Before we can answer this question, we need to be clear on the definition of adultery. The dictionary defines “adultery” as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse.” The Bible would concur with this definition. In Leviticus 18:20, God told Moses, “Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her,” and in Deuteronomy 22:22, we find a similar definition: “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.” It is clear from these definitions that adultery refers to a consensual sexual union. What is not explicitly clear is whether or not both partners in this illicit sexual union are married. The biblical commands prohibit a man from taking another man’s wife, but do not indicate whether or not the man is also married. Be that as it may, it is safe to say that if a person who is married willingly seeks a sexual encounter with another person, whether or not that person is also married, both people are guilty of committing adultery.

God’s reasons for instituting His commandment against adultery are two-fold. First, God established the institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 19:5 and parallel passages). God created marriage to be the building block of His creation and of society. Even after the fall (Genesis 3), marriage is still a sacred union and the foundation for society. In marriage, the full expression of the image of God is made manifest as the man and the woman complement and complete each other. The Bible also teaches us that marriage is the vehicle through which God designed the procreation of the human race and the preservation of godly offspring (Genesis 1:289:1Malachi 2:15). With such a premium placed on marriage, it’s no wonder God would seek to protect this union from defilement (Hebrews 13:4), and thus prohibit adultery, which is the violation of the sacred marriage union.

The second reason for the commandment is found in Leviticus 18:1-5. As God’s chosen people, the Israelites were to reflect God’s character in the Promised Land. God commanded His people to be holy for He is holy (Leviticus 11:44), and part of holy living is sexual purity. God did not want His people emulating the behavior of the Egyptians from whom He delivered them, nor did God want His people copying the behavior of the people into whose land He was bringing them. The implication was that adultery (and other sexual sins) was commonplace in the lands where the Israelites had been and were going to.

So now we know what adultery is and why God instituted this command. Finally, we need to learn what God meant by the command itself. As with all of the Ten Commandments, there are things we need to avoid doing (the negative part of the command) and things we need to be doing (the positive part of the command). The negative part of the command is self-explanatory: Do not commit adultery. However, there is more to this command than the simple avoidance of extramarital relationships. One can make the argument that wrapped up in this prohibition are all sorts of sexual sin (e.g., incest, fornication, homosexuality, etc.), and that argument can be made on the basis of chapters such as Leviticus 18. Also important is avoiding things that would lead or tempt one to consider adultery, such as the unnecessary withholding of conjugal rights (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount, made further clarification of this command (Matthew 5:27-30) by including all kinds of lustful thoughts. Fantasizing about having sexual relations with someone is the same, in God’s eyes, as actually committing adultery. Therefore, we must avoid all things that would create within us lustful thoughts (e.g., suggestive songs, sensuous movies, pornography, etc.). We should also avoid immodest clothing or anything that might cause a brother or sister in the Lord to stumble in this area (1 Timothy 2:91 Peter 3:3).

The positive part of the command would entail doing the opposite of what the command prohibits: chastity in body, mind, words and action; keeping watch over what we take in with our eyes and the other senses; an attitude of temperance and self-control (i.e., moderation); being discerning over the company we keep; dressing modestly; and fulfilling our marriage vows in regards to sexual relations and cohabitation. Regarding sexual sin, the Apostle Paul said, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). When it comes to sexual sin, the best course of action is to remove ourselves from temptation and avoid such situations altogether.

Adultery is the complete corruption of God’s good creation of marriage. Through the sin of adultery, Satan tempts us to seek sexual fulfillment in avenues other than the one God has ordained—within the bounds of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Adultery rips at the fabric of society because it tears apart marriages and families which are the building blocks of society. God’s law in general, and the 7th commandment in particular, is held up as the standard for Christian behavior.

Prophet Nathan’s Sermon


Jesus used the phrase watch and pray on a couple of different occasions. Once was the night before the crucifixion. Jesus took His disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed that “this cup be taken from me” (Matthew 26:39). After the prayer, He found His disciples sleeping. He was grieved that they could not even pray with Him for an hour and warned them to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

Another occurrence of the phrase watch and pray is found earlier in Jesus’ ministry when He prophesied about the end times. Luke chapter 21 details many of those events, and Jesus warns that they would happen suddenly: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34). He then says, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (verse 36).

“Watch and pray.” The word translated “watch” means “to have the alertness of a guard at night.” A night watchman must be even more vigilant than a daytime guard. In the daytime, danger can often be spotted from a distance. But in the night everything is different. A night watchman must use senses other than sight to detect danger. He is often alone in the darkness and without the defenses he would otherwise employ. There may be no indications of enemy attack until it happens, so he must be hyper-vigilant, suspecting it at any moment. That is the type of watching Jesus spoke about.

Jesus warned us that we are too easily distracted by the physical and will be caught unaware if we do not continually discipline ourselves. In the Garden of Gethsemane, sleepiness overcame the disciples. Their physical need overpowered their desire to obey Him. He was grieved when He saw this, knowing what was ahead for them. If they did not remain spiritually vigilant, in tune with Him (John 15:5) and ready to deny the flesh, they would be overcome by the evil one (1 Peter 5:8).

Jesus’ disciples today must also watch and pray. We are easily distracted by this world, our fleshly needs and desires, and the schemes of the enemy (2 Corinthians 2:11). When we take our eyes from Jesus and His soon return, our values begin to shift, our attention wanders, and soon we are living like the world and bearing little fruit for God’s kingdom (1 Timothy 6:18–19). He warned us that we must be ready at any moment to stand before Him and give an account of our lives (Romans 14:121 Peter 4:5Matthew 12:36).

“Watch and pray.” We can only remain faithful when we are devoted to prayer. In prayer, we continually allow God to forgive us, cleanse us, teach us, and strengthen us to obey Him (John 14:14). In order to keep watch, we must pray for endurance and freedom from distractions (Hebrews 12:2Luke 18:1Ephesians 6:18). We must pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When we live with the eager expectation of the Lord’s return and expect persecution until then (2 Timothy 3:12Matthew 24:91 Peter 4:12), we are more likely to keep our lives pure and our hearts ready to meet Him.

Prophet Nathan’s Sermon

what to do when god says no:

We love the truth that God answers prayer (1 John 5:14–15). But what we love most is when He agrees with our requests and says “yes.” But sometimes God’s answer is “no” or “not yet.” As a good Father, God will not grant us that which is not in our long-term best interest, even when we plead. God’s “yes” answers build our faith and confidence in prayer. But how are we to respond when He says “no”?

Accepting God’s “no” can be a sticky situation. There are verses that seem to indicate that whatever we ask for in faith we receive (e.g., Mark 11:24Matthew 21:22). If we isolate those verses and build a theology around them, it can be faith-shattering when things do not happen as we anticipated. It is wiser to take a step back and consider the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Any time we build a whole doctrine around one or two verses, we are headed for trouble.

Several times in Scripture, God did not do as someone asked. He is God, and He can see things we can’t see. King David pleaded with the Lord for the life of his and Bathsheba’s infant son. David fasted and prayed for days, but, on the seventh day, the child died (2 Samuel 12:1618). God said “no.” David responded in a way that is a model for us all. He accepted that what God had done was right and good, “and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped” (verse 20, NKJV). He had hoped for a different outcome. But God is God, and He has the right to make life-and-death decisions. In his grief, David did not become bitter toward the Lord or turn away. David’s response to God’s “no” was deeper worship and surrender, even in his heartache.

The New Testament gives more examples of times when God said “no” to His servants. The apostle Paul was set to travel throughout Asia Minor to preach, but God said “no” (Acts 16:6–9). Paul thought he had understood the plan of God. He believed he was to continue in Asia. But the Holy Spirit said “no.” Because Paul’s desire was to listen and obey, regardless of what it cost, he left Asia Minor and went to Macedonia instead. There he started churches that impacted the whole world. His response to God’s “no” was instant obedience and a change of direction.

In his personal life, Paul was plagued by what he called a “thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Paul pleaded with the Lord on three separate occasions to take this “thorn” from him, but God said “no.” In this trial, Paul learned to appropriate greater measures of God’s grace and to live for the glory of God through the difficulty. His response to God’s “no” was to glory in his weakness (verse 9). Instead of giving up in frustration or deciding God did not care, Paul chose to “delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (verse 10).

What we learn from the biblical examples is that God never stops being God. He is sovereign: “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ . . . What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do” (Isaiah 46:9–11).

There are many times when God can say “yes” to our requests because they fit into the plan He is working out in our lives (Romans 8:28). He said “yes” to Moses’ request to see His glory (Exodus 33:17). He said “yes” to Solomon’s request for wisdom (1 Kings 3:11–13). And Jesus said “yes” to everyone who asked Him for healing and help (Matthew 8:16). But our faith-filled requests do not supersede God’s sovereign rule. If He was bound by our prayers, as some teach, He would, in effect, cease to be God. We would be gods by dictating His actions. Nowhere in Scripture do we see such a precedent.

God will often say “no” to things we yearn to see happen. Those with immature faith sometimes use this as an excuse to abandon Him altogether: “God didn’t heal my baby.” “God didn’t save my marriage.” “God didn’t give me that job I needed.” If our view is that God is obligated to grant our requests like a genie grants wishes, then we will be dismayed when God does not “perform” for us. We choose whether to allow a “no” from God to shatter our faith or build it up; a “no” from God can teach us to endure—even when we don’t understand (James 1:3).

It is often in the seasons when God says “no” that we are forced to pursue God more earnestly. God’s “nos” often shatter the tiny box in which we tried to keep Him and allow the real God to reveal Himself to us. He says “no” when it is part of His grander plan. He says “no” when our lack of faith indicates that we do not truly believe He is who He says He is (Hebrews 11:6). He says “no” when our requests are rooted in selfishness (James 4:3) or when a “yes” would harm us. And He says “no” when, like Paul, we must learn that His grace is sufficient for us. The biblical examples of servants of God who experienced God’s “no” help us learn the right response when God says “no” to us.

Prophet Nathan’s Sermon

are there any conditions to answered prayers?

Some people would like prayer with no conditions. They wish God to be a celestial genie who, when summoned by prayer, must grant any request they make. They find a measure of encouragement in the fable of Aladdin and his lamp, aspiring to that level of control over God’s power in their prayer life. But the biblical fact is that prayer has conditions. It’s true that Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” (Matthew 21:22). But, even in that statement, we have one condition to prayer: faith. As we examine the Bible, we find that there are other conditions to prayer, as well.

Here are ten biblical instructions concerning prayer that imply conditions to prayer:

1) Pray to the Heavenly Father (see Matthew 6:9). This condition to prayer might seem obvious, but it’s important. We don’t pray to false gods, to ourselves, to angels, to Buddha, or to the Virgin Mary. We pray to the God of the Bible, who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and whose Spirit indwells us. Coming to Him as our “Father” implies that we are first His children—made so by faith in Christ (see John 1:12).

2) Pray for good things (see Matthew 7:11). We don’t always understand or recognize what is good, but God knows, and He is eager to give His children what is best for them. Paul prayed three times to be healed of an affliction, and each time God said, “No.” Why would a loving God refuse to heal Paul? Because God had something better for him, namely, a life lived by grace. Paul stopped praying for healing and began to rejoice in his weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).

3) Pray for needful things (see Philippians 4:19). Placing a priority on God’s kingdom is one of the conditions to prayer (Matthew 6:33). The promise is that God will supply all our needs, not all our wants. There is a difference.

4) Pray from a righteous heart (see James 5:16). The Bible speaks of having a clean conscience as a condition to answered prayer (Hebrews 10:22). It is important that we keep our sins confessed to the Lord. “If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18, NAS).

5) Pray from a grateful heart (see Philippians 4:6). Part of prayer is an attitude of thanksgiving.

6) Pray according to the will of God (see 1 John 5:14). An important condition to prayer is that it is prayed within the will of God. Jesus prayed this way all the time, even in Gethsemane: “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). We can pray all we want, with great sincerity and faith, for XYZ, but, if God’s will is ABC, we pray amiss.

7) Pray in the authority of Jesus Christ (see John 16:24). Jesus is the reason we are able to approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 10:19–22), and He is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). A condition to prayer is that we pray in His name.

8) Pray persistently (see Luke 18:1). In fact, pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). One of the conditions to effective prayer is that we don’t give up.

9) Pray unselfishly (see James 4:3). Our motives are important.

10) Pray in faith (see James 1:6). Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), who alone can do the impossible (Luke 1:37). Without faith, why pray?

Joshua’s prayer for the sun to stand still, as audacious as that request was, met all these conditions of prayer (Joshua 10:12–14). Elijah’s prayer for rain to be withheld—and his later prayer that rain would fall—met all of these conditions (James 5:17–18). Jesus’ prayer as He stood before the tomb of Lazarus met all of these conditions (John 11:41). They all prayed to God, according to His will, for good and necessary things, in faith.

The examples of Joshua, Elijah, and Jesus teach us that, when our prayers line up with God’s sovereign will, wonderful things will happen. There’s no need to be abashed by mountains, for they can move (Mark 11:23). The struggle we face is in getting our prayers lined up with God’s will, having our desires match His. Congruency between God’s will and our own is the goal. We want exactly what He wants; nothing more, nothing less. And we don’t want anything that He doesn’t want.

Godly, effective prayer has conditions, and God invites us to pray. When can we pray big? When we believe God wants something big. When can we pray audaciously? When we believe God wants something audacious. When should we pray? All the time.

Prophet Nathan’s Sermon


To mock God is to disrespect, dishonor, or ignore Him. It is a serious offense committed by those who have no fear of God or who deny His existence. The most easily recognized form of mockery is disrespect typified by verbal insults or other acts of disdain. It is associated with ridicule, scoffing, and defiance. Mockery is a dishonoring attitude that shows low estimation, contempt, or even open hostility.

In the Bible mockery is a behavior and attitude shown by the fool (Psalm 74:22), the wicked (Psalm 1:1), the enemy (Psalm 74:10), the hater of knowledge (Proverbs 1:2213:1), the proud (Psalm 119:51Isaiah 37:17), and the unteachable (Proverbs 15:12). A mocker goes beyond mere lack of judgment to making a conscious decision for evil. Mockers are without a spirit of obedience, teachability, discernment, wisdom, worship, or faith.

Those who mock God will mock the people of God as well. The prophet Jeremiah “became the laughingstock of all my people” and was mocked “in song all day long” (Lamentations 3:14). Mockery of God’s prophets was commonplace (2 Chronicles 36:16). Nehemiah was mocked by his enemies (Nehemiah 2:19). Elisha was mocked by the youths of Bethel (2 Kings 2:23). And of course our Lord Jesus was mocked—by Herod and his soldiers (Luke 23:11), by the Roman soldiers (Mark 15:20Luke 23:36), by a thief on a cross (Luke 23:39), and by the Jewish leaders who passed by the cross (Matthew 27:41).

It is easy for us as believers to point the finger at those outside the church who mock God. But the most subtle mockery of God, and the most dangerous, comes from those of us sitting in church. We are guilty of mockery when we behave with an outward show of spirituality or godliness without an inward engagement or change of heart.

Charles G. Finney, a preacher in the 1800s, wrote about the effects of mocking God: “To mock God is to pretend to love and serve him when we do not; to act in a false manner, to be insincere and hypocritical in our professions, pretending to obey him, love, serve, and worship him, when we do not. . . . Mocking God grieves the Holy Spirit, and sears the conscience; and thus the bands of sin become stronger and stronger. The heart becomes gradually hardened by such a process.”

God warns that mockery of what is holy will be punished. Zephaniah predicted the downfall of Moab and Ammon, saying, “This is what they will get in return for their pride, for insulting and mocking the people of the LORD Almighty” (Zephaniah 2:10). Isaiah 28:22 warns that mockery will cause the chains of Judah’s sin to become stronger and that destruction will follow. Proverbs 3:34 says that God will mock the mocker but give favor to the humble and oppressed. Second Kings 2:24 records the punishment that befell the youths who jeered Elisha.

This is what it means that God is not mocked. There are repercussions for ignoring God’s directives and willfully choosing sin. Adam and Eve tried and brought sorrow and death into the world (Genesis 2:15–173:624). Ananias and Sapphira’s deception brought about a swift and public judgment (Acts 5:1–11). Galatians 6:7 states a universal principle: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

God cannot be deceived (Hebrews 4:12–13). Achan’s sin (Joshua 7) and Jonah’s flight (Jonah 1) were not unknown to God. Jesus’ repeated words to every church in Revelation 2—3 were, “I know your works.” We only deceive ourselves when we think our attitudes and actions are not seen by an all-powerful and all-knowing God.

The Bible shows us the way to live a blessed life, sometimes by the good examples of godly men and women and sometimes by the negative examples of those who choose to follow another path. Psalm 1:1–3 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.”

Prophet Nathan’s Sermon