All right. Good morning. Good to see everybody here today. It sounds like you like each other except mostly true. Anyone here that doesn’t like anyone else in the room. Don’t admit that. Um, if I haven’t met you, my name is john, I am not one of the pastors here at sewer, but I love our pastors. Um, I love the standard they’ve set for God’s word and how they care for us and provide spiritual leadership for us as a church. I’m julie and I have been part of the church for about a year now And I did pass her out in central Nebraska for about 25 years and with our new ministry Now I get to be a coach encourager for other pastors and for churches when they feel stuck and can’t quite figure out why. And so I get to be part of helping them find forward. And I love that. Um, but I love getting to be here with you as well. So Julie and I were married, um, 34 years and one month ago. Yeah, I love her very much. She did announcements by the way. That’s, that’s uh, that julie, that’s who that is. Someone told me one time in seminary they said johnny, it’s great to love all women in general, but only one woman specifically. Right. And that’s what we’re going to talk about this morning. I thought the pastors like me here, but they assigned me this passage to teach. It’s gonna be good. It’s gonna be good. Um, so we’re looking at exodus. 20 Going through the 10 commandments and the passage we’re looking at this morning is a short command. It’s a clear command. It’s a simple command. It says do not commit adultery. We know what it means, right? Our culture fudges. Our culture makes excuses. Our culture minimizes. Here’s the reality when julie and I got married 34 years and one month ago I said something like this said, hi john take you julie to be my lawfully wedded wife love and to cherish as long as we both to live. There are other things in there for richer for poorer sickness and health. All of that. As long as we both shall live. No one gets married and takes those vows planning to break them. No one does that. And yet many fail. Many do. In fact break them. And it hurts. It hurts not only the spouse, it hurts friends. That hurts extended family, There’s Children that hurts Children. First communities. It hurts when God is telling us do not commit adultery. He’s not trying to hurt us. But what Gandalf said to bilbo over this dark evil ring, right? I’m not trying to rob you. I’m trying to help you. I was trying to help us experience his best experience life the way he intended. So there’s some stats. I found I was trying to get current on what’s happening these days. The american association for marriage and family therapy. That sounds official, doesn’t it? They say this. 15% of married women. 25% of married women. Men have admitted to having extramarital affairs. That doesn’t sound like a lot unless it’s your spouse for you. And it’s everything all of a sudden, isn’t it? And those are just the ones who admit it. The ones who didn’t and haven’t got caught yet, Psychologists tell us over 50% of the divorces that happen happened because of adultery. 36%. That’s a high number admit to having an affair with a coworker. 36% admit to infidelity on business trips. That’s high, 17% admit to an emotional or physical infidelity with a brother or sister in law. Some of you are thinking but it happens. I’ve seen it happen. So have you adultery is a killer. The # one reason women cheat is emotional connection. Number one reason men cheat the sex. And I guess I’ll just say on the front end what we’re talking about. I’m going to be specific but not graphic. Okay. I was curious. I don’t know if this magazine is any good was an oddity. I found a magazine called Best Life Set out to discover or to rank all of our states 50 states in America. Um to find out who is the most adulterous state With the statistics and information. They could find Nebraska is # 14. I don’t know what that means. But it can’t be good. Right. 14 out of 50 on that list. And now I know immediately you’re thinking, who is this guy and why did I come today? What a bummer. Right? What a bummer. Listen, I want to help you to, I want to encourage you. Here’s the question how in the world do we obey this command that God has given us? Why does it matter? How do we obey it in a culture that minimizes, ignores excuses. And sometimes, let’s face it celebrates you ever watch a movie? It’s a romantic movie. And you get to the end and realize, well this couple, I’m cheering for that. They got together. They both committed adultery to get there and I feel good about it watching the movie because that’s what the director and the composer and the actors all aimed at it does something wrong in our hearts when we lose track of God’s word and God’s perspective. So this morning with the time we have, I just want to impact this a little bit. I’m gonna hit quickly on what is adultery and why does it matter to not commit adultery? And then hopefully to live a little bit longer. And how can we possibly obey this command when so many around us and maybe some in this room have experienced the pain fallout of what happens when adultery happens is very real and it hurts. So adultery will just start with what it is. Pretty simple, adultery breaks a vow of exclusive lifelong intimacy. Usually with dishonesty and deception. You know, if you’re in a relationship that you’re I’m not fully disclosing to your spouse, Major red flag, major red flag. Somebody you look forward to seeing that you just don’t happen to mention the person you’re married to. Not cool. You break a val of exclusive lifelong intimacy with dishonesty and deception in an ultimate violation of holy love. No adultery can be physical. Obviously, most adultery starts out emotional, first out his friendship, his connection laughing over coffee, enjoying each other’s company, relational and then it goes physical. Guys, we got to be honest, a lot of adulteries, fantasy adultery, isn’t it? Fantasy Adultery, Matthew, Chapter five Where we’re going to look and see what jesus says about adultery because we have to deal with it in a heart deep way. And jesus goes right to the heart in this passage, Matthew 5 27 he says you have heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Anyone here not guilty of that, Just tell us 80% of women, 98% of men entertained fantasy about intimacy with someone else that’s not their spouse, that’s a high number. It’s almost like jesus knew what he needed to talk about when he took this on you think jesus knew what he needed to talk about, listen, if this, if this is happening in your mind, if this is happening in your heart, you need to name it, you need to own it. It’s not something to play with. It is adultery already that you’re nurturing here. And Jesus later in Mark seven and Matthew 14 talks about watching over our hearts because out of our heart come all the issues of life. Do you ever get in an argument of conversation and you say something and then immediately you back off and say, oh I didn’t mean to say that, jesus said, well out of the heart, the mouth speaks right. So the truth is you did mean to say that you just wish you hadn’t have, you wish you filtered it first. You wish you took a breath in that same passage. He’s telling us all sin is that way All sin begins here including adultery. And so it has to be dealt with at a heart level. Why does it matter? It matters? Because it destroys the marriage bond. God created marriage initially said for this reason a man leave his father and mother, he will cleave to his wife and they will become one, become one flesh. Jesus later comments on that and says, what God joins together, No one should separate, adultery separates adultery violates that vow, adultery violates the relationship God himself creates with his intention for what will happen with each couple that he brings together, adultery violates that Proverbs 6 32 says the one who commits adultery is lacking since he would destroy himself, who does it wounds and disgrace you will find in his reproach will not be plotted out. You hurt yourself When you step into adultery hebrews 13. The marriage bed is held in honor to be held in honor among all that’s bed is to be undefiled, fornicators and adulterers. God will judge that should cause us to hesitate a moment. God himself cares deeply about marriage being honored, an intimacy being pure Economy five. The other passage where we find the 10 commandments repeated, he gets to the end and he he impacts why? He says you should walk in all the ways the Lord commanded. Why? So that you may live that. It may be well with you that you may prolong your days in the land that God has given you. God wants us to live in his kingdom, blessing to live in the fullness of life he intended and all sin. Any sin including this sin of adultery breaks that. It puts us more in God’s discipline than in his blessing. So we’ve all been impacted by it somehow. Maybe that’s been you, maybe that’s been someone you’re connected to. Maybe it was your parents. For me it was my parents. Um maybe his close friends, sibling, it impacts there’s collateral damage for everyone. It goes beyond God’s intention for human relationships. There was a young man in our early years of ministry who had a unique passion for christ. He was hungry. He was growing. I had been mentoring and disciple in him. We brought him on staff part time because he was wondering if maybe God had called him the ministry were giving him an opportunity to flesh that out is over small groups Within a year and a half. The small group that he was leading himself personally was becoming a small church in a town 20 miles south of ours. We’re watching, we’re celebrating, we’re excited. We’re going to get to, you know, plant our first real church and I get a phone call two years in, Hey john, I think he’s having an affair. Here’s why I wish I had an FBI investigator training for that moment. But the holy spirit is good and you lean in and you explore and you sniff out. And sure enough it was, it was real and it was worse than what we thought. And so in a small community, I watched not only his wife get hurt, which by the way, when you’re in the room, when the husband’s telling his wife what’s happening and you serve water, use plastic cups not glass. Why not? And don’t sit in the target zone because something is going to fly. I watched her parents and his parents wrestle with Brokenness and their kids and their siblings and the church that we thought we were starting over a town like that. It’s a decade before you get another shot Because people remember adultery isn’t just about two consenting people and who cares what’s the big deal that doesn’t hurt, hurts. And God is telling us this for our good. Here’s adulteries, big picture because we want you to see the gospel link, this is Adam and Eve all over again and it’s us today, adultery happens when you first decide that jesus and what he has given are not enough, right? If you’re single, jesus is not enough, if you’re married and jesus has connected you with a spouse and you look at jesus and you look at your spouse and say, sorry, I need more. I want more. I want different. You’re not enough. You decide that And then you act on that decision by believing the illusion that what is forbidden is actually going to be most fulfilling. God says you can have everything except this one thing. And satan says, no, this, this one thing is actually the most fulfilling thing. And we decide, we’re gonna believe that we’re gonna believe that. And we act on it. And then everyone lives with the fallout, not just you just your spouse. So still we’re still in bummer land, aren’t we? Why did I come today again was all bad news? What do I do with this? How do Oil Bay? I wanna unpack three things. So we’re gonna have to look at some other passages and pull them in to look at the help that God gives us, the first one is this, we need to recognize the danger and we need to run as fast as we can. This is the first thing. Now, the only thing, but it’s a thing we we need to be like joseph when Popper’s wife continues to press and press and press and now he’s a slave, so he can only run so far. But he runs as far as he can run. And God ends up protecting him in a jail cell where she where she can’t get to him anymore. Right? You think that’s a curse it. We know it ended up being a blessing. He had to run. And so do we. Here’s the mistake you and I were vulnerable to adultery the minute we think that that would never be us when we think I would never do that, I would never do that wrong because all of us, the right circumstance, the right situation, the right level of burnout, the right collection of small compromises and we are all capable of much more than we want to be capable of Or would think we could be proverbs. 16 says Pride goes before destruction. A haughty spirit before stumbling. First Corinthians six says flee immorality. This is a strategy, flee immorality. This is not the time to sit and think how close can I get before I catch on fire and it can’t be extinguished, it’s time to run, Avoiding adultery calls for drastic measures. If you still have Matthew five open look where Jesus goes next. He warns about adultery of the heart. He says listen, if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away, that seems severe to anyone else. I know we have purity groups and porn groups, but I’ve also noticed most of you have two eyes in your head just saying if your eye causes you to sin, maybe you should light your computer on fire. How far are you willing to go to flee adultery? How often do you sit and linger by polluted waters? That’s the question jesus is telling us running needs to be part of the strategy. Don’t sit and wait, avoiding adultery requires drastic measures at another friend, he was a youth pastor at a big church in Oklahoma. His wife was the kids pastor. There also are working kids ministry there. Um the first ministry marry, you know ministry was stressful, marriage was stressful all of that and within their first five years she was having an affair with another pastor on staff arsenal. You imagine how destructive that was. So he ends up back in our town because that’s where he grew up. He is hanging out, he’s trying to put his heart together, put his life together, figure out what’s next. One of my early conversations with him, he said this, he said john he said I’ve just concluded that any time a man and a woman hang out together alone a lot, they’re going to end up in bed period. I know he was hurting in that moment. And that may sound crazy. Sexist to you. I’m gonna tell you as a pastor who’s seen this happen too much. I’m not gonna test that out when you feel your heart being drawn to someone who is not your spouse, that you’re enjoying being with too much. You need to check something about that, right? But the gut check is this what makes you think this is the one sin that you’ll never commit? And it may be time just to repent of the prideful nous of that kind of thinking. Because a lot of people have thought that before you, King David, there’s one, there have been many, many others. How do we do that? This next point, I think is the core is the most important. The whole sermon should probably just be this next. But the clock told me it couldn’t be. So it isn’t. We need to anchor our heart in jesus love with an active and deepening faith because here’s the truth, no matter how far you run, there is no distance, so great that you can get away from a culture of adultery because that is our culture, isn’t it? That’s our culture. The west wing is a show julie and I, you know, binged watched several years ago. We didn’t agree with all the politics, but it was entertaining. I remember the first or second episode, one of the white house staffers. He comes in, he talks to his boss and he says this he says, boss, I got to tell you something because it may come up. I’m sorry you can do what you want with it. He said, well you know what is it? Tell me. He said, well you need to know this weekend. I accidentally slept with a prostitute. Like you got to unpack accidentally for me. Did you trip? And she was there. That’s our culture as our culture. The only way to overcome that. You can’t run away from our culture, but we can run to jesus. That’s the only safe place. We can’t take our relationship with jesus for granted Proverbs 4 23. Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flows the issues of life proverbs 23 is God speaking. He says, give me your heart, my son. Let your eyes delight in my ways. You say, oh that’s that’s good, that’s nice. We should make a t shirt of that. Give me your heart. Give God your heart the very next verse. Why do we need to give God our heart, he says, because a harlot is a deep pit. Giving our heart to jesus, resting our heart in christ is our only escape. The answer is not to grit your teeth and try hard. Do better fleeing is good, temporary. But we need more than that. In a fallen world. Marriage can be disappointing. Adultery is more likely when we let our hearts drift from jesus, we got to stay on track with him. I want to share a verse from first, John Chapter four with you. There are many verses that picture this for us. But I think this one I love this one, especially it talks about faith and it says we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. That’s what I’m saying. We have to do to avoid adultery, Whether it’s John 15 abiding in Christ, whether it’s Galatians five walk in the spirit so that you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Whether it’s just believing the love that God has for you, this is what we need. Because here’s the problem we all long to have meaningful love relationship. We long for that. But none of us love well, for all of us are our love is polluted. It’s selfish, it’s false. We want someone else to love us perfectly and we can’t love them back perfectly. Right? So it’s not fair. Whoever you convinced to love you, well, you’re not gonna love them well and they got a bum deal even though you want to complain about them for not coming through for you. But the problem with that equation is any marriage equation without jesus is always going to be disappointing. But when you let jesus meet your needs. That lets your spouse off the hook, Julie is awesome. She’s amazing. I love her. She’s been a better, great gift than I ever knew. 34, 30 years ago, we started dating in high school. She is much more precious. Then I knew then is a gift of the Lord, but she is not, jesus, only jesus can heal the Brokenness of my heart. She couldn’t, she can’t. But jesus can use her to be a blessing in my life. And if I’m letting jesus take care of my heart, he can let me be a blessing to her. And this is what holy Godly marriage looks like. Does that make sense Without that? We’re all vulnerable because your heart has longings and your heart has needs and you connect with other people who meet little scraps of the need that you have and you forget your spouse might be meeting 60% of that And you’re stiff arming, Jesus who could meet 100% of it and someone else met the next 10% and your eyes light up and you think this is the answer because we get stupid when we’re not depending on jesus, we get blind, we missed the big picture. It’s easy for us to see stupid and other people. It’s harder to see it in the mirror. Why we need guys work, right Romans 13. Last passage for this point. And I have to keep moving Romans 13 in the middle, it says owe nothing to anyone except to love each other, The one who loves has fulfilled the law. Then he lists of commandments, Here’s the commandments don’t do not commit adultery, don’t murder. And he lists more of them and he says they’re all summed up in this word. If you love your neighbor as yourself, because love does no wrong to a neighbor. If you love that person you’re about to cheat with, that’s not really love either. You’re using them for something dark and selfish as they are using you. God tells us love doesn’t do that, but he goes on, he says, besides this in verse 11, the time is near for you to wake up. Salvation is closer now than when you first believe the night is gone, the day is at hand. So then cast off works of darkness, put on the armor of light, walk properly, as in the day. Not an orgy is not in drunkenness, not in sexual immorality, not in sensuality, not in quarreling or jealousy, but put on the Lord jesus christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. See the equation. Gotta put on jesus to have any chance. The putting off the other. So the cool thing is to know jesus gives grace and strength for this to happen. We had in our church family a ministry specifically to help people with sexual and relational Brokenness. And we saw God do deep healing and people through that part of it. We also had a jail ministry. So we had in our church through that ministry, some guys who were had done jail time, um convicted registered sex offenders in our church. They found jesus, they found healing, they found help and and they would tell me each time as they grew, they said that the court ordered counseling didn’t help. But basically all I learned from that is to grit my teeth and try harder not to mess up boundaries, boundaries, boundaries and all that’s good Point. one is good, but boundaries without Jesus are never enough. So when I found healing with jesus, my heart changed. I’m changed, I’m different. I hate what I did, I hate what I was, but I become a new creation in jesus, praise God, right? And we never outgrow our need for that. If King David could fall into adultery, a man loved by God and anointed by God, so can we, the moment we stop abiding in jesus abide in jesus. Last point mike, it says I got four minutes left, maybe I’ll take six, we’ll see, okay. If you do the second one, this next one is easier. We need to nurture a deepening holy love for our spouse that’s important. It’s easy to take your marriage for granted. This is a person who’s supposed to love me, this is a person I wake up with most days, this is no, this is my love and then you get busy and then they get busy and then Children show up and then you you just find that your time together gets less and less and less and when it is, you’re more like um roommate business transactions than deepening fully love. Don’t let that happen. Yes, jesus needs to meet your needs and your spouses. But if you’re married, you promised to be part of that and you need to be intentional About being part of that proverbs five 15-22 is all worth reading. I want to give you just a little bit here. He says, drink water from your own cistern. Fresh water from your own. Well, he’s not talking about wells, he’s talking about don’t go looking for someone else. When you’re married, you have someone that you’re supposed to love. You have someone who’s in the best position to love. You just stay focused there please. That’s what God’s telling us. A couple verses down. Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth. Yeah, but she’s not in her youth anymore. That one’s in her youth. But my wife’s not in her youth anymore. God says no rejoice in the wife of your youth because you’re not a youth anymore either. There’s beauty in that when we do marriage prep. I think julie and I would tell couples find a couple in their seventies who still hold hands and who when they look at each other there’s a sparkle in their eye and you talk to that couple because they have something to teach you getting married is easy deepening in marriage over the lifetime. That takes jesus, it takes something else. But that’s the dream for all of us, isn’t it? If you marry, that’s what you want. So you gotta nurture it. Here’s the deal, adultery is more likely when you put your marriage on cruise control. And what can happen is you tell yourselves and I’ve been guilty of this. I know, I’m sorry honey. It’s just a season. It’s just a season. Once we figure this out, then I’ll have more time. Once we get that done then we’ll have more time. The problem is a season becomes a year, becomes a half a decade. Don’t deceive yourself whatever is happening is happening. And if you don’t like it and it’s not good, choose something else as quickly as you can. We had to find time. We have four kids that were all within six years of each other growing up there out of the house. Now praise God. It’s wonderful when they’re with us. It’s wonderful when they’re not some of you will understand that someday. Okay, We loved our kids. But what we found this will sound stupid. One of the early things when I came home the 1st 15 minutes we were home we called that couch time and that was me and Julie sitting together and we tell the kids you’re gonna, I’m gonna play with you in a minute, but right now, I’m gonna talk to your mom. that seems silly. But I’m telling you that 15 minutes was worth fighting for because it gave us an anchor point to stay connected at a time of life that was really busy. That made it easier to plan date nights, that made it easier to plan other things that made it easier to connect around other things because we had a daily planned intentional connect. I’m not saying you have to do that, but you need to do something to be intentional about nurturing your marriage. The same guy I told you about who was in ministry, his wife had an affair with someone else on staff. That guy, he got married again. And it was so, it was almost sickening, cute. They would come to church and they would sit together and it was, they weren’t in the same chair, but it almost looked like she was literally sitting on his lap almost, you know, when they were in church for worship, they were just inseparable and we watched this happen over a five year period before he got a job in another community and moved on. But you know what he said? He said, john, I realized I wasn’t as intentional as I needed to be to love my wife, that’s why she was vulnerable. I’m not gonna let that happen in this marriage. What I’m gonna tell you is whatever marriage you’re in now, don’t let it happen to the one you’re in. Now be intentional about loving the spouse you have now. Why is it last thing on this point? You can look at the passages. Ephesians five colossians three first peter four. A lot of the problems. You’ve got to ask yourself. Why is it in so many places In his word, God has to give us direction about marriage husbands. Why does God command us to love our wives? You get married? You think that’s ridiculous? No one has to command me to love her. I love her. Always love her. I’ll never stop loving her. Those statistics. Tell us 2.5 years later, you’re in the disappointment zone. Not in the I just fell in love zone. You have to nurture that garden. God commands it. Why? Because our hearts are fickle. We get bored and distracted and we need to hear God’s commands. I got only on the plane. I give you a gut check what are you doing to deepen your marriage? If it’s nothing, then it may be time for you to repent of that and start doing something thief in your marriage. I got to leave you with one word. Because I know with the way adultery works. This could have been a really hard word for some of you to hear. And you’re wondering, well, what do I do now? But repent and return is always good. Repent of your pride. Return to humility. Repent of not having jesus and embrace, jesus, his his gospel, love for you. Repent of Neglecting your marriage and start leaning into your marriage. But most of all I want you to hear from John eight, an adulterer was caught and says in the very act of adultery, In john chapter eight, brought to jesus forcibly in humiliation, I’m sure, totally embarrassed, brought to jesus and they throw her down in front of jesus and say, look, we caught her, here’s what the law says. What do you say, johnny? You remember what Jesus said first, He said, well whoever here is not guilty, go ahead and throw the first stone and they all leave because it’s hard. Deep, we’re all guilty. Then he asked her, where are your accusers? Where are the people or who’s here left to condemn you? And she said No one and and Jesus said, I don’t condemn you either. I want you to hear this. The point of God’s instruction is not to look for a way to condemn us. He’s looking for a way to redeem us, Jesus has mercy or adulterers, but then he says, but go and sin no more. That’s repents. There’s mercy. But I want to call you to something better. Want to call you to something. Mhm. That’s what I want to leave you with the gospel picture, Yeah, there’s real guilt. But the mercy is just as real and his power to walk in holiness. How do we avoid adultery? Recognize the danger and run? Run? Don’t stay anchor your heart in jesus love with active faith and nurture the deepening love for your. Let’s pray, Lord, I thank you for your word. I thank you for the truth of it. The realness of it. God, I pray for each one of us. You know our hearts. You know our histories. You know our hurts. You know our temptations. Lord, I pray that you will help each of us to take the step that you’re calling us to help us to deepen in. You, help us to let go of hurt and pride. Help us, or to be cleansed from unholy thinking, Lord, help us to live with the deepening face and you in jesus name. Amen.