The Seventh Commandment – Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

Date written: November 16th, 2013

SUBJECT: Ten Commandments

TITLE: The Seventh Commandment – Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will examine the seventh command—Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. We will define adultery, and then examine the command under the Old Covenant and New Covenant.

OBJECTIVE: To give the hearer a better understanding of the Bible’s overall teaching on this topic.

AIM: To instruct regarding the consistency of definition, and the differences between the covenants regarding penalties associated with the sin.


1. Read: Exodus 20:2-17

2. About the Text:

1) The background of this text is the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt.

2) They were camped at the base of Mount Sinai.

3) And God speaks directly to them from heaven these “Ten Commandments.”

4) They are referred to as such in Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:3 and 10:4.

5) These commandments were the basis for the rest of the Mosaic Law.

6) They form the nucleus of God’s desires for men to live a moral and godly life.

7) God wanted to impress upon Israel the seriousness of these words.

8) And he did so; the children of Israel asked Moses to intercede for them upon hearing God’s words.

9) The commandments are introduced with a statement of identification by God.

10) Exodus 20:1-2.

11) The two verses emphasize to us the identity of the one giving the commandments.

12) They are not to be taken lightly.

13) The commands are also in two parts.

a. Love for God

b. Love for man.

3. The commandments today.

1) Today, we see the Ten Commandments politicized.

2) They are a symbol to many for morality and righteousness.

3) But do we know what they are and what they mean?

4) Let’s take a look at the Ten Commandments in an effort to understand them and how they apply today.

4. The Seventh Commandment

1) This is one of the last six commandments.

2) It deals with the question of man’s love for his fellow man.

3) Paul explains this specifically in Romans 13:9-10 “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

4) Those who commit adultery just prove that they don’t love their fellow man.

5) Today adultery is practiced frequently.

6) There are web sites and businesses that promote it.

7) Celebrities and politicians are embroiled in it.

8) What does God’s word have to say about it?

5. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.


I.   Adultery Defined

1. What adultery is not.

1) It is not just fornication/sinful sexual intercourse.

2) It is not just being in a bad marriage or faithlessness in marriage.

3) It is not just a mental act, or just thinking about being with someone.

2. What adultery is.

1) It is an act that one commits with another person.

2) John 8:4 “They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.”

3) It is an act wherein at least one party is married.

4) Jeremiah 29:23 confirms that adultery is something done with another’s spouse: “Because they have committed villany in Israel, and have committed adultery with their neighbours’ wives, and have spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them; even I know, and am a witness, saith the LORD.”

5) It is a physical sexual act.

6) Ezekiel 16:32 perhaps gives us the clearest definition, “But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!”

7) One may commit adultery with someone to whom one is married. “So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man” (Romans 7:3).

3. The Bible speaks of adultery both literally and figuratively.

1) In the literal sense, adultery is the act of having sex with someone who is married to another person.

2) In the figurative or spiritual sense, adultery is being unfaithful to another person or to God.

3) Jeremiah 3:8 “And I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorcement, yet treacherous Judah her sister feared not; but she also went and played the harlot.”

II.  Adultery under the Old Covenant

1. It is prohibited in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14).

2. Proverbs 6:32 “He that committeth adultery with a woman is void of understanding: He doeth it who would destroy his own soul.”

3. At times God’s people were guilty of it in mass: “How can I pardon thee? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods. When I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery, and assembled themselves in troops at the harlots’ houses” (Jeremiah 5:7).

4. The penalties for adultery – Leviticus 20:10 states the following: “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”

III. Adultery under the New Covenant

1. Adultery is a sin.

1) 1 Corinthians 6:9 states, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind….”

2) Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

3) It comes from the heart. “For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings” (Matthew 15:19).

2. Jesus takes things up a notch.

1) Matthew 5:28 which says, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

2) “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery” (Matthew 19:9).

3. The penalty for adultery.

1) John 8 – Jesus forgave.

2) But judgment day is coming. Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”


1. When we think about the Bible’s teaching of adultery.

1) It is clearly defined.

2) It is a sin under the Old Testament punishable by death.

3) It is a sin under the New Testament but we can be forgiven; however, judgment is coming.

2. Invitation