Monday, April 19, 2010

Sexual morality

There is a lot of confusion out there about sexual morality
1. What does the Bible teach about sex? (who it is for and when it can be enjoyed?)
2. Why should you follow God’s plan?
3. How can you follow God’s plan?

1. The Bible teaches that sexual relations are to be enjoyed within the context of marriage only. (Deut. 5:18, Matt. 5:27-28, Heb. 13:4, 1 Thess. 4:3-7)

Matt. 5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.“

Jesus tells us that sexual purity isn’t just about avoiding intercourse with someone who is married – it goes to the heart of our attitudes toward other people. If we look at them lustfully we have already committed an indecent act in God’s eyes.

What else does God’s word teach us about sex?

1Th. 4:3-7 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality (greek “porneia” which has a broad application to all types of sexual sin); that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Does this mean that all sex is condemned by God? Far from it. God created sex. He created men and women with sexual organs designed to enjoy sex. But he teaches that it is to be enjoyed only within the boundaries of a lifelong, committed marriage.

Heb. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Many other passages could be quoted – but the clear idea of scripture is that God created sex to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage.

2. God’s plan for sex is for our benefit. (John 10:10)

The reason for any “law” like this is ultimately our good. God loves us and wants us to experience abundant life – not keep us from “the good stuff”.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”

God knows the destructive power . of sexual relationships when they occur outside of the commitment of a loving marriage. What is interesting is that it is not just Bible believing Christians who understand this, but secular researchers are discovering that sex outside of marriage carries with it a large amount of baggage.

Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely to Be Depressed and to Attempt Suicide

Young people – you need to hear this! Your classmates, and in particular the media portrays that sexual activity is great, fun, exciting, mature. The message our culture is pounding into your head is that waiting for sex will make you UNHAPPY. But that is exactly the opposite of what this study discovered.

I’ll say it again – God’s plan for sex being reserved for marriage is for our GOOD!

But it’s not just teens who need to hear this message. The practice of cohabitating with a sexual partner prior to marriage also has negative long-term effects.

THE NEGATIVE RESULTS OF COHABITATION more likely to enjoy sex afterward than those who cohabit.

If you are a single adult who has bought into the culture’s idea that cohabitating is a good way to prepare for marriage – you’ve been lied to.

Let me say it one more time. God loves you and wants you to experience an abundant life – filled with all the best. He instructs us to save sex for marriage because he wants to save us from all the problems that sharing such an intimate relationship outside of the commitment of marriage causes.

Nearly everything in the media brainwashes us with the ideas that sex is just a physical act, that it can and should be enjoyed by everyone as often as possible, and that there is no reason to reserve sexual relations for your spouse.

But even with all this pressure, you’ve got to understand that…
3. Although staying pure in our society is difficult, it is possible. (Matt. 5:8, 1 Cor. 10:13)

How can we stay pure in this oversexed culture? It starts with a desire to please God and dedicating yourself to following His word and not the culture or your emotions.

But I can tell you from experience that though this is a good starting place – we’re going to need to learn how to defend ourselves from the attacks against our desire to please God that come relentlessly.

Sexual activity is like a freight train. It make take a long time to get started, but once its moving it is extremely hard to put on the brakes and stop. The key is in setting boundaries for yourself BEFORE you get in a tempting situation. As any full-blooded person can tell you – it can be very difficult to make good choices about sexual behavior in the heat of the moment. That’s why I want to help you think through a set of questions that any of us should answer BEFORE we go on a date, or even consider dating someone!

Who will I date? Who will I not date?
2Cor. 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
Paul’s context was probably not a marriage relationship here, but a business contract. Don’t get stuck in a contractual relationship with someone whose way of life is so different than your own. But if that is true in business, how much more true is it in a marriage?
What will I wear? (ladies)

This is mostly for the women and young women out there. By “What will I wear?” I don’t mean will I wear the blue shirt or the green shirt. I mean – what principles will guide my choices of ... what clothes I’ll even purchase.

Let’s be honest. The trend in fashion today is for women to dress in ways that show more skin than ever before. It’s not in fashion, it seems, if the midriff is not exposed and the pants aren’t hanging lowly on the hips. And tops and dresses seem to show more and more of women’s chests and shoulders than ever.

What you’ve got to understand is that such clothes send a message. “Look at my body.” And when that message is sent to young men – guess what they are going to do? Yeah…they’ll look – and they’ll begin thinking about how they can do a lot more than look.
At the risk of sounding prudish, I want to read St Paul’s advice regarding clothing to you women:

1Tim. 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety...

When you choose what to wear – go ahead and be fashionable – but dress modestly. If you do you’ll help keep the freight train from getting started.

I’ve got a question mostly for the guys…

What will I allow my eyes to see?

It’s no secret that guys get their freight train started by what comes into their minds visually. The very existence of the pornography industry bears testimony to that. What we need to do guys, if we are striving to follow God’s laws regarding sexuality, is determine that we will not allow our eyes to take in images (whether in the media or in real life) that lead our mind to impure places.

Psa. 101:3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.

Job 31:1 ¶ “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.

Guys – One of the best way to stay sexually pure is to make the covenant with your eyes!

The third question that everyone needs to ask themselves BEFORE they get in a sexually heated situation is this

How far is too far?
As a teenager I always wished someone could give me a quick answer to this question. “OK I know that going all the way is wrong…but what about…?”

What I discovered as I grew up was that if I wanted to make sure not to cross the line into areas that were clearly detrimental to my relationship with God, I needed to draw the line a few steps back from where I needed to stop.

Bedroom is off limits.

Each person has to take a look at whatever situations cause them to be tempted – and create a boundary that will keep them far from it.

What music will I listen to?
What role will alcohol or other drugs play in my life?

The last question you need to answer ahead of time is this…

What will I do when temptation is too strong? (not if, but when)

1Cor. 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what . you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

God will always provide a way out – but it takes a lot of strength and integrity to take it!

What did Joseph do when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife? She had grabbed him and said – “Come to bed with me!” (A fairly direct temptation!)

What did he do? He ran. He got out of that situation.

What change is the Holy Spirit prompting you to make? (Ps. 139:23-24)
Psa. 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Search your heart – is there anything you need to change? A current relationship? Get rid of some immodest clothing? Trash some videos or music that corrupts your thinking? Set some ground rules for future dating relationships? Find a different living situation that will encourage and promote abstinence until marriage?