Broadcast

Sexual Purity in a Sex-Saturated World

From the series Love Sex and Lasting Relationships

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 as he tackles this very controversial but important topic.

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Message Transcript

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 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 – five, six, seven, eight, nine sidewalks wide, and a tree here and there.

And so, that morning, the boys got up, and my father’s 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?” Dooooooo. “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, 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. 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.”

And I mean, I was just, because I just knew if they ended up over here, 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, that 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?”

We talked a little bit. But the one warning I have is, 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, just someone invited you, and you thought to yourself, Well, 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? 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, 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.”

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? Parentheses: 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 that 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 they say this about me. Don’t you?

But what, this startling thing happened in my life was, I realized, I hate all hypocrites, but I even hate it when it’s me! 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 who are living together go, “Oh, wow, I need to walk in the Light.” People who are hooked on pornography go, “Wow, I need to go get some help.” People who are walking in the Light say, “I just 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, or five lanes where the real action is, and you have these little hidden portions of your life.

And so, that’s what he says. He says, “That’s what will bring you the greatest joy in life. That’ll bring the greatest satisfaction.”

And here’s what I have to tell you. It’s really hard. Intellectually agreeing with what I said – and I love your body language, now you’re all paying very rapt attention, and, Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Well, you know what? I didn’t grow up as a Christian, and when I trusted Christ, the first couple of years, I didn’t walk in the Light a lot. I was trying. But it was like I started reading the Bible, and some things went away. I didn’t try to start cussing; it just stopped.

But I’d go to Bible study on Thursday night, and then I’d go hit all the bars with the basketball team, and I had the people skills, and so I was the guy walking over to the four girls who came, “Hey, girls! Good to see you here! What’s happening? These guys over here – you think maybe you can…?” Right? Don’t lie, you guys have been there. At least a lot of you have.

And then, you’re blurry eyed; it’s two thirty in the morning when you get in. It’s Saturday night, and you’re just learning how to go to church, and it’s two thirty in the morning, and you have to get up. You’re going, I’ll make it next week.

And then, you get up, and you miss church, and you think of some things last night that were a lot less than walking in the Light – “Oh, God, I’m so sorry. Thank You so much, and please forgive me.” And He does!

And then, you get up, and Monday’s great, and Tuesday is okay, and, Wednesday, you’re with the basketball team – at least in my case – and you decide to eat in the cafeteria where the girls’ dorm is, and they walk by, and you’re sitting with a bunch of guys going, “4.5, 7.3, 9.1” – crude as you can be. And then, you walk out, and you go, “Oh…”

See, when the Holy Spirit lives in you, that sense of lack of peace, what He goes is, Oooh, you just made Me sad. Those girls are made in My image. I love them. And you’re looking at them like a piece of meat. “Oh, God, I am so sorry.”

And, you know what? I was like a Ping-Pong ball. I was, bing, bing, bing, sorry, sorry, bing.

Trying really hard to live a sexually pure life, in your thinking, in your words, and in your behavior demands a game plan. Trying hard does not work.

I worked with college students for over ten years when I taught and coached. And I can tell you that all the men that I worked with, and all the women that I got to know – trying hard to be sexually pure. Even if you can put at bay some of the external behaviors, my lands, what did Jesus say? “If a man lusts in his heart for a woman, he has committed adultery with her.” What did Job say? “I’ve made a covenant with my eyes; I won’t gaze at a virgin.” Basically, “lust at a virgin.”

And so, how does it work? Are you ready? Are you really ready? Here we go. 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 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, 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.

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 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 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.

Finally, as you turn to the back page, it’s the reward. “Sexual purity’s payoff –” I want you to add two words. “Sexual purity’s payoff –” write the words: is awesome. Is awesome.

One couple’s journey, I just want to say, God’s way works. Some of you, you’re here, and you haven’t been around very long, and you’re thinking, Well, easy for a pastor to say.

I didn’t grow up as a Christian. My wife was married before. I played competitive college basketball, and then overseas. And everything that I’ve told you about is not how I lived, up until I was introduced to God’s Word. And even the first couple, three years after I was introduced, it was not easy. I’ve done tons of things wrong. God has been very gracious to limit the consequences.

But He gave us a fresh start, and then, I want to tell you, you ride that bike around the place that He wants you to ride that bike, and everything is great. It really does work.

And it’s never too late. That’s the second point. You can start today; it’s never too late. You can repent today. You can decide you’re going to move out from the relationship where you’re living together. You can break the sexual addiction. You can stop flirting. The woman caught in adultery – what is Jesus’ attitude to us sexual sinners? What did He say to that woman? “Neither do I condemn you” – and our culture is really big on the first half – “therefore go and [sin no more.”]

Some of you, that’s His Word; that’s Jesus to you. That’s all you really need to hear. “I don’t condemn you! Go and sin no more.” You say, “Well, how?” Well, develop convictions, ponder the consequences, right? Make some pre-decisions, and get accountability. And, by the way, you have to be in God’s Word. There is power in this truth as you renew your mind. It’s never too late. It wasn’t too late for David, king of Israel – adultery. It wasn’t too late for Rahab. It wasn’t too late for Augustine. Augustine was a sexual pervert before he came to Christ and shaped the Church. His own testimony was the wildness of his lust as a young man. Nothing is new. It’s never, never too late.

And, finally, a word to virgins. Yes, there are virgins in the world, even in the Church. And here’s what it is: You’re not weird, you’re wise. You’re not weird, you’re wise.

I was teaching on a related topic, and gave a similar talk, many years ago. And a young man came, and he was – I learned later – he was twenty-eight, twenty-nine years old. He looked like a professional guy. And he came up, and he said, “Can I talk?” I said, “Well, sure.” He said, “No, over here.” I mean, I thought, Ooh. Okay, okay.

So, we went over here. And he said, “I’m twenty-eight” – whatever – “and I’m a doctor. And what you shared is how I was taught, and how I have lived. Do you know what it’s like to be twenty-eight, twenty-nine years old, praying, living a pure life, waiting for that? I just feel weird. Man, I just feel like – I mean, I am so made to feel like I’m out of touch with the real world, and what’s really going on. So, this really helped me. But I just had to tell you, I mean, I feel weird.”

And I remember putting my hand on his shoulder, and I said, “Dude, you are not weird, you are wise. When everyone else is unpacking their baggage, when everyone else is going through all that stuff, when they have to go to marriage counseling, like I did, because we had to work through all of our stuff – man, you, you are going to be the one that’s wise, who gets the highest, and the best.” Are you ready to step up, and step into God’s plan?
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.

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 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, 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.

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 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 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.

Finally, as you turn to the back page, it’s the reward. “Sexual purity’s payoff –” I want you to add two words. “Sexual purity’s payoff –” write the words: is awesome. Is awesome.

One couple’s journey, I just want to say, God’s way works. Some of you, you’re here, and you haven’t been around very long, and you’re thinking, Well, easy for a pastor to say.

I didn’t grow up as a Christian. My wife was married before. I played competitive college basketball, and then overseas. And everything that I’ve told you about is not how I lived, up until I was introduced to God’s Word. And even the first couple, three years after I was introduced, it was not easy. I’ve done tons of things wrong. God has been very gracious to limit the consequences.

But He gave us a fresh start, and then, I want to tell you, you ride that bike around the place that He wants you to ride that bike, and everything is great. It really does work.

And it’s never too late. That’s the second point. You can start today; it’s never too late. You can repent today. You can decide you’re going to move out from the relationship where you’re living together. You can break the sexual addiction. You can stop flirting. The woman caught in adultery – what is Jesus’ attitude to us sexual sinners? What did He say to that woman? “Neither do I condemn you” – and our culture is really big on the first half – “therefore go and [sin no more.”]

Some of you, that’s His Word; that’s Jesus to you. That’s all you really need to hear. “I don’t condemn you! Go and sin no more.” You say, “Well, how?” Well, develop convictions, ponder the consequences, right? Make some pre-decisions, and get accountability. And, by the way, you have to be in God’s Word. There is power in this truth as you renew your mind. It’s never too late. It wasn’t too late for David, king of Israel – adultery. It wasn’t too late for Rahab. It wasn’t too late for Augustine. Augustine was a sexual pervert before he came to Christ and shaped the Church. His own testimony was the wildness of his lust as a young man. Nothing is new. It’s never, never too late.

And, finally, a word to virgins. Yes, there are virgins in the world, even in the Church. And here’s what it is: You’re not weird, you’re wise. You’re not weird, you’re wise.

I was teaching on a related topic, and gave a similar talk, many years ago. And a young man came, and he was – I learned later – he was twenty-eight, twenty-nine years old. He looked like a professional guy. And he came up, and he said, “Can I talk?” I said, “Well, sure.” He said, “No, over here.” I mean, I thought, Ooh. Okay, okay.

So, we went over here. And he said, “I’m twenty-eight” – whatever – “and I’m a doctor. And what you shared is how I was taught, and how I have lived. Do you know what it’s like to be twenty-eight, twenty-nine years old, praying, living a pure life, waiting for that? I just feel weird. Man, I just feel like – I mean, I am so made to feel like I’m out of touch with the real world, and what’s really going on. So, this really helped me. But I just had to tell you, I mean, I feel weird.”

And I remember putting my hand on his shoulder, and I said, “Dude, you are not weird, you are wise. When everyone else is unpacking their baggage, when everyone else is going through all that stuff, when they have to go to marriage counseling, like I did, because we had to work through all of our stuff – man, you, you are going to be the one that’s wise, who gets the highest, and the best.” Are you ready to step up, and step into God’s plan?