Summary: Simple instructions on serious issues (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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• Not outdated, or out of touch with the events of their times.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.

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