This Sunday’s hot topic is sexual immorality and wise man that he is, Pastor Chuck deferred this sermon to an expert. Today’s speaker is Garry Ingraham, Executive Director of Love and Truth Network. Their motto is “Leading with love — anchored in truth”. I like that because that’s what this blog is all about: seeking the truth, anchored in the Word of God.
Garry has an amazing story and he gets into it in today’s message. I’m including the Bible verses that he quoted as well as the videos of the songs we sang in worship today which go with the theme of God’s redemptive love for all people.
Citizens of Heaven on Earth: Sexuality
Here are some of the important highlights of Garry’s message as well as a bit of my story.
- We are all “sexually and relationally broken people”. Most of us have gone through one or more of these scenarios…
- same sex attraction
- gender identity crisis
- porn addition
- addiction to sex
- sexual immorality
- sex outside of marriage
- unhealthy relationships
- abortion – because of sexual immorality
- sexual abuse
- covering up the shame of sexual brokenness and sin
- Sexual immorality erodes our souls. No other sin decays our inner being.
- We think we could fix it or do better on our own — without God.
What God’s Word Says about our Sex Lives…..
26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. …”
27 So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them; …
18 …Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” …
25 …Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.Genesis 1:26-27, 2:18, 2:25 NLT
This is the truth of creation. We are created in God’s own image — imago dei. I talked about that in this post. Only 2 genders!
Jesus told us, reaffirming God’s design for human sexuality…
4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’” 5 And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”Matthew 19:4-6 NLT
The World’s Design is in Direct Opposition to God’s Design
17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.1 John 2:17 NLT
Then, if we as Christians, try to follow God’s way, we are hated and criticized by the world. That’s just like what’s going on with President Trump’s selection of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a godly woman, to fill the empty Supreme Court Seat. I pray that it does not become as ugly as Justice Kavanaugh’s was.
24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward.Hebrews 11:24-26 NLT
(We’ll be digging deeper into Hebrews chapter 11 in a couple of days as part of the Hebrews Bible Study Series. That’s known as the “Faith Chapter”.)
20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.Romans 1:20-28 NLT
Anything that feels good can become an addiction. Addictions then become a form of idolatry. Paul told us in 1 Corinthians…
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.James 5:16 NLT
Do Not Be Ashamed to Admit to Sexual Immorality
I admit it — this is has been a tough subject to tackle. In my testimony, I admit to becoming a “prodigal” in college. That prodigal life included a lot of “unhealthy relationships”. However, what influenced me started back in high school. I used to babysit regularly for this family in my neighborhood. The boy was 10 or 11 and his sister 7 or 8 years old. One night, the boy showed me his dad’s stash of Playboy magazines. That was my first taste of pornography. I eventually got addicted to porn and later addicted to sex. I admit it.
I also have to give credit to TV shows and pop music. I longed to have that lifestyle — having fun, going to parties, traveling, dating good-looking men. And I did! However, it took me a long time to grasp that God was trying to pull me away from that ungodly way of living.
It’s interesting and ironic that my college, Green Mountain College (GMC) in Vermont, had a saying that if a virgin ever graduated from GMC, the eagle will fly off the top of the flagpole. When I went there in 1973, it was a 2-year, all-girls college. But we partied with all the co-ed schools within a 2-hour radius. I was the first graduate of the 4-year program from a co-ed school. And the eagle didn’t fly off the flagpole when I graduated. Ironically, that school is closed in 2018 — not enough students enrolling. They focused solely on environmental and sustainable sciences and removed the business, nursing and medical assistant programs. Hmmm…
The Prodigal Returns
It wasn’t until the fall of 2008 — when I had just become unemployed that God slapped me upside the head and He finally got my attention. During a special series my church was holding, this passage from the Old Testament came up…
39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.Numbers 15:39 NIV
My eyes were opened to how God saw my life. I was prostituting myself, not for money, but in hopes of a relationship that was never going to happen. I saw the light and broke it off. I’ve been celibate ever since. Furthermore, because I’ve repented of my sins, God forgave of ALL my sins because Jesus took them all away once and for all! That is salvation!
Condoning Sexual Immorality
When the Supreme Court OK’d same sex marriage the question floating around my church was, “If a gay friend or family member invited you to their wedding, would you go?”
I tossed that one around for a while. I decided that attending a gay wedding would be condoning the sexual immorality and going against God’s commandments and His Word. So my answer would be, “I love you because you were made in God’s image, but I cannot condone your lifestyle, so I decline your invitation and I will pray for you.”
An Important Quote from C.S. Lewis…
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”C.S. Lewis, Weight of Glory
The Sermon’s Big Idea:
Our genders, male & female, are by design. Physical, sexual union/marriage is designed for male and female. Our natural, gender-based physiology does not provide for homosexual union/relationships. Homosexuality is not a natural, biological sexual orientation.
Our Big Challenge:
Do not be the first to cast a stone at anyone who believes they are gay. We are broken in relationship, but we are made whole through relationships rooted in Christ. Remember Jesus forgives and heals. He can reorient our sexuality according to His design for us.
We CAN say NO to sexual immorality!
The world wants us to “go with the flow”. That was one of my favorite sayings. The problem with that is it’s against what God tells us to do! We can’t allow ourselves to be caught up in the culture. We can’t afford to “go with the flow” because it will take us away from God. That’s why we need Jesus as our anchor. His Word keeps us rooted in His faith, grace and love.
Yes, the church doesn’t talk about sexual immorality enough. Many choose to condone it. The United Church of Christ is “open and affirming”. I had to leave that church because God was convicting me that hanging out with these people was going in the wrong direction. Remember our lesson in Philippians 4…
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13 NLT
Everything is THROUGH Jesus Christ. Not with Him so that we could never boast of our own efforts.
Now to the Question on How You, if You Call Yourself a Christian Should Vote….
If you’re Catholic or a Christian Democrat, you need to watch this video of Joe Biden in 2012, condoning same sex marriage…
Does that sound like a “devout” or even a “practicing” Catholic?
Christians are called to be a light in the world, not to be a part of it. We are citizens of Heaven, just passing through this dying earth. However, we do have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us be the change that this sin-sick world so desperately needs.
Which are you? What are you influences? If it’s not Jesus, then you need to invite Jesus into your heart…