Summary: Defining sexual sin
Three weeks ago, we started a series entitled "Stand in the Gap", based upon Ezekiel 22:30 above. In short, God looked at Israel and found a very corrupt nation with no man that would "stand in the gap" and stand for what was holy and right. Today, we see the same thing in our country; there are many, many more that stand for what is wrong that what is right. My challenge to you was and is simply this: as a Christian, are you willing to stand in the gap--to stand for what is holy, true, just and righteous?
Last week, we studied 1 Corinthians 5. We saw how the church in Corinth had accepted the grossly immoral lifestyle of one of it's own living in sin with his stepmother. Instead of grieving and addressing the issue, they proudly accepted this man's "lifestyle choice" instead of dealing with the situation.
Paul stated that the sin would infect the church as a whole, and if accepted in one person it would become the norm for all people. Paul was addressing the behavior of the saved and redeemed only, and not those "of the world" or unsaved and was quite clear that this man, if he were not contrite and turned from this sin, were to be removed from the church.
We are, however, to take a stand against not just incest and homosexuality as sinful (and yes, those lifestyles are) but against all illicit sex. This week, we will discuss the following:
1) What is "fornication" or "sexual immorality"?
2) What about "cohabitation", "living together" or "common law marriage"?
3) What about homosexuality?
4) What about lustful thoughts?
As I mentioned before, not pleasant things to discuss. However, because this is a topic that is so violated by professing Christians and ignored by the church as a whole, and because it is so damaging to the church, we must discuss and identify the problem.
Unless we make it plain and clear that the church stands against such sin, then we are no different than the church of Corinth in not dealing with the incestuous man: puffed up, proud and an insult to God and His holiness.
Sex In The Bible
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor 6:9-11, NKJV
The Bible addresses the topic of sexual sin literally hundreds of times from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, adultery--cheating on one's spouse--is used as a metaphor for idolatry in different places in the Bible. In other words, when we allow something to become more important to us than God it becomes an idol to us, and we are in effect cheating on God.
But before we get into the idea of what wrong sex is, we must first and foremost ask ourselves a question: why did God create sex in the first place? The purpose for sex is to procreate (Genesis 1:26-28). Why did God make sex a pleasurable thing? Now give that some thought. I don't mean to be gross or off color but if sex was not enjoyable then there would be few people on the earth! Let me be plain and clear about one thing: sex is a gift to a wife and her husband. When you get outside of those boundaries is when you get into trouble. So then, let's refer to this as "marital relations" so as not to be confused.
Paul had just established that incest was dead wrong, even among those outside the faith and he goes on to explain another area that went outside the faith: settling disputes, in this case suing each other.
Paul's point is pretty simple: why are you suing each other, allowing the unsaved to make the decisions about your life? You will judge angels one day, and you will let them make decisions about you? You are better off to take a loss than to allow this! In short, Christians should settle their disagreements among themselves instead of suing each other in court and having unsaved people making decisions that are, by nature, not "Christian" decisions.
Then Paul, in verse 9, Paul explains that these judges will not go to heaven, and then explains the behavior of those of the world, the unsaved.
The Conduct of the Unsaved
What Paul now does is explain what the fruits are of the unsaved; Jesus says "You will know them by their fruits" (Matt 7:16a, NKJV) Paul states that "the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God". This does not mean that one is saved or not saved by their works, but instead that "you will know them by their fruits".