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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

            Fornicators And Adulterers God Will Judge (13:4)

INTRODUCTION

1. In today's society, the honor and sanctity of marriage is under
   constant attack...
   a. Divorce is acceptable, made easy through "no-fault" laws
   b. Adultery is considered normal, faithfulness to one's spouse as
      unrealistic
   c. Among religious and political leaders, many say that standards
      against sexual immorality are antiquated

2. Even in the church, sexual immorality is a major problem evidenced
   by...
   a. The high number of divorces among Christians
   b. The frequent reports of sexual failings among preachers, elders,
      and other Christians

3. This is not to say there are not those who still hold marriage in
   high esteem...
   a. Many people still believe sex is for marriage, and marriage is
      for life
   b. I've been blessed to have:
      1) The example of my wife's grandparents, married 77 years
      2) The example of my grandmother, widowed with six children when
         only 30 years old, remaining single for over fifty years
      3) Parents and in-laws who both were married over 50 years each
      4) Three brothers, who along with myself are still married to our
         first wives

4. In truth, our culture today is not that much different from the
   society of the first century...
   a. Where divorce and remarriage was rampant (women were known to
      date events by their husbands;  e.g., "Yes, that happened during
      husband #5.")
   b. Fornication was acceptable, adultery barely frowned upon

5. But Christianity offers a true contrast of standards regarding
   morality...
   a. Through clear and unequivocal teaching - 1 Co 6:9-10; Ga 5:19-21;
      Ep 5:3-5
   b. The same sort of teaching is needed today, which is why we need
      to carefully heed the text of today's lesson:

      "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but
      fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (He 13:4)

6. The verb "is" is not in the Greek, leading some to translate the
   first phrase as:
   a. "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage
      bed be undefiled;" (NASV)
   b. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept
      pure" (NIV),

[Why should we honor marriage, and keep the "marriage bed" (a euphemism
for marital relations) pure?  Because God will judge those who violate
it!

To see how, let's first define the terms used in the last half of this
verse...]

I. DEFINITION OF TERMS

   A. "FORNICATORS"...
      1. The Greek word is pornos {por'-nos}, from which we get
         "pornography"
      2. It is a general word for unlawful and immoral sexual
         relationships (Barclay)
      3. It includes any kind sex outside of marriage:  pre-marital,
         extra-marital (adultery), homosexual, etc.

   B. "ADULTERERS"...
      1. The Greek word is moichos {moy-khos'}
      2. It means to have unlawful intercourse with another's wife or
         husband (Thayer)
         a. This may be while they are still married...
         b. Or even AFTER they are divorced if not for the right reason
            - cf. Mt 5:32; 19:9
      3  So a person can be guilty of adultery either:
         a. By having relations with another's spouse
         b. By marrying someone who either:
            1) Did not put their first spouse away for fornication
            2) Or was put away by their spouse for ANY reason

   C. "GOD"...
      1. The Supreme Being, eternal and holy - Re 4:8
      2. Omniscient and Omnipresent - Ps 139:1-12
      3. Loving, yet just - cf. Jn 3:16; He 10:30-31; 12:29

   D. "WILL JUDGE"...
      1. The Greek word is krino {kree'-no}
      2. "the act of condemning and decreeing (or inflicting) penalty
         on one" (Thayer)

[Marriage should be held in honor, because the Bible makes it clear
that God will condemn and somehow inflict penalty on those who are
fornicators and adulterers who do not repent!

But why will God judge fornicators and adulterers?]

II. WHY GOD WILL JUDGE FORNICATORS AND ADULTERERS

   A. BECAUSE THEY DESTROY THE LIVES OF OTHERS...
      1. They destroy marriages
         a. Either their own, by their infidelity (trust is often
            destroyed)
         b. Or others, by committing adultery with another's spouse
         c. Sexual immorality is a major cause of divorce, which God
            hates - Mal 2:16
      2. They destroy families
         a. Where divorce occurs, families are shattered
         b. The children usually suffer the most, often with severe
            emotional problems throughout their lives
         c. Jesus warned about despising the needs of children - Mt 18:
            5-7,10-11,14
      3. They destroy friendships
         a. Read carefully Pro 6:30-35
         b. It is difficult, if not impossible, to restore good
            friendships after one has violated another's spouse

   B. BECAUSE THEY DESTROY THEIR OWN LIVES...
      1. Read carefully Pro 5:1-14
         a. You lose your honor (your reputation is destroyed)
         b. You lose your wealth (ever hear of alimony?)
         c. You lose your health (via STDs, perhaps even AIDS)
      2. Adultery and fornication is indeed a sin against your own body
         - cf. 1 Co 6:18
         a. There is emotional damage (wracking guilt)
         b. There is social damage (ostracized by others)
         c. There is physical damage (venereal disease)

   C. BECAUSE THOSE WHO ARE CHRISTIANS ARE ESPECIALLY GUILTY...
      1. They have taken members of the body of Christ and made them
         members of a harlot - 1 Co 6:15-16
      2. They have taken their body, a temple of the Holy Spirit, and
         given it to a child of the devil - 1 Co 6:19-20
      3. As Christians, who have been...
         a. Made in the image of God
         b. Redeemed by the blood of Jesus
         c. Made a temple of the Holy Spirit
         ...they have allowed their lusts to bring them as low as
            animals!

[When God's HIGHEST CREATION, because of purely selfish reasons,
destroys marriages, families, friendship, even their own selves, we can
understand why God WILL JUDGE such, and why Paul wrote what he did to
the Corinthians:

   "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom
   of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
   nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor
   covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will
   inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Co 6:9-10)

But HOW will God judge fornicators and adulterers?]

III. HOW GOD WILL JUDGE FORNICATORS AND ADULTERERS

   A. HE WILL JUDGE IN THE FUTURE...
      1. They will not inherit the kingdom of God - 1 Co 6:9-10; Ep 5:
         5-7
      2. They will suffer eternal torment - Re 21:8

   B. BUT HE ALSO JUDGES IN THE PRESENT...
      1. They become God's enemies - cf. Ja 4:4
         a. While this passage likely speaks of spiritual adultery, it
            would apply to literal adultery as well
         b. Adulterers are estranged of God's fellowship, care and love
         c. True peace and joy cannot be theirs
      2. They receive in their own bodies what they rightfully deserve
         - cf. Ro 1:24-27
         a. Those who engage in such immorality do indeed "receive in
            themselves the penalty of their error" (e.g., syphilis,
            gonorrhea, herpes, AIDS)
         b. But such is only a FORETASTE of the torment fornicators and
            adulterers will receive, if they do not repent!

CONCLUSION

1. There are many good reasons to honor marriage and keep the "marriage
   bed" undefiled...
   a. The bond between a man and a woman whose relationship is built
      upon trust and love
   b. The joy, peace, and love that children in a strong family enjoy,
      and deserve
   c. The value of strong families in shaping our communities in which
      we live

2. But we have focused on God's judgment on those who destroy this
   important fabric of our society, and how it gives new meaning to the
   phrase "be sure your sin will find you out" (Num 32:23)
   a. It is almost impossible to keep immorality secret
      1) Physical infirmities will more than likely bring it to the
         surface eventually
      2) Or loose lips will!
   b. Even if one succeeds in hiding their immorality in this life, not
      so in the life to come!

3. To close on a more positive note, let's offer some hope for those
   who have been guilty of adultery and fornication...
   a. You may not be able to escape the physical consequences of your
      actions
   b. But you can be forgiven, and escape the eternal consequences!

As we consider once again what Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, a
city known for it loose morals...

   "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom
   of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
   nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor
   covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will
   inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Co 6:9-10)

We now notice the next verse...

   "And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were
   sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus
   and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Co 6:11)

The gospel of Christ promises wonderful blessings to all sinners who
will come to Jesus in faith and obedience!

Have you been "washed", "sanctified", and "justified" in the name of
the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God? (Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ti 3:5)
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