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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011

Prevention Is Better

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There is nothing better than prevention when it comes to sexual sins. If sexual sins occur, there can be severe consequences of various kinds. Most certainly God will forgive those who repent of such sins. Nonetheless, the consequences of such an action can linger on for a long time. So the best is prevention.

One of the sad things about those who commit sexual sins is that they often live in serious denial about their sin. They believe that they will never get caught and somehow, life will continue to move towards a happilyever- after ending. But let us take heed to the old saying, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).

The Scriptures prescribes prevention

Our attitude towards the Scriptural admonitions and counsel should not be "when all else fail, read instructions". Many often try to assemble or operate things that they buy even without taking a look at the manufacturer's instruction manual. They only refer to it when they are in trouble. If we take such an attitude towards the Biblical instructions given to us by our Great Creator, we will not be able to prevent many tragic and disastrous events. This is especially so with regard to sexual sins.

If you have carefully read the Scriptures to find out what God says about sexual sins, you will certainly realise that nowhere does He counsel us to try it once and then think of how to get out of it. On the contrary,the Scriptures repeatedly warn us not to engage in any sexual conduct outside marriage. It calls for total abstinence from sexual activities outside marriage.

  • "Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body" (1 Corinthians 6:13).
  • "Flee fornication" (1 Corinthians 6:18).
  • "Flee also youthful lusts" (2 Timothy 2:22)
  • "But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols,and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood" (Acts 15:20)
  • "But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints" (Ephesians 5:3).
  • "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:5).
  • "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication" (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
  • "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers
    and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).
  • "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul" (1 Peter 2:11).
  • "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries" (1 Peter 4:3).
  • "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; cf. Galatians 5:19-21).

The Scriptures' clear message to the unmarried is "Wait till you get married"; and to the married, "Don't - with anyone other than your spouse."

The Scriptural reasons for prevention

Sexual sins distort the purpose of God concerning Christians' bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:13-14 says, "Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power."

Believers' bodies, according to God's design and purposes, are not just for biological functions. It is also for the Lord (cf. verse 13). Verse 14 reminds us that our bodies are not only for the service of the Lord in this world, but also for heaven to come. God will raise our bodies one day as glorified or heavenly bodies to serve Him for ever and ever in that sinless world. Since our bodies are for the Lord forever, we must not pervert their purpose by polluting them with sexual sins.

Sexual sins desecrate the spiritual body of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 records, "Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."

Believers' bodies are not only for the Lord's service, but are also parts of His own body. Romans 12:5 says, "So we, being many, are one body in Christ." So for Christians to commit sexual sins is to use a part of Christ's body to commit immorality. Because sexual relationship involves a union, the Christian who commits adultery or fornication joins Christ's members with the members of a harlot. What an abomination to corrupt the Lord's holiness by association!

Sexual sins damage Christians' bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:18 warns, "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body." Paul is saying that sexual sins are more destructive to the body than any other sin. From the experiences of many, we know that sexual immorality not only brings horrendous diseases, but also can drive one to suicide.

Sexual sins desecrate the temple of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 admonishes, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s." The bodies of Christians have been made the temple of the Spirit. He rejoices in indwelling and sanctifying our bodies to be a glorious temple for Him. But sexual sins will rather desecrate the bodies that are consecrated. Sexual sins are, in other words, sacrilegious.

The Scriptural advice for prevention

Refrain from flirtatious comments and gestures: Godly wisdom advises us to "deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead" (Proverbs 2:16-18; cf. Proverbs 7:5, 21).

"To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids" (Proverbs 6:24-25).

Guard your eyes and ways: The Scriptures warn us in Proverbs 7:6-21 by describing how an unrestrained man sinks deep into sexual immorality. This description is given that we may avoid such events. "For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: and, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: he hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him."

Avoid places of temptation. During courtship, young couples must not be alone in quiet places that they may be tempted to sin. Married people must be deliberate in not developing close or intimate friendships with people of the opposite sex.

Remind yourself of severe consequences: The Scriptures warn us in Proverbs 7:22-23 of the serious consequences of sexual sins. "He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life." Do not forget also that the Scriptures warn the unrepentant of eternal judgment.

Pastoral Exhortation