Summary: Most people in our culture today don’t often associate the word "God" with the word "sex". We’re going to try to answer these questions. What does the seventh commandment actually address? Why is adultery wrong? What leads people to adultery?
Today we’re gonna talk about sex. Now that I have your attention. . .
God does not have a Commandment about worshipping Him in a temple or sanctuary. He planned to live in the body of His people. He wants to be glorified in your body and carry out His ministry through you. Here’s a rundown:
1. You invite Christ in your life at salvation.
2. Your body becomes His sanctuary. “You are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you” (I Cor. 3:16).
3. You must keep your body/temple holy. “If anyone defiles the temple of God,God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Cor. 3:17).
4. You do not have the right to do what you want with your body. “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . you are not your own” (I Cor. 6:19).
5. So You must keep your body from sexual immorality. “Do you not know that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! . . . Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his body” (I Cor. 6:15-18).
Most people in our culture today don’t often associate the word "God" with the word "sex". In fact, for most people, the only thing they think they know about God and sex is that God is against it. Often Christians are thought to be hung up about sex, accused of viewing the human body as dirty and human sexuality as shameful.
So there’s been a bit of confusion about the Christian view of sexuality. And we Christians have often just encouraged the confusion. Often our own confusion and struggles in this area has led us to reinforce the stereotype our culture has about Christians and sex.
Our culture seems to obsessed with sex. Of course, this is nothing new, because human history is filled with examples of sexual indulgence. From the child molestation that swept through ancient Greece to the temple prostitution in the ancient Near East, from the orgies of the Roman Empire, to the American sexual revolution of the 1960s, every generation has struggled to control and understand sexuality.
Today our media portrays most sexual behavior as harmless as long as it occurs between two consenting adults and doesn’t hurt anyone. Sex is used to sell everything from toothpaste to sportscars, a membership at the gym to a Caribbean cruise. People turn to sex to find excitement, fulfillment, spirituality, intimacy, adventure, and a host of other reasons. Our magazines seem obsessed to find the perfect sexual experience, and millions of Americans watch as people disclose their deepest, darkest sexual secrets on daytime TV.
So with all this sexual confusion, it seems that a discussion of the seventh commandment--God’s commandment against adultery--is in order. Today as we look at the seventh commandment we’re going to try to answer four questions. What does the seventh commandment actually address? Why is adultery wrong? What leads people to adultery? And finally, how can we follow Jesus in an adulterous culture?
1. What Does the Seventh Commandment Address? Let’s begin by looking at the seventh commandment together: "You shall not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14)
Now at first this commandment seems pretty clear. After all, we all know what adultery is...right? Usually this word describes married people having sex with people other than their spouse; that’s it’s normal meaning. But this same word can also refer to other kinds of immoral sexual conduct. So before we jump to conclusions, let’s see what the seventh commandment is addressing.
THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT FORBIDS ALL VIOLATIONS OF GOD’S BOUNDARIES FOR OUR SEXUALITY.
Now what are some of these boundaries God has set up? An obvious boundary is literal adultery. Literal adultery is whenever a married person engages in any sort of sexual activity with a person other than his or her spouse. Next to the sin of idolatry--which is a violation of the first commandment--no other sin is as condemned more in the Bible than the sin of adultery.
A University of Chicago study in 1996 found that 23% of married men and 15% of married women have committed adultery. Now the vast majority of Americans believe adultery is morally wrong. In fact, more people today believe adultery is morally wrong than twenty years ago. In 1977 75% of Americans said they thought adultery was morally wrong, but in 1997 that number was up to 86%. Yet our culture still glorifies adulterous relationships in popular movies and TV shows.
Another violation of the seventh commandment is premarital sex. Now even though more people believe adultery is morally wrong today than in the 1970s, the same thing can’t be said for pre-marital sex. According to that University of Chicago study, in the 1970s 36% of Americans believed that "sex between an unmarried man and woman is always morally wrong," but by 1996 that number had dropped to 24%. The vast majority of people today see nothing wrong with sex between two unmarried consenting adults, yet the Bible is very consistent in its condemnation as displeasing to God and destructive to our relationships.