We are back to the series from the book of Hebrews which we are calling “Life in the Covenant Community.” Today we are going to look at what the Word of God says about sexual purity. Being part of the covenant community requires sexual purity.
The Bible talks a great deal about this subject. Thou shall not commit adultery is the seventh commandment. Then Jesus made the seventh commandment even clearer when he said:
“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. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Mt 5:27–30)
Even though we all know that Christians are expected to be sexually moral lives, this topic is often considered private and not the business of the church. Of course, what happens in the marriage bed is of nobody else’s business. But when those who profess to be Christians are letting the marriage bed become defiled or are leading sexually immoral and adulterous lives, the invasion of privacy is required. Notice the scriptures say “Let marriage be held in honor among all.” This is a command that we are to obey together, all of us are to obey it and we are to make sure we are all obeying it.
As Christians, when we act out the Christian life, including having a strong marriage, the world takes notice. Living the Christian life will give you opportunities to share the Gospel with non-believers. They will see what you have and they will want it. In this world, homes are broken, marriages are disposable, and the people hurt from the wounds this causes. Many of us have experienced this. But now, we are Christians and we are committed to living the life that God commands. Our marriages should be growing in strength. Our families should be solid. The would in turn should take notice and want what we have. This will open the door for you to share your faith and lead people off the road headed for hell.
Let’s look at today’s scripture more closely:
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
We are going to examine the three parts of this verse:
First: Let marriage be held in honor among all
Second: Let the marriage bed be undefiled
Third: God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
Let marriage be held in honor among all
How do we hold the marriage bed in honor? Let’s again go to God’s Word for an answer. 1 Corinthians 7 gives us principles for marriage that will help us hold marriage in honor.
7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.
12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. 16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:1-16)
Marriage is a covenant. It is a lifelong promise between one man and one woman. God has a long history of dealing with His people through covenant. There was first the covenant of life that was made with Adam, it required perfect obedience from Adam and in exchange Adam was given many benefits. Then there is the new covenant, the covenant of grace where we are saved by grace through faith. Aside from these covenants about salvation, there are many Biblical examples of covenants between God and His people. Let’s look at just a few examples:
- God’s Covenant With Noah. God made a covenant with Noah, assuring Noah that He would never again destroy the world by flood (Gen. 9).
- The Mosaic Covenant. The Israelites moved to Egypt during the time of Joseph. A new Pharaoh came upon the scene and turned the Israelites into common slaves. The people cried out to the God of their forefathers. “So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob” (Exo. 2:24). After a series of ten plagues upon the land of Egypt, God brought the Israelites out “of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand” (Exo. 32:11).Three months after leaving the land of Egypt, the children of Israel camped at the base of Mount Sinai (Exo. 19:1). God promised to make a covenant with the Israelites (Exo. 19:3-6). Before they even knew the conditions of the contract, the people agreed to abide by whatever God said (Exo. 19:8).
- God’s Covenant With David. Another covenant was between God and King David, in which David and his descendants were established as the royal heirs to the throne of the nation of Israel (2 Sam. 7:12-13).
God interacts with His people through covenants. It is no accident that God ordained marriage as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. You see, the relationship between a husband and a wife is God’s picture for mankind of how Christians are to relate to Jesus.
God interacts with the Church through covenants, then giving us a picture of how the church will interact with Jesus, he gives us marriage, a covenant between a man and a woman.
How a man treats his wife is a picture of how you think Jesus should treat the church.
How a woman treats her husband is a picture of how you think the Church should treat Jesus.
This picture is set up for us in the scriptures. The church is called the Bride of Christ. We are promised to Him and just like marriages in that time, Jesus has left this Earth to prepare a place for us and will one day return for His church, or His bride.
Let the marriage bed be undefiled
To defile marriage is to defile the picture of how Jesus and His church are to interact.
We are told to “let the marriage bed be undefiled” and that is done by investing in your marriage and focusing on God’s will for your marriage. If husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church and women submit to their husbands, as the scriptures say, the marriage bed would be undefiled. We live in a society today where these Biblical values are not held in esteem. Our culture is filled with suggestions that blur or even erase the lines of what defiles the marriage bed.
Let’s look at four of the ways that the marriage bed is defiled, so that we can turn from these things and let the marriage bed be undefiled in our own lives. This is by no means a complete list, but gives us an idea of what we must avoid to follow this command.
- Fornication. That is to enjoy the benefits of marriage without being actually married. Biblical marriage is a covenant, a solemn lifelong promise in front of witnesses. The excuse “we are going to get married” does not work, Jesus was well aware of engagements when he spoke to us about fornication and he did not make an exception for it. Any union outside of a one man, one woman marriage is fornication and it is sinful. God instituted marriage in Genesis 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” God’s definition of marriage is a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman. Let us not participate in, endorse or encourage anything other than what God instituted, otherwise we will be guilty of defiling the marriage bed.
- For a Christian to enter into a marriage with a non-Christian is to defile the marriage bed. We have the command from God that Christians are to marry Christians. To do otherwise is a sin. Think what you have done to God’s picture of his union with the church. Marriage is a picture of the relationship between Jesus and the church. For a believer to marry an unbeliever is to defile that picture because there is no relationship of saving love between Jesus and the unbeliever. Please don’t misunderstand me here. Perhaps some people here have married an unbeliever. I am NOT telling you that you are living in sin. Just as our lives are filled with sin, that first act of marriage to an unbeliever was sinful, and likely was done when you were just not a mature believer and probably didn’t know better. The sin doesn’t continue. You must not consider divorce because your spouse is an unbeliever. This brings me to the next way you can defile the marriage bed.
- Divorce defiles the marriage bed. Divorce is adultery. People make up all sorts of reasons to justify divorce. Sometimes you even hear people use God’s character to justify it; they say things like “God wouldn’t want me to be unhappy.” The scriptures will rebuke you if you feel this way. The Scriptures say your heart is wicked and deceitful. Put your feelings aside because the truth is that God wants you to keep your promise in marriage. Again, this is not an ongoing sin. If you have been divorced, do not feel that you are living in sin every day. For some people, they have no choice because their spouse is the one who filed for divorce and their spouse left them. In this case, you have not sinned in the divorce. Likely, sins on both sides led to the divorce, but the sin of divorce is to initiate the divorce.
- Adultery. The entirety of this command can be summed up in the seventh commandment, “thou shall not commit adultery.” We know the physical act is wrong and sinful. But we also know Jesus’ standard. Lusting is adultery. Pornography is adultery, because what is it for if not to lust? You need to guard against emotional adultery as well. Men and woman are built to bond. Be sure that you are not forming that special bond with anyone other than your husband or your wife. Never share marital problems with a person of the opposite sex. Doing so will lead only to creating an emotional affair. Instead turn to same sex council or turn to your spouse. Protect not only your physical intimacy with your spouse, but your emotional intimacy as well.
God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
This verse ends by saying “God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
Consider the Scriptures 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Co 6:9–11)
Let’s look at this list in 1 Corinthians 6: the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers.
The scriptures say God will judge these people. Note that this is not a list of sins, but rather a list of people that are identified with a sin. The scriptures do not say “those who struggle with lust,” rather they list homosexuals and adulterers. Likewise, in Hebrews 13:4, the Word of God says “God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” When God judges the sexually immoral and the adulterous, they will obviously be found guilty. At that point in time, it is too late. For those who go to the grave without repenting of their sin. For those who are known by their sins. For the sexually immoral and adulterous, they will be cast into a devil’s hell for eternity.
But look at the good news, right there in 1 Co 6:9–11:
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Co 6:9–11, emphasis added)
These are Christians that the apostle Paul is writing to. He says “such were some of you.” Some of you were sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers.
God delivers people from these sins. The Lord Jesus died for these sins. People who are identified by these sins can have hope in the Lord Jesus. They must repent, they must turn from their sins. We must encourage them to repent and turn from their sins.
Consider this parable from Ezekiel 33:
33 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, 3 and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. ( Eze 33:1–6)
We are like watchmen. We see the sword coming. We must blow the trumpet. God has told us in His own Word that “[He] will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” The sword is coming. Now blow the trumpet! Tell the world the message that you have been given. “God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
But tell them the good news too. The good news is that And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Co 6:11)
Some of Gods people were the same. If it is you that is struggling with lust, adultery, or sinful desires, take this to heart. If you know others who are in this situation, be a faithful watchman, lest their blood be on your hands.
The great news is that if you have faith in Christ, you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The moment you first believe in the Lord Jesus and repent from your sins, they are all forgiven. You can go from being sexually immoral, idolatrous, an adulterer, a homosexual, a thieve, greedy, a drunkard, a revilers, or a swindler. This scripture can refer to you in the past tense. You do not need to remain in this list. You can be completely forgiven. Simply put your faith in the Lord Jesus and His righteousness will be imputed to you. You will be given the righteousness of Jesus. No longer will you need to fear God’s judgment. “God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” But when you put your faith in Christ, that no longer describes you. You go in one second from being sexually immoral and adulterous to being completely righteous and completely holy because at the day of judgment, all who repent of their sin and have faith in Christ alone will be seen just like Christ: perfect in every way.
Derived from the sermon delivered on the Lord’s Day Oct 30, 2011 at Golden Shores Community Baptist Church.