North Anderson Baptist Church
The Problem Is the Heart, Part 2
Locations & Times
  • North Anderson Baptist Church
    2308 N Main St, Anderson, SC 29621, United States
    Sunday 10:30 PM
One night, while it was hot and somewhat late, a man took a stroll out on the balcony of his home. It was a time when he was alone and had not been thinking about his work but his own needs. While on the balcony he noticed a beautiful woman on adjacent balcony, relaxing taking a bath, while she was thinking that she was unseen but all along being watched by the man close by. His eyes were hungry for her as he watched her undress and bath in full view of him, she was unaware of his lustful stares.

Thus began the sinfulness of David and Bathsheba. In his heart David having seen her naked body wanted her for himself and because he was the king he would get what he wanted.

This is how it starts for most people. Adultery is but a look away. A man or woman gets a glance of something sexual or enticing to them physically and their mind and heart begins to wander, seeking personal pleasure at another’s expense. It could be a glance toward another that says “I am interested in you” or it could be a quick look at a magazine with one nude photo or scantily clad person, which is quite enough to stimulate the deep lustful feelings or maybe it is reading a romance novel or watching a movie or tv show that has scenes that begin to bear the fruit of sin. There are so many ways a person could stir the thoughts and actions of lust and adultery that we could not name them all.

In the passage for today, Jesus speaks of the original Law of Moses that commands against committing adultery. But then Jesus expands the thought to the original intent of the commandment from God. He adds that if there is “lust” in a person’s heart when looking at a woman (or we can say a man or anything that would constitute bringing on lustful feelings) then they have committed adultery in their heart already before they ever actually do the very deed of adultery.

We are going to look at these two subjects today: adultery and lust.
1. Adultery (v. 27) - What is adultery; how is defined by the Bible?

* “The Old Testament law said that it is wrong for a person to have sex with someone other than his or her spouse (Exodus 20:14).”

* Even in the case of divorce some scholars say that “To leave your spouse for another person may be legal, but it is adultery in God's eyes. As you think about marriage, remember that God intends it to be a permanent commitment.”

* These following words have been used to describe adultery: betrayal, sexual immorality and unfaithfulness.

It is clear then, that having a sexual relationship with anyone, male or female, outside of marriage (before, after or during), either with a married person or a non-married person outside of your own marriage, it will be considered adultery.

Jesus has said that the Bible says the act of adultery is sin. If you commit adultery then you will know the judgment of God. The thing that Jesus does that draws such attention to His words is that He clarifies, like He did when speaking about murder, that when you have lust in your heart then you are guilty already of having committing adultery and will be judged as well.
2. Lust (v. 28) - is defined as craving, desire and passion.

“The desire to have sex with someone other than your spouse is mental adultery and thus sin—if the act is wrong, then so is the intention. Jesus is not condemning natural interest in the opposite sex or even healthy sexual desire, but the deliberate and repeated filling of one's mind with fantasies that would be evil if acted out.” That is why pornography is such a dangerous thing. It brings the lust of one’s heart towards someone, constantly filling one’s heart and mind with fantasies, that if acted out would be down right evil.

When we look at the passage about the children of Israel in the desert, found in Numbers 11:4-35, we see the lusting after food. “Lust can destroy any normal desire. Craving or lusting is more than inappropriate sexual desire. It can be an unnatural or greedy desire for anything (sports, knowledge, possessions, influence over others). In this circumstance, God punished the Israelites for craving good food! Their desire was not wrong; the sin was in allowing that desire to turn into greed. They felt it was their right to have fine food, and they could think of nothing else. When you become preoccupied with something until it affects your perspective on everything else, you have moved from desire to lust.”

Let’s look at the example of Samson. From Judges 16:1-22 we see the crafty Delilah try to trick Samson and because he can’t keep his lust in check he gives in to her demands.
Lust becomes deadly and sin finds its way to death.

In James, he has something to tell us about this lustful sinful desire of mankind.
We can see that lust is a deadly thing in the heart of man or woman.

“Lust is often used as an excuse for further sin. Some think that if lustful thoughts are sin, why shouldn't a person go ahead and do the lustful actions too? Acting out sinful desires is harmful in several ways:

(1) it causes people to excuse sin rather than to stop sinning;

(2) it destroys marriages;

(3) it is deliberate rebellion against God's Word; and

(4) it always hurts someone else in addition to the sinner.
Sinful action is more dangerous than sinful desire, and that is why desires should not be acted out. Nevertheless, sinful desire is just as damaging to righteousness. Left unchecked, wrong desires will result in wrong actions and turn people away from God.
Warren Wiersbe says that this law that Jesus affirms, the law of purity, He basically explains the intent of the law, which was to reveal the sanctity of sex and the sinfulness of the human heart. “God created sex and God protects sex. He has the authority to regulate it and to punish those who rebel against His laws. He does not regulate sex because He wants to rob us, but rather, because He wants to bless us.”

Remember the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8? Jesus was teaching several lessons through this just accusation but how unjustly her case was revealed. This woman was caught breaking this commandment of committing adultery. The Jews were furious that she was caught committing adultery, although it was most assuredly a trap against Jesus. They all wanted her to be put to death. Jesus thought a different way. He ended up asking all those who have never sin to be her judge. You know they couldn’t throw a rock at her because they knew they were sinners too. In fact, I bet there were several who had either committed adultery with this woman or had at least lusted after her in their heart. Isn’t it just like Jesus to remind us that we are all sinners and in need of being forgiven by God. Also it might help some of us to recognized that Jesus told her to go and sin no more. She was forgiven and we can too be forgiven when we sin.

Sexual impurity starts in the heart. We all know that the lustful desire in the heart is not the same as the lust acted upon in committing adultery but spiritually speaking they are equivalent When Jesus talks about the “look” He is speaking of a desire to lust after someone, looking with the sole purpose of lusting! This look is for the purpose of feeding that inner desire of sensual appetites which are substituted for the act of adultery, that is lusting after a woman. This look is not just a glance but a longing after which is planned for the purpose of lusting. Warren Wiersbe Vol 1

Rabbinical saying: “The eye and the heart are the two brokers of sin.” (Robertson)
3. Going to the extreme (Vv.29-30)

29 “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

“Cause you to stumble… or sin,” one writer says it means to “ensnare you.” Like setting a trap or a snare for someone. Maybe you have seen the traps of the hunter trying to get small prey by using a trap that has a stick at the opening and when the prey is in the trap after touching the stick, it falls, and ensnares the animal.

If the eye and the hand causes you to sin what do you do?

Jesus uses these two images not to say that you should do to them what He says but to give to us the powerful image of self-mastery. One writer named Bengel says: “It is not mutilating the body that Christ is enjoins, but control of the body against sin.”

“The man who plays with fire will get burned. “Modern surgery illustrates this idea of Jesus. The tonsils, the teeth, the appendix, to go no further, if left diseased, will destroy the whole body.” Cut them out and the body will be saved.” (Robertson)

I hope you realize that this action Jesus speaks of is not to be literal because even if you gouged out an eye or cut off a hand the desire in the heart would still be there. No. Jesus is speaking of purifying the appetites of a person, disciplining our lives to become pure.

I think when the “world” reads that we should discipline our appetites it would say… “Why? Why do you need to do that, just go for it and let it happen. There is no need for discipline and really that can never happen because the appetite is so great you can’t control it.”

This controlling needs to be done right away as well. You can’t just taper off, you need to be decisive...cut it off!

Wiersbe says that’s spiritual surgery, it is more important than physical surgery, for the sin of the body can lead to eternal judgment.
You can see how much the Word of God speaks of such heart problems. Jesus wanted to remind us that God’s intent was that we would be pure and righteous before Him. He never intended that we gouge out our eyes or cut off our hands because we sinned but what He desired was that we would see the only way to be pure was from the heart that was controlled by the Holy God, through the grace of God, by the sacrifice of the Son of God who is living in us by faith.

I would like to say something that many people think about but we rarely address. What part do those who wear provocative clothing play in the cause of lust? Whenever we cause others to sin then we have truly sinned too. One of the problems of our society is that we believe we can do anything we want and nothing is out of bounds for us. I beg to differ. Children are taught by parents or in some cases not taught, but the way children dress can be controlled by adults who are responsible parents in light of how their children appear in this regard. Boys and girls are both a part of this problem and it seems that there is little shame or embarrassment in the lives of some who dress this way. I would say as well, that there are adults who do not have decent standards for themselves and so how can we expect their children or others who follow them, to have decent standards. Give heart to how you dress and ask this, “Lord, am I representing you with honor and humility by the way I act and dress? Does it bring you glory?”

We must give up everything thing that would lead us into temptation to sin. We must stay away from any activity or any person that stirs up sinful desires of lust in our hearts.

All people are sinners, (Romans 3:10, “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one…”

Men's hearts are filled with evil desires. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

All men deserve the death sentence because of sin. We cannot save ourselves. That is why Jesus had to die for us. In order to save us, it was necessary for an innocent and sinless man to take our punishment. God cannot stand sin. He is completely holy (1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”).

He must punish sin; therefore, He punished Jesus in our place. It was because of our sin that Jesus came to earth.
Therefore, when we preach the Gospel we must begin with man's sin and with man's condemnation because of sin. This is how the preaching in the New Testament began—"Repent" (see Mark 1:4, 15; Acts 2:38). No one can be saved unless he first realizes that he is a sinner who needs salvation. We must confess the sin in our heart. We must confess not only big sins, but little sins as well. We must confess not only sinful actions, but also sinful thoughts and desires. And when we have confessed and repented, God will forgive and cleanse us. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”) He will give us a new mind and a new heart through the Holy Spirit.
Let us go back to David’s sin of heart and body. When David was confronted with his sin through the witness of Nathan the prophet, David confessed his sin and spoke directly to God and we see his conversation and repentance in Psalm 51. I encourage you today to read that Psalm and meditate on it for your own soul. Maybe it will help you as you seek to repent of the sin in your life.

If you have never confessed your sins and committed yourself to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by faith, you can do it today. In fact, you can do it right now! Pray this prayer with me. Dear Lord, I have sinned against you and I now come confessing my sins and telling you that I am a sinner and I repent and desire as well as need your forgiveness. Accept my surrender to your Lordship and I will follow you all the days of my life.

If you are saved but you know that you have been living with sin, maybe a lustful sin, then confess that sin to the Lord Jesus and accept His forgiveness and begin again new and fresh.


Dear friend if you are reading this by way of the internet please know that you are loved and cared for. If you have no relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, then I invite you to trust Him by faith and receive Him as your personal Savior. Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of everyone in the world that they may have eternal life. All of us have sinned and all are guilty before Almighty God who made us to have fellowship with Him. But sin broke that ability to have a relationship and Jesus has restored the possibility to know God personally through His sacrifice. Please know that if you will seek God and turn from your sin and pray He will respond with His love and give to you a personal relationship through your belief in His Son and the sacrifice He made just for you. He will call for a change in your life too. He wants you to follow Him, not the world, not your own desires, but to follow Jesus. That brings a life change when you turn from sin and self and by faith believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. There is no Savior without Him being Lord of your life. Your willingness to change by following Him daily in your life will be the proof of your faith. When life throws its curves your way and you have found yourself broken by others or by the world let us introduce you to the only One who can help you…Jesus! You can write or call the office and we will follow up by contacting you. Office phone number is 864-225-2575 and the website address is and the physical address is 2308 N. Main St., Anderson, SC 29621. Dear friend if you are a believer and you have been touched by the Lord and you would like to talk to someone at the church just contact us in one of the ways you see above. If you are a believer and would like to talk about the church and your interest in being a part, please call and we can set up an appointment for you and get to know you. It would be a great pleasure to share our Lord’s love with you. This is a loving church and you are important to us, so please let us know what we can do for you in the Lord.Pastor Bill Rigsby