Tag Archives: sex

Today’s Society Seeks Protection from Jesus

Today’s message summary of April 30, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:

We live in a society that values the right to vote for its pleasures.  Pleasures will win every time.  Society holds that the only place we are to find Jesus Christ is within the church.

In contrast with the message of Jesus Christ to “go into all the world and preach the gospel,” (Matthew 28:19) our societal focus is to prevent this from occurring.

What does our society value today?

  • Freedom of sexual expression and immorality
  • Freedom to use profanity
  • Freedom to use alcohol and drugs
  • Freedom to destroy that which is good for all

Karl Marx’s view on religion:

  • It’s irrational
  • Religion is a delusion and avoids reality
  • Religion negates all that is dignified in a human being by rendering them servile (like that of a slave or servant) and more amenable to accept the status quo

The church, and Christians, have moved to a place of acceptance of the status quo in America.  It is not really challenged even within some of our own behaviors and actions.

God’s standards and principles have never changed.  He still challenges believers with His standards of obedience and living according to His will.

Have we reached a point in which there is no room for the teaching of Jesus?

John 8:37

I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill Me because My word is not welcome among you.

Why is it that society today deems the use of the words of Jesus as being an attack?  Simply, the truth of the message of Jesus Christ has the power to set people free from bondage.  (There is virtually no opposition to any other religious practice.)

Proverbs notes that “out of the heart comes the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).  Satan does not care whether or not you go to church, but he is concerned over whether or not you are focused on the Word of God.  The constant focus on God’s Word is what refines you in your practice of following Jesus Christ.  God’s Word challenges your way of thinking, and often provides guidance with correction.  You need to have the desire to seek Him for yourself.

Acts 17:11

The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Because of society desiring to exclude Jesus Christ, have we lost our blessing?

Psalm 33:10-12

The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; He thwarts the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation. Happy is the nation whose God is Yahweh–the people He has chosen to be His own possession!

Jesus was warning Jesus to “leave this place” of Jerusalem (Luke 13:31).  He was warned by the people about Herod (who represents the government), but Jesus told them that He would continue His work.

Luke 13:32-33

He said to them, “Go tell that fox, ‘Look! I’m driving out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete My work. Yet I must travel today, tomorrow, and the next day, because it is not possible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem!

As the kingdom of God tries to go forth, there are those who are trying to keep it at bay.  Society has tried to put limits on the things of Christianity.  What you are to see here is the determination that is needed to keep moving the church of God forward.  We are not to give up easily, and we are not to accept what society tells us.  At some point, someone has to stand up and tells others about Jesus Christ, no matter what others may say.

It is either following human authority, or God’s authority.

Acts 5:29

But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Everyday there are people who want to push back against the teachings of Christ (Mark 3:6; Luke 19:47).  It is little wonder that the church is dying in America.

What are we facing today?  A downward trend in society, because we refuse to accept the truth, which comes from the words of Jesus Christ.

John 14:6

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

People are in need of ministry and healing, no matter what society tries to dictate.  There will always be a need for people to experience your love and compassion, and as a result, the love of Jesus Christ.

It is the kindness of the people that draws them to the love of Jesus Christ.  We are to keep going today, tomorrow and the next day, and then watch God open the doors of the hearts of many.  It is what we must do for the glory of God.

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American Idols

Message transcript of September 13, 2015 from Melvin Gaines:

On the hit television show, American Idol, people audition from all over the United States to earn the opportunity to face-off in a singing competition for the chance to win it all and be referred to as The American Idol.

The American Idol is more than just a television singing competition. It can also refer to an ongoing competition that you are involved in more often than you realize. You are not competing against another hopeful for a prize, but you are involved in a competition where the stakes are much higher. Your competition involves what you hold as important versus your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Who will win the competition? If you are honest with yourself, you will see that it is hardly a slam dunk that your relationship with Jesus Christ will come away as the winner. There are many obstacles that will hamper your efforts to remain in fellowship with Him, and that is because you also hold someone or something as one or more of your American Idols.

What is an idol? An idol, by definition, is a cultural icon, specifically a popular person, or it is an image or representation of anything that is revered and perhaps even regarded as having some sort of spiritual power. As you can see, an idol can be a person, a thing or even a god for some. In the King James Version of the bible, the term used is “graven image,” which is something that is engraved and revered in a form of worship. The Hebrew word for graven image is means literally “idol.”

In the event that anyone believes that an idol has some sort of spiritual influence, God has a very clear command about worshiping such images:

Exodus 20:4-6 ESV

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

 

Deuteronomy 5:9a ESV

You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.

 

Isaiah 42:8 HCSB

I am Yahweh, that is My name;

I will not give My glory to another

or My praise to idols.

As God clearly declares that He will not give honor or praise to idols, then neither should we.

Worshiping idols is known as idolatry, which is worship and excessive devotion to a person or thing that effectively replaces God.

So, what’s the problem here? You may be saying to yourself right now “this idolatry thing does not describe me. I don’t have any carved images or statues in my house, and I don’t get into all of that silly stuff.”

Really? Let’s consider that there are many things that are going on in your life right now that not only replace God as being first in your life, but they also minimize Him in the same way that you can minimize a window on your computer and you would not even see Him, and maybe even forget that He was there. If this were a competition, you would have voted, even already written God off.

In the book Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller presents three different things that are idols that we can put before God: love, money and power. There are many more than these three, of course, because, by definition, an idol is ANYTHING that a person views as important and replaces the role of God in one’s life. These three, however, are significant in that they not only are substitutes for Him, but they can also cause serious damage to the people you know if they are unchecked and out of control. Keller notes, “An idolatrous attachment can lead you to break any promise, rationalize any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance, in order to hold onto it. It may drive you to violate all good and proper boundaries.”

I. Love and Sex

There is certainly a difference between love and sex, but as we have often seen within our present culture, the two often go hand in hand, especially when it comes to how a person views love in his or her own way. The worldly view of love is not even close to the agape love that is the essence of God’s character (1 John 4:8). The worldly view of love values the relationship with a person over and above a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ—so much so that a person’s values and ethics are often compromised for the sake of preserving the relationship. For a believer in Jesus Christ, this should be especially troubling. Keller notes that “Making an idol out of love may mean allowing the lover to exploit and abuse you, or it may cause terrible blindness to the pathologies in the relationship.”

A single woman named Clarice has attended a church for several years where the biblical values of dating, relationships and abstaining from sex before marriage have been presented. Clarice, however, felt as though her biological clock was ticking, and decided to visit nightclubs or other social events in order to find a “good Christian man” that had values similar to her own—namely, settling down and getting married. Upon finding a potential suitor, even upon declaring him as a boyfriend, she began sizing him up to check all of the boxes in her mind. Is he employed with a future career potential? Is he able to provide for me? Is he sexually compatible? Note that none of these questions are crosschecked with what she was taught within the church. Of course, after reviewing these and other questions, Clarice decides that her present boyfriend won’t be a suitable mate; therefore, she breaks up with him and moves on to search for another that will check all of her boxes. This pursuit often leads to emptiness and dissatisfaction, and it is a disappointment to God when the efforts of finding security in a person give way to obedience, trust and reliance upon God’s method of provision. God is left well into the background. Her pursuit of love was her American idol.

Jonathan was always searching for the “girl of his dreams.” The problem was that each prospective woman would never meet his expectations. He also could not maintain a long-term romance because he lacked confidence in himself and did not trust that the women he tried to date would continue to find him appealing. In between these relationships, he would visit strip clubs or watch pornography. Jonathan never married. All of his relationships turned out to be empty and unsatisfying, but his expectation that something better was out there kept his focus away from relying upon God to be his ultimate matchmaker. His desire for romance above everything else was his American idol.

The pursuit of love and sex is idolatry. It is more than just minimizing God—it is a separation from God. This can also lead to unwanted pregnancies and the undermining of a person’s family or career pursuits. In extreme cases, an emptiness, or false intimacy, can lead to sexual addiction, which according to Harry Schaumburg, is “the self-centered demand to be loved and accepted regardless of the consequences, and a loss of vital relationship with God” and it “is a complex result of sin and human behavior.” The idolatry of love and sex is sinful and destructive for every relationship surrounding the perpetrator.

II. Money

One of the most misquoted passages of Scripture involves money. Money on its own is not a bad thing; yet, the love of it has caused many to stumble under greed, and it is idolatry.

1 Timothy 6:10 HCSB

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Anthony liked having money in his pockets. He wasn’t particularly wealthy, either, and he didn’t handle money very well. He desired to earn more money and become whatever it means to be independently wealthy, but his pursuit came through working three jobs and playing the lottery every day–sometimes twice a day and also buying dozens of scratch-off tickets. When it came to paying the bills at home, his wife had to bear the brunt of the mortgage and the utilities, because Anthony never had enough money to help out with the bills at home. He was driven through the enticement of a “get rich quick” mentality. Even when he hit the lottery for $10,000.00, he bought a new car for himself and never bothered to share his winnings with his wife. Anthony was controlled by greed over money, and it would never be satisfied, especially since God was not in his plan of obtaining wealth. His love of money was his American idol.

In Counterfeit Gods, Keller writes that greed over money “uses powerful sociological and psychological dynamics,” and that “Greed hides itself from the victim. The money god’s modus operandi includes blindness to your own heart” (Keller, 2009). He also relates that greed over money will create jealousy and envy over what other people have, which creates an even greater divide in a person’s relationship with Jesus Christ. It is one of the more deceptive means of idolatry, and it affects people who have little or a lot of it. God reminds us, as believers, that we can’t have Him in a relationship and hold a desire for money to the same standard:

Luke 16:13 ESV

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

 

III. Power

In America, our culture elevates politicians, professional athletes, Hollywood performers and music pop stars as having the ultimate wealth, status and power. They are deemed by the vast majority of people to have success beyond measure. With such success comes a measure of power. If it is used in the right way, the evidence comes out of a person with a humble approach to life and the desire to serve and glorify God. If, however, a person uses power to his or her own advantage, it creates an environment where power usage can be abusive…and sinful.

Even the noblest efforts that are presented in the spirit of doing what is good can still be twisted into idolatry. Keller notes, “When love of one’s people becomes an absolute, it turns into racism. When love of equality turns into a supreme thing, it can result in hatred and violence toward anyone who has led a privileged life. We can look at our political leaders as ‘messiahs,’ our political leaders as saving doctrine, and turn our political activities into a kind of religion.”

The desire for power is the culmination of a thought process that is independent of God’s involvement.

The people who audition for American Idol have one goal in mind, and that is to be seen as the best of the best singers in a popularity contest before millions of people. It begins with the desire to get a big break, but for all but one person, the contest ends without realizing the dream. Some contestants on the show honestly believe that they can be famous–even if they cannot sing very well. Contestants have been known to quit their jobs and leave their families in order to seek fame and fortune. It is more than just trying to win a recording contract—it is a quest for fame and influence. The desire for such power is idolatry.

Fame, however, is fleeting, especially when compared with the presence of God in our lives.

 

Isaiah 40:6-8 HCSB

A voice was saying, “Cry out!”

Another said, “What should I cry out?”

“All humanity is grass,

and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flowers fade

when the breath of the Lord blows on them;

indeed, the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flowers fade,

but the word of our God remains forever.”

It is our nature to want to accomplish something or achieve something on our own, when we, as believers in Jesus Christ, should be fully aware that we cannot accomplish anything without His input (His movement or His allowance of it).

 

Luke 18:27 HCSB

He (Jesus) replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

So who, or what, is your American idol? Are you following a person instead of seeking Jesus? Are you searching for something in your life that is unfulfilling and empty? Are you putting Christ aside in order to fulfill your own desires? What idols are you holding on to?

Perhaps it is time for you to do some real soul searching and make sure that you are not in a competition against God because of holding on to idols. It is a competition that you will ultimately lose, because idolatry is sin…plain and simple. The only way to renounce these idols is to humble yourself and turn from your sin directly to Jesus Christ, and recognize that God is the One who delivers us from our sins. He became sin for us with His death on the cross in order to become righteous before Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Philippians 4:13 NKJV

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines


Your Choice: The Flesh or The Spirit, Part 2

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

Satan is busy trying to cause each of us to lose sight of Jesus Christ. He will do anything he can to cause each of us to falter. While he knows he can’t take away our salvation, he knows he can put us on the sidelines.

Even more specifically, Satan has used the power of sexuality to bring down nations and kingdoms. God’s Word in Leviticus is very specific about the kinds of sexual sins that destroy a person.

You have to make a choice to live either in The Spirit or in the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Debauchery or licentiousness is to be preoccupied with sexuality or sexual pleasure. It is a system of ethics that claims pleasure constitutes the greater good. Lasciviousness or lewdness means to be unlearned or unprincipled in this same area (to be unprincipled is to not have any standards).

Advertising today has much to do with sexual messages and sexual connotations. These practices mirror today’s society. Believers are to guard themselves from these behavioral practices.

To be lewd is to show oneself with the intent to excite someone sexually. Lasciviousness is behavior that promotes lustful desires.

Mark 6:22
When Herodias’s own daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I’ll give it to you.”

Esther 5:1-3, 6
1 On the third day, Esther dressed up in her royal clothing and stood in the inner courtyard of the palace facing it. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal courtroom, facing its entrance. 2 As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the courtyard, she won his approval. The king extended the gold scepter in his hand toward Esther, and she approached and touched the tip of the scepter.

3 “What is it, Queen Esther?” the king asked her. “Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be given to you.”

6 While drinking the wine, the king asked Esther, “Whatever you ask will be given to you. Whatever you want, even to half the kingdom, will be done.”

Esther 1:10-12
10 On the seventh day, when the king was feeling good from the wine, Ahasuerus commanded Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar, and Carkas, the seven eunuchs who personally served him, 11 to bring Queen Vashti before him with her royal crown. He wanted to show off her beauty to the people and the officials, because she was very beautiful. 12 But Queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s command that was delivered by his eunuchs. The king became furious and his anger burned within him.

Was Vashti out of line? Not at all. She was upholding her standard that she did not want to be paraded before other men. She valued herself as someone more than just being showed off before others.

Proverbs 31:30
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.

1 Peter 3:3
Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes.

Matthew 5:28
But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

We should examine our dress and our behaviors when we go before others. There needs to be care and concern from showing others too much. It is more about following a higher standard and reflecting a higher esteem and respect for oneself.

False worship: idolatry and witchcraft (Galatians 5:20)

Idolatry begins within the heart…you want to worship someone or something other than God, and it is always about yourself. It is rebellion to God and being obedient to Him.

Exodus 20:4
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.

Idolatry is the worship of idols. It is anything that takes the place of God’s will in your life.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

Anything that keeps you from being used by God is idolatry. It is the impurity of sin that keeps you from pleasing Him…sexual immorality, lust, evil desires and greed are all idols.

Idolatry is the participation in demonic activities.

Acts 19:24-27
24 For a person named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, provided a great deal of business for the craftsmen. 25 When he had assembled them, as well as the workers engaged in this type of business, he said: “Men, you know that our prosperity is derived from this business. 26 You both see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods! 27 So not only do we run a risk that our business may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be despised and her magnificence come to the verge of ruin—the very one all of Asia and the world adore.”

Psalm 115:2-8
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven
and does whatever He pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
5 They have mouths but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
6 They have ears but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
7 They have hands but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

The purpose of an idol is to be worshiped, but the idol is not heard from or is any action taken by it. With that, why is an idol preferred by some over the living God? It is the flesh that desires the things of the world but it is more about worshiping something that doesn’t give rules or regulations or standards of living. God rules (and He reigns) because God continues to show Himself in love and concern for His people; nevertheless, following Him is still a choice.


Identity: Your Choice–Flesh or Spirit?

Today’s message from Pastor Gus Brown:

A person can say, “Lord, I love you,” yet the heart may be far from Him. We have the choice to walk with Him in the Spirit or walk in the flesh. The unbeliever can only walk in the flesh. Only the Christian can choose to live by the Spirit in obedience of God or in the flesh in disobedience. The war is always ongoing between the flesh and the Spirit. As you live more and more in the Spirit, you will have the power and ability to suppress and overcome the flesh.

Which one will you choose?

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The list that mirrors the life of people of the world who do not have Jesus falls within four groups:
1.) Sexual sin
2.) False worship (idolatry); drug abuse
3.) Factions; in-house fighting
4.) Appetites–drunkenness; orgies

The acts of the sinful nature are seen by everyone (Galatians 5:19).

Sin changes our character to the degree that it can change how people perceive you. Your behavior will raise red flags before others around you. It is obvious when you are not walking in obedience to The Lord.

Scripture says to flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).

How does one hurt himself? It can be psychological and also physical (there are many diseases that can occur via sexual intercourse that are incurable). These sins can hinder one’s thinking and has a negative effect all relationships unless God does a work in this area.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that there are 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases every year. Of those, half are among people between the ages of 15-24.

Ephesians 4:19
They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.

Adultery and fornication: one or both adults are married. Marriage is a contract, and it means to be legally bound to the vows taken between a man and a woman; for example, two single people cannot commit adultery.

Mark 10:7-8
7 For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
[and be joined to his wife],
8 and the two will become one flesh.
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Adultery not only hurts one self, but countless others who are aware of the marriage relationship (relatives, friends, etc.)

Fornication: At least one participant is not under the marriage vow contract, or neither person is married. If a relationship of this type ends, there is damage because there was never a true commitment and the emotional side is exposed.

Prostitution is also fornication. A brothel is a place where prostitution takes place. The word ‘brothel’ means ‘wretched person,’ to waste away, go to ruin.

Fornication is always about self-pleasure. It brings about broken relationships and harms the parents’ trust. This is why the unmarried people are to abstain from sex and not participate until after marriage. The relationship between the man and the woman can be irreparably harmed, as well. A woman can experience anger from the deceit that she was used in the relationship. A pregnancy that develops from the relationship also damages the child because he or she was not wanted in the first place. There are psychological consequences because the child does not see himself as wanted or needed within the relationship.

Impurity, uncleanness: dirt, dirty, soiled; ceremonially, spiritually unclean.

Romans 6:19
I am using a human analogy because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.

Ephesians 5:3
But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints.

1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God has not called us to impurity but to sanctification.

Romans 1:24
Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.

Ephesians 4:19
They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death what belongs to your worldly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.

Those who participate in sexual immorality are not usable by God.


Identity: Your Behavior Reveals It

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:

The way you behave and the things that you say have a lot to do with what you really believe. Our behavior defines us. Over time, it becomes obvious before others who you are. Someone is watching you. People should see the image of Jesus Christ in your actions. If you live as a child of Christ, people should see it and be able to confirm it.

Don’t deceive yourself. If you need to fall down before God and ask for Him to show you who you are, He will show you. The heart is deceiptful and wicked, and it desires the things of the world and all of its accolades.

John 17:14-16
14 I have given them Your word.
The world hated them
because they are not of the world,
as I am not of the world.
15 I am not praying
that You take them out of the world
but that You protect them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world,
as I am not of the world.

God has said from the very beginning that His chosen people are not like the world, and are not to emulate the world.

Leviticus 18:3
Do not follow the practices of the land of Egypt, where you used to live, or follow the practices of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. You must not follow their customs.

Christians are not to live like the world. We are to live as Christ teaches us and not follow the world’s practices.

In our culture today, we need to have honest discussions about 9 to 13 year old children getting pregnant. God states that He hates all sin, let alone sexual sin. The things that we will look at here, people were already doing.

Leviticus 20:23
You must not follow the statutes of the nations I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and I abhorred them.

Ephesians 2:3-5
3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, 5 made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!

Leviticus 18:25
The land has become defiled, so I am punishing it for its sin, and the land will vomit out its inhabitants.

Leviticus 18:28
If you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it has vomited out the nations that were before you.

Romans 8:22
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now.

God had to make declarations to keep man from being his worst–he was without restraint and committed all of these sins:

1. Sleep not with father or mother (Lev. 18:7)
2. Father’s wife (v. 8), second wife
3. Sister (v. 9), half sister
4. Thy son’s daughter..granddaughter (v. 10)
5. Aunt (v. 12), father’s sister
6. Aunt (v. 13), mother’s sister
7. Your uncle’s wife (v. 14), father’s brother
8. Your son’s wife (v. 15), daughter-in-law
9. Thy brother’s wife (v. 16)
10. Strange woman and her daughter (v. 17)
11. Your wife’s sister (v. 18)
12. Thy neighbor’s wife
13. Man sleeping with a man (v. 22)
14. Men or women with animals (v. 22)

Leviticus 18:24
“Do not defile yourselves by any of these practices, for the nations I am driving out before you have defiled themselves by all these things.

Galatians 5:19-21
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The list which mirrors the life of people of the world without Jesus falls into four groups:

1. Sexual sins
2. False worship (idolatry, drugs)
3. Factions (in-house fighting)
4. Appetites (greed, drunkenness, orgies)

None of these things make up the identity of who a Christian is to be. A church is not to celebrate these behaviors. There are indeed standards that God wants His people to uphold. The Holy Spirit needs to be present to control us from exercising these behaviors. There is indeed a difference between a person who is born again in Jesus Christ than there is who is not. This means that a believer does not remain in sin because it is more about loving The Lord than it is loving sin.


God’s Will and Man’s Choices

If God is not working in a person’s life, that person will not see the need for Christ or acknowledge the need for salvation. God must work in a person for them to realized the need for salvation. This is part of God’s will that all men come to know Jesus as Savior (1 Timothy 2:4).

While God wants all humans to be saved, He created all of us with the ability to make choices according to our will–we operate with free will. We develop our ability to make choices as be grow and mature from childhood to adulthood with education and information and societal influences. In this gathering of knowledge and information, each of us has learned that we are created beings and that there is a Creator. We also learn about morality–what is right and what is wrong. All of this, including societal pressures and influences, shapes our decision-making process over time.

In that process of discovery, there are things that appear to be good when, in fact, are not. For example, our society promotes that people who declare love for each other as being a good thing, but the problem with this reasoning is that, in this expression of love, it is acceptable to live with someone before marriage, have sex outside of marriage, or practice homosexuality. These are circumstances where a person’s feelings are equated with love and become more important than what is moral truth. In reality, truth should always trump that the fulfillment of one’s feelings or desires.

It is important to understand that the persons who follow and trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior would have had to experience God at work in their lives prior to their acceptance of Christ. God had to be in this process because the act of choosing to follow Christ defies any human logic–we have difficulty grasping the ability to follow someone that we have never seen. Who is it that provides the stimulus that brings us to a point where we have a need and desire for repentance? God does. At this critical juncture in one’s life, it now becomes a matter of acceptance or rejection of the gospel.

John 6:65-66
He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to him by the Father.” From that moment many of His disciples turned back and no longer accompanied Him.

Romans 2:4-11
Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. He will repay each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth but are obeying unrighteousness; affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. There is no favoritism with God.

Romans 8:6-8
For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

The mind of a sinful man ultimately will lead to death, for it constitutes a rejection of Jesus Christ and His gospel. In spite of this, God will give a person opportunities to turn from sin and repent of it. This is while the person still has the ability to make such a choice for himself. There does come a time, however, where a person is so engrossed with sinful behavior that God will allow the person to acquire a reprobate mind, which means that God will allow the destruction of that person’s life. God does eventually come to a place where He declares “enough is enough” for the person who willfully commits sin without repentance. The person is no longer able to turn from his sin because God has given over his ability to repel the sin and affect change for his life. Thankfully, the believer has the benefit of the presence of the Holy Spirit who teaches us about the things of God.

Romans 1:20
For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made.

Creation is a witness to the testimony of God as a creator, but it is clear that there are some who make a choice that God will not receive the reverence. It is a failure to submit to the true God.

Romans 1:21-23
For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images representing mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

It is man’s choice to willfully live in sin while failing to acknowledge the deity of Christ and change the personhood of God. God, in turn, will remove any restraints in those persons lives, where lust for those things of man that allows sin to take over your life, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. You cannot will your way out of it, and it is where you are no longer able to distinguish right and wrong.

Romans 1:24-28
Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served something created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions. For even their females exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. The males in the same way also left natural relations with females and were inflamed in their lust for one another. Males committed shameless acts with males and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error. And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a worthless mind to do what is morally wrong.

2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, so that all will be condemned–those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.

Please note that this delusion or depraved mind is not only for those who practice homosexuality.

Romans 1:29-32
They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know full well God’s just sentence–that those who practice such things deserve to die–they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.

Instead of rejecting God, when one accepts the Lord Jesus Christ, it is ultimately a work done by God and provided for you. He gives you what you need in faith to begin to follow Him (Romans 12:3; John 6:65; Romans 10:17).

With this measure of faith, now comes the responsibility to add to your faith (2 Peter 1:5). It is this process of adding to your faith where we can develop it to a greater level. From there, you progress to a gift of faith, which is different from the measure of faith and adding to your faith, for those are faiths that God gives you to help you to grow. The gift of faith comes from you, because it is where you have come to the place where you are now striving for others for the sake of Christ and the gospel. It is a willingness of doing things for God by faith, even in sacrifice. It is the culmination of dying to self and living for Christ. This gift of faith at work for the benefit of others.

Acts 21:13
Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Your faith increases by adding God’s Word and His biblical truths. Note that, on both ends of the spectrum beyond our free will choices, God is in control of everything. People who accept the truth of God will live according to His will, while others who reject God’s truth will eventually be given over to reprobate minds.

God enables you to work on His behalf because of His gift of salvation. He wants His glory to shine through us in everything that we say and do on his behalf. All of this is because God is working in your life. It may take some time, but it all starts with your belief in Him as your personal Savior.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift–not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.

Philippians 1:6
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
And in view of this, we always pray for you that our God will consider you worthy of His calling, and will, by His power, fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


God’s Purpose For Your Body

As God has created each of us, He intended for us to live in such a way that honors Him and respects our body as His creation. God wants us to live in such a way that prevents us from hurting ourselves or doing damage accordingly. What happens to our physical bodies that is harmful is the result of sin and sinful behavior.

You were secure in your wickedness; you said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray. You said to yourself, ‘I exist, and there is no one else.’ But disaster will happen to you; you will not know how to avert it. And it will fall on you, but you will be unable to ward it off. Devastation will happen to you suddenly and unexpectedly” (Isaiah 47:10-11).

Satan has tricked us into thinking that what we do is in secret, but nothing that we plan or do is in secrecy. There are those that go as far as proclaiming that there is no God; in reality, God does exist and is aware of everything that we do. Be aware that sin will ultimately bring about disaster, and you will not be able to escape it. No amount of money or resources will overcome it, and you may not see it coming.

Why? Because God will do and accomplish exactly what He says He will do. “I call a bird of prey from the east, a man for My purpose from a far country. Yes, I have spoken; so I will bring it about. I have planned it; I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:11). Furthermore, God will punish. He will discipline each of us where it is needed. “And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline–which all receive–then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Hebrews 12:5-8). God’s discipline helps to teach us how to discipline ourselves, which will keep us from doing those things that are harmful to us, especially where we are to abstain from any sexual immorality. Today’s sins of sexually immoral behavior will have dire consequences in the African-American community (250,000 projected deaths from AIDS) and in Africa (over 1 million projected deaths from AIDS) due to a lack of discipline and restraint.

God knows His purpose for giving you a body, because God has a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11). It was not to allow you to fulfill your lustful desires. “And he said, ‘I heard You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.’ Then He asked, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?‘” (Genesis 3:10-11)  Remember that Adam and Eve were naked and knew no shame before the fall (Genesis 2:24-25). Once sin came into the picture, there was the experience of shame and the need to cover up.

God’s desire is for you to fellowship with Him, through Jesus Christ, while you are here on earth. ‘”Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,’ but God will do away with both of them. The body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? So should I take a part of Christ’s body and make part of it a prostitute? Absolutely not!” (1 Corinthians 6:13-15)

Many in today’s society believe that you can do whatever you please and for your pleasure–eating, drinking, drug abuse, sex, tattoos, or decorations to make one more attractive–and that everything is permissible. In truth, everything you do is under your free will, but that doesn’t mean that it is good for you. “‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but not everything is helpful. ‘Everything is permissible for me,’ but I will not be brought under the control of anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). “‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is helpful. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person” (1 Corinthians 10:23). The one who commits immoral acts sets aside from his or her own legitimate power of liberty, and is brought under the power of sin. “Jesus responded, ‘I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free‘” (John 8:34-36). “For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity with the flesh, but serve one another through love. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit” (Galatians 5:13, 24-25).

We are to run away from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). For the very best of us and even the most disciplined of us, it is necessary to turn away from it (Genesis 39:8, 12). Once you go too far, you will not be able to resist the temptation any longer. This applies to any type of sexual behavior outside of God’s purpose within marriage, no matter if it is of the gay lifestyle or heterosexual fornication. We are to live in such a way that our bodies are members of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:15). God delights in seeing a man and woman, in marriage, loving and caring for one another. Outside of God’s intent, such a relationship is harmful to its participants and the immediate family. God created Adam first, and later came Eve. Note that it is important to develop and nurture your relationship with God before getting into a relationship with another person. God will bring you the person that you desire for your life in that person’s proper place in your life. With Jesus Christ at the forefront of the lives of a man and a woman, it is the best example of how a husband and wife will live in submission to God and to each other (1 Peter 3:1-8).

Sexual sin is against your own body (Deuteronomy 23:17-18). While you may think it is only for your pleasure, consider the fallout. You bring harm to your own body, and it can have an adverse effect on future generations. God tells us, in His Word, what we should not be doing to ourselves. Always remember that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit. Make it a point to remove the things from your life that will prevent you from maintaining a strong relationship with God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Kings 23:6-7).

Lord, continue to speak to me and minister to me as you live within my body. Help me to not live in such a way that defiles me and give me the ability to refrain from sin, for this is Your body, and my desire is to glorify you with my body. You created me to be Your dwelling place. Thank you for loving and protecting me, and for seeing the value of keeping myself pure as Your temple. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.