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Summary: The God given gift of sex is to be used in mutual respect as an expression of love to one another.

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Text: 1 Cor. 6:18-7:7

Introduction

1. Illustration: Bruce Wilkinson, author of Prayer of Jabez, said:

Sexual immorality is a threshold sin. On one side of the threshold is immorality and on the other is purity. On one side are guilt, lying, deceit, addiction, and shame, an on the other side are freedom, honesty, transparency, liberty, and a clear conscience. Believers who are in bondage to immorality find that unless they experience victory in this area, they cannot grow in holiness or serve the Lord with passion and power…" (Victory Over Temptation).

2. In looking at love and marriage we must talk about a fundamental concept when it comes to relationships - sex. However, we will look at it in a respectful, honest, and above all -Biblical way.

3. In looking at sex we must consider two sides of it...

a. A word for singles

b. A word for married couples

4. Let's stand together as we read from 1 Cor. 6:18-7:7

Proposition: The God given gift of sex is to be used in mutual respect as an expression of love to one another.

Transition: First let us look at this from a singles perspective.

I. A Word For The Single: Abstinence (18-20).

A. Temple Of The Holy Spirit

1. We live in a society that has lost any sense of morality, and especially when it comes to sex. Everywhere we look we are bombarded by sexual images and other forms of sexual temptation.

2. Therefore, it is essential that we heed Paul's command to "Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body."

a. Paul begins this section with "Run from sexual sin," and the verb tenses he uses carries with it the sense of "keep on running."

b. It brings to mind the account in Genesis of Joseph avoiding the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife, where Joseph literally ran away from her.

c. There was so much sexual temptation in Corinth that this was the only option for Christians in dealing with sexual sin.

d. They had to put as much distance between themselves and the temptation to sin sexually.

e. The next phrase can be a little hard to understand. Although there are many opinions, the one that makes the most sense is that sexual sin has a deep spiritual effect on us.

f. As John Calvin said, "These other sins do not leave anything like the same filthy stain on our bodies as fornication does" (Palma, Full Life Bible Commentary, 835).

3. Then Paul shows us why we should run from sexual sin. He says, "Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body."

a. The question that Paul asks here has to do with the believers relationship with the Holy Spirit.

b. This is an extremely good reason to avoid sexual sin; we must not violate that which is a Temple of the Holy Spirit.

c. When we accept the Lord we become temples of the Holy Spirit, and if we do something that effects our spirit it also effects the Holy Spirit.

d. Then Paul brings out a very revolutionary idea...we don't belong to ourselves.

e. Now as Americans we are led to believe that we are our own person.

f. However, Paul says that when we come to Christ we belong to him!

g. The reason we don't belong to ourselves is that Christ paid the price for our sins and therefore, we belong to him.

h. So Paul concludes that we should "honor God with our bodies," and does so in a way that shows a sense of urgency.

i. We should not do it tomorrow or the next day, but we should do it now (Palma, 835).

B. Avoiding Temptation

1. Illustration: The magazine "Discipleship Journal" asked its readers to rank the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. The results came back in this order: (the top 5 were)

1. Materialism

2. Pride

3. Self-centeredness

4. Laziness

5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness and Sexual lust

The respondents also noted that temptations were more potent when they had neglected their time with God (81%) and when they were physically tired (57%)."

The readers stated that they had found that the greatest assets in resisting temptation to be "prayer (84%), avoiding compromising situations (76%), Bible study (66%), and being accountable to someone else (52%).

2. The gift of sex is intended only within the context of marriage.

a. Ephesians 5:3 (NLT)

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.

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