1. We’re going through the Sermon on the Mount in our series Following Jesus, and today we hit a tough passage. It’s on adultery and lust and some of what we discuss today may be inappropriate for younger audiences. So, here’s the deal – if you’re ready to answer the question “What is adultery or what is lust”, then keep your kid in here. If not, you may want to check them into the Edge.
2. By the way, I’d say most of the time what we do in here is PG-11. It’s appropriate for Middle School and up. But I’m mainly speaking to adults about adult things in adult ways. So, if you’re 3rd or 4th grader is in here, that’s fine, mine’s not! I have a hard enough time explaining this stuff to adults, I don’t need an 8 year old tugging on my shirt asking what a. is.
3. OK, since you already know it’s going to be juicy and exciting, let’s dive right in and read the text. Matthew 5:27-30.
4. This is another one of those compare and contrast teachings, like last week where Jesus says, Here’s what you’ve been taught and here’s what you’ve been doing…but I want you to understand not just the letter law, but the spirit of the law: the heart of God. What Jesus was dealing with was kind of like the legal system in our country today. A lot of dumb laws and interpretations of God’s law that totally missed the spirit of the law.
5. (Dumb laws – Pinecrest: Permit to operate a burglar alarm. Pensacola: Fine for electrocuting yourself in the bathtub if using beautification products. Sarasota: $78 hitting pedestrian. If you’ve got $100 and good ins…I could do a couple/month) That’s what was going on in Jesus’ day. The Pharisees and teachers of the law were the interpreters of the law. And while they got the letter of the law, they often totally missed the spirit of the law. And in some areas they made it too legalistic, made it too liberal in others. But they interpreted it in a way that best suited their purposes.
6. It’s what people do w/ the Bible today; in light of our culture, we’re going to interpret it the way it most makes sense to us. It’s what Satan did in the Garden. He reinterpreted God’s Word… like a skilled lawyer w/ Eve, “what did God say?” Surely God didn’t mean that…you won’t die. It’s not as bad as God said, or as important as God made it seem.)
7. But Jesus comes and he says, I’m putting the bar back in the place God intended it! We can’t just obey the law, we need to obey the spirit of the law. We need to understand the Heart of the Father so we can Follow Him. Not just make it say what we want it to say. He says, You’ve heard that it was said do not commit adultery. Now, that’s the law. It’s one of the 10 commandments. They knew it well. Not only heard it said, they had to live by that command or be stoned to death.
8. If you remember the story of the woman caught in adultery, they were literally about to kill her with large rocks for violating this command. There are dozens of OT commands and warnings about adultery/sex outside of marriage. It’s totally forbidden, totally against God’s law and punishable by death. And they knew that - they knew the law.
9. But Jesus says while you know the law, you’ve missed the spirit of that law. You guys have made it a legalistic thing about an outward physical act, and you’ve forgotten that it’s all about the heart. Just like murder, adultery starts in the heart. The offense that’s punishable by death is outward, but the sin starts right here.
10. (James 1:14, 15. 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Sin starts in the heart. You don’t just jump into bed w/ people, you make little choices, you have urges, desires, thoughts that need to be dealt with in here & here; not just on the outside.
11. Now, I want to at least give the Pharisees credit. At least they were dealing with the outside issue. While they weren’t teaching and dealing with the affairs and attitudes of the heart, at least, at least they didn’t have the gall to parade their sin in front of everyone. I wish I could say the same about God’s people today.
12. ILL> Earlier this year, we had a guy here who left his wife and kids to be with another woman, a couple months later brings her to church and introduces me to her. You talk about an awkward moment! Having to stand there and say hello to this women while I was trying to figure out a way to Scripturally justify punching her boyfriend in the face. (by the way, if you find one, I’ll give you a get out of tithe free card.)