Lesson 83—September 27, 2015
Audio commentary by Bro. David Daniel
Overcoming Sexual Sin
Scripture: Matthew 5:29-30
Lesson Goal: To better understand Jesus’ words concerning the dangers of sexual sins.
Introduction: Today we will study some of Jesus’ most stern words of instruction concerning sexual sin and sexual immorality. His words are forceful and direct. He wants His followers to understand the dangers and consequences of sexual sins. We will also look at how we can overcome the schemes of satan and how we can become conscious and aware of his traps. As we conclude today’s lesson, I hope to offer each of you some very practical advice and counsel on how we can overcome and win the battle over sexual temptation and sin.
Jesus’ words, in verses 29 and 30, help us to understand the seriousness of sexual immorality. He uses forceful and extremely strong language in order for us to realize the importance of His words and to illustrate the truth presented in verses 27 and 28.
I have had people ask me: “Does Jesus really want someone to pluck their eye out or cut off their hand? Is He really calling for someone to physically do surgery on themselves regarding their eyes and hands?” My answer is that Jesus is helping us to understand the seriousness of sexual sin by making a drastic point. He is not talking about or teaching self-mutilation. Once again, He is helping us to learn the importance of a pure heart. If His words were to be literally interpreted and applied, then we need to understand that cutting off one’s hand or plucking one’s eye out still does not make one’s heart pure. Radical physical surgery, cutting off a hand or removing an eye, does not purify the heart.
The command to get rid of troublesome eyes, hands and feet is an example of our Lord’s use of dramatic figures of speech. What He was advocating was not a literal physical self-maiming, but a ruthless moral self-denial. Not mutilation, but mortification is the path of holiness He taught, and “mortification” or “taking up the cross” to follow Christ means to reject sinful practices so resolutely that we die to them or put them to death (Stott).
Stott goes on to say:
What does this involve in practice? “If your eye causes you to sin because temptation comes to you through your eyes (objects you see), then pluck out your eyes.” THAT IS, DON’T LOOK! Behave as if you had actually plucked out your eyes, flung them away, and were blind so you could not see the objects which previously caused you to sin. Again, if your hand or foot causes you to sin, because temptation comes through your hands (things you do) or your feet (places you visit) then cut them off (see Matthew 18:8-9). THAT IS, DON’T DO IT! DON’T GO! Behave as if you had actually cut off your hands and feet, flung them away, and were now crippled and so could not do the things or visit the places which previously caused you to sin. That is the meaning of mortification.
• How might this principle of mortification be applied to one that battles Internet pornography?
• If a person struggles with an unhealthy dependency on prescription medications, how might this principle apply?
• Concerning sexual morality, how does today’s society, culture, and media invite us to disaster?
Jesus uses some extreme and very strong language to help us understand that we should realize there are places we should not go, things we should not do and things we should not look at or watch. People often make Jesus’ words complicated when, in actuality, they are not complicated or controversial.
“Although sexual temptations have been strong since man’s fall, our day of permissiveness and perversion has brought an increase in those destructive influences that no society in history has had before. Ours is a day of unbridled indulgence in sexual passion” (MacArthur).
• As a follower of Jesus Christ, how can we be overcomers of the many sexual temptations that satan and the forces of evil put before us?
Jesus said if your “right eye” and if your “right hand” causes you to stumble…. We must understand that in Jewish culture and society, the right eye and the right hand represented a person’s best and most precious faculties. It is Jesus’ intent, through these pointed words, to send a clear message to all His disciples (followers) that we should sever the sinful impulses which lead us to do evil.
Jesus’ word “stumble” is skandalizō, which is very often used for the bait placed on a fishing hook or bait placed in a trap to lure an animal to reach and touch it. Followers of Jesus Christ should be on constant alert against the schemes and plots to trap us. Please read 1 Peter 5:8.
• Concerning sexual sin, how does satan set traps today?
• What are some traps he uses to lure people to his destructive evils?
• How do we get victory?
To answer the question on how to get victory, Warren Wiersbe states: “By purifying the desires of the heart (appetite leads to action) and disciplining the actions of the body.”
Now I offer some practical suggestions to help you be victorious over satan’s plots and schemes. Please read John 10:10. In this passage, we read of the ultimate plan and goal of satan the deceiver and destroyer. By his deception, he wants to destroy everything God-honoring in your life. Not only does he want to destroy everything that is God-honoring, he wants to destroy everything important in your life and your very life itself. Satan is the destroyer!
To be victorious over satan’s plots and schemes:
We must first understand that there is no temptation placed before us by satan that is for our ultimate good. The purpose of the temptation is to harm us. Satan’s motive is to destroy us!
Satan is a master of disguise. This is what makes his traps so effective. His disguises appeal to our human senses, and concerning sexual sin, this is most dangerous.
Satan is also a master of using our circumstances of life to set up his ambushes. An example would be the wife who is feeling isolated from her husband because of unhealthy busy schedules. There has been little “husband and wife” time, because of the demands of life. As she reaches that low point in her life, suddenly he appears. He’s at the workplace or the school parking lot as she waits on the kids. He appears as just someone who cares and can truly understand her situation, but satan is setting the trap. Conversations become more frequent, followed by a little flirtation, a phone call and a few texts, all seemingly harmless. BUT SATAN IS SETTING THE TRAP! BEWARE THE TRAPS OF SATAN!
Satan positions men and women in places to destroy those who are most vulnerable, to pounce upon the weak. This is a good reason we need to be in a spiritually healthy church, Life Focus class, or Christian support group. Feeling alone and isolated, we become easy targets for satan.
Satan wants to deceive us into a moment of sexual sin to destroy our homes, marriages and testimonies.
So how do we, followers of Jesus, resist satan’s temptations and schemes?
1. We must recognize satan’s tactics and his strategies. Please read 1 John 2:15-16.
2. We must understand the overcoming power of God. Please read 1 Corinthians 10:13. We do not have to yield to temptation! We have a choice to yield or resist. Yielding to sexual temptation does not honor God; it puts us on a dangerous road of destruction. Choose to resist!
3. We must understand that God has provided all we need, by “Holy Spirit power,” to stand strong and resist the temptations of satan. Read Ephesians 6:11-18 and James 4:7.
My dear Life Focus classes, if I could share my heart with you, I would simply write that satan uses the enticement and temptation of sexual sin to hurt, harm and destroy us, if we allow him the opportunity. Be on guard against his destructive ploys. Parents, be on guard for your teenagers and children. In our ever permissive “anything goes” society, satan is having a field day with our young ones. Be godly examples for all to see, but especially let us be godly witnesses for our children and grandchildren. Let them see Jesus in us. As we resist satan’s temptations, our children will learn how to resist as well.
“As we have received Christ Jesus as Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6).