In this sermon, we come to the 7th commandment, “You shall not commit adultery”. As we look to this commandment, the context of the exclusive covenant relationship that God invited his people into comes into view.
Over the course of the series we’ve seen how God was forming for himself a people in the nation of Israel, through whom the world would be blessed and come to know God. And with this people he called & formed, he entered into a “covenant” relationship with them (not a contract). Contracts are dependent on both parties holding up their end of the deal, covenant is dependent on the promise & commitment. Contracts say if you break your end I can break mine. Covenant says that whatever happens, whether you hold up your end of the deal or not, I will keep my end regardless.
In this weeks sermon we look at what it means for the nation of Israel to be adulterous towards God and the covenant he has made with them…
Jeremiah 3:6-9 (NIV)
6During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. 9 Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.
We also discuss the nature of marital unfaithfulness and the effect adultery has on the union & fusing of two made in the image of God that is achieved and symbolised in marriage & sex. And finally we turn to Jesus’ words on the issue of adultery. Words that transpose the initial commandment & speak to the issue that is within the heart – lust. In an over sexualised world where pornography is available at the touch of a button on a smart phone, this issue is as relevant as it has ever been.
Jesus’ understanding of the 7th commandment raises the bar compared to Moses, but as is seen in the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8) his assurance is that God’s first order of business is not condemnation, but grace, mercy & forgiveness.