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God's Boundaries for Abundant Living
Psychologists tell us that boundaries provide security, protection, and self-esteem. Long before psychology, God provided ten clear boundaries to protect His people from harm and give them the highest values ever recorded on the earth. "God's Boundaries for Abundant Living" gives a fresh look at the Ten Commandments and will help you discover God's boundaries for your highest, best and most abundant living.More from this series
And I want to give you some facts about sex as we enter in to the seventh command that I’ve entitled No Second-Rate Sex.
First, I’d like to say is that sex is far from free, it’s costing us plenty. Right now, free sex is costing us hundreds, and hundreds. We are paying, I mean, financially alone, hundreds of millions of dollars every year because of the violation of the seventh command.
The psychological price tag is even higher. See, there’s a financial cost to, quote, free sex. There’s a psychological cost. And I don’t think there’s anyone here, probably in this room, that hasn’t experienced the spiritual cost. When you have lusted, when you have been involved in things sexually of whatever nature that violates God’s command.
It’s hard to pray, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve had times where, you know, I just can’t get those prayers quite even up to the ceiling, I can’t get them to bounce off the ceiling when I’ve entertained things in my mind or had times in my life when I violated what I know what God wants.
You will never find someone who is fruitful, deeply fruitful for Christ and experiencing the kind of peace, and the kind of love, and the kind of joy that hasn’t dealt with, successfully, overall getting victory in the area of sexual purity.
If you could really peel back the layer of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Christians all over America, there are people living these double lives who go to church, who go through the motions but have secret fantasies, who have secret internet issues, who have secret romance fantasies about what it would be like someday, some way with another man and they live this dichotomy and they put on this face that everything’s okay and they go to Bible study, and they go to church, and they play a game, and their heart’s torn in two.
The spiritual price tag of the lack of intimacy with God, because of sexual sin, is more than any of us should ever pay. See, sex isn’t’ free. It costs us financially, it costs us psychologically, it costs us spiritually. And it costs us medically.
I taught in a place that was very open, very free, very loose. And I could tell you where I was standing next to the door after the service. Because at this church, no one got in a line and said, “Oh, pastor. Wonderful sermon.”
I never got to the back door, ever. When I got done and I got down to about here there was a line of people. And they would say, “Hey, what about point two. How is that going to work?”
Or, “You know what? I never opened the Bible until now and I’m living with this girl and, like, I mean, so what are we supposed to do after what you said? I mean, you know, she’s got an income, I’ve got an income, how’s this really going to work?”
And they would just line up for forty-five minutes until the next service and you do counseling.
And I’ll never forget the first time that I was over on the corner door and a young woman came up after this particular message about sexuality and said, “You know what, I violated that command. And I’d like to find out how I could be forgiven because I know I’m going to need it now and later because I just learned I’m HIV positive. And I know exactly how I got it and I don’t use drugs.”
And when you look into the eyes of someone who is HIV positive and knows they’re going to die and they know they’re going to die because they did something that God said don’t. Because He made a boundary because He loves us so much.
I’ll tell you what. It will give you some convictions about standing up at dinner parties and lovingly, winsomely, graciously talking about this is what God says, unashamedly.
And you can think I’m old fashioned. But what I’ll say is the anti-intellectual in the room isn’t me. It’s you in denial about the real facts.
So, fact number one is that free sex is costing us plenty. And fact number two is, sex outside of marriage under any circumstances is, you got that pen I asked you to bring?
It’s a good group, you’re learning, it’s good. Write the word “sin.”
Sex outside of marriage under any circumstances is sin. I’m amazed at the number of Christians I meet who will tell me things like, I mean, “The Bible doesn’t really say that sex outside of marriage is really sin, does it? I mean, it might allude to it but it doesn’t really say that…”
So let’s put this on record - 1 Thessalonians 4:3 to 8. It says, “It is God’s will.” That’s pretty clear. “It’s God’s will that you should be sanctified, or set apart, that you should avoid sexual immorality.”
And then, in case you don’t know what that phrase means, “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 in this matter, let no one wrong his brother or take advantage of him.”
The idea is, is when you have sex with someone who is going to end up someone else’s mate, you defrauded him. You took advantage of him. You spoiled for that man or for that woman a very special moment in relationship that God wanted for them.
The Lord will punish men for all such sins as we’ve already been told and warned you. Why? “For God did not call us to be impure but to live a holy life. Therefore,” just in case, you know, you’re missing the point here, “He who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God who gives the Holy Spirit.”
The Bible is very clear. There are some grey issues in Scripture. This is an issue that is black and white. It is clear that any type of sexuality except between a man in a woman inside the boundary of marriage is called sin.
It’s called missing the mark. It’s called not doing God’s will. It’s called asking for psychological, physical, spiritual, and medical pain in your life and God put this boundary around sex, not because He’s a prude, not because He’s Victorian, not because, you know, God’s a little bit embarrassed when sexual things happen.
I’m going to go on record and say, not only is God not Victorian or a prude. But God actually, fact number three, is pro-sex. And by the way, the church needs to hear this as much as the world needs to hear that He’s put a boundary around it.
Fact number three, God is pro-sex. Are you ready? He invented it. Did you ever think about this? I mean, God is all knowing. He could have figured out a lot of ways for us to multiply.
I mean, you know, when you think and you look at nature. I mean, there’s, there’s some ways where there’s just two cells and the cells just divide on their own. I guess we could have been, you know, walking around one day and all of a sudden you look and there’s two of you or something like that.
But God decided that there was a better way. God is pro-sex. He determined that the best way, not only for procreation but for intimacy, and for pleasure, and because it brings delight to his heart, He would invent a way for a man and a woman to come together, inside this boundary of marriage, where He would bless them. He invented it.
And then He actually speaks about it. Notice the Scripture says, far from it being something dirty, you know, necessary. You know, I guess if you can ever have kids you gotta go through this terrible act.
But that has been, actually, what the church has taught in some ways. In fact, some great church fathers have really missed the mark on this one. Martin Luther, although he had a number of kids, actually taught that sex was just for procreation. If you weren’t having sex to, you know, have more kids then it’s wrong. I mean, it’s just perverted.
God says, by contrast, Hebrews 13:4. “The marriage bed is holy.” It’s to be undefiled. It’s to be enjoyed without shame and without any holding back.
Inside of marriage, God says, sex is about love. It’s not about lust. It’s about not being self-centered, it’s about expressing communication and commitment with the person that you love the most.
God says, I want to give you a good thing. I want you to experience with this one person this bond, this commitment to express your emotions, your mind, your heart in a way that’s too intimate for words.
And by the way, I think there are some Christians that actually think that when a man and a woman are having sexual union, that God might look down and just cover one eye and say, “Oh Gabriel, I just can’t look.”
As though there’s something unholy or uncomfortable. I want you to know the God of the Bible, under the right circumstances, a man and a woman, married, loving one another, celebrates that and says, “This is an act of praise.”
There’s not a lot of places in Scripture I have where God says, “This is holy. Keep it undefiled. This is special.”
In fact, you do the psychological research and you’ll find that sexuality and spirituality are very closely linked - very closely linked. And when you read in Old Testament passages when God wants to make parallels about unity and intimacy in the Old Testament, He talks about spiritual adultery.
And when He wants to come up with a metaphor to try and somehow explain this mystery of our union with Christ, what’s He come up with? Ephesians chapter 5. It’s marriage - in all of its fullness. Sex is sacred. Not only that, it’s encouraged.
I’m not going to read the passage but if you want your husbands to get in a little Bible study, tell them Proverbs 5:15 to 20 would be a good text. It’s very graphic, it’s R rated. This is a passage, literally, it just comes out and says, “Gentleman, take all your sexual drive and energy and keep it at home. Gentlemen, let your wife’s breasts satisfy you.
Gentlemen, be intoxicated with her love.”
Now, does this sound like a God who’s a prude? Does this sound like God that’s something that’s necessary, you kind of have to just get it over with? Boy, we in the church, I’ll tell you something. For as much explicit sexuality there is in our culture, among church people and the counseling I’ve done, this is a huge area in the Christian community.
For couples that really love each other, really love God, and really are clicking on all cylinders in a number of areas, you would be astounded or you wouldn’t be.
Maybe you’re nodding inside and going, no, I wouldn’t be astounded at all of the number of couples that can’t speak openly and honestly about what this means in their relationship, where they struggle in this relationship.
Where they’ve had baggage in the past from this relationship, where there’s been failures that have influenced this and how they can come together in a way that is honoring to God, that is holy and is encouraged.
In fact, the Song of Solomon was so provocative, in the Middle Ages, more commentaries were written on the Song of Solomon than all other books of the Bible combined, in the Middle Ages. At one point in time, they had to tell the monks, you aren’t allowed to read the Song of Solomon.
See, it’s a graphic picture from God’s perspective of what He longs for a man and a woman to enjoy. Sex is sacred, it’s encouraged, and it’s commanded. And I don’t know the last time you heard a message on 1 Corinthians 7:3 through 5, but it’s very clear. It says, “Wives, your body is not your own. Husbands, your body is not your own.”
There is a dynamic in the sexual union that I don’t understand. But God is really clear. He says that when a woman has a desire for her man and needs to be held and loved and needs sexual intimacy or if a man has desire for his wife and needs to be affirmed and encouraged.
And why it is so affirming, encouraging for a man. I don’t know. Okay? I don’t know. But, ladies, you go home and take a walk, those of you that are married. Take a walk today with your husband. And go ahead and ask him.
“You know, honey, what that guy said today. Is that, like, really true? I mean, is it really true that you feel more like man and more affirmed and more loved and that no matter what’s happening out there and all the pressures and all the stresses, that when we come together, you feel like somehow you’re affirmed and that you’re secure and you matter and you’re a real man and things are really okay?”
You ask your husband. And guys, all you have to do, if this is an uncomfortable area. All you have to do is this. [Nods yes.] And the Scripture is clear. And this is disobeyed everywhere.
Except for a commitment to mutually pray, we need to offer ourselves one to another sexually. And if there’s struggles here, often the sexual relationship is like one of the lights on the dashboard. And if it’s not working real well and, by the way, can I just say this? I’ve never met a couple and I’ve done tons of counseling and, like, I’ve been married for over twenty-five years.
I’ve never met anyone, so far, that hasn’t had a struggle in this area in one season of their marriage or not. So, I mean, if you think that, well, everyone else really has it together. They really love God, they probably never had a problem. Then they’re lying. And if you have a problem or a struggle, often, it’s like a light on the dashboard that says something under the hood needs to be addressed.
You know, if one person in the marriage relationship is insensitive and you get anger and resentment toward them about it, guess where it shows up? It shows up in the bedroom.
You can’t make love to someone and feel uninhibited and caring toward someone who you’ve got anger in your heart for.
You know when there is not long walks and talks and sensitivity and encouragement and nurturing in a relationship and at ten o’clock at night the husband says, “Wow, I’m really attracted to you.”
And the wife, in her heart, feels like, “Attracted to me? Yeah, I just feel used. Where were you when I was doing the dishes? Where were you when, you know, when you came home and I had three kids circling around my feet? Where were you when I feel all the pressure and I did the dishes, I got the finances, and you watch the ball game for three hours, then you come to bed and you want to be with me?”
And you know what her heart is? Get a break, buddy. I’m tired. In fact, excuse me? I feel a headache coming on. And see, the sexual relationship is a barometer on the dashboard to let you know, maybe there’s some work that needs to happen in the marriage. Maybe there’s some energy and time that needs to go in, as a man, nurturing, loving, caring, and communicating with my wife.
And, as a woman, maybe it tells me that maybe I’ve got some unresolved anger or hurt toward my husband and that’s why. Because you know what we do? We’re really smart people. We’re passive aggressive. We learn how to punish one another. And the average woman has learned, she has one trump card in the marriage relationship. And that one trump card is she can control an awful lot about what happens and what doesn’t happen by her withholding sex from her husband.
And what I want you to know is, that’s not the way to go. God says, “I’m pro-sex. I invented it. It’s a gift.” But it’s not a gift that comes gift wrapped and you’ll never have any problems. It’s a gift like every other gift. You’ll need to work at it to enjoy it. To experience the sacred, encouraging, commanded activity to love and fulfill your mate.
God is very pro-sex but you notice He’s pro-family. God says, sex belongs inside the fireplace. See, if you could take fire and you take it outside the fireplace and you can build a fire on the living room floor, right? There’s only one problem. What happens? The house burns down. It’s fire. It produces light and provides warmth. It just burns down the house.
But you can take the same fire and stick it in the fireplace and there are boundaries around the fireplace. It produces light, it produces warmth. And, you know, when the electricity goes out, I’ve learned you can cook a little food there.
And what God wants you to know is, that’s what sex is. It’s fire. It’s a God given gift to bring about life and encouragement and love. But it’s gotta be inside this boundary.
Fifth fact, or fourth fact, is that cheaters never win. What I’ve said so far, there’s a lot of people in the back of their mind are saying, it may be some of you going, “Buddy, you gotta be on drugs, this is the twenty-first century. Are you actually saying, look, I’m single, okay?”
Or, “I’m married and you don’t understand. It’s not that we don’t have, you know, it’s not in my marriage like we have bad sex. We don’t have sex. And I gotta go find this somewhere. And I love God and I go to church once a month and I came to this camp or this church service or whatever. Are you actually saying, like, with two brain cells working, that you really are telling me that not, this is not only God’s will but it’s a good thing and the best thing for me is to keep sex inside the boundaries of marriage? One man, one woman, forever? I mean, are you really telling me, in our day, that you buy that?”
Because see, most people in our day don’t. And what I want to suggest is the research is overwhelming. Not only Biblically but in practical experience. And so, I’ve entitled that, Cheaters Never Win. Adultery causes pain.
Look at Proverbs 6:32 and 33. It says, “But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment. Whoever does so,” listen to this, “destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot and his shame will never be wiped away.”
Adultery causes pain. You know. The problem is, we’ve seen all those TV programs and all those romance novels and all those quick commercials. Eighty plus percent of all the people shown on TV, videos, and movies that are having great, passionate, wonderful sex aren’t married.
And you know what that does to you and me? It tells you, down deep in your heart and your mind, that the great stuff is out there somewhere. When I was doing research for this book I came across some very interesting statistics. Talk about cheaters never winning.
Let me give you just a handful of facts. These aren’t from the Bible. You’re talking to someone and they’re saying, no sex except… you’re crazy.
Okay, those who abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage report the highest levels of sexual satisfaction in marriage. Do you know that?
In fact, those who report who were very sexually satisfied in their lives are not the good looking singles who have multiple partners who are bar hopping but they are couples who strongly believe that sex outside of marriage is wrong and they’re a whopping thirty-one percent more satisfied in their sex lives. That’s the Bethesda Research Group, Washington Post, 1994. You know, that’s not, like, Billy Graham’s telling people that.
Next, those who cohabitate or live together before marriage have a fifty percent higher possibility of divorce than those who do not, say researchers of UCLA. They discovered that those who cohabitate also not only have higher incidence of divorce but are more likely to commit adultery once they get married.
By contrast, the University of South Carolina, in a study said, those who abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage have the highest rates of fidelity in marriage. The introduction of sex, for those who are single, into a dating relationship is almost always the ushering in of the breakup of that relationship.
And then, finally, sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, can remain dormant or asymptomatic, in other words, you don’t know you have it, for up to ten years.
You can have sex with someone today and never know it and it can be in your body for ten years and you can pass it on.
Now, I don’t, you know what? Seems to me that when God says, no sex except for in marriage, it must be an all wise, all loving God who would say, I’d like to increase the possibility of you not getting divorced by fifty percent. I would like for you to have thirty-one percent, at least, more satisfaction in your marriage than all those other people.
What I’d like to do is make sure that you don’t die of a disease.
And by the way. It only takes once. It takes one moment on one business trip or with one neighbor in one situation in one weak moment and all the consequences we talked about can occur. And by the way, this doesn’t occur to people out there. This occurs to regular, good people who go to church. This occurs to people who get up and have a quiet time three, four, five, six times a week.
This letter. I won’t read it. This is a letter from a family in our church. Young couple, early thirties, good looking, committed, involved in ministry, two small children. And she writes in it, “I’m really praying,” I’ve taught this series in our church. “I looked ahead and I found out which commandment’s coming and I’m really praying for the weekend.
My husband had an affair that lasted over a year. We’ve been in counseling for the last nine months. It has brought more havoc and pain in my heart and in his. He loves me. It was something he never, ever intended or dreamed could ever happen to him. It was with a co-worker and they just became friends.”
And the story goes on and she says, “I’m praying that when you teach this the Spirit of God will intervene in any person who is having an affair. Any person that’s, kind of, in that stream and gravitating toward another person other than their mate. Because I wish I could tell others, I wish I could tell people the destruction and the pain that it brings for us, for our marriage, and for our two little boys.”
You know, there’s fantasies that men have and, ladies, what I’ve learned over the years is, God really made you different. And you do not understand them. And that’s okay. But down deep in men’s hearts, and often it’s because they’re lonely, often it’s because there’s some struggles in marriage, often it’s not that they don’t love you at all, ladies, as your marriage partners.
Insecurities, wondering about their masculinity, we don’t do a lot of introspection, by in large, as men. It just sort of happens to us. And there is this sense that our strength and all the rest confirmed by this gorgeous unbelievable person who meets us and is attracted to us.
And I came across an article that I thought was so revealing. It’s the story, it’s called Couples: Cheaters Can Get Caught Even When They’re Successful.
And it’s a story of a guy who writes, this is sort of an Ann Landers type column. And a guy writes and he self-describes himself, “I’m early forty-ish, thinning hair, and I’m mildly rotund. I’m an old farm boy and not what you would call the sex symbol of the world.”
And he said, “That’s why it came as a real shock on a business trip, I have a great wife, three small kids, I’m happily married. And when this beautiful model turned stewardess blonde took an interest in me, three or four drinks later, a little bit of dancing, I remember waking up in bed the next morning next to this very gorgeous young woman. And it was the fantasy that every man has. Of course, I told her I was single. I gave her a false name, I gave her a false phone number, and I learned later she did the same to me.”
And he said, “I got away with it. No one ever found out.” He said, “The problem is, it’s destroyed me emotionally.” He said, “I’ve called the airlines because now all I can think about is this woman. I have a woman who loves me, I have three small kids, and I have dominating thoughts, every time I look in the mirror I feel guilt and I feel shame and I can’t tell my wife. And I got caught. I had the fantasy. The fantasy that men have, I have and now I’m a prisoner of my own thinking and my own emotions and my own shame and guess what? It didn’t deliver what it promised. It actually destroyed all the things that I did have.”
Another lady writes in, “My husband cheated on me two years ago but the hurt never goes away. It’s like my insides died.”
Another man, talking about his wife cheating on him says, “I told my wife I forgave her but I haven’t. Behind every word I say to her is another one. Why? Why? Why? How could you?”
See, what I want you to know is, God’s boundaries are placed around this commandment because He loves you so much He wants the best for you, He wants the best for me and we’re living in a world where this is very, very difficult.
You are bombarded every millisecond by media and billboards and magazines. I mean, you can’t even walk out of the grocery store. I mean, you can want to be as pure as you want to be and it’s here and it’s here and it’s here.
I mean, men, in the last three or four months, I mean, I’ve gone to the grocery store half a dozen times with Theresa and J.Lo’s had four or five different people and she’s been married a couple times and divorced once and back married again. And then I found out because of her deep religious convictions, she’s married this last person because she doesn’t want to have their baby out of wedlock.
And you know something? I’m not down on her. I feel sorry for her. You know what, I mean, how could you be genetically made up that attractive and be so inwardly scarred and messed up where you’ve had five or six or seven different men in the last six or eight months.
And no matter who you get and how much money you have and how pretty you are, it doesn’t work. I don’t laugh at her I just think, because you know something? We got people all over America, Christians included, doing workout videos trying to look like J.Lo. On diets that are low-carb, trying to be like J.Lo. And all of our daughters dressing like J.Lo says, doesn’t work for me.
And you’d think some of us would be smart enough to say, maybe there’s a better way. It causes pain, it destroys families, and living together diminishes marital success and sexual fulfillment.
Of all the commands, I think this is the one that’s hardest at the initial front end to grasp and say, wow, God’s way is best. But, boy, when you look at the data. This is one where sexual purity is God’s gift to his people.
Let me give you fact number five because I think this is critical.
Because there’s some of you sitting here still who think to yourself, you know, this is interesting. This could never happen to me. Not in my station in life, not with my marriage, I’m in the Bible every day, I pray, I love God. Not at my age. Nothing like this could ever, ever happen to me.
And fact number five is that we don’t fall into sexual sins, we slide into them. Because the number one sex organ in your whole body is between your ears. It’s not about your age, it’s not about your figure. The number one sex organ in your body is between your ears. And you can be eighty-nine years old and not be sexually pure.
Now, your body may not work like it used to anymore but I’ll tell you what. In between your ears, you can struggle and have pain. I remember going in to see a very, very old, Godly man who was in the hospital. He was in his eighties. I mean, a Godly, Godly guy. And as I went around the corner, there was on the TV and he had his hand over his eyes like this.
And, you know, I walked in, I said, you know, he’s kind of one of those mentor type guys. I said, “You okay?” He says, “Yeah.” I said, “Well, what are you doing?” He said, “I don’t want to watch that commercial.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “It’s got all kind of visual images that cause me to stumble.”
I mean, dude’s like eighty-four, he’s in the hospital. And I’m thinking, pretty good chance you never lick this one ‘til you die, huh? Man, I’m thinking, eighty-four, in the hospital, can hardly move and, but what he knew was, sexual purity is about what happens in your mind.
In fact, that’s what Jesus says in Matthew 5:27 to 30. He says, “You have heard it said, ‘Don’t commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
And then He goes on to give the application. How do you deal with this? “If your right eye causes you to sin,” literally the word means “stumble.” The Greek word is “skandalon.” It was a picture of a tripod hanging down with a piece of meat or bait. If your right eye, for whatever reason, causes you to stumble, there’s bait out there that you’re drawn toward. What’s He say?
He says, “Gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go to hell.”
Now, very quickly, Jesus is speaking in hyperbole. He’s making a point. The point is, right in the column of your notes, be as drastic as you need to be, to be sexually pure.
Be as drastic as you need to be to be sexually pure. Because I will guarantee. In fact, I read this story in my research of a seminary student who struggled with impure thoughts. He took a razor blade and cut off his right hand. I got news for you, it did not solve his problem.
Origin, an early church father, rather graphic. He so wanted to be sexually pure, he castrated himself. And it didn’t solve his problem, and the church later outlawed that. For which all men in future generations are very grateful.
Jesus is saying, whatever you have to do, be as drastic as you need to be but notice what Jesus says, sexuality isn’t about meeting someone at a bar. He says, notice the progression. He says, I tell you, anyone who, one, looks. And then, two, lustfully. Then it goes to your thinking. Then it’s your heart. And then it’s the intent. We slide into sexual sins.
One of the best pieces of research I’ve picked up is by a Dr. Ken Williams, Ph.D. and it’s just a little position paper. And he’s a counselor who specializes in counseling missionaries. And the title of the position paper is: Spiritual Warfare for Sexual Purity on the Mission Field. And he says, here’s the, literally, this is how affairs occur.
Now, this is for missionaries. This is for people who love God. This is people sharing Christ. This is people God is using. These are people that are in the Bible. This is people that are teaching the Bible. It happens to them. No one is immune. But he says, here’s the predictable steps that occur in all of his counseling. Number one, the usual beginning seems harmless.
He says, television, each time we watch a TV program, which appeals to the flesh sexually, even though the stimulus may be subtle, a powerful, unconscious, a process evolves. The process is so slow and so subtle that we rarely, if ever, are aware of what’s happening. We lose the shock of sexual immorality.
By the way, one of the things I do on a fairly regular basis and I encourage people to try is, I think the fasts that do you most good in our day may not be fasts from food, although I do that when led to. Try a media fast. I would challenge you, this is a good place to do it, for ten days. Watch no video, no TV.
Don’t let anything visual come into your mind for ten days. And then turn on the TV and watch. Don’t watch nine o’clock, ten o’clock. Watch prime time, seven, seven thirty, or even a sports show.
And you will pick up images and sexual innuendo and temptation and it’ll be like, whoa. Because, and here’s what’s happened. You’ve been so dumbed down that you don’t realize, stuff that really bothers God, stuff that is working on your soul. You are so desensitized, you’re unaware of it. He says, that’s the first step.
Second is our capacity for self-deceit is limitless. He says, I’ve talked with all these missionaries and they just don’t believe it could ever happen to them. It could never happen to me. We’re just friends. He goes on. Intimacy-vacuums get filled one way or another. People, I mean, God made you to want to be intimate. And by intimate I don’t mean sexuality.
I mean, the sense that you’re cared for. It’s when a missionary or anyone is lonely. Under stress. You move. When a wife has a child and she is consumed with this baby and for the first two weeks most guys are going, this is wonderful, this is wonderful, this is wonderful.
After about a month most guys are going, especially the first one, hey, what about me? You know, and then, like, six months you, like, want to drop the kid off somewhere and go away for a weekend and she’s going, no! No! And you’re going, yes! Yes!
And I’ve met women who won’t leave their kid for two years. Well, guess what? The intimacy needs aren’t being met at home and he goes to work and there’s some really nice secretary or co-worker who says, wow! You look good in that tie today. Thanks.
He’s never noticed it before but there’s a vacuum over here. And then pretty soon, you know, I’ve got a business deal but I’m really busy. The only time I have is lunch. He didn’t set this up. Could you meet for lunch and do this? Well, yeah, I guess so. And then over lunch. And by the way, at the very end of the lunch she goes, thanks very much. Just a pat on the hand.
The she comes into the office three days later and she goes, you know, could I get just a word with you? Well, sure. Could I shut the door? Sure. Go ahead. Well, I’m having a little struggle. And she shares a struggle in her marriage. And then, you know, he’s a Godly man, he wants to, you know, how do I help this person? And so he says, well here’s what I think you need to do. And by the way, here’s where I go to church.
And she says, thank you. And she has, she’s got no agenda at this point either. And how she’s, thank you very much. And he just gives her a little hug to say “thank you.” People, welcome to the NFL of sexual impurity. We are now rolling down the stream and they’re two Godly people or two people that have no intention of, they’re not saying, you know what? Why don’t we see if we can ruin our homes. Let’s see if we can shatter our kids.
Let’s see if we can figure out how you can pay alimony here and pay for me. Let’s see if we can get guilt and shame to levels that we could never imagine.
In fact, maybe we could even transmit some sexually transmitted diseases because actually, I’ve done this a couple three other times and I’d like to bring that into this relationship with you. And by the way, I could bring it into you and since you’ll live a double life for a while, you might go to pass this onto your wife before she finds out we have an affair.
No one says that. That’s exactly what happens. The pattern is very, very predictable. Could I give you some very specific ways to try and get around this, for you?
First of all, I’m going to say that there is a mindset that you must recognize and then attack. One, is that you’ve got to accept, I don’t care your age or your background. The power and the lure of your sex drive. And you have to tell yourself over and over again, yes it could happen to me.
Yes, it could happen to me. David loved God more than I will probably ever know or love God and it happened to him. Yes, it could happen to me. And until that’s your mindset, you’re vulnerable.
Second, in terms of mindset, is you must determine what you will put into your mind and what you will not put into your mind. Because you are a product of your thought life. I mean, get radical as you need to be. If you need to cut off your right TV cable, cut off your right TV cable. If you need to just absolutely rid your house of romance novels, then get rid of them.
If you are unconsciously, it’s like only one soap opera. Tell you, women are lured by communication, sensitivity, and this man who meets all these nurturing needs. And the fantasies usually come through novels and relationship.
And men are lured by sight. Women are looking for this man who understands and thinks and talks and cares. And it’s all about this emotional connection that leads to immorality.
The average man looks at a woman, he doesn’t care what she can think at all. He’s just looking at what he sees.
And I mean, anything you’re putting in your mind, whether it’s on the internet, whether it’s a book, whether it’s a magazine. Even if it’s the discipline of saying, when I go through the grocery store line, I’m going to choose to look forward.
You know, I’ve seen the same picture on the front of Cosmopolitan for about thirty years now. And they change the faces but from the neck down it looks just about the same. That’s extensive research I’ve done. And so, I can either choose to go down through that and say, wow, now I wonder what’s behind this one. You know.
And, you know, us good believers we say things like, “I cannot believe what they’re putting on here right now.” Right? It’s shocking. It’s terrible. In fact, I should look inside to see just how shocking and how terrible it really is. And those are the first steps.
Then there’s vulnerable circumstances, when you travel, you’re lonely, discouraged, depressed, man, you gotta put your armor on. I know one guy that takes a picture of his family, he goes into the hotel, puts the picture of his family on top of the TV, and asks them to turn off the cable.
When you have struggles and you’re going to have them. And whether it’s your wife is pregnant or someone is ill or whether you’re just, it’s a season where you’re having some conflict and things aren’t connecting in your marriage.
You will unconsciously look to fill that vacuum. Understand what’s going on. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. But it means the lights have got to come on and you gotta understand, man, you are set up.
And the enemy knows you and he knows your situation. And he will bring the right person at the right time that really looks like a juicy piece of fruit just like he offered Eve. Until you bite into it.
And unguarded friendships, eighty percent, seventy-five to eighty percent of all affairs occur with someone you know very well. Unlike the way it happens on TV where, you know, you walk in, you meet eyes, the chemicals go off, you decide to abandon all common sense and jump into bed with this person. That may occur here and there rarely. But the person that you’re most likely to have an affair with, you know.
And it’s a coworker, someone you spend time with, someone you’re brought into a ministry relationship with, someone that you have to spend lots of time with and then under stress, under pressure, things not going so well at home, and then you get strokes from this person, there’s an emotional need, an emotional vacuum.
What I want to tell you is, the most loving, Godly, caring, deeply committed, finest Christians you will ever know, can, in a weak time, in a weak moment, commit adultery.
And so, whatever you need to do to put good things in your mind. And for some, it’s vicarious. You think it’s innocent. You think you can, kind of, dabble on the internet or you think you can just, you know, a little bit of playboy or a little bit of this or this novel.
You know what? Jesus. You know, the seeds get planted here. You don’t deal with them now. They may not give birth for six or seven years. The issues of your sexual purity is always on a continuum. And that’s why be as radical as you need to be.
The Scripture is clear. You notice I put II Timothy 2:22. It says, “Flee youthful lusts.” Anything that gives you the evil desires that young men often have, he says, run from it. Some sin, you know, there’s thing you fight. Satan, you fight. Put on the full armor of God. Stand firm. This one, you run. You don’t say, well, how strong… You just run.
Psalm 119:9-11. I think this is the real key. You gotta get your mind. “How can a young man or a not so young man. Or how can a young woman or a not so young woman keep their way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word. Thy word I’ve hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”
And, without going into the details, I did not grow up as a believer, I understand I kind of shoot it kind of straight, maybe to the embarrassment of some of you now and then.
But if we’re going to reach the next generation then this is where, tell you what, this is where your kids and grandkids are living. So someone better put it out there the way they’re living it, okay?
And I’m going to tell you that I struggled, first three or four years as a Christian, I just thought lust was something every guy, you just had to fake it. Man, I could not get over it. I did not grow up as a believer. I never read the Bible until I was eighteen.
And I spent eighteen years figuring out how to look at women, how to attract women, how to do everything wrong and then the Spirit of God entered my life, changed my life, and man, I’ll tell you what, it was just, man, I made a commitment in a college ministry. I was going to be pure.
And I didn’t violate that commitment but, boy, you talk about the sin of lust in my heart and my mind. Every girl is an object. We used to sit down with the basketball players in the women’s dorm and they would walk by, hundreds at a time. Eight point five. Seven. Six. Two. You know. Arrogant.
Every time I looked at every woman, you know, my eyes went to certain places. And then I felt guilt and shame and I couldn’t pray and I said, “God, God, please help me. I don’t want to ever do that again. And I’m really, really, really sorry.”
And I mean, cycle after cycle after cycle after cycle. I was so defeated. And what I’m expressing is the average male believer in America.
A quarter of all pastors are struggling with pornography on the internet. Pastors. And, by accident, I was supposed to go to this summer training program in college and you had to memorize sixty verses.
And my roommate was going and he paid five bucks for some topical memory system and I thought, what a rip off.
So I, you know, I’m going to write them out on 3x5 cards myself and I did. And out of my pure motives, he was, you know, going to memorize, like, one or two or three a week. And I though, you weenie. Anybody can do two or three a week.
So I’m going to do one every day, review it every day. And by the time he’s about halfway through, I’m going to have sixty verses down, word perfect, because of my spiritual, humble commitment to be a man of God.
Isn’t it amazing how God can use your perverted motives and get His Word in your life?
And I got up to about thirty verses. And I, psychology, I had a Dr. I shouldn’t say his name. Nah, I can, he was about ninety then so it was thirty years ago. Dr. Lynch. Sorry, he was the most boring teacher in the entire world but he was the key to my sanctification. I would put my psychology book up and I reviewed verses for an hour every day in his class.
And I still remember meeting a very, very attractive co-ed. And I was on my way to lunch at the dorm. I mean, I didn’t even make the connections where all the freshman girls were because that’s where I always went even though there was another dorm where you could eat. There was a lot health, spiritually. But I never made the connection that God might want me to go there.
And this co-ed was here and we stopped and we talked and I’d been memorizing verses now for about three and a half weeks and we talked and we had a conversation. I looked her in the eye the whole time. I saw her as a human being and not an object. And she left and I left and the Spirit of God went, “Chip?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “You didn’t lust.”
I said, “You’re right. It’s possible”
And then I started to go and I said, well, I don’t want to go to that, I know what, so I went to the other place and I ate a cafeteria and there was two or three gals that I knew were Christians and were sisters and we began to talk and you know what, from that day forward, I ended up memorizing, literally, hundreds and hundreds of passages.
You don’t need to do hundreds. It’ll help. And God renewed my mind. And when I started saying no to what went in my mind and I started getting really serious about memorizing Scripture and putting it in my mind.
And, men, I want you to know. Do I have bad days? Sure. Do I slip and fall now and then? You bet. I’m a man. But I want you to know, for the last twenty-eight, thirty years, I don’t live plagued with lust. And you don’t have to.
But it’s not because I’m some super this. Do you know what it is? When a young man keeps his way pure, how? By guarding it according to His Word. Your Word I’ve hid in my heart. Why? That I might not sin against You.
God’s Word is powerful. Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed, how? By the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2.
What? That your life, your lifestyle could prove or be tested and demonstrate what the will of God is. What, what’s the will of God? It’s good. It’s acceptable. It’s well pleasing.
I want you to know, God has great plans for your sexuality. But He says in Ephesians 5:3 and 4, “Don’t let there be a hint of immorality.” I mean, this is radical. Do whatever you need to do. Have you got the picture?
Let me close with just the final page and all I want to do is, by way of application, say this. Those that might be really, really honest in here and you don’t need to tell me. Is you might be saying, you know what, this is way too little way too late.
I’m addicted to pornography right now, in fact, these messages the last couple days are making me nuts. I feel as guilty as I have. In a room this size, I would guess that probably twenty, twenty-five percent of the men in this room have some issue with immorality, lust, pornography.
And my experience is, you get over a hundred people you probably have at least a handful of people that right now are either in an emotional affair or a physical affair.
And it’s hard for you to keep a straight face as you hear me talking. And everything inside you just wants to run out that door but it would be socially unacceptable so you’re just, kind of, bearing up and you know.
And I want you to know, God brought you in this room on this day to free you. Adultery is not the unpardonable sin. Lustful thoughts are not the unpardonable sin. We learned that most of the Bible was written by murderers. Well, I’ll tell you what, there’s a pretty good adulterer that had an impact. His name was David.
And if you trace David’s adultery and his confession in Psalm 51 and then you pick up the end of the story in Acts 13, you find that God looks back on David and says, I found David a man after my own heart. Didn’t mean he lived a perfect life. But he got right, he got clean, he put his past behind him, and he moved forward and he was forgiven.
And then you read on in Acts 13 and you find a man, despite the failure, who accomplished God’s purposes for him in his generation. There’s a lot of Godly men and Godly women that have had affairs that have overcome addictions.
And you know what? It starts for you right today, if you’re involved in that, to stop and experience what the woman in John 8 experienced when she was thrown at Jesus’ feet.
“We caught this woman in the very act!” and you remember what Jesus’ words were? Once He wrote in the sand, once He said, hey, if there’s anybody here that, you know, isn’t blowing it at all then, tell you what, you fire the rocks first.
Remember what He said to her? What He said to her He says to you right now. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
So why don’t you bow your head. And you know where you’re at. And if you need to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness. Need to repent? Repent.
And if you’re a man or a woman and you’re really struggling. Who is the one person you could really trust? The one other woman, if you’re a woman or the one man if you’re a man that it wouldn’t go any farther.
You gotta get the secret out. Don’t try and, you won’t lick this one on your own. You will have to find another man to say, you know, I went to this camp and this is what happened and this is where I’m really at and I need help. And one other man or one other woman and take you on the journey towards sexual purity.