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Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. Unfaithfulness is one of the greatest threats against marriage. It's so widespread in the culture today. It's a swipe away. Pastor Greg Laurie helps us reinforce our marriages with a candid warning about the lure of adultery. It doesn't deliver on its promise and costs more than we think. It's been said, quote, when adultery walks in, everything worth having walks out.
Don't go there. Think of the cause that could literally last for a lifetime. Why is God so concerned about adultery? Because when a husband and wife stand and make commitments to each other, they're also making a commitment to God. And the Lord takes our vows, our promises, very seriously. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie explains how adultery unravels the very fabric of a marriage. But it doesn't have to be the end of the marriage. We'll dig into God's Word today in a message from Pastor Greg's popular series, Am I Doing This Right?
Matthew chapter 19. How to divorce group your marriage. Okay, I heard about a husband and wife celebrating 25 years of marriage together. They gathered family and friends for a special celebration. And in front of everyone, the husband announced, my dear wife, you've been such a great wife for these 25 years. And as my way of saying how much I thank you and for giving me these 25 happy years, I'm going to take you to Australia. She was so excited. Australia. I've never been there before.
Koala bears, kangaroos, shrimps on the barbie. I can hardly wait. And then she said, if you're going to take me to Australia for 25 years of marriage, what are you going to do for our 50th anniversary? He dryly said, that's when I will pick you up.
Okay, so that's not a good sign, right? One of the wealthiest men who ever lived, J. Paul Getty, once said this, and I quote, I would give my entire fortune for one happy marriage. I don't know if he ever found it. You don't have to be the richest man or woman in the world to have a happy marriage. You need to do it God's way. And God in His Word tells us how to have a strong and long lasting and happy marriage.
But there's God's part and there's my part. You see, after you say I do, there's a lot more to do. If love is a dream, then marriage is the alarm clock.
And we need to get real and get down to the real business of building a strong marriage. You could liken it to a garden. You know, you have to take care of a garden. You have to tend it.
You have to weed it. You have to water your plants and so forth. Or you could liken it to other things that are there in life. Your body, for instance. You know, if you neglect your body, it will break down even more.
It's already going to break down, right? But you can make it worse by absolute neglect. So you have to take care of yourself physically. You need to tend your garden and you need to do the same for your marriage. A comedian once said, quote, the secret of a happy marriage remains a secret. Is that true?
I don't think so. There are secrets, if you will. They're openly disclosed. But they're found on the pages of the Bible. So first we have to identify the threats against our marriage.
You know, the Bible says in the book of Song of Solomon, it's the little foxes that spoil the vines. It's often little things that are left neglected that turn into big things that begin to undermine and eat away at a marriage. What are some of the threats against our marriage? Some of these I stated in an earlier message. Some of these I've not stated yet.
But you might want to take notes. Number one threat to your marriage. One word. Selfishness. Selfishness. If you were to sum up in one word what breaks most marriages apart it would be this. Selfishness. I go into the marriage thinking marriage is going to make everything better or this man or this woman is going to solve all of my problems, etc. We literally think this mate of ours is going to meet all of our needs. And it's time to look in the mirror. Because in time you might start blaming your mate for all of the problems in your marriage. But look in the mirror and you might find that the problem is you. James 4 2 says, where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from?
You think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way and fight for it deep inside yourselves.
That's it. I want my way. You can't have your way. I want my way.
And this battle of the wills begins. I've said before that marriage is not so much about finding the right person as it is about being the right person. But we live today in a self-absorbed culture. A selfie culture. We are so obsessed with ourselves. And did you know that the Bible said there would actually be a sign of the last days. 2 Timothy 3 says, know this in the last days there would be difficult times for people with love only themselves. And that's what it seems like today. We have lost our moral boundaries. Everyone just does whatever the heck they want to do.
And it's becoming a form of chaos. And this all goes back to the Garden of Eden. The origins of sin and selfishness started there. And after Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and gave to Adam.
And he also ate. Part of the judgment because of the curse of sin was this. God said to Adam and Eve, your desire, he said to her, will be for your husband and he will rule over you.
Now sometimes that's quoted in a positive way. Actually think of that as a warning. God is saying because of sin this is what's going to happen.
The word used here for desire means to compel, impel, urge or seek control over you. Here is what God is saying. As part of the curse, Eve, you are going to try to control the man.
But then to the man. He said you will have dominion or you will rule over her. Again it's not positive.
It's negative. He is saying and the man will try to dominate the woman. This is where the battle of the sexes began. The curse on Eve, if you will, was a desire to control the man. The curse on Adam was to control the woman. So this is where this conflict comes from that we have to this very day.
So what's the antidote? It's to do what the Bible says. Instead of be selfish, be selfless. God says to the husbands in Ephesians 5, husbands, love your wife as Christ loves the church and the husband ought to love his wife as his own body and he who loves his wife loves himself.
Notice it's a given there. It's not saying you need to love yourself more. It's to assume that you already love yourself. You do love yourself, by the way, and I love myself. So it's just saying love your wife as much as you love yourself.
And how do you do that? Man, by laying your life down for her. By putting her needs above your own. Philippians 2 says don't be selfish. Don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble. Thinking of others is better than yourselves. Don't think only about your own affairs but be interested in others too.
So it's putting her needs first but ladies, it's you putting his needs first. Selfishness, number one. Number two, what causes marriages to break down? A deficient communication. A communication breakdown. In a survey that was done among divorced couples, they were asked, why did your marriage fail?
86% of them said deficient communication. Couples need to learn how to resolve conflicts. How to fight fair. How to disagree agreeably. Because conflicts are going to arise.
So you need first of all to learn how to listen. James 1 19 says let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. But the problem is we do the opposite.
We're quick to anger, quick to speak, and slow to listen. So when your wife or your husband has a problem, instead of cutting them off, saying I don't want to talk about it, you need to say all right tell me what's troubling you. And even if you think it's utterly ridiculous, hear them out. Understand what they're saying.
Maybe you don't intend what you're doing to be what it is to them but that's how they're perceiving it. So work it out. Avoid raising your voice. If you feel rage boiling up inside of you, you need to walk away.
And you want to resolve this. Ephesians 4 31 says get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, slander, and all types of evil behavior. Be kind to each other, tender hearted, forgiving one another as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ruth Graham, the wife of Billy Graham, once said a good marriage is made up of two good forgivers. And you have to learn how to forgive, how to keep short accounts, how to not bring up things that happened 20 years ago. Well I remember 20 years ago you said this or you did that.
No, no, no. So we want to work these things out and find a resolution. Ephesians 4 26 says don't let the sun go down in your anger. So don't go to bed angry at each other.
Fight to resolve, not to win. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. We hear from so many people who find Christ through these studies, some in person and even some on the road. Pastor Greg, you led me to Christ many years ago.
It all happened when I was driving to work in channel surfing on my car radio while stuck at a red light. At first I had no interest in what you were saying, but then I felt captivated by your voice and the way you presented the gospel. I left my car radio on that station and listened to you every day on the way to work for the next two weeks before I finally gave my life to Jesus. I still have my new believers Bible that your ministry sent me many years ago. Thank you, Pastor Greg. What a great story of how Pastor Greg's teachings from God's word have made an impact in this woman's life.
If you have a story to tell, I hope you'll contact us today. Email Pastor Greg. Greg at harvest.org.
Again, Greg at harvest.org. Well we're talking today about those things that threaten marriages. Pastor Greg is helping us divorce proof our marriages.
Okay, number three. Big threat against our marriages. Adultery. Adultery. It's so significant it made God's top ten when he says you shall not commit adultery as one of the ten commandments. We all know someone who has fallen into the sin. I'm probably speaking to someone right now that has fallen into it or maybe your mate was unfaithful to you or you know of a family that was devastated by adultery. Can you imagine how different America would be if we obeyed this one single commandment? Watch that's the other nine.
Just this one. Don't commit adultery if we remain faithful to each other. But it's so widespread in the culture today. Unfaithfulness is one of the greatest threats against marriage. Forty to fifty percent of all married men according to some studies have had extramarital affairs. And the girls again, yeah you guys are such dogs.
Well the ladies are catching up. The numbers for women being unfaithful to their husbands is higher than ever. Today while only nineteen percent of married women knew their husbands cheated on them, forty-one percent of the women cheated.
So it's happening on both sides these days. Solomon warned about this. About immorality.
Going to the house of the prostitute when he says in Proverbs 7 24 listen to me my sons. Pay attention to my words. Don't let your heart stray away toward her. Don't wander down her wayward path. Her home is the road to the grave and her bedroom is the den of death. Wow.
Her bedroom is the den of death. Now Jesus took it to another level. In the Sermon on the Mount he pointed out that the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. So he said in Matthew 5 27 you've heard that it's said by Moses don't commit adultery. But I say if you even look on a woman with lust in your eyes you've already committed adultery with her in your heart.
Whoa. Ok. And this phrase that he uses looks at a woman. It does not mean a casual glance. Not incidental or involuntary.
It's intentional. It actually speaks of repeated gazing. Jesus is not speaking of things that maybe you're exposed to that you don't want to be exposed to. But where a person goes out of their way to look at something or engage in something or look at a woman or look at a man in a way that will arouse them lustfully. And you give the devil a foothold. This is why Job said I've made a covenant with my eyes to not look lustfully at a girl. Because everything starts in the mind.
Everything starts right here. It's been said sow a thought. Reap a habit. Sow a habit. Reap a character. Sow a character. Reap a destiny.
So we want to think about what we think about. Remember what happened to David. The king of Israel.
He was up on his balcony kicking back. And he saw a beautiful woman named Bathsheba ironically bathing herself. He looked at her and began to lust after her and then acted on it. It started with a lustful look. And it became a national scandal. And the Israeli press came in and he said to all of them I never had sex with that woman. No they did.
I said that wrong story. But today I'm telling you it's insane and you know this already. Sexual temptation is everywhere. It's a mouse click away. It's a swipe away.
It's so accessible. Pornography is a real problem in the culture today. The Bible talks about this. The word pornography comes from the Greek word porneia. And in the New Testament there are 26 references to porneia.
And we find out that our bodies are not made for it. 1 Corinthians 6 13. We should not seek it. 1 Corinthians 7 2. And we should run from it. 1 Corinthians 6 18. And finally we should repent of it. Because it is sin.
Don't engage in this sin. Because once you start you're just creating a greater problem. And it's like you're pouring gasoline on a fire. And it warps your ideas of what sex should be and can be in a proper marriage relationship. It's just bad on every level. Why is it bad? Well number one you damage yourself. Because when you're living in a world of sexual sin or even fantasizing about it or constantly thinking about it you're damaging your own life.
You're hurting yourself. And you're actually in a state of sin. And it's been said quote when adultery walks in everything worth having walks out end quote. It's a pretty powerful quote. You say well you know if I commit adultery I know it's a sin but God will forgive me.
Yes he will. Isn't that good news? But others won't as quickly. And you may have to face the repercussions of that. You know people say well it was nothing. It was innocent. It was a one night stand. It didn't mean anything.
No it means a lot. Actually the apostle Paul talks about in First Corinthians that when you engage in sexual relations with a prostitute you become one flesh with her you see. Because sex is designed to fulfill and complete that sense of oneness that happens when a man and a woman come together in marriage. So when you go and engage in sexual relations with someone else besides your spouse you enter into sort of a oneness with that person and it violates your oneness and it breaks with your spouse and it breaks down the trust in the marriage relationship. So well it was a mistake and we all make mistakes. It was a mistake but it was worse. It was a sin.
And it needs to be repented of. Another thing that happens is you damage your children. They look at you and I talked to these families and I said be a good example for your kids. If you want to find a sure fire way to turn your kids. Listen to this. If you want to find a sure fire way to turn your children against God be a hypocrite in your home.
Nothing works better. In some ways it would almost be better for a child to not be raised in a so-called Christian home and I want to qualify that but it would be better to not be raised in a so-called Christian home than to be raised without any biblical values. Because when they see you say one thing and do another that says to them this isn't real. It means nothing to me.
And a lot of times when you hear of young people who are walking away from their faith or deconstructing their faith or doubting their faith foundation it is because they saw hypocrisy in the home. Don't go there. Think about it. Count the cost for that momentary pleasure and it is questionable how much of a pleasure it will even be.
Think of the cost that could literally last for a lifetime. Going back to David. He was engaged in adultery and his children repeated his behavior. The Bible talks about the sins of the parents being visited on the children.
That is not speaking of some mysterious generational curse that goes from family to family. It is simply saying your children will repeat your behavior both positive and negative. So you live a godly life. Let's pray they repeat that behavior. You live a godless life.
Unfortunately they will repeat that behavior as well. And you damage the church. You know the Bible says when one of us suffers we all suffer. And when one of us is exalted we are all exalted. And so when one of us maybe it is a leader. It could be a pastor. It could be a well-known Christian.
Whoever it is when they fall then people say well look they are all hypocrites. You have given ammo to the devil to use against us. Don't go there. Don't let that happen to you.
Why? I can't fight it. You can fight it. There is no temptation taking you but such is as common in man. And God who is faithful will not allow you to be tempted above your capacity to resist but what with the temptation make a way of escape.
So there is always a way out of every temptation. And finally you sin against the Lord himself. This should be the primary reason we should not commit adultery. Not just because it will hurt our wife or our husband or our kids or our reputation or the church.
No. The main thing should be I don't want to do this thing against God. You know we talk about David and what he did but there is the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis who was also tempted sexually and he resisted that temptation and ran from it. And I love what Joseph said when he said how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God.
You need to do it God's way. Pastor Greg Laurie with important warnings about the lure of immorality and the other dangers to our marriages. Well it's such a privilege to have Pastor Levi Lusko with us today. Senior pastor of Fresh Life Church and along with his wife author of the new book called The Marriage Devotional which we're making available. Pastor Greg.
Let me ask a question Levi. Would a single person find any benefit from this book? Oh absolutely. You know one of the big hearts we had was for engaged people. I think this would make a tremendous gift for an engaged couple.
Yes give them the toaster but also give them something that's going to help them through their engagement right. But I also think a single person you know I always say about premarital counseling and just you know whenever I do a marriage series I always say to the single people don't tune this out. It's better to learn this before you're in it.
You go to helicopter training school before you fly helicopters right. So it'd be good to know where the switches and all these things are to deal with some of the things that are going to present themselves to you in the real world once you get back from that honeymoon. And so you know again this would be really valuable for a single person or someone who thinks marriage is kind of on the horizon. So if you know a single person or you are a single person or certainly if you're a married person get a copy of this new book by Levi and Jenny Lesko titled The Marriage Devotional from us for your gift of any size this month to help us continue on to reach people with God's word.
Yeah that's right. And you know there may be a few June weddings coming up. What a great wedding gift this book would be. Again we'll be glad to send it your way to thank you for partnering with us to keep these daily studies coming your way. Just ask for The Marriage Devotional when you make your donation today. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. You can reach us any time. Again dial 1-800-821-3300.
Or write A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or take care of all the details online at Harvest.org. Hey I don't know if you know about this but we have a weekend service called Harvest at Home exclusively for people that are tuning in literally from around the world.
Listen to this. We even have Harvest groups where you can get into a small group with folks from all around this planet of ours and study the word of God. So join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well next time Pastor Greg helps us prepare our hearts for Easter as we consider the victory Christ won over the grave and how that impacts us. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
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