Faithlife
Faithlife

Stay Faithful

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Lesson Notes

Homiletical Idea: Stay faithful to your spouse in everyway: physically and emotionally.
Purpose: I would like my audience to understand that being faithful to a spouse goes beyond just staying married. It is loving and serving her, and making God the top priority in the marriage.
Other:  In other ways to prevent unfaithfulness, it is wise to be on guard, we are human, and have boundaries with the opposite sex.

At the end of the sermon, I talked about when families lose a child or the spouse has a serious disease. and there is no more physical love involved and they are still called to be faithful.  

I should also discuss more about how those who have been divorced for whatever reason, it is Jesus who is defending them.
Books/Articles: Sexual Idolatry and Article on Building Families, and began Building Families. Keener has a good article in IVP Matthew Commentary on the text.

Lesson MSS  

Introduction:

Married couples seem to come in two categories: a. married couples who continue to love each other or b. married couples who live with each other. The first category, the couple that loves each other is the ideal, and they do exist. Yet, it seems that category b. is more common – they live together. In some cases married couples also choose to divorce because they I found something better. In either case, couple who look at marriage as only living together, and the couple who choose to divorce in God’s eyes unfaithful to their spouse.  For Jesus is clearly saying in the text that married men are to stay faithful to their spouse. Jesus is going straight to the heart. He continues to make the point that living by the law is nothing in God’s eyes. God looks into the heart.

In this sermon I will talk about four ways a married couples can stay faithful to their spouse in a loving way.

1) Stay faithful to your spouse by cutting off the temptation to lust toward other women.

2) Stay faithful to your spouse by living out the marriage Vows.

3) Stay faithful to your spouse by serving one another.

4) Stay faithful to your spouse by making God your top priority in the marriage and family. 

I. Stay faithful to your spouse by cutting off the temptation to lust toward other women before it grow worse, and suffer the consequences, even to the judgment of hell.  

In Matthew 5.28-30, Jesus is explaining that a man who lusts after another woman other than his wife is committing adultery. Jesus’ solution is in a form of a hyperbole. If a person’s right hand causes the person to sin, then cut it off and throw it away, or if their right eye causes them to sin, then gouge it out and throw it away. The point Jesus is making is hopefully obvious. A hand or eye doesn’t cause the person to sin; rather, it can be a habit or environment that causes a person to sin. Therefore, Jesus is saying to cut it off before it gets worse.
A. If a habit or environment is causing us to sin; cut it off!

Here's a story by Gallagher, about a man who had to change his ritual in order to be free from his sin of pornography.

Larry was another man who faced a similar “fork in the road.” He owned a business which required that he maintain a web site. He routinely checked the news and his stock portfolio on the internet. He looked forward to going on-line everyday at noon and just before closing to check his stocks and the news. Larry also was in the habit of browsing various pornographic sites as well. Though he wanted to quit, every time he thought of giving up the internet, he would quickly dismiss it because he “needed it for his job.” The truth was that he did not want to give up his daily ritual, so to speak, of getting on “the web.” He had the same disappointed look on his face as Sam did when I suggested that he give up the internet. “But I need it for my job,” he insisted.

As we talked, I did some probing and the real issue came to light. “I guess I’m just holding onto my routine of going on-line to see the news and stocks. But what do I do about my web site? We have to maintain it,” Larry admitted. This problem was a little more legitimate. We talked further and I discovered the man who was responsible at his company to maintain the web-site was a Christian. We brought Jim into Larry’s office and explained the problem to him. It was very humbling for Larry to confess to an employee, but he truly wanted help. They disconnected Larry’s computer from their web server, took the software off his computer, and put a new password on Jim’s computer so Larry could never gain access to view pornography from his office. He forfeited his daily routine on the web, but this simple solution was all it took for him to find the freedom that had been eluding him for some time.

Larry was willing to do whatever it took. His attitude is an example of what Jesus meant when He said, “And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you... And if your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:29–30)

The amazing part is that Larry did what it took to get out the sin, and this principle can be applied to any sin. There never a sin that enslaves us so much that we can never cut it off. For in James 4.13, it says: “When tempted, none should say, “God id tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by the evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

So if a habit or environment is causing sin, then cut it off, or it will grow worse.
B. Adulterous affairs grow gradually worse.

There was a study, where they found out how pastors fall into adultery, yet I think this principle applies all men. Now I confess that I’m unable remember everything yet, I do remember the professor explaining that when there’s an affair, it never was planned. Yet the there was an emotional affair at first, then gradually became a sexual affair. Here are some of the steps I remember form the class.

1.      There is a problem with the marriage.

2.      The pastor would talk more with the woman than his wife.

3.      The pastor and woman would find ways to meet as friends, such as get a cup of coffee and so forth.

4.      The pastor and woman would meet for dinner.

5.      The pastor and woman have the affair.

Now even though this is an example of how pastors get into an affair, I think that applies to both men and women, no matter who they are. If the man after God’s own heart, the wisest man, and strongest man had fallen then who can say that we can fall if we are unfocused with God. So here are to solutions in avoiding such a catastrophe.

1.      We should find a Christian friend to share the issues of marriage, e.g. Promise Keepers.

2.      Keep good communication with the spouse.
II. Stay faithful to your spouse by living out the marriage vows.
A. From the United Presbyterian Book of Common Worship:

I,—, take thee,—; To be my wedded wife (or husband); And I do promise and covenant; Before God and these witnesses; To be thy loving and faithful husband; In plenty and in want; In joy and in sorrow; In sickness and in health; As long as we both shall live.[1]

B. In order to be faithful to your spouse, Jesus is pointing out that it’s not just committing adultery. He first points out that it starts out with lust, and next he talks about how husbands are unfaithful to their wives by divorcing them.

Jesus is speaking to a society, most likely focusing on the Jewish men, where it is acceptable for men to divorce their wife for any reason - a concept that also applies in the context of America.

I was told a story about a pastor who decided to divorce his wife because he fell out of love with her. (What in the world!) Of course that’s the stupidest reason ever, yet it’s a pastor who did it. And imagine all the other Americans who think the same way.

I think Jesus is conveying to the crowd is best explained by Keener: “In warning against the sin of abandoning one’s marriage, Jesus is defending rather than oppressing those divorced against their will. [2]

Jesus’ statement, in Matthew 5.32, is getting to the heart again. Just as his previous comments were about how the person’s heart is, this also is having people, especially the men, to examine their hearts on if they are emotionally to their wives or not.  

Stay faithful to your spouse in every way.
III. Stay faithful to your spouse by serving one another.

A. There is the model of Ephesians 5.23-33.

Stay faithful to your spouse in every way.
IV. Stay faithful to your spouse by making God your top priority in the marriage and family. 
A. Triangle Effect.

i. Review my view in how to love people.

ii. Show the triangle diagram.
Conclusion:

Staying faithful to your spouse is being faithful emotionally and physically, and to put God at the priority of marriage.


[1]R.C. (Robert Charles) Sproul, The Intimate Marriage : A Practical Guide to Building a Great Marriage (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1975).

[2]Keener, C. S. (1997). Vol. 1: Matthew. The IVP New Testament commentary series (Mt 5:31). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

Lesson Handout

Today’s Focus

Stay faithful to your spouse in every way.

 Outline of the Lesson:
I. Stay faithful to your spouse by cutting off the temptation to lust toward other women before it grow worse, and suffer the consequences, even to the judgment of hell.
A. If a habit or environment is causing us to sin; cut it off!
B. Adulterous affairs grow gradually worse.

The gradual steps in how pastor’s get into an affair.

1.      There is a problem with the marriage.

2.      The pastor would talk more with the woman than his wife.

3.      The pastor and woman would find ways to meet as friends, such as get a cup of coffee and so forth.

4.      The pastor and woman would meet for dinner.

5.      The pastor and woman have the affair.
C. One solution is to find a Christian friend to share the issues of marriage, and another is keep good communication with the spouse.
II. Stay faithful to your spouse by living out the marriage vows.
A. From the United Presbyterian Book of Common Worship:

I,—, take thee,—; To be my wedded wife (or husband); And I do promise and covenant; Before God and these witnesses; To be thy loving and faithful husband; In plenty and in want; In joy and in sorrow; In sickness and in health; As long as we both shall live.[1]
B. Divorce is being unfaithful.

i. Jewish men during the time of Jesus could divorce their wives for any reason.

ii. “In warning against the sin of abandoning one’s marriage, Jesus is defending rather than oppressing those divorced against their will. Keener [2]
III. Stay faithful to your spouse by serving one another.
A. There is the model of Ephesians 5.23-33.
IV.Stay faithful to your spouse by making God your top priority in the marriage and family. 
A. Triangle Effect.

 ----

[1]R.C. (Robert Charles) Sproul, The Intimate Marriage : A Practical Guide to Building a Great Marriage (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1975).

[2]Keener, C. S. (1997). Vol. 1: Matthew. The IVP New Testament commentary series (Mt 5:31). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

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