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Summary: Challenging the Church and each Christian to up-hold God’s standards for sexual conduct, this examines the all too common sins of fornication and adultery.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4

There was a time when a preacher or teacher, when addressing the topic of sexuality, had to speak with great delicacy. The subject was not deemed fit to speak about in public, especially from God’s holy pulpit, except in the most discreet manner.

Indeed, when I began to preach - some twenty-four years ago - I was a little bashful about discussing the subject of sex and immorality and teaching what God says about it. I spoke about it in vague terms.

Times have changed. Today, the topic of sex is nearly as openly discussed in public conversation as the weather. You can’t turn on the radio, television or see a motion picture without be bombarded with explicit sexuality. You can’t pick-up a magazine, newspaper or drive down the road without seeing advertisements that use sexually titillating graphics to sell all sorts of products.

What this means is that, today, the average 9 or 10-year-old knows more about the ‘facts of life’ than they do about reading, writing and arithmetic. Most tragic is the fact that the young people are learning about sex without any moral and spiritual context.

It is time for, not only parents but the Church to meet the present challenge and to begin discussing sexuality and immorality openly and boldly. Its time that we clearly proclaim what God has to say about it. This morning, we are going to just that.

Almost every book of the New Testament talks about sex. The references mostly warn against immorality. The reason for this is that the moral environment of the 1st Century was just as bad and, though hard to believe, probably worse than it is in our generation. The apostles lived in a time when chastity and sexual purity were unknown virtues. Immorality was almost universal; as it was practiced without shame or disgrace. Their pagan gods, their emperors, their philosophers, and their great men and women in general, gave them examples of every species of sexual impurity. Fornication, adultery, prostitution and homosexuality was not only condoned but even encouraged by most of the religions of the time.

Even though immorality was thought to be normal or good by most of society, the Christian religion not only discouraged these things but forbid them. Therefore, if the Christian maintained sexual purity, they really stood out. You can read 1st and 2nd Century writings where non-Christians ridiculed and blasted Christianity and its followers for promoting sexual purity. As Peter said to the brethren, in 1 Peter 4:4-5, “they (the non-Christians) are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you; but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

Today, the Christian who obeys God rather than goes along with the prevailing worldly culture on the matter of sexuality will stand-out, too. For, fornication and adultery is being practiced in our world at epidemic levels.

1. Fornication.

Fornication is a term we use to describe unmarried people having sex. Teenage sexual activity is an issue of wide­spread national concern. However, with people increasingly postponing getting married until they are older (In 2000, the median age for a first marriage was 25 for women and 27 for men), the problem of fornication now extends well into adulthood.

Every study shows that nearly half of American teenagers of high-school age are or have been sexually active.

Many of the problems associated with teen sexual activity are well-known. Even though our public schools preach so-called “safe sex” -

Overall, roughly one-quarter of the nation’s sexually active teens have been infected by a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Every day, 8,000 teen­agers in the United States become infected.

Each year, almost 1 million teenage women become pregnant. That means close to 2800 teens get pregnant each day.

Nearly 4 in 10 teen pregnancies (i.e., 400 thousand babies) are terminated by an abortion each year.

Each year 250,000 children are born to girls aged 18 or younger. Nearly all these teenage mothers are unmarried. That translates to one out-of-wedlock birth every 35 seconds.

Today, if you protect yourself from disease and pregnancy, they say that is “safe sex.” (Of course, there is not a single fool-proof method that protects one completely from disease and pregnancy other than abtinence.) What is not revealed by those who preach the virtues of “safe sex” is that several studies show a link between psychological and emotional problems and teen­age sexual activity. Findings show that when compared to teens who are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly less likely to be happy and more likely to feel depressed. When compared to teens who are not sexually active, teenage boys and girls who are sexually active are significantly more likely to attempt suicide. Thus, early sexual activity is a substantial factor in undermining the emotional well-being of American teenagers.

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