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Broken and Compromised

We can overcome temptation if we avoid the road of compromise and choose the road of integrity.
This sermon is part of the sermon series "Broken". See series.


The people of Israel believed they had their perfect king, a man they thought could do no wrong. But David was just like all of us—a flawed human, subject to failure. David became prideful, believing he was entitled to whatever he saw. His heart began to beat for earthly desires, and one indiscretion led to a multitude of sins.

David had a heart given to God. It was marked by boldness and confidence in God. David's heart was surrendered to God. In faith, he stepped out as a teenager and met Goliath on the battlefield. He knew God had already won the victory. David continued to live with boldness and confidence. He wrote many of the psalms in Scripture. He fought many battles, and he led Israel in a great way.

But as David moved into his middle ages, he started giving in to compromise. His heart, which was once marked by integrity and boldness and confidence, began to be marked by compromise. It gave in to lust, greed, and pride. But David didn't just wake up one day and decide to have an affair. As we look at David's life, we see that one by one the barriers came down. He made decisions that ultimately led to the implosion of his entire family. The decisions that he made affected not just him, not just Bathsheba, not just Uriah; they affected his whole family—his kids, even his grandkids. His sin had a tremendous ripple effect.

Today we will look at two roads. The first road is the road to compromise. Some of us are on that road. The second road is the road to integrity. As we look at the road to compromise, we understand that David begins to walk this road. Some of us have already crossed lines that have led us down the same road.

Second Samuel 11:1-5 lays out the pathway, the road to compromise. All of us can identify with this passage. We all are faced with choices. David makes the wrong ones. He allows barriers to come down. He allows lines to be crossed. Let's look at what he did.

The road to compromise

Second Samuel 11:1: "In the spring, at a time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem." So, everyone else is gone, but David stays home. He's been with his fighting men all along, but here he decides to stay home. Something's going on. He's in the wrong place. He decides to stay home. The text continues: "One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his palace" (11:2). Now, it's no big deal that he gets up one evening from his bed. He's been sleeping for a while. Maybe it was hot. It gets hot in the Middle East, and people often go up on their roofs when it gets hot because it's cooler on the roofs. So maybe that's what David's doing. Maybe not. Maybe he has something else on his mind. He is probably bored. He is probably lonely. So what is he doing on his roof? He's watching porn. But how do we know that? Look at what happens in the next phrase: "From the roof he saw a woman bathing." He goes up on his roof. I bet David knows exactly where to go on his roof to see what he wants to see.

Many of us, if we're honest, know exactly where to go to see what we want to see. We know exactly where to go online. We know which channels to watch. Perhaps it's not a visual matter for you. Maybe it's the conversations you have. Maybe it's the relationships you forge.

David is doing that. He's going out, and he's watching this woman bathe. The text says, "He saw." The word saw doesn't mean glance. It means gaze. He gazed at her. He stared at her. He took a second, a third, a fourth glance at this woman.

It is interesting that David's palace is located where it is. If you go to Jerusalem, you can see where David's ancient palace used to be. It was located on the top of a hill, and everything else is built on a slope under it. So his roof has the vantage point of looking into pretty much any courtyard.

Verses 3 and 4 say,

The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.)

So why was she bathing? To ritually cleanse herself, according to the Law. "Then she went back home." Verse 5 then says, "The woman conceived and sent word to David saying, 'I am pregnant.'"

So let's take a look here at the road to compromise. I want to give you a formula:

Wrong place + wrong time + wrong focus = wrong action.

There are three lines that David crossed—the wrong place, the wrong time, and the wrong focus—before he gave into the wrong action. The same is true for us. When we compromise on these particular things, we move in the wrong direction and make wrong decisions.

First, notice that he was in the wrong place. It was a time when everyone else was gone to battle, but David stayed home. Secondly, it was the wrong time. David stayed home. How's he feeling? He probably felt lonely. We know he's feeling bored. Not only lonely and bored, but I wonder if in his heart he's giving in to feeling unaccomplished, perhaps even unwanted and unloved. In his alone time he used to cry out in worship to God, but now he's on the rooftop looking at porn. So something else is going on inside of him. He's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thirdly, he had the wrong focus. What is he doing? He goes up to the rooftop to watch a woman bathe. You add those three things together, and it leads to the wrong action.

And this is the way it is with us. When we put ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong focus, we compromise, we make terrible decisions. Affairs never just happen. One by one, boundaries are removed. One by one, lines in our hearts, in our minds, and even in our physical locations are crossed before we finally give in. Solomon knew about the devastation of affairs. Solomon was David's and Bathsheba's son. He wasn't the son they conceived in this event. That son died. They went on to have another son, Solomon. When Solomon was older, he wrote about the road to compromise in Proverbs 7:6-10, 18-21:

At the window of my house
I looked out through the lattice.
I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who lacked judgment.
He was going down the street near her corner, [wrong place]
walking along in the direction of her house
by twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in. [wrong time]
Then out came a woman to meet him,
dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. [wrong focus]

Notice the rest of it:

Come, let's drink deeply of love till morning;
let's enjoy ourselves with love!
My husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
He took his purse filled with money
and will not be home till full moon."
With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.

She didn't have to persuade too much. He had already gone to the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong focus. It only took a feather to push him over the line. Notice what else Solomon writes:

All at once he followed her
like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer stepping into a noose (7:22).

Notice the words slaughter and noose. This affair doesn't end well. Solomon is saying nothing good comes of this. The outcome is devastation and death.

In America, according to studies, 35 percent of married men and 20 percent of married women have had affairs. But it doesn't lead to anything good. It's like a noose. It's like slaughter. Ultimately, it leads to devastation. Statistics say that only 25 percent of those marriages will survive. And of those 25 percent, 78 percent are described as empty and cold. And the ripple effects and the devastation don't just affect the man and the woman; they affect the children and the grandchildren, too.

In David's case, the ripple effects devastate his kids. His family becomes utterly chaotic. God forgives him, and the penalty of his sin is taken away. But he has to live with the consequences.

Perhaps Solomon also wrote Proverbs 6:27-29 from first-hand experience:

Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
So is he who sleeps with another man's wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.

I bet Solomon was thinking about his dad.

Many of us think the grass is always greener on the other side. But the truth is, the grass is always greener wherever you water it. That's my marital advice.

The road to integrity

We've talked about the road to compromise—being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong focus leads to the wrong action. Now let's talk about the road to integrity. This is the road God calls us all to travel.

The road to integrity begins with being committed, first and foremost, to God. One man in Scripture who is marked by integrity is Joseph, in the Book of Genesis. Joseph was Jacob's 11th son, out of 12 boys total. These 12 sons become the 12 tribes of Israel. But the 11th son, Joseph, was favored by his dad. And the older boys rage over what their dad does. Jacob basically sets up Joseph for trouble by giving him a coat of many colors, by favoring him over his brothers. Finally, the brothers get sick of their younger brother and decide to kill him. They're tired of the favoritism. So they throw him in a pit. They think about killing him, but then decide they can make a profit off of him. So they end up selling him as a slave, and he is taken to Egypt.

In Egypt he is purchased by a man named Potiphar, a high official in the Egyptian government. Joseph is eventually elevated to a high position of overseeing Potiphar's household. There's only one problem—Potiphar's wife. Back then, men of Potiphar's stature would marry young, beautiful women. He was a high official in Egypt, and that's the way it worked. So chances are this is a young, beautiful woman, and she keeps hitting on Joseph. She keeps saying to him, "Come sleep with me." But he refuses time and again. He even refuses to be alone with her. Finally, at one point, she catches him alone, and she grabs his coat. He thinks, I can't stick around. So he runs away. Before he runs, he says to her, "How could I do such a wicked thing and sin…." He doesn't say, "Sin against my boss," or "sin against you," or "sin against my future wife." He says, "How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" Joseph is saying his first commitment is to God. If he sleeps with her, he's hurting, most of all, his relationship with God.

It's vital that we recognize that. When David confesses his sin in Psalm 51, he says he mostly sinned against God. He realizes that what he has done is first and foremost a violation against his relationship with God.

Our first commitment needs to be to God. I often see unfortunate things in marriages. A wife will say, "My husband doesn't seem very committed. So I'm not going to be very committed." "My wife is straying," the husband will say, "so I'm going to stray." When you speak your vows to each other as husband and wife, first and foremost you are making a promise to God. First and foremost, this is your commitment to God. Whether or not your spouse lives up to their commitment, this is your commitment to God, because this needs to be your first commitment. This needs to be your first vow because you're living for God. Regardless of what others do, this is the commitment you make. So if you're married, this means that those vows you spoke are first and foremost promises to God. If you're dating, God would have you align your dating life to reflect what he asks of you.

However, if you're sleeping with the person you're dating, you're telling each other two things. First, you're telling each other that your relationship with God is not your primary commitment. Second, you're telling each other that you are the kind of person that will sleep with someone you're not married to. Do you think that repeating vows to each other will somehow change that? It doesn't. You will enter into a marriage, if you end up marrying the person that you're sleeping with, already telling each other that you will sleep with someone you're not married to. What happens when he goes on business trips, or when she goes on business trips, and things come up? You already know that each of you is not first and foremost committed to God.

Maybe you've done this. Maybe you're married, and you slept together before you were married. You need to apologize to each other and repent for what you did. Listen to what we're told in Hebrews 13:4: "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and the sexually immoral." In other words, if we're having sex outside of marriage, any sex outside of marriage, we set ourselves against God.

I've heard single people say, "It's good I'm not married, because I'm not committing adultery if I'm sleeping with my boyfriend or girlfriend. The Bible doesn't address premarital sex." Oh, it absolutely does. "God will judge the sexually immoral." That addresses any type of sex outside the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman.

Proverbs 5:15, in the Amplified Version, says, "Drink waters out of your own cistern [of a pure marriage relationship], and fresh running water out of your own well." God tells you to drink out of your own well. That is within marriage, and that drinking is sex. So keep it for that. God also says he has a plan for your sexual fulfillment, and it happens within marriage. Sex is God's idea. He created it. He thought it up. Within the confines of marriage it fulfills you greatly. This is God's hope and desire for you. Do it this way, and there will be fulfillment in your marriage, in your sexual life.

So how do we live out this commitment to God? Listen to what we're told in Psalm 119:9: "How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word." What we need to do is say, "God, I'm going to align myself to Scripture. I've got all kinds of voices in the world telling me it's okay. And if it feels good, do it. But you tell me that I need to align myself to Scripture, to your Word, and that's exactly what I will do. That's the commitment that I will make."

The pathway to integrity also requires maintaining proper boundaries. Listen to what Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22: "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Now why do we run or flee? We recognize that none of us are strong enough to face temptation. We need to maintain proper boundaries.

Why did Joseph run from Potiphar's wife? He ran because he realized he was in the wrong place. If he would have let his heart drift from God, he would have given in to the wrong focus. But he ran. He knew that if he had stuck around, things probably wouldn't have ended well. So he took off. And God says to us, "Flee." Maintain proper boundaries. Don't hang around places where you don't need to be. If you're an alcoholic, you don't go to a bar to eat peanuts. You just don't do that. Maintain proper boundaries with regard to where you go.

We have to run from some situations because they create temptations. Other situations we have to avoid because they create speculations. Listen to Ephesians 5:3: "But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity." God wants us to have proper boundaries, not just because he doesn't want us to give in to temptation, but because he doesn't want there to be speculations. He wants people to know that his church is pure.

For 13 years now I have maintained boundaries—I won't be alone in a car, in a house, or in a building with a woman that I'm not related to. I just won't. It's made for awkward situations for me and female staff members, even going to conferences—we end up driving 500 miles in separate cars, because I'm not going to be alone with a woman I'm not related to. It's a boundary I have. I won't cross that boundary, not just because I don't want to give in to temptation; I don't want people to speculate either.

Do you know how bad of a witness it is for people outside the faith to see church people violating sexual boundaries—whether it's porn, affairs, or going to strip clubs? When they see that happen, especially to pastors, they think, There is nothing to their faith. But in reality, a relationship with Christ is life-changing. It leads us down the road of integrity.

Some of you have already crossed the line, and it could be that you've already begun a sexual relationship with someone that you're not married to. Flee. Run. If you cannot date that person without being sexual, then don't date that person. Make your commitment to God your first priority. If you're dating a person who doesn't have the same commitment, then you don't want to marry them. This is very serious. If you've started down the road to an affair, break it off today. Make sure you're never alone with that man or with that woman. Don't go down that road. God would call you back to the path of integrity. Maintain proper boundaries.

You also need to monitor your heart. Tom McGuiness, a psychologist, writes this in regard to why people have affairs:

Married people seek out or succumb to affairs when they feel devalued or less than fully alive. They are bored or over-burdened. People who have affairs have a child's deep longing to be touched, caressed, held, hugged, and kissed. Whether they admit it or not, they want someone to convince them that they're still loved, they're still loveable, and they're still special.

Affairs start because marriages grow cold. Things are bad, or your heart has given in to resentment. When that happens, you experience loneliness. Lust builds up, and you develop angry thoughts. Soon you desire healing through the affection of someone else instead the healing of God's touch. Then you cross over from the road to integrity to the road to compromise. It's important that we monitor our hearts, to ask ourselves, Why am I feeling the way I'm feeling? Am I willing to be miserable for a while in my marriage until things work out? Is my primary commitment to God? If my primary commitment is to God, then I'm going to stick it out. I'm going to work on this because I know that good things come to those who wait. And I know that those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary. They will walk and not faint. Will I refuse to go to the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong focus?

Matthew 15:19-20 says, "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality [pornea, premarital sex] theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean." If we aren't allowing Christ to purify and empower our hearts through his Spirit, the impurities of our heart will develop into seeds of compromise. If we keep things from God, we will venture down the road to compromise. It's important to cry out to God and say, "God, purify my heart. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. I want my heart to be clean before you."

What is our heart? It's who we are when we're alone, with no one watching. It's the seat of our passions, thoughts, fantasies, emotions, and desires. Is your heart given to God, or is it given to something or someone else? Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

Walking the road to integrity also requires us to manage our minds. We need to:

  1. Make God our number one priority,
  2. Maintain proper boundaries,
  3. Monitor our hearts, and
  4. Manage what we allow into our minds

There are two ways to manage our minds. First, we have to remove the source of temptation. When temptation comes, don't dwell on it. Here's what Jesus says: "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28-29). Before you cross the line physically, you have already crossed it spiritually and emotionally.

Jesus also says, "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." He's not being literal, but he is serious. Christians don't walk around with ice picks, ready to gouge out their eyes if they are tempted by lust. Jesus wants us to remove the sources of temptation in our lives. Are you willing to perform surgery in your life? Are you willing to remove internet from your life if it is causing you to sin? If you can't stay away from porn, are you willing to unplug the internet? Studies say that at least half the men in this room probably struggle with pornography. Are you willing to put filters on your computer? Are you willing to get some accountability so that you won't continue down the road of compromise? Are you willing to cut out a relationship or conversations that lead you to fantasize? Are you willing to cut out sinful habits and remove temptation in order to walk the road of integrity? That's what Jesus wants.

Look at what is at stake—our eternal salvation. If porn, a relationship, or something else is your master, your god, instead of Christ, God wants you to give it up and surrender to him. Jesus wants to be the Lord and Savior of your life. He wants your heart. Christ is either Lord of everything in your life, or he is not Lord at all. He wants you to let him govern every aspect of your life. This doesn't mean that Christians aren't going to stumble and fall. It means we're not going to stay there. It means we're going to confess and repent. It means we're going to make a plan to live lives of integrity. We might slip into the road of compromise, but we're just not going to stay there. We're not going to be comfortable there because our hearts belong to God. The life Jesus calls us to live is tough. It's not easy.

Secondly, we have to set good standards. Second Corinthians 10:5 says, "We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." What thoughts do you have that are in disobedience to Christ? Paul says we take captive, arrest, those thoughts. We don't keep entertaining them. Maybe you entertained thoughts that won't go away. You have to arrest those thoughts—or that image or that conversation—in your mind. You have to arrest it and say, "God, I'm not going to dwell on that thought. I will take it captive, and I will submit it to you. I will manage my mind."

We all have to do this. I have to do this. I have to manage my mind. I can give in to the wrong focus as well. We all can. This side of heaven we all are going to struggle, but we have to take captive disobedient thoughts and bring them into obedience to Christ.


Where are you today? Are you on the road to compromise, or are you on the road to integrity? What road do you want to be on? The road to compromise leads to slaughter, a noose, and devastation. That's what happened to David's family. The road to integrity leads to great things. If Joseph had given in to temptation, if he had slept with Potiphar's wife, God could not have done what he wanted to do through Joseph. Joseph ended up being falsely accused of rape, but God knew that he was a man of integrity. After a few years, he was taken out of prison and elevated to second in command of the strongest nation in the world of that day, Egypt. From second in command he was able to prepare for seven years of famine. He stored up grain for seven years and rescued Egypt from famine. He also rescued his family. If you and I are on the road to compromise, God can't do in us the things he wants to do. We can actually say no to God's will and God's plan. But if we are on the road to integrity, God says, I want to do tremendous things through you.

So where does the road to integrity begin? It begins with a relationship with Jesus Christ. It begins when you give him your heart, when you recognize that he came to die for you on the Cross. You must realize that you desperately need forgiveness. Receive his forgiveness, allow him into your heart, and allow him to cleanse you. Commit your life to Christ. Commit to his sexual standards for your life.

Philip Griffin is the Senior Pastor of the Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The road to compromise

II. The road to integrity