FacebookTwitterRSS FeedPinterest

By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8am service, 2003-06-22

Text: Proverbs 6:20-28

Some may say that this subject is rather inappropriate for a sermon. Why talk about sex in church? One reason why we must talk about it is because the Word of God has so much to say against sexual sins, and repeatedly gives passionate warnings against them. In the New Testament sexual sins are named in every passage of scripture where sins are listed, and they are usually the first to be mentioned (e.g. Galatians 5:1). The same prominence can be found in the book of Proverbs. And the warning that is given in Proverbs against them takes up 12 verses of Chapter 6 and all 27 verses of chapter 7, plus several more passages in the book.

I. The Seriousness of the Warning

And Solomon, the writer of Proverbs takes great pains to make his warning against seduction as serious and urgent as he possibly can. You will notice that he pitches it in v.20 as teaching being given to a beloved son from the tender and loving heart of a devoted parent 'My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother' The warning against seduction must be diligently treasured and cherished, just like a priceless heirloom! You can see this in v.21 that says 'Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.' And the blessings that will come from heeding the warning arethen vividly described in the next two verses: We will be most safely led and kept in the way of life!

Now that we can see how seriously, urgently and passionately the warning against sexual seduction is introduced in this passage of Proverbs, let us not take it lightly, but listen carefully to the warning itself in vv.24-26 'To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.'

You will notice that there are no less than four different designations given here to describe the subject of the warning: The first term, 'evil woman' (v.24), describes her character -she is morally bad. She does not care about keeping God's laws at all. Neither does she care about the great harm and grief that she causes to others, nor for the lives, marriages and families that are wrecked by her. The second term 'strange woman' (v.24) describes her relationship - she does not belong to the one she seduces, and is thus totally foreign or alien to him. The third term, 'whorish woman' (v.26) describes her motives - she has no love for the one she seduces. All that she is interested in is her own selfish gain of money or gratification. The fourth term 'adulteress' describes her wrongdoing - she commits the sin of adultery, which is explicitly prohibited by God in the seventh commandment 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18)

These four descriptions now help us to understand how we should regard any seduction that comes our way. We must not be fooled by its outward appearance (because appearances are so deceiving), but see its immoral character, its foreign relationship to us, its selfish motives, and most of all, its sinfulness! Sexual sin should become so utterly hateful and repugnant to our being that we would not even venture to go anywhere near it.

For this reason, v.25 even says that we should not lust in our hearts. To lust after someone is to commit sexual sin in the mind. When a person imagines immoral acts in his mind, he is as guilty as those who do them. Jesus said: 'whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.' (Matthew 5:28)

Something that has come within the last decade with the use (or rather, in this case, an abuse) of Internet communication is called 'cybersex' (perhaps we should call it 'e-adultery' as that is what it really is!). Marriages have been wrecked by it, as a person spends hours in front of the computer screen interacting sexually with someone he or she has never seen or met before, and leaves the spouse out in the cold. And though they can claim that they are technically clear of any charge of having an affair, since there is no physical contact at all with anyone, the impact of it on marriages, on families and on society is clearly very damaging! And as internet communication improves further and further with things like webcams, videoconferencing, and virtual reality, the sin of lust and mental adultery is bound to increase yet and more in time to come!

But before we go any further, it would be good for us to find out what is it that makes sexual sin so prevalent and such an easy sin. The root out of which it springs is pleasure: The pleasure that is derived from sexual activity. And there is nothing wrong with this pleasure in itself: in fact it is a delightful gift from God. But it is a gift that can be legitimately enjoyed only within the confines of a faithful marriage relationship. Such pleasure was only meant to be God's blessing for the married couple, as Adam and Eve were given the command to be fruitful and to multiply in Genesis 1:28. Genesis 2:24 records that both of them were naked and yet they were not ashamed. 

The shame only came after they both disobeyed the Lord in eating the forbidden fruit. Since that Fall, man now has a sinful nature that readily abuses this gift of God. This grew into a universal problem: Everywhere, sexual desires became sinful, unnatural and distorted, and have resulted in lust, adultery, fornication, polygamy, prostitution, transgenderism, promiscuous, incestuous and homosexual relationships. 

A few generations after Adam, Lamech had two wives. Just after God had judged the world with a flood, we see sexual sin emerging - Noah's son, Ham, took delight in seeing his father's nakedness. We think of the awful judgment that came in Abraham's time on Sodom and Gomorrah, followed by the immorality of Lot's two daughters. We think of the attempted seduction of Joseph by Potiphar's wife. We think of Samson's immoral lifestyle, and of King David's adultery with Bathsheba. Even in New Testament times, the apostle Paul wrote about the depravity of homosexual sins in Romans 1, and of disciplining a man at Corinth who had an incestuous relationship. 

This same depraved picture is still very much true today. Sexual sins are being promoted widely by the popular media and behavioural scientists, who are trying to teach that true happiness is found outside monogamous faithful marriage and recommend that more couples should have affairs. The gay movement is fighting hard for the right to have homosexual marriages and it has succeeded just a week ago in getting it passed as law in Canada. The world today is back in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. It has become a cesspool of sin which is ripe for judgment!

There is only one cure for this permissive trend in the world. And that is to go back to the Bible. The Bible teaches us that any sexual pleasure that is derived outside of marriage is outside of God's plan and brings the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:6). Let us remember that any sexual pleasure that is derived outside of marriage is outside of God's plan. Those who are unmarried must keep themselves pure from all sexual activity, whether it is in the form of fornication, which is the sin of sexual activity with another person, or masturbation which is the sin of sexual activity with oneself. 

And if you are unmarried and constantly struggling with either of these sins, then you should seriously consider whether it is God's will for you to be married. This is because marriage is God's remedy for those who have diligently applied the means of grace to deal with these sins (e.g. being filled with the Spirit), but still find it very difficult to avoid them. That is why 1 Corinthians 7:2 tells us, 'Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.'

There are of course those who do not have any struggle at all with these desires - that is one indication that they have the gift of singlehood. But there are some who do not want to marry because they have the mistaken idea that singlehood is more spiritual and best, and that marriage is second best and is meant only for those who cannot contain their passions. It is unbiblical to think that there is anything unclean or polluted in enjoying sexual relations in the marriage relationship. 

One whole book of scripture, the Song of Solomon, emphasizes that there is blessed joy from sexual relationship within marriage. But this joy is not meant to be a selfish joy - seeking for one's own satisfaction. It is a mutual joy that is borne of love, not lust. Lust is selfish, but love is always concerned with the satisfaction and well-being of one's spouse.

This is why seeking any sexual pleasure outside of marriage can never be done in love, but in lust. It is utterly self-centred. And we must do everything we can to keep away from it. In 2 Timothy 2:22 we are told, 'Flee also youthful lusts' Some say that indulging one's lust by having fantasies are normal and harmless so long as the imagined sexual acts are not carried out. But the danger of having such fantasies is that they do not satisfy: They only stimulate the desire for more and more until they ultimately lead a man or woman down the slippery slope into committing what is imagined. It is a fact that every act of sexual sin always begins with immoral thoughts. Therefore we must flee from these lusts. Don't let your mind imbibe anything that will cause seduction. You must deliberately avoid the thing, the person, the place, or the activity that sets the stage for seduction. One thing that you must make every effort to avoid today is: Pornography.

Have you noticed that much of the art, entertainment, and advertising in publicity and media today seem to be purposely designed to create lust? It is getting harder and harder for a Christian to withstand the flood of pornography. The Internet has opened instant access to pornographic websites at the click of a mouse. Christians are sometimes tempted to satisfy their curiosity about these things just to become a little more knowledgable and educated.

Let us understand that there are things in life that are better not to know at all because such knowledge can be very harmful to the soul and mind. One does not have to drink poison in order to know that it will kill those who drink it. Seductive images tend leave a permanent stain in the mind. They stick in the mind like chewing gum. You must guard your thought life well, because what you are is largely determined by what you think.

A mind that is polluted with seductive thoughts and images is not a conducive place at all for thoughts about God, and the things of God. This will give rise to spiritual leanness and the loss of desire to pursue spiritual things. And it causes a person to live in fear, just like Adam and Eve who became fearful of God and tried to hide themselves from Him after they disobeyed His commandment. Indulgence in sexual immorality causes people to hide and become rather secretive. It becomes a secret sin that they love to indulge in and they hope nobody discovers it. The guilt and fear of being discovered can become unbearable, affecting all relationships.

If left unchecked, it becomes an addiction because the mind cannot remain satisfied for long with just a little bit of it, to derive pleasure. It will soon want more, and more. And if this is still left unchecked, it can even grow into an obsession and become like a fire burning out of control and destroying one's life! Seeing how terrible it is to have our minds taken over by seductive thoughts, let us now learn some steps on:

II. The Solution to Seduction

A. Flee from All Sources of Seduction.

Whatever excites sexual desires should be regarded as something to be avoided (Job 31:1). Learn to say �No� to pressure from peers who invite you to join them in indulging their senses. There are three chief senses that can receive seduction: touch, sight, and hearing. Physical touch normally stimulates the desire for more intimate contact and is biologically designed to prepare for conjugal relations. This is why social and ballroom dancing raises ethical questions. And this is also the reason why unmarried couples who are dating or doing anything together must always take special care to have very limited physical contact one with another.

The sense of sight is the other source of seduction. If by chance you happen to see something that begins to stir up sexual desires in you, do not give it a second look. Turn away from it and deliberately look at something else and think of something else. If it is a magazine, turn to another page; if it is on TV, change the channel. If it is a website that you just stumbled into as you surfed the net, close that window immediately. Listen to what Job said in Job 31:1 'I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?'

And this is why we need to dress decently and modestly. Avoiding temptation also means avoiding being a temptation to others. Please do not say, 'I can dress however I like to dress; what others think is their problem.' Remember that God holds us responsible if we cause others to stumble into sin. (Matthew 18:6-7). 'But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.'

The third source of seduction is the sense of hearing. Don't listen to music that has suggestive lyrics. Sometimes instrumental music may also stir up the lust of the flesh. Why? Because they are composed and performed by people who are deliberately out to do that! If you know that a certain talented musician leads a very immoral life, beware of listening to his music, because his music will probably contain expressions of his immoral values and lifestyle. 

B. Fill your Mind with the Word of God. 

Colossians 3:16 says, 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.' 

Philippians 4:8 says, 'Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.'

C. Fill your Time with Profitable Activity. 

Since Jesus said in Luke 19:13 that we must occupy till He comes, we should not let ourselves become idle. It is well known that one of the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was the decadence of its people. People became so rich, that they no longer needed to work. Even those who were unemployed were given tax money to enjoy themselves. King David fell into the sin of adultery because he decided to stay back in Jerusalem and do nothing, instead of leading his forces into battle. Thus, it is good to plan your time wisely, e.g. during vacations or holidays or when you retire. Remember: 'Idle hands are the devil's workshop!'

III. Sustaining Efforts to Beware of Seduction

Now, it is one thing to know these three steps to avoid seduction. It is another thing to be motivated to observe them all the time. What can we do to ensure that we will keep ourselves always vigilant in all these things? The answer is found in vv. 27-28 of our text. After delivering the warning against seduction, Solomon writes 'Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?' The warning here is that yielding to seduction can bring oneself into very great peril. The consequences are so severe that anyone should think not only twice, but thrice before falling into sexual sin. One should first imagine what it is like to be burned in the fires of hell!

Our Lord Jesus essentially said the same thing when he spoke about lust in Matthew 5:29 'And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.' What was Jesus saying here? Was He teaching His disciples to literally pluck out their right eye if they looked at a woman lustfully? No, not at all. All that He was teaching them was that drastic and decisive preventive measures must be taken against this sin in their own lives. And if we want to apply what Jesus said in our lives, it means that we must do our utmost best to remove anything that causes us to fall into sexual sin. 

In medical science, there is are sometimes situations that call for similar measures: A part of the body has to be amputated, usually because its blood supply has been cut off by physical injury, vascular disease or diabetes, causing a destructive bacterial process known as gangrene. Gangrene infection has a strong tendency to spread quickly because the bacteria produce powerful toxins that destroy adjacent healthy tissues, making them highly susceptible to further invasion. The treatment involves heavy doses of antibiotics and the surgical amputation of the affected tissue. People who have gone through this would be able to appreciate the intense urgency of what Jesus said in Matthew 5 about plucking out one's eye to avoid being burned in hellfire, and what Solomon warned in Proverbs 6 about getting oneself burned by yielding to seduction.

The dangers of sexual sins are so great that we need to be really shaken up through the use of such strong language to take the necessary steps to deal with seduction. Let us therefore regard seduction the way that God sees it, and do everything we can to avoid it. Please take time to think carefully through this and spend some time before the Lord. If you are convicted that some things you are doing are sinful, do not delay to confess them to the Lord. If you are convicted that you have a tendency to fall to seduction, then apply the steps of fleeing from the sources of seduction, and of filling your mind and your time with the things of God.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25