At its core, Lust is treating another human being--another child of God--as though they were merely objects available to satisfy our physical passions. In our contemporary Western culture, Lust is one of the most pervasive and damaging of the Seven Deadly Sins, yet also one of the most complicated to talk about: we make a virtue (and certainly an enormous industry) out of almost unfettered sexual desire, yet we are still loathe to talk about (or admit personally) the damage it does to both personal and community relationships. Furthermore, while the Church would like to hold ourselves up as examples of another way of living, many Christians are just as broken by this sin as the non-Christians around us, and may have an even harder time admitting it on one hand, and welcoming those who continue to struggle against it, on the other. As we come to these scriptures and the Lord's table together, let's prepare ourselves to speak frankly and humbly about the way our own views and attitudes about sexuality need to be redeemed by the love of Christ.
6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But 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. 30 And 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 Message will be direct and parents should consider whether it will be appropriate for their children. Childcare is available for children of all ages during the service.
Bosch presents a picture of Lust that seems strangely comic to us, rather than dangerous; but perhaps the artist was capturing exactly the way that something that seems innocuous can lead us into great trouble. Our normal sense of lust as sexual desire is depicted in the form of two couples dallying in a tent, with another strolling far in the background. There is an air of leisure rather than urgency about them, not just in their postures and looks towards one another, but in the objects that surround them: dainty morsels of food, fine flasks of wine, and discarded musical instruments. One commenter notes that a contemporary French saying was that "music-making leads to love-making," and the word that Bosch uses for this sin ("luxuria", as in luxuriate) suggests that lust does not overpower us so much as seduce us by small, lingering steps--allowing what ought to be passing thoughts to eventually consume us. Standing out against the otherwise relaxed scene are two other figures: a jester or fool who has crawled under the tent skirts to watch what's happening inside, and a friar who has caught him and is beating him with a large wooden spoon (an emblem of illicit relations in Bosch's culture).
About the Series
“Seven | Finding Freedom from the Darkness Within” is a Lenten sermon series on Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony and Lust, known for nearly 1500 year as “the Seven Deadly Sins.” For a full description of the series, including week to week schedules, click HERE.
Join the Conversation
Looking beyond our walls, our sister congregations, Christ Presbyterian and City Church, are joining us in this series on the Seven Deadly Sins, partners with us in repentance and renewal, as well as in sharing the gospel.
Pastors Corey Widmer, Kevin Germer, and Erik Bonkovsky are hosting a collaborative blog where they and readers can contribute additional thoughts and responses to the scriptures and sermons we'll hear during lent. If you'd like to join that conversation, click below.
STUDY GUIDES for this sermon will be available on Sunday afternoon, with audio being added on Tuesday morning, both found by clicking the banner image for the sermon on the homepage. We encourage all small groups to use these resources to foster self-examination in community, in addition to privately, and as a way for our whole church to be participating in this season of preparation together
For a more in-depth look at biblical thinking about sexuality, you may also want to listen to a series of classes Corey Widmer taught several years ago here at Third: