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Jonathan Stanley Feb.

13, 2013

Idolatry is Adultery Tomorrow my maternal grandparents will have been married for 65 years. And, after 65 years, we think their marriage is going to make it! One reason their marriage has lasted so long is that they understand the importance of marriage as being designed by God, and thats something so many people in the world today just dont understand. But God is wise far beyond our comprehension. God knows that we humans have a hard time understanding things of a spiritual nature when our whole existence is in the physical realm. Because of our weakness in understanding spiritual matters, God uses things of a physical nature to help us understand things that otherwise make no sense to us. We can see this all throughout the Bible. I. In the OT, we see God instructing the Israelites to inhabit the land of Canaan which was their land of promise. And they spent much of their time as strangers in a foreign land. Thats the physical world. But as Christians, Heaven is our land of promise. Thats spiritual. And this earth is just a foreign land where we are strangers. Thats hard to understand sometimes when this earth is all we know. II. We can see the same thing in the NT, Jesus told numerous parables where he likened the kingdom of Heaven untoa man who sowed good seeda mustard seeda treasure hidden in a fielda merchant seeking pearls10 wise and foolish virginsor a man who travels to a far country and leaves his

Jonathan Stanley Feb. 13, 2013

goods with three of his servants. And there are other examples. But these are all examples from the physical world that the people could relate to to understand the spiritual world. Well, marriage is one of those things that God uses to help us understand His spiritual plan. Granted, part of the reason is that God saw from the beginning that it wasnt good for man to be alone. So he created Eve as a helpmeet for Adam. But if God is all-powerfuland He isthen why couldnt He create Adam as a man who didnt need a helpmeet? He could have, but that wasnt His plan. There is a greater plan for marriage than to just help each other through the struggles of life and to keep from being alone. Marriage is a physical relationship to help us understand a spiritual relationship. We can read about that in Ephesians 5:22 and following:
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body,[d] of His flesh and of His bones. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.[e]32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
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So now God, writing through Paul, has laid out for us the real purpose of marriage. The physical marriage between a man and his wife is to help us understand

Jonathan Stanley Feb. 13, 2013

the spiritual marriage between Christ and his church, which we often call the bride of Christ. But today, so much of the world views marriage as nothing special. We see that in many ways, but one of those ways is when people get tired of their spouse and either divorce them to move on to someone else or cheat on them with someone else. Either of those would be adultery in the eyes of God. Many today believe that divorce is perfectly fine if it makes you happy, but Jesus told us that there is only one reason for divorce and any other reason is invalid. That means people who divorce just because they are tired of their spouse are committing adultery. What is adultery, really? It is placing someone who is not your spouse in a position superior to your spouse. That is not Gods plan. And if we remember that physical marriage helps us understand spiritual marriage, then what is adultery in that case? What is it called when you place someone or something in a position superior to Christ? Thats idolatry. So we see that adultery and idolatry have more in common than just that they rhyme. Idolatry is spiritual adultery. So when people commit adultery and justify it by saying Doesnt God want me to be happy?, then doesnt that also mean you could justify idolatry by saying Doesnt God want me to be happy?. Couldnt Ahab and Jezebel have said Doesnt Jehovah just

Jonathan Stanley Feb. 13, 2013

want me to be happy? So Ill just worship Baal instead. He wont mind. You know that wouldnt work. What about on the opening weekend of deer season and someone says, Its the first weekend of deer season. I havent hunted in 8 months, so Im going to spend ALL weekend in a deer stand. God wont mind if I miss one Sunday. But youve just put hunting in a position superior to Christ. Would you commit adultery in your marriage to your wife? Because you have just commit adultery in your marriage to Christ. People need to understand the link between idolatry and adultery. They will try to justify one, but not realize that adultery is idolatry and idolatry is adultery. I believe that if more people realized the connection between idolatry and adultery then we would have both a stronger church as well as stronger marriages. Tonight you have the opportunity right now to consider where you stand with Christ. Are you married to Christ as a part of His church? Have you been baptized for forgiveness of sins as Peter told the crowd on the day of Pentecost? Maybe you are a member of His church, but you havent been the spiritual spouse that you should be. Maybe you have placed things above your relationship with Christ. Whether you need to be baptized and become the bride of Christ or whether you need to come back to Christ, we invite you come as we stand and sing.