Sorry this is coming super late! It has been a crazy week of projects and papers at college but, better late than never! This week’s sermon was challenging. I had to listen to it on podcast (I wasn’t home) and as I was sitting in one of my favorite study areas I was convicted. To hear the sermon click here!
Again, we are in Matthew 5, picking up in verse 27. One of the first things said in this sermon was, “You know it, but are you practicing it.” This quote alone is convicting. How many times growing up in a Christian household do you hear about Jesus’ sermon? I have heard these verses all of my life but practicing it is so much harder!
The part of Scripture talked about this week is radical!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body 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 your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Let’s be clear: Jesus is not saying to literally cut off your hand or foot or to gauge out your eye; that is not going to solve the problem. The issue is really at the heart. However, we also can’t water down what Jesus is teaching. In this passage, Jesus is saying it is better to go through life without an eye than to live in sin and to enter Hell with both.
Back to the teaching, cutting off your hand isn’t going to solve the problem when the problem originates in the heart. Before sin is committed where people can see it, it has already been committed in the heart. The teaching: it is imperative to guard your heart even if you have to implement radical changes. Those radical changes may be hard but they have to be made. Cutting off your hand is radical. Changing your friend group is radical. But it is better to make radical changes than to go to Hell living in sin.
Here’s something that I found interesting- I just hadn’t thought about it before. God doesn’t take away what is tempting us to sin; instead he teaches us what to do and how to deal with that sin. But he doesn’t leave us to do it alone; he gives us the power we need to overcome the temptation.
Here’s the deal: Because Jesus is being so radical in his sermon, he must know something about this that we don’t. Jesus believed in a literal Hell. “For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” Right, He wouldn’t have said it if he didn’t believe in it! He was saying: Do whatever you have to do to avoid Hell! Jesus has don’t everything he can to keep us from Hell- now you (I) have to do everything you can to avoid Hell.
The sermon was wrapped up with a story from the Old Testament that demonstrated the importance of not blowing past God’s warning signs. The story is about Balaam’s donkey. If you haven’t heard this story go to Numbers 22 and check it out. In short, God will put road blocks in your path to keep you from Hell; it is your choice whether you heed those road blocks.
The challenge: What is it that is causing you to continually sin? Begin to allow God to lead you to that source, then deal with it radically.
Proclaim His praises!