Exodus 20:14 Sermon Notes


Pastor Rick Duncan

Sin will take you further than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay. Today, we’re examining the 7th Commandment. In the process, we’ll explore three truths…

  1. God’s design for sex is good. 
  2. Our experience of sex is broken.
  3. God restores the goodness of sex through the gospel. 

The world is discipling all of us about sex, including our children and, especially, our teenagers. The world’s messages are coming our way all the time. Movies, TV shows, music, books, the attitudes of our teachers, and the stories we’ve heard from our friends have all discipled us.

  • We’ve been taught to think, “Whatever I do in the privacy of my own life as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else is nobody else’s business but mine.”
  • We’ve been told to sleep together or live together before you get married, “You’ve got to try before you buy, right?”
  • We’ve been trained to believe that there are no fixed ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong; we can define our own morality. “Just follow your heart!!!” “If you’re a boy who feels like a girl or a girl who feels like a boy, go for it!”
  • We’ve been taught that if anyone raises an eyebrow, we should say, “Who are you to tell me that sex outside marriage is wrong? No one should limit the freedom of my sexual expression!”

If the church won’t say what God, the One who invented sex, says about sexuality, then who will speak for God?

In Exodus 20, the LORD is forming a new community. He wants His people to build a society where everyone will flourish, where charity and decency and civility will prevail, where every child will be protected. So, He’s given these 10 Commandments. The first 4 deal with love for God. The next 6 deal with love for our neighbors. We’ve talked about the sanctity of the family – Honor your father and mother. We’ve talked about the sanctity of life – You shall not murder. Now, we turn our attention to the sanctity of marriage – You shall not commit adultery.   

You shall not commit adultery. -Exodus 20:14

“You shall not!” We are hoping that this message is more than just a judgmental, condemning slap on the hand that says “No!!!” We have to understand this Commandment within the larger story of God’s love and redemption. We can trust Him. His “No” is because He has for us a better “Yes.” His “Don’t” is because He has a better “Do” for us.

Let’s read together what the Westminster Shorter Catechism has to say about this Commandment.

Q. 70 – What is the seventh commandment? 

A. The seventh commandment is, “You shall not commit adultery.” 

Q. 71 – What is required in the seventh commandment? 

A. The seventh commandment requires the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech and behavior. 

Q. 72 – What is forbidden in the seventh commandment? 

A. The seventh commandment forbids all unchaste thoughts, words and actions. 

I read through the Westminster Larger Catechism, too. Lots of application there. Here are a few…

The duties required in the seventh commandment are the following: 

  • the preservation of chastity in ourselves and others
  • watchfulness over our eyes and all the senses 
  • temperance and keeping of chaste company
  • modesty in apparel
  • marriage by those who do not have the gift of abstinence, with conjugal love 

The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment are the following: 

  • adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts
  • all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and desires
  • all corrupt or filthy communications or listening to them
  • wanton [sensual] looks, seductive behavior
  • unjust divorce or desertion
  • lewd songs, books, pictures, dances, or stage plays
  • Once we understand just how far-reaching this Commandment is, we’ll have to say, “I may not have broken the letter of this Law, but I have definitely broken the spirit of it.”

So, today, let’s not divide into camps – the good and the bad, the virgins and the sinners, the sexually pure and the sexually perverted. Throughout this whole series through the 10 Commandments, we’ve discovered that we are not law-keepers, we are law-breakers. But God loves us anyway!

God’s design for sex is good. 

Sex is not dirty. It’s not ungodly. He made us male and female. He made us sexual beings. And then He said, “This is very good.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:24-25

God has said that sex is exclusively reserved for one man and one woman to enjoy, unifying them in a committed, intimate marriage relationship. So, a gay marriage is not a true marriage in God’s sight. A transgender marriage is not a true marriage in God’s sight. Sex is not for teens or 20 somethings to experiment with prior to marriage. Sex is exclusively reserved for one man and one woman to enjoy, unifying them in a committed, intimate marriage relationship for life until death they do part.

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Hebrews 13:4

Sex is a wonderful gift from God. It’s not only for physical pleasure; it’s for spiritual growth.

Sex within marriage is good for the stability of society. 

Think about when this commandment was given. God’s people had just left Egypt. The Egyptians had a lax sexual ethic that normalized adultery and incest. In Egypt, sexual indulgence was often associated with fertility rituals and religious practices. All this undermined the sanctity of marriage and family. And where God’s people were going, Canaan, had even worse sexual practices! And those societies were not only unholy, but unhealthy, unjust, unethical.

So, against this backdrop of moral decay, the giving of the 7th Commandment was a guide for God’s people to live with loyalty and love, with purity and peace, holiness and hope. God is seeking to provide for us a sexual oasis in the midst of a sexual desert.

God knows. As goes the marriage, so goes the family. As goes the family, so goes the community. As goes the community, so goes the city. As goes the city, so goes the state, the nation, the world.

Preserving sexual integrity was crucial for the stability and flourishing of this new community God is establishing. It ensures the sanctity of marriage and the protection of family relationships. The best gift that a dad can give to His children is to love God and to love their mother! And the best gift a mom can give to her children is to love God and to love their dad.

Sex within marriage is good for the glory of God. 

When God created man and woman and then established marriage and sex within that marriage, He was creating an illustration of the covenant relationship He initiates with His people.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32

When God created man and woman and then established marriage and sex within that marriage, He was creating an illustration of the covenant relationship He initiates with His people. God wants a love relationship with His people. He wants closeness. He wants unity. He wants intimacy. He wants loyalty. In fact, He’s called the Bridegroom and His people are called the Bride.

A man and a woman in marriage becoming one flesh are actually picturing the relationship between God and His people in a covenant relationship. God is loyal to His people. God is faithful. God loves. God seeks intimacy with us. He can be trusted. 

This is why adultery is such a devastating betrayal. It not only destroys the trust between a husband and a wife, but it also desecrates the picture that God is seeking to develop to show the world the kind of love that He has for His people.

Sex isn’t just about our gratification. It’s about God’s glory!

If God has called you to singleness, that’s awesome! 1 Corinthians 7 even says singleness is better because you can focus full-time on serving Christ.

But could it be that some young single men and women are struggling mightily with lust and God’s not called them to singleness? But maybe they are afraid to take a risk, afraid of commitment?

Could it be that God is calling some young men right here at CVC, who are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, to say, “It’s time. It’s time for me to overcome my fears in order to see if God might provide me with a spouse. I’m going to look around this church or another church and, in a non-creepy way, I’m going to take a risk and ask a woman out on a date! Why? I want to reflect God’s glory through a committed, covenant, marriage relationship.”

Sexual intimacy in marriage is a mysterious metaphor that reflects and celebrates God’s love for us. He created sexual intimacy in marriage to teach us about our covenant relationship with Him.

Our experience of sex is broken.

Sexual brokenness is anything that keeps us from experiencing sexuality as a gift and as a metaphor of covenant love. 

Juli Slattery

Think about all the brokenness in our culture. Sexual abuse. Rape. Sex trafficking. Pedophilia. Prostitution. Pornography. STDs. Abortion. Hook up culture. Sex addiction. The house is burning down!

A fire on a cold winter day is a wonderful thing. It’s beautiful. It can be mesmerizing, relaxing, cozy. It keeps us warm. But it needs to be kept in the fireplace! You are free to build a fire in your house wherever you want. Go ahead. Build on in the middle of your family room. Use a wooden chair for kindling! But you know you’re going to burn your house down!

That’s what’s happening with sex in our culture. And, maybe, in your own life! The brokenness is burning you! And you have become prey for the enemy, Satan.

The thief [i.e., the devil] comes only to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10a

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

So, you are free, in a sense, to do whatever you want to do with your body when it comes to your sexuality. However, you’re not free to determine whether what you do with your body is good or bad, healthy or sick, beautiful or ugly, right or wrong. You don’t determine good and evil. God does. So, when you choose to do whatever you want to do and you choose poorly, you will pay a price! You’ll be devoured!

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. Matthew 5:27-28 

It’s easy for us to beat up on the guys about this: guys going to strip clubs, guys looking at porn in print or online. That’s objectifies women and leads to sex trafficking. It creates addictions that many men can’t seem to shake. I read a stat this past week that said a shift has been happening: 32% of the porn consumers in the world are women. And that percentage is growing year by year. Lust is not “just a guy’s problem.” Lust is a human problem.

Women can be tempted to commit adultery in their hearts even if they aren’t looking at porn. How might women struggle? Fantasizing about being swept off her feet romantically by a kind man (or spiritual man or a thoughtful man or a rich man). Checking out a guy’s physique and wondering what it might be like to be with him. Reading romance novels or even watching a romantic comedy or a Hallmark movie and daydreaming what it would be like to be romanced that way.

Becca said, “The person pursuing sexual sin is really saying to God, ‘What You have provided for me in this area is not good enough, is not best…’” She said, “Choosing to pursue pleasure or relationship outside of God’s design is not good, not best. It’s not submitting to Him and to His plan with thankfulness and trust.”

Our culture is really casual about sex in mainstream media. We have to ask ourselves – is the content I’m watching truly honoring to God? It’s an important question whether we are going to theatres with friends or looking at our computers alone in the dark.

Kill your lust or your lust will kill you! Your thought becomes an act. Your act becomes your habit. Your habit becomes your character. Your character becomes your destiny. The Apostles James wrote, “When lust is conceived, it gives birth to sin and when sin is accomplished it brings forth death.”

One pastor who fell said, “I could put my toe in the water… and get out. I could stick my foot in the water… and get out. Then it was both feet. Then, up to my knees. But the next time, I went into the water just a little too far. And the undertow took me down and took me out to sea.”

Listen, some of us want to see how close we can get to the edge without falling off. We’re thinking, “What can I look at or do that’s provocative, but not sinful? How far can I push this conversation or flirtation without crossing a line?” We’re on the edge. Get away from the edge. 

God restores the goodness of sex through the gospel. 

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.  John 3:16-17

The late Pastor Tim Keller said, “The gospel says you are simultaneously more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, yet more loved and accepted than you ever dared hope.”

God can redeem your story! His truth can defeat the lies of our culture that defeat and destroy something beautiful God has given us. God seeks to bring healing. Jesus came to give us abundant life – and that includes our sexuality!

What must I do? 

Repent and believe. 

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. Matthew 5:29-30 

Jesus is speaking metaphorically here. But He is talking about “radical amputation.” If you have to get rid of your phone, do it. If you have to make a rule that you will only be on your computer in the presence of your spouse, do it. Do whatever it takes to pursue freedom!

Repent. That means turn away from your sin and turn to God. Run! Not away from God. But away from sexual sin. And run to God!

Yes, God loves you! Unconditionally. In spite of your sexual sin. Remember, there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you more and there’s nothing you can do to make him love you less. But it’s that kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

The Lord loves you too much to let you ruin your life and your sexuality. So, He’s calling for you to repent… and believe.

If we try to beat lust on our own, we’ll be beat. Sin will win. We have to remember our union with Christ and what Jesus has won for us through His death and resurrection. 

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:21

When Jesus died, we died. Our old self was crucified. That’s past tense. You’re not the same person now. Your body is now under the reign of a new spiritual master, Jesus. And because of your new identity, you can break the reign of your old spiritual masters.

Remind yourself of who you are. If you’re not changing, it’s not because you don’t lack any spiritual resources. It’s because you’re not deploying them. They don’t deploy automatically. If you’re still sinning in the same old ways, you’re not remembering who you really are.

Augustine was an ancient church leader. Before his conversion, Augustine felt pulled in two directions – toward the Lord by his mother, Monica, a saintly woman and toward sin by a mistress. The internal struggle was intense. But then Augustine read Romans 13:14 — “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ” — and everything changed.

The next day he went down the main street of his city, Carthage. And he met the woman who had been his mistress. She invited him for another to where she was staying. Augustine said, “No.” She thought, “Maybe he didn’t recognize me.” So, she called out, “Augustine, It is I!” He said, “Yes, I know. But it is not I. I am not the former I.” He was applying the truths found in Galatians 2: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Jesus makes us new. He sets us free. We don’t have to lust. We have a new master. Now, let’s live like it.

Recover and pursue.  

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

This is an area of life that needs to be yielded to the Lordship of Jesus. We need Him to be Lord of all. We need to be obedient to everything He has commanded, including our sexual attitudes and actions.

We shouldn’t have this door to a dark room in our hearts that we dare not let Jesus enter. He knows that something foul is in that room that is going to affect the entire house! If God is who He says He is, you can turn over the keys to every room in your life without fear and with hope.

This past week, I spent over an hour on the phone with a former member of CVC who has struggled mightily in this area. He was sexually abused at age 7. At 10, he discovered a porn VHS in his parent’s bedroom. He said, “Sin will take you further than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay.” An addiction to sin is progressive: A campfire becomes a bonfire; then a bonfire becomes a forest fire. He ended up addicted to porn, to sex, and to alcohol. After 30 years of addiction, he hit rock bottom. 

I can’t. He can. I will let Him. 

Self-effort – doing more and trying harder – won’t work. You’ll either fail miserably… or “succeed” even more miserably. 

I asked this man how he experienced restoration – how he was able to recover and pursue God’s design. He gave me 4 important decisions anyone who wants to be free needs to make.

Now, let me hurry to say that no simple 4 step formula is going to set us free. God is not a transactional God – that if we do A, B, C then God has to do X, Y, Z. God isn’t transactional; He’s relational. He’s wanting to see you be set free because He wants a relationship with you.

So, don’t view these next 4 decisions you need to make as a formula. View them as a way to deepen your relationship with Jesus and, as a by-product, as a way to gain freedom.

  1. Assess yourself. 

Do you really like who you are and the way you’re living when it comes to your sexuality? It’s time to look in the mirror and say, “Enough! I’m stealing life and joy and peace and hope from myself and from the people around me. And I’m breaking God’s heart because I’m not receiving His best for me. I’m not living in freedom. I’m hiding. It’s shameful. I don’t want to face God like this. It’s way past time for me to change!”  

Let’s not hide. Let’s not pretend. And let’s not judge and condemn and shame one another. Let’s be open and vulnerable about the brokenness of our sexuality.

  1. Assess yourself. 
  2. Find community.

You might be suffering in silence. You certainly not going to talk to anyone in your circle of friends or your neighbors. And coming clean to a spouse or a parent or a family member? Out of the question. And you don’t think you can talk to a LifeGroup leader or a staff member or a pastor at church. What would they say?

But if we can’t or won’t talk about these things, how can we find the help and hope of Jesus? We need to build a culture here where people who are struggling with sexual sin, sexual hurt, sexual questions can find a non-judgmental atmosphere. We can’t be uncomfortable anytime someone brings up sexual pain or problems.

Becca said, “This is a sin struggle that needs to be brought to the light with a trusted friend or accountability partner in order to fight it well. Women can be extremely afraid to confess any kind of sexual impurity. I think this really hinders women, in particular, from being able to fight this area of sin well. Fear of judgment can keep them in bondage.”




What if CVC became known as a place where we could voice sexual questions, struggles, and failures? Dallas Seminary professor, Howard Hendricks, said, “We should not be afraid to discuss what God was not ashamed to create.”

  1. Assess yourself. 
  2. Find community.
  3. Unpack your baggage.  

You’ve likely been wounded in some way in the past. Your past has shaped you. Think about it: The boy is the father of the man; the girl is the mother of the woman. Because of what happened to you during your childhood and teenage years, you have a fallen imprint on your soul that has impacted your sexuality. Someone hurt you; someone showed you something you shouldn’t have seen; someone did something to you they should not have done.

You need to tell your stories to someone who’s safe and who has the heart of Jesus for you and who can speak His words of life to your heart. For some of us, that might a good Christian counselor.

  1. Assess yourself. 
  2. Find community.
  3. Unpack your baggage.  
  4. Stay on guard. 

If anyone thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall! 1 Corinthians 10:31

You can never let down your guard. You might need to put a program on your computer and your phone to help you stay pure. Do whatever it takes! Stay on guard!


So, no matter what your pain from porn addiction, secret affairs, or sexual abuse, you are loved by God. He’s not going to turn away from the darkness in your life.

God can redeem your story! His truth can defeat the lies of our culture that defeat and destroy something beautiful God has given us. God seeks to bring healing. Jesus came to give us abundant life – and that includes our sexuality!

Early one morning, Jesus comes to the Temple in Jerusalem. The crowd gathers around Him. So, Jesus sits down to teach. And into the midst of the swarm of people, she is thrown. The instructors of the Law of Moses, those self-righteous, accusatory religious leaders, bring to Jesus a woman who has been caught committing adultery, violator of the 7th Commandment. Barefoot. Disheveled. Shamed. They make her stand in plain sight, right in front of everyone. Her secret sin is now being made visible to all who’ve come to worship.

“Adulteress! Caught in the act!” they sneer. “Teacher,” they say to Jesus, “this woman was arrested in the very act of adultery. According to the Law, Moses commanded us to stone to death women like this. Now, what do You say?”

She’s thinking, “This is the end for me. There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.” She can’t stand the stares. She can’t bear to look at anyone.

The religious leaders ask Jesus, “What do You say?” because they want to test Jesus. They are trying to trap Him into saying something they could use against Him. They want to wedge Jesus between His loyalty to the Law and His love for the people. If He says, “Stone her!” He will lose His influence among the common people. If He says, “Free her!” He could be labeled as a law-breaker. “What do You say?” is a question of life and death – not only for the woman, but also for Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t take the bait. He doesn’t debate. He stoops down and begins to write with His finger in the dust on the ground. What He writes will always be a mystery on this side of eternity. Maybe He writes the sins of the accusers. Maybe He writes a word from the Torah about the lovingkindness of the Lord. The religious leaders keep badgering Him, “What do You say? What do You say?”

Finally, Jesus stands up. All eyes are on Him. At last He says, “The sinless one among you, go first: Go ahead, throw the stone. Whoever has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her.” Then He stoops down again and writes some more in the dust. 

When the accusers heard what Jesus said, they were convicted by their own sin. And one by one, beginning with the oldest, the stones in the hands of these vicious men drop to the ground. The accusers leave. Jesus is left in front of the crowd with the woman.

To her, though, it feels like it’s just the two of them – lawbreaker and law-giver. She takes a deep breath. She wonders, “What’s next?”

Again, Jesus straightens up and says to the woman (John 8:10-11a), “Where’d they go? Is there no one left to condemn you?” She says, “No one, sir.” She waits for His response. Surely, she’s going to hear a sermon, a lecture, a warning, a rebuke. 

But Jesus says (John 8:11b), “Neither do I condemn you. Now, go and sin no more.” Words of grace, “You’re forgiven” and words of truth, “Leave your life of sin behind.”

The only One qualified to condemn her, doesn’t. Jesus has stooped down for this unnamed, sinful, law-breaking woman. She’s been set free. She is His joy, His crown. And He is her Savior, the One who stood up for her when others wanted to stone her and the One who sent her away, forgiven and free.

Jesus does not condone the sin. Jesus does not condemn the sinner.

Jesus does extend forgiveness. Jesus does expect holiness.

No matter what your pain from porn addiction, secret affairs, or sexual abuse, you are loved by God. He’s not going to turn away from the darkness in your life.

Matt Chandler tells the story of gathering at a Christian conference with a thousand other students. Matt had invited a non-Christian female friend to attend with him. The speaker pulled out a beautiful rose and said, “As I share with you, I want you to pass this rose around. Everybody touch it, feel the texture of the petals, and smell it.” As the rose made its way around the room, the speaker talked about sexual purity; why sleeping around was awful. Lots of condemnation and fear. 

At the end, the speaker asked for the rose. The rose was missing petals. The leaves were wilted. It looked shabby. It wasn’t beautiful anymore. So many people had touched it. The speaker lifted it up, “Who would want this rose?” Everyone was supposed to think, “No one would want that rose!” Matt was sitting there with his unsaved and probably promiscuous friend. And was angry. He wanted to shout. “Jesus wants the rose! Jesus wants the rose!”

You may have made choices that make you feel like that rose. You may have been treated in a way that you had no control over and you feel like that rose. Listen. Jesus wants the rose. Jesus loves this rose. He doesn’t just love the pretty, fresh roses. He loves the wilted, worn, torn, and shabby roses, too. And that means you!