Summary: Sermon on the Seventh Commandment

In the midst of marital disagreement it is not uncommon for a spouse to wonder if there isn’t somebody with whom they would be more compatible. Suleyman Guresci, of Izmir, Turkey, divorced his wife of twenty-one years after a bitter six-year court battle. In an effort to find the ideal woman, Guresci turned to a computer dating service. Ironically, from a list of two thousand prospective brides, the computer selected his former wife (his wife opted to use the same company in her search for a new husband). He responded to this information by deciding to remarry his wife just nine months after their divorce. He said, “I did not know that my ex-wife had been the ideal counterpart for a marriage. I decided to give it another try by being more tolerant toward her.” The ideal spouse might just be the one you’ve already married.

A forgetful husband thought he had conquered the problem of trying to remember his wife’s birthday and their anniversary. He opened an account with a florist, provided the florist with dates and instructions to send flowers along with an appropriate note signed, "Your loving husband." His wife was thrilled by this new display of attention. All went well until one day, many bouquets later, when he came home, kissed his wife, and said offhandedly, "Nice flowers, honey. Where’d you get them?"

Research demonstrates the futility of unfaithfulness in marriage. Of those who destroy their marriage because of someone else, 80 percent ultimately regret their decision. Of the 10 percent who actually do marry the person with whom they had an affair, 70 percent of them get another divorce. Simple math reveals the chances of staying married to the person for whom you left your spouse are three in one hundred. Nobody in their right mind would board a plane with just a 3 percent chance of arriving safely, yet many choose to gamble with those same odds in marriage. The Ten Commandments, Schlessinger and Vogel, 1998, p. 223

Obviously you would have to be completely ignorant to not know that we live in a society where marriage and respect for the vows of marriage have fallen on hard times.

The Seventh Commandment is not to be taken lightly. Until recently, adultery was universally considered an extremely serious crime. For centuries perpetrators were punished by fines, imprisonment, and, in the Bible times, death.

Why was it taken so seriously? Because adultery is an affront to God. The betrayal involved in this particular sin produces an extremely serious breach of trust that is devastating to its victims, particularly to women and children.

Adultery violates the fundamental elements of human relationship: trust. Adultery cannot be done without lying and deception. In fact, if you think about it when one commits adultery they break every other commandment, so it represents a total disregard for God’s word.

“Do not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

Humans are sexual beings! Scientists tell us that the human sex drive is virtually equal to our will to live. This is not a bad thing. We are this way because God has made us this way. He designed men and women with these desires. When God made humans, His first command to mankind was for them to multiply. God’s plan is for the sexual relationship to be between and husband and his wife only. Any other form of sexual expression, outside of that marital relationship, is sinful! This is the very area addressed by this 7th Commandment.

When we think of adultery, we automatically think of someone being unfaithful to their husband or wife. Yet, this Commandment is far broader than just this. Any sexual expression reserved for marriage done outside the confines of the marital relationship is a sin against God.

Adultery embraces sexual sin, married or not.

There are four outcomes that you need to be aware of and consider before you decide to go against this commandment.

1. Your Spouse: Adultery does incredible damage to one’s spouse!

When a man and woman marry, they become one flesh. (Gen. 2:24.) When one of the partners joins with a person outside that marriage contract, they have broken that bond and have joined with another. “the two become one flesh.” 1 Cor. 6:16

Adultery says to the innocent spouse, "You weren’t good enough for me." Adultery has the power to destroy the self-esteem of the innocent victim. Adultery destroys trust! Innocent spouse will have a hard time ever trusting the other spouse!

Perhaps this is why Jesus gave an escape clause in cases of sexual Immorality

“Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: "Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for any reason?" "Haven’t you read the Scriptures?" Jesus replied. "They record that from the beginning `God made them male and female.’And he said, `This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together." "Then why did Moses say a man could merely write an official letter of divorce and send her away?" they asked. Jesus replied, "Moses permitted divorce as a concession to your hard-hearted wickedness, but it was not what God had originally intended. And I tell you this, a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery--unless his wife has been unfaithful." Matt. 19:3-9.

The marriage must be "adultery proofed!" How is this done? By giving heed to the command given by Paul in

“Now about the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to live a celibate life. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband. The husband should not deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, which is her right as a married woman, nor should the wife deprive her husband. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband also gives authority over his body to his wife. So do not deprive each other of sexual relations. The only exception to this rule would be the agreement of both husband and wife to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time, so they can give themselves more completely to prayer. Afterward they should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt them because of their lack of self-control. This is only my suggestion. It’s not meant to be an absolute rule. I wish everyone could get along without marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness.” 1 Cor. 7:1-5.

Adultery is also an attack at one’s children! (Ill. David’s children followed in his footsteps. Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. Absolom took his father’’ concubines unto himself. Sexual immorality has a way of filtering down to the children.) One’s spiritual influence is also compromised when we stoop to committing adultery. Children lose respect for a parent that destroys the family over illicit and indecent pleasures.

2. Your Self: Adultery does incredible destruction to one’s self!

Adultery, among believers, is the result of being in a spiritually backslidden condition. Then, once that line is crossed, the enemy will continue to attack in that area. Doing it the second, third, fourth times will not be as hard because the will has been softened and one’s guard is let down.

Many people are guilty of adultery even though they have never had sexual relations with another person. Jesus wants us to know that adultery is as much a matter of heart and mind as it is of the flesh.

"You have heard that the law of Moses says, `Do not commit adultery.’But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye-even if it is your good eye-causes you to lust, 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. Matt. 5:28.

There are some teachings out there surrounding this verse that I find to be indefensible. Sexual desire is not wrong as a natural uncultivated response any more than anger is, or pain. It has a vital function in life, and as long as it performs that function it is a good and proper thing.

Seeing someone and finding them attractive or even thinking of sex as a fleeting thought is not wrong. It may very well be just an uncontrolled thought that goes through your head. Remember, temptation is not wrong. Temptation itself is not a sin.

The context of this teaching by Jesus is clearly stating that when you look at a woman or man for the purpose of desiring them it is wrong. That is we desire to desire. We indulge and cultivate desiring because we enjoy fantasizing about sex with the one seen. In other words, desiring sex is the reason we are looking.

Pornography, sexual fantasies, etc. All lead to adultery of the heart and make a person just as guilty as physical adultery! 2 Peter 2:14, speaks of people who have, “eyes full of adultery.”

“There are people, who when they see a sexually attractive person, do not see person but see themselves engaging him or her. They see adultery occurring between them in their imagination. Such a condition is one we can and should avoid. It is a choice.” Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy

How can a person guard themselves? We are to guard our eyes, our flesh and our mind. If we put the right stuff in, we will get the right results in return – Phil. 4:8.

In our world, it is hard to avoid sexual stimulation. Therefore, we are to be on our best guard at all times!

3. Your Society: Adultery has a devastating effect on society.

As goes the family, so goes the society. When we see the family unit being destroyed, we come to see that our society as a whole is in danger of collapsing.

Immorality in the life of a member of the church can tarnish the work of God and the church. Notice, 1 Cor 12:26; 1 Cor. 5:6. Adultery is such a sin against society that G. Campbell Morgan said, "The adulterer is the enemy of the state. God’s desire is that this type of behavior never find a place among His people

“Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes--these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the terrible anger of God comes upon all those who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For though your hearts were once full of darkness, now you are full of light from the Lord, and your behavior should show it! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.” Eph. 5:3.

4. Your Savior

Of all the reasons for not committing adultery this is the greatest! Jesus Christ came to this earth to allow us to have the ability to follow the principles of the word of God. If you take God seriously you won’t break this commandment. That’s really the problem with sin period isn’t it? When you and I go off and do our own thing we assume that we are more knowledgeable than God. We know what is best for us.

God, however, has considered it and has made several statements concerning adultery.

Adultery was considered the "great sin" – Gen. 20:9; Gen. 39:9.

Adultery was punishable by death – Lev. 20:10. He will still deal with it today – Pro. 6:23-35. (Ill. Eph. 5:1-7; 1 Cor. 6:9-10)

Adultery destroys that which was created to be the most visible and closest approximation of God’s relationship to His people, marriage – Eph. 5:22-23. 4. God’s prohibition against adultery was not to ruin man’s fun, it was to protect the home which He had established – Ex. 20:14!

There are some pretty lame excuses that are used for breaking the seventh Commandment.

How would you describe your marriage? Billy Graham has a very insightful way of describing his marriage. He says, “we are happily incompatible.” Dr. and Mrs. Graham are very different in many ways, but they have learned to see and use these differences to their advantage. Countless divorces are finalized under the pretense of “irreconcilable differences.” It’s refreshing to see an “incompatible” couple who has thrived for over five decades because they chose to be happy with their differences. Just As I Am, Billy Graham, 1997, p. 714

Listen, you married for better or for worse. You are going to be different and you have to find a way to still love and embrace that one that you stood in front of God and family and made a covenant with.

Action steps to avoid breaking this commandment:

Walk With God – Gal. 5:16 – If we are doing this daily, we will have the ammunition available to be able to stand when temptation arises – Eph. 6:10-17.

Avoid Suggestive Activities – Remember the words of Psalm 100:3. Never allow your eyes to look at things that will cause you to stumble. Keep a clean life!

Avoid Flirtatious Relationships – Stay far away from the person who is flirty, watch out for that "friendship" which could lead to other things. Often, simple flirtation leads to big time adultery! No one just wakes up one day and says "I think I’ll go out and commit adultery today." It is always the result of things building up on top of other things that leads to that point. If you can stay from those little things, the big one will never happen to you!

Count The Cost – Take a minute to look at the incredible damage that can be done to your spouse, your Lord, your children and your own life. Nobody, however great the body, is worth what you can potentially lose!

Love Your Husband or Wife Only – I am going to read something to you. It is straight from the scripture. It is found in Proverbs: The lips of a seductive woman are oh so sweet, her soft words are oh so smooth. But it won’t be long before she’s gravel in your mouth, a pain in your gut, a wound in your heart. She’s dancing down the primrose path to Death; she’s headed straight for Hell and taking you with her. She hasn’t a clue about Real Life, about who she is or where she’s going.

Do you know the saying, "Drink from your own rain barrel, draw water from your own spring-fed well"? It’s true. Otherwise, you may one day come home and find your barrel empty and your well polluted. Your spring water is for you and you only, not to be passed around among strangers. Bless your fresh-flowing fountain! Enjoy the wife you married as a young man! Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose-- don’t ever quit taking delight in her body. Never take her love for granted! Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a whore? for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger? Mark well that GOD doesn’t miss a move you make; he’s aware of every step you take. The shadow of your sin will overtake you; you’ll find yourself stumbling all over yourself in the dark. Death is the reward of an undisciplined life;your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end. Proverbs 5:15-21.

If it is too late and you are guilty of committing adultery, there is hope and forgiveness in the blood of Jesus. He promises us in 1 John 1:9 that He will forgive all our sins when we confess them to Him. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”

Maybe it hasn’t gotten that far, but you are guilty of flirting and doing things that you know are dangerous. Jesus will forgive that also! Maybe your sin is a secret one, you look at pornography, or watch and read things that you know cause you to lust in your heart. Jesus will forgive that too.

Whatever the need, remember, Jesus loves you and He will make it right!

The publisher’s review of a recent book describes it as "a thoughtful, detailed discussion of every aspect of considering, preparing for, beginning, and conducting a successful and emotionally fulfilling extramarital affair." The book is called Affair! How to Manage Every Aspect of Your Extramarital Relationship with Passion, Discretion, and Dignity (by Cameron Barnes,, 1999). For just $19.95, plus shipping and handling, you can get a practical summary of the lies the devil would have you believe concerning adultery. Citation: Bill White, pastor of Emmanuel Church; Paramount, California

The late Wilt Chamberlain had great numbers as an NBA star, but the number he will probably be remembered for most is 20,000. That is how many women the never-married Chamberlain claimed in his autobiography to have slept with.

What few may remember though, says columnist Clarence Page, is Chamberlain "went on to write that he would have traded all 20,000 for the one woman he wanted to stay with for keeps."

Citation: Clarence Page, "Remembering the Big Dipper’s other statistics," Chicago Tribune (October 17, 1999)