Summary: If lust is not dealt with, it can ruin our lives completely.

A Messiah Who Teaches Part 2: Adultery of the Heart

Text: Matt. 5:27-30


1. Illustration: There are warning signs that we can be aware of when we are being led away by our lust. These signs begin to surface as we begin to give in to temptation and if not checked will lead us to betray those we love. In C.S. Lewis’ classic, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, we have a prime example of a young man named Edmund who’s lust for Turkish Delight leads him into an allegiance to the white witch, betraying those he loves. Just like Edmund, we all are being seduced to lead a life away from the Lord, and if left unchecked we will betray those we love for something artificial and brief.

2. Jesus teaches us that adultery, like murder, begins in the heart. In his teaching on adultery, Jesus stresses that it is:

a. An affair of the heart, and to avoid it we must...

b. Perform Stumbling Block Surgery.

3. Read Matt. 5:27-30

Proposition: If lust is not dealt with, it can ruin our lives completely.

Transition: First, Jesus tells us the dangers of an...

I. Affair of the Heart (27-28)

A. Adultery With Her In His Heart

1. Just as we did last week, we see Jesus, as a good Rabbi, quotes Scripture and then explains it. Jesus moves from the sixth to the seventh commandment, developing the OT teaching on adultery (Turner, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, 89).

2. He says, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’"

a. Jesus, of course, is quoting from the Ten Commandments found in Exod. 20:14.

b. Adultery in the Old Testament involved sexual intercourse with mutual consent between a man, married or unmarried, and the wife of another man.

c. The term and the penalty (death) applied equally to both the man and the woman (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary, New Testament: Matthew, 244).

d. Adultery was considered one of the most serious offenses because it broke the relationship that was a reflection of God and his people.

e. Adultery was often used to describe the way in which the people of Israel went after gods other than Yahweh (Wilkins, 244).

3. However, Jesus again deals with the heart of the law and not merely the letter. He says, "But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

a. Just as anger is the beginning of murder, lust is the beginning of adultery.

b. The word that Jesus uses for lust means "to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else and/or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong" (Louw and Nidda, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Symantic Domains).

c. Jesus does not, of course, refer here to passing attraction. The Greek tense probably suggests "the deliberate harboring of desire for illicit relationship (Keener, 117).

d. There is a difference between admiring the beauty of another, and in doing so acknowledging the handiwork of God, and lust.

4. By stressing the lustful intention over the act, Jesus seems to be interpreting the seventh commandment by the tenth commandment.

a. Exodus 20:17 (NLT)

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”

b. In the popular Greek version of the OT used in Jesus day the tenth commandment began, "You shall not covet your neighbors wife," and used the same word for "covet" that Jesus uses for "lust" (Keener, 116).

c. In other words, in lusting after another, we are taking what belongs to someone else.

d. We are violating not only that person, but also their spouse and your spouse.

e. Proverbs 5:15-17 (NLT)

Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.

5. Furthermore, this standard applies not only to those who are married, but to those who are single as well.

a. From this warning, we learn the value that God places on marital and premarital fidelity (Keener, 117).

b. Lust if just as sinful if you are single as it is for those who are married.

c. 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT)

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

d. Lust is far removed from true love: it dehumanizes another person into an object of passion, leading us to act as if the other were a visual or emotional prostitute for our use (Keener, 118).

B. Out of Control Passions

1. Illustration: Let me tell you about two demon worshippers. A young woman in the New Port Beach Marriott Hotel woke up alone. Her lover, Dave, was gone and all that was left was a note saying, “It’s been fun! Dave.” She had met Dave at a health club, fell in love and left her job, her husband and her two preschool children to be with him, and this was what she got. She went over to the desk, pulled a gun from her purse and ended her life. The note she left said, “Don’t weep for me. I am no longer human.” She worshipped Satan’s altar of LUST.

2. God created sexual passion.

a. Sexual passion, in and of itself is not evil.

b. However, God created it with a purpose and with limitations.

c. It is to be confined to a husband and wife within the context of marriage.

d. It is never to be indulged outside of the marriage commitment.

e. Anything outside of the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman is sin.

3. God’s intent is for us to control our sexual passions.

a. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 (NLT)

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.

b. Used within the context of marriage sexual passion is blessed by God.

c. However, if not controlled, it becomes sinful and appalling to God.

4. Out of control, sexual passions are destructive.

a. Proverbs 6:27-29 (NLT)

Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished.

b. Lust destroys lives.

c. Lust destroys marriages.

d. Lust destroys families.

e. Lust destroys our relationship with God.

Transition: Jesus tells us that the way to control our desires is to perform...

II. Stumbling Block Surgery (29-30)

A. Better to Lose One Part

1. Like a good teacher, Jesus not only tells us to avoid lust, but also gives us practical advice on how to avoid it.

2. He says, "So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, 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."

a. Jesus is declaring in a graphic manner that by whatever means necessary, one should cast off this sin (Keener, 117).

b. Jesus uses a similar metaphor in Matt. 18:8-9, but here he alters it slightly to fit the context of what he is talking about.

c. Notice that since the topic at hand is lust that the eye comes first, and in chp. 18 he uses the foot whereas here he uses the hand.

d. The "eye" is the member of the body most commonly blamed for leading us astray, especially in sexual sins (Carson, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, The, Pradis CD-ROM).

e. The phrase "causes you to lust" refers to "a person or thing which gets in the way of God’s saving purpose" (France, NICNT: The Gospel of Matthew, 205).

3. He continues the metaphor by saying, "And if your hand—even your stronger 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 be thrown into hell."

a. Sin must be avoided even if radical surgery is required. Lust must be treated with the utmost seriousness because it can cause a person to be thrown into hell.

b. If these bring one into occasion of sin, they must be dealt with by radical surgery.

4. What is Jesus suggesting we do?

a. Since evil arises in the heart, amputation cannot cure it. But the hyperbole shocks the reader with the real point: it is better to deal with the lust than to be thrown into hell because of it (Turner, 89).

b. Jesus is not advocating physical self-mutilation, but through dramatic figures of speech indicates the kind of rigorous self-discipline that committed disciples will display (Wilkins, 245).

c. Colossians 3:5-6 (NLT)

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires.

d. To put it in simple terms: if it leads you into temptation, get rid of it!

B. Eliminating Temptations

1. Illustration: Joshua Harris- Lust is always a desire for the forbidden. Though lust longs for an object or a person, ultimately this object is not its prize; its goal is the very act of desiring. The result is that lust can never be quenched. As soon as the object of lust is attained, lust wants something more.

2. 2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT)

Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

3. Dealing with lust requires making difficult choices.

a. If a person causes you to sin, stay away from them.

b. If a place causes you to sin, avoid it.

c. If an activity causes you to sin, find something else to do.

4. Dealing with lust can also require putting on your spiritual track shoes.

a. Sometimes we don’t look for temptation, but it seeks us out.

b. We learn this from the story of the Patriarch Joseph.

c. Genesis 39:10-12 (NLT)

She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible. One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.

d. There are times where the only thing left to do is run.

5. God will assist us if we ask Him.

a. Zechariah 4:6 (NLT)

It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

b. God is there to help us in times of temptation, but need to ask.

c. We need to desire him more than our lusts.

Transition: Lust is powerful, but our God is all-powerful!


1. Jesus teaches us that adultery:

a. Is still a sin today.

b. Doesn’t begin with the act, but with the heart.

c. Destroys

2. Jesus dispels certain myths about lust.

a. The devil doesn’t make us do it; we choose to do it.

b. We can help ourselves.

c. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right.

3. Are you struggling with lust?

a. Are you ready to stop struggling?

b. Are you ready to do some radical spiritual surgery?

c. Do you have on your spiritual track shoes?

d. Are you relying on the Spirit’s power?

4. If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.