Well, I have been at Westbury now for nearly a year. Everyone has been great. We've made so many good friends, seen so many great things happen...and it's only beginning. But now, this Sunday, I'll get to see how much you all really like me as your pastor. Now, I dive into dark, dangerous and controversial waters. This Sunday, we'll be talking about sex, lust, marriage and divorce...places where angels fear to tread. Fortunately, I have the words of Jesus Himself on the subject, from Matthew 5:27-32, and I will stick as closely as possible to what He said, not trying to give my own opinion. Still, I know how people feel about the bearer of bad news. So this Sunday, think of my children. They're cute and sweet and adorable, aren't they? You wouldn't want anything bad to happen to their daddy, would you?
I jest, of course. Although the things we'll be talking about Sunday will be uncomfortable for us to hear, and some might disagree with my interpretations in this place or that, I know this congregation well enough by now to know I won't be taken out and stoned (right?). At any rate, this won't be a sermon that will leave its listeners struggling to stay awake.
I am approaching this passage with a belief that the lust issue and the divorce issue are linked. In both cases, Jesus was talking about His original vision in creation for sexual relationships. When we vary from that purpose, massive destruction is the result. On the other hand, the response of the Church for much of history--a repressive, prudish judgmentalism, has done more harm than good in restoring sex to its proper place. So how would God have His children behave? That's the topic of the entire Sermon on the Mount. We'll see specifically how that applies to sexual purity.