121104 sm 08 flames of desire matthew 5 27-30


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Lesson 8 in a series on the Sermon on the Mount. Adapted from a lesson with the same title by Chip Bell at www.Bible.org. Presented 11/04/12 at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells

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  • Sermon rated PG. Sexual issues. Parents, last chance to take children to Children’s Bible Hour. Terms of Endearment (1983) Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jeff Daniels, John Lithgow, Jack Nicholson, etc.Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Emma has a complicated relationship with a mother she can never seem to please. The movie covers several years of their lives.Emma marries Flap, but after a few years, the spark has gone out of their marriage. She thinks Flap is having an affair, but isn’t sure. Then she meets Sam, and that spark turns into a flame.
  • “Contemplating sin is all we’ve done. It doesn’t mean anything.”But contemplating sin soon turns into committing sin.
  • Shortly afterward, Sam calls Emma as they get entangled deeper in sin.
  • It is NOT amazing that men and women get involved in sexual sin. What IS amazing is how much they are willing to pay for it!
  • First, you usually don’t realize how much sexual sin is going to cost. Rarely comes with a visible price tag – cost is hidden. It’spleasure purchased on the installment plan, with payments coming due for the rest of your life.
  • Second, sex is a powerful force. Compels people to voluntarily do things that they would never think themselves capable of doing under normal circumstances. Combination of sexual and emotional attraction is an undertow that captures people who are merely wading by the beach, sweeps them out to sea and does everything possible to drown them. Sex is powerful, but also deceptive, because those who are being swept out to sea are willing and excited about going on this adventure into deep water.
  • Third, sexual sin doesn’t begin with glaring and blatant transgressions. Starts with something small – something that looks so harmless, it’s easy to allow. It starts with a desire.Long-standing marriages are shattered. Kids lose their parents. People surrender careers, reputations, homes, savings, friends and relationship with God—all in the pursuit of a moment of happinessHappiness dissipates and people are left with guilt and consequences. Particularly distressing when done by a preacheror Christian leader. We expect that somehow they should be made out of something better than the average person. Too many demonstrate that they – just like the rest of us – have feet of clay. But when they fall into sexual sin, the price often includes the destruction of churches, ministries and other people’s faith. What would make someone do that—risk so much to gain so little? Here is the story of one preacher– Nate Larkin.
  • Nate Larkin was a preacher with a porn addiction. Fantasizing led him to acting out on his fantasies. After he came to grips with his sin, he founded the Samson Society – a men’s ministry. The background of the name comes from the fact that most men see ourselves like Samson – a rugged individualist. Yet, Samson’s solitary successes were eventually overcome by his moral weakness. Larkin’s group calls men to connect with one another in friendships based on honesty and accountability.Like Samson, it’s when we try to go it alone that we wind up getting ourselves in trouble.
  • I’ve called it “The Disciple’s Handbook” because essentially, it is a manual for citizens of God’s Kingdom. In other words, an instruction manual for those who want to follow Jesus.
  • Today we’re studying Matthew 5:27-30, where Jesus talks about sexual sin and the desires that lead up to it. This section is about The Disciple’s Code, our code of conductas disciples. Jesus is explaining not just the letter of the law, but also the spirit of the law, the law’s intent. Jesus says it’s not enough to avoid certain external sinful behaviors. We also need to honor God with our thoughts, our motives and our attitudes—the inner things only God can know about us. Matthew 5 contains six comparisons between this “external performance” and the “internal obedience” that God desires. Anger, lust, divorce, lying, revenge, and hatred. Jesus calls us to commit ourselves not just to obeying the external requirements of the law, but also to allowing the Disciple’s Code to govern our thoughts, our motives and our attitudes.
  • Last week we talked about anger. It’s not just the external behavior of murder that’s wrong. It’s also wrong to maintain unresolved anger toward another person.
  • Today we’re going to talk about the second of these six contrasts as Jesus teaches us about lust. For the disciple, it’s not only wrong to cheat on your spouse. It’s also wrong to entertain the desire to have an affair with someone else.
  • People have strong feelings about these verses. Today, you can hardly talk about them without mentioning internet porn or racy shows.In Jesus’ day, they wouldn’t have thought about either of those, because they didn’t exist.So what would they have thought about?Let’s see what the text says.
  • The OT law was clear: adultery was wrong. Adultery referred specifically to a man being intimate with another man’s wife. Fornication was the word for the broader spectrum of sexual sins. Jesus says adultery is not the only thing to avoid. Adultery is an external behavior. But Jesus goes for the internal thoughts and motives.
  • 2% - Jesus is condemning all sexual desiresProverbs 5:15 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.This is a picture of sexual faithfulness in marriage. It means to enjoy the spouse God has given you. There is nothing wrong with desiring your wife/husband.8% - Jesus is condemning all sexual fantasies.Nothing inherently wrong with a woman fantasizing about being swept off her feet by her husband? Or a husband about coming to his wife’s rescue like a knight in shining armor?90% - Jesus starts with the Seventh Command. Then he overlays the Tenth Command over it.Seventh command: Exodus 20:14 "You shall not commit adultery.Tenth command: Exodus 20:17 NIV84 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."I think this is the key to understanding all six of Jesus’ sayings in Matthew 5. Most of us can keep our actions in check – our attitudes, not so much. Murder/anger. Adultery/lust.
  • The key word that we need to understand is the word “lustfully”However, that’s actually not a very good translation of this Greek wordἐπιθυμέω
  • 5% - Desire for something good21% - Desire for anything, whether good or badHave you ever heard of a “lust for life”? Did you think that was necessarily bad?Blogger Joy Bell says she even lusts after cake. I don’t know that that is necessarily bad. Nick Macias has brought us a couple of cakes the past two weeks – and they were sure good.42% - Desire for anything forbidden32% - Desre for sexual gratificationAlmost ¾ of us think lust is bad. Why?
  • The English “lust” carries a decidedly negative and sexual connotation—both of which are missing in the Greek word, ἐπιθυμέω. It simply means, “to desire something or to long for something” and it is strictly a neutral term. In other words, whether desire is good or bad depends entirely on what you are desiring. Neil Lightfoot: “The only thing that determines the meaning of a word is how it is used in context.”The prodigal “longed to fill his stomach”
  • The prophets “longed to see what you see”
  • Jesus: “I have eagerly desired to eat this passover with you …”
  • Thereason Paul uses ἐπιθυμέω for “covet”: TheTenthCommand in the LXX usedἐπιθυμέω for “covet”. So Paul is quoting the LXX.This gives credence to what I said before – that Jesus is taking the Seventh Command and overlaying the Tenth on top of it.
  • First, this does NOT mean that desire is adultery or that desire is just as bad as adultery, i.e., as soon as you’ve desired, then you’ve already committedadultery.He’s not saying: “If you think the thought, you might as well do the deed.” It is NOT the same. Notice that it doesn’t say, “you’ve already had adultery with her”, but “you’ve already had adultery with her in your heart.” Desire for an inappropriate sexual relationship is emotional adultery, not physical adultery. What this is saying is that it is not only wrong to consummate an “off limits” relationship. It is also wrong to cultivate a desire for an “off limits” relationship. Both are wrong, but they are not the same.
  • Second, this does NOT mean that sexual desire itself is wrong. God created sex and He created us with strong sexual desires. He also gave us the perfect context to indulge those desires—the marriage relationship. Unfortunately, many churches have left people with the impression that sex is evil and that God is pretty upset that somehow people figured out how to do this. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. (In 1981, Pope John Paul II said that a man could violate this verse even with own wife by lusting after her. That is completely contrary to what the Bible says.) Sex is God’s invention. He came up with the idea. He made it attractive and pleasurable and fun. He designed marriage as the perfect context for it. But to use God’s gift outside the context of marriage is to violate the operating instructions in the owner’s manual. Sex wasn’t designed to work outside marriage. It won’t work outside marriage. Instead of bringing us the fulfillment that God created sex to produce, it will bring us temporary pleasure and then long-term destruction and heartache.
  • Have you ever put something together without reading the directions? Women: “No”.Men: “All the time. Instructions are just a suggestion.”Look, here’s glue. Let’s squirt it on. Then you read the instructions: “Warning: do not put the glue on part C until you have first connected part A to part B.” By that time it’s too late. It’s ruined. It will never work the way it’s supposed to. That’s what happens when we use sex outside of the context of marriage. It messes things up. It destroys. That’s why God says it’s “off limits”. He loves us and wants us to have the best. He didn’t send us assembly instructions to keep us from having fun. He sent them so that we could get the maximum enjoyment out of his gift.
  • Third, this verse is NOT saying that attraction is wrong. Rather, to entertain or nurture that attraction is wrong. Remember when we talked about anger last week. It isn’t wrong to be angry. It’s wrong to leave it unresolved. In the same way, it isn’t sin to be attracted to someone besides your spouse. However, to feed that attraction or act upon it—that is wrong. Like anger, attraction is initially a response, not a choice. It’s not a sin in the sense of a choice I make to disobey God. When it first strikes, I think attraction is more of a temptation than a sin. It’s what we choose to do with attraction and what we choose to do because of attraction that makes it sinful. It’s unrestrained desire that is sinful. That is the point that Jesus is trying to make in this verse. It’s not only the external behavior of adultery that is wrong. It is also wrong to harbor and nourish a secret internal desire for an illicit relationship. Physical adultery is wrong. But so is emotional adultery or mental adultery or attitudinal adultery.
  • That’s why purity is important—not only purity in actions, but also purity in thoughts. Jesus goes on in verses 29-30 to explain just how important it is.
  • 5% - Jesus literally meant that we should engage in self-mutilationModern commentators point out that “right hand” is often an allusion to the male sex organ in contexts like this. Origen (3rd Century, Alexandria) took this passage and Matthew 19:12 literallyMatthew 19:12 NET. For there are some eunuchs who were that way from birth, and some who were made eunuchs by others, and some who became eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. …"But, Edward Gibbon, in “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” says of Origen: "As it was his general practice to allegorize scripture, it seems unfortunate that, in this instance only, he should have adopted the literal sense."95% - Jesus did not mean for us to literally gouge out our eye or cut off our hand.These verses are not suggesting that we should fight sexual sin by literally plucking out our eyes and cutting off our hands. Even if we had only left eyes and left hands, we would still be able to find a way to have inappropriate sexual relationships and inappropriate sexual desires. What these two verses are saying is that sexual purity in both action and thought is very important. It’s so important, that it’s worth sacrificing some otherwise good things if they might lead us into sin.
  • 15% - Amputees will remain amputees in the resurrection85% - There will be no amputees in the resurrectionPhilippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who… will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.The bodies we will receive when we are raised from the dead will be glorious, like Christ's resurrected body. Those who struggle with pain, physical limitations, or disabilities can have wonderful hope in the resurrection.Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 this afternoon. Paul’s explanation of the spiritual body.1 Corinthians 15:50-54 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed-- 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."We will still have personalities and recognizable characteristics in our resurrected body, but through Christ's work, our body will be better than we can imagine. The Bible does not tell us everything about our resurrected body, but we know that it will be perfect, without sickness, disease, or pain
  • Because of our hope in the resurrection, we need to eliminate anything on earth that could keep us out of heaven
  • Close with some practical advice about dealing with sexual sin. Some not explicitly from the Bible, but are some practical things I have learned about trying not to let desire turn into sin.
  • ^1. Desire is an alarm.Like a proximity alarm. Action needs to be taken to avoid a collision. ^2. Recognize you are vulnerable. ^ 3. Watch your input. ^ 4. Dress thoughtfully. ^ 5. Watch your circumstances. ^ 6. Think consequences. ^ 7. Satisfy each other in marriage. Proverbs 5:15-20 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. [16] Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? [17] Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. [18] May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. [19] A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. [20] Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife? ^ 8. Tell someone else. ^ 9. Run away. ^10. Rely on God’s Spirit. Galatians 5:16 Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the [flesh]. No better example for us to learn from – and avoid – than David
  • No better example for us to end with than the example of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12)Story: Idleness leads to lust; lust leads to adultery; adultery leads to a cover-up; the cover-up leads to murder.Most of the time, we think of this as being a young man’s sin. I remember an older Christian brother years ago who said he struggled more with Matthew 5:28 as an older man than he ever had when he was younger. His kids were grown and gone; his wife had died; he was alone most of the time with his thoughts. And that was when his struggle with this sin really started.Bad news: Sin, even when forgiven, always has consequences. The child dies; David is later disgraced by another son who sleeps with his father’s wives in view of all Jerusalem.Good news: Once forgiven, relationship with God is restored. God loves David and honors David’s marriage to Bathsheba, even though the relationship began in sin, by giving them another son, Solomon, who would be an ancestor of Jesus.Other people may write you off and give up on you, but God never does.
  • 121104 sm 08 flames of desire matthew 5 27-30

    1. 1. FLAMES OF DESIRE Matthew 5:27-30THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOKStudies in the Sermon on the Mount
    2. 2. THREE THINGS ABOUT SEXUAL SINCosts more than you expect
    3. 3. THREE THINGS ABOUT SEXUAL SINCosts more than you expect Sex is a powerful force
    4. 4. THREE THINGS ABOUT SEXUAL SINCosts more than you expect Sex is a powerful force Doesn’t start with overt conduct
    5. 5. The Samson SocietyNATE LARKIN
    6. 6. THE DISCIPLE’S HANDBOOK Worship Economy Code RelationshipsCharacter Disciple’s Choices
    7. 7. THE DISCIPLE’S CODEGood Enough (5:17-20)
    8. 8. THE DISCIPLE’S CODEGood Enough (5:17-20)If Looks Could Kill (5:21-26)
    9. 9. THE DISCIPLE’S CODEGood Enough (5:17-20)If Looks Could Kill (5:21-26)Flames of Desire (5:27-30)
    10. 10. UNRESTRAINED DESIRE IS SIN Matthew 5:27-28
    11. 11. Matthew 5:27-28"You have heard that it was said, Do notcommit adultery. 28 But I tell you thatanyone who looks at a woman lustfullyhas already committed adultery with herin his heart.
    12. 12. 1. Which do you think best expresses Jesus point in Matthew 5:28? 2% 8% Jesus is condemning all sexual desires Jesus is condemning all sexual fantasies 90% Jesus is applying the Tenth Command to the Seventh Command
    13. 13. The key word is “lustfully”ἐπιθυμέω
    14. 14. 2. In your opinion, to what does the word "lust" refer? 5%32% 21% Desire for something good Desire for anything, whether good or bad Desire for anything forbidden 42% Desire for sexual gratification
    15. 15. The key word is “lustfully”ἐπιθυμέω Luke 15:16 He longed to• long for fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
    16. 16. The key word is “lustfully”ἐπιθυμέω Matthew 13:17 For I tell you the truth, many• long for prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
    17. 17. The key word is “lustfully” Luke 22:15-16 And he saidἐπιθυμέω to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this• long for Passover with you before I• desire suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
    18. 18. The key word is “lustfully”ἐπιθυμέω Philippians 1:23-24 I am torn between the two: I• long for desire to depart and be• desire with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
    19. 19. The key word is “lustfully” Romans 13:9 Theἐπιθυμέω commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not• long for murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever• desire other commandment there• covet may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
    20. 20. The key word is “lustfully”ἐπιθυμέω 1 Timothy 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into• long for temptation and a trap and• desire into many foolish and harmful desires that• covet plunge men into ruin and destruction.
    21. 21. The key word is “lustfully”ἐπιθυμέω Ephesians 4:22 NLT throw• long for off your old sinful nature• desire and your former way of life, which is corrupted by• covet lust and deception.• lust
    22. 22. The key word is “lustfully”ἐπιθυμέω Galatians 5:16 NKJV I say• long for then: Walk in the• desire Spirit, and you shall not• covet fulfill the lust of the flesh.• lust
    23. 23. What this verse does NOT mean Desire is/is just as bad as adultery
    24. 24. What this verse does NOT mean Desire is/is just as bad as adultery Sexual desire is wrong
    25. 25. Proverbs 6:25-29, 32Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let hercaptivate you with her eyes, 26 for the prostitute reducesyou to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon yourvery life. 27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap without hisclothes being burned? 28 Can a man walk on hot coalswithout his feet being scorched? 29 So is he who sleepswith another mans wife; no one who touches her will gounpunished. … 32 But a man who commits adultery lacksjudgment; whoever does so destroys himself.
    26. 26. What this verse does NOT mean Desire is/is just as bad as adultery Sexual desire is wrong Attraction is wrong
    27. 27. PURITY IS IMPORTANT Matthew 5:29-30
    28. 28. Matthew 5:29-30If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it outand throw it away. It is better for you to lose onepart of your body than for your whole body to bethrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causesyou to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is betterfor you to lose one part of your body than for yourwhole body to go into hell.
    29. 29. 3. When Jesus said to get rid of your hand or your eye, did he mean that literally? 5% Yes, he meant that we should engage in self-mutilation No, he didnt mean for us to 95% literally gouge out our eye or cut off our hand
    30. 30. 4. In light of Jesus statement that "It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell," which of the following better expresses your belief? 15% Amputees will remain amputees in the resurrection There will be no amputees in 85% the resurrection
    31. 31. Colossians 3:4-5When Christ, who is your life, appears, then youalso will appear with him in glory. 5 Put todeath, therefore, whatever belongs to yourearthly nature: sexualimmorality, impurity, lust, evil desires andgreed, which is idolatry.
    32. 32. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7It is Gods will that you should be sanctified: that youshould avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you shouldlearn to control his own body in a way that is holy andhonorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, whodo not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one shouldwrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord willpunish men for all such sins, as we have already told youand warned you. 7 For God did not call us to beimpure, but to live a holy life.
    34. 34. Desire is an Recognize Watch your Dress alarm vulnerability input thoughtfully Watch your Think Satisfy your Tell someonecircumstances consequences spouse else Rely on God’s Run away Spirit
    35. 35. DAVID & BATHSHEBA Hope for the Despairing