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                 "MORAL ISSUES CONFRONTING CHRISTIANS"

                           Sexual Immorality

INTRODUCTION

1. As we begin addressing specific moral issues confronting the
   Christian, perhaps a proper starting place is with the issue of
   sexual immorality...
   a. A moral issue faced by every Christian
   b. One about which the Bible has much to say - cf. 1Th 4:3; 1Co 6:18

2. The admonition to "Flee sexual immorality" is needed just as much
   today...
   a. Sexual immorality is rampant in our culture
   b. Morality is being loosely defined (and redefined), encouraging
      many to engage in sinful behavior

[Those who follow Christ must have a clear understanding of sexual
immorality and its dangers.  So let us first begin with...]

I. THE DEFINITION OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY

   A. THE BASIC CONCEPT...
      1. The Greek word translated sexual immorality (NKJV), fornication
         (KJV), 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. THE PROBLEM THEN AND NOW...
      1. Porneia became synonymous with life in the 1st century,
         reflected by:
         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 homosexuality:
            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. God's disdain for sexual immorality is seen in the fact...
         a. There are seven lists of evil in the writings of Paul
         b. Porneia is listed in five of them, and is the first in each
            of them - 1Co 5:9-11; 6:9-10; Ga 5:19-22; Ep 5:3-5; Col 3:5
      3. Does it require much insight to see that porneia is rampant in
         our time as well?
         a. Pre-marital sex has become rampant among many, including
            teenagers
         b. Adultery is considered inevitable, even acceptable by many
         c. Divorce has been made easy through "no-fault" laws
         d. Families have been torn asunder by incest, adultery, and
            divorce
         e. Homosexuality has become an "acceptable alternative
            lifestyle"

[Porneia is thus 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 sexual immorality can be
appreciated when we understand...]

II. THE DEVASTATION OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY

   A. DESTROYS THE BODY...
      1. Through bacterial STDs (e.g., Chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea)
      2. Through viral STDs (e.g., genital herpes, Hepatitis B, AIDS),
         which are incurable
      3. Many people have learned the hard way, what Solomon warned his
         son - cf. Pro 5:11-12

   B. DEMOLISHES 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. DESOLATES 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 can see why Paul wrote "Flee sexual immorality." (1Co 6:18)  It is
not to be taken lightly!  That we might succeed in fleeing sexual
immorality, here are some thoughts regarding the...]

III. THE DETERRENCE OF SEXUALITY IMMORALITY

   A. FORM PROPER DISCERNMENT...
      1. Remember God's will for you
         a. Joseph understood that sexual immorality was a sin against
            God - Gen 39:9
         b. Paul taught that abstinence was God's will - 1Th 4:1-3
      2. Remember God's will for your body
         a. To control your body in holiness and honor (ESV) - 1Th 4:4-8
         b. To glorify God in your body, as a temple of the Holy Spirit
            - 1Co 6:13-20
         c. To present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy to God
            - Ro 12:1-2
      3. Remember the consequences
         a. Self-recrimination - Pr 5:12-13
         b. Lost friendships - Pr 6:30-35
         c. Judgment against the impenitent - 1Co 6:9-10; He 13:4
         d. David's sin with Bathsheba serves as an object lesson
            - 2Sam 11-12

   B. FLEE EVERY OPPORTUNITY...
      1. Remember Joseph's example! - Gen 39:10-12
      2. Remember the wisdom of Solomon! - Pr 5:1-23; 6:23-35; 7:1-27
      3. Remember Paul's admonitions!
         a. Flee youthful lusts, pursue righteousness, faith, love,
            peace  - 2Ti 2:22
         b. Make no provision for the lusts of the flesh - Ro 13:13-14

   C. FIND A SUITABLE SPOUSE...
      1. Paul counsels marriage between man and woman to counter sexual
         immorality - 1Co 7:1-2
      2. Sexual conduct within the framework of marriage is appropriate
         - 1Co 7:3-5; cf. He 13:4
      3. Singleness is good, if one has self-control; otherwise,
         marriage the only option - 1Co 7:6-9

   D. FORGE AHEAD WITH STRENGTH FROM GOD...
      1. United with Christ in baptism, consider yourself dead to sin
         - Ro 6:2-15
      2. By the Spirit, put to death the sinful deeds of the body - Ro
         8:12-13; cf. Col 3:5-7
         a. The Spirit is God's instrumental agent by He strengthens the
            Christian - Ep 3:16,20
         b. The fruit of the Spirit in our lives includes self-control
            - Ga 5:16-25
      3. In Christ, we can do all that God desires of us - Php 4:13; Ep
         6:10-13
      4. Utilize the tools of prayer and the Word of God  - cf. Ep 3:16;
         6:17

CONCLUSION

1. To prevent the devastating effects of sexual immorality, we need to
   remember...
   a. God's will for us:  "abstain from sexual immorality" - 1Th 4:3
   b. Paul's admonition:  "flee sexual immorality" - 1Co 6:18

2. Sexual immorality is too serious to take lightly...
   a. It can destroy your body, home, and soul
   b. Forgiveness is possible, but physical consequences of sin (STDs)
      often remain

3. To flee sexual immorality, we need to have...
   a. The rectitude of Joseph
   b. The wisdom of Solomon
   c. The penitence of David (when necessary)

Let these words of Paul encourage us to abstain from sexual immorality,
and to repent if need be...

   Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom
   of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
   nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor
   covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will
   inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you. But you
   were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in
   the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

                                                     - 1Co 6:9-11
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