You have heard . . But I say; Lust Matt. 5:27-30
September 28, 2014 Series: The Gospel of Matthew
Topic: Sunday AM Passage: Matthew 5:27–5:30
Matt. 5:27 - 30“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30“If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
This sermon is PG-13. The Bible is not prudish on these topics, and while I tend slightly to that direction, I have to warn you, this topic was designed, by Jesus, to make us uncomfortable, and I have to do my part to keep that intact.
This is really where the rubber meets the road, isn't it. Especially with our modern society.
Nothing gets the eyes rolling quicker than telling someone you believe this book has authority over men (and women) and that God indeed restricts the gift of sexuality to one man, one woman, married, for life.
That's the basic premise, and the only exceptions are for some different possible loss of partner scenarios. Death. Infidelity. The case of a non believing partner wishing for exit, and I would add a similar case where a partner abandons the marriage with clearly no hope for a return. I think that meets the spirit of what Paul describes.
And that's it. Married people get to enjoy this wonderful gift of God, and everybody else, may not. Other than a man and a woman in a recognized marriage, we are to be celibate. Everything else, is sin according to this ancient book.
Does that seem too constrained to you? Sorry, that's what the book says.
Our society not only thinks that's an absurd standard, they are continually pushing and breaking down any boundaries - at all - that seem to still be in place.
It's in the headlines daily. Sodomite marriage is old news. Accepted by more states than it isn't and the remaining hold outs know they can't hold the tide for long.
So, where do we go from here?
I was dismayed at a story on Fox news the other night of a 69 year old man who was a pedophile with 1000's of depictions on his computer and the judge gave him a slap on the hand, basically. 60 months?
But why not. We used to be just as abhorred by acts of sodomy. Now they don't trip our yuck meter hardly at all.
So why is one acceptable and another not? Sodomy, OK? Pedophelia, not OK? Who sets those standards. Certainly not the book, in our society! So who does set them? Society at large?
Fair enough. So how long before the next barrier is broken down. You've heard of N A M B L A? National association of man boy love affairs
Is that the next barrier to come down. 12 year olds? Or do we make it at least someone in their pubes? Where does the line get drawn, and who says what's right and what's wrong.
Multiple lovers. Multiple spouses. Hey, if you want to sleep with your german shepherd, who decides if that's right, or wrong?
All of the above? In Germany this week, a government committee studied the problem of a brother and a sister who married each other, incestually, and 2 of their 4 children have related birth defects. Conclusion; The health of family is secondary to the rights of the individuals to follow whatever sexual path they decide to go down. Incest trumps health and family.
It's OK to marry your brother or sister. Or better yet just cohabitate and have sex. Why bother with marriage. Nobody gets to say incest is wrong. If that's what you want to do, and produce a bunch of cyclops babies, who says that's wrong.
You've got to give the world this much. In their insanity, at least they're consistent. No one gets to draw a line that defines where normal ends and evil begins. So you end up with incestual relationships, in Germany at least, stamped by the government, OK.
Sex with children and animals are just final frontiers. It has to happen, by the very definition of - non definition. Tolerance. We're getting close to running out of new evils to tolerate.
If we had a scale where the biblical standard was 10 and beastiality was 1, hey, we're at about 3 on that scale right now, and we got here stunningly fast. (I think we slipped to 2 1/2 just this last week)
And all we've got left as a moderation, as a standard is; what will the society tolerate. Why are we surprised that a judge isn't very disturbed at a 69 year old man engaged in pedophelia? That's our next stop on our 1 - 10 scale for goodness sakes. Think about it.
We are the proverbial frogs in the frying pan.
While Fox News and Al Mohler were gloating over the fact that Mr. Obama's speech to the United Nations sounded almost word for word like a Mr. George Bush's earlier speech, ha ha ha I was alarmed by something else he said.
From the transcript; So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations. Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate. And it is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along the fault lines of tribe or sect, race or religion.
Guess what. To a secular society that will declare incest the norm, people like me who think Jesus and this book have absolute authority over how men should behave - are just as nutty as the Jihadist's.
No, they don't have to worry about me murdering folks who dis-agree with my beliefs. But listen again to what our president said just 4 days ago. humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along the fault lines of tribe or sect, race or religion.
Then he said this; It is one of the tasks of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world. No children are born hating, and no children — anywhere — should be educated to hate other people. There should be no more tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they’re Jewish, or because they’re Christian, or because they’re Muslim. It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source, and that is the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.
Sounds good, doesn't it. Until a line gets drawn by the secularists that declares anyone who will adjust their behaviour by what some ancient book says instead of what modern society dictates, is radical, and a hater.
If you don't think that secularists will lump our book in with the Khoran and label it as violent ideology . . you'd better think again.
Listen to him again; It is one of the tasks of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world Did you get that? The world doesn't accommodate to the book. The book must accommodate the world.
You know, all Daniel had to do was accommodate a little bit. Just bend a little Daniel. Don't be such a stiff neck to the king.
Go back and read that story. In Daniel 6. 10Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.
He's just begging for trouble, isn't he. Waits until the thing is signed, makes sure his windows are open, bows down to his God, just like he always did.
Our president says we need to accomodate a modern multicultural world. If we don't, we're in the same category as clerics who promote hate and murder. Does that sound alarmist to you? It makes my skin crawl. Makes the hair on my neck stand up.
Is it happening fast? Well, when I began typing out this study, I didn't yet have the incest thing in Germany and the president hadn't yet said the words he said. Yes, this is coming at us fast.
Here, Jesus takes the Biblical standard, the 10 on our scale and makes it about a 100 though.
His purpose is the same as before. Blessed are the spiritually bankrupt. When you realize your bankruptcy, you're only one step away from the cure. Calling out to God for mercy and forgiveness. So that's Jesus' agenda. He starts His sermon with blessed are the spiritually bankrupt and He keeps moving us towards the realization of our bankruptcy.
Think you're not? Bankrupt? Anyone who has ever looked at someone else, who doesn't belong to them, and says in his mind and in his heart, "I want me some of that" is guilty enough to go to hell.
Jesus takes this commandment and when He's done, not one person on earth, meets the standard. Not one.
Not the Rich Young Ruler; Lk. 18:18 A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 19And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 20“You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’” 21And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.
Not the apostle Paul; Ppn. 3:4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
Not even Job; 31:1 - 12 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;
How then could I gaze at a virgin?
2“And what is the portion of God from above
Or the heritage of the Almighty from on high?
3“Is it not calamity to the unjust
And disaster to those who work iniquity?
4“Does He not see my ways
And number all my steps?
5“If I have walked with falsehood,
And my foot has hastened after deceit,
6Let Him weigh me with accurate scales,
And let God know my integrity.
7“If my step has turned from the way,
Or my heart followed my eyes,
Or if any spot has stuck to my hands,
8Let me sow and another eat,
And let my crops be uprooted.
9“If my heart has been enticed by a woman,
Or I have lurked at my neighbor’s doorway,
10May my wife grind for another,
And let others kneel down over her.
11“For that would be a lustful crime;
Moreover, it would be an iniquity punishable by judges.
12“For it would be fire that consumes to Abaddon,
And would uproot all my increase.
Paul gets it just about right when he finally says to the Romans; 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.
Our problem is in our fallen flesh. We're broken. Every one of us. Guys, we're broken. Ladies, you're broken. In our human ness, in our sexuality, we're broken. Not hopelessly, but never-the-less, it's always right there.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’;
I'll use myself as an example. If I were a pharisee in the first century, I could say with Paul and the rich young ruler, I've never broken this commandment. Pam is the only woman I've ever been intimate with. In 62 years. I guess you could say I'm a "one woman man." 1 Tim and Titus (requirements for elders).
Good for me. But then Jesus comes along and says; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
And now I'm laid bare. Bankrupt. Helplessly guilty before the judge who is perfectly righteous!
The septuagent is the greek translation of the hebrew old testament. Sometimes it's helpful for comparison and understanding to see how concepts we understand well in the old testament are translated to the greek. What word did the ancient translators use.
In this case, the word Jesus used for lust, is the same greek word that the authors of the septuagent tranlation used in the 10th commandment for the hebrew word, to covet. In our modern vernacular; "get me some of that!"
So let's re-wind the tape from, what did our president say, our modern, multicultural world, to the jewish world at the time Jesus said these things.
Although the era when stoning as punishment had largely passed, it's noteworthy to consider that in the old testament, the punishment for adultery, was death. The punishment for pre-marital sex, was death. That's our baseline for understanding.
So, if sex was high on your list of things you felt a very strong need for, like daily food, water, air, etc. the solution was simple. Find a wife. Soon.
Our society sort of rolls their eyes and giggles at that concept. But think about it. That was the judeo and the christian ethic, and it stood pretty much supreme from Moses through the generation that fought World War II. My lifetime began with this ethic - intact.
No one worried about death, but most people believed there was a God who was judge and that sex outside of marriage was - sin. Even non-believers, understood that, at some level.
If sex was important to our grandparents, they found a spouse and got married, and raised a family. Usually as teenagers.
And what's even more odd, there seems to be this healthy thriving going on, if you look back at it. Families with mom's and dad's who had no alternatives, sexually, except stay together, make it work.
Sex is a strong component, not the only component, but a very strong one, if there are no other options available, to making that imperfect situation of husbands, wives, families, thrive.
So, the jews were bound up under this idea. Want to enjoy sex? Is that important to you? Get married. One woman, one man. It resulted in families, hard work, civilized society, order, human thriving. This is God's design.
The jews looked at adultery the same way they looked at theft. You were stealing someone elses mate. David robbed Uriah of his wife, Bathsheba. Then he robbed him of his very life. You shall not commit adultery.
But that doesn't mean your eye can't drink in all kinds of fantasies down at the well where all the virgins are sitting around, right?
Nobody said anything about that. Until Jesus comes along and says "but I say....." Remember, He doesn't have to say, Thus saith the Lord, like the prophets. He IS the Lord. He says, "but I say....."
Now, we're wired differently, aren't we. Some of the ladies may stumble with their eyes. Especially now days with TV and movies, but still, I understand you're not wired quite the same as I am.
But how many of you have read those novels. You know the ones. The romance ones with the graphic stuff going on for pages. So my eyes trip me up and your ears and your imaginations trip you up. It's the same thing. Nobody gets a pass.
We used to make light of this thing. I'd look at some loveliness walking down the street and Pam would pow me on the back of the head and I'd say, "When I stop looking, that's when you need to start worrying."
But Jesus isn't kidding here. Not at all. As we shall see. This has been a sobering study. This sin would send me to hell a thousand times, if it were not for the blood sacrifice of the Lord, Jesus Christ. He takes my sin with Him to the cross. He gives me His righteousness. A righteousness from God.
Is the sin of lust a laughing matter? Jesus doesn't think so. He says; 29“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30“If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.
Is heaven full of people with one eye and one hand? Maybe some other faulty parts removed also, while we're at it. For sure I'd have to cut my tongue out too.
And only one eye wouldn't help me. I'd have to gouge both of them out. Both hands would have to go. I wouldn't have much left. I'd be a lump sitting there with no appendages left at all, playing dirty movies in my mind.
None of that gouging and amputating would help me. Sin is still right there inside me. I'm still broken and bankrupt as ever.
But here's the truth. If any of that would work, - it won't, but if it would - it's a better bargain than hell. This isn't hyperbole. Jesus isn't overstating the case to make his point.
In the old testament, there's always a connection of idolatry, with the eyes. The children looked with their eyes. Then they lusted, coveted what wasn't theirs. Then they went whoring. After other Gods.
IN the garden of eden, you can trace the whole trouble back to "the eyes". Eve looked at the fruit. She said, "get me some of that!" And her connection with her God was severed. Here we are.
In Numbers 15:38 "Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. 39"It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot,
See the either-or digression there. Remember, meditate on the word of God, so that you won't do what? and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot
What did Job say in our passage we read earlier? 7“If my step has turned from the way, Or my heart followed my eyes, Same as above. Step away from "the way", the book, and what happens, your heart follows your eyes. It's a recipe for idolatry.
Pam came home encouraged by the ladies bible study last Thursday. She asked if in Hosea, was Gomer real?
It's one of the weirdest stories in all the Bible. God tells the prophet Hosea to marry a whore. Hosea loves his whore. It's a one sided love affair. Gomer goes off whoring and ends up being sold as a slave. Hosea purchases his own wife.
That's a picture of God's relationship to His people. Our eyes see. Our hearts lust. We are spiritual whores. We follow after our idols. God loves us and purchases us out of slavery. It makes you reconsider what Jesus said about gouging out our eyes. These windows to the heart that make us covet . . everything but God.
If you've lusted one time, it's hell. Going through life dis-membered as awful as that sounds, and it's unimaginable to us. We don't stop and consider what Jesus said. Going through life with only one hand and only one eye, hideous and helpless, is a vacation picnic in the shade at the side of a beautiful country road, compared to hell.
This sin, unchecked, unforgiven, sends people to hell. Thousands of them. Every day! And we can't stop sinning even if we cut everything off. We're hopelessly and universally broken, if left to ourselves in our fallen flesh.
Blessed are the spiritually bankrupt, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus isn't doing us a dis-service by making the standard impossible here. He's shutting us up into a corner where the only possible thing we can have left to hope for, is to cry out for mercy.
Yes! I am guilty! Oh so guilty. A thousand times guilty! Have mercy on me Lord Jesus!
Romans 10:13 says; "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
Romans 8:1 says; There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
That is good news!
Well, I was going to quickly go through Jesus teaching on divorce here, but I think we'll leave that for next week. Jesus is going to visit divorce again in Matthew 19, so we'll get a couple of looks at that topic.
More in The Gospel of Matthew
March 26, 2017The Authority and Commission of Jesus Mt. 28:16 - 20
March 19, 2017Jesus IS Alive! The Tomb is Empty Mt. 28: 1 - 15
March 12, 2017The Burial of Jesus Mt. 27:55 - 66 pt. 2