Sermons & Sunday Schools

The Imperative Virtues of the Christian Race, Part 3

Full Transcript:

Alright let’s take our Bibles and turn to Hebrews 13. We’re also going to be look at other passages this morning. Let’s bow in a word of prayer. Lord, this morning as we come before You and break open the bread of life, teach us to love Your Word and obey it. I pray that we would learn to love You so when we do get tempted to sin, our growing love for You would be more powerful than the temptation to walk away and sin against You. Enable us, Lord, to live each day in the Spirit and to walk by the Spirit so we don’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. And help us to organize our thoughts and lives to honor the things You honor and to despise the things You despise. I pray this in Christ’s Name, Amen.

Hebrews 13 looks at imperatives of the Christian race. We’re looking specifically at the imperatives of practicing our faith in our daily relationships, that we may offer up to God sacrifices that are well-pleasing to Him.

We’ve already considered some things. In verse 1 we saw that we must cultivate the virtue of constant love. Secondly, we must not forget to display the virtue of unusual hospitality. And thirdly, we are to keep in mind the virtue of simply sympathy for believers who are in distress because of their faith, or even those who have gone to prison.

The fourth thing I considered is that we should keep the marriage institution in high esteem Let’s look back there in Hebrews 13:4 for a little bit and then look at another passage that unfolds the topic more. Look at the passage again:

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

This very word marriage, as I mentioned last time, is often used in the context of a wedding banquet or celebration. In other words, in this culture weddings were special events that people looked forward to and planned for. First, in regards to their relationship with God, but also in their relationship with each other. This public event includes some kind of celebration and gathering of people.

In doing this, there are four things that believers are to do to hold marriage in high honor. The first one is to maintain a right mindset concerning marriage. In verse 4 it says that this mindset needs to include honor for the marriage institution. It’s valuable, precious, and is to be greatly respected by all God’s people.

Even though people in the world don’t think this way, if they become a believer and come into the church they are to reorganize the way they think. They need to change their thinking to reflect that marriage is a great gift that God gives to humanity. In the church we should lift this institution up to a place of honor.

Another thing is that the marriage bed should be undefiled and pure. There are different ways people may think about marriage and I mentioned last time that asceticism was a big problem in this culture. In that time, marriage was a filthy institution because it considered sex to be filthy and not a gift given by God Himself. But when you bring it to the Biblical realm, you get a different picture. There is nothing whatsoever at all dishonoring about marriage or defiling, especially in relationship to the marriage bed. And of course that euphemism refers to sexual intercourse in the marriage relationship.

So today the world has the antinomianistic view of marriage which means that there are no rules and that we have free love. We’re past the sexual revolution now and people are discarding marriage for whatever they want it to be. People are just living together these days to experiment, without even considering marriage.

What exactly are some things the Bible says about marriage? Well let me just give you a few of those. The Bible views marriage as a divine institution. Contrary to some opinions, marriage is not an institution that has evolved over centuries to meet the needs of society. Marriage is God’s idea from Genesis 2.

Marriage in and of itself is a creation ordinance. It’s not just binding on those who come to know the Lord and are believers, it’s binding on every human being who has ever lived because God has organized this institution for humanity in general. It’s a divine institution which has been designed by God.

Secondly, marriage is regulated by divine instructions. Since God made marriage, it stands to reason that it must be regulated by His commands. Not by our own commands, or by society’s, or by a particular culture. He’s the One who is the Designer of marriage. In this covenant, both the husband and wife stand beneath the authority of the Lord Himself where the psalmist itself says in Psalm 127:1:

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

It is the Lord who is definitely who designs this institution and makes its rules and boundaries. A third thing in Scripture is that marriage is a covenant, which is an agreement between two parties based on mutual promises and solemnly binding obligations. God’s covenant, like we have been seeing with the one between God and Abraham, can be summed up by this statement: “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” People and God come together in a covenant which God honors as should people.

So marriage is a covenant and is the most binding and intimate of all human covenants on the human earth. They key ingredient of any covenant is that of faithfulness in the vows that the man and woman make to each other. They also make this covenant ceremonially before people, it’s a public thing. But also marriage is a whole person commitment that God meant to be the total commitment of a man and woman to each other. It is not a solo performance but it is a duet. In marriage, two people give themselves unreservedly to each other. That’s why the Lord Himself said in Matthew 19:6:

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

Marriage really is ’til death do us part. It is not just an old-fashioned, romantic saying. Instead it is a sober reflection of God’s intentions regarding marriage. Ultimately marriage in Scripture is that of a divine illustration, as seen in the book of Ephesians. The illustration is that of a love relationship that God established with His people. Marriage becomes an object lesson to all who should view it and see it, that there is something of the divine and human relationship reflected when a man and a woman come together.

So after saying all that, let’s look back at our text here in Hebrews 13:4. How are we as the church to keep marriage honorable? The first way is to maintain correct behavior in marriage. What dishonors or defiles a marriage is called pornos, or fornication or immorality. This describes a defiling behavior that dishonors marriage in advance of the marriage celebration. A man and a woman must honor marriage before they even get married.

The second word is moicheía, which means adultery. This is a defiling behavior that dishonors marriage after the covenant and celebration have begun. Now this is when someone becomes unfaithful in breaking the covenant by sexual immorality or adultery. These two words specifically talk about before and after a marriage relationship has been entered into.

These terms indicate that those who are unfaithful to their marriage vows are people who dishonor the institution. The two adjectives cover all who recklessly engage in the forbidden practice against the One who sets the boundaries and rules for such relationships, which is God Himself. This means that it is the responsibility of all Christ’s church to view marriage as honorable and undefiled. We should never disgrace this institution through sexual ungratefulness. We all need to watch out for each other, praying for one another, and reminding each other of God’s standards for marriage.

So what would happen if in this next year, if God’s unconditional love became the foundation of all our marriages. If we prayed to the Lord and asked for Him to love him or her through us, that would make a great change. This would honor God and increase our understanding of His love for us. It would also make us more faithful because we would be considering our relationships to our spouses through God’s perspective and how He is faithful and displays love to us.

And then in verse 4, we are told to maintain a correct view of God. Those who dishonor marriage will be judged by God. Illicit sexual sins defile the marriage bed and profanes what God has made holy. These sins are to be kept away from the marriage relationship, and this can only happen through a healthy fear of God. Just like Joseph had when Potiphar’s wife wanted to have sexual relations with him. Only his love for God kept him from sin.

Anyone who engages in illicit sexual encounters will face the certainty of divine judgment. It’s God’s institution and rules. If we dishonor those rules then we are held responsible before God. One commentator said that some theologians point out in this passage that it is talking about the final judgment that determines human destiny. If you get away with things on this side, you won’t ultimately get away with it before the Judge of all the universe. He will hold you responsible for how you live your life. We are to have a correct view of God which gives us the fear of God which helps us to say no to sin and keep our boundaries and view of the institution within the proper perspective.

And then there is a last thing that we are to maintain, which is the correct conduct that is pleasing to the Lord. To look at this, I want you to turn to 1 Thessalonians 4. Paul understood the allure of sexual sin in his epistle to these formerly idolatrous Thessalonians who didn’t really know about the marriage institution from the perspective of God’s design. Therefore he gives them instructions on how to live their life. This is also helpful for us because the Word of God is something we ought to learn regularly.

The Thessalonians lived in a sexually intoxicating culture from its religious system all the way down to the lowest rungs of society. It was blatantly sexual, and we are living in the same kind of culture today. It’s everywhere and more accessible today than at any other time in human history. People can access things privately and no body knows about it, except for God. What you allow to come into your mind becomes very important. If you look at 1 Thessalonians 3:13, Paul sets up the foundation for what he is going to say in chapter 4. He ways this:

So that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

What the Lord is saying there through the apostle Paul is that God is going to establish you blameless and holy before His own eyes. This means for us that Scripture gets down to the very specifics of what it means for the Christian to live at the highest standard of living, which is holiness. You need to be set apart in your mind and your heart to God. He sees every single thing that is going on in your life, every second of the day. There is no where to run or hide. You cannot hide from God whatsoever. You may think that’s a bad way to think, but in fact it’s a holy way to think!

Let’s look at our text now. Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3, which says:

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.

This is the will of God right here. This is a picture of holiness, that we are all called to abstain from sexual immorality. It is God’s will for you as a believer to be sexually pure. Now look down to verse 7. It says:

For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.

What is sexual purity? God’s design is that man and woman would enjoy sexual pleasure in only one context, which is the marriage relationship. This is the purity that Paul talks about. Any sexual impurity dishonors God and defiles the marriage bed. The definition of sexual purity is to receive sexual pleasure and satisfaction only from your spouse and to give sexual pleasure and satisfaction only to your spouse. And for singles who are not married yet, this means abstaining entirely from sexual pleasure and satisfaction as long as God keeps you single.

In fact you ought to be pursuing while you’re single the greatest pleasure and satisfaction that you can, which is knowing God. It is knowing Him that will keep us pure. The definition really comes out from what wisdom literature in Proverbs 5, where the Bible tells us in verse 19:

Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.

Now notice something about the Bible. It speaks very outwardly about sexual relationships because it is God’s institution and creation. It does not speak at all in a way that is trying to cover up sex. But the point of some of the words in the verses to remain always satisfied in your wife or husband means that of true pleasure and satisfaction. God designed the marriage institution for fulfilling pleasure and the sexual drive.

So what is sexual impurity then? To be sexual impure is to receive sexual pleasure and satisfaction from any source other than your spouse and to give pleasure and satisfaction to anyone other than your spouse. So in Proverbs 5:20 it says:

For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?

In other words, a foreigner is another man’s wife. Why would you want to do that? The answer, of course, for a wise person is that they don’t!! There really is no good reason to do any of this. But of course in the book of Proverbs you have all kinds of people: the fool, the naive, the scoffer, and the wise person. The wise person is the one that listens to the voice of instruction and successfully lives it out in obedience before the world. When you do this, it is a beautiful and honoring thing. When you do this, you learn to live wisely.

In the New Testament, we see the Lord saying things like this in Matthews 5:27-28:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So the Lord is saying that He wants us to be pure in our thoughts and in what we think about other people. The link between adultery and lust in Scripture is that what is said of adultery is also true of lust. They are linked together.

Paul says to the Roman church in Romans 13:13:

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.

He’s saying not to live like this as a believer, even though you may have used to live like this before. Paul continues in Romans 13:14:

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

He is saying that in the body we live in, in the flesh, there are certain passions, desires, and lusts which are strong. But Paul tells us to put on Christ as clothing and to understand what He has done for us. It is our responsibility not to make any provision for what our lust is desiring. Avoid those things which cause lust to be inflamed. The words no provision means that any lust is impure, no matter how small or short lived.

So what are we to do with sexual impurity? Well if you look at 1 Thessalonians 4:3, it says we are to abstain from pre-marital sex. Again the verse says:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.

God’s will is the thing that He wants. And what God wants is what pleases Him, whites also what should please us. That means to please Him we should know and do His will. And what is the will of God for the Thessalonians and us? Well it is our sanctification, which is a life of holiness. Believers come to Christ with all their sin and receive the cleansing of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ which we sang about this morning.

Every day we wake up and have a decision to make. Am I going to live a sanctified holy life or am I not? When we give ourselves over to the Spirit of God and our minds are being transformed by the Word of God, then our minds are more and more what God would have us to be on that particular day. And that means to be set apart holy to God and to be separated in the consecration of your life and conduct unto God, because that is what you are offering up to the Lord on that particular day.

You’re offering up yourself and your life. You’re offering up your thoughts, passions, desires, and you’re giving yourself over to God, which is a pleasing offering to the Lord. Like Romans 12:1 says:

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

We go out into the world as a display before the world, especially in the use of our bodies and minds. In verse 3 when it talks about the will of God being that you abstain from sexual immorality, then we have the whole concept of abstinence. The verb is very strong here and it means to keep free from and away from something. And of course in this case it is all forms of sexual immorality. Paul again said to the Ephesian church in Ephesians 5:3:

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

But is that true of the church in general? It seems to me that the church and those that name the name of Christ are taking on the thoughts of the world as it relates to marriage and sex. So therefore we ought to be ready to give ourselves to the Lord so we begin to think and act the right way. So abstinence includes anything real or imagined concerning sexual deviant behavior or thinking. For human beings to try to gratify their sexual hunger in any other way besides marriage is a deviation from God’s plan and will. And that includes any man or woman sexual relationship outside marriage. And that also includes man to man or woman to woman relationships too.

Even though some today would have us believe that homosexual activity is neither wrong or immoral, but simply a different lifestyle or choice that someone makes, God’s Word declares that this is sin, period. And we can’t get away from that because God makes the rules on sexual relationships and concerning marriage.

It also includes any other self-stimulated gratification that would occur in such things as masturbation. And masturbation is impure because it is an attempt to have pleasure outside of the marriage bond. It is a selfish rather than a loving act. It is the self-gratification of the flesh, and a perversion of something has made good.

So culturally for the Thessalonians, pagan religions did not determine for anyone that there should be any sexual purity to which to devote to. The gods and goddesses were grossly immoral. And yet in a way, we have seen that there are gods and goddesses which are grossly immoral in our culture too. There are those that young people want to emulate and be like, and they are grossly immoral.

So we’re living in the same type of world, a place of gross immorality all around us and all the time. People can’t seem to sell anything without sex in it! Well let me say first that God designed you and me as sexual beings. He’s placed a dynamic creative force within us. And it should be reasonable from the Word of God that the Designer and Creator would not leave you or I without directions regarding this powerful sexual machinery that He has placed within us.

Secondly let me remind you that the Designer has given us precautions from the Word of God and has given us restrictions found right in the manual called the Bible. God is for you on this matter and not trying to make life miserable for you but actually wonderful for you. God created man’s sexual hunger, therefore His plans for man should be satisfied by the marriage institution alone.

There’s no way to get around that in Scripture. We’ve all been exposed to different ideas and views regarding sex and marriage. Society has loudly and frequently said to us that everyone must make their own decisions concerning sex. And that is true, but according to whose agenda? Who will make the decision for you? Are you going to view your sex drive as simply another biological phenomena like hunger or thirst? Or will you look at it as something far more meaningful than that?

Will you consider your sex urges as something that need to be satisfied right now when you want it and when you decide? Or is it something to be diverted until later when God calls you to get married it that is His will for you.

Whose advice will you seek and follow in regard to sexual conduct? Will it be parents’? They might mess it up. Are you going to take the advice of the kids at school? Are you going to take the advice of someone who lives down the block? Are you going to take the advice from actors and musicians and from the many media venues available today? Where are you going to get your advice to inform your heart about the decision concerning this very vital and important area of your life? I pray that your advice would come from your Lord God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and the Designer of marriage. And the One who knows all about how it works.

The first thing Christians are to do are to hold themselves far away from fornication and adultery.

And the next thing they are to do is to know how to do the first thing. And if you look at 1 Thessalonians 4:4, it says:

That each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor.

Now what it’s saying here is know how to control yourself. Know how to control your passions and your desires. How do you do it in a manner that is of sanctification, or holiness and honor? Well, according to the Scripture we are to practice the habit of purity, because that’s what it’s talking about here.

And then in verse 4 what does possess mean? It means getting a handle on learning how to keep your own body under control so you will preserve and persevere impurity right up until the day you get married.

So why do you restrain yourself? And give your members over to the power of the Holy Spirit of God for living righteously? It’s for this reason, and for this reason alone, that you love the Lord and you want to please Jesus Christ. And you want to keep in mind as you love the Lord and please Jesus Christ that God is a consuming fire.

This must be the primary reason for abstaining from not only sexual immorality, but any sin. I love the Lord. I know what He’s done for me. I know the love He demonstrated for me on Calvary when I was ungodly and unholy and rebellious and an enemy of God. That’s when He displayed his love toward me.

And if God did that and because the greatest commandment in Scripture to love the Lord thy God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and all your might and your neighbor as yourself, then that is the key to overcoming all sin. Ultimately, it is about the love you have for the Lord.

So it says here in verse 4, know how to control yourself around all, which includes women and men of all ages and of all times. In 1 Thessalonians 4:5 it says:

Not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.

We see here it’s because of those who named Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. They know God. They now have an intimate relationship with the Father through the atoning death of Christ and are presently in dwelt with the Holy Spirit of God.

And God is working purity in them and what God is working in us we are to work out. We are to work out purity in our thought life and in our daily relationships and in our activities.

So it is God’s will that every Christian is to know how to act in the manner of sex as is pleasing to God and concerning other people around them. So that means Christians know very well that every type of fornication is contrary to God’s will, and that Christians know very well that passion alone or feelings alone is an inaccurate and often destructive guide to determining whether something is right or wrong in this area.

In fact in verse 5, it says not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God. So the word passion means generally “desire longing.” In fact, it can be translated lust. Commentator Lenski said the word is used to picture a fire that one encourages and feeds. That’s the combination of lustful passion means the evil passions of the heart are regularly fed by lustful fuel.

That is as long as you feed it, you keep the passion burning. But if you don’t feed it, the evil passion dies. So Christians know very well that God’s institution of marriage is honorable and the use of the sexual relationship is honorable in it alone. Christians know very well that they are to set themselves apart to please God and live on earth honorably before people and in pure relationships with others and so it says there that we are to live in sanctification and honor with others.

But he does mention something here, that the pagans, the gentiles, the unbelievers didn’t know God. They did have a sense of the standard that God made in marriage because got already put that in this their heart. But they didn’t know God personally. If they did a sexual sin, it wasn’t a sexual sin against God because they didn’t know Him.

So because they don’t know God, they run wild in all manner of sexual excess following the cues of the world, the lustful passions of their flesh, and satanic temptation and manipulation.

So that’s what pagans do. In other words, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, that is not the way you do it anymore. You are not that person anymore. You know God! It changes everything when you know the Lord.

So again, in every case the writer of Hebrews brings it down to this particular point. Look at 1 Thessalonians 4:6 because here’s the revenge. This is God’s revenge and our terrifying motivation. It says:

And that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.

Here again, he brings in that God is the Avenger of the wrong. What is the wrong? It’s that no one can be involved with this kind of lifestyle without in some way sinning against or cheating His fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. No man can transgress that sin against or defraud or rob someone else of their purity.

Don’t sin against your brother or sister. Don’t do wrong against them. Don’t sin against them. Don’t go too far with them. Don’t go beyond what it’s right with them. Don’t cheat them. Don’t take advantage of them.

See this all means that any and all acts of sexual looseness represents an act of injustice towards someone else. That all sexual looseness before marriage symbolizes the robbing of the other of that virginity which ought to be brought to the marriage in purity.

So why shouldn’t I defraud my brother or sister and sin against them by robbing them of their purity? Well, I shouldn’t do it because in verse 6 it says:

Remember that the Lord is the Avenger of all wrongs. Because the Lord is the Avenger it says in these things just as I told you before and solemnly warned you.

See the Christians are to avoid such conduct because God is the One who punishes. In other words, God will take action against people who sin like this. This is something Paul already solemnly warned them of that contemporary men and women need to remember that God is the Avenger of sexual wrong both in this life and the next.

In fact, when you look at wisdom book of Proverbs in chapter 6, it tells us the one who commits adultery with a woman, or vice versa, lacks sense and is foolish.

They haven’t considered God’s standard of things and they just did with the flesh said to do. They just did with their passion said to do. They didn’t do what God said to do.

So the first reason to avoid any sexual misconduct appeals to the fear of the consequences of disobedience. In other words this passage and others like it are meant to be a strong and forceful word against right.

It really intended to instill in the believer the sense of the seriousness of impurity and the fear of the Lord that will keep them from injury. Both of those things are included, that a professing believer who continues in impurity without genuine repentance can neither have assurance of their salvation and should expect discipline of the Lord.

So if he or she is truly saved then they should want to heed the warning that God gives or any discipline that God would bring into their life and ultimately repent.

Can’t really say as a believer, “Hey, maybe I got this appointment come in and correct everything.” And then they may come to repentance and then display genuine conversion. As God rescues them from their sin, they confess their wrong behavior and confess their impurity before the Lord and anybody that they fraud in any relationship.

So you and I are are warned today from the Word of God not to have a lackadaisical attitude toward sexual conduct. Remember that a Just God and a coming day of judgement are factors that cannot be left out of consideration when dealing with moral practices.

Why is that? Well because of 1 Thessalonians 4:7, which says:

For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.

God has called you to be a picture of purity. So it’s really looking back to what the Lord has done, He’s called us to something. He’s called us out of what the world does in this area to what God requires in this area and that you are actually a picture of that to the rest of the world.

In other words our effectual call to trust in Jesus alone for salvation also means that we are called to a certain kind of living, that God had a definite purpose in mind concerning the way we should live our everyday life. All immoralities must be avoided as being inconsistent with God’s gracious call upon our life at salvation.

You cannot live as if you do not know God anymore.You cannot push this aside is if it doesn’t mean anything. You can’t redefine it and put it in a different box. Christians have been called to a life of progressive holiness.

You can’t get away from that and when we we live that way we reap the benefits of not only honoring God but of living with a guilt-free conscience. We benefit by living a life that is pure up until the day you to get married and then you begin to reap the benefits of marriage.

And then if you took God’s instructions to heart before then while you’re in marriage, you’re going to do the same thing and look for the blueprints for the designs of marriage. You will know what a wife and husband are supposed to do in their roles.

In the institute of marriage, if you are already married and a believer, then you’re going to go back and you’re going to look at the Word of God. And you’ll think now that I’ve been doing that wrong, I’ll get to work. I’m going to do it start doing it God’s way and you begin to implement step-by-step God’s procedures of what it means to have a pure marriage. You begin to realize how amazing it is. You begin to experience the the intention of the Designer in marriage as you and your spouse stay pure in a relationship and honor God. All things and you get closer and closer to God and you to each other in a way that I can’t define. S

o you’ll learn not to sit against each other and not to abuse each other or to defraud each other. But instead you learn to build each other up as you grow in the Lord. Then God begins to use your life as an example and illustration of how God loves the church and how He loves His people. Next look at 1 Thessalonians 4:8, where it says:

So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

That is God’s spirit and our ultimate standard. In other words, a real believer doesn’t do this on his own. He cannot overcome his passion in the realm of the sexual area on his own. He needs God’s power to do it. He needs the Holy Spirit of God to do it and a real believer has the Spirit of God. So anyone who treats sexual sin has no big deal actually is treating God and His Word as if it has no account.

But here we can’t forget that the Holy Spirit is the One who empowers saints in the struggle for holiness. Well without going to the passage of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 6 where it tells us that we’re not our own and we were bought with a price. Your body is God’s when you become a believer at it’s always been God’s.

When you bring sexual impurity into another relationship besides the marriage bed the impurity misuses the body in verse 13. Sexual impurity brings Christ into our sin and sexual impurity is sin against the temple of the Holy Spirit, and sexual impurity misuses something that belongs to God and what belongs to God.

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Where does God dwell? In you! That’s where He dwells. So God the Holy Spirit lives within believers and it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes our body the temple of God. By His indwelling, we’re commanded to walk by the Spirit and when we walk by the Spirit, we gain victory over the sinful desires of the flesh.

When we yield to the spirit like Romans 6 tells us, He creates a holy desire in us and He empowers us to walk in holiness and not to be detoured into the lust of the world or the lust of the flesh or any of those things, or to write off what God commands us as nothing. But we are to give ourselves to the Holy Spirit of God’s control and in doing so we don’t grieve Him and we don’t quench Him, but we give ourself to Him to be used by God.

So if you are to maintain a walk of purity, there may be some things that you may want to do or may not want to do. I think some things you can do is avoid persons that might lead you into temptation.

In other words, you need to cut off companionship with persons who have been involved with you and wrongdoing. So a believer has no right to be with an unbeliever, whatsoever. And then what you need to do is you need to find some good and wholesome relationships.

I think another thing you need to avoid is situations that might lead you into temptation. Too much time being alone is not a good thing. You must come to a place where you become active in some kind of activity, that is wholesome. A hobby, study, ministry, etc. You must avoid every book, magazine, TV program, movie, video, computer program or internet site that might be sexually stimulating. You have to make no provision for the flesh. You have to stop putting gasoline on the fire of passion. Instead, read God’s Word and read books that are saturated with the Bible and theology.

You need to memorize Scripture, especially those portions that will provide you help in time of temptations like 1 Thessalonians 4, Hebrews 13, Proverbs 5 and 2 and 6. There’s many places in Scripture that give us the fuel to be able to avoid certain paths in this area.

Also you need to maintain a regular prayer life and call upon the Lord. When sudden temptation strikes that’s when you pray. And believe me the Lord is there to help you and win the battle. You must also make yourself accountable to some mature man if you’re a man or somebody for a woman if you’re a woman in the congregation for the very purpose of purity.

Then finally fall in love with the Lord Jesus and live to please him. That’s what you ought to do, fall in love with the Lord! It is not impossible to break these habits and if you have today fallen into any kind of wrongful practice, the Lord Jesus Christ stands ready to forgive you for past sins and to enable you to keep free from such sins in the future. He empowers us to do this by His Spirit, but you must be willing to do your part and to cast yourself on the mercy of God for deliverance.

It doesn’t mean that people do not have moral and ethical standards, they do but when they do not acknowledge God’s standards for morality, they are guided by their own degrading passions to make their own standards.

So when you’re going out with someone of the opposite opposite sex, stay active with others. Don’t allowed too much time with each other, plan your time together so that it is filled with absorbing, wholesome activities and then when it is over you go home.

Don’t lower your inhibitions or dull your judgments when you’re with other people, in the sense of drinking alcoholic beverages or taking any kind of drugs, for then your lust is going to be raised and therefore any passion or desire for morality is going to be pushed aside.

God has given us higher faculties that give us the ability to judge correctly. He gives us a conscience. He gives us reason and self control. We don’t want to search short-circuit any of those things as if we don’t care because of this other person.

Depend on the Holy Spirit of God to keep yourself in control and don’t get all tied up with sexual things in your mind. Divert your thoughts on to the interest and hobbies and other things that are of noble endeavor.

Keep your mind on the right things. Like Paul said to the Philippians in Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Your mind has to be dwelling on something, don’t let it be dwelling on filth. You know as believers that you need to think of sexual sins as a place full of decaying, rotten and dead things. You wouldn’t really want to eat that kind of food. You wouldn’t want to have your meals near a smelly open sore. But when you think in this area you are really thinking and eating and feeding by a sore.

Also we have to avoid self-defeating behavior. Well Job said finally in Job 31:1:

I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?

You have to be disciplined in that area. And then of course a great motivation in Scripture when it comes to this thing is flee sexual temptation. Run! Flight is usually the best approach, just get out! Get out, stand and resist temptation.

It is possible to a point but it’s much easier and makes much more sense to run from it. Get out of there where Paul said to the young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22:

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

There’s a second thing Paul tells Timothy. He says to pursue righteousness. There is the pursuit, there’s the energy. Pursue something that is a right behavior. If you’re going to flee then you must also pursue right-thinking and right living. This is what he says, to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

That’s what Paul said and of course resist temptation by relying on the strength of God’s Word where in Psalm 119:11 it says:

Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

And then keep the line between the unmarried state and the married state drawn and distinct and clear. The chastity before marriage is what pleases God. Purity before marriage is what pleases God.

And then ultimately and finally view marriage as something that is set apart, something that is sacred and special. It is granted to you by God as a special privilege on this side of eternity if God is to grant that to you.

So in all these things and more, the bottom line is that we are commanded in Scripture to use our bodies in an honoring way before the eyes of the Lord and before the eyes of the world.

So may the Lord grant us the ability to do that. May the marriage institution always remain in our mind as an institution that is highly exalted and designed by God Himself and given to us as a gift. And that once we have it, we would keep it and that we would nurture it and that we would maintain it and that we would take seriously that the day that we say yes to our spouse that we would mean it in our hearts.

Not just until things go wrong, or until somebody gets sick and then you can’t handle it. But until till death do you part. And for young people, that your desire would be to remain pure sexually. In your mind and in your heart and in your actions before God until the day you get married. I wish, I really do, that somebody preached this to me when I was young person.

No one ever did, and many of the cues that I took as a young person came from my own standard of morality. And that can morph depending on your situation. You could say, “Ah I’ll give that up today.”

And I wish somebody had told me and preached to me what really honors God. It sure does help. It really does.

Let’s pray. Lord, I thank You for the Scriptures. I know Lord that this was a point driven home many times over. But Lord, may we be in command of our bodies. May we have the strength to flee from temptation. Not only that we find happiness in this life and especially in You but also that we might stand before You unashamed one day because our lives have honored the Name of your Son Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

And Lord, if there’s anyone today who is hurting in this area, who has experienced defeat, and who has had no success in these areas, please speak to them Lord. Let them come to You for help. Maybe even for the salvation of their soul. And I pray Lord that this morning You may strengthen us who are married. And that You may strengthen those who are still single and that our young people would desire more than anything else in their hearts to please You. And Lord if there is anything in their life that they need to change or need to remove, I pray that today would be the day they do that. And I pray Lord that You would give them victory over their passions and lusts for this reason that they know You, and that You may sanctify them to live a pure life before you in love. And I ask you for this in the powerful and precious name of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Lord, Amen.