Beloved, sin begins in the heart and most sin is germinated in the soil of lust. We see and we want because we cannot have. Eve couldn’t eat of the tree of the garden. Her longing gaze at the forbidden fruit warped God’s Word in her mind. And as is the devil’s modus operandi he called God a liar. Look again at the scene in the midst of the garden:
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” (Genesis 3:1-7)
What’s wrong with that story? Of course Satan is the accuser and Eve was disobedient, but she also was adding to God’s Word. Let’s look at what God actually said to Adam:
“Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” (Genesis 2:15-17)
God commanded Adam to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; He did not say you shall not touch it. Well Bro Dave you have to touch fruit to eat it. That may be so but you don’t have to eat what you touch. See what happens when we add to God’s Word? We begin having this convoluted theological discussions when if we would just steep ourselves in His Word and OBEY it, then none of this would happen.
A quick side note: when teaching someone, especially children, about God’s principles and precepts, be sure you teach the “why” behind the “thou shall not” otherwise we make God out to be a cruel taskmaster. God’s laws are good for us because they provide for and protect us. His laws are like an umbrella (think on that one for awhile).
Turning to this morning’s text from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expands the commandment against adultery:
“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 with her 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 if 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 cast into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30)
Is Jesus promoting physical mutilation? Look at the Jesus of the four gospels and answer your own question.
Notice that Jesus did not say “whoever looks at a woman IN lust for her…”
Our Lord said “whoever looks at a woman TO lust for her…”
What’s the difference? If you notice a beautiful woman and acknowledge her beauty, have you committed adultery? Of course not. However if you have purposed in your heart to look AT a woman in desire for her, that is of what Jesus is speaking.
Lust begins in the desires of the heart. However, just because you have lustful desires does not mean you should go ahead and commit lustful deeds. The two are not the same spiritually speaking but they are equal. In other words, just because you didn’t actually commit adultery physically, if you did so in your mind you have committed adultery spiritually.
The Prophet Jeremiah accurately describe the true condition of our heart:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Are you battling with sexual impurity, some wickedness of the heart that causes you to lust for that which you cannot have? Stop trying to win in your own power.
Confess to Jesus and repent of your sin. Understand that it is the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word that cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
Dear brother, are you looking at pornography on your computer. Time to get a program that protects you from that, and be sure to have your wife or a close friend you an trust to keep the password from you.
A few months back I bought a new computer. I have struggled with the horrid sin of pornography in my past. It would be foolish of me to believe I can defeat this on my own. I will be adding a program to my new computer tonight and having Karen control the password.
I share this with you because I want us all to understand that each of us is capable of horrible sin, sin that shames and defeats us. We must be protected from sin.
Let me leave you with something on this passage from our old friend Matthew Henry:
“Victory of the desires of the heart, must be attended with painful exertions. But it must be done. Everything is given to save us from our sins, not in them. All our senses and powers must be kept from those things which lead to transgression. Those who lead others into temptation to sin, by dress or in other ways; or who leave others in sin, or expose them to it, make themselves guilty of their sin, and will be accountable for it. If we would submit to painful operations, if necessary to save our lives, what ought our minds to shrink from, when the salvation of our souls is concerned? There is tender mercy under all the Divine requirements, and the grace and consolations of the Spirit will enable us to follow them.”
Whatever lustful sins you are struggling with right now, won’t you confess them to Jesus and seek His wonderful forgiveness and ask the Holy Spirit to reign within you? Do it now; don’t wait.
Tomorrow we deal with divorce…
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers