Jesus Begins To Define Adultery
Standard;Mt 5:27-30 – You have heard that it was said, You shall not committ adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body goes into hell.
Man! Last week warnings of Hell. More warnings this week! This is very serious material. Hell seems to be on the mind of Jesus as He speaks about these sins that are so harmful to others. Murder, unkind words, unforgiveness, and now adultery. What does that tell you? What kind of urgency does that give you to “clean up” your relationships and seek to keep them clean?
We need help! And again, we come to realize how much we need Jesus to forgive our failings and to change our hearts and minds. He's giving us a picture here of just how dark our hearts and minds can be, as they are filled with anger, pride, self-righteousness, unforgiveness, and lust.
What did you discover about yourself after last week's message on anger, pride, and unforgiveness? I hope you discovered how much you need Jesus. But did you discover anything else as you wrestled with these issues of anger, pride, self-righteousness and unforgivness?
Personally I discovered that I need to lighten up a little bit. I let too many “little things” about other people get to me. The anger inside of me is often more a symptom of something that I need to deal with. I really need to check my motive before I self-righteously throw my perceptions of how I've hurt or have been hurt in the face of a brother or sister.
As I gauged my own reaction to these words, I feel compelled to try and clarify them a little more. First of all in the matter of being angry with a brother. This should not be so in the church setting. I feel the real intent of Jesus was to get us to understand in the first case of leaving our gift at the altar and reconciling with a brother, that their must not be feelings of anger, or resentment or superiority, or unforgiveness amongst the brethren, especially amongst each other as we gather at the Lord's table. (The New Testament altar of forgiveness)
If these feelings are present amongst individual members in our congregation, the remission of sins that He promises for that person participating in the Lord's Table will not be granted......that ought to get our attention and move us to speedy remedial action.
Action that causes us to literally seek that brother or sister out and seek reconciliation immediately. Get it taken care of before communion.
Secondly as far as our debt to all men. When we have acted in such a way to create unforgiveness in the heart of any other person, we need to come to them as soon as possible to ask for their forgiveness. In this sincere acknowledgement of our wrongdoing and humbly asking for forgiveness. We are set free from our obligation and we give the offended party an opportunity to be set free from any unforgiveness that they may still harbor.
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Mt 5:14)
Remember how you as a parent would not tolerate unforgiveness amongst your children. Well guess what? God REALLY doesn't tolerate it. And when we realize what has been forgiven us in order that we might escape hell, we will be quick to seek ways to release people from the grasp of an unforgiving heart no matter who they are.
I know some of you were convicted of wrong attitudes toward others after last weeks message. I pray I didn't leave you dangling without hope, as if you have committed an unpardonable sin. Because you haven't. In fact BECAUSE you were convicted by the message, is proof that there is spiritual life in your heart. It's those who blow off the necessity of forgiving others, those who aren't bothered by their sins against others including anger, pride, self-righteousness and unforgiveness, and those who choose to hang onto these attitudes that are in danger of hell-fire.
Just as those who don't have godly sorrow over their sin of adultery, and this is where Jesus takes us next. The sixth commandment. Thou shalt not commit adultery. By the way there is a huge difference between the sorrow over getting caught in adultery and having godly sorrow over your sin. “Getting caught” sorrow lasts only as long as you think you can get away with it again.
He says, “you've been taught for as long as you can remember that you shouldn't commit adultery.”
“But I say to you that the original intent of this commandment goes beyond the physical act of adultery.” “I say, just looking at someone with lustful intent has broken this commandment.
Now let's define some terms before we move on. The word adulteress in Hebrew means one who breaks wedlock. Wedlock is defined as the pledge or vow made during the wedding ceremony, that vow includes the vow of faithfulness.
In context of all the other scriptural references to adultery, it is clear that we are talking about sexual faithfulness here. Marriage is the melding of two into one, not three or more
The term adultery is not only associated with marital unfaithfulness, but also the unfaithfulness of idolatry. Ezek 23:37 says, “With their idols, they have committed adultery.” One of the reasons God instituted marriage was to allow it to be a mirror of the faithfulness that He desires in His covenant with believers.
This is evident especially in Paul's letter to the Ephesians:
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
What does Paul liken marriage to? Christ and His relationship with the church. This should be a huge motivating factor for faithfulness in marriage. The men and women who truly understand this connection between the marriage covenant and the covenanted relationship with God will seek to remain faithful in their marriage because they want to paint a picture of God and show it to the world..
The church would do well to demonstrate this faithfulness in real life and be sure that our young people understand this relationship, hammer it home before they are ready to be yoked. They need to know WHY faithfulness is so important in God's view.
The Greek word used here for adultery is moicheuo ( moy cue' o) and it comes from the Greek word moichos (moy cohss') which means illicit or unlawful lover.
Thou shalt not have an unlawful lover. Rather simple and straightforward, as an unlawful lover is any lover that is not your spouse, and your spouse is your spouse til death do you part. And Jesus says here, that just looking at someone with lustful intent is to take them on as an unlawful lover. The mere thought constitutes adultery.
These wayward lustful thoughts were not part of God's original plan for your marriage. He said in Gen 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
First of all note that they are to hold fast, glued together in such a way that nothing will separate them. They shall literally become “one flesh.” This is the mystery that Paul speaks of in his letter to the Ephesians.
You can't see it, you can't necessarily even feel it, but husband and wife are in union just as sure as Christ is in union with those who believe and are baptized. Again this needs to be caught and taught by the church. When parents give the dreaded “birds and bees” talk, this mystery ought to be part of it.
Think of the ramifications of this spiritual reality! This is an unbreakable law of marriage. Two become one. Why do you think we call them “in-laws?” Because in marriage they become our daughter by God's Law, or our son by God's law. We become their father or mother by God's law, because they are one flesh with our child. That tells me a lot about what my attitude should be toward my in-laws.
I was given a new daughter this past June when my son married Kristin. I must now love her as much as I love Jay. In fact I only love Jay to the degree that I love Kristin, because they are now not two, but one flesh. It's easy for me to love Kristin like that...she's lovable, but sometimes our in-laws aren't so loveable. Love them anyway.
The consummation of the marriage is simply a picture of the spiritual reality that took place when vows were exchanged. The two have become one. God intended the sex act to be the highest form of intimacy between a man and a woman. It was to signify a total giving of oneself to each other. And so just looking at another person with lustful intent constitutes adultery, because the intimacy that was meant to be, the “oneness of body, spirit, and mind has been violated.
The mind that became one with the spouse at marriage has violated that oneness with it's lustful intent of desiring another.
Let's go back to Adam and Eve. The Bible tells us that they were naked and unashamed. Well, that's easy, there was no one else around. Now let me ask you something, do you think they would've remained naked and unashamed if there were others around before the fall?
I hope you answered yes, because the Law that God had put in their sinless hearts didn't even allow for such lustful thoughts, and wayward glances.
The nakedness of others would not come into play because as the song says, “I only have eyes for you,” It was one man, one woman, for life.
It's interesting that the word “ashamed” here means “disappointed.” In a perfect world, Adam and Eve were not disappointed with each other, the possibility didn't even exist until sin entered the world. But when it did, man's heart was opened to the possibility, and clothing need to be brought into the picture, lest the door to disappointment was blown off it's hinges.
A good reminder to all of us to dress modestly....stop inviting disappointment for others.
This “disappointment,” is the cruel message that the unfaithful spouse sends to his or her mate. “I am disappointed with you.” Can there be anything so devastating to another's self-esteem? This is the same message that we send to God when we engage in idolatry. “I'm disappointed in You.”
Every time a spouse is caught in unfaithfulness, this is screamed into the other spouses ear. Every time a spouse is caught viewing pornography, the message is megaphoned home, and every time a head is caught turning to check out someone alluring, the message is the same. “I'm disappointed in you.”
Do you see why Jesus said, even the lustful look constitutes adultery? It gets back to that person who is your spouse was made in the image of God. God brought the two of you together and made you one in matrimony. Your marriage is God's doing. Adultery not only says “I'm disappointed in my spouse.....but I'm disappointed in God.
What to do? Well, what do we do with our other sins. We confess them, receive God's forgiveness, and then like that woman caught in adultery, go and sin no more. And what do we do to the spouse who has been so deeply hurt?
Ask for forgivness, then live like you mean it. Ask God to help you to get back to the original intent of this command, Two becoming one in body and mind without a thought of being disappointed with each other, let your spouse know at every opportunity that you are not disappointed with them. As the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul in his letter to the Ephesians:
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
Think this through, the one who commits adultery in mind or body is really saying they are disappointed with themselves, because they are one with their spouse, and how stupid is that? It's just as Solomon wrote in Pr 6:32 He who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself.
Oh God help us. Help your married children to stop sending this signal to each other, and help us to battle through the times we do. Husbands stop sending signals that you are “disappointed” with your wife. Wives, stop sending signals that you are disappointed with your husband. For we are destroying ourselves and each other and as we have learned last week......this is tantamount to murder. Disappointments will come, but battle through them with forgiveness and a commitment to remain one. God would have it no other way.