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Sermon on the Mount - Lust and Adultery

by Chris Dawson
August 23, 2009
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  1. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays the moral foundation for the kingdom of God.
  2. In v.17, Jesus begins to explain some things about His relationship to the Old Law and gives the proper understanding of several (5) misconceptions of His day.
  3. These teachings of Christ are obviously part of the New Covenant, but they arenʼt original to the New Covenant. He gives the true meaning of the law in these verses.
  1. “You shall not commit adultery”

    1. Ex. 20:14 - The 8th of the 10 commandments, “You shall not commit adultery”
  2. Adultery in the heart

    1. Every act of sexual immorality starts in the heart
      1. Mark 7:21 - Murder and adultery are sins that start in the heart
      2. Pr. 23:7 - As he thinks in his heart so is he
    2. This was also taught in the Law
      1. Ex. 20:17 - 10th commandment “You shall not covet...your neighborʼs wife”
    3. Not equal to the act of adultery
      1. 1 John 3:15 - Hating your brother is called murder
      2. John 8:4 - This woman was caught in the very act of adultery
    4. This adultery of the heart is still sinful
      1. Pr. 4:23 - Keep your heart with all diligence
      2. Col. 3:5, 6 - fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, covetousness
  3. Looking to lust for a woman is wrong

    1. Not just looking at a woman, but looking to lust
      1. We can recognize beauty in another without taking it to lust.
      2. There were women in the Bible noted for their beauty:
        1. Gen. 12:11, 14 - Abraham and the Egyptians recognized Sarahʼs beauty
        2. Gen. 24:16 - Isaacʼs bride Rebekah was a very beautiful young lady
      3. Martin Luther put it this way: "You can't keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair."
  4. Why say, “lust for a woman”?

    1. Okay for a woman to lust for a man? No. Men are more prone to this sin.
    2. Women are more prone to the sin of immodesty (1 Tim. 2:9)
      1. Women can greatly assist men in avoiding the sin of lust by dressing modestly
      2. Things to avoid:
        1. Tight fitting clothes
        2. Low cut blouses
        3. Short shorts and skirts
    3. 2 Pet. 2:14 - Having eyes full of adultery
    4. Ps. 101:3 - I will set nothing wicked before my eyes
    5. Job 31:1 - I have made a covenant with my eyes
  5. “If your right eye... If your right hand...”

    1. This is a figure of speech called “hyperbole”
    2. How do we know this is hyperbole?
      1. We would have a lot of blind Christians
      2. Jesus just taught that the heart is the place of the sin
      3. Dismembering your body wouldnʼt necessarily take away the sin in the heart
      4. You could still lust in your heart without either of your eyes!
    3. What He is saying is, “Take extreme measures to avoid sin”
    4. If you have a problem with:
      1. Internet surfing - set the computer in a viewable place
      2. TV and movies - turn the channel, cut the cable!
      3. Romance novels - throw them out, burn them
      4. Relationships - if tempting us to fornication or adultery, cut it off
    5. Note the personal responsibility - "If your right eye...if your right hand...”
  6. Now transition into a lesson on marriage and divorce

    1. How does this connect?
    2. Some Rabbiʼs were saying that if a man found someone more pleasing to the eye that was sufficient grounds for divorce.
    3. Jesus says, “Checking out another woman is adultery in the heart; and here is the only reason for divorce.”
  7. “Whoever divorces his wife...”

    1. Understanding divorce in Jesusʼ day
      1. Deut. 24:1-4 - He has found some uncleanness in her
        1. What is this “uncleanness”?
        2. Brown, Driver, Briggs - “Ervah = nakedness of a thing, indecency, improper behavior”
        3. Ervah is found 54 times in the OT; several times in Lev. 18 (uncover the nakedness...)
      2. 2 major rabbinical schools of the day
        1. School of Hillel and School of Shammai
        2. Talmud records over 300 differences of opinion between them
        3. Hillel said that a man could divorce for basically any reason (Matt. 19:3)
        4. Shammai said that the reason for divorce had to be fornication
    2. “Uncleanness” in Deut. 24:1 interpreted as “fornication” by Jesus
  8. “Whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality...”

    1. “Whoever” means everyone (Jew or Gentile)
      1. Matt. 19:9 - Whoever divorces his wife
      2. 1 Cor. 7:10, 11 - The Lordʼs command applied to Gentiles
      3. Mark 6:18 - John said to Herod, “It is not lawful you have your brotherʼs wife”
    2. For any reason except one, fornication


Nip your sin in the bud. Keep your heart pure from sin. Keep your vows to your spouse.