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Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.
Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.
Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.
I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.
-From Valley of Vision
What do you think? This is suppose to be a tweet of the gospel. does it suffice?
The gospel is the counterintuitive, joyous, exuberant news that Jesus has brought the unending, limitless, stunning love of God to even us.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Lord Most High!
Liturgy of St. James, 4th Century
Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.
The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.
This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.
O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!
15th Century German Carol
From Justin Taylor:
Here are some free resources to consider using as we battle together for purity:
- R. Albert Mohler Jr., “The Seduction of Pornography and the Integrity of Christian Marriage” (talk to college students: PDF, MP3)
- David Powlison, “Breaking Pornography Addiction” (article: part 1, part 2)
- David Powlison, Making All Things New: Restoring Pure Joy to the Sexually Broken(conference talk: audio, video, and chapter)
- John Piper, Battling the Unbelief of Lust (sermon in manuscript, audio)
- John Piper, A.N.T.H.E.M: Strategies for Fighting Sexual Lust (article)
- Tim Challies, Sexual Detox: A Guide for the Single Guy (free eBook)
- Tim Challies, Sexual Detox: A Guide for the Married Guy (free eBook)
- Rick Holland, A Biblical Strategy for Fighting Lust (conference talk; see relatedmanuscript)
And here are a couple of books to consider purchasing:
- Joshua Harris, Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World (book)
- Ed Welch, Crossroads: A Step-By-Step Guide Away from Addiction (study guide)
- Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin (book on sin and temptation in general, built on John Owen’s work)
The first set of verses comes from Isa 41. God is bringing a challenge to the idols: can they for see the future. Israel had forsaken the Lord who brought them out of the land of Egypt and turned to the idols of the nations around them. God condemns their religion as delusional and empty.
Isa. 41: 21 Set forth your case, says the Lord;
bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
22 Let them bring them, and tell us
what is to happen.
Tell us the former things, what they are,
that we may consider them,
that we may know their outcome;
or declare to us the things to come.
23 Tell us what is to come hereafter,
that we may know that you are gods;
do good, or do harm,
that we may be dismayed and terrified.
24 Behold, you are nothing,
and your work is less than nothing;
an abomination is he who chooses you.
25 I stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
from the rising of the sun, and he shall call upon my name;
he shall trample on rulers as on mortar,
as the potter treads clay.
26 Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know,
and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”?
There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed,
none who heard your words.
27 I was the first to say to Zion, “Behold, here they are!”
and I give to Jerusalem a herald of good news.
28 But when I look, there is no one;
among these there is no counselor
who, when I ask, gives an answer.
29 Behold, they are all a delusion;
their works are nothing;
their metal images are empty wind.
Now our flesh is not superior in its moral actions than Israel. Idolatry is alive and well today. It is just that we do not have physical images that represent the gods, so we don’t bow down to anything.
But there are many things that we look to to give us ultimate satisfaction and protection that are not the one true God. It could be material things like money, cars, or what have you. But if I had to list the biggest idols of today they would be “the self”, sex, and money. Our world over here in America seems to revolve around these. But I will just talk about selfishness for time.
The self is worshiped as the end all. From the celebrity that loves to be in the center to the worker at the gas station that entertains his ego by reading about the problems celebrity is having. The self is the center focus of what we do and how we act. we constantly think is terms of what will benefit us and advance our name amongst the world. Whether that be through desiring to be a billion dollar CEO or working amongst the impoverished in Africa. If it will makes us think more highly of ourselves, we will do it. No matter what the cost. Hey, we will even throw in God if it helps us in the endeavor.
Now let us think about this, what is and is not selfishness. John Piper has been a proponent of Christian hedonism for some time now. It’s main thrust is that we are to be extremely self interested, we have an innate desire for joy and satisfaction. But we are then to realize that the only one that will satisfy those cravings for joy and satisfaction is God and Him alone. Thus we are to rest in God fully and completely for our satisfaction.
Some people resist this because on the outset it affirms a self interest (I want to be satisfied). And one is suppose to follow these self interested cravings, not fight them. Thus, is this not creating an idol of the self?
I do not believe so. The issue is not that we realize that their is an emptiness in our lives, the issue is what we chose to fill that emptiness with. If someone has a problem with the workings of Christian hedonism then they will have a problem with a gospel invitation. The essence of a gospel appeal is saying, “your life is saturated with sin, repent and believe in Christ for salvation.” what is happening in that statement? It is telling the person they need to believe in Christ to solve their sin problem. One’s life is in danger because of sin, so save your life by turning to Christ. A fulfilled self interest is it not? In fact, is there one time that Christ or the Apostles turn someone away because they have a self interest in coming to Christ?
So the issue is not, realizing that you want and need satisfaction, the issue is what you chose to fill that desire for satisfaction.
And that is where the “self” interjects itself and says that by seeking its glorification and promotion one will receive that happiness. If people notice and think highly of you then you will find true joy. Because what is more joyful then having people laud praises upon you and tell others how great you are? And if you don’t get this right away then you can imagine people seeing your greatness by your day dreams. And if your greatness is known then you will be happy
The problems with this idol are many and severe. For one term of this worship is pride and the waring that God is opposed to the proud should send a shutter down our spines. The next is that it is plain false, advancing one’s own self does not lead to happiness.
But here is thee grace of our Lord. Yes, there are judgments against those that seek solace in an idol. But not only does God promises judgement, but He shows and offers himself as the one who can satisfy all our longs. He displays the riches of Himself with a longing that we would turn away from the empty lyings of idols that promise waters of satisfaction yet deliver sand and turn to Him where our being will be pleased for eternity in glorying in our great God.
So after the denouncement of idols the Lord speaks to Israel about one who is to come. One who should enthrall their hearts, instead of the idols. The Lord says of this one,
42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.
5 Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
6 “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
7 to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
8 I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”
May our hearts be turned from idols unto the living God, Jesus Christ!