Adultery & sexual sin cause much brokenness in relationships. Are we denying the dangers we are in by avoiding the truth of what truly exists in our hearts?
Adultery & Sexual Sin // Marks of A Jesus Follower
Jesus says there’s a life or death situation here. There is a hell where you could end up in. You are in danger.
“When you and I have sexual adventures as married people outside of our marriages it causes trauma, heartache and pain. If we are having sexual relationships with people that we’re not committed to in a covenant relationship called marriage, it causes pain and damage and trauma.
Topics & Timestamps
00:00 – What a disciple looks like
02:54 – We are in spiritual danger
05:14 – Love faithfulness
08:00 – Be faithful to your spouse
10:41 – What the marriage covenant brings
14:45 – Sin and the Gospel
18:21 – Hate sin
23:19 – The law reveals our hearts
25:41 – Preserving your spiritual life
29:02 – The promise of the Good News
Top Quotes: Adultery & Sexual Sin
“Jesus says there’s a life or death situation here. There is a hell where you could end up in. You are in danger.”
“God says once you’re in a covenant relationship, do not go outside of that. Don’t have extra marital affairs because it is a sin against me”
“As a married person you say I haven’t committed adultery, as a single person you say I haven’t had sex outside of marriage, and then Jesus asks, “how about lust?”
Other Content On This Topic
Text: Matthew 5:27-30
Date Preached: 28 March 2021
Location: C4 Cross Centered Community Church, Bryanston, South Africa
What A Disciple Looks Like
Church you know that we are in our series called, ‘Different’ and this is the sermon on the mount preached by the Lord Jesus Christ found in Matthew chapter five, six and seven. And Jesus is describing what a follower looks like what a disciple looks like. And he says that for those that whom God has done this transformational work of change, you live differently in the world. And so now we’re in chapter 5:27-30 I hope that you’ve got your bibles open to that passage. I also hope that you got a pen and pencil or some pen and paper so that you can take down some notes or some device that you can use to jot down some key things as God speaks to us from his word.
And so as you are getting all those things ready let me set things up for us this way. I was watching a program on tv called Banged Up Abroad and in this episode they featured a guy who went hiking in the mountains of Peru and as he was hiking there he had an accident. He slipped and he fell down 300 meters and on his way down he dislodged a boulder that fell on his arm and pinned him to the ground. They say the boulder was about one ton so this guy was not getting out of that position in a hurry. He could not wriggle his way out, he could not lift this one ton boulder to free himself. And he spent five days there and then he came to a realization that if he spends any more time in this position he is going to die and so he did the unthinkable. He took off one of his shoelaces, he tied it around the arm that was pinned by the boulder and then he took out his Swiss Pen Knife. He began to cut through the skin, through the muscles, through the bone, as he amputated his own arm. He cut off his own arm to set himself free. So as they were interviewing him he said, “It was a matter of life or death at that moment. I had a choice either I stayed there and died or I cut off my limb and walk away and get to live without my limb. It was a matter of life or death” So question C4 would you be willing to cut off one of your body parts in order to preserve your life? Please put it there in the comment section either yes or no. For some of us we are cowards and we are so scared we’ll say, “Listen that is the end I’ll just give up and die in that place.” Would you be willing to cut off one of your limbs or somebody part in order for you to go? How far would you go? Please put that in the in the comment section either yes or no I’ll be willing to cut off my arm or no I’m not willing to do that in order to preserve my life.
We Are In Spiritual Danger
But church watch this, Jesus in these four verses, verses 27 to 30 he says there is a life or death situation there’s a life or death choice that is presented before us. And Jesus says that there is a great danger, you and I are in great danger, it’s a life or death situation that we face. It’s a spiritual danger that we have to deal with this morning as he speaks to us. So let’s check it out verses 29 and 30 and let’s listen to what Jesus says is the life or death situation. Listen what it says. Verse 29 Matthew chapter 5, “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.” Verse 30, “And if your right eye causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away for it is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” He says there’s a life or death situation here there is a hell where you could end up you are in danger.
Jesus says there’s a life or death situation here. There is a hell where you could end up in. you are in danger.
And in some of our translations it says Gehenna. It was a real place in Jerusalem. It was a rubbish dump just outside of the city of Jerusalem and people went to dump all their rubbish. And there was a fire there and it was always burning day in day out 24/7/365. And so Jesus says you are in danger of winding up in a place like that. In the area that we’re going to be discussing he says there is a danger. And so as Jesus speaks, this is Jesus God in human flesh, speaking to you and i. So we’ll do well to sit up and pay attention to avoid this danger that he highlights here in this passage for us. And so there are two things that Jesus speaks about in this passage that I want us to see the first is, love faithfulness. That’s the first thing I want us to see. And then the second thing he says is hate sin. Love faithfulness, hate sin. So I hope that you’re there with me in Matthew chapter five.
So let’s get straight into it the first thing that Jesus speaks about is love faithfulness. Check out verse 27 and listen to what he says in verse 27, “You have heard that it was said do not commit adultery.” And so to the jews who were listening to him, there’s a crowd about 200, 250 people listening to Jesus explain what a disciple looks like, explain to all those listening what a follower of Jesus looks like. And so he goes back to the old testament law and he says that you have heard that it was said do not commit adultery. And all those were listening would have been nodding their heads and saying yes we’ve heard this comes from the law that God gave to us as jews. The law of Moses, it’s commandment number seven and we’re okay Jesus. You’re preaching to the choir, here we have not committed the sin of adultery. And the pharisees and the teachers of the law would actually say that we are righteous, we’re in the right standing, we have obeyed God’s law. And so for you and I this morning as we read verse 27 you might be saying to yourself, “Well I’m okay Jesus is not speaking to me. I have not broken commandment number seven.” But at this point we’ll do just to define what the word adultery actually means. The word adultery means to have extra marital affairs with someone who is not your spouse. It is to have sex outside of marriage. In the ancient times it was acceptable for a man to have sexual relationships even if he’s married he can have extra marital affairs. It was acceptable. They actually called it sexual adventures. It was okay to have sexual adventures. Sounds like Joburg doesn’t it in 2021? But for God’s people, for the people that have been created in the image of God, God says, “You shall not commit adultery you shall not have extra marital affairs.” And so if you’re not going to do that then you need to listen to what the rest of the commandment is actually saying. Because here’s what we discovered, the law of God, the commands of God are there to do two things. Number one, they reveal our hearts they reveal who we are. And then the second thing they reveal who God, is they teach us about who God is. And my dear friends in this passage we’re being called to be like God.
Be Faithful To Your Spouse
So can we just go back to primary school for just a short a short moment. Join me, let’s go back to primary school and let’s answer some of these questions. We want to play opposites this morning. The opposite of hot is cold. The opposite of up is down. The opposite of tall is short. Church, watch this. The opposite of do not commit adultery is? What would you say? How would you finish that line? The opposite of do not commit adultery is? Well, let me tell you the opposite of do not commit adultery is be faithful, be faithful to your spouse. Why? Because God is a faithful God. It’s in his nature to be faithful he is always faithful. And so his people are being called to be like God, be faithful to your spouse. So my dear friends this morning this is what Jesus is speaking about, this is what he’s pointing to. The pharisees and the teachers of the law would have said, “I have not committed adultery so I’m okay but Jesus puts his finger on something and saying have you been faithful? Have you been faithful to your spouse.
So can we talk about marriage just for a short while here people? Let’s talk about marriage just for a short moment. So when two people, when one man one woman come into a covenant committed relationship called marriage, they make promises to one another. They say I will cherish you I will love you until death do us part. This is my vow this is my promise to you. And the other person also makes promises, the same promises back to their spouse. And so it reminds us of that John Legend song doesn’t it? I’ll give you all to you and you give all to me. That’s what a marriage relationship looks like. And it’s a relationship of love, it’s a relationship of care, it’s a relationship of intimacy, and it’s a relationship that lasts a lifetime. So God says once you’re in that covenant relationship with someone, do not go outside of that. Do not have extra marital affairs because it is a sin against me. It is a sin against God. So committing adultery is a sin against God.
God says once you’re in a covenant relationship, do not go outside of that. Don’t have extra marital affairs because it is a sin against me
What The Marriage Covenant Brings
And as we continue to think about marriage can I tell you that this covenant relationship called marriage does two things. Number one it brings about security. Because you promised yourself to me, because you promised before God and before friends and family, because you have committed yourself to me, it brings about security. I’m secure in my relationship, I’m secure in this marriage. And so I don’t live with stress anymore. I don’t have to stress, am I good enough for this person? I don’t have to stress, am I enough for this person? You made a promise before God. And so in that promise I find security, in this covenant relationship of marriage I find security. So that’s the first thing. The second thing a covenant relationship called marriage what it brings about is freedom. It brings about freedom. And let me show you. When you were seeing someone before you got married, right now as a single person, when you’re seeing someone or as you enter in mjolo… And I know my dear friends, I know my single friends mjolo is tough out there isn’t it? You are always performing isn’t it? You’re always performing, you’re always trying to put your best self out there. Why? Because you want to impress. You don’t know whether you can be yourself in this relationship so you always get your best behaviour because you want to impress. Mjolo is tough guys out there and so spare a thought for all our single people at C4 and pray for them and commit them before the lord. And so when I come into a committed relationship, covenant relationship called marriage I’m now free to be myself. I’m now free to expose myself, to show my real self to my partner. Why? Because I know they’ve promised to cherish, to care for me. They’ve promised to not leave me and they promised to be there with me until death. And so once those promises are made, once we’re in this relationship, this covenant relationship I therefore give my whole self, I therefore give my whole body to this person. It’s actually a promise that we make on the day that we get married to say with my body I honour you I give you my everything.
So watch this church do not say with your body that which you have not committed with your whole life. Can I just say that again? Do not say with your body that which you have not committed with your whole life. So once I have made promises to someone, I give my body to them. And so the only place where sex happens should be in a committed relationship called marriage because there’s security there and there’s freedom there. And so in God’s economy one plus one equals one. So there’s something that God has designed between one man and one woman in a covenant commitment called marriage that binds them together and makes them one. My dear friends you cannot separate that oneness without causing damage. You cannot separate that oneness that happens when we have a sexual relationship without causing damage. And so to go outside of my marriage and have sexual adventures is a sin before God. And equally so if I’m having sexual adventures with people that I’m not in a covenant relationship with, sex before marriage is sin before God.
Sin And The Gospel
And here’s what sin is from God’s point of view. It is simply saying no to God and his word and his plans and his purposes and saying yes to me. Sin is rebellion against God, turning away from his word and turning to do my own thing. Because here’s the reality my dear friends when you and I have sexual adventures as married people outside of our marriages it causes trauma, heartache and pain. If we are having sexual relationships with people that we’re not committed to in a covenant relationship called marriage it causes pain and damage and trauma. How many times have we heard people say I thought sex would bring us together? I thought that sex would keep us together and it hasn’t done that and I gave myself away to this person who had not promised themselves to me. So do not do with your body that which you have not committed with your life. And so this morning as we listen to Jesus talk about uh adultery and as we look at what marriage was meant to be, perhaps we say maybe as a married person I’ve had sexual relations outside of my marriage. Perhaps my spouse doesn’t even know about it and I’m coming under the conviction of God’s word. What do I do? Or maybe you’re a single person and you’ve being giving your body away to all sorts of people and having all sorts of relationships where there is no covenant commitment. You’ve been having sex outside of marriage. What do I do because I’m also coming under the conviction from God’s word?
Well, listen this morning the gospel is the gospel of good news. So let me take you back to what Jesus has already said in this chapter. Listen to this in Matthew chapter four, for those of us who have failed sexually here’s what Jesus has said to us before. “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” And so you and I come before God with an attitude of mourning to say, “Lord I’ve broken your law. I have gone against you, I’ve rebelled against you, I’ve done that which is wicked. I have had sex outside of marriage. I’ve broken my faith as a married person. Or I have given myself to to people without a promise and a commitment from them. I’ve done with my body that which I’ve not committed with my whole being, with my whole life.” And so I regret that, I’ve come with mourning before you.” And here’s the promise from God, here’s the gospel – for they will be comforted, they will be approved. That’s what the word blessed means we saw that a few weeks ago. It means those approved by God, those who are happy before God, those who have assurance from God, they will be comforted. And how do we experience that comfort? It’s a comfort of knowing that God has mercy, he will wash me, he will forgive me, he will restore me even as a sexual failure this morning. And so the pharisees thought it was just not sleeping with someone but Jesus goes further than that. But my dear friends can I also show you that Jesus goes even further than that because he wants to go to the root of the problem.
And that’s the second thing that we want to see from this passage where he says hate sin, hate sin. So listen to this in Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So notice what Jesus is doing. He’s saying let’s go and have a look. You say you haven’t committed adultery you say you haven’t gone outside of your marriage and that’s fantastic, but let’s go and see what is going on in your heart? Some people had been arguing and saying, “Well, Jesus is just adding his own thoughts to the law so these are just jesus’s thoughts.” Others were saying, “Well, Jesus is bringing us a new law here.” But folks can I just remind you that Jesus is not doing any one of those two things. What Jesus is doing is putting a spotlight. What Jesus is doing is shining a light on this commandment and he’s going deeper and saying, “Let’s have a look at what’s going on in your heart.” As a married person you’re saying I haven’t committed adultery as a single person you’re saying I haven’t had sex outside of marriage and then Jesus asks you a question how about lust? And that word that Jesus uses for lust in this passage is the same word for greed, is the same word for idolatry.
As a married person you say I haven’t committed adultery, as a single person you say I haven’t had sex outside of marriage and then Jesus asks, “how about lust?
So let’s see what Jesus is not saying before we look at what Jesus is actually saying. So it’s two things. Number one Jesus is not saying finding someone attractive makes you an adulterer, makes you lustful. That’s not what Jesus is saying. Because there are lots of attractive people. Hey C4, you are a bunch of attractive people. A few months ago somebody posted a picture of The Duke. I know most of you have watched this program most of the ladies that I know are going goo-goo gaa-gaa about this character The Duke because he’s a pretty boy according to most women out there. He’s a good looking guy. So to say somebody is attractive does not mean that you’re guilty of lust, that’s not what Jesus is saying. That’s the first thing that we need to understand here. There are lots of attractive people there are lots of good looking people out there in the world. The second thing that Jesus is not saying is not saying that because you have looked at someone at some point at some time and you had feelings of lust for them at that one time you are now guilty of lust. That’s not what Jesus is saying. What Jesus is saying, if you know this day from verse 28, let’s read 28 and just understand what Jesus is saying, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So there’s a process here, it involves the heart.
Now the heart in the bible is the place where the real you is found. It is the centre of decisions, it is the centre of control. And if that place is now being consumed with greed for someone, to have somebody sexually it has been consumed with having a desire to have sex with somebody either who’s not married to you or whom you’re not in a covenant relationship with. It’s been consumed, it’s been taken over by this desire or these sexual desires. And for some of us it might be somebody in the office that we see often, maybe within our own circle, and your heart is always consumed. You think about it all the time you think of having sex with that person all the time. Maybe it’s even somebody at church, yes christian friends maybe it’s somebody within your church family whom you look at and you’re consumed by thoughts and sexual desires over them. That’s what Jesus is speaking about. Or perhaps it’s not even somebody. Maybe it’s somebody on a screen, pornography. You’re consumed by the thoughts of watching somebody on a screen. Maybe it’s in the area of masturbation for you this morning. It has consumed your heart that you become greedy. When you look at these people on the screens that you don’t even know your heart is consumed with sexual desire for those people. And that’s what Jesus is putting his finger on. And he’s saying are you and I guilty?
The Law Reveals Our Hearts
And so all of a sudden our hearts are revealed because that’s what the law does. So this law of do not commit adultery goes further than that, it talks about the lust that’s in my heart. And so our hearts are open and we see that we have failed. We are sexual failures in this area. The way that we have been consumed about people around us or somebody, or consumed with porn and masturbation, and we have failed in this area. And Jesus is saying you are in danger. You are in danger. If you continue in this way you are in danger. And so it’s time to sit up and pay attention to what’s going on in my heart, to what’s taking place in my mind and what consumes me. And so if you’re at that place and you’re saying well I have failed what do I do? Jesus the good news brings us good news this morning. Jesus brings us good news.
And so let’s listen to what Jesus says in verses 29 and 30. 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. If your right hand causes you to sin take it off, 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. So he says think about it as a life or death situation, spiritual life or death. If you’re gonna be a Jesus disciple, a follower of the Lord Jesus, somebody who puts their faith and trust in him, somebody who’s come to know the grace and the mercy of God that you do not deserve, somebody who’s been changed who has got a new life because of Jesus, here’s how you think about your sexual failures – it’s a life or death situation. How far are you willing to go to preserve your spiritual life? If you’re willing to cut off your arm to preserve your physical life how far are you willing to go to preserve your spiritual life? Because there’s a greater danger here says Jesus. Your whole body can be thrown into hell for eternity on the rubbish dump where the fire never goes out, that is the danger that you and I are faced with.
Preserving Your Spiritual Life
So how far are you willing to go to preserve your spiritual life says Jesus? If it is your right eye, watching porn, it is your right eye causing you to lust over somebody within your circle or somebody within your office, then do something drastic about it. It’s like taking out your own eye. Be blind, says Jesus, be willing to be blind in this area of your life so that you can preserve your life for eternity. Be willing to deal with yourself as somebody who is blind in order to preserve your life. Be willing to cut off one of your limbs in order to preserve your life. It’s a drastic thing isn’t it? To amputate yourself, to gouge out your own eye. It’s not going to be easy but it is a stance that you and I are willing to take because of our faith and our obedience to the Lord Jesus and his word. So we’ve seen adultery is a sin, sex outside of marriage is a sin, sex before marriage is a sin. But the problem begins with what’s happening in my heart, the lust that’s in my heart. The things that you and I flirt with in our minds, the musings of our hearts. Could they be causing us to sin this morning? Could Jesus say that you are in danger my dear friend this morning?
And so today is the day to sit up and pay attention isn’t it? This is the beauty of the gospel, this is the good news of the gospel. Jesus has not come to condemn you and I. He has not come to pile on the guilt because most of us live with guilt because we’re addicted to porn ,we’re addicted to masturbation, we’re addicted to these sexual feelings that consume our minds and our hearts. And so Jesus has not come to pile on more guilt upon us but he’s come to bring us good news my dear friends. And so he has already told us in Matthew chapter 5 what the good news is for you and I who have failed in the area of sex and sexuality. Listen to what Jesus says in chapter 5 verse 6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” Sometimes we have these sexual fantasies, we entertain these sexual thoughts and our hearts are consumed and we are consumed with greed and it becomes an idol because we think that sex will satisfy us. But Jesus says listen there’s a place where you can find fulfilment where you can be filled and it begins by having a proper hungering in thirsting. I think I’m hungering for and thirsting for sexual pleasure. Jesus says that will never be satisfied. There’s a hunger and thirst and it’s for righteousness, to be right with God your creator. That’s what my heart is longing for, to be right with it’s creator. And he says the blessed man, the blessed woman, the one who’s approved by God hungers and thirsts to be right with God.
The Promise Of The Good News
And there’s a promise there, the good news of the bible is that when I’m hungering and thirsting for God and not for sex, I will be filled. God himself fills me, he satisfies me with himself. My dear friends that’s where we go. When you and I are all of a sudden thrust into the open as sexual failures, where do we go? We go to God. We mourn for our sin and then we plead with God, “Please give me a different hunger in a different thirst. I want to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be right in your eyes from this moment on until eternity. I need a new hunger and thank you that you will fill me. You are the one who will bring me satisfaction.” So we run to God, we run to the cross, we run to the foot of the cross because at the foot of the cross we meet Jesus. The man was on the cross who lived a perfect life, who fulfilled these commandments, who committed no adultery and who is not a sexual offender and he gives me his perfect life that he lived and he takes on my sexual failure and my imperfections so that I can be reconciled, forgiven, washed, transformed, changed, given a new life with my God who created me. Isn’t that the best news ever? To know that this morning right now you can be right with God because Jesus has taken on our unrighteousness
So perhaps this morning you’re coming under conviction. You’re saying that I’m a married person who’s had sexual relations and even my spouse doesn’t know about it but I’m coming under conviction and seeing that it is a sin against God, I’ve rebelled against God. Maybe you’re a single person and you’re saying that I’ve given my body away, I’ve said with my body that which I did not say with my whole life. There’s been no promise made there has commitment and I’m coming under conviction to see that I’ve sinned against God, I’ve rebelled against God. And perhaps you think back to your old life before Jesus and you say I’ve lived with this shame and this guilt and the trauma because I believed that sex would bring me closer to the people that I was engaging with, and it has left me scarred, and how I wish I can start over again. Well, today’s a great day as we come to the foot of the cross and look at that mangled man of the cross dying on our behalf so that we can experience grace and mercy. So won’t you come before him. As the law has opened us up to see our true selves we need God, we need Jesus to give us a new life in this area.
So my dear friends why don’t you join me now as I pray. You know what is happening in your life. You know what’s happening in your heart. Perhaps there is greed and idolatry, perhaps there is lust in this area of sex. Today’s the day that we cry out before him and ask him to transform and to change us. So why don’t you join me now as I lead us in a time of prayer.