Adultery, Loyalty, and Love

Scripture: Exodus 20:14
Date: 05/25/2013 
The seventh commandment about adultery forbids not only acts of impurity, but also thoughts leading to it. Christ declared that the evil thought is as sinful as the actual unlawful deed.
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Good morning. You may have noticed we've got the props of the Ten Commandments here on the platform and that's because we're right now in the very middle of a series of presentations dealing with the words that God spoke with his own mouth and he wrote with his own finger. the Lord did something new. He did something extraordinary when he gave the ten commandments because it is a perfect expression of his will for man. And so we're continuing with our series talking about these 'laws of love and liberty' and today, in particular, we are on commandment number 7.

Some of you, if you know your Bibles and if you learned this growing up and going to church you know what that is. It's only five words. Now sometimes people leave one of those words out - "thou shall not commit adultery." You know, it's possible to be distracted to death. That's right. I understand, every year, around North America and probably many parts of the world, that the casualty of deer spikes.

Just in Illinois, for instance, they report more than 17,000 deer die each year after being struck by motorists in cars. Most of the time it's in the fall. Do you know why? That's when the bucks are going through the rut season. They are preoccupied with mating and because of that preoccupation and they become so concerned about their territory and they can become so concerned about other bucks, they'll get engaged in either fighting another buck or following a doe and they don't even care if a semi's coming down the road. And they get to where they are distracted to death.

Unfortunately this problem does not just happen with deer and it doesn't just happen with bucks. It happens with human bucks and does. They can become so preoccupied with the opposite sex that it becomes spiritually fatal. And you can find the record of this in the Bible. Of course, the command - Exodus 20:14, "thou shall not commit adultery.

" And it's appropriate for us to have a definition for that. Now, this is a delicate sermon for me to share because it's in the Bible and the subject is all through the Bible but, of course, we have young members that are here today. I remember one time that a father was coming home from church and a pastor had just preached about 'thou shalt not commit adultery' and the 6-year-old boy, on his way home, he said, 'now dad, exactly what does it mean 'thou shall not commit agriculture'? And The Father didn't want to go into too much detail and he told his son, 'it means you're not supposed to be plowing in another man's field'. And that seemed to satisfy everybody. So I'll do my best to be delicate but some places I'll have to be very plain.

Let's face it, friends, the kids today know a lot more than they did one or two generations ago because it's everywhere. And so, what is adultery? Definition - and there's a distinction between the words 'adultery' and 'fornication', they both fall under the seventh commandment. Adultery is a voluntary sexual intimacy between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse. Whereas fornication is sexual intercourse between partners who are not married to each other. And both are clearly forbidden in the Bible.

You can find, for instance, in Galatians 5:19, "now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication" - right there he makes a distinction, doesn't he? - "Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness," - and that's talking about obscene behavior - dirty jokes is lewd behavior." 1 Corinthians 6, verses 9 and 10, "do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites...will inherit the kingdom of God." - And I want to include so that people don't lose hope - "and such were some of you." - Paul writes to the corinthian church. They had all kinds of problems there. Not only with homosexuality but with fornication, with adultery - and then Paul goes on to say, "and such were" - past tense - 'you. But you've been washed, you've been sanctified, you've been cleansed through power of God.

' And so as we talk about this subject - as with the other sins - you know, when we talk about the Ten Commandments, none of them are called the unpardonable sin. But they are called sin and sin is deadly if it is not repented of and forsaken. Jesus came to save us not in our sins but the angel said he came to save us from our sins and this is one of those sins - adultery. Proverbs 6, verse 32, "whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul." It not only has sometimes physical ramifications and social ramifications, it definitely has spiritual ramifications. The prodigal son, when he left his father he wasted his substance among harlots.

One of the things that often is part and parcel from drifting from God is moral drift. And, you know, men and women in the Bible - there's a pretty sordid history - you've got the wisest man that ever lived - what was his name? Aside from Jesus. Solomon, right? What ended up happening to him? He loved many women and they drew his heart away. He got into trouble. Strongest man who ever lived - what was his name? (Sampson) God gave him supernatural strength and he could kill a thousand philistines with the jawbone of a donkey and yet he was overcome by one seductress.

What was her name? Everyone knows delilah's name, right? Anyone out here name their daughter delilah? Or jezebel? No one ever picks those names for some reason. And then David, a man after God's own heart. And it wasn't just David, it was David and what's her name? Bathsheba. You've got a history all through the Bible of these things and you find it in the new testament as well. Marriage is a perfect plan for God.

It's his original plan. In the beginning God said it was not appropriate - and this is in Genesis chapter 2, verse 18, "...not good that man should be alone." And that's speaking about mankind. Man is complete when you have a man and a woman. Men and women are very different - contradictory to the social nonsense we're being told through media - that there's only a few little plumbing differences. Men and women are very different.

We're different in the way we think. We're different in our temperaments and a number of ways physiologically - it's not just the chromosomes - and the way our brains work are very different. And in order for man to be complete in the image of God, it is a man and a woman make a family. I heard someone just recently say, 'well there's nothing in the commandment about adultery that says that a man must marry a woman. I said, 'no, that's in the commandment immediately before that - or at least commandment five - when it says 'honor your father and mother' - God's established what the - the appropriate combination is supposed to be, amen? But once that marriage has happened, it is not to be violated.

It's part of God's perfect plan. The Bible tells us, in Genesis 2:24, "therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined" - or cleave - "to his wife," - that means be glued unto his wife - "and they shall become one flesh." Not only do they become one in purpose, but then through their act of love they are given the incredible divine privilege and responsibility of procreating in their own image and in their children they are one. You are the result of the oneness of your father and your mother. Everybody here - you may not have met them. You might have been adopted but you had a father and a mother.

It's the combination of those chromosomes that made you unique. And this was God's design for the family. Now marriage is not something that God created - this institution of marriage is not something God invented to cope with sin. Keep in mind, marriage was part of God's perfect plan. It had nothing to do with redemption.

It was a sacred ordinance of God when we had a perfect world and it is still part of his perfect plan. Marriage doesn't have to do with being saved because man had not fallen yet when God introduced marriage. It's something that is holy because it existed before there was even sin in the world. And when we're invited to participate in marriage and we make these covenants - it's not just a promise, it's a covenant with another person before witnesses in the presence of God. While I'm on the subject of marriage ceremonies, you want to hear an interesting story? The most married man in the world - yugoslavia - a lady was telling her cousin, also a female, that she was getting married.

She told her very quietly, she said, 'I'm sorry I can't invite you. I'm marrying a man who's extremely timid. He is very shy. He is such a private man, but he loves me and we're getting married in a private ceremony. I just wanted to let you know.

' Well, her cousin became suspicious and she found out where it was and she waited outside and when her cousin came out from the wedding she got a good look and, sure enough, it was her husband - along with 48 others that he had married around the country. He told them all, 'I'm very shy.' And he was a traveling salesman. And, evidently, he made a lot of money because he was supporting them all. And he just kept getting on trains and planes and going from town to town and he had a wife in every town - 50 of them. He was finally arrested and put in jail - and he seemed very happy when he was in jail.

Matter of fact he said, 'please don't let me out.' Because he was more afraid of what was going to happen to him now that the truth was out among his 50 wives. But that sort of is indicative of what is happening in our culture. Now that record, since I first saw this amazing fact, may have been broken already. We've got some people in hollywood that are well on their way to break the record. But that's not God's plan.

God's plan was that marriage was to be a permanent institution. There are cases where it's appropriate to remarry and there are even cases where biblically it's appropriate to divorce. Matter of fact, one of the most common questions we get on Bible answers live - we have to be very careful when we do this radio question program where we invite people to call in their Bible questions. As soon as we get a question about marriage and adultery and remarriage, all the phones begin to light up with that question and all of a sudden our Bible answer program turns into a marriage counseling program. And so, we have to start reminding people, you know, we don't want to make this the only focus.

But we had so many questions that a little more than a year ago I wrote a book so that we could send it to people because so many people - a lot of these are Christians. I wish I could tell you the statistics among Christians are real different from the world but they're not. It is true that among Christians that regularly attend church, there is a lower - praise God - divorce rate. But the people who do the surveys, they don't ask that question, they ask the question about 'do you claim to be a Christian?' And then they start looking at the statistics and then they find that the rate for divorce, which is about 48% of first marriages around North America is just about as bad in the church as it is in the world. That's really sad when you think about it.

It's only slightly better among those who regularly attend church. So I wrote a book on this, it's called 'the Bible on marriage, divorce, and remarriage' and so we made it so we could send it out to people because we had so many questions. It's a complicated subject too. What are the appropriate grounds for divorce? And if you do not have appropriate biblical grounds, Jesus said it's adultery. Well, we'll get into that.

I'm getting ahead of myself now. So, God has made marriage as part of his perfect plan and he has created us with a desire for the opposite sex, partly to procreate. You know, if it wasn't for that sexual desire, virtually none of us would be here. Isn't that right? And if it wasn't for hunger, you probably wouldn't be here also. God gave you the desire to hunger for food or you would eventually die out.

And he also planted within us this healthy, holy desire for sex that, governed by a sanctified mind, is a good thing. Sex is not something the devil invented. But we've got to be careful to not communicate that. Sex is a beautiful thing. When you think about it - how two people come together through an act of love and embrace and they are able to reproduce another person.

It's a beautiful thing in the context that God has designed. But the devil has succeeded in making it ugly and dirty and he can - the devil can warp and pervert everything that God makes. Can a person have a perverted appetite for food? Yeah. Can a person be a glutton? Same thing with the desires for sex. Everything good that God has made the devil has sought to corrupt, including marriage and that institution and those desires.

But those desires must be restrained, just as with the desires for food. If they're not, there are consequences for that. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 13:4, "marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Genesis 2:18, "and the Lord God said, 'it is not good that man should be alone" - I read that to you already. 1 Corinthians 7:9 - it says that if a person "cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

" You know, I've got a quote here from c.s. Lewis - while I don't agree with him on everything, he was a brilliant Christian theologian. He says, 'either marriage with complete faithfulness to your partner or total abstinence. Those are the only options for the believer.' Either marriage with complete faithfulness to your partner who, by the way, should be of the opposite sex, or total abstinence. And, you know, it's being put forth to our society that if a person has a desire for someone of the same sex, God must have made them that way so they should go ahead and fulfill it.

And that is a myth. I just got a study that don mackintosh sent me yesterday where they took twins that young mothers that were unwed put up for adoption and sometimes the adoption agency did not adopt out both twins to the same family - identical twins - and years later - 20 years later - they did follow-up and they surveyed and they found out that the same number - the same percentage of them chose or identified themselves as being homosexual but had never had anything to do with their identical twin. So it had to do with what family and environment they grew up in and it might have been influenced somewhat by temperament. Everyone's got different temperaments and some temperaments are more prone to that, but there's nothing physiological. So if a person, because of not having the right influences at that critical time in their life, if they grow up and they don't have the right identity for their father or their mother to bond with, they can get some strange desires.

But if you're a Christian and your desires do not match up with the Bible, your option is pray that God will give you self-control because - you know the Bible says we are not to be controlled by the flesh but by the Spirit. And you can't be making excuses, 'well, I'm single. God doesn't expect me to just be abstinent and so I'm just going to go out and hire a prostitute - male or female.' I mean, that's where that logic will take you. God expects us to use self-control. Did Jesus? Do you think that Jesus wasn't tempted in all points as we are? The Bible says he was but he lived a holy life and so can we.

When you're a Christian old things pass away. All things are made new. Now, I'm taking this little rabbit trail to just reinforce the principle that everybody that is human is going to be tempted and the devil is even going to tempt people within good Christian marriages to think things they shouldn't think. Don't fall for the idea that you are a victim and you are helpless and you can't make choices. Everybody can make choices.

People who fall into adultery usually have made a series of choices. They are first usually stepping over the line to becoming too friendly or too familiar. Very rarely does it happen just suddenly unexpectedly. People little by little start opening the door to a forbidden relationship and they start making friends with the opposite sex while they're married and they start becoming intimate and sharing intimate details and they say, 'oh, but you know, he just makes me feel so good. Then I go home and my husband is so crabby and mean and unappreciative and this person is so nice and.

..' The devil will start getting you to make these comparisons and excuses and you could even convince yourself, 'you know, I think the Lord is leading me in this. I know the Bible says one thing, but in my spirit.' People confuse a lot of things for the Spirit. You can - too much pizza can make you think the Spirit is leading you and just - so, you know, if it's not in the word, friends, don't fall for that. God's Spirit is never going to lead contrary to God's Word. 'And whenever I go to work she looks so nice.

But in the morning my wife's got curlers in her hair and pasty stuff on her face and her breath smells strange. But when I see this co-worker she always smells like perfume.' And you know what typically happens is if someone makes that tragic mistake of violating their marriage and they divorce their wife and they run off with the secretary, they find out that she's got curlers and bad breath too. And where this man may have been just a monster to be married to in category a, b, and c, she finds mr. Wonderful over here and in a, b, and c he is just perfect and so they leave husband and go with new prospect and then a year or two later they didn't realize that in category g, f, and h this guy was a monster. And she starts looking back at her old husband saying, 'you know, he was pretty good about those other things.

' the Lord has a strange way of pairing us up with people that he has designed to help sanctify us in the categories where we need help. You know, one of the ways we learn how to be Christians is through loving the Lord and loving each other. The Bible says you've got to love the Lord and love your neighbor. Who could be more - a closer neighbor than your spouse? How can you say you love God who you can't see when you can't love your spouse that you've made a covenant with? And if the Bible tells us to love our enemies then what excuse do you have for not loving your spouse? Is that straight enough? So Christians who believe the word - you make a covenant with someone - now, there are grounds - and I'll talk about that in just a moment. There are reasons where you would want to maybe separate and even divorce, but that is a very rare exception.

You know, in 1623 there was a Bible that was recalled and the people who had printed 1,000 of these Bibles - a printing company called baker and lucas - they lost their business and they were fined an entire life's wages all because they had made a three-letter typo in the Bible. the King was extremely harsh with them. The whole Bible was great - one word with three letters was left out and they lost their business and all the Bibles were gathered and burned and it became known as the wicked Bible. Do you know why? You know what words they left out? It was the word 'not'. They left the word 'not' out of the seventh commandment.

'Thou shalt not commit adultery.' And it said in the original, 'thou shalt' - there's a copy - you notice it's - they used the old english 's' there it looked like an 'f'. 'Thou shalt commit adultery' is what that Bible said. And the way our culture's acting I'm wondering what Bible they're reading. There's only eleven of these Bibles still left in existence and they're very valuable. They call them the wicked Bibles.

Some people, the way they read it, you wonder. We have a dilemma of divorce in our culture. It's rampant. Now, there are Bible grounds for divorce. What does Jesus say? If you have your Bibles go to Matthew 19, verse 9, "and I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery;" and the Bible says thou shalt not commit adultery.

Now, at the time of Christ - by the time of Jesus, the sadducees and the pharisees had sort of modified the law of God so that they had all these talmudic laws where you could divorce your wife for burning dinner. I mean, they had just awful ridiculous reasons. And when Jesus said to the disciples, 'you're not to divorce for any reason' except where he talks about for fornication, they were shocked. They said, 'well maybe it's better not to marry. Boy, that's a really iron-clad covenant.

We had no idea.' Because they had also been influenced by the greco-roman culture and they had all these different ways that you could divorce and God said from the beginning it was not so. 'Let not man put asunder what God has joined together. And I know, even as I speak about this, a lot of people here you've - statistically 40 percent of even practicing Christians that are of marriageable age or have been married have experienced that. And so, we're not here to condemn, we're here to tell you what the Bible says and that we're to be Christians. The biblical grounds for divorce - and, by the way, if there has been marital infidelity - if there has been sexual infidelity in a marriage - it doesn't mean you have to get divorced.

There can still be forgiveness and healing. Have you read the book of Hosea? Or even after his wife was unfaithful - and, by the way, we're the bride of Christ - the church - and has the church been unfaithful? Look at the history of Israel. So often they went after other Gods and he would forgive them and bring them back again. And so can - can even this be healed and this be forgiven? Yes it can. And so you look here in Malachi chapter 2, verse 16, "'for the Lord God of Israel says that he hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence,' says the Lord of hosts.

" God told Abraham to get divorced. But that's because he had too many wives, didn't he? The reasons for remarriage, biblically, is if your spouse has died - Paul talks about that - if you - if the marriage covenant has been violated through adultery and if there's any hope of reconciliation - if there's any redeemable qualities, the best thing that you can do as a Christian is save the marriage. Starting over is tough and sometimes you might have grounds for separation and we'll talk about that in just a moment. Corinthians chapter 7 - there is a unique situation. It talks about that if there is a believer who is married to an unbeliever and they're willing to stay together, Paul says by all means stay together - even if you've got an unbeliever who's married to a believer - but he's talking about when Christianity was spreading among the pagans and you've got two pagans who are married - pagans - both married - both pagans.

One of them finds out about Jesus and they didn't know and their non-believing partner says, 'look, I don't want to be a Christian. I didn't marry a Christian. If you're going to change I'm leaving.' If they're abandoned under those circumstances where two unbelievers came, then that believer is free to remarry. See what he's talking about there? Typically, at that point, their ex-spouse is remarried anyway, which gives them the adultery clause, as you say. If I can be very frank with you - you know what I've seen among Christians sometimes? You get two Christians, they love the Lord, they want to come to church but they just figure it's intolerable living with each other but neither of them has committed adultery or has biblical grounds for divorce so what they'll do is they'll divorce anyway and then they play the waiting game.

They wait for the other one to commit adultery so they're then free to start courting and get married. Any of you ever seen that happen before? It's like they're ready to hire a private eye and follow their ex-spouse around to just see, 'have they messed up yet?' Probing - is that how Jesus would do it? No. You know, under those circumstances the Bible says you are not free to remarry. Now that might seem harsh - and if you do it's called adultery - that might seem harsh - 'doesn't the Lord want me to be happy?' No, he wants you to be holy. The best way for you to find real happiness is to first make up your mind that God is calling you to holiness.

And, you know, at some point, if the church is not going to be the place where God says 'here is the line of what's appropriate and this is a covenant and it's important and it means something.' Then where in our culture can we look? Tell me. If it's not going to happen in a church where you're going to draw a line and say 'marriage is sacred. It is holy. It is to be preserved even if it means at the inconvenience of some, this institution must be carefully guarded.' If not at the church, then where? Where are we going to go? Television? Where one guy's got four wives? Where are we going to go to exalt marriage to the holy place where it belongs? It's here, isn't it? It's in God's Word. It's in the church.

And so this is the ideal. Now marriage is not just - adultery is not just something that is revealed in an action. Jesus also teaches us that adultery can also happen in an attitude, right? Matthew chapter 5, verse 27, "you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'you shall not commit adultery.'" - When he says 'those of old' he's actually quoting himself in the Ten Commandments - "but I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Now, if a person thinks a lustful thought and if you can prove your spouse has thought a lustful thought - and since Jesus says they've committed adultery in their heart, do you now have grounds for divorce? What do you say? Do you want to answer? Anyone venture? Bold enough? No, because there is a difference between a thought and an act. Think about this for a minute. If you think about murder can you be executed according to our government? No.

Because a person thinks a murderous thought doesn't mean they are a murderer and they're going to be prosecuted as a murderer because they think a thought. Now, if you conspire - if you get the tools and the weapons and you're going to plan it - yes, that's a different story - but thinking a thought is not the same as doing it. And I've had some people who've said to me, 'Pastor Doug, I may as well go ahead and do it because I'm thinking about it and Jesus said if you think about it it's the same thing.' No, he doesn't say it's the same thing. He's trying to show you that he not only wants us to keep the seventh commandment and not literally commit adultery or fornication, he's trying to tell us 'I want you to do it in your heart as well' because if you're keeping the commandment in your heart you will keep it in your marriage. And I want to remind everybody, especially our young people or any singles here, the seventh commandment is not just for married couples.

The seventh commandment is for everybody because that covers the subject of fornication and that's any kind of sexual activity outside of marriage. And so, we're all called to holiness. He says, 'blessed are the pure in heart, they will see God.' He wants us to be pure in our hearts. So Jesus wasn't saying, 'well, you're thinking it, you may as well do it.' He's saying, 'if you'll be saved in your heart - if you let me recreate your heart you won't have to worry about the letter of the law because you'll be keeping the Spirit of the law. You'll automatically keep the letter of the law when you keep the Spirit.

' Isn't that right? Don't you have to first think it in your heart before you act it out? And so, they are different. Now with that in mind, I have been asked before, if a person is guilty of pornography is that grounds for divorce? Let me give you a few statistics. In the u.s. - Among u.s. Adults - and this is - I've got a variety of surveys here, one from psychology today - 40 million people visit pornographic websites.

Well, there's only 300 million in the country so figure that out. Adults admitting to internet sexual addiction - 10 percent. Adults visiting pornographic sites - 72 percent of males say they have - that doesn't mean on a regular basis, but they have - percent of females. Men admitting to accessing pornography at work - 20 percent. Christians - and even in Christian colleges - I saw one survey that among Christian college students 78 percent of Christian college men admit to have visited pornographic sites once a month - many times on campus - Christian campus equipment.

Christians who said pornography is a major problem in their home - Christians - 47 percent. So is this relevant? Never before has mental adultery been more accessible than in the church and the world today. It's not just on the internet on the home computer. It's on the smart phone. It's everywhere - it's on the ipad or ipod or all of that stuff.

If a spouse is guilty of this is that grounds for divorce? No, you need counseling. You need prayer. Is it a sin? Absolutely. I should add, if a spouse is looking at pornography that involves children that might be grounds for separation. Now you understand there's a difference between separation and divorce.

But if there's a chance that the children in the family are at risk because of spouse - typically a man - would be looking at these things, you might want to talk to your pastor and get some counseling. They could be at risk. But the other extreme is where a wife says, 'I found a 'playboy' magazine under my husband's mattress. I'm getting an attorney and filing for divorce.' I don't think you've got grounds for that. I think you need to talk about those things.

And, by the way, it happens with both men and women. When a man comes home and he sees that his wife is watching two people flop around in bed during some daytime program, is she thinking adulterous thoughts? Is that grounds for divorce? Soap operas? See, you've got to be careful how you draw these things out. Is it sin? Yeah. Boy, you get real quiet at times like this. Which tells me that I'm hitting a nerve.

And if thinking it is a sin - I talked about this last week when we talked about murder - then what about when we deliberately choose to be entertained by it? Pornography, love novels, on television, vicariously sinning - some people say, 'I would never do it.' But they're entertained by doing it. They go and they watch programs or rent dvds and videos that they know right from the outset they're rated 'r' and they're going to be full of that kind of activity. So many of the sexual relationships on television and in the movies are adulterous relationships between two people that are not married - and let's face it, in the world people treat sex like shaking hands. That's not the way it is with Christ. The Bible hasn't changed.

Yes, our culture has changed, but the truth has not changed. Jesus said, 'I am the Lord I do not change.' What needs changing is we do. God's church needs to start being a light on a hill and showing the world what holiness looks like. And that means in our lives and in our homes and in our marriages. Peter, describing his age and it's not much different from ours.

Peter - 2 Peter chapter 2, verse 14, "having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls." - You notice it starts with a look and that lingering look - did it get David in trouble? Proverbs 9:17, "stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant." People think, 'well, it was a secret rendezvous. No one will know.' Solomon goes on to say, "but he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests" - speaking of a harlot - "are in the depths of hell." Some of you remember they put up some traffic meters here in town, to take pictures when you violate the red light. And when they first put them up, they put them up and then they took them down - or they turned some of them off - and the reason was because they were snapping pictures of people running red lights and someone would say, 'I didn't do that and they'd say, 'well, here's the photograph.' And they'd send the photograph and it has the time - 11 at night - it takes a picture and there's a man in the car with a woman that's not his wife. And so they were suing for invasion of privacy because it was causing some problems for some people because these traffic photos were picturing them in cars - places they weren't supposed to be with people they weren't supposed to be with. I don't know how they're dealing with that.

Maybe they're blurring out half the picture. I just cover my license plate - it seems to work. Not really! You can all run out to the parking lot and just after church - now you're going to want to check Pastor Doug's car. Adultery does not begin below the belt. Adultery begins above the neck.

It starts in the mind. If we keep our minds fixed on those things that are good and if we make a covenant with our eyes, as job says, can keep us out of a lot of trouble. You look, for instance, in job 31, verse 1, - 'look away and live.' -- - He says, "I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?" We've got to learn how to bounce our eyes when you see something that's not right. Did Joseph - you know, I love the story of Joseph. He's one of the heroes in the Bible, not just because of his forgiveness but Joseph is one of the rare exceptions you find in the Bible of a Godly man who said 'no' to a temptation that would have been very difficult for most people.

He said, 'no, how can I sin against God?' His love was so strong for God he said, 'I can't do this thing.' He said 'no' to adultery. So whenever we think, 'oh, we're all human.' I remember hearing one woman say, 'any man could be had' - any man could be had - and I was insulted by that because I don't believe that's true. I think that when people have God's Spirit that we can live lives of integrity. Proverbs chapter 4, verse 25, "let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you." He's talking about when you're tempted. Psalm 101, verse 3, "I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.

" And then Solomon also said - Proverbs 5:15, "drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well...let them be your own and not for strangers with you." Now, you know, it's wonderful if you've got a spring in your backyard and you've got your own well and you can drink all the water you want from your own well - that'd be such a blessing. Within marriage that intimacy is a blessing. Matter of fact, in the Bible it's commanded that the couples come together. So much of the marriage counseling that happens is almost never because the couples are having too much sex. It's because they're not having enough.

If the truth be known, nine times out of ten - that's a problem. And so, within marriage it's a wonderful thing. But outside of marriage, with someone that is not your spouse, that's where it's a problem. Drink water from your own cistern. Paul says to Timothy - 2 Timothy 2:22 - that's easy to remember - :22 - "flee also youthful lusts;" - flee youthful lusts - now, you know, it's especially hard when you're young, amen? And when your body goes through that transition where you're going from child to having the adult desires, it can be very distracting.

It can seem like the only purpose in life. You start to feel like a salmon where you're purpose is to spawn and then die. And it seems like - and, you know, my answer for that would be - to the young people - 'hang on. Settle down. Just relax.

You'll survive. It is not the most important thing. And life will go on. God's got another purpose for your existence and you can be holy.' The Bible says 'flee youthful lusts'. The Bible says flee temptation as well, amen? Look away and live.

Philippians 4:8, "finally brethren," - how do you do it? - "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things." If your mind is so full of meditating on that which is pure, good, noble, and lovely, of good report, you're going to find you're not so distracted by those things that are forbidden. Fill your mind with that which is good. Overcome evil with good. Now, having said all this, I think it's pretty clear what adultery is and that it's a sin. I want to also make it clear it is not the unpardonable sin.

Have you ever wondered - and even divorce and remarriage without biblical grounds - the Bible does not call that the unpardonable sin. After David sinned with bathsheba, was that a forbidden adulterous relationship? Yes it was. In every way. Connected with murder. Did David suffer? Did bathsheba suffer? David lost four of his sons.

the Lord directly, in the prophecy of nathan, connected the loss of four children with his action. So, do you think David thought it was worth it? Sometimes people fall into adulterous relationships and they don't realize what the consequences are going to be. A lot of kids have been permanently scarred because of the decision that their parents made - a very selfish decision usually. When people commit adultery, who are they thinking about? God and his glory or themselves? David suffered. Now, here's a question: did God forgive David and bathsheba? The child - the first child that was a result of their forbidden relationship while she was still married to uriah - that baby died.

And after David repented, God forgave David, he forgave bathsheba and the Bible says - first it calls bathsheba uriah's wife, then it says 'David comforted his wife, bathsheba' and gave them another child. His name was Solomon. Did God forgive them? Yeah, and so that's why Solomon could write what he wrote about it, because he knew growing up in that home. What about the woman at the well? John 8:38 - scribes brought this woman caught in the act of adultery - she was guilty. According to the law she should be stoned.

According to the law the man should be stoned too. And I've always wondered how in the world was it that they were able to catch her in the act and not the man? That's pretty strange. And, evidently she was set up. Many think this may have been mary magdalene's first encounter with Jesus - and I can give you my other arguments for that later, but they all stood around ready to execute her. He said, "he who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.

" You know one reason that adultery is so rampant in the church is because of this story and no one wants to ever deal with adultery in a church - on the church board - no one wants to - I shouldn't say no one - very few people are willing to address those things because it's so prevalent. We all quote the Scripture, 'he who is without sin let them cast the first stone' and people take that to mean that we're not supposed to deal with it at all so we're all kind of ambivalent about something that God's very clear about. When Jesus said 'he that is without sin let him cast the first stone' - they were going to kill mary! They were going to execute this woman! And when her accusers left he said, "woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "no one, lord." He said, "neither do I condemn you." Now, was Jesus saying that adultery is okay I'm not going to condemn it anymore? Some people have read it that way. Whenever someone in the church falls into adultery, instead of there being any kind of censure or counseling they just say, 'well, Jesus said 'I don't condemn' so go and freely sin.' Is that what he said? No, he said, 'I do not condemn you; go and sin no more.' You know why he could say 'I don't condemn you'? Because he was going to take her death penalty. Is the penalty for sin still death? Is the penalty for breaking the seventh commandment still sin? And so is it still death? And so how could Jesus tell mary you're free to go? Because he was going to take her death penalty.

That's why he told her 'go and sin no more.' He called it a sin and he said, 'stop it!' I'll forgive you. Don't do it anymore because I'll die for you.' Or the woman at the well. How could Jesus reveal to her that he was the Messiah? He said, 'go call your husband.' 'I'm not married.' 'Ah, you're right. Semantics. You've been married five times and the guy you're living with now you're not technically married to.

' Her mouth fell open. 'Sir, I perceive that you're a prophet. Let's argue about something other than my marital history. Let's talk about where is the best place to go to church. Should we go in Jerusalem or mount gerizim?' She used the diversionary tactic.

Jesus knew all about her - that's why she was at the well by herself - she had quite a reputation. Can you imagine the women talking in samaria - in that town - the well of sychar - about that woman who had five husbands and now she's just given up on marriage - she's living with a guy she not married with. Why would Jesus take time to reveal to her he's the Messiah except - I've got a theory - that it was possible for her to be forgiven. What do you think? What about a person who comes out of the world that's been married half a dozen times? Two times? One time? They came out of the world, they were not Christians and they become a Christian. Can they never be married? No, I think that you can't unscramble scrambled eggs.

When people come to the Lord and they're born again, he gives them a fresh start. And after they've come to the lord and they've been converted and they're born again, old things are passed away, all things are made new, I believe that if they find a Christian spouse then praise the Lord. If they want to remain single praise the Lord. God'll bless either one. Does that make sense? But isn't it interesting that both mary magdalene was the first one to proclaim the risen lord and the woman at the well was the first one to proclaim him among the gentiles.

So it is something that God can forgive, but God is also telling us he still wants us to obey. Adultery is still a sin. He is not recommending that we do a little less of it, he's saying, 'thou shalt not commit adultery.' This is the will of God. He wants us to be a holy people and he wants us not to commit adultery on him because, ultimately, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church and you, as part of the church, he loves you as a bridegroom. Would you want to break his heart? Any time anybody flirts with the idea of committing adultery on their spouse they're going to be committing adultery also on the lord and on their family and on society.

It's not just one person that's going to be hurt. David, when he repented of his sin in psalm 51, he said, 'against thee and thee only have I sinned.' Joseph, when he was tempted to commit adultery with potiphar's wife, he said, 'how can I do this wicked thing and sin against God?' And so the best reason to keep this commandment and every commandment is because Jesus loves us and he had to die to save us from our sins. Isn't that right? And it's through his shed blood that we're given power to live holy lives. Wherever you are in your experience in your life - whether you're old enough to be married or you've been married before or divorced and maybe you haven't got biblical grounds - everyone can come to the Lord as they are and thank him for the power of the blood to live a new life from here on.

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