This summer we went to the beach in florida for vacation and in order to get there we had to get off the interstate and drive back roads to the coast. have you ever driven on the interstate for an extended period of time and go through a small town where the speed limit goes from 65 to 55 to 45 to 35. 35 is pretty fast, but it feels like you’re crawling along. Why? Since you drove at a faster speed for an extended period, it takes time to adjust to the slower speed. If you pull off the road, stop and then get back on, you can adjust easier.
It’s the same principle when you put your hand in hot water, and then lukewarm water. It feels cold by comparison. When you continue to pollute your mind with images and relationships other than what God expects, normal relationships become insignificant and unsatisfying. Some of you have been cruising at breakneck speed when it comes to sexual immorality. The only fix for your problem is to pull over an park.
Dr. Jeffrey Satinover said, “modern science shows us that the underlying addiction to pornography is chemically identical to a heroin addiction.” This addiction is nothing to play around with. It affects all of us. Either you are currently looking at it now, married to someone who is, or you know someone who is struggling.
I want to give you information for identifying sexual immorality in your life and then develop a gameplan for overcoming it.
1 Cor. 6:12, “Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “eEverything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything. 13 “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will do away with both of them. The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? So should I take a part of Christ’s body and make it part of a prostitute? Absolutely not! 16 Don’t you know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For scripture says, the two will become one flesh. 17 But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
God created you for relationship
“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Helpful” is another word for profitable. In Christ I am free to do all things but it is not to my advantage to enter into every activity. Believers are free from the restrictions and penalties of the law. We are not bound by the law because we are under grace. Paul goes on to say, “everything is permissible for me, but I will not be brought under the control of anything.” Paul is quoting the prevailing view of the Corinthians. I am free in Christ to do what I please, even if it means immorality.” The Corinthians yielded to the appetites of the body and indulged in any and every sexual feeling.
The bumper sticker on every chariot in Corinth was “if it feels good, do it.” this same attitude prevails today in america.
Your identity is in Christ
You were freed to serve Christ. Verse 13, “food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14and God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power”. This is another popular saying of the Corinthian believers. Since God will one day destroy the body and the stomach, we can indulge in whatever desire we wish without any moral consequence. In the same manner the stomach emits hungers pangs announcing it is time to eat, one’s sexual desires must be satisfied as well. So feed the appetite.
Paul removes this destroys this false truth. He doesn’t give way to the idea that the body will be discarded at death, while the soul lives forever. Someone said, “Paul never promises redemption from the body but the redemption of the body.” since Christian’s body is destined for resurrection, it is not meant for sexual immorality. This is the word porneia is where we get the word pornography.
Paul explains that the Corinthians are living out of character for who they are. They were not created for immorality but to glorify the Lord.
Your intimacy is with Christ
Verse 15, “do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!” Paul says, I am not just to live my life for Christ or pointing to Christ. It is Christ who lives through me. Believers have no part subjecting themselves to this kind of evil. You are called to be holy and set apart.
Verse 16, “or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “the two will become one flesh.” 17 but he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”
Paul is on a roll. If he was preaching, you would be amening him at this point. He continues with an astonishing argument. When a believer engages in sexual immorality with another woman or man, or in this case a prostitute, he is joined together to them. Paul is showing us that union happens not by exchanging vows alone, but through sexual intercourse. Even if both parties view this union as a temporary fling, they are joined together even when they part ways.
Paul makes his case from scripture: “the two will become one flesh.” When you enter into a sexual relationship with anyone other than your wife, you are fused together with that person, even if the 2 parties desire of be mutually disconnected.
Notice: Paul is not worried so much about how such behavior views another person as a commodity to be used for sexual gratification, he is concerned about one’s relationship with Christ. Believers are fused with Christ at salvation
One commentator says, “since we are one with Christ, and the sex sinner is one with his partner, Christ is placed in an unthinkable position in Paul’s reasoning. Christ is not personally tainted with the sin, any more than the sunbeam that shines on a garbage dump is polluted. But his reputation is dirtied because of the association.”
This gives new meaning to an affair or premarital sex or pornographic engagement. When you engage in sexual immorality, you drag the Lord through the mud and defile your bodies in the process. You were created for a relationship with God first and then with others.
God designed you for righteousness
Verse 18, “run from sexual immorality! “every sin a person can commit is outside the body.” on the contrary, the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body.”
We see the first of 2 imperatives in this section: run. Sprint. Don’t turn back.
The body is not meant for sexual immorality. As already mentioned, the word porneia where we get the word pornography. Porneia is any sexual sin outside of the marriage covenant between 1 man and 1 woman. Any sexual sin. When your affection is drawn to a picture or a person other than your spouse, it’s pornography. Whether you are married or single.
Some of the Corinthians saw no harm in visiting the temple prostitutes (there were 1,000 of them at the temple of aphrodite) who could be purchased for sexual pleasure.
Sexual immorality goes beyond the boundaries of prostitution. It happens when you are intimate with anyone other than your wife or husband. It happens when you look at magazines or websites. It happens with lust in your own heart, which Jesus says is sin.
The statistics I’m about to share with you are going to be overwhelming.
According to the Journal of Internet Law, in 2005, pornography accounted for 69% of the total pay-per-view content, outpacing news, sports, and video games.
• From 2001 to 2007 (6 years), internet porn went from $1 billion a year industry to $3 billion a year industry.
• According to websense, the number of porn sites went from 88,000 in 2000 to nearly 1.6 million in 2004.
• In 2002, there were 470 major hollywood movies made compared to 11,300 mainstream hardcore films released.
After an analysis of 400 million web searches from July 2009 to July 2010, researchers concluded: 13% of all searches were for erotic content and the most popular category of sexual searches was the term “youth.”
Computers are a thing of the past. Mobile devices will be the primary viewing platform for porn. After an analysis of more than 1 million hits to google’s mobile search sites in 2006, 1 in 5 searches on cell phones were for pornography.
Teenagers are being infected the most.
In 2012, True Research conducted an online interview with over 2000 teens, ages 13–17, and found that:
• 32% of teens admit to intentionally accessing nude or pornographic content online.
• Of these, 43% do so on a weekly basis.
• 70% of youth between the ages of 15–17 accidentally stumbled across pornography online before.
Across the pond, things are worst. In 2010, 14–16-year-olds from a north London secondary school were surveyed.
• Nearly 1/3 looked at sexual images online when they were 10 years old or younger.
• 81% look at porn online at home.
• 75% said their parents had never discussed internet pornography with them.
What about females? In 2003, 34% of female readers of today’s Christian woman’s online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing internet porn.
Christians are not immune from this epidemic.
In August 2006, a survey reported 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography.
Men are stimulated by images. Women are stimulated by words which produce emotions. This is why 50 shades of gray has become so popular among women. Let me say it clearly, 50 shades of grey and books like it are porn. It is about submission, bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism. The book is built around a character named Christian Grey, who has been troubled since he was a child. In one section of the book, the protagonist Anastasia Steele says, “he doesn’t even love himself, which is why he is so undeserving of love from another.” The movie is coming out ironically on valentines day. Don’t expose yourself to this trash. Don’t support the system it promotes.
We live in a world where sex-trafficking, sex crimes, and sexual abuse are at epidemic levels. Sexual addiction is growing among men and women alike. The idea of a Christian supporting something that portrays a skewed domination of women and the infliction of pain on another person as something positive, and healthy is sinful.
Porn affects pastors
In 2002, of 1,351 pastors surveyed, 54% said they had viewed internet pornography within the last year, and 30% of these had visited within the last 30 days. To say porn is an epidemic is an understatement.
Bill Perkins, “if you think you can’t fall into sexual sin, then you’re Godlier than David, stronger than Samson, and wiser than Solomon.”
Why is sexual sin so damaging? Verse 18, “every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
Sin is the same in the eyes of the Lord. It’s missing the mark. There is no difference in how God judges sin. However, some sin affects the body differently. Sexual sin is different in degree and consequence from other sins.
“Other sins,” says John Calvin, “do not leave the same filthy stain on our bodies as fornication does.”
I like to write on the white board when I am teaching. One day, my markers were dried out, so I looked in my drawer for a new marker. I searched and searched and finally found one. I continued teaching the lesson. A few minutes later, I went to erase what I had drawn, but it didn’t come off. I read the marker and realized that it was a permanent marker.
Viewing porn is like ingesting spiritual cyanide in your soul. It doesn’t just contaminate the body, it severs your relationship with God and sabotages your relationship with others.
God redeemed you for his glory
Verse 19, “don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.”
The second imperative in this section is glorify God. Flee from sin and follow after God.
Paul describes the connection between your physical body and the temple of the old testament where the Lord dwelled. The first century hearers understood the reverence and respect that people had for the temple. It was a sacred place.
In the Greek, the word temple is a place that is specially set apart for God to reside. This was the place only the priests could enter.
Notice Paul says, “your body is a temple for His spirit.” It’s His possession not yours. When you surrendered to Christ, you are His property now. We have custodians who clean our church buildings, vacuum the floors, touch up paint on the walls, and take out the trash. We have volunteers that decorate the sanctuary, arrange the flowers, and remove the old bulletins from the pews. We go out of our way to make sure the church building is pristine, while we overlook our own bodies.
Paul says, your body is more important than the church building. The word your is plural, indicating a concerted effort. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is sacred property, so take care of it.
We no longer belong to ourselves because we have been bought with a price. Paul’s image does not picture a slave being sold and set free, but a slave transferred by sale from one owner to another. Formerly, you were a slave of sin; now you are slave to the savior. God owns the deed to your bodies. Jesus’ death purchased your freedom from sin through his death, burial and resurrection. He didn’t walk in and place money on the table and say, “i will give you 1000 dollars for him or 1000 dollars for her.” Jesus didn’t exchange something he possessed or owned for your freedom. Jesus put himself upon the cross in exchange for your freedom. Don’t throw that away for a fleeting, temporary pleasure.
You were not just saved from something but for something. You were saved from sin for intimacy with Christ. It gives new meaning to defilement. When you engage in immorality, you are diminishing the price of redemption that Jesus paid for your sins.
When you took driver’s education years ago, you learned how to properly exit the interstate. You put on your blinker about 1 mile before you want to exit. Once you start down the exit ramp there are white lines to your left until you get to the point of no return. the point of no return is the point when you are unable to change your mind and are forced to exit the interstate. You have gone too far and must get off.
I think of Eve in the garden heading down that exit ramp when the serpent approached her. Eve looked at the fruit, longed after it, and then lusted after it. Once a person gets to the place of no return, it’s impossible to avoid temptation.
How do I say no to lust and yes to Christ?
Flee sexual immorality
If you are looking at pornography of any kind, stop it. Porn is idolatry. It’s worshiping something that is a carved, created, or fabricated image of a person other than God.
Rom. 1:21, “For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 claiming to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.”
Porn is also adultery. It’s having affection for someone or something other than your spouse. Your intimacy with Christ affects every area of your life. When your relationship with Christ is out of whack, it affects your relationship with your kids, spouse, co-workers.
Guard your heart from sin
Psalm 101:3, “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.
Ruthlessly work on your lust problem now. If you’re not married don’t buy into the lie that your struggling with lust will end after you get married. Viewing of porn today is ruining your marriage in the future. End it today. It’s easier to put out the flicker of a match than the fire of a forest. Deal with uncontrolled lust now.
Admit you have a problem
- Confess your sin to God. When david cried out to God in psalm 51, he said, “against you and you alone have I sin. God forgives us when we ask him. There is room at the cross for you. Don’t expect God to bless other areas of your life if you are failing in this one.
- Your sin may run deep, but God’s grace is greater.
- Pray for God’s strength.
- Set up accountability in your life. isolation from others equals devastation from sin, especially sexual sin. If it has to be done in secret it’s probably sin.
- Bounce your eyes. I learned this technique in every man’s battle. First time is a look, second is a linger, third is lust. Learn to dribble your eyes from anything that may cause you to sin. It’s nearly impossible to remove a filthy image from your mind once it gets in there. So don’t put any there.
- Set up parameters for protection. Parental controls, Curbi for iPad and iPhone, Covenant Eyes for Computer.
- Fill your heart with his word: Psalm 119:11-hide the word in your heart.
- Flee immorality. Run. Sprint. Don’t look back.
How do you flee immorality?
- End sex outside of marriage.
- Don’t reconnect with old girlfriends on Facebook.
- Don’t text a coworker of the opposite sex.
- Don’t ride to lunch with a person of the opposite sex by yourself.
- Don’t hang out for late night dinners with co-workers of the opposite sex.
- Don’t read raunchy, sex novels.
- Don’t own a computer without accountability software like Covenant Eyes.
Jesus spoke about sexual sin in the sermon on the mount. Matt 5:29: If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell!”
Your soul is at stake.
There is mercy for you tonight, if you turn to Christ. Ask him to cleanse you of sin. Tell him that you are sorry for prostituting your body to the world. Ask for a filling of the Holy Spirit.