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Dr. Jay P. Cook, Pastor

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The Christian and Sexual Morality – Having an Affair Proof Marriage
Matthew 5:27-30

 Intro
                Today we are going to deal with one of the subjects that most people want to skip over or look at the floor when I talk about it.  But we can’t ignore it either because Jesus deals with it plus it is having devastating effect on our culture. Jesus deals with the subject of lust in a rather matter fact way.
This morning I would like to unearth what Jesus was saying and secondly talk about having an affair proof marriage.  So if you are not married or planning to be married in the near future this part may or may not be relevant.  But the first part is relevant to all people.  Bruce Larson tells of an old priest, who was asked by a young man, "Father, when will I cease to be bothered by the sins of the flesh? The priest replied, Son I wouldn’t trust myself until I’d been dead for 3 or 4 days.
Listen to what Jesus has to say about adultery and lust. 
Matthew 5:27-30 (NIV)
27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

Matthew 5. 27-30 (the Message)
 27-28"You know the next commandment pretty well, too: 'Don't go to bed with another's spouse.' But don't think you've preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt. 
 29-30"Let's not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here's what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.
That is pretty explicit – so what is it that Jesus is saying here?

  1. Let’s take a look what Jesus is saying.  He is clarifying what the Law said about adultery. 
  2. In the Old Testament adultery was understood to involve sexual relations between a man (married or single) and another man’s wife, or a virgin betrothed to be married to someone else (Lev 18:20; 20:10; Deut 22:22).
  3. The primary concern in the injunction against adultery was the violation or defiling of another man’s wife. This sin was punishable by death.
  4. Both the adulterous man and woman were viewed as guilty, and the punishment of death was prescribed for both (Lev. 20:10). This showed the severity of this sin on God’s eyes.
  5. God made faithfulness to the marriage relationship central to His divine will for marriage relationships.
  1. The Law said that you were guilty if you actually participated in the sexual act.  
  1. God created us as sexual beings and He created sex to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage – marriage between a man and a woman. We need to understand that any sexual activity outside the boundaries of marriage is against God’s will for you.
  1. Jesus goes to the heart of the issue, He raises the bar of conduct to such a level that if we follow it, we will not fall into this trap.  Jesus tells us that if we look at a woman with lust that we have already committed the sin of adultery with her in his heart. Wow!
  2. Another way to translate this passage is to say that when a person looks in order to stimulate his / her lust they have committed adultery.
  1. The word that we translate “look” indicates a continued action – continuing to check the person out.  Have you ever followed a person’s eyes as they look at the opposite sex?  The word “look “also denotes purpose. This is not a casual glimpse; it describes a person who allows those initial thoughts to flourish. Jesus does not condemn looking but lusting.
  1. It is not lustful looking that causes the sin in the heart, but the sin in the heart that causes lustful looking. The lustful looking is but the expression of a heart that is already immoral and adulterous. The heart is the soil where the seeds of sin are imbedded and begin to grow.
  2. It is impossible in our society, where sexual images pervade our media, to keep lustful thoughts from flickering across our mind’s eye. Nor are we culpable at this point. We are guilty, however, even of adultery, when we fan those flickers into flame.
  3.  Jesus is not speaking of unexpected and unavoidable exposure to sexual temptation. When a man happens to see a woman provocatively dressed, Satan will surely try to tempt that man with lustful thoughts – or the opposite here because that happens too.
  4. But there is no sin if the temptation is resisted and the gaze is turned elsewhere. It is continuing to look in order to satisfy lustful desires that Jesus condemns, because it evidences a vile, immoral heart.

Illustration:
David was not at fault for seeing Bathsheba bathing. He could not have helped noticing her, because she was in plain view as he walked on the palace roof. His sin was in dwelling on the sight and in willingly succumbing to the temptation. He could have looked away and put the experience out of his mind. The fact that he had her brought to his chambers and committed adultery with her expressed the immoral desire that already existed in his heart.

  1.  For most of us, the battleground is going to be in the mind. The greatest temptation we face is the invitation to participate with our minds in a world of virtual reality where we don’t think we are actually cheating on our spouses. Instead we’re lured to do it in our hearts.
  2. Jesus answer to lusting was what? - If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. Now that doesn’t sound really good – we have to have a saw and a poker.  
  1. Should we take this literally or symbolically?  Taken literally, Jesus’ words would be rather gory. Besides, it would do no real good since our dominant organ of sin is our brain, not our appendages.
  1. What Jesus is saying here is that we are to remove the object of our lust as far from us as possible, even if it means giving up something very dear to us. The right eye, hand and foot represented the best a person had during the Old Testament period. Jesus is saying that it would be better to give up the thing that is dearest to us rather than lose our whole self.
  1. Anything that morally or spiritually traps us, that causes us to fall into sin or to stay in sin, should be eliminated quickly and totally. The best thing to do is to fill the mind with other thoughts than what typically happens in our minds.  Two parts to this:
  2. Remove what is causing us to lust the computer, the TV, etc. 
  1. Then replace it with something that is good and wholesome.  Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
    8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
  1.  Jesus tells us to remove the thing that entraps us. Another way we can do that is to FLEE from sin.  Sometimes that means we move.  We need to move from the TV or the computer or from the beach.
  2. 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to flee immorality.
  3. 1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV) 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
  4. 2 Timothy 2:22 (NIV)  22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
  1. How Do We Affair Proof Our Marriages:  If we are going to be faithful in our marriage it’s going to be up to us. If we are not going to be in sexual immorality it is up to us.  If we are not going to be lustful it is up to us.  Grab your pen, here are eight suggestions for affair proofing your marriage.
  2. Stay out of lustful situations - don’t start anything that you can’t seem to stop. Sounds simple doesn’t it. That fact of the matter is that adultery is one of those things that start innocently enough.  A mutual attraction to a neighbor, co-worker, or even someone you go to church with. You both understand each other so well. You have so much in common with one another and you enjoy those quiet moments you have together.
  1. Don’t start up the ladder of affection with anyone other than your spouse, did you hear that? Don’t start up the ladder of affection with anyone other than your spouse.
  1. Proverbs 6:27-29 (NIV) 27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?
    28 Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? 29 So is he who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.
  1. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
  1. Listen To Your Spouses Advice.  This one is especially for you guys. God seems to have given women the special ability to identify a strange woman on their turf. Don’t write off spousal comments as jealousy, and even if at this point it is innocent, it may not appear that way to them, and you can stand the warning.
  1. If your spouse questions your relationship with someone of the opposite sex pay attention, they may notice a come on before you do.
  1. I trust my wife – she is a whole lot more intuitive than I am.
  1. Tell On The Other Person. If someone begins to quietly come on to you, then report the incident. Tell your partner that very day, don’t wait until tomorrow to see if it happens again, tell your spouse before you go to bed.
  2. Your spouse is supposed to be the most important person in your life, let them help you deal with the problem. Sometimes it’s an ego problem. It’s been so long since anyone flirted with you, you had forgotten how good it felt, and besides it’s not like it’s hurting anyone, and you wouldn’t think of taking it any further.
  3. Stop it. The both of you are in this marriage together and both of you need to learn to protect your relationship with each other and with God. Do it and do it fast. Tell your spouse if you suspect anyone; don’t play his or her game. The quicker you realize that you are in this together trying to protect your marriage the better.
  1. Don’t Spend Time Alone With The Opposite Sex. “He who meets another woman alone in private hath no brains!” Don’t place yourself into a situation where there is temptation or where temptation can be acted on.
  1. Drink From Your Own Spring. Proverbs 5:15 (NLT) Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife. It has been said that the best defense is a good offence. Though it’s not a guarantee, “Keeping the fires hot at home,” is a good defense against temptation. That has always been the case check out what Paul wrote almost two thousand years ago, in a letter to the church in Corinth, 1 Corinthians 7:2-5
  2. 1 Corinthians 7:2-5 (NLT) 2 But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. 4 The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
  1. Good sex at home keeps the sexual thirsts quenched.
  1. Be Aware of Emotional Adultery This is one of the first steps up the ladder of affection. Beware of getting emotionally attached to someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse. I know that I’m sounding a bit extreme but affairs start in mostly innocent situations. Emotional attachments can lead to explosive situations where temptations come crashing in with unexpected force.
  2. Emotional relationships often develop into something more and end up in disaster. And even if they don’t lead to sin, they can hinder your own marriage relationship. If you are getting your emotional needs met somewhere other than home then you are leaving a gap in your relationship with your spouse.
  1. Emotional attachments are explosive, they can cause someone to fall in love with or they can cause you to fall for someone else “who seems to understands me so well” or they can cause such deep emotional bonding that you find it impossible to walk away. If you are bonding emotionally with someone other than your mate then walk away from it before it ruins you.
  2. Get Control Of Your Thought Life. Long before an affair happens physically it happens mentally. Adultery isn’t something that happens with the act -- it happens months beforehand. It’s an attitude.
  3. You disconnect yourself from the person you’ve said you’re spending the rest of your life with. Those thoughts may differ whether you’re a man or a woman. With men they are more apt to be sexual fantasies with a woman romantic fantasy’s but if they involve someone other than your spouse they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
  1. You say “But they are only thoughts” And that’s why Jesus told us in Matthew 5:28 But I tell you that if you look at another woman and want her, you are already unfaithful in your thoughts. If you are keeping pure actions toward someone, and have not uttered even the slightest words of attachment, yet you are guilty of impure thoughts, then you are perching on a precarious cliff which leads nowhere but over the brink into deeper and deeper violations of God’s law.
  1. Recognize That You Will Get Caught. This is the bottom line people, you will get caught. Maybe nobody knows about it. It’s a secret. You may think you are getting away with it. Satan is telling you that you will never get caught. You believe that you are the exception and you are wrong. You will get caught.  

Conclusion
You cannot make your spouse be faithful, but you and only you are responsible for how faithful you are going to be in your marriage.  As serious as physical adultery is, and it is serious, there is a game that is even more dangerous than that.
There may not be anyone here today who is cheating on their spouse, but I’m sure there is those here today who are cheating on God. The Bible talks about us, being unfaithful to God. As a matter of fact there is an entire book of the Bible (Hosea) which compares those who aren’t in step with God to a cheating spouse. Maybe you know that you have wandered away from God, you maybe you’ve never made the commitment in the first place. But there is only one who can make it and only one who can keep it and that is you. God has already made it clear that he is going to be faithful
In the book of Hebrews 13:5 it says The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us.

Please click here for slides to accompany the sermon.