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Entries in Sexuality (2)


Society under Siege: The Overflow of Perversion

1 Corinthians 7:1-7.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on September 25, 2016.

There is a growing boldness in our society to call sexual perversion a good thing.  In fact this has spread to many who claim to be Christians and justify much that the Bible labels as immoral.  Now when we read the Bible we find that the open overflow of sexual perversity is always followed by the judgment of the nation or society in which it occurs.  We see it with the pre-flood world.  We see it at Sodom and Gomorrah.  We see it within the tribe of Benjamin during the time of the Judges.  Now it is our own country that is going down the well-worn path of destruction.  I pray that God will wake us up as a nation before it is too late.  Regardless of what happens with America, I challenge each of us as individuals, “Save yourself from this wicked and perverse generation!”  Acts 2:40.

Singleness is good

In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, the Apostle Paul is dealing with some very specific issues within the Corinthian Church.  In some ways these issues are related to our issues today and in some ways they are different.  It is important to note that Paul is responding to some statements that the Corinthians were saying, which he either received by word or letter.  In verse 1 Paul is able to agree with one of their statements, “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”  To touch a woman is a euphemism here for sexual intimacy.  Paul basically agrees that it is a good thing for an adult to remain single and not engage in sexuality.  However, he is going to have some issues with the lengths to which they take this idea.  But let’s deal with singleness first.

In our society most people who remain single do so in order to have more sex, or rather, sex with more people.  Biblically this is called fornication and is a type of sexual immorality that God has warned will receive His wrath in the end.  However, the Corinthians Christians had a different mindset.  Some of them were seeing sex as unspiritual and therefore celibacy as spiritual.  So when they said it was good for a person to remain single, it had to do with trying to be more spiritual.  This is not true.  Both a single person and a married couple can be just as spiritual or unspiritual.  Imagine a celibate who is inflamed with sexual desire.  They would be a moral time-bomb that is anything but spiritual.  Also, a married couple who is regularly involved sexually can be very spiritual.

Notice that in verse 7 Paul states that his personal desire is that everyone could be like him, which is unmarried and not having sex with anyone.  However he recognizes that not all people have been given this ability from God.  In fact, we know that the larger percentage of people do not have this gift.  Now the word translated gift is “charisma.”  It is the same as the gifts of the spirit elsewhere in this book.  There are some who are gifted by God to thrive as singles.  They may wonder from time to time what it would be like to be married, but they do not have the same drive towards sexuality as others.  They have the ability to live a single life without being inflamed with lust, fantasies, and fornication.  We should confess that Christians have not always been so healthy minded towards singles on this issue.  We can often assume that singleness means there is something wrong with someone or that they are a homosexual.  A parent who wants grand children can overly pressure their adult child to find a mate.  This is not healthy.  In principle there is nothing wrong with being single and abstinent for one’s life.

In fact Paul argues later in verses 26-28 that the “present difficulties” of persecution are a good reason to not get married.  Instead of having to worry about a spouse and their desires, you can focus completely on pleasing the Lord.  Paul also mentions “trouble in the flesh.”  To choose to marry is to choose to deal with certain things that have to do with the body.  It is not necessarily bad; it is just another area of difficulty in your life.  Paul ends that section by pointing out that this world is passing away.  Verse 31 says , “The form of this world is passing away.”  Thus Christians should hold all things that they have in this life loosely.  If my spouse is jailed or even killed because of persecution, I have to learn to trust God and let them go.  Such troubles in the flesh are not insurmountable, but they are extremely difficult.  Our culture has taken singleness and turned it into a hedonistic life-style that plunges into sexual immorality so much that they have become bored with it and seek ever more perverse sexual desires.

Within Marriage Sexuality is Good.

Now that we have talked about singleness let’s talk about marriage.  In verses 2-3 Paul uses two phrases that both point to sex between a husband and wife: “let each man have his own wife,” and “let the husband render to the wife the affection due her.”  Paul underlines that sexuality in the context of marriage is good and that to abstain from sex is bad.  Why?  It is bad because of sexual immorality.  Married people who quit having sexual relations set themselves up for being susceptible to sexual temptation.  Thus marital relations have a certain defensive quality to them.  They can help to strengthen the marriage bond.  Of course, just having sex is no guarantee of fidelity.  Now this is not the only reason for marriage.  Paul is dealing with a question of sexuality and is answering on that level.  In Ephesians 5 we are given a far nobler purpose for marriage and even sexuality.

Within the marital bond are certain commitments that each make to the other.  Paul points out a mutual duty, or obligation, that a married person has towards their spouse.   The phrase “affection that he owes her,” is definitely a euphemism for conjugal duties.  However, it is put in a much softer phrase that implies a greater atmosphere of affection or kindness within the relationship.  When we stand before God and family and vow to love each other until death do us part, we are obligating our self to care for that person in every way.  If you marry only to get something that you want and fail to see your obligation to the other person, then you are headed for a divorce or a very rocky marriage.  Yes, marriage is more than sexuality.  However, sexuality is a part of it that we need to understand.  Paul reminds them in verse 4 that the husband’s body belongs to the wife and the wife’s body to the husband.  In other words, we should not go into the marriage looking at what we want our body to get out of it.  Rather we should go into it in order to give something that the other needs.  The needs of a married couple go beyond sex, but it does include it.

Paul brings up something that the Corinthians were doing.  Some of them had developed the idea of making their marriages “spiritual.”  They would abstain from sex so that they could be more spiritual.  Paul recognizes that abstinence for a time in order to fast in pray is entirely appropriate if it is mutually agreed upon, but doing so for a long period of time is foolish, and a tactical mistake.  Paul says, “Do not deprive one another.”  This is not just applicable to the stated scenario.  Sometimes we can get angry with our spouse and use sex, or lack thereof as a selfish punishment.  A married couple needs to be wise about each other’s needs, both spiritual and sexual.

Satan uses the temptation of sexual desires

We need to understand that what is going on in our society is not just about what people want.  There is a spiritual side to this issue in which we have an enemy who is trying to destroy and plunder us.  Satan did not create sex or sexual desire, God did.  However, he is skillful at wielding it like a weapon against us.  Verse 2 and verse 5 both mention the temptation towards sexual immorality.  Here in this country we live in a sea of sexual immorality.  In this we are the same as the Corinthian Church.  Our media is saturated with sexual images, sexual innuendo, and even explicit in your face sexuality.  Because we have lacked restraint in the areas of pre-marital sex and adultery, the lust for sex has inflamed to all manner of perversions: incest, homosexuality, bestiality, and a sea of sexual fetishes that warp the God-given reason for sexuality into a tool of destruction.  All of this is being promoted and instigated by spiritual forces that are breaking down the strong defenses that God has given us because we surrender them.

This spiritual enemy is looking for an opening for temptation in your life.  Within a society that is “super-saturated” with sexual input, a person is primed to fall in this area.  He is looking for that chink in your armor and that foothold that gives him the leverage to topple you spiritually.  Thus sexual sin becomes a bondage that first starts within our hearts.  It is in the heart that sexual sin is thought to be desirable.  Just like Eve looking at the fruit, we look at what we see around us, or on pages of magazines, and begin to desire to taste it.  Over time a person who desires forbidden fruit will convince themselves that they must have it or can have it.  Our powers of self-justification are also aided by demonic lies that have infiltrated our society.  Lastly we act upon that desire, and when sin is fully grown it brings forth spiritual death in people’s lives.

In verse 5 Paul underlines the key issue in sexual matters, and that is self-control.  Each individual is born with a God-given autonomy over their own mind and actions.  However, through lack of self-control, we can surrender that autonomy to sin and the plan of the devil.  We can end up as slaves to sin.  Thus the one who has become a slave to sexual sin needs to cry out to God for help in true repentance and sorrow for what you have done.  They will have to go back to the arena of their mind and stop surrendering to fantasies of lust.  They will have to reject the demonic lies by meditating on the truths of God’s word.  We are told to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Thus, the body is not for sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:13).  Don’t use your mind to think about it and what it would be like.  Satan uses the sexual immorality of others to try and plant into your mind the potential for you to taste the fruit of it.  This sets up the next issue.

What begins in the mind is inflamed with GIGO (Garbage-In-Garbage-Out).  When you live in a society that is overflowing with perversion, there is a certain amount of garbage that you cannot shield yourself from.  Thus, I am not pointing to some kind of perfect control of our life where nothing impure is ever seen or heard by us.  But when we willfully cooperate with the garbage around us, and when we willfully go out of our way to bring it into our heart and mind, then it becomes like gasoline to the fires of the impure desires in our heart.  Thus, we have to stay away from certain places and activities because we know they will lead to spiritual destruction.  We must refuse to feed upon pornographic images and videos.  Within the last 2 decades the internet has put pornography at the fingertips of people who would have never been near it before.

Lastly the lack of self-control destroys marriages, families and souls.  When we give into justifying our desires, it will destroy us within and then destroy us without.  Satan baits us to fail in these areas because he hates the God-designed power of a godly husband and a godly wife loving each other and raising up another generation of godly people.  Failures in this area are sin and sin always fills us with guilt.  Sin says to us, “Keep me hidden at all costs.”  But eventually when the seed has matured it will demand to come out in the open.  Many are using Scripture today to justify their failure in this area.  They have given in to sexual immorality and now want to be justified in doing it.  But God is not pleased.  Sexual immorality destroys relationships, marriages and even your own soul.  One day you will stand before God and give account for your life.  Do not go into eternity justifying sexual immorality.  Romans 1:18 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”  He goes on to point out that gross sexual perversion is a sign that God has given us over to the judgment of His wrath. 

Don’t let the enemy destroy your life!  In fact even in the midst of a society that God has given over to judgment, we can still turn from our sin and be saved today.

Overflow of Perversion audio


Society under Siege: Sexual Boundaries

1 Corinthians 6:9-20.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on September 11, 2016.

Since the 1960’s a sexual revolution has been going on within our society.  However, in the last decade a “breaking of the dam” has accelerated the pace that Americans are embracing sexual sin.  On one hand we do need to remind ourselves that these sexual sins are not new.  There prevalence in our society may be new, but sexual immorality has enjoyed the embrace of many a society throughout history.  In fact we have not plumbed the depths of sexual immorality.  The Christian foundation that lies beneath this country has been rejected by a steadily increasing number.  We are in the process of replacing the old foundation with a new one.

It is important for Christians to stop themselves, before they wax eloquently against homosexuality and transgenderism, and deal with the truth that we are all drawn to some form of sexual immorality.  Many who are vocal against homosexuality can be guilty of the hypocrisy of pointing out another’s sin without dealing with their own.  The Bible makes it clear that sexual fantasy is sin.  Pre-marital sex is sin.  Adultery is sin.  Divorce for selfish reasons is sin.   The Church has struggled over the last century with these issues as well.  Sometimes we have done well in holding up biblical truth.  Other times we have done poorly at forgiving people whom Christ has forgiven.

We must also remember that sexual sin is not just wrong.  It destroys a person and robs them of life.  Compassion must be the essence of our response, and not a fake compassion that embraces destructive life choices.

The Christian must leave behind the old life

In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul is dealing with the Corinthian Christian’s who were embracing all manner of sinful activities.  Though they had received the truth of the Gospel of Christ, it had become a blanket absolution for continuing to make sinful choices and live sinful lifestyles (at least for some).  In challenging these Christians, Paul gives a list of sins that they were apparently doing.  This list begins with sexual sins and then includes some non-sexual sins.  The first word is “porneia” in the Greek.  It can cover a range of sexual sin (pre-marital sex, prostitution).  The second word, idolatry, is not actually a sexual sin.  But, throughout the Old Testament idolatry is connected with sexual sin.  The reason is because idolatry is unfaithfulness to God, who is often depicted as a Husband to His people.  In fact, we should note that sexual sin can be so powerful that it often operates as an idol in our life.  We will make any sacrifice in order to please it.  Adultery and Homosexuality are pretty clear.  He goes on to list: thefts, coveting, and drunkenness, which are pretty obvious too.  Revilers are those who use harsh, abusive and caustic accusations against others.  It has the sense of a harsh attack.  Lastly we have a word that is translated as "extortioners" in the NKJV.  It is the same word Jesus used of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing, but inside are “ravenous” wolves.    Thus extortioner probably falls a bit short.  It references ravenous con-men who are out to eat you.  The emphasis for this list is that God did not change His mind at the cross and suddenly decide to let these kinds of people into His kingdom.  Some of the Corinthians were being “deceived” in this matter.  They felt that they could have Jesus and continue living out these sins.  No.  The Christian is called to leave the old life behind.

Verse 11 points out that coming to Jesus involves a real spiritual work that has real effects upon the sin in our life.  They had been washed.  This is a reference to the reality that sin defiles us and must be removed in order for us to be acceptable to God.  It is disingenuous to say that the death of Jesus covers our sin and then continue to pursue it.  Jesus did not wash us so that we can go back out and wallow in the mud.  Next, Paul tells them that they had been sanctified.  This means that God had made a distinction in their life that they were no longer a common person.  They had been set apart as a special person for the work of the Lord.  To say that Jesus has sanctified us and then live the common life that the world is living is also disingenuous.  Lastly the Corinthians had been justified.  To be justified is to be put in a position of acceptability before God.  If these are only spiritually, unseen, things then why would Paul list them?  He is trying to help them see the contradiction between what Christ was doing in their life and what they are doing.  They are working against Christ.  I am not talking about perfectionism, but rather about the real change that happens in the life of a person who rejects their old life and embraces the new life in Christ.

The Christian must leave behind the old lies

In order to leave behind the old life we have to let go of the old way of thinking, and any deceptive lies that would “justify” continuing in what Christ is saving us from.  In verses 12 and 13 Paul takes a couple of statements that the Corinthians would use and rebuts them.  The first is “All things are lawful for me.” It seems that they were taking the truth that Christians are not under the Law of Moses and twisting it to mean that sin doesn’t matter anymore.  This one is still used today.  This idea can be answered a couple of ways.  In Romans 8, Paul reminds Christians that we are still under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  You are either being led by the Spirit of God or by the sinful nature.  So Christians are not under the law of Moses, but neither are they called to “lawlessness.”  Our relationship with Jesus through the Spirit leads us into what is good, and away from what is bad.  Now to the Corinthians Paul approaches it differently.  In verse 12 he counters that not all things are beneficial.  For example, it is technically legal for you stick your hand in a viper’s mouth or on a hot stove.  But why would you?  It is not beneficial.  In fact it can do great harm.  Sin is destructive and those who go after it invite destruction into their lives.  In verse 13 he reiterates their argument, “All things are lawful for me,” and rebuts with the reality that sin is enslaving.  Once you give an inch in these areas, they will begin to dominate your life until you become a slave to unrighteousness and an adulterer against Christ.  This is a dangerous half-truth at best and you will have to reject it if you want to follow Christ.

In verse 13 we have a second Corinthian lie, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food.”  Basically they are saying that what we are doing is natural.  God designed us this way.  In referencing food, Paul is touching on the issue of eating meats sacrificed to idols and yet still keeping it connected to some of the sexual sins listed.  The argument works either way.  God designed us with sexual desires and abilities.  Therefore nothing is wrong with it (they would argue).  We could even go further and say something like this: In the age to come God is going to give us new bodies in a new heavens and earth.  Thus what we do with this one is irrelevant as long as our “spirit” is connected to God.  This kind of reasoning is pure sophistry.  It is a person wanting to do something so bad that they justify it over the top of the truth.  Yes, God did create sexuality and He created man’s digestive system.  In fact, having sex within the bonds of marriage is more than natural.  It is a part of God’s will for many.  But this does not mean that all boundaries are null and void.  Do we eat rocks or poison for that matter?  Why not?  We were not designed for them.  Paul states that the body and its desire for food are going to be destroyed one day (the same is true for sexual desire).  This is meant to sober their thinking.  God did not design us for sexual immorality, but to please His purposes.  Like any designer, God designed sexuality to be expressed a certain way.  Sexual immorality destroys the ability of sexuality to accomplish God’s plan in our lives.  It is also destructive to relationships between people and between us and God.  To go after sexual immorality is not to embrace your design, but rather to reject it.  God’s plan for humans involves laying down this body and the resurrecting of a new glorified body.  Though we will lay down the old body for a new one, the quality or kind of resurrection is dependent upon what we do in this body.  Do we put our trust in Jesus or in our own wisdom?

The last lie is in verses 15-17.  Apparently the Corinthians weren’t saying this, but there is an assumption that underlies their activity and Paul points it out to them.  They are acting as if these sins don’t involve or affect Jesus.  They had compartmentalized their approach to Jesus.  As long as I have a spiritual “faith” in Jesus, it doesn’t matter what I do with my body.  Paul reminds them that their bodies belong to Christ because he bought them with his own blood on the cross.  Thus we are not just the bride of Christ.  We are a bride that he purchased back from slavery and death.  We are in relationship with Him “who knew no sin.”  When we go after sin our unfaithfulness to Christ does affect our relationship with Him.  This brings us to the conclusion of the matter.

The Conclusion

In verse 18 Paul lays out the categorical rejection.  A Christian must flee sexual immorality as defined by God’s Word, not our sophisticated, twisted reasoning.  So why is so much energy spent on trying to justify it?  We do so for the same reasons that people have affairs every day.  Our lips say we love Jesus, but our hearts have quit loving Him.  If you truly love Jesus then you will flee sexual immorality.  Like Joseph fleeing Potiphar’s wife, we must be people of action.  We must set up protections and accountability so that we are not caught up by the temptations of our flesh.  We must learn to control our thought life, by first controlling the garbage that is coming in, and then focusing our thoughts upon that which is good.

Thus in verse 20 we see that it is more than just freeing our lives of vices.  We must positively do something and that is to glorify God by living the life He has given us to the full.  The vice of adultery is to be rejected.  However, then a husband and wife must learn to give themselves fully to grow in loving another person for life, and for better or worse.  Young people can control themselves and wait until they are married.  Married people can control themselves and mature into the man and woman that God has designed you to be.  To do this you must learn to love your spouse in the various situations that this life will throw at you.  We have a responsibility to glorify God in how we live out our sexuality in this life.  Christians, this world needs role models of God’s plan, a plan to make us all into the image of Jesus Christ.

Sexual Boundaries Audio