From the Inside Out

In The Sermon On The Mount, Jesus Discusses Sin And Calls Us To Repentance.

Dan Franklin
Apr 30, 2023    45m
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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus points us to what His kingdom will be like, and he speaks in strong terms about sin and calls us to repentance. From this scripture, we learn to grieve and repent, receive God's grace through Jesus, take extreme measures, and walk with Jesus in dependence upon him and hope in him. Video recorded at Upland, California.

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Jill Koczwara: [00:00:19] Good morning, everybody. My name is Jill Koczwara, and I have the privilege of reading from God's Word today. I'm going to be reading Matthew 5 verses 21 through 30, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. 27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." This is God's Word.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:05] Thanks. Amen. You can grab a seat. So I want to, in a minute. I want to really just jump right into the passage that you've just heard read. But I want to say a little bit before we jump into it, just to sort of prepare ourselves, because today, leading into today, this week, I had some I guess maybe anxieties and concerns about how today was going to go just because if you were paying attention to the reading, you know, this is a heavy passage that we're going over. And you know, in the New Testament, the apostle Paul says all scripture is God-breathed and it's useful for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, and for training. And sometimes we get to a passage where the rebuke is going to be heavier. And so part of the anxiety that I had coming into this week was I was like, all right, we're going to go through this passage, here's what I don't want to have happen. What I don't want to have happen is to have people who come in here already feeling sort of discouraged and wounded and just sort of like I'm having a hard time and I need some words of encouragement and comfort to leave more burden than you came in. And I felt like, gosh, that's a danger in going through a passage like this. And I'll even say there will probably be points along the way where some of you will feel like that's all I'm going to be left with. You won't even necessarily disagree with the sermon, but you'll be like, I'm leaving today just more burdened. Maybe I thought I was doing better than I actually am, and now I'm finding out I'm not doing as well as I am. And you'll leave, you'll be concerned, I'm just going to leave more burdened, more weighed down, more guilt. I already felt this way, I go to church and then I feel more that way. And so what I want to request that you do is I want to request that you choose, first of all, not to run when it gets tough, not to bail out when today it gets a little bit painful. And I want to encourage you to stay through to the end, because every time we are with Jesus, we end up at good news. There will be points along the way where you're going to be like, this is not good news. We will end up at good news.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:31] But I mean to relate it, if we think of ourselves and say, All right, Jesus, we're here in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is laying out life as it's lived when Jesus is our King. And to put it really, really simply, if Jesus is our king, part of his intent is to lead us to be different than we are right now. Fair to say? Like, yeah, he's leading us to be different than we are right now. So he's leading us from lack of health to greater health would be one way to put it. And so some days we get a passage where Jesus is like, you need to walk. Like you need to get up, like you've been sitting on the couch eating potato chips, you're going to get up and we're going to take a walk. Sometimes Jesus is like, I'm getting the scalpel, and that's what today is going to feel a little bit more like for some of us. I want you to know every time, whether Jesus has taken us for a walk, whether he's sending the Holy Spirit with a scalpel, it is always for our good. It is always because of the kind of transformation that Jesus wants to bring in our lives. And part of what we're going to see through today, and it will really lead into the next couple of weeks after this also is to see that the kind of transformation that Jesus is looking to bring into our lives is a transformation that is not just about our behavior. It absolutely impacts our external behavior, but he's looking for an inside-out transformation. And sometimes when we get to that internal part of ourselves, we see some ugliness that we'd rather not look at. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will do his work of conviction, and then that he'll lead us in the joy of drawing near.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:16] So actually, before we jump right in to see what Jesus has to say to us, I just want to pause again and pray over today. So I'm going to ask you to join me now. Father, we believe that you are present, we know that you're good, you've proven that through sending Jesus for us. Father, I pray for every person in here, from the oldest to the youngest, I pray that for each of us, you would silence the voice of the enemy who wants to accuse, and you would with power, send the Holy Spirit who wants to convict, and I pray that you help us to see the difference. Lead us to life, lead us to conviction where that's a necessary step along the way. But, Father, lead us to greater life in Jesus through what we look at today. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:10] So here's how we're going to go through this, if you were paying attention when Jill was reading, you noticed that in some ways, Matthew chapter 5, verses 21 through 30, which is our passage today, is sort of two passages. We get verses 21 through 26 that talk about murder/anger. We get verses 27 through 30 that talk about adultery/lust. We're taking these together, and so the way I'm actually going to walk through it is we're going to walk through both of them at the same time instead of just going through the first and then hitting the second, we're going to go through them in parallel because Jesus is driving at the same basic idea in both of them. So I will have the verses up here on the screen, but if you have a Bible, definitely open it. If you're using your phone as a Bible and you can see the whole passage there, that will help you because we're sort of going back and forth.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:57] But it breaks down real simple, in both of these sections, Jesus tells us something that the Old Testament says, then he tells us what he says, then he tells us what to do. And so we'll look at that together, starting with the question, what is the Old Testament say? And in verse 21, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, a and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment." So pretty simple and straightforward, murder is the intentional killing of an innocent person. Jesus is not telling them something that they didn't know. I'm not telling you something that you don't know. We're like, yes, this is not a hard command, we know that this command is in there, don't intentionally kill an innocent person. And he adds in the idea you are going to be answerable to a human court if you do that. He parallels this in verse 27 when he says, "You have heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery." So again, most of us understand at least the words that are coming out right now. But to commit adultery is to have sex with somebody who is not your spouse. So if you're married to somebody else, or if you're unmarried with somebody else's spouse. You're saying, yeah, these are not obscure commands. Every Jew listening to Jesus right now is like, yeah, we know, like we've read the Ten Commandments. All of you in here right now are like Dan, we know like we've heard the Bible. This is not an obscure idea that we are not supposed to commit murder and we are not supposed to commit adultery.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:32] And as just a quick note before moving on this, I think one of the things going on here is probably not only did every Jew who was hearing these words from Jesus’ think, yeah, I know, but a high percentage of them would have said, check, check. Like I've accomplished that, haven't committed murder, haven't committed adultery. Not everyone would have been able to check both boxes, not everybody in here would be able to check both boxes. But what I want you to get is that there's a sense where there's a lot of us that could say, h, if those are the commands, I'm doing pretty well.

Dan Franklin: [00:10:10] But Jesus then moves from what does the Old Testament say, to what does he say? And we'll start with verse 22, it says, "But I tell you." And I just got to pause because I want us not to miss the audacity of Jesus here, people are listening to him, here's what the Bible says, but here's what I say to you. Who does he think he is?

Dan Franklin: [00:10:39] Now, here's what I want to do, I've asked this question a lot in the Sermon on the Mount, I want this to become something that we do a little call and response from. Who Jesus thinks he is, is he thinks he's the King. He thinks he's the King of the Kingdom. So when I get to a point like this and I say, who does he think he is? You say, yeah, he thinks he's the king. You guys should be paying attention to what I think of this, "But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment." "Again, who says to a brother or sister 'Raca'..." Which is an Aramaic word for fool, "...is answerable to the court." "And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’..." Now it's a similar word in the Greek, "...will be in danger of the fire of hell." Jesus ratchets this up big time. He says you thought you were doing pretty well because you hadn't murdered anyone, but I'm telling you that if you have harbored anger in your heart, or if you've used insults that don't seem to be especially harsh insults, but dehumanizing other people, setting them aside, dismissing them, saying, if you are doing this, you're not only in danger of a human court, you're in danger from the divine court, you're in danger of the fire of hell.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:05] And I want to pause here, because this is a crazy passage. This is not the last time, even in this passage that Jesus mentions hell, this is heavy stuff. What I want you to hear is this, what Jesus is not saying for us as believers today, for any of us who are believers, that, hey, if you're a Christian, but if you mess up enough, eventually God will kick you out of the family and you will face hell. That is not what he's saying, but what he is revealing to us is that we might have in our minds the sorts of sins that keep us from bringing ourselves, humbling ourselves, and coming by faith to Jesus are probably sins like murder and adultery. And Jesus wants us to know, yeah, and the other sorts of sins that keep you from coming to faith in Jesus are sins like anger and lust.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:52] Because that's where he goes next in verse 28, paralleling the same thing he says, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully..." which the literal Greek is, ,looks at her with an intent to desire her, "...has already committed adultery with her in his heart." A lot of Jews hearing this would have gone from feeling like I'm doing pretty good, check, check, to I'm not doing so good. I'm not asking for a show of hands, but a lot of us in here were like, I'm not doing so good. Like, if this is, I might be able to stand before God and say, no murder, no adultery, I did it. I'm not going to be able to stand before God and say no harbored grudges, no lust, none of us is going to be able to do that, it just got intense. And I do want to pause here because I know for a lot of us in here, maybe even all of us in here, what Jesus is saying here, this is not the first time many of us are hearing this. We're like, oh, I knew this was in the Bible, I knew that Jesus sort of equated anger with murder, and equated lust with adultery, like I knew that was in there. And we might even be at a point that we sort of have accepted this in some way, but if you start to think about it, it starts to get hard to believe, you start to want to argue with Jesus. You're like, really? Like, I get it, I get that anger is not good, but really, like, that's the same as murder. And I get that lust isn't good, but like, really, like that's the same as adultery, this doesn't seem right.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:31] And part of what I want to do right now is, I want to do something that needs to be careful about because I don't want to neuter Jesus words in any way, I don't want to take the teeth out of what he's saying. But I do think it's worth saying I don't think that what Jesus is saying here is if you're driving on the freeway and somebody cuts you off and you're angry with that person, that's murder. I don't think that's what he's saying. I also don't think that he's saying if you're walking down the street and somebody attractive of the opposite sex goes by and you're like, wow, that that's adultery. I don't think that he's saying that. I think that we can get a little bit of help on why Jesus is saying something that seems so extreme to us.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:09] So follow me down this road, in the United States, most of you will probably be aware murder is against the law. All right, you guys are with me so far, right? That's like, all right, not breaking news. It's against the law, it's illegal to murder someone. It's also, another law is, attempted murder. These are both illegal, but oddly enough, they don't carry the same penalty, there's a harsher penalty for murder than for attempted murder. And to a degree that makes sense because as human beings, we're limited, we can't get into everybody else's head. So we have to sort of deal with just what we're able to regulate, so murder has a harsher penalty than attempted murder. But just think about this for a second from God's perspective, here's what you've got. I remember as a kid being baffled by this, you've got two guys, both of them are like, I am going to murder someone, the first guy succeeds, the second guy fails. Before God, is one more guilty than the other? No way, they're both of equal guilt. You're just like that guy was just better at it, this guy is not very good at it. Like that doesn't get you off the hook because you tried and failed. I think we can at least pause on that and say, all right, that that makes sense, it makes sense that even though this guy could be like, I never murdered anyone. You'd be like, yeah, but you tried. It wasn't because of lack of trying; it was because you weren't very good at it or the opportunity didn't present itself.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:44] Here's what I think Jesus is getting at with both the harboring anger and harboring lust. I think what he's getting at is that if the only reason why we have not done these things is because we've either lacked opportunity, or we simply can't get away with it, then we're no better than somebody else who went through with it. If right now you're like, man, the things in my heart, like the anger in my heart, the hostility towards this other person, the things that I've imagined saying to them and doing to them, and by the way, have you ever noticed that when you have an argument with another person in your head, you always win? You're just like, I'm brilliant, and they have no answer for this. If you right now are just like, yeah, like I have some ugliness in my heart. And frankly, if I could get away with it, I probably would have done some violent things, some at least really brutal words and maybe beyond that maybe even committed some violence against this person, that's what Jesus is talking about.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:48] If we're looking at the dimension of lust right now, and we're like, well, the only thing keeping me from doing this is that I couldn't get away with it. There are regularly these polls that go out, and this is not happy news that I'm about to share. And the question that they ask, they ask married people, if you could have an affair and you could get away with it, yes or no, would you do it? And in one of the more recent surveys of this, 74% of men and 68% of women said, yeah, if I could get away with it, I would do it. That's staggering, and that also means that it doesn't seem possible that there are not some of us in this room that are included in that. That some of us are like, well, I'm not going to do it because I don't want to deal with the fallout, but, man, if I could get away with it, I would. If we in our lives are saying I've never murdered, but, man, if I could find a way, and I could get away with it, and there would be no consequences, I probably would. And I haven't had an affair, I haven't messed around on my spouse. But you know what? If I could figure out a way to get away with it, and if the opportunity presented itself, I would probably say yes. Then Jesus is saying you're internal reality is just as messed up as somebody who has actually done the act. Jesus wants to transform us, not just on the outside, but on the inside, and he digs deep into all of us.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:19] Now we're going to talk more about this later on. I'm going to return to this by way of what I think is some application for this. But I just want to say right now, now might be that point I was talking about earlier, where some of you are like this is not a good Sunday, like I am going to walk out. You know, I felt like I was doing okay, I felt pretty good about my life, I'm getting things exposed, the Holy Spirit is exposing things right now. I talked to a lady, I love that she was so honest after first service, and she just said, you know, she said when we were talking about this, there was a grudge in my heart that I was aware of, and I was like, Yeah, I've got to deal with that. And then she said, later on in the service, I'm going to give us all some time for reflection, she said, then when you did that like 8 or 9 more grudges came up. She was like, I didn't know how much of this I was doing. Some of us are at that hopeless point right now, I want to ask you to lean in, don't run away from the pain. God is good, Jesus wants to do something good right now, don't run from the pain, lean in.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:19] Because now what Jesus does is he gives us what to do, and he does this with both the anger issue and with the lust issue. So we start with the anger issue, and he gives us two kinds of points of action. In Verses 23 and 24 he says. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift." And this scenario is foreign to us today, but for all the Jews listening to Jesus, this would have been very familiar. Offering gifts at the altar was not an everyday, or even an every week occurrence for most Jews, but three times a year everybody would travel to Jerusalem and they would do this. So just imagine this is probably what his hearers have in mind. They're like, all right, so I've traveled to Jerusalem, maybe it's 70 or 80 miles, because where Jesus is preaching right now would have been about that far. I've made this long trip with my whole family; every Jew is there to offer their sacrifices and to do their act of worship. So I've got the animal, I've waited in line for ten hours for my turn. I finally get up to the offer, I'm about to do my act of worship, and right then and there it comes to mind that there's an open conflict that I haven't resolved. And the idea here is that some of you are like, if this is the case, no one would ever resolve anything because there's always somebody mad at you about something.

Dan Franklin: [00:21:45] Jesus is not saying that, Paul says in Romans chapter 12, verse 18, "As much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." So that's the idea. All right, the idea is not, hey, there's somebody that I've tried to be reconciled with, but they won't reconcile. The idea is like, you haven't done your work, you haven't tried to make things right. Leave your gift at the altar, and you can imagine the Jews being like, leave your gift at the altar? I waited in line for ten hours and I'm just supposed to go and find this other person? They didn't have cell phones, they didn't have GPS locators, it's like every Jew in Jerusalem is here, I'm just going to go about trying to find this person. There he is, nah, that's not him. Finally, reconcile and then get back in line for another ten hours and offer your sacrifice.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:33] Here's what I want you to get, two things. First of all, this is an extreme measure Jesus is calling people to. That the Jews who are hearing this wouldn't have just said like, yeah, it sounds reasonable, they would have said, that's crazy talk. And the second is this, what Jesus is saying to them and what He's saying to all of us is that God is more interested in how we treat one another than with what we check off the box in our acts of religious service. We'll talk more about this later, but some of you may even be coming to church today, you were like, hey, we got to get to church because at church, we sing, we listen to a sermon, we pray. Maybe some of you are like, I serve with the kids or somewhere else, I've got to do those things. But maybe even on the way this morning, you were barking out rough and brutal things to other members of your family because you're like, the important thing is that we get to church. And Jesus is saying, that's less important to me than the way you treat other people.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:38] Jesus gives a second scenario in verses 25 and 26, so this isn't a continuation, this is a new idea that he brings up. He says, “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court." So new scenario, not a brother or sister, an adversary who's suing you probably over money because that was the most common situation. You owe them money, and they're suing you. He says, “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." And this scenario is a little bit weird, but it seems like what Jesus is painting here, on the one hand, we could say, well, it seems almost mercenary that he's like, you got a court case, settle it before you get before the judge, because if not, you may be on the wrong end of it, they'll send you to prison and you'll have to go to like a work prison where you'll work off your debt. You don't want that, so just settle matters.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:40] So I'll give you two possibilities. It's possible that what Jesus is saying here is he's saying we can be so blinded and irrational because of our rage that we could end up hurting ourselves with our stubbornness. So in essence, he's saying, don't be dumb, don't allow your anger to put you in this bizarre situation. Don't do that, settle matters quickly on the way before you even get to the judge. But I think there may be something a little bit more here, and that's because the language that Jesus uses about the judgment you would face in this is very similar to the language, he uses back in verse 22 about the idea that we face divine judgment for our anger. I think in a creative way, what Jesus is doing is painting a picture that if we don't make things right with one another, we answer to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:31] So in the first scenario in verses 23 and 24, he's like, Hey, leave your gift there, urgently reconcile. Here, whatever he's getting at, he says urgently reconcile while there's still time. Take extreme measures, do it quickly, and don't treat this casually. And he says the same sort of thing when he's talking about lust. He says, "If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." I think I don't need to say this, but I'll say this, this is not literal. Jesus is not calling for literal self-mutilation, but he's using strong, evocative language to show us that he is calling us to extreme measures. He's calling us not just to say when you get a chance, fight against lust. It's like if it costs you an eye or if it costs you a hand, you'd be better off than if you end up in hell full-bodied. Jesus says, here's what you do, you take extreme measures. We're going to return to that in a moment.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:45] But here's what I want to do now, I want us to stay with this third question that Jesus already gave us an answer to, the question, what do we do? And I want to expand upon it a little bit here because I want to ask this question for all of us. Not everybody who's sitting here right now is in the exact same sort of place mentally and spiritually, but there are probably a lot of us that are like, I did not pass Jesus's tests there. I have some grudges and hostility in my heart toward other people, I have some lust that I've been indulging in my heart, either through pornography or through just sort of fantasies, like I have this going, I did not pass this test. What am I supposed to do? Because right now I'm not feeling good, like, I'm feeling pretty down. Some of you might even be like, I'm feeling pretty hopeless because I tried to forgive that person over and over again and the grudge is still there. I've tried to get rid of my lust over and over again, and it's still there, what do I do?

Dan Franklin: [00:27:44] And so here's where I want to make sure we head toward the hope that Jesus has given us. And I want to bring up four areas of response that I think Jesus is leading us to.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:55] And the first one is this. What do we do? We grieve and repent. When the Holy Spirit gets out the scalpel, it's not pleasant, it's painful. So I know for some of us here, we're like, hey, just get me on to the easier part, we need to go through this step first. It is fully appropriate, if Scripture is there partly to rebuke us, and if the Holy Spirit is present in our lives partly to convict us, it's appropriate for us to grieve over our sin. It's appropriate for us to grieve over the way we've dehumanized others through our anger and hostility, and it's appropriate to grieve over the ways that we've been unfaithful through our lust. Grief is appropriate.

Dan Franklin: [00:28:44] In fact, the Apostle Paul says something that to me is really, really profound in Second Corinthians chapter 7. And I'll paint a picture for you and then tell you what he said, but he's writing to the Corinthians, and he had written them previously and he had pretty harshly rebuked them for some sin that they'd had, and his rebuke made them feel bad. And so here's what Paul says, I'm paraphrasing, but he says, My last letter made you feel bad, but I don't feel bad about making you feel bad. Which I love Paul in that, he's just like, I made you feel bad, I'm not sorry. And he says, because I made you feel bad, and that led you to repentance. He says this in Second Corinthians chapter 7, verse 10, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." And there's a certain kind of grief that the devil wants us all to have right now that's just a despairing grief, and there's a certain kind of grief that God wants us to have right now, and it is a grief that's a necessary step along the way to the life and joy that repentance brings. All of us are like, I don't want the workout, I want the diet pills. Like, I don't want the surgery, I just want the result. We have to go through this step, it's unpleasant, we have to go through the step of feeling the weight of our sin before we can get to the point of repentance, to get to the point of turning.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:15] But here's the second way that we need to respond, and this is just as important, we respond by receiving God's grace through Jesus. Some of you right now are convicted, and you're so convicted that you're like, I am going to be crushed. I will be crushed under the weight of my failure and my sin; I'm going to be crushed. You would be crushed except for this; Jesus was crushed for us. Our sin absolutely deserved for us to be crushed under the weight of it, but Jesus chose to be crushed under the weight of all of our sins. And even though he was crushed and wounded for us, even though he died to pay the price for all of our sins, he didn't stay dead, he conquered. Our grief and repentance over our sin is a necessary step for us to get to the grace that God has poured out in Jesus. And I firmly believe that part of what Jesus is doing in this passage for his original audience and for us is he is wanting to make sure that everybody knows that he came for the sick, and we are all sick. Because there's a lot of us that are like, no murder, no adultery, I guess I'm not sick. And Jesus is like, you're sick, let me prove it to you. Let me prove it to you with anger and lust, let me show you that you desperately need a savior.

Dan Franklin: [00:31:46] There might even be some of you in here that are not believers in Jesus. You have chosen not to place your faith in Jesus, and at this point, the main reason why you haven't is because you're like, I'm not sick, I'm quirky. I'm I have faults, I have flaws, I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I'm not sick. I'm not sick in the sense that I need a savior to die for me. You are sick, and you will never experience the beautiful grace of God poured out through Jesus unless you first realize that you're sick. Unless you first grieve over your sin. And brothers and sisters, those of us who are believers, you will never get to the joy of walking closely with Jesus, of experiencing what Hebrews 4 talks about, about boldly going to the throne of grace, and getting the grace and mercy and help that Jesus has to offer. You will never get that unless you first allow yourself to realize you're sick. But you know who Jesus came for? He came for the sick. Thank God, he came for us. So we do respond with grief, but then we run to Jesus, we run to Jesus, and we receive, we believe that we have received grace through Jesus and that we're forgiven.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:59] And then number three, we take extreme measures. This is clearly Jesus leading for us on this, leave your gift at the altar, go make things right, right now. If you're struggling with lust, gouge out your eye, cut off your hand, he's talking about extreme measures. And so let me just say a couple of things about this for all of us. There are some of us in here right now, that there's an area of lack of forgiveness, that there's an area of holding a grudge and holding hostile anger towards others that Jesus is calling you to take an extreme measure on. That he's calling you not just to shrug your shoulders and say, nobody's perfect, but to say, I need to eradicate this from my life. There's some of you that as soon as this service is over, you need to be shooting a text or you need to be on the phone. There are some of you I'll even say this, there's some of you out here that as soon as the service is over, as husband and wife, you might be like, we're supposed to serve next service, but you need to run to the car real quick and talk to each other and just say we need to deal with this, we're not going to solve all of the problems of our marriage in this one conversation, but we need to, at the very least, apologize to each other and make sure that we're not having hostility toward each other. Jesus says to take extreme measures on this, and he says to take extreme measures about lust.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:14] And first of all, some of you are in here, and before we even get to the question about pornography and lust, you're having an affair, you are being unfaithful, you're in an adulterous relationship right now. And what I want you to know is that first of all, the blood of Jesus covers that. But what I want you to know, second of all, is you need to cut that off right away. You need to passionately get out of that, and if that's going to mean some extreme measures, which it almost certainly will, where you're like, I'm going to have to confess to somebody, I might even need to switch jobs to get away from this person. Jesus says your soul is more important. And then when it comes to questions about sort of lust and pornography, we need to not treat this casually. We need to say, what do I need to do? Man, maybe I need Internet accountability from somebody who's going to see everything that I see to where if I click on something that I shouldn't have clicked on, they're going to get an alert. And some of you right now are like no way, like, that's extreme. Yeah, that's extreme, we're meant to fight extreme. Some of you right now are like, you know, there's a show that I watch, it's not even pornography, but I watch that show to watch this person, that's the reason why I watch this show. But if I stop watching the show, this is a show that all my friends talk about. Like every week we talk about what happened on this show, if I cut off this show from my life, I am going to be sort of out of the loop on this. And what I want you to hear is it is better to enter into heaven with no HBO Max than to enter into hell with every channel that you have.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:51] Like there are times, and for a lot of us, really the extreme measures that we've got to bring somebody else into this. For some of you, it's going to be like, I got to go to counseling. I got to tell an accountability partner. I got to do something about this. And I want to say real quick, especially to those of you who are younger in the room, that there will be a temptation to think if you're wrestling with this right now, because the man the enemy loves to get us when we're young on these issues of lust and anger, there's some of you that are like, you know what, I'll deal with that when I'm older. If you wait till you're older to deal with this, this is going to be a bigger monster that you're dealing with. Man, If you start dealing with this now, if you go to Jeff or Tim or your detour group leader or God forbid your parents, or just somebody and you start dealing with this now, you will never regret that you started fighting this fight now. We take extreme measures in the fight against this because our souls are that important.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:50] And finally, fourth, we walk, we walk with Jesus in dependence upon him and in hope in him. And the reason why I wanted to make sure I had this in here is to remind us all that while this might feel burdensome in this moment, John says in First John, that God's commands are not burdensome. Which sounds crazy, these commands are not burdensome? These commands are not burdensome first of all, because God forgives us when we fail. And secondly, these commands are not burdensome because God is calling us to the ultimate good that we could have. Man, we all know people whose lives are ruled by anger, you don't want to be that person. We know people whose lives are ruled by lust, you don't want to be that person. Jesus is calling us to freedom.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:40] And here's what I sometimes envision for myself and really for all of us, part of the imagery in the Bible is that Jesus, when he saved us, he set the slaves free. So we were all chained up, and Jesus broke all the chains, and we are now free. And you know what the very next thing we do after we're set free is? We say, which chains am I still allowed to wear? I know I don't have to wear them, which ones am I allowed to wear? Because this chain over here, I love the way it feels on my leg. It's cool, it cools me down in the heat if I just kind of clamp it around, I love the way that it feels. Maybe some of us are like, do I really need to give up lust? I love the way that it feels. And some of us are like, but this chain over here, this chain is pretty, and people compliment me on it and it makes me feel like I'm important. And some of us are right now, like, do I really have to stop nursing that grudge? It makes me feel so superior to the person that wronged me. Like, do I really need to let go of that? Please hear this, Jesus is looking to lead us into the most joyful freedom that we could have. And we're like, but which chains can I still wear? Jesus is leading us into a greater joy than we're even willing to fight for ourselves. So we walk in joyful, hopeful, absolute dependence upon Jesus, trusting that his way is better.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:11] Now, here's what I want to do. We intentionally did this in this service, we carved out five minutes at the end because we didn't want to just leave it to say do something afterwards. We said, you know what? Right in this service, let's leave a chance for us to be able to respond. Because we've been praying, we believe the Holy Spirit's at work, and so here's what's going to happen now. I'm still going to talk for a couple of minutes, but as I'm talking, I'm going to invite pastors, elders, prayer team members, and anybody who's normally up in front to receive people. Just go ahead and come up right now, be bold, you're supposed to be getting up, don't apologize for it, go ahead, and get up to either side. And what I'm going to lead us into now, is I'm going to lead us into some quiet time of prayer that's going to just sort of be individual, there's business we all need to do with God. Some of you, maybe you're at a point of really joyfully walking with Jesus where right now what you need to deal with, thankfully, is not major stuff. But there's no doubt there's some of us in here that the grudges and the lust, they are major, they are monsters right now. And it's time for us to go before God, it's time for us to grieve over our sin, it's time for us to embrace the idea that he really does forgive us of these things, and it's time to prayerfully ask the Lord, what are the extreme measures you're calling me to?

Dan Franklin: [00:40:31] So I'm going to lead us into a time of just quiet prayer. But what I also want to say is not only are the folks up here going to be up here afterwards, but if at any point during this prayer time, you don't need to wait until afterwards, just go ahead and get up and go to them. People did this first service; they did not wait. They were like, I'm going right now because I either need prayer because I know right now I'm saying I'm going to give up this grudge, but I know myself, I'm not. And I'm saying right now I'm going to take an extreme measure to fight against pornography, but I know myself, I'm not, I'm not going to follow through. And so I need to come for prayer, and I need to just tell another brother or sister in Christ where I'm at right now. So you don't have to wait, but I'm going to invite you just to bow your head right now, and we're not going to rush through this. We're just going to take some quiet minutes of us, each bringing ourselves before the Lord. And at any point, don't wait if God is moving in you to come forward and get prayer right now.

Dan Franklin: [00:43:22] Father God, I thank you for this moment and what you're doing right now. Thank you, thank you for the words of Jesus that there's more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than of ninety-nine righteous people who don't need to repent. Thank you that you treasure our humble, grief-filled repentance because you want to lead us to life. I pray that you continue the work that you are doing right now. Thank you for those who are brave enough to come forward, and thank you for the quiet, private repentance that's happening right now. Father, make it real, we know so many times we privately say things to you, and they don't seem real. Father, make it real and help us to love and trust Jesus enough to take whatever extreme measures you're calling us to. Father, I pray that you lead us in the joy that you're calling us to break every chain and lead us to be wise enough and trusting enough not to put those chains back on. Shine the light of Jesus through us as we walk with you. And I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:44:31] I'm going to ask you to go ahead and stand, and I'm just going to read a verse of benediction over us. But I want to say again, God is at work in here, you haven't missed your chance for a next step of coming up and talking to somebody. So if the Lord is moving in, you don't lose that. But I'm going to read one verse as our benediction, it quickly has become one of my favorite verses in all the Bible because it's a hope-filled verse. It's Philippians chapter 1, verse 6, "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Amen? Amen. God bless you for the rest of this Sunday. Thank you so much for being here.



Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848