Title: Sermon on the Mount 6 - Matthew 5:27-28
Speaker: Doug Peitz, Pastor
Date: Jan. 9, 1999

Abstract: Because Christ lives in us, we will fulfill the righteous requirements of the law against adultery.

(Matthew 5:27-28 NIV) "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' {28} But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


Summary of Sermon on the Mount to this point

To enter the Kingdom of heaven one must come to Christ. The Beatitudes tell us that anyone, no matter how downtrodden or weak or sinful, can come to Christ. And they will be blessed, as Christ will come and dwell in their hearts, and transform them into righteous people. Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven!

This transformation in our lives casts light on the love and power of God through Christ. People can taste and see that the Lord is good, because He is being so good to us.

And we really become different people. We become righteous people. In fact Christ says our righteousness should exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees. Because Christ lives in us, we will fulfill the righteous requirements of the law from the heart. Christ cleanses the inner man, so that right behavior flows out naturally from us. We learn to love from the heart, and this is the fulfillment of the law.

Then we covered the first concrete example

(Matthew 5:21-22 NIV) "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' {22} But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.


We need to constantly remind ourselves not to read these verses as if Christ were giving us a new or modified set of laws. He is not interested in changing the law, or making the law tougher. Besides, God's law is not ever hard. The problem is that our hearts are hard. Christ is interested in changing the hearts of man so that we can then keep the righteous intent of the law naturally. If our hearts are right, the law is easy and good.

Sin originates in the hearts of man. (Matthew 15:19 NIV) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

It is the heart of man that Christ wants to change, not the spiritual law of God. So in these verses Christ is addressing in a very specific way how our hearts must change when we enter the Kingdom of the Heavens. It is one thing to just not kill someone, it is quite another thing to learn to react to people and to view people in a totally different way. A way that sets aside anger and contempt. In these verses Christ is addressing in a very specific way how our hearts must change when we enter the Kingdom of the Heavens. The heart of Christ is devoid of hostility and contempt toward others. If we are to acquire a Kingdom heart, we must seek to put anger and contempt toward others out of our lives.

But this is only half the story. It is not enough to just remove anger. We don't just get rid of our old hard heart. We acquire a new and different heart!

Christ then gives us illustrations to show us the kind of heart we should have. (Matthew 5:23-26 NIV) "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, {24} leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. {25} "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. {26} I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

Christ is saying that rather than have a heart that is angry and contemptuous when strife occurs, have a heart that will long for reconciliation, and will do what it can to bring it about. The Kingdom Heart will seek the well-being of even our adversaries.

Christ is leading us to a level infinitely higher than the 6th commandment, not by giving us tougher laws, but by getting to the root of the matter, the heart. To be in the Kingdom of Heaven is to have a heart like someone in the kingdom.

It is to act and think like Jesus acts and thinks. But you can't decide to do it and then do it. You can't. To act like Jesus acts requires that we accept him into our hearts and we let him rule our hearts.

Now we come to the second example Christ gives us. First he addresses murder and the heart of a murderer, and now he addresses adultery and the heart of an adulterer. The same lesson awaits us here. It is not enough for someone in the Kingdom of Heaven to not commit adultery. We must acquire a heart through our union with Christ that is not an adulterous heart.

(Matthew 5:27-28 NIV) "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' {28} But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Now to modern ears this teaching of Christ seems almost ludicrous. We live in a society that has largely lost sight of the fact that the act of adultery itself is an especially terrible thing, and sexual lust saturates our society. So I think it is important that we first reinforce the biblical laws about adultery.

The 7th commandment prohibits adultery. And this prohibition is intended to prohibit more than sex outside of marriage by a married person. It is intended to prohibit any sexual activity other than marital sex, even if you are not married. So the 7th commandment includes adultery and fornication.

And the New Testament reaffirms this law. (Matthew 15:19 NKJV) "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. (Galatians 5:19-21 NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, {20} idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, {21} envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders {10} nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

--We live in a society where young people are made to feel like losers if they do not sin sexually.

--We live in a society where few people consider adultery unconditionally wrong.

The real effects of sexual sin are covered up, ignored or minimized until it is too late. Then the lie becomes all too apparent, but it is too late.

I want to spend some time talking about the fruits of adultery and fornication. God didn't restrict sex to marriage because he is a prude or he doesn't want us to enjoy life. He did it because it is only within marriage that sex fulfills all the wonderful purposes it was intended to fulfill. Here are some of the results of violating God's laws regarding sex.

Unwed Mothers

The illegitimacy rate in 1940 was 7.1 per thousand births to unmarried females; 14.1 in 1950. When effusive welfare began in 1965, it was at 23.5. In 1975, it was 24.8. By 1993, it had increased to 45.3. … In 1940, there were 54 pregnancies for every thousand teenagers. That figure climbed to 89 in 1960. It really hasn't oscillated all that much since then (1970 -- 68; 1980 -- 53; 1993 --59). …the per/thousand figures tells us nothing about the ratio of illegitimate teenage pregnancies. That "continues to soar. It reached 75.9 per cent in 1994. That surely should be a ceiling; and yet the ratio has reached 96.8 percent in the District of Columbia."

Buckley, Wm. F., Jr., Care for the illegitimate? (teenage pregnancy)(Column)., Vol. 49, National Review, 03-10-1997, pp 63(1).

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In 1991, 1.2 million children were born to unmarried mothers, within a hair of 30 percent of all live births. How high is 30 percent? About four percentage points higher than the black illegitimacy rate in the early 1960s that motivated Daniel Patrick Moynihan to write his famous memorandum on the breakdown of the black family.

Charles Murray, SOCIETY CANNOT TOLERATE ILLEGITIMACY., St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12-20-1993, pp 07B.

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Our media are very health conscious. They pushed the panic button in 1989 when a PR firm for an environmental organization persuaded them that there was a one in 200,000 chance that apples treated with Alar might cause cancer in children. …"60 Minutes" has spread the fear that amalgam dental fillings cause multiple sclerosis and that NutraSweet may cause brain tumors.

With such evidence of concern for our health, it may be hard to believe that the United States is experiencing a serious epidemic of infectious diseases that the media have overlooked. Moreover the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, says there is no organized national effort to do anything about it.

The Institute has issued a report titled "The Hidden Epidemic" that describes the explosive spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) since the 1960s. It points out that of the 10 most frequently reported infectious diseases tracked by the state health boards, in 1995 five were sexually transmitted. Those five accounted for 87 percent of the newly reported infections, but this understates the scale of the STD epidemic. Four of the most common STDs are not officially tracked. The CDC has data on them that indicate when they are included in the list of 10, seven of the most frequently reported diseases are STDs. They would account for about 94 percent of the top 10 newly reported infections.

The newly reported cases are only the tip of the iceberg. STDs are notorious for being under reported. "The Hidden Epidemic" says there are approximately 12 million new cases of STDs annually, 3 million of them among teenagers - six times the number of cases reported. Also, several STDs are incurable,and the number of people who carry and can transmit the infection is considerably greater than the number of new cases.

The Institute of Medicine puts the direct and indirect costs of STDs at $17 billion in 1994. In addition, these diseases cause untold human suffering; AIDS is not the only one that can lead to death. A fourth of the women who suffer two episodes of gonorrhea become infertile. Venereal warts, another common STD, increase the chances of a woman getting cancer of the cervix tenfold. Pelvic inflammatory disease, which is associated with chlamydia and gonorrhea, the two most common STDs, is a serious cause of female infertility and childbirth deaths.

Copyright 1997 News World Communications, Inc.

Reed Irvine / Joseph Goulden, The unreported epidemic., The Washington Times, 02-02-1997, pp 31.

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A parental affair is hard on a marriage, and anything that's hard on a marriage is hard on children. Just ask Chelsea Clinton, who is a member of a big club. Or princes Harry and William, club members, too. Depending on which statistics you like, 25 percent to 50 percent of husbands and 15 percent to 30 percent of wives have affairs at some point during their marriages. And most marriages feature children.

We asked several professionals who have counseled families blown apart by affairs to talk about the risks to children, and about what parents can do to get kids through the crisis with as little damage as possible.

"A father's affair poses particular danger to boys,'' said Michael Gurian, a family therapist in Tacoma, Wash., and author of A Fine Young Man and The Wonder of Boys. "It can give a certain permission to be sexually promiscuous, and a lot of boys are looking for that. Boys require a tremendous amount of guidance and nurturing to develop morally, and a father's affair can derail a boy's ability to form a moral system around his sexuality.''

Girls, too, are at risk, says Elise Katch, a licensed clinical social worker with a family therapy practice in Denver. "When the first trusted male in her life devastates her and lies to her, it's going to shatter a girl's future ability to trust,'' Katch said. "The father is a girl's primary role model for her future love relationships.'' Katch says girls whose fathers have affairs may choose husbands who will do the same thing, or they may never marry. "Many women make those choices without ever realizing why.''

A mother's affair is no picnic, either. "A child tends to carry the shame of the same-sex parent,'' Gurian said, "and a daughter will take on the shame of the mother.''


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The largely untold story is that fewer women--including teens--are having abortions. The abortion rate recently hit its lowest level since 1975. States reported 1.21 million abortions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1995, down from the CDC's peak tally of 1.43 million in 1990. Contrary to the arguments of some abortion-rights groups, however, the drop does not seem to stem from a decline in the accessibility of abortions. Rather, it appears that fewer women need them: Since 1990, birthrates have been going down, too, suggesting that women are not being forced to carry to term. Studies show that, prompted by the fear of AIDS, some teens are waiting longer to have sex, and more sexually active teenagers now use contraceptives than in the 1980s. What's more, despite the murder in October of Buffalo obstetrician Barnett Slepian, antiabortion violence is down from its peaks in 1992 and 1989….

The United States still has some of the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy and abortion in the industrialized world. Half of the nation's pregnancies are unintended, and, at current rates, 43 percent of American women will have at least one abortion before turning 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute….Abortions on the wane. The latest official data show abortions declining in the United States.

Legal abortions

1973 615,831

1974 763,476

1975 854,853

1976 988,267

1977 1,079,430

1978 1,157,776

1979 1,251,921

1980 1,297,606

1981 1,300,760

1982 1,303,980

1983 1,268,987


1984 1,333,521

1985 1,328,570

1986 1,328,112

1987 1,353,671

1988 1,371,285

1989 1,396,658

1990 1,429,577

1991 1,388,937

1992 1,359,145

1993 1,330,414

1994 1,267,415

1995 1,210,883


Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 Copyright 1998 U.S. News & World Report, All Rights Reserved.

David Whitman, Abortion: the untold story., Vol. 125, U.S. News & World Report, 12-07-1998, pp 20.

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…One such study has shown divorce has not just increased in the last 30 years in the United States. It has become increasingly more common in all but two of 27 countries in which divorce statistics are available, according to David Lester, lead researcher of the study published in the Journal of Remarriage and Divorce.

Divorce in America has been steadily rising for more than 150 years, he added, except during parts of the Great Depression.

The lower divorce rates during the Great Depression was an economic phenomenon, according to Marlene Lehtinen, University of Utah associate professor of sociology…

Since that period of time divorce rates of first marriages have risen to nearly 40 percent.

… the United States has had the highest divorce rate in the industrialized world throughout this century, according to Lester. He found divorce rates rose faster for those countries with a higher rate of divorce in 1950 as compared with other countries. "This suggests that as divorce becomes more acceptable, more people are likely to divorce in the future," said Robert Wood, president of FACTS Science Service.

According to Lester, social scientists have demonstrated that divorce leads to future divorce for two reasons. First, the divorced person in more likely to divorce in his or her second marriage. Second, the children of divorce are more likely to divorce when they are adults than children from intact families.

…In addition, a recent study by University of Delaware researcher Teresa Cooney suggests young adult women whose parents have divorced during recent years have poorer mental health. Children of divorced parents also do more poorly academically, behaviorally, psychologically and socially, according to Cooney.

In her study, published in the Journal of Family Issues, she found males did not differ whether they were from divorced families or not.

"However, young women were worse off in several ways," she said.

They were 50 percent more likely to believe they needed professional help and were twice as likely to believe others thought they needed it. They were also more depressed during the studies' interviews and were less likely to be satisfied with intimacy with others, compared with women raised by non-divorced parents.

Cooney explained why a difference may exist between males and females raised by divorced parents.

"Women may have greater awareness of family dynamics than men," she said. "Also, women may be more involved in mediating conflicts than men and they may be more sensitive to the feelings of both their mother and father. Thus, men may be better able to insulate themselves from the tensions in marital problems of parents."

A third study suggests not only are divorce rates increasing all over the world, but marriages may also have declined in quality over the last 10 years.

The authors of this study, Rogers and Amato, investigated the possibility that changes in the economic and social context of marriage have lowered marital quality in recent marriages. They used information from two generations, representing individuals married between 1969 to 1980 and between 1981 to 1992.

When the two groups were compared, Rogers and Amato found the younger group reported significantly lower levels of marital interaction and substantially higher levels of marital conflict and problems.

…"Interestingly, commitment to the idea of life-long marriage appeared to be stronger in the younger generation," Wood said. "Such a pattern suggests that young married people may be committed to salvaging marriage, and that reports of increased marital tensions and difficulties reflect not the struggles of an outmoded social institution, but the inherent difficulties in adapting marriage to a rapidly changing social climate."

(c) Daily Utah Chronicle via U-Wire

David Jackson, Divorce on the Rise, Marriages in Decline., University Wire, 04-30-1998.

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While the overall divorce rate is in slow decline, an increasing number of older Americans are heading for divorce court. The number of divorced Americans over 65 has nearly doubled since 1980, according to a Temple University study.

Mark Wolf; Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer, THE GRAY DIVORCEE MORE OLDER COUPLES HEADING TO DIVORCE COURT., Denver Rocky Mountain News, 05-03-1998, pp 3F.

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 Divorce statistics :Reflecting values ( USA Today )

 Americans' concerns about values are running high. But by objective measures, have the nation's values really sunk so low? Judging from a broad range of statistical measures, there's both good

news and bad news about how Americans live out what they say are their values:

% of children under 18 years living with 2 parents

1950 93%

1960 91%

1970 85%

1980 77%

1990 73%

1994 69%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Children born out of wedlock Percentage of all births

1940 3.4

1950 3.9

1960 5.3

1970 10.7

1980 18.4

1990 28.0

1991 29.5

1992 30.1

1993 31.0

1994 32.6

Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Divorces  Rate per 1,000 married women, 15 or older

1940 8.8

1950 10.3

1960 9.2

1970 14.9

1980 22.6

1990 20.7

Source: National Center for Health Statistics

 Matt Roush, Reflecting values., USA Today, 08-06-1996, pp 05A.

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 And none of these statistics and articles address what is undoubtedly the worst thing about fornication and adultery, which is the spiritual and psychological damage. We have lost the understanding of the spiritual significance of virginity and chastity. We create young people who have little sense of personal dignity. We have diminished the value of fidelity in marriage and therefore loyalty within all friendships and relationships.

And promiscuity degrades our humanity, lowering us to the level of animals. Our bodies are to be temples of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:15-20 NIV) Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! {16} Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." {17} But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. {18} Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. {19} Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; {20} you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Joseph was a young man who understood this. He did not compromise his integrity by sleeping with Potipher's wife. Mary was a young woman who understood this. She remained a virgin until she was married.


In expounding God's laws of sex, it is very easy to slip into a condemning frame of mind.

It can seem as if those who have fornicated or committed adultery are irrevocably sullied.

But this was not Christ's attitude nor his gospel. His gospel is to repent and to come to him, and he forgive us and he will create in us a new heart, a heart that is chaste and pure.

Our job is first and foremost to model sexual purity in our own lives. And then without condemnation we can stand firm for what is right and point sinners toward repentance and restoration.

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