Summary: Part six of this series discusses the seventh commandment pertaining to adultery. This message focuses on the natural and the spiritual aspects of adultery.
The Ten Commandments Part 6
Raise your hands if you know and believe that God knows your heart. Raise your hand if you know and believe that God looks at and evaluate your heart. This is part six on my series the Ten Commandments and it’s about the heart. The commandment we’re going to examine this morning is found in Exodus 20:14 and it says very simply “You shall not commit adultery.” This is the seventh commandment. If you break this commandment by default you break the eight commandment (no stealing); the ninth commandment (no lying – bearing false witness); and the tenth commandment (no coveting.) And for some people breaking this commandment leads to someone else breaking the 6th commandment (no killing.) Not obeying this commandment carries serious consequences both in the natural and spiritually.
Now before I go any further, I want to share with a story with you about the woman caught in adultery. Turn to John chapter eight. In our society today, adultery does not carry the stigma that it once did. Although people know it’s wrong and definitely would not want it to happen to them, we accept it as part of our reality when we hear about it. Even when there is a pattern of behavior, we make allowances for the individual because we know what lies in our past. While we do not condemn the person committing the act, we also do not hold them accountable for stopping, especially if they are in a leadership position. We live in a society that does not treat the sanctity of marriage as it once did. There are a few points I want to make quickly with this story and I hope you will keep them in mind as I go through the rest of the message. In this story we will see how the scribes and Pharisees interpreted and implemented God’s word according to their personal desires. Jesus accused them of utilizing their positions in ministry for personal gain while lacking justice and mercy (see Matthew chapter 23). Let me give you an example of this as it relates to adultery. Let’s begin reading at the third verse of John chapter eight.
“The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?’ They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8:3-11)
The first point I want you to see is that the woman was brought before Jesus and not the man. The woman was found in the very act, meaning she was caught being intimate with the man who was not her husband. The Jewish leaders seized the woman but not the man. Why would they do this? At this time in Jewish history, man ruled. Men had rights (according to how the Word of God was interpreted and implemented) that the woman did not have. During this time, only the woman could be accused of adultery. According to Jewish law, sexual intercourse of a married woman with any man other than her husband was adultery. The crime could be committed only by and with a married woman. However, and this is important for understanding this story, the unlawful intercourse of a married man with an unmarried woman was not technically adultery in the Jewish law. The ancient Jewish law, as well as other systems of law which grew out of a patriarchal state of society, did not recognize the husband's infidelity to his marriage vows as a crime, and it was not until comparatively recent times that the woman was legally entitled to enforce her husband's faithfulness, and was given the right to demand a bill of divorce for his sexual immorality. So at this time only the woman was found to be in sin.