The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 6:20-35 My son, observe the commandment of your father And do not forsake the teaching of your mother; Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life To keep you from the evil woman, From the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, Nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, And an adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom And his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals And his feet not be scorched? So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not go unpunished. Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, And his reproach will not be blotted out. For jealousy enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.
A team of oxen yoked together can accomplish much when hooked up to a plow and coaxed along by the farmer. If you were to hook up two oxen to a plow, and set them off across a field, without yoke, and without a farmer coaxing, you would quickly see that while one of the oxen wanted to stop and chew the cud, the other would be attempting to plod ahead. While one wanted to go right, the other would be attempting to lie down and rest. It is the yoke, coupled with the determined goading and coaxing of the farmer, which enables the oxen to produce the desired work the farmer seeks to accomplish. If there were no farmer, only two oxen yoked together, the weaker of the two oxen will find himself to be at the mercy and whim, of the stronger. This is the condition of one who has forsaken the Word of the LORD, the reality in which one who has rejected God’s Word finds themselves. When we trade the Word of God for the imaginations of our heart, our feelings, the wind of culture, the sugar coated doctrines of false teachers, or our traditions, we quickly fall into bondage: unequally yoked, chained to our sin. When we abandon the clear teaching of scripture, rejecting the commandments of our father, forsaking the teachings of our mother, we will find ourselves tied to sin with a yoke of iron. Whereas Christ says “Come”, for “His yoke is easy and His burden is light”, the yoke of sin, and autonomy, at the root of rejecting God’s Word: is heavy, burdensome, and will ultimately crush us. Christ says to take His yoke upon us and learn from Him, while the world, your flesh, and Satan cry “Did God really say?”.
Today’s passage is directed towards you sons. Whose voice will you obey? Who will you listen to? The answer to this question will determine the course of your life. Psalm 23 tells us that Jesus, our Good Shepherd, leads us onto paths of righteousness for His namesake. Obeying the lusts of your flesh, the lust of your eyes, and the pride of life, on the other hand, will lead you stumbling blindly into the dark, unable to discern right from wrong, true from false. Do you love your sin more than God? Would you pursue your passions and lusts rather than the Word of God? God will permit it. He will give you the desires of your heart, and in doing so, you will find your feet set in slippery places, and your soul pursued by the angel of the LORD. Adultery, which our passage speaks of specifically today, the idea that you can take a woman not belonging to you, with your eyes, thoughts, or deeds, and commit sexual immorality with her. This sin has enticed many, many, young, old, and in between men stumble blindly in the dark, believing they can bring fire to their bosom and not get burned. They have forgotten that the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is a light. Their foolish heart becomes darkened. Young men, sins desire is for you. Do not think that you can be unequally yoked with sin, or unbelievers, and master these things. Do not think you can substitute God’s Word for your own, or God’s Word for the appetite of your stomach, and that you, the 1 human in 6,000,000,000, can safely navigate and master this sin from which God commands us to flee.
My son Samuel asked me a question the other day during family worship that was a really good question. To paraphrase, he asked “How can we hear God’s voice? How can we know that it isn’t just our own thoughts or voice in our heads?” I would answer that this morning by pointing you to our confession.
The Westminster Confession, Chapter 1 part 7, Of the Holy scriptures, says this:
All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor
alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain
unto a sufficient understanding of them.
We can know that God is speaking to us, when we accept in faith the clear teaching of scripture. On an issue such as adultery, God is very clear: Thou Shall not. We can know for certain that the voice we hear speaking to us is Christ’s, when we are trusting in Him, as revealed through His Word, rather than trusting in the winds of culture or our own subjective, ever changing feelings. Young men, when God commands you to flee sexual immorality, He does so, not to keep some good thing from you, but for your good. Your Heavenly Father knows what is best for you, His desire is to give you good gifts. “A good wife, who can find her?”asks the scriptures. The answer is, a young man who hides God’s Word in his heart, one who hears the voice of God from His Word, and obeys. A good wife is truly a blessing from the LORD that the sin of adultery will trod underfoot.
Perhaps you have stumbled in this. You find yourself lusting for the young woman on the screen. Lust of the flesh has ensnared you, and now the images you have filled your mind with are not enough, and incidentally, they never will be. Maybe you are an older man, and your sin has come full bloom, and you have graduated from images to the real thing. Lest you repent, you will likewise perish.
Let us kneel, and come boldly to the throne of Grace, and cry out to our Heavenly Father to guard our hearts, our eyes, our minds, and our homes from this scourge. Let us plead with Him for deliverance from this great evil.
THOU RIGHTEOUS AND HOLY SOVEREIGN,
In whose hand is my life and whose are all
Keep me from fluttering about religion;
fix me firm in it,
for I am irresolute;
my decisions are smoke and vapour,
and I do not glorify thee,
or behave according to thy will;
Cut me not off before my thoughts grow
and the budding of my soul into full flower,
for thou art forbearing and good,
patient and kind.
Save me from myself,
from the artifices and deceits of sin,
from the treachery of my perverse nature,
from denying thy charge against my offences,
from a life of continual rebellion against thee,
from wrong principles, views, and ends;
for I know that all my thoughts, affections,
desires and pursuits are alienated from thee.
I have acted as if I hated thee, although thou art
have contrived to tempt thee to the uttermost,
to wear out thy patience;
have lived evilly in word and action.
Had I been a prince
I would long ago have crushed such a rebel;
Had I been a father
I would long since have rejected my child.
O, thou Father of my spirit,
thou King of my life,
cast me not into destruction,
drive me not from thy presence,
but wound my heart that it may be healed;
break it that thine own hand
may make it whole. (Valley of Vision p.38)
In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
One will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. | Romans 5:7-9
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!