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Weeds of Unfaithfulness in the Garden of Love - Matthew 5:27-30

Taught on | Topic: marriage | Keywords: marriage, lust, temptation, adultery, infidelity

A wise sage once remarked, "Passion is like fire and water—they are good servants but bad masters!" Sexual passion is like that, and every married couple needs to tend the garden of their love very carefully. That means pulling out the weeds that could lead to unfaithful behavior. Many a marriage has been burned in the fire of adultery or flooded with inordinate passion. Let's consider how our marriages can stay "adultery proof."

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9/2/2012
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Weeds of Unfaithfulness in the Garden of Love
Matthew 5:27-30
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
A wise sage once remarked, "Passion is like fire and water—they are good servants but bad masters!" Sexual passion is like that, and every married couple needs to tend the garden of their love very carefully. That means pulling out the weeds that could lead to unfaithful behavior. Many a marriage has been burned in the fire of adultery or flooded with inordinate passion. Let's consider how our marriages can stay "adultery proof."
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Keep Calm and Marry On

Keep Calm and Marry On

A Christian marriage is intended to portray Christ and His church to the world. But how do we ensure that our marriages live up to God's standards? God's Word contains what we need not only to flourish, but to overcome the emotional, societal, and spiritual attacks we face in our marriages. In this series, Pastor Skip Heitzig covers various scriptural texts to give us the biblical view on marriage. From dating to dealing with in-laws; from anger management to managing your finances; from conflict resolution to delightful sexual relations, this powerful series will provide the tools you need to strengthen your home and relationships.

FREE - Download Entire Series (MP3) (Help)

Outline

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  1. Lust Is a Considerable Problem (v. 27)

  2. Lust Is a Covert Problem (v. 28)

  3. Lust Is a Consequential Problem (vv. 29-30)

  4. Lust Is a Conquerable Problem (vv. 29-30)

For Those Serious about Dealing with It:

  1. A Resource for those working through these issues: Every Man's Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time by Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker

  2. A Recommendation: Consider the spiritual surgery that may be necessary in your life. What things may you need to "cut out" of your visual palette or daily activities?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook
      1. Useful material
      2. How to escape from a sinking car, How to fend off a shark, How to wrestle free from an alligator, How to win a sword fight, How to jump from a building into a dumpster, How to survive if your parachute fails to open
      3. You have to make sure that someone is jumping with you
      4. Presupposes
        1. that you know the information, you are familiar with it
        2. that someone is there with you
    2. "Dear Abby"
      1. Someone wrote in wanting advice but not morals
      2. The only difference between animals and humans are morals
      3. Suggested they see a veterinarian
    3. Lust and adultery—"the fire burning outside the fireplace"
      1. Solomon
        1. Solomon describes his marriage as a garden, and his wife as a garden enclosed (see Song_of_Solomon 4:12)
        2. He was unfaithful, he had a problem in this area
      2. You
        1. May not have a problem in this area
        2. Use this as information for preventative maintenance; information you can share with others
        3. But don't be so quick to dismiss, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)
        4. Could be
          1. You are actually having an affair
          2. Considering having an affair
          3. You are so arrogant to think that no one person can satisfy you
            1.  Actor on talk show "what makes a great lover"
            2. Someone who can satisfy woman all her life and be satisfied with one woman all his life
            3.  Not someone who goes from woman to woman — any dog can do that
      3. Adultery (Matthew 5:27-30)
        1. The battle of lust, Greek word: epithumeó— a strong desire
        2. The Bible sometimes uses a "strong desire" for something good
          1. Longed to see Jesus (see Luke 17)
          2. Jesus longed to be with his disciples for Passover (see Luke 22)
          3. A man desires the office of a bishop (see 1 Timothy 3)
        3. Can be used for craving after something bad
          1. Children of Israel had a desire for evil things (see 1 Corinthians 10)
          2. Sinful Lust (see Matthew 5:28)
      4. Staying sexually pure in our society is extremely difficult
        1. Every media outlet dishes it out non-stop
          1. Late-night programming
          2. Viagra commercials
          3. Prime-time television
          4. One media research study found that one hour of prime-time depicts sex outside of marriage eight times more than any implication of sex in marriage
          5. Dirty books, magazines, movies, songs to feed a variety of dirty hearts and minds
        2. "Chastity is the most unpopular of Christian virtues"—C.S. Lewis
          1. "I don't want to give up sex" man from England
          2. Give sex over to God's control, God-guided
          3. Beautiful, young, blond, high school senior girl gives reason why she will stay sexually pure until marriage
            1. Date—give flowers and candy
            2. Engaged—give something more valuable— diamonds
            3. Marriage—we give ourselves
            4. I want to give my whole self, the most precious thing I have to the man that I marry
  2. Lust is a considerable problem
    1. Jesus said "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'you shall not commit adultery'" (Matthew 5:27)
      1. 2000 years ago He said this
      2. He was referring back to the Ten Commandments — the seventh commandment—written 1400 B.C.
      3. It has always been a problem
      4. God put it in the top ten list, called the Ten Commandments
    2. Punishment for someone caught in adultery—stoning to death
    3. The children of Israel faced a sensual religious system as they went into the country
      1. Baal and Ashtoreth—male and female counterparts
      2. Worshiped by sexual acts underneath groves of trees
      3. Popular even around the children of Israel's time
      4. It was an issue for them
    4. In the Greco-Roman culture
      1. Believe sex is a biological function
      2. There are no moral ties
      3. Temple of Aphrodite had 1000 temple prostitutes
      4. Term in Greek: korinthiasesthai—play the Corinthian, depicted in plays as a sex driven, drunken individual
      5. Greeks invented a word to describe, eros-to grab or grasp (grasp something to indulge myself); we get our term erotic or eroticism from it
    5. Samson, King David, Absolom, Joseph were all tempted in this area; We are all human beings, created in God's image; We are sexual beings, God made us male and female (see Genesis 1:27); We are all sinful beings, all of us struggle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil
      1. Doctrine of depravity, mankind is fallen and every part of our being is tainted with sin
      2. Dr. Merville Vincent, Harvard Medical School said, "In God's view, I suspect we are all sexual deviants.  I doubt there is anyone who has not had a lustful thought that deviated from God's perfect ideal of sexuality."
        1. No one except Jesus Christ has been sexually sinless
        2. We can't come here with any "holier than thou" attitude
      3. Porn industry in our nation is a ten billion dollar per year industry
      4. One out of nine marriages that break up state that infidelity is the root cause
      5. The problem is on steroids now because of all the media outlets we have
  3. Lust is a covert problem
    1. Nobody sees lust
      1. Takes place in the mind, in the thought life
      2. Thoughts are the parents of the deeds
      3. The heart is the soil where the seed is planted
      4. Jesus said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman" (Matthew 5:28)
      5. They thought they were guiltless, they never committed the act
      6. Jesus goes to a deeper level: to the heart
    2. Jesus is addressing men here.  Why?
      1. Men are the principle offenders
      2. They are not the only offenders
      3. There can be lust of a woman for a woman, a man for a woman, a man for a woman and a woman for a man
      4. Current bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey
        1. Sold over 40 Million copies in 37 different countries
        2. Outsold Harry Potter series
        3. Dubbed "Mommy Porn"
        4. Targeted at young women
        5. Experts say it is very addictive
        6. Addressing lustful thoughts not just in men but in women
    3. Jesus did not condemn the temptation, but what we do with it
      1. The word used: "look" is present participle and denotes an ongoing look
      2. King David couldn't avoid seeing Bathsheba, but it was the lingering look and the fantasizing that led to adultery
      3. Psychological circles mistakenly believe that sexual fantasies are not damaging, they are harmless, and might not lead to anything
      4. Experts will tell you differently
      5. A recent article in Psychology Today says that where it matters is at the brain chemistry level
        1. That prolonged looking at sexual scenes hardwires the brain
          1. It changes the neuropath ways in a person's brain
          2. They get locked in
          3. It's very addictive
          4. It leads to isolation and depression
      6. The mind is the battleground
      7. Can't say, "I'm just admiring God's creation," or, "I look, but I don't lust"
        1. Never see a guy look at a tree like that
        2. Taxi driver "he that looketh upon a woman, loseth a fender"
        3. He can lose much more
  4. Lust is a Consequential Problem
    1. "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell."  Matthew 5:29
      1. Damage—Lust has damaging consequences
        1. Spiritually
          1. You can lose your peace, break fellowship with God
          2. An unrepentant lifestyle of sin proves there is no relationship with God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
        2. Physically
          1. Sexually transmitted diseases
          2. Solomon writes to his son to stay away from immorality (see Proverbs 5)
        3. Emotionally
          1. Suffer anxiety from all the deception
          2. Guilt when you are discovered
          3. People rationalize their affair
          4. New relationship is based on deception
        4. Relationally
          1. Can damage your spouse
          2. Can damage your children
          3. Erodes family trust
          4. Look at King David's children, Amnon and Absolom (see 2 Samuel 13 and 16)
        5. Testimony
          1. Inside the church
          2. Outside the church
          3. The whole church suffers (see 1 Corinthians 12:26)
          4. Every obedient Christian strengthens the church, every disobedient Christian weakens the church
          5. Hinders unbelievers from coming to Christ
          6. No difference between the world and the church
          7. Prophet Nathan's point to David, "However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" 2 Samuel 12:14
          8. Sin is the most expensive thing in the world, you will pay the rest of your life
          9. Hollywood lies
        6. Displeases the heart of God
          1. This should have been at the top of the list— this is the most important
          2. God is usually the last one considered in an affair
          3. David after sin and confession cried out to God and admitted that the worst thing was that he had hurt the heart of God
          4. William Barclay writes, "sin becomes a crime not against law but against love"
          5. Not so much breaking God's law as breaking God's heart
          6. Purity begins with loyalty to Him
  5. Lust is a conquerable problem
    1. "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out" Matthew 5:29
      1. Gross! That is what the thought of sin should do to you
      2. Is this literal?
        1. Jesus is speaking of the heart
        2. Left hand and left eye and mind's eye will work twice as hard
        3. The right side in Judaism is considered the best, deal radically with sin, get rid of it, cut it off
      3. Martin Luther once said, "You can't stop birds from flying around your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair."
        1.   Burn the bridges of temptation
          1. Don't look at that magazine rack
          2. Don't turn on the television
          3. When speaking with the opposite sex, eye contact only
          4. Couple shopping in the mall: "Was it worth the trouble you are now in?"
          5. If you are married and getting close to someone of the opposite sex, dump them
          6. Joseph ran out without his clothes to avoid temptation
          7. Keep appropriate distances between you and people and between you and technology
          8. Accountability partners you can trust with your confidences
          9. Flee temptation and don't give Satan your forwarding address
          10. Run away
        2. Build bridges of affection with your mate
          1. Marriages don't collapse suddenly, due to a slow leak over time
          2. Date your spouse
          3. Write a letter with pen and your handwriting and tell your spouse what you felt like the day you were married
          4. Commit to satisfying one another emotionally and physically (see 1 Corinthians 7:2-5)
  6. Conclusion
    1. Problem in Illinois — 17,000 deer are struck and killed every year
      1. Typically killed in the late fall
      2. Concentrating on reproductive activities
      3. Deer are not the only ones who get broadsided because they are not watching
    2. Dear Abby was right, the only difference between humans and animals is morality
    3. Why live like animals when God wants you to live on the level of His child

 

Greek terms: ἐπιθυμῆσαι; long for, covet, lust after; korinthiasesthai—play the Corinthian

Publications referenced: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook; "Dear Abby;" Fifty Shades of Grey

Figures referenced: Solomon; Abigail Van Buren; C.S. Lewis; Baal; Ashtoreth; Dr. Merville Vincent; William Barclay; Martin Luther

Cross references: Genesis 1:27, see 2 Samuel 12:14, 13 and 16, Proverbs 5, Song_of_Solomon 4:12, Luke 17, 22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Corinthians 7:2-5, 1 Corinthians 10, 12:26, 1 Timothy 3

Topic: marriage

Keywords: marriage, lust, temptation, adultery, infidelity

Transcript

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Would you please open your Bibles, to Matthew Chapter 5. A warm welcome to Keep Calm and Marry On series we've been doing on marriage and relationships, week 13 already. And today, we have a particular slice of this topic that no matter if you are married or single, young or old, it has application to all of us. Mathew Chapter 5. We're going to begin in Verse 27. Let's pray together.

Our father, when we talked to you, or talk about you, or sing to you the word faithful often comes up. You are faithful. Yet, we also realize that we are faithless so often. We're fallen human beings redeemed by a loving God. And it comforts us even before we get in to this study today. That wonderful promise in your word that says, "Even when we are faithless, you are faithful." And we turn to the faithful promises and admonitions of your word, and moreover, we entrust ourselves to a faithful God, who can change us, who is patient with us, and who forgives us. If we repent and turn from that which we know is not pleasing to you, you give us all of the help and all of the grace and mercy that we require. And that causes us to rest and be thankful. And we pray these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Before I left the house, I saw this once again in my bookshelf and I just thought I would grab it, because it proves a point. It's a little book called "The Worst Case Scenario Survivor Handbook." It's put out as a novelty a few years ago. I think I bought it at Starbucks or something. Its actual useful material perhaps if you're in a desperate worst case scenario situation. For example, there is a chapter on, how to escape from a sinking car, how to fend off a shark, not that any of you today are probably going to get close to one, how to escape form a bear, how to escape from a mountain lion, how to rustle free from an alligator is part of the book, how to escape killer bees, how to deal with the charging bull, how to win a sword fight is included. Here's one, how to jump from a building into a dumpster. In case you need to know, the information is here.

How to deliver a baby in a taxi cab, how to land a plane, but what caught my eye was this one that says, how to survive if your parachute fails to open and I thought I've got to read that one and I did. And basically, you have to make sure that somebody else is jumping out of the airplane with you and their parachute does open so that you could tie to them, otherwise you're a dead meat. So Worst Case Scenario Survivor Handbook, now I pulled this out off the shelf for a couple reasons.

This illustrates a point I want to make. The information in this book presupposes that in any of these situations, you will already be familiar with the material in advance. See, we're not going to fall form airplane and go, "Where is that little yellow book," and pull it out and start reading up. It presupposes that you know it and that it's a second nature to you. You practice it, and it's quick to the draw. You know it immediately. So you know the information in the book.

Number two, a lot of this presuppose that there somebody else in the situation involved with you for help. And I thought about what we're dealing with this morning and the information that we talk about is really toward a worst case scenario, and it presupposes that you know what's in God's book and that you're tied to God's people. That would help you greatly.

Several years ago, when Dear Abby, was still writing articles for newspapers, Abigail Van Buren, somebody wrote into her and said, "Dear Abby, I'm in love and I'm having an affair with two different women. I can't marry them both. Please tell me what to do but don't give me any of that morality stuff."

Listen to Abby's answer. It's classic. "Dear Sir, the only difference between humans and animals is morality. Please write to a veterinarian."

(Laughter)

I want to talk about an uncomfortable subject for some, Lust and Adultery. Or, to put in the analogy we've spoken about the last two weeks, the fire burning outside the fireplace.

Now, last week, we looked at the Song of Solomon if you recall. And in that book, Solomon describes his marriages a garden and his wife as a garden enclosed. But, we also know something about Solomon. He was unfaithful to that wife if indeed that was the first and original wife. He married 699 others eventually. He had a problem in this area.

Now, you might not have a problem in this area and in even hearing these words, you say, "This has nothing to do with me. I'd never fall into such sin. We have an ideal marriage." Well then, great! Use this as preventative maintenance or information you can share with others who have problems. But don't be so quick on the draw, because the Bible says, "To those who think they stand, they should take heed lest they fall."

It could be that you're actually having an affair or maybe you're considering having an affair. In fact, I may be addressing someone who is so arrogant as to even think, "Well, one person alone can't satisfy me." Did you know that several years ago on television, a talk show host, had an actor that he was interviewing, the actor was well-known for his romantic rules and movies that he was in. And the talk show host asked the actor a typical question that you would imagine. He said, "What makes a great lover?" And I'm sure the talk show host and the audience expected some macho playboy answer. What they got, they not expect. This actor said, "A great lover is someone who can satisfy one woman all her life and be satisfied with one woman all of his life. A great lover is not someone who goes from woman to woman. Any dog can do that." You could have heard a pin drop on that talk show.

Now, we look at our text, in Matthew, Chapter 5, the Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord Jesus says, in Verse 27, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And it your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off, and cast it from you, for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be into hell."

There's a word that I want to consider right off the bat, that's in the text. It's the word lust. Lust, that's the battle, lust. But, here's what I want you to understand about it. The word translated here lust is a Greek word "epithumeo" which simply means get this, a strong desire. And sometimes, the Bible uses it as a strong desire for something good as well as a strong desire for something bad. Example, Luke Chapter 17, a group of people wanted or longed to see Jesus. The word "epithumeo" is used. That's a good longing. "I want to see Jesus." That's a great craving to have. In Luke Chapter 22, the same word is used of Jesus longing to be with his disciples for Passover.

In 1 Timothy Chapter 3, Paul uses it of a man who desires the office of a bishop or an overseer. That he desires something good. But the word can also be used to crave after something that is bad like 1 Corinthians Chapter 10, the children of Israel had a desire for evil things. And here, it's translated lust, sinful lust.

Now, let's be honest, staying sexually pure in today's society is extremely difficult, because virtually every media outlet dishes out this stuff non-stop 24/7 whether it's late night programing or Viagra commercials, or primetime television.

In fact, in one media research study, one hour of primetime depicts sex outside of marriage eight times more than any implications of sex in marriage. And there are dirty books and there are dirty magazines, and there are dirty movies, and there are dirty songs to feed a variety of dirty minds and hearts across this nation.

C.S. Lewis was right when he said chastity is the most unpopular of Christian virtues. When I was in Israel, I was sharing my faith with somebody from England and he was quite honest about it all. He wasn't putting on any errors at all. He said, "Let me just tell you straight. I don't want to become a Christian, because I don't want to give up sex." I said, "God wasn't asking you to give up sex. He's asking you to give sex over to his control. He invented it, my friend. It was his idea, but that, which is God-given as we have said must also be God-guided."

There is a beautiful blonde senior, true story. Beautiful, young, blonde high school senior girl who is giving reasons why she was going to stay sexually pure until marriage, and this is what she said, "When we date, we give flowers and candy. When we get engage, we give something more personal and valuable like diamonds. But when we get married, we give our very selves. And I want to save my whole self to give away the most precious thing that I have to the man that I'm going to be married to.

Now, we have read just four verses in Matthew 5 and we're going to look back over them and I want you to notice four truths, four principles about lust. The first one is the most obvious. Lust is a considerable problem. Always has been. Look how Jesus puts it, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not commit adultery." Now, how many years ago was Jesus saying this? 2000 years. And he's referring back to the commandment from the Ten Commandments, the Seventh Commandments, "Thou shall not commit adultery" written 1400 B.C. so we're dealing with an issue that was a problem 3400 years ago. "You have heard that it was said to those of old." It's always been a major problem. That's why God put in the top 10 list called, the Ten Commandments.

By the way, do you remember what the punishment was for somebody caught in adultery? Stoning to death! Can you imagine if that penalty were invoked today? And you laugh because you know that there'll be piles of rocks everywhere on the landscape. But it was a considerable problem.  The Children of Israel, as they went in to the land faced a sensual religious system, the Worship of Baal from the Old Testament and Ashtoreth, the female counter part to Baal. And we know that they were worshiped by sexual acts underneath grows of trees that became very popular even around the children of Israel's time. It was an issue for them. They had to face that.

And then, if we move even a little closer toward the New Testament, when the Greco-Roman Culture took over. Greeks saw sex as merely a biological function without any moral ties, whatsoever.

A few months ago, I stood in the City of Corinth. And there, in the City of Corinth, when you're at ground level, you look up to a hill, called the Acrocorinth, where a temple stood, the temple of Aphrodite. And get this! 1000 priestesses, there were prostitutes, came down into the City of Corinth every evening to ply their trade to get men to worship with them to this goddess of love, and they had no problem doing so. It's part of there sexual religious system. In fact, there was even a term coined. In the Greek language, korinthiasesthai, which means to play the Corinthian, because any time, anybody play the Corinthian in one of the Greek plays, he was depicted as a sex-driven, drunk, debauched individual. It became a byword. And did you know that the Greeks even invented a word simply to describe sexual, sensual physical love. It's the word Eros. That's a Greek word.

We got our term erotic, or eroticism from it. And did you know that the word means to grab, or to grasp. The idea is to grasp something in order to satisfy myself. It's all about self-indulgence. It was and is a considerable problem. Men like Samson struggled with it. King David struggled with it. Absalom struggled with it. Even Joseph was tempted in this area. Because it's a considerable problem, I want to make a few statements. Number one, we're all human beings, created in God's image but fallen from that image. With all of the tragedy in glory that comes with that package, we're human beings. Number two, we are sexual beings. A part of our humanity is our sexuality. God made them it says in Genesis, male and females. Angels may be sexless, humans are not. We're human beings. We are sexual beings. Number three, we are all sinful beings.

None of us have arrived. All of us struggled against the world, the flesh, and the devil. And one of the great doctrines from the Bible is called the Doctrine of Depravity that says, "Mankind has fallen and every part of our being is tainted with sin including our sexuality."

Dr. Merville Vincent from Harvard Medical School said and I'm quoting, "In God's view, I suspect we are all sexual deviants. I doubt there is anyone who has not had a lustful thought that deviated from God's perfect ideal of sexuality."

No one except Jesus Christ has been sexually sinless, so we can't come here with any holier than that latitudes. But we have to admit it's a considerable problem, because the porn industry in our nation is a $10 billion per year industry. And lust that leads to adultery is a considerable problem. One of nine marriages that broke up, one out of nine said infidelity is the root cause of the breakup of their marriage. It's a considerable problem. It's been going on for a long time. It continues to this day. It turned up to 10. The problem is on steroids now because of all the media outlets we have.

Here's the second point to be made. Not only is it a considerable problem. It is at the beginning a covert problem. You see, nobody sees lust. It takes place in the mind, in thought life. Thoughts are always the parents of the deeds. The heart is the soil where the seed is planted.

Now, notice in Verse 28, Jesus said, "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman," -- you see, his audience had thought, "Well, we're guiltless. We never committed the act of adultery. So Jesus goes to a deeper level of the heart. "You've heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you that whoever looks at woman, to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Now, you'll notice something. Jesus is addressing men here. Looking at a woman, to lust for her in his heart. Why would he do that? Because, men are the principle offenders. They're not the only offenders. We know that. There can be lust by a woman for a woman, by a man for a man, by a man for a woman, and by a woman for a man. That's becoming sort of more vogue these days.

There's a book that has the best selling paperback book ever. It has sold so far 40 million copies in 37 different countries. It has outsold even the Harry Potter series, which took an old time record. This is the book called 50 Shades of Grey, an erotic novel for women with explicit sexual sins, so explicit. It has been dubbed mummy porn, targeted young women. An expert said it is very, very addictive, 50 Shades of Grey, addressing those lustful thoughts. Not just in men but in women.

Now, here Jesus is speaking about being tempted, nobody can avoid being tempted. He's not condemning the temptation, but what we do with the temptation? Notice the word "look" in the text. But I say to you that whoever looks, the word doesn't mean glance. It's a present participle that denotes an ongoing look. It's not the first notice. It's the second take. It's not one this. It's one of these. And locking in and staying on and imagining that's what the word involves.

You see, when King David went out on his rooftop, may be he was sleepless. It was a warm spring evening and King David walked out and looked over the City of Jerusalem. It wasn't David's fault that there happened to be a young woman on her rooftop bathing naked. He couldn't avoid the first look, but it wasn't about the first look. It was about what he saw and what he thought about and what he imagined, and the lingering look then led to adultery. That's what ruined him. The fantasizing brought the adultery. It has been widely and mistakenly thought in some phycological circles that sexual fantasies are not damaging, it's harmless. It might not lead to anything at all. It's just going on in the mind. Experts will tell you differently.

According to a recent article in psychology today, where it matters the articles says, is that the brain chemistry level that prolonged looking at sexual scenes hardwires the brain and changes the neuropath ways in a person's thinking to where they get locked in, locked in, locked in. It's very, very addictive and it leads to isolation and frustration and depression.

The mind is the battle ground, it's where the battle is fought and it is won or lost in the mind. So, a guy can't say, "Well, I look but I don't lust. I'm just admiring God's creation." I never see a guy looking at a tree like that. "Cool leaves! Look at those leaves. Now, look at that bark! Wow!" A wise taxi driver once said, "He who looked at upon a woman loses offender." That's not all he'll lose. He can lose much more which brings us to our third point. Lost is a consequential problem.

Now, if you glance at Verse 28, 29 and 30, it says, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It's more profitable for you than your -- one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell." Now, before we impact those verses, there's an obvious message here, the message is damage. Get rid of something because that something can do greater damage to you later on, it's the main larger point. In fact, you can even see a comparison in these verses from the greater damage to the lesser damage. "If your right eye causes you to sin -- sin being the greater damage because Jesus said, "It could eventuate in hell if it's unchecked and non-repentant. Compare that to the lesser damage of plucking out even your eye.

So, we're talking about damage here. Lust is a consequential problem. It is damage and consequence. Then you go, "What do you mean damaging consequences?" Well, let me give you a few. Number one, it can damage you spiritually. You can lose you peace. You can break fellowship with God. In fact, much worst can happen. If that is a lifestyle for you that goes on without repentance, it proves that you are not a child of God. And listen to what Paul writes plainly in 1 Corinthians 6, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of GOD? Do not be deceived neither fornicators nor idolators nor adulterers nor homosexuals nor sodomites will inherit the Kingdom of God." That is unrepentant lifestyle of sin and this proves there is no relationship with God going on. It can damage you spiritually.

Second, it can damage you physically. They're called "Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Chlamydia, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, AIDS."  If you remember our text in Proverbs Chapter 5, when Solomon writes to his Son, "Stay away from immorality." And he concludes in that little section saying when you mourn at last and your flesh and your body are consumed, I think he's speaking about a sexually transmitted disease that has ravaged the human body.

Number three, it can damage you emotionally. You suffer anxiety from all the deception you've been doing the last several months. And then, once you've discovered all the guilt that comes, that's emotional damage that is done. I have talked to people who rationalize their affairs. They'll say, "Well, you know what, I'm not really happy in my marriage and I found somebody who makes me really happy, so I'm just going to dump my spouse and I'm going to start all over again. I'm going to get a whole new start, a whole new life." And they don't think through what they're saying. They're saying, "I'm going to have a whole new start. I'm going to marry this other person, this new relationship, the affair I've been having which means I am basing my new relationship on deception," which has a greater chance for failure even in the first. And that is statistically proven, statistically shown.

Number four, it can damage you relationally.  It can damage your family, your spouse, and your children. It erodes family trust and it's hard to regain that once it's lost. Ask King David. After that whole night that episode of sin, Bathseba and having an affair with that married woman, the wife of Uriah the Hittite, and if that wasn't bad enough and yes, he was forgiven and yes life went on, but David had children. And it's interesting to note that some of David's own children followed the same practice of their father. Those children may never talk about it in front of their parents, but believe me, they talk about it. And if you read in the scripture, we find out that one of David's sons name Amnon raped his half sister, Tamar. And another son of David, Absalom, had sexual encounters with David's concubines on the roof of the palace overlooking all of Israel. That family was ruined relationally.

Number five, it can damage your testimony in the church and out of the church. In the church, if you're a believer. The whole church suffers. If one member of the body suffers, Paul said, "We all suffer together". Every obedient Christian strengthens the church every disobedient Christian weakens the church. Not to speak of hindering unbelievers from coming to Christ. An unbeliever would look at a Christian having an affair and what's the difference between the world where I'm at and the church where you're at? There's no difference. That was the Prophet Nathan's entire point to David when David broke down and confessed and wept. And Nathan said, "Yes, you have been forgiven nevertheless, you have given the enemies of the Lord great opportunity to despise and blaspheme him."

Listen, sin is the most expensive thing in the world. And even though Hollywood loves to portray sexual fantasizing and sin is being freeing, you will pay the rest of your life.

Six, and finally, it displeases the heart of God and I should have put this right at the beginning because this is the most important. God is usually the last person considered in an affair. But David, after he committed his sin and he confessed in Psalm 51, he said, "Against thee and thee only have I sinned and committed this inequity in your sight." In other words, yes, I damaged everyone and everything around me. But ultimately, the worst is that I've hurt the heart of God.

William Barclay writes, "Sin becomes a crime not against law, but against love." It means breaking not so much God's law as much as breaking God's heart. Purity begins with loyalty to him.

So lust is a considerable problem. It begins as a covert problem in the heart, in the mind. It's a consequential problem but here's the best part, here's the good news. It's a conquerable problem. The good news begins in Verse 29. I know it didn't sound like good news but we'll get there. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out." And you're going, "This is good news?" And cast if from you for it is more profitable -- hug those words for a moment -- For you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

And if your right hand causes you to sin cut it off, cast it in front of you for it is more profitable for you than one of you members perished than for your whole body to cast into hell.

Now if in reading that or hearing that you're thinking, "Gross!"  Good, that's the intended effect. Hearing that should make you go, "Gross," because that is what sin should do to you. It should have the effect of, "That is so gross!"  It might appeal to my flesh, but it is important to my spirit that is in tuned with God and his Holiness. It is gross. Now, are we to take these verses with an absolute wooden literalness that if you're right I cause you to sin pluck it out, right hand cut it off because if we to take it literary then they'll be a lot more blind Christians running around and those without hands.

Now, I don't think that is the meaning of it and here's why Jesus is speaking about the heart, the sin he says takes place in the heart first. You can be smug and say, "I've never committed adultery," but it's been committed if you've lost it in your heart. So the solution then isn't just to deal with the flesh the outward because if I cut off my right hand I have a left hand which will do as much damage as the right hand has done. If I take out my right eye because I'm looking lustfully, I have a left eye that will work twice as hard to make up for what I lost from the right eye. And if I lose both eyes I still have my mind's eye and I've talked to people who have no sight all, men who are completely blind and they say their greatest struggle is lust, interesting. It takes place in the heart.

So, what is Jesus speaking about? "Cut off of your right hand and pluck out your right eye." The right side in Judaism was always considered the best. So, he's saying deal radically with sin and get rid of something even if it's very, very precious to you because of the consequences where that sin can lead to. Give it up, get rid of it, cut if off, turn away from it, or as Martin Luther once said, "You can't stop birds from flying around your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair."  How do we that? Two ways simply burn some bridges and build some bridges. I know Lenya says she was giving some of that away, but she just gave away the tag line. Burn some bridges build some bridges, what bridges do you burn? Burn the bridges of temptation.

When you walk into a store and there's the magazine wrap don't even walk near it. Don't walk by and go, "Wow, pretty bad," just get away from it or don't even turn on the television after a certain time in the evening, don't go to those stations, don't look at those TV shows.

Job said, "I have made a covenant with my eyes." Have you? I have made a covenant with my eyes that I should not even look at a young woman. When you talk to somebody of the opposite sex eye contact only that will help. There was a couple that were shopping husband and wife they were in the mall and as they were looking at different products, a young woman walked into the view of the husband, she was young and shapely and the husband's eyes followed her all the way across the store until the wife who didn't looked up said, "Was it worth the trouble you're now in?" Make a covenant with your eyes for your sake and for your spouse's sake. Burn bridges of temptation. If you're married, you're having an emotional affair with someone, you're getting really close to the edge, break it up.  "Oh, what do I do? We're so compatible."  Dump him, dump her today. You don't even have to explain why.

When Joseph was being seduced by Potiphar's wife and she grabbed him and said, "Come to bed with me, lie with me." You know what Joseph did? He ran, in fact he streak out of the house naked. She grabbed his clothes, he just kept running. He didn't stop and go, "Well, it's probably not a good witness I should at least explain why I'm doing it."  No, run away from it, walk away from it.

Keep appropriate distances between you and people and between you and technology. If that means you need to signup for an online accountability that sends what you look at on the internet to other accountability partners then do that, that's a good thing, that's a healthy thing, burn bridges of temptation. Don't be a dartboard for the devil. The Bible says, "Flee temptation," and can I just add flee temptation and don't give Satan your forwarding address. "Well, devil here's my card I'll be there next week between this time and that time," just run away and keep running and next time something pops up, run away, run away, run away.

It may also help you to have accountability. Don't be afraid to signup for those things in the folder that are being offered in terms of help men and women. Don't be afraid. Don't be ashamed to do that. You need good strong accountability. Make sure though they're people that can be held in confidence what you're dealing with. You hear about the four preachers that got together because they thought confession was good for the soul. And so, they said, "Let's confess our sins," and the first guy said, "I have a problem with smoking cigars, nobody in my church know this. I go in I smoke these cigars."  And the second guy said, "I have a problem with seeing movies." It was a very legalistic church system, "And nobody in my church knows, but Sunday afternoons I like to just go to the movies and watch a movie and just relax and decompress."  The third guy said, "You know what? For me I like to get away and just drinking few beers."

The fourth guy was silent. They said, "Come on it's your turn," he goes, "No, no there wasn't anything."  "No, no, go ahead. What' is it?" "Well, my biggest problem, I've always struggle with gossip."  And smiled and said, "And I cannot wait to get out of here."

(Laughter)

So make sure that there's nobody like that around, somebody that can hold your issue, your struggle and confidence and give you good solid biblical, friendship, understanding, mercy and accountability, burn bridges of temptation. Second and I close with this, build bridges of affection with your mate. Marriages don't collapse immediately. I discovered the result of a slow leak overtime date your mate, reaffirm you vows. Here's something you may want to do, how about writing a letter to your spouse not an email? Have ever heard of pen? Do you remember those things? Find a pen and actually in your hand writing tell your spouse what you felt like the day you were married and reaffirm your love and commitment and attention and devotion to your spouse.

And also I'll add to that, commit to satisfying one another's needs emotionally, physically. I quote scripture here 1st Corinthians 7, "Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, the only exception to this rule would be the agreement of both husband and wife to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time, so they can give themselves more completely to prayer. Afterward they should come together again, so that Satan won't be able to temp them because of their lack of self-control." Good, solid, practical, biblical counsel from Paul 1st Corinthians Chapter 7. I close with this illustration.

I read an article about a problem going on in Illinois. According to the Department of Natural Resources, every year in Illinois 17,000 deer are struck and killed by motorists, 17,000. Oh dear, that's a huge problem isn't it?

(Laughter)

They typically are killed most them in the fall, the late fall. Here's the reason why. The expert said, "In November, the deer are concentrating almost exclusively on reproductive activities and are a lot less weary than they normally would be."  When I read that I thought, "You know deer aren't the only once who get preoccupied with sex and get broad sighted because they're not watching. Dear Abby was right. The only difference between humans and animals is morality. Why live like an animal when God wants you to live on the level of being his child? That's a level we're called to. This is all about living as God's children in marriage and he'll do everything he can to help you do that way, live that way.

Let's pray. Father, we have understood and continue to do so that you gave sex to humanity as a gift, but lust is an aberration and to deny lustful obsession is not to repress a sex drive, it's to kill an aberration. We discover from reading your word that lust to the gift of sex is like cancer is to a normal cell. Help us to see and understand, not only how wonderful, but how lethal this physical expression can become and help us to get it dealt with and chant with in the heart, in the mind, in the fad life to walk away, to say no, to cut off relations, to live so close to your heart that our hearts won't be soiled with a very common sin. We've looked at the worst-case scenario and it presupposes that we have people around us and that we know it's in the book before we get into the situation. Thank you for your word in Jesus name, Amen.

Additional Messages in this Series

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6/10/2012
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No Man Is An Island
Genesis 2:18-22
Skip Heitzig
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Welcome to a new series! If you're presently not married, don't tune out! You may be someday and it will be worth the investment to listen and learn. If you are married, this will provide needed affirmation of your marriage vows. Let's make a deal—let's decide that it's not enough to just survive in our marriages; let's aim to thrive in them. To do that, we have to revisit God's original design and plan for this foundational relationship.
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6/17/2012
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The First Wedding
Genesis 2:23-25
Skip Heitzig
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Today we go back in time to the first wedding—the prototype. The Divine Architect had something specific in mind when He established marriage. Before the days of ancient polygamy, before the days of male chauvinism and neo-feminism, before the days of no-fault divorce and pre-nuptial agreements was the simplicity of God and His creation. There He brought a man and woman together. What did He want this relationship to be like?
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6/24/2012
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Trouble In Paradise
Genesis 3:1-20
Skip Heitzig
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One pundit said, "'And they lived happily ever after' is one of the most tragic sentences in literature. It's tragic because it tells a falsehood about life and has led countless generations of people to expect something from human existence that is not possible on this fragile, failing, imperfect earth." Even in Eden, Adam and Eve didn't live happily ever after. The fall of man into sin brought repercussions that are still felt today.
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7/1/2012
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Gender Wars
Genesis 1-3
Skip Heitzig
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"Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" reads a popular book title. The genders are different from each other; we were designed that way. Today we consider that design and how it became marred. This section of Scripture helps us understand the roots of chauvinism and feminism, both of which have added confusion to our culture. It also helps us understand the roles God gave to men and women, and how they work today.
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7/8/2012
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Friends with Benefits
Matthew 22:37-40
Nate Heitzig
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No matter how you view dating, finding the right mate can be tricky. What should you be looking for in a potential spouse? How can you know that this is God's best for you? Though the Bible is silent about dating per se, it says a lot about how we are to treat one another and what our priorities ought to be. These principles play a major factor in the success of dating relationships—and marriages. Let's open our Bibles to Matthew 22:37-40 for guidance in playing the sometimes challenging dating game.
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7/15/2012
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The Hardest Word in a Marriage
Ephesians 5:22-24
Skip Heitzig
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Some people would consider submission to be as bad as a four-letter word. But that’s because they don’t understand it. God’s plan is always the best plan. He designed your life to be one that is fulfilling and rewarding. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). For that to happen, we must function within the guidelines of His will in the relational roles we occupy. Today we look at the basic role of a wife in a marriage relationship.
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7/22/2012
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The Storm-Proof Shelter of a Husband's Love
Ephesians 5:25-32
Skip Heitzig
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OK men, it's our turn today—God's blueprint for husbands is in view here. God's plan is for a man's love to become a strong shelter for his wife. The kind of love the Bible directs a husband to have is the kind that makes it easy for a woman to submit to. In fact, I believe the husband holds the key to a flourishing relationship by his initiating and cultivating love.
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7/29/2012
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Strength and Honor
Hebrews 13:4
Levi Lusko
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From crude advertising campaigns to raunchy entertainment, sex has been taken captive to a mindset of dishonor and shame. In truth, sex is a gift from God. He knows best how it can be fully enjoyed—within the marriage relationship. As we ponder the biblical principles of honor and integrity, we gain a deeper understanding of God's plan for purity before marriage and a vibrant sex life afterward.
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8/5/2012
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Homemaker or Homebreaker?
Titus 2;Proverbs 31
Skip Heitzig
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We are surrounded by hostile, home-shattering influences in our world today. The supportive elements of society no longer shade and protect us (like they once did). The Christian home must blossom in a field of weeds! Today I'd like to speak to wives in their role as homemakers (fightin' words for some). Let's take a twenty-first century look at a centuries-old struggle and why God honors the role of the homemaker.
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8/12/2012
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Needed: Real Men!
Joshua 24:1-15
Skip Heitzig
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The definition of what a real man is will vary from person to person, background to background, and ideology to ideology. But one thing is certain: A man who really is godly and really is a spiritual leader and really serves his family is RARE! Today we consider the aged leader of the ancient Hebrew nation, who was calling on the men of his generation to become real men. Joshua instructed those men to do three things.
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8/19/2012
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How to Have a Love Affair with Your Spouse - Part 1
Proverbs 5
Skip Heitzig
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Being intimate with someone involves more than just sex. Intimacy is a sense of caring and affection in which one can be totally vulnerable without the fear of being hurt or misunderstood. Intimacy is essential if a marriage is going to thrive. How about your marriage? Do these following three elements that foster intimacy exist in your marriage?
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8/26/2012
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How to Have a Love Affair with Your Spouse - Part 2
Proverbs 5:15-21; Song_of_Solomon 1:1-7:13
Skip Heitzig
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For a majority of married couples, the word enduring sums up their nuptial experience. But let me offer another word, the idea of which comes straight from Scripture itself: It’s the word enjoying. For those of you who merely endure your marriage, you could enjoy it. Using two of the writings of King Solomon, we will explore four areas that healthy married couples could and should be experiencing enjoyment in.
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9/9/2012
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Faith Walkin' and Tongue Talkin'
James 3:1-12
Gino Geraci
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Who or what controls your speech? Like a mighty ship that is controlled by a small rudder, our tongues are a small member with great power. Our speech is being controlled either by the Lord or it is being controlled by our own anger, bitterness, and selfishness. When Jesus is in control, we do not have to fear what is going to leak out between our teeth. In our text this week, we learn to be wary that we don't offend with our tongue.
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9/30/2012
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Short Fuse for the Long Haul!
Ephesians 4:25-32
Skip Heitzig
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How can couples have a good fight? Let's face it, there are good fights and there are bad ones. And anger only complicates things. Since marriage is a "long haul" commitment and some people have a "short fuse," there are four principles you need to know in order to fight fair. Moreover, disagreements can actually strengthen your relationship. How?
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10/7/2012
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Partners for Life
Psalm 1:1-6; Malachi 3:6-10
Bob Shank
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When couples marry, they form a partnership where they each agree to cooperate for their mutual interests—it's a partnership between a husband and a wife. But, there is a third party in that partnership—God. Each person's personal relationship with Jesus should be as active and as powerful as their relationship with each other. In this study, we see how we can improve our partnership with God and ensure His blessing on our lives, and we receive concise teaching on what God means when He tells us to test Him regarding our finances.
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10/14/2012
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Have a New You by Friday
Dr. Kevin Leman
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Guest speaker Dr. Kevin Leman provides insights for making changes in our marriages and our families. How do we change our behavior? By deciding to act differently! Let’s give 100% of ourselves to God—He is worth nothing less.
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10/21/2012
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In Sickness and in Health
Job 1-2
Skip Heitzig
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Couples who marry begin their relationship with a verbal contract of wedding vows. They are happy and eager to repeat the familiar "for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health," but most fail to read the fine print of those negative possibilities. Today we will consider what happens in a marriage when health issues become the issue.
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10/28/2012
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The Most Important Job in the World
Ephesians 6:4
Skip Heitzig
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What job could possibly be more important to the world than a parent? A surgeon, lawyer, president, pastor, or economist? Nope! Think of a parent's influence: Every word and deed of a parent becomes a fiber woven into the character of a child that ultimately determines how that child fits into the fabric of society. But children can both unify a marriage relationship and challenge it. Let's pull some principles out of Ephesians 6:4 to see how to "Keep Calm" while raising kids.
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11/4/2012
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In-laws or Outlaws?
Genesis 28-31
Skip Heitzig
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When two people get married, they don't simply marry each other; they marry into an extended family consisting of mother-in-law, father-in-law, and perhaps even sister-in-law and brother-in-law. These in-laws come in all sizes and shapes, and all personalities, and there is the potential for these in-laws to become outlaws to the married couple. Today we explore that relationship and see pitfalls to avoid as well as practices to apply.
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11/11/2012
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The Unequal Yoke
2 Corinthians 6:11-18; 1 Peter 3:1-22
Skip Heitzig
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There is a hybrid relationship we haven’t talked out yet—the unequally yoked marriage: when one spouse is a believer while the other is an unbeliever. Such a relationship can occur for a whole number of reasons and can provide a whole host of challenges. But it can also be managed, and done so well: with grace and great success. Let’s consider this relationship today.
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11/18/2012
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Are You Building a House or a Home?
Psalm 127
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
John Henry Jowett wrote, “Anyone can build a house: We need the Lord for the creation of a home.” There’s a huge difference between the construction of these two: One is built with earthly materials and anxious thoughts; the other is the result of strong relationships. As we conclude our series today, consider how you’re planning for the future.
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There are 21 additional messages in this series.