Lessons in Discipleship(9) دروس في التلمذة

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LID#9- Lordship and Personal Purity

          This is Dr. Ed Hoskins welcoming you to Lessons in Discipleship, a series designed to help new believers become established in their Christian faith.  Today’s session is Lordship and Personal Purity.  First, let me tell you a little about myself.  I’m a retired physician who spent 34 years in family medicine and student health.  I became a Christian 50 years ago and was helped early in my faith by the Navigators, a non-denominational international Christian organization whose stated goal is “To Know Christ and To Make Him Known.”  I’ve been on associate staff with that organization since 1980.  Lessons in Discipleship is a compilation of what I learned during that time.  What I learned then I now pass on to you.  Today’s session is Lordship and Personal Purity.

I Peter 1:16 says “For it is written: ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”  It’s the living God saying that.  In Luke 6:46 Jesus said, “Why do you call me. ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  In Luke 9:23 Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” We need to be treating Jesus as the ‘holy one of God.’  If Jesus is not Lord of all in our lives, he is not Lord at all.

I want to tell you about a short booklet written in 1951 by Robert Boyd Munger, taken from one of his sermon series.  Pastor Munger was a Presbyterian minister.  He wrote “My Heart Christ’s Home.”  It is a parable about a new believer with Jesus taking up residence in his own body.  What was Jesus’ purpose?  It was to transform his life completely.  In John 14:2-3 Jesus said, “In my father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  In Dr. Munger’s parable, Jesus transforms five rooms in our lives: the library, the dining room, the living room, the work room, and the rec (recreation) room.

The library is the room of our intellect.  It’s what we voluntarily put into our minds every day.  The dining room is where we indulge our daily appetites.  Those consist of our hopes, our dreams, and our aspirations.  The living room is a place of comfort and relationship.  The work room is where we build things with our skills and talents.  And the rec room is what we do with our recreation, hobbies, and for entertainment.  Each room is gradually transformed by Jesus to more closely reflect Christ’s desires for us.  In the process of transformation, our lives become more productive and fulfilled.  Finally, Christ cleans out the tiny, hidden hall closet where our deep, dark and shameful secrets are hidden.  The ultimate solution is when we choose to transfer the title deed of our entire home to Christ to be used for his purposes.  Christ made us originally.  He knows what is best for us.  This booklet can be found online.  It can also be purchased on Amazon or downloaded free as it is in free public domain.  So enjoy.

So why are lordship, holiness, and personal purity so important?  First and foremost, it’s absolutely essential in order to see God.  Hebrews 12:14 says “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.”  Second, we can’t follow both Jesus and impurity.  In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said “No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  Also, God only uses pure vessels.  In II Timothy 2:20-21 it is written, “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”  Here’s an illustration.  If I have been working outside where it has been hot, and then come into the house, I’m usually very thirsty.  I go to the kitchen and open the cabinets looking for a glass to drink from.  Let’s say I find only two clean vessels available.  One is a crystal clear expensive goblet, but unfortunately it has a dead bug in the bottom.  The other vessel is a plain but clean jar.  Which one am I going to choose?  You are right.  I chose the simple jar.  In the same way, God uses only clean vessels.  The choice is up to me which one I am.  Everything in life comes from the heart.  Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Here are a few practical suggestions regarding personal purity. First, in deciding what to put into our minds (books, movies, internet, music, etc) we should not put in whatever everyone else is taking in.  So how do we choose?  Here’s a guide from the Bible.  Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” That’s quite a list.

You might be familiar with John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress from the 17th century.  Bunyan also wrote a follow-up book called Holy War.  it’s equally good and I recommend it.  In that book, he described what he called an Eye Gate and an Ear Gate which are the entryways the evil one, or Satan, uses to invade our lives.  And so it’s what we choose to look at and what we choose to listen to.  Here’s another practical suggestion.  Psalm 101:3 says “I will set before my eyes no vile thing.  The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.”  Realistically, if there is any movie or song or book that we would not be proud to have Jesus watch with us, then we shouldn’t be watching or listening to it either.

I Thessalonians 4:22 states “Avoid every kind of evil.”  II Timothy 2:22 reminds us to “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Choose your friends well.  Proverbs 13:20 tells us that “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”

Here’s another good recommendation and encouragement to memorize scripture.  “How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.  I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9, 11)  So memorizing lots of scripture is incredibly valuable.

This one is crucial.  Treat any form of pornography as absolute poison. I remember one young man I was counseling who said he was struggling with pornography. He said, “At least it’s nothing serious, like HIV.”  I told him, “It’s worse than HIV. It’s HIV of the soul. It will destroy you.”

Let’s summarize what we’ve learned from this brief presentation.  First, lordship is intimately associated with God’s holiness because a holy God has chosen to live within us.  “Be holy because I am holy.”  Jesus is either Lord of all in our lives or he is not Lord at all.

Second, avoid any form of pornography like the plague.  It will destroy those it touches.

Third, if we tolerate any impurity in our lives, there will be terrible consequences.  “Do not be deceived; God cannot be mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.  The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)

As an antidote to warnings #2 and #3 above, invest heavily in our final recommendation, which is to memorize lots of scripture to help transform our lives to his image.  I’ve seen that happen. It can and will transform your thought lives.

We will see you next time for another session of Lessons in Discipleship when we cover Scripture Memory and the Topical Memory System.  That wraps up today’s session.  Thanks for being a part.   Until next time, keep following Jesus.  He’s worth it.

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