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February 14, 2010
When Tolerance Becomes Intolerable – Part 4
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Revelation 2: 18-29

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This series provides insight into Jesus' master plan for the church today. We cannot afford to ignore what Jesus thinks of the church. You've Got Mail will help deepen your understanding of the church and the essential elements necessary to remain healthy, holy, and faithful in today's society.

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Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Revelation chapter two, as we come to take another look at the church at Thyatira. If you’re a guest with us this morning, we are in an ongoing series of sermons on the seven churches of Asia Minor, and we’ve got held up here on this letter. This is our fourth sermon. In fact, I’m going to keep some more stuff for next week because we’ve clicked on a sidebar because Jesus addresses the issue of sex and sexuality in this letter. And he takes this church to task for putting up with sexual misconduct in the body of Christ. And he takes them to task for that. And I think there’s much that needs to be said to us in the contemporary church from this ancient letter. So let’s read it and then we’re also going to skip over and read First Corinthians chapter six and, I think, verse 13.
Revelation 2:18, “Unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write, these things says the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire and his feet like fine brass, I know your works, love, service faith and your patience, and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you because you allow that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess to teach and seduce my servants to commit sexual immorality, and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality and she did not repent. Indeed, I will cast her into a sick bed, and those who commit adultery with her in the great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds, I will kill her children with death and all the churches shall know that I am the one who searches the minds and hearts, and I will give to each one of you according to your works.
Now to you I say and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden but hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes and keeps my works until the end, to him, I will give power over the nations. He shall rule them with a rod of iron. They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels, as I also have received from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.” Would you turn back to First Corinthians chapter six? Then we’ll read from verse 13. Paul is specifically addressing the issue of sexual purity within the life of the Christian and within the life of the church.
And he says this, “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.” First Corinthians six verse 14, “And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise up us by his power. 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 he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For the two, he says, shall become one flesh, but he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
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 are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Not long ago our nation was shocked by the news of a gang of Florida teenagers who brutally murdered three innocent victims. The interesting thing was no gun or knife was used in this crime. In fact, when the teens were apprehended, there was no blood stands on their clothing. In fact, it was to be learned that they weren’t even present at the crime scene. You see, they had played a prank. What they had done was they had removed stop signs as at a busy four-way intersection.
And without the necessary signage in place, drivers accelerated when they should have stopped, resulting in a [inaudible 00:05:06] collision of vehicles that cost three lives. No joke. Our society has removed the stop signs as it relates to sex and sexuality. Sexual expression in America today, knows no limits, no inhibitions, no prohibitions. Anything goes, basically, so long as the least amount of people are hurt. As a nation, we are hurdling past the stop signs of God’s word and the ancient wisdom of scripture to our own deaths. What will result from this lack of moral restraint as a pileup of broken lives, mangled marriages, molested children, diseased bodies, and wounded souls.
You see the Bible warns us to be cautious at the intersection of sex and sexuality, to come up to that intersection cautiously, to stop, to pause, to think, to take note of what lies beyond where you actually are right now, what you are proceeding towards. The Bible tells us to stop and take our direction from the Bible itself. The Bible will teach us that sex is God’s gift, but it’s a gift that’s been spoiled and soiled by sin. The Bible will show us that Jesus is serious about purity. The Bible will teach us that the church ought to be counter cultural in matters of sex and sexuality. What goes on outside there should not go on inside here.
The Bible wants to tell us that sexual sin is a serious business. The Bible wants to teach us, like all sin, sexual sin invites a harvest that’s bitter. The Bible wants to teach us that sex is more than a physical act. It is a glue, it is a bonding. The Bible wants to teach us that obedience to Jesus Christ is a full body workout. He is Lord of our bodies as well as our spirits. The Bible wants to teach us that sexual sin degrades the body of Christ. So as we come this morning to the intersection between sex and sexually, let’s stop and let’s take our direction from God’s word. And so we come back into this letter. And a week ago we clicked the sidebar. We’ve been working through the letter. Jesus has been addressing issues within the church at Thyatira, and what he has noticed is that they are tolerating the intolerable.
They’re suffering things within the body life of this church that ought not to be suffered. And one of those things is sexual sin. And so he takes them to task for allowing sexual misconduct to go undisciplined in the life of the church. And I thought it would be good for us just to pause and remind ourselves of some truths concerning the seriousness of sexual sin. Now, before I get back to that, I had this in my notes last week and didn’t get to it, but what I find interesting, as Jesus deals with this sin, he takes this woman Jezebel to task. And we have here the promise of her discipline and her demise and her death. He tells us here that he will cast her, verse 22, into a bed of sickness. This is the person who’s become the catalyst for the spread of sexual immorality within this church.
And Jesus said, you know what? She sinned in a bed and so she’s going to suffer in a bed. We saw some poetic justice here. And what I wanted to bring out of that was this. Did you notice the law of the harvest at work in this passage? Remember what Paul said in Galatians chapter six, “What a man sows that shall he reap.” There’s a harvest. Okay? There’s no point sowing your wild oats and praying for a crop failure. It’s not going to happen. There’s a harvest to be paid in your body, by your family, before God. You can’t sow and not reap. And it’s interesting, this woman sows her wild oats on a bed and she reaps a harvest. She’s going to be laid out on a sick and suffering bed. And I think you and I want to remind ourselves, just for a few moments, about the fact that what goes around in God’s moral universe comes around.
The universe is not a moral vacuum. You can’t do what you think you want to do and get away with it, even though you know it’s wrong. Sin has a boomerang effect to it. Write that down. You young people, write it down. Sin has a boomerang effect. You might, for a moment, seem like you’re getting away with your sin, but it’s going to come back wrong to bite you. There’s no doubt about that, either in this life, certainly in the next, for what you sow that shall you also reap. Paul says, if you sow to the flesh, your sin and your rebellion to God, then of the flesh, you will what? Reap corruption. If you sow to the spirit, of the spirit, you will reap eternal life.
You and I need to remember that sin has a boomerang effect. That which we do will determine that which is done to us. And that which we do to others will circle back towards us. The providence of God will work hand in glove with the law of God to give us a taste of our own medicine. As I’ve said, you and I need to remember that we cannot sow the seeds of sin and then pray for a crop failure. Sins, just like chickens, come home to roost. And I would remind you, even if you and I go in repentance to Jesus Christ, and we come to a place where we can, in conscious and heart, know that we have been cleansed, that now doesn’t necessarily remove the consequence of the sin. My uncle was a drunk and he got gloriously saved about six months before he died of cirrhosis of the liver.
Oh, he got saved, but he still paid for his sins in that sense. What he sowed all his life, he reaped even after grace. And here we come to a passage, and I just think it’s interesting you’ve got this poetic justice going on. “You like a bad Jezebel, let me talk to you about a bed that I’m going to put you in.” It’s challenging, isn’t it? And I know these are tough messages and I’m glad you’re here to hang in and be challenged by them. In fact, just by way of further illustration of this, if you look at the Bible, you’ll find this principle worked out. Jacob deceived his father, didn’t he? And then Jacob’s sons turned around and deceived him about Joseph, the children of Israel, the sons of Jacob sold Joseph into slavery. Several years later, the children of Israel become slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh ordered the male babies born to Jewish mothers to be drowned In the Nile, later, Pharaoh and his army were what drowned in the Red Sea.
Just read your Bible and you’ll see this principle, the boomerang effect of sin. What goes around comes around. It is a moral universe and God will see to it that our sin comes back to bite. Because his law tells us there’s consequences. And when you and I run a red light or drive by the stop signs of God’s word, there’s only trouble on the other side of that. I like the story of the dignitary who was visiting the state penitentiary, and as he walked through the facility went into a large room and the prisoners were sitting there and they were at work for the state. They were sewing these big canvas bags together with needle and twine. And as the dignitary went by a particular prisoner, he said, Sewing, I see.” The man looked at him and said, “No, reaping.” Reaping. Sin will always take you further than you want to go.
Sin will always keep you longer than you want to stay. And sin will always cost you more than you want to pay. Write it down, think about it. But Jesus takes this church to task because it is suffering sexual misconduct within the body of Christ. And that’s unacceptable. And we see by what Jesus does here that this is serious. Her, I’m going to put into a sick bed. Those who’ve committed adultery with her, going to put into great tribulation. The children, I’m going to kill. Now you and I would have to put that all together and conclude that Jesus doesn’t deal with sexual sin with kid gloves and neither should we.
When it comes to sexual sin, you don’t need kids’ gloves, you need asbestos gloves. It’s dangerous, it’s damning, it’s serious. And I think you and I need to spend this week and next week again reminding ourselves of this reality. Because you look at the contemporary church. Today, can you believe it, today, in the church in America, we’re ordaining homosexual ministers in the name of Jesus Christ. Are we not back to the church at Thyatira? Suffering the insufferable. Today, sexual activity is increasing among Christian teens and singles at a frightening, alarming, confusing rate. Today, pastors are falling prey to sexual scandal. They’re falling like 10 pins. Hurting congregations, affecting a generation after them.
This kind of sin is rampant. And then we have churches restoring pastors like that quickly to the pulpit, back into ministry, as if it’s no big deal. If that’s the message we send out from the leadership, how do you expect the kids to get serious about sexual sin? Today, Christians are committing adultery, leaving their marriages, and then committing adultery again through serial divorce and unsanctioned remarriage in the Bible. There are a number of grounds for remarriage in the Bible after divorce, but only a few. But there seems to be a long list that’s developing within the church.
And if your remarriage is not on the list of the Bible, you have entered into a serial adulterous relationship. It’s happening in the church. Today, Christian man are becoming [inaudible 00:17:04] in the web of pornography, and Christian women are committing pornography by the way they dress. That’s what’s going on in the church today. And so we need to hear what Jesus says about sexual misconduct in his body. Instead of reflecting the image of God and the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are beginning to mirror the society around us, defaced by sin.
And here’s what we need to remember. This is something I didn’t get to again in our last study. We need to remember, write it down, casual sex is anything but casual. Casual sex is anything but casual. In a sense, there’s nothing safe about safe sex. In fact, I want to remind you, please bear with me, don’t shut me out until I make my argument. Sexual sin is more serious than other sins. And that may be tender to you because maybe this is an area you’ve struggled in or even fallen in. And by God’s grace that sin has been forgiven.
But allow this to be said. It is a serious sin. It’s a deadly sin. And you’re going to say to me right away, “Pastor, are you saying that sexual sin is more serious than other sins?” I actually am. And you’re going to say to me, “Hold on a minute, I thought we didn’t believe in a hierarchy of sins. I thought that was the Catholic Church, mortal sin and venial sin. And protestants don’t believe that.” Well, I don’t believe in a hierarchy of sin in that sense. All sin is serious. Sin is so damning that it only takes one half of one sin, not covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, to send my soul and your soul to hell forever. Sin is serious, but I do believe that not all sin is as serious as some sin. Not all sin is equal in regard to who commits it, and what was committed, and how it was committed.
What about James chapter three and verse one? Talks about the teacher of the word of God. What does it say about his judgment? It’s double. It seems to me that if a pastor commits certain sins, the impact is more serious because he’s the fallout of his leadership is going to have a widespread impact. Of course, all sin is serious, but not all sin is equally serious in terms of who commits it, what’s committed, and the effect of it. You know that. You’re smart enough for that. So be careful when you hear people say, “Oh, sexual sin’s just like any other sin.” No, it’s serious like every other sin, but I think it’s unequal in terms of the impact it has on the body of the person that commits it, the damage it does to the body of Christ, and the effects to society.
If you go back to Numbers chapter 15, verses 22 and 30, you’ll read about two kinds of sin. You read about intentional sin and you read about unintentional sin. Okay? There’s some things that are done in life that are a mistake, but they’re often done more out of ignorance and unconsciously. But there are some sins that are just done, playing out willfully. The person intended to do it for a long time, they’ve been waiting to do it. That’s intentional sin. And in the Old Testament, the punishment for unintentional sin and intentional sin was different.
Again, there’s a difference. In fact, didn’t Jesus teach us in the gospels that there’s one sin that’s unpardonable? If all sins are equal, how is one sin unpardonable. Because while all sin is serious, not all sin is equal. In fact, what did Jesus say about certain cities in the gospels? Luke 10, verse 13 through 16, they so rejected the gospel, they so mocked the messengers of the word of God that Jesus said, “I want to tell you this, given all that you’ve heard, given all that you’ve seen through my miracles, it’s going to be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for you.”
Now, isn’t that interesting? If all sin is equal, how then do we have different degrees of punishment? No, all sin is serious, but not all sin is equal. And I think sexual sin falls into a very serious category. If you write this down, turn to a [inaudible 00:21:58] in your own time. Turn to Genesis 39 verse nine. When Joseph is being seduced, I’ll tell you how far our culture’s got. I only caught something for a brief minute. I moved on from what I wanted to tell you. But you know there’s a program on television now called Seducing Cindy. We’ve made entertainment, in modern America, of the act of seduction.
And Joseph was being seduced by Potiphar’s wife, and he refused. God bless him. Left his coat, kept his character. But you know what his final words were true? When she said, “Hey Joseph, come and lie with me. The bed’s been made.” Joseph says, what? “You’re another man’s wife. You belong to Potiphar, like everything else under my charge, and I’m not about to abuse my responsibility.” And he says this, “And I’m not about to do this great wickedness.” Next time somebody says to you the sexual sins just like any other sin, no, it’s a great wickedness.
It wounds God, it hurts you and it damages other people. In fact, go back, turn with me on this one. Go back to Proverbs chapter six and I’ll try and show you this. Now, remember, in all of this, I want to say it, I’m not saying that sexual sin is the unpardonable sin. Okay? It is forgivable. And you can move on from it, and you can have a great marriage and a new relationship in God’s grace and providence. But I just want to nail this down. Go to Proverbs chapter six. The writer’s talking about adultery. Break in at verse 30. You’ll find this interesting, I think. Proverbs six verse 30, “People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet, when he is found, he must restore sevenfold. He may have to give up all the substance of his house.”
Okay, so you’ve got a picture, some guy’s desperate, and so desperate that he steals. Can you imagine the temptation of some of the folks in [inaudible 00:24:14] right now to do that? The little ones crying, bellies are swelling, hunger, and they go and steal. And when it’s found out it wasn’t just a willful act, there was somewhat of a, I want to say a good motive, there’s no good motive in stealing, but you understand what the text is saying, but he still has to pay back. Stealing is wrong. But in this case, you know what? No one’s going to despise him. He’ll get over that and people will forget it at some point.
It might be a paragraph at the bottom of the second page in their newspaper, but after a while. But look at verse 32. Okay, you’ve been talking about a thief. All right, that’s a sin. Okay? We all agree, thieving is a sin. Here’s another sin, adultery. Is there any difference? You betcha. Look at verse 32. “Whoever commits a adultery with a woman, lacks understanding. He who does so destroys his own soul, wounds in dishonor, he will get.” Did you notice the end of verse 33? And his reproach will not be wiped away.”
All sin is serious, stealing, adultery. Not all sins are equal. The thief will be forgotten and his sin will be put behind him. But the guy who commits adultery leaves his own wife steals another man’s wife. Such dishonor will come to him that the dishonor of it and that the ill repute that comes of it will not go away. Well, I think be honest, that’s being said in a culture that’s still got a conscience. Sadly, in America we don’t even have a conscience, because a man can commit adultery. Presidents can commit it and get away with it. You know what? It’s just a private affair. Let’s not be sticking our nose, our business in there. We are in a shameless society, folks. It’s scary. God bless America. I’m not sure how long we can actually even pray that with any kind of confidence. Wasn’t it Billy Graham that said, “If God doesn’t judge America soon he’ll have to apologize to Sodom Gomorrah.”
You get the point, the character and the consequence of some sins are greater than others. Listen to these words by Richard [inaudible 00:26:26] I had the privilege of ministering with this brother. He’s a Presbyterian minister in Canada. And he came to our church in Ohio for a conference. And here’s what he says in his book on First Corinthians, “You know, many times I hear Christians say, why does the church get so upset about sexual sins? Sin is sin, and this sin is no worse than any other. But this is not true. Some sins are worse than others. Some sins are crimes, while some are not.” Good point, right?
If all sins are equal, then why do some people go to jail for a certain act and some don’t go for another act, because there is a difference in who commits it, when it’s committed, what’s committed and the impact of it. Some sins are crimes while some are not. Some of those sins and crimes demand your life, okay? Some sins don’t rise to a capital punishment offense, but some do. Okay? Some demand twofold restitution, some demand fourfold restitution, others demand sevenfold restitution. Would you dare suggest there is no gradation, that some sins are not worse than others and therefore do not have worse consequences? Of course you wouldn’t. So let’s get back then into our little excursion over into First Corinthians chapter six. First Corinthians chapter six, and we’ve gone here because Jesus has challenged the church in Thyatira to deal with sexual misconduct.
To deal with it seriously and soberly, because they hadn’t taken it seriously enough. And I want you and I to remind ourselves what’s involved in sexual sin. It is serious. And I can think of no better passage than first Corinthians six and verse 13 and following, and last week we started to go down a list of five implications to sexual sin. We covered the first one. When we commit sexual sin with our bodies, we commit sexual sin with a body that’s destined for heaven. Okay? Remember there was this dualism in the thinking of the Greek and the Corinthian culture. Your body wasn’t as important as your soul. It was a kind of pseudo clothes.
You could soil it, you could tear it, because someday you’re just going to discard it. And the only part of you that will live on is your spirit. Therefore, what you do with your body really doesn’t matter. Therefore, sex is just like eating food, food for the stomach, sax for the body. And Paul says, here, no, no, no, you’re going to get a new body. Some functions of your body won’t pass into the next life, but your body itself will, redeemed and glorified in Jesus Christ. Therefore, this same body that you’ll live with forever. Some of the ladies in our church, were coming to me at the end of the service. “Can I not get a little taller in the next life? Can I not look a little batter in the next life?” Well, you might, but basically you and I are going to be you and I.
And this body of ours we’re going to carry on into the next life. Now, that’s where your body’s going, you know that’s the purpose of it, and the end of it, wouldn’t you take better care of it? Wouldn’t you treat it better? Wouldn’t you give it a certain dignity and sacredness, even in its fact that it’s a effected by sin. And someday it’s going to be raised, and if our bodies are going to be raised, then let our morals be high. Now let’s move on. Here’s the second implication that points to the seriousness of sin. We commit sexual sin with a body destined for heaven. Number two, we join Christ to our sin when we commit sexual sin. This is a powerful, powerful principle. Look at verse 15. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make the members of a harlot?
Certainly not. Or do you not know that he who has joined to a harlot is one body with her, for the two, he says, shall become one flesh. But he who has joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.” Now, let me try and unpack that for you in further explaining the relationship between the body and the Lord, because remember Paul has just said, your body’s for the Lord, not for sexual immorality. Paul is reminding us that when you and I got saved, we were baptized by the Spirit into one body, right? One Corinthians 12. Although you didn’t realize at that moment where wherever you cried and wept your way to the cross and came to Jesus Christ, at that moment you maybe didn’t feel it, didn’t know it, but as you came to read the Bible, you came to understand, right at that moment where you are, you became automatically, spiritually, mystically connected to everybody that’s connected to Jesus Christ.
You’re part of the body. This is only one part of it. It’s meeting in different places under different names in Orange County and across the world. And someday we’ll all be gathered up together with him in the air, and we’ll see the whole church for the first time. It’s a glorious thing. Theology is very practical. That means we are members of Christ. We’re like parts of Christ. That’s the analogy of the body, right? In fact, the literal Greek is our bodies are limbs of Christ, limbs of Christ. Through God’s saving action, the believer in Christ is in Christ and Christ in the believer. There’s an actual affinity between Christ and the Christian. Now, bear that in mind. There’s an actual union and affinity with Jesus Christ.
So everything you do reflects on him, and everything you give yourself to, technically speaking, you’re giving him to, you’re taking his name everywhere you go, and you’re bringing his neem into everything you do. You see, I think you and I get where Paul’s going. So Paul says, now, so guys, and he’s given us an example, don’t limit it to a prostitute or a harlot. The principle goes on to whatever sexual union is illicit. He’s saying, now guys, if you understand that, tell me what are you doing joining your body, joined to Christ, to a harlot? And remember that in that sexual union, something’s going on that’s more profound than skin upon skin. You’ve got soul upon soul, because Paul goes on to say here, what does he say? That the two shall become one.
And so he’s saying this, given what I’ve just said, it’s inconceivable for a Christian to join himself to a harlot, for a woman to a man, a man to a woman in illicit sexual union because the sex act of the two makes them one, and then being one with the Lord, by extension, we’re joining Christ to the harlot. How unthinkable. You bring Jesus Christ into the bed. Because you are in union with him. In fact, it’s so unthinkable, that’s exactly what Paul says at the end of verse 14. Certainly not, surely not. This is unthinkable. And if you think about this, say one of these guys in the Corinthian church, in a moment of weakness fell one night. And the prostitute he slept with was a prostitute from the temple of Aphrodite.
Remember what we said? There’s a big temple in Corinth, a thousand prostitutes streamed out of its doors at night into the city. Aphrodite, sorry, is the Greek goddess of sex and love. And so one of these guys lies down. Let’s hope it’s not real. Let’s hope Paul’s imagining this, but either way he says, so, you’re going to lie down with a prostitute. You are in Christ and she’s in a temple where you have doctrines of demons and godlessness and idolatry, and you’re going to fuse the two. You’re going to bring those two worlds together.
In fact, what does he say later on in second Corinthians, his second letter chapter six. He says, “What fellowship is light with darkness? Christ with Baal?” This is somber, but we need to hear it. In being one with Christ and then one with the harlot, there comes about an unholy union, and it is a union. We’ll get back to this in a moment. Sexual immorality then is a sin against the son of God, because in a spiritual sense, and I need to be careful, but in a spiritual sense, we are joining Christ to our sin. That seems to be the implication, doesn’t it? We are joining Christ to our sin.
Are you going to join Christ to a harlot? It’s an amazing thought. It is disturbing the whole image of it. Sexual immorality then is a sin against the son of God in addition to damaging ourselves and others, sexual sin wounds Christ. I want to be very cautious in my language here, but [inaudible 00:36:17] Hobbs, in his helpful little commentary in First Corinthians, notes this, you see the word take, the word take here in verse 15. “Shall I take then the members of Christ, the limbs of Christ and make them members of a harlot?”
This is a word, it’s a strong word. It means to snatch, to carry off. It’s used in Matthew 24 verse 39 of those who were swept away in the flood in Noah’s day. He argues that it’s not unlike the Latin term [foreign language 00:36:52] from which we get our English word rape. I’m going to be cautious, but this is an application he makes. He would say this, when a Christian joins his body to the body of an unbeliever in an illicit sexual union or even to a believer, in one sense, you have a rape going on, because what’s a rape? A rape is a forced sexual act which violates the will of one party, and one in six women in the United States have experienced it.
Listen to the definition of a rape. A rape is a forced sexual act which violates the will of one of the parties. I hope I’m right in saying this. I think you’ve got this going on. When you and I take our bodies and join them to a harlot, inside, attached to us, and with us, and in union with us, Christ is saying no, but we violate his will. And we implicate him in our sin. And in that sense, every sexual sin is a sexual assault on the body of Christ. It’s how serious this stuff is. And then you’ll begin to understand why Christ said she’s getting into a sick bed, they’re getting into great tribulation and the offspring, I’m going to kill.
Here’s where we’ll finish this morning. This is number three. We pay a heavy price physically and psychologically in sexual sin. We pay a heavy price physically and psychologically in sexual sin. Look at verse 18, “Flee sexual immorality.” We’ll look at that next week. I’m going to give you ways to defend yourself. That’s why I’m going to take one more week on this. Indulge me. “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” We’re going to explain that in a moment, but did you notice Paul seems to be making a difference, again, regarding sexual sin. There’s certain sins that we do to our body from outside our body, but sexual sin is something we do with our body to our body, and it’s different. And so what have we got so far?
Why is sexual sin so serious? Because when we commit sexual sin, we do it with a body that’s destined for heaven and glory. We join Christ to our sin, and we invite a heavy price physically and psychologically. Let’s unpack that for a few minutes and be done. Sexual sin takes a heavier toll than other sins. It’s clearly unique, as we’ve just said. In some sense, it’s a suicidal sin. It’s a suicidal sin in that it’s done by your body to your body. Okay? It’s inflicting wounds and damage to your body. Only somebody whose nuts does that. And the ultimate expression of it is suicide. With my own body, I will destroy my body.
And sexual sin is suicidal in that sense, because you’re taking your body and you’re damaging your body with your body. Sexual sin hurts at least three parties. At least three. God. It always starts there, because God gave us this body, and the body’s for the Lord, not for sexual immorality. So we use our body for sexual immorality, we’re hurting the Lord, breaking his law, inviting his disgust and displeasure. It harms the other person involved, because you either willfully or in agreement with them or you have trapped them yourself into an act of sin that will ultimately harm them. And then it does damage to yourself.
Listen to the words of the message here by Eugene Peterson on this verse. “There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from other sins. In sexual sin, we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God given and God modeled love for becoming one with another. Paul is not saying that other sins don’t harm the body, but he’s saying they do not harm the body in the same way or to the same degree. Sex is a powerful and profound thing.” You and I need to understand that, it is a powerful and a profound thing. It’s not simply skin on skin, it’s soul on soul.
There’s a bonding that takes place. The two shall become one, not just physically, not just physically. It involves the capture of the whole man, the whole woman, for the Christian, or for the church. See, and that’s important. Remember someone [inaudible 00:41:59] through arguing, “Hey, what you do with your body doesn’t affect you. It can’t touch the inside.” Paul says, absolutely not. Sexual sin is more than a physical act. It has profound implications for our bodies physically and psychologically. I explained that, but let me try and illustrate it and see if this doesn’t resonate with you.
A second donut or a second dollop of ice cream, okay, may not be a good thing in relation to the stewardship of your body. It might even be a sin issue for some of us if it’s an issue of gluttony and a lack of self-control. But I’ll tell you this, as a pastor, I’ve rarely met someone who’s come into my office who says, “You know what, pastor? I had another glia donut the other day, and I can’t forgive myself.” It just hasn’t happened. Okay, “Pastor Häagen-Dazs, I don’t know what to do.” All right. It just doesn’t happen except in extreme cases. But I’ll tell you this, people have come into my office defeated.
The most defeated people I’ve seen in my life are people who have committed sexual sin. And if it’s all equal, a second dollop of ice cream compared to lying in bed with somebody else, come on, the two shall become one. It’s profound. It’s powerful, it’s the dangerous. And the implications are harmful physically and psychologically. In fact, in Northern Ireland right now, there’s a big sexual scandal going on. My dad was telling me about it. He’s involved in a political party, where the first minister of Northern Ireland, his wife, just admitted to sexual sin. She’s a professing Christian. She’s been in an affair with a young man less than half her age. She admitted that a year ago she tried to take her own life because of the guilt and the power of this sin in her life.
And it’s a scandal in the church, and it’s a scandal in the country. Don’t tell me a second donut and a second dollop of ice cream has the seem effect as someone prostituting their body in sexual sin. No. Paul says, no. There’s some things you do to your body, and a second donut may be that, and it may not be good for your body, but it’s not the same of sexual sin. Some things are done outside the body, working in, but sexual sin’s done with the body working out, and it’s profoundly powerful. In fact, some people will say right there, because that [inaudible 00:44:41] “I tell you what’s wrong, pastor. It’s guys like you repressing sex and suppressing sex, making people feel guilty about what’s just natural. That’s the problem with the church. That’s why people are guilty. You guys have hung things around their neck that makes them so.”
Baloney. I can give you examples of those who have given themselves freely to sex and they defeated and destroyed themselves because they’re going against the created order. In fact, we are the most free society in America’s history, sexually speaking, and we have the biggest hangups, divorces rampant, sexual abuses rampant, people are visiting shrinks because they don’t know how to put their life together. I’ll tell you why. Because it’s falling apart, because they have diffused themselves in sexual sin. And it hurts physically and psychologically. It hurts the body like no other sin. In fact, there are penalties to be paid, in some cases, for sexual sin. Didn’t the Bible warn us about that in Romans chapter one.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH]”Where man have given themselves to unnatural things,” says Paul. Certainly seems to be an implication to immorality, adultery, fornication, certainly homosexuality, lesbianism. But Paul says this interestingly. “Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanliness and the lusts of their hearts to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator. For this reason, God gave them up to their vile passions. For even women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise, also, men leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust to another.” Don’t tell me homosexuality is normal. It’s unnormal and it’s unnatural. And you know what? Those who commit it, commit shame. And it says here, they can receive in themselves, in their own bodies a penalty. Do we want to talk about AIDS and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases?
I could talk about it. Listen to Robert Jeffress. Sometimes immorality exacts a heavy physical toll, surprisingly, is overlooked in this age of so-called safe sex. For example, the US surgeon general reports that there are 25 million Americans suffering from genital herpes. There are 8 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases that occur annually among people under 25 years of age. Additionally, 300,000 adults contract hepatitis B each year causing permanent liver damage and resulting in the deaths of 5,000 individuals annually. And heterosexual women who are 10 times more susceptible to HIV during intercourse than men have experienced a 25% rise in cases of AIDS. As one doctor has said, these diseases are not selective. Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, age, education, wealth or social status is at risk. I love this little phrase, “There is no free sex.” And that’s from the world, let alone the Word. There are some sins a man commits outside his body, but there’s a sin man commits with his body. It’s called sexual sin. And it is profound in its impact physically and, as we close, psychologically.
Psychologically, and that would include the idea of just our minds, our emotions, our souls. Sex is glue. Write that down. Sex is glue. Sex was intended to be glue. And the two shall become one flesh having left mother and father. Now, we know that the one flesh there incorporates more than the sexual act, but it certainly speaks of it. And so as they leave other relationships, mother and father, to establish a new relationship in covenant marriage before God, one of the ways they will come together is in physical union. Sex is glue. It’s powerful, it’s pleasurable, it’s good in its place. It’s like fire in the hearth, warm, cuddly, lovely. Outside the hearth, burn your house down.
Now listen, since sex is glue, have you ever played with super glue? It’s dangerous stuff, isn’t it? Oh, man. Squeezing it out at the wrong time or in the wrong places always creates an awful mess. The wrong things get glued together. If you’re not careful with super glue, it drops and all of a sudden, oh, and you glued something together that shouldn’t be glued together. And as you pull it apart, it rips or you splinter the wood. The wrong things get joined together, and getting them apart tears at the soul. The sexual act is a glue, a force for good or bad. It unites marriages or it degrades people. You see, when a man lies down with a prostitute, it is not a physical act alone. It’s not only skin upon skin, it’s soul upon soul. And when that union breaks, there’s a tearing of the soul. You’ll not meet many happy prostitutes, because it’s not a physical act. It’s not just a service you can render. You are demolishing your soul. You’re destroying your person. That’s like adhesive glue. Young people remember this.
The sexual act is like a piece of sticky tape, adhesive paper or tape, and you put it to a piece of paper and the first bonding’s going to be the best one, right? But you’ve got this, the resealable stuff. And so every time you use it, you lose something of the adhesive, until at some point it just doesn’t stick. And that’s the analogy. Okay? The best sex and the sex that does its job is the first act with that virgin, that one you’ve given yourself to, waited for. And as you come in union, the super glue works in a wonderful way, but you got to be careful. This is one of the challenges some people face as they come out of an unsaved of Christian lifestyle, end of a Christian lifestyle, and now they remain virgin. But you know what? Their adhesive tape has been used a bunch of times. That can be challenging to work through.
That’s Paul’s point here. I close with these words and they’re from Irwin Lutzer. As the team comes up. We all agree that sex with a prostitute of sex without a commitment. Okay? But agree with that. All right. It’s just raw lust, based sex. But that’s not what Paul says. Paul says that when the man lies down with the harlot, the two shall become one flesh. And he quotes Genesis 2:24. His point is that sex of any kind, even moral sexual experiences bind the participants together. These are powerful words by Lutzer. Please listen.
You’ve listened long. “A woman whose husband asked forgiveness for his promiscuity said, I feel as if all the other women he has had sex with are in bed with me.” Lutzer says this, “She is right in two ways. First, AIDS. AIDS researchers tell us that when we have a sexual relationship, we are in fact having sex with all the other people our partner had sex with.” The Bible’s way ahead of the research. The two shall become one. See, God made it that the sexual act would be glue, a turning of the soul in the wrong place. And then secondly, that promiscuous partner has been joined metaphysically to each of his or her partners because God said they made them one.
Let’s waken up. Let’s fight the fight. Let’s get into the word next Sunday morning. Look at some of the defense mechanisms, because this is a serious sin, because we commit it with a body destined for heaven. And when we commit it, we join Christ, in one sense, to our sin. And when we commit it, we open our lives to tremendous physical and psychological damage. And there’s two more reasons to go. I’ll see you next Sunday morning. Let’s pray. Lord, there is a certain quietness about us this morning because this is a heavy duty truth, and it’s weary. And for some of us, it wears us down, given some of the challenges we have had. And so we come to you, the God of all grace and all mercy, and we pray, oh God, for our missteps and our misdeeds, would you indeed forgive us as we repent? Change us from the inside out.
May the old things pass away and the old things become new. It’s never too late to become what we have always wished to be. And though God help us as a church to guard the reputation of Jesus Christ, what we give our bodies to, we give him to. Oh, may we not sully his name or wound him any further. He died enough on the cross for our sins that we should add insult to injury and salt to those wounds. And these things we pray and ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.