Posted On October 24, 2011

Men, Sexual Sin, Purity and the Gospel

by | Oct 24, 2011 | The Gospel and the Christian Life

Opening

I am pleased to announce the opening of the men’s ministry today. More information on the purpose and vision for this new ministry will be forthcoming. In the meantime we ask for your prayers. Today, we are going to look at sexual sin, purity and the Gospel. If you have topics you would like to see covered please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, along with your thoughts or questions on the article.

Introduction

Sexual sin more than ever is running rampant in the Church. Men are falling by the wayside, and the result is marriages are ending, and churches are being weakened. The issue of sexual sin is a sensitive issue, which means many men would rather it be kept in the darkness, and not have it spoken of openly in the light of God’s presence. The problem with the attitude of keeping this sin in the darkness is that one will never overcome sexual sin with this attitude.

In order to demonstrate the scope of the problem with sexual sin consider the following statistics. The total porn industry revenue for 2006: $13.3 billion in the United States; $97 billion worldwide (Internet Filter Review). U.S. adult DVD/video rentals in 2005: almost 1 billion (Adult Video News). Hotel viewership for adult films: 55% (cbsnews.com).A 1996 Promise Keepers survey at one of their stadium events revealed that over 50% of the men in attendance were involved with pornography within one week of attending the event. 51% of pastors say cyber-porn is a possible temptation. 37% say it is a current struggle (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, 12/2001). Over half of evangelical pastors admit viewing pornography last year. Roger Charman of Focus on the Family’s Pastoral Ministries reports that approximately 20 percent of the calls received on their Pastoral Care Line are for help with issues such as pornography and compulsive sexual behavior.

In a 2000 Christianity Today survey, 33% of clergy admitted to having visited a sexually explicit Web site. Of those who had visited a porn site, 53% had visited such sites “a few times” in the past year, and 18% visit sexually explicit sites between a couple of times a month and more than once a week. 29% of born again adults in the U.S. feel it is morally acceptable to view movies with explicit sexual behavior (The Barna Group). 57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation (Christians and Sex Leadership Journal Survey, March 2005). In a Kinsey Institute survey, respondents were asked “Why do you use porn?” 72% said they used porn to masturbate/for physical release. 69% said they used it to sexually arouse themselves and/or others. 54% said out of curiosity. And 43% said, “because I can fantasize about things I would not necessarily want in real life.” 38% said to distract myself.  The number one search term used at search engine sites is the word “sex”. Users searched for “sex” more than other terms such as “games,” “travel,” “music,” “jokes,” “cars,” “weather,” “health” and “jobs” combined. The study also found that “pornography/porno” was the fourth-most searched for subject. Alexa Research Use religion saves section on sexual sin and death by love for statistics.

The Problem of Sexual Sin

            The issue of sexual sin is a difficult issue on many fronts. First, popular culture has a distorted view of sex, which means men are taught to view women in the wrong way—to view them not as persons, but as objects. The problem with the idea that women are objects is many, but at its root it is a complete distortion of the fact that Genesis 2:21-22 says, “The Lord God causes a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.” The problem with the attitude that women are objects to be enjoyed is that it is a violation of the biblical teaching that God created people in His image and likeness. To put it another way; the attitude that woman are objects is a direct affront to God, His Word and therefore to His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Secondly, sexual sin is a difficult issue as men naturally isolate and insulate themselves. By this, I do not mean that men are anti-social, or even that they are introverted. Men can have meaningful relationships with others, but while doing so will often keep their deep seated issues to themselves. Many men know what coming out into the Light will do; it will require that they humble themselves and face the humiliation for their sin. This is not something that men do well. Men do not like to have their pride humbled, and most men hate being humiliated. The second issue is a real issue in dealing with sexual sin because what men dealing with sexual sin need the most is to be humiliated for their sin in order to see it for what it is: nasty, degrading and a heinous crime against God and against their spouse or future wife.

Thirdly, the issue of sexual sin is a difficult issue is that it affects the identity of the man. Sexual sin in most cases defines the person. Christians are called to find their identity in the Lord Jesus Christ and not in the flesh. Just to clarify; when I am speaking of sexual sin, I am not singling out addictions to pornography, or homosexuality but rather sexual sin in general. All forms of sexual sin from homosexual sin to addiction to pornography to sleeping with anyone other than your spouse are sinful in the eyes of God.

Sexual sin defines the person, and in this case when the man is a believer in Christ they are doing what is contrary to Scripture; namely finding their identity and worth outside of Christ rather than in Christ. Where the believer finds their identity is hugely important. When Paul wrote his epistles to the churches he founded, he emphasized the believers’ identity in Christ before he got to the issues in the Church. Paul did this because he wanted to remind the believers of their identity in Christ before addressing their issues.

Sexual sin is a huge issue in the Church and not one to be treated lightly but rather with great sensitivity and compassion. Jesus modeled this kind of sensitive to the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery. Jesus had compassion toward these women while not approving of their sin. Jesus upheld His holiness while at the same time showing compassion to these women. Jesus the sinless Savior modeled for His disciples how to minister to those who are struggling with sexual sin by pointing people to Himself. Jesus knew perfectly well that the act of sexual sin has consequences, but He also knew that the sexual sin is, but a symptom of a larger issue—namely that the person is finding their identity in what is created rather than the Creator.

Fourthly, the issue of sexual sin is a Gospel issue. After telling the Corinthians in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 that the unrighteous will not receive the Kingdom of God, nor will idolaters, adultery, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God, Paul in 1st Corinthians 6:11 says, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” After telling the Corinthians what the consequences for such behavior would be, Paul reminds the believers of their identity in Christ; washed, sanctified and justified just as he did in 1st Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”

Sexual sin is a Gospel issue, because the Gospel; not sexual sin ought to define the believer in Christ. Sexual sin affects marriages, because it hurts the spouse affected by the sexual sin by causing him/her to feel that they are not loved and valued by their spouse. Sexual sin hurts men because it hinders their growth in Christ by robbing them of their joy in the Lord and effectiveness in His service. Sexual sin hurts the Church because it weakness and cheapens the effectiveness of believers individually and churches corporately in their witness to the world. Most importantly sexual sin is a Gospel issue because the believer who commits sexual sin demonstrates that they love sin rather than the Savior of sinners.

Fifthly, sexual sin dismisses the holiness of God and the seriousness of purity within the marriage relationship. Jesus died on the Cross for sinners, which means He died for sins of all kinds; including sexual sin. Every sin transgresses God’s law, which means every sin is offensive to the holiness of God, and thus demands His justice. The Lord Jesus Christ took the place of sinners on the Cross and now offers His righteousness to sinners. This is a righteousness no one deserves, and is granted to sinners through death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The Christian is one who has passed from death to life, which means that they are put to death the deeds of the flesh because of their new identity as an adopted child of God.

The man who commits sexual sin demonstrates that they do not understand the holiness of God or the seriousness of purity that God calls them to. God saves His people in order for them to demonstrate His holiness in the world.  The fact that Christ died to appease the holiness and wrath of God means that in order to shine brightly for God as His witnesses in the world His people need to put to death their sin and put on the Lord Jesus Christ in their pursuit of purity and growth in the grace of God. It is precisely at this point that many men (and believers in general) fail to appropriate their identity in Christ, which is why I want to briefly discuss how to overcome sexual sin.

Overcoming Sexual Sin

            The first way to put sexual sin to death is by understanding at the heart of sexual sin is idolatry. Idolatry is worshipping anything other than God. The best way to deal with idolatry is to understand what the Gospel is and what it demands. The Gospel demands our complete allegiance and devotion. The Gospel is not a call to embrace our sin but rather is a call to embrace the sinless Savior who died for sin. The Savior calls for His disciples to take up the Cross and follow Him in all of life, which means the Gospel is for all of life.

Finally, to overcome sexual sin men need to be accountable to other godly believers. It is important to qualify that last sentence by saying that a man should never be accountable to another woman and a woman should never be accountable to another man. A man should be accountable to another man, and a woman should be accountable to another woman.

The first step is the most important step, but the second step is equally important because often times a man may be serious about overcoming sexual sin, but end up falling back into sin because they don’t have the support of others. In order for men to live in the Light they need others to walk alongside of them by living in community in the context of the local Church. Christians are called to walk alongside of each other and to bear each other’s burdens in community with each other. I also strongly encourage those who are dealing with sexual sin of any kind to discuss this issue with your Pastor, an elder or a deacon in your local church, and also to find a godly mature Christian counselor.

Conclusion

            I understand that sexual sin is a difficult and sensitive issue, which is why I’m writing on it. Sexual sin in the Church is robbing the Church of many good men. Sexual sin grieves the Holy Spirit who gives men and women gifts to serve and strengthen the Church in its mission to make disciples.  Sexual sin robs God of glory because Jesus is the Savior of sinners and He longs to save those who are broken by sin, and make them whole with His Gospel. Sexual sin hurts evangelism and missions because it robs the effectiveness of those who are called to such ministries. Sexual sin affects Pastors, ministry leaders, Bible College and seminary students many of whom struggle silently for years in sexual sin and never overcome sexual sin.

Sexual sin is not what God wants from His people. Sexual sin hurts the Church, and affects its mission of making disciples. God saves broken people and then uses them for His glory. Perhaps you have been broken by sexual sin. You may think today that the story of your life is sexual sin or some other kind of sin, but I writing today to tell you that this is exactly what the devil wants you to believe. Sexual sin is not your story; there is a greater story; the Gospel. Jesus truly saves sinners from all kinds of sin. Jesus redeems people from all kinds of sin, and delivers them by His grace, for His glory in order to spread the fame of His Gospel to the nations.

The real question today is this, “Will you as men who profess to love Christ take seriously the call of the Gospel to abandon all including whatever “sins” you have and take up your Cross?” The Gospel is not a call to be comfortable or even to cuddle up to your favorite pet sin, but rather is a call to abandon your sin, count the cost, put on the Lord Jesus, and take up your Cross and follow Him. I pray today men that you would take seriously the call to count the cost of following Jesus  and reflecting the Gospel in all of life. Finally, I pray for those who are broken by sexual sin that you would meet the Savior of sinners who transforms sinners by His grace for His glory in order to use then to advance His Kingdom, and His fame to the nations.

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13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. It is a crucial subject to bring into the light.  As someone who has struggled with this in the past, I agree with everything you have said here.  I would offer these points on what has helped me, in addition to what is said above. 

    1) Understand that what is done in secret is not secret, but is always seen by God.  Instead of sitting there in the dark by yourself, imagine that you and your computer (or whatever) are placed in the very center of the throne room of God with God and all the angels watching everything you do.  Cause that’s really what it’s like.  If you would not do the act in the brightness and holiness of God’s throne room, don’t do it.

    2) This is not a ‘victimless’ vice.  Somewhere in this world, some girl is deluded by despair or hopelessness or (pick your motivation) to pose for a camera that doesn’t love her.  The women in these sex trades are real people, and often they are mistreated horribly.  When you are tempted, remember they are real people, and even if they posed of their own free will, those pictures are really evidence of how people like you directly or indirectly made it worth their while.  When you participate in porn (yes, participate), you share the blame for the ills that befall all the women hurt by this industry.   

    3) The Bible.  I found that in the periods where I have been in the Word often, and in active ministry, I have been less tempted, and better able to stave off temptation.  I’ve found that in my ‘dry spells’ with God when I have not had as much time (or made as much time) for even just casual reading of the Bible, but especially serious study- these are the times I have been weakest in this area.  

    4) Active accountability.  There are basically two kinds of accountability, and I’ve been involved in both.  Reactive accountability is most common that I’ve seen. This is where you find someone and agree to hold each other accountable, but what you mean by this is ‘be there when you need to confess after the fact’, if that.   True accountability is proactive and looks more like this – active prayer for each other, together and apart.  This may mean using your calendar or task list or sticky notes to remind you.  It also means you ASK each other how you’re doing with the issue.  Proactively seek out your partner(s), confront them, ask how they’re doing. Encourage them. Maybe call just out of the blue.  Send a text when it’s too late to call but you know they’re still up.  Facebook, G+, Tweet, whatever you can think of to ‘drop by’ at least in spirit.  Sometimes in the past I remember when a friend has called or posted to me on Facebook at a point when I was heading down that wrong path.  In these cases, these people had no idea what I was thinking about, but God used those moments to bring me ‘back’. And the most important point – if your partner falls, help him get back up and recommit.  So many long periods of backsliding come from an initial stumble and the feeling that it’s not worth getting back up. You can help combat this or be part of this problem.  Keep that in mind too. 

    Peace brothers,  I hope you will find freedom in Christ from the slavery of sexual sin. If anyone wants an accountability partner, I suggest looking for a ‘real person’ in your life, but I’m happy to help. You can contact me on Google Plus or Facebook.  

    Reply
    • Great thoughts and advice Jeremy. I was hoping someone would touch more on accountability and you did! Your thoughts on accountability are especially salient 
      Thank you for taking the time to share your heart, I pray the Lord uses what you’ve shared here today in a powerful way for His glory. God bless you brother.

      Reply
    • Avatar

      Thanks Jeremy for writing this.

      Reply
  2. Avatar

    I would have liked to seen some scriptural references to who, why and how we are to be accountable to men. I am on mobile at moment but will try to remember to do this later, or maybe someone else can do a short write up?
    + K. C. Hartman

    Reply
    • K.C.,That’s a really good thought brother. I agree with you that accountability definitely needs to be discussed further. Since you brought it up and so did Jeremy, I think a good topic to discuss next week would be just that; what does everyone think? In the meantime here are some Scriptures are accountability1 Thessalonians 5:11“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (NIV)Ephesians 4:25“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” (NASB)Colossians 3:16“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (NIV)James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (NASB)Proverbs 24:24-25“He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.” (NKJV)Proverbs 12:15“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” (NASB)Bible Verses, Quotes & Scriptures About Being Accountable To GodRomans 14:11“For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:“ As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me,And every tongue shall confess to God.”” (NKJV)Ezekiel 3:18-19“When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.” (NIV)Romans 14:12

      Reply
  3. K.C.,

    That’s a really good thought brother. I agree with you that accountability definitely needs to be discussed further. Since you brought it up and so did Jeremy, I think a good topic to discuss next week would be just that; what does everyone think? 

    In the meantime here are some Scriptures are accountability

    1 Thessalonians 5:11
    “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (NIV)Ephesians 4:25
    “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” (NASB)Colossians 3:16
    “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” (NIV)James 5:16 
    “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (NASB)Proverbs 24:24-25
    “He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.” (NKJV)Proverbs 12:15
    “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” (NASB)Bible Verses, Quotes & Scriptures About Being Accountable To GodRomans 14:11
    “For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:
    “ As I live, says the LORD, Every knee shall bow to Me,
    And every tongue shall confess to God.”” (NKJV)Ezekiel 3:18-19
    “When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.” (NIV)Romans 14:12

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    Thank you for sharing! This is an important and critical
    topic.

    Wanted to focus on something you shared, “Sexual sin
    defines the person, and in this case when the man is a believer in Christ they
    are doing what is contrary to Scripture; namely finding their identity and
    worth outside of Christ rather than in Christ.” For me this hit the mark,
    because you will know when God is first in your life, because you will not feel
    insecure when you are not needed (in context to the topic) and I think this
    connects to the identity piece.

    From the beginning the enemy’s strategy has been to
    divide us, isolate us, and ultimately take us out! For me
    accountability has been a significant defense against this strategy – being
    connected in with a group of trusted men; a fellowship of the heart…so to
    speak. They understand that there is a battle being waged for our hearts, they understand
    that God wants us to have His best and to be fully alive. They have your back
    and you have theirs. I’ve also learned that you do not want to walk this out
    alone!I had to walk through sexual abuse as a child, so this topic is very real for me. I share more in my story “Heartstone” http://heartstonejourney.com/

    Reply
    • Plake777,

      Thank you for the encouraging feedback and also your comments. I absolutely agree with you on all your points. Next week we are going to explore accountability.

      Reply
      • Avatar

        Thanks, Dave.  Loved your post, and the comment on accountability.  My contribution to the discussion is in regards to accountability.  IMHO, accountability involves a relationship with someone.  A daily relationship is much stronger that a once a week for one hour relationship.  A relationship involves trust.  Someone must really trust someone else to be completely honest with each other, particularly regarding sexual sin. We should be about making strong friendships, having daily interaction with those in need.  I would argue that there be daily church services to help build those close and cultural relationships, and help build a daily relationship with Jesus.  Just my opinion,
        I could be wrong.  Thanks, God bless!

        Reply
        • Chris,

          Thanks for your encouraging response brother. Good points, I agree. There does need to be a strong relationship there for the person to open up about sexual sin. If its not a close godly Christian then I encourage people to go to their Pastor, elders or deacon at their local Church. I also liked your point about discipleship, I think that’s often missing in the discussion, but I don’t know about the feasibility of daily church services (cost, etc). I think it would be best for one on one discipleship or for a counselor to meet with the person struggling with sexual sin. I believe strongly in the local Church being involved but of course all of of this assumes the person will be open. If the person struggling with sexual sin won’t be open about their sin then all bets are off. I encourage prayer and fasting on behalf of those struggling with sexual sin. Thanks for your contribution brother!

          Reply
  5. Avatar

    Thanks Dave for writing this. Appreciate it.

    Yes, an article on accountability would be great…how to do it and the perimeters of it.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the encouraging feedback Ron, I appreciate it. It looks like what you guys want (from the comments so far) is an article on accountability answering the questions, “What is accountability?” “What are the perimeters of accountability?” and “How do we be accountable?” 

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    Thanks, Dave, for writing this very timely post.  The comments so far have been excellent and I agree 100% that accountability should be the next discussion we have on this topic.  

    I’ll never forget a friend of mine from a few years back who was fighting a tough battle against sexual sin, especially online pornography and masturbation. As his accountability partner, he would call me and confess, in tears, the porn and self-gratification from the night before.  I asked him why he didn’t call me at night, before he acted on his desire.  I’ll never forget what he said, because it was one of the purest lies of the devil I had ever heard.  

    He said, “I started thinking about it so I had already sinned in my mind.  Since I had already lost the battle, I went ahead and did it.”

    My friend had been tempted, yes, but before he had acted on his desires, there was no sin.  He had started to believe that the temptation itself was sin and since he had “already sinned” he may as well continue on and gratify himself.  

    What he had failed to learn was that temptation itself is not sin.  Acting on that temptation is the sin.  

    Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

    My friend was in a prison of his own making, simply because he did not understand what the Word of God taught.  I pray that this may help someone who is in a similar situation find freedom from sexual sin.

    Looking forward to continuing the conversation with you all.

    Reply

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  1. Sexual Sin, Purity and the Gospel | Servants of Grace – Kingdom of God Worship Blogs - [...] EXCERPTED FROM Kingdom Of God Worship source https://servantsofgrace.org/2011/10/24/men-sexual-sin-purity-and-the-gospel/ [...]
  2. Top Posts for 2011 on Servants of Grace | Servants of Grace - [...] #4- Men, sexual sin, purity and the Gospel by Dave Jenkins https://servantsofgrace.org/2011/10/24/men-sexual-sin-purity-and-the-gospel/ [...]

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