Sunday, July 17, 2011

Proverbs 5-7 - The Trap of Adultery

Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:20-7:27
Opening thought
God’s Word makes it clear that marriage is a commitment for life to one person of the opposite sex who has been chosen as a mate (Exod. 20:14; Matt. 19:5; Heb. 13:4; 1 Cor. 7:3-4). Sad to say, but unfaithfulness on the part of both spouses has become epidemic, but adultery is both forbidden and condemned in God’s Word. In 1 Corinthians 6:18, the Bible says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” Adultery is sin, but it is also a symptom that all is not well in a marriage. There are no easy solutions in dealing with the problem of adultery. But God can work the miracle of the new birth for the non-Christian and spiritual renewal for his own who have fallen into sin.
Contextual Notes:
The book of Proverbs is such a wise book that it is sometimes difficult to preach! That is, it is above the pay grade of the preacher who handles it. That’s my disclaimer.
Despite the depth and breadth of the book, I think it is safe to say that Proverbs is about wisdom. The first eight chapters form a section within the book, and Chapter 1 is a warning to embrace Wisdom and nothing else. Chapters 2 and 3 give us the benefits of Wisdom, while chapter 4 says Wisdom of the Lord is supreme (Prov. 4:7), and in chapter 8, Wisdom calls out, inviting the reader to embrace her. But chapters 5-7 focus on the anti-hero of Wisdom. They warn the young man addressed in its poetic lines against adultery with the first half of chapter 6 being a warning against financial debt.
Here are two chapters and a half devoted to teaching against adultery. It is written as an extended object lesson, presented dramatically. Ironically, the author of many of the Proverbs, Solomon, was himself the son of an adulterer and adulteress and he himself struggled with a lust problem.

Key Truth: Solomon wrote Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:20-7:27 to warn hearers of the dangers of being unfaithful to one’s marriage vows.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about adultery.
Key Verse: Proverbs 6:32
Pray and Read:  Proverbs 5:1-23; 6:20-7:27 by sermon point

Sermon Points:
1.   Adultery is a trap of regret, loss, and disgrace (5:1-23)
2.   Adultery is a trap of self-destruction, shame, and revenge (6:20-35)
3.   Adultery is a trap of smooth seduction at the cost of one’s life (7:1-27)

Exposition:   Note well,
a.   When you leave your partner, and ignore your covenant, you invite a spirit of death.  (Prov. 2:16-19). Broken covenant defiles the land (Isaiah 24:4-6).
b.   Consequences are spelled out: bitterness and invitation to a spirit of death (Prov. 5:3-6; Heb. 12:15-16), loss of reputation (Prov. 5:9), loss of wealth (Prov. 5:10), depression (Prov. 5:11), bad conscience (Prov. 5:12-13), and public disgrace (Prov. 5:14-17). Job tells us that adultery opens the door to a spirit of death and uproots the harvest (Job 31:9-12).
c.   ILLUSTRATION: Billy Graham: "How many homes are broken because of men and women who are unfaithful!  What sin is committed every day at this point.  God will not hold you guiltless!  There is a day of reckoning. 'Be sure your sin will find you out' (Numbers 32:23). They will find you out in your own family life here in your relationship with your mate; they will find you out in the life to come."
d.   Prov. 5:15-20 – By contrast are the joys of marriage. Here is a figure of speech:  water = life; your treasure (business) is out in the public arena (Numbers 32:23).
e.   APPLICATION:  That cute smile, that strong hug might seem like what you need, but it will end for you in regret, in loss of your wealth, all you’ve worked for, your reputation, and more, perhaps your family, and you will find disgrace every time you leave the house.
a.   Prov. 6:22-23: These commands are a lamp and light (Psalm 119:105) and therefore inspired Scripture, inerrant and authoritative.
b.   Prov. 6:24-29: Adultery reduces you to an object to devour (consume) (1 Peter 5:8). Eyes (Prov. 6:25): lit. “eyelashes” Jesus taught that lust is a sin, not just the first step that direction (Matt. 5:27-28; Mark 7:21; James 1:14-15). This kind of sin will burn you (Prov. 6:27-28) and bring punishment (Prov. 6:29).
c.   Prov. 6:30-30-35: There is no condoning of theft but a comparison of how bad adultery is with 7X restitution, much more than the 120% required by the Law (Exod. 22:1). Disgrace (Prov. 6:30, 33), fury and revenge of the other spouse (Prov. 6:34-35) and punishment.
d.   APPLICATION: Adultery is a trap. You will find yourself destroying yourself. You will find shame. You will find that people hate you and will work against you with revenge in their hearts.
a.   Prov. 7:4: Solomon encourages a close relationship with wisdom (sister, kinsman).
b.   Prov. 7:6-7: Notice that each time, the one getting involved with adultery is described as lacking judgment. He is not wise. He is a simpleton, literally “lacking of heart.”
c.   Prov. 7:8-9: Notice the progression toward sin. First, he separates from others, going alone down the street near her corner. Second, it was twilight, and the dark is symbolically setting in. Third, he is aimless while his seductress is not. He is not wise to the situation while his enemy knows exactly the goal she wants for him.
d.   Prov. 7:10: The “lacking of heart” meets the “cunning of heart.”
e.   Adultery is a trap that leads to the grave (Proverbs 7:10-27, especially verses 22-27). Prov. 7:23: “little knowing it will cost him his life” – see Prov. 6:34-35. Adultery was punishable under the Law by death (Deut. 22:22).
f.    ILLUSTRATION: 1 Cor. 6:12-20 – Paul speaks to this issue.
g.   APPLICATION: God calls the one who has fallen into adultery to stop it. Your first responsibility is to confess your sin to the Lord and to your spouse. Seek God’s forgiveness and your spouse’s forgiveness. Then you need to repent of your sin, turning away from your sin. Come to your pastor for encouragement and counseling. Begin praying with your spouse and reading Scripture.
h.   If you have been cheated on, then you feel betrayed, rejected, and hurt. Even though only one person may have been unfaithful, both persons contributed to it. No one is immune from sin in a relationship. Ask the Lord how you may have contributed to my mate’s infidelity.
                  i.     Forgiveness – Things can never be worked out unless there is forgiveness. That can be very difficult, but a way can be found. Those involved must ask for God’s grace and wisdom to face the reality of the situation. The true extent of their mutual love and concern will be most evident at this point.
                ii.    Communication – As a couple you must make a determined effort to communicate with each other in order to discuss freely all the facets of the issue. Now is the time to correct a problem with a lack of communication.
i.    Your marriage may be in the crosshairs of adultery. It hasn’t happened, but it easily could. What steps do you take to stop it? What problems may be contributing to the danger of adultery in your marriage? Conflict with in-laws? Work schedules or absences from home? Lack of communication? Talking past each other? A need to better understand what makes a good marriage, according to the Bible?
j.    What should the church do about adultery among its own? The church has a responsibility to seek the holiness of its members and to love its members into a position of holiness. It is not those persons’ own personal business. It is the business of the church because they are members. Because they are part of Christ’s Church, they have put themselves in a position of submission to the love, concern, and care of the church.
There is HOPE -- There is forgiveness in Jesus Christ
John 8:7-11 -- The woman caught in adultery, Jesus acknowledges her sin and challenges her future. 
1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”