Summary: A sermon on sexual immorality from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Sermon for 2/29/2004
More and more people seem to forget Henry Ford’s sage advice when asked about his rule for marital bliss and longevity on his 50th wedding anniversary. He replied, “Just the same as in the automobile business, stick to one model.”
Stick to the model- one person of the opposite sex until death do us part.
A. Two weeks ago in our study of 1 Thessalonians we came to Paul’s prayer for the church in Thessalonica. He prayed that their faith would grow to maturity. He prayed that their love would increase and abound for one another. He prayed that their hearts would be blameless in holiness.
B. In Chapter 4 he takes these same topics and goes over specifics in each area. He talks about the goal of our faith in vs. 13-18. He talks about how to love each other in vs. 9-12.
C. He gives specifics in the area of holiness in vs. 1-8. He talks about one area in holiness that we all need to hear in this culture. They needed to hear it in the first century. It was a sex permeated society. Could go down to the local pagan temple and get a prostitute. Had idols that glorified sex. Wealthy and powerful people have mistresses in every port. Divorce was rampant and expected. Many, even emperors, had homosexual lovers
D. God created sex. It is a powerful force to cement two people together. It is a powerful force upon which our whole society is built.
E. A man and a woman grow to adulthood and they commit themselves to each other. (Gen 2:22 NIV) Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.(Gen 2:23 NIV) The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ’woman, ’ for she was taken out of man."(Gen 2:24 NIV) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
F. From this relationship, out of their love for each other, children are conceived. These parents bring up these children in a healthy and stable home where they are nurtured and disciplined. The marriage relationship is the bedrock of our society.
G. One flesh means more than sex but the physical part is important to the relationship. God made us male and female. God made sex and He has the authority to govern its use. From the beginning, He established marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman. God created sex both for the continuance of the race and for the pleasure of the marriage partners.
H. (Heb 13:4 NIV) Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure.
I. God’s commandments concerning sex are not for the purpose of robbing people of joy, but rather of protecting them that they might not lose their joy.
J. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” builds a wall around marriage that makes the relationship not a prison, but a safe and beautiful garden.
K. “Abstain from fornication (sexual immorality)”- Anything that takes sexual issues outside the bonds of marriage. No amount of legal action or philosophy can change this. Throughout the Bible, God warns against sexual sin; and these warnings must be heeded.
L. God’s purpose is our sanctification, that we might live separated lives in purity of mind and body. Sanctification= At the moment of our salvation, we are declared righteous in God’s eyes. That is called justification. Then throughout our lives, the Holy Spirit works to bring our morality into conformity with our status in God’s eyes. The Holy Spirit is continuing to make us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Sanctification is a work of God, but we also must do our part (let the Holy Spirit work) in becoming more holy.
M. As we look at our culture, we hear it saying that we can express our sexuality any way that we want. We see Vs. 5 in action in our world. We hear many forces tell us that we need to get out of their bedroom. Traditional marriage is an outdated institution and we need freedom to express our sexuality in many different ways.
N. This is an “R” rated sermon. The Passion of the Christ is rated “R” and this sermon is rated “R.” Why? Because some things need to be said.
O. Homosexual marriage. Neither Greece nor Rome ever legalized it. No western civilization prior to our generation has ever sanctioned it. But in November 2003, four judges in a Massachusetts court decided that thousands of years of collective wisdom were wrong and that homosexual couples have a right to marry. Emboldened by this move, the newly elected mayor of San Francisco disobeyed the law and had the county clerk do homosexual marriages for several thousands before they were stopped a few days ago.