Week 2 – Lust/Divorce
Read: Matthew 5:27-32 and your notes from Sunday morning’s sermon.
This week we are looking at what Jesus says about Lust and Divorce. Remember, Jesus is letting us know that there are more to each of these simple commandments than just the literal interpretation. There is a principle behind them that encompasses much more than just “you shall not commit adultery.” Jesus is concerned with the inward state of being which in turn leads to the outward action. When it comes to lust, He condemns even looking with lustful intent. Another thing to note here is that in ancient times it was generally accepted that a men could have sex with whoemever they pleased, as long as the woman was not married. Women on the other hand should always be faithful. When Jesus talks about looking at women lustfully, He is purposefully including men. He is letting everyone know both men and women should remain faithful in marriage.
In verse 30, again, Jesus is not speaking literally. The metaphor here is that although an eye may be valuable and important, it is still better to lose it rather than lose everything later on down the line. (Which is where the sin would ultimately lead.) So even if cutting out evil and sin from our lives can cost us greatly right now, we still should not compromise, no matter the cost.
Starting in verse 31 Jesus talks about Divorce. In Jewish culture, for men, divorce was just a procedure. This is where the certificate of divorce comes in. But Jesus’ view (verse 32) is that marriage was always intended to be a life long commitment. It should not be thrown away lightly just by giving your wife a certificate of divorce. Jesus goes on to lay out the highest standards for both men and women in marriage. Divorce is something that does happen, but He wants us to know that it was never meant to. We should take is seriously from the beginning.
- What is our culture’s view on lust and divorce? Is it similar to the ancient Jewish culture?
- What is a practical way we can remove sources of temptation in our lives?
- Read Malachi 2:13-16 and discuss. How does God view divorce? How does He say it will effect the children?
Feel free to discuss or ask additional questions as they arise
We are currently practicing the spiritual discipline of Service. Last week we talked about how our service to God is often found in the ordinary parts of our lives. Richard Foster in his book “Celebration of Discipline says: “But in service we must experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves. Service banishes us to the mundane, the ordinary, the trivial.” Everyone in God’s kingdom should serve regardless of authority or status.
What posture should service be done from? Often times we serve to gain a desired result, reap a reward or recognition, and often relies on a “feeling.” When we serve in this way we are robbing ourselves the opportunity to participate in true Godly service. So what does genuine service look like?
Service looks like:
- Service comes from relationship with God.
- Serving at the prompting of the Holy Spirit
- Service is often the “small things.”
- Service does not seek attention.
- Serving an enemy as freely as a friend.
- Service does not calculate results
- Serving even when there is no “feeling to serve.”
- Serving when needed and knowing when to step back.
This week think of service in two parts. First, what would be the opposites of some of these attributes of service listed above? Think about the last few times you’ve served in some capacity. Did it look more like this list or did it look different? Have you ever served in seeking recognition? What about to gain a reward or service in return? Do you pick and choose who to serve? Do you serve only when you feel like it? Were you deflated when you served and didn’t feel appreciated afterwards?
Second, if you can, think of one time where your service DID look like the list above. Was this an organized service or a simple one? My guess is that is was something simple and spontaneous. Write down what this act of service was.
Closing verse: “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’”