Scripture: Matthew 5:17-30
“Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Fool! ’ will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, ‘You moron! ’ will be subject to hellfire. So if you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Reach a settlement quickly with your adversary while you’re on the way with him, or your adversary will hand you over to the judge, the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I assure you: You will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny!
“You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who 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, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
What is Lust? (vv. 28)
- Lust is a form of adultery.
- It is looking at another person with wrong sexual desires
- There is a context in which sexual desire is right, that is marriage
- Why is marriage the only acceptable context for sexual desire?
- Marriage is a joining of two persons into one flesh
- Marriage reflects a lifelong commitment
- Sex is an intimacy designed by God that connects one person to another for life.
- Lust destroys the intimacy that God meant for lifelong partners.
How does Christ fulfill the Law?
- The Law points out humanity’s sinfulness and imperfection.
- There is no way that I can keep every letter of the Law.
- The Law proves to me that I need a savior other than myself.
- Christ fulfilled the Law because He paid for my sinfulness and has returned me to God, to a position that I could never earn.
Here, Christ seems to extend the Law and make it stricter. What might this mean about the nature of the Law?
- The Law is heart-oriented.
- We tend to draw boundaries, asking how far is too far. This is how Jews generally treated the Law.
- Instead of asking how far is too far, though, we simply need to do what might honor God in any given circumstance.
- If I do not want to fall off of a cliff, do I get as close as I can to the edge or do I stay away from the edge entirely?
Questions for class discussion:
- When people are given a deadline for a project (perhaps homework), when do they usually finish their project?
- People usually finish projects last-minute. Is this similar to lust within the human mentality?
- Personal (Don’t answer out loud): Are you the type of person who tends to push moral boundaries, or do you live to honor God?
- What does Christ mean by, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out”?
- I believe Christ meant that the best way to keep from breaking the Law, is to stay away from the boundaries.
- We shouldn’t put ourselves in situations where we might be more prone to sin.
We shouldn’t put ourselves in situations where we might be more prone to sin. Imagine for a moment that there is someone you really, really like a lot and as more than just a friend. You discover that this person likes you too and so you decide to go out. How do you plan to go on a date where there is no temptation to push certain boundaries?
Think, journal or blog about your thoughts.
- Is it better to go by yourselves or in a group?
- Do groups provide a moral accountability?
- Do groups help you get to know someone for who they are rather than who they might pretend to be if it were just the two of you?
- What do you wear?
- Is modest really hottest?
- Do you want to wear something that is going to keep your date from getting to know you for who you are rather than just what you look like?
- Where do you go?
- Do you go to a public place or a more private place?
- Where is there a greater accountability?
- What do you do?
- Are you in a dark theater or in the light where others can see you?