Sermon On The Mount Devotional Blog 15

Sermon On The Mount Devotional

False Advertising

Read Matthew 5: 27-30 (ESV)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell."

Ever been the victim of false advertising? Can you think of something that was portrayed to you as being fun and enjoyable but turned into an experience that was painful and costly? Years ago, I had an experience that had promised exhilaration but ended in pain. It began at the bottom; up I climbed, landing after landing. If I had wanted to turn around and return to the safety of the ground, I was given numerous opportunities, but I was determined. When I finally reached the top, there I stood looking down into the pitch-black opening. With some fear and anticipation, I gripped the handles on either side of the gaping hole. As I peered into the blackness, for a split second I could have sworn I saw two crimson dots, staring back at me. Shaking off the fear and with a good grip on both handles, in I plunged. The darkness was thick and covering, like a heavy wool blanket, blotting out all light. As I slid down the tubular water slide, back and forth, left and right my body sloshed. Numerous times my head hit the invisible wall that carried my body around and around, as I descended lower and lower. At some point in the ride I felt a sharp and slicing pain on both of my shoulder blades. After what seemed like an eternity, I exited the watery tube, being spat out into a pool at the bottom. Dizzy and disoriented I looked down into the pool of water, noticing it was not clear but had a reddish tinge. Friends cried out, pointing to my back that had been sliced open from top to bottom by some unseen burr in the plastic walls of the water slide’s tubing. What had been advertised to me as “great fun” by other excited participants had turned into a painful, bloody, and terrible experience. When I tell others of this experience, I call it “Satan’s Slide” or “the Water Slide of Death”. It truly was a terrible time.

Have you ever experienced anything that you thought would be great and turned out terrible? I wonder how Adam and Eve felt after they had sinned against the LORD in the garden, having listened to the Serpent and his promises of knowledge, equality, and “fun”? Satan portrayed their eating the forbidden fruit as rewarding and good, while in reality it led to pain and death.

If you have experienced sexual sin, then you probably know something of what I am explaining here through this illustration. The world and Satan sell sexual sin as rewarding and fun, pleasure without consequence or damage. Sexual sin promises fun and pleasure but leaves brokenness, guilt, and regret. In these verses in Matthew Jesus is continuing to make clear what the Pharisees have confused. The Pharisees were again on the wrong side: they gutted the true meaning of this command about sexual sin as they simply focused on the physical/exterior. “The Pharisees and scribes had reduced the commandment which prohibits adultery to the mere physical act of adultery; and again, they imagined that, as long as they were not actually guilty of the act itself, the commandment had nothing to say to them and they were perfectly innocent as far as it was concerned.” (Sermon on the Mount by Martin Lloyd-Jones, pg. 232)

Let’s compare and contrast the sexual temptation and sin between Samson and Deliah, King David and Bathsheba, and Joseph and Potiphar’s wife.  Samson, David, and Joseph were all confronted by sexual temptation. Each responded in a different way. Samson was guilty of gross sexual sin with numerous women, giving himself over to his addiction. At one point, Samson was questioned by his parents as to his sinful path, but he was unwilling to turn from it. In the end his sin led him away from the Lord and to his death at the hands of his enemies. David gave himself over to his lusts, leading to lies, deception, murder, and the death of his child. In Psalm 51 we do read of David’s confession and repentance. David had a close friend in Nathan, the prophet who boldly confronted the King. We read of this confrontation in II Samuel 11. David did indeed turn from his sin, but many of the consequences were already being felt by him, Bathsheba, and the nation of Israel. In Joseph we find a very different story. Joseph was suffering under slavery in Potiphar’s household. He was sexually confronted by Potiphar’s wife. When solicited, he first verbally fled temptation and then physically fled, leaving behind his robe. Joseph suffered under a false accusation by a bitter and slighted woman and was thrown into prison. His suffering was controlled by a sovereign God Who used even these terrible things to bring about greater good. In Joseph we see one who did not give into sexual sin, understanding that it was not just about a physical affair, but it was a sin, not just against another and himself, but ultimately against God.

The Pharisees had reduced adultery to a simple physical act. Christ came to return the deeper meaning to the command not to commit adultery. He declared that anyone who looks lustfully at a woman or man has already committed adultery with them in their mind. Lust starts in the heart and mind and can often lead to physical acts. Lust, pornography, and sex outside of marriage often promise carefree, guiltless, victimless fun. The reality is that sexual sin leaves deep scars, pain, and guilt from many years.

Is lust only a physical and sexual problem? Can we not also lust after other things? I believe that we can. Lust is a desire for things that we have been told are off limits to us, as the forbidden fruit was in the Garden. We are told in Genesis 3, “when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Eve’s eyes led her to lust after the fruit, for its appearance and for its promised knowledge. Was the fruit in and of itself evil? No, it was just fruit. What made Eve’s choice a sin was that she disobeyed God. Is sex wrong and sinful in and of itself? Definitely not. Sex is given by the Lord as a gift to be enjoyed in the covenant of marriage. It is a wonderful blessing between a man and a woman, giving intimacy and closeness when experienced within the safety of a committed marriage.

So, what else can we lust after? Fame and recognition, cars, homes and material possessions. Anything that the Lord has created for a specific purpose and that we use improperly in sin can be lusted after for illicit purposes.

So, What Now?

Is there sexual sin in your life, be it physical or mental? Use Psalm 51 as a pattern of confession, asking the Lord to forgive you and cleanse you from this unrighteousness. Don’t stop with simple confession. Plead that the Lord would replace your sinful appetites with Godly desires. Ask that the Lord would allow you to wait patiently for a spouse in the future if that be His will. If sexual sin/lust is not a problem, confess the things in your life that you do lust after.