Look at verse 27 again.
- In this verse Jesus mentions one of the worst sins that a man or woman can commit…adultery.
- The Bible defines it as any act that violates the sanctity of God’s marriage design.
- Its affects are tremendous!
- Families are destroyed; lives are shattered.
- Victims are scarred deeply.
- Their value systems are damaged; the hurt and disappointment is enormous.
- Their confidence, trust and self-worth is destroyed.
- The affects are lifelong.
Psychologist say that to be victimized by this sin is worse than losing your mate to death.
- In death there is no violation of trust…there is no deception…no betrayal…there is no rejection.
- But the sin of adultery has all of these.
- It is a horrible thing to be victimized by.
And for those who commit adultery…it causes unbelievable guilt…shame…and distrust.
- It destroys your honor, your integrity, and in many cases it destroys the soundness of mind and the physical body.
- It can start one on a downward spiral that they cannot pull out of.
- The ultimate consequence that one can possibly suffer in committing adultery is mentioned twice in vs. 29 – 30 and that is “hell” or “eternal punishment.”
Adultery is a horrible thing.
- There is nothing good about it.
- It is one of the worst sins you can commit…but it is also one of the strongest temptations you can face.
- And because it is so bad…God tells us in these verses what we must do to prevent committing adultery.
So look if you would at verse 27 again.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’;
- Now remember back in verse 20 Jesus tells us that “unless our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, we will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
- So what the scribes and Pharisees were doing is they were teaching the people that you couldn’t commit adultery unless you physically committed the act.
- As long as you didn’t commit the act…you were innocent of violating the command.
But look at what Jesus says in verse 28: …but…”but” says that something is wrong with their thinking!
- Jesus says, “…but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
- Do you realize what Jesus has just given us here? He has just given us the equation for adultery.
- This is where it begins!
Jesus says, “Everyone who LOOKS on a woman to LUST for her has already committed adultery.”
- The word “lust” is speaking of a strong desire…to set the heart upon.
- And it is looking with the purpose of fulfilling those selfish desires…to feed one’s sensual appetites.
This isn’t talking about simply looking…Jesus isn’t saying that we can’t look at a woman…if that is the case we would all have to wear blinders.
- What He is talking about is intentionally looking with selfish and sensual desires in mind.
- This isn’t by accident…this is by choice.
This is what David did…look at this in 2 Samuel 11:2: Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king’s house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.
- David’s desires are stirred.
- And in verse 4 it says that he “sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her…”
- He “looked”…with lust…and he committed adultery.
Look at Genesis 39: 7; And it came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, “Lie with me.”
- The master’s wife here “looked with desire at Joseph” and the only reason she didn’t commit the act of adultery is Joseph refused!
“Looking with desire”…looking to lust is where adultery begins.
- In fact, according to Jesus it is adultery!
- And if you are going to keep from committing adultery…if you are going to maintain sexual purity you are going to have to stop this!
Well, how do you do that? Look at verses 29-30:
“And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 “And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.
- This is what you do.
- This sounds horrible…can you imagine the pain?
- Tearing your eye out…cutting off your hand? No one wants to get rid of their eye…or their hand.
- Your eyesight is precious to you.
- Isn’t this kind of drastic?
Well, that is part of Jesus’ point!
- When it comes to committing adultery…you take drastic action!
- The consequences of this sin are so devastating…you do whatever it takes….even if it is painful…even if you have to lose that which is precious and valuable to you…don’t do this.
Jesus is saying in terms that we might consider bazaar…don’t dilly dally around with this!
- Deal with it immediately…precisely.
- Half way measures won’t work!
- This is a deadly, dangerous, destructive sin…do what you must and don’t even let it get started.
And why is Jesus so adamant about this? Look at the end of verse 29 and the end of verse 30.
- The reason Jesus is so forceful with this…is His concern of people being lost in hell.
You know, we often laugh and joke about hell…but as bad as plucking your eye out might be…as bad as cutting off your hand might be…as bad as being blind and crippled might be…as painful and miserable as this might be…hell is infinitely worse.
- And Jesus is saying that the physical sin or the lustful sin of adultery will condemn you to the infernal regions…and whatever you have to do…no matter how painful…or how miserable it might make you…you stop this sin before it ever gets started.
Look at verse 29 again. Jesus says: “And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you;
- Do you see the word “stumble”? That is the Greek word “skandalizo”; we get our word “scandalize” from this word…this word means “to trip up or entrap.”
- It has the meaning behind it of “the bait in a trap.”
- It is that which draws you into a trap.
- It is anything that causes your destruction.
So Christ’s real emphasis is cutting off…removing anything that will cause your destruction.
- Whatever it is…get rid of it…get it out of your life.
- And cut off everything that arouses those desires and tempts you to commit adultery.
If some of the literature, the books, the magazines that you are reading are part of the problem…cut them off!
- If movies, TV shows are part of the problem…cut them off. (Promoted by Hollywood…common practice among many young people to be free sexually)
- If some of your associates…people you work with…or people you are friends with…are encouraging this problem…cut them off.
- If a relationship…or a habit…or an activity leads you to the trap…cut if off.
- If it is a Facebook acquaintance…or someone you are texting with…a chat room…cut it off.
- If there is a fire within you…don’t give it fuel.
- Don’t read anything that will harm you…don’t look at pictures…if music arouses you…cut it off.
In Eph. 4:27 the apostle Paul says, “Do not give the devil opportunity…”
- In Romans 13:14 the apostle Paul writes; “Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”
- In Col. 3:5 Paul says, “Consider your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed!”
That is what you must do to keep from committing adultery…we must be dead to it and all of its desires.
Adultery is such a horrible thing…it does so much harm…it ruins so many…it can cause those who commit it to be cast into hell.
- Still, people get involved in it.
- One survey reported that in 41% of marriages one or both spouses have admitted to infidelity either physically and emotionally.
- And emotional or verbal adultery is just as damaging to the spouse as the physical act. (chat rooms, instant messaging, social networking, or simply over the phone)
It is the worst thing you can do.
- It is a result of your desires…desires that you allow to become strong and uncontrolled.
- Jesus says, “Stop before your begin!
- Whatever it takes…however drastic…put a stop to those desires…cut them off…tear them out…get rid of them.
- Save yourself some grief and pain…Listen to Christ.
Now, what if someone has committed adultery…is there any hope for them? Let me show you two passages:
John 8:3-11 And the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 And they were saying this, testing Him, in order that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And when they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the midst. 10 And straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 And she said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.”]
- For years it has been taught by some that if you commit adultery you are condemned and there is nothing you can do.
- Well, Jesus doesn’t tell this woman that.
- What I believe he does tell her in the verse 11 is, “You can’t do anything about the past…you cannot undo what you have done…but you start now, from this point…and don’t do it again.”
1 Cor 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
- Adultery, both physical and emotionally, condemns you to be lost…but because of Christ and your sincere repentance…sins of adultery can be forgiven.
- You may still suffer the consequences…but you can be forgiven…and that is reason enough to be devoted to Christ.
Now, look at one more passage:
1 Cor 7:3-6 Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
- Take care of your marriages. If you will treat her the way God intends…and if you will treat him the way God intends your mate will never want to go anywhere else because no one will treat them as good as you do.
- But if you fail to keep up the maintenance on your marriage…you become indifferent about it…then you are running the risk of infidelity coming into your marriage.
- For the sake of your family…your children…love your mate and take care of your marriage.
And one last thing…and this doesn’t just apply to young people…middle aged and older adults get married…you be careful about who you marry!
- If he or she has had multiple partners at the same time…or if he or she is in the practice of going from one girl or guy to the next and having immoral relationships with them…and you decide you want to marry him or her…if you think he or she will stop doing that kind of thing after you get married…your fooling yourself.
- He or she may be the best looking thing in town…but you would be better off having a homely mate than to have one that you can’t trust…one that is not faithful.
Adultery, both physical and emotional are devastating…and the consequences on everyone involved are life long…perhaps even eternal.
- Jesus says, “Stop this before it gets started. Whatever it takes…no matter how drastic…stop this before it starts.”
Now, there is an adultery that is possibly more common than the one we have talked about this morning…and that is adultery against God.
- The apostle Paul says in 2 Cor. 11:2: For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
- Sadly a lot of people commit adultery against God…but even this can be forgiven.
- What does it take…well, like the Prodigal Son…repent and come home.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023