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Summary: Very few people in our society today understand what love is.

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Psalm 51:10 - "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Valentine’s week is a good time to talk about what love is and what it isn’t. We have in America, what I call a serious "anti-love epidemic." We’re sick for the lack of real love! VERY FEW PEOPLE IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY UNDERSTAND WHAT LOVE IS. We’re love-starved. We have fallen for the lie that sex is love. And it shows up in all the statistics:

THE FACTS ABOUT PREMARITAL SEX

· SEXUAL INITIATION. In the 1960’s, 25% of young men and 45% of young women were virgins at age 19; by the 1980s, fewer than 20% of males and females were.

· SEXUAL HISTORY. About 30% of Americans say they have had one or no sex partners since turning 18; 30% say two to four partners; 22% say five to 10 partners; 20% say 10 partners or more.

· COHABITATION. In the 1950s, roughly 9 in 10 young women got married without living with their partner, compared with 1 in 3 in the early 1990s. In fact, a 1997 U.S. News poll shows that a majority of respondents under the age of 45 think that adult premarital sex "generally benefits people."

· VIRGIN BRIDES. Percentage of white women married from 1960-65 who were virgins: 43; from 1980-85:14.

Source: Sex in America; The Social Organization of Sexuality; Journal of Marriage and the Family

Everyone wants and deserves to be loved. But my heart breaks for what I see. One-night stands, sex with your dating partner and living together with your lover have become the "norm." Hollywood has glorified premarital sex. In his book Prime Time, Robert Lichter, states that prime-time television now by implication endorses unmarried adults’ intentions to have sex in about 3 out of 4 cases and raises concerns only about 5% of the time. "Date rape" is a growing trend. Sexual abuse, often by family members, steals away the innocence of thousands of young people every year. In their search for love, many have turned to the gay/lesbian lifestyle.

To borrow lyrics from a corny old, country song, we’re

"Looking for love in all the wrong places…" We keep buying the counterfeit, pretending it’s real. We want 14 carat, but settle for "fool’s gold." We’re searching for diamonds, but end up with a handful of cubic zirconium. And the disappointment goes way beyond a feeling of being "ripped off." We have a generation of "walking wounded"; people with a hole in their soul. The pain of selling out only to receive a counterfeit love in return is devastating.

I’ve never seen so many people in need of true love. How can you find and protect pure love when you live in a very impure world?

I. PURE LOVE IS ABOUT COMMITMENT. "Love…always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…always…" - I Cor. 13:7 Don’t even talk to me and tell me you love someone or that someone loves you if the level of commitment isn’t high. If there’s no commitment, there’s no love.

Illustr. - I recently bumped into a young lady I know who was sitting outside the mall. She’s a young, attractive single mom - she’s got a lot going for her. I’ve tried many times to encourage her. I’ve looked her in the eye and said, "You deserve the best." When I asked her where she was living I received a far too common answer, "I’m living with my boyfriend. He treats me good." I was bummed. When I came back out she was still sitting there and I walked over and said, "If he really wants to treat you good he’ll put a ring on your finger and walk you down the aisle."


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