Pastor Babij continues his look at the seventh of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” showing the scope of this commandment in the Bible and God’s mandate for sexual purity. Pastor Babij details three areas of a Christian’s new life that are incompatible with sexual impurity:
1) The Christian’s new connection to Christ
2) Christ’s character and nature
3) The Christian’s new nature
We are considering the passage from Exodus 20:14, which I started last week, but as I continue, let’s pray:
Lord, thank You again for bringing us together. I thank You, Lord, for the word of God. I thank You, Lord, that were able to have it in our hands, own our own Bibles, and be able to look at the Scripture in so many different ways such as electronically and on paper. I pray, Lord, that even though it’s all available to us, that it would all get into our heart, that we would think about it, meditate upon it, and that it would be the fabric on how we live our life. For we know, Lord, that’s what pleases You. We’re here today to desire to want to please You and to know the truth. Lord, we know the truth is swimming upstream in our culture, and it’s being cast out, set aside, blasphemed, and everything else that destroys. We know Satan and his fingerprints are all over that. I pray, Lord, You would allow Your people to be faithful to the word of God, to live it out, and to know how to communicate it to others who are struggling with its understanding and its practice. I pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.
As I’ve been in the Ten Commandments, we are looking at the seventh commandment, which says:
You shall not commit adultery.
From last week, the principle revealed in the seventh commandment was pretty direct where it is teaching us to honor the marriage institution by remaining faithful to one’s own spouse and by respecting the marriages of other people. This is more fleshed-out in the New Testament. Today, we are brought face-to-face with the realities of God’s plan for marriage and personal morality.
As God intended it, the laws that God gave to the Israelites touch the very areas of their lives that he knew. It would and could have been most affected by association with the Canaanites or people other than Israel in the world. These Canaanites were notorious for their complete lack of morality, lack of purity, and served gods who were grossly immoral. The physical and the spiritual were all meshed into one in their minds and what they did physically did not constitute for them immorality. It was quite moral for them to do it since they had their own definition.
As we move farther and farther away from God, His standards become increasingly secular and grossly immoral in our country, and it becomes the norm. We, as the church, cannot move away from the word of God. We must stick and stay in the word of God and get our information from the word of God. This is a clear, straightforward, and emphatic command. You can almost feel the force of God being against every kind of adultery.
This is a principal that we are to live out today. God is serious about fidelity. He is serious about purity and morality. God is a moral being, and He has created us as moral beings. He will hold people accountable for their morality. When humans reject God’s rule, replace it with their own understanding of their own rule, they violate and pervert God’s fixed order of the moral law. When that happens, God’s morals are violated, which results in serious consequences.
God is serious about His marriage institution. Last week, we saw that we are to have a high view of marriage, a correct mindset of marriage, and a correct behavior before and in marriage. Also, we are to maintain the correct view of God in marriage.
Today, we are going to be looking at this fourth one and that is to maintain a correct and consistent conduct that aligns with pleasing God, which helps us to understand who we are. In Scripture, God is very serious about His marriage institution. More than any other picture, it reflects God’s faithful relationship to His people and how faithful He is in that relationship.
In the New Testament, it has become clear to us how Christ loves and is faithful to His people in the church, and how the church has to be faithful, respectful, loving, and submissive to Christ. This is the clear relationship we find in Scripture between God and His people, and His people and God.
On this Lord’s day, I’d like you to turn to 1 Thessalonians 4. As we look at that passage of Scripture, we’re going to be able to understand and live out our sexuality as to please God. In this passage of Scripture, we are going to get a lot of instruction because we want to maintain a correct and have a consistent conduct that aligns with pleasing God.
In 1 Thessalonians 3:13, Paul provides to the Thessalonians, who were formerly idolatrous, a perspective that is too often neglected in a sinfully intoxicated culture like theirs and ours. It says:
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.
In other words, Paul is concerned about how we live because he’s looking for the coming of Christ. In light of the coming of Christ, live this way. Also, he tells us, in the word of God, this is how you and I are to conduct ourselves as we go in and out of living our life on Earth. Not only is there an unattained maturity that were after since we want to become more mature, but we are growing into and out of lifestyles that were not the way we ought to live and cultural practices that we need to throw overboard so that they completely disappear in our life.
Scripture gets very specific and talks about the Christian being called to a very high standard of living. If you look in Thessalonians, you find that in this passage of Scripture, the Bible is teaching us very clearly that we are to be people who are pleasing to God. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 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. 2For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
The basic thing he is saying here is that he wants to teach you how to continue to walk in a manner that is pleasing before God. You’re doing it already but excel in it. Let it overflow in your life. Let it become a part of the habits of your life. He goes on to say in 1 Thessalonians 4:3:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality
That’s pretty clear in Scripture. We don’t have to really wonder what that means. We can see it, and it’s meant to be clear. It’s meant to be direct, especially in this area of how sex is to be used in the sphere of being a Christian.
Last time, I mentioned what is sexual purity. God’s design is that man and woman would exercise their sexuality and experience sexual pleasure in only one context, which is the context of the marriage relationship. Any impurity dishonors our marriage and defiles our marriage bed. It is taking the affection that we vow to our spouse alone and giving it to another. It’s a horrible offense against our spouse and it would be a horrible offense against God.
To be sexually pure is to receive sexual pleasure and satisfaction only from your spouse and to give sexual pleasure and satisfaction only to your spouse. If you are single, then this means abstaining entirely from sexual pleasure and satisfaction as long as God keeps you single. In the meantime, you are to pursue the greatest kind of pleasure and satisfaction, which is that of knowing God.
That doesn’t mean we know that we ought to do that right away. That comes with growing and maturity. The more I mature in Christ, the more I realize that the real pleasure and satisfaction I get in this world can only come from God himself. He gives His people what they really want, but it only comes from Him and cannot come from anything else or outside of Him. We try to go outside of the Lord instead of finding it in Him.
To be sexually impure is to receive sexual pleasure or satisfaction from any source other than your spouse or to give sexual pleasure or satisfaction to anyone other than your spouse. In Proverbs 5:20, a question is brought up to people who are learning how to be wise. The question to the young man, which can also be presented to the young woman, is:
For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?
The context indicates that there is absolutely no reason. You definitely should not do that. Here, the goal of a wise person is to live wisely before the eyes of God and before others. Anything other than that would be to live foolishly, and if I asked anybody if they want to be characterized as a fool, then nobody’s raising their hand.
In other words, this is going to present to us an understanding from Scripture on what God requires of us. Then, Jesus takes it in the New Testament and raises the bar for us where He says in Matthew 5:27-28:
You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
When you read something like that, you have to really step back and think of what is being said. In this passage, there is a link between adultery and lust. Generally, what Scripture says of adultery is also true of lust. Jesus not only restates the awfulness of adultery and God’s command against it, but He also added a dimension that some may not have realized was involved in the seventh commandment, which is sinning in thought, to look, and to lust.
Lust is to eye something with evil desire, which is also adultery in God’s sight. Adultery is violating the marriage covenant by engaging in sexual behavior mentally. Did you know that one half of all divorces take place because of adultery? Often encouraged by pornography.
Years ago, I read of publication on The Rebirth of America and Charles H Keating Jr, in a report on pornography to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, reports the recent study by the Michigan State Police using a computer to classify over 35,000 sex crimes in a period of 20 years. They found that 43% were pornography related.
For sure, we know that pornography gives a distorted view of human sexuality and sensuality. It stresses the erotic without so much as giving a hint to where that path will lead. In fact, in child trafficking, which is one of the major criminal activities happening under drug trafficking, they interview and interrogate those who are caught. The question that is placed before them is:
How did you get here? How did you get to having sex with children?
This is what they said:
It started off with softcore pornography, which led to harder pornography, which led to wanting to live out all what I was seeing, which led to finally saying the ultimate would be to have someone innocent and young.
That’s their goal and that is a satanic goal. Every one of them said it was fueled by pornography. Thus, pornography will lead someone where they don’t want to go, it’ll keep them longer than they want to stay, and will make them pay more than they want to pay.
Therefore, we need to stay away from that kind of stuff. It’s not just men today, but it’s women too. It’s all over the place today and people will say:
Well, looking doesn’t hurt anybody.
That is true to a point. There is a very fine line between looking, looking that leads to lusting, and lusting that has evil desire and intent to it, which the Bible has warned right from the beginning that there is a pattern of sin when it comes to looking. Looking will lead to desiring, which will lead to lusting, which will lead to taking what you want. That’s the downward spiral.
Jesus is teaching that adultery can be committed in your thoughts because adultery springs from an unclean heart. What is it that really produces defilement? Nothing that comes from outside that makes us unclean. Defilement is moral and spiritual. It always involves the heart, and the heart is the center of personality where it wills, thinks, and dwells on things.
When the contents of the hearts spill out, they spill out through words and actions. They are the very things that defile a man. In fact, this is what Mark 7:15 says:
there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man.
Fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, price, and foolishness are all things that proceed from within and defile the man. This is a sobering truth in Scripture. Where does all this evil come from? It’s right in your heart, and that’s how God sees us. That’s what sin has done when it entered into this world.
So, what defiles a person is their own thoughts, their own words, and their own actions, which are a product of their own heart. If we consider that, what is man like? Man is really under the knife. The Bible says he is somebody who needs a new heart transplant. That’s what he needs.
Man’s greatest need is a new heart. Therefore, conversion is the work of God in extracting our hard hearts and giving us hearts that are soft to the salvation He has worked for us in Jesus Christ. That’s what we all need because we all have a problem, which is sin. Thus, when we’re tempted to do it, then we don’t have a hard time really doing all this these things. The Bible mentions that it’s already there in our heart. Ezekiel 36:26-27 says:
“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.
That’s what the Lord will do with us when we come to Christ, so we ought to run to Christ to be saved. Then, why do relationships tend to fray and fall apart? Well, Jesus is saying we are what’s wrong. It’s what comes out from the inside. It’s the self-centeredness of a human heart. It is sin and rebellion against God.
In fact, these evils that come from the heart is what makes us so unclean and that’s what the law does. The law is like a mirror. We look into the law and we see ourselves. What should we see when we look into the law? We see not a good person, but a person who’s defiled and dirty before God, that’s what we see. If we are honest, the way Jesus explained it in Matthew is that we are all guilty of that one. You’re all guilty of that one. The Bible warns us in James 2:10:
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
It takes one sin to bring the whole condemnation upon us. We are born in sin because of Adam’s sin, so we’re sinners. However, God is a holy God, and His standard is perfection. There’s no one who’s perfect, and we all fall short of that standard.
A little girl once watching sheep grazing on the hillside thought how white they look against the green background, but when it began to snow, she thought the sheep now look dirty against the white snow. It was the same sheep, but with a different background. When we compare ourselves to man standards or to someone else, We look pretty clean.
We may look better than someone else, but when we compare ourselves with the pure white righteousness of God’s standard, that is, in the moral law, we can see ourselves in truth that we are unclean and unholy in His sight. Thank the Lord the He came to die for those who are unholy and ungodly. Paul says in Romans 13:13-14:
Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
There, lust means with evil desire. Lust is so aggressive that we must fight against it as soldiers of Jesus Christ. To not fight against it, is to accept defeat. This battle has cosmic proportions for it is part of the war against Satan, who is viciously fighting to divert our affections away from our glorious God and Savior Jesus Christ. That is what he’s doing.
He is very much involved in the religious world. That’s where he plays his chess game, and he’s trying to divert your attention off the things that are eternal onto temporal things. God wants us to focus in on eternal things. So, what are we to do with sexual impurity? 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality
Another word for sanctification is the word holiness. We are to pursue a life of holiness, a life of being set apart unto God. God’s will is the thing that God wants and what God wants is what pleases Him, and He’s telling us right here what pleases Him. To please Him, we must know and do His will. What is the will of God for the Thessalonians and for us?
First of all, the will of God is your sanctification, a life of holiness. Believers come to Christ in all their sin and they receive cleansing by His atoning blood. Then, every day we become more and more what God would have us to be, which means to be set apart, holy to God, and separated in the consecration of life with a conduct that pleases God.
Secondly, we are also to keep free from any form of sexual immorality. It’s God’s will for you to abstain. Abstinence is a very strong verb, which means to avoid and to keep free from something. Of course, the Christian is to have nothing to do with any form of porneia, which is the Greek term we get the word pornography from. That includes pre-marital, extramarital, or unnatural sexual behavior.
We’re to stay away from all of it. When you see a sign that says danger high voltage, then stay away. The wise thing to do is to obey and make no attempt to defy the warning or you may be fried in a second. Sexual immorality is equal to high voltage, stay far away. When it comes to this, the Bible says to run from this. Don’t even let it get a little hook in you.
If it gets a hook in you, then it will reel you in causing the results of that sin to wreak havoc in your life. The Greek word for sexual immorality is an all-inclusive term designating complete abstinence to any form of sexual immorality. This includes abstinence from any real or imagined sexual deviant behavior.
For human beings to attempt to gratify their sexual hungry in any other way than marriage is a deviation from God’s plan and God’s will. That would include any man to woman sexual relationship outside or before marriage, fornication before adultery or after, or any man to man or woman to woman sexual gratification such as occurs in homosexuality. Though, some today would have us believe that homosexual activity is neither wrong nor immoral, but simply a different lifestyle.
However, God’s word declares it is sin. It is a twisted perversion of the norm created by God – one man and one woman. That’s from the beginning. That has not changed in God’s program. That has changed in our culture, the fabric of the world, but it has not changed in the mind of God from the Old and New Testament and the church. Thus, the people of God need to keep that.
This also includes any self-stimulated gratification such as occurs in masturbation. That isn’t pure because it is attempting to have pleasure outside the marriage bond. It is a selfish act rather than a loving one. It is gratifying the flesh and it is a perversion of that which is good, and how God intends it to be satisfied only in marriage.
As Christians, the first thing we are to do is hold ourselves away from fornication. Then, the next thing we are to do is to know how to do the first thing, and that provision from God is our self-control. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 says:
that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor.
The Thessalonians, these Christians, knew how to possess their own vessel. Some have interpreted this vessel as how to possess your own wife. However, I believe it is saying how to possess your own body. Our bodies are our vessels, so we’re to possess our own vessel in sanctification. Meaning, to be set apart to God.
We are to learn, know, and practice the habit of purity. Your habit of sin becomes your habit of holiness and righteousness. In 1 Thessalonians 4:4, possess means getting a handle on learning how to keep your own body under control. Thus, you will preserve it for purity right up until the day you get married or to the day that you met Jesus.
Now, why do you restrain yourself and give your members over to the power of the Holy Spirit to live righteously? Simply, it is because you love the Lord. When you are a believer, then you want to please Him. When we when we trust in Christ, we’re trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He is now our Master, and He is a good Master. Therefore, what He says and requires of me is always good, so I want to please Him.
The primary reason we abstain from sexual immorality is that we want to please the Lord. If you claim to believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then everything changes. Our old habitual and sinful lifestyle is incompatible with being a Christian. Do you agree with that?
In other words, I’m new now. I have the Holy Spirit of God indwelling me. I have the word of God. I now have desires I didn’t have before. I have desires to really want to honor God. I realized I still sin, and sin still could affect me, but I don’t want to sin. I want to do righteousness.
When you’re a Christian, you still have remaining sin, but we want to put that sin off and to death. We want to abide in Christ. We want to live more and more pleasing Him. Those are the desires we have as Christians.
That desire doesn’t come from your willpower, the world, anyone else, Satan. or your flesh. It has to come from God. That is not a mindset or desire that were born with. We are born to be rebels against God. Now, the spirit of God is in us, so now we want to conform to the will of God.
There are three areas of incompatibility when someone becomes a Christian. There are more areas, but I just want to give you three for now. I am assuming and saying that you are a believer and that you have come in repentance and faith to believe in Christ. You’re not trusting anything else, but you are just trusting in Him, right? If that is true of you, then these things will be true of you too.
The first area of incompatibility is your old habitual, sinful heart, and lifestyle is incompatible with your new connection to Christ. 1 John 3:6 says:
No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
It doesn’t mean that we become senseless by the way that sounds. Rather, if we abide in Him, we do not habitually sin. We don’t go on sinning in the same way. If we do go on sinning the same way, the Bible says you haven’t seen Him either. Do you know Him? That must be clear in our minds. If somebody is living a continuous, habitual, and unrepentant lifestyle whatever the sin maybe and if you name the name of Jesus, then you’re just lying to yourself.
The Bible says if you live that way, then you haven’t seen Him, and you don’t even know Him. If you don’t know Him, then He doesn’t know you. Thus, there are two groups. Number one, the one who abides in Christ has an ongoing relationship with Him and does not continue in willful, habitual sin. Number two, is someone who does not abide in Chris even though he or she may say they do abide in Christ.
Those in group two are characterized by the practice of sin as the ruling principle of their lives. They have no ongoing relationship to Christ. They have not seen Him. They do not know him. They have never gained an intimate acquaintance with Christ evidenced by their habitual sinful lifestyle.
There are many people who profess Christ, but if you look at their lifestyle, the way they live day by day, then you’ll find out what they are doing doesn’t line up with what they are saying. The Bible wants us to know that we’re really Christians that were really in Christ. Thus, a habitual sinful lifestyle is incompatible with the new connection that you have with Jesus Christ.
Secondly, you’re old, habitual sinful heart and lifestyle is incompatible with the character and nature of Christ. 1 John 3:5 says:
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.
What is the nature of Christ? He hasn’t sinned. This underscores the sinless nature of the Redeemer as righteous and pure. He who opposes sins in the lives of His people is Himself without sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Then, in Hebrews 4:15, it says:
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
In 1 John 3:7, it says:
Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous
In other words, Christ is the one is righteous and who practices righteousness. All right, they have a habitual pattern of putting off sin which they didn’t before. Habitual actions are the index of character. Right deeds spring habitually from a character that is righteous. Christ is always our example here that Christians are to act like their Lord, Jesus.
Meaning, a Christian develops habitual actions of righteousness giving proof of their regeneration and that they are born again. If we have Christ’s righteousness, we will more and more act like Christ, not like the devil, who was our father before we came to Christ.
Thirdly, your old, habitual sinful heart and lifestyle is incompatible with the Christians new nature. 1 John 3:8 says:
the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.
In other words, the Christian is not like he used to be. They do not have a habitual pattern of sin anymore in their life. The one who practices sin, the Bible says, is of the devil. If you continue to have that, then you haven’t changed at all. In fact, you haven’t changed families. You’re still in the old family and your father is the devil.
The principle of the divine life is given to the one who is born of God. Therefore, their new nature is to practice righteousness, which before I became a Christian, it was not my nature to practice righteousness. Rather, it was my nature to practice sin.
In contrast, he who keeps on doing sin, it is the habit and character of his nature to sin, and all those who are his children, it’s their character and nature to sin also. When one acts like the devil, he shows that he is not a true child of God. The devil has been sinning, the Bible says, from the beginning of his career. That is, his normal life, and those who imitate him are his spiritual children.
When a person thinks and acts like this, they actually misrepresent the character of God and make Him out to be what He is not. It communicates that all God has done and planned in the person of Jesus Christ is for nothing. In fact, it may be a big hoax. A person who professes something and does not live it, then they are not in line with what the Bible teaches about real conversion. 1 John 3:9 says:
No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
He cannot do it anymore because he is a new birth and he is born into the family of God. He has the spirit of God. God has given believers new birth. They cannot continue in sin because God’s seed abides in that person. The reason why those born of God cannot continually sin is because God’s DNA is in them – if I may say it like that. The new birth is affected by God for the spirit of God.
In other words, God’s seed, the divine principle of life of which He had begotten His children remain in them. God doesn’t give us a life that you can lose your salvation. According to Scripture, when God saves someone and puts His seed in them, who’s going to take that away from that person? Nobody can do it. That person can’t even do it because they’re born again into Gods family.
God’s offspring are spiritual children born from above that now have a new nature. Because of this, they can only be what their new nature expresses. Therefore, the child of God does not have the habit of sin anymore.
In 1 John 3:9, he cannot sin and go on in the old pattern anymore. He cannot go on sinning. Meaning, it is impossible for the Christian to live a habitually sinful life without confession, without conviction, without repentance, or without chastisement.
In fact, when you’re a believer, you’re going to be confessing your sins. in 1 John 3:9, when we sin, it tells us to confess your sin right and He’s faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and to cleanse you from all your unrighteousness.
In the next verse, it talks about walking in the light as He’s in the light, so you keep walking in the light. As you’re walking in the light, the light is going to expose all the rest of the sin that’s in your life. Remember, God doesn’t reveal all our sin at one time. It would be such a horror story that you wouldn’t be able to take it. You would probably die on the spot, so He doesn’t do that.
He allows us to see our sinful heart as we are sanctified slowly in Christ-likeness. When we see that sin, we run to Him and to the Cross. We don’t run to a priest. We don’t run to a church building. We don’t run to any kind of ceremony. We don’t run into anything like that. We run to Christ and we say:
Lord, you died for this sin and I’m confessing it to You. I want to put it down and I want to put that sin to death, and I want to follow You.
That’s the pattern of a believer. In fact, when you confess your sin, you are living righteously. That is a righteous pursuit of God. That’s exactly what we’re supposed to do. When we come to the Lord with our sin, then we receive forgiveness, cleansing, and God’s mercy. True Biblical confession is not just saying sorry about that, but it is saying:
I have offended my Lord and my offense is as serious to me as it is to Him. That’s what it is Lord. You hate this thing. You died for this. I don’t want it in my life anymore. I want it out of my life. I want to please You in the way I live.
The true confession of sin to God involves the accepting of personal responsibility for that sin, so that personal sin is genuinely recognized and not explain the way. It’s not rationalized, and it’s not presumed upon either. Meaning, when people sin a certain way because they know they can run to Christ afterwards and ask Him to forgive them. No, that’s presumption, which leads you to sin two sins and a multitude of other sins.
No, a Christian does not presume that God is going to do something when you sin and then you come to Him thinking that you can just do that without immunities. That is where chastisement comes in and God will punish us because we are His children. God’s not going to let us get away with bad behavior. He is going to punish us. 1 John 3:3-4 says:
And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 4Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
In other words, that’s what we do. We come to Him, we’re liberated from our sin, and we are purified, cleansed, and forgiven because of what Christ accomplished on our behalf. 1 Thessalonians 4:5 says:
not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God
The reason why I went to 1 John and came back from there is because Christians know God. They know what God wants of them because of the word of God. They know they’re learning to know the will of God. Thus, Christians know how to control themselves around all other women and men of all ages at all times.
In the context of Thessalonians, the reason that we are to keep ourselves pure is not only because we please God, but also because of our marriage partner. If you’re not married yet, then for the person that you’re going to marry.
You’re keeping yourself pure for that special relationship you have with the other person. Cohabitation and all the stuff that’s going on today of trying the person out first, then most of the time it doesn’t work out at all. In fact, they destroy the specialness of the consummation in the union of a man and woman. When they get to that point where they’re married and they’re having sexual relationships in the place that God intended, then that’s where all the joy comes from.
That’s where all the blessings come from because we’re doing it in the way he designed it. See, that’s the key there. They know God. The people who do not live this way, they do not know God. The people who do now have an intimate relationship with God the Father through the atoning death of Jesus Christ and are presently indwelled by the Holy Spirit.
God is working in us Purity and we are working out that purity that God’s working in us through our thought life, our daily relationships, and all our other activities. It is God’s will that every Christian is to know how to act in the matter of sex so as to be pleasing to God. That’s what he says here in this passage. Christians know very well that every type of fornication is contrary to the will of God. Christians know very well that passion alone is an inaccurate and often destructive guide.
The whole thing about following your heart is a bunch of malarkey. No, you follow the truth, and as your conscience is being developed and growing in Christ-likeness by the truth, then you’ll be able to listen to the voice of God that’s coming through the word of God. As you understand the truth of what God’s will, you will not listen to your own heart. It will lead you astray every time.
Christians also know very well that God instituted marriage for the honorable use of the sexual relationship. Last time, we saw that Christians know very well that they are to set themselves apart to please God and live honorably before people in pure relationships with others. In other words, in sanctification and honor. That is what the gentiles, the pagans, and the unbelievers do not know for certain.
They don’t know with certainty to do that. Neither do they have deep convictions about how to live their life because they don’t know God. If you don’t know God through Jesus Christ, if God is not in the reference of your planning and you’re living, then we get our standards from the world, our family, ourselves, our own philosophies of life. Those standards will reflect whether we know God or don’t know God. Not just in outward behavior, but inward thought such as what’s going on in your mind and your heart. God knows all those things.
See, they don’t know God, so they run wild in all manner of sexual excess following the cues of the world, their own sinful passions, and satanic temptation. I’m going to leave it right there. The next part of the passage of Scripture is going to bolster up everything that I said already, so you have to be here for the next one. Let’s pray:
Lord, thank You. Lord, in these difficult passages of Scripture that come hard on our heart and directly to us, I pray that You would allow us as Your children, with Your spirit in-dwelling us, with the word of God guiding us, that Your will would be done in this area in our life. I pray, Lord, that young people who are just hearing these things for the first time or maybe they know them, but they’re not putting them into practice, and they say they know Christ. I pray, Lord, that today will be a day they make all those things right with You. If they don’t know You, they come to believe in You as their Lord and Savior. If they do that, they would be living in a manner that pleases You because You see all. You are the avenger of those who do wrong. I pray, Lord, that these truths would be able to also give us guidance on teaching others – parents teaching their children. Even Lord, for ourselves and that it would keep us walking on the straight and narrow in a way where we know that we are walking in a manner that’s pleasing to You, or we know when we’re walking in a manner that’s not pleasing to You. Lord, those things become clear to Your children. I pray, Lord, let us heal ourselves to the spirit of God, so He would give us the strength and ability to be able to walk in a manner that honors You and that our relationships with others of the opposite sex would be honorable. That it would be one that pleases You. Also, Lord, keep us pure. Keep young people pure until they get married. Lord, keep marriages pure. Keep all kinds of outside influences outside of the realm of our marriage, so our thoughts would be thoughts that are pleasing to You and are honoring within the marriage sphere. Lord, take all these things. Work them together for the good, the glory of Your name, and the honor of Christ. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.