1. A covenant is a b __ __ __ __ __ __ agreement between two parties.
2. In the lives of most Christians three covenants will stand as most significant.
a. The "O __ __ Covenant" between God and A __ __ __ __ __ __
ref: Genesis 15:1-20
b. The "N __ __ Covenant"
(1) Prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34
(2) Ratified by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary
ref: Luke 22:20
This is why we celebrate c __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ (See 1 Corinthians 11:25-26).
The secular term "t __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __" in regards to the New Covenant appears only here in Scripture.
(3) This New Covenant is seen in Scripture as "s __ __ __ __ __ __ __" to the old one,
since it is mediated by an eternal H __ __ __ P __ __ __ __ __: the risen Christ.
ref: Hebrews 8:1-13
(4) Every believer's participation in this New Covenant is "s __ __ __ __ __" (made authentic) by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
(5) Each believer is made a m __ __ __ __ __ __ __ of this New Covenant.
ref: 2 Corinthians 3:4-18
c. The M __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Covenant
(1) It is designed by God to be a "working model" of the New Covenant.
ref: Ephesians 5:22-32
(2) It is sealed by mutual v __ __ __.
(3) God's goal for marriage: p __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ "oneness."
ref: Genesis 2:23-25
3. We continue our Summer Sermon Series today with a consideration of the Marriage Covenant.
B. Text: Matthew 5:27-32 [ NKJV ]
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Furthermore it has been said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery."
1. It should be noted that many Bible scholars see these verses as including two separate teachings of Christ: one on the law and adultery, the other on the law and divorce. I have chosen to consider them as one, since both issues impact the marriage covenant.
2. In v.27-28 Jesus again supports and affirms the law of God -- the 7th Commandment, in this case -- even as He "fulfills" it -- adds fullness to its meaning and understanding -- with His own authority.
a. The overt act of adultery is sin, but so, too, is the immoral desire which may or may not lead to the sinful act.
(1) "Sexual impurity begins in the desires of the heart. Again, Jesus is not saying that lustful desires are identical to lustful deeds, and therefore a person might just as well go ahead and commit adultery. The desire and the deed are not identical, but, spiritually speaking, they are equivalent. The 'look' that Jesus mentioned was not a casual glance, but a constant stare with the purpose of lusting. It is possible for a man to glance at a beautiful woman and know that she is beautiful, but not lust after her. The man Jesus described looked at the woman for the purpose of feeding his inner sensual appetites as a substitute for the act. It was not accidental; it was planned." - Warren Wiersbe: Be Loyal
(2) Again Jesus clearly demonstrates how righteousness in the kingdom of God must far exceed the righteousness practiced by the Pharisees who, like the ancient scribes before them, had reduced the 7th Commandment to a bare-bones minimum. The tradition had been taught and handed down that any behaviour short of the explicit act of adultery with another man's wife was not condemned by the law. This led to the common practices of men keeping concubines and/or polygamy. Such a narrow interpretation of the sexual purity God intended for His people also resulted in liberal divorce rulings, a topic we shall consider later in this study.