This week, we continue our 60 journey together, walking through the pages of Scripture in order to learn who Jesus really was and is.
This is our 4th installment of 60 days with Jesus. If you’d like to join us on the journey, there are daily readings through the Gospel of John - CLICK HERE to see those readings. This week's memory verse is: John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
Today's message will be based on John 8:1-12. In this passage, we see Jesus famously rescue a woman caught in adultery. The religious leaders had caught her in the act of adultery and brought her before Jesus. However, this passage is more about the Scribes and Pharisees than it is about the woman caught in adultery. There's some rich truth in the depths of this passage. However, I want to springboard from this passage to talk about the surface subject in this text and that is adultery.
There are probably 50 shades of adultery, sexual perversion, secret sins that contribute to the demise of the most foundational relationship in all of human society - marriage. This is the very first institution established by God. In Jesus’ most famous sermon, He quoted the 7th commandment in Matthew 5:27: “Do not commit adultery.” In other words, Jesus upheld the institution of marriage, and held it in very high regard.
Let's face it… statistically it happens more than anyone wants to admit. No one wakes up one morning and rolls out of bed and says: "Hey, today I’m gonna break the seventh commandment. Today, I'm going to commit adultery. I'm going to have an affair!" It doesn’t happen that way. The path to promiscuity is very gradual, predictable, and very subtle. And so we'll look at how an affair happens, and then address some boundary issues to keep us from running our marriage in the ground.
How to Have an Affair:
1. Convince Yourself that it CAN'T Happen to YOU!
Say it to yourself over and over and over again. "I cannot have an affair. There’s no way I would ever do that. I just couldn't." Convince yourself you are invincible to sin. Self-congratulate on how you have defeated sin in the past. Don’t even worry about it.
2. Compare your Spouse with someone else.
That's right - start comparing. Compare their looks, their walk, their talk, their physique, their reaction, their laugh, their personalities. Just compare. Let your mind go wild. I've seen it happen. Compare all the things you don't like about your spouse with the good qualities of this other person. When we compare our spouse to others, this leads us to looking at our spouse with contempt, thinking, "I can do better!"
3. Develop a close relationship with the person who is not your spouse.
Let's face it, we’re all men and women here. We’re sexual creatures, and we’re gonna be attracted to members of the opposite sex. That's just gonna happen. So when you connet with someone at work, someone around the neighborhood, someone at the gym, don’t just click with them and go, “Okay, see you later.” No, cultivate that relationship. Talk to them. Imagine, “What would it be like to spend more time with them? Make flirtatious comments. Frankly, the affair has already started in your mind.
4. Connect intimately.
You simply do physically what you’ve been doing mentally and emotionally for a long time. Now you’ve committed adultery and you’ve had an affair. Congratulations!
THEN the pain and the guilt begins to set in, and to deal with the guilt, you begin to say:
- "It's no big deal. It's ok. No harm done."
- "It won’t happen again".
- "You know I—uh—married the wrong person. I didn't love this person when I got married. I mean, I was forced into it."
- "God wants me to be happy."
- "God’s a forgiving God; He’ll forgive me. He’s a God of Grace."
You lie to yourself, and you try to re-write history. You justify evil to yourself. The deception is so strong, it even takes a hold of your own mind. The process to promiscuity is painful and methodical. On the other hand, the process of having a true love affair with your spouse is also methodical, but it’s not painful. It’s awesome!
How to Have A Love Affair with Your Spouse:
1. Convince Yourself that It CAN Happen to YOU!
It can happen to any of us! Consider King David. A man after God’s own heart. If it can happen to David, it can happen to you.And even me. The right person, the right place, the right time. Don’t ever sit there and say, “Oh, no, no. I’m above that.” NO. It CAN happen to YOU! We are not immune to sin.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “When (not if) you’re tempted….” We’re going be tempted. When you’re tempted, the attraction is not the sin. We’re going to be attracted to different people. That’s not the sin; the sin is what you do with the desire. When the attraction changes, and you begin to lust after a person. That is where it will short circuit.
So we’ve gotta think. Be smart. Be aware. Use the brain that God’s given us. We’ve gotta have wisdom from heaven. Use discernment.
2. Don't Compare your Spouse to Anyone.
If you compare your spouse with someone else. When we do that, that’s unrealistic. What are we doing? We’re comparing reality with fantasy. When we see our spouse, we tend to see the mortgage payments, car repairs, and kids, and homework, and all that stuff—so it’s just fantasy versus reality. And what’s so sinister about adultery is that all these people I know in my life who have committed adultery, they end up facing the same junk in the next relationship that they didn’t deal with in their first marriage.
3. Develop a close Relationship with your Spouse.
Loving someone for a lifetime is the choice we make, every day. Working on your marriage is hard. But it is a worthwhile investment. Grow the relationship you’ve married into. Read books about marriage. Go to marriage conferences, and talk about things that make you squirm. Keeping the lines of communication open is critical to a long and happy marriage.
A healthy marriage doesn’t just happen automatically. It takes work. It’s not a natural thing because I am a naturally self-centered person. I say things I shouldn’t say. I think things I shouldn’t think. I do things I shouldn’t do. So does your spouse. In reality, there are times we don’t feel like working on our marriage, and therefore, we have to be intentional about growing it.
We’ve gone through dry seasons. But I can tell you with complete confidence that Wendy and I have a stronger love today than we did 28 years ago when we first met. Left alone, our marriage will decay. So what do we do? We take the initiative to protect it and give it a tune up.
4. Connect with your Spouse Regularly.
The advancement of Technology has hurt us here. Nowadays, people can communicate electronically, but ignore people right in front of you. Verbal, face-to-face communication is of the utmost importance. I’m talking about conversation, emotional connection, and physical connection.
God is pro-sex; I hope you know that. He wants us to practice sex within the blessings of marriage. One man, one woman, together. But we’re to cultivate our relationship with our spouse - and not anyone else.
Furthermore, we’re to connect regularly with our spouse. We’re to serve one another. In fact, the marriage relationship is compared to Christ’s relationship to the church. That’s our standard. That’s how holy, pure and how awesome the connection is. So for us to step out and to break it, it’s committing treason against God.
The Bible says, "Flee sexual immorality." What does the word "flee" mean? FLEE—that’s what it means! Sometimes you’ve just got to run! You’ve gotta get out. Keep Running and Running. Quit your job if necessary – your family is worth it.
2 Corinthians 10: 5 says, "Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Every thought. So you ask, does this thought honor God or not? If it doesn’t, throw it out! Delete it! God is interested in your holiness. He wants our heartfelt obedience. Marriage is a covenant, not a perfunctory contract.
If you’ve been the victim or a perpetrator of an adulterous relationship, please hear me – this is a safe place to get help and to overcome the pain. Do not hear a voice of condemnation – the enemy wants to seek to steal, kill and destroy. Forgiveness, hope, and redemption are available to you today because of Christ’s work on your behalf. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). My goal in this message is to sound an alarm this morning to those who are flirting now – to run from this deceptive sin. Marriage is one of the greatest pictures of the Gospel that we have on earth.
My prayer is that you would take your marriage seriously - because God does. Make a concerted effort to love your spouse in a sacrificial way. Allow the Lord to guide you as you press on towards holiness in this area of life.