Summary: Sin is serious
Sermon on Mount
Dealing Ruthlessly with sin
Matthew 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, ’Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, 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. 30 And if your right 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 go into hell.
A man went to church, and afterwards was asked by a friend what the minister spoke on. “He preached on sin.” The friend asked what the preacher had to say about sin, and was told, “He’s against it.” The American church does not deal with sin seriously or ruthlessly. This is evident from the moral condition of many of its leaders and from the response of the congregation when a leader falls. I think this points to the fact that we are more influenced by our culture than by the Bible. Our culture feeds on lust – sex, materialism, food, entertainment, etc
• Over 75% of all internet users on line after 10 o’clock are viewing pornography. (The largest group viewing are boys between the age of 13 and 18)
• ½ of all marries people will commit adultery during their life time. (Men are usually higher, but not much)
• The level of adultery within the church is half what the national average. The level of adultery among ministers is 1/5 of the national average.
• 1 in 4 Christians has committed adultery. 1 in 10 pastors have committed adultery.
1. My Obedience is a matter of my heart
Jesus says, you have heard it was said, ‘do not commit adultery’ but I tell you that anyone who lusts after a woman has already committed adultery in his heart. Jesus is overthrowing the traditions of the Pharisees. The Pharisees had relegated obedience to external adherence so that as long as they followed the law or the traditions they were ok. But Jesus is telling us that the issue of obedience is much deeper than mere conforming to the law or a set of rules. Obedience goes much deeper than that. Our culture and unfortunately the church all too often deals with moral issues by getting people to conform to the law. The motivation for obeying the law is prison. Jesus is not satisfied with adherence to the law or traditions. This is why Jesus says that ‘unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Mat 5:20). It is also why he says "’These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men’" (Mat 15:8).
• Obedience is not mere adherence to the Law
NIV Matthew 23:25 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 27 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Sin is much deeper than this and Jesus deals with sin.
• My Heart is corrupted by sin
If you have looked lustfully at a woman you have already committed adultery in your heart.
James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
NIV Matthew 15:18- 19 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ’unclean.’ 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
The issue is the heart.
We need to have our hearts so radically changed so that we want to do the right thing. What Paul calls the obedience of faith in Rom 1:5. This is why Jesus can say "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light"(Matt 22:28).