Summary: Simple instructions on serious issues (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: email@example.com)
Reading: Matthew chapter 5 verses 27-32.
• When men were manning the barricades in Moscow in 1917,
• And preparing to fire the first shots of a world revolution,
Church dignities were holding a meeting in the same city,
• For the specific purpose of deciding;
• What colour of robes were to be worn at a certain ecclesiastical festival.
I think it is a tragedy when church leaders or a church are no longer relevant to society:
• Christians ought to be light & salt in a society,
• Not outdated, or out of touch with the events of their times.
• In other words we should have something suitable to say, something worth listening to
• Of course not all preachers are relevant!
Church member to their minister:
“You will never know what your sermon meant to me. It was like water to a drowning man!”
“He was like a lighthouse in the middle of the Pennines: brilliant, but what’s it there for?”
Praise God for organisations like The Evangelical Alliance:
• Who give Christians a voice in the media and are a voice to our politicians,
• A voice that is both relevant and biblical.
One of the great things about Jesus:
• Was that he was always relevant to the people of his day,
• And he is still relevant today! His teaching is still bang up to date.
• And this passage before us deals with a very relevant topic,
• Topics that affect the lives of so many people.
• More than 85 per cent of adults marry at some time in their lives;
• And those people obviously marry, with the hope that their marriages will last.
• In a recent survey almost nine out of ten of those interviewed said;
• ‘That they valued faithfulness as the most important ingredient in marriage’.
• Although fewer people are getting married in the UK:
• Marriage still remains popular,
• As I mentioned 85% of adults will marry at some time in their lives.
• But sadly in Britain the latest estimates are;
• That over 50 per cent of all marriages will end in divorce.
• Half of the divorces come from marriages which lasted less than ten years.
• The most common cause of divorce is adultery.
An increasing proportion of marriages are remarriages.
• Over a third (36 per cent) of all marriages;
• Involve at least one partner who has been married before,
• And in 17 per cent of weddings,
• Both the bride and groom have been married before.
Sadly, a higher proportion of second marriages end in divorce.
• Current trends suggest;
• One in two marriages involving a partner married before ends in divorce.
Now I have not given you those statistics to depress you:
• But to illustrate the fact that our topic this morning is where many people are at.
• And this passage before us deals with very relevant topics,
• Personal purity, marital fidelity and issues of divorce.
• Topics that affect the lives of so many people in our society.
Some preachers avoid awkward and controversial topics:
• They play safe, that’s the easy option.
• But not Jesus!
• With a beautiful blend of courage, wisdom, sensitivity and simplicity,
• He spoke the truth as and when it was needed.
Now in the passage before us Jesus makes a clear statement concerning two absolutes:
(1) Marital faithfulness (verses 27-28):
(a). The seventh Commandment (Verse 27):
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’
Jesus begins by quoting the seventh commandment,
• Which everyone in His audience would have known extremely well.
• From childhood, all Jewish citizens had had the commandments drilled into their heads.
• No adultery!
• Do not have sexual intercourse with anyone else other than your spouse.
• But notice that Jesus goes further.
• And Jewish ears all over that hillside must have perked up when He added,
(b). New revelation (Verse 28):
28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
• Why did Jesus go further than Moses? What more needed to be said?
• Surely “Do not commit adultery” was clear enough?
• More did need to be said,
• IF you are going to go to the heart of the problem,
• Jesus never promoted a surface-only religious lifestyle,
• Jesus does not want people who are outwardly obedient but inwardly disobedient.
• Before seat belts were compulsory,
• A naughty little boy stood up on the back seat of his parents car;
• His parents repeatedly told him to sit down.
• But the little boy ignored them.