We are working our way through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5 to 7. Today we come to
Mt 5:27 “‘Do not commit adultery.’”
Adultery seems to be limited to married people having affairs with someone else. That seems to be what the Commandment means … does it not?
Ex 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.”
Actually no! Exactly the same as “the murder commandment”, we need to use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Perhaps the best commentary on Exodus 20:14 is Leviticus chapter 18. This chapter explains how holy God is by the way He prohibits sexual practices that are an abomination to Him and contrary to His creation design. People in our era might reject this as antiquated, old fashion and restrictive … but the Creator surely has the right to stamp His sexual requirements upon His creation! Please read through the whole of Leviticus chapter 18.
Lev 18:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the LORD your God. 3 You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. 4 You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. 5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.
6 “‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the LORD.
7 “‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
8 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
9 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
10 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.
11 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
12“‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.
13 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.
14 “‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.
15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.
16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.
17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
18 “‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.
19 “‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
20 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.
21 “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.
22 “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
23 “‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.
24 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.
29 “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. 30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the LORD your God.'”
The opening verses of this chapter are very helpful.
1) The authority to decree. Verse 1 to 5 mentions God’s real name four times. He ends the chapter by saying … I am the LORD your God. LORD is God’s name. It comes from the Hebrew Yahweh, translated into Greek as Jehovah and into English as LORD. As the Creator He has the authority to stamp His morality and ethical requirements upon His creation.
2) Both the Egyptians and nations within Canaan practiced all forms of sexual immorality … without shame or conscience. Such practices defiled them … and the land they lived in was defiled because of their sexual sin. God saw these practices as detestable. The text says the land vomited these people out of the Land of Canaan because of these sins. God used Israel to do this under the leadership of Joshua.
3) God’s people are prohibited from these abdominal sexually immoral practices. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. We shall examine other Scriptures but note that as New Covenant people, we are still bound to the prohibition of Leviticus 18!
4) More than obedience is require!
Lv 18:4You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. 5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.
God does not just want obedience … He requires that His sexual laws be understood through knowing them. That is why He says … “be careful to follow my decrees.” Equally, its more than keeping His decrees and laws … it’s writing them on your heart so that you live by them. This Command is provocative. Expect to be confronted by it! Once again Jesus says
Mt 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28But I tell you”
His authority is equal to Scripture … as we saw with the murder commandment. Tomorrow we shall start off by briefly skimming Leviticus 18. Ask yourself why did Jesus speak about anger and murder followed by adultery … sexual sins? Father in heaven, You require purity from Your people and often use the marriage / adultery metaphor for the relationship between You and us.
Teach us to practice sexual purity to honor You, protecting our union. Amen.