- Sermon Notes
Intro: Beneath the surface.
When it comes to what is beneath the surface and in our hearts, that is Jesus’ priority. His diagnosis for change in the lives of those hearing Him as He gave the sermon on the mount in that day and for us today centers on inward transformation, He focuses on where it all begins, in our heart.
In Matthew 5:20, Jesus says, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” This was a radical statement as the Scribes and Pharisees were regarded as the standard for righteousness in that day, they however, were simply focused on a list of do’s and don’ts. After making the radical statement, Jesus begins applying His deeper level of righteousness to various parts of the law that all were familiar with.
Read: Matthew 5:27-32
Those listening to Jesus had heard it taught that they were not to commit adultery, it was a part of the 10 Commandments. It was a true statement, however, Jesus, as we have seen, is placing a spotlight on the importance of inward transformation.
I. The Heart is the Matter
Matthew 5:27, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- The teachers of that day taught that adultery was, in fact, wrong. It’s application, however, centered on actions, not the heart.
- In its most technical sense, adultery is sexual intercourse between a man and a woman when one or both of them is married.
- In the Old and New Testament, the word for adultery relates to sexual intercourse with anyone other than one’s marriage partner.
- The religious leaders of the day taught that if a person did not commit the act of adultery, the command was not violated.
- Additionally, adultery was only enforced if it was committed against the husband. So, if a woman cheated on her husband, she was committing adultery against him. But if a man cheated on his wife with another man’s wife, it was not looked at as adultery against his wife, but the other woman’s husband.
- Cutting through it all, Jesus goes deeper, to the place adultery begins, while holding to the truth that the act is wrong.
Matthew 15:19-20, For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man…
- The heart is the matter.
- Jesus states, “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Vs. 28)
- The word “look” here refers to the continuous process of looking. The idea is not an incidental or unavoidable glance, but of intentional and repeated gazing.
- The word “lust” means: to set the heart upon, to long for, covet, or desire.
- To look on a woman with lust indicates a goal or action that follows the action of looking.
- He is talking about when we gaze, and rest there.
Illus. There are choices to make after an incidental look, He is speaking of what we choose to set our gaze at on T.V., on the internet, which beach we choose.
- He is talking about doing any such thing with the expectation of feeding lust.
- The ESV Bible translation reads, “everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent.” (Vs. 28)
- It’s not the first glance or look; it’s what you do after that. It’s when rather than override, you give in.
Regarding Temptation: “I cannot keep a bird from flying over my head, but I can certainly keep it from making a nest in my hair or from biting off my nose.” - Martin Luther 16th Century
Illus. A change in routine.
- You have a say in temptation.
Illus. David was not at fault for noticing Bathsheba bathing, she was in plain view. His sin was in dwelling on the sight and giving into temptation and committing adultery with her. It expressed a deep desire in his heart.
- This is counter cultural. We live in a society that screams, “if it feels good, do it!” “It’s just art, its natural, its harmless”...Jesus speaks a
Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. – Ravi Zacharias
A.Allow Jesus to draw the line
Matthew 5:29-30, If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut if 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.
- It is important to note that Jesus isn’t teaching self-mutilation.
- By saying get rid of your eye or your hand, He was speaking figuratively. He didn’t mean literally gouge out your eye, as even a person who is blind can lust.
- Jesus is speaking figuratively of those things physically, or otherwise that cause us to be tempted, or make us more prone to temptation.
- “If something is causing you to stumble, don’t manage it, don’t look at it, cut it out of your life…don’t go there!”
Illus., In Jewish culture, the right eye and hand were a person’s most precious faculties. The right eye, one’s best vision and the right hand, one’s best skills…The point?
- There is a line that has to be drawn and this world can’t determine that line for us.
1 Corinthians 2:14, The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them… (NIV)
- It’s no big deal! Don’t be so uptight! It’s just a show, or a movie!
- When you allow Jesus to draw the line, your convictions are different.
Illus. A new diet.
- The word “stumble,” means “to cause to fall.” The picture is of a bait stick that springs the trap when an animal touches it.
- Anything that causes us to stumble should be eliminated. That is sometimes things, electronics, people and our thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:5, …and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (ESV)
- Once we allow Jesus to draw the line we must remain convinced that the temptations beyond that line are better off “dead to us.”
- This is part of taking every though captive. Understanding that there are seeds, habits, hang ups and if they aren’t taken captive and surrendered to Christ they will take us farther than we ever wanted to go.
Illus. I know my limit.
Psalm 101:2-3, I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.
- In Job 31:1, Job says he made a covenant with his eyes – a promise that he would not look lustfully at a young woman…He continued in verse 4, “Does He not see my ways, and number all my steps?”
2 Timothy 2:22, Now flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
- Allow Jesus to draw the line, pursue righteousness and call upon Him.
A.Let Him show you the way
- In verses 31-32 Jesus talks about a certificate of divorce and connects divorce with lust and adultery.
- What Jesus was addressing here was what had been normalized in their easy divorce culture. God’s intent from the beginning, was for marriage to be a lifetime commitment (Gen 2:24).
- In Jesus day men were divorcing their wives for “something indecent,” which was an incorrect interpretation of Deuteronomy 24 by a famous rabbi (Hillel), who had interpreted grounds for divorce for something as simple as bad cooking or burnt toast.
- Jesus was saying to those listening, I know what’s popular, but Moses was first talking about adultery, and was not making it a command.
- Jesus was in an easy divorce culture, and the men thought they could get out of marriage and/or adultery by divorcing their wives…Jesus said, not so.
- Jesus was attacking those who were using divorce as a way to satisfy a desire to be with someone else. He was showing them the way.
- Throughout these verses Jesus is doing just that, getting beyond the outward actions and addressing the heart.
- Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, it is important, critical, and essential to understand that we are all in need of the mercy God gives.
- You can choose to turn away, and toward Jesus knowing that grace is waiting. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).
Matthew 12:31, Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.
Romans 8:1, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Lamentations 3:22-23, The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
- Let it all begin with following Jesus.
Illus. Behind you!