Matthew 5:25-26 “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.”
I want to start out with a link to a post that almost coincides with this installment of this series of posts.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of disputes that begin over something frivilous and escalate to ridiculous extremes. Sometimes an observing party will interject “you know, it’s really not a big deal.” This is often responded to “that’s not the point! It’s the principal of the matter.” The result can be a breaking of a friendship or even a family because someone had their feelings hurt or something was done that may have been wrong but they refuse to apolagize and/or the other person cannot forgive them. Pride gets in the way and relationships come undone.
In the above passage, Jesus admonishes us to be of an agreeable nature. Not to compromise our faith, but to make peace when peace can be made. If we’ve committed a wrong toward another, resolve it quickly lest we find ourselves in a situation “spiraling out of control,” that we cannot win. Likewise, to strive live peaceably with all, even if we must absorb a wrong that was done toward us. Personally, I would rather be at peace with another than to score points at the cost of a friendship. Especially if the person is unsaved and I’m the only ambassador for Christ that they know. Just as we daily choose to follow Jesus, we daily choose to live peaceably with those around us.
Just a side thought here. The more that we go through scripture, the more we realize just how contrary to God we really are in our fallen state. So focused on fulfilling our own desires that everyone else and everything else takes a back seat. If everyone were to suddenly love their neighbor as themselves, all of the strife in the world would be gone overnight. Of course this will not happen until Jesus returns; thereby revealing the truth that this world is in complete opposition to Gods perfect will. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away sin.
II Corinthians 5:16-17 “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Woo Hoo! This is such a familiar, and yet, powerful passage. As we venture into the next series of verses, it becomes increasingly evident that sin goes much deeper than what a person does or doesn’t do. It’s root is in the heart and that root, coupled with a fallen nature, will produce fruit.
Matthew 5:27-28 “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath commited adultery with her already in his heart.”
In other words, if we should notice a member of the opposite sex, and commence allowing the imagination to wander into thoughts of engaging in sexual activity, in the eyes of God, it’s the same as though we have commited the very act. (as for looking at a member of the same sex, I refer to Romans 1:26-28) It’s common for married couples to say to each other “You can look, but don’t touch.” (If I had a quarter for every time I’ve heard that) Not so according to scripture. Physical adultery is the manifestation of something that has already taken place in the heart. This sermon; when Jesus first gave it, was radical. It was completely in opposition to the worlds view on things. Today in 2007, it’s every bit as radical, and yet every bit as true. This next passage goes on to describe just how serious sin is.
Matthew 5:29-30 “And if thine right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thine right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”
Looking and touching; both are addressed here. Basically, if we had a problem in this area and had to put our eye out in order for it to no longer be a problem, that would be much better than continuing in sin and being cut off from God for eternity. Too many of us, including myself, fail to grasp just how serious rebellion is; that being engaging in activities which are contrary to Gods holy nature. Adultery is contrary to God and hurtful to the person whose spouse is looking for fulfillment in another. The institution of marriage was established in Genesis 2:24, when there were only two people in the world. While this conversation has geared toward adultery, forication is every bit as sinful; being the perversion of something that God intended to be as a bond between two people who are committed to each other until parted by death.
I’m wondering if a post on fornication is in order at some point. Ours is a society where “everybody does it” and hardly anyone talks about it. When listening to the current generation, it becomes obvious that, for many, there’s no moral compass in their lives. My friend at work has a former girlfriend who was a second-generation loon because her parents were were first-generation loons. She was raised in an environment where drug use was rampant, nothing was wrong and looking out for “me” was all that mattered. She is now 26 years old, has one kid with one on the way, and is incapable of functioning in society. These kids bear the brunt of faulty decision making on the part of their parents. (My friend is not the father of either child) As touching fornication/adultery, I refer to a warning from Jeremiah along with the “very practical” passages that we were given at the hand of Paul.
Jeremiah 5:8 “They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbors wife.”
I Corinthians 7:2 “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every man woman have her own husband.”
I Corinthians 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better for them to marry than to burn.”
Fornication is one of the key factors that led to my season of rebellion. A redirecting of my focus from keeping the Lord Jesus first in my life and allowing the old man to reassert himself. Praise God that, despite my years of rebellion, I have a wonderful faithful wife of 15.5 years, who puts up with my continual blogging. (lol) While we’ve seen others marry, divorce, remarry, redivorce, and keep a lover or two on the side, we’ve had no problems of that nature.
Well, I’m not going to get to verses 31 and 32, even though they should be included with this post. Adultery is in direct contrast to loving our neighbor as ourself. It’s a purely self-centered and self-pleasing act that severely hurts the person whom we promised to love honor and cherish till death do us part. Our culture seems to almost encourage such activity (“Desperate Housewives!” I’ve never seen it but I’m certain that the title says it all.) I’m trying to cut down on the size of posts, but so far it’s not transpired. So until next time, I wish to all a most blessed day in Jesus.
Revelation 22:14-15 “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates of the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”