Jan. 17, 2021

Committing adultery

Committing adultery

Divorce is a legal declaration saying that a marriage is dead. Adultery is the murder of the marriage bond, whether with one big gunshot or from bleeding out due to continual knife slices.

Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
31 Bluebird Lane, Greensburg, KY 42743

Christian Podcaster Association


*this is not a word for word transcript of the podcast, but the sermon manuscript




It was in that moment I thought maybe I had made a mistake. I was holding the offering plate, one of four ushers, which was normal for me. Growing up in Martinsville First Church, I had served in many ways and as much as I could. Being an usher was not the mistake.


At the age of twenty, I married a girl. In that church and as a part of that church, we committed to spend the rest of our life together. That was our dream. But it was a dream that would be shattered. To make a long story short, she decided that she wanted to be with someone else and so we decided to get divorced. As I stood there with the offering plate, I saw her and him on my side of the sanctuary. This meant I was going to be handing them offering plate.


The senior pastor had asked me if it was okay for them to attend our church. How was I supposed to answer that? Inside, I wanted to scream “NO, this is my church!” But I knew that church was exactly where they needed to be. However, standing there with that offering plate, I cannot tell you what I wanted to offer them.


Divorce hurts. Adultery hurts. If it does not, then why is it so hard to not be bitter? In today’s message we close out Jesus’ teaching on divorce and marriage by looking at the sin of adultery. What is the sin of adultery?


Mark 10:10-12


10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” (NIV)


This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.


In verses 1 through 9 of this passage, Jesus is answering a question from the Pharisees. Trying to trap Jesus, they had asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” Jesus answered that question by confirming that Moses did allow for divorce in the Law. However, Jesus shares that God’s will is that one man and one woman would be married for life, but the hardness of man’s heart could make them choose otherwise. As we try to answer the question “what is the sin of adultery?”, Jesus continues the conversation with his disciples.


VERSE 10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. The disciples had a special privilege that you and I do not have, neither did the crowds or religious leaders of their day. They witnessed many of the miracles, and received the teachings of Jesus firsthand.


Jesus did not water down the truth so people could understand, nor did Jesus lower the standard of holiness to make allowances for the human condition. As devout Jewish men, I am sure His teachings to the crowds would generate questions from the disciples. These questions do not get ignored or brushed aside, Jesus waits until they are alone and then instructs them.


Do you notice when the disciples get this special instruction? When they are alone, away from the crowds. It is a personal connectedness with them, free from the distractions and those who would easily be offended by the teaching. This is why personal time with Jesus, reading the Bible and praying, is important. Also, this is why small groups like our Bible study, prayer meeting, and other groups are important.


VERSES 11-12 Jesus answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” The disciples question Jesus about His words on divorce and marriage. While Mark does not record the questions the disciples asked, Jesus shares more on this difficult teaching. Jesus says that if someone divorces their husband or wife and then remarries someone else they are committing adultery. His answer does nothing to soften the difficult teaching, nor does Jesus lower God’s will to meet the ineptness of the human condition. God’s will is for a man and a woman to be married for life, and adultery is the breaking of the marriage tie between the two.


In their efforts to understand, the disciples’ humanity was showing. They were looking for the “incase” divorce did happen, revealing the power of sin’s hold over them. Now, Jesus elsewhere makes allowance for divorce based on unfaithfulness. But ultimately, divorce and adultery are both against the will of God.


What is the sin of adultery? Breaking the tie of a marriage between a man and a woman. Divorce was allowed because of the hardness of the human heart. Legal divorce is a declaration of death for a marriage that is already dead. But adultery is the murder of a marriage, the taking of the life created by the one man and one woman by one (or both) of them.


Now this murder is not necessarily physical murder, like you find on the ID network. However, adultery is anything that breaks the marriage bond, severing the bond to create life between two people. So often we believe that breaking the marriage bond is the physical act of sleeping with another partner besides your spouse. While that is adultery, that is only one way that a person can kill that bond.


When a person decides to divorce their spouse using the phrase, “you are not fulfilling my needs,” that is someone who is killing their marriage because they are placing their own personal needs ahead of the one they love. Love that calls both into submission to one another. If a spouse is dishonest about their time, finances, and or anything else that is an attack on the marriage bond. Abuse, whether it is physical, mental, or verbal is an assault on the marriage bond. Viewing pornography is breaking the marriage bond. All those things can be a gunshot that ends a marriage or knife slices that bleeds out the life from it.


In the cases where it is clearly the will of one person in the relationship, this means the other is the victim. God knows the difference. He also knows when it is a combination of both the man and the woman in a relationship. Our God is just and will hold the guilty party accountable.


God’s will is for one man and one woman to share the bond of marriage for life. Divorce is the result of the hardness of human hearts. Adultery is when a person sinfully murders their marriage, man’s will that runs contrary to the will of God. Anything outside God’s will leads to death and destruction.


What happens when we are the cause of marriage’s death? What if I divorced my spouse and remarried? A. Elwood Sanner, the Nazarene Theologian writes, “Neither the hardness of man’s heart, nor the mercy of God’s heart has changed.” In short, our sinfulness can have catastrophic effects on ourselves and those we love the most. But God’s grace is greater than all your sin.


King David, in the Old Testament, gives an example of how to respond when we fall short of God’s will for our lives, doing our best to make a mess of it. He saw a woman bathing on a roof top, the wife of one of his soldiers. David summons her to his palace, sleeps with her. When she becomes pregnant, David has her husband killed. A brave prophet calls out David, and rather than respond in wrath to God’s messenger, David confesses his sins to God. His confession is found in Psalm 51, which reads:


Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record. Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry. I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down.


You are the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil. You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair. I’ve bene out of step with you a long time, in the wrong since I was born. What you’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.” (verses 1-6, MSG)


David cried out to God asking for forgiveness. And the miracle of the story is that God forgives Him! You may have wrecked your life due to your sinful choices, and your marriage could be dead or dying because of your own sinfulness. But Jesus is the same God of David, who purchased your forgiveness on Calvary. All you have to do is ask.