I have two disclaimers before I begin todays message-
#1. As a warning to parents with smaller children, I will be talking today about a subject that some parents might consider too mature for their children at this stage. So this message is rated PG, parental guidance is suggested, although I won’t be getting overly graphic some parents might feel a bit uncomfortable with their children hearing about this topic.
#2. I will also guarantee you that I will not only step on most if not all of your toes with this message, but stomp on them hard. Many of you WILL be offended.
I know because my toes are sore from preparing it and there were actually a lot of tears shed over the content of what we will be discussing this morning.
That’s why I’m down here using the lectern instead of the pulpit today- I want to be closer to you as I know this may be a very painful subject to talk about.
As your pastor, it’s my job to present the truth, even when the truth stings us hard. In fact, I would be negligent as the spiritual father to this congregation if I did not present God’s Word in it’s fullness.
So I would ask you- please listen with an open heart, and if you are offended by anything I say- that’s actually a good thing but it is not my intention. However, it is the purpose of God’s Word to make us uncomfortable and even sorrowful, because Godly sorrow leads us to repentance. I would also ask that if you need clarification on anything, to please contact me after the message and I’ll be glad to talk to you about it.
Saying that, the title of today’s message is-
CCCAG July 18th, 2017
Based on the 7th Commandment
Scripture- Exodus 20:14
In July of 2015, many people woke up to the new story of a website being hacked, and the names and email addresses of people who had gone to that site and signed up for its services were now posted publicly for anyone to go and look at.
Politicians, Teachers, judges, even pastors and denominational leaders were suddenly thrown in the spotlight when it was discovered that their names or personal and even professional emails were in that database as having signed up for the sites services.
That website is called Ashley Madison. Their tagline and motto is “Life is short, have an affair.”
Ashley Madison is a paid service that allows you to sign up and make a profile advertising yourself as a person who is married or in a committed relationship and you are looking for another person also in a committed relationship to have an affair with.
Affair. I shake my head a bit at that word because as usual, our world has taken a hard-biblical truth and softened it with a word like affair, or tryst, or wandering, or indiscretion.
But the bible is clear in what God calls it- adultery if you are married, and fornication if you are not married.
God has some strong opinions and things to say about that.
The first thing we need to do is define the terms. America is in a time of being post-Christian so many of these words have lost their meaning to us. However, the bible is very black and white on it’s meaning for the words Adultery and fornication
Definition for Adultery-
For a married person, it’s ANY physical contact, any emotional connection, or any sexual feeling or outlet that God has reserved for the marriage union alone that is directed to someone other than your spouse.
Definition of fornication-
Is actually the same definition as adultery except that you are single when you are doing it.
Why would I include fornication in a sermon about adultery? Because fornication is adultery against your future spouse.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, this will not be a politically correct sermon, and I know I’ve already stomped a few toes.
You will also notice that these definitions exclude pretty much all modern dating practices. In fact, I’ve heard it said that most of our modern dating practices are an internship for adultery later.
God takes both adultery and fornication very very very seriously. At the time this was written, about 3400 years ago, God prescribed a severe civil penalty for either of these actions-
Some of us (and I say us) are alive today only because we were not born then.
The 7th Commandment is five words.
Exodus 20:14 “You shall NOT commit adultery.
Prayer- God as Father takes us in His arms today and explains to us His heart, and His will, so that we will know His love in giving us this protection from ourselves so that we might live lives of freedom and joy.
I want to take you through the scripture today and look at this very controversial and for some, painful subject. I know that there are many here this morning who have been victims of this sin.
I know that there are people here that are guilty of committing this sin. I know that there may be both.
I want to present some biblical truth this morning because remember the 10 Commandments aren’t there to spoil our fun, or make us feel like moral failures before God. They are planks in a protective fence that God has erected around our lives so that we can be free, to live free before HIM.
Let’s take a look at some of the biblical truths of adultery or fornication.
I. Adultery actually starts with God
A. Before you click on that website taking you to a place you shouldn’t be at, or before you answer the flirtatious text message, or before you make your plans to be with that other person and cheat on your spouse or significant other, You first have to cheat on God.
1. Do you realize that adultery breaks every other commandment before you get to that act.
James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
2. Let’s just look at the 10 Commandments as a whole to see how adultery violates them all-
3. Starting from the 10th commandment
Adultery begins with Coveting (deep spiritually unhealthy desire) for something or someone not yours- the 10th commandment
It then involves lying in some fashion, to yourself, to God, or most definitely your spouse- the 9th commandment
You then steal the marital affection of another that is supposed to be reserved for their spouse- the 8th commandment
The 7th is adultery
You then murder your spiritual health, each other’s marriages, murder the health of their families, and possibly if there is intimacy that produces a pregnancy, murder a child to cover up your sin. The 6th Commandment
You dishonor your parents by your actions- the 5th commandment
You take your rest and pleasure in something other than God alone- the 4th commandment
You blaspheme God’s name if you call yourself a Christian and commit adultery, whether you are caught or not- the spiritual forces see it- the 3rd commandment
To commit adultery you make for yourself a mental, physical, and emotional idol in the person you are committing adultery with- the 2nd commandment
And finally, you deny that God is your sovereign King- the first commandment.
B. This is why God takes Adultery so seriously, and why adultery begins with you cheating on God
Let’s use King David as our illustration of this point. (2 Sam 11) David was taking a walk and saw a woman named Bathsheba taking a bath on her rooftop. I know most of you think that a woman bathing on her rooftop in full view of the neighborhood is pretty scandalous, so let me explain because she gets a lot of bad press because of this.
In Old Testament times, the Law of Moses had very specific rules on something called ceremonial cleanliness, and if you were ceremonially unclean you could not attend services at the temple. In other words, mess up one of these rules, you can’t go to church, and everyone would know you messed up somehow when you weren’t there.
One of these rules required woman to purify themselves from their monthly flow by bathing outside the house so what they were cleansing themselves of didn’t make the inside of the house become ceremonially unclean- which then made everyone in the house unclean. To avoid this, women who lived in cities would bathe on the roof in a tent so they would obey the Levitical law. Apparently, the tent door blew open and David saw her.
He desired her and called for her, knowing she was the wife of one of his closest friends, and committed adultery.
Bathsheba becomes pregnant, and David attempts a coverup which did not work so he ordered his general to place Bathsheba’s husband Uriah in the thickest part of a battle and then pull back away from him causing Uriah to be killed. David then took Bathsheba as one of his wives.
A prophet then comes and confronts David for doing this evil act and pronounces judgment. David goes into a full week of fasting and prayer, and pens one of the most beautiful songs in the bible.
In Psalm 51:4, David says this about his adultery and murder-
“Against You God, and you only, have I done this evil in your sight”
David recognized this fact- Adultery against your spouse begins with adultery against God first.
The 7th Commandment protects the first institution God ever established- marriage.
With all of the cultural redefining of marriage that is happening in our world, we need to remember that historically and more importantly biblically marriage isn’t a contract only between a husband and a wife- it’s a contract between two people and God Himself.
If you are guilty of committing adultery- you need to get right with God first, because HE is the first one you cheated on.
A second truth about adultery is this-
II. Adultery destroys the person doing it
A. There is something about sexual sin that is particularly deadly to the spirit of a human being.
B. I want to be very clear- sexual intimacy is a gift from a loving God. In fact, if I were to translate God’s first two commandments to humanity into modern day speak they would be-
1. Eat as much as you want except for the fruit of one tree
2. Have a LOT of marital intimacy. (That’s the 21st century street version of be fruitful and multiply). Enjoy each other, and have lots of baby’s.
C. God gave us this gift, but like any gift it has the potential to be misused.
1. When I was 8 my grandfather gave me a .22 caliber rifle. He said I could use it whenever I wanted as long as he was home to supervise me. My grandparents lived outside of town so it was ok for me to plink in the yard. One day, my grandfather was out his friend Bob Swanson survey some land, and I wanted to go outside and shoot some cans. I grabbed the rifle, loaded it in the kitchen, and went out and shot a few cans. I put the rifle back and thought no one was the wiser. My grandfather got home and called me downstairs. I walked down stairs and he was holding a bullet that must have dropped on the rug and rolled under the refrigerator door. I lost the use of that rifle the rest of the time I was there, and got a strict lesson in obedience and firearm safety, because lets face it- rifle in the hands of a 10 year old can be kind of dangerous.
D. Sex is the same way. God gave us an incredible gift that we should love Him for and appreciate, but He also gives us some rules about it so we don’t harm ourselves using this gift.
Pro 6:32 He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.
Another reason adultery is harmful to the individual doing it
E. It destroys Imago Dei
Last week in the message we talked about Imago Dei- the image of God within a person, and why murder destroys Imago Dei. Genesis 1 says that humanity is made in the image of God. That spiritual image of God is that which gives us our God consciousness. It’s the only way you and I can determine right from wrong.
Adultery and sexual sin destroy that inner sense of right and wrong. Nothing creates a callus over the human heart like sexual sin. I could cite case after case, story after story of people who have committed vicious and heinous crimes that began with what they thought was a little sexual sin, and it usually starts with pornography.
One quick example we read about all the time-
One of the biggest per capita consumers of pornography is college campus’. Questions- where is the highest incidence of date rape? College campus’.
That’s a pretty solid correlation there, especially when you lower inhibition with massive alcohol consumption.
What happens in our schools will eventually make its way into our culture.
And that’s the next thing adultery affects-
III. Adultery destroys the culture
A. We are a culture that is completely given ourselves over to this spirit of adultery. In fact, if the bible was written in 2017, it would say, “You SHALL Commit Adultery”
B. A few facts I found while researching the cultural impacts of adultery and sexual sin-
1. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that smartphone addiction was becoming the most prevalent addiction listed in the psychiatric literature. It has a very slight lead over #2, which is sexual addiction, and one of the chief outlets of this addiction is pornography.
2. And yes, viewing and consuming pornography is adultery or fornication, even within the marriage union when couples watch it togethers- you are feeding a mental and spiritual monster that WILL eventually lead you to commit physical adultery.
3. Here are some statistics on pornography usage-
4. Pornography websites, pornographic searches, and video searches still top the list of most searched items in Google, Bing, or Yahoo search engines.
5. In the news 2 years ago, A well-known hotel chain in Florida that is connected to a convention center released information about when it has the most orders for sexually explicit movies.
6. #1 was Superbowl weekend (the date that has the highest incidence of sexual crime- trafficking, and rape occur Superbowl weekend).
7. #2 was when a national church youth leader’s convention was in town.
8. So, it’s not just the world. In a joint survey conducted by Proven Men Ministries and Barna research a year ago they found the following in American church’s-
a. 55% of men view porn once a month. 52% of women
b. 77% (men) between the ages of 18 and 30 view it once a week
c. 36% of all people view it daily, and most of those admit to a secret addiction to pornography that they are too embarrassed to talk to their pastor or other church members about.
9. Some say, “Well, the main stream churches have those statistics, not us born again people
a. Among born again- 95% (men and women) have viewed it, 54% on at least a monthly basis, 18% admit addiction.
Why is pornography so bad-
According to Jesus- if you look at another person with lust, you have already committed adultery
10. It’s not just a physical act- that’s the end of adultery that first started as a heart, mind, and spiritual issue
11. Since Pornography is mental adultery so how does that affect physical adultery?
a. 75% of men and 60% of women who admit to the regular consumption of pornography also admit to at least one affair. The latest trends show woman are actually catching up and passing men when it comes to the consumption of pornography AND having extra marital affairs.
I think these all of these numbers are actually much higher- the researchers just found some people who are being honest.
We don’t even need to search out hard core pornography- Turn on the TV, and the results aren’t much better.
Not only is prime time covered in extra marital sex, it portrays marital sex and faithful people as boring, outcasts.
Not only that, but historically deviant sexual practices are becoming mainstream. The 50 Shades series portray abuse and degradation as normal, fun, enticing, and desirable. Bisexuality or homosexuality is portrayed as normal and even more desirable then heterosexual relationships.
Sexual sin has become pandemic in our world
We need to recognize it for what it is- an attack by the enemy of our souls on God’s primary foundational institution- marriage and the Godly lineage and families they are supposed to produces.
If satan can split our families, he splits our churches. He can’t attack the church directly, so he attacks the family knowing it will destroy the church and it’s influence on this culture.
And, If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
Are you depressed yet? Are you thinking I’m never ever coming back to this church again?
Please bear with me a few more minutes because I want to show you the remedy for all people caught up in any of what we have talked about this morning.
IV. The remedy
A. Church is a Hospital for the sick
Mark 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
We as a church have to decide who we are. Jesus Himself indicated that we are to be a hospital for the sick.
That means if you are here, and you feel horrible because of what we are talking about- you are right where Jesus wants you.
We have sinned in the Pentecostal and holiness movements in painting people with the scarlet letter instead of helping them back into right relationship with God.
If one of us is suffering, the enter body suffers.
A few weeks ago I hurt my foot at work and then got gout. That was a combination of pain I don’t want again.
You would think- it’s just in my foot- that’s less than 1% of my body and yet it caused some pretty intense pain whenever I touched it or moved it. My whole body suffered because there was something wrong with this little part of it.
The body of Christ is to be the same way- if you are struggling with sexual sin today you need to know you are in a safe place, with people willing to come along side you and help you through this. You just have to ask.
Speaking for myself, I won’t judge you- I myself am a graduate of a program to rid yourself of pornography addiction, and I know a lot of men who have also graduated that program and you’d be surprised at the positions they hold. If you need help, please ask.
The second remedy to get rid of sexual sin is to live lives of
A couple of gut check questions- if I asked to borrow your smartphone would you be nervous about what I might find?
IF I came to your house, and looked through your video collection, would you be ashamed?
If I were to look through your computer files, would you be nervous?
Don’t worry- I’m not going to show up at your house with a referee’s uniform and throw penalty flags every time you look at our watch something I think might be questionable, but just ask yourself this- would you invite Jesus over, pop some popcorn, and ask him to sit there and watch that movie, look at that website, or read that book or magazine with you? If not, you might want to think twice about it…because in fact, Jesus is watching.
If any of that is making you uncomfortable or angry it’s actually a good thing because it shows you need to do a heart check before God.
Speaking of your heart-
C. Guard your heart
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people shipwreck their lives with the phrase, “I’m just following my heart”.
The bible has a lot to say about the human heart, and when we say heart in the biblical sense we are talking about the seat of emotions and will.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
You cannot allow your heart to lead you into what your brain and your bible, and mostly importantly your God tells you is wrong. As a Christian, you are not to be lead by your heart, but you are to lead your heart, and guard your heart, and let Jesus reign in your heart.
I will end today with this scripture-
23Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
All stand and come down to receive communion together- consider the price that was paid for you to be made clean. That power is still here, and is still available for those who what to turn from their sin and receive it from God.
Instructions on Communion