Proverbs chapter 5 today, where Solomon talks about the birds and the bees with his kids. He is very honest and he is very descriptive in what he talks about in this chapter. And what we’re going to do is since the subject matter is in chapter 5, 6 and 7, we’re going to divide it up and continue with our series in this next week as well. So this is sort of like a two-part message that I’ve called “Sex Education Solomon Style.”
Let’s pray. Father, we ask that you would direct our thoughts to you, to your principles, as we discover them in your word, that those principles would be the guiding factors, the parameters, that we live our life by. Lord, right at the onset we pray for every marriage that is involved here in this congregation, everyone that is around us this morning. Father, we pray that you would strengthen our marriage, strengthen our love for each other and Lord I pray that as we discuss these principles this week and next week that we should have a greater appreciation for you and also for the spouse that you have given to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
There’s an ancient tale called Camelot. It is a romantic story, it is a legend. It’s the story of King Arthur and Queen Gwenivere and you know the story, how the trusted knight Sir Lancelot becomes the king’s rival for his own wife. It begins with a look, it’s a very innocent look. But the look leads to touch, the touch to kiss, the kiss to adultery and eventually a tragedy. There’s not a large step between look and lust as in that story.
In verse 1 of chapter 5 all the way to chapter 7 Solomon embarks on educating his sons, his children, so that they won’t have the same real life tragedy as what happened in Camelot. He says, “My son pay attention to my wisdom.” Now with this subject matter, it’s not hard to keep one’s attention. In fact it’s some interesting stuff depending on what age the person would be. But the next three chapters as we said is an extended warning on sexual immorality, on adultery, and also on the bliss of marriage itself, as he discusses marriage in verse 15 all the way down to verse 23 and we’ll cover that next week.
But I think there’s an important role model that is given to us right at the beginning. And here is a father teaching his children about the facts of life. He’s teaching his sons, as it says in verse 1, and then in verse 7, “Therefore hear me now my children.” See, there’s a responsibility for dads to pass this stuff down to the next generation. And I think to start young. Now we don’t know at what age Solomon’s kids were when he gave this teaching. They could be young, and I don’t know what your experience is, but usually the first time a father broaches the subject, it’s very sticky. It’s a little uncomfortable. And usually it’s more uncomfortable for the dad than it is for the kids. In fact, when the kids are very young, they don’t quite understand it. They just hear things in school or they pick things up from their friends. They really don’t know what it means and as you try to describe them, they might say, “That’s gross,” or “Let’s go play football,” or “Let’s just change the subject. There was a son that was coming back from Sunday School and they talked about the Ten Commandments in Sunday School and he didn’t quite understand what they all meant. So he asked his father afterwards, “Dad what does it mean, Thou shalt not commit agriculture?” But the dad’s answer was classic, he said, “It means you shouldn’t plow in another man’s field.” So it is with marriage and adultery, you shouldn’t plow in another man’s field.
Solomon shared truths that were close to home. For Solomon’s own father, these kids that he was telling to, their grandfather David was an adulterer with Bathsheba. But also Solomon spoke from the pain of experience himself. Solomon was not guiltless in this. This is the word of the Lord through Solomon. But Solomon had a real woman problem, didn’t he? In fact I’ve never met anybody with a woman problem Solomon had. It said in the book of Kings that he had seven hundred wives. Seven hundred wives. And he had three hundred concubines, these were gals that weren’t his wife, girls he had sexual relations with. That’s a thousand women. So he spoke from experience when he wrote these words.
Sexual sin has a long history. It goes all the way back from the beginning. In fact that is why in the Ten Commandments it was stated, it was given to Moses for the children of Israel and for all mankind, “You shall not commit adultery.” And adultery was punishable under the law of Moses by stoning to death. Imagine if that law were in effect today, we’d have more funerals than you’d know what to do with, wouldn’t you? You’d have piles of stones all throughout the landscape.
I was reading a news article this last week that I kept in my files and I pulled it out. It’s a news article from Pakistan. Stoning for adultery is still in effect in Pakistan, in fact six people were pending trial and death by stoning for adultery in that country, said the article. In USA Today, although stoning isn’t in our country, adultery is, about a third USA Today, of those who admitted to it, a third, thirty-nine percent of men, twenty-seven percent of the women who responded said they’d had an extramarital affair. You know what I’ve found? I’ve found that this is one of the reasons people reject Christianity, is because of what the Bible says about sex outside of marriage. You say, “well you can’t be serious.” Seriously, there’s been more than one person that I’ve spoken to who said to me, “I don’t want to become a Christian because I want to have fun. I want to be able to sleep around. I know what the Bible says about premarital and extramarital sex.
I think C. S. Lewis was right when he said, “Chastity is the most unpopular of all Christian virtues.” Well this morning, we don’t have time to cover everything that’s written here in chapters 5, 6, and 7 but we’re going to poke around a little bit and we’re going to look at the pursuit of sexual pleasure. The pursuit of sexual pleasure. And then, the pain of sexual promiscuity. And we’ll cover the rest next week. Let’s look at verse 1 through 3 of chapter 5, the pursuit of sexual passion. “My son, pay attention to my wisdom. Lend your ear to my understanding that you may preserve discretion and your lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, her mouth is smoother than oil. But in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, sharp as two-edged sword, her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life, her ways unstable, you do not know them.” Now don’t think that Solomon was a sexist. He’s talking about an immoral woman and you find this theme throughout these chapters. Just remember he’s speaking to his son and he uses the opposite sex because a young man would be enticed by the opposite sex. So he uses a woman. If he was talking to his daughters, no doubt he would have reversed it. But here he’s talking about an immoral woman. And it says in verse 3, “The lips of an immoral woman drip honey. Her mouth is smoother than oil.” Now what does that mean? Well, it could refer to simply the enticement, the excitement of a kiss. Those sparkly shiny lips, the enticement that would come in kissing that other woman. But it could mean something entirely different. In fact the Berkeley translation says of this verse, “The lips of a loose woman drop honeyed words.” It think that’s the intention, it’s what she speaks rather than the kiss. Look over at chapter 7, “My son, keep my words, treasure my commands within you, keep my commands and live, my law is the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart; say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister.’ And call understanding your nearest kin; that they may keep you from the immoral woman (Notice, same idea) from the seductress which flatters with her words.” You see, at first that other woman is attractive by what she says to you. Or what she says about you, there’s an emotional attachment that is the first step of the affair. Maybe she says things to you you haven’t heard in a long time. And that emotional bond is developed. “Oh, you’re so smart.” “Oh, you’re so wonderful.” “Oh, you’re so handsome.” “Thanks man, I haven’t heard those words in a long time.” That emotional attachment begins by the words that drop from her lips. Then it graduates into more enticing speech, as the relationship goes on. Verse 6 of chapter 7, “For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice. I saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths a young man devoid of understanding. Passing along the street near her corner, he took the path to her house. In the twilight in the evening, in the black and the dark night, and there a woman met him, with the attire of a harlot and a crafty heart. She was loud and rebellious. Her feet would not stay at home. At times she was outside, at times in the open square, lurking at every corner, she caught him and kissed him. With an impudent face she said to him, “I have peace offerings with me. Today I have paid my vows. So I cam out to meet you, diligently to seek your face and I have found you. I have spread my bed with tapestry (now she’s pouring it on) colored coverings of Egyptian linen, I perfume my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until morning. (that’s when the fill stops) Let us delight ourselves with love for my husband is not at home. He is gone on a long journey, he has taken a bag of money with home and will come home on the appointed day.”
Sexual passion has been part of the human condition from the beginning. Let’s get it straight, God put it there. God built within us sexual passion. God invented sex. But man took it and then perverted it. And it has become a fire that has burned out of control and as you know has burned to the ground many marriages, many relationships indeed.
In the Old Testament, the children of Israel moved into the land of Canaan and all around Canaan the neighbors were involved in Baal worship. The worship of this strange Canaanite deity, the god of fertility. And they worshipped him under groves of trees on high hills. The worship was sensual worship and as I describe it you’ll understand why some of the guys and gals in Israel were attracted to this false worship. It was practiced through sexual immorality. That is, a man would join himself to a priestess of Baal, a woman to a pries of Baal, and they would have the sex act, sexual intercourse. And they would pray during the act. Something like, “oh Baal, as fertility is going on right now, may my crops be fertile, may my ground be fertile, and may all that I have be blessed.”
Then there was the worship of Ashtereth, sort of the female counterpart to Baal, the goddess of fertility, love and war. Interesting how they go together like that. And she was also worshipped with sensuality. In fact, it’s described in the book of Amos, chapter 3, let me read it to you, “God days, ‘Father and son use the same girl and so profane my holy name. They lie down beside every altar on garments taken in a pledge.” That’s the sensual worship of Baal and Ashtereth in the Old Testament.
Now, to the Greeks, who lived during the New Testament times, before and during. They saw sex as a biological function only, there was no morality tied to it. A person has to eat, a person has to drink, a person has to breathe, a person has to…have sex. There was no morality issue to the Greeks, it was simply a bodily function. In fact, the Greeks developed their own word to describe physical, sexual love. It’s the word eros. And Hollywood has gone wild with it. Erotic, erotica, it’s sexual love.
It’s interesting that though God invented sex, the word eros is never found in the Greek New Testament, ever once. It is a word reserved for the pagan world, because in it’s root word it means to grasp something for yourself. It’s really selfish love. “I want fulfillment and I want it now.” And though the Bible uses many terms for love the word eros is not found in anything but the secular Greek manuscripts.
It was a temptation during the New Testament times. The Corinthians were in danger of compromising. And one of the reasons is because there was the temples of Aphrodite, the priestesses were prostitutes. And they lured the young men of the city to have sexual acts with them for the purpose of false worship. So the ancient pagan mind was bathed in adultery. In fact. Marriage vows were really inconsequential. Demosthenes, one of the great Greek orators said, (quote) “ We have cortisones for the sake of pleasure, we have concubines for the sake of daily cohabitation, and we have wives for the purpose of having children, legitimately. And of having faithful guardians for our household affairs. So, wives were reduced to the housekeeper, “I take you as my wedded maid, to have and to hold from this day forward.” The was their idea of the marriage vows.
Xenophon, the Greek historian, claimed the it was the husband’s aim of his wife that (quote) “she might see as little as possible, hear as little as possible, and ask as little as possible.” Even Socrates who has become popular asked this question, “is there anyone to whom you entrust more serious matters than to your wife, and is there anyone to whom you talk less then your wife?” So, marriage vows ere not held in high esteem and adultery was part and parcel of Greek life.
Now the pursuit of sexual passion is also fashionable today, is it not? At worst, it is seen as simply a popular vice today. I think the mindset is from that old song, I think it was from the ‘60s, maybe from the ‘70s, I don’t know how far back it goes. That says, “if you can’t be with the one you love, then just love the one you’re with.
Malcolm Mugridge said that sex is the substitute religion of the 20th century.” I think he’s accurate. One out of nine people whose marriages end in divorce say it’s directly because of sexual immorality, yet most people don’t think it’s wrong necessarily. I’ve quoted you books, on of the books is called The Day America Told the Truth. It’s a book by Peter Kim and in the books they talk about rends of Americans. They interviewed Americans who were having extramarital affairs. And they found out that sixty-two percent of them saw nothing morally wrong with what they were doing. The majority of Americans doing it saw nothing morally wrong with what they were doing. So, it’s an epidemic. And it’s not just out there. I’ve been a pastor long enough to know that it’s also a problem within the church. That these are the issues some of the pastors and counselors deal with during every week that they are here at the church. These are some of the topics of conversation that we have after services when we pray for couples. Time magazine said, “Among those who label themselves (quote)”very religious” (close quote) thirty-one percent have had an affair, that’s the national average. Christianity Today also ran some statistics on this. They polled one thousand people at random and said, “Twenty-three percent of those who are church-going who call themselves believers, twenty-three percent admitted to having committed adultery. Forty-five percent said they acted inappropriately in a sexual manner.” It’s no secret that God’s people are tempted this way. That’s why there’s so many admonitions and warnings in the word of God, over and over again. And I love it, Solomon hits it from the very beginning, while the kids are just growing up, “My son, listen” and he says, this is a theme he harps on in many chapters. Look over at chapter 7 once again, look at verse 24, Solomon puts it bluntly to his children, “Therefore listen to me my children, pay attention to the words of my mouth. Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray in her paths. For she has cast down many wounded. And all who were slain by her were strong men.” Do you notice that’s past tense? They WERE strong men. She has toppled them, is the idea. He house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death. Mighty men like Samson, the Arnold Swarzamegger pf the Old Testament. The guy who could lift gates of cities and run with them, who could rip jaws of lions. An amazing guy, gut he was a wimp morally. He was a mighty man who was slain.
Men like David, who didn’t go to battle but stayed at home, and in the lax state saw Bathsheba and had an affair with her. And then like Absalom who went into his father’s concubines and had open sexual relations out in the open so that Israel could even watch.
Now, why is it so fashionable today? Well, like verse 3 of our text in chapter 5 that says, “the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,” there are lips of immoral people dripping with immorality all over the place.
Leaders in our country, leaders in the world. From spots heroes to songwriters, from politicians to preachers. It’s becoming something that is seen in leadership positions. And then, it’s the focus of the media. It’s the subject of songs, it’s the focus of television shows. It’s the focus of movies. And I think that we have even become desensitized to the themes of those movies. It’s like, “Oh well, you know, they don’t show much, so it’s no big deal.” It’s just the constant subject and focus of the media.
I was sent a report, I got it on my desk Friday, It’s from the Media Research Center, they found that televised incidences of sex outside of marriage during the first hour of primetime occur eight times more often than depictions of sex within marriage. So the message constantly bombarding people, eight times more than the other message is that it is not only normal but it’s perfectly okay. It’s perfectly okay is the message. So kids are growing up in a society that is virtually obsessed with sex outside of marriage. Now, with leaders setting bad examples, with the media harping on it all the time, and with the laxity of Christians about this subject, this capitulation of this, you wonder “Do our kids have a chance?” If we don’t give them the values and set the values by examples and by precept, living in the society which they live in, they don’t have a chance.
There was a study that was done, that said that teenagers hear about or watch sex on TV, there’s implied or direct references to it, and the messages are bout two to three times an hour, and the average teenager watches four to five hours of television a day so over 1500 of these messages enter their brains and their hearts ever year. So they’re up against a lot. But the same study, you’ll be encouraged to know, says the study found that exposure to the scenes did not change the teenager’s attitudes towards sex, possibly because their beliefs had already been entrenched. That is, the parents molded and shaped their view from a young age. So while it’s an epidemic and people slough it off and say, “No big deal, not even worth your breath, people do it all the time.” Though they slough it off, we cannot do it because it’s not only an epidemic, it’s a spiritual problem as ell, right? There’s a spiritual danger in it.
Listen to what I Corinthians tells us, Paul wrote, “Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Now listen carefully, and I’m not going to make any apologies for what it says or try to explain it. This is what it says, “neither fornicators nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” That is, those who continually practice those things without any change, without any repentance. And then it says this, “And such were some of you.” Again, notice the past tense. Not, and such are some of you, it is past tense. Sexual immorality, adultery, is wrong. And you know it. It is to live on the level of an animal, rather than on the level of God’s child.
A man wrote to Dear Abby these words, “Dear Abby, I’m in love and I’m having an affair with two different women. I can’t marry them both. Please tell me what to do but don’t give me any of the morality stuff.” He answer was awesome. “Dear Sir, the only difference between humans and animals is morality. Please write to a veterinarian.” (laughter) I mean, don’t give me any morality stuff, you’re a human being.
Now let’s look at the pain of sexual promiscuity. The pursuit of sexual passion is mentioned in verses 1 through 3. It quickly turns in verse 4. “But in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword, her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. Les you ponder the path of life, her ways are unstable, you do not know them. Therefore hear me now my children. Do not depart from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from her. Do not go near the door of her house, let you give your honor to others and your years to the cruel one, lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner. And you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed. You see how descriptive this is, this is the end of it. Kids, listen up. It might see very sweet at first but it’s very bitter in the end. You can lose your wealth. You can lose your house. You can lose your family. You can lose your physical health, you could die from it. “And you say,” verse 12, “I have hated instruction. My heart despised correction, I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me, I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and the congregation. These are a disastrous consequences. See a lot of people will say, “Listen, what’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with a little premarital, extramarital sex? I mean people do it all the time, and they get away with it and they seem very happy. They get away with it.” Please ponder verse 4 then. It says, “But in the end,” ponder those words. See that’s exactly what people do not consider when they enter into an affair. In the end, it’s only at the beginning, that’s what they consider. In the end, is what you consider, these are the final effects of a life of those who make this their lifestyle. You have to understand that the sexual impulse is God-given, therefore it must be God-governed. When it is not, it can become and does become, perverted. Fire is beautiful in a fireplace. Take it out of the fireplace, put it on the couch, (laughter) suddenly that fire is not so beautiful. It’s the potential for total destruction and ruin. With that in mind and that analogy in mind, look at chapter 6, verse 26, “For by means of a harlot a man is reduced to a crust of bread. And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life, can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned?” So, fire is good in it’s place, outside of it’s place, it’s destructive. Dirt in that freshly planted garden, women, is beautiful. But let your husband track that dirt on his shoes on your new white carpet and suddenly it’s not as beautiful. It has it’s place, out of place, it becomes very obviously dirty.
Now, I often hear people, I had a friend of mine who eventually did give his heart to the Lord but this was his big contention, “I don’t want to become a Christian. And Christianity’s so negative. All these ‘you shall not commit adultery, you shall not have this and that,’ It’s so negative. It’s so negative? This is positive. God is trying to protect you and protect your future relationships. How can you see that as negative? You see a sign on a door that says, “Do not enter.” Oh, that’s so negative. No, keep reading, “Do not enter, explosives.” You might say, “Listen, they’re trying to cramp my style, I want to go in that room.” Boom! You see, that’s a negative message but it has a positive motivation, to keep you from blowing up. Or the sign that says, “One way, do not enter.” It’s not there to destroy you, it’s there to protect you. It’s got a positive motivation behind it.
Now, verse 4 says, “But in the end she is bitter as wormwood.” Let’s understand what that means. Wormwood is a Middle Eastern plant that secretes a dark green very bitter oil. And the term wormwood is used in Revelation, it’s used a few times in the Old Testament. It’s a word analogously of sorrow of heart and bitterness of experience. Sorrow of heart and bitterness of experience. So, follow his line of thinking, the lips of an immoral woman, man they’re like honey, sweet to the taste. It begins sweet but it ends up very very bitter as does wormwood.
Jay Allen Peterson called this whole affair tantalization, “The myth of the greener grass.” It’s the myth, when a person says, “If I just have this other person on the side. If I have an affair with this person, my life will be fulfilled. It will be the answer to a lot of my problems. My wife doesn’t treat me like this person treats me.” Or, “My husband doesn’t treat me like that person treats me.” But in the end it’s bitter as wormwood.
Verse 9 is very descriptive as well. It says, “Les you give your honor to others.” The word honor means the grace and the freshness of youth. In other words, your best years, your most useful years, the best of your life will be wasted way. That’s the idea behind the word honor. You see this sin has the potential to destroy your life and everybody’s life. Let’s get it right, sin has a high price tag, it’s very expensive. And this one especially can destroy life. That’s why I get angry when I hear terms like “free love.” It’s not free. If it’s not within the parameters of God’s intentions, you will pay for it. Or, words like “safe sex.” It’s not safe. There’s nothing safe about it. And a condom doesn’t make it safe. It will scar people, everyone involved gets hurt.
Well, let’s look at who it hurts. Look at chapter 6 verse 32. First of all it hurts you. “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding. He who does so destroys his own soul.”
Now look back at chapter 5, verse 11, “And you mourn at last when your flesh and your body are consumed.” It can injure us in a number of different ways. First of all, physically, there’s the possibility of a sexually-transmitted disease: syphilis, chlamydia, AIDS. It can destroy you emotionally, it talks about eating away at your own soul back in verse 32 of chapter 6. And look at verse 12 of chapter 5, “Your flesh, your body is consumed, and you say (verse 12) I have hated instruction and my heart despised correction. I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me. I was on the verge of total ruin in the midst of the assembly and the congregation.” In other words, a person at last will say, “Why didn’t I listen?” Emotionally that person is now torn, they’re destroyed inside. Now some people will rationalize and they’ll say, “Well I’ll marry this person that I’m having an affair with and everything will be fine then. I’ll just make a brand new start.” But they find that they take their old problems into the new marriage. In fact, think about it, the new marriage based upon an affair has twice the chance for failure, because it’s built on deception. It began with an affair, it began with deceiving the original spouse. How difficult then would it be to trust someone who has that constant and repeated deception, over and over again over a period of time.
As Robert Count puts it, “the second and third marriages based on this (based on adultery) fail at an even higher rate than first marriages. And the failure rate will continue to rise at an unprecedented rate if this current trend continues.”
So you hurt yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. In each of the warnings in chapters 5, 6 and 7, Solomon does something very important. He says, “Now listen kids, listen to my wisdom, listen to these commands, these are the commands of God.” And he prefaces with the admonition to obey the word of God because the word of God is like a guide in life. It leads you down safe paths. So when you go the wrong path after immorality, you shut off to the word of God. And you have no spiritual peace, you have no fellowship with god. People drop out of church. It destroys you spiritually.
So, it can hurt you, first of all. Secondly, it can hurt your family, your mate and your children. Paul put it this way, he talked about immorality in I Corinthians, that there is a oneness bonds between a husband and a wife that is destroyed because of an affair. I Corinthians says, “Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For the two shall become one flesh.” In other words, that act of sex, it’s not just an act of sex, there’s a unique mysterious spiritual bonding that occurs, that was meant to be part of the marriage, two becoming one flesh. I often at a wedding talk about two pieces of paper being glued together. For the Bible says, “A man will leave his father and mother and cleave (or literally be glued to his wife) and the two become one flesh.” If you take two pieces of paper and glue them together and it hardens, try to separate those two pieces of paper. You may be able to do it, but not without great damage. Those two pieces of paper will never be like they were originally. There is a destruction that takes place. And so it is with an extramarital sexual affair. It can destroy that oneness bond. I think that’s the reason Jesus gave permission when there’s been sexual immorality for that innocent party who has been transgressed against to divorce for the one and the only cause which is sexual immorality.
You see it’s more than sex. It’s the deception that destroys the marriage, the months of lying that breaks down the fiber of trust that those two people had together.
I have an article from again USA Today survey. Fred Humphrey, the past presidents from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy was doing some work and the article says, “Experts say that extramarital affairs rarely have happy endings. Humphrey points out the about half of the married couples either divorce or separate when the spouse learns of the other affair. Others anguish over trying to salvage the relationship. Learning about it results in instant pain and anger, he says, then there will always be a barrier to some extent. Not only that but the trust the family had is eroded. The kids that look up to the parents for example. You know, the parents will say, ‘Now let me tell you about being pure. But what example did we set when we ere younger? Or to them?
Like David, I don’t want to press this issue too far but David committed adultery with Bathsheba. And we see the effects later on, in his own life. Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. Amnon was one of the sons of David. Absalom killed him and then committed immorality himself. Think about a worst case scenario where and affair with someone who had a disease was brought into the marriage. And what if eventually the husbands and the wife even died, it’s been known to happen, leaving the children without any parents. So, it can destroy you, it can destroy wives and husbands, it can destroy children, and it can hurt others as well. It’s not just a family thing. The church is hurt by it. Paul said, “If one member suffers, all of the body of Christ suffers with it.” It is a pain that is brought into the church. Look at it this way, every obedient believe strengthens the body of Christ, every disobedient one weakens the body of Christ. Besides that, it hinders unbelievers from coming to Christ. They see affairs going on among Christians and they think, “Why should I become a Christian? There’s no difference between the world and them. Why should I do that?”
Remember when David approached King David with his sin. And David wept of course and said, “I have sinned.” Nathan said to David, “The Lord has put away your sin.” I like that, he’s assuring David, there’s forgiveness, David. God’s not going to leave you stranded. God is God of love and forgiveness and mercy. “The Lord has put way your sin, you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme.” So, it’ll hurt you, it’ll hut your wife or your husband, it’ll hurt your children, it hurts the body of Christ, it hinders unbelievers from coming to Christ. And finally, it hurts the heart of God. It hurts the heart of God. It makes sense if God says, “This is the intention of marriage that I have developed for you, not only to be pure and for marriage to stay intact but for your fulfillment. To violate that intention violates the heart of God. Isn’t it amazing that God’s usually the last one that’s considered. It’s, “oh you’ve hurt me,” “oh you’ve hurt the children,” “oh you’ve…” Yeah that’s true and it’s horrible but you’ve hurt God.
That’s why David in Psalm 51 after he was confronted by Nathan with the sin of adultery, he prays this, “Against thee only and thee only have I sinned and committed this iniquity in your sight.” He’s not saying, “I didn’t sin against Bathsheba, I didn’t sin again Uriah, I didn’t sin against my family. But first and foremost God I did not consider you. I’ve sinned against your holy heart.”
William Barclay said, “Sin becomes a crime not against law but against love.” It means not breaking God’s law so much as breaking God’s heart.
So, wrapping it all up this week, sexual passion given by God is awesome and we’ll see that next week in context of the marriage relationship as outlined in those verses. But sexual passion outside of the parameters that God has set always brings pain and destruction. Always. No exceptions involved.
And I want to add a final note. Adultery is sin. Sexual immorality is sin. And that’s precisely why it is forgivable. You don’t have to stop with, “oh I feel so guilty.” It’s forgivable. Jesus came to die for sinners. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. Every sin is washable by the blood of Jesus Christ. No one ever has to remain behind the wall of guilt. And say, “I’ve done this…” Hey, it’s all forgivable. Bring it under the blood of Jesus Christ. But I don’t want to make light of it because this is a warning here. Even as Nathan said, “David, you’re not going to die. Your sin has been forgiven.” God will forgive you. There are consequences, and those consequences can often last a lifetime.
I want to close with a letter, believe it or not, to Ann Landers. It’s in a newspaper, it’s from a guy in Wisconsin who writes: “Eleven years ago, I walked out on a twelve year marriage. My wife was a good person but for a long time she was under a lot of stress. Instead of helping her I began an affair with her best friend. And this is what I gave up: Number one, seeing my daughter grow up. Number two, the respect of many long-time friends. Number three, the enjoyment of living as a family. Number four, a wife who was loyal, appreciative, and who tried very hard to make me happy. And this is what I got (he says to Ann Landers) Number one, two stepchildren who treat me like dirt. Two, a wife who didn’t know how to make anything for dinner but reservations. Number three, a wife whose only interest in me was how much money she could get. Number four, a wife who discouraged my family and ruined all my existing relationships. Number five, finally the best thing I got was a bitter expensive divorce. And, please tell your readers that anyone who is married and his or her next mate all lined up is looking for trouble. People don’t know what they’re giving up until they no longer have it and then it is too late. Signed, Otis of Wisconsin.” His Camelot was a myth, it ended in tragedy. May that not happen among us.
And next week we’re going to talk more about this. The pattern of marriage, how it’s meant to be so fulfilling, even the sexual bonds. And again Solomon is very descriptive as you read the rest of chapter 5. And then the way to have precaution in your marriage relationship against an affair.
Let’s pray. Father, we must thank you this morning for how your word is open and does not skirt the issue in the least. It’s very open. Lord, I pray that what is written about in this section of Proverbs would not be said of us. This person involved, as Solomon said, said, “I was almost on the verge of total ruin in the midst of the congregation.” Lord I pray that if anybody is on that verge today, that there would be a quick turn to you in repentance, banking upon your love, your mercy, your forgiveness, your restoration. Lord I pray that you would heal marriages that are in this congregation, that it would be for better or for worse, richer, poorer, sickness and health til death do us part. Lord I pray that even if we listen to enticing speech and compliments that it wouldn’t go to our heads Lord, that our hearts would be filled with love for the spouses you have given us. Help us, Lord, to not be conformed by this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we might know that perfect and acceptable will of God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.