Friday, November 25, 2011

This is the Will of God!



For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.  (1 Thess. 4:3-8)

Sexual standards were very low in the Roman Empire, and in many societies today they are not any higher.  The temptation to engage in sexual intercourse outside of marriage relationship has always been powerful.  Giving in to the temptation can have disastrous results.  Sexual sins always hurt someone; individuals, families, businesses, churches.  Besides the physical consequences, there are also spiritual consequences (1 Cor. 6:18).  Sexual desires and activities must be placed under Christ’s control.  God created sex for procreation and pleasure, and as an expression of love between a husband and wife.  Sexual experience must be limited to the marriage relationship to avoid hurting ourselves, our relationship to God, and our relationships with others.
In 1 Thess. 4:3, being sanctified or made holy is the process of living the Christian life.  The Holy Spirit works in us, conforming us into the image of Christ (Romans 3:29).

Word Focus – sanctification (Gk. hagiasmos) (1 Thess. 4:3, 4, 7; Rom. 6:19, 22; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 12:14) G38: The Greek term for sanctify means to “set apart” for God’s special use, to make distinct from what is common—hence, to be made like God who is distinct from all else and therefore holy.  The Greek word for sanctify refers to a process which is perfect in principle though not yet attained.  Though we are not yet completely holy, we stand in relation to God as though we were. This is indicated in Heb. 10:10, where the verb sanctified is in a tense that indicates the present result of a past action.  Thus Christ sanctified by His one sacrifice, and that sanctification has the lasting result that it continues to work in us, making us holy.  Sanctification has been done once for all, but its effect still continues as stated in Heb. 10:14, in “those who are being sanctified.”

A major problem for the early church was maintaining sexual purity (1 Cor. 5:1, 9–11). Pagan religions often condoned sexual immorality as part of their rites, and ancient Roman culture had few sexual boundaries. In contrast, Paul strongly urged the Thessalonians not to participate in any sexual activity outside of marriage. He reminded them that the human body is God’s temple and should be kept holy (1 Cor. 6:18–20). The body should be honored as created by God and should be sanctified in keeping with its holy purpose.  Believers should have a personal passion for sexual purity that surpasses the passion that the world has for sexual experiences. Sexual involvement outside of marriage dishonors God, one’s marriage partner or future spouse, and even one’s own body.

Even though the Thessalonians were living in a sexually charged culture, the apostle Paul urged them to “abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thess. 4:3).  According to the Bible, what exactly is sexual immorality?  The Greek word used by Paul is the term from which we get the English word pornography (1 Thess. 4:3).  It is a broad term, encompassing any illicit sexual activity.  What specific sexual activities does Scripture prohibit?

Lust may be a strong desire for anything.  But in sexual contexts, lust is defined as “the sinful desire for illicit sex.” Lust is forbidden by Scripture because it gives birth to sin, which leads to death (1 Thess. 4:5; Matt. 5:28; Rom. 13:13; James 1:14, 15; 1 Pet. 4:3).

Adultery is extramarital sex.  It is strictly condemned in the Scripture. The seriousness of this sin is demonstrated by its inclusion in the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:14) and by its warranting the death penalty under Old Testament law (Lev. 20:10). Proverbs states that it “destroys” the guilty party’s soul (Prov. 6:32).

Incest, sex with a close relative other than one’s spouse, is prohibited and said to be worthy of the sentence of death (Lev. 18:6-18; 20:11, 12, 17; Deut. 27:20, 22, 23).

Homosexuality, sex with a person of one’s own gender, is condemned in no uncertain terms in several Old and New Testament passages (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26, 27; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10).

Bestiality is sex with an animal. This sexually deviant behavior is outlawed in the Bible. It was punished with death in ancient Israel (Ex. 22:19; Lev. 18:23; 20:15, 16; Deut. 27:21).

Does the Bible take a prudish view of sex?  No. Sex within marriage is viewed as a good gift from God to be enjoyed and celebrated by both husband and wife (Prov. 5:15–20; Heb. 13:4).

How can believers stay pure in an impure world?  By living carefully according to God’s Word (Ps. 119:9), and hiding it in our hearts (Ps 119:11).  By making the conscious choice not to lust (Job 31:1).  By walking under the control of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16-25).  And, by fleeing sexual temptation and pursuing righteousness (2 Tim. 2:22).

When we reject holiness we are rejecting God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit within us.  When we condone or allow sexual immorality in our lives we are not doing the will of God (1 Thess. 4:3).

Father God, it is my prayer today that you search my heart for any unholy thoughts that may surface into actions that will cause me to stumble.  Lord I surrender all of me to you...my mind, body and soul.  Thank you Lord for your love for me and the promise that you will never leave me nor forsaken me.  I pray this all in Jesus' name.  Amen.

References:  NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), and the Nelson Study Bible. Worship God in Spirit and Truth

15 comments:

RandiGrace said...

Amen. Sometimes it seems like an impossible thing, to not know "love" or to walk alone. But, when you drawn that line, and refuse to step over it, you will be how surprised how strong you are. That strength is your love of God--your obedience to Him. The day will come when He will give you true love, and you will never regret the wait.

Michelle My Bell said...

AMEN! Peace be with you

DeanO said...

Great post Bro. Lloyd. I think one can say this is where the rubber meats the road in today's society. Everywhere one turns their eyes we are blasted with Society's morals. God has called us to a higher standard. I know sexual purity can be a struggle - even for Christians. Bounce the eyes...that's what my Pastor from California used to say

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

Amen! God bless you!

Ian Curtis said...

Well put. Sex, said one minister I heard about awhile ago, would become the bane of a Christian's life because it dominates our culture. He wasn't kidding. The enticement comes from without, but the temptation rises from within; there would be nothing to entice if our fallen nature didn't hearken to gratifying our own lusts rather than God's will. I have bitterly fought this struggle on many occassions and stumbled too many times. God's grace is sublime, but we should never treat His grace as a license to indulge the flesh! Thank you for addressing a topic too easily looked upon lightly.

The Unknowngnome said...

Ever timely Lloyd.

Peace.

Jarheads Blog said...

"This is the Will of God"

Something Mr. Obama would know noting about.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Lloyd, Thank you for unequivocally stating the truth from God's Word on a subject too often avoided. Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. But Satan takes this good blessing from God and deceives young people by telling them they deserve it now, in their own timing and not waiting for God's perfect timing within marriage with their soulmate. Sexual immorality is especially grievous because it is a sin against the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Jisha Jagadeesh said...

Dear brother Loyd, At first I would like to thank you for joining my blog....Ur blog is really inspiring to walk on the path of our bridegroom and advocate...dear darling Lord Jesus.....Now the case of sexual immorality..It is a well timed and well said message. Immorality and further guilt feeling are two tools satan use to defeat the believers....Lets pray together to Jesus that he may give us strength to remain on his path to reach the eternity.....All praise and thanks to Lord

dfish said...

At the same time sexual promiscuity is condoned, modern societies condemn the idea of marriage and faithfulness as unnatural or passe. Thanks for taking a scriptural stance in such a wicked day when evil is called good adn good evil.

Scott said...

Hi Lloyd! Its been a while since I have browsed all my favorite blogs. Great post! I need to email this to my daughter. She is young and (thinks) she is in love with a nice young boy in boot camp. Anyway, sometimes I think that old proverb holds true: an ounce of prevention...

Praying all is well with you and keep up the ministry! I'll be back soon. God Bless!

Scott

Thistle Cove Farm said...

What you've said is all too true! I'm always shocked when I see television in a public place; it's full of deviant behavior with all the women looking like tarts and all the men acting like animals.
If one has ever had a good, strong marriage, they would understand the security and freedom of such a relationship.

Glauce Lopes said...

Olá!
Gostei muito do seu blog....
dê uma passadinha no meu e me segue se puder...ficarei feliz!

Fique na paz de Cristo!
Shalom Adonai!

MISSLARA said...

i was blessed by this post...
www.misslarawrites.com

Cynthia Maciulewicz said...

Lloyd, thank you for directing me to your blog. I am greatly encouraged and look forward to digging into it. God bless you.