Editor's Note: As the end of 2018 approaches, Charisma is looking back at the major events of the year, from Billy Graham's death to sexual assault stories to wildfires to the historic North Korea summit and everything in between. The following is one of our top stories of the year. The information presented in the story was accurate at the time of reporting. Continue to follow Charisma News for all the latest updates for these stories and more.
This article was published September 4th.
Excessive sexual sin and nakedness is one of the marks of our Western culture and much of the world today. Everything is sensual. Everything must be sexy. We live in a sex-crazed world, and nakedness jumps out at us from everywhere. It is becoming more and more difficult for men and women to keep themselves in a state of moral purity.
Sexual sin and neglecting the laws of purity in the body of Christ is one of the elements that can potentially bring weakness, sickness, and even premature death to many in the Church. It is one forgotten aspect of not discerning the Lord's body (1 Cor. 11:29-31).
Those last statements sound so primitive in today's contemporary church. There is a lack of ministry from pastors in this area because of the fear of forthcoming accusations of being unloving, judgmental, legalistic, and ministering guilt and condemnation. Frankly, we've lost our way in this regard. Correction, rebuke and reproof are clearly missing from our counsel in these new crooked days of false comfort and unscriptural mercy.
In days of old it was rather common for correction to be made not only using the Scriptures but through the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. For instance, it was observed by one old timer that in praying for the sick, individuals who had been unfaithful in their marriage and had not repented, but who nevertheless sought healing, had been rebuked sternly by the Spirit of God. Back then they understood that only deep repentance and cleansing through the precious Blood of Christ could the gravity of such a crime be pardoned.
Today, as I said, we are considered condemning and judgmental if we minister in such a manner. Yet it is common for many to get in a healing line and seek deliverance, or submit prayer requests while living in gross immorality without any earnest desire for genuine repentance. Those who practice sexual sin, or any other sin for that matter, and profess Christ, are partaking of the body of the Lord unworthily; and in doing so they are receiving a curse rather than a blessing.
"For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep" (1 Cor. 11:29-31).
I realize that sexual temptations are great, no one is exempt from them, and none should boast of their self-righteousness. I'm also aware that in seeking to turn someone from the error of their ways we must do so in gentleness and humility (Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:25). But if there is to be victory in this area, it must begin with a reverent understanding and a scriptural estimation of the defiling and degrading nature of sexual sin and its terrible dangers. Before people obey God, they must be thoroughly awakened. Only then will they overcome counteracting forces.
Carefully read these words of one of America's greatest evangelists, Charles G. Finney:
"Worldly desires, appetites, and feelings prevent true Christianity—the human will is, in a sense, enslaved by fleshly and worldly desires. It is therefore necessary for God to awaken people to a sense of guilt and danger and thus produce an opposite excitement or feeling and desire. This counter-feeling breaks the power of worldly desire and leaves the will free to obey God."
That ideology, my friends, is clearly absent from the mainstream of contemporary Christianity, yet it is so sorely needed.
As in modern-day America, sexual sin and nakedness were celebrated in the city of Corinth too and was infiltrating into the church there. Thus Paul had to remind the Corinthian saints that their bodies were now the temples of God and not their own. Their bodies, as ours, are now members of Christ, so a sin against our bodies is a sin against Christ.
"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 harlot? Certainly not! 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" (1 Cor. 6:15, 19-20).
As far back as the Mosaic books we find some interesting references to sexual immorality and nakedness.
- The first recorded human curse was over nakedness (Gen 9:20-23).
- Nearly two entire chapters along with many other references were a code of ethics on nakedness and sexual immorality (See Lev. 18 and 20).
- Exposed genitalia or nakedness were common in Canaanite demonic worship. Instructions and prohibitions to Moses were so Israel's altars would not be like the Canaanites' (Ex. 28:41-43; 20:26).
- When Moses returned from the mountain, Aaron had lost control of the people as they worshiped a golden calf, "unrestrained" (Ex. 32:25), as the New King James says it. The Old King James says "naked," and the Living Bible says "committing adultery." And all this happened shortly after a move of God.
One of the keys to overcoming sexual sin lies in the meditation of the Word of God concerning it. This will nurture the fear of the Lord in you. For example, in Gal. 5:19-21 the works of the flesh are divided into four basic categories 1) sexual sins, 2) sins connected with pagan religion and the occult, 3) sins of the temper, and 4) sins of drunkenness. It is interesting that sexual sin is listed first, not only here, but also in several other scriptural references in the New Testament.
- Romans 1:24, 6:19 – Uncleanness is singled out.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 – Sexual sins listed first.
- Galatians 5:19-21 – Sexual sins listed first.
- Ephesians 4:19 – Lewdness and uncleanness singled out.
- Ephesians 5:3 – Fornication and uncleanness singled out; let it not once be named among you.
- Colossians 3:5 – Fornication and uncleanness listed first.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3 – Sexual immorality singled out in our walk of sanctification.
- 1 Peter 4:3 – Lewdness listed first from our past life.
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