Jesus Teaches About Adultery
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Jesus extends the law. He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. He gives us the gift of righteousness, but we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are still living in God’s world and we will live best if we live according to His direction. And in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees and Scribes are not conveying the law correctly. We will see one very clear way that they are doing this in this passage.
We saw last week in looking at the command to not murder that if we are to work on the true relationship issue, we will have to give people the respect that they deserve because they are created in the image of God and we are going to be forgiving, leave wrath to God and not assume that when we are having relationship problems that it is the other person’s fault. Those attitudes will work to immunize us against anger and murder! This week Jesus will do the same with Adultery.
- What is Adultery?
- Marital unfaithfulness
- God’s purpose for marriage: God’s design for the blessing of man is for one man to be in a relationship with one woman that made one family. That family existed to work together, to love one another, to provide community and purpose and to bear children.
Is God’s plan a good plan? Then anything that we do to undercut His plan is a violation!
- The impact of sin on marriage: Sin attacks marriage on every front. Some people cannot have children. Some people have real challenges getting along. Some people have spouses die. Some people never get married. Some people have tremendous health challenges. These are the good challenges.
- The worst of sin’s trouble: Some people are betrayed, abused, wounded and even killed by those who are supposed to love them. Those are the really bad challenges. Adultery is one of those challenges. One of the marital partners turns their back on their commitment to God and spouse and give their hearts and body away to another person.
- Family attack
Adultery is an attack on family.
It is an attack on children.
It is an attack on self.
It is an attack on God and His created design.
It is an attack on the future. The marriage is going to be challenged moving forward.
It is an attack on the past. What the wounded partner thought they had, they did not have. Even the children do not have what they thought they had.
There are certain realities in life that no matter how much people don’t want to accept, they will always remain:
Only women can bear children.
It is very vulnerable to be pregnant and to have small children.
People don’t like vulnerability. We have sought to resolve this in our culture through birth control.
And the pleasure aspect of human sexuality had gotten more and more emphasized. And yet the trouble is still there.
When it comes to human sexuality, the first thing folks need to learn about is self-control, not self-expression. For some people this means giving themselves to someone. For some people this means not giving in to your desires. For some people it means that they will never be able to give into their desires.
- Self before God
We can always justify our bad behavior toward others because of their bad behavior that we perceive. But this does not work this way with God. There are reasons that we make vows.
Why are there all those guys in the Old Testament who have multiple wives and sleeping partners on top of that? Is that permission to be more selfish? Should it not make us leery of the Biblical admonitions in the first place? Not everything that is described is prescribed!
What is God’s design for the blessing of the human race?
- Avoiding Adultery
- Be responsible for your desires
Relationship vs sexual expression
Do not give free reign to feelings because they are pleasant.
Do not be surprised that you have desires that you like that are not good for you!
Fight the desires that need to be fought
Do not play around with things that are dangerous
Women, be kind. Don’t make it harder on men than it already is.
- Be responsible for your eyes
If you know that the trouble starts with your eyes, then take control of your eyes! Look people in the eyes. If you are married, starve your eyes for anyone other than your spouse.
Job 31: 1 “I have made a covenant with my eyes;
how then could I gaze at a virgin?
Don’t be surprised when you are ambushed by desire.
- Be responsible for your hands
Do only good things with your hands. Commit them to God.
Don’t invite the fire of hell into your life. This is what adultery does.
III. What About Divorce
- It is also not God’s design
God’s plan is not that we try people out until we find the one that is the easiest for us to be with. That is selfishness. And it doesn’t work on the stuff that is in us that needs to be changed. The world does not revolve around us as individuals!
Matt 19: 3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
We grew apart. Really? What was your plan to grow together, because you are apart from the very beginning!
- There are reasons for divorce
Adultery: Yes. But logically we realize that there are more reasons than this. If you can legally kill your spouse, then divorce would be a better option. When can you legally kill your spouse?
Abuse: Self-defense is a justifiable reason to kill someone.
We don’t like each other? Come and see me please. I can help.
Whatever you did when you were dating that caused you to like each other. Do that again. Except for living at your parents house. If you need someone to watch your kids, I will help with that.
When you communicate with each other, listen to your partner tell you what you are communicating. Ask them. Because they are hearing and feeling things that you are not wanting them to. This is not necessarily a weakness in your partner. People are different.
- It is not the unforgivable sin
But it is unique in the trouble that it brings because it involves such a foundational aspect of life. It dissolves a family that God has joined together.