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                       "THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT"

                         Sins Of Moral Impurity

INTRODUCTION

1. In Ro 1:18-32, we find a description of moral decay that sounds
   similar to today...
   a. While we have enjoyed great advances in technology, we are still
      in the "dark ages" as far as morality is concerned
   b. The challenge for Christians to live holy lives is not much
      different today, than in the First Century A.D.

2. But passages like 1Co 6:9-11 remind us that there is hope...
   a. People in the first century were able to make remarkable changes
      in their lives
   b. Today the same Power is available to change us as well!
      1) We too can be "washed", "sanctified", and "justified in the
         name of Jesus"
      2) How?  Note that Paul says it is "...by the Spirit of our God"!

3. In our previous lesson, we saw that by "walking in the Spirit" it is
   possible to overcome the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit
   a. By setting our minds on the things of the Spirit (via the Word of
      God)...
   b. And obtaining the aid of the Spirit (via prayer)...
   ...we can produce the "fruit of the Spirit" in our lives, instead of
   the "works of the flesh"

4. But we also noted that one step in "Overcoming The Conflict" was 
   through an awareness of the enemy...
   a. Otherwise we might be succumbing to the enemy, and not even know
      it!
   b. Fortunately, Paul has provided a list of such things that 
      comprise the "works of the flesh" - Ga 5:19-21

[With this lesson, we begin a careful examination of the words used to
describe the "works of the flesh".  We start with a look at those sins
that might be classed together as "Sins Of Moral Impurity".

The KJV and NKJV begin with a word ("adultery") that is not found in 
some of the oldest manuscripts.  But it is certainly covered by the 
next word, which we shall focus upon first...]

I. PORNEIA (fornication, immorality, sexual vice)

   A. A GENERIC WORD FOR UNLAWFUL SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS...
      1. Originally, it meant "to act the harlot" and then "to indulge
         unlawful lust"
      2. As used in the New Testament, we find it having at least four
         different meanings...
         a. Pre-marital sex - 1Co 7:1-2
         b. A synonym for adultery - Mt 19:9
         c. A generic sense referring to all forms of unchastity - 1Co 
            6:13,18
         d. A specific sense referring to harlotry and prostitution - 
            Re 2:20-21
      3. It therefore includes any sort of sexual intercourse between
         partners who are not married to each other (pre-marital sex, 
         adultery, homosexuality, prostitution, incest)
      4. God's disdain for such immorality is seen in the fact...
         a. There are seven lists of evil in the writings of Paul
         b. Fornication is listed in five of them, and is the first in
            each of them

   B. THIS WORD BECAME SYNONYMOUS WITH FIRST CENTURY LIFE...
      1. As it truly reflected...
         a. Their attitude toward "adultery":  "We keep mistresses for
            pleasure, concubines for day-to-day needs of the body, but
            we have wives in order to produce children legitimately and
            to have a trustworthy guardian of our homes" (Demosthenes)
         b. Their attitude toward "divorce":  "Roman women were married
            to be divorced and were divorced to be married. Some of 
            them distinguished the years, not by the names of the 
            consuls, but by the names of their husbands." (Seneca)
         c. Their attitude toward "family":  "Caligula lived in incest
            with his sister Drusilla, and the lust of Nero did not even
            spare his mother Agrippina." (Suetonius)
         d. Their attitude toward "those of the same sex":
            1) "It were better not to need marriage, but to follow 
               Plato and Socrates and to be content with the love of
               boys." (Lucian)
            2) "Of the first fifteen emperors, Claudius was the only 
               one whose taste in love was entirely correct." (Gibbons)
      2. Does it require much insight to see that this word has come to
         reflect life in the twentieth century as well?
         a. Adultery is considered inevitable, even acceptable by many
         b. Divorce has been made "no-fault"
         c. Families have been torn asunder by incest
         d. Homosexuality has become an "acceptable alternative 
            lifestyle"

[Indeed, the works of the flesh are as rampant today as they were in 
the first century.  As we continue, we see other words that remind us 
of the times in which we live...]

II. AKATHARSIA (uncleanness, impurity)

   A. THE ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORD...
      1. It originally had reference to dirt or dirtiness in a physical
         sense
      2. In the Greek OT, it is used to denote ritual and ceremonial 
         impurity which made it impossible for the worshipper to 
         approach God - cf. Lev 22:3-9
      3. It then came to be used in a moral sense, of that moral 
         depravity which disgusts the person who sees it

   B. THREE IDEAS ARE THEREFORE INHERENT IN THE WORD...
      1. The quality of that which is soiled and dirty; some minds are
         like that
      2. An impurity where there is a repulsive quality that awakens 
         disgust in those persons who are decent
      3. That which separates man from God; in contrast, compare Mt 
         5:8; Re 3:4

[There appears to be a progression of thought in the order of these 
words used by Paul.  While "porneia" indicates sin within a specific 
area of life (that of sexual relation), "akatharsia" indicates a 
general defilement of personality, tainting every sphere of life.

The next word indicates a love of sin so reckless and audacious that
one has ceased to care what God or man thinks of their actions...]

III. ASELGIA (lasciviousness, licentiousness, sensuality)

   A. THE BASIC MEANING OF THE WORD...
      1. In the NT it seems to be linked with sexual excess in a public
         way
      2. Barclay distinguishes three characteristics of this sin:
         a. It is wanton and undisciplined action
         b. It has no respect for the persons or rights of anyone else
         c. It is completely indifferent to public opinion and to 
            public decency

   B. THE GENERAL IDEA IS ONE OF SHAMELESS BEHAVIOR...
      1. Thayer defines this word by giving these examples:
         a. "filthy words"
         b. "indecent bodily movements"
         c. "unchaste handling of males and females"
      2. This word is one that best describes...
         a. What is often seen in much of modern dance, music, and 
            theater
         b. What goes on at many concerts, and on many talk shows
      3. The context in which it is often found in the Scriptures helps
         to understand this word - cf. Ro 13:11-14; Ep 4:17-19; 1Pe 
         4:1-4

CONCLUSION

1. With these three words (porneia, aktharsia, aselgeia), we learn that
   the "works of the flesh" involve "Sins Of Moral Impurity"

2. It has been said that "chastity" (the condition of being morally 
   pure or chaste) was the one completely new virtue which Christianity
   introduced into the pagan world

3. Three reasons made this introduction difficult...
   a. Immorality in sexual matters was not immorality to Grecian 
      society; it was established custom and practice
   b. Certain philosophies separated the actions of the body from the 
      spirit
   c. In many cases, prostitution was connected with religion
   -- It should not be surprising, then, to find Paul having to deal 
      with this problem - cf. 2Co 12:20-21

4. Today, we find ourselves facing similar problems...
   a. We live in a culture that calls immorality "The New Morality"
   b. We are influenced by philosophies (evolution and secular 
      humanism) that downplay the need for the spirit to control the 
      flesh
   c. More and more religions are giving their stamp of approval to 
      various forms of sexual immorality

5. In response to the culture in which we live...
   a. We must first proclaim Jesus' diagnosis of the problem:  that 
      sinful conduct exists, and it comes from within man - cf. Mk 7:
      21-23
   b. We can then offer the gospel's solution to the problem:  
      forgiveness of sin, and the power to live holy lives! - cf. 1Co 
      6:9-11

Have you been "washed", "sanctified", and "justified" in the name of 
the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God?  Paul explains how this is 
done in Tit 3:4-7 (cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16)...

NOTE:  In defining the words in this study, I depended heavily upon 
William Barclay's "Flesh And Spirit - An Examination of Galatians 
5:19-23" (Baker Book House), and Ferrell Jenkins' "Flesh And Spirit - A
Word Study" (Guardian Of Truth Foundation).  The same will be true in 
the following outlines in this study.
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