A sermon on Matthew 5:27-30 presented March 15, 2009, at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells
2. 3. What adjectives describe Jesus?
- Too bad we dont think of it
- Jesus had a spirit of joy & humor & warmth
- Others enjoyed selves around him
4. Children dont hang around someone who isnt fun
- Gospels picture Jesus surrounded by kids
5. Adults dont leave jobs to road trip with someone who isnt fun
- Commercial fishermen: Peter, Andrew, James, John
- Government workers: Matthew
- Political activists: Simon the Zealot, Judas
- Left jobs for 3-year road trip with Jesus
6. People looked forward to his arrival
- Women like Mary & Martha kept lights on hoping hed drop by
- Businessmen like Zacchaeus took extraordinary steps in hopes of meeting him
- People found him an entertaining speaker
7. Regaled with marvelous images
- Camels grunting to get through needle eyes
- Old women scavenging under tables for coins
8. Did you hear the one about
- the Florida State player who got mugged on his way to play North Carolina
- Guess who stopped to help him. It was that guy, Samaritan, from North Carolina.
9. Teaching filled with humor & satire
- Father willing to forgive stupid acts by his children
- Judge who forgives criminals, when they come to their senses
10. Kingdom of God as a place where
- Peoples tears dried & replaced by singing
- Rejoicing over people coming home
- Banquet tables overflowing & chairs hauled out of the closet, so that anyone can find a place there
11. First miracle: Changed water into wine so a wedding party could on 12. Last act: Hosted a Passover feast
- Told friends how eager he was for this meal
- Spoke of his hope that they might know his joy
13. If Jesus was so much fun, why did they crucify him? 14. You can say a lot about Jesus
- Sacrificing Savior gave his life to save the world
- Greatest teacher who ever lived
- Most brilliant ethicist this world has ever known
15. You cannot say Jesus wasnt fun
- If you know what people are drawn to & what gospels say about him, you cant say he wasnt fun
- Not sponsor of a pinch-lipped religion
16. Helps us see why he bugged the Pharisees
- Heard joy-producing teaching of Jesus
- Saw Jesus embrace imperfect people
- His critique of them & claims about himself
17. Second reason to keep this side of Jesus in focus
- Understand why Pharisees wanted to kill him
- In a few minutes we may want to crucify him, too
18. There are times when Jesus is not much fun 19. Times when he says things that are inconvenient to us
- Looks us in the eye and says: Youve got to learn to patrol your pleasures
- Moses: Good news & bad news
- Good news: I negotiated to Ten Commandments
- Bad news: Adultery stays!
20. Were generally okay with the idea
- When I was still doing weddings, no couple ever asked me to leave a multiple partners option in the ceremony
21. Some may wince when Jesus says:
- You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery
- We may know weve failed someplace
- But most of us, in principle, understand the importance of faithfulness to spouse
22. The next sentence is harder to take
- But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
23. Is Jesus really saying what it sounds like he is?
- A little fantasizing is not okay?
- Whats wrong with looking but not touching?
- Whats so bad about a little porn or cyber sex, so long as were not actually breaking our vows?
24. If those things arent temptations to you, how about this?
- Were not to be possessed by possessions
- Is it okay to lust after things we see in ads & on the internet & on dealers lots, so long as we dont pull out the credit card?
- What could be wrong with innocent fun?
25. The battle is for the human heart 26. The Bible describes the heart as the executive center of our lives
- Proverbs 4:23 NIV Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
- Spiritually healthy heart pumps choices & conduct that improve relationships & activities
- I am a betterhusband & person
27. Spiritual heart is influenced through two arteries: reason & emotions
- Spiritual heart disease comes from the invasion of ideas, images & impulses that clog our reason and corrupt our emotions
28. The preeminent example is the Fall recorded inGenesis 3
- First, the Serpent attacks the artery of reason:
- You cant really trust God. Hes making unreasonable demands. He wants to keep everything for himself.
- Then the Serpent attacks the artery of emotion:
- Genesis 3:6 NIV the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom
- The heart failed when the will fell
- So Evetook some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
29. Another poet put it this way:
- Whos there? I cried,A little tiny sin.Enter, I said.And all hell came in.
30. Victory is won at the perimeter 31. The battle for the heart must be waged at the perimeter of our lives
- You cant retreat into the sanctuary of comparative righteousness: At least Im not like so-and-so or at least I havent done such-and-such yet.
- Youve got to post guards at the perimeter of your life
- Youve got to patrol even what appear to be innocent pleasures
32. This is the point ofMatthew 5
- Jesus words sound draconian:
- If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
33. Jesus is not really advocating self-mutilation
- Origen took Jesus literally & castrated himself, but still had challenges with lust
- Later realized that Jesus was saying that, if we are serious about having healthy hearts, we have to be willing to take extreme measures to control what our minds dwell on
- The problem of lust is nothing new
- Augustine struggled with it all his Christian life
34. Few things so affect our reason & emotions as what our eyes gaze on
- Experts on compulsion and addictions, suggest a rubber band around your wrist
- When your eye or your hands stray in the direction of trouble, give it a snap
- The pain will make you forget about the pleasures you were contemplating!
35. What ideas & images do you replace the destructive ones with?
- Philippians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
36. Maybe were not that interested in winning the battle for our hearts 37. A titillated, adrenaline-rushed life feels better
- Maybe were not that motivated to pursue life that is noble, pure, lovely & admirable
- A life like everyone else is fine with us
38. James says:
- James 5:16 NIV Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
39. But maybe wed just like forgiveness, not healing
- Then lets just keep doing what weve been doing with our eyes and our hands
- And while were at it, look at that guy Jesus over there, will you
- Can you believe his nerve in saying what hes saying telling us to patrol our pleasures?