[0:00] We are working our way through the Ten Commandments, and we come tonight to the Seventh Commandment. You shall not commit adultery. And then Jesus picks up on that commandment in Matthew chapter five and expands it to include lust.
[0:14] So we tonight are gonna talk about adultery and lust. We sent a message about the fact that they were talking about this in the Wednesday email, so you may have seen that. But if you're a visitor tonight, you won't have seen that.
[0:26] So welcome to St. Columbus. Tonight we're gonna talk about adultery and lust. Now, it's important.
[0:36] It's the Seventh Commandment, and it's important. Let me give you two reasons why it's very important that we talk about this, of course, across all centuries, but especially today.
[0:47] One is that the culture, the Western culture, a culture and a city like Edinburgh looks at Christianity and especially the sexual ethics that Christians have espoused for 20 centuries now.
[1:00] And they say what I see is rules, rules, rules. I see a religion that calls us to avoid the taboo.
[1:11] And people will say Christians on the issue of sexual ethics are outdated and prudish and traditionalists unnecessarily.
[1:22] And it's important to say that even for us as Christians, as one author puts it, we can have a frail devotion to the rules driven by duty and not by desire.
[1:36] And when we think of the ethics of Christianity, especially as it pertains to sexuality, as simply the rules, just trying to conform to the rules, then we're in a position where the more and more we relate to people outside and the culture all around us, we can get to a place where we don't really know why the rules are the rules.
[1:54] Why the law is the law. Why the seventh commandment says what the seventh commandment says and then start to ask, does the Christian vision for sexual ethics really work in the modern world?
[2:06] And so we've said week after week that, and this is one of the big reasons for looking at this, is that it's so important to see that the 10 commandments are not about rules.
[2:16] They are not rules. They are rules, but they're not rules. They're not merely about addressing what might be taboo. The 10 commandments are here to tell you how to live a life of joy and peace.
[2:31] And they're here to say that God made the world and that God designed the world in a specific way, and that if you wanna live a life of joy and peace, you actually have to walk along the grain of reality, the way that God really did make things.
[2:46] And when you don't do that, when you push against the grain of reality, it pushes back. That a lot of pain comes from pushing against this, and this is especially the case when it comes to sexuality.
[2:58] Now, the second reason that comes right along with that is that because the modern world pushes against the grain of reality so often on this topic, most of us, most people come tonight on a topic like this with so many scars.
[3:14] You know, sexuality has such power, such power, power in the right context to fulfill and power in the wrong context to destroy.
[3:25] And in the modern world, sexuality expressed is essentially taken to be existentially meaningless, to not really have meaning built in, to treat it as if it's just another part of the marketplace.
[3:41] And for that reason, there is pain and there are scars everywhere. There have been no winners. No winners have come from the sexual revolution.
[3:52] Only losers. It's only caused hurt and pain and scarring. And that means that many of us tonight, some of us tonight will come to a topic like this with guilt and shame and regret and hurt and pain or maybe a lack of fulfillment and loneliness or feeling that you have nowhere to be honest about temptation.
[4:14] And nobody to talk to about the struggles, the temptations that are really there in your life. And so it's so important we come tonight and recognize how honest the Bible is and how honest we have to be. Jesus, the Bible comes tonight and says, "'Thou shall not commit adultery or lust." Jesus takes it that far.
[4:32] And the initial way we might look at it as human beings, even as Christians, is to cower and say, oh, it's so difficult to read that.
[4:42] And we need to know, we need to hear that when Jesus gives us these commands, he comes right alongside human beings and says, I came for those in need of a physician.
[4:55] He comes and says, I came not for the well, but for the sick. I came not to call the righteous, but to call the center home. And so Jesus Christ comes tonight to say, there is a way to heal.
[5:08] There's a way to be forgiven. There's a way for hope on all of these issues that Jesus Christ came to help us on this. And so let's think about two things together. And the first is negatively why lust is wrong.
[5:23] And the positive side of that is we need a bigger vision for sexuality, why lust is wrong, with a bigger vision of sexuality. And then secondly, then a path to healing. So just those two things.
[5:35] First, why lust is wrong? All right, we've been most weeks looking at the Ten Commandments and saying that the Westminster Confession of Faith and its catechisms gives you the commandment and then says, now you can think about it as what is forbidden in this command and then what is required of me in this commandment.
[5:55] So let's think about it like that. What is forbidden in this commandment? What is forbidden is adultery. Okay, adultery, the word that's used here is by definition a reference to being unfaithful to your spouse in the midst of marriage.
[6:12] But when you read across the Bible on this, you realize that it has implicitly embedded within it a reference simply to sexual sin. So Paul uses the word fornication most of the time across, we translate it that way, it's the word porneia in Greek, from which we get the word pornography.
[6:30] And here we learn immediately that built into this word in the Seventh Commandment is the idea that sexual sin is a spectrum that it exists in degrees and that the base level of that sin, the foundation, where it begins is lust.
[6:48] And people come to something like the Seventh Commandment, modern people, Western people, people in the city of Edinburgh. And of course they look at the command, now shall not commit adultery and nobody really has a problem with that.
[7:03] Just like coming to the command, now shall not murder. Because the essential ethic of the modern West is do no harm. So do whatever you want as long as you don't cause any harm and everybody knows that adultery, being unfaithful to a spouse breaks hearts, it breaks homes apart, it causes a lot of pain.
[7:24] And so it's generally the case that most people still today look at this commandment and say, okay, that makes sense. Don't commit adultery. But Jesus picks up on this command and says, let me take it further and say that the foundation of adultery is actually lust, that it begins with lust in the heart.
[7:42] And so Jesus comes and says, well, thou shall not commit lust. And the modern world comes and says, wait a minute, lust doesn't harm anyone. Lust doesn't happen in any way outside of the self.
[7:57] We get thou shall not commit adultery, but Jesus takes us so far all the way to the base, all the way to what's going on deep down at the bottom of the heart and says thou shall not commit lust.
[8:08] Now, this is what he says about it in Matthew 5, 27. He says, you've heard that it was said to those of old, you've heard it said, thou shall not commit adultery. Now, what Jesus is doing here is not just repeating the seventh commandment, he's talking about how people in his own time in the first century had interpreted it.
[8:28] That's what he's referencing there. And so in his day, Pharisees had taken the seventh commandment like every other commandment and they had essentially said, it's very easy to be sexually pure.
[8:40] It's very easy to follow this commandment. You know, there's only one condition in which you can break the seventh commandment. You have to be married and you have to be unfaithful to your spouse and that's the only way that you could possibly break it.
[8:52] And so you see the Pharisees were saying, it's actually quite easy to keep the seventh commandment. The way is broad to being faithful when it comes to this particular commandment. The way is narrow to actually break it.
[9:04] They were coming with that mindset. Now, that is incredibly similar to the way modern people think about sexuality. They say that most ways of expressing sexuality are fine.
[9:19] That lust is normal. That lust is good. That's the modern ethic. That as long as you're not causing harm to anybody else then sexual expression is okay. And Jesus comes and he comes and says something to us that is so meaningful.
[9:34] Remember last time, if you were here for the sixth commandment, Jesus had said, you know, you think Pharisee that you've kept the law not to murder. And he said, but I tell you that if you've been unjustly angry at the bottom of your heart, if you've had disdain for another human being, if you've rolled the eyes of your heart in utter annoyance at somebody else unjustly, you have committed murder of the heart.
[9:58] So he goes from the sin that happens externally and he brings it all the way back by degree, by spectrum down to the base level of the soul. And he says, this is an issue of distorted desires.
[10:12] You have a problem deep down inside of you with desires. Your desires are broken. And he says, so if you have disdain for somebody, you've murdered them in your heart. Now he comes the next time and says, the very same thing about the seventh commandment.
[10:25] He says adultery is not merely something that happens externally. He says, when you go down to the bottom of your heart, if you have improper desire, that's where you find the root of it.
[10:36] And he talks about it. He says that if you've looked at another person with lustful intent, you've already committed adultery, adultery of the heart. So he says the exact same thing here. Now, where's the line for Jesus?
[10:48] Jesus says the line in sexual ethics is lust. That's the line. And that means we've got to think about what lust really is.
[10:58] What does this word mean? Lust, Jesus uses a word for lust that means deep desire in Greek. So the word translated very literally just means deepest desire.
[11:12] But when you read this word in the context, the reason they translate it as lust is because he's clearly referencing what other commentators have called over-desire.
[11:23] So lust is over-desire. Another way to say it is that lust is desiring good things in the wrong ways for the wrong reasons.
[11:35] So lust happens when you desire something good in the wrong way for the wrong motivation, because of the wrong motivation, because of the wrong thing going on deep down in the heart, deep down in the soul.
[11:46] What Jesus is doing here, we have to be careful, is he's not condemning sexuality. He's not being prudish. He's not being negative about human sexuality, not at all.
[11:57] The Bible is not negative about human sexuality. The Bible is not prudish. If you have the sense that it is, read it again. Read it again. Read the Song of Songs. The Bible is not prudish at all.
[12:10] Or negative on human sexuality. But it's negative on sexual sin. And Jesus says, lust is the line. And lust, again, is desiring good things in the wrong ways.
[12:21] Now let me explain that. And give you two ways in which lust takes desire and distorts it or bends it. Makes it wrong, okay? And here's the two ways.
[12:32] The first is that when we lust, we're desiring in a way that's fundamentally selfish. So this is surprising. But when you read the old authors about lust, one of the things that they regularly say is the problem with lust is that lust is selfish desire.
[12:50] Lust is greedy, the old writers will say. They'll say that it's trying to satisfy an appetite with a selfish motive. So they say the first issue with lust is that at the base, there's a selfish, self-centered motivation in the heart.
[13:05] Whenever we lust, whenever we have these over desires, why? And here's the reason. Because lust seeks physical union, it wants physical union without any other kind of union.
[13:21] So lust is selfish because it wants physical union without any other kind of union. It seeks the easy path to fulfillment. C.S. Lewis talks about this. He says that the real damage of lust and of any sexual expression outside of marriage is he says it makes us more and more selfish.
[13:39] And he says that the reason for that is because we were not made for physical union, sexual expression, without or apart from total union, total union.
[13:50] So this is what the Bible calls being one flesh. So Lewis says we were made for relationships that have emotional union, spiritual union, and only physical union when there's legal union.
[14:03] And some have talked about it, union total, complete union, that that's the, when physical union is appropriate is when there's complete and total union. And the modern world comes and says lust is harmless.
[14:16] It doesn't harm anybody. And the Bible comes and the wisdom of the past comes and says actually lust in a surprising way makes you more and more and more self-centered.
[14:28] The more and more and more you give in to over desire, the more and more it makes you actually focus on the self. It makes you self-centered, it makes you greedy. Now here's the second way, the second issue with lust is, and this is the more theological reason, the more, the reason that we see very clearly in the Old Testament.
[14:46] Lust treats other people as less than whole people. Or lust treats another person as less than a whole person. All right, so let me explain this.
[14:58] It's slightly tricky, but God tells us in the very beginning that he made every single human being in the image of God. So every single one of us tonight, made in the image of God, we are the image of God.
[15:10] We bear the image of God and the image of God is a multiplicity of realities. We are the image of God in our bodies and our souls and our ideas and our ability to speak and communicate and our ability to love and have habits and hobbies and a mind and a will and emotions and to make art and to build things and the list goes on and on.
[15:30] The image of God is so complex. It comprises everything that you're capable of. Every good that you could possibly seek, that's what it means to be in the image of God.
[15:41] And so the old writers say that lust reduces a person to their physical attractiveness. It actually reduces a person and makes them less the fullness of the image of God in all of its complexity than they really are.
[15:57] Now, listen, there's a reason. Go back to the second commandment. You remember the second commandment? Don't have any other gods before the true God. Don't make a graven image of the true God.
[16:09] Now, there's a reason in the prophets that when you try to take the wholeness and fullness of God's being and you reduce God and you put Him in your mind inside some little statue, some little idol, you craft an image and you say, that's the thing that gets me to God.
[16:30] What did the prophets say? What did God call that? Through the mouths of the prophets. He said that is committing adultery against the Lord. You see, anytime you take the image, God who He really is and you try to reduce Him down to some microcosm of the reality of who He is, the Bible says that's committing adultery against the Lord.
[16:49] It's breaking the second commandment. And then the Bible comes around and says, anytime you reduce a person in lust to just their physical attractiveness, you've done the exact same thing. You've actually desecrated the image of God.
[17:01] You've committed adultery of the heart against the image of God. You commit adultery against God by trying to reduce Him to an image. You commit adultery of the heart by reducing a person to simply their physical attractiveness.
[17:13] It connects those two. The second commandment and the seventh commandment, incredibly deeply. Now, that's the negative. That's what's forbidden. Here's the duty. Here's what's required.
[17:24] What we're being invited to then tonight is instead to see that we are made for love, not lust. The counterpart to this commandment is that we were made for love.
[17:36] Love is commitment. Lust is temporary. Love is covenantal. Lust happens in consumerism, in the marketplace.
[17:47] That's why here in Matthew 5, Jesus says two times it's better to cut off, pluck out the eye, cut off the hand than to be cast into hell. Now, He goes so extreme.
[17:58] He says it's better to lose eye and hand than to be cast into hell because of lust. And what He's saying there hyperbolically is that lust is really serious.
[18:08] That lust is really serious. Why? Louise Perry, one recent author, she points out that the modern culture teaches the myth that sexuality and its expression is just a leisure activity invested with meaning only if the participants choose to give it meaning.
[18:29] And the Bible comes and says, human sexuality is meant to be expressed in the context of true love, commitment to tell, deep abiding commitment why.
[18:40] And it's because it's so powerful. You can't choose when or when not to give sexual expression meaning. It is so powerful. And so the Bible comes and says, love requires a total commitment, a legal commitment, not a feeling, not a mere desire, not a mere physical desire, but a complete commitment.
[18:58] And you see the point that Jesus is not here to be prudish about it, but to protect. When Jesus comes and He gets so serious about lust, He's actually trying to come and say, I want to protect you.
[19:12] Because this is very, very powerful stuff. It can leave many, many scars and lots of, lots of pain. When you push against the grain of reality, as God designed it, it pushes back.
[19:24] And so Jesus says, I want to protect you. Now here's the better vision and we'll move to the final thing. The better vision, the Christian vision, why? Why are these rules here? Why are these commands here?
[19:34] And here it is that relationships that God made us for are theological realities. And let me just give this to you very quickly in a few ways.
[19:45] The first is this, when God comes and says, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not lust. It is because physical union is meant to take place in the context of total union, which includes an enduring legal commitment, a spiritual vow between a man and a woman forever in marriage.
[20:06] And the reason for that is because that's real love. Real love is not an expression of desire. It's not an expression of feeling.
[20:17] Real love is a commitment of the will. It's a decision to sacrifice yourself for the need of another in total commitment.
[20:27] That's merit of love. And the Bible comes and says, the reason adultery and lust don't work is because we were actually made for that kind of a relationship. Commitment, true love, love that is self-sacrificial in all circumstances.
[20:43] Now the second thing is this, that God tells us then, this is the next layer down. Let me give you three layers. That's the first. The next layer down, God tells us that physical union is for the marriage context. Why?
[20:54] And we learn something even more deep. The theological reality. Ephesians chapter five comes to us and says this, Paul calls it in Greek, the mega mystery, the big mystery, he says.
[21:05] And he says that marriage, being one flesh, refers to Christ and the church. Now we don't have time tonight to unpack this, but what he means by that is he says that in the beginning of human history, in Genesis chapter one and two, God created marriage to point as a foretaste, signpost and analogy to the love that we experience in the gospel.
[21:32] That the whole reason marriage exists on planet earth is to be a walking illustration, a living signpost of the kind of commitment that God has for us in the gospel.
[21:43] That's the reason it exists. It's a deep, deep reality with a deep, deep meaning. And that's why it's to take place in total commitment. Marriage love is a sign and symbol of the greatest love that we actually need and that's the love of God.
[21:58] Remember, we have an ultimate groom, Ephesians chapter five says, we the church are his bride. And so at the end of all of history, the ultimate hope every single human being has is in a wedding, the marriage supper of the lamb.
[22:10] And that wedding gives meaning to every other wedding in all of human history. That's the reason for marriage. That's the reason it exists. Total love and marriage is a living illustration of God's total love for us.
[22:22] Now here's the third layer in the final one. That's why therefore, neither marriage or any sexual expression is necessary. Marriage is not necessary for us.
[22:36] Why? Because it's actually not the thing we really need. And so Christianity came in the middle of history and revolutionized the world by saying, you can be married or you can be single.
[22:47] And both of those are good. If you're married, then you have an opportunity to be a living signpost of the beauty of God's love for us in the gospel, a total union, complete commitment with the Old Testament called acid love, steadfast love.
[23:00] If you're not married, you have the opportunity to show forth the sufficiency of the marriage you were actually made for. The one that's coming at the end of history.
[23:10] You see, none of us need, none of us have to have marriage in this life because the marriage we all really need, the fulfillment we all really need is the marriage that's coming at the end of history when we get to have the love of God in full for us and see God face to face.
[23:25] That it's all ordered, the whole thing is ordered to that reality. You see, we have a why, why the Seventh Commandment. Why is Jesus saying that we shouldn't lust?
[23:37] And here's the why because all of it is about the fact that we are ordered to the total love of God in the gospel. That that's what makes sense of everything.
[23:48] Now, without that big vision, and I've got to hurry, without that big vision, we will turn our lusts into salvation hopes.
[24:00] Look, you can lust after anything in this life. You can lust after money and sex and power and relationship and so many good things you can take and you can over desire them, desire them in the wrong way.
[24:13] And that happens when we lack the big vision for what the goods of life are really for. And it's all about the gospel. God, this is the key, this unlocks the key to the Christian life, the key to true joy.
[24:25] God is the true fulfillment of all your unmet longings. The living God, Father, Son and Spirit is the true fulfillment of every single unmet longing in the human heart.
[24:39] Now, lastly, quickly, Jesus comes to us, the path to healing, that's what we're talking about now. Jesus comes to us and says, lust is adultery of the heart.
[24:51] That you can lust after anything. This word applies to anything that you can take in the creaturely world and long for it in the wrong type of way. So Jesus is saying to us very clearly, the Pharisee said, the way is broad to remaining free of committing a sin against the seventh commandment.
[25:10] Jesus comes to say, oh no, no, no, none is righteous. Lust, all of us struggle with the problem of lust, of over desire, of desiring good things in the wrong ways with the wrong motives.
[25:23] All of us struggle with that. Now, let me close with three things that means for us. Three applications. The first is this. When it comes to lust that Jesus is talking about here, lust in the domain of human sexuality, it may be the case that some of us come to this and say, you know, I'm relatively okay.
[25:46] This is not something I struggle with very much. I see here that Jesus does universalize the sin of lust, but in comparison to other people, this is something that I'm not struggling with.
[25:57] Now, one thing that's so important is to see that Jesus Christ comes in this passage for the sick, not for the well.
[26:08] He comes to be hope in the midst of struggle. He comes to deal with a problem and say, I come to bring something that you need, forgiveness and healing.
[26:19] And all of us, no matter what it is in our life that we struggle with lusting after, we have to be very, very aware that the church is a place for people who are struggling.
[26:30] The church is a domain for people who are struggling with this exact issue that Jesus is talking about. It's so important to protect the church community from ever becoming a place where those searching for healing and hope come and feel more and more and more unnecessary shame.
[26:49] And that's not what Jesus came for, and that's not what the church exists for. The church is the hospital for those in search of healing. On this issue and every single other type of little idolatry that you can have that you can lust after.
[27:02] This is a place, in other words, where we should never be surprised by sin. Never. Because why? Jesus says, have you looked at your own heart?
[27:12] Have you looked at your own heart? Have you looked at the things that you overdesire? We can never be surprised by sin. Second, of three, how do you find hope then in the midst of shame and guilt and regret and pain?
[27:26] Of things that have happened to you, things that you've done, all sorts of different ways we can experience problems here. Here's the design for marriage.
[27:37] Remember, Moses gave it to us in the words of Genesis 2 at the very beginning, a man, a woman shall leave their father and their mother and cleave to their spouse.
[27:48] Where do you find hope? Where do you find hope when it comes to the sin struggles in this issue? Jesus Christ left his father's home above, so free, so infinite his grace to cleave to his bride.
[28:08] You see, the beginning of history, and God says marriage is between a man and a woman, where a man and a woman leave and cleave. Jesus Christ, the meaning of history is that Jesus Christ came and left his father's home above and cleaved, held fast to his bride.
[28:23] And if you believe in the gospel tonight, that's you. And we see this amazing moment in John chapter four, where Jesus is meeting with the woman at the well, and he says to her, I have water that will satisfy your thirst forever.
[28:40] And she says, where do I get that kind of water that will satisfy my thirst forever? And he says to her, go and get your husband. And she responds by saying, I don't have a husband. And he said, I know, you've had five different husbands.
[28:52] Now, why does he say that? And it's because he's saying to her, you've been looking to physical partners to give you satisfaction, and you've never found it.
[29:03] You have unmet longing. You've been looking for this particular expression, one of the goods of life, to meet satisfaction, and it's never gonna work. It's never gonna happen. It could be this, it could be anything else in life that you might be lusting after.
[29:17] He's saying to her, don't you know that you were made for something so much greater, true, living water that would actually satisfy you. And that means that if you're a Christian tonight, if you believe the gospel tonight, two things are true for you.
[29:32] God comes and says to you that every time you lust, you are saying to God over anything, anything, you can't really fulfill me. And Jesus comes and says, I've come to be your physician and show you, show you that that's not true.
[29:49] Show you that there is hope and there's healing. Show you that in Jesus Christ, there is forgiveness and true fulfillment for every single unmet desire, for every single place we are looking for in our lives that will not truly give us the satisfaction that we really need.
[30:07] Jesus Christ really did become our sin. We sang that at the beginning of the night. He became our sinful desires. He became our misplaced desires. He became our lust and they died with him as he died.
[30:22] Remember that Adam in the Garden of Eden, let his bride commit the great sin that threw the world into chaos. He let Adam let her, but the second Adam came and said, but I will take you back, I will rescue you.
[30:39] I will show you the path to forgiveness and real satisfaction. He said to the woman at the well, I am the living water. You see, when he said that, he's saying, I came to forgive you and fulfill you, to heal the wounds and give you real hope.
[30:53] Show you really where you can find deep satisfaction. Now, third and lastly, as we close, we all therefore need to recognize in our lives the places in which the objects to which we have misplaced desire, overdesire, lusts.
[31:11] We desire, we all struggle with desiring so many good things in this life more than God himself. And so let me leave you tonight with just this.
[31:24] If you're able tonight to say, this is that which I know I struggle with desiring too much in the wrong ways. Just a few practical tips.
[31:35] One, run to confession. Confess your sins as soon as they happen. Take it straight to the Lord. Be honest with the Lord about your struggle, about your pain, about the things that you can't get past.
[31:50] Be honest, take it straight to the Lord. Secondly, the book of James tells us explicitly, confess your sins to one another. When it comes to recurring patterns of lust, whatever the object of that lust might be, it is nearly impossible to tackle without help, without somebody in your life that you can really trust.
[32:12] To be confidential, but to also come alongside you and love for you and help you. We all need that. And the Bible tells us to do that really explicitly. Start where you are, be honest.
[32:24] Secondly, get active. Get active. This is a simple idea, but if you are passive when it comes to your struggles of overdesire, then they will overtake.
[32:38] And so you actually have to make a determination in your life to be active on whatever it is that you're struggling with. And to really say, I'm going to tackle this. I'm gonna fight this.
[32:49] I'm going to do Psalm 119, 11, and hide the word of the Lord in my heart that I might not sin against him when the temptations come. Now, the way to think about this in one minute is in the analogy of fitness.
[33:01] When you want to become fit, you have to lift weights. You have to run. You have to push your muscles beyond their boundary.
[33:12] You have to have resistance in your life. The first step to getting fit when it comes to inordinate desire and proper desire is to say, I need resistance in my life. I need to put things in place, be very active about resisting the things that I overdesire.
[33:27] And there's all sorts of specific ways to do that. The second step then is to say, not only do I need to resist, I need weightlifting, I also need the right foods. If you want to get fit, you got to lift weights and eat the right foods, right?
[33:39] And that's the same thing with the heart, with the deep, deep desires. You resist, you put boundaries in place, confession, and all sorts of other things. Then you eat the right food.
[33:49] And the right food is ultimately to fill your heart with better desires. And those better desires are ultimately culminate in learning and praying and longing to love God more than anything else.
[34:06] And if you can find it yourself in a place where you grow and you grow and you grow and you love God more than anything else, then lust will go away. That's called glorification.
[34:17] It's coming. But now's the time. Now's the time to make a plan, to be active. The most important thing, and this is the last word, is that Jesus Christ himself has to become the apple of your eye, the real object of your desire, the one to whom you long for and long to see above all else, to be in the presence of God.
[34:40] No matter how dark or how broken things have gotten in the past or in the present, confess and seek fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ.
[34:51] He will forgive and he will fulfill all of your deepest desires. Let's pray together. Lord, we come tonight on such a hard and difficult topic and we know that some of us, so many of us, come tonight with unfulfilled longings, unmet desires that are deep down in our souls.
[35:13] And we know that ultimately, that without you, those cannot be met, that we can't look to our spouses. As our ultimate hope, we can't look to the physical for our ultimate hope, to money, to power, to any of it.
[35:30] So Lord, many of us have been there. We confess before you, we have chased and chased and chased and we've been left empty. But Lord, you tell us that when we seek your face, everything else becomes clear, that all the goods of the world become goods again.
[35:47] So we pray tonight that you would help us to seek first the kingdom and that we would let everything else fall in its place. Lord, we long tonight to taste and see the beauty of the forgiveness we have in the cross, where Jesus, you really did swallow, eat and drink our over desires and destroy them in your death.
[36:11] We thank you, thank you, thank you, that our sins in this area of lust really are forgiven. And now we long, Lord, to grow. So we know that we're called to sanctification.
[36:24] So help us, Lord, to tackle, to address, to resist and to be nourished on better things. And we pray for these hearts, Lord, by the Holy Spirit tonight in Christ's name.