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Weekly Word

Entries in Singleness (1)

Thursday
Sep292016

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