Exodus 20:14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 1, 2008


We’ve been looking at the Ten Commandments.

Today we’re going to be talking about the seventh commandments, about adultery and marriage…

:14 You shall not commit adultery

commit adulteryna’aph – to commit adultery

The English Dictionary defines adultery as: “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her lawful spouse.”

All About Adultery (seven statements)

1.   It is foolish

(Prov 6:32-35 NKJV) Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. {33} Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away. {34} For jealousy is a husband's fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. {35} He will accept no recompense, Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.

Sleeping with someone’s spouse is not a little thing. It’s a foolish thing.

2.   It was punishable by death.

(Lev 20:10 NKJV) 'The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

3.   It can keep you from heaven.

(1 Cor 6:9-11 NKJV) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, {10} nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. {11} And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Adultery, like all sins, will keep you from heaven. It is a serious thing to break the laws of God.
If I understand this correctly, some of the people in the church at Corinth were pretty scary before they came to Christ. But if I understand this correctly, then there is no sin that can’t be forgiven. There is no sinner who can’t be changed.

4.   It can be committed through divorce and remarriage

Jesus warned that divorce and remarriage can result in adultery.

In Jesus’ day there were different schools of thought when it came to divorce. There were the folks who felt you couldn’t get divorced for any reason and there were folks who thought you could divorce her if she burned the toast. Things are no different today – you will get a wide variety of answers of what is allowable.

When Jesus was asked about divorce, He first pointed to Adam and Eve and taught that marriage was intended to be permanent. Then He said,

(Mat 19:9 NKJV) "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."

I think the idea is this – God’s original plan for marriage was for it to be permanent. But sometimes things happen and our hearts become hardened. Sometimes it’s the “offender” who becomes hardened, but sometimes it’s the one whose the “victim” in the marriage that becomes hardened and can’t keep doing it.
God allows for divorce in a couple of situations.
Unfaithfulness (Mat. 19:9)

In this passage Jesus mentions “sexual immorality” (porneia) which is a broad word that covers any kind of sex outside of marriage.

If your spouse has been unfaithful, then you are allowed to divorce. Divorce isn’t required. God may give you grace to forgive. Hosea took his wife back. But if you aren’t able to do that, because of the hardness of your heart, God allows you to divorce.

Abandonment. (1Cor. 7:15)

(1 Cor 7:15 NKJV) But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.

I take this to mean that if your spouse leaves you, then you are free to remarry.

Personally, when physical or emotional abuse has taken place, I don’t see why these too don’t qualify as abandonment.

Even though God allows for divorce, the point of Jesus’ teaching is that we don’t make divorce too easy. We too can fall into the mess of divorcing every time things get a little difficult.

Some couples make the mistake of threatening divorce every time they argue.
I think the “D” word should be eliminated from your vocabulary.
Ruth Bell Graham (Billy’s late wife) once said,

“Being married to Billy, the word ‘divorce’ has never entered into our vocabulary. Murder maybe, but never divorce”.

5.   It can be committed through lust

(Mat 5:27-28 NKJV) "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' {28} "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

lustepithumeo – to have a desire for, long for, to desire; covet; it speaks of passion, of a strong desire.
Jesus doesn’t say that looking at a woman might lead to committing adultery. He says that if you are looking at a woman (or a man) with the intent of simply lusting after them, then you’ve already committed the act of adultery.
Martin Luther:  “It’s not bad to let a bird fly over your head, but don’t let it build a nest in your hair!”
It’s breaking the marriage vow, the promise to be faithful to your spouse. It doesn’t take a physical relationship to break that relationship.
In a quiet suburb east of Phoenix, Ric Hoogestraat sits at his computer with the blinds drawn, smoking a cigarette. While his wife, Sue, watches television in the living room, Mr. Hoogestraat chats online with what appears on the screen to be a tall, slim redhead.
He’s never met the woman outside of the computer world of Second Life, a well-chronicled digital fantasyland with more than eight million registered “residents” who get jobs, attend concerts, and date other users. He’s never so much as spoken to her on the telephone. But their relationship has taken on curiously real dimensions. They own two dogs, pay a mortgage together, and spend hours shopping at the mall and taking long motorcycle rides. This May, when Mr. Hoogestraat needed real-life surgery, the redhead cheered him up with a private island that cost her $120,000 in the virtual world’s currency, or about $480 in real-world dollars. Their bond is so strong that three months ago, Mr. Hoogestraat asked Janet Spielman, the 38-year-old Canadian woman who controls the redhead, to become his virtual wife.
[The real Mrs. Hoogestraat] is not amused. “It’s really devastating,” Sue says. “You try to talk to someone or bring them a drink, and they’ll be having sex with a cartoon.”
Sue [has since] joined an online support group for spouses of obsessive online gamers …
“It’s avalanched beyond repair,” says Sharra Goddard, Sue Hoogestraat’s daughter. Goddard says she and her two brothers have offered to help their mother move out of the house.
Sue says she’s not ready to separate though. “I’m not a monster; I can see how it fulfills parts of his life…He’s a good person. He’s just fallen down this rabbit hole.”
“This other life is so wonderful; it’s better than real life,” she [adds]. “Nobody gets fat, nobody gets gray. The person that’s left can’t compete with that.”
"Virtual Infidelity," The Week (8-31-07), condensed from Alexander Alter's "Is This Man Cheating on His Wife?" The Wall Street Journal (8-10-07); submitted by Kevin Miller, vice president, Christianity Today International
Last week we talked about murder and how our own anger makes us guilty of murder.
This week we find that maybe a couple of us are guilty of adultery as well.

6.  God understands the pain.

The term “adultery” is often applied in the Bible to instances where God’s people stop following Him and start to follow after other gods. The prophet Hosea was to be a living example to the people of what God experienced with their own unfaithfulness.

The prophet Hosea was asked by God to marry a gal named Gomer who was a prostitute. After they settled down and had a couple of kids, she went back to work, as a prostitute. God told Hosea to track her down and bring her back home. This was a picture of what we put God through when we are unfaithful to Him.
(Hosea 3:1 NKJV)  Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, just like the love of the LORD for the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love the raisin cakes of the pagans."

7. Adultery is not beyond God’s forgiveness.

(John 8:3-11 NKJV) Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, {4} they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. {5} "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" {6} This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. {7} So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." {8} And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. {9} Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. {10} When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" {11} She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

We might think that adultery is on the list of unforgiveable sins.  There is only one sin I know that is on that list – unbelief.  No matter what sin you’ve done, God will forgive.
This is why Jesus came – He came to die for us, to pay the penalty for our sins.  When He died, the penalty for every adulterer was laid on Him.  He paid it all.
If you will turn from your sin and turn to God, God will forgive you.

Marriage Building

Some of you are not married and have no intentions of being married. Don’t snooze through this. You might know a friend or two who could use these principles. Many of the principles are important to all kinds of relationships – with family members and friends. Pay attention.

One last note:  I know I’m not going to be able to solve all your marriage problems with one message.  My biggest hope is that some of these things might encourage you to keep heading in the right direction.

1. Communication

Learning to communicate and learning how to communicate are one of the keys to a strong marriage.  I think one of the most important verses on communication is:

(Prov 18:13 NKJV)  He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him.

Take time to really listen to what your spouse says.  Believe it or not, you might have misunderstood what they said.

(Eph 5:25-27 NKJV)  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, {26} that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, {27} that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

While we are beautified through the Word that Jesus speaks to us, a wife grows in beauty through the kind of communication her husband speaks to her.

Want a beautiful wife?  Learn to treat her right.

I think that proper communication, words that build up and edify your spouse, will cause your spouse to grow in beauty.

2. Learn how to fight

(Prov 12:18 NKJV)  There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

Do you remember that old 1984 movie “The Karate Kid”?  It was a movie about a young kid named Daniel (or, “Daniel-son”) who is being picked on by bigger kids who know karate.  His next-door-neighbor, Mr. Miyagi is an older Japanese man who ends up rescuing Daniel, and then teaches him Karate.

I want to show you a clip of the movie – it gives you a hint that there are two different ways to fight.  You can destroy people or you can fight to defend them.  (play clip)

There is a time to fight, even in marriage.

Of course I’m not talking about physical fighting.  I’m talking about learning to resolve our conflicts.  If you are married to a human being, and if you are a human being, you will have conflicts.  The question is, how do you resolve the conflicts?

Some people never resolve things, they just avoid the conflict.  That’s not a good thing.


A married couple was celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. At the party everybody wanted to know how they managed to stay married so long in this day and age. The husband responded “When we were first married we came to an agreement. I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all of the minor decisions. And in 50 years of marriage we have never needed to make a MAJOR decision.”

Some people simply win through intimidation.  If you are scary enough, you can get people to do anything.


A couple was celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. Their domestic tranquility had long been the talk of the town. A local newspaper reporter was inquiring as to the secret of their long and happy marriage. “Well, it dates back to our honeymoon,” Explained the man. “We visited the Grand Canyon and took a trip down to the bottom of the canyon by pack mule. We hadn’t gone too far when my wife’s mule stumbled. My wife quietly said, “That’s once.” We proceeded a little farther when the mule stumbled again. Once more my wife quietly said, “That’s twice.” We hadn’t gone a half mile when the mule stumbled a third time. My wife promptly removed a revolver from her pocket and shot him. I started to protest over her treatment of the mule when she looked at me and quietly said, ‘That’s once.’”

Learning to fight isn’t a bad thing.  I imagine that most of us have already learned to fight, but the problem is that some of us have learned from bad teachers.  We’ve learned how to destroy our opponent, to fight in order to win at all costs, instead of learning to fight only for the purpose of resolving the problem.

Develop skills to resolve fights, not cause them.

(Prov 15:1 NKJV)  A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
You can choose which kind of words you will use.  You can choose the most angry, hateful, damaging words you can think of.  You can choose to use words that will calm the situation down.


On their 50th wedding anniversary, a couple summed up the reason for their long and happy marriage. The husband said, “I have tried never to be selfish. After all, there is no ‘I’ in the word ‘marriage.”” The wife said, “For my part, I have never corrected my husband’s spelling.” 
I like that.  Both worked at resolving in their own way.

3. Be kind

(Rev 2:4-5 NKJV)  "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. {5} "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent.

These are words that Jesus the Groom speaks to His bride the church.  The things He says are a roadmap back to “first love”.

The world likes to make us think that if we’ve lost that “zing”, that it’s gone forever.

God wants you to know that you can get it back.  Jesus gives three ideas here:

Remember – take a minute to recall what your marriage used to be.
Repent – if there are things that are hurting your marriage, stop them.
Re-do – do the kinds of things you used to do, do deeds of kindness.
What kinds of things can you do?

Go out on a date every week.  Write little notes to each other.  Take out the trash.  Send her flowers.  Call on the phone for no good reason.  Fold the laundry.  Do the dishes.  Wash the car… you get the idea.


Ralph and Janice were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and Pastor Jones decided to take advantage of their longevity by using their story as a sermon illustration. He asked Ralph to come on stage and share some insight into how he managed to live with the same woman all those years. Ralph turned to the congregation and said, “Well, I treated her with respect and spent money on her—but mostly I took her traveling on special occasions.” The pastor asked, “Trips to where?” “For our 25th anniversary,” Ralph answered, “I took her to Beijing, China.” The crowd nodded and murmured in appreciation. When things quieted down, the pastor winked and said: “What a terrific example you are to husbands, Ralph. So, tell us where you’re going now for your 50th anniversary?” Ralph replied, “I’m going to go back and get her.”
The point is … he went back and got her.  He went back to his 1st love!

Gang – this works in all relationships.  Do you have a friendship that has problems?

4. Sex

I’m sorry, but I need to get a little “PG-13” here.

(1 Cor 7:1-6 NKJV) Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. {2} Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. {3} Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. {4} The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. {5} Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. {6} But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment.

One of the ways that a husband and wife grow in their “oneness” is through the act of sex.  The problem is that there will be various times in your marriage when one of you will want more and the other wants less.

The answer is not to shut off the tap.  The answer is to meet each other’s needs.

Some people try to take short cuts by meeting their own needs in some other way.  The problem is that you are creating less and less of a need and dependency on your spouse – and this makes the two of you more separate instead of more unified.

The answer is not to fulfill your own needs by yourself.  The answer is to trust God to meet your needs through your spouse.
And talk about it. 

Read about it.  Two top books to get are:

Intended for Pleasure” by Dr. Ed Wheat
The Act of Marriage” by Tim LaHaye

5. Commitment is everything

Jesus said,

(Mat 5:37 NKJV)  "… let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

If you made a commitment to your spouse, for better or worse, then God’s desire is that you honor that commitment.

If you are committed, then you are going to learn what you need to learn.

You might not like what that means.  It might mean that you are going to learn to do things you don’t want to do.

If your wife likes to have dinner at a nice restaurant, one that doesn’t have a bigscreen with the ballgame on it, then you do that.
If your husband wants to go camping every once in a while, you learn to do that.
You learn to adapt.  You learn to change.
The Bible says:
(Gen 2:24 NKJV)  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Before you were married you were two individuals.  After you are married there is no more “two”, but “one”.  That means things will change.  That means you will change.  That means both of you will change.

It doesn’t mean that your spouse now has to adapt to your life.  It means that you both adapt to each other.

A very good friend wrote to me:
“Someone should have told me that I would have to change!  It is not a given.  You think that this person is marrying you so they must love you just the way you are, right?  Wrong!!!  You will be required to change the way you look at some things, the way you respond to some things, the way you do some things (Some men just really need you to fold their shirts a certain way and you will have to learn how to do it, even if it is more difficult and time consuming than your way.).  I know it sounds silly but you really don't understand when you get married that it may have been a sin in your spouse’s home growing up to leave a light or the television on when you leave a room, you grew up doing it and you don't understand why it isn't okay-you’re only going to be gone a few seconds for goodness sakes, what's the big deal?  It is more than just compromise, its change!”
Another good friend wrote:
“I think for me one of the more important lessons I’m learning is to love my wife “no matter what” for better or worse even if not loving her is the easier thing to do. Doing “whatever it takes” to keep your vows no matter how humbling it might be.”

There’s another clip from “Karate Kid” I want to show you.  When they talk about learning “karate”, think of it being a picture of learning “marriage”. (show 2nd clip)

Do you remember that part of the movie?  “Wax on, wax off”.  When you first see that part, you think Mr. Miyagi is taking advantage of Daniel, making him wash his car.  Later in the movie you realize that Daniel was actually being trained.  Same thing in marriage.  What might seem like the silliest, simplest thing in your marriage could actually be one of those building blocks that God wants you to build on.

But it all starts with commitment.  Mr. Miyagi challenged Daniel to his commitment to learn.  Will you learn?

If you are committed, then you are going to do whatever it takes to make it work.

A good marriage is never complete. It’s always a work in progress.

You can never read enough good books on marriage. You can never listen to enough messages on marriage. You can never stop working on your marriage.

Don’t be afraid to get counseling.  It doesn’t mean you’ve failed.  There are some excellent Christian counselors out there who can help.  There are also some lousy ones as well.  Worried about the cost?  Jesus said,

(Mat 6:21 NKJV)  "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
He was talking about laying up treasure in heaven, but the principle works in a lot of ways.  If your marriage is that important, you will invest whatever it takes.  The more you invest the more your heart will follow.