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By Pastor Glenn Pease
Show me the man who has never looked at a woman with lust, and I'll show you a man with a white cane who was blind from birth.
None but a blind man could get through life and not be captivated by God's crowning work of creation-woman.
Anyone with an ounce of artistic appreciation knows there are few, if any, more appealing sites than a well formed female.
This is not the conviction of dirty old men only, but it represents the mind of men of every age, place, and race; godly and ungodly alike.
Art Buchwald, the popular secular newspaper columnist, told of his experience at a Washington dinner party.
He had every intention of being a perfect gentleman at this party, but the woman to his right wore a black net pajama top with a neckline that plunged down, he says, to heaven knows where, and the blouse was held up by only two tiny strings that looked like they would break any minute.
He writes, "God knows we've been sinners and most men are trying to change their attitudes toward women.
But when you have nothing but bare backs and cleavage to stare at during dinner, how on earth can any man keep his mind on Henry Kissinger?"
We could dismiss that as the struggle of the secular man, but it won't work.
The testimony of godly men through the ages is that the female body stimulates their lust.
Many women resent David for his lust after Bathsheba when he saw her bathing, and for his foolish and sinful behavior that led him into adultery and murder.
Despicable as it was, most men do not despise David, for they know in their hearts that in that same situation they may have done the same stupid thing under the lure of lust.
Many godly men have done the same thing, and many who haven't know it is an ever present possibility.
Charles Swindoll, one of the most popular preachers today, always makes sure there is a desk between him and the women he counsels, for he writes, "I simply recognize that being a man, temptation is always on the back burner waiting to singe me."
In his little booklet on Resisting The Lure Of Lust, he writes, "Non-Christians and Christians alike wrestle with its pressure and its persistence throughout their lives.
Some think that getting married will cause temptation to flee.
It doesn't.
Others have tried isolation.
But sensual imagination goes with them, fighting and clawing for attention and gratification.
Not even being called into Christian service helps.
Ask any whose career is in the Lord's work.
Temptation is there relentlessly pleading for satisfaction."
Swindoll is saying, there is no escape from lust.
There is no place to go, and no something to become, that will take you out of the range of the arrows of forbidden desire.
This goes for women as well.
Jesus does not mention women lusting for men, for at that point in history women did not have the power and freedom.
They were dominated by men.
But whenever women have had the power and freedom to be sexual aggressors they have exhibited the same lust as men.
One of the strongest examples of a lust led person in the Bible is that of Potipher's wife.
She admired the handsome servant her husband had brought into the home, and one day when Joseph was home alone with her she said in Gen. 39:7, "Come to bed with me."
That is what you call the direct approach, and only by the grace of God did Joseph escape her clutches.
We live in a period of time when the female is nearly, if not clearly, equal with the male in sexual lust.
This is no proof it is the end of hope for the human race, however, for it has happened before.
Martin Luther wrote of what was going on at the University of Wittenberg in 1544.
"The race of girls is getting bold, and run after the fellows into their rooms and chambers and wherever they can, and offer them their free love."
Sex was not discovered in the 20th century.
It has been a major problem throughout the history of mankind, and nobody escapes the power and influence of lust.
Not everybody idolizes it and make it a god, but everybody must reckon with its presence.
L. Nelson Bell, father-in-law of Billy Graham, and a great preacher and author for many years in Christianity Today, wrote on the imagination and its potential for lust.
He wrote, "It is, even for the true Christian the last frontier to surrender to the cleansing and redemptive work of the living Christ."
This is equivalent to saying, it is a never ending battle for the Christian.
Sometimes sickness, psychological handicaps, and old age set people free from this conflict, but for the majority there is no discharge from the war of the spirit with the flesh.
Martin Luther said, "If no other work was commanded than chasteness, we would all have enough to do, so dangerous and raging a vice is unchasteness."
The facts of life an history force us to recognize there is no moral majority when it comes to lust.
Before Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount there was a chance for a moral majority to exist on this issue.
As long as adultery was limited to an act of sex with a woman not your mate, the majority of men could be innocent.
That is still true today even in our sexual revolution.
The majority of mates are faithful, but Jesus changed the rules in this passage.
He thrusts the majority of the human race into the camp of the guilty.
Jesus says that to look at a woman with lust, that is with a strong desire, is to be guilty of adultery.
That means the millions of men and women who have overcome temptation, and have never been unfaithful to their mates, but who have looked at others with lust are guilty of adultery.
This is not a pleasant message, and the result is, out of many thousands of indexed sermons, there is not one that deals with this text.
Jesus is being too radical here.
He apparently never read the book How To Win Friends And Influence People.
It is no wonder the Pharisees wanted Him out of the picture.
He just made the majority of the human race murderers by making anger equivalent to murder, and now He makes the majority adulterers by making lust equivalent to adultery.
Teachings like this totally shatter the whole foundation for legalistic righteousness.
You may be able to avoid a lot of sins by legalism, but Jesus is saying you can't avoid sin.
You can pretend you are really righteous because you have never murdered, or gone to bed with another man's wife, but Jesus takes away the facade and says, but look at the anger and hatred for men that thrives in your breast; look at the lust that rages there.
You have cleaned the outside of the cup, but inside it is still filthy.
You can plead not guilty on the basis of the external evidence, but let the jury see the movies of your mind, and you are hung.
The law does not go deep enough, for it only deals with acts.
Jesus goes deeper, for He deals with attitudes.
The whole point of Jesus is, that external legalistic righteousness just won't cut it.
The Pharisees were destroying true religion by their hypocrisy and external show.
True religion, and a relationship to God that pleases Him is one where men are honest about their sin, and seek His help to conquer it.
Jesus knew what He was doing when He destroyed all ground to stand on for legalistic righteousness.
He knew by these statements He was making murder and adultery, for all practical purposes, universal.
Jesus had just described a stubborn man who refused to agree with his accuser.
He could only insist on his innocence.
Now Jesus accuses practically everyone of being guilty of adultery.
The question is, will we be stubborn and fight this accusation all the way to the judgment, or will we submit, and admit our guilt?
Jesus wants us to escape the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and be honest about our inner sinful nature.
A child misunderstood the seventh commandment, and recited it, "Thou shalt not admit adultery."
This was the problem with the Pharisees.
They would not admit to their guilt.
This was David's problem.
He refused to admit his guilt.
This is the problem with almost everyone.
We refuse to admit that our lust makes us guilty.
When Jimmy Carter was president he confessed publicly that he had lust.
This was no surprise, but the fact that he admitted it was the surprise.
We do not like to admit that all of us are guilty.
But that is precisely what Jesus is forcing us to do.
He knew that everybody gets angry at sometime.
He knew that everybody struggles with lust at times.
We know He knew this by the way He handled the situation with the woman brought to Him who had been taken in the very act of adultery.
He said to all of those religious leaders, who in self-righteousness were ready to stone her, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
Then instead of leaping out of the way to avoid the flying rocks, He knelt to write on the ground before the accused.
He knew it was not a risky gamble, for He knew they were men, and men do not live that long and escape lust.
Everyone of them walked away, and Jesus knew they would.
For He knew they were guilty, and He knew they knew they were guilty.
Christopher Sykes was right when he said, "Of the seven deadly sins, lust is the only one about which all mankind (with very few exceptions), knows something from experience."
Most everyone has had the experience of going to a restaurant with others, and when they get their order, it looks better than you ordered, and you often wish you had what they have.
It is the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence feeling.
It is just a part of our human nature to desire what we do not have.
Lust is one of these desires.
It starts at puberty, and that is when most boys begin their battle with lust.
The girl next door, the attractive teacher, the objects of lust are everywhere.
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