Radio Broadcast

Sexual Purity in a Sex-Saturated World, Part 1

As believers in Christ, we want to be sexually pure, but it’s tough. Is it possible to really be pure in a sex-saturated world? Join Chip as he tackles this important and very controversial topic.

Message Notes more broadcasts from this series

Transcript

You know, when you really, really love someone, you want to give them something that you know will really make them happy.

And I remember maybe the first time I really got this from a father’s perspective. I have twin little boys, and they were hitting that five-, six-, seven-year-old age. And I was in seminary at the time, and we were just dirt, dirt poor. I was working full-time, and going to school full-time, and Theresa was home with the kids, and we were making a little under a thousand dollars a month.

And my little boys, they wanted – remember your first bike? Do you remember the first Christmas when you got your first bike? Well, I wanted to get my little boys a bike, and so I started saving, saving, saving.

And Christmas came, and we went to a Target, or a Walmart, and bought a couple of pretty cheap bikes that we had saved up for. And granddad came, and he helped me put them together.

And then, we went outside – and we lived in this apartment complex. And it was a really large, government-subsidized apartment complex where they had buildings with a couple, three stories. And then, it had sidewalks that would go around each building, like, five, six, seven, eight, nine sidewalks wide, and a tree here and there.

And so, that morning, the boys got up, and my heart was bursting and, “Dad! I can’t believe it! We got a bike! We got a bike!” They were shiny little bikes, and they were just about like this, about this … And so, what do you do? You go out with them and, “Okay, okay, son, are you ready? Okay! You’re okay! You’re okay!” So, literally … It was a little late for bikes for them, so within a couple of hours, they got it down.

And then, I had to do something that was really hard, because I just saw their faces, and I was so excited, and I gave them this really special gift. And then, I had to be like, “Okay, there are some rules.” As you know, like, really good gifts usually come with some rules.

Around this place where you could go around in a circle, it was pretty safe, but just beyond it was a highway with five lanes, just absolutely unbelievable. I mean, my kids could get killed really easily. And not only that, but this was a very interesting place. It was a rough neighborhood. There were a lot of students, but, also, right above us was a drug dealer.

And I remember, at one point in time, hearing a thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, and it was him dragging a woman, by the hair, down the stairs. This is a very true story. He had his shirt off, and there were claw marks all over him. And I came out to see what was going on, and he looked at me like, “If you want to get hurt, stick around.” And I said, “Are you guys okay?” And they walked away. And I still remember this picture of him walking barefooted, no shirt, in the snow.

On another occasion, I heard some really strange sounds, and I came outside. And as I got outside, this guy had a gun, and he turned it on me. And I went, Oh my gosh. I thought I was going to die. He goes, “Oh, I thought you were someone else.” And, apparently, a deal had gone bad.

So, I’m telling my boys, “Look, if you guys go outside this circle, you are in more trouble than you can imagine,” because I am very fearful for them. “Secondly, this is our building. Around this building. The guy upstairs meets with the other people in those buildings. That’s not safe. If you ever, ever, ever, like, ever, ever go past this building, your dad will recreate your whole life in a way that you’ll never forget.”

Because I just knew if they ended up over here … I mean, drug dealers are not nice people. And if they ended up over here, five lanes of a highway … This is my beautiful gift to them, but it’s not going to be good.

And I want you to know that, as a father, and as a parent, the reason you get such joy out of giving gifts that delight your children’s hearts is because you love them. And the reason is, you’re made in the image of God. And He loves to give us gifts that thrill our hearts.

And one of the gifts that He gives us is sex. It was never intended to sell stuff. It was never intended to be a one-night stand, and fulfill some temporary lust. It was a gift that would bond a person’s mind, and heart, and soul, and emotions, and body with another person for a lifetime, that seals that relationship and creates a bond that God wants to never break.

And so, we’re talking about love, and sex, and lasting relationships. Last time, we talked about how a loving relationship demands sexual purity. And when I got done last time, I had a young couple here, and other people here, and people out there – I had all kinds of people say, “You know what? I really, really get it.” Like, “I’m living with my boyfriend right now.”

Or one guy said, “Can I be honest with you?” I said, “Well, sure.” We were outside that door. And he told me where he was really at. And each one of them, basically, said, “I really want to do this God’s way, but are you kidding, man? How do you do that?” I said, “Well, come next week.” We talked a little bit.

But the one warning I have is, different people I’ve met – friends, and neighbors, and co-workers … And I didn’t grow up as a Christian. I never opened the Bible until I was eighteen. And if you happen to be visiting – like, someone invited you, and you thought to yourself, Well, you know, the band was pretty good, and it seems okay so far. It’s a little different for me …

But now you look at these notes, and you’re actually, in your mind – you won’t say this to the friend you came with – Is this guy actually going to get up and say that sex before marriage is not only wrong, but stupid? I mean, this is the twenty-first century. Is he going to say that out loud? And I bet if he does, he’ll probably pull out some old Book that I don’t necessarily even believe in, and give me all these reasons from this Book about why, and I’m just going to think to myself, I don’t come to church a lot, but I probably won’t come back.

Well, let me do something just for that group, because that was me a number of years ago. And so, let me give you some research that isn’t from the Bible – it’s all secular research – about sex and sexual fidelity, and some reasons why you might want to reconsider your position, even if you don’t believe in the Bible. On the front of your notes – I put it here – “Five facts about sex.”

Fact number one: “Those who abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage report the highest levels of sexual satisfaction in marriage.” Now, I’m not sure how they measure all this, but a whopping thirty-one percent higher level of sexual satisfaction was reported. And that was by the Bethesda Research Group, and reported in the Washington Post.

Fact number two: “Those who cohabitate, or live together, before marriage have a fifty percent higher divorce rate than those who do not.” That was a research study by UCLA.

Fact number three: “Those who abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage have the highest rates of fidelity in marriage.” That was in a study done at the University of South Carolina.

Fact number four: “The introduction of sex into a dating relationship almost always ushers in the breakup of that relationship” – Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, who are counselors and teachers, and just as they’ve done surveys with thousands of students … You’re in a relationship; you’re dating. You start to have sex. The probability that that relationship will end skyrockets the moment that happens.

Finally, “Sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS or genital herpes, can remain dormant for up to a decade or more, but be passed on to others during that time.” So, in other words, you can have no symptoms; the person you have sex with has no symptoms. They may have had sex with other people, and you may never, ever know, and you can actually get it, pass it on, and wake up ten years later HIV positive, or something else.

Here’s all I want to say: This may be an ancient Book, but it’s filled with wisdom. And I will tell you that if you don’t even believe in the Bible, and you’re sitting here, and you say to yourself, Well, okay, I don’t know if I buy the Bible yet. But the best research says if I want the best sex, if I want to have a fifty percent lower probability of divorce, if I want my partner to be not running around on me, and if I don’t want to catch some diseases, and if I really like the person I’m dating and I don’t want it to crash – Hmm … What he’s actually going to teach about not having sex before marriage is really the picture of a beautiful, wonderful gift, like fire that brings light, and warmth, and heat.

And when fire is in a fireplace, amazing and wonderful things happen. But the same fire, if you take it out of the fireplace, and stick it in the middle of the living room floor, it burns your house down.

And so, we’re going to talk about how to live a sexually pure life in a sex-saturated society, because you’re smart, okay? Now, wouldn’t you agree, at least from the research, smart people would do this? And, even more importantly, because you want to be holy; you want to get God’s best. Anything less is second-rate sex.

The question I want to ask and answer is how to say “yes” to love, and “no” to second-rate sex. Anything apart from a guilt-free, passionate, aligned-with-God, aligned-with-one-another, from-the-heart sex is second-rate.

Now, there are going to be three things you need to know to have God’s kind of love, and eliminate second-rate sex. Number one – a bit on the review side – is that loving relationships demand sexual purity. Now, you can lust, and you can be about yourself, but I mean loving relationships …

Notice what it says – the command: “Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, as an offering, a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” So, to walk in love means you’re giving, caring, sacrificial, unselfish. You want to put the needs of this other person ahead of your own. That’s loving. That’s the positive side of walking in love in a relationship.

He says, now, negatively – those are some things you do. Here are some things, if you really love someone, you don’t do. “But do not let immorality or impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among the saints; and there must not be any filthiness or silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather the giving of thanks.”

And if you were here in our last time together, that word, immorality, we get our word porn from. It’s porneia in Greek. Impure extends that. And basically what he says is, “Any sexual relationship or activity – fornication, adultery, same-sex relationships – anything apart from one man, one woman, inside of marriage violates God’s command because He’s got this gift!” And he says there’s a five-lane highway out there that, when you violate this, you get killed, and there are spiritual drug dealers out there that will wipe you out!

And so, that’s the command. The reason is, “For this you know” – verses 5 and 6 – “with certainty, that no immoral or impure or covetous person, who actually is an idolater, has an inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.” And then, he says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

In other words, there are consequences. God loves us so much that when we violate what He says about human sexuality in relationships, he says it makes Him angry. That’s all the word wrath means. It makes Him angry. And when a parent is angry, He disciplines those He loves, to bring about the kind of behavior that will protect them from danger.

Now, most of you will be completely shocked, knowing the wonderful parent that I probably was at twenty-eight or twenty-nine, that even after I told my two little boys, with these shiny new bikes, that they could only go around this circle around the apartment, and they should never, ever, never, ever, I mean, like, never go beyond that building … You’ll be shocked to find out, they didn’t obey me.

Actually, there’s something in our human nature that, if someone just says, “Draw a line; don’t cross it,” I may have never thought about it before, but when they say, “Don’t,” it just makes me want to. Doesn’t it you?

Now, as a father, a very irresponsible thing to do would have been saying to my six- or seven-year-old boys, as they were on the bikes, “Oh, well you went out into the highway. It’s only five lanes. You didn’t get killed. It seems to be okay. I hope you’re just as lucky next time!” Or, “You know what? Hey! You went across that building, and there were only three drug dealers, and a big deal didn’t go down, and they even seemed nice to you! In fact, they offered you something to try!”

Now, what you would say to me is, “You’re an irresponsible, idiotic, stupid, uncaring, unloving father,” and you would be right. You see, when I caught them going beyond the circle, I actually enforced the rules. I provided consequences.

I started with light consequences to get their attention, and they weren’t very responsive. And so, I increased the intensity of my consequences.

I did some things, in loving ways, to help my kids know, I don’t think I ever want to go beyond that circle again. At one point in time, I just said, “You know what? You can’t even use that bike for thirty days, unless you’re willing to obey me.”

Why? Is it because I’m trying to keep something good from them, or have I given them a gift that, with it, has huge opportunity, but great responsibility, and great danger?

What would happen, instead of you thinking that God has made all these rules about sex that keep you from “the good time,” and you started realizing, Wow, God wants me to have great sex, with the right person, at the right time, with no hang-ups, no pain, no baggage, no issues, no diseases? And the reason He has these rules is because He wants me to enjoy the gift. And that would be the truth.

But you’d listen differently if you believed that.

So, he’s given us a command: “Walk in love.” He gives us the reason. And then, now, he gives us the application. He’s going to say, “Not only do you need to walk in love, but I want you to walk in the Light.” “Therefore do not be partakers with them” – circle the word, in your notes, partakers – “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of the Light.”

And then, he explains: Well, what would it look like? I mean, if you walk as children of the Light, what would that look like?

Well, it would be, “… (For the fruit of the Light …)” In other words, the fruit is the evidence of something. “…(The fruit of the Light is all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” Would you underline the word darkness, and then, would you underline the phrase you are Light?

That word, partakers, is a very interesting word in the original language. Literally, the idea is: Don’t even associate with them. “Therefore walk in love” – why? Because there are consequences that are from love. He says, “Now, therefore” – how do you behave? – “don’t even associate.” Don’t go to places, don’t watch things, don’t think things, don’t hang out with, don’t put into your mind and into your heart people, and information, and videos, and books, and magazines that pull you away, and keep telling you that, out there in the five lanes, is where the action is, or where the spiritual drug dealers are hanging out.

And then, he gives the reason. He goes, “You were formerly darkness.” He doesn’t say, “You were in the darkness.” You were darkness. “But now you are Light.” Remember what Jesus said? “I am the light of the world.” He says, “Don’t stumble because of Me. I am the light of the world.”

And then, what did He say to us later? He said to His followers, “You are the light of the world.” He didn’t say, “Go be the light of the world,” or, “Act like you’re the light of the world.” “You are the light of the world.” He says, “Me living inside of you, manifesting the power, and the presence, and the love, and the holiness of God – you’re the actual light of the world now.” So, He says, “Walk that way. This is how Christians live like Christians in their sexuality.”

And He gives us three words. Let me just briefly highlight what they are. He says “all goodness,” “all righteousness,” and “all truth.”

Goodness is moral excellence. It’s not just being nice, or kind. It’s moral excellence with a sense of kindness, and generosity, and winsomeness. When you’re walking in the light, you’re morally pure before God. Someone is meeting someone who’s good, and generous, and kind.

He says “That’s what it means to walk in the light.” You’re looking for the needs of other people. Your words and your life are telling the same story. You’re walking in all goodness.

In fact, not only just goodness, but righteousness, or you’re living right. The literal meaning of the word is, “giving another person what they’re due.” So, if it’s respect, you give them the respect they’re due. If it’s a commitment, it’s the commitment that’s due. It’s doing your duty before God, and doing your duty before men. You’re the kind of person that’s right. You’re righteous. You’re just. You’re fair.

And then, the next one is truth. It talks about integrity. It’s a beautiful word for truth. It’s not just doing the right things with some sort of little, narrow, I’m going to do what’s right. This is true. It has the idea of an integrity where there’s peace in your heart, and where there’s a desire for what’s beautiful, and what’s right, and what’s good, and what’s kind.

See, a lot of us struggle a lot with our sexuality, and with issues in the Christian life, and in walking with God, because we have this deal inside of us, and it’s that we all hate hypocrites. Don’t we? I think it’s just inborn. I mean, I hate it when people tell me one thing, and then they act another way. I hate it when someone gives me a compliment, and then on Facebook, they say this about me. Don’t you?

But what startling thing happened in my life was, I realized, I hate all hypocrites, but I even hate it when it’s me! You know, when I shave, and I’m looking in the mirror, and I’m thinking about, What kind of man am I, really? And, How do I really treat my wife? And, Where do my thoughts go? And, Am I really walking in integrity? And, In light of the last twenty-four hours, am I doing what is right, and just, and living in truth?

When there’s a real high level of alignment, there’s a peace. And not only that – I mean, in the good sense, I like myself then. A lot of you don’t like yourselves. And you don’t like yourselves because that level – When it’s not congruent, when it doesn’t line up – you know in your head, and your mind, and your lips, This is what I say I believe, and what I think, but this is how I’m living – it just produces tremendous tension.

And walking in the Light doesn’t mean you’re perfect. Walking in the Light means you’re responding, day by day, and moment to moment, to what God has shown you about what is true.

So, people that are living together go, “Oh, wow, I need to walk in the Light.” People that are hooked on pornography go, “Wow, I need to go get some help.” People that are walking in the Light say, “I find myself, at work, lusting after these guys” – or these women – “and, God, I want to change that.”

And we’re going to talk about how. But the application is: There’s something powerful, and winsome to be at peace, and to have your conscience clear, and to have relationships, and to look people in the eye, and not always feeling like there’s something, or someone, and you have these little hidden portions of your life.