Thus far in this series we have touched on some pretty sensitive issues, but of all the poisons we will discuss in this series, the poison of perversion and promiscuity this will surely be the most awkward, especially for the guys!
I will be speaking plainly about some things, so if you have a child you don’t want to hear this, please pop outside for a little bit. I am not trying to offend, and will be as candid as possible, but there are people in this room who need to hear this message.
WE NEED TO BE HOLY
As believers, we need to be holy. We need to strive to be holy and fight unholiness…
1 Peter 1:13-16
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
The poison of perversion and promiscuity is without doubt one of the most serious attacks on the church in the 21st century. Sexual perversion of every kind is rampant in our society today, and our modern culture tells us that it is all ok, everyone can choose to do what they want, as long as they don’t hurt others. But deep down, despite what some may say, we know what us ring and wrong!
Don’t let our society’s approach pervert what God says about this dangerous and important poison. I was once discussing the issue of gay ministers with a Christian from… well let’s say another, more permissive denomination. He attacked me and accused me of looking at society through the Bible rather than the Bible through society. I thanked them as that was a huge compliment for me.
If you look at the Bible through society, every law, every precept and everything Jesus taught will change like shifting sand, depending on the prevailing moral lack of the day. If we view society through the Bible we have a standard for holiness that does not change.
The Bible says…
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.IP
My Bible says He loves me, but it does not give me permission to do whatever twisted, perverted sexual activity I can conjure up! Culture changes, governments change, but deep down we know what is right and what is wrong, because we have a conscience. Here’s what happens if culture rules Scripture…
What used to be called chastity is now called neurotic inhibition.
What used to be called Christian discipline is now called unhealthy repression.
What used to be called depravity is now called creative self-expression.
What used to be called disgusting is now called adult.
What used to be called ethical anarchy is now called theology of liberation.
What used to be called moral irresponsibility is now called being freed up.
What used to be called living in sin is now called a meaningful relationship.
What used to be called modesty is now called a hang-up.
What used to be called perversion is now called alternate lifestyle.
What used to be called self-indulgence is now called self-fulfillment.
If God doesn’t punish our country for its sexual sin He will have to apologise to Sodom and Gomorrah!
The poison of perversion and promiscuity is everywhere, and I for one am going to speak about it and challenge all of us, myself included.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
In this difficult message I am going to expose this poison and stand against the perverted standards of this world head on. This will not be my opinion, it will be God’s opinion, and for that we must look at some uncomfortable Scriptures…
ARE YOU GRAFFITIING THE TEMPLE?
Would you enter this church and scrawl graffiti over the walls, and think it’s OK. Would you smash it up for fun, or burn it to the ground, and say you just expressing yourself. If you fear God at all, no one in their right mind defaces a temple.
Lust is an all consuming passion, and the basis for the poison of perversion and promiscuity. People throw their families away, their reputations and even commit murder because of this poison. Some think it’s just a bit of fun, they think it’s satisfying a normal bodily craving, but it is way more than that.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
All sin separates us from God, but sexual sin can deeply damage human character. Sexual sin is the atomic bomb of sins, causing greater and wider destruction than almost every other sin. It’s not worse than other sins, because sin is sin and separates us from God, but it is more damaging and far reaching than most others.
Though someone may say what he is doing will not hurt anyone else, the truth is that it does. The poison of perversion has a ripple effect that is broad and far-reaching. It destroys relationships, it ruins reputations, it opens you up to fatal disease and it ruins how you see yourself and members of the opposite sex.
Ultimately sexual sins, great and small, exposed and hidden, acknowledged or tolerated, will hinder us from being the whole, courageous, powerful witnesses God created us to be. You were bought with a price… Act like it!
Let me also point out that Sex is not evil or perverted, it was created by God and is good. I for one am a big fan of it! He made it to be between marriage partners, a man and a woman, and the Bible clearly teaches that. It’s Satan that perverts it and turns it into a weapon of mass destruction, especially for men.
THE PATH TO POISONING YOURSELF (AND THOSE YOU LOVE)
No one sets out to ruin his life and throw his family and reputation away. It’s the Little foxes that start the whole thing off, and most of those happen secretively.
Song of Songs 2:15
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.
Samson didn’t turn toward sin in one huge, ridiculous decision. A lifetime of little choices resulted in Samson’s demise. Similarly, it isn’t the politician’s final bribe, but rather his early career decisions to bend the rules, that leads to his downfall. It isn’t the public moral failing of the religious leader, but the many unconfessed sins that preceded it, that brings him down. It’s not the addiction, but the little indulgences that fed the addiction, that kills a family.
I heard about a man who was losing his hair, and had one hair left. He use to comb it over and take care of it. One day he woke up and there is was on the pillow, and he exclaimed, “”Oh my, I’ve gone suddenly bald!” Here’s the thing, it had been happening for ages, and so it is with the poison of perversion.
This principle also applies to our marriages. Most Christians don’t wake up one day and decide to throw their marriage and family away with one grand affair. No, the whole process starts quietly, secretively, subtly. A bit of seemingly innocent flirting at work, a porn site that pops up randomly, sending an innocuous email to an old friend or confiding a bit of unhappiness with one’s marriage to a sympathetic friend of the opposite sex.
So small, not important, just a bit of flirting, just a glance, just a look, just a website, just a touch. The little foxes.
PORN TO BE WILD
Interestingly, the Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 6 for immorality is “porneia”, and that’s where we get the word pornography from.
In our society, pornography is the starting point for many people, even those in the Church. Prostitutes, sex and strippers have always existed, so why is this suddenly a problem for us?
Accessibility, that’s why! Back in the day you’d have to walk to the Newsagents, buy or steal a Playboy, hide it from your mum, etc. a big project, with big risks of being caught, running the risk that your mum checks under your mattress, right?
Today it’s on your phone. 24/7, right there. In colour, in print, in movies, insatiable! Your favourite TV show probably has something close to porn in it at some point, and certainly reflects the twisted morals of our sex soaked society.
Latest figures suggest in excess of 700 million pornographic websites out there. And we’ve got a whole generation coming up, many to be married soon, who have been gathering strange, unholy and unhealthy ideas about sex from the net.
The average age of first exposure to Internet porn is 11. The largest consumers of porn are between 14-18 and 35-49 years of age.
Porn is free and easy to access. Even if someone is not looking for it, it can easily find them. It’s highly addictive and is capturing men and women, boys and girls. Porn is putting its hooks into people all around us and we are often oblivious.
Don’t think your “good Christians kids”, your “good Christian adults” or even your “good Christian leaders” are immune. Statistics show porn addictions are crossing all statuses and demographics. If you are male and don’t feel tempted, your either superman or dead. We all face it.
This poison is out of control, across the world and sadly, across the church. And you can hide it! So you look good at church but inside you are being eaten up by it.
Chuck Colson has called Internet pornography “Spiritual Crack Cocaine,” because of how quickly people can become addicted to it and because of how destructive it is to the human soul.
Porn is causing such brokenness, that we often try to ignore.
It causes brokenness in our humanity, as people are seen and treated as objects for our gratification instead of being valued as God’s creation.
It causes brokenness in our relationships, as it skews our view of intimacy, of sexuality and of healthy relationships between the sexes.
It causes brokenness in our own brains. It acts like any other addictions in the brain, lighting up the same reward centres and releasing neurochemicals that make you crave more and more.
In fact, one recent Australian study suggests that young men who access porn sites are far more likely to grow into abusers of women. Why? Because their value of women is degraded by their exposure to porn.
If you’re a Christian, porn creates a double life. You have to keep it secret. You go to church and feel distance in your relationship with God. You wonder if your spouse will find you out. You wonder what your pastor would think if he found out. You are constantly looking behind you.
Porn will destroy your marriage. And/or your future marriage.
ARE WE PORNS IN SATAN’S GAME?
I know in this room many people, men and women, will be grappling with this poison. You need to confront this giant and beat it, or else you will become a pawn in Satan’s game, controlled by the poison of perversion and promiscuity until he is ready to throw your life away. Once you go with this poison and give in to it, porn is just the thin edge of the wedge. Frequently pornography leads to fornication and adultery, where the devil, after capturing our eyes and our hearts by the images and thoughts of impurity, steps it up and ensnares us in the physical act. And he will throw situations in front of us where we will be tempted to fall. It happens to pastors, TV evangelists, football players, students, businessmen, housewives… No one is immune!
Those little foxes are killers!
Some of you might say, well I have not committed adultery. Good for you, that’s great. I too can say that. But don’t get too cocky, because Jesus’ standard is way higher…
But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Whatever age, whatever sex you are, we must all be on guard against the poison of perversion and promiscuity. It starts with a look, and if we’re honest those thoughts have crossed our minds at times. It’s within all of us…
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
THAT’S A BIT PRICEY!
Before making what appears to be a harmless decision, stop and evaluate the cost. Success is less about having the right stuff than it is about choosing the right way. A lot of little choices done God’s way will add up to a lifetime of purpose.
Destiny is a series of choices, blessing or cursing, life or death. Now choose life!
Here’s the true test of whether God wants you to do something.
God always says count the cost.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?
The devil is like Nike, he says “Just do it!” Buy now, pay later. Play now, pay later, but we enjoy playing now with sexual sin without even asking what the eventual cost will be!
Step back, take a good look, and count the cost. Is it worth the price?
If I indulge this poison. I get a few moments pleasure, but it potentially costs me my wife, my kids, my reputation, my career, most of my friends, possibly half my fortune. It will adversely affect my health, my sleep and especially my Christian walk. It’s a poor bargain for a bit of pleasure.
However good she looks or feels, however sexy or nice he seems, however many times he promises he’ll love you, it’s a poor bargain!
choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
No one is saying that sex isn’t pleasurable, I mean, that’s why we do it! But is that moment of pleasure worth the price tag? Probably not!
So why does God not allow us unbridled sexual pleasure? Is He some cosmic killjoy trying to make our lives miserable and stopping what the world tells us is fun? Not at all!
God wants to protect us, and our loved ones, from the fallout of our sexual sin.
He is not being cruel when He commands you to refrain from immorality. On the contrary, He wants to free you from the sin that entangles you and prevents you from being all that He has called you to be. Instead of being controlled by your sinful desires, look to Him to meet all of your deepest needs and give your life meaning and significance.
Sex is great in the right context, but sex alone doesn’t bring fulfilment. If it did, the most satisfied people in the world would be prostitutes, and my understand is that they are not the most fulfilled group in society… In fact they are probably the least fulfilled and most miserable!
And the young p pole, don’t believe the ridiculous hype the world peddles!
Young people and singles, anyone who commits fornication (from the Greek Porneia, illicit sexual intercourse before marriage) takes what could lawfully be his or hers as a gift from God, and corrupts it. You’ll be like a child who one night steals a crisp, new twenty-dollar bill from his father’s wallet, not realizing that his father intended to give it to him as a gift in the morning.
Wait, do it God’s way and I promise you you won’t regret it!
THE ANTIDOTE TO THE POISON OF PERVERSION AND PROMISCUITY
So how do we deal with this potent poison? In a world where we are constantly asked to compromise, when this stuff is thrown at us on TV screen, in songs and at the movies, where everybody’s mantra is “If it feels good and no one knows, just do it because it’s natural,” how do we remain pure and holy? How do we keep the temple of our bodies clean?
I can give you all sorts of advice, I can tell you that no temptation will be beyond what you can bear, and that’s all true. But listen, nothing is better than fleeing this sin. If you sense the poison of perversion, run like crazy!
2 Timothy 2:22
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
1 Corinthians 6:18
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
In my life the most effective way I have found to stay pure in this area is flee. This is what the Apostle Paul recommended the Corinthians… flee sexual immorality. They are not to dabble with it, trifle with it, study it, or even talk about it. They are to flee from it!
A beautiful Bible illustration of this is found in the account of Joseph when he was tempted to sin by Potiphar’s wife (Gen. 39). While there may be safety in numbers, sometimes there is more safety in flight! Joseph fled, and remained righteous before God.
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
The grass is not greenest on the other side, it’s greenest where you water it. So water your marriage, and set your mind in things above, not in earthly things (Colossians 3:2). Embrace the grass you’ve been given. Invest in it. And be amazed at what happens.
But remember, this sin, this poison of perversion, starts with your eyes. What you look at will control you.
1 John 2:15-16
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
And Jesus was so concerned about the sin your eyes will lead you into a he said,
And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,
I especially love what Job had to say about this subject…
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.
I love that… He made a covenant with his eyes not to look lustfully. Now, we all have to look if your eyes are open, but you can see a woman and not look lustfully at her. You’re not going to stop seeing women, but you can stop seeing them as sex objects. Why not make that covenant with your eyes.
There are some places like bars or brothels where women are only sex objects, and these you need to be strong enough to say no too every single time. Websites where women are sex objects… I refuse to even look, even glance. Gentlemen, I cannot afford to look at those things, the cost is to high to my marriage, to my health and to my walk with the Lord.