Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pure Hearts (Matthew 5.27-30)

Scripture: Matthew 5.27-30
Translation: 27You’ve heard that it was said, “Don’t commit adultery!” 28But I’m telling you that everyone who sees a woman with the result that he wants her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29But if your right eye trips you up, tear it out and throw [it] away from you, because it’s good for you, that one of your body-parts would be destroyed and your whole body wouldn’t be thrown into Hell! 30And if your right hand trips you up, cut it off and throw [it] away from you, because it is good for you that one of your body-parts would be and your whole body would not go away into Hell!
1.      Structure
a.       Antithesis
                                                              i.      It was said, “Don’t cheat on your spouse
                                                            ii.      Jesus says, “If you want someone, you’ve already cheated”
b.      Application
                                                              i.      Deal with your cheating hardcore, because it will get you thrown into Hell.
2.      Themes
a.       Adultery
b.      Hell
c.       Drastic measures
d.      Antithesis/Jesus makes the rules
3.      Doctrines
a.       Jesus is Lord over all, He makes the rules and interprets the Old Testament
4.      Notes
a.       The key phrase is προς το επιθυμησαι αυτην probably indicates resultative action as opposed to purposed action. The difference being that in the form the person does not need intentionality or a plan to desire the person in the looking, they just need a looking that results in desire. My gut impulse is that Jesus is not criticizing the “second look” as people often assume, but the “first look” that results in wanting a second look. Jesus does not have a problem with seeing women, since obviously that is something no one can not do and still live in society. Moreover, is Jesus only concerned with the men “cruising for chicks” or watching porn, unlikely. That presupposes that inner purity can only be violated by predetermined plans for violating purity, but sure the problem is already in the heart before the planned evil, and the general tenor of the sermon on the mount is that Jesus is dealing with the heart behind the evil, not the steps that lead to evil. Besides, logically speaking for the most part people to not look at someone in order to want that person, they look at some person with the result that they want that person. True, people do watch porn so they can want some person, but they still can’t want that person without seeing them. Hopefully, this is sufficient reason to understand that Jesus intends a resultative nuance to προς το επιθυμησαι αυτην and this itself reinforces the notion that the problem is what is in the heart, namely the desiring, not so much in the externalized or actualized physical process of looking. The problem is the WANTING not the looking, the looking is just the main way men are induced to wanting.
1.      Visual Lust
a.       Guys, look, you and I both know how hard this is for us. We like looking at women and wanting them. It is incredibly hard for us not to sexualize women that we see, for us to want the women that we see. It’s tough, trust me, I know, I get it. We tell ourselves, well at least I’m not actually doing anything, I’m just looking, but Jesus, who as a man, would have understood our temptations perfectly, yet He kept His heart and mind and body pure. We can’t look at women like they are just slabs of meat. They are not steaks to droll over. They are precious sisters and daughters of God that are far more like exquisite jewelry and artwork that is appreciated and honored and respected and valued, rather than sex objects that we merely use to get our sexual kicks—women are NOT SEX OBJECTS. Period. EVEN WHEN YOU’RE MARRIED, you don’t get to treat your wife like she’s just a sex tool. True, she is the only one you can have sex with, but sex is supposed to be a valuing and serving and loving the other person, not using them. Now, let’s talk about porn for a second, because seriously if statistics are good indicators, and if my time at Moody was a good indicator (a huge number of the men at Moody who are preparing to be pastors and missionaries and the like are addicted to porn), most of you are probably watching it or have watched it. And let’s be honest, no one watches porn for any other reason than some form indulging inappropriate desire
b.      Ladies, you may think that you are off the hook, that this passage is a guys issue. That you don’t struggle with visual lust, and that therefore you can feel good about yourselves right now. your hearts are pure. But, while I am no woman by any stretch of the imagination, it is my conviction that you too struggle with visual lust. Firstly, while it is true that 48% of porn users are men, that also means that 42% of porn users are women. This means that if I rounded up five people who watch porn, at least 2 of the 5 would be women. However, this deep dark underbelly is hidden. Shame from the sexuality of the lust itself, as well as the perception that this is a guys issue and not a ladies issue keeps many women lock in a prison of shame and entrapment. Moreover, it has been my experience that it is not men who are openly discussing who they find visually stimulating, but women. We men know enough that discussing which women we think are hot with women present is generally a good way to be thought of as a barbaric lusty creep, so in general guys talk about those things when women are not around. Women however seem to have no inhibition about such discussion in public. It is girls that I hear talking about how hot they think so and so is, or how cute so and so is. It’s true guys and girls tend to use different terminology when they talk about their desire induced by visual stimulation, and it’s true they focus on different areas of the body and different standards and measures and areas of attractiveness, but both men and women ultimately are doing the same thing, “I WANT THAT” don’t lie to yourselves that because your inappropriate desire takes a different form than from the way it is either discussed or experienced by men it doesn’t count. It does count and it is just as valid as sinful when it comes in the female packaging as the man packaging.
c.       as a side note, seriously watching sex scenes is movies is porn. Period. I don’t care if it is not considered porn by most people, it still is. And I know people say, you can watch those things if you are a mature enough Christian. But that’s bull! You and I will never be “mature enough” to watch people have sex and not be affected by it. That’s not how sexuality works. it is going to induce inappropriate thoughts, desires, or mental frameworks regardless. Ok, well what about a movie where you “can’t see anything”—it doesn’t matter, we’re still hearing things, really we don’t think that our hearing can’t induce us to inappropriate thoughts and desires? Please, let’s be more discerning about what we watch.
2.      Audible lust
a.       You and I can listen to things that induce in us inappropriate desire. That’s why phone sex exists.
3.      Emotional Lust
a.       Guys, this is something we are not very honest about. We only want women that we look at and that we think are hot, and while this is often true and maybe for some men even mainly true, it is not only true. Emotional connectedness is also something that induce us to WANT someone. Friendship, or the sense that you connect with someone can just as easily give us an opportunity to have inappropriate desires. In fact for us, this may be the more dangerous, because we are often so blind to it. Many affairs do not start with the man thinking so and so is hot, but with the man forming a bond with someone and then having that bond foster in him desires for that woman. But of course, emotionally based lust is just as evil as visually or audibly based lust, because it likewise devalues the person being desired. The person is used as an object for emotional or relational satisfaction. Again it is about you WANTING the other person.
b.      Ladies, this is one of the forms your inappropriate desire can take. And perhaps it is the more prevalent form, but what do I know, I’m a man, at least when it comes to prevalence. However, I can say for certain that it does take this form in your lives. You WANT certain people because of the sense of emotional and/or relational satisfaction. You don’t really want the person for who he is, but for the sense of euphoria you get from emotional and relational stimulation. The what if fantasies that involve not so much sex but the happy family or marriage or relationship or emotional fulfillment motif are just as inappropriate as the raw sexual fantasies with so and so.
4.      Dealing with it
a.       By now it should be clear that the problem is with our hearts. Jesus calls us to radical obedience and that requires a radical response against the sin. Jesus suggests tearing out your eyes and cutting off your hand if that would help, because these inappropriate desires will send us to hell. Quite frankly, sexual urges, inappropriate wanting of other people is an incredibly powerful force of derailment from the Christian life. I have plenty of examples of people who wanted someone, and that desire consumed them and destroyed their Christian walk.
b.      Moreover, Jesus is exposing a heart issue, so do you think He really means for us to cut off body parts? Well, no, probably not, but He is saying if that would help solve the lust problem, do it! However, He probably means for us to take not so much radical physical measures, but radical spiritual measures to conquer this sin! I have plenty of examples of this.
5.      Questions
a.       What are some forms inappropriate desire can take in your heart, mind, and life?
b.      Jesus calls us to take drastic action to cut inappropriate desire out of our lives, so what are some drastic steps or actions you can take to get sinful desire out of you life?
c.       What are some drastic steps we can take as a community, as a Christian family, to cut sinful desire out of our group?
d.      What hope does the Gospel give us in the middle of this struggle for pure hearts?

1.      You are buying a house. One house that you visit belongs to a family with three children. As you are getting the tour through the house you notice that each of the three children have posters on their walls. The first room you walk into you see a huge life-size poster of a woman in a bikini. The next room you walk into when you open the closet you notice a creepy poster board filled with creepy stalker photos of a girl eating with her parents, walking on the street, walking into school, etc. The last room is the daughters room, where there is a huge blow up of G-Dragon and One Direction. Which room has an altar to lust? All of them. 

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