Sermons

Summary: What does Jesus teach about sexual purity?

Matthew 5:27-32 and 19:3-9,

What Jesus Thinks About Sexual Purity

Sex is good! Sex is wonderful! God created sex! [In Matthew 19:5] Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24. A man and a woman shall become one flesh. That’s not just symbolic language! It’s what God intends to physically happen between a husband and his wife. One flesh, one man, one woman, for a lifetime.

But wait a minute! We’re Christians. We don’t talk about sex! And especially not in a church. Surely that’s rude! Sex is a private business, best not talked about or thought about. Or so we can sometimes think...

Meanwhile the world outside bombards us with its own broken down philosophy of sexuality. And we grow up and live in this world. And our children grow up and soak in the teaching of this world. Friends, it’s time we put un-biblical Victorian attitudes behind us and get real with each other about sex. Sex is a precious, God-given gift. So precious to God, so powerful a force, that God has very specific instructions for how and when we are to enjoy it.

As well as three points, I’m going to give you three Gs this morning. And the first one we’ve already heard. God created sex and thinks it is GOOD!

And so, here we are, still in Matthew chapter 5. Still going through the greatest Sermon ever preached by the greatest man who ever lived. Still looking at the Sermon on the Mount. And let’s remind ourselves of the context of these words. Firstly, let’s remember that Jesus is teaching what life is like as his follower in the Kingdom of God. And I’m glad Jesus gives this teaching because again and again I want to come back to his words to remind myself what a Christian is supposed to be. How does God want me to live? Jesus has taught about Christian character in 1-12 and the Beatitudes; Jesus has taught about Christian influence in verse 13-16 on salt and light; and now Jesus is talking in verses 17-48 about the Christian’s righteousness – in other words, the Christians right way of living.

Let’s also remind ourselves of the more immediate context here. Jesus has just been saying in verses 17-20 that he comes to fulfil God’s Law. But fulfil it in a different way than the Pharisees were. Jesus says his followers are called to live a radically righteous life. But Jesus shows us that being radical isn’t about how good we are at keeping the rules and regulations. He show us that God is interested in our hearts, he shows us he wants us to follow the Spirit of the Law, not just the letter of it. So what does Jesus think about sexual purity?

Here’s the first of our three points...

1. Sexual purity is about more than committing ’the dastardly deed’.

The Pharisees were eager not to break the 7th Commandment; i.e. not to commit adultery. But as usual, Jesus takes us deeper. He takes us to the heart of the matter. And the heart of the matter is this: sexual impurity, adultery, and the path to divorce has seemingly harmless beginnings. Jesus says there are 3 things going on in the area of adultery. The eyes, the heart, and the act...

Think of King David all those years ago. There he was loafing around on the roof of his palace when he should have been doing something else. Looking down on the surrounding homes how delighted he was to find that he could see a beautiful woman bathing. He could have turned away. He could have averted his eyes. But he didn’t. The great Reformer Martin Luther said, “You can’t keep a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep him from building a nest in your hair”. King David let the bird build its nest. He stood there, eyes wide open, leering at the naked woman. Very soon what the eye dwelt on, the heart wanted. And we all know how that tragic story unfolded.

As John Stott puts it, ‘Deeds of shame are preceded by fantasies of shame’. And as Solomon reminds us, in Proverbs 6:27-29, ‘Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?’ If we consistently watch sexy TV or films or if we can’t control our eyes in the street – be careful! We’re playing with fire!

Could Jesus’ words come to us at a more significant time? Today there is an epidemic of pornography in our land. And with it there is an incredible lowering of sexual ethics amongst us as Christians. Friends, let’s not play with fire!

And even if we have not had sex with a person who is not our spouse... Jesus says, it’s about what we do with our eyes, it’s about the state of our hearts and the state of our minds. But, and especially for men, it so often starts with the eyes.

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