1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 NKJV
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we give you through the Lord Jesus. 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.”
As Christians, our daily walk should be different than the world. We become a new creation when we are saved and we are to be governed by God standards, not the world’s. Christians are not to walk like the unsaved, instead they are to walk worthy of their calling from God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:4 NKJV
“Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Colossians 2:6 NKJV
“As therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…”
Sexual immorality (fornication) was a major problem for the believers of the early church. The pagans (the world around them) condoned and practiced sexual immorality as part of their rituals. Their culture had very few, if any, sexual boundaries. The believers were reminded by Paul that their bodies were the temple of God. Even though they lived in a sexually orientated society they were to abstain from sexual immorality. Sexual immorality is any illicit sexual activity. It is acting in a wrong or wicked way, especially thinking or acting in a way that spoils the plan that God gave for physical closeness between a man and a woman.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NKJV
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Our bodies do not belong to us, they belong to God and should be kept holy. God desires for us to keep ourselves from immoral behavior. According to the Bible we are not to keep company with those who claim to be a Christian that are sexually immoral.
1 Corinthians 5:11
“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person.”
I. Sexual Immorality Dishonors
Sexual involvement outside of marriage brings dishonor. Dishonor is a loss of honor, reputation; shame; reproach.
A. Dishonors God
Leviticus 20:22-23 NKJV
‘You shall therefore keep all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them, that the land where I am bringing you to dwell may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them.”
As Christians we are to be different than the world. God has brought us out from Egypt (sin) and we are to walk according to His statutes and laws. God has separated us from sin and we are not to follow after the pattern of the world around us. God abhors sexual immorality therefore we must abstain from it.
Abhor: regard with horror or disgust; hate completely; detest; loathe.
When we act like the world, talk like the world, and do the things that the world does we bring dishonor to God.
B. Dishonors Your Marriage Partner (or Future Marriage Partner)
God considers marriage as a sacred covenant between you and Him, and between a husband and his wife. The marriage relationship is a symbol of trust, faithfulness and unity.
Exodus 20:14 NKJV
“You shall not commit adultery.”
A sexual relationship is much more than just a physical experience. It is a union between a man and woman’s bodies, souls, and spirits. When a person has sexual relationships with someone they are opening themselves up to everything in that persons past.
C. Dishonors You
Sexual immorality (fornication) dishonors you and it is a sin against your own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
II. Sexual Immorality Is Prohibited
1 Peter 3-5 NKJV
“For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles – when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”
Forbidden (illicit) sexual activity comes in different forms. All forms of immorality will be judged by God.
Leviticus 20:10-16 NKJV
“The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you. If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. If a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, you shall surely kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them.”
Lust is a strong sinful desire to satisfy your selfish wants. It can be a strong desire for anything. Referred to in a sexual content, lust is described as a sinful desire for forbidden (illicit) sex, or an excessive sexual desire. Lust leads to sin and sin leads to death (spiritually).
Matthew 5:27-28 NKJV
“You have heard that is said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Any person that gazes (looks long and steadily) at a person with the purpose of wanting them sexually has mentally committed adultery. They have sinned against God.
Adultery is the act of breaking the marriage covenant by having sex (voluntary sexual intercourse) with someone other than your husband or wife (extramarital sex). It is also a man and woman living together unmarried as though they were, doing the things together that only a husband and wife should do (sex).
Leviticus 20:10 NKJV
“The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.”
When a person commits adultery they are breaking the commitment that they made with God and with their marriage partner. Material infidelity is the same as infidelity with God, because when a person marries someone they are making a vow with God, not just with their marriage partner. When we are unfaithful to God it will cost us our soul.
Proverbs 6:32 NKJV
“Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.”
Incest is sexual intercourse (sex) between persons closely related (except your spouse). In the Old Testament it was prohibited and the penalty for it was death.
Leviticus 18:6 NKJV
“None of you shall approach anyone who is near of kin to him, to uncover his nakedness: I am the Lord.”
Leviticus 20:11-12 NKJV “The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. Their blood shall be upon them.”
Homosexuality is sex with a person of one’s own gender. It is condemned in the Bible ( both in the Old and New Testaments). The Bible tells us that homosexuality (including lesbianism) is an abomination to God. It is something that arouses strong disgust. God detests and loathes homosexuality no matter what label we put on it. God hates the sin of homosexuality, but He loves the sinner. The world calls homosexuality an alternate lifestyle, but God calls it an abomination.
Leviticus 18:22 NKJV
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
Leviticus 20:13 NKJV
“If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.”
Homosexuality is condemned by God. There are always consequences for our sin. In the early 1980’s the AIDS virus mushroomed as a consequence of homosexual relationships.
Romans 1:26-27 NKJV
“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”
Galatians 6:7-8 NKJV
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
Homosexuality is a sin and will be judged by God. Homosexuality will have its place in the lake of fire along with all other sin. God requires us to live righteously in order for us to inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9 NKJV
“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.”
Bestiality is sex with an animal. The Bible considers this a deviant behavior and is outlawed. It is referred to as a perversion.
Perversion: a turning or being turned to what is wrong; change to what is unnatural, abnormal, or wrong; deviation or abnormality in sexual behavior.
Leviticus 18:23 NKJV
“Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is a perversion.”
Leviticus 20:15-16 NKJV
“If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. If a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, you shall surely kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them.”
The Bible refers to the person who practices bestiality as “cursed.” In Biblical times bestiality was punishable by death.
Cursed: under a curse, deserving a curse; evil; hateful.
Exodus 22:19 NKJV
“Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.”
Deuteronomy 27:21 NKJV
“Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.”
III. Sexual Purity Is Possible
It is possible for a believer to stay pure in an impure world. Much like the early church, we live in a sexually orientated society. We too, have been instructed to abstain from sexual immorality.
A. Know God’s Word And Live By It
Each one of us must know what God’s Word says concerning sexual purity. In order to live by God’s Word we must know it. We must allow the Holy Spirit to control us and not Satan.
Psalm 119:9-11 NKJV
“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.”
Sexual impurity is a work of the flesh. Works of the flesh are proof that a person is not living under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:19 NKJV
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbirths of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresis, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practiced such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
B. Make A Conscious Decision
Psalm 101:3 NKJV
“I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.”
Each believer must make a conscious decision to stay sexually pure. In other words, we must choose for ourselves to stay pure. We are to make a covenant (promise, vow) with ourselves and God.
Job 31:1 NKJV
“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
Why then should I look upon a young woman?”
Believers must bring every thought into captivity and that includes sexually impure thoughts. Our actions reveal our thoughts therefore, we must be very careful about what we think about.
2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV
“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”
C. Avoid Compromising Situations
There are some temptations that are unavoidable, but some temptations should be avoided at all costs. Involvement in certain activities can lead to sexual impurity.
2 Timothy 2:22 NKJV
“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Each person should know their weakness. When we recognize the areas that we are weak in we can take steps to avoid them. God has made a way for us to escape temptation and part of that way is for us to avoid certain things (people, situations, circumstances…).
James 1:14-15 NKJV
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
D. Be Filled With The Holy Spirit And Allow Him Control
The best way to overcome any temptation (or sinful desire) is to live in the power of and under the control of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
The conflict between our flesh and our spirit is very real. We are made of three parts: body (flesh), soul (mind, will, emotions), and spirit. Our flesh (body) fights against our spirit and our spirit fights against our flesh (body). Whichever one is in control will control our soul, therefore it is very important to allow the Holy Spirit to control us. When we allow the Spirit to control us it will be harder for us to fall into immorality.
Romans 13:13-14 NKJV
“Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
A Christian must look at the world through God’s eyes and that includes seeing sexual purity the way that He does. Within the confines of marriage, sex is a beautiful gift from God. It is to be enjoyed by a legally married husband and a wife. God has blessed intimacy between a husband and his wife.
Proverbs 5:18-20 NKJV
“Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe,
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.”
Outside of marriage sexual impurity is a sin and it can effect you and others for a life time. All fornicators (someone who is sexual impure) will be judged by God.
Hebrews 13:4 NKJV
“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
Ephesians 5:3-6 NKJV
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints”
When a person has failed in the area of sexual purity they can be reconciled unto God. As long as there is life (breath) in their bodies there is hope for reconciliation. Everything in their past can be erased when they come to God for forgiveness through His Son, Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new”
When we confess our sin we are actually agreeing with God that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. In other words, we acknowledge that we have done wrong, that we have broke God’s laws, and that we deserve punishment. When we acknowledge (confess) our sin to God, He will forgive us. God will cleanse all unrighteousness from anyone that asks. When God forgives us of our sins he makes us a new creation.
1 John 1:9 NKJV
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
A person’s life should change when they receive forgiveness of their sins. At their salvation they are transformed into the likeness of Christ. Instead of living to please themselves (fulfilling their lusts and desires), they desire to please God.