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Sermon 10-4-09
Exodus 20:14 - Adultery

Audio Sermon


"You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14)

Today we are taking a look at the Seventh Commandment in a series on the Ten Commandments in Scripture. “You shall not commit adultery” is also seen in Deuteronomy 5:18, reflecting the time when the Lord through Moses repeated the commandments out loud in the presence of the people of the nation Israel, suggesting they were not completely listening the first time. As humans we tend to listen, but not really hear.

A flood of promiscuity is sweeping through this world. It is similar to a vast tsunami that brings enormous destruction wherever it goes. The destructive force of it is like a signpost warning humanity that trouble is ahead on the road of life, but most do not want to read the sign and many lives are ruined as a result.

All too many people read the words, “You shall not…” or “Thou shalt not…” as it is in the King James Version of the Bible, and view it as a challenge; as though someone dared you to run a stop sign. When I was young, I smoked cigarettes for 23-years, but then with the Lord’s help at a critical point in life, I stopped smoking! Praise the Lord! But I also recall that for the next 10-years or so, I felt a strong desire to light up every time I saw a “No Smoking” sign. The word “No” is like the word “Not,” in that it tends to reveal something rebellious inside of us.

"You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14) couldn’t be more clear. The same is true for Hebrews 13:4, where it reveals God’s viewpoint on this - “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” In other words, if you don’t take faithfulness in marriage seriously, He does, and it is very dangerous for anyone anywhere to displease Almighty God.

Have you ever thought that certain diseases might be a message from God to the people of this world? What about venereal disease? How does it fit in? Is He judging us in relation to the sanctity of marriage by allowing venereal disease in the world? Certainly it is true that if we eliminated promiscuity, much of what is called “venereal disease” would begin to disappear. Let’s take two people for just a moment; a young man and a young woman and watch them as they meet and fall in love with each another. In this example, their parents had no venereal diseases of any kind and these young people were not abused as children. The two marry and they take seriously the command presented in today’s Scripture: "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14).

The wedding ceremony is beautiful and off they go to a honeymoon of discovery and wonder in the love they have for one another. Let’s also assume that even though every marriage includes some elements of misunderstanding, that they stick to their marriage vows which contain the words, “Forsaking all others.” They were and are faithful to the other person, to themselves and to God. They have sex together, but not with anyone else. What happens? If each is faithful, will they catch a venereal disease from the other? The answer is – no.

Humanity is literally a swamp, a cesspool of venereal disease. Sexually transmitted diseases with scary names like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and HIV/AIDs are high on the rather long list of STDs, and such lists seem to include genital warts and cervical cancer. Those diseases and more are everywhere and what does humanity come up with to combat them? – Condoms and screening tests. But what really works is to keep oneself unstained from what God calls “sin.” In defining “religion,” James said this: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27). Husband and Wife, by keeping yourselves "unstained," you can find happiness and you can avoid terrible diseases. And there’s a bonus - you will please God.

In what are called “sex education” classes, very little, if any time is spent on the concept of abstinence or “celibacy” as it is often called. Yet “adultery” in marriage and also promiscuity, two opposites of abstinence, can destroy you.

Marriage is God’s vehicle for enabling a man and woman to bring children into this world, and it is supposed to be a safe place where the children will be safe, loved and nurtured. The husband and wife are also to be safe and loved as well. It’s a relationship, a family, if you will, that is intended not only for the benefit, but also for the joy of all concerned.

I’ve been reading “Every Man’s Battle,” by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker (with Mike Yorkey), a book with the caption, “Winning the War on Sexual Temptation, One Victory at a Time.” Here’s what they say on Page 91 – “God’s will is for you to have sexual purity, though you may not think so since this hasn’t been your constant experience. But He HAS made a provision for that purity” (and the authors continue with the following Scriptures):

Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master because you are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:11-14).

Also – “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness” (Romans 6:18). On Page 92 of “Every Man’s Battle,” it continues, “Sexual impurity isn’t like a tumor growing out of control inside us… (It) is a series of bad decisions on our part – a result of immature character – and deliverance won’t deliver you into instant maturity. Character work needs to be doneHoliness is not some nebulous thing. It’s a series of right choices. You needn’t wait for some holy cloud to form around you. You’ll be holy when you choose not to sin. You’re already free from the POWER of sexual immorality; you are not yet free from the HABIT of sexual immorality."

It’s true that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, our sins died with Him. He was then taken into the tomb and through trusting in the Lord, we enter that tomb as well. When we trust in the Lord and accept His grace, we are “set free from sin.” We become “dead to sin (and) alive to God in Christ Jesus.” We are taken out of the tomb through faith, but our sins stay there. They died with Christ Jesus. We have a choice – we can LIVE because of the “righteousness” of God or we can continue to make the “series of bad decisions,” mentioned in “Every Man’s Battle.”

There is no doubt that we fall short of the glory of God. But the entry of the Son of God into our hearts and lives gives us for the first time the ability to resist the sin that has dominated humanity since the beginning of time. We have the Lord to help us: “If we confess our sins HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He is the Victor over “adultery” and every other sin.

Lord, we confess our sins. Please forgive us and make us clean. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

Write to: Letters@FridayStudy.org

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)

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