Summary: Lesson 14
Once again we need to be reminded that the Lord is in no way altering or changing the teaching of the Old Testament. It is not the Law per se that is under consideration, but the carnal interpretation of it made by the Pharisees.
I. A DISCIPLINE THAT IS DECEITFUL
A. The Pharisees Insisted on External Obedience
1. As was the case with the sixth commandment, the Pharisees had reduced commandment number seven down to the mere physical act of adultery.
2. To their way of thinking, as long as the outside of the cup and platter are clean, that’s really all that matters (Matthew 23:25-26). However, they failed to consider that even though "man looketh on the outward appearance...the LORD looketh on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).
3. A person may appear to be upright and respectable as did the scribes and Pharisees, and still be guilty of awful, foul, ugly, filthy sin.
B. The Pharisees Ignored Internal Negligence
1. The problem with the scribes and Pharisees was that they had not fully studied the Law as it was given to Moses. If they had, they would have understood that the Law had always stressed the importance of the heart.
2. Exodus 20:14, 17
3. Covetousness is a sin of the heart. God had clearly condemned coveting or lusting after another man’s wife, yet the scribes and Pharisees had conveniently ignored that part of the Law.
4. Covetousness, and adultery, and anger, and all other such sins are but symptoms of a more severe problem. To treat these outward manifestations only, is to merely deal with the symptoms and not the root problem. The root of the problem is the heart. Jesus said, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:" (Matthew 15:19).
II. A LOOK THAT IS LUSTFUL
In no uncertain terms Jesus clearly explains to those listening that to abstain from the physical act of adultery does not necessarily mean that a person is guiltless. A person can commit mental adultery and be just as guilty of immorality as the person who actually commits the physical act.
While it may be deemed acceptable in our society today, adultery, whether it be physical or mental, is a breach of the wedding covenant and is still a horrible sin in the sight of a holy and righteous God. It brings an enormous amount of hurt and pain and destruction. It is a sin, that if continued in, indicates a lack of salvation, and results in eternal damnation.
A. Appreciating the Need for Love
1. The Lord’s words contained in this sermon are not a denouncement of what we would consider to be the instincts of human nature. It is quite natural for members of the opposite sex to be attracted to one another.
2. We were created for companionship. When Adam was created God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" (Genesis 2:18). "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man" (Genesis 2:21-22). When God brought Eve to Adam, she was accepted by him as "bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh" (Genesis 2:23).
3. Immediately upon Adam’s receiving Eve as a part of himself, God then instructed them to come together in a one-flesh union. His intention was for them to have a personal, intimate, pleasurable, sexual union in which they would find fulfillment and satisfaction. This union was also God’s plan by which Adam and Eve would fulfill His command to "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth," (Genesis 1:28).
B. Understanding the Nature of Lust
1. Sex is a dynamic, driving force in the human life. It is a God-given gift to be used in the context of the marriage relationship. But instead of being used as God planned it, it is being terribly abused.
2. Love and lust are not the same, they are direct opposites. What the Lord is condemning in this passage is not love, but unbridled, uncontrolled, animalistic lust.
3. Lust, by it’s very nature, is one-sided. Lust is a desire to use another for our own pleasure. Lust is a perversion of sexuality, and if it is left unchecked it can, and will, become all consuming (2 Peter 2:14).
NOTE: It is not the involuntary "look" that is being condemned here, so much as it is the "purpose" for which we look. It is looking in order to lust or looking that leads to lust that is being condemned. If it was simply the "look" that was sinful, we would have to walk around with our eyes closed all the time.