Lesson 82—September 20, 2015
Audio Commentary by David Daniel
Scripture: Matthew 5:27-28
Lesson Goal: To gain understanding from Jesus’ words to help overcome the visual battle of sexual immorality.
Introduction: Let us begin today’s lesson by asking ourselves this question: Can others see Christ in me? In order to answer honestly and fairly, we must first answer another question: What does the first question mean? Answer and discuss with your Life Focus class.
• How do others see Christ living in you?
• How do others see the reflection of Christ in your life?
• How can Matthew 5:3-16 help us in answering the preceding questions?
In today’s Scripture passage, Jesus turns our attention from murder and anger to the subjects of adultery and lust. But Jesus’ words reach beyond even that of adultery and lust, making application to all kinds of sexual immorality.
The Pharisees took great human pride in their ability to say that they had not sinned in the physical act of adultery, but once again Jesus directs His followers’ attention to the purity of the heart. Indeed, He raises the bar or standard. The point of God’s Law is missed when an individual sees only the importance of refraining from the physical act of sexual sin, while at the same time allowing their heart to be filled with lustful desires.
“Well, if it’s in my thoughts, I have sinned already. I might as well go ahead and do it.” Have you ever thought this or heard someone use this kind of spiritual logic? Please prayerfully address this kind of spiritual logic from a biblical standpoint.
• How should we respond to such logic?
This type of logic causes people to excuse their sin instead of stopping it; therefore, this logic becomes very destructive to marriages and family relationships. This “spiritual” logic is the epitome of rebellion against God’s Word and truth.
• Darryl Strawberry made this wise statement at our 2015 men’s conference: “I can choose my sins, but I cannot choose their consequences.” Please explain his statement, as it pertains to the above logic.
In verse 27, notice that Jesus begins in the same manner He began the section on murder and anger (V21): “You have heard that it was said to those of old…” Jesus continues to teach and expound upon the fact that the self-righteousness so often presented by the scribes and Pharisees was not the righteousness God desires. The righteousness which honors God begins with purity of heart. An outward appearance, or external action, void of purity of heart is not the righteousness that honors God. In fact, if the heart is not pure in motive, desire, and intent, there is no righteousness.
After addressing murder and anger, Jesus now turns the attention to adultery and sexual sin in general (V27). As He begins to teach, He directs our attention back to the Ten Commandments. “You have heard that it was said to those of old…” refers to the seventh commandment: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).
• What is the definition of adultery? How do you define adultery?
As Jesus teaches in verses 27-30, He instructs and reminds us that sin begins in the heart. The Life Application Bible Commentary explains:
With strong language, Jesus described how His followers must rid themselves of sin. While we cannot be sinless until we are finally with Christ, in the meantime, we must keep a watch on our thoughts, motives, and temptations. When we find a destructive habit or thought pattern, we need to rid ourselves of it.
As a pastor/shepherd/counselor for the past thirty-four years, there are observations I have made concerning sexual sins. Before the physical action occurs, such as in adultery or any other type of sexual sin, the sin first begins growing in the heart and mind. The physical action of sexual sin is most often the result of a sin that has already taken root in the heart and mind. A person may think because he/she has not yielded to the physical action of sexual sin that no harm has been committed. They may be under the false assumption that as long as there has not been any physical manifestation of private thoughts and desires then no harm is done and no sin committed. To simply avoid the act of adultery or other sexual sins, but to have a mind filled with lustful thoughts and desires, is simply missing the truth of God’s Law.
Anger and sexual lust are two of the most powerful influences on mankind. The person who gives them reign will soon find that he is more controlled than in control. Ours is a day of unbridled indulgence in sexual passion. Our day of permissiveness and perversion has brought an increase in those destructive influences that no society in history has had before (see 2 Timothy 3:13). People propagate, promote, and exploit it through the most powerful and pervasive media ever known to man. It seems to be the almost uninterrupted theme of our society’s entertainment. Mass media uses sex to sell its products and to glamorize its programs. Marriage, sexual fidelity and moral purity are scorned, ridiculed, and laughed at. We are preoccupied with sex to a degree perhaps never before seen in a civilized culture.
Sexual license is destroying lives physically, morally, mentally and spiritually. It is destroying marriages and families (MacArthur).
The Mosaic Law, found in the Ten Commandments, is very clear concerning adultery. But Jesus went beyond the words of the Law and made it very plainly a matter of the heart. Jesus teaches that our eyes can get us in much trouble, as they open the door into our hearts.
The word translated “look,” in verse 27, is the Greek word blepō, which means “to look upon, to observe closely, to gaze.” This is not an involuntary glance. An involuntary glance is not the seed of lust or sexual impurity. It is the second glance, the third glance, or the continued inability to turn away where the seed of sin takes hold in the heart.
As a young man just out of high school, I worked as a general laborer on the construction of what was then called Champion Paper. My first summer there, I worked alongside of Mr. Wendell Logan.
Mr. Logan was a high school principal and coach at one of our rival county schools. He was well thought of as a man of character. Until that summer I had never formally met him. My only contact with him was being on the other side of the court from his team. He supplemented his educational salary by working as a general laborer during the summer months. I was a young man, still very much a boy, and he was the seasoned veteran of sorts. In my young and immature eyes, he was the old man; he had to be at least 40. I can certainly say my definition of “old” has changed through the years; time has a way of doing that. Mr. Logan and I had many conversations as we worked side by side for those two and a half months. We talked a lot about sports and sports teams, but it is what he taught me about Matthew 5:27-28 for which I am eternally grateful. He taught from this passage without ever calling the book, chapter or verse. He did not quote the Ten Commandments, but he taught me the greatest lesson of my life from the truth found in Matthew 5:27-28.
Some of the paper mill was already built and operational. We were building the last of the paper machine buildings. The construction site was a man’s world. The laborers were men; the language was men’s language; the conversations were men’s conversations; it was truly a man’s world. Occasionally during the day, ladies would have to come out of their offices and walk through the construction area to get to
another building. As they made this walk, they became targets of whistles, calls, and often vulgarity. Many times, they became the visual targets of lusting eyes. Mr. Logan was a follower of Jesus Christ, as was I. As Mr. Logan observed the ladies walking through our area, he did not cast lusting eyes upon them, but rather watched the reactions of the men. One day as this was happening, Mr. Logan used the occasion to teach me a life lesson. He said, “Mickey, it’s not the first glance that gets you in trouble, for many times you can’t help that. It’s having to look back a second time, or not being able to turn away after the first glance, that gets you in trouble.” Then he said, “Remember that!”
I have tried to live my life by that truth and principle. How many sins could have been prevented, if we had just turned away? How many pains of life would we have avoided, if we had just not looked back the second time.