The 1631 edition of the King James Version became known as the "Wicked Bible" because of a typesetting error. It seems that the word ‘not’ was inadvertently left out, and left this verse reading ‘Thou shalt commit adultery.’ That was over 365 years ago, but it would seem that our society is following that version when it comes to adultery. May I go so far as to say that it is not only those who are spiritually ignorant who disregard God’s seventh commandment. It seems that this has transcended all spiritual lines and we find that adultery is nearly as common among those who name the name of Christ as it is among those who do not.
I grew up in the generation of ‘free love’ and open immorality. We have come a long way since then. We now understand that it wasn’t free after all. There was and continues to be a price to pay for such immoral behavior. Now we are enlightened and we are in the ‘safe sex’ generation. The problem is that we are still trying to do things our way instead of God’s way. God’s answer to safe sex is marriage. To that many will scoff and say that is old fashioned. Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean that it is wrong!
This commandment specifically addresses the sin of adultery. By definition adultery is the violation of the marriage vow. It is sexual unfaithfulness between a married person and someone else.
Under Mosaic Law, when a couple was caught in the act of adultery, both parties were to be killed. "IF A MAN BE FOUND LYING WITH A WOMAN MARRIED TO AN HUSBAND, THEN THEY SHALL BOTH OF THEM DIE, BOTH THE MAN THAT LAY WITH THE WOMAN, AND THE WOMAN: SO SHALT THOU PUT AWAY EVIL FROM ISRAEL." (DEU 22:22)
I. The Reason for the Command.
A. Adultery plays havoc with personal, domestic, and national happiness.
B. Note the example of David.
1. A case in point is David's affair with Bathsheba.
2. Their adultery led to a cover-up, which was followed by the murder of Bathsheba's husband.
3. Nathan the prophet later came to David, accusing him of his sin and declaring that because of it, violence would become commonplace in David's household.
4. One disaster after another struck his family, including rape, murder, and revolt.
C. Adultery reached epidemic proportions in Jeremiah's time.
1. The prophet repeatedly spoke out against this and other sins.
"WILL YE STEAL, MURDER, AND COMMIT ADULTERY, AND SWEAR FALSELY, AND BURN INCENSE UNTO BAAL, AND WALK AFTER OTHER GODS WHOM YE KNOW NOT;" (JER 7:9)
"FOR THE LAND IS FULL OF ADULTERERS; FOR BECAUSE OF SWEARING THE LAND MOURNETH; THE PLEASANT PLACES OF THE WILDERNESS ARE DRIED UP, AND THEIR COURSE IS EVIL, AND THEIR FORCE IS NOT RIGHT." (JER 23:10)
2. The problem was so rampant that even the other prophets of Jerusalem were guilty of it.
"I HAVE SEEN ALSO IN THE PROPHETS OF JERUSALEM AN HORRIBLE THING: THEY COMMIT ADULTERY, AND WALK IN LIES: THEY STRENGTHEN ALSO THE HANDS OF EVILDOERS, THAT NONE DOTH RETURN FROM HIS WICKEDNESS: THEY ARE ALL OF THEM UNTO ME AS SODOM, AND THE INHABITANTS THEREOF AS GOMORRAH." (JER 23:14)
D. Adultery violates the symbolism of marriage.
1. The oneness or unity between a man and his wife is a picture of the relationship of God to the believer.
2. Paul admonishes we as husbands to love our wives as Christ loved the church.
"HUSBANDS, LOVE YOUR WIVES, EVEN AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH, AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT;" (EPH 5:25)
3. When adultery is committed it destroys that oneness and it distorts the picture.
"BUT WHOSO COMMITTETH ADULTERY WITH A WOMAN LACKETH UNDERSTANDING: HE THAT DOETH IT DESTROYETH HIS OWN SOUL." (PROV 6:32)
II. Our Response to the Command.
A. Absolute obedience.
1. As with each of these commandments, God expects us to obey them.
2. It isn’t optional, regardless of what our society may be like.
3. Sin is still sin even if everyone is doing it and right is still right no matter if no one is doing it.
B. Jesus expanded the meaning of adultery to include the cultivation of lust:
"WHOEVER LOOKS AT A WOMAN TO LUST FOR HER HAS ALREADY COMMITTED ADULTERY WITH HER IN HIS HEART" MT. 5:28
1. Once again, Jesus gets to the real heart of the matter.
2. Sin begins long before it is acted out.
3. Note James 1:14-15
"BUT EVERY MAN IS TEMPTED, WHEN HE IS DRAWN AWAY OF HIS OWN LUST, AND ENTICED THEN WHEN LUST HATH CONCEIVED, IT BRINGETH FORTH SIN: AND SIN, WHEN IT IS FINISHED, BRINGETH FORTH DEATH."
4. Note the progression of temptation:
a. Lust first begins in our minds
b. Sin is the action based on our thoughts.
c. Death is the result.
5. Sin will always take you farther than you meant to go…keep you longer than you want to stay…and cost you more than you want to pay! (Note: Woman who came to see me.)
6. If you don’t believe that ask someone who has committed adultery if it was all worth it.
C. Hope for the guilty.
1. As always, God has made a provision for our sin.
2. Forgiveness through the blood of Christ is available to us all.
3. Note the example of Jesus and the woman. Cf. John 8:3-11
We have a Savior who can take all the broken pieces of our lives and our hearts and put them right again. Jesus did not treat the sin of adultery lightly here. He forgave her and told her to go and sin no more! Thou shalt not commit adultery!
There is a spiritual adultery as well. When we come to Christ, we are His bride. We are to then give Him our devotion and love. He deserves all of our attention. The problem with the church at Ephesus was that they had left their first love. Some have left the Lord for all sorts of reasons, but none will stand up before Him. Come home.
If you have never been saved, come today and receive Christ. He loves you and wants to see you saved today. If you are a believer who has grown cold in your love for Him, come today and renew that commitment to Him. There may be couples who need to come and renew their commitment to one another. Whatever the need this morning, come.