- Sermon Notes
1.L-U-S-T. We live in a world that continually entices us to lust.
ILLUS – The reply my former pastor received from his 85-year-old mentor when he asked, “When were you no longer tempted to lust?”
2.Is it possible to experience victory over lust?
3.In Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus explained why we need to be careful with our little eyes in order to experience His victory over lust.
2.That standard is perfection. He said in Matthew 5:20, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
3.That was a radical statement. In that day, the scribes and Pharisees were hailed as the standard of righteousness.
4.But Jesus exploded their world view and said their standard was not good enough because they only stressed an external obedience to the Law. God has a higher standard; one that examines the heart!
5.God desires true righteousness where obedience flows from a heart that is filled with faith because it has been transformed by His love and grace through Jesus.
6.As He did in verses 21-26, Jesus applied the kingdom of heaven standard to the seventh commandment in verses 27-30, again going to a deeper level by examining the heart of man. What did His teaching reveal?
I.Marriage is a Gift from God (27-28)
Proverbs 18:22, He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.
According to the first two chapters in Genesis, God’s design for marriage is that a man and woman would enter into a marriage covenant and, within the confines of marriage, experience a spiritual, emotional, and physical union that is so sacred, so secure, and so satisfying that no other human relationship equals it.
Genesis 2:24-25, For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
God also ordained marriage to serve as the foundation upon which healthy families and, by extension, healthy societies are built.
In verse 27, Jesus quoted from Exodus 20:14, the seventh commandment, “You shall not commit adultery.”Why did God give this command?
A. Adultery destroys God’s gift
1.“Adultery” is the violation of the marriage covenant.
2.It is such a serious violation of the marriage covenant that it was grounds for the death penalty under the Mosaic Law.
Deuteronomy 22:22, If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.
3.Under Roman Law, the death penalty for adultery was lifted because adultery was so common.
4.Jesus elevated the seriousness of the marriage breach and declared that adultery was grounds for divorce in Matthew 5:32.5.God gave the seventh commandment to protect marriages.
a.Positive: To encourage couples to find fulfillment within the marriage covenant.
b.Negative: To require consequences because God hates what adultery does to people made in His image.
Malachi 2:16, “For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel…
APPL – Adultery destroys lives…
The guilty are shipwrecked…
Proverbs 6:26, For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life.
Families are destroyed, and society is weakened…
ILLUS –Celebrating my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary
God is not a cosmic killjoy, seeking to rob of us fun. He knows what is best and His best is for a man and woman to experience the fullness of intimacy within the covenant of marriage.
Transition – In verse 28, Jesus called out the scribes and Pharisees because they wrongly applied God’s Word.
B. “Just looking” is not okay!
1.The scribes and Pharisees taught that if a person did not commit the physical act, the command was not violated.
2.Jesus declared that they missed the point because they narrowly defined sin and broadly defined purity!
3.Jesus declared adultery begins with a “look”.
a.Not an innocent glance.
b.Here, the word “look” means to “stare lustfully”.
4.The word “lust” means to “set one’s heart upon a thing, to long for, to covet, to desire.”
a.Lust is a strong desire to have what belongs to someone else or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong.
b.An impulse that deceitfully promises to satisfy if fulfilled.
5.Here, the word “heart” means the center of our emotions, intellect, affections, and will. So, Jesus located adultery in the eyes and heart before there is an outward act.
6.The scribes and Pharisees should have known better because the tenth commandment forbids coveting.
Exodus 20:17, You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…
7.Jesus broadened the standard to include “everyone”. Scholars agree that this command does not apply to married people only but to all people, men and women alike!
APPL – So contrary to the popular slogan we hear when people wish to justify their lustful stares, it is not okay to look as long as you don’t touch!
APPL – There are some important applications for us.
Jesus did not forbid natural attraction or say that the sex drive is sinful. God gave sex as a gift to be enjoy only within marriage.
The deliberate harboring of desire for an illicit relationship outside of marriage is sin. Every sexual practice which is immoral in deed is immoral also in look and thought. As John Stott said, “Deeds of shame are preceded by fantasies of shame.”
When we lust, we are hurting ourselves and the people we love.
ILLUS – Drew Anderson shared a funny yet insightful story in the Reader’s Digest about lust.
- Live in such a way that your spouse knows that you only have eyes for them.
- When we lust, we are treating people made in God’s image as objects, as things!
- Our culture promotes this and young women, in particular, fall into the trap, allowing themselves to be treated as objects.
1 Peter 3:3-4, Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.
APPL – Notice Satan’s scheme. Before we get married Satan tempts us to have sex so that our marriage bed is defiled before there is a marriage bed. After we’re married, Satan tempts us to look outside of the marriage to defile God’s gift of marriage.
Transition – In verses 29-30, Jesus gave a radical remedy to the problem of lust. Gouge out your eye! Cut off your right-hand! Was He promoting body modification? No, Jesus was declaring that we must take an aggressive stand against lust if we are to have victory over lust.
II.Diligently Guard Your Heart (29-30)
Proverbs 4:23, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (NIV)
Transition – How do we guard our hearts?
A.Take every lustful thought captive
2 Corinthians 10:5, … and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)
1.God gave us eyes to keep us from stumbling.
2.Jesus wasn’t commanding us to pluck out our eyes because one can still lust after their sight is gone.
3.Rather, Jesus was saying that we must act as if we had actually plucked out our eyes and flung them away. If you see something that makes you stumble, then “Don’t look at it!”
4.But Satan wants to use our eyes to introduce thoughts to make us stumble morally; he sets a trap to capture us like a wild animal.
ILLUS – The tragic failure of King David with Bathsheba
2 Samuel 11:2-4, One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her.
APPL – How many people have succumbed to temptation, especially late at night, while seated in front of a television, or a tablet, or a smart phone? Before you click the remote or enter your password, know where you are going before you get there! Take captive your thoughts and bring them under the authority of God!
ILLUS – Three little monkeys in front of my monitor (Picture)
APPL – By contrast, Job was victorious over lust because he made a choice, a covenant with his eyes.
Job 31:1, 9, 11, I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbor’s door, … that would have been wicked,a sin to be judged. (NIV)
APPL – Daily, we must set our minds on those things that will build us up and not tear us down.
Romans 13:14, But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
Colossians 3:2, 5, Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
B. Flee Don’t Flirt with Lust
1.Jesus did not command us to cut off our right-hand if it caused us to stumble. You can still sin with the other hand!
2.Jesus commanded us to act as if our hand was cut off and thrown away. Jesus was saying, if you feel tempted to do something, “Don’t do it!” or “Don’t go there!”
3.Paul gave similar advice to Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:22, Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
ILLUS – The tragic story of Samson in Judges 16
APPL – Like Samson, many of us flirt with temptation when we should flee from it.
Flirting opens us up to failure.
Many of us think we will have strength to say “No!” in the heat of the moment, or that we will know when to quit.
KEY – Quit BEFORE you start!
Don’t walk in the shadows, walk in the light.
ILLUS – Joseph with Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39
One puritan preacher said, “Joseph may have lost his cloak but he kept his character.”
Our God is a God of new beginnings! If you are here tonight and have failed. God will forgive you. God will heal you. God will give you a new beginning.
Judges 16:22, However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved off.
It’s not too late. Let’s go to the One who promises to cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we confess our sins and give us a new beginning…
1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.