Last week you will remember that we used the Word of God to destroy three lies of the enemy: 1) We are really not that bad. 2) You can worship God on your own terms. 3) You do not have to seek reconciliation. These are all lies that the clear teachings of Jesus destroy. This week we will expose two more lies of the enemy and use the Word of God to destroy those lies.
The Devil’s Lie: Adultery is a physical act.
This what the scribes and Pharisees believed. According to them, they obeyed the seventh commandment because they had not physically had a sexual relationship with another person’s husband or wife. The devil wants us to believe this also. Our culture has bought into the lie.
God’s Truth: Adultery is a heart act. (Vv. 27-28)
Contrast to the lie of the Devil, Jesus taught that adultery begins in the heart. Jesus said, “but I tell you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Notice a couple of the words that Jesus uses. He says, “everyone”. No one is exempt. It surpasses the married to encompass all who lust. Second, Jesus says, “looks”. This present participle refers to the continuous process of looking. In this usage, the idea is not that of an incidental glance, but of intentional and repeated gazing.
It is not lustful looking that causes the sin in the heart, but the sin in the heart that causes lustful looking.
Devil’s Lie: Sin is not that serious.
Again, the scribes and Pharisees believed and taught that the lust of the heart was no big deal as long as you did not follow through with the physical act. So, they bought into the lie that the sin of the heart was not that serious.
And many have bought into that lie today. Unfortunately, many men and woman are addicted to pornography today. They consume it in many forms and justify it in their minds as not being as bad as the physical act itself.
God’s Truth: Sin is devastating. (Vv. 29-30)
All sin, no matter how big or small you may think it is, will destroy you if you choose to remain in it. We know that sin is devastating by the drastic picture Jesus displays.
Skandalizo, the Greek word we translate, “causes you to sin,” was often used of the bait stick that springs the trap when an animal touches it. Anything that morally or spiritually traps us, that causes us to fall into sin or to stay in sin, should be eliminated quickly and entirely.
In no way is Jesus teaching self-mutilation. He is speaking in hyperbole (exaggeration for effect, not meant to be taken literally). Using this picture of tearing out the eye and cutting off the hand demonstrates the drastic measures that should be taken against sin.
In Jewish culture, the right eye represented one’s best vision and the right hand: one’s best skills. The point is, we should be willing to give up whatever is necessary, even the most cherished possessions, if doing so will protect us from evil. If you do not, you will suffer the devastating effects of sin in your life.