watch above/read below
This Week's Teaching: "Are We Free to Do Anything?"
Paul wrote to the disciples in Corinth who were exercising their rights and claiming freedom to be sexually permissive. Jude also wrote about people who had "secretly slipped in among them" and were using grace as a license for immorality. I think the Church needs to be reminded of what they said. (This continues the thought from last week's teaching.)
Last week I asked the question, Why do Christians care so much about sex anyway? I treated sexual morality and immorality at length. Went to the scriptures and everything about why we care so much.
This week I want to tag onto that five deceptions and five truths that I see in the church. I'm gonna name the deceptions. I'm gonna name the truths. And then I'm gonna jump into scripture for those of you who care enough to stay with me to the point of scripture.
First deception that I see. This is in the world. This is in the church. This is everywhere. First deception I see: " Sexual intimacy is the pinnacle of love."
That's a deception that, for some reason, we've come to believe this, that sexual intimacy is the pinnacle of love. " It doesn't get better than a great sex relationship."
The truth is: " Laying down your life for your friend is the pinnacle of love." And when that friend is your spouse, laying down your life for another, for your friend, for your spouse is the pinnacle of love.
Deception number two: " Sexuality is a core identity, and attraction is a fixed orientation that , if given full permission, will provide the greatest fulfillment in life."
That's the deception.
The truth is: " Lust, if given full permission, will fill your life with brokenness and ruin and ultimately darkness."
Deception number three: " Chastity is an archaic form of bondage that you break by casting off all restraint."
So I have to explain. Chastity isn't just celibacy. Chastity is sexual intimacy with only your spouse. And so if you're not married, yes, it's celibacy . If you are married, it's choosing only sexual intimacy with your spouse. No others. And regardless of your past, chastity is a present and future sort of thing, it's decision about how we live.
Now the deception is that chastity is an archaic form of bondage that holds people trapped and that you break it by casting off all restraint. You just gotta be free from it.
The truth is that " Chastity is the wisdom of the ages that allows for safe, healthy, fulfilling freedom of sexual intimacy." And it's the establishment of families.
Deception number four: " Sex is everything, and I am my own master." No one can tell me what to do.
The truth is: " Love is everything. And Jesus is the Lord."
The fifth deception is that " It's a shame to live a life that's not true to your sexual desires."
The truth is, " It would be a shame to die leaving behind a story of lust, a legacy of sexual escapades, having lived a life oriented and directed only by sexual desires."
These are five deceptions and five truths. Now I ask, Why? Like just in my lifetime, I remember during the seventies and eighties there was sort of this sense of, "Hey, it's nothing. It's just sex." And yet now it's sex. It's everything. Like we've actually flopped from it doesn't really matter to, everything about sex matters.
Why is it that people who have lived a part of their adulthood choosing chastity have suddenly gone off the rails? And by "going off the rails," I mean, started to step over the rails. And so some of the people would just be out there flirting with lust, flirting with temptation, not really doing anything, just kinda starting to maybe think about doing things. Or some have ended up in bed with lust. Why is it people that have been raised in the church have given into this belief that sexuality is their primary identity and they've gone chasing after all sorts of things. Why is it?
I think oftentimes it's just that we're bored. But it's also that we're sad. It's that we're hurt; we're injured; we're angry; we're just unhappy; we feel dead inside; we're numb; we feel unloved; or maybe we're just hormonal. It may be fed by the forms of entertainment that we choose. We allow all sorts of things to come into our living room. And here's a test. If a couple rang the doorbell, knocked on your door, they came in while you're sitting there with your family, sitting there with your spouse, and they proceeded to act out in front of you the thing that you see them doing on tv-- like, how long would it be till you kicked them outta your house? Like even violently, with anger. Like, " Don't you desecrate my living room, my family room where my kids are! Don't you desecrate it that way!" Like, how long till you kicked him out? The things that we allow to just come into our living room, because it's on a tv-- I think those things have changed how we see life and how we see sexuality. And when we find ourselves bored or feeling unloved or unappreciated or overstimulated or understimulated or whatever it is, and we see these things being played out and we go, well, maybe that's something for me. And it, it normalizes it.
Like these are all the different reasons why we might turn to this and fall into these deceptions. But they're bad things. Don't fall for the deception. Even if you have fallen for it, there's hope.
Now, what I would say to the church and to pastors, we have got to stop elevating sexual intimacy as the pinnacle of love. And if you're a pastor and you've said this, I hope that it causes some embarrassment. Stop talking about your wife as your "sexy, hot wife." Stop denigrating her that way. And stop feeding that to your congregation because there are people out there who are saying, "Well, my wife isn't the hot, sexy wife, so I guess I kind of screwed up." Or there are people who are not married, whether widowed or divorced, or just never married, and you keep on sending this message to them -- and I know why you do it. You want to get past the "sex is dirty" thing that the church seemed to cultivate for a long time. I get it -- but when you keep on parading sexual fulfillment in front of your church there are people out there going, "Yeah, I guess until I get some, I'm not really gonna be fulfilled." and so you're, you're messing with him that way. So please just stop.
But second, we have to stop demonizing sexuality. God created us as sexual beings. Absolutely. It's not wrong to be sexual. It's wrong to be sexually immoral. It is wrong.
Like I said last week, there's a whole list of things you're not allowed to do sexually, if you wanna be sexually moral. Now, if you wanna be sexually immoral, you can do those things. But if you wanna be sexually moral, there's a whole list of things that you can't do.
And basically it comes down to what you can do sexually is be sexually intimate with your spouse, with one person, for life, in love. This is how God designed it.
Let's open up scripture.
We have a perverted gospel of grace and freedom, and we have used it to give ourselves permission to do unthinkable things. The scripture is real clear about this.
1 Corinthians 5. "It's actually reported among you..." So, Paul's writing to these believers in Corinth, and he says, " It's actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you and of a kind that even Pagans don't tolerate. A man is sleeping with his father's wife... And you're proud. Shouldn't you rather have gone into mourning and put out of your fellowship the person who did this?" And he goes on and he says, "I wrote to you not to associate with sexually immoral people... Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, neither the sexually immoral..." I read this last week, but I'm just doing it again. "Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
And then Paul quotes something that they're saying: "'I have the right to do anything!' you say," and he says, "but not everything is beneficial. ' I have the right to do anything!' But I will not be mastered by anything. You say, 'Food for the stomach and the stomach for food!' And God will destroy them both." It doesn't matter. And he says, "The body however, is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord and the Lord [is meant for] the body."
1 Corinthians 10:23. He repeats the same phrase. Reading into it, verse 22, he says, "Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he?" Then he quotes them: "'I have the right to do anything!' you say. But not everything is beneficial." Exactly like he wrote in chapter six, verse 12. He says, "'I have the right to do anything!' but not everything is constructive." In chapter six he says, "but I will not be mastered by anything." In chapter 10 , he says, "but not everything is constructive." Verse 24, "No one should seek their own good, but the good of others."
1 Peter 2:16, Peter says, "Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a coverup for evil. Live as God's slaves."
Jude, chapter one. (There's only one chapter in Jude.) Jude, verse four. He says, "Certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you." And this is my concern today. "They are ungodly people who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord."
They pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality. In verse seven, he says, "In the same way that Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion, they serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire" -- of everyone who gives themselves to sexual immorality.
So here's my appeal. Here's my appeal.
We have to stop perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality. I know that there are people in the church who are speaking into all of our lives and saying, "It doesn't matter, it's just sex." And then when you press them, it's like, "Oh! It matters totally. It's sex!"
And they're perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality. And there are people among us who are falling casually to it, falling to it without a fight. And this is why I'm speaking to it right now. It's not trying to fix the world, it's just trying to give us understanding so that when we are tempted -- tempted to go along with what the world says, whether it's decisions we make about our own lives, or whether it's how we influence kids or other people who look up to us or how we relate to siblings, whatever that is.
My goal here is to call us to sexual morality and to stop perverting the grace of God as a license for immorality.
We have to choose to not be -- as Paul said, "I will choose to not be mastered by anything." Your sexual identity, your sexual orientation, your attraction, your lust, the things that seem it would be kind of neat, kind of cool, kind of dangerous, kind of dark, kinda whatever would make you feel alive, do not allow those things to master you.
Do not allow those things to master you. Come back to God and say, Lord, I choose to be holy in every aspect of my life. I will not give my sexuality a pass on these things. Sexual intimacy is not the pinnacle of love. I will not give myself to that. Rather I will lay down my life for my brother, for my friend, for my spouse. That is the pinnacle of love.
I will choose to not be mastered by anything, and I will choose to only do what is constructive. Sexual immorality -- giving into lust -- will fill your life with ruin and darkness. It will be destruction in your life. It will. Even if it feels good at the moment, it will. Choose that you will not be mastered by anything and that you'll only do what is constructive.
Give yourself to holiness. Follow the rules, meaning follow God's rule. What he tells you, do that. What He tells you to not do. Don't do that. Follow him.
Now, here's the joy of this. I already read it. I'll finish with it.
1 Corinthians 6. He says that if you do those things, you won't inherit the kingdom of God. He says, "And that is what some of you were." He's writing to people who've done all those things, and I'm talking to people who've done all these things. I'm talking to people who've done all these things. "That is what you were." It's not what you are. "You have been washed." You're no longer dirty. "You have been sanctified." You're no longer unholy. "You were justified." You're no longer condemned. "You were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God."
Give yourself to that. Give yourself to the Lord. Follow the Holy Spirit in this.
And so my prayer for you is that if it's your desire to live a holy life, and to choose better than what you have, my prayer is that you would repent, with tears and remorse if necessary, but that you would turn your heart back to the Lord and say, even in this moment, Lord, I choose holiness. I choose you. I choose life. I reject the deception. I reject the perversion. I choose what is true. I choose life.
And my prayer is that the Holy Spirit would fill you with a fresh fire and a fresh anointing to burn away all that doesn't belong, and to live a life energized by the goodness and glory of God. You've been washed, you're forgiven, you are sanctified, you are made clean. Live that way, and you too will enter the kingdom of heaven as those unashamed for the choices that we made while on earth.
This is my prayer for you. This is my blessing
Mission Update & Prayer Requests