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Baptist Church

Passionate About Purity

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 View Comments Comments (0)

purity_heartFinally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

There was a study that came out in 2006 that showed there were three times as many professional tanning parlors in the U.S. as there were Starbucks. The study also showed that each year, an estimated 2.3 million teenagers enter those parlors. Those numbers may not mean much to you until you consider recent medical studies showing that since 1975, the occurrence of melanoma—the most lethal form of skin cancer—has doubled in the United States among women ages 15-29. The World Health Organization is also taking notice. It estimates that 60,000 people die each year around the world because of excessive UV exposure, and urges youths under the age of 18 to avoid indoor tanning.

But many experts fear that teenagers will not change their behavior, even in the light of such dangerous consequences. A Time magazine article shared these quotes from two 16-year-old girls. One girl said, “All the girls who are really tan all through the year—they’re the popular girls. Guys are always complimenting girls on their tans.” Another girl acknowledged that she was willing to risk her health for short-term rewards. Her rationale, “It may make my skin wrinkle a little bit earlier, but I’m going to look good while I can.”

Obviously our text is referring to sexual immorality, but I believe this illustration shows our propensity to trade short-term pleasure for long-term disaster. Outside of reading our text some would look at this illustration and then the connection I’m making and groan, “those poor Christians, hung up on sex again.” However, I assure you that we Christians like our sex just fine. What we are hung up about is a society that doesn’t mind hearing us become passionate about positive thinking and the love of God, but tells us we can’t be passionate about sexual purity.

Notice vv.2-3 for you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality. The truth is God created sex as an intimate, beautiful act between husband and wife and gave us clear instructions about it. Sadly, sin has corrupted it. You can’t watch a decent program on television without seeing advertisements featuring half-naked models. Pornography is a multimillion-dollar industry that invades every avenue of our society from magazines and billboards to social media. Our society idolizes promiscuity and the sad fact is that our children know things about sex that most of us didn’t know until we were married, and our culture encourages them to explore it further.

Notice the warning in vv.4-6 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter. Society accepts immoral sexual activity as normal. It never tells of the hurt, brokenness and regret that accompany sex outside of marriage. When we buck God’s design for sex, it destroys our perception of our own value and ruins families, careers, not to mention psychological loss. Indeed, there is no sin in this life that brings greater consequences outside of rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, than sexual immorality. This reality alone should cause us to steer clear from sexual sin. Yet, if we are honest, most of us assume that we will be the exception to these consequences believing this will never happen to us. Therefore, we go on our own merry way justifying our sin.

Often those who have been devastated by sexual sin begin to question why they can’t find happiness and satisfaction. Notice how vv.7-8 tells us, for God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. They feel as though God does not love them. The exact opposite of this is demonstrated in this admonition from God who not only knows the painful outcome of sexual impurity, but also loves us enough to warn us.

Ask yourself today if there are relationships you’re in, shows you watch or Internet sites you visit that are leading you toward impurity? Through the Holy Spirit, God has given us the power to walk away from temptation. What course correction is the Lord leading you to make today?

david ><{(‘>


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