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Overcoming Lust (Powerful Sermon Compilation)

A picture of a church building with a cross and sermons on the issue of lust, sexual temptation, and pornography.
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Sometimes it helps to have someone in your ear encouraging you to do the right thing. That is the motivation behind this publication. I’ve transcribed a lengthy YouTube compilation of sermon clips from a variety of preachers–including Carter Conlon, Zac Poonen, John Piper, Keith Daniel, Steve Hill, Paul Washer, and David Wilkerson. Some of them I’m just now hearing for the first time, but I did my best to label each segment according to the speaker.

The overarching theme of the compilation is overcoming sexual temptation. As you know if you’ve been reading this blog, developing a strong relationship with God is the only surefire way to win the battle against lust. It’s what grounds us and restrains us from doing anything that would come between it. And when we do fall, there is grace to get up and continue progressing toward who God wants us to be.

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.

Micah 7:8-9

For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.


Piper: 1 Thessalonians 4 connects it 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’s he saying? He’s saying if you yield to a life-driven by lustful passion, you act like you don’t know God.

Poonen: Your attitude to sin is going to be the most important thing that’s going to matter when you stand before the Lord. Let me tell you that. “Let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from sin.” You’ve heard me speak about internet pornography a number of times. It’s a man who’s losing his love for God who clicks on some site to watch internet pornography. That’s one of the purest evidences that his love for God is going down because “iniquity shall abound.” There’s plenty of iniquity on the internet. “The love of many will grow cold.” Is that happening to you?

Piper: 30% of internet pornography is viewed by women. It feels so good, and that’s the lie. It’s a half-truth because sin does feel good. Some of you may be sitting there right now saying, “Frankly, I would rather be there than here.” But I’ll tell you, and your own conscience bears witness. You don’t need anything more than your conscience. Yes, it feels good short-term. And then comes the remorse. Then comes the misery. Then comes the guilt. Then comes the shattered family. Then comes the ruined career. Then comes the late-night grieving. And then in the end, if you haven’t learned to fight at all, then comes hell. Which is why Hebrews 11:25 talks about the “fleeting pleasures of sin.” Sure, they’re pleasures. Nobody’s arguing that. Go do your thing if you want to, but it’s going to fly away. Guilt and pain are gifts of God to warn us that the pleasures of sin are suicidal.

Hill: Satan shows you the bait, he doesn’t show you the hook. “Do this. You need it. You want it. You’ll feel good if you do it.” There is some truth to it. The problem is sin doesn’t satisfy.

Poonen: When I see all this happening, increasing and increasing and increasing, I know the coming of the Lord is near. It’s near. And I want to keep my glass full of oil. The number of believers who have been deceived by the devil in this area is absolutely amazing.

Piper: And then the desires of deceit, and the way they succeed is by deceiving us, lying to us. They’re lying to you–just punch that little mouse button and get that nude up on the screen or whatever your besetting sin may be. It’s a lie. Your own conscience tells you it’s a lie.

Hill: Sin does not satisfy.

Piper: Be killing sin or it will be killing you. The evidence of being born of God is that you make war on your sin.

Hill: The amazing thing is there may be a temporary thrill, but soon enough the hole is bigger than what it was before. Soon enough, the desire is greater than it was before. Let’s say that you were playing some sport outside–it’s hot out. It’s miserably oppressive. You’re desperately thirsty. Someone says “Hey, drink this.” Boy it looks good. Just the bottle that it’s in, and it looks chilled and everything. And you drink it and for a moment it gives you this incredible feeling, but two minutes later it creates an unbelievable thirst far beyond what you had before. Would you drink it? If it did not actually quench the thirst. After one or two times, you wouldn’t do it. You’d remember, “I’m not going to touch this because if I do, it’s going to make things worse than before.” That leads me to the second principle, which is this: Sin leads to more sin.

Piper: Unfought lust will destroy the soul. If you are duped by their lie that this little short-term pleasure is worth it all, then you’re ignorant. And a sermon, or let’s just say a text like this is intended to fix that. Ignorance kills. So sin takes over the desires, makes liars out of them. They promise satisfaction and happiness and they deliver cheap, fleeting, shallow stimulation that leaves us less content, less peaceful, less hopeful, more guilty, more restless, more discouraged, more enslaved. Learn this so that you can defeat the lie in the moment with truth. Learn this. They’ll lead to death in the end. Verse 21 of this chapter says “The outcome of those things is death.”

Hill: I remember one time after yielding to the flesh. It was a relatively minor thing, you might say, but afterwards I was grieved in my spirit. And I said to myself if I could only remember the way I feel now. If I could remember that before I was tempted the next time, I’d never sin. If I could remember the way I felt after sinning, and hold on to that, the next time temptation came knocking at my door, I’d say no. Here’s the problem. All that sin did was create an appetite to do it again. Even if you had a miserable experience in doing it. Even if it totally let you down. Even if you felt shame in the process. What happens is that thing leaves and it comes back with appeal again. The problem is you’re a little bit weaker this time. The problem is your resolve is not as strong as you used to be because you blew it. The problem is that image–those things that have been playing in your mind and kind of pulling on you. And you fall again. “I can’t believe, I’ll never do that again.” Two weeks later. . . Back again. One week later. . . Back again. Before you know it, you’re a slave. You’re a slave. Sin doesn’t satisfy. When it tells you, you’ll get the release that you need. When it tells you, you’ll get that satisfaction. When it tells you the tension will break, and the freedom will be there–it’s a lie. Because it’s not going to satisfy and all it’s going to do is lead to more sin.

Unknown: I’m telling you, you’re going to have to resist it. And the more you’ve fed your mind with it, the more you’ve trained your body toward it, the more you’ve given your heart toward it, the more difficult, the stronger the test and the more heat there is to the fire. Are you hearing what I’m saying? But God doesn’t leave you on your own. The Holy Spirit of God is there to do a sanctifying work in you. All God wants you to do is make a choice. You choose you’re not going to walk that way. You’re not going to turn to the right. You’re not going to turn to the left. You say to that idol, that temptation, that sin “Be gone out of my life. I choose Jesus.”

Poonen: Now you can put yourself in temptation unnecessarily. You can open a pornographic book and say “Lord, lead me not into temptation.” That’s a lot of rubbish. You keep cigarettes in your drawer and say “Please, don’t let me smoke, Lord.” Destroy those cigarettes. You keep sources of temptation around you and say “Lord, deliver me from temptation.” The Bible says to run away from temptation!

Piper: [H]e will cut off his leg to save his life. Will you cut of 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. He meant “Do whatever you must do to get this sight and temptation out of your head.”

Poonen: I [don’t want to be?] he who cries out at night. He who wets his pillow with tears.

Hill: You got to resist the first step because the first step always leads to the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh. It always does–it’s inevitable. Unless the chain is broken through true repentance and a radical turning back, one sin leads to another sin.

Piper: 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 eye. Cut off their leg. And do whatever was necessary to find Christ a superior pleasure.

Daniel: How many preachers and godly were diverted off the king’s way. Oh how many godly preachers and godly were diverted off the king’s way because they took a second look. Because they didn’t and weren’t abiding in Christ.

Poonen: Every Christian who watches pornography, who watches filthy scenes in movies is saying that “I would never let my daughter behave like that or my sister, but that’s not my sister, that’s not my daughter–I don’t care. I don’t care if that person goes to hell living in that sin.” You’re watching people go to hell and it doesn’t bother you. I remember as a young man hearing the story of the way one man conquered lust. Whenever he saw a pretty girl through whom he was tempted, he woulds say, “Lord, you created that body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Say that next time you see a girl improperly dressed. “You created that body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.” That girl doesn’t have a clue what she was created for. “You died to save her from that sin. Lord, save her from sin.”

Daniel: I won’t look on a woman to lust for her. God gives me that ability. Brother, if you think God can’t, you haven’t read the Bible. God gives you the ability when you are pure in heart. When you are absolutely surrendered when you feel controlled by the Spirit, and you stay close to God abiding in him, soaking yourself in the Scriptures and in prayer daily from the moment you met with him in such a manner. He gives you the ability not to look and commit adultery with her. Which will bring judgment, God says if such a life is continued in your heart even if no one else knows and you’re singing hallelujah while you’re looking out the corner of your eye.

Piper: Fight lust indirectly as well as directly. Give yourself to reading. Give yourself to studying. 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. Just looking or more elicit behavior–fornication, adultery, fooling around.

Daniel: That second look is impossible to the man that devours the Word of God as his greatest delight in life. . . Somehow that stopped or he would not have been capable of taking a second look at what the devil was saying. Look, you are incapable, sir, of that second look if this book is your greatest delight in life. The devil cannot touch you, young man, if this book is your source of survival daily.

Poonen: These are the sources of power. One, being filled in our heart and mind with the word of God. Psalm 119, “Thy word have I hid in thy heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Be filled with the Holy Spirit, that’s the other source of power.

Washer: God wants enduring obedience and that only comes with enduring study and meditation upon God’s word. Enduring prayer and making ourselves accountable to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of you–the greatest blessing that you need in your life is to make yourself accountable to another brother or sister. You’ve got a besetting sin in your life. You’ve got a problem in a certain area of your life. One of the greatest things you can do is pray and ask God to show you someone to whom you can make yourself accountable. You know, some of you struggle with certain sins and you’re sitting there going “I’m never going to get free.” Maybe you just need to pray, and maybe you just need to go to somebody. Somebody that’s trustworthy and somebody that can keep their lip closed, except to God. Someone who can pray for you. Go to them and say “Look, I’m caught up in so much of this stuff, and I need help.”

Conlon: Uriah is listed as one of the mighty men of David in that cave when David is writing sweet songs of trust and provision and protection. Do you think, for one moment, that David ever thought that he would be murdering this man that was next to him? You don’t know what’s in your heart. None of us do. Only the Spirit of God can search it. We don’t know and anyone who trusts in his own heart is a fool, the Scripture says. Did he ever think that this man that he’s nurturing. This man that’s becoming mighty under his influence, that’s he’s going to end up stealing his wife and murdering him one day. Did he ever think that would happen? The sweet psalmist of Israel. It only happened because he got spiritually lazy. It happened because he went to bed instead of going to God. It happened because he got up in the evening time. Folks, it’s in the evening you’re supposed to go to bed, not get out of bed. His laziness is proven by the fact he was in bed all afternoon having nothing to do but just indulge his own heart. And when he got out of bed, he just did what was naturally there because he was not seeking God as he had in the past and ended up murdering one of his own mighty men.

Hill: How many baptismal testimonies have we heard when people said “I lost it all.” For what? For a little pleasure? For momentary satisfaction? For fleeting fulfillment–for what?

Daniel: Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. In this world, the devil will place many things before us that we did not choose to behold, but it is our choice if we keep on looking. Temptation is not sin, but the second look is, brother. The second look is, sister.

Conlon: You see, spiritual laziness. Here are some signs of spiritual laziness–when we begin to pray at the end of the day and not the beginning. David says I will not start my day, and God you can be sure that my day will not start until you hear my voice. And I will cry out to you, Oh God, and here’s what he cries. Verse 8 he says “Lead me, oh Lord, in my righteousness because of my enemies and make my way straight before my face.” He says “You’re going to hear my voice in the morning.” And it’s going to be praying the simple prayer, “Oh God, lead me, guide me.” There are too many enemies around and within me. I need you to lead me. I need your voice behind me. I need your path before me, God. Or I’m going to make a mess of my day. And David says, “You’ll hear my voice in the morning.” And it was in those times that victory after victory after victory after victory began to come into his life.

Daniel: I will not defile myself. You’re going to have to purpose in your heart, to make up your mind, “I will not defile myself. I will be holy in this life.” Don’t blame your friends if you compromise. Don’t blame peer pressure at school. Don’t blame corruption in the land. Lack of censorship, filthy books, evil videos and things. Don’t blame anything. You are as holy as you will be. You are as holy as you want to be.

Unknown: He says, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free. What happens is you get so full of the word of God, you get so full of truth that it’s like shoving your fist down in the water. You see, the reason I don’t want sin is my life is because I don’t want that fellowship broken. What caused you to fall in love with Jesus, that first love. It’s you spending time with him.

Washer: Our entire life, every moment of our life, should be one of being with the master. It is very hard to call up pornography sites on a computer when Jesus Christ is there. It’s very hard.

Unknown: But when you spend time with him, on an intimate level. And you commune with him. He becomes more real than your natural world that you live in. You know David made a lot of mistakes but there’s one thing he had: passionate, passionate, passionate love for the presence of God.

Piper: Knowing God is a good strategy for overcoming lust. Knowing God, I mean really knowing God.

Unknown: Do we stay away from sin? Yeah. Let me tell you, I have more of a reason to stay away from sin than ever before because I don’t want to break the fellowship. That’s what David means when a righteous man falls he gets up. He does get up. He repents and says no more because I don’t want this relationship broken. And that’s the power right there to keep you in obedience. It’s the passion for intimacy for him. Now every morning when I’m outside praying, I’m not praying “God use me. God use me. God use me.” I’m praying, “God, Father–I want to know you the best a man can know you. I want to walk with you. I want to know your heart. I want to know what you love and I want to love what you love. And I want to know what you hate, and hate what you hate. I don’t want to say not my will but yours, I want to live not my will but yours.

Unknown: Finally, I’ve learned that the greatest weapon against temptation and sin is to know and walk in the love of God. The greatest weapon against sin–listen to Paul’s testimony. “We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice, envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Now that’s a messed-up people, I’ll tell you. That’s a mess. Servants to all kinds of evil. But after that, after all of this, the kindness and love of God our savior toward man appeared. In the middle of all this, revelation came, Paul said. And the love of God, his tender mercies. And by his mercy, he then saved us.

Poonen: [He] said, “Lord if it takes ten years, it’s going to take 10 years. I’m going to seek you, but I’m not going to live the sub-standard, defeated Christian life that I”m living now.”

Unknown: Be quick to repent. Be quick to respond. Be quick to get things right. If there’s a recurrence of a sinful habit, take it seriously. If you need to talk to a leader, if you need to separate yourself to God in prayer or fasting. If you need to just ruthlessly change your schedule–do it, because sin destroys. And you don’t understand, when you come to God with true repentance, he washes, he cleanses, and he says let’s get on with it.

Daniel: Micah 7 verse 8-9, “Rejoice not against me, oh my enemy.” Don’t you rejoice. “When I fall, I shall arise. When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned.” I can’t hide it. I have sinned against him. “Until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me, he will bring me to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness again.” If on your road to the celestial city, the devil makes you fall, don’t give up. Get up. You have no right to give up. If you fall, get up now. If you fall again, get up again. Never give up. Never give up. All I want to you is to humble yourself and cry out to me, and I will restore you. I will restore you. You have no right to give up, child. Never give up.

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).


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