“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, âThe two will become one flesh.â But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins people commit are outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (I Corinthians 6:15-20)
Sexual sin can be one of the most devastating sins in our lives. According to the Apostle Paul, unlike other sin, sexual sin is against our own bodies. It affects our lives in ways that we did not or could not expect, and often it is not until years later, with the ability of hindsight, do we finally see what our sexual transgressions have caused us. I came across an interesting article by theologian J.I. Packer, where he discusses the issue of sin, answering the question, Are All Sins Equal. J.I. Packer says they are not, and I tend to agree with him, especially in the area of sexual sin. Equal in the sense that all sin is sin, and all sin is a violation of our relationship with Jesus Christ (Romans 1:25). But not all sin carries with it the same consequences, and sexual sin can carry some unique and devastating consequences that one would not expect.
Our desire to connect sexually with someone is often linked to our desire to want to feel intimacy with another human being, to feel like we belong to someone, and to feel like we have given ourselves completely to another person. For Sigmund Freud, he saw this urge as our desire to connect with a parent. For Carl Jung, he saw this urge as our desire to connect with another person of the opposite sex. And for those that are Christian, this urge is often linked to our desire to connect with God. The famous theologian and writer G. K. Chesterton said that “Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God.” The problem with this desire, is not the desire itself, as we talked about a few weeks ago when we looked at the Creation story in Genesis 1-2. But the problem arises when our sexual desires are misdirected and stray from the intention and design of God, which is a committed, monogamous, marriage relationship between a man and a woman.
When it comes to sexual sin in our lives, I think that most of us live under the assumption that we are in complete control, and that if we are in control we have the ability to “dabble” and “play with fire” just a little bit. We lie to ourselves believing that we are able to not only control the circumstances, but that we can pull away or get out of the situation whenever we want. But Scripture tends to paint a different picture of this reality. “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched?” (Proverbs 6:27-28) The obvious answer is no.
So when we lack the patience, and trust, and faith to wait out and to experience the sexual relationship in marriage that God has intended for us, we quickly veer off path. “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creatorâwho is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:24-25) Our “sinful distortion” of the sexual relationship that God had planned for us can take many different forms, but there are a few that I really believe are not only most prevalent, but some of the most disastrous for us. These are not only distortions that manifest themselves in secular, non-Christian settings, but in the Christian community as a whole, and I have personally witnessed the devastation of them in our own community. What are these two things? Pornography and “Hooking-up” (or “FWB: Friends with Benefits”, or “NiCMO: Non-Committed Make Out”). –See some of the postings in the blogs below for info. on this issue–
From the Greek word pornia, meaning any type of sexual immorality (I Corinthians 6:18). It also refers to the type of apostasy that characterized the violation of Godâs relationship with His people in a marriage relationship (Hosea 2:16-23). So any type of sexual immorality, or any rejection of our relationship with God, where He is seen as the groom, and we are the bride, is a form of pornia. Pornography is a serious issue leaving disastrous results in its wake. In a survey of 15,000 pastors at Promise Keepers, 65% of the pastors said they struggled with pornography every week. And if you think it’s not a cash-cow, did you know that the revenue from pornography in the United States alone takes in more money than all major sports combined. Itâs also as addictive as any drug. In research released earlier this year, the Senate of the United States met to discuss the devastating affects of pornography and how it mirrors addiction to crack cocaine and heroin. Psychologist and writer Dan Allender said that “Pornography requires no risk. It doesn’t require failure. It becomes your god. Why you would have a magazine become a God? Many Christians stop at saying it’s wrong, rather than asking why we would be drawn to something that’s not only a violation of ourselves but of somebody else.”
I think this is both an issue for men and women. It is a case where both can help each other out. It is well known that men struggle more with pornography than women, but it also appears that pornography is on the rise with women. According to a March 2004 article by the Journal of the American Family Association, 1 in 6 women struggle with pornography. One of the reasons that I believe that pornography is on the rise, is because it has also become a more desensitized medium. People now hardly regard pornography as pornography. Playboy is now seen as a career opportunity for some women, while most people joke around the water cooler about the latest Paris Hilton video. And what about all the other magazines from Maxim to Stuff to HM?
I believe that Christian men need to do a better job of guarding their hearts (Proverbs 4:23), while not letting Satan get a foothold into their lives. Most people do not begin by looking at what they would consider pornography, rather it begins with a young boy looking at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, to moving on to Maxim, and other magazines, to eventually something that is more hardcore. With pornography as with drugs, enough is never enough. One must continue to get a bigger and bigger high, and they must continue to search until they find it. I also believe that women can do the job of helping guys protect their hearts and minds. How? Maybe by being more self-conscious about how they dress. Is it modest? Does it cause a guy to stumble? Or, how about helping a guy avoid certain temptations that you might know he would be struggling with? Maybe by avoiding certain movies that might tempt him, or by helping him avoid environments that might lead him to struggle. When it comes to pornography I believe that one of the most important agents in helping a person protect themselves from and fight pornography is other people. A group of committed accountability partners is crucial to oneâs health in this area.
This is one of those subject that everyone, or most everyone knows what Iâm talking about, but hardly anyone knows how to properly define it. If you have been reading the last few days, I have been posting articles on this very issue. It is a very vague and ambiguous venture, which could mean anything from kissing to having sex. Hooking-up is a non-committed sexual experience in which each individual lacks not only the respect for themselves, but for each other. If I am sounding vague about this issue, well that’s because it is a very vague and ambiguos act, that psychologists, pastors and others are now just beginning to really wrestle with as they are now seeing the affects of this behavior in the lives of other people. In 2001, American Values.org published a report titled Hooking Up, Hanging Out, And Hoping For Mr. Rigth: College Women on Mating and Dating Today. Even the secular USA Today gets the deadly affects this issue can have on one’s soul. In that article the author makes the astute comment that “Hookups are defined by alcohol, physical attraction and a lack of expectations in the morning.” Wow! Alcohol is a whole other issue that I must write about soon. Alcohol is most often used as “social lubricant” to allow one to go through with actions that they might not normally do if they were not under the influence. Hooking up also goes by the name “friends with benefits” or NiCMO (non-committed make out), and it is having devastating affects on peopleâs lives. It is an issue that more and more psychologists are studying and researching because so little is known about its long term affects. But the long term affects donât look good. And long term affects or foresight on the part of most people is drastically lacking. If you are thinking about getting married one day, or you want to be someone who knows how to be in a relationship, this quote should be enough to cause you to re-think your behavior.
“Indeed, if there’s any learning at all, it’s “a negative mudslide,” leading to incompetence in intimacy, says Seattle psychologist and adolescence researcher Laura Kastner. Like most professionals, she has nothing good to say about the teen trend toward casual sex.”If you’re having casual sex at 16, you don’t have the confidence to move on to dating at 18 because you don’t know how,” she says. “At 20, you feel even more awkward so you avoid dating even more. At 22, you’re like the client I saw last Friday. She knows how to hang in bars, flirt, and go home with a hook-up. She doesn’t know how to spend time with a person, one on one. That scares her. She feels like a loser, she feels disconnected and empty, and has low self-esteem.” (This article was reproduced from a blog below; from a Family magazine on the topic of “friends with benefits”)
People who hook-up and participate in this type of interaction often lack the emotional capacity to bond with another human being and to experience the intimacy that God had designed.
When it comes to sin and itâs consequences, sexual sin is more difficult to get a grasp upon because it is so allusive. If I run a red-light, I will get a ticket. If someone hits me Iâm going to feel pain. But when we play around with sexual sin we often donât see itâs immediate consequences because we think we are in control. My pastor Mark Brewer one day got up and demonstrated this by using a piece of tape. He put the piece of tape on the lectern and he slowly pulled it off and put it back, time and time again. Each time the tape was removed, and replaced, that tape lost its ability to bond to the surface as it had originally. This is what happens with sexual sin. The more and more we play around in sexual activity with someone other than our marriage partner we lose our ability to bond to the person we will eventually marry and have sex with. Those are consequences that people did not see or expect.
As I continue to pastor college students and work in a church, I realize more and more how Christians, and those within the church are not immune to the struggles and sins of the world. And in the little experience that I do have as a pastor, I see just how tragically these two areas of sexual sin are impacting and destroying people. These certainly arenât the only sexual sins that people struggle with, nor are they oneâs that you might struggle with, but they are deadly.
Last, I want to close with a Biblical story that I believe best exemplifies this idea that sexual sin is not something that we can control, and that its consequences can have everlasting affects on our lives. The story is found in II Samuel 11:1-12:1, and it’s the famous story of David and Bathsheba. In this story, we have a man who in I Samuel 13:14 is referred to as a man after God’s own heart. No one else in Scripture is given this description. But in the story of David and Bathsheba, David is depicted as this man who thinks he is in control of his life, in control of his circumstances. This is best seen in the Hebrew, where there is both a beutiful and tragic play on words. The Hebrew word for “send” is used 12 times in Chapter 11. David is this man who “sends” people to do what he wants. He appears as if he is in control of his life, sending people to do the things he asks. But that he is not. And it starts small for David. It begins by him not going out to war, as a king should. Then it progresses to him watching Bathsheeba bathing on a roof. Progressing to him sending for her, so that he may sleep with her. Progressing to her getting pregnant, and sending word to David. To David then trying to cover up his sin by bringing back her husband to sleep with her, but Uriah won’t because he is an honorable man in the midst of war. Progressing then to David plotting murder to cover up his sin. And finally, David coldheartedly saying that war devours people and that Uriah is a consequence of that. But in 12:1, we reach the climax of the story. The LORD has had enough. He then sends the prophet Nathan to David to confront him. Tweleve usages of “send” in Chapter 11, and the thirteenth use in 12:1 when the LORD steps in. This word usage will continue as well in very disastrous consequences when David unknowingly sends his daugther Tamar into the room of his son Amnon who has been planning to rape her. David’s sin had major consequences, and we sadly see them for the rest of his life and his family falls apart.
Sin cannot be controlled, and it only takes a little slip, or allowance on our part for Satan to get a foothold in our life. David probably did not think that by staying home from war, and watching Bathsheba bathing would bring him to adultery, murder, and the ruin of his family. There are times in our life where we probably do not think that by watching a certain movie, or viewing pornography, or hanging out in a bad environment will lead us to such ruin. But such is the uncontrollable consequences of sin in our life. If we give an inch, it will take a mile. “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each of you is tempted when you are dragged away by your own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15).
So read this story of David and ask yourself the same questions about your own life.
Do I think I am in control of my sin?
Can I dabble a little bit, and think I won’t get burned, or consumed?
Will this action lead to possibly something worse?
Is Satan using this little allowance on my part to bring greater ruin?
Is drinking in this environment going to cause me to have bad judgement?
Is hanging out in this environment, whether it be a club, or a bar, or a friend’s place, putting me in a place where circumstances might be out of my control?
Do I have enough respect for myself not to hook up with another person?
Do I care about my future, and want to honor God with my body?
Etc., Etc., Etc.
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
2 Samuel 11
David and Bathsheba
1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, 3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “Isn’t this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” 4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then [a] she went back home. 5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
6 So David sent this word to Joab: “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” And Joab sent him to David. 7 When Uriah came to him, David asked him how Joab was, how the soldiers were and how the war was going. 8 Then David said to Uriah, “Go down to your house and wash your feet.” So Uriah left the palace, and a gift from the king was sent after him. 9 But Uriah slept at the entrance to the palace with all his master’s servants and did not go down to his house.
10 When David was told, “Uriah did not go home,” he asked him, “Haven’t you just come from a distance? Why didn’t you go home?”
11 Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields. How could I go to my house to eat and drink and lie with my wife? As surely as you live, I will not do such a thing!”
12 Then David said to him, “Stay here one more day, and tomorrow I will send you back.” So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13 At David’s invitation, he ate and drank with him, and David made him drunk. But in the evening Uriah went out to sleep on his mat among his master’s servants; he did not go home.
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. 15 In it he wrote, “Put Uriah in the front line where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die.”
16 So while Joab had the city under siege, he put Uriah at a place where he knew the strongest defenders were. 17 When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died.
18 Joab sent David a full account of the battle. 19 He instructed the messenger: “When you have finished giving the king this account of the battle, 20 the king’s anger may flare up, and he may ask you, ‘Why did you get so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you know they would shoot arrows from the wall? 21 Who killed Abimelech son of Jerub-Besheth [b] ? Didn’t a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you get so close to the wall?’ If he asks you this, then say to him, ‘Also, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.’ ”
22 The messenger set out, and when he arrived he told David everything Joab had sent him to say. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and came out against us in the open, but we drove them back to the entrance to the city gate. 24 Then the archers shot arrows at your servants from the wall, and some of the king’s men died. Moreover, your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead.”
25 David told the messenger, “Say this to Joab: ‘Don’t let this upset you; the sword devours one as well as another. Press the attack against the city and destroy it.’ Say this to encourage Joab.”
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD .
2 Samuel 12
Nathan Rebukes David
1 The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor.
For more information on these topics, link to the previous blogs below, as well as linking to the articles on the right side of this page under current sermon information.