The Seventh Commandment
"Thou shalt not commit adultery. " - Exodus 20:14
Text: EXODUS 20:1-20
1. D.L. Moody told the story of an English Army officer in India who had been living an impure life. One evening he got into a conversation with the chaplain, and he said to the chaplain: “Religion is all very well, but you must admit that there are some difficulties – about the miracles, for instance.” The chaplain knew the man and his immoral lifestyle, and looked him in the eye. He said quietly, “Yes, there are some things in the Bible that are difficult to understand. But the seventh commandment is very plain.”
2. This morning we will be looking at these very plain words, known as the seventh commandment. D.L. Moody said: “I would to God I could pass over this commandment, but I feel that the time has come to cry aloud and spare not.”
3. G. Campbell Morgan wrote: “There is no subject, perhaps, more difficult to deal with faithfully, and yet there is none demanding more honest and fearless handling.”
4. In I Timothy 5:22, the apostle Paul told young Timothy, “keep thyself pure.” The seventh commandment calls for the preservation of sexual purity (cf. I Cor. 7:1, 2).
5. The context of this passage (I Cor. 7:1-5) indicates that procreation is not the only purpose for marriage. “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). Adultery shatters the marriage bond.
6. God instituted marriage back in the garden of Eden. Despite whatever men and women may say, the family is the bedrock of our society. And adultery destroys marriages and breaks up families. Underlying the seventh commandment is the biblical doctrine of marriage.
7. This morning, we will consider the sin of adultery under these three headings:
I. THE NATURE OF THE SIN
II. THE MAGNITUDE OF THE SIN
III. THE CONSEQUENCE OF THE SIN
I. THE NATURE OF THE SIN
1. When the Bible speaks of adultery, it is referring primarily to the sin of marital unfaithfulness.
2. Fornication speaks of the sexual sins of those who are unmarried. Both adultery and fornication are condemned by God’s Word.
3. Many people today erroneously believe that marriage is the product of societal evolution. To them, marriage is merely a plan invented by man.
4. But the Bible teaches that marriage is a divine institution. Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6).
5. Since marriage is a divine institution, living together without being married is wrong.
6. “One of the strangest aspects of the recent stir over the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses was the picture of homosexual couples crowding city hall demanding the right to be married, while hundreds of heterosexual couples lived together in the same city absolutely refusing to get married!” (Rick Flanders).
7. The other day, San Francisco Assemblyman Mark Leno said, “They're loud, they're obnoxious, they're disgusting, and they should get out of San Francisco” ("Christian Youth Rally," San Francisco Chronicle, March 24).
8. You may be shocked that an elected official in San Francisco would say such things about homosexuals. However, he was not talking about the homosexuals; he was talking about Christians!
9. The seventh commandment calls for purity of thought. The Lord Jesus Christ taught that adultery can be committed mentally due to the inward lusting of man’s sinful heart (cf. Matt. 5:27-30).
10. Many people have been puzzled by these words of our Lord. Why was He advocating such drastic measures (Matt. 5:29, 30)? Because unless drastic steps are taken, the adulterer will die and go to hell (cf. I Cor. 6:9, 10; Rev. 21:8).
11. In reference to Matt. 5:29, 30, years ago people used to pluck out their eyes and mutilate themselves in an effort to subdue their passions. This did not work because our Lord said the problem is in the “heart” (Matt. 5:28; cf. Matt. 15:18, 19). If our Lord was advocating the removal of body parts, then people would have to cut out their hearts!
12. What our Lord is saying is that we are to remove from our lives anything that causes us to sin.
13. Adultery is committed after deliberation, and always begins with sinful thoughts. That is why women need to be careful how they dress, lest they plant impure thoughts in men’s minds. Men need to be careful with their eyes – for example, do not watch those raunchy TV shows or movies.
14. I read this article the other day: “TV Promotes Promiscuity in Children,” by Terry Vanderheyden.
15. Let me blunt: if you can sit and watch this trash and it does not bother you then there is something seriously wrong with you. Adultery, fornication, illegitimacy, and divorce are all on the increase, and TV and Hollywood are a big part of the problem.
16. Psalm 101:3 says, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes.” Watching others commit adultery is a sin. Adultery is a deliberate, rebellious sin against God (cf. Gen. 39:7-9).
II. THE MAGNITUDE OF THE SIN
1. Recently I read a rather disturbing article on the Internet, entitled, “Now you can pay rent by having sex” (WND, March 19, 2006).
2. One of the biggest problems with television and Hollywood is they promote sin, and they glamorize sin, and they try to make sin seem acceptable.
3. And no sin is promoted in the movies and on television like the sin of adultery. Whether it is the daytime soap operas (which are also on at night now) and inane talk shoes or the raunchy comedies, they are all filthy.
4. When you stop and think about it, with few exceptions, today’s heroes and heroines are all adulterers and adulteresses – movie stars, rock singers, athletes, politicians – they are all adulterers!
5. But I would like to point out several things that make the transgression of the seventh commandment such a serious offense in the eyes of a holy God.
6. First, it is a breach of the marriage vows. Today marriage vows mean little to most people. But they are very important to God.
7. Adultery is more than a violation of the seventh commandment – the adulterer also breaks the eighth, ninth, and tenth commandments as well. He breaks the eighth commandment by stealing someone else’s wife (or husband), the ninth commandment by bearing false witness, and the tenth commandment by coveting his neighbor’s wife.
8. Adultery destroys nations. I do no care how strong our economy is, or how well Wall Street is doing, or how low the unemployment rate is, and so on. All I need to do is look at our country’s acceptance of immorality, whether it is adultery, fornication, homosexuality, pornography, abortion, etc. and I can tell you our great nation is heading for a terrible fall.
9. “The greatness of a people depends upon the purity and strength of the people, and in every nation where the marriage relation is violated with impunity the virus of death is surely and certainly at work. This is at once proved by the lurid lights that flash from the decay of Assyria, Greece, Rome, and in our own times, of France also. In this respect it is most true that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people’ (Pro. 14:34)” – G. Campbell Morgan.
10. G. Campbell Morgan wrote those words many years ago. Certainly Great Britain and the United States are right behind Greece, Rome and France in their slide into decay, debauchery, and eventual destruction.
III. THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE SIN
1. Adultery is a disgusting and degrading sin, which debases the adulterer and makes him behave like an animal (cf. Jer. 5:7, 8).
2. But it is unfair to the animal kingdom to compare adulterers with animals. Most people today act worse than animals. Some adulterers have debased and perverted sexual relationships to a degree unseen anywhere in the animal world.
3. Something else to consider: adultery destroys the body. Many immoral people suffer from herpes, AIDS, and other STD’s. God’s Word repeatedly warns of the dangers of adultery (cf. Pro. 2:16-19; 5:1-5,15-23; 6:23-33; 7:5-27; 22:14).
4. Adultery not only destroys the body, it also destroys the soul (Pro. 6:32).
5. Adultery ruins a person’s reputation. Rahab was a harlot living in Jericho. She got saved, became a pure woman, and moved to Israel. She married an Israelite from the tribe of Judah. They had a son named Boaz, who married Ruth. Ruth was the mother of Obed, the grandmother of Jesse, and the great-grandmother of King David. She is in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5, 6, 16).
6. I said all that to say this: Even though she got saved, and became an Israelite, and is even in the genealogy of our Lord, she is still referred to as “Rahab the harlot” in Heb. 11:31 and James 2:25.
7. Adultery ruins a person’s reputation. Proverbs 6:33 says, “A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.”
8. Adultery is an attack upon God’s law, which wisely proscribes all immorality. Adultery destroys families (and sometimes even churches). And if they do not repent, the adulterer and adulteress will spend eternity in hell.
1. Hugh Latimer was born in England in 1485. In 1510, he was ordained a RC priest. Sometime around 1525, he was saved and quickly gained a reputation as a Protestant.
2. Due to the influence of his good friend Thomas Cromwell, Latimer was appointed bishop of Worcester. This was during the reign of King Henry VIII.
3. It was the custom then for each of the bishops to bring a present to the king on New Year’s Day. Hugh Latimer went along with this custom, and presented to King Henry a New Testament, with a Scripture marked. The Scripture was Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
4. Beloved, the Bible says, “God will judge…” King Henry died and had to stand before God. Some day you and I will have to do the same. Are you ready? (cf. John 3:16-18).