Broadcast

Human Sexuality: The Search for Truth About Sex

From the series Culture Shock

Parents! In this message, Chip will be talking about human sexuality. It’s direct, straightforward, and at some points, perhaps even shocking. Depending on your children’s ages you may want to preview this message before letting them hear it.

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Message Transcript

Never in the history of the world has a culture and its values shifted concerning sexuality as fast or as drastically as America in the last forty to fifty years. I’m not saying that there hasn’t been morality far worse or equivalent to America.

But never in the history of this planet has a view of sexuality moved as fast and as far in as short amount of time.

I want to chronicle the shift. I want to talk today about sex. The search for truth about human sexuality. What’s really true?

Here’s the shift. In the 19, late 1940s, 1950 about five percent of girls in high school and about ten percent of boys in high school were sexually active. Fast forward fifty to sixty years, seventy percent of girls, eighty percent of boys are sexually active in high school.

Today, fifty percent of all women under thirty cohabitate, live with someone prior to marriage if they are married. The divorce rate in the late forties, decade of the fifties, single digits. Divorce rate today? Over fifty percent.

In fact, the problem, by the way, don’t get this that there are these terrible things that have happened out there. This is in the Church.

1969 we entered into “no fault” divorce. Morality had been changing, doesn’t matter why. By 1996 evangelical Christians’ divorce rate was four percent higher than the national average. And in the Bible-Belt it was fifty percent higher than the national average. I’m talking about the shift inside of sexuality, in family, in the Church.

Well the shift in truth, the search for freedom in the sixties and the seventies, the bad teaching in the Church. We’ve done a terrible job. Before I opted out of church, I never heard a message on sex. Most people won’t hear a message on sex.

In fact, some of our heroes of the faith, Calvin and Martin Luther and others had a very warped view. They did a lot of things well. They had a pretty warped view about sex.

There’s been this picture of this Victorian, snobbish, sex is dirty, sex is bad, or you don’t say anything about sex and it’s off limits and you get around Christians, or kids grow up with parents, and if sex comes up and their parents are uncomfortable. Kids read from that, “Well, it must be bad. Or God’s anti-sex, who knows?”

Well then you have Fifth Avenue, who realized early on, that once the moral floodgates are opened sex sells. You want to sell toothpaste? Sex. You want to sell cars? Sex. You want to sell beer? Right? Sex.

And so now we’re bombarded in ways like never before.

The impact spiritually is a Church that’s impotent. When you meet someone and they talk about, “Why don’t you come to my church?” Or, “I really believe in Jesus. He’s made a difference in my life.” And two people are living together or you’re having an affair or you visit porn sites, guess what? They don’t think you have anything to say. You’re no different than me.

Scandals of the eighties, the televangelists, we’ve got the clergy and the ongoing issues in the Catholic church.

Relationally, divorce rate has skyrocketed, a million to two million people divorce every year, which leaves one million kids without a home or a family that they had the year before. Mom’s here, dad’s there, someone left. We have a fractured family, we have dysfunction like never before. Relationally unwed teens, people struggling, emotional scars, abuse, damage, dysfunction.

Not to mention AIDS, herpes, incurable gonorrhea all time high. And then the cost. The cost spiritually is the Church’s reputation. But the cost, if I did not believe in God, okay? If I was not a Christian and if I didn’t believe the Bible I would tell you, if I was an economist, the dumbest thing that’s ever happened in America the last fifty to sixty years is our sexual morals.

We’ve spent billions, and billions, and billions of dollars to help unwed mothers, a whole welfare system, and billions more on research for what? Sexually transmitted diseases and then on sex education, which, by the way, we’ve learned that when we do sex education, without values, and we teach our high school and junior high students their activity goes up instead of down.

All I want you to get is something big happened and we want to talk about the truth about sex. Human sexuality. Are you ready for this? You are a sexual being and so am I. How you think about sex impacts your identity. Your view of God. Your relationship with others.

And I’m going to suggest that you have been fed lies most of your life, whether you’re a Christian, not a Christian, married, or single.

And I want to look at the top six lies that you’ve been fed and I’ve been fed and then I want to flip it around and talk about God’s truth.

Myth number one is that God is anti-sex. The truth of the matter is God is so pro-sex He created it.

He created it to provide physical pleasure, procreation, relational intimacy, and to be a spiritual object lesson of Christ in the Church.

In Genesis chapter 1, it’s the story of creation. Chapter 2 gives us the specifics. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, in our own likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over the livestock and over the earth and all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created in His own image, in the image of God He created them male and female.”

And then here are His first words, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the Earth, subdue it, multiply it, be fruitful.’”

Now, if God is anti-sex I have a thought for you. Let’s get out of your religious thinking and that we happen to be in a building where we worship God, and take some of your baggage and let it go.

I want to take you, for a moment, to Eden in a perfect environment and an all-knowing, and all-loving, and good God who has created these beings in His image, and we’re going to learn in chapter 1 He made mankind.

A little bit later, in chapter 2, He’ll talk about how He’ll take a part of mankind, mankind is both male and female, and in His image it’s male and female and He’ll take part of that out, so that there’s this corresponding part and this draw, and magnet toward one another - male and female.

And then as they’re in the garden the very first words they hear, are you ready for this? “Be fruitful and multiply.” Translation: the first thing God said to our original parents was, “Make love.” Can I be a little more graphic? Have sex!

That’s how you’re fruitful. You don’t get fruitful, you don’t multiply unless you have, are you ready? Out loud, sex! It’s holy. It’s sacred. God’s for it. And, by the way, He designed their bodies like He designed yours. He designed bodies, well when people come together in a monogamous relationship that God’s heart’s desire, He looks on the marriage bed as holy, as pure, as a gift, as sacred. He wants it to be deeply pleasurable.

And then He wants it for procreation - for children. And then He, you learn in chapter 2 verse 18, that it’s not good for a man to be alone. It’s not good for a person to be alone. God gives the gift to certain people and they have a unique set of desires to serve Him in ways where they want to be celibate and be single.

But for most of us there is a yearning in your heart and my heart and there’s an attraction to the opposite sex to want to be known, and to be loved, and to be connected.

And you want to be known and loved, and connected intellectually, and spiritually, and emotionally, and psychologically, and physically. And so at the end of that it’s not good for a man to be alone, He tells us the story of Adam and Eve and creation, and a man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they become one flesh and they were naked and unashamed, is the end of that chapter.

And they were naked and unashamed, not just physically. They were emotionally transparent. They were psychologically transparent. There was connection.

There are three Hebrew words for sex when it happens in the Old Testament. One is “to lie with.” Second is, “to go into.” And the third is, “to know.” When David lies with Bathsheba, when a man goes into a prostitute, when sex isn’t sanctioned by God He uses words like, “they lie together” or “he goes into her.”

And yet when He describes Adam and Eve it says, “Adam knew Eve.” See far from some lustful act it was about intimacy, it was about connection, it was about knowing, it was about self-revealing, it was the climax in terms of the physical reality of what they were sharing at the heart and the spiritual level.

And that’s God’s design. It’s His design for you. Sex is awesome, it’s a gift, and it is holy. He’s not anti-sex.

Myth number two: Christians’ sex lives and views of sex are dull, boring, and out of touch. I grew up with that. I wasn’t even a Christian but I don’t think I saw my mom and dad kiss two or three times. I didn’t see them be affectionate.

And then when I came to Christ, since I’d never heard any messages on sex, it was like taboo, I figured if people really became Christians they became holy, and Victorian, and so I don’t know what it’s like to be a Christian married but I don’t think I’d be one of them. I’m not sure what they do at night.

You’d be surprised how many, especially Christian women, have grown up in that environment and despite maybe some later teaching otherwise, have some major issues with sex in their marriage, because of that sense of “something is wrong. It’s dirty.” Instead of a beautiful gift from God.

The truth is is that the Scriptures command God’s people to be downright, you can go ahead and write this word in, erotic in their marital love.

Not suggested. Not, “it would be a nice idea.” God is pro-sex, He created sex for the reasons defined, and inside of marriage He commands us, literally, to be erotic. To deeply enjoy one another.

Listen to the wisest man on the earth. Solomon. He says to a man, “May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer, may her breast satisfy you always, may you be captivated by her love.” Literally, the word “captivated,” may you be intoxicated by her love.

Translation: may you be turned on by your wife. That’s God’s will. It’s God’s desire.

I Corinthians chapter 7 verses 2 through 5, Paul is making some corrections. You need to understand you don’t live in the most sex saturated time, although there is the internet that would maybe argue otherwise.

If you came to Christ in Corinth there were temples on every corner and spirituality and sexuality are very, very close. And so in most of the pagan religions there was a prostitute, male or female, that was a part of their religion.

And the Canaanite religions, they were prostitutes, there were all kind of sexual things that always got connected with spirituality.

So in Corinth these people became Christians and as they came to know Jesus as the Messiah and the forgiver of their sins, and began to follow Him, they had two grave errors.

One group of people, it was like this, is the food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food. In other words, that if you have a sensual desire, in other words, if you want food God gave you a desire for food, eat. So if you want sex you should have sex anytime, anywhere, with anyone.

That’s how they grew up.

And so Paul says, “No, no, no, no that’s not exactly what God says.” Paul says no, see, God put a box around sex. It’s called a fireplace. And He wants the fire to burn hot and passionate inside the fireplace of marriage where it brings light, and heat, and warmth, and intimacy.

But when you take it out of the fireplace and you put it on the living room floor, or as we see here in California, you know forests? It burns wild and does destructive things.

The other group wasn’t sex anytime with anyone. They had this Greek background and Greek had a dualistic thinking. They thought the body was evil and the spirit was good.

And so they came to Christ and they said this, “We’re not going to have sex, even inside of our marriage, because it’s dirty and unholy.” Listen to what the apostle Paul says to this group.

We pick it up in verse 2 of I Corinthians 7:

“But since there’s so much immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. So the husband should fulfill his marital duty,” (translation: sex) “to his wife. Likewise, the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband and in the same way the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. But do not deprive each other, except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

The apostle Paul basically is saying, and we have not taught this well or clearly in the Church, you are one before God. Your body, your mate, you are to serve your mate with your body and she, or he, is to serve you. And the apostle Paul is saying this is such a dynamic part of the marriage relationship, far from being some small, little area, it’s a part of the bonding process. It’s a part of the mental, physical, and relational that God desires.

He commands us to, literally, be erotic and passionate in our relationship with one another.

Walt Larimore who is a psychologist and a doctor. And he has a great article that talks about what happens in a man’s brain when he has sex.

And they’ve just discovered where there is a bonding that happens in a man when he has sex with a woman that also causes him afterwards to have a desire to open up and self-reveal.

God designed the sex act in marriage to build an incredible core and bond in relationship. And that’s why it’s so important.

Now here’s what’s interesting. You know, my background was doing all these studies and I always get a kick out of a study that says, “Oh, by the way, God really was right.”

In 1994, (every few decades, maybe three or four, there’s this exhaustive study) in 1994, the University of Chicago did an exhaustive study on sexuality. Probably the biggest one before that was the Kinsey Report that was very flawed in terms of how it was done.

But in 1994 it became the book, a landmark book, Sex in America: A Definitive Survey by Robert Michael, John Gagnon, and Edward Laumann, and Gina Kolata. And in it, it’s very interesting, basically they say, “Everything people think about how sex works in America is far from the truth. America, TV, commercials you would think the hottest sex is single people in the swinging lifestyle.”

The report: single people have less sex than married people and have it fewer times than married people and then it goes into this crazy part. “The people that are most satisfied sexually, that have sex the most often, and have the greatest experience in sex,” it’s kind of crazy! Be careful here. “People in monogamous, marital relationships with what they call ‘orthodox conservative’ views often that are highly religious.”

So those Christians may be a little embarrassed to talk about their kids but they’re having a lot of fun.

And here’s why. You know what? Because you gotta communicate if you love your wife, as a Christian man. There’s vulnerability. There’s trust. And see at the end of the day sex is far from technique. Sex really is about vulnerability and love and trust and serving your partner rather than what you can “get.”

And that principle of give and it will be given unto you as you care and love and a woman feels nurtured, as one author says, she opens up like a flower. And as a man learns to serve and care for his wife.

See God is far from anti-sex. He’s not only pro-sex but He commands us to be outright passionate in our relationships.
The third myth that most of us have heard is as long as people love each other sex is okay with God. I actually did college ministry for a number of years and I’d have college students say, “I don’t think anywhere in the Bible it really says that sex outside of marriage is wrong. I don’t think it really says that anywhere.”

You’ve probably heard that. And if we really love each other, I mean, why does God care? I mean, what’s a sheet of paper? Marriage. Why can’t we just be committed to one another?

News flash. You’re not committed unless you’re married. You can say you’re committed but anybody can walk out anytime in that relationship and if you’re really committed then get married. Get married.

But listen carefully. This is what the Bible says in terms of the truth. The truth is the Bible actually prohibits all sexual relationship outside of marriage. Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery.” That’s when people have sex, that are married, with someone else other than their mate.

“Flee from sexual immorality,” I Corinthians 6:18. “We should not commit sexual immorality,” I Corinthians 10:8. “But among you there shouldn’t even be a hint of sexual immorality,” Ephesians 5:3. “And it is God’s will for you that you should avoid sexual immorality.” Six direct commands, twenty-three other inferences in the New Testament.

Now the root word for “immorality,” this is a very broad word. Are you ready? The Greek word is “pornia.” Can you imagine any words that we get from that? Pornia. Okay, what pornia means, it’s a broad word. It means that adultery, fornication, homosexuality, when it says a hint it means fantasizing, thinking, lusting in your mind, pornia, immorality.

It means petting heavily to bring arousal to a person of the opposite sex that can’t be fulfilled righteously in marriage. It says all of that is prohibited and it’s wrong. And it’s a sin.

Now just before you go, “Oh wow. See I knew the Bible was strong. You are right.” Do you ever wonder why? You know why? Because God doesn’t want you to just lie with people. He doesn’t want you just to go into or receive someone. He wants you to know and be known.

The great majority of unbelievers and believers are experiencing desperately second-rate sex. God already knew when these commands came down that He knew about AIDS and gonorrhea and herpes. He knew about emotional scars. He knows about flashbacks when you’re having sex with someone and you’ve had it with four other people. He knows about the emotional scars. He knows about sexual insensitivity.

He knows about all the pain that it brings. He knows that when you’re loose before marriage the probability of an extramarital affair really goes up.

These are the boundaries of the fireplace so God would say, “I want you to get the best. I want to protect you. I want to provide for you. I want to give you the highest and the best because sex matters to Me. It’s not just an action. It matters. It’s important. It’s about who you are. You’re a sexual being.”

In fact, it leads to the next myth. The next myth is simply this: only a cosmic killjoy, totally out of touch with today’s culture and people’s needs, would prohibit all sex outside of marriage.

Have you ever thought that or had someone say that to you? Now this was my testimony. I didn’t come to Christ until I was eighteen. I had never read the Bible. I grew up in a moral home but not a Christian home. And the church that I got to experience was far from God so I rejected church, rejected God. I come to Christ after my senior year and I go away to a college where there are four girls for every guy. You can be ugly and get great dates.

And it’s the early to mid-seventies so everyone’s sleeping with everyone. I mean, it’s like free love. Make love, not war.

And as I start growing and reading my Bible I come across all these crazy commandments. No, no, no, no, no. I’m thinking there’s this great fence and all the good stuff’s on that side of the fence and God says, “No!”

And I’m just thinking, “He is the biggest cosmic killjoy in the world.” I remember telling God, “You know, in school, a seventy out of a hundred is a C. Eighty out of a hundred is a B. Ninety is an A. I think I could do, like, eight out of ten commands. I could be an eighty-percenter. I’d even be willing to be a ninety-percenter, I think! But how in the world can You tell me, with all these girls and everyone make…”

Here’s the truth. God prohibits all immoral behavior outside of marriage because of His desire to protect you.

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life.” Wages. What’s a wage? A wage is, if I do something, if I work so long, that’s what I get for it.

The wages of doing something wrong sexually is death. And in Scripture, death isn’t just physical death. Death is separation. When our first parents sinned, they didn’t fall over dead, they were separated from God.

See God’s heart, here’s what I had to learn, that it’s not a fence. It’s not, I’m over here and all the good stuff’s over there and God is on the fence.

The light came on to me when the Spirit of God showed me, through His Word, and then when I watched how it was working out for other people, that instead of a fence it was God over here with His arm around me saying, “Chip, that’s not a fence with all the good stuff there. The good stuff’s there. That’s a guardrail. I just want to keep you inside the guardrail so you get first-rate sex. So it’s not about lying or going into. It’s about knowing.

“I want you to have sex without guilt. I want you to have sex without shame. I don’t want sex with flashbacks. I don’t want sex with scars. I want you to get the highest, best. I want you to have the kind of sex where you know I’m looking down on the marriage bed and I’m rejoicing with you.” That’s biblical.

But here’s a guardrail. It’s to protect you. But it’s also to provide for you. God knows your needs. He created you with the hormones that you have. He knows the longings of your heart. He understands the loneliness that you have.

In Jeremiah 29:11, when it seemed impossible for Israel. They had worshipped idols, they were far from God, and they just felt like there’s no hope, God sent Jeremiah to say, “Look. It may be difficult right now.” You may be single and without dates. You might be hooked on pornography. You might be in the midst of an affair today and you feel like, “I could never break it off.”

You might have all kind of issues. God would say, “Look. You come to Me, I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for good and not for evil to give you a hope and a future.”

God wants to provide spiritual reward in intimacy with Him. Sexual immorality, whether it’s visual, mental, or physical puts a barrier between you and God. It puts a barrier between you and yourself. And it puts a barrier between you and other people.

He says, “I want to give you a spiritual reward. I want to give you emotional peace. I want to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. I want to reward your life with the very best. I want to give you sexual fulfillment.”

See, there’s a heavenly Father who understands the media in the last forty or fifty years, and the silence of the Church and when you meet other Christians and they’re living together, and he logs on or she logs on, and you know what? What happens is, what do we do? We start looking at other people and we start adopting their practices.

I think God would just say, “Dr. Phil, could you come here for a second?” “Sure, Lord.” “Could you just tell My entire Church, would you ask them the big question that you ask people on your TV show?” “Yes, Lord, I’ll do it. How’s this working for you?”

How did the affair work out in terms of financially? How did it work out for your kids? Well, what’s it feel like to log on and feel like you can’t wait to… you know, you’re at work and you’re just looking for a time and you’re hiding?

What’s it feel like to read romance novels and feel like you’re sexually unfulfilled in your marriage and have dreams and fantasies about people that don’t exist? What’s it feel like to always feel like you got sexual thoughts all the time and you don’t like yourself, and there’s a shame, and there’s a guilt?

Or what’s it like to have a, which happens in many Christian marriages, when you come with a lot of baggage, all of a sudden it was exciting because it was illegal. It was exciting because you had to hide. And now it’s boring.

I think God would say, “How’s that working for you?” Don’t you want better? Don’t you want the best?

See so often when churches talk about sex so much of it is, “Shame on you, don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t do this.” I’ll tell you what, you need to start doing some really good things the really right way.

For many of you today is the first day of a new beginning of your new sexual identity before a good and loving Father where it can be clean, and holy, and wholesome, and fulfilling.

And you’re going to have to break some things. And that, yes, it’s going to be hard and, yes, you’ll need help, and it will take courage, and a lot of faith, and you’ll be swimming upstream, even in the Church. But I will tell you, you will experience the rich quality of life that the Jesus who died for you on the cross, and was risen from the dead, died to pay for.

You’re not, and never will be, loved by anyone more than Jesus. And He’s not embarrassed by sex, He knows where you’ve been, He wants to forgive, cleanse, strengthen.

And help His Church be a model of passionate sexuality in the right place, in the right time, with the right person.

Number five is everyone needs to sow their wild oats and experiment sexually before they settle down in a long-term relationship. I mean, it’s like, I’ve gotten this from people.

“So far, Chip, I get it. I get it. I get it. I get it. I get it. You know? Kind of understand. And I’m going to do that. Like, everything you’ve said so far, believe me, I am really going to do that … in about three years. Ah, make it four. Because, you know, God’s forgiving, right? So He’ll forgive me all that stuff. So I’m going to go out and...

“And then I’ll come back around some day, some way.”

Here’s the truth. Sexual sins have uniquely devastating impact on people’s lives. Listen to that. Sexual sins, unlike any other sin, have uniquely devastating impact on people’s lives because it’s a sin against yourself.

Paul would write to this sexually confused church, the Corinthians, yet again. And almost in astonishment he says, “Do you not know that the man who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her body? For it’s said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites himself for the Lord is one with Him in Spirit.”

Do you see how sexuality and spirituality, they always are so close? Then the application: “Flee from sexual immorality, all other sins a man commits are outside his body but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have received from God? You are not your own. You have been bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”

Listen carefully. This is the part where the stakes get so much higher and so much more important. I’m reading a little book called The Ethic of Eden right now. It’s an overview of all the Old Testament and how God has worked and the professor talks about how really in Eden the whole goal of God, He just wanted to be with His people.

He wanted to be with them in a perfect environment and talk, and share, and be close to them, and bless them. And then sin entered in and then you have the story and then over time you have Moses and the Ten Commandments and then what’s God say? He has him build this tabernacle and the Shekinah glory does what? There’s this outer court, there’s a holy court, then there’s the holy of holies and it can move whenever His…

But He wants to dwell with them. God wants to be with His people. He wants to enjoy their fellowship, He wants to bless them. And then later David raises some money and Solomon builds this temple and the temple was built like the tabernacle and there’s the outer court. Then there’s this holy place. And this holy of holies.

And God in His Shekinah glory fills this place and He wants to be with His people. And today, He lives in the temple made without hands. If you are a follower of Jesus His temple is your physical body.

The holy, pure, awesome, all-knowing, powerful Creator of the universe, in the person of the Holy Spirit dwells inside of every child of God. And so when you decide to have sex it’s like going into the most beautiful church you’ve ever seen with stained glass and taking a hammer and just breaking it all up.

It’s like taking a bright red Ferrari and driving on the road and deciding, “I’m going to go off-road with it like a Jeep. Boom, boom, ba-boom, boom. And just messing it up.

That’s what happens when you have sex. That’s what happens when you fantasize. That’s what happens when you log on to porn. He wants to dwell with you. And He’s holy. And what you do is you cut yourself off from Him.

There’s a reason why some of you, in this room, your prayers don’t get answered. There’s a reason why that certain things that you’re asking God to do, He doesn’t do. There’s a reason why you open and you read the Bible and you just think it’s dead, it doesn’t pop out, there are not promises. You know why? Sexual sin causes God to close His ears.

And He does it out of mercy. He does it with a velvet vice that you would realize this is unacceptable. What scares me today is that sexual immorality, in all of its forms, and whether it’s living together, twenty-five or thirty percent of Christians or whether it’s logging on, or whether it’s an affair, or whether it’s soft porn…

It’s become so acceptable in the Church today we don’t know what we’re missing. There’s a reason why the Church is impotent. You talk, we are spiritually impotent in a decadent culture because we’re not like the culture, we’re worse than the culture.

And you are the beautiful bride of Christ. Your physical body is holy to God. He wants to dwell in it. And He’s not against sex. Some of you are getting such second-rate, lame sex. He cries out today and says, “Stop it. It’s devastating. It’s a sin against your own body, psychologically, physically, and spiritually.”

And not only that it’s a sin whose roots are in spiritual rebellion and idolatry. See at the end of the day there’s part of us that says, “You know what? No one’s going to tell me what to do with… I’ve got these impulses. I’ve got these drives.”

This was me, freshman in college, brand new Christian. And I started reading these verses and I was just, “Hey, you know what? Hey, God, You know what? You can run the universe but You’re not running this part of my life.”

When you say to God, “I’m doing my thing my way,” let me give you a definition for that. Rebellion. And in the Bible when you rebel it’s real serious. Listen to what the apostle Paul says in Ephesians chapter 5. He makes the connection between rebellion, sexual sin, and idolatry.

And this is a sex-saturated, the temple of Diana there, there are prostitutes, these people have come to Christ in a decadent, sexual world. “But among you,” he says, “there mustn’t be a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed.” And the word is sexual greed, lustfulness.

“Because these things are improper for God’s holy people.” And he goes from their behavior to even their speech. “Nor should there be any obscenities, or foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place. Rather the giving of thanks. For of this you can be sure:” listen to how serious this gets, “no immoral, impure, or greedy person – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partakers with them.”

Now I want you to hear very carefully what I’m saying and what I’m not saying. This gets really, really serious. When your sexual practice, in your mind, out of your lips, with your body is opposed to what God says, at the end of the day what he wants you to understand is you’re worshipping you.

It’s using people, viewing things, you are the center, and you are dominated by lust seeking for, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, “Every man who walks into a brothel is taking a first step toward God.” It is a false intimacy; it’s a searching for. But it is, what? It’s worshipping yourself.

And it’s spiritual rebellion. It’s rejecting God. Because spirituality and sexuality are so closely linked.

Then notice what he says, “No immoral, impure, greedy person,” he’s talking about habitually. It doesn’t mean you don’t slip, doesn’t mean you have a problem. But if this is the practice, ongoing of your life, then he says basically the rest of Scripture would say there are two options.

Number one is that you are a genuine, born-again believer of Jesus and over time you’ve compromised, compromised, compromised and you are trapped in sexuality and you need to repent as fast as you can.

But he says the other is that maybe you’ve prayed a prayer, raised a hand, intellectually agree. “Oh, I believe in Jesus, intellectually. I believe He died, rose from the dead, and I prayed a prayer once. I actually come to church.” But when the Holy Spirit comes inside of your moral body it creates a desire for holiness.

And if, habitually, your sexual sin demonstrates no desire for holiness, or for God’s Word, or to move the direction He has told you, then he says, “Examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith.” Because Jesus said, “A tree will be known by its fruit. And if the fruit of your life is progressive, habitual, sexual immorality then you need to really ask yourself, “Does the Holy Spirit live in me?”

And that’s what Paul’s saying.

The final myth is one where I’m imagining some of you are right now. The final myth is in the heart of some that say, “You know what? I’m not sure I should have come today. I’ve been logging on for years, I’m involved in an affair right now. I’m so deep in sexual sin…”

I remember playing basketball one summer with a guy from USC, great athlete, played ball for USC, this was thirty years ago. One of the good looking, surfer-type guy.

And I remember one night, after a game I said, “Tell me, how did you come to Christ?” He said, “You know,” and he looked like some guy that should be on a poster. He said, “I didn’t have sex every day, I had sex multiple times a day, with as many women as possible, in high school and throughout college. And I remember when I got where I got so numb I had sex and I didn’t feel anything and all I knew was I was deathly afraid because I realized the only thing that could give me the buzz was perversion and I looked at perversion and it scared me.”

And he said, “I remember crying out to God and said, ‘I’m a prisoner, will someone please help me?’ But I didn’t think there was any help. And God brought Jesus to my life.”

And for some of you, you think there’s no hope. You think that, “I’m too far gone. You know, I’ve been in this. You have no idea where I’ve been and what I’ve done.” Here’s what I want you to understand. Here’s the truth. Look at it. Read it with me.

“Christ died to pay for the penalty of your sin and break its power in your life.” While you were yet a sinner, while I was yet a sinner, Christ died for you. Before you committed any sins He loves you, He loves you, He loves you.

I hope you hear, yes, the standard is clear, the fire in the fireplace. But there is a heavenly Father who loves you and no one is too far gone. But in order to receive that love, and to be cleansed, and to be forgiven, and to begin to experience the kind of sexuality that God wants, one, you gotta be honest.

Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to those who call upon Him to those who call upon Him in truth.” In truth! If I’m pretty passionate I remember those early years of college, I was stuck, stuck, stuck, stuck in lust. And I would have that, “Oh, God, I’m sorry. I know what I did tonight was really terrible. I’m sorry, sorry, it’s three o’clock in the morning.” And the next day, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Three days later, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

I remember, this went on and on and on. I was trapped. I remember praying and telling God how sorry and how much I really wanted to change. And I heard a strong whisper from the Holy Spirit. “Chip, shut up.” Literally. “Shut up. You like what you’re doing. It’s true. Get honest. If you really want to change, I’ll give you the power. But stop playing games.”

So how about you? Where are you really at right now? This may be one of the most pivotal moments of your life. You may turn a corner and make a decision at a crossroads in this room right now that will change the course of your life. Are you willing to be honest?

The second step is to repent and confess. Repent just means a change of mind. “This way I’m living, what I’m doing is not good anymore. I’m changing my mind.” And confess means you just agree with God. And the promise is if we agree with God, if we confess our sin, in this case sexual sin of thought, word, or deed, He is faithful to forgive us of our sin. But not just forgive but to cleanse you, cleanse me, from all unrighteousness.

You will have a power in your prayer life. You’ll have a power and a confidence with people. It will be a journey. You’ll have to renew your mind. You’ll probably need to get help. Some of you will need to go to a counselor. Okay. Well, what’s the alternative? Living where you’re living?

And then finally, you need to forsake it. “He who conceals his sin will not prosper,” Proverbs says, “but to the one who makes it known, who forsakes it, the hand of God and the blessing of God.”

That means if you’re having an affair you don’t slide out of it. You tell the person today, “We’re done.” If it’s a porn issue you find another man or another woman and you say, “I need help. I’m going to address it.” And you unplug your computer.

Whatever you need to do be as radical as you need to be. That was what Jesus meant when He said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. If your hand causes sin, cut it off.” He didn’t mean it literally. You could pluck out this eye and lust with that one.

He said be as drastic as you need to be, to do whatever God calls you to do, because your heavenly Father has a desire and a plan to love you and give you what’s best.

Don’t miss out for you but know that your life is a series of dominos that impact every person in your world. Your mate, your girlfriend, your kids, your friends. And as you go so go many of them.