We are continuing now our series that we started before the series of meetings that we had, evangelistic meetings with Doctor Martin. Now, this series is on the Ten Commandments and we're calling it, "The Tender-Hearted Commandments." You see, we've already covered the first six and today we're covering the seventh commandment: Loving Your Spouse.
Why do we even keep the Ten Commandments? Do we keep them to be saved? No. We keep them because we ARE saved. We keep the Ten Commandments because we love the "Law-Giver," Who is Jesus Christ. That's why we do it. And so we don't do this to earn salvation. We do it because we have salvation, and because we want to honor our Savior.
My wife was driving home from the church one night and a deer ran across McDonald Road near here and she had no way to get around the deer. There was no way to avoid the deer. I got to thinking, that was in the fall of the year and I got to reading. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources there are over 17,000 deer killed on Illinois Highways every year. Do you know when most of them are killed? In November. That's just about when my wife had her encounter with the deer on McDonald Road. Now, why are most of them killed in November? Because the bucks are in rut. That is when they are obsessed with reproductive activities. They chase whatever deer is out there. Nobody is married in the deer kingdom. We are. And I will tell you that if type of thing becomes your obsession, your life is in danger, and not just in November. Adultery is dangerous. The next time you drive along and you happen to see a dead deer lying along the road, think about the high price of adulterous obsession. You could become road kill yourself on the highway that leads to eternal life, couldn't you? So, be careful.
Now, I want to define ADULTERY. First of all, let me read the seventh commandment. It's back here in Exodus 20:14. It says, You shall not commit adultery. That's a complicated commandment. Very short and I'm going to be very explicit in what adultery is. What is Adultery?
A young child came home from church. The Ten Commandments were the discussion in Sunday School. And he asked his daddy, "What does it mean when the Bible says 'Thou shalt not commit agriculture?'" And his daddy, quick as a flash answered, "Son, that means that you are not supposed to plow on somebody else's field." - Readers Digest, July, 1979 page 87.
That's a good definition of what adultery is, so be careful. Don't go out plowing somebody else's field.
If the Bible went through a downsizing like most companies are going through now in America, and the ten commandments were streamlined, which would be eliminated? One person said: "Eliminate the seventh commandment because nobody is keeping it anyway. The sad statistics are that almost six out of every ten marriages in America will experience adultery.
Adultery is a sin against God. Who told us that? Well, that's in Genesis 39:9. Joseph was in Potiphar's house and Potiphar's wife was after him and he said, ...How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God? It's not just a sin against your spouse or your children, it's a sin against God.
Adultery breaks every other commandment.
And there are various types of adultery. There's mental adultery. We read that in our scripture reading. Adultery is more than just a physical plowing of someone else's property. Adultery also includes thinking about or anticipating the act of plowing someone else's field. Jesus makes this very clear in Matthew 5:27,28. "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."
If you admire something long enough you will soon want it. And if you want something long enough and bad enough you will probably find a way to get it. We need to be careful because sin starts in the mind. So the sin begins in looking and in thinking about that which is forbidden. The mind is the incubator of almost every deed that is done.
As a boy my folks used to be in the egg business. We had an incubator which is a warm place for eggs to hatch into little yellow chicks. I remember turning the eggs every now and then and making sure the temperature was just right. In not too many days those fertilized eggs began to hatch. Do you know what crawled out of each and every egg? A baby chicken. Never a duck, or a dog or a Kangaroo but always a baby chick. We always got out what we put in. Now, remember we're still talking about the human mind. The mind is the incubator, so what you put into your mind is exactly what you will get out of your mind. If you think about pure things, you're going to get pure things out. If you think adulterous thoughts long enough you will eventually have an affair. You get out of it exactly what you put into it. If you think about pure things you will be pure. You will get out what you put in. Proverbs 23:7(KJV) says, For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. You get out exactly what you put in. I like that.
Adultery is more than living a Clinton lifestyle. There is Long Distance Adultery: the Internet opens up the possibilities for cyber Adultery. This is a sin. Imagine spending hours tantalizing and playing with another human. And how do you even know if you are talking to a male or a female? If a married person allows his or her mind to fantasize about another person they are playing with a fire that might just burn up their marriage. Your marriage gets torched when you are in the chat room dabbling with another person. Don't play with fire unless you want to spend some time in the burn unit. And when will the burn unit be? You know what that is, don't you.
There's another kind of adultery: Pornographic Adultery. You get burned when you allow your mind to feast on pornographic images which come onto your computer screen or into your mailbox. You need to avoid steamy movies, videos and many of the TV programs. Job had it figured out. I think Job would have been immune to that today because he says in Job 31:1 (NLT) "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman." That's a good covenant to make.
We need to eliminate anything that stirs us up with this type of temptation. Maybe we need to go home and clean out our magazines in our house. Maybe we need to get rid of some of the videos in our house. Maybe we need to call the Cable Company and cancel certain channels. Maybe if you can't control it you need to get rid of the whole thing. You need to go home and get your Bible out and read it. Look at your own wife and take care of her needs. 1 Corinthians 7:3 (NIV) says we need to take care of each other's physical needs. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.
And then there's another type of adultery. We would call that Pre-Marital Adultery, or fornication or cohabitation. And this is a bad type. In fact, did you know that if you cohabit that you are thirty three percent more likely to divorce than id you didn't? Purity is also expected if you are unmarried. Fornication includes those who live together before marriage. A girl who is shacked up with her boyfriend is very likely going to suffer physical abuse and being beaten up. A child who lives in such a home with their mother's boyfriend is seventy three times more vulnerable to experience fatal abuse than a normal child. - see Maggie Gallagher, The Abolition of Marriage, page 31.
Adultery does have consequences, doesn't it. Hollywood seldom shows the consequences of Adultery. Movies and TV soaps teach us that adultery is all love and fun and everything is fine. But, I will tell you that eternal life is certainly jeopardized. Health is endangered. Happiness is squandered. Your reputation is cheapened. Your marriage is often irreparably destroyed. Your children suffer the consequences for generations to come. Your family name will be dragged into the dirt. Can you really afford adultery? You need to go home and love your spouse. That's what it is all about.
Breaking the seventh commandment produces broken homes and Poverty. Listen to this statistic. "Almost 75% of American children living in fatherless households will experience poverty before the age of eleven, compared to only 20 % of those raised by two parents." "Such children tend to drop out of school and develop emotional or behavioral problems, commit suicide and fall victim to child abuse or neglect. Males from such households are more likely to become violent criminals. In fact men who grew up without dads currently represent 70% of the prison population serving long-term sentences." - Michael G. Moriarty, The Perfect 10, page 113. All because they didn't have two parents in the home.
Did you know that the pain associated with finding out that your husband or your wife has been unfaithful is even greater than the pain of death! One X-wife told me, "At least In death could bury my pain but in Divorce I must face my ex-Husband many times." I believe the Ten Commandments are a fence, a barrier protecting us from all sorts of ills and things. These are good. God put them here for our benefit. All the commandments including the Seventh Commandment are tailor made to keep us out of trouble. The seventh commandment is a safeguard to marriage. We Americans live in a Post-Christian age. America used to be a Christian country. We don't like rules. Licentiousness is rampant. Virtuousness has been lobotomized. Instead of turning to God's Commandments for protection we turn to Condoms. I am told that the HIV virus is 400 times smaller than sperm. The commandments are the only protection. That's why God put them here. Aids would not be much of a problem if God's Law were followed by everybody. Love your spouse!
I talked with David Justice a cowboy and Bull Rider. He told me wild tales of almost being killed by the big animals. One day he was on the bull's back, hanging on for dear life, and they were jostling and jumping around. The bull lost his footing and turned over and landed upside down on David. And David said, "I could hear my bones breaking and I was lucky to get out of there alive." People rushed over. He told me a lot of exciting experiences. Another time he was about to be gored to death but he ran and jumped over the fence.
I can imagine many cowboys can be thankful for that fence. Wouldn't you think so? That fence is not there to take away their freedom or their liberty. That fence is there to protect their freedom and their liberty. That fence becomes a barricade separating them from the big bad bull which is intent on their destruction and death. That's why it's there. The Ten Commandments are a protecting barrier, a fence protecting us from things that would destroy us. The Ten Commandments are a barricade shutting in happiness and Joy while at the same time keeping out things that would amount to our destruction, shutting out divorce, separation and unhappiness.
Come over here to Proverbs 6. This indicates that the Ten Commandments are indeed a fence. Proverbs 6:23-29. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes, for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man's wife...
Our Heavenly Father wants to protect marriage obviously. Why is that? Because marriage is a symbol of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Christian. It's the symbol of that close bond that we have. God wants to protect that and therefore, conversely, for that same reason Satan works overtime to destroy the Christian Home because it represents that connection.
I wasn't to tell you that true love is a commitment. Animals go by their instincts and feelings. Mature Christians do not go by feelings. I've noticed several couples in my ministry of over thirty five years. I have noticed many couples with almost identical problems. They call me, "Oh, my husband has done this, my wife has done this." Some get divorced right away and others stay together and work things out and have a happy marriage. I've noticed it over and over again. I've thought, "Why is the difference?" I think I've figured out the reason. It is the difference between mature commitment and juvenile feelings. Some people go by feelings and several people have told me "I just don't have the feeling any more. I don't have this feeling for my husband any more."
Let me tell you, love is not a feeling. Love is a commitment. You may disagree with me. I will tell you why love is not a feeling. If love were a feeling, then why would Jesus love me? Why would He love you? His love is not based on how He feels about us, about our behavior, His love is based on the depth of His own character, not about our behavior. Jesus is committed to us. Psalm 32:10 says, ...The Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. It's not feeling, it's commitment. He's committed to us. Marriage is not a contract to be broken if you don't feel like it anymore, but love is a commitment or sacred covenant to be kept.
God wants us to be pure. He wants our homes to be pure. Adultery means that something impure has come into something else. If someone were to add a powerful poison to your tap water it would become adulterated. Would you like to drink water that was 99% unadulterated? No! You could be poisoned to death. Would you like it if your husband were faithful to you 99% of the time? No! Leviticus 18:20 says (RSV)- You shall not lie carnally with your neighbor's wife, and defile yourself with her. Do you see what that does? It defiles us. It adulterates the purity within us. Adultery will defile or contaminate you. The seventh commandment calls for total Purity in the Marriage.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. That's what God wants for each of us.
I believe that God has invented marriage to keep people holy and to keep them happy. Often at a Wedding the Minister says, "We are gathered here today to unite this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony." Your marriage is holy. God designed marriage to help make each partner holy. Did you know that by being faithful to your spouse you are enhancing your ability to be faithful to your God. The purpose of the seventh commandment is to build an atmosphere where two people can experience the highest joy and deepest intimacy as they both grow more and more into the fullness of the image of Jesus Christ.
Let me tell you a story. One day Cindy (Cohen) found an ad in Travel and Leisure Magazine offering a Vacation at a Caribbean resort. It was at a time when she could go and at a good price, so she signed up. She flew off to this vacation and there somehow she got linked up with three other attractive blondes from Dallas. One day the four of them decided to go snorkeling with Frederic, a diving instructor. He charmed Cindy in a way that made her feel young and desirable. She had never been the type to feast on Satan's bait but she just kind of fell into it and over the next four days she and Frederic stole away for some romantic moments.
A week after Cindy returned to New York City she came down with what she thought was a bad flu. The glands in her neck swelled, her muscles ached and she had a vise-like headache and a fever of 103. Cindy discovered she had come down with HIV. Signs of the Times, November 2002, page 14. It's all it takes.
I think these things that are here in the Bible are here for our protection. We ought to praise God for the things that are in the Scriptures. They are here for our benefit. And I think that the true gist of the seventh commandment is that we ought to go home and love our spouse. We need to keep our eyes on each other and keep our eyes on Jesus. As Christians, we want to be like Jesus. We respect Jesus. We want to stay behind that fence. Avoid the big bad bull. The fence is there for your protection. On the other side of the fence things may seem greener and more exciting but you might be gored on the horns of a raging bull. It might be more exciting, but you're going to get gored. Praise God for each of His tenderhearted Commandments. They are beautiful.
Next week we're going to get into the eighth commandment, which says, "Thou shalt not..."
Hymn of Praise: #565, For the Beauty of the Earth Scripture: Matthew 5:27, 28 Hymn of Response: #655, Happy the Home 021026#526
Return to McDonald Road Sermons Index
Return to McDonald Road SDA Church Home Page
McDonald Road Sermons converted to HTML and
last updated m/d/2002 by Bob Beckett.