These weeks in this pulpit you are hearing messages on the Ten Commandments. We have a title to this series; it’s called The Best Life Possible. Live by these Ten Commandments and you will be blessed more than you can imagine. I can’t begin to thank God that I was predestined to be born in a Christian family with a Christian mother and a Christian father and a Christian Sunday School and Christian pastors where I was taught the Ten Commandments and taught that if I lived by them I would be blessed. I have lived by them and I have been blessed.
And I share them now with you because these commandments are God’s way to the best life possible. How precious that in the providence of God the time happened over two thousand years ago when ten rules for living were given out to the people of God. They were called the Ten Commandments meant not to keep the joy from life, but to put real joy and self-esteem and self-respect and pride of personhood into humanity.
And today we are talking about the seventh commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Now I’m eighty four and a half years old; do I need this commandment? Yes, we all need it at any age because this commandment helps put into life a most important and powerful thing you can possibly have and that’s called trust. Live by these Ten Commandments. You’ll build a reputation, you’ll develop a character, you’ll become to be known as some kind of a person that can be trusted. Yes, they see you and they think trust - that person can be trusted. That’s the big pay off is we live by God’s grace in these Ten Commandments. Trust. That means we will attract a certain kind of people to us. People that respect - trusting people.
I’m looking down at the face of the greatest people in the world. I look down at you and others like you every week from this place and you come here because of trust. You know you can trust me; I am that kind of a person. I am not bragging; I’m bearing witness. What happens when you follow in the path of God? What happens when you do not yield to temptations? I must say something: for some reason, I am a very healthy heterosexual human, happily married for sixty-one years this past week to Arvella. Sixty-one years. My witness - I have never in my earthly life been sexually tempted to live with sex outside of my marriage to my one and only wife. I don’t know why, I guess I’m so satisfied. In my heart I have love. She trusts me. Hey, that’s the big word trust. You earn that kind of a reputation when you live up to this commandment. Trust. Nothing else can take the place if that’s not there. All of the other affirmations of your personality that are positive and worthy will last if trust is there.
It’s amazing; I have in my eighty-four years traveled around the world many times and I have been to many colonies of humans and I’ve never been tempted sexually, never. Not once. Not even tempted and I know lots of people are. Why am I not tempted? I think it’s because I’m so satisfied and that’s because I have a wife that loves me and trusts me. I don’t think anything would be more difficult than to violate a trust. I’ve never done that. I’m not sinless but I’ve never violated trust. You’ve trusted me. I’ve never violated that; I never will.
Trust - wow this is a commandment then that builds real relationships. Relationships are when people care about you and they laugh with you, they cry with you, they pray with you. My life is rich because I have such rich relationships. You’re sitting here. I’m looking at you week after week, thank you. Why do I have this relationship? Because you trust me. That will never be violated. You’ll never be disappointed, never have been, never will be. Trust.
Now you know if you break the seventh commandment, the terrible thing is you break all ten. The first commandment, you’re not to choose another God. You break the seventh commandment and you’ve picked pleasure or sex, another god. Commandment number two: do not impugn the image of God in you. You break the seventh commandment and you no longer are a mere reflecting image of the holy God. You break the seventh commandment, you break all seven. I don’t need to go through all seven. You can do that. It’s just that why is this commandment of God put number seven, between six and eight, “thou shall not kill” and “thou shall not steal,” between those two? Don’t commit adultery or you kill something. And it will probably never be totally forgotten. It may be forgiven.
A little boy took a hammer and a nail and he drove the nail through a piece of furniture and his father scolded him severely.
And the penitent child took a hammer and extracted the nail, held it up to show his father. Dropped his eyes, said nothing, then looked back and said, “But daddy, the hole is still there.” Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Yes, the fourth commandment, honor the Sabbath day, we honor this day when we live right. You go through the rest of the commandments, you break the seventh commandment and you scratch or fracture or break all ten. Nothing is more important than to be the kind of person that those around you can trust! Trust completely. I’ve lived the kind of a life where I’ve had to travel alone to all parts of the world. And you can imagine that would introduce sinners to me, hoping to seduce my business. Never been tempted. I’ve never been tempted. Wonderful. Live trustfully and boy will you be honored. I am honored. I am greatly honored. No matter where I go in the world, people may not agree with my religion but they honor me. It’s because I do not abuse my precious relationships. I am known for being trustworthy husband and father. Build trust! And you’ve built a life, and that’s your choice completely. You can hear me say it but you’ll soon be walking out, making your own decisions. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” No. You’ll lose the most important thing in life; the price you pay is no longer being a trustworthy person like you are today. Hallelujah.
And so I ask you now where are you? You’re a human being and you carry a bomb inside of you, the power to break this commandment. Sex is an enormous power. It is in every life. Marriage; that kind of a relationship is the best immunity to adultery.
Years ago, many, many years ago, this is my 61st year, I think. But there were parents of a boy and the parents belonged to this church. Their son was a soldier and he was on the ship when in World War II it was attacked by an enemy aircraft. He happened to be on the flight deck and took a twenty millimeter shell. It entered his chest through the stomach and lodged in his hip without exploding. It was the kind of a shell that was to explode whenever it hit anything, however light. They didn’t know what to do with him.
Well they got him on a cot, moved him to a neighboring ship. They hung a tag around his waist that read: caution – live bomb. Well they got him to the hospital ship without the bomb exploding. Later in surgery, they were so afraid it would explode, and with just the surgery alone. Well they succeeded; they safely extricated the twenty millimeter shell from his body. Then to get rid of it safely, they shot it through a piece of tissue paper. When it hit the tissue paper, it exploded. For two weeks, he was indeed a living bomb!
The power of sex in a human being is a potential living bomb. So how do you handle it? You handle it in building intimate relationships with a spouse, a child, a relative, a neighbor, a friend, but intimate relationships are all important to maintaining our sanity and our self. So that’s why I say if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, it makes all the difference in the world. Why have I never exploded? Why have I never bombed out? You can disagree with some of my views but you can’t question or argue Schuller’s private, moral life. I’m as clean as they come. It’s not bragging. It’s thanking Christ, my Savior. And I want you to have that security that I have. Today, enter into a private prayer with the Lord. Ask Jesus to come in and save you. Wow.
I don’t know when I first experienced it. Not in my childhood home. My mother never baked soufflés. We were Dutch people and I don’t think any Dutch families ever baked soufflés. I don’t know when I first had my first soufflé but it came out and put before me; oh, tall, light, feathery. Whew. I dipped the spoon in and this fragrant steam came out. Boy I had a desert like I never had before in my life. I had discovered something that would be my joy and to some degree my pain for they are not low calorie and what a delicacy.
I remember particularly one time after that, I was in Hawaii and I was to take my wife out to dinner and I wanted her to have a soufflé for desert, so I called restaurants: do you bake soufflés? Oh no, sorry. I called and called. Somebody said to me oh try the soufflé in the Michelle’s Colony Surf hotel, so I called: do you bake soufflés? Oh yes. We bake chocolate soufflés, vanilla soufflés, they’re the best. I said then I want to make dinner reservations.
So I made dinner reservations. We got there and when the waiter came to pick up our menu, I said, “First of all, let me start with the desert.” He smiled. “Yes,” I said, “Because I’ve come here especially for the desert. “Oh? And what is that?”
I said, “That’s a big soufflé.”
Oh, he said, “I’m sorry we don’t bake soufflés.”
I said, “But I called and you said you did.”
Oh, he said, “Yes, yes, normally we do, but tonight is special and the chef said to us don’t take any soufflé orders tonight.”
Oh, “May I talk to the general manager?” So he called the general manager who came and I said I needed the soufflé and that’s what I came here. And the general manager listened. He said, “Dr. Schuller, I’m sorry, we can’t bake soufflés tonight.”
I said, “Who’s the boss here, you or the chef?” He raised his eyebrows. He said, “I think the chef is.”
Oh, “well let me talk to the chef.” He shook his head back and forth. He left the room.
A little while later, out of the back room came a man with a tall white hat. Ha! The boss. And it didn’t look like he was a happy face. He didn’t look happy at all. He came marching with a ‘who are you’ thing. And he got about halfway to me and suddenly the face changed. It became a look that I know. It’s the look that says ‘you’re Dr. Schuller. I watch you on television.’ And he smiled and he said, “Dr. Schuller, so happy to have you. What can I do for you tonight?”
And I said, “I’d like a soufflé for desert.”
Oh he said, “That’s no problem. I bake the best soufflés.
I said, “I wanted, not for personal reasons, but I’m going to preach Sunday on love and I want to start with an illustration that love is the soufflé of life. Thought that would be pretty neat. So I have to get into it, I have to be able to say I had a soufflé the other night.”
“No problem. I’ll bake you a soufflé.”
And when the time came, he came back out of the kitchen with the most beautiful vanilla soufflé. It was fantastic. And every time I go back there, I don’t ask for it, but there’s a soufflé waiting for me. And the nicest thing about it is there’s always a note: with our compliments. Isn’t that nice? You know what that means? It means it’s free. Wow!
There’s two ways to choose to live. Only one way gives you the best life. I’ve lived the best life possible. It’s because trust is the core of my life and you know it, and you can feel it, and others can. And they, that’s you, are my blessing from the Lord. Hallelujah.
I have here something I’ve never showed before. It’s on the private stationary of the Colony Surf Hotel at the beach at Diamond Head, Honolulu. And it says full cap, LIFETIME SOUFFLE CERTIFICATE. “This certificate entitles Robert Schuller to the soufflé of his choice at Michelle’s in the Colony Surf with the compliments of the house.” Wow.
Trust! Build that kind of a life. Create that kind of a character. Develop that kind of a reputation. Live that way and don’t ever crack it. Never.
Dear Lord, oh, we are where we have to be today in church. Here, we’re drawn close to You. Our lives become good. Thanks be to Christ our Savior. Amen.