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Apr 16, 2023


Passage: Deuteronomy 5:18

Preacher: Jess Achenbach

Series: Deuteronomy

Category: Old Testament

Keywords: sin, sex, porn, lust, heart, statistics, adultery, fornication, dennis, erotica, prager


As we go through the 10 commandments we picked a date to preach and then we just end up preaching on what ends up falling on that time.  As I did research on the 7th commandment that we are going to be looking at this week, I kind of felt like I had drawn the short straw.  What a tough thing to preach on, but it has convicted my heart and I hope that this morning you also can experience the Holy Spirit speaking to you about sin in your heart especially about sexual purity.

Let me read the whole verse here:  Deuteronomy 5:18 “And you shall not commit adultery.”

Such a short verse, and so I thought I would ask some questions about it.  How am I going to preach this message, it should either be a miniseries, or take five minutes.  In order to plan a layout for the message, I decided to ask myself a few questions.

  1. What is Adultery
    1. This covers all sexual sin
  2. What is the consequence of Adultery
    1. Disease
    2. Illigitmate Children
    3. Disruption of Marriage and Society
  3. Where does it begin
    1. This covers our heart, not just actions
  4. How can I heal from Adultery

There are plenty of other questions that you could ask about adultery.  For example, my spouse has committed adultery, how do I forgive him/her.  While that is a very valid question, I decided for today we are going to focus on our own sin.  What does God mean specifically from this verse.

This seems so straightforward, so I want to establish some terms, because adultery means sex outside of marriage.  Adultery is when a married person has sex with someone other than their spouse.

POINT 1:  This commandment covers all sexual sin and not just the sex sin of married people.

 But this is verse is not covering just adultery, but all the types of sex sin.  Whether it is fornication (sort of an old fashioned word for two single people engaging in sex), or incest, homosexuality, bestiality and all sorts of perversions.  But don’t just take my word for it, lets look at Leviticus 20 where it outlines a little further in detail.

10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of[a] his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 11 If a man lies with his father's wife, he has uncovered his father's nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 14 If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you. 15 If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16 If a woman approaches any animal and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

17 “If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people. He has uncovered his sister's nakedness, and he shall bear his iniquity.

22 “You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.

So when we read this commandment I want you to understand that the meaning is to cover any sex outside of how God intended it which is between a man and a woman.

I want to emphasize that sex is not this horrible evil dirty thing, but a wonderful gift that has been given to us that helps us come together and bond, growing intimacy and connectedness within the marriage relationship. 

One thing that can be confusing is that when we read the passage above, we say, well that is the Old Testament law that is Jewish Civil Law, so it really doesn’t pertain to us because they are requiring death to all the people that commit that sin. In reality it is Moral law combined with Civil law.  Did you know that it used to be against the law in many states to commit adultery and it still is in about 10.  Idaho became the most recent state to decriminalize adultery just last year in 2022. However, the punishment that our states had for adultery was not the same (ie death) because our civil law is different that the Jewish civil law in the old testament.  This does not detract from the moral component of the passage listed above.  These sexual sins are still against God’s moral law.

infidelityrecoveryinstitute.com in their article on US laws on infidelity and adultery says this:

“You will notice that most states have laws against infidelity, however these laws are rarely invoked. Traditionally, states advanced three goals in support of their adultery laws:

  1. the prevention of disease and illegitimate children;
  2. the preservation of the institution of marriage;
  3. safeguarding of general community morals.

With the decline of the moral fiber of our culture we see sexual sin more and more rampant.  Over the last 50 years starting with the sexual revolution of the late 60’s the laws and behaviors of our US culture have become more and more permissive, and in the last 20 years it has become almost upside down when it comes to publicly standing up against sexual immorality.  If you oppose any persons “Right” to be perverted then you are the worst kind of person.  And yet the we used to care about the population more than our own perversions.  You see there was an understanding that preserving the institution of marriage was a valuable goal, as was safeguarding the morals of the community.  Why is that?

Why don’t we take some time to look what happens when a society abandons the family as God intended it and allows and encourages what we now have going on here in Western Civilization.

Lets look at the three reasons four reasons listed above in a little more detail starting with disease prevention.

The CDC's latest estimates indicate that 20% of the U.S. population – approximately one in five people – had an STI on any given day in 2018, and STIs acquired that year cost the American healthcare system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone.

The WHO tells us more than 1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day worldwide.

I remember when AIDS became such a huge issue in the 80’s and it really seemed that it was central to the homosexual community.  Then there was a huge ad campaign that said it wasn’t a gay disease, and that is true, but the main push was to destigmatize the homosexual lifestyle.  Now looking back we see that it is primarily an affliction of that population, not that you can’t get it as a heterosexual, but it very often is passed when a woman is involved with a man that has sex with men as well.

From the CDC:

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are the largest group of people with HIV. About 70% of the estimated 34,800 new HIV infections in 2019 involved men who have sex with men. The CDC also tracks the number of people diagnosed with HIV each year (since people can live for years without knowing they have it). In 2019, there were 36,801 new HIV diagnoses. Gay and bisexual men made up 69% of those.

If you are an American male having sex with other men, you have about a 1 in 6 chance of getting HIV at some point in your life (compared to a 1 in 524 chance for men who don’t have sex with men).

You might remember the monkeypox epidemic that happened last year.  I searched all over google and every time I entered in monkeypox and homosexual, all that came up with was articles about how it wasn’t a gay disease.  Finally after multiple attempts I used the search engine DuckDuckGo and the first article (By NBC) in June referenced an article by the New England Journal of Medicine that stated 95% of all monkeypox cases were found in MSM.

The list goes on and on, but the point is made, monogamous sex within marriage is the healthiest option.

Now let’s look at the second point.  Illegitimate children or fatherless kids.  I am lumping these two together for the sake of time.  One is a product of having kids while not married, and the other is a result of divorce.  I am putting them in the same category because adultery is one of the leading causes of divorce.

In 2021 for the first time England had more children born out of wedlock than in.  In France more than 60 percent of children are born to a single mother.

While in the US the overall out of wedlock birth rate was lower at 40% (in 2021) the out of wedlock birth rate for millennials was at 67%.

For people that do get married according to the CDC, 40-50 percent will end in divorce and second marriages with a 60-67 percent of divorce.

Good news, the divorce rate is dropping, the bad news is because fewer people are getting married.  A full 46% millennials and 44% GenXers say “marriage is becoming obsolete.” 

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy report:

 “Throughout history, marriage and parenthood have been linked milestones on the journey to adulthood. But for the young adults of the Millennial Generation, these social institutions are becoming delinked and differently valued. Today’s 18- to 29-year-olds value parenthood far more than marriage.”


This addresses  illegitimate children and the third point about preserving the institution of marriage.

The problem with this is that without the covanent bond of marriage there is no incentive for these dads to stick around.

80% of single parents are mothers.

A December, 2019 Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories finds the United States has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households, at 23%. By comparison:

  • Russia 18% of children live in single parent-headed households
  • Uganda 10%
  • Germany 12%
  • Japan 7%
  • Mexico 7%
  • India 5%
  • China 4%
  • Worldwide: an average of 7% of children under age 18 live with a single parent


What is the big deal, why does it matter?  Here are some statistics about kids that grow up without a dad in the picture.

  1. 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless / single-parent homes – 32 times the average.
  2. 85% of youth who are currently in prison grew up in a fatherless home.
  3. Children from fatherless homes are twice as likely to drop out from school before graduating than children who have a father in their lives.
  4. Girls who live in a fatherless home have a 100% higher risk of suffering from obesity than girls who have their father present. Teen girls from fatherless homes are also 4 times more likely to become mothers before the age of 20.
  5. 44% of children in homes headed by a single mother were living in poverty. Just 12% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty.
  6. Children who live in a single-parent home are more than 2 times more likely to commit suicide than children in a two-parent home.
  7. 75% of rapists are motivated by displaced anger that is associated with feelings of abandonment that involves their father.
  8. Living in a fatherless home is a contributing factor to substance abuse, with children from such homes accounting for 75% of adolescent patients being treated in substance abuse centers.
  9. 85% of all children which exhibit some type of a behavioral disorder come from a fatherless home.
  • Even when poverty levels are equal, children who come from a two-parent home outperform children who come from a one-parent home.
  • The median income for a household with a single mother is $35,400. The median income for a home with a married couple raising their children is $85,300 in the United States.
  • Children who live in a fatherless home are 279% more likely to deal drugs or carry firearms for offensive purposes compared to children who live with their fathers.

The third and final point “Safeguarding of general community morals”. 

I think the statistics I just read to you outline the value of God’s plan for marriage when it comes to protecting our communities.  All you hear anymore is that I am not hurting you so why do you care what I do with my life and my sexual choices. 

Here there is solid proof that there is a long term and irreparable damage to us as a community with financial costs that are passed on to me in the form of social services needed, healthcare costs.  The children my kids are exposed to are affecting them with violence and psychological aggression.  All of these are a direct link to our rampant sexual sin that infects and destroys.

But this brings us to our third point.  Where does it all begin?

I want to show you this short clip with Dennis Prager who is a very influential conservative talk show host and he is talking about the ten commandments.  He is Jewish and has an interesting position on the 7th commandment, let’s take a look.


WOW!  I have to say, that I strongly disagree with him, and I do believe that Judaism would disagree with him as well. Judaism has over 600 laws on how to behave, but there is a ton of verses that point to the heart in the Old Testament.

What Dennis said is bad for both men and women, he is giving permission to his male audience to have a porn addition.  It is also telling women that porn is a good thing because it keeps their husbands from having an affair.  This is what is called Utilitarianism, “the ends justify the means”.  Porn is bad if used for replacement, but not bad if used in lieu of Adultery.

Jesus said it best when He was talking to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:25-28 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, so that the outside may also be clean.

27  “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

However, this is not just a New Testament idea.

I want to look at a few references in the OT here.  Let’s start at the beginning. 

Genesis 6:5 “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually”.  Genesis 8:21 “…for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

God does care about the condition of the heart.  The reason why is because there is a close relationship between your heart and your behavior.  Ezekial 11:19 “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit, I will put within them.  I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” 

The problem is that our hearts are evil in their natural state!  Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can understand it?

However, we don’t even need to search all over the Bible for these references about the heart.  All we have to do is go forward a few verses to the 10th commandment.  Which says “ And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’.  This specifically happens in the heart.

I want to maintain my place here and not tread into the message of whoever will be preaching on that commandment.  However, if we look at all the commandments, the breaking of any of them begins when we don’t keep our hearts focused and centered on God.

Proverbs 6:25-29 “Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids.  For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life.  Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned?”  This question is rhetorical, of course you get burned.

You might feel that there is nothing wrong with pornography, you have been looking at it for so long that your heart has become hardened to the truth of God’s word and to the Holy Spirit.  There is an epidemic right now in people that are engaged in porn use.  I would include in this any sort of erotic material, things like novels, movies, magazines and of course the internet.

Here are some of the side effects of Pornography:

Excessive porn use can lead to difficulties in the bedroom, infidelity, and other relationship issues. About 56% of divorce proceedings cite an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.

Pornography addiction frequently co-occurs with other mental health disorders. Some issues relating to social anxiety and loneliness can give rise to porn addiction, while others may stem from the addiction itself.

Conditions that frequently co-occur with pornography addiction include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • Sex addiction
  • Substance use disorders.
  • Memory problems
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Erectile dysfunction

The ease of access to pornography and the social acceptance of it allows our hearts to become enticed into a false sense of security, especially if you agree with Dennis Prager’s assessment of porn use.

 90% of teens and 96% of young adults are either encouraging, accepting, or neutral when they talk about porn with their friends.

Teens and young adults 13-24 believe not recycling is worse than viewing pornography.

51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed porn before their teenage years.

The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old, on average.

71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.

A 2016 study on Canadian adolescents showed that 45.3% admitted to problems in erectile dysfunction.

This last statistic is an example of what happens when regular porn use takes place.  We become desensitized to sex and it creates an unrealistic expectation for couples in their sex lives.  Many men that use porn now require it to be playing while they are being intimate in order for them to be able to engage in sex.

Got Questions Ministries says this: “The word adultery is etymologically related to the word adulterate, which means ‘to render something poorer in quality by adding another substance.’”.

This is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28 “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.

By using porn you are adding to, you are rendering your marriage to be poorer in quality.

He continues in Matthew 5:31-32

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

This begs the question then, if lusting after a woman in your heart is the same as committing adultery, and adultery is grounds for divorce, does this give permission you permission to divorce your spouse if they are using pornography? Does anyone care to answer?

No, there is a difference between a thought and an act.  For example, if you think about murder, can you be executed according to our laws?  NO thinking a thought is not the same as doing it.  Otherwise people could say, well, if is the same thing, I am thinking about it, and Jesus said, if I think about it, then it is the same thing so I might as well go ahead and do it since I have already committed the sin in my heart. 

No, he doesn’t say it is the same thing, Jesus is making the point that he wants us to keep the 7th commandment and not literally commit adultery, but more than that he wants us to keep our hearts pure as well.  The reason is that if you are keeping the commandment in your heart then you will keep in in your marriage too.

Again a reminder, this is not just for married people, but for anyone.  This covers all sorts of sexual sin.  He wants us to have a new heart.  Blessed are the pure in heart because they will see God.  If your heart has been made new you won’t just be keeping the letter of the law like our Jewish friend Dennis, but you will be keeping the Spirit of the law.

You have to think about the sin before you manifest it, you don’t just accidentally have sex with someone, there are steps to sin, and it starts in your heart.

James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

Lured and tempted, this is in the heart.  After that it hatches a plan, and after you commit the sin, it brings forth death.

Proverbs 2:16-18

So you will be delivered from the forbidden[a] woman,
from the adulteress[b] with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;[

Sex sin leads to death.  It might lead to physical death through disease, or the death of a marriage, the death of a relationship of children with their parents.  But the main relationship that it damages is your relationship with God.

I Corinthians 6:9-11 “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.”

No one is immune to this temptation. Last month ran into an old friend at Costco -Story of Fallen pastor.

Remember what I Corinthians 6:10 just said “And such were some of you.”

With the statistics being what they are, and we are not immune to sin, some of us in this room have been or are even involved in this sin currently.  Or perhaps you have been in the past and you are a slave to the guilt and shame that came with it. Are you living with your partner not married.  Are you cheating on your spouse with someone, maybe it is still in the planning stage, but let’s not pretend that we are here in our Sunday best and all is fine and well.

Sexual sin is perhaps the most destructive sin because it is so isolating.  People are afraid of the very real consequences that it brings when it is found out.  But that should not be enough to stop us from turning away from that sin and seeking freedom from the chains that it has on your life.

The lie that Satan whispers in to all of us about sin, is that it needs to remain hidden, don’t let anyone know. 

King David was a man after God’s own heart and he was guilty of this very sin, and he paid a high price.  But it is not the unpardonable sin.  That would be to reject God’s forgiveness and continue to live the lie.  If you are a believer and this is something that you have done in the past, and you have held it back from your spouse.  Now is the time to confront the lie the devil is whispering.  He wants you to keep this sin in the dark, but we know that when we shed the light of Christ into our hearts it cleans out every sin. 

There are steps to forgiveness, the first is to repent – to turn away from the sex sin, whether it is in your mind, or action.  The second step is to confess and acknowledge the sin to the Savior Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive you.  The third step is to confess to the one or ones you have sinned against.  This is the part that so many want to skip out on. The final step is to make restitution where you need to. There will not be freedom in your life until you complete these.

In Ephesians 5 we have the picture of Christ as the bridegroom and the church is the Bride, and he says, Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church.

Ephesians 5:3-11 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

I Corinthians 6:15-20 “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined[d] to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[e] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  When Jesus came into the temple and saw the evil that had come and taken up residence in the form of moneychangers, he took a whip and drove them out.  Sometimes it is time to take a deep look at our temple, what have we allowed to settle in.  Are there sinful sexual sins that we are allowing to take root there?  If that is true of you, and I think each one of us to a degree have done this, now is the time to take the whip into your temple.  Take control and drive out these impure thought patterns and behaviors.

We the church are unioned with Christ.  Communion is a time that we take to remember the sacrifice that He made to sanctify us by cleansing us that we might be holy and without blemish.

I Corinthians 11:23-32

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

If you have done that, then this is for you to do.  If there is sin in your life that you need to make right, then I would encourage you to refrain from taking communion this morning.  Go, follow the steps of confession and be made holy before coming back and celebrating the union we have with Christ.

If you have never felt the weight of your sin, and this morning the Holy Spirit has helped you understand that without His forgiveness you will be dead in your sin.   I want the chance to pray with you, so we will do that right now.


If you prayed with me just now, I am sure you will have questions, I and any of the other Pastors, John, Bob or Andrew would love to talk with you.  We also have prayer counselors down here at the front that are waiting to pray with you and for you and talk.  Maybe you are already a Christ follower, and you are wanting to go through the steps mentioned about forgiveness, please talk to us, we want to see you free from the sin that has held you back.

Because this has been such a heavy topic, I would like us to take a moment as a congregation and each of us repent as needed during a time of silence before communion, then we will sing together a song and be dismissed.