Summary: Here are eight steps to avoiding adultery

(Start with clip from frozen: Elsa song “Let it Go”)

That clip really didn’t have anything to do with today’s message, there just wasn’t anything suitable for today’s message and figured that was the title of the series we should tie it in.

Last week it was announced that a colleague of mine had confessed to having an affair. Now for most of you that might spell the end of your marriage but in this man’s case he found himself unemployed as well.

He sold his marriage, his relationship with his children, the respect of his peers and his career for what?

A friend of mine told me the other day that his sister in law had recently cheated on his brother and it wasn’t looking good for their marriage.

I don’t think any of us would doubt that Jesus had a strong view on marriage. We often think that divorce is a recent innovation but rules and decrees guiding how couples should split up are more common in the bible than how they should hitch up. You would be hard pressed to find guidelines for what a wedding should look like in the bible but you only have to go four books in to find the guidelines on how a marriage should be ended.

And two thousand years ago there were some of the same concerns about the sanctity of marriage, whether or not divorce and marriage split ups were becoming way too prevalent as there are today. And so in the scripture that was read earlier Jesus is teaching that in order to be a light to a corrupt society that those who would follow Christ would have to live above the law.

Jesus took a strong stand on divorce, much stronger than the church takes today and that is a sermon for a different day. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:31 “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ That was put in for the protection of the family and society. A marriage couldn’t just be dissolved by one partner or the other simply walking out, there was a process that had to be followed.

But for those who would follow Christ it was to go to an even higher standard, because the Christian believed that marriage was not a union of two but instead was a union of three.

That God put them together and nobody should split them up, nobody. But as strong as the bond of marriage was for Jesus he saw one exception and that was given in Matthew 5:32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Now some people see this as a loophole and others see this as an exception but I think Jesus saw very clearly that nothing could break the covenant like a physical betrayal, that a couple’s commitment to one another was declared null and void with the act of adultery.

It takes two very special people to work through the damage left behind after an affair.

The Bible, the word of God takes a very dim view of adultery, as a matter of fact adultery didn’t have to be specified as a reason for divorce in the Old Testament. Because in the Old Testament the punishment for cheating was death by stoning and there was nothing to prevent a widow or widower from remarrying. I’ve said before that while it may not have been a deterrent, it sure cut down on repeat offenders. A view obviously shared by Loretta Lynn who said “My attitude toward men who mess around is simple: If you find 'em, kill 'em.”

Some recent studies indicate that 50% of married men and women will have at least one extramarital affair during their marriage. Think about it, that’s 50 out of 100, 10 out of 20, 1 out of 2 married men and women will cheat on their respective spouses. Hilda Houlding co-ordinator of the Calgary Family Service Bureau, made this comment “An affair is often an attempt to find a little bit of paradise on the side, pursuing the belief that if one just finds the right sexual partner there will be instant happiness and everything will fall into place. An affair is often able to fulfil this myth, until itself becomes a relationship that has to be worked at and looked at in a long term light. Seen in this way “paradise” soon becomes a prison”

I’m old enough to remember when Gary Hart had to withdraw as a US presidential candidate because there was speculation about an extramarital affair, and I remember the late 90’s when it seemed that America was quite willing to accept the fact that not only was their President an adulterer but was a serial adulterer.

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