Radio Broadcast

Sexual Purity in a Sex-Saturated World, Part 2

There is an epidemic in evangelical Christianity, and the epidemic is lust. If you want to discover God’s weapon for slaying the dragon of lust then join Chip for this very practical message about how you can overcome temptation and know the joy of following Him in obedience.

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Transcript

This is God’s game plan. First, it’s: walking in love demands sexual purity. Second, sexual purity demands a game plan. There are four parts to this game plan. Pull out a pen; jot them down.

Number one: Develop convictions. Develop convictions. Purity requires a personal commitment to the truth. The truth is this: Walk in love. Don’t walk in lust. Are you committed to that or not? And there is a big difference between a belief, and a conviction.

Convictions are rooted in: God said this. God’s character is that He’s good. He’s a sun and a shield. He gives grace and glory. He’s not going to withhold any good thing.

I didn’t give those boys a bike so they could be frustrated because they just couldn’t go out in the five lanes. I gave it to them so they could enjoy it, and ride, and have fun. And the older they got, they could go farther and farther and farther, and have lots of fun.

But there is a difference between believing something, and a conviction. A conviction is, you do it, whether anybody’s watching or not. And a conviction is, you do it, even if you’re persecuted for it.

Let me give you a picture. I’m going back to a lot of college days, because this was the battle in my life. And so, I was what’s called a “resident assistant.” I had my schooling paid for by basketball, but you get your room and board, and some extra money if you were a resident assistant. That was a person like, you’re in a dorm, and there are thirty to fifty guys, and you have a middle floor, and you’re supposed to be able to help them, and traffic the good and the bad.

So, West Virginia University sent a bunch of psychologists and counselors to do sensitivity training for all the resident assistants. So, all the dorms, and all the female and male dorms.

And so, we came to school four or five days early, and we had to go through all this training, which we were not crazy about. And so, they would do all these activities to help us get in touch with our feelings, and be open, and learn to help people. And, honestly, it was pretty good. A little wacky at times, but it was pretty good.

So, they had this one exercise where they wanted you to discover your values: “What do you really believe?” And so, they had a really long place in a room, and everyone lined up in this room, against a wall. It was a very, very big room.

But they had everyone scrunched in the middle, and they said, basically, “This is zero. And over here are one hundred points that say, ‘I totally agree with that statement,’ and over here are a hundred points, ‘I totally disagree with it.’” So, it’s either plus or opposite.

So, they asked these questions: “Do you believe such and such?” And so, some people would be at about a thirty, and others would be about a hundred, and people would be all over the place. And I’ll never forget this question: “Do you believe that sex before marriage is okay?”

Now, in my memory, there are about seventy-one people in this little section. Over here, is, “I believe and agree, one hundred percent, that sex before marriage is okay.” Sixty-eight people are hovered around the one hundred mark.

On the opposite side are two people, Jana and her boyfriend. I happened to know them. They’re over, holding hands, Dana and Jana, “We totally disagree that sex before marriage is right.” Sixty-eight people say, “We totally –” I mean, this is the seventies. It was “Make love, not war.” Co-ed dorms, all the crazy stuff.

And then, so, there are sixty-eight over there, and there are two over there. And then, here’s zero. And right about one and a half, maybe two, is the waffling weasel named Chip. Because, now – if you would have asked me privately, “You’re a Christian, I hear.” “Oh, yes, yes. I’m a Christian now.” “Do you believe in sex before marriage?” “Oh, absolutely not. The Bible says to not do that.”

But that’s a belief. Sixty-eight people say it’s okay, and three of them are girls that I’m interested in. The other problem is, these two I go to Bible study with on Thursday night. Ahhh!

See, you can say whatever you want. You have to develop a conviction. No one can do that for you. Convictions don’t come from hearing other people talk about God’s Word. Conviction comes when you open up Ephesians 5, and you read it over, and it says, “Walk in love,” and you open your heart, and you say, God, I want – no, no, let me be honest. Okay? Hey, God, I don’t want to walk in love. You know what? What I really want to do is have all my sexual fantasies fulfilled, and it’s all really, really about me. But I repent of that, and I’m sorry. And it doesn’t work out well, so I’m going to make a choice. Even though my feelings are that way, I choose to want to walk in love, and I’m going to make a decision and a conviction to be sexually pure in my thinking, in my words, and in my behavior.

And so, it starts with a stake that you drive, and it’s God speaking to you from His Word, because you don’t do it because of what your friends think. Dana and Jana, they didn’t care what anybody thought. The weasel did. I didn’t have a conviction.

And so, when you don’t have a conviction, those things you think you believe, they will not sustain you when something pops up on the Internet. They won’t sustain you when someone flirts. They won’t sustain you when you’re in a rocky part of your marriage, and someone gives you some attention at work. They will not sustain you when you’re looking for that right person and, “Well, I don’t really believe in this, but we really love each other and…” Empty words. Develop convictions.

Second, ponder the consequences. Fear can be a legitimate and healthy motivation for delayed gratification. Ponder the consequences. So, first, I’m going to develop convictions. I not just believe, but I’m convinced this is the right way to live.

Question – you can put a little check mark on your paper, or in your mind. Have you developed the conviction, and made the decision that you will be sexually pure before God?

Because, by the way, I’m going to give you a lot of tools that are practical. I guarantee they work. But if you don’t do this one, the rest of it is just blowing smoke. So, ask yourself: Do you have a conviction?

And I encourage you, that before you walk out of one of those doors, to drive that stake in the ground. It’ll change the course of your life. It’ll change the course of your marriage. It’ll change who you find, or who you do marry.

Ponder the consequences. It says, “Fear can be a healthy, legitimate motivator.” Notice, in verses 5 and 6, “God’s wrath is against those who disobey.” As a loving Father, there’s wrath, there’s anger, there are consequences. If I love my kids enough to produce some really negative consequences to help them understand, “Don’t go into the five lanes, and don’t hang out with drug dealers,” do you think the God of the universe, who cares about you…

And one of the most precious gifts He’s ever given you is this gift of intimacy, and sex, and connection, and designed to bond you. When you violate that, don’t you understand there are spiritual consequences? You get cut off from your fellowship with Him, and you have this guilt, and your prayers don’t go through. You don’t have much motivation. You don’t hang around with other Christians. Your lifestyle begins to…

There are relational price tags. You will use and exploit other people, and you will carry guilt.

There are physical issues. You may get a disease. If you don’t ponder the consequences, you may get someone pregnant. You may find yourself getting pregnant, and then violate everything you’ve ever believed and have a private abortion. You may find yourself having an affair, and paying child support.

These are not little deals, are they? And they don’t just happen to someone else out there. These are real things that happen to people who, with all their heart, say, “I love God and I want to follow God,” and they do these things.

How do you not do these things? How do you not get hooked on the Internet? How do you not find yourself flirting? How do you find yourself keeping your marriage together? How do you eliminate divorce?

You have to ponder the consequences. You have to think about, What would happen if I really get hooked on this stuff? What would happen if I keep messing around, flirtatiously, at work? What would happen if we continue to live together, and…

See, you ponder it, and here’s what I encourage you to do. Get your favorite, relaxing something to drink, and whether that’s coffee at a coffee shop, or something at home, and put your feet up, and then actually go through a mental picture, and try and create a movie of what the implications would be like if you fail morally.

For some of you, it’s telling your mom and dad that you’re pregnant. For others, it’s telling your mate that you’re hooked on something, and you don’t know how to get out of it, and you really want help, and you’re afraid. For others, it’s destroying two families. And your husband or wife said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ll put up with a lot, but if you are ever unfaithful, you are done.” And it’s you sitting in a hotel room with a bunch of stuff, and kids that are completely in disarray, and, “We can’t believe, after what you said and how you told us to live, that you’ve lived this other way.”

I’ll tell you what, we underestimate the fear of God. Okay? See, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m obeying God in this. And after my first few years, this has been a really high priority for me. And I have my struggles, like everyone else, but I’m guessing, I don’t know, but since it’s a nice story, I can make up whatever I want.

I’m guessing that on an average week, maybe – I’m going to give myself a little credit here – maybe twenty-five to thirty-five percent of the reason that I always obey God in these kinds of areas is because I love Jesus so much, and I realize what He’s done for me. And I don’t want to let Him down. About thirty-five percent of the time, maybe.

I bet sixty-five percent of the time, when a huge temptation comes, I really want to please Him, but I’m scared to death not to. I fear Him. I fear God. I fear the consequences. I play this little movie out, and here is my movie, and I’ve been playing this movie for years.

My movie is, there’s a long couch, right here. And at the very end – I’ll go in order – Eric, who’s the oldest; then Jason; then Ryan; then Annie. Theresa sits on the end. And by now, probably, the grandkids that are old enough – eleven-year-old, ten-year-old, ten-year-old – the others probably can’t understand.

And I pull them all together, and I’m shaking, and they wonder what’s going on. And I probably get down on one knee, and they’re all here, and Theresa’s on the end, and I say, “I just need to let you all know that I’ve done something I am very ashamed of. For the last three months, I have fallen, morally. And I want you to know that everything I have taught, everything I have said, everything I have communicated to you guys about sexual purity – I blew it. I could tell you about how I was tired, and how I was vulnerable, and all the different reasons. But I betrayed your mother, and I betrayed you.

“And because of the kind of job I have, I want you to know, I don’t have a job now. I want you to know that, because I have a little bit of a profile, it will be in the papers. It will be in Christianity Today. It’ll be in some other magazines.

“I want you to know that I will make you an object of ridicule, because people will say, ‘Yeah, you know those people that didn’t believe much in God, or much in Jesus, and your dad, who seemed like he was a pretty straight shooter – he’s just like all the rest. I don’t buy Jesus, I don’t buy God.’ And I don’t know how much damage I’ll do for the whole rest of your life. I don’t know if we’ll have a relationship. At this point, I’m praying your mom will forgive me, and we can get this thing back together somehow. But I don’t know if she will or not. I’ve violated her that deeply.”

That’s a bad movie, isn’t it? That’s a really bad movie. What does your bad movie look like? What does your bad movie look like? Because I will tell you what, the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge, and the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. And to think that there are five-lane highways, and rules that the Creator of the universe has put in place, and that you can go play in those. or hang out with spiritual drug dealers, and it not smash your life, and ruin your life, and destroy your life, and destroy others, you’re dreaming.

This isn’t little stuff. Sexual purity – there is nothing that aligns more with worship than our sexuality, because our sexuality and our worship have to do with either God or idols.

So, if you want to be sexually pure, you develop convictions. You say, “That’s the way I’m going to live. I will struggle, I may fail, but that’s the way I’m going to live.” Second, you ponder the consequences.

And third – here’s where you get the victory: You make pre-decisions. Advanced decision-making is the absolute necessity for sexual purity. Pre-decisions.

If you wait, in the midst of the battle, when the Netflix that you rented, and you didn’t realize, Oh, my lands, look where this is going, or something late at night comes on, or someone sends a YouTube and you go, “Oh, I bet it’s pretty good,” and pretty soon it gets graphic, or someone flirts with you at the office.

If you wait – if you’re dating someone, and it’s one thirty in the morning, and it’s late and you’re at his or her apartment, or the parents are gone, and you’re semi-laying down, watching this movie, really engrossed in the movie, I’m sure, and no one is around, at one thirty, and your defenses are low, you will do what you thought could never happen in this relationship. You both love God. You both want to be pure. You both made your commitments. At one thirty in the morning, lying down, watching the movie, in a dark room, no one is around…

Eighty percent of all young women never plan to have sex the first time. And you’re no different. You get it? You have to make a pre-decision. You have to decide, in advance, These are things I won’t let in my mind. This is how I will live my life so those things don’t get me. It’s all about pre-decisions.

In fact, verse 7 says we’re not to be partakers. We’re not to associate with anything that’s sexually impure, in thought – right? – in word, or deed.

Now, what I have before me is a blue sheet of paper. You can’t read it. In fact, if you could, probably I would cover it up. But I’ve made some pre-decisions. I’m going to share my pre-decisions, but here’s what you need to hear: these are mine. These are mine. I’m uniquely made by God. Being uniquely made by God, I have some strengths, and I have some glaring weaknesses, and my strengths will be different than yours, and my weaknesses will be different than yours.

So, this isn’t a set of rules that everyone needs to hear Chip’s and say, “Well, this is what I should do.” No, no. What you ought to hear is, “You know, number one, three, five, seven, six, and eight? I think I need those. That other one, I’m not sure where he’s coming from.” But you have to make pre-decisions. But I’m thinking, if I tell you to make pre-decisions, and I don’t give you some handles on things that might help you, what are they?

Pre-decision for me, number one: When someone starts telling a dirty joke – I play a lot of pick-up basketball and hang out with guys who are very, very unchurched. And they start sharing something that’s really lewd. If I’m really close with them, I’ll say something like, “Hey, dude, come on, man. I don’t want to hear that stuff.” Because we have a relationship.

If I’m in that, and they start down that road, and I don’t really know them very well, I’ll say, “Hey, see you guys. Now I’m going to work on my foul shots.” I don’t want to be this self-righteous little Christian that goes, “Now, guys, don’t you understand, that’s a terrible thing to say?” Man, they’re lost like I was! They’re in darkness! I’m not going to put myself on them. But I’m not sticking around. I’ve pre-decided: It starts? I leave.

Pre-decision number two: When something comes on the TV, the Internet, the YouTube, and it’s suggestive – pre-decision: I change the channel, or I turn it off, now. Immediately. See, I’m not strong. But neither are you. There are certain things in the Christian life that you fight. You fight the enemy. But you flee youthful lusts and anything that gives you the desires that young men, and young women, often have. But stay close to anything and anyone that helps you want to do what’s right. That’s the Living Bible, 2 Timothy 2:22.

And so, you know what? I’ve been there. And it’s not like I never, ever slip. But, right? Something comes on, it’s kind of late, and you’re really tired. And you’re thinking, Oh my gosh, she’s starting to take her clothes off. In fact, this is prime time. This is ridiculous. Children would be up. And then – have you ever done this? Then, you grab the remote, like, I wonder how far they’re going to go?

And then, it’s like, “I have the remote because not only –” this is what you don’t really admit to yourself at the time. You want the remote because you wonder how far they’re going to go, but you also wonder, if someone walks in the room, how quickly can you change the channel?

And you know what? All sexual sin starts very subtly. All affairs start very subtly. And you watch it – it’s not like, Oh, this guy. Would you get off it? You’re just overblowing this thing. You know what it’s like? Sexual sin is like someone says, “Now, don’t go in the water; it’s dangerous!” And you walk out, up to your knees, and you go, What’s with these people? This is, “Don’t watch this; don’t watch that.” That guy, he’s just – you know, he’s on drugs.

So, you go out, and it’s up to your waist and, it actually feels kind of good. Then, you say, “I’ll tell you what …” Someone says, “Well, you ought to try these floaties.”

So, you lay down, and pretty soon, you look up, and – have you done this in the ocean? You get out in the water, here, and this is where your camp is, or lawn chairs, or whatever. And you look up, and, oh, my lands, you’re all the way down here.

Well, here’s what happens with sexual sin, “Man, we’re just friends. It stimulates me. I think it’s going to help the sexuality in our marriage, because sometimes I struggle in those areas.” There are lots of empty words.

And then, here’s what happens: Then, the current gets you, and you’re not this deep, and you’re not this deep, and you’re full-blown in it, and there are waterfalls coming, and you go, “Oh my gosh! I have to get out of this!” And you try and swim – you’re done. You’re done.

When you wait until the battle, you lose. A lot of you already know this stuff. You’ve come out of stuff.

People with drug problems don’t hang out with other people and say, “Hey! I’ve been off drugs for twenty-seven years. How are you guys doing those lines these days? We did short ones. I just want to do a little research.”

Alcoholics don’t go, “Hey! I’ll tell you what, it just about ruined my life. It was really tough, but, can I get a Diet Coke here? I’d like to hang out with you guys for three or four or five hours, and let’s talk about – hey, another shot of tequila – you’re doing pretty good on that one! Doesn’t affect me at all!”

What are you going to do if you sit there for three hours? It’s the same with sex. And all the same things that happen in your brain are the same. So, pre-decision.

Pre-decision is when someone begins to flirt. Now, I don’t think that happens to me a lot, but, on occasion, someone begins to flirt. The very first pre-decision: “Have I told you about my wife, Theresa? Hold it – where’s my iPhone? You should see my kids.” Message: This ring means I’m not for sale. Okay? Pre-decision. They start to flirt, or even thinking they’re flirting – probably they’re not really flirting, but, right? Pre-decision.

Because, see, flirting strokes your ego. A lot of all sexuality has almost little or nothing to do with sex, and has a big thing to do with a woman trying to feel: Am I desirable? Do I have any worth? And a man: Am I able? Am I still attractive? Can I come through? It’s all about you. It’s all about me. It’s all about ego.

Pre-decision: When someone’s dressed – or let me say, not dressed – very well. I ride on a lot of airplanes, and I’m in a lot of airports, and a lot of places, and big hotels, and I can be doing whatever I’m doing, and I can be sitting there, and someone walks by, and it’s like, Are you kidding me? Some very, very beautiful, beautiful woman, who’s very attractive, that has an amazing figure, and I can see almost all of her figure. Pre-decision: Don’t look twice. It’s a pre-decision.

It’s like, Oh, maybe I should pray for her. I need a really good look to know what her needs would be. Right? Are you kidding me? It’s a pre-decision! That look will lead to that thought, that will lead to this, and I’m going to be in Matthew 5 saying, Lord, I’m really sorry. I’ve lusted in my mind. These are pre-decisions. They take practice.

When you’re dating someone – pre-decision: Who are you going to date? For me, it was not just a believer, not just a believer who had high standards and loved God more than me, but they had a common vision. If they don’t have that, after all the Christian girls I dated, forget it. And God gave me Theresa.

When you go on a date, how far will you go? Pre-decision: In our relationship – you talk about it – when we hold hands, it means this. When I put my arm around you, it means this. When we kiss on the mouth, it means this. If we do anything beyond that, this is the level of commitment that it means, and these are the boundaries we agree on. Pre-decide.

When you have a date, you pre-decide: Where are you going to go? How late will you stay? What are you going to do? You’re in the stream. This is awesome! It’s awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome. But it’s dangerous. It’s a gift. Don’t mess it up.

When someone else’s wife or husband comes to you, at the end of a Bible study, saying, “Wow, we’re really going through a rough time, and I know Fred is depressed, and we’re having trouble with our kids. There are some financial issues,” and a person of the opposite sex begins to share their dissatisfaction with their mate, and what’s going on. And, really, it’s not even the sexual side of you. It’s the part of you that wants to help. And there’s something really weird about, I’m helping this person, and I’m listening, and they just seem so appreciative.

The moment that happens – my pre-decision: “Wow, you know something? It sounds like you really need to talk to another woman that could help you, because, being a man, I don’t really understand that stuff.”

Ninety percent of all affairs do not start because someone gets up one day and goes, “You know, I’ve been walking with God really carefully for about twenty-two years. I’ve got three kids, a pretty good job. My wife loves me; I love her. I’ve gained a little weight; she’s gained a little weight. It’s not quite what I’d like it to be. It’s Thursday. I’ve never had an affair. I think this would be a good day for an affair.”

“You know, I’ve heard about those people with addictions, and how it works in your brain, a lot like cocaine, and this and that. And I would never want it long-term, but it’s Saturday morning. I think I’ll log on the Internet, and I’ll Google ‘XXX,’ and see if anything comes up. I’ll just watch two or three, four or five, six of these, and I think I’ll have seven days of hardcore porn to see if it really affects me, because I’m not sure it does.”

No one does that! No one does that, okay? When you end up in the ditch, you never plan to go there. So, you make pre-decisions. What are yours? What should they be for where you’re at in your season? So, look, love demands sexual purity. Sexual purity demands a game plan.

In a game plan, you have to start with, I’m going to develop convictions, in fact, drive a stake today. I’m going to ponder the consequences of the evil and the bad of my hurt, and hurting others. I’m going to make pre-decisions.

And this last one is crucial: Get accountability. Asking others to help you keep your commitments to God will empower you to walk in a way that, it says in verse 11, is pleasing to the Lord.

This morning, elders in this church, once a month, we pray early and have some sharing time. We went around a room – accountability – and the three questions were: “How is your thought life, with regard to purity?” “Where and how are you doing in your marriage?” and, “How is your personal time and walk with God?”

I have a friend who’s a board member, and a friend of thirty-some years – and this was a number of months ago, but we sat down. I can tell him anything; he can tell me anything. When I’m really struggling, I call him, or two or three other buddies that I’m really close to. And he has this crazy, little card. “Have you watched anything in the last thirty days that would be displeasing to God? Have you…?”

He goes through these questions that are cutting. And they would be offensive, if I hadn’t asked him, “Would you help me keep my commitments to God?” Because we all have some level of denial, and we’re all liars – which is his last question. He asks these six questions, and they’re just penetrating. “Have you lusted? Have you done this? Have you done that?” The last question is, “Have you lied to me in any of the above six questions?”

Do you have someone in your life? What did we learn? What did Weight Watchers teach us? What does Al-Anon teach us? What does AA teach us? Why do you have to have a personal trainer to lose weight, for some of you? Why do you need a buddy or a gal to walk with to do it consistently? We all need people! “Encourage one another day after day, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” “A cord of three is not easily broken.”

Get accountability. Tell them, “I was at church! I made a conviction! I’m going to be spiritually and sexually pure. I’ve made these pre-decisions. These are mine. What are yours? Could we meet, even if it’s by phone, once a week, and be straight with one another?” God will deliver you.