Summary: Living the Life of Christ
Scripture: Proverbs 7
Staying Moral in an Immoral Age
Introduction: We live in a sex-saturated society. TV, movies, videos, novels, magazines, billboards, and computer screens bring immorality into our homes and make it appear as the norm. How can God’s people remain pure? How can you develop a personal morality strong enough to withstand the seduction of the current age? Today, I’d like to tell you about a man who once saw sex in the city. This man lived long ago, but just like us, he had a window on the world. His window wasn’t a television set, but a real window in a real city. This story is found in Proverbs 7. This is a longer passage than I usually read on a Sunday morning, but I think we need to hear the entire chapter.
Scripture Reading: Proverbs 7
Introduction: Sex outside of marriage is a violation of the character and the Laws of God. We don’t know if this young man was engaging in premarital or extramarital sex, but Ephesians 5 says, "Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality" (NIV). Sex itself isn’t bad; it’s a gift of God. But premarital sex, extramarital sex, post-marital sex, and homosexual behavior are perversions of God’s plan. The entertainment industry is on a vast evangelistic mission to convince us otherwise, but the devil can never alter the character or standards of a holy God. So, as the writer of Proverbs 7 stood in his window and peered through the lattice, he witnessed a scene with three storylines.
1. Seduction. This young man was seduced, presented with temptation so attractive he seemed unable to resist it. Verse 7 calls him a youth, so we would suppose he was full of hormonal energy. Verse 13 says that a woman met him, embraced him, and passionately kissed him. Having ignited this masculine energy, she said, "Let’s go to my place." With persuasive words, she seduced him. The devil is in the same business today. He plies his trade by plastering our television shows, movies, and magazines with stimulating sexual images. He does it with men and women who dress immodestly. He does it by getting us involved with a platonic friendship at work. And he does it with the Internet.
2. Destruction. The youth paid a high price for his evening of pleasure (vv.22ff.). We don’t know what happened to him. Perhaps he caught a sexually transmitted disease. Perhaps the husband found out and it led to a fight. More likely, the writer was saying that this young man’s immorality took him down a road that led him away from God, from holiness, and from eternal life. See Galatians 6:7, 8.
3. Instruction. The whole purpose of Proverbs 7 is to instruct, warn, and help us avoid the tragic mistake this youth made. A careful reading of the chapter gives three weapons for staying moral in an immoral age.
A. Store Up God’s Commandments Within You (vv. 15). See Psalm119:11 and Matthew 4:111. When we fill our minds with the Word, we have ammunition to fend off the devil’s attacks.
B. Whenever Possible, Avoid the Temptation. Verse 6 says the youth lacked judgment. How do we know? Because of verse 8: "Passing along the street near her corner; and he took the path to her house." He wasn’t just an innocent victim. He was looking to be seduced. He was walking in that direction. What change do you need to make in your lifestyle that will lessen temptation? How can you walk down another street, away from the seducer’s neighborhood?
C. Make Up Your Mind to Stay Pure. Verses 24, 25: "Listen ... pay attention ... Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways ..." Determine not to sin in these ways. Set your standards in advance, before you face the temptation.
Compare this young man to two others in the Bible. When faced with a similar temptation, Joseph turned and fled, leaving his cloak in the woman’s hands. He realized it is better to lose one’s coat than one’s character. (See Gen. 39:113). The second young man is Jesus Himself. He was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. You and I don’t have the strength ourselves to remain victorious. But when Christ, who never sinned, lives within us, He can live His life through us. In Jesus Christ, we can be more than conquerors.
STATS, STORIES, AND MORE
Paul Strand, Washington correspondent for CBN, reported that everyone is aware it’s easy to become addicted to cocaine or heroin, but how about pornography? A group of counselors is warning this addiction may become epidemic. Researchers are finding that when people indulge in porn, they release powerful chemicals in their brain and body. Mark Kastleman, author of The Drug of the New Millennium, said, "There are a growing number of therapists and psychologists who are saying that this is as addictive as cocaine.” Pornography has always been around, but now it is a widespread crisis. Why have we come to this reason? Blame the Internet, because of what Kastleman calls the three A’s: It’s accessible, affordable, and anonymous. The anonymity is the key, especially with religious people. They can do it without anyone knowing. You don’t stagger around with a hangover the next day or have needle marks in your arms. Roughly, 40 million Americans are sexually involved with the Internet. One man said, "I was a leader in my local church. I worked with youth groups. I served in the community. Yet I had this secret life." Another said "I developed a dual lifestyle. On one hand, we went to church every Sunday ... Yet, on the other hand, I had this addiction." Kastleman says we live in such a stressful time, and religious believers usually don’t allow themselves typical stress-relievers like smoking and drinking. But Internet porn is secret. Kastleman said, "Now suddenly you have a little mouse where you hit a button, and instantly you get this flood of brain chemicals. No one knows you’re doing it and it’s completely affordable or costs nothing at all."