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By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC 8 am service, 2000-10-15

Text: Proverbs 7:6-27

Our topic this morning deals with a subject that is very pertinent today. A recent survey taken among university students revealed that up to 60 % think that premarital sex is all right. The Straits times recently featured an article on carnal relationships among our teenagers are on the rise even though they know that it is an offence punishable with a term in jail. All these must be causes for our concern. It shows that the environment we live in today is getting more permissive than ever before.

I. One Flesh Unity is a Gift From God to be Enjoyed only in Marriage

The Christian has a different perspective of sex from the world. This perspective is based on the Bible. And the Bible never teaches that sex is dirty or sinful. In fact we should understand sex as being a gift from God. It was ordained by God to be enjoyed, but only within the confines of a faithful marriage relationship. The Bible tells us that God made Adam and Eve and married them together in the Garden of Eden. And Gen 2:24 tells us that "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."

But then comes the sad part. Because man fell from his original state of moral perfection, man now has a sinful nature that abuses this gift of God. This has grown into a universal problem: People everywhere in the world today have sexual desires that are unnatural and distorted, resulting in lust, and immoral relationships like adultery, fornication, prostitution, promiscuous sex and homosexuality. The people who do not know the Lord fall very easily into all these sins. But many people believe that it is OK, because they think that everybody is doing it. They say that it is a very natural thing to do, just like animals who do it by instinct. So they think that it should not be taken too seriously and that we should just tolerate it and live with it. That is why the mass media promotes a lifestyle that is filled with sexual sins.

Some time ago I happened to see a programme on TV that featured a well-known local Chinese actress. She was being interviewed about her plans to get married. And her future husband was also there with her during the interview.

And when asked about the reasons why she decided to get hitched, she replied that she liked being with him, they got along well together, and then without any shame or embarrassment at all, she announced with a bright smile that they were going to have a baby. Well the whole interview seemed to be telling young people very clearly, "It is normal to have sexual relationships before marriage!" Young people who like this actress will probably think that it must be perfectly fine for them to experiment with sex.

II. One Flesh Unity Outside Marriage is Sinful

Now the Bible tells us that this is not normal at all. In fact, God is very displeased with all sexual sins. The seventh commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" was given specially because of them. The Bible also tells us in the passage that we read awhile ago in Proverbs 7 that the house of the strange woman or harlot is "the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death." The apostle Paul includes sexual sins in every one of his many lists of sins, and in most cases they head the list and receive the greatest emphasis. (cf. Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5; Colossians 3:5,6) Even now, we can already see God's great wrath upon sexual sin. Those who indulge in them run the great risk of getting awful sexually-transmitted diseases, the worst of which is AIDS.

But the world hardly ever publicies these awful results of sexual sin. People are hardly informed through the media about the horrible misery that it brings, the broken homes and families that have resulted from it, the shame faced by unwed mothers, and the millions of abortions it has produced, and the intense suffering of emaciated, dying AIDS victims. Some time ago there were reports of babies left abandoned and no one knows who abandoned them. (One was even left under a urinal in a toilet). Well, they are the sad results of sexual sins, not to mention the untold pain, scandals and sense of betrayal that many extra-marital affairs have caused.

I hope that you can now understand how deeply terrible sexual sin is. The passage we read in Proverbs 7 makes it crystal clear that God hates it, and for that reason you should hate it too. And God wants you to have nothing to do with it. Listen to the clear and sharp commandments from God in our passage of scripture: "Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her." (v.25,26) Let us go on now to consider how one is tempted into sexual sin:

III. The Dangers of Temptations To Adultery

Recently, due to laxed censorship, there are more sexually explicit material available on the media. Magazines, books, films, TV shows, have more pornographic material than before. Much of the art, entertainment, and advertising in publicity and media today also seem to be purposely designed for the purpose of seduction. It is getting harder and harder to withstand the flood of pornography. The internet has open instant access to pornographic websites. And we must be careful about them. Christians are sometimes tempted to satisfy their curiosity to know about things that are sinful, thinking that this is all right as long as they do not commit them.

Please remember this, there are some things in life that are better for us not to know because such knowledge can be very harmful to us. People do not have to drink poison in order to know that it will kill those who drink it. Very often it is a person�s intense curiosity that leads him to read or view some unwholesome material. And although he knows that it is dangerous and that many have been adversely affected by it, he thinks that he alone can succeed in coming out of it unaffected and unscathed. But that is not the case at all. No one can remain unaffected when exposed to pornography. Let us look at the various effects it will have on you. The first thing that pornography does is:

A. It Pollutes The Mind

The mental images of pornography leave an almost permanent stain in your mind. They stick in the mind harder than any other thoughts. Once they come in, it is extremely difficult to erase them. They tend to persist. And the devil is very happy with that, because it makes it so much easier for him to tempt you. Whenever he wants to make you fall into sin, all he has to do is to make you remember one or two of these mental pornographic images that are already stored up in your minds. Pornography gives the devil and his minions a very strong hold on the minds of people to make them sin.

Dear friends, do you know that your thought life is very precious? You must do everything you can to guard your thought life well, because what you are is largely determined by what you think! That is why Romans 12:2 tells you to be "transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Therefore if you allow your thoughts to be dominated by these unwholesome images, your life will gradually be adversely affected by it. Let me give you an illustration. I am sure all of you always take good care to eat clean food and if you know that there is any contamination inside the food, you would not eat it. Those who go after pornography are like people who like to feed themselves with filth, dirt and rubbish! Can anyone do that without making themselves sick? So please, do not let this pollute your mind and your thinking. We in Singapore are so concerned about keeping our environment clean and green and free from all pollution. Can we not be just as much concerned to keep our minds free from all pollution? Now that is only one awful effect of pornography. Another effect is that:

B. It Hinders your Spiritual Growth.

A mind that is filled with pornography is not a conducive place at all for thoughts about God and the things of God. Therefore a Christian who is involved in it cannot grow spiritually. Remember that if you are a true Christian, God lives in you through the Holy Spirit. We know that God is holy and will not tolerate unclean thoughts. If we deliberately choose to bring in unclean thoughts by the use of pornographic material, we grieve the Holy Spirit. This will give rise to spiritual famine and leanness. We lose the desire to pursue spiritual things.

And if we do nothing about it, we might even stop coming to church and fellowship meetings. We become worldly, carnal Christians. It is a fact that in certain countries like Sweden and Denmark that used to be strongholds of Christianity, church attendance has dropped to an all-time low, because of the pornography and accompanying worldliness that have overtaken them. As 1 John 2:16 says, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

Do you know that pornography can cause Christians to backslide terribly? They get so deep into it and do not want to give it up. Therefore they do not read the Bible anymore because it keeps making them feel guilty of their sin. Their prayers are have no more power, because Psalm 66:18 says "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" There is a barrier between them and God. This brings us to the next effect of pornography which is that:

C. It Causes You to Live in Fear

Just like Adam and Eve were trying to hide themselves from God after they disobeyed His commandment, indulging in pornography causes people to hide. Young people who get hold of some pornographic material for themselves tend to become secretive, and hide it from others. It becomes a secret sin that they love to indulge in. The guilt and the fear of being discovered can become quite unbearable, affecting all their relationships.

But some people experience the feelings of guilt only for a while. Those feelings of guilt are actually good, because they act like a warning bell, urging the person to repent and put away the sin. But when people keep ignoring the warning bell of their conscience too many times, the conscience becomes dead. This brings us to the next effect of pornography:

D. It Kills The Conscience

In Titus 1:15, the Word of God says, "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." Your conscience is defiled when you begin to believe that something sinful is all right. You get used to it and say, "It's not so bad. Nothing happened to me. Everybody is doing it. After all, I am not as bad as so-and-so" This is only the first step. Little by little your boundaries are moved further, and further, until you reach a stage when you have no more feelings of guilt. Then your conscience is dead. It is seared with a hot iron.

That would be very disastrous, because the conscience plays a very important role in your life. Do you know what will happen to a building that has its fire alarm system disabled? It will burn down and be completely destroyed! When a Christian has a dead conscience, his life will show it, and his testimony for the Lord will be destroyed. Thus far we have looked at 4 awful effects of pornography on the Christian. We come now to the fifth which is that:

E. It Becomes an Addiction.

Pornography is just like drug abuse. People who try drugs just for fun eventually get hooked on it. After that they cannot live without it. Pornography is like that as well. 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 left unchecked, it can even grow into an obsession. The sixth awful effect of pornography is that

F. It Causes One to Sin in The Heart.

Jesus said, in Matthew 5:28,29, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." This is an important point for us to note. Please do not think that sin is limited only to one's actions. Through the definition given here by the Lord Himself, we already fall into sin, when we imagine something that is sinful, and take delight in it. And this sin of the heart can very easily lead to committing full-blown sexual sin. Dearly beloved, the lust of the flesh is like a fire. You must put it out at once, and not feed it.

If you keep on feeding the flames, it will grow and grow until it is beyond your control. Feeding yourself with pornography is like pouring oil into the fire of your desires. You can't keep feeding the lust and enjoy it, and expect it to remain unexpressed. The lust will want to seek expression in some form of release. This often leads to experimentation and to fornication. Let me warn you that once you allow lust to lead you on, it is extremely difficult to put a stop to it. It is like driving down a slope in a car which has no brakes. It will pull you deeper and deeper into sexual sin and very few are strong enough to resist its power.

Even King David, the man after God's own heart, was unable to resist the powerful lust that he allowed to develop in himself when he saw Bathsheba. It dragged him into the sin of adultery with her. This brought awful judgment upon him from the Lord. James describes the whole process. He said, "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14,15)

Seeing how awful pornography is, let us recognise it for what it really is. It is a strong whirlpool that pulls unsuspecting victims deep into its deadly vortex. And once a person is pulled into this vortex, it is extremely difficult to get out of it. So please heed the advice that you need to take now by considering the question:

III. How Can We Keep Ourselves from Adultery?

There are 3 basic steps:

A. Flee from All Sources of Temptation

Stay far away from any bookshops or magazine stands that have such material. If you are not sure if something constitutes pornography or not, use the following rule: Whatever excites sexual desires in you should be regarded as something you must stay away from. Get rid of any material in your possession that may contain temptation. And if you happen to see any seductive poster displayed in public, look away and refuse to look at it anymore. Keep yourself away from anything that stirs up sexual thoughts and feelings. Do not give that 'second look.' Be like Job, who said, "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" (Job 31:1) By taking your eyes away from these things, you will nip the temptation in the bud. Follow Joseph's example: When Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him, what did he do? He ran away!

Sometimes the temptation may come from your closest friends, asking you to come along with them to read or view some pornography. What will you do then? If you were to say "No, I will not go with you," you only risk losing their friendship. But if you were to say "Yes, I will come along with you," you actually risk a lot more than that - you risk being overpowered by lust, and destroying your life with sin, and displeasing the Lord! So, even though it may not be easy, please learn to say "No" to some of the things your friends want you to do with them.

Our Lord tells us how seriously we should view any source of temptation. Please listen carefully to what He said in Matthew 5:29-30 "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. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, 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."

These verses bring out the fact that there are two sources of temptation: Sight and Touch. We have already seen how we ought to keep away from visual temptations. Let us also be careful of being tempted through physical touch. Keep away from social and ballroom dancing. Physical touch normally stimulates the desire for more intimate contact and is biologically designed to prepare for conjugal relations.

Whatever you do, always remember that God is watching and assessing everything that you do. When you say "No" to temptation, He knows it, and warmly approves of it. In the long term, it is always better to please the Lord. The next step is to:

B. Fill your Mind with the Word of God.

Remember what was said earlier about guarding your mind. Colossians 3:16 tells us to "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;" In Philippians 4:8 we are given good instructions about what we should fill our minds with: "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.

In Luke 19:13 Jesus told His disciples to: "Occupy till I come." We should always spend whatever time we have profitably, because idle hands are the devil's workshop. 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. So keep yourself busy. Invest your time in things that will build yourself up physically, mentally and spiritually. And most of all, walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 tells us: "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

Dear friends, God's will is that we keep ourselves pure of any sexual sins. And God's power is available to us so that we can keep ourselves pure. Remember that we have the Holy Spirit in us if we truly belong to Christ. All you need to do is keep on appropriating His power in your life to do these 3 things. Let us pray.

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