Sermons

Summary: Selfishness colors everything around us until common sense and decency gets lost, having been painted over with these shades of gray. This same selfish spirit was working in the hearts of men in Jesus’ day. And that is what our passage is about today.

Fifty Shades of Grace

-Love belongs to God! It not only belongs to Him, it is Him and He is it! God is love! So if anyone has anything to say about love, it would be God Himself. Out of love God created mankind, each one of us fearfully and wonderfully made. He made us in His own image with the capacity to willingly give and receive love. His plan is for us to join in His love and love Him back, and also to love all those created in His image – our fellow man. Not too many people would argue the fact that we as a human race have not handled this gift very well at all. Instead of giving and receiving love, too many of us give and receive hatred, selfishness, lust, greed, and have made this world a hostile place for love to dwell. And yet for every failure and every offense we have committed against Love (against God Himself), He continues to offer His grace to heal us and to cover every shade of gray and the very blackness of sin that lurks in our hearts.

-I am playing off the title of a controversial movie that came out yesterday, based on a shady novel trilogy. Apparently, this movie glorifies premarital sex, promotes sexual deviance, making it seem normal to find pleasure in rough treatment, abuse, and sexual slavery. Let me strongly suggest that you NOT read the books or see the movie or support such a twisted message in any way. However, let me also say, that for those who have traveled down those shady roads in search of fulfillment, God’s grace is enough to cover every dark deed. When we come to Him in faith, asking for life and help and hope and healing, we will not be turned away! For every shade of gray there is grace that heals and restores!

-One of the reasons I’m even giving attention to this movie is because the same spirit of self-centered desire lurks in the hearts of people today. And unfortunately, the church isn’t quite sure what to do about it. But Jesus had a lot to say about love and sex and marriage. It is amazing how our thinking can get so twisted about how to love and respect humans in general, or a spouse in particular. Selfishness colors everything around us until common sense and decency gets lost, having been painted over with these shades of gray.

-And this same selfish spirit was working in the hearts of men in Jesus’ day. And that is what our passage is about today. Matthew 5:27-32

-As we look at this passage, it helps us to realize that Jesus was dealing with issues of the heart, not simply outward appearances. God Himself said in 1 Samuel 16:7 “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Here is the main truth for today:

Prop: Faithless hearts can change when God’s grace makes them new.

TS: Let’s look at a few thoughts on how followers of Christ can deal with these matters of the heart.

I. Kingdom of heaven hearts are incompatible with selfish living (27-30)

A. Change the heart and close the windows (27-28)

27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

-Eyes are the windows of the heart. Most windows have some kind of shades, blinds, or shutters. Shutters are useful - use them! God gave us a couple of gifts that might help us here: eyelids and a moveable neck. There are times we need to close our eyes or turn away from whatever might be a source of temptation to us.

-Jesus indicated that immorality and unfaithfulness in marriage were issues that began in the heart. Just leaving the windows opened longer than they should be can awaken desires that can lead to adulterous actions. Heart adultery might begin with just a look. That is what happened with King David. His army was out doing battle, but he stayed home so Israel’s king would not be put at unnecessary risk. He had time on his hands and as he looked out from his palace rooftop, he saw a woman bathing. Instead of closing his eyes or turning away to protect her purity and his own, he got out his binoculars. He kept his heart windows opened to the wrong view, lusted after her and soon followed his desires up with action.

-The obvious thing to do is to close your eyes and turn away from temptation. But as every man in here knows, what an intense struggle that can be! Close the windows of the heart to the things that will destroy marriages and families.

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