The Ten Commandments Part 7
Restrain Sexual Desires
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
February 13, 2005

 

Main Passage: 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 consider it.
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.”


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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 commandments.

We’ve been working our way through the Ten Commandments and today we arrive at #7 which simply states:

Exodus 20:14
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 Human Sexuality

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.

 

2. 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 Marriages

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 medication."

  • 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 what?)

  • 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 heart.”

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 won’t.

Numbers 32:23 (NLT)
…you may be sure that your sin will find you out.

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 consequences.”
~ Bob Russell

 

What kinds of consequences?

  • Our 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.
     

  • Our 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 it.
     

  • Our 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 Opportunities

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.
 

 

 

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