‘Ouch! Did Jesus really say that about adultery?’ (Matthew 5:27-30)

When dealing with false and slack interpretations of the seventh commandment ‘You shall not commit adultery’, Jesus, in Matthew 5:27-30, made it pretty clear that obedience to the commandment goes much deeper than just refaining from the physical act. Jesus pointed out that the root of adultery begins in the yes and spreads to the heart. Lust is the problem! To show how dangerous this is, Jesus the proceeded to tell men to ‘pluck out their eye’ if their eye offends in this way. He was not meaning this literally, but making a point to show that we should take extreme action to avoid this sin, so that we do not end up suffering more awful consequences.

Oops…human error (mine!) means that the first few minutes are missing from this audio…so what follows here is what was said and you’re welcome to follow the audio from the end of the written part 🙂

Our text this morning is one of those passages that reminds us why it’s good to preach through books of the Bible. It’s good because many a preacher like me would much rather just skip over today’s text. But having said that there are at least two reasons why I’m encouraged by the fact that we have this text to deal with today. The first one is these are the words of our Lord and He did not say these words to us to wound or hurt us or to cause unnecessary pain, but He said them for our good. The second reason is that you are a people who love the truth and you want to hear the truth even when it hurts. What’s obvious about what Jesus said in our text is that sexual immorality is not something about which we can stick our head in the sand. He reminds us that sexual immorality occurs not only physically and so causes much harm, but that it also takes place in the heart, and because of that, then there is a matter we all have to deal with a face up to. Now the context of our text is what we have been noting in these last few weeks where Jesus has been teaching his disciples about the righteousness of His kingdom, and therefore the kind of righteousness that his disciples must display. Not an outward, external righteousness that the Pharisees claimed that the Law taught, but an inner kind of righteousness, one that was and is taught by the Law – properly understood. Two weeks ago, we saw how in verses 21 -26, Jesus applied the general principles of His teaching about the law to the specific circumstance, the specific issue of the sixth commandment about murder. The Pharisees thought that they had that commandment down pat – murder was outlawed by the law and those who commit murder are liable to the court. But Jesus taught that the law of God goes deeper than externals and it even reaches the tongue and the heart and therefore, the true meaning of the commandment is not just the outward act, but also the inward desire. And the same is true in regard to the seventh commandment, ‘You shall not commit adultery’. It again is a matter of the heart. Notice then this morning these three things.
First, note here that with regard to this commandment, Jesus first warned against a lax view. In verse 27, Jesus said, “You have heard that is was said, “You shall not commit adultery.’” Notice again, that Jesus is not attacking the Old Testament, but he was attacking the interpretation of the moral law by the Pharisees who prided themselves as being the ones who cared and loved the law above everyone else.