires to have men choose to follow Him because He is good. Yet again and again man chooses his own way. (Is 53:6) As Moses leads the chosen nation of Israel into a promised land, God is incensed at their rebellion; In Ex 32:9 God chooses judgement;

And the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people;

10 Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and that I may destroy them; but I will make of you a great nation.(AMP)

And again later after the nation of Israel refused to believe the two faith filled spies who told of the Promised Land, God chooses to destroy all of Israel. Num 14:11-12.

11 And the Lord said to Moses, How long will this people provoke (spurn, despise) Me? And how long will it be before they believe Me [trusting in, relying on, clinging to Me], for all the signs which I have performed among them?

12 I will smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and will make of you [Moses] a nation greater and mightier than they. (AMP)

 Again and again God warns Israel; Walk in My ways and obey me and you will be my people; and again and again they rebel.

At this time let me remind you of how the human heart and mind work. How easy it is for us to measure ourselves against one another and for each and every person to come to the conclusion quite wrongly that I am a good person. That God should accept and receive me as I am. The strong deception of pride rules the hearts of men.

Prov 21 :2-4 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Haughtiness of eyes and a proud heart, even the tillage of the wicked or the lamp [of joy] to them [whatever it may be], are sin [in the eyes of God].

Again and again Israel promise to walk with God only to fall into disobedience again. God warns them continuously,

1 Kings 17:13-14. 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all the prophets and all the seers, saying, Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the Law which I commanded your fathers and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.

14 Yet they would not hear, but hardened their necks as did their fathers who did not believe (trust in, rely on, and remain steadfast to) the Lord their God.

Again and again God promises to forgive and restore them if they would only return to Him with all their hearts.

Zechariah 10:6  And I will strengthen the house of Judah and I will save the house of Joseph [Ephraim]. I will bring them back and cause them to dwell securely, for I have mercy, loving-kindness, and compassion for them. They shall be as though I had not cast them off, for I am the Lord their God, and I will hear them. (AMP)

Why is it that man cannot see the holiness of God, and cannot comprehend His passion for righteousness and holiness and His unending thirst for justice? We stand before Him naked and ashamed with no defence for our many sins. We are fodder for the wrath of God and He will execute His judgment upon all who have disobeyed Him.

2 Thess 1:8-9

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (KJV)

Can you see that, as with all of God’s attributes, His Holiness is infinite? If His thirst for righteousness and justice are infinite, then where do we stand? Just as His holiness and righteousness are infinite, so is His love and mercy. So great was His desire for His offspring to be restored and set free from the power of sin, He sent forth His only begotten Son to take the entire and complete punishment for all our sins. All His wrath against sin was released against Jesus Christ. The wrath of God against sin was born by Jesus Christ as our atoning sacrifice.

Romans 5:8-10

But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.

Therefore, since we are now justified ([f]acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ’s blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.

10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin’s dominion) through His [[g]resurrection] life.

How vast our God is, His ways are past finding out. How great are His judgements. He is righteous altogether. His holiness is complete to perfection and all His ways are just. When He executes judgement, who can stand before Him? Yet as vast as His justice is; and His desire for all wrongs to be punished, He is full of mercy and loving kindness to all who bow their knee and their hearts to Him. His love limitless compels Him to place our judgment upon Jesus, and to let us go free if we repent and bow our hearts to the living God.

Ps 103:11

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him.(AMP)

His love is limitless. His love needed to be limitless to meet the challenge of His perfect justice and wrath against all sin. To the extent of His holiness, is the extent of His great love.

Our Key verse for the month – Ephes 3:17-19.

17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, [e]through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [f]mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] [g]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and[h]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR URBAN CONNECT GROUPS

1. How can we describe God’s holiness?

2. If God is perfectly just and He knows all things, then what will be His reaction to any sins or wrongful deeds?

3.  Do you think some people, perhaps even Christians, take a casual approach to sin?

4. Knowing all God’s wrath against your sin was endured by Jesus – how do you feel?

5. This justice – limitless; this holiness – limitless; this mercy – limitless; Our thankfulness – ????

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LED BY THE SPIRIT # 3 – HOW TO LISTEN WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO HEARtalk_to_the_hand_by_coppy_cat

PREACHING FOR SUNDAY 19TH MAY 2013 AM

REVISION

We want to be a Spirit filled and a Spirit led church. We want to be open to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead and have His way in us. God has designed human beings to be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit.  In April our theme was about being Baptised in the Holy Spirit. The number one reason we need this experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is so that we can be a witness. We learned that at salvation our own human spirit is recreated by the Holy Spirit. We learned that being baptised in the Spirit is a secondary experience to being born again and we learned about the power and value of praying in other tongues.

This month we have shared the wonder of being led by the Spirit of God. In week 1 we learned Man was created to be a vessel for the Holy Spirit to live in. You are called to live a higher life. A spirit dimension life not a natural or carnal life. In week 2 we learned that being led by the Holy Spirit helps us build relationships with each other as we show the fruit of the Spirit.

Today I want to share with you how to listen when you don’t wan to hear. Here’s our story.

2Sa 11:1  IN THE spring, when kings go forth to battle, David sent Joab with his servants and all Israel, and they ravaged the Ammonites [country] and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

2Sa 11:2  One evening David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, when from there he saw a woman bathing; and she was very lovely to behold.

2Sa 11:3  David sent and inquired about the woman. One said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

2Sa 11:4  And David sent messengers and took her. And she came in to him, and he lay with her–for she was purified from her uncleanness. Then she returned to her house.

2Sa 11:5  And the woman became pregnant and sent and told David, I am with child.

2Sa 11:6  David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. So Joab sent [him] Uriah.

In our sordid little tale of a King who is staying home from war and finding himself up to no good; he actually arranges for this innocent husband to be killed in the battle and later King David marries Bathsheba. Her baby dies and later she bears David a child who is Solomon the future King.

Think with me for a moment about the mindset of a king. A king in this culture has all power. He can pretty much do anything he wants and is essentially above the law. In the story of Esther we see that coming into the presence of the king unannounced may lead to death if the king does not point his sceptre at you. Certainly no one ever comes to the king to challenge him or criticise him. So imagine the fear in the heart of Nathan the prophet who comes to challenge David with a word from God.

2Sa 12:1  AND THE Lord sent Nathan to David. He came and said to him, There were two men in a city, one rich and the other poor.

2Sa 12:2  The rich man had very many flocks and herds,

2Sa 12:3  But the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb which he had bought and brought up, and it grew up with him and his children. It ate of his own morsel, drank from his own cup, lay in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him.

2Sa 12:4  Now a traveller came to the rich man, and to avoid taking one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfaring man who had come to him, he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his guest.

2Sa 12:5  Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, As the Lord lives, the man who has done this is a son [worthy] of death.

2Sa 12:6  He shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no pity.

2Sa 12:7  Then Nathan said to David, You are the man!

Nathan goes on to describe the judgements of God against David for his sins. His actions will result in many regrettable outcomes.  Now watch how David reacts to this news; and remember how kings have a mindset that they are above the law and can do what ever they please.

2Sa 12:13  And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.

In Psalm 51 David prays for forgiveness and repents deeply of his sins, saying “against you and you only, Oh God, have I sinned and done this evil in your sight.”

King David was able to listen when he didn’t want to hear. He was able to repent although he had sinned so greatly. He must have ignored every warning light in his heart as he lay with Bathsheba and later had her husband killed. His was a position of power over. His sin was greater because of his position.

This is why I believe God calls David a man after God’s own heart.

Act 13:22  And when He had deposed him, He raised up David to be their king; of him He bore witness and said, I have found David son of Jesse a man after My own heart, who will do all My will and carry out My program fully.

I believe God says this, not because David is a good man but because David was able to be moved by the Spirit of God. King David was able to listen when he didn’t want to hear.

Can you listen when you don’t want to hear?

When was the last time the Holy Spirit tapped you on the shoulder and said, “You’re wrong!”  Have you ignored warnings that go off in your heart? David’s attitude is also our attitude when we contemplate going outside the guidelines the Holy Spirit wants to bring to our lives. I can do it we say! I can do what I want. We become our own little king. It’s called pride. A heart overtaken in pride will find it very hard to hear correction.

Pro 15:10  Correction is grievous to him who forsakes the way; he who hates reproof shall die. (MKJV)

Humility is a choice, but it’s harder when we are not used to cultivating a life of humility. If we are used to getting our own way – that’s the flesh! The flesh life or the carnal life doesn’t recognise the leading of the Holy Spirit. The spirit life or the life of the Spirit is in sync, in tune with the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes when we go off track we need to be open to the Holy Spirit to show us where we are wrong and repent quickly.

Psa 139:23  Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

Psa 139:24  And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Are you like David? Open? Teachable? Able to be turned? Able to listen when you don’t want to hear?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Discuss how being a king meant that David had great power over others and this power made it difficult to hear a contrary opinion.
  2. Discuss how Nathan the prophet would have felt coming to see David and being commanded by God to correct the king.
  3. Why did Nathan tell a story that seemed unrelated to David’s sin?
  4. Discuss how David responded to Nathans approach.
  5. David repented deeply, still Bathsheba’s baby died; why do you think that is?

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Fresh AirFresh Air is the proclaimed time for seeking God with prayer and fasting right across the Christian Outreach Centre Movement in Australia and Oceania. It’s a time when we set ourselves apart to meet with God. To seek Him out and to humble ourselves. Part of this experience is repentance.

That comes through clearly from

2Ch 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Turning from our wicked ways is repentance.

It’s not an old fashioned word, it’s not a “revival only” word, it’s not a word for the fanatics, it’s a word from the bible that simply means change your mind. Here are the two main Greek words that are translated as repentance in the new testament:

1. metanoeō (met-an-o-eh’-o)

From G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent.

2. metanoia. met-an’-oy-ah

From G3340; (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication reversal (of [another’s] decision): – repentance.
When we spend time seeking God, we are opening up our lives, our hearts, our minds to God. We are asking , “What do I need to change God?”  When His people in the Old Testament went astray, as they did so often, He would call them back through His prophets. Return to me says the Lord. As normal human beings living in this fallen world it is so easy to find ourselves gradually changing to be like the world. Inching so surely and so gradually more and more to worldly behaviours and thinking.  For many Christians in our nation, there is little prayer in their lives, little reading of God’s word, their giving is what’s convenient, some even feel it unnecessary to attend church regularly; and fasting…. what’s that? All around us are millions of people who are on a highway to hell. Do we care? Are we heartbroken for the lost – even our own family members who are not saved yet? Do we really believe in a literal hell that every person who has not been born again will go to?

Take a look around – Australia is a very secular nation. so few are born again and many of those who are, are casual about winning the lost. The church has not just become irrelevant but is seen as part of the problem by the main stream media. OK so what do we do about it?  –  2Ch 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. I care about Australia – I want to see God rescue as any as possible from sin and unbelief. So this month I’m fasting and praying AND repenting.

The biggest obstacle to repentance is the attitude  – I’m OK its everyone else that needs to change. This is called self righteousness. The Pharisees were really good at this one.

In Luk 3:8 Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. – Here Jesus rebukes the Pharisees who believed that they were “OK” because they had Abraham as their father. Jesus discounted that by declaring, that is nothing… God can raise up sons of Abraham from these stones!  A little bit later in Luke we see

Luk 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt:
Luk 18:10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Luk 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’
Luk 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (ESV)

Self righteousness is an obstacle for repentance. The Pharisee did not see any need to change. The tax collector saw a big need to change. The Pharisee is telling God how good he is, the Tax Collector is saying how bad he is. The Pharisee compared himself to others, but the Tax Collector compared himself with God.

When ever we say to ourselves, I’m OK; I’m not as bad as those people. Or we say I’m trying hard, I do this and that for God, we are blinded by self righteousness, we can’t repent and we don’t even realise we are poor, miserable, blind and naked.  (Rev 3:17)  If we say to ourselves I’ve been saved for so many years and I have been to so many prayer meetings and I have fasted for so many times and fail to simply ask the Holy Spirit, “What needs to change in my heart today, Holy Spirit?” Then we are missing the incredible opportunity to open up our lives and our churches and our community for greatness and God’s plan.  Will you join us in seeking God, humbling ourselves, and repenting, turning away from attitudes, ideas, behaviours that the Holy Spirit shows us need to change?

2Ch 7:14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

7-27 JANUARY 2013 – FRESH AIR

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ESCAPING THE QUICKSAND OF PORNOGRAPHY

Why a message on Porn?

This is a huge problem in our society, as we will discover in a moment. The church must be bringing answers to hurting people. God’s word brings an answer for any of life’s problems. But as well as that, Christian Men are struggling with porn and we want to bring help and answers to our own church. You may not be struggling with porn, but be aware of what is happening in our families and be prepared to help others. Of course the use of pornography is shameful, and no one is going to want to own up to it. This hidden aspect of pornography is creating a sleeping giant in its capacity to damage teens and families. If you’re a parent here today, you need to understand how to protect your young children and teens from porn’s insidious effects.

THE CULTURE OF OUR TIMES

Teens and Porn

http://catholicexchange.com/the-teen-porn-epidemic-and-what-to-do-about-it/   –

June 7th, 2012  –  Matt Fradd

When Nathan started using internet pornography, he found that over time it somehow got less and less exciting. His daily routine soon included hours spent consuming porn, yet he had grown “almost numb to it,” he recalls. Like many men with addictions, he was discovering that the compulsive use of porn dulls the pleasure receptors of the brain, forcing them to seek ever-greater amounts of stimulation in a desperate quest for sexual satisfaction.

But Nathan was not yet a man. He was just twelve years old.

And unfortunately, he is not alone. We are witnessing the beginning of nothing less than an epidemic of porn addiction among teens and even younger children.

In today’s wired world, internet porn is everywhere, it’s easy to get, and it’s washing like a wave over every child who can hold an iPhone or log on to a laptop—according to one recent study, by the time they reach eighteen only three percent of boys and seventeen percent of girls will have never laid eyes on it. And these kids aren’t witnessing the kind of “soft-core” centerfold images that their parents may have stumbled across in a magazine or cable TV twenty years ago; no, they’re filling their heads with explicit, graphic depictions of sexual acts. In fact, according to the same study, which surveyed 563 teenage boys and girls, sixty-five percent had seen depictions of group sex, and twelve percent had seen rape or sexual violence.

This exposure to porn, which in adults causes dependent behaviours, spiritual emptiness, and a diminished ability to love, does additional harm to children by distorting their mental, emotional, and social development. One young woman—for it’s not just boys who are getting hooked on porn—who like Nathan became addicted at the age of twelve, observed, “’I started to isolate myself, because I hated what I was doing. I hated that I couldn’t stop.” A bewildered mother wrote of her eleven-year-old son, whose dependence on internet porn had left him psychologically devastated, “How could my beautiful boy, who could light up a room and my heart with his smile, have turned into this hollow, self-hating shell? What had I done wrong?”

With the threat that pornography use poses to their children only continuing to grow (as technology makes porn access ever easier and as porn becomes destigmatized in mainstream culture), more parents are sharing this mother’s despair. What can be done? Today’s world is a different place for children than it was even for an adult generation that grew up trained to be wary of drugs, bullies, and sexual predators on every street corner. Today’s new world poses new threats, and those threats require new strategies to keep children safe.

“How do we train our kids to be pure in heart?”

Drawing from my experiences, allow me to offer three strategies that you can implement to cooperate with God’s grace.

1 – Affirm the goodness of their sexuality

2 – Be a parent, not a buddy

3 – Use Filters and Accountability Software

What does the word of God say?

1Th 4:3  For this is the will of God, that you should be consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living): that you should abstain and shrink from all sexual vice,

1Th 4:4  That each one of you should know how to possess (control, manage) his own body in consecration (purity, separated from things profane) and honor,

1Th 4:5  Not [to be used] in the passion of lust like the heathen, who are ignorant of the true God and have no knowledge of His will,

1Th 4:6  That no man transgress and overreach his brother and defraud him in this matter or defraud his brother in business. For the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we have already warned you solemnly and told you plainly.

1Th 4:7  For God has not called us to impurity but to consecration [to dedicate ourselves to the most thorough purity].

1Th 4:8  Therefore whoever disregards (sets aside and rejects this) disregards not man but God, Whose [very] Spirit [Whom] He gives to you is holy (chaste, pure).

Mat 5:28  But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Mat 5:29  If your right eye serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell (Gehenna).

THE PREVALENCE OF PORNOGRAPHY

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=32644

How wide is the problem? The report cites one 2008 study of undergraduate and graduate students ages 18-26 that showed 69 percent of the men and 10 percent of the women viewed pornography more than once a month. But it’s not just adults. In 2009, the fourth-most searched word on the Internet for kids ages 7 and under was “porn,” according to data by OnlineFamily.Norton.com. For all kids — those up to age 18 — sex was No. 4, porn No. 5.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/porn-and-violence-do-not-have-a-place-in-childrens-lives/story-fn56aaiq-1226132547946

Research suggests that 70 per cent of boys and half all girls will have looked at porn by the age of 12.

(Large amount of Statistical Data from Australia 2003 – http://www.tai.org.au/documents/dp_fulltext/DP52.pdf )

Research done by Australian Pastor Alan Meyer, author of Valiant Man, has confirmed that in the church around 50% of men are engaging with pornography to some extent.

INTERVIEW WITH JASON HUXLEY

During the service we will interview Jason Huxley, an Australian staying in Canada.

Link for Jason – http://www.guiltypleasure.tv/

I’m glad to say that this is now in my past but I know that I’m still susceptible to porn, so I make sure that I guard myself everyday. For me porn did nothing to improve my life but just made it worse. The compound issues of being a Christian and porn addict made my life almost unbearable and today I feel so much compassion for people who are in the same place. – Jason Huxley

THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHY

Porn has hijacked sexuality and is destroying men – Gail Dines  October 14, 2010

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/porn-has-hijacked-sexuality-and-is-destroying-men-20101013-16jy4.html?comments=189#comments

Porn addicition is a serious issue, with a generation of men accustomed to graphic images.

A generation raised on hard core has trouble with the real thing.

In a recent radio interview the host suggested that since I didn’t like porn, the solution was to not look at it. If only it was that easy to avoid. Many women I know don’t look at porn, but this doesn’t mean that they are not affected by it every day.

The men they date, have sex with and marry are increasingly being brought up on a steady diet of porn, and the more they watch, the less capable they are of forming connected, intimate relationships.

The porn these men consume looks nothing like your father’s Playboy. In place of soft core, soft focus images of naked women smiling coyly at the camera, consumers are catapulted into a world of cruel and brutal sex acts designed to dehumanise women.

In the vast majority of porn today, sex is not about making love, as the feelings and emotions we normally associate with such an act – connection, empathy, tenderness, caring, affection – are missing, and in their place are those we normally associate with hate – fear, disgust, anger, loathing, and contempt.

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=32645

“Similarly, pornography is sexual junk food, and we have fallen under the spell of the myth that there is no such thing as too much sex and there’s no sex that’s bad sex,” said Layden, director of education at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Porn affects society – secular view

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/porn-not-just-a-little-harmless-fun/story-e6frg6zo-1225935783393

Although not all compulsive users, these men talked about their feelings of inadequacy relating to sex after using porn. Whether it was their inability to bring their girlfriends to a screaming orgasm, their need to conjure up porn images to reach their own orgasm with their girlfriends, their “inadequate size” male anatomy parts or their tendency to ejaculate “too quickly”, they were using “porn sex” as their yardstick and they all failed to measure up.

Some argue that porn has no effect in the real world, while others, especially anti-porn feminists, view pornography as material that encourages and justifies the oppression of women.

http://www.catholichighered.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=42KSYEXgZqE%3D&tabid=670

Professors Dolf Zillman of Indiana University and Jennings Bryant of the University of Houston have found that repeated exposure to pornography results in a decreased satisfaction with the sex life that you are experiencing in your marriage, a decrease in the valuation of faithfulness and a major increase in the importance of sex without attachment.

WHY PORNOGRAPHY IS SO ADDICTIVE

From a book: Wired for Intimacy – How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain. By William M. Struthers.

The male brain is the built like an ideal pornography receiver, wired to be on the alert for these images of nakedness. The male brain and our conscious visual experience is the internal monitor where we perceive them. The images of sexuality grab our attention, jumping out and hypnotizing a man like an HD television among a sea of standard televisions.

The Visual Magnetism of Pornography

Human sexuality affects every aspect of human life, but sexual acts are generally understood as private acts, taking place in the bedroom. We live in a culture that is clothed, and we do not regularly stumble across people having sex in public. We have laws against nudity and performing sexual acts in public. This cultural reality along with the intuitive notion that sex is a private, intimate act makes pornography so qualitatively different from the majority of our everyday visual experience. Our culture has trained us so that there is something about the naked form that is distinctive. When we come across it, we reflexively turn our attention toward it. But why do so many men find it difficult to look away after that first glance? Perhaps it is because their receiver is merely locking onto this strong signal.

A man’s brain is a sexual mosaic influenced by hormone levels in the womb and in puberty and molded by his psychological experience. Male brains can be very different from female brains because of this.

(Arnold, 2004, pp. 701-8; Ariely and Loewenstein. 2006, p. 87; Baron–Cohen, Lutchmaya and Knickmeyer, 2004; Brizendine, 2006; Cahill, 2006, p. 477).

Although neither superior nor inferior, they are very different in the way they detect stimuli, process information and respond to emotions. This is important because men detect sexual cues rapidly when it comes to nakedness or sex-related stimuli. Men seem to be more sensitive to visual cues for sexual arousal.

(Lykins, Meana and Kambe, 2006, pp. 569-75; Janssen, Carpenter and Graham, 2003, pp. 243-51; Karama et al., 2002, p. 1; Koukounas and McCabe, 1997, pp. 221-30).

The visual scanning of the naked image has a power in it that forces itself onto the male brain. The peculiar proficiency that the male brain has to relay this signal, combined with a man’s personal history and thought habits (his experience with looking at pornography), are why so many men have difficulty looking away. The signal is received and then projected onto the display, the visual experience of the viewer. The depiction of nudity and sexual acts have a hypnotic effect and the ability to hold their attention similar to an HD television. As men fall deeper into the mental habit of fixating on these images, the exposure to them creates neural pathways. Like a path is created in the woods with each successive hiker, so do the neural paths set the course for the next time an erotic image is viewed. Over time these neural paths become wider as

they are repeatedly traveled with each exposure to pornography. They become the automatic pathway through which interactions with women are routed. The neural circuitry anchors this process solidly in the brain. With each lingering stare, pornography deepens a Grand Canyon–like a gorge in the brain through which images of women are destined to flow.

They have unknowingly created a neurological circuit that imprisons their ability to see women rightly as created in God’s image. Repeated exposure to pornography creates a one-way neurological superhighway where a man’s mental life is over-sexualized and narrowed. It is hemmed in on either side by high containment walls making escape nearly impossible. This neurological superhighway has many on-ramps. The mental life is fixated on sex, but it is intended for intimacy. It is wide—able to accommodate multiple partners, images and sexual possibilities, but it is intended to be narrow—a place for God’s exclusive love to be imaged. This neurological superhighway has been reconstructed and built for speed, able to rapidly get to the climax of sexual stimulation. It is intended, however for the slow discovery and appreciation of a loving partner. The pornography built pathway has only a few off-ramps, leading to sexual encounters that have only a fleeting impact and hasten the need for more. But these encounters are intended to be long lasting and satisfying for both partners and have many off ramps for creative expressions of intimacy that are not genitally oriented.

http://www.amazon.com/William-M.-Struthers/e/B002LFKZA2

Some authors have stated that the addictive power of pornography has an effect greater than that of heroin in terms of difficulty to break. The reason is, that eventually all the heroin is gone from your system. But for men, these images will stay with them for the rest of their lives. You can’t make yourself forget images in your mind.

ANSWERS

  1. The Church must bring answers not condemnation. Many people stuck in porn addiction do not understand why it is so hard to stop. I encourage wives to understand the predicament men face. We can say there’s no excuse, but that may not help solve the issue. Men need to make tough decisions, but they need understanding and support because many are stuck and can’t get out.
  2. The power of sin is broken when we surrender to Jesus and immerse ourselves in His word. Rom 8:7  [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.

Rom 8:8  So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.

Rom 8:9  But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]. [Rom. 8:14.](AMP)

  1. Valiant Man series. This church will run a teaching series for all the guys called Valiant man which we have run in the past with good results. It is developed by an Australian Pastor Alan Meyer and helps men change and be set free from addiction to sexual images. Our attitude in this church is not to bring shame which is unproductive; but to assume no one has this problem but to equip all men with answers. This series will begin later in the year after a period of promotion.
  2. The author and cinematographer Jason Huxley who we interviewed this morning is producing a resource called Guilty Pleasure that will be available next year and we will bring that resource to this church to further assist everyone.
  3. Counselling is available. For those who are struggling with porn addiction and want to get out sooner rather than later. The pastoral staff of this church will assist you and maintain confidentiality. We will refer you to trained counsellors where appropriate.
  4. The pastoral staff are prepared to fast and pray with anyone who would like to be accountable for their ongoing progress.
  5. We recommend internet filters for all home computers. We recommend one called Covenant Eyes. The link is http://www.covenanteyes.com/  This includes iPhone and iPad apps. Understand that filters do not break the underlying problem of addiction, but are helpful to protect teenagers and to keep people free after they have broken through the barrier of addiction.

EXTRA STUFF

For people who want to use Covent Eyes use this link. http://www.covenanteyes.com/?promocode=guiltypleasure
Guilty Pleasure is an affiliate of Covenant Eyes and 15% of subscriptions go towards Guilty Pleasure if people use this link.
Also, coming up soon; ex porn producer Donny Pauling’s visit as it would be very relevant as a follow up topic. Here is a video clip that you can play  http://vimeo.com/46208764

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We live in a fallen world.

We live in a world where values of integrity and fidelity have moved significantly over the last 100 years.

Adultery has always been a factor in every era, but now in this day in which we live it is sold as exciting and adventurous; being openly displayed on almost every TV program, movie and magazine. It has become far more acceptable now then ever before.

MOVIE CLIP – AN AD FOR THE “GOOD WIFE”

http://youtu.be/M5wbUmhf3ro

The hurt caused by betrayal is seldom given the prominence that a salacious affair is given.

The Effect of the media.

The media glamorises adultery.

Catholic news service  http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=28831

LOS ANGELES (LifeSiteNews) – The Parents Television Council released a new study, Happily Never After: How Hollywood Favors Adultery and Promiscuity Over Marital Intimacy on Prime Time Broadcast Television, which revealed that broadcast networks depict sex in the context of marriage as either non-existent or burdensome, while showing positive depictions of extra-marital or adulterous sexual relationships with alarming frequency.
Across the broadcast networks, the new PTC report found that verbal references to non-marital sex outnumbered references to sex in the context of marriage by nearly 3 to 1, and scenes depicting or implying sex between non-married partners outnumbered similar scenes between married couples by a ratio of nearly 4 to 1.

Durex’s Global Sex Survey has found that worldwide 22% of people surveyed have had extramarital sex. Some countries the prevalence was as high as 58%

United States

Alfred Kinsey found in his studies that 50% of males and 26% of females had extramarital sex at least once during their lifetime.[20] Depending on studies, it was estimated that 26–50% of men and 21–38% women,[21]

In Australia http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Cheating-hearts/2004/12/22/1103391840011.html?oneclick=true

Depending on which study you believe, between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of people in long-term relationships have been unfaithful, and, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, infidelity is cited as the main provocation in 20 per cent of divorce cases.

In the 2005 Global sex survey taken by the condom company Durex; Australia rated second highest nation on earth for the number of sexual partners respondents had. An average of 13.3.

http://wayback.archive.org/web/jsp/Interstitial.jsp?seconds=5&date=1203149228000&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.durex.com%2Fcm%2Fgss2005result.pdf&target=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.archive.org%2Fweb%2F20080216080708%2Fhttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.durex.com%2Fcm%2Fgss2005result.pdf

There is now a website that facilitates adultery; It is a website for people who want a fling. AshleyMadison.com their slogan is Life is short – Have an affair.

Christians commit adultery too. In spite of the bible saying

1Co_6:9  Do you not know that the unrighteous and the wrongdoers will not inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived (misled): neither the impure and immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who participate in homosexuality,

1Co 6:10  Nor cheats (swindlers and thieves), nor greedy graspers, nor drunkards, nor foulmouthed revilers and slanderers, nor extortioners and robbers will inherit or have any share in the kingdom of God. (AMP)

Yet many Christians fall into this trap.

Most likely your marriage is fine. This message may seem irrelevant to you, but consider who else you can help who may be struggling in this area. More to the point; be on your guard, for we are all subject to temptation and we need Godly advice to protect us from errors.

Why do some Christians fall into this trap?

 

1. The culture of the age

The culture of the age is drowning in moral relativism. That is: if it feels good – Do it! The trend is to question all kinds of restraint. Who says pre-marital sex is wrong? The result: the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases sky rockets. Who says adultery is wrong? Result: the divorce rate is the highest ever, throwing massive costs on to the economy through a multitude of ramifications.

As people move away form God, righteousness and fidelity, they look more and more like the nation of Israel who suffered the consequences of disobedience to God. If you don’t believe in God or don’t care about righteousness then none of this makes sense to you and Christians are just prudes and kill joys, hypocrites who try to tell others how to live.

But the bible calls us Christians to be salt and light. Not only are we called to live in righteousness but our example is to show the way for others. It’s our joy to walk with Jesus and to be ever so grateful for our release from the prison of sin and the horror of eternity in hell, that we draw on all His power to live a new life of freedom, righteousness and purity.

As born again Christians we have a new nature. We are born from above we don’t want to sin any longer; this salvation we have, is power over sin, and we have a new heart that wants to please God.

2. Everyone is tempted

Jas_1:14  But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). (AMP)

We learned last week about the power of walking in the spirit, we have a carnal nature – that old man that still has influence in our lives if we let it. But we choose to walk in the spirit and thereby we do not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.

You may be tempted, but here’s why you don’t yield to it.

  1. God is so generous and gracious to call you out of darkness. We say no to sin because of so great a salvation. We know what we are saved from.
  2. We count the cost. Is one night of passion worth losing our marriage, losing the respect of my kids, breaking up the family home, paying lawyers thousands of dollars in divorce settlements etc etc? (It cost Greg Norman $9mill to divorce his first wife… might have been less pain to stay together)
  3. There’s a massive amount of evidence that such relationships rarely work out. 41% of marriages end in divorce and 83% of second marriages.

MY STORY IN KIEV.

3. The absence of the fear of God

The church must stay true to the word of God. If the church strays away from truth it loses its power and effectiveness. The church cannot wink at pre-marital sex, adultery, and homosexuality because the society is changing. We must preach bible values. To preach the gospel is to present the true picture of salvation. The reality of what Jesus has done on the cross is so awesome and amazing that we are deeply moved by our understanding of the consequences of sin and the great gift of salvation we have received. It is a gift that we do not deserve in any way. Our ability to see it and repent is totally a gift from God and for us to take it for granted is the height of foolishness.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Depth of His love equals the height of His anger against sin. If we truly know Him we are people who walk in a Godly fear and walk in a manner worthy of so great a salvation.

Heb 10:26  If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice

Heb 10:27  and are left on our own to face the Judgment–and a mighty fierce judgment it will be!

Heb 10:28  If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death,

Heb 10:29  what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit?

Heb 10:30  This is no light matter. God has warned us that he’ll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: “Vengeance is mine, and I won’t overlook a thing,” and, “God will judge his people.”

Heb 10:31  Nobody’s getting by with anything, believe me. (MESS)

God is so gracious and forgiving, and yes, of course, adultery is not the unforgivable sin, but can we trade on that grace and enter a forbidden relationship in the belief that God will forgive and pardon us in the end?

I have counselled many people who have made that decision. Some ended up far from God, others serve in the ministry today. My only plea to all people I serve with the word of God, is walk carefully, this is very dangerous ground.

4. Spiritual and emotional adultery

Physical adultery breaks a covenant made in the sight of God between two people. Often this step comes at the end of what began as emotional and spiritual adultery.

Some people may even enter emotional and spiritual adultery and not actually come together physically.

Jesus speaks so clearly about this practice when he says…

Mat 5:27  You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery. [Exod. 20:14; Deut. 5:18.]

Mat 5:28  But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (AMP)

When a man and a woman marry they covenant to live together and give each other their hearts and their souls and their bodies. Scientists have discovered that when a couple makes love, the hormone oxytocin is released in both the man and the woman. This hormone creates a bonding experience in the mind and emotions of each one. The act of sex is so much more than physical.

When a married person shares their heart with a person other than their spouse they begin to forge a link that supplies the rest and refreshment of the soul that should be provided only by your spouse. Often counsellors get into trouble because they show empathy and express care and listening skills which create a bond emotionally that leads to emotions of infidelity. That is why in this church we do not counsel the opposite sex.

These emotions can seem so real that the person believes they have fallen in love with someone else and now they feel their own partner does not love them.

Often the man feels his wife does not understand him and he finds solace in the caring of another woman. His own wife will sense he has distanced himself from her and alarm bells go off. Soon her fear of another being present in the relationship, pushes her to criticism and anger, pushing him away.

At this point the offending pair will say, “It all seems so right. Perhaps we married the wrong person.”

They have been duped by deception. This deception stops them from seeing the truth – that their new relationship is of their own making and it is fuelled by pride. “This is what I want – it’s for me”

Pro 6:32  But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks heart and understanding (moral principle and prudence); he who does it is destroying his own life.

Pro 6:33  Wounds and disgrace will he get, and his reproach will not be wiped away. (AMP)

 The way out

  1. Cut it off now. Don’t wait another hour. Don’t expect your feelings to approve. Run from the snare that has caught you.   Pro 7:21  With much justifying and enticing argument she persuades him, with the allurements of her lips she leads him [to overcome his conscience and his fears] and forces him along.

Pro 7:22  Suddenly he [yields and] follows her reluctantly like an ox moving to the slaughter, like one in fetters going to the correction [to be given] to a fool or like a dog enticed by food to the muzzle

  1. Seek God and cry out for His mercy that perhaps He will lift the deception off your soul.
  2. See a counsellor. Be open to someone who is Godly and confess your sins and receive instruction. Chris and I are willing to see anyone. You may wish to see a professional counsellor outside the church. Here is a resource for Christian counsellors. http://www.ccaa.net.au/find-a-christian-counsellor/all-christian-counsellors.php?intstate=2  and another  http://www.totalwellbeing.com.au/counselling-service

We live in a crazy world where the moral standards are plummeting – lets be a church that shines the light so bright. Let’s be a church that empowers great marriages and heals broken ones. Let’s be a church that helps adulterers find a way back home and let’s be a church that helps to heal the broken hearted ones who have been betrayed.

Love one another, go easy on one another, pray for each other.

 

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PRISON BREAK 2

Message for 12-08-12

 

OVERCOMING SIN

 

Main thought – the power of the blood and the cross is to not only forgive sin but also give the believer power over sin.

 

The power of “Don’t” – It doesn’t work.

When we tell a young child. “don’t touch” we empower them with a big desire to touch.

 

Video – the marshmallow test.

This is what Paul said in Romans when we read last week…

 

Rom 7:8  But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing].

 

To illustrate the effect of the Law on the mind, the apostle in this verse depicts its influence in exciting to evil desires and purposes.

 

What we learned last week was that you and I have at work within us a sin principle. A desire to disobey which is unconquerable. Even the most disciplined and desperate soul in an effort to do good fails at this point in becoming proud of his perceived achievement and sins by pride or religious self righteousness.

 

Mat 19:17  And He said to him, Why do you ask Me about the perfectly and essentially good? There is only One Who is good [perfectly and essentially]–God. If you would enter into the Life, you must continually keep the commandments.

 

 

THE ANSWER

 

The answer is not “don’t”

Saying don’t do it, is a strategy without power.

Sins incessant demands and our complete impotence to achieve goodness means that we can never be perfect. We can never live without sin no matter how hard we try. To say just don’t is the height of foolishness.

 

What about a change of heart? – No that won’t do it either the only way is death!!

 

The only person who doesn’t sin is a dead person.

When the police are searching for a criminal on the run. They are preparing evidence to charge him. They are ready to take him to court and put him on trial. If they find out he is dead, everything stops. There’s no searching, no more investigation, no trial, it’s all over.

 

Here’s how the bible puts it…

Rom 7:1  DO YOU not know, brethren–for I am speaking to men who are acquainted with the Law–that legal claims have power over a person only for as long as he is alive?

Rom 7:2  For [instance] a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies, she is loosed and discharged from the law concerning her husband.

Rom 7:3  Accordingly, she will be held an adulteress if she unites herself to another man while her husband lives. But if her husband dies, the marriage law no longer is binding on her [she is free from that law]; and if she unites herself to another man, she is not an adulteress.

Rom 7:4  Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God. (AMP)

 

The only way you can be free from sin is to die. God’s so smart He figured out a way to do this without putting an end to your earthly existence!! Interested?

 

Here’s how it works…

Rom 7:4  Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ

Or as Paul puts it in Romans 6…

Romans 6:6  We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.

Rom 6:7  For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].

So get this picture…

Jesus died – and you died

Jesus was buried and you were buried in the waters of Baptism

Jesus rose from the dead – and you rose from the dead into newness of life out of the waters of Baptism

Jesus lived a new supernatural life – and you now live a new life filled with God’s spirit.

 

The truth about salvation, about you repenting and surrendering your life to Christ is that your old life died. You were in Christ when He died on the cross.

 

At that exact moment you became a totally new person. A different person. BORN AGAIN, BORN ANEW,  a new birth for a new person.

 

The old Craig Anderson died and a new person began, a person now created in the likeness of Jesus and with a new life on the inside, no longer subject to sin.

 

Let’s see how the bible explains that…

2Co 5:17  Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! (AMP)

1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever. NKJV

 

Let’s make this really clear…. When you get born again, you are a new person, with a totally new heart/spirit. You have been changed, regenerated, a new beginning.

Yes you are acquitted, pardoned, forgiven of all your sins, but more than that you begin anew, with a new heart that does not want to sin. Now you desire to please Him who has saved you.

 

Rom 6:17  But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.

Rom 6:18  And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action).

To accomplish this great change we must do two things.

Repent and believe – Turn to Christ in full surrender. Capitulate. Lay down and ie to the old life – it wasn’t taking you anywhere nice anyway. This means reckon yourself as dead to sin

Rom 6:11  Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.

And secondly choose to walk in the spirit.

 

In Romans just before we read…

Rom 7:6  But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So nowwe serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].

This new life we have we don’t live alone, but we have the Holy Spirit leading and prompting us to do good, to live right, to please God.

 

Later in Galatians Paul explains this a little more….

Gal 5:16  But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). (AMP)

 

To stop sinning – give up, surrender, die to the old way of life in complete surrender to Christ. Reckon yourself dead to sin. Walk in the spirit, be filled and empowered by the spirit. You can never stop sinning by your own human effort and will, it’simpossible. You can only do it with the grace of God. Stop fighting and surrender. Dump pride and give up trying to be a better person.

 

HOW?
1. Read and mediate on Romans chap 6 and 8

2. Humble yourself to God and ask Him to show you that you are dead to sin.

3. Sometimes that humbling is greatly assisted by fasting if you are trapped in a stronghold of sin.

4. Humble yourself and ask a brother or sister to pray with you and be accountable to.

 

 

 

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SIN

ImageRom 7:14  I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself–after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. (MESS)

The prison of Sin

Why do we commit sins? Why do we do things that we later regret?

In a moment of weakness have you ever done something that you later hated yourself for?

What about infidelity?

Some researchers say there’s a 50–50 chance today that one partner will have an affair during a marriage including non-physical relationships.[1] It is estimated that roughly 30 to 60% of all married individuals (in the United States) will engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage.[3] Some authorities (for example, Frank Pittman in ‘Grow Up’ (Golden Guides)) observe infidelity is involved in 90% of first time divorces.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infidelity

Temptation touches every life; but sexual sin is only one way that we fall into temptation. As human beings we are constantly choosing right and wrong thoughts actions and behaviours. A jealous thought can lead to a rude comment or it can lead to murder as in the case of a man in the news this week who killed his wife’s lover.

A person might tell a lie to avoid being responsible for a problem, but that lie could turn into big troubles as in the case of a supreme court judge who lied about who was driving his car when caught by a speed camera and saw his reputation shredded in full public view.

But so often sin is not just a mistake that we regret, but it is a prison that we are held inside with no hope of escape.

Like the teenager who ties drugs once as dare and after 5 years of bad decisions has a heroine addiction that has taken their health, their friends their money and their self worth away. They are a prisoner.

What about the person who was curious about internet pornography at first but now has a raging appetite for more and more degrading porn and can’t stop viewing it. They may be one step away from downloading illegal material that could land them in jail. They may well believe that they are trapped and can’t get out of that addiction.

People are trapped by many different strongholds of sin.

Pride – manifested in constantly behaving in an arrogant manner

Lying – manifested in creating a false world around their lives to impress the people who no longer care.

Revenge – that manifests itself in unending imaginations of how to get even.

Greed – that manifests itself in hurting others to get more no matter what the cost.

Lust – that manifests it self in a constant search for gratification that once satisfied returns again so soon.

So many people are trapped in a prison of sin. They would describe their lives as a struggle. It’s not freedom. It’s bondage. They are not free to live a full, happy and prosperous life. They can’t say, “Look at my life; there are no secrets, my life is an open book and every day I am proud of who I am and what I do”

The Apostle Paul in the bible described this struggle with sin. He says it in a way that I’m sure you will identify with…

Paul’s dilemma – Rom 7:14-24

Paul goes on to describe how we can be delivered from sin in Romans Chapter eight

In this series I will be preaching and teaching about how to be set free from sin.

If you are a serious Christian you will want to hear this message. You will want more than anything to walk pleasing to God and truly represent Him as a Godly person.

You will want to be free from every kind of bondage, and more than that, you will want to conquer sin through the work of Jesus on the cross so that you can fully take the freedom and deliverance offered to all Christians.

In this series I will show you from the scriptures that Jesus work on the cross not only gives you forgiveness of sin BUT also gives you power over sin. He gives you deliverance from the power of sin to hold you in bondage.

Sin is a spiritual problem

What is sin?

1Jn 3:4  Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect–being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will).

If we say we have no sin.

1Jn 1:8  If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts].

 

Where did sin originate?

The bible is very clear that sin originated in Adam.

 

Rom 5:12 So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned –

(Adam and Eve were one couple.

Scientific evidence – In modern Science we have thousands of scientists who agree with the biblical account of creation; a list of just some of them can be found at

http://creation.com/creation-scientists

The so called Mitochondrial DNA – studies by Geneticists in 1986; Cann & Stoneking revealed that all humans alive descended from one single human mother, who lived about 150,000 years ago. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Adam)

Adam’s sin was of course to disobey God. His wife Eve disobeyed first then Adam joined her in doing exactly what God told them not to do. Partake of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Lets see what Romans says about that…

Rom 5:12  Therefore, as sin came into the world through one man, and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned.

This verse shows us that the one man, Adam, sinned by disobeying God and the result is death. Sin brings death. Death means physical death and spiritual death which is separation from God. This death had total effect on all men. That is, all of Adams descendents. Death had power over all men, because all men have sinned. All Men sin because they are born of Adam. That is they are of his kind, born of Adam means born of fallen man.

Adam was born in untested innocence. He was perfect but morally untested. He was tested by temptation and he disobeyed God and fell from perfection. This gave his tempter authority over him.

Rom 6:16  Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?

 

The fact is that the human race is sinful in nature. This by no means refers to human nature as God made it-or makes it-but to the fact that before man commits any sin he is already a sinner because he is born of a sinner (Adam). This situation may be described in terms both of sin being passed on to all people from the first man and our identification with primal man in his sin. However depicted, the important feature is that man does not come into the world as an innocent or neutral creature but is affected by sin in all aspects of his being (As David says in Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me [and I too am sinful].  Indeed, by virtue of this fact, man is corrupted in every area of his nature-body, soul, spirit-so that he is utterly incapable himself of restoration and salvation. His only hope is in Jesus Christ.

 

Rom 5:18  Well then, as one man’s trespass [one man’s false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man’s act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.

This verse reminds us that Adam’s trespass may have caused death to hold sway over all men, but Jesus act of righteousness results in life being made available for all men.

Whilst Adam first sinned, thereby giving us a nature that is subject to disobedience, we can not blame Adam for our own failures. We are responsible for our own sins as they are for their own actions.

It is true that we all are sinners by choice, even though we understand that through Adam was the entrance of sin into the human race and understand that it affected Adam’s descendents. Even so man perpetrates and perpetuates sin, therefore he cannot be relieved of the responsibility for it.

The seat of sin is in man himself. Our Lord said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). The heart of man is the birthplace of all sinful thoughts, words and actions. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). In each of us there is sin for which each is accountable. The hidden capacities for evil are present in even the best of men.

There are no good men (or women) there are only open hearted men and hard hearted men. An open hearted man hears the gospel and responds in humility. He sees the truth of his own sin and receives correction and repentance. A hard hearted man rejects his own guilt and blames God for the state of his failures and the world’s problems.

The answer of course is death….. Dead people don’t sin. But more about that next week.

Lets not think that sin only refers to the seven deadly sins of lust, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, stealing and sloth. What about unbelief? God says that is a sin that kept the whole of Israel out of the promised land for 40 years. And what about fear, what about doubt, what about lack of love. In the new Testament Paul goes so far as to say what ever is not of faith is sin.

I hope you’re not in bondage. But if you’re like me there are still some aspects of the flesh that hold me bound and I want to be free. Totally free to live in liberty and walk in the Spirit. This message is the problem outlined. The answer is next week – please don’t miss the cure now you know you have the disease.

This is the journey we will take in the series called prison break.

Week 1 – Sin – What is it and why are we so trapped by it?

Week 2 – Overcoming sin through the Blood and the Cross

Week 3 – The modern day temptation of adultery

Week 4 – The modern day temptation of Pornography

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