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                 "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS"

                        Flee Fornication (6:18)

INTRODUCTION

1. The Christians at Corinth faced great challenges in living holy
   lives...
   a. The city was known for its immorality
   b. The temple of Venus hosted 1000 priestesses dedicated to
      prostitution in the name of religion
   c. Some Christians had been quite immoral prior to their conversion
      - 1Co 6:9-11
   -- And so Paul warned them to "Flee fornication" (KJV) - 1Co 6:18

2. The admonition is needed just as much today...
   a. Fornication (sexual immorality) is rampant in our culture
   b. Morality is being loosely defined (and redefined), causing many to
      engage in dangerous behavior
   c. Those who follow Christ must have a clear understanding of what is
      wrong
   -- And so today people need to be warned, Flee fornication!"

[Because many are redefining morality today, we do well to first notice
the Biblical definition of that conduct which we are to flee...]

I. DEFINITION OF FORNICATION

   A. GENERAL TERM...
      1. The Greek word translated fornication (KJV), sexual immorality
         (NKJV) is porneia
      2. "Used generally to refer to any sexual sin" - The Complete
         WordStudy Dictionary
      3. Thus it includes any form of "illicit sexual intercourse
         - adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse
         with animals, etc." - Thayer

   B. SPECIFIC TERMS...
      1. Adultery (moichao) - to have unlawful intercourse with
         another's wife - Thayer
      2. Homosexuality (arsenokoites) - one who lies with a male as with
         a female, sodomite, homosexual, cf. 1Co 6:9; 1Ti 1:10 - ibid.
      3. Bestiality - lie carnally with an animal, cf. Lev 18:23
      4. Lewdness (aselgia) - Lasciviousness, license, debauchery,
         sexual excess, absence of restraint, insatiable desire for
         pleasure, cf. Ro 13:13 - Complete WordStudy Dictionary
         a. This word would include oral sex, which many have sought to
            redefine as not sex
         b. Which has become a major problem among many youths (with
            terrifying consequences)

[Fornication is a general term for sexual immorality; i.e., sexual
behavior between unmarrieds that rightly belongs only to husbands and
wives (cf. He 13:4).  Prohibitions against fornication can be
appreciated when we understand...]

II. DEVASTATION OF FORNICATION

   A. DESTROYS THE BODY...
      1. Bacterial STDs (e.g., chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea) are often
         brought on by fornication
      2. Viral STDs (e.g., genital herpes, Hepatitis B, AIDS) are
         incurable
      3. Many people have learned the hard way, what Solomon warned his
         son - cf. Pr 5:11-12

   B. DESTROYS THE HOME...
      1. Marriages intended for life are broken, often beyond repair
         - cf. Mt 19:4-6
      2. Children are devastated, with emotional effects lasting into
         adulthood - cf. Mal 2:16
      3. Potential for future marriages is lessened (who desires
         "damaged goods" due to STDs?)

   C. DESTROYS THE SOUL...
      1. It will be hard to forgive oneself, there will be
         self-recrimination - cf. Pr 5:12-13
      2. Your soul will be deprived of good friends, whose trust you
         violated - cf. Pr 6:30-35
      3. If unrepented and unforgiven, there is no hope - cf. 1Co 6:
         9-10; Ga 5:19-21; He 13:4

[We see why Paul would write "Flee fornication."  It is not to be taken
lightly!  That we might succeed in fleeing fornication, here are some
thoughts on the...]

III. DETERRENCE OF FORNICATION

   A. LEARN FROM JOSEPH...
      1. He was successful in fleeing fornication with Potiphar's wife
         - Gen 39:7-12
      2. Most importantly, he valued his relationship with God - cf. Gen
         39:9
      3. So flee youthful lusts, pursuing godliness instead - cf. 2 Ti
         2:22

   B. LEARN FROM SOLOMON...
      1. Who warned his son of the price of fornication - Pr 5:1-6,
         9-14,20-23
      2. Who counseled his children to avoid the immoral person - Pr 5:
         7-8; 7:24-27
      3. Who encouraged his son to love the wife of his youth - Pr 5:
         18-10; Ec 9:9

   C. LEARN FROM DAVID...
      1. Who made a terrible mistake with Bathsheba - 2Sa 11:3-5
      2. Which led to the murder of Uriah, and the death of the child
         - 2Sa 11:6-17; 12:9-19
      3. But David confessed his sin, and repented - cf. 2 Sam 12:13;
         Ps 51:1-4

CONCLUSION

1. To flee fornication and its devastating effects...
   a. We need to have the fortitude of Joseph, and apply the wisdom of
      Solomon
   b. When necessary, we need the penitence of David

2. Fornication is too serious to take lightly...
   a. It can destroy your body, home, and soul
   b. Forgiveness is possible (cf. 1Co 6:11), but physical
      consequences of sin often remain (STDs)

So flee fornication, and abstain from sexual immorality, which is God's
will for you... - cf. 1Th 4:1-8
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