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Bible Study: Feb. 14, 2016

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.

Bible Passage: Matthew 5:27-32

Discussion Questions: What are the dividing lines between “pure” and “impure” in today’s world? What are the dividing lines between “pure” and “impure” in Scripture? How can we be ruthless in resisting impurity? What are some keys to maintaining faithfulness in marriage over the long haul?

Food for Thought:

The world’s quietest room is at Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis, Minn. It ís a chamber built with double walls of concrete and insulated steel covered by 3.3-foot thick acoustic fiberglass wedges. It’s said that a person can hear his own beating heart, gurgling stomach and even pulsing inner ear. Interestingly, most people can’t take the silence for more than 30 minutes.

Our lives are filled with noise. And we’re often comfortable with that. It can drown out that still, small voice that whispers all is not well in our lives. Busy, noisy lives keep us from hearing the truth of what’s inside us. Greed, selfishness, lust and a host of other things are hiding in our hearts. If you’re a Christian, it may be a lot easier not to take that deeper listen.

Sin and temptation aren’t just out there; they are in here.

When we recognize the dual threat of both the internal and the external, we see the gravity of God’s call to live pure lives. It is not just a call to purity in terms of our actions, but in our very being. It ís a call for absolute agreement in our thoughts, feelings, and subsequent actions.

In Matthew 5:27-32, Jesus taught us that true purity is not just a matter of abstaining from sinful sex; it ís a condition of the heart that must be corrected. In fact, Jesus commanded His followers to do whatever is necessary to pursue purity inside and out. In verses 29-30, He gave us a battle plan for pursuing that kind of purity:

— Identify the source. Jesus told us to root out the source of impurity. Are you tempted by images you see on your computer or television? Does a certain relationship or habit trouble you?

— Deal ruthlessly with the temptation. When you consider what ís at stake, you’ll do whatever it takes to protect your purity.

— Replace the temptation with something better. Instead of watching the TV, pick up a book. Instead of spending time alone, invest in a relationship. Fill the void left by temptation with something more — something better — and soon you won’t have to invest the mental energy to not think about whatever it was that caused you to struggle. It’s been replaced.

Jesus didn’t stop there; He called us back to the sacred nature of marriage. In verses 31-32, we’re instructed to hold onto marriage. Commit to it. Don’ t run, but stay faithful.

This standard of purity and faithfulness in our thoughts and behavior is not always easy to maintain. That ís why we’re instructed to engage in the fight for purity — both before and after marriage — at any cost. Commit yourself to God’s plans and depend on Him to help you resist temptation. You don’t have to settle for a low standard of purity and faithfulness; God has something better in store for your relationships and your marriage.

Bible Studies For Life

Bible Studies for Life is a life-stage focused family of resources that addresses key issues in the lives of adults and students. Consisting of seven curriculum lines developed for various life and generational stages plus two others designed for deeper study, all of these resources focus on the same Bible passage for each week. Information about the seven curriculum lines and more information can be found on the Internet at LifeWay.com/BibleStudiesforLife.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

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