SOTM -THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30)

The fifth of the Ten Commandments is that we should not commit adultery. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14) As all sin the wage for adultery is death. (Leviticus 20:10) There are two aspects to adultery but people tend to only look at one of them. This was the practice of the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day as well as today. Here we must define adultery in order to fully appreciate the meaning of these verses.

Merriam – Webster defines adultery as: “Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband.” This is the definition that most think of in the case of fornication. Jesus brought out the act further than the physical act but also as act of the inner heart. If one has lust for a woman that he is not married to in his heart, then he has committed the act of adultery. The truth is that most of what we do is conceived in the heart before we commit to it in the flesh.

Adultery goes beyond the physical act between a man and a women but is also an act of evil between man and his God. Spiritual adultery is also defined with idolatry, covetousness, and apostasy. The Prophet Jeremiah spoke of the adulterous nation of God’s chosen people Israel. There they turned away from the Word of God and had an adulterous affair with the sinful ways of the world. “Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.” (Jeremiah 3:9)

When Jesus, their Messiah, came they failed to believe without a sign of His deity. They were faithless people and would not turn from their love of the worldly ways. Jesus told them that only an unbelieving heart needs the assurance of signs and wonders. “But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:39-40) His people of the day were an adulterous generation. And so the adultery of our generation continues on today.

The Prophet Isaiah spoke the word of the Lord against the holy city of Jerusalem in his day. The Holy City of Jerusalem, the very place of God’s Temple, where a just and righteous God dwelled with His people. Yet in the very presence of God the people had their affair with the world and fell to its lust. “How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers.” (Isaiah 1:21)

The Godhead is a community of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And God created the community of society with its foundation the family and God as its model. The Holy Trinity is a sacred community of the Godhead, three separate persons who are as one in complete harmony. This is the model that God established for the family, husband, wife, and children. Man, woman, boys, and girls. The family unit under God’s perfect plan would be strong. If the family is strong, then society would be strong. A society is only as strong as the weakest family unit. If this faithful union breaks down, then there are grave consequences. If we in our adultery turn away from the Word of God, then we will sow the seeds of our own destruction. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

A Christian family strives to live a life in righteousness. They pray together, worship together, and join in the communion of the saints together. It is not a perfect life but if they confess and repent towards God it will be a blameless life. We must always be mindful that our sin is not against man only but a rebellion against God’s Word. God is all knowing and we will be held accountable. “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)

The walk of a Christian is not an easy walk. It is a walk of constant battle with evil spiritual forces in the heavenly places. But the Christian is equipped with the power of His Spirit that dwells within, the power of God’s Word, and the edification of fellow saints. The Christian will overcome the world as the Lord Jesus had overcame the world. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

If we would but follow Him we would not fall into the temptations of the evil one but will produce the good fruit in our labor for His glory. We must be led by His Spirit and not by our own sinful flesh and its desires. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” (Galatians 5:16-18)

We cannot just concentrate on what we do in the flesh, as what the flesh does is a reflection of what the heart desires. The point that Jesus is making is that even if we do not stray from our first love but desire it in our heart we have already committed the sin. It is the Word of God that makes us aware of the sinful traps that we can fall into. “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7)

It is the purpose of the law to make us aware of the evil that is within and to turn us away and move to the light of His truth. If our heart is filed with evil then what good can come out of it? Jesus made this point clear to the Pharisees. “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” (Matthew 12:34)

If we entertain evil thoughts and temptations from our adversary then sin is crouching at our door. This was the warning that God gave to Cain before he murdered his brother Able. Cain did not heed God’s Word and the first recorded murder was enacted in the Scripture, as Cain killed his brother Able. “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:7)

We will be tempted and our sinful nature will respond though its lust of the flesh. Our adversary knows our weakest points. If we give this temptation audience, if we ponder upon it, then we will fall to its call. We must put it aside quickly, give it to prayer, attack it with the Word of God as our Lord did in the wilderness. If we give Satan a foothold he will devoir us. “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)

The world is a strong pull upon us all. We have spiraled away from the foundation and popular culture has become the rule of our life. One of my fist arguments was and maybe yours too is “everybody is doing it.” Then there is the argument that truth for me is not the same as truth for you and it is based upon personal reality. This may have been the argument of Eve when she handed Adam the forbidden fruit. We all know where that led the world. To go the way of the world is adultery in the eyes of the Lord. “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

We all stumble and fall, get back up, confess and repent, and it is a daily task that we do to be cleansed by the Word of God. it is necessary to keep the bond of His love flowing through us that we may represent our Lord in a honorable way and protect our testimony of His truth. It is the promise of His word that keeps us in Him. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3)

We must learn the lesson from Cain that we dare not allow sin to crouch at the door to our heart. We are servants of the Most High God, as He is a servant unto us. As a faithful servant to a faithful God we must learn all that He has to teach us through prayer and His Word. For the sake of our Lord and the glory of the Father we submit to His Word that our adversary will flee from our presence. Where sin in the world abounds God’s grace abounds all the more. We shall by the grace of God overcome the world. “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:6-7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, April 8, 2016

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