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Blazing Grace Newsletter, June 2006
* What the Living God Says about Sex, Adultery and the Church
* The Blazing Grace Radio Show
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* Final Words
What the Living God Says about Sex, Adultery and the Church
By Mike Genung
The main article of this newsletter should not be read at the office, where the frantic demands of the day will distract you, or at home when the kids are screaming. It should be read when you have a quiet hour alone so you can absorb the full impact of what God has to say to you.
There is something here for everyone, whether you’re struggling with sexual sin, or are a ministry leader or layperson. We’ll first read what God says about sex, adultery and the church, and then look at how it applies to us today. As you read through these verses, remember that our Almighty, Holy God is behind every word. I suggest that you quiet your heart and ask Him to speak to you before proceeding.
The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine, and Israel heard of it.
“Reuben, you are my firstborn; my might and the beginning of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it - he went up to my couch.”
It came about after these events that his master's wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me." But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge." There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her. Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside. She caught him by his garment, saying,” Lie with me!" And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.
Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her. When it was told to the Gazites, saying, "Samson has come here," they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. And they kept silent all night, saying, "Let us wait until the morning light, then we will kill him."
Then (after Delilah extracted the secret of his strength from him) the Philistines seized Samson and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.
Now Eli was very old; and he heard all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
1 Samuel 2:22
Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "Thus says the Lord, 'Did I not indeed reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh's house? Did I not choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My priests, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to carry an ephod before Me; and did I not give to the house of your father all the fire offerings of the sons of Israel? Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’ Therefore the Lord God of Israel declares, 'I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever'; but now the Lord declares, 'Far be it from Me - for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father's house so that there will not be an old man in your house.’”
1 Samuel 2:27-31
Now when evening came David arose from his bed and walked around on the roof of the king's house, and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance. So David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?" David sent messengers and took her, and when she came to him, he lay with her; and when she had purified herself from her uncleanness, she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, and said, "I am pregnant."
2 Samuel 11:2-5
Now when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. When the time of mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house and she became his wife; then she bore him a son. But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord.
2 Samuel 11:26-27
(Nathan the prophet said to David): “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the sons of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' "Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I will raise up evil against you from your own household; I will even take your wives before your eyes and give them to your companion, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight.’”
2 Samuel 12:9-11
So Tamar went to her brother Amnon's house, and he was lying down. And she took dough, kneaded it, made cakes in his sight, and baked the cakes. She took the pan and dished them out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, "Have everyone go out from me." So everyone went out from him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food into the bedroom, that I may eat from your hand." So Tamar took the cakes which she had made and brought them into the bedroom to her brother Amnon. When she brought them to him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, "Come, lie with me, my sister." But she answered him, "No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this disgraceful thing! "As for me, where could I get rid of my reproach? And as for you, you will be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you." However, he would not listen to her; since he was stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Get up, go away!" But she said to him, "No, because this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you have done to me!" Yet he would not listen to her. Then he called his young man who attended him and said, "Now throw this woman out of my presence, and lock the door behind her."
2 Samuel 13:8-17
The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, “No eye will see me.” And he disguises his face. In the dark they dig into houses, they shut themselves up by day; they do not know the light.
I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are the way of life to keep you from the evil woman, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is the one who goes in to his neighbor's wife; whoever touches her will not go unpunished. Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry; but when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; he must give all the substance of his house. The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; he who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, and his reproach will not be blotted out. For jealousy enrages a man, and he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not accept any ransom, nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.
He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.
The Song of Songs, which is Solomon's. “May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine. Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; therefore the maidens love you. Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers."
Song of Solomon 1:1-4
Moreover, the Lord said, "Because the daughters of Zion are proud and walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, and go along with mincing steps and tinkle the bangles on their feet, therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs, and the Lord will make their foreheads bare." In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments, dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, finger rings, nose rings, festal robes, outer tunics, cloaks, money purses, hand mirrors, undergarments, turbans and veils. Now it will come about that instead of sweet perfume there will be putrefaction; Instead of a belt, a rope; Instead of well-set hair, a plucked-out scalp; instead of fine clothes, a donning of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.
Why should I pardon you? Your sons have forsaken Me and sworn by those who are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the harlot's house.
As for the prophets: my heart is broken within me, all my bones tremble; I have become like a drunken man, even like a man overcome with wine, because of the Lord and because of His holy words. For the land is full of adulterers; for the land mourns because of the curse. The pastures of the wilderness have dried up. Their course also is evil and their might is not right. "For both prophet and priest are polluted; even in My house I have found their wickedness," declares the Lord. "Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them, they will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it; for I will bring calamity upon them, the year of their punishment," declares the Lord. "Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing: they prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: the committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; and they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner's wand informs them; for a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have played the harlot, departing from their God. They offer sacrifices on the tops of the mountains and burn incense on the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth, because their shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters play the harlot and your brides commit adultery. I will not punish your daughters when they play the harlot or your brides when they commit adultery, for the men themselves go apart with harlots and offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes; so the people without understanding are ruined.
"You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. "If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?" They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more."
You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery?
It is actually reported that there is (sexual) immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?
1 Corinthians 5:1-6
Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.
2 Corinthians 2:6-8
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, "The two shall become one flesh." But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee (sexual) immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the (sexually) immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:15-20
Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:5
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: (sexual) immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But (sexual) immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no (sexually) immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light
But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.
1 Timothy 5:6
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:1-7
Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.
2 Peter 2:13-19
"And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this: `I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. `But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of (sexual) immorality. `So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. `Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. `He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.'
"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: `I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. `But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of (sexual) immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. `I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. `Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. `And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
As I read through the Lord’s Word, Hebrews 4:12 came to mind (“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”) God’s Word stings at times; some verses were so sharp that I winced, and even considered pulling them out.
But covering up the unpleasant parts of Scripture is burying one’s head in the sand; no one can hide from the Living God – or change the truth.
The following is a message for all of us that we can glean from what God said.
1. From Genesis to Revelation, the Lord talks about sex often, and in explicit detail.
Many passages could have been added to the ones above, such as what happened with Sodom, the story of when Onan “wasted his seed” (Genesis 38) and more. The Song of Solomon could have been called “The Joy of Sex for a Married Couple” with its vivid imagery (“Make my garden breathe out fragrance, let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits!" S of S 4:16)
Since the Lord addressed sex so frequently and with such clarity and force, we shouldn’t be afraid to do the same.
2. Married couples should be scorching their sheets with passion.
“Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love“(Proverbs 5:18-19). “Rejoice…be exhilarated always” God says; “stop depriving one another.” Married couples, fire it up; get creative, and be passionate; enjoy each other. Revel in the gift of sex God’s given you.
Unfortunately, many Christian marriage beds are cold. Adultery (whether with porn or a person) quenches the fires of passion between a man and his wife; instead of enjoying God’s best for their marriage, they become little more than roommates.
3. The consequences of sexual sin are severe.
Reuben and his descendants lost out on being blessed by God – from one act of sexual sin. Samson had his eyes ripped out, was imprisoned, and then died with his enemies; his family was bereaved of a loved one, and the nation of Israel lost their leader. Eli’s sons were killed - as was Eli - for not doing something about their sin. David lost his first born child with Bathsheba, and that was just for starters. His son Amnon raped his daughter Tamar; Absalom killed Amnon, and then later led the nation of Israel in the civil war that eventually cost him his life.
Years later, the Nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, became so corrupted by sexual and other types of sin that they became “as Sodom and Gomorrah” to Him. Not long after, God judged His people by razing Jerusalem and sending them into exile.
Today, the consequences of sexual sin are no less severe: Christian men are reduced to a “loaf of bread”, wives are traumatized, families are ruptured, children are raised in broken homes, many are abused, men and women are being sent to prison, some are dying from STD’s, and our church and nation are being corrupted, just as they were in Jeremiah’s day.
This is probably why:
4 God often warned us about sexual sin.
When the Lord gave the law to Moses, he packed it with a long list of prohibitions against many different kinds of sexual immorality (Leviticus 20). Solomon spent several chapters in Proverbs warning his son to stay away from sexual sin, probably because he saw the devastating fallout from his father’s adultery and the effects of lust in his own life. Throughout the Old Testament, God exhorted the Nation of Israel to turn away from sexual depravity through His prophets. Jesus and Paul warned the church with sharp words like “it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell”, and, “no (sexually) immoral or impure person… has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
Our culture is transforming into Sodom and Gomorrah at an alarming rate. If the church is to be the salt that preserves it, we must do a better job of warning of the dangers ahead.
Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.
5. From the beginning of time, many of God’s people have struggled with sexual sin.
The stories in Scripture of those who fell into sexual sin outnumber the ones of those who successfully resisted it by many times; in fact, Joseph’s story is the only one I know of where a man said no to sexual temptation.
I sometimes think the church has a distorted, Pollyanna-like perception that once a man or woman becomes a Christian they’re suddenly pure and holy, able to resist all temptation. The truth is that the battle against sin doesn’t kick into high gear until we become Christians, not before when we were cooperating with it.
In a Pastors.com survey of 500 Christian men at a men's retreat, over 90% admitted that they were feeling disconnected from God because lust, porn, or fantasy had gained a foothold in their lives. We need to come to grips with the fact that huge numbers of men and women in our churches are struggling to cope with lust in our Sodom-like culture, as the statistics show.
As Jesus said in Matthew 5, every man who lusts after another woman commits adultery; the married porn addict is no different from the man or woman who has an affair in God’s eyes. Our land is filled with Christian adulterers today, just as it was in Jeremiah’s time:
As for the prophets: my heart is broken within me, all my bones tremble; I have become like a drunken man, even like a man overcome with wine, because of the Lord and because of His holy words. For the land is full of adulterers; for the land mourns because of the curse.
Are our hearts broken as our land mourns under the tidal wave of evil that has so quickly flooded it? Do we weep with desperate men, hurting women, and so many children who are losing a parent from divorce to sexual sin?
Does our silence and woeful response to the black plague of porn grieve you, or make you angry? Have you had enough of sitting on the sidelines, and are you willing to move to the front lines? Have you had enough of watching Satan thrash God’s people while nothing is done?
May the Lord break us for our pathetic apathy; may we stop playing church, and be it. May we aspire to the standard of bold men and women like Deborah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah; Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joses, and Salome (the women who stuck with Jesus as He was being crucified while most of the men fled); Stephen, who was stoned, Peter, who was crucified upside down and Paul who was beheaded. We have been softened by pleasure, seduced by materialism, frozen by fear, and caught up with how “great we are” because of what little ministry the Lord has done through us, when we should be captured by the love, power and awe of the Living God, willing to go all out for Him.
There must be no more compromise, no more hiding our secret sins, no more excuses; the enemy should not be allowed to chew up another family because of our silence. It’s time to put everything on the line, to act. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose,” as Jim Elliot wrote – before being speared by the Aucas, a group of Indians who he was willing to die for in order that they might know Christ.
Lord, please convict us for loving other things more than You.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
Lord, please break us until we’re willing to die for You, no matter what the cost. Make us sick of being so self-absorbed. Call us from the side lines to the front lines; send us into the thick of battle. Let “hear I am, send me” be heard from many of your people today.
6. Any of us can fall, at any time.
David committed adultery with Bathsheba even though he was “a man after God’s heart,” (1 Samuel 13:14), had persevered through many trials and had written Scripture through the Holy Spirit’s influence. I’ve seen many men in recovery programs who stumbled back into sin after thinking they had “arrived,” just because they had a few weeks, months or even years of abstinence behind them. Our spirit may be willing, but we’re stuck with this weak flesh for the rest of our life, which means we must remain “sober and on the alert” (1 Peter 5:8) every day for the rest of our life.
We fall so quickly and easily because of pride; we rely on our strength and accomplishments, instead of living in utter dependency on the Living God and His power.
Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.
7. We choose lust, and God holds each one of us responsible to cut it off.
“Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.” A man cannot blame his choice to indulge in sexual sin on his wife, his parents or anyone else.
We choose lust; if we are brutally honest, we must confess that we like it. If we want to be free from sexual sin, we must face the ugliness of our true affections, let God break us, and then run away from lust, never to return. The Lord isn’t going to take our little idol away from us; we are the ones who must smash it.
8. Women were rebuked for their seductive attitudes.
Fire requires fuel, heat, and oxygen to burn; women who dress in skin tight, low cut, way-too-much-flesh- revealing clothing are gasoline to the raging epidemic of sexual immorality around us. Instead of purifying the church, they play a role in burning it up. She who dresses to seduce draws attention to her body, not the Lord and Savior she wants to honor; she seeks to be worshipped as a god.
When I would come home after a porn binge, facing my wife and daughter always shredded my heart with conviction; their purity was a sharp contrast to my filthy heart. The Lord uses the purity of His daughters to convict men (and other women) of sin. Women who are “proud and walk with heads held high and seductive eyes, and go along with mincing steps and tinkle the bangles on their feet” are just as corrupt as the men who maw them with their eyes.
On a radio show we had with a panel of women who struggled with sex addiction earlier this year, one of the young ladies told us that the girls in the church are grooming each other on how to walk and talk in order to grab the attention of men. We need the women of the church to rise up and mentor the next generation on where their true worth comes from - and how the Lord would have them live in the culture of lust.
9. God’s standard for sexual purity is holy, strict and firm.
“Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Jesus gave no three second rule for how long a man or woman can look at another before it becomes lust. If I’m to be honest, I must admit that keeping Jesus’ strict standard of sexual purity is impossible for me to keep by my strength, and that I must rely wholly on God’s power to do so.
Telling others to rely so completely on God’s power is often in opposition to our program-addicted culture, which tells us that if we work steps one through five we can have what we want.
10. We must choose between God and lust.
When I was a slave to sexual sin, verses with words like "it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell,” “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals… will inherit the kingdom of God,” and “no (sexually) immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” would terrify me, because the pattern of my life resembled a “sexually immoral person” more than it did a Christian. It didn’t help that neither Jesus nor Paul differentiated between Christians or unbelievers when they spoke these words.
The Lord never offers false comfort to a man or woman who thinks they can have God and lust; Scripture always frames the choice in clear, black and white terms. Jesus wasn’t playing games when He allowed Himself to be butchered on the cross for our sins; those who are trying to worship sexual sin and the Lord are treading on dangerous ground.
The temptation, I know, is to try to soften the blow from these verses, but doing this is an attempt to dull the sharp edge of God’s word and prevent Him from using it to convict and bring repentance
11. A society soiled by sexual depravity will corrupt the church at every level.
Through Jeremiah, the Lord mourned that “the land is full of adulterers… both prophet and priest are polluted; even in My house I have found their wickedness," and “among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: the committing of adultery and walking in falsehood.”
Our pastors are not “sinless holy ones” who never stumble; they’re stuck with the same weak flesh the rest of us are. In some ways they may even be more susceptible to sexual sin than laypersons, because every pastor is a spiritual target that the enemy would love to take out.
Today, the statistics show that many of our pastors are adulterers. In his book Men's Secret Wars, Patrick Means revealed a confidential survey of 350 leaders in the church; 10% were evangelical pastors, and 90% were key lay leaders from 12 denominations. 64% admitted to struggling with porn, compulsive masturbation, or other secret sexual activities. 25% of the married men admitted to having committed adultery, while another 14% confessed to sexual contact short of intercourse.
With so many in the church falling prey to sexual sin, if we do not take a bold stand against the porn epidemic now, then we’re up for the next stage, which is:
12. Once a nation is thoroughly corrupt, God will judge it.
When a “people without understanding are ruined” and “all of them have become to Me like Sodom, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah,” it’s game over. We’re not there yet, but the enemy has taken way too much ground.
13. God rebuked individuals and churches for not taking effective action against sexual sin.
Eli received a scathing rebuke from the Lord for not doing something about his rebellious sons, who were serving as priests and having sex with the women who served in God’s holy temple. Eli had given his sons a polite sermon for their sin, when he should have fired them from their positions.
Paul ripped the Corinthian church with “You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst” when they did nothing about the man who was having sex with his father’s wife.
Jesus chastised the church of Pergamum for allowing those who put “the stumbling block of eating things sacrificed to idols (demons) and committing sexual immorality” and then said “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly.” He cut into the church of Thyatira for “tolerating Jezebel,” who was “leading His people astray in sexual immorality.”
Preaching about sexual sin isn’t enough, we need to take action.
Have you noticed the furor about the movie The Davinci Code lately? It made the cover of Christianity Today, who, in one of their email newsletters, wrote that: “More than half of church leaders responding to a recent Leadership magazine poll said they will offer their congregations classes, seminars, or sermons on The Da Vinci Code.”
If half of our church leaders made the same effort confronting the porn epidemic (which is generating 12.6 billion dollars a year in the US alone) as they did a movie that is here today and gone tomorrow, we’d probably have a spiritual revival so powerful that the earth would shake.
I’ve addressed what taking action looks like in:
How Your Church Can Take on the Porn Epidemic
What Our Churches Must Do
A letter Chuck Swindoll wrote is here.
14. For the broken, there is abundant grace.
"The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: `God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. `I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' "But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, `God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' "I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
After the man who’d been having sex with his fathers wife had become willing to turn from his sin, Paul told the Corinthian church to “forgive and comfort him” so he wouldn’t be “overwhelmed by excessive sorrow,” and to “reaffirm your love for him.” Jesus met the woman caught in the act of adultery in her shame, and said “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” Since I doubt the Lord would have wasted such words on someone whose heart was completely hardened against Him, we can rightfully assume that He saw into the shame, conviction and sorrow in her heart, and restored her with love. Note also that the acceptance of God’s grace preceded His command to “Go and sin no more.” The acceptance of grace in the heart is that which fills it with the power to live free from sin.
The church’s approach to the sexually broken should be to “restore them in a spirit of gentleness,” (Galations 6:1) realizing that God’s kindness leads them to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
We can not restore the sexually broken among us, who are hiding in shame, if we do not take action.
Sunday sermons aren’t enough; it’s time for the church to step up and fight.
The Blazing Grace Radio Show
Here’s our lineup for June:
June 3 - Interview with 2 worship leaders on their struggles with sex addiction.
June 10 - One Woman’s Journey from Recovery from Sexual Abuse
June 17 - Interview with Eva Marie Everson, author of Sex, Lies and the Media.
June 30 – Shelley Lubben interviews Jayson, Rob and myself.
The broadcasts are available as a podcast through Itunes. If you have the Itunes software, the shows are listed under “Religion and Spirituality / Christianity.”
We’re considering getting the show broadcast in countries such as Australia, the UK, Canada, Ireland or Scotland. If any of you from these countries have suggestions on a station to contact, please email me.
You can download the shows without cost at the radio page, or listen to them in streaming audio at Oneplace.com.
Overheard on the Forums
“Can you really have a relationship of any kind with an addict who chooses not to seek help for themselves? I have been married for 15 years with my husband. He's has had so many affairs I stopped counting. He's been into porn, prostitutes, etc. He is saved and chooses to continue to have very inappropriate relationships with other women and he always lies and tries to deceive me.
He refuses help; period, plain and simple. What is left, really?”
“Everything is really perfect for my marriage with the exception of one BIG thing: the addiction that stemmed from one single click on a spam email in September 2000. From that day until this day I have been addicted to pornography. I'm so ashamed to admit it. My usage of it is much, much less now than it was several years ago, but it's not gone. Just today I stumbled into it a little; although I got out pretty quick. But I feel defeated again, of course. It may be two weeks before it happens again, but I live in fear that I can't quite overcome it. I'm just waiting for the "next slip." I hate it!”
“I found this site today and realized there was a forum and I am asking for help.
I am crying as I write this I am so desperate for someone, anyone who knows the pain of what my husband has done. I know I should be ok; he is in a support group and sober now for almost 2 years. Why do I still hurt so much? Why can I not just be better at letting go of the past and be ok?? I have so much confusion and anger and pain and shame, I feel like I am drowning. Time has passed and I keep it to myself, try to be ok and all I should be to everyone, but I feel dead inside. The things he did, the betrayal, the sick behavior, the overwhelming feeling of how stupid I was not to see it, sense it; how could I have missed it? This is worse than just meeting someone in a bar and cheating; the behavior is so disturbing to me, and I feel like the shame and filth was put on me because I unknowingly let this man have sex with me while he did these things on the side, looked at these women and....oh God help me it's just to much. I have to leave him, I cannot do this anymore. I would rather be alone than to wrestle with these demons.”
If you’re looking for support and encouragement from others who can relate to what you’re going through, stop by our forums.
Ministry Update and Needs
As some of you know, I have a small business which I’ve used to fund the ministry. Recently, from circumstances out of my control, the business has been collapsing; old customers have left, and new business has dried up. My heart burns to go into full time ministry, and it appears the Lord is now sending the signal that He’s moving me in that direction. This means I need to raise financial and prayer support, which I’m asking you to consider.
Going into full time ministry means I would be free to devote all of my time to “taking action,” which includes getting the word out to churches, working on getting the Struggling with Porn Billboards put up all over the country, getting more Strength in Numbers groups going in the U.S. and abroad, being able to devote more time to writing, (I already have an idea for the next book in mind), putting more time into the radio show, getting the website translated into foreign languages, looking at doing the Blazing Grace Seminary, and much more.
The Lord’s shown me that we need more prayer power behind the ministry before it can launch on a large scale. There has been consistent spiritual attack this year; Satan won’t let us blow the doors off his favorite secret stronghold without a brawl.
In the April newsletter, I shared how the server that hosted the Blazing Grace website went down on April 2. Not long after, I received the following email from Pastor Brian Whitaker of Highlands Community Church in Wausau, Wisconsin:
“It’s quite intriguing to me that the website went down April 2. Yes, I would say it is perhaps spiritual in nature. It intrigues me personally because that’s the morning that I preached on sin and temptation, and particularly highlighted (among others) the temptation to internet pornography. As part of that, I suggested that people in our church (about 800 or so were here that day) visit your website if they are struggling with this particular area of temptation.”
If the Blazing Grace site was taken out because one church dealt with sexual sin, can you imagine how furious the response will be to putting up billboards all over the country?
The ministry now has a prayer team of 6 ladies; we need to add more to their number as quickly as possible. In addition to praying individually, they are praying together once a week for the ministry via phone conference call on Tuesday mornings at 5:30am, Mountain Time. Please email me if you’d like to join them. It’s important that we amass more prayer artillery before this goes further.
Of course, you can always pray individually.
New Prayer Requests:
The following are a few of the prayer requests received this past month. When you have a moment, I encourage you to pray for a few of those who are there. These are real people with real marriages and families on the line.
“Please pray for us. My wife and I have been married 10 years and the porn addiction has us to the point of a dead marriage. The porn addiction with me has been there over 25 years and I am now serious about breaking it and staying clean. Understandably, she does not trust me and she has a "yes and no" on a relationship salvage. I am staying in the fight to get clean and will do anything to have a relationship with her. I love her much and miss her deeply.”
“Please pray; my husband and I are separated after 14 years of marriage and 3 kids. He has a sexual addiction and alcohol addiction and is not sure what he wants; at this point I don't know what I want either. He just committed adultery again. I need God's wisdom, direction and peace, and the ability to really LET GO of my husband. Our marriage seems hopeless right now.”
“I have been married since I was 19, I am now 40 and my husband was discovered about 2 years ago and admitted to being addicted to adult porn on the web and movies; ever since then we have really been struggling. The local churches don’t offer help or their help is on condition we attend their church, which is fine except my husband doesn’t want anyone to know. We are secluded in that he has no friends and his parents don’t see anything wrong with "porn." The other meetings are only in the evenings (my husband works nights, allowing me to go to college during the day; I home school our children). I feel very betrayed and that he expected our children to be accountable for things he can’t be. He wants to be intimate all the time; when I am too tired he gets upset and starts to pressure me. He even has threatened to leave me and the kids knowing that we could not make it without him. We were divorced 2 years into the marriage and remarried 2 years later. I had always thought it was my fault that I wasn’t a good wife. (I had been in therapy for sexual abuse when I was a child). My biggest fear is that if I don’t give in will he turn to other women or worse yet my daughter? I know in my heart he wouldn’t but the fear I have is really affecting me. I don’t know how to help my husband. I don’t know what to do. God Bless you.”
“Please pray for me and my family. I am my husband’s third wife. The others eventually left him. One after 15 years, one after 10. I am afraid the porn addiction will never end. I am in deep depression.”
“Please pray for my husband Brad, and I. He no longer views porn or masturbates, but lately he seems to have given up trying to bounce his eyes. He actually seems to be scanning for someone to look at. This all happens with me right there. I am really eaten up about this, and feel like I can't bring it up, because I think he feels helpless, and my hurt will only push him over the edge. We both really need help. I am dying inside, and I know this is destroying him to. I think he believes a lie that looking, which always involves lusting (by his own admission) is not a big deal. I need clarity as to how to react to this. I want to do the right thing, and I get so confused as to what that is. Thank you for your prayers.”
And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
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I enjoy reading your feedback.
May God’s grace abound to you.
All material copyright 2006 Mike Genung