Summary: Part 5 of a 13 week series Hearing Jesus Again. This message looks at another comparison of the Kingdom Heart with the non-kingdom heart by looking at what Jesus says about sexual attraction.
Jesus on Sexual Attraction
Part 5 in series Hearing Jesus Again
Wildwind Community Church
June 7, 2008
Many scholars have suggested that the Sermon on the Mount wasn’t actually a sermon but rather a random collection of sayings attributed to Jesus. However, if you haven’t already begun to see it, you will certainly see as we continue on that the Sermon on the Mount has a very tight structure to it – that one thought and section flows logically into another thought and section. It begins with the Beatitudes, Christ’s words on who the Kingdom of God is for (all those willing to cultivate the kinds of hearts that can be at home there). Then Jesus gives us examples of the difference between the old system of righteousness (based on observance of rules) and the new system he is introducing (based on what’s in the heart). Jason talked to you two weeks ago about anger and contempt and how Jesus showed us that they are at odds with a kingdom heart. Today we move into sexual attraction. Now let me ask you this question and you will see how organized the Sermon on the Mount actually is. What if I could snap my fingers and eliminate from the planet right now all violence (which springs from anger and contempt), and all sexual sin? How close to perfect would the world be? In Jesus’ first two comparisons of the old righteousness with the new righteousness, he takes up the topics of violence (anger/contempt) and sex. Are we not embroiled to this day in controversy over these two subjects? Do not our media pundits and pastors and teachers and scholars endlessly go round and round about how to deal with sex and violence? (Here I am not saying sex itself is wrong, only that many of the greatest problems in both individual human life and in society spring from it). Apparently things in Jesus’ time were no different. And why should they have been? People in Jesus’ day were people. They were people who got angry, people who got horny, people who craved both relationship and revenge, people who, like us, were often torn between the need for commitment and the desire for casualness. Like us, they were spiritual and physical. Heroic and cowardly. Authentic and artificial. They were just people. This is who Jesus spoke to and advised and healed and taught and loved, and whose hands he suffered and died at – and whose sins he redeemed. Just people.
In week 3 we talked about the Kingdom heart – how God created us to live from the heart, but how that has gone wrong in our hearts that are darkened by sin and how our hearts often steer us wrongly into doing harm to ourselves and/or others. When you take the need human beings have for spiritual/physical connection (expressed partly in sex), and our tendency to flare up into anger when we have been hurt, and the depth with which we can hurt and be hurt with our sexuality, then you have a potentially very explosive concoction with sex and violence.
Jesus began dealing with contempt by using one of the ten commandments – you have heard it was said, “do not kill.” Likewise he begins this section by using another of the ten commandments.
Matthew 5:27-30 (NIV)
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.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Just like the Jews had been under the impression that as long as they didn’t kill they were okay in regard to the fifth commandment, they also believed that as long as they didn’t commit adultery, they were okay in regard to the sixth. But Jesus pointed out that it’s not enough to simply not kill, one has to deal with anger and contempt in the heart that give rise to violence. And here Jesus says it’s not enough to simply not commit adultery. One has to deal with the lust in the heart that gives rise to it. And so in this passage Jesus is actually talking not about adultery, but about lust.
Much of the material in this series is from a book written by my favorite spiritual writer, Dallas Willard and so most of the sermons will contain quotes from The Divine Conspiracy --- the book on which this series is based. I will do this because there are times that the way Willard says something is simply unbeatable in my opinion and I would be doing you a disservice trying to put it in my own words. He writes: