Ten Commandments Part 7
Restrain Sexual Desires
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
February 13, 2005
Exodus 20:1-17 (NLT)
[Top section used at the
beginning of the service as a welcome/teaser]
Good morning. Welcome to
Sunrise this morning, February 13, 2005. You know what that means,
don’t you? Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Now, if you’re like me, you’re
always putting your foot in your mouth and saying something you
shouldn’t be saying. And the day you least want to do that is
Valentine’s Day. So with that in mind, let me give you the…
Top Ten Things
Not to Say on Valentine’s Day:
10. Hurry up or we'll be
late for dinner at Wendy’s.
9. Roses? Do you have any idea how much those cost?
8. Now, don't eat all that candy. It'll go straight to your hips.
7. I got you this card because the cow on it reminded me of you.
6. I hope you don’t mind… I invited my mom to come with us tonight.
5. I thought about getting you some chocolates. It is the thought that
counts, isn’t it?
4. I never said you NEED a nose job. I just said it wouldn't hurt to
3. Let me play you a nice love song on my accordion.
2. I got you something you need… a stick of deodorant!
1. Valentine’s? Was that today?
That’s my Top Ten list for the morning. Later on we’ll be taking a look
at God’s Top Ten, the Ten Commandments. We’ve already examined the
first six commandments and if you missed those messages they’re
available on our website. This morning we’ll be exploring the seventh
commandment which simply states, “Do not commit adultery.”
REVERENDFUN.COM – "Cannot commit an adult tree" (PowerPoint)
REVERENDFUN.COM – "Can we take a vote on some of these?" (PowerPoint)
Have you every felt like that? Ever felt like you’d be happier if you
could just do away with one or two of the commandments? Or have you
ever wondered what it takes to pass? I mean, is 9 out of 10 okay? How
about 8 out of 10? Well, sorry to break this to you, but God is looking
for people who’s hearts are completely His. He is calling us to live in
obedience to Him in every way at every time. So when it comes to the
Ten Commandments, none of them are optional. That’s why they’re called
We’ve been working our way through the Ten Commandments and today we
arrive at #7 which simply states:
Do not commit adultery.
This is not a fun one. I imagine there were a number of people that
when they first heard this commandment wouldn’t have liked it. Take a
look at this comic I found…
But I understand that people may not like this one. They wouldn’t have
liked it when God first gave it. They would have debated it. They would
have objected to it. And people respond the same way today. In fact,
this commandment is one of the least popular and most broken of the 10.
Why? Because people see this commandment as something that’s there to
spoil their fun. If it feels good, do it, right?
“Only in a sex-satiated culture like ours would we say that the
ultimate injustice is sexual unfulfillment.”
~ Bruxy Cavey
But God calls us to live above our sin-tainted desires. He challenges
us to respect our sexuality and use it in the ways it was intended. And
He warns us against some rather serious consequences if we misuse it.
So here’s what we’re going to do this morning: We’re going to a look at
three Biblical Truths as they relate to human sexuality and adultery,
then we’ll examine three factors that contribute to the risk of giving
in to temptation and committing adultery, and then we’ll identify three
steps you can take to better safeguard yourself from disobeying the
seventh commandment. And you can use the notes found in your Sunrise
Update this morning to follow along and fill in the blanks as we go.
Three Factors Contributing to Risk of Adultery
1. Power of
I think a lot of people
underestimate the power of their sex drive and overestimate their
ability to resist it. So we think a little playful flirtation won’t do
any harm, a little sexual-sightseeing won’t lead to anything else, and
no matter how far we take things we can always pull back.
But the truth is…
Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you
want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.
Think about it like a toboggan. Let’s say you have one of those big
toboggans and you load it up with seven or eight people and you start
to push off to go down the hill. What if someone in that seven or eight
people suddenly yelled for you to stop? My guess is you have three,
maybe four feet to get that thing stopped or you’re going down that
hill, whether you want to or not.
We call it a sex drive for a reason… it drives us. It pushes us toward
a destination. It’s a powerful part of who were are… something God put
within us, a gift He gave us, a gift that needs to be controlled… but
we tend to abuse it instead.
Permissiveness in Society
Society would tell you,
“Full unrestricted sexual expression is your right! No matter what vows
you’ve made at the altar, no matter who gets hurt… if you find yourself
attracted to someone you owe it to yourself to pursue them and express
your desires to them and with them. You deserve to be happy at all
costs…”, even if that kind of happiness breaks hearts, destroys your
marriage, and eventually results in immeasurable pain.
Some reports indicate that as many as 70% of husbands commit adultery
at some time during their marriage, and 50% of the wives do. About 70%
of the sexual encounters on TV take place outside of the context of
marriage. If you don’t believe me, get yourself a clipboard and sit
down in front of the TV if you can stomach it and chart it for
yourself. And it’s even worse in the movies.
Last week, there was a show on TV comparing the greatest commercials
from the SuperBowl with the greatest commercials from the rest of the
world. I always enjoy things like that, so I taped it and got around to
watching it later. Which in itself is kind of funny because I ended up
fast-forwarding through commercials to see the commercials. But when I
finally watched it, it was shocking to see how many sexually explicit
commercials – even ones that promote adultery – not only exist but are
considered to be among the best in the world.
There’s one commercial for Mercedes-Benz that begins with a woman
welcoming her lover into her bedroom. He asks if her husband is coming
home. She replies, “Not in this weather.” The commercial cuts to the
husband driving through the snow in his Mercedes, apparently on his way
home. And the whole commercial makes you think that the husband is
going to catch his wife with her lover. Until finally he reaches his
destination, goes inside, but it’s not his home… it’s his lover’s. She
asks if his wife is expecting him, he grins and responds, “Not in this
weather.” It’s one of those commercials that makes you laugh at first,
and then you realize what you’re laughing at.
Is it any wonder with commercials like that on TV that adultery is
rampant and permissiveness is at an all-time high? People in our
society have a terrible time trying to restrain themselves and control
their sexual desires, and the problem only seems to be getting worse.
I heard a story this week about a business luncheon where the speaker
asked how many of the women there had been faithful to their spouse.
I’m not sure how many people were there, but I got the impression it
was a large gathering. And when the speaker asked that question, only
one woman raised her hand. One of the other women who was at that
luncheon later went home and told her husband about it, told him about
the question and that only one woman had raised her hand, and added
that it wasn’t her. Obviously her husband thought the same thing you’re
thinking, but she reassured him, “No, no, I’ve been faithful to you.”
So he asked, “Then why didn’t you raise your hand?” She said, “Because
I was ashamed.”
That’s how far we’ve come. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult to
maintaining any sense of moral purity when everything in our society
seems to be working against us.
3. Pressures in
More and more people are
growing up in broken or dysfunctional homes, so when they enter into a
marriage themselves they have all kinds of issues they bring with them.
Add to that the constant financial strain that most families face
today. We’re told that financial problems are the number one cause of
divorce in our society. And then add breakdowns in communication,
coping with rebellious children, and balancing hectic schedules. Very
often you’re left with both partners in the marriage being exhausted,
there’s a lack of fulfillment in the marriage, there’s a loss of
intimacy… and the prospect of finding intimacy and fulfillment in a
relationship without all that baggage can be very appealing. It can
seem so very uncomplicated.
So if you’re facing some marital pressures, and especially if they’ve
been going on for a while, you need to be aware of this danger. And
perhaps you need to go home and talk about it this afternoon.
So we’ve got these three
major contributing factors that lead to adultery. And there’s more than
those, but those are three big ones. Is it any wonder that adultery is
rampant? Is it any wonder that people are looking for fulfillment
outside of the marriage relationship? It all seems so bleak. Is there
any hope for marriages today? Yes there is, and we’ll get to that
shortly. But first, let me identify for you…
Three Biblical Truths
1. Sexuality is
a Gift from God
Our sexuality is
God-designed. Our Holy, righteous, complete pure God is the One who
created sex to be part of the marriage relationship. It’s a pure and
perfect gift that God has given to us. There’s nothing dirty about it,
it’s not scandalous, and it’s not wrong to enjoy it. It’s a good thing…
it’s a wonderful thing… when used in the right way.
Now, I’m a guy. And like most guys, I don’t like to read manuals. I
prefer to figure things out for myself, even if it means I put things
together in the wrong way and they fall apart two days later. But
sometimes it’s good to read manuals. You can find some pretty
interesting things when you read the instructions. I’ve got a few here
(from the Internet):
On a hairdryer: Do
not use while sleeping.
On a bag of Fritos:
You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
On children's cough
medicine: "Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this
On Nytol sleep aid:
Warning: May cause drowsiness.
On a bar of Dial
soap: Directions: Use like regular soap.
On a Swanson frozen
dinners: Serving suggestion: Defrost. (But it's just a suggestion.)
On Mark &
Spencer bread pudding: Product will be hot after heating.
On most brands of
Christmas lights: "For indoor or outdoor use only." (As opposed to
On a packet of
peanuts: "Warning: contains nuts."
On another packet of
peanuts: "Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts."
On a child's
Superman costume: "Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly."
Well, sexuality is a gift from God. He created us as sexual beings, and
in order to use it correctly we need to read the manual… the Bible.
If we look at Genesis, the first book in the Bible, we see that God
created the first man, Adam. Then God decided it wasn’t good for man to
be alone… he had nobody to set the clock on the VCR, no one to remind
him of birthdays, no one to baby him when he’s sick… So God put Adam
into a deep sleep, took a rib from him, and used it to create the first
woman, Eve. And when Adam first saw Eve, he responded…
Genesis 2:23 (NLT)
“At last!” Adam exclaimed. “She is part of
my own flesh and bone! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was
taken out of a man.”
I think a more literal translation of what Adam said would be, “Whoa…
dude!” The passage goes on…
Genesis 2:24 (NLT)
This explains why a man leaves his father
and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
God created man and woman for each other, to love and enjoy within the
context of the marriage relationship. Over in the New Testament it says…
Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)
Marriage should be honoured by all, and the
marriage bed kept pure…
What’s this saying? It’s saying that within the context of marriage,
human sexuality is a wonderful, beautiful, completely pure expression
of love. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about in that setting. Human
sexuality is a gift from God.
A second Truth that you need to understand is that adultery is birthed
in the heart.
2. Adultery is
Birthed in the Heart
Check out what Jesus
said in Matthew 5…
Matthew 5:27-28 (NLT)
"You have heard that the law of Moses says,
`Do not commit adultery.' But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman
with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his
What is Jesus saying? He’s saying that lust and adultery are basically
the same thing. They both spring from the heart. Lust is merely a
forerunner of adultery. Once the thoughts begin in the mind, that
person is already on the road to more serious offenses and probable
disaster. It’s only a matter of time.
One of the problems with drug use is that you develop an immunity. You
may start with a minor league drug, but pretty soon you’re not getting
the same results anymore and you need to turn to something stronger.
You don’t start right in with the hard stuff, but you gradually work
your way there. And when lust stops giving you the “fix” you’re looking
for, you’ll turn to something stronger, too. And before you know it,
you’re doing things you never thought you would do.
You know what? Understanding what Jesus is saying here means that you
don’t even have to be married to commit adultery. Many of you here this
morning are single, but commandment #7 is just as much for you as it is
for those of us who are married. You and I need to restrain our sexual
desires and choose to express our God-given sexuality in only
God-honouring ways. Paul wrote…
Romans 6:12 (NLT)
Do not let sin control the way you live; do
not give in to its lustful desires.
Lust can control you. It can rule you. As fun and as playful as it can
seem, it can destroy you.
3. If You
Disobey, You Will be Disciplined
As with all the
commandments, there is a price to be paid for disobeying commandment
#7. The temptation is to believe that you’ll get away with it, but you
Numbers 32:23 (NLT)
…you may be sure that your sin will find you
Hebrews 13:4 (NLT)
God will surely judge people who are immoral
and those who commit adultery.
[David and Bathsheba - 2 Samuel 11-12]
How will you be punished? Well, ultimately that’s up to God. But let me
give you an example from the Old Testament.
King David was referred to in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart.
But he wasn’t perfect. One spring while his troops were off to war,
David stayed home in Jerusalem. In that day and age kings typically
accompanied the troops into battle, but for some reason David didn’t go
with them this time. And we’re told that one afternoon he decided to
take a nap. So after he tossed and turned for a while, he got up and
went up onto the roof of his palace for some fresh air. As he was
walking around, he looked over toward some homes and saw a beautiful
woman taking a bath. That was just and accident. But he continued to
watch her. That was his decision. And eventually he decided that he
wanted her for himself.
So he did a bit of research and found out that her name was Bathsheba.
She was the wife of Uriah, one of the soldiers in David’s army. Uriah
was off to war so he sent for Bathsheba, one thing led to another, and
the New Living Translation says that “He slept with her”. But there
must have been more going on then sleeping because in the very next
verse she discovers that she’s pregnant and sends a message to David to
let him know of the consequences of their actions.
So what did David do? He tried to cover it up. And when it appeared
they would be found out, he even arranged for her husband Uriah to be
placed on the front lines of war so he would be killed. David had an
affair with a married woman, got her pregnant, and then arranged for
her husband to be killed! Then David took Bathsheba as his own wife and
they had a son.
After all this, God sent the prophet Nathan to David to confront him
about what he has done. David admitted what he had done, he regretted
it, and asked God for forgiveness. He even wrote Psalm 51 to express
his deep sorrow and repentance, and you may want to read that on your
own. So what happened next? Nathan told David that God had indeed
forgiven him. But he also told him that there would still be a
consequence. The child they had would become sick and die. David prayed
and fasted for days, but the consequence remained, and the child did
die. Plus, David had to deal with the consequences for the rest of his
life as his family and his kingdom endured conflict and turmoil.
Galatians 6:7 (NLT)
Don't be misled. Remember that you can't
ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow!
Even if you are forgiven, you will still reap what you sow. There will
still be consequences to your actions.
“God requires obedience right up to the very end of life, even on the
part of His most faithful servants… Earthly sin always brings earthly
~ Bob Russell
What kinds of
sinfulness will have spiritual consequences.
Isaiah 59:2 (NLT)
But there is a problem—your sins have
cut you off from God.
And 1 Corinthians 6 tells us that there will be eternal ramifications
for all types of sexual misconduct including adultery…
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NLT)
Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge
in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes,
homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and
swindlers--none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.
sinfulness will have emotional consequences.
In the case of adultery, this is true for yourself, your spouse, and
your lover. And don’t forget about the children. The loss of trust… the
feelings of guilt… the feelings of inadequacy… the suspicion… the lack
of security… it can be very difficult to recover from adultery. The
cost of adultery will always exceed what it would have taken to avoid
sinfulness may have physical consequences.
In the case of David the physical consequence was the death of his
firstborn son. There are enough sexually transmitted diseases going
around these days that it’s not a long shot to say you might face some
physical consequences. And that’s not even touching on stress and guilt
and depression and all that they can do to you physically.
You will be punished for breaking the seventh commandment. Is there any
wonder that David’s second son wrote…
Proverbs 6:29 (CEV)
And if you go to bed with another man's
wife, you pay the price.
So what can you do? If
you are committed to keeping all the commandments including #7, how can
you protect yourself and increase the odds of keeping it? Let me give
you three practical suggestions.
Three Safeguards against Adultery
1. Limit the
Right after Jesus
declared that adultery and lust are basically the same thing, He added…
Matthew 5:29-30 (NLT)
So if your eye—even if it is your good
eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away… And if your
hand—even if it is your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and
throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than
for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Does Jesus mean for this to be taken literally? Is He advocating
self-mutilation? No. He has already told us that He’s into heart
purity. He’s interested in what’s on the inside. Cutting off your hand
doesn’t change the sinful desires in your heart. Gouging out your eye
doesn’t eliminate the lustful images you can conjure up in your
imagination. So what is Jesus saying? He’s saying, “Cut off the sources
that tempt you to sin.”
[Joseph – Genesis 39]
Instead of feeding our lusts, we need to cut off the sources and limit
the opportunities. Joseph in Genesis 39 understood this. When
Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him and even started to undress him, I
believe he was genuinely tempted. So what did he do? He literally ran
from the room. He cut off the source. You and I need to do the same.
2 Timothy 2:22 (NLT)
Run from anything that stimulates youthful
lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right.
Here’s the thing: you already know what stimulates you to lust. So
avoid it! Don’t put yourself in the situation. There’s nothing
impressive about that.
“Any exposure to pornographic materials – be it in magazines, movies,
television, romance novels or videos – is like tossing lit matches into
a barrel of gasoline. It’s dangerous business.”
~ Bill Hybels
2. Renew Your
Commitment to Christ
Paul wrote in Romans 7…
Romans 7:24-25 (NLT)
Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will
free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer
is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Paul understood that he had no power in and of himself to overcome sin.
Paul didn’t, I don’t, and you don’t. But Paul also understood that
ultimately the power to overcome sin is only found in Jesus Christ.
Galatians 5:24 (NLT)
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed
the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and
crucified them there.
Romans 6:14 (NLT)
Sin is no longer your master… Instead, you
are free by God's grace.
Do you really want to be free from the bondage of lust and sinfulness?
Then commit yourself to Christ! Make it your goal to regularly renew
your relationship with Him and experience His grace and power afresh.
You are most prone to temptation when you have allowed your
relationship with Jesus to become stale, so don’t let that happen! Do
not neglect that relationship. Regularly spend time in prayer and
reading His Word. Pray that you will not fall. Ask Him to free you from
bondage to your temptations. Confess to Him the times that you have
messed up and ask Him to forgive you.
And in the event that this isn’t a problem for you, don’t get all high
and mighty. Thank God for His grace. Because you may discover just how
quickly you can fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
If you think you are standing strong, be
careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin. … And God is
faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you
can't stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way
out so that you will not give in to it.
You know what? If you’re a believer, the devil can’t make you do
anything. Everything you do is your choice. Will you hang around and
eventually give in to temptation, or will you allow Jesus to sustain
you and help you escape it? The choice is yours.
3. Fill Your
Mind with Better Things
There’s an old saying…
“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” I think a more accurate
statement would be, “Idle minds are the devil’s workshop.” I think that
was David’s problem. Instead of being off to war with his troops which
was where he should have been, he stayed at home relaxing around his
castle, taking mid-afternoon naps, and taking walks on his roof
watching naked women taking baths.
Now, I’m all for taking time to relax. I’ve even been known to have a
mid-afternoon nap once in a while. But you also need to have activities
that direct your thoughts in positive, God-pleasing ways.
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
Fix your thoughts on what is true and
honourable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and
admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
And Psalm 119 identifies the very vest way to fill your mind… Fill your
mind with His Word and allow it to penetrate to your heart.
Psalm 119:11 (NLT)
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I
might not sin against you.
Would you close your
eyes for a minute? If you’re here this morning and you’ve been flirting
with disaster, you need to stop it. Let me encourage you right now to
pray and ask God to strengthen you and help you overcome the temptation
to play with fire. Let Him know you’re sorry for allowing your mind to
wander into less-than-honourable territory and commit yourself right
now to following His Word and fixing your thoughts on things that are
true and honourable and right. Things that are pure and lovely and
admirable. Things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
If you’re here and you’ve already stepped across the line and committed
adultery, then you need to break it off. Confess it to God, ask Him to
forgive you, and determine right now that you’re not going to continue
to misuse the gift God has given you. And you may need to take some
pretty drastic steps to limit your opportunities and to keep from being
drawn into the same trap in the future. But whatever it takes, you need
to know it’s worth it.
If you need to talk with me about it, feel free. If you need to ask
someone to hold you accountable, then do it.