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By Rev Charles Seet

Published Life BPC Weekly, 2003-09-21

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

The world we live in is getting more permissive than ever before. A survey taken a few years ago among local university students revealed that up to 60 % think that premarital sex is all right. The gay movement is growing bolder and has already enjoyed some success in Canada. Bar-top dancing is now allowed. The censorship of the media is now being relaxed further to allow more explicit material. What can all these breed but more lust and licentiousness?

In the midst of the increasing moral degradation in society, you must all the more make the choice of faith to maintain your moral purity. Choose to be chaste, and do not yield to the pressures and temptations that are all around you. There are two strong reasons for you to make this choice. 

It Is The Will of God for You

If you truly believe that the Lord is your Creator and Saviour, you will want to do His will at all times. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). It is definitely God's will for you to maintain your moral purity. This is mentioned in 1 Thess 4:3-4 "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour" 

For those who are unmarried, abstaining from fornication means keeping yourself pure from all sexual activity, whether it is with another person or with yourself. For those who are married, abstaining from fornication means keeping your marriage pure and free from infidelity. One whole book of scripture, the Song of Solomon, emphasises that there is blessed joy from sexual activity within marriage. But this joy is not meant to be a selfish joy and 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.

Lust is mentioned in the next verse, "not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God." The word 'concupiscence' means a craving, longing or desire for what is forbidden. Some say that indulging one's lust is normal and harmless so long as the imagined acts are not carried out. But the danger of having lustful thoughts is that they do not satisfy: They only stimulate the desire for more and more until they ultimately lead a person into committing what is imagined. Every sexual sin begins with immoral thoughts. Therefore you must flee from these lusts (2 Timothy 2:22). Do not let your mind imbibe anything that will cause temptation. Deliberately avoid the object, the person, the place, or the activity that sets the stage for temptation. Remember what our Lord Jesus Himself said: "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." (Matthew 5:28)

With the present relaxation of censorship, there will be more sexually explicit material available on the media in the coming days. Already much of the art, entertainment, and advertising in the media seem to be deliberately designed for the purpose of seduction. The Internet has opened instant access to pornographic websites, and unsolicited e-mails flood our mailboxes enticing us to enter their deadly portals. Christians are sometimes tempted to satisfy their curiosity, thinking that there is no harm done as long as they do not commit the things they see there. But before they know it, they may find themselves drawn deeper into sin. 

Something that has come up within the last decade with the use of the Internet, webcams, and videoconferencing is cybersex. Marriages have been wrecked by it. 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 he may claim that he is technically clear of having an affair, the impact of it on marriages, on families and on society is very damaging! 

Dear Reader, if you are earnestly seeking to do God's will, please keep clear of anything that will stir up sexual thoughts and feelings in you. And whenever temptation comes, remember the words of 1 Thess 4:7: "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." This brings us to the second reason why you must choose to be chaste:

It is Part of Your Calling

This is an even stronger reason than doing the will of God. It ties your commitment to be chaste with the Call of God that brought you to salvation in Christ. This is the same Call mentioned in Romans 8:30 "Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." All who are saved have received that Call of God. That Call is the most important point in your life. It was the moment when your attitudes to Jesus Christ changed, and when you were irresistibly and inwardly called by the Holy Spirit out of the darkness of sin and into God's marvelous light. It brought you to faith in Christ and to understand spiritual truth. It also gave you a new nature that loves righteousness, and is averse to sin. This is why we are told in 1 Thes 4:7 that it is a Call unto holiness. 

Chastity must therefore be seen as part of your Call to holiness. Just as you have been saved not to keep on sinning but to sin no more, so you have been called of God to be morally pure and chaste. This means overcoming any temptation to lust or to indulge in any immoral activity. There are three chief senses through which such temptation comes: 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 serious ethical questions. And this is also the reason why unmarried couples who are dating or doing anything together ought to take special care to have very limited physical contact one with another.

The sense of sight is the second source of temptation. If by chance you happen to see something that stirs up sexual thoughts and 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 in a magazine, turn to another page; if it is on TV, change the channel; if it is in a website that you stumbled into accidentally as you surfed the Internet, close that window immediately! Do what Job said: "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" (Job 31:1)

And this is why you need to dress decently and modestly in public. 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 you responsible if you cause others to stumble into sin: "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." (Matthew 18:6).

The third source of temptation is the sense of hearing. Do not listen to music that has suggestive lyrics. Even instrumental music can 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 or her music, because it will probably contain expressions of immoral values and lifestyle.

Whatever the temptation you may encounter, whether through sight, sound or touch, make it a habit to ask yourself if it would cause you to go against your Call - the special divine Call that you have received from God; the glorious Call that brought you to salvation in Christ - the Call to be holy and chaste! And whenever you are not sure if something is acceptable or not, remember that it is better to err on the safe side than to test the limits of sensuality. Being conservative may not make you very popular with your peers, but it enables you to walk pleasing to God (1 Thess 4:1)!

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

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11