“Gouge and chop!” - Did Jesus really say that?
SAT Night Services//Paul & Jennifer Weaver – MP & baptism
Sometimes when someone says something it stops you in your tracks. Maybe because it’s profound, funny, or a little off. Sometimes what we say creates applause. Other times it creates boos and jeers. Sometimes what we say secures our job. Other times it leads to your dismissal – just ask Gen. Stanley McChrystal.[i] I want to share with you a few comments people have made over the years that could make you laugh, cry, or just shake your head! But all of them definitely make you think! This past Thursday was the NBA Player Draft. In 1994[ii] Jason Kidd was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks and Jason said after the draft, “We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees.” In the 1934 World Series Dizzy Dean said this after being hit on the head. “The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing.” After winning a golf tournament the Shark, Greg Norman said, “I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father.” Former NY City Mayor David Dinkins, answering accusations that he failed to pay his taxes, said, “I haven't committed a crime. What I did was fail to comply with the law.” And former Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry said, “Outside of the killings, Washington DC has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.” Doug Collins, the new Head Coach of the Philadelphia 76er’s said, “Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points they almost always win.”[iii] Well, duh! Jesus rarely made a person say, “DUH!” But his words often made people go deeper/look further than they wanted to. I believe what we are about to read this morning is one of the most bazaar statements Jesus ever said. Turn in your Bibles this morning to Matthew 5:27. You are not going to want to miss this, so if you need a Bible just raise your hand right now! Let’s read Matthew 5: 27-30. If you are a guest today I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we have lunch scheduled for you today. Right around 12 N will gather in the Global Café to eat – it might give you a great opportunity to ask a few questions. The bad news is that this morning’s sermon topic might make you a little uncomfortable. This morning we’re going to talk about LUST! But here’s my promise. At this church we talk about reality. The stuff of life! We preach the entire Bible – I mean eventually – and we emphasize the words of Jesus! So again - look at Matthew 5:27. Jesus goes back to the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. In verse 21 he references Commandment #6. Do not murder! Now he moves to Commandment #7 found in Exodus 20:14. Do not commit adultery! Remember, everything Jesus says from verse 21 to verse 48 is hinged on verse 20 in Matthew 5. (Read vs. 20) The Pharisees – better known as the religious leaders, only concerned themselves with the act. You either are an adulterer or you are not an adulterer. There’s no in between. And if you happen to be in the clear on this one – I have never slept with someone else’s wife or husband – you might tend to sport a tude – an attitude - an attitude of supremacy. “God, you must be so happy to have someone like me! One who’s never murdered – one who’s never committed adultery!”
So Jesus decides to level the playing field. Take to heart what Jesus says in verse 28. That’s the real intention of the law. It’s NOT just doing something – it’s why we do something. To any married man here this morning – I dare you to walk up to your wife and say – “Honey, isn’t it great – I’ve only slept with you. Now I think about sleeping with practically every woman I see, but they’re just eye candy - I’m sure that’s no big deal to you!” Husbands, stop right there - don’t say another word. Sometimes words just make it worse. A correction notice was printed in the Ely Standard, a British newspaper, which said. “We apologize for the error in last week's paper in which we stated that Mr. Arnold Dogbody was a defective in the police force. We meant, of course, that Mr. Dogbody is a detective in the police farce.”[iv] It’s best the editing department just stop there. Sometimes words can only get you so far. At least, that’s what Jesus says! Actions must always accompany our words. Let’s spend the rest of our time this morning answering one question. How can we win the battle over lust? My mind functions better when I start with a definition. Look again at verse 28. Here are two great online Bible study resources - www.e-sword.net and www.blueletterbible.org help you see that the word “lustfully” is the phrase “to lust” and it means “to set your heart upon, to long for, to covet or desire.”[v] The word “looks” really seals the definition. “Looks” is a present participle and that indicates “a continued action.”[vi] According to Jesus there’s a big difference between a “look” and a “looooook!” Are there any single women here? Ladies, if you are dating a guy and you are walking together somewhere and a woman walks past you and your boyfriend turns around and “looooooks” at her. Dump him. I meant it. Dump him cold. He’s giving you a clear indication of his heart. Now if your husband or wife – women lust to – if either does that – you remember commandment #6 – Do not murder and you strongly encourage them to take Jesus’ words seriously! Go back to verses 28&29. Jesus answers our question, “How can we win the battle over lust?” And I do not like his answer. Did you catch his answer? He wants us to gouge and chop! Not literally, but yes – figuratively. When I say the Indians are the worst team in baseball – sorry – bad example – they are the worst team in baseball – that’s literal. But when I say, “this traffic light is taking forever.” No it’s not. “I’m going to choke you if you don’t listen to me.” No, I’m not. That’s figurative language. Jesus – very powerfully says – when it comes to lust in your heart – there’s one answer. You have to ACT! That is we must choose to act (Do something) if we want to be free. Did you notice what two body parts Jesus refers to in verses 29 & 30? The eye and the hand. And not just any eye or hand. The right eye and right hand. “In Jewish culture “right” represented a person’s best.”[vii] Sorry lefties! With our eyes we see and with our hands we touch! Here’s our first action step in winning the battle over lust! Act as if you have one less eye – as simple as it sounds – simply stop looking. Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker in their book, Every Man’s Battle, calls this “Bounce your eyes.” Here’s how it works. Don’t let your eyes settle too long on any person of the opposite sex. My kids like to swim. Truth is – I do too. When I’m in the pool. I do not wear my glasses. I’m nearsighted. If you ever see me at the pool and you’re waving, “How ya doing Greg?” I may not answer you, because I can’t see you! For me not seeing a bunch of bikini clad ladies is best! But eliminating one eye is not going to eliminate lust! A blind man or woman can still lust because of a wonderful gift called imagination. Jesus says we must take our eyesight even deeper. Our eyes connect with our thoughts. What is our greatest sex organ? It’s not one of our “private parts.” It’s where we house “private thoughts.” It’s our brain! I now have a new cell phone package. I clicked on the Internet and saw a channel called “Get Channels.” So I clicked it. One of those channels was titled “Most Popular. So I clicked it and one was labeled “Hotties.” Hot pics of cool chicks. And we are not talking poultry hereJ If I wanted to I could have nude photos sent to me via my phone to look at any moment of any day! Jesus warns us. When we do things like that – when we lust – we commit adultery in our hearts. Jesus asks, “Do you want to be free?” Then get radical. Cut them off. Cut them out of your life – through the power of the HS stop looking! Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, co-authored a book called, “Every Young Man’s Battle.” Arterburn compares lust to a big sumo wrestler. How can you stop the sumo? Starve him![viii] Stop looking! Cut off his supply. Whatever it takes – cut off the Internet, stop going to movies, cancel subscriptions - take off your glasses – realize lust is a fantasy. No one’s body looks that good! Look at what computers can do! (Images) Computers and photos and romance novels can feed a fantasy that’s not there. First Jesus says eye. Stop looking. Then Jesus says hand. Stop touching. Jesus creates a “no touch zone.” Paul’s words to Timothy changed my thoughts concerning lust. Go to 1 Timothy 5:1-2. Start looking at people of the opposite sex as family. I can’t lust after a sister. That’s nasty. We have two groups of people in this room – single and married. If you are dating – keep in mind the “no touch” zone. If you are married – by all means – TOUCH! Be an ally in this battle to overcome lust! The world says that marriage is boring – affairs are exciting – you expend so much energy sneaking around. Prove people wrong. Mike Breaux told this story, “Two co-workers – one male and one female have to travel to Colorado for business. They fly into Denver and rent a car. On their way to a client they get lost on some lonely, back woods road in the snow. Now they are stuck – physically. The car won’t move, but they notice a cabin up on a hill not too far from the road. So they hike their way up to the cabin. This place looks like it was built for stranded travelers. There are two floors. One top, one bottom. They find one cot, several blankets and one ratty sleeping bag. So the guy suggests to this woman. You sleep on the 2nd floor. I’ll stay on the first! I’ll take the sleeping bag and you use the blankets. She says, OK! It’s now dark and they decide to go to bed. She’s shivering in her blankets and he’s sweating in his sleeping bag. She calls down to him. I’m so cold. Are there more blankets? He’s says, yes. He takes her another blanket and tucks her in. 5 minutes later she asks again, are there more blankets I’m still cold? So he takes here another blanket. Finally five blankets later she’s still too cold. So he suggests from his sleeping bag – do you want to pretend that we’re married? I mean after all there’s no one here. No one else will know. And she says, Yes, let’s pretend we’re married. And he yells, “Then go get your own blanket!”[ix] Marriage does not have to end up like that! But you have to put some effort into your marriage to keep it exciting!
I was cleaning out my car the other day. I came across a little pull out drawer compartment I have not looked in well, forever. Do you know what I found? I found an expired Imitrex tablet. Do you know what Imitrex is for? It’s for migraine headaches. I suffered with migraines headaches for nearly 20 years. That tablet reminded me that I’m free. I really am. I haven’t had a migraine headache in maybe 7 years? Migraines are awful. When I went through a migraine I thought I was going through hell. Jesus spoke about hell all the time. But that did not make Jesus a hellfire and brimstone preacher. The truth is Jesus wants US to experience heaven not hell! Do you want to be free? Do you really want to be free? Then take sin as seriously as Jesus does! Stop looking and stop touching what Jesus deems out of bounds and start looking and start touching what brings freedom.
My friend Mark Moore said, “The only real solution to sin is death!”[x] Jesus said it, If you die to yourself – your thoughts, rights and solutions – and live my way - you’ll be free! Allot of my friends are ministers. Guess what is practically the first question anytime we get together? “So how’s your church doing?” It would be easy to say, well, VBS was crawling with kids, our café is cool and we have an indoor play land. But that’s not really important – is it. What I want to say is, “We’ve had so many people who’ve struggled with lust But now they’re free! Are you?
[v] www.e-sword.net / lustfully / to lust
[vi] Mark E. Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 176
[vii] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 1-7, 304
[ix] Mike Breaux, Seriously-Gouge Out your Eye, Sermon Transcript, June 28, 2008
[x] Mark E. Moore, The Chronological Life of Christ, 177