Future Grace - Battling Unbelief - Lesson 9

How Does It Work Against Sin? (Part 3)

If you yield to a life driven by lustful passion, you act like you don't know God. Knowing God deeply so that God is your treasure, is a good strategy for overcoming lust. The evidence of being born of God is that you make war on sin.

John Piper
Future Grace - Battling Unbelief
Lesson 9
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How Does It Work Against Sin? (Part 3)

How Does It Work Against Sin? (Part 3)

Battling the unbelief of lust

Class Resources
  • God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying him forever. One aim of this course is to show that living by faith in future grace is the way of life that unites these passions.

  • We are justified by faith alone, but that faith never remains alone. Therefore, justifying faith is always and inevitably accompanied by good works.

  • Grace is the ever-arriving, moment by moment enablement to act in reliance on God. God doesn't promise us comfort or everything we want, but everything we need to do what God wants us to do.

  • [Since] God did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, [surely] he will freely give us all things. (Romans 8:32) The motivating power of a life of obedience is faith in future grace.

  • In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5), if the key to doing the harder thing is faith in future grace (believing it with all your heart), then the key to doing the easy thing is also faith in future grace. A legalist tends to attack a command directly with the intention of doing it. A faith-based person prays that God will change them so they will become a person who loves as an overflow of who they are.

  • Bible texts that are illustrations of how hope, faith, confidence, satisfaction in future grace liberates love. The main battle to be fought in the quest for love is the battle to trust God for future grace.

  • Sins that get in the way of holiness.

  • Learn to pray about the spiritual condition of our heart not just about our possessions or circumstances.

  • If you yield to a life driven by lustful passion, you act like you don't know God. Knowing God deeply so that God is your treasure, is a good strategy for overcoming lust. The evidence of being born of God is that you make war on sin.

  • The definition that Dr. Piper uses for bitterness is, "Holding a grudge or savoring the thought of getting even with no true desire for the salvation and reconciliation of the offending person." He defines impatience as, "Murmuring against Providence when we are forced to walk the path of obedience in an unplanned place or an unplanned pace."

God is infinitely committed and passionate to preserving and displaying his glory in all that he does from creation to redemption. In this commitment we see his zeal and love and satisfaction in his glory.

The main question that Dr. Piper attempts to answer in this class is, "Why does practical holiness (love), inevitably accompany justifying faith?"

We are thankful for John Piper's willingness to share these lectures with us. Copyright 2014 by Desiring God Ministries. Used with Permission. For more information, please visit www.DesiringGod.org.


Future Grace - Battling Unbelief

Dr. John Piper


How Does It Work Against Sin? (Part 3)

Lesson Transcript


The following message was recorded at an event hosted by Desiring God. More information about desiring God events, conferences and resources is available at W WW dot desiring God dot org. Let's go to love this big. Some people think men men are the issue here. That is, men struggle with this. I have had enough women approach me in their candor and talk about the issue that I don't make that assumption any more. What did we read? I forget the percentage. 30% of. Internet pornography is viewed by women. Maybe curiosity, you know, instead of men's kind of looking, but. Maybe not. Maybe no women's imaginations are different than men's imaginations. Harlequin Romance novels are not the same as Playboy. But they function the same. It's just more relational, more contextual, more holistic. Women's lusts are not as visceral and immediate and visual, but relational and situational and dream and hope oriented. We're pretty different folks, but seeing in this lusting thing. Can defeat both kinds of human being. Here's my definition of lust. Pursuing elicit thoughts or images elicit inappropriate wrong thoughts or images in the mind. So, I mean, women and men have your own ways of doing it in the mind with a view to stimulating sexual pleasures or with or without external stimuli. You can do it in here, see or touch or be around anything, or you can be looking at a person or Internet or whatever. So that's my definition of lust, elicit thoughts or images in the mind with a view to stimulating sexual pleasures with or without external stimuli. And and the question is, how do you kill that? Because it's illicit. It's wrong. How do you kill lust? And the answer is living by faith in future grace. So let's get specific here and analyze this a little bit.


Lust. Grows out of. Suppressing the knowledge of God in his promises. Most people in the world don't have a clue that that's the case. And some Christians don't believe that that's the case. But look at these texts. Ephesians 422 lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit. What does that mean? Lusts. Of deceit. It means. You are believing a lie. When you lost. It means you're being deceived as you lust and deceive always implies the departure from truth. Some truth. What would that be? First, Peter won 14. As obedient children do not be conformed to the former lusts desires. So don't be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance. Ignorance. Peter seems to be tracing my vulnerability to former lusts too. Ignorance of something. It says to me as a pastor, I need to rectify that. I need to constantly be rectifying this deceit and this ignorance because they really matter. Lust feels very much different from ideas in the head. It feels very much like convictions of the soul, but it is not out of touch with these. My my concern is not merely to provide some little short term. Here's a way to stop that. Here's a way to stop that, but rather to build a substructure of life into your mind and heart in relationship to what could be known about God and Christ in heaven and hell. That the whole substructure is like a rising tide in a harbor where all the boats are down in the mud have lost. And instead of trying to get cranes, little cranes of tactics, you know, lift that one out of the lost lift out one out of the whole tide goes up and all the boats float out of the mud.


That's the way I want to preach and teach and and live. I want to create such an awareness of a deep knowledge of and allegiance to the superior pleasures of God in Christ over against the dangers of hellish lust that men and women find their boats floating free and don't as often need to use the crane of technique. Just a kind of a growing, abiding victory. First Thessalonians four connected with God. Each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion. Like the Gentiles who do not know God. What he saying. He's saying if you yield to a life driven by lustful passion, you act like you don't know God. If that's true, then knowing God is a good strategy for overcoming lust. It is knowing God. I mean really knowing him. There are a lot of guys and gals who, when they fight the fight, they try to, you know, bring some theological or biblical thought to mind and it doesn't work. And they say, blah, that doesn't work. They don't know, God, how much effort have they given to really go deep with God know God have their mind full of God in their heart, full of God and God's beauty and glory and perfection becomes their treasure. That's the kind of knowledge he's talking about here. You want to play with God, you'll be a sitting duck for every image that comes across the television and and the Internet. But if you if you stock your soul and mind with the fullness of biblical revelation about God, the boats will float. Here's a beautiful opening of how future grace the promise of all that God is for us. And Jesus relates the last second.


Peter one three. His Divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge. Okay, now watch that. His power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness. That would be good. I would like that. I would like that power to boost godliness in me. How does it come to me? He gives us some channels. It comes through the true knowledge of him. That's amazing. They're amazing. Power for godliness comes through knowledge. Of him. And now it specifies the knowledge a little bit. Who called us by his own glory and excellence. So there's some glory we know and some excellence we know. For buy these. I think that's referring back to these to glory and excellence He has granted to us his precious and very magnificent promises. So there's another thing we know so that buy them and now it's the promises by them. You may become partakers of the divine nature. And as having escaped from the corruption, the loss that is in the world by lust, the corruption that was in the world. Bella So if you read backwards and say, okay, I want to escape this, I'm so sick of this in my life, I want out of this dominant power in my life. It comes by promises, promises, so that by them you may become partakers in escape by them you become partakers and escape by the promises we escape. Lust. This is. This is future grace. All that. All this glory and excellence. This knowledge of God that's going to be now and more in the future granted to us for our enjoyment is so superior that it severs the root of this lust. That's the way that that text works. So fight lost indirectly as well as directly.


Give yourself to reading. Give yourself to study. Give yourself to meditating. Give yourself to memorizing. Give yourself to savoring the beauties of God and pray like crazy that the Lord would open your heart to see wonderful things that feel more wonderful than the surge of this masturbation. We're just looking. Or more illicit behavior. Fornication. Adultery. Fooling around at some kinky bar. It's a lie. That losing sex is losing something essential. You wonder, where does that come from? Here's here's where that's coming from. I got a let's see it context here about, oh, I don't know, was 15 years those of you been in the Twin Cities will remember this. Maybe there was a big row in the Twin Cities in the newspapers about a public advertising for condoms on television. And I wrote an article for the Tribune with two other pastors arguing that that would not be a good idea. To to put advertisements for condoms on the television. And so I got a call from the TV station and they said, Can we come over and do a little interview about that? They did, and I did. Then, then, then the letters started to come both from the TV and the Tribune. And I remember one letter so clear, a single man who said and I responded, I wrote to him and tried to administer to him after this, but he just said, I can't believe that you would tell me as a single man that I am not to experience the fullness of my humanity through sexual relations with my girlfriend without marriage. What if What if I have no partner? You going to tell me? I go through my whole life without sexual intercourse? That was absolutely unimaginable to him. I will not be human if I don't have sex.


And that really set me to thinking about what is human and how to think about that for single people because they're single people. Who? Year after year hope maybe that that they might be married and a man or a woman. And it doesn't happen for whatever reason. And they begin to think I may go to my grave. And never have had sex. Didn't seem right. I can't remember all that I put in the letter to him. I think I might have it on file at home. I forgot to get it. But here is an important verse I made for love. And the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk up rightly. Wow. Do you believe that? No. Good thing. Does he withhold from those who walk chaste and upright? Which means that if you are not married and you walk up rightly in chastity, the Lord withholds no good thing from you. It would be far better for you never to have sex in this life. Just like Jesus. What I did say to this man. I said, I hear you saying that you want to be fully human. I affirm that I know one person who was fully human. Jesus Christ. He never had sex. I think that's a very liberating thought to single people should be. Jesus Christ came into the world to model the infinite beauty and fullness of humanity. Had he never had sexual intercourse? Da Vinci Code notwithstanding. Therefore, you don't have to have it to be fully. Human and what God wants you to be. Blessed are the pure and heart, for they shall see God. That is an unspeakable promise to see God.


I remember in my teenage days of much defeat in this area, what began to triumph. 1819 made that transition was the the. Thought of what I was missing as I gave myself away to lustful fantasies, what it did to me in blinding me from what I could see but couldn't see. In other words, if my. If I gave myself away toward masturbation. Of a fantasy. The thought of seeing God or seeing people in their wholeness and their beauty and their uprightness. Vanished, and I was down like a dog in heat. It felt like I was losing the sunrises. I was losing poetry. I was losing the possibility of someday having an upright and beautiful eyeball to eyeball personal relationship with a whole woman and not just a body. All that began to just grip me as what I was losing and what I was blinding myself to as I gave myself away to lust. That's a gift of grace When you begin to cherish God more than those little blitzed pleasures that are so fleeting and so unsatisfying in the end. For lust will destroy the soul. I skipped over the warnings on anxiety. I won't skip over this one. Warnings are the flip side of promises. They are gracious. They. They make us scared. But Jesus uses them. We should use them. Matthew 528. I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So what should you do? If you're right, I causes you to stumble, tear it out and throw it from you. For it is better for you to lose one of your part. One of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.


Have you ever thought that if you tear out. You're right, I. You can see her pretty clearly with your left eye. So it was no help to tear out your right. The reason that's an important observation is because Jesus didn't mean literally to tear out your right eye because it wouldn't help with your left eye. He meant do whatever you must do to get this sight and temptation out of your head. So I. I put there. See future Grace Page 329. Here's why I want to read. July 20, 1993. Donald Wyman was clearing land near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, as part of his work for a mining company. In the process, a tree rolled onto his shin, causing a severe break and pinning Wyman to the ground. He cried for help for an hour, but no one came. He concluded that the only way to save his life would be to cut off his leg. So he made a tourniquet out of his shoestring and tied it with a wrench, tightened it with the ridge. Then he took his pocket knife and cut through the skin, muscle and bone just below the knee and freed himself from the tree. He crawled 30 yards to a bulldozer, drove a quarter of a mile to his truck, maneuvered the standard transmission with his good leg and a hand until he reached a farmer's house one and a half miles away with his leg bleeding profusely. Farmer John Huber, Jr. Helped him get to a hospital where his life was spared. A man will cut off his leg to save his life. Will you cut off your leg and gouge out your eye to save your eternity? That's what Jesus says. Be thrown into hell. We should fight this lust thing with hellish proportions.


Hell and heaven. I urge you as aliens and strangers, to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against your soul. They want to kill you. I'm going to take you down. Oh, how many pastors? The statistic a few years ago was 10% in our denomination in Minnesota had come down over this. 10%. Had failed to gouge out their I cut off their leg and do whatever was necessary to find Christ a superior pleasure. They threw it away. They threw the marriage away, the ministry away for for that kind of pleasure. Fleeting Hellbound pleasure. Johnno and. Bless his heart. The Kalvin of England. Said be killing sin or it will be killing you. We don't always succeed, but we better make war. The evidence of being born of God is that you make war on your sin. You'll win every battle. But you make war. You can get that at desiring God, dawg. That's my little acronym for how I Fight in the Moment of Lust. But I think I've said enough about lust. I'd like to move on. So, Anthem, if you type in Anthem at Desiring Gorg, you will get this acronym. I find it very helpful in the moment when the thought that you don't want in your head comes in your head and you're trying to figure out how to get it out. Thank you for listening to this message from Desiring God, the Ministry of John Piper, Pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Feel free to make copies of this message for others, but please do not charge for those copies or alter the content in any way. Without permission, we invite you to visit desiring God online at WW w dot desiring God dot org where you'll find hundreds of sermons, articles, radio broadcasts and more all available at no charge.


Our online bookstore carries all of Pastor John's books, audio and video resources, and you can also stay up to date on what's new at Desiring God. Again, our website is w WW dot desiring God dawg. Or call us toll free at 1888346 4700. Our mailing address is. Desiring God. 2601 East Franklin Avenue. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 55406 Desirae God exists to help you make God your treasure because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.