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.
There are at least four primary sexual sins the Word of God speaks of: adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lewdness.
Here are the definitions of these four sexual sins:
Adultery: Unlawful sexual intercourse involving at least one married person. Adultery is incompatible with the harmonious laws of family life in God's kingdom, and is under God's judgment since it violates God's original purpose.
Fornication: Pornography, illicit sexual intercourse including prostitution, whoredom, incest, licentiousness (lack of moral restraint), and habitual immorality (would include sexual fantasies that lead to masturbation).
Uncleanness: Often refers to homosexuality and lesbianism
Lewdness: unashamed indecency, unbridled lust, unrestrained depravity (a disposition or settled tendency to evil, the innate corruption of unregenerate man), the person with this characteristic has an insolent defiance of public opinion, sinning in broad daylight with arrogance and contempt. Again, this often refers to sexual sin.
Here's where many people err in their understanding of their sexuality. Notice the following verses.
"Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power" (1 Cor. 6:13-14).
Paul is correcting the dangerous misconception among the Corinthians who believed, "as the stomach is designed for food, the genitals are created for sexual experience." This mind-set is not only common among unregenerate human beings but also among Christians who justify sexual immorality. Paul shows how this analogy is false because your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost and belongs to Christ.
Eating food is a secondary and temporal arrangement, but sexuality reaches into the eternal and metaphysical depths of one's being. An essential identity exists between the present physical body and the future glorified body (v 14). Sexual intercourse is more than a biological experience; it involves a communion of life. Since Jesus is one with the born-again believer's spirit, it is unthinkable to involve Him with immorality; thus the strong admonition not to let the sin of fornication and all uncleanness "even be named among you" (Eph. 5:3; emphasis added).
Sexuality is a uniquely profound aspect of the personality involving one's entire being. Sexual immorality has far-reaching effects, with great spiritual significance and social implications (v18). Such immorality is not only a sin against the body but against the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the body. It is one of the ways we are to discern the Lord's body, which when consistently neglected, as I stated earlier, often brings weakness, sickness, and even premature death.
Regardless of how satisfying and fulfilling sex is in its rightful place within the marriage, it is still a temporal arrangement and not a part of our eternal existence. And yet by it we procreate and give birth to eternal spirits. Sexual immorality messes with the power of procreation with someone to whom you are not married. The sexual drive is not sinful, but it is hurtful if not kept in its proper place. Scripture forbids sexual immorality in order to protect you.
Politicians, businesses, schools and our public institutions are not qualified to handle the subject of sexual immorality and deviate sex problems we have in our culture. They are a part of the problem, not the solution. Sadly though, the church has fallen so short of addressing this problem from a strong scriptural perspective. Some churches no longer even believe what the Bible says about sexual immorality is pertinent. One high-ranking church official said that the church is going to have to come to an understanding of homosexuality according to the changing culture. That is one of the biggest problems in the church today. Many of us are conforming to the standards of the culture around us.
Another well-known charismatic television preacher told his audience that homosexuality is not sin but brokenness. "What do you think David and Jonathan were doing? What do you think Ruth and Naomi were doing?" implying that they were involved in homosexual and lesbian relationships. I had to shake my head at that one. And yet this preacher is considered one of the greatest preachers in America with a very large following. It turns out that one of his own children is a homosexual. Although this is a very crushing trial for any godly parent to have to face, one cannot be loyal to his family at the expense of betraying God's holy Word.
When influential preachers say erroneous things like that, it opens the door for deception and compromise among masses of people who respect these preachers. This will lead to a flood of evil, immorality, and all kinds of perversion among the hearers of such.
It is sad to see the dilution of sound doctrine in much of the church today. It is grievous to the Holy Spirit to see such cowardice and compromise among preachers who have either departed from the true faith or who are afraid to teach sound doctrine in the area of sexual morality. As a result, our children and young people are getting educated by the reprobate minds of the world.
Let the preachers of righteousness speak up with strength and conviction, for the time is here when many are not enduring sound doctrine, but with itching ears are heaping up teachers unto themselves.
Bert M. Farias, founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of The Real Gospel and co-host of the New England Holy Ghost Forum. He is a missionary evangelist carrying a spirit of revival to the church and the nations. Follow him at Bert Farias on Facebook or @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.
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