Sermon on the Mount
“What Were You Thinking”
Matthew 5:27-30 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her 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 go into hell.
In this passage Christ is once again dealing with the Pharisees righteousness. His intent is to show that it is not only the act that is the sin but it is the thought processes and the character of the heart that is just as critical. The reason this is important is that the physical act begins in the heart long before it actually is an action. By this I mean that too often we play out in our minds what it would be like to have item ‘x’ or to do whatever. The Pharisees taught that if someone thought lustfully about someone that no sin was committed because they never had actually committed the act.
Lust is defined as wanting something that one can’t have. Jesus taught that the thoughts of our heart, not surrendered to God, can become actions that wound and hurt others. But, as believers we must deal with our thoughts and emotions before they become actions.
Jesus wants us to understand that it is out of the heart that we respond to the stimulus around us. It is for this reason that we can desire something and yet know that it is very wrong all at the same time.
When we sin there is a process that takes place. We see this in Adam and Eve’s life, in Achan and in David. In each of these cases we see what will occur when we do not control our thoughts and emotions. In every one of these cases the process was the same.
They saw the apple, the gold and the naked Bathsheba.
They coveted the apple, the gold or the woman.
In each case they took what they coveted. Have you ever notice how much sin draws you.
And in the end they tried to hide what they had done.
But in the end each one were caught. God came walking in the cool of the day. The army of Israel was defeated at Ai. And David was confronted by Nathan…
To offend is the same word as a spring loaded trap. This is the reason that Jesus says that if our eye offends us or causes us to sin that we are to pluck it or if our hand causes you to sin then it should be cut off as well. If you do not guard your eyes and your life you will place yourself in the place where the trap of sin will overtake you.
It is for this reason that John states that we should (1John 2:15-17) – Not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
How do we combat the lusts:
We take every thought captive by controlling what we see and what we read – 2Corinthians 10:3-6 – For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
We set up boundaries. Job said that he made a covenant with his eyes. (Job 31:1).
We meditate on the word of God. Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11.
We pray for God’s guidance and protection. The Psalmist said it this way Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!
What we put into our minds shape and mold who we are and it shapes and molds our emotions.
Let me close with this. I recognize that in this room there are those of that are dealing with many different things. But there is one thing that you need to know. God loves you. There is nothing that we can do to stop God’s love. He loves us now as much as He ever will and that means even when we sin or we make big mistakes, He still loves us.