Summary: Sexual immorality is rampant in our society and the overwhelming sentiment of our culture seems to be "if it feels good - do it!" God calls us to a higher standard though and Jesus sets us straight on the truth about adultery. Also includes thoughts on
The Truth About Adultery - Matthew 5:27-28 - November 20, 2011
Series: Kingdom Life – A World Turned Upside Down #13
Well, this morning we are going to continue with our study of the Sermon on the Mount. To this point we have worked through the Beatitudes, one by one, and we’ve seen what it is that we’re called to, and what it is that has been made possible for us, in Jesus Christ. We have heard Jesus affirm that He has not come to do away with the Law and the Prophets but rather that He has come to fulfill the very Word of God. Furthermore He has challenged us with His own words as He has said, “unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees …. You will certainly not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20) And then we’ve begun to discover what that righteousness looks like, because Jesus gives us six examples to illustrate the point He is making.
We looked at the first one a few weeks ago. Jesus took one of the Ten Commandments, “Thou shall not kill,” and in essence said, “As long as you have not taken another’s life you feel you have kept this commandment. But there’s more to it than that. You’ve given heed to the letter of the law but you’ve completely missed the spirit of it. You harbour in your hearts, anger and bitterness and rage against another and in doing so you’ve kept alive in your heart the very things that lead to murder. You have betrayed the spirit of the Law and the heart of God.” Hatred, becomes murder, because it stems from the same heart.
And that’s where this righteousness that He’s talking about – this righteousness that surpasses that of the Pharisees – needs to take root. It needs to take root in the heart, because the heart is the wellspring of life, and all the things we do and say, flow forth from what is in the heart. If you get the heart right, that which comes from the heart will be right as well.
The Pharisees excelled in wearing masks. To all outward appearances they were the epitome of righteousness - but it was all external. That’s why Jesus called them, “whitewashed tombs.” They said and did all the right things, went through all the right motions, but in truth their hearts were far from God. Spiritually they had no life. And many people in churches live like that today. My desire is that we would get our hearts right before God. My desire is that we would stop wearing masks. This is God’s desire for us as well.
Romans 12, verses 1-2, say this … “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1–2, NIV)
We cannot live with this dichotomy which says, “This part of my life belongs to God and this part of my life belongs to me.” Everything we are is meant to be offered as a living sacrifice to God. Every facet of our lives is meant to reflect His glory. Worship is more than what takes place Sunday mornings. Your life can be, and is meant to be, a continuous act of worship – this is your response to a God who has loved you so deeply, and so well, and so thoroughly, that He sent His one and only Son to die for you that you might have life through Him. And to worship God in that way means we cannot buy into the world’s way of thinking and doing life.
How many of you have seen that t.v. show, “Everybody Loves Raymond”? …. There’s one episode where Raymond’s brother Robert, and Robert’s fiancé, Amy, have her parents over for brunch one morning. Now her parents are always depicted as very conservative, narrow minded, Christians. This was Amy’s upbringing. At one point during the brunch Amy decides to tell her parents the truth about her relationship with Robert. She tells them, that even though they are not married, that she has been sleeping with him. And then she says this, “I’ve decided it isn’t a sin!”
And that one sentence sums up the world’s way of thinking so very well. We live in a culture that has decided that we have the prerogative to determine what is right, and what is wrong, and so we ignore God’s standard of morality and we make up our own as we go along. (Rik Danielsen, www.sermoncentral.com) Yet Scripture says that we are not to be conformed to the pattern of this world but that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we might know God’s good and pleasing and perfect will. So here’s a question to get started with: Where do you take your cues for living from? What are you allowing to influence the way you live your life and how do you determine what is right and what is wrong?