The Sermon on the Mount Part 5

by Mike Ratliff

14 “You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14 NASB)

I am firmly in line with J. Gresham Machen’s assessment that “Liberal Christianity” is a different religion from Christianity. We see this in what it has abandoned in what it abhors in “Orthodoxy” that is exactly what makes Christianity “Christian.” Genuine Christianity is Christian because it is based upon the facts about our Lord Jesus and the message from him. True Christians love and respect and hold dear the same things he loved, respected and held dear, that is, God’s truth, which is called doctrine. In our day, as it was in Machen’s day, the liberals attempt to do away with what they call “dead orthodoxy” and get back to the primitive form of Christianity that the Church missed and has messed up with all its “Orthodoxy” for these last several millennia. In fact, they insist on totally “reforming” the church top to bottom without all this emphasis on the Bible as the infallible Word of God, which we call Sola Scriptura. The move towards that are seen in the teachings and sermons of men who keep moving their churches closer and closer to things such as tolerance for the “gay agenda” or “unmarried couples” or even looking the other way while their members and leaders have adulterous affair after adulterous affair.

One such “so-called” Christian leader in the midst of this is Andy Stanley whom my friend Ken Silva wrote about here. I found it amazing that all of this about that particular sermon hit just as I began preparing to write on Matthew 5:27-30, which deals with lust and adultery. Listening to men like Andy Stanley and those who emulate him it would seem that all this fuss about morals in the Bible is really no big deal. Really? Let’s see what our Lord Jesus had to say about that.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone looking upon a woman with a view to desire her has committed adultery already with her in his heart. 29 And if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it our and throw it from you. For it is better for you that one of your members be lost and not your whole body be thrown into Gehenna. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it from you . For it is better that one of your members be lost and not that your whole body may go into Gehenna.” (Matthew 5:17-30 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)

Our Lord was not de-emphasizing the seriousness of the command to not commit adultery, but that the looking upon another with a view to desire that person has committed adultery with that person in his or her heart already. This is a willful, calculated stare that arouses sexual desire. Our Lord Jesus is telling us that this is a form of adultery even if it is only “in the heart.” It is so serious that he gives us graphic hyperbole in v29 to demonstrate the seriousness of sins of lust and evil desire. Sin must be dealt with drastically because of its deadly effects.

All through 1 John we are told that those who practice such sins are not in Christ and that Christ is not in that person. Yes, we all sin, but those who are truly born again, those who abide in Christ will not live a life that is patterned after a lifestyle of lust and adultery and evil desire. To live that way is a marker of one who is living in the flesh, whose father is the devil, who is not regenerate.

The move in our time to open wide the doors of fellowship of our churches to same sex couples and couples who are not married, but living together, et cetera, saying that God is love and is a God of grace so those things don’t matter, obviously are ignoring Matthew 5, Romans 1,2 and of course Galatians 5:16-25.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-25 NASB)

As stated in yesterday’s post and earlier in this post, “Liberal Christianity” is a different religion from Christianity. For those reading this who are genuinely in Christ, rejoice with me that we have been made free from the bondage of our flesh and, of course, been made alive in Christ as God had mercy on us, saving us by grace through faith. He justified us as his gift to us that no one may boast. On the other hand, if you believe you can be a Christian by your own merit or according to your own religiosity on your own terms then the enemy of your soul has indeed deceived you. I pray that God will have mercy on you before it is too late.

Soli Deo Gloria!

17 thoughts on “The Sermon on the Mount Part 5

  1. Why, Mike, do you say our Lord’s commands in Matthew 5:27-30 are ‘hyperbole’? Shouldn’t we accept he meant them literally?

  2. Orthodoxy has been gone from the churches for the better part of 200 years. That is, the age of arminian decisionalism has been here as the main, increasingly with the likes of Finney, Darby, Scofield ad nosium, for the better part of 200 years. Their broader gospel, while much more orthodox then today, was the beginning of the great muck slide we see today, where the traditions of the elders is pure religion, done as a franchise in His name.

  3. To be honest, when I watched Andy Stanley’s “sermon” in that video, I didn’t recognize it as such. What ever he was selling to whatever group was not the Christian message to Christians. No, that was some other religion…

  4. When folks refuse to read the bible, yet read anything presented as christian, from anyone presenting themselves as a christian state certified preacher, with a state sponsored educational degree, and are allowed to marry and bury…Then we come to this situation. Many things done in His name that have nothing to do with Him, and worse, the education given today is of another jesus, another savior, and another gospel.
    Thus the jesus franchises being rolled out by the many denominational apostates are the very definition of the broad road to destruction that many enter in by. What else fits the great harlot and mother of all harlots but Rome? What many daughters (denominations) came out of her to co-opt the Reformation? The Jesuits are formed to bring them back under the mother harlot church! What then is the beast system that she rides? Why can’t folks see the USA in scripture?
    Think about this then…What are the 3 soverign city states of the world today? Answer Rome, the center of corrupt religion. Washington DC, the center of corrupt political/military/Nimrod Corporate rule. And lastly the City of London within London England, the center of the money changers which own the majority of the stock of the private non-government Federal Reserve of America-neither Federal nor are there any reserves! The money changers of the synogog of Satan run it. Baer/Rothshield family. The ones who have the occult symbol the “star of David” on their red shield family coat of arms for hundreds of years! Now, consider this please? Who bankrolled the modern Jewish state? Further, please look at the verses regarding the gathering in of the people of Israel in the last days….Who would do it? and How would He do it? and When would He do it? Finally, does the modern Jewish state accurately fit the prophesy?

  5. My comment wasn’t intended to be cynical or sarcastic, Mike – challenging maybe. I just think we are too quick to leap the conclusion that when we don’t like Christ’s more radical commands they must be hyperbole or are not to be taken literally. Where do we stop? Can we dismiss as hyperbole his injunction to ‘sell all we have and give to the poor’? How about becoming ‘eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom’? Or ‘giving to all who ask’ – no get-out clause there! His is a radical calling and Christians have become far too comfortable in a ‘safe’ version of Jesus’s teaching.

  6. Of course Neil, but in this case would our Lord really be advocating tearing one’s eye out or cutting one’s hand off since doing so would not really be the solution to the problem of lust? That is why we know that this is graphic hyperbole meant to demonstate the seriousness of the sins he is talking about. He is saying that it would actually be “better” to be a cripple than to bear the eternal consequences of the guilt from such sin, but you should know that actually tearing out your eye would not solve the problem because blindness is not a cure for that…right? So, what is? He is not giving us an imperative here, but an indicative of the character of those who are truly in his Kingdom. It is regeneration and abiding in him that is the only means we have of our righteousness exceeding that of the scribes and Pharisees.

  7. Thanks Mike, i was going to reply to Neil the part where Lord Jesus said “for it it is better for you that……….”
    It could be argued whether its hyperbole or parable but the meaning and teaching is still very clear no matter what. Of course Lord Jesus speaks only truth, by parable or hyperbole or literaly. Oh how our Lord and saviour fully understands our human condition and loves us and guides us, lets not split hairs over the greater truth of his love and guidance for us where there is no reason to do so.

  8. I didn’t know Andy Stanley was a liberal. Then again, I don’t listen to him. I would say a great portion of the clout to him compromising is the Almighty Dollar. It’s what I believe causing him to pacify sin such as homosexuality. Sin is sin and a great illustration along the lines of what Jesus said would be drawing the analogy of sin as compared to cancer. Cancer is no less deadly just because we have some explanation for it and nor is sin. People are trying soooooo hard not to “offend” people by calling sin what it is -SIN and we need to REPENT!

    And how do these people like Andy do that if it were cancer?? I equate the way people treat SIN just like if it were cancer. They go around and say “it’s no big deal”. Put a band-aid on it. In real life, it would be very unloving for the doctor NOT to tell you or me our (true condition) by placating the cancer or even that we have cancer and then let us DIE when the whole time He had a CURE so we could Live. People are being treated just the same with their eternal destiny. They don’t need Homosexuality placated. Then need to know their TRUE CONDITION as a sinner before a Holy, Just, and Righteous God.

    People like Andy Stanley and all others who down play SIN are doing a grave injustice to people. That’s not love.Again, If the Doctor said that you have cancer and you are going to die—you might get angry with him or even be in denial but sooner or later you have to accept the TRUTH. You Need HELP and He has a cure to keep you from dying. LET people get ANGRY but share the GOSPEL. God will handle the consequences. Jesus is the great physician and he was a straight shooter as we should be as well. In fact he said to “go and sin no more” and even exposed the error of the Pharisees until they crucified him on a Roman Cross. Tell them the TRUTH (IN LOVE).

    Jesus said to the Pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.” Basically, Jesus was saying that ALL who “THINK” they are okay and don’t need help will die because they “thought” they were just fine-“healthy”.

    Jeremiah 6:14 “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

    another deep and meaningful writing Mike..

  9. Dear Mike,
    Stuck in my car alot lately and the benefit is listening to the Bible on CD. Heard all of Hebrews today and it was a blessing.

    Most of us have contemplated Jesus suffering for our individual sins and have been grieved. Today was the first time I deeply consider “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15

    Did you ever notice how easy it is to sin:) It comes so naturally to me I hardly have to think about it. Now, to realize the sin, admit it and turn from the temptation will wear you out! [Those poor families in that video will never be ok in undealt with sin]

    We tend to think that it was a piece of cake for Jesus to overcome the temptations because He is God in the flesh, but we are reminded “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8 Further we are told “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:17-18 What a precious thought of Jesus fully understanding our plight and coming to our assistance if we humble our selves and admit our sin. May God who is rich in mercy grant us the ability to see our iniquity and turn from it.

    In the everlasting, lovingkindness of Christ, charisse

  10. Yes Charisse, that very same truth has become very “real” to me as well. This why we must have the righteousness of another and then as we become living sacrfices, we walk in repentance. Those people in Andy Stanley’s “messy” family never hear that do they? Thanks for the great comment my sister!

  11. Hi Mike, visiting again to say hi. :) Your points are all well spoken, amen. You definitely hit the nail on the head regarding the concept of “the move in our time to open wide the doors of fellowship of our churches” to those who are unregenerate… it’s been a topic I’ve been pondering lately, actually of great interest (concern, really) to me. And as God would have it, John MacA recently (re)posted an article (I think it might be an “oldie but goodie”, that’s being reposted…) on Christ building His church that I feel addresses this issue:
    http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/A119

    The problem is, many who are pastors (saved or not) are not building the church according to the Master’s plan. Sadly, Andy Stanley is not alone in doing this. The wrong direction many churches are going in, even those whose earthly shepherds are truly saved, is by making them “open” to the unredeemed, pursuing the unscriptural concept of “inviting the lost into the fold”, whether for “church growth” or for evangelism. While perhaps done out of good intentions (a desire to see people genuinely saved), it blurs the purpose of the weekly gathering of the redeemed. The worship gathering is not for evangelizing the lost, and true “church growth” will only be realized if pastors do what MacA repeated from the scriptures in his article.

    When it comes to fellowship, what has Christ in fellowship with Belial? Nothing. And even the activities in Acts 2:42, which pretty much constitute the worship gathering, are activities that are only for the redeemed. But when we try to fill our pews with the lost, well intended or not, the worship is not acceptable to our Lord. And of course by filling the assembly with the unholy mixture means we’ll be trying to appease both the lost and the saved, which will end up failing on both counts – the lost will never get convicted and saved, because they often end up coddled – and the sheep get starved, because they end up not being fed pure meat.

    Sorry if that rambled, but I hope it made sense. I pray for my pastor and my church, that we would do just as our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, commands, and then praise Him in awe as we watch HIM do mighty things in our midst.

  12. But why? Well it is a new christianity for a new man. The number of man being 666.

    Question? Do we look for a physical Israel, with a physical temple, and a physical sacrifice to be reinstated only to be forbidden a short time later? This would I guess, neccessitate God to change the way men are saved from “by faith” in the Old Covenant, and “through faith” in the New Covenant in Christ Jesus to what? Animal sacrifice in the last days? I think not!

    Are we not the temple of living stones? Then would the abomination that leads to desolation be, not in a physical temple but in a spiritual temple that worships man as god? Are we and all the elect throughout history spiritual Israel? Is there not a beast system religious counterfeit? Are we not seeing the wholesale “election” of reprobate man in the jesus franchises?.. With preachers who once seemed to preach the gospel now moving swiftly to preach a man centered gospel? Is not the deception to be so convincing that even the elect would be deceived? (if it were possible) And isn’t the way straight and narrow, with few finding it? Yet the broad way which leads to destruction a wide way that many enter in there by?

    Back to my original statement, “a new christianity for a new man!
    …and here is a link to the celebration of the transhuman:
    http://www.forcingchange.org/files/1874178/uploaded/Volme%206,%20Issue%204.pdf

    …and here are links to some of the enemy’s websites. Stay as long as you can stomach it, and here many of the same things you would hear on any given Sunday in the apostate daughter’s of Rome!
    http://www.share-international.org/index.htm
    http://www.cmn.tv/
    http://www.asktheo.com/
    http://www.lucistrust.org/en/home__1

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