This is Awkward….

[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! [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. [18] Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. [19] Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, [20] for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:15-20)

Sex. It’s one of those words you hope doesn’t get brought up in a church setting all that often (unless, of course, you’re a husband and the pastor is encouraging spouses to have more of it).  I don’t know how we got to this place, but it is often so taboo, and honestly quite awkward, to explicitly discuss the topic of sex in our services, small groups, and one-on-one conversations. Across the board, there seems to be a lack of healthy, honest, and sanctifying conversation around this exceedingly important issue. This is not good…at all.

We are sexual beings. Don’t believe me? Go turn on any channel on your television and you will find sex used as a primary marketing tool (even if the context doesn’t make one bit of sense). We live in a sex-craved world. With today’s advancement in technology, people don’t have to even try very hard to “fulfill” their sexual desires.

For those of us in Christ, we know that sex was created by God as an intimate gift to be shared between one man and one woman in the confines of a marital covenant. God gave humanity this gift to be enjoyed in this manner alone. However, as sin entered the world, this ever so important establishment was perverted along with the rest of creation. The misuse of sex has been prevalent from the Fall, and many have found the results of such sin to be devastatingly destructive.

I wish I could say that Christ-followers were immune from the sin of sexual impurity. It would bring me great joy to write this with the assurance that this is one area of sin we would no longer have to endure. However, a statement resembling either of those statements would be misleading (to say the least).

The sad reality is that the greatest arena for Satan to make a mockery of the beautiful union set forth by God is within our churches. Our enemy comes at us hard with sexual temptations in hopes of ruining lives, marriages, and homes. And sadly, he succeeds more than we would like to admit.

I am not foolish enough to think that our rows on Sunday mornings are full of unblemished people, especially as it relates to sexual impurity. If you think you are doing well in this area, think again. In fact, let’s remember what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount:

[27] You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ [28] But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. [29] If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body 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 your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30) 

Jesus sets an unattainable precedent that most likely deflated the ego of anyone who wasn’t having a “physical affair” and somehow thought they were doing well. He demolishes their idea of the standard for sexual purity, and sets the bar higher. This isn’t to be cruel, but to make it crystal clear that what is unseen is just as destructive as the outward sin. In fact, many times these “unseen sins” can be the breadcrumbs from which you trace physical acts of adultery.

It is not unlikely that in almost any church you would find people who are addicted to sex in various forms. Some may have a porn addiction. Others might struggle with masturbation. There could even be people who are in the middle of an ongoing extramarital affair, or meddling with the idea of one. Still, some may just “innocently” find themselves anxiously catching glances of others they find attractive.  Regardless of the circumstance or extent, sexual sin is real and in our midst.

This is a constant battle that we must fight to win. Our churches must raise up men and women who would be discontent with anything less than magnifying Christ in their bodies, because (as the passage in 1 Corinthians mentions) they are temples of the Holy Spirit. Christ has claimed victory over sin and death, and He has given us that same Spirit that we may overcome our fleshly desire to sin sexually. It is possible, but only through complete and total surrender to Christ. Opportunities abound for us to sin in this area, but we must discipline ourselves for holiness. 

By abstaining from sexual sin, we prove that our treasure is in Christ. The world may not physically see you setting yourself apart from sexual exploitation, but I guarantee that you, in turn, will be a more effective witness to the grace of God in your life. 

Sex sells in our world. And it is going at a cheap rate. May we count it as magnificently costly, that we might display the worth of the gospel in our lives.

 

-Sean

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