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Why Marriages Fail
(The 7th commandment)

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††††††††† Exodus 20:14 ďThou shalt not commit adultery Sexual sins are not just about sex, they are connected to the rest of life. David would not have committed adultery if he had been where he should have been.

††††††††† Most thoughtful people must be puzzled by the fact that our generation has far more knowledge of human sexuality than any previous generation. Our generation has more books, tapes, seminars and radio and TV experts on the subject of marriage than all other generations put together. And yet the divorce rate is also at unprecedented highs. The rate of marital infidelity is unprecedented. The rate of marital discontent is unprecedented in history. The rate of fear of commitment to marriage by young people is probable also unprecedented. †Surely any thinking person must ask themselves if there is any relationship between the two. On the one hand unprecedented knowledge of information and on the other hand we have unprecedented failure.

††††††††† This is a most serious issue and as one who has faced and dealt with this issue, even experienced some of it in my own life, I am convinced that the core reason for infidelity in marriage is selfishness. The core reason for selfishness is a lack of love for the Lord Jesus Christ. And a lack of for the Lord Jesus Christ is manifesting itself for lack of love of spouses and children, much less the body of Christ. As you consider this plague of selfishness that has invaded not just the media and TV, but also many churches and is invading Christian homes and seems to almost be in the air we breathe. Are we now living in the days that Jesus talked about, a time when the love of many would grow cold? †Matthew 24:12 ďAnd because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.Ē Jesus spoke similar words to the church at Ephesus in Revelation 2:4 ďNevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.Ē When we loose our love for Jesus, we will not and can not have a true and deep love for others, whether family or brethren.

††††††††† Those who are spiritual understand that when we see true love, agape love, that brings and means absolute commitment no matter what. But today true love is being exchanged for selfish lust when what should have been a lasting relationship is exchanged for self interest. When we see self giving is exchanged for instant gratification. When we see the sacrificing of our comfort for the glory of God to be exchanged for what is convenient. We have to wonder, how low can it get? How bad and broken down will society become as men love self more and more and the things of this world rather than loving God; when they love pleasure more than truth and righteousness.

††††††††† There is no purpose in another message on communication in marriage. I am convinced that if a person is not willing to hear and heed the Word of God all of the advice in the world will not help you, all the preaching in the world will not help you, all the explanations in the world will not help you, all the rationalizations in the world will not help you, all of the counseling and information and knowledge in the world will not help you. All of the prodding and exhorting will not help you if you are not willing to hear and heed the Word of God. Because of the condition of the heart of man, most counseling today is just counseling demons, the demons that the person has given themselves to serve because they are not willing to hear the truth, so they have exchanged the truth of God for a deception and cover. The Word of God that is before us is the 7th commandment. Exodus 20:14 ďshalt not commit adultery.Ē

††††††††† Then Jesus said this about that commandment, Matthew 5:27-29 ďYe have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.Ē

The word for looketh or looks is more closely gazes. What Jesus is doing here is the same thing we saw him do with the 6th commandment of murder. He is dealing with the root of the sin, not just the fruit. Just as he said that anger is the root of the fruit of murder, continuous lust is the root of the fruit of adultery. He warns us of the fruit of adultery and explains that adultery doesnít just happen. He is saying that adultery gets into our mind through our eyes and then it becomes a reality. Jesus is always concerned about us opening the door to the wild animal to come into the house and then complain when he doesnít leave the house. God is telling us to shut the door. But once the door is opened, most of the time we cannot close the door through our own strength, but only through the power of the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit can it be done. Many marriages today are being destroyed by pornography, lust and sexual sins that begin with the lust of the eye.

††††††††† In this verse, Jesus is speaking figuratively about your gouging or pluciking your eye or cutting off your hand. This is a way the Hebrew people spoke and a figure of speech. It means to do whatever it takes to protect the sanctity of marriage. He is saying, give up even the most cherished things you possess, your eyes, your hands, your limbs in order to protect yourself against evil. God doesnít want us to mutilate ourselves but to cut out of our lives that which will destroy us if it is left to continue to grow within us like a cancer. That is what all sin is, spiritual cancer that will take over and destroy unless we are set free by the power of God.

††††††††† Whenever a leader falls, people get shocked and surprised and we should be shocked and not get used to that. But while the reality is shocking and shocks us, it didnít just happen overnight. These things do not just happen overnight. All sin, like adultery is like a gas leak. The leak has been slow and going on a long time and is almost imperceptible. But then when the spark comes, the house is burnt down. Watch out for the gas leak. That is what Jesus is saying in a manner of speaking.

††††††††† The primary cause of adultery is a lack of accountability to our spouses. I know that is harder for men and takes humility to do that. But your wife is the most important thing in your life. For me, my wife is my first and primary congregation. If I cannot be a good pastor to my wife, then I cannot be a good pastor to others. This is simple. If I cannot be a good pastor to my family I canít be a good pastor to others. Anyone who spends so much time with their work that it is at the expense of their family; there is a gas leak in your life. Anyone who spends a great deal of time with others of the opposite sex that is not your spouse, then there is a gas leak and if you are not very careful, sooner of later that spark will be lit. It is happening every day in the workplace. Anyone in a church or outside a church, if you begin to confide in a person of the opposite sex other than their spouse, sooner or later the spark will ignite a fire.

That is why I want to share with you three lessons from the life of King David. King David could not deal with the root of sin, did not deal with the root and so he ended up with the fruit. If he had heeded the words that were later spoken by the Lord Jesus he would not have found himself in the place he did. These are the words to me and you. If the man who won great victories for Israel, if the man who conquered all his enemies, if the man who wrote such beautiful Psalms and hymns, the man of whom the Lord said, ďhe is a man after my own heartĒ, if he could fall and stumble, then every one of us must take heed. What are these lessons that we can get from King David not dealing with the root of sin?

Contrary to our culture and what the media portrays, adultery is not manly at all. It is not masculine. Our culture tries to tell us that it is masculine to commit adultery. But the Bible tells us the opposite. In fact it is cowardice. In 2 Samuel 11:1 we see that Davidís adultery was the result of not being manly. It was the result of failure of godly manliness. The Bible said that he remained in Jerusalem instead of being at work. ďAnd it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.Ē

While David should have been leading the battle, as other kings, he decided to take it easy at home. When a man lives for his wife and children, the woman who lives for her husband and children, and I am not saying that in their life that God isnít or doesnít come first, but if they do this, if they life for their family, then they will not easily become vulnerable to sexual temptation. God wants first place in our lives, but then He wants our first commitment and purpose in life to be the taking care of our family responsibilities. Family is more important than work or anything else in life. What good is it to make money and loose your family? What good is it to win souls for Christ and loose your own family and see them rebel and turn away from God?

This is of uttermost importance. Sexual sins are never about just sex. Did you hear that? They are always connected to the rest of life. David would not have committed adultery had he been where he should have been, had he been where God wanted him to be. Instead in his idleness, in his isolation, he gave in to temptation.

When you live for yourself, when your focus is yourself, when your money and effort and your energy are all expended on yourself, when your goals and dreams in life are all self focused, watch out Ė youíre headed for trouble. Davidís adultery was far from being manly as our culture would try to tell us.

2) David allowed a glance to become a gaze.† There is a world of difference between a glance and a gaze. There is nothing wrong in seeing a person of the opposite sex and saying, God did a good job, she is beautiful, he is handsome. But when that glance turns into a gaze; that is what Jesus is talking about. If you continually look and gaze and start wishing that that person belonged to you, if you keep on gazing and wishing then you have already crossed the line into adultery in your heart. Be very careful of what you continuously read, watch or log onto on your computer. That will help you avoid a lot of mess. The very root of the tree of adultery is gazing. Allowing the glance to become a gaze is dangerous and hazardous to your spiritual life.

3) You must keep a short account with your spouse. If you allow the sun to go down on your anger, day in and day out, week end and week out; if you allow anger to go underground, inside of you, and fester, sooner or later the devil will show up. He has been waiting for an opportunity and what he is going to do is say, poor you. Youíre such a wonderful person, you donít deserve this, you deserve better. You are a victim in this marriage. You have been suffering for so long. Whenever the devil appears sympathetic, run for he is up to go good. He is never up to any good, but especially when he shows up as sympathetic, that is the sign to run for your life. We know from scripture that Michael, Davidís wife was cantankerous and critical and always giving David a hard time. He goes down and worships among the people and she waits to let him have it with both barrels as soon as he comes home. Okay, he has a problem. Nobody can deny that. But that was a seed that drove him away from his wife. The Devil surely came to David to comfort him and David, instead of trying to resolve the conflict with his wife, gazed at someone elseís wife. You know what happened to David. His son of adultery died, his own family was torn apart with rape and incest, his beloved son tried to take the throne from his father with a coup and David lost everything he worked for to accomplish for God.

David repented of his sins and received forgiveness from the Lord, but it still cost him dearly for the rest of his life. The scars followed him till death. The record is there that we might learn from Davidís mistake and not give place to the root of adultery. Whatever situation or place you find yourself in right now, whether you are in sexual adultery, whether you are in an emotional adultery though not physically or just on your way to breaking your marriage vows, I plead with you to do the following.

1) First, owe up to your sin. Confess it and tell God and repent and tell those that you need to. Donít tell everyone in the world, but those who need to hear it. Receive forgiveness and then

2) Begin again. Every time you go astray from the Lord and hear a message and come under conviction, the devil will tell you, itís too late to start over, you canít start again, so you might as well just stay where you are. But God wants you to start again. God is saying, remember from where you have fallen, go back to that point and confess, repent and be restored. He wants to give you strength and power and cover you with his blood and make you an overcomer.

3) Have a growing relationship with your spouse. An accountability in your relationship with yyour spouse. A deep love with your spouse. A deep commitment to meet your spouseís needs will go a long way toward building purity in your marriage. Iíve never seen a crumbling marriage when both spouses are falling all over each other to meet the other needs. It just wonít and canít happen.

This particular command about adultery is for married people, but the Bible also speaks about fornication among singles. Fornication is just as much as sin as adultery and what God wants from the single person is sexual purity until they get married. You say how can I do this? Watch what you watch, keep your ears and eyes under the guard of the Holy Spirit. Focus on the death of Christ for your sin. What ever temptation you are facing, with anger or whatever, just think of Christ on the cross. Think of that crown of thorns on His head, the nails in His hands and feet, all not so that you can continue in sin, but so that you might have His power to overcome sin.

Finally, remember this. Sexual temptations can only be run away from. Not discussed. Not negotiated, not questions asked. Run away. The Bible is very clear about it. You donít try to overcome this sin, you run from this sin. In contrast to David, what did Joseph do? He ran. He lost his coat, but he kept his fidelity. Better to loose your coat than your fidelity. Paulís letter to Timothy said; ďFlee youthful lusts.Ē Flee sexual temptations, run. We call it defeat and victory, defeat and victory, but in reality what it really is, is obedience or disobedience. That is true. Itís either obedience or disobedience. If you find yourself in disobedience, God wants for you to become an obedient child. He wants that more for you than you want it for yourself. This can be your day to change direction and overcome if you will respond and turn to God.

Immediately deal with and talk about your gas leaks with your spouse and start plugging those leaks. It may take some repentance, some confession and some forgiveness and coming clean with each other but whatever you do donít let the gas leak continue for you donít know when the spark will ignite the fire. Go back and retrace your steps, get help if you need, but deal with those gas leaks for if your donít they will surely lead to painful trouble down the road. You have to trust God that when you do the right things God will provide the way of escape, give the grace to forgive and restore. Once you get those gas leaks plugged, then Godís blessing on your life and marriage can begin again.

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