The Sermon on the Mount #6 - Lust & Adultery
The Sermon on the Mount #6:
Lust & Adultery
Text: Matt. 5.27-30
Thesis: To note that lust is a serious problem that a Christian must do everything within
his/her power to overcome.
(1) “Mass media uses sex to sell its products and to glamorize its programs. Sex crimes are at all-time highs, while infidelity, divorce, and perversion are justified. Marriage, sexual fidelity, and moral purity are scorned, ridiculed, and laughed at. We are preoccupied with sex to a degree perhaps never before seen in a civilized culture” (MacArthur 300).
(2) Let us note what Jesus had to say about such things:
I. The Problem (vv. 27-28):
A. In verse 27, Jesus quoted Exodus 20:14 in order to point out the misunderstanding that was prevalent in His day.
1. Jesus and the Pharisees would both agree that the physical act of adultery was a sign.
2. However, Jesus pointed out that there was more to that command than just the external focus.
B. In verse 28, Jesus noted the dangers of lust.
1. ‘Look’ (Gr. blepo)
a. Present participle = continuous looking
b. “The look is not casual but persistent, the desire not involuntary or momentary, but cherished” (A.B. Bruce).
2. ‘Lust’ (Gr. epithumeo) – “to have sexual interest in someone, desire” (BDAG).
3. Jesus “is speaking of the man who looks so that he may satisfy his evil desire. He is speaking of the man who goes to an X-rated movie, who selects a television program known for its sexual orientation, who goes to a beach known for its scanty swimsuits, or who does any such thing with expectation and desire of being sexually and sinfully titillated” (MacArthur 303).
4. Obviously, such thoughts are sinful and unacceptable for Christians.
II. The Solution (vv. 29-30):
A. ‘Right eye … right hand’
1. Not literal, even though some took it take way (e.g., Origen [A.D. 185-254] had himself castrated).
2. “In Jewish culture, the right eye and right hand represented a person’s best and most precious faculties. The right eye represented one’s best vision, and the right hand one’s best skills. Jesus’ point is that we should be willing to give up whatever is necessary, even the most cherished things we possess, if doing that will help protect us from evil. Nothing is so valuable as to be worth preserving at the expense of righteousness (MacArthur 304).
B. ‘Causes you to sin’
- “The verb is used of a bait stick in a trap. Hunters would fix the trap with a bait stick to lure the animal. When the animal went for the bait, the stick would spring the trap. Because of the importance of obeying God’s standards of sexual purity, whatever triggers or causes impure thoughts or actions (real or imagined) must be expunged quickly and decisively” (Johnson 55).
- As did Job, we must make a covenant with our eyes to maintain purity (Job 31:1).