Well, today is Valentine’s Day. And if I didn’t know, I would have some clue just looking across the auditorium this morning. You don’t see this from my perspective, but I see a lot of red and pink and lavender. There is something going on this morning. There is romance in the air. It’s been all over our campus this morning. And that’s a good thing. I read something earlier this week that said that the average guy will spend $143 on Valentine’s Day. So, ladies, here is my tip for you. Get a receipt. Make sure you got your full thing going this Valentine’s Day. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry, is it not? And we spend a lot of money expressing our love to our significant others, to our spouses. I met an engaged couple after the second service who was here for the first time. I said, “Well, what a great weekend to be here and to be looking for a church home even as you’re anticipating getting married later this year.” So very, very exciting. But did you also know that this was Sex Week on college campuses all across America? Believe it or not, Planned Parenthood sponsors this with college campuses- Harvard, Princeton, Yale, all the biggies. Even the University of Utah got involved in Sex Week this week leading up to Valentine’s Day. The University of Utah and Planned Parenthood have joined together once again to fund Sex Week at the school where student participants have the opportunity to win a year’s supply of contraception. I’m not making this up. Sex Week’s stated mission is to raise awareness about reproductive justice by deconstructing reproductive oppression. I guess that’s aimed at guys like me who teach the Bible and what the Bible has to say about sex. Deconstructing reproductive oppression and advocating for our bodies, our families and our lives. All kinds of events happening on college campuses related to Sex Week. Some professors are giving makeup tardies and absences to students to attend. Like this Thursday night event where students are invited to participate in a “Make Your Own Safe-Sex Kit” workshop. Wow. That’s what I want to send my kid to college for, you know, to get their safe-sex kit workshop. And free HIV/STD testing is available as well. Students for Choice president Kilam Kaur says the goal of her group is to help people have complete autonomy over themselves, reports the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Sex Week. I mean, this is part of the moral perversion and polluted-ness that our culture introduces as a it relates to a gift that God has given to us within the boundaries of marriage. I’m all for open and honest conversations about sex. In fact, I’m not among those pastors or even lay people who think that there are three taboo subjects in the church that we should never talk about. You know those three subjects, don’t you? Money, sex and politics. No, I happen to think we ought to talk about every one of those subjects and what does God have to say about them. And especially when it comes to sex, because, friends, God created sex. He’s not bashful about it. He doesn’t blush when He talks about it. He created it. We can go all the way back to the book of Genesis 1. God created man in His own image, male and female He made them. And then you have in Genesis 2 the first marriage ceremony between Adam and Eve where the two became one flesh, and they were told to be fruitful and multiply. Listen, God created us as sexual human beings. And He gave us sex as a wonderful gift within the context of the marriage relationship, and within the context of the marriage relationship it is to be enjoyed and celebrated. Solomon is even going to refer to an intoxicating level of pleasure between the husband and the wife. Enjoy yourselves, husbands and wives, within the marriage relationship. But, oh, does the Bible warn us about losing our sexual integrity. About operating ourselves as sexual human beings in a way that is inconsistent with what God has told us and the boundaries that He has established.
I love the fact that Solomon has a conversation with his sons. I’m not talking about this subject because it’s Valentine’s Day today or because it’s Sex Week on college campuses across America. I’m talking about it because we’re in a study of the book of Proverbs and it just happened to land on Valentine’s Day. Imagine that. Proverbs 5, 6 and 7 is a conversation between Solomon and his son and, later, his sons. He gets a crowd as soon as he starts talking about sex inside the home. And it’s chapters 5, 6 and 7. This section of scripture in Proverbs 1-9, which is written in a literary form where Solomon is having a conversation with his son, 25% of the editorial content of Proverbs 1-9 is about sex. All right. And it just underscores how important this subject is, how important it is for fathers to lead the conversation in the home. Even though this is a conversation between a father and a son, ladies, you can turn around and it can be between a mother and a daughter. There is intentional conversation and divine guidance for everyday life, including this all-important subject. But here is what I want you to notice. Solomon does not have “the talk” with his sons about the birds and the bees. It’s not about the birds and the bees. It’s about the blessings and the curses, or the consequences, of our sexual behavior. Blessings and pleasure and delight within the marriage relationship. The consequences of taking that act outside of the marriage relationship, Solomon has a straight conversation with his sons about that and warns them about losing their sexual integrity, we might say.
So it’s not about the birds and the bees. It’s not about passing out condoms. Making wise choices about sex is not about passing out condoms. It’s about the commandments of God and what God has to say about this all-important subject. Because He created us in His own image, because He made us male and female, trust me, friends, He alone has the exclusive rights on defining what gender means, what relationship between men and women means, marriage, all of that. That is in His exclusive right to define and to instruct us on the wise application of our human sexuality. And we would be wise people to get ahold of these wise sayings from Solomon to his son. So let’s do that. Let’s talk this week about some of those consequences and the warnings that Solomon shares with his sons. And then next week we’re gonna get even more practical in chapter 7 about some ways to maintain our sexual integrity and even restore it if we have lost it. Important, important conversations for us in our culture today.
So the first thing that Solomon says to his son is that sexual sin destroys a life. Proverbs 6:32, “He who commits adultery lacks sense.” In other words, it’s a stupid thing to do, okay. And then he goes on to say, “He who does it destroys himself.” And then we go back to chapter 5 and verse 1. “My son, be attentive to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.” Solomon, again, comes back to pleading with his son not to just shrug his shoulders and roll his eyes about the wise instructions he’s receiving from his dad at home, but to really lean into this. And he quickly transitions to the subject at hand in verse 3. “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.” Now, everything that Solomon is gonna say to his son about not engaging with a prostitute and an immoral woman could be flipped. And a mother could have the same conversation with her daughter about her relationship with a man. But in the context here, Solomon is talking to his son and, later, to his sons. And the first thing he does is shoot straight with him and lay out for them a pathway to sexual ruin. You want to destroy your life, son, here is how to do it. It starts with delight. It starts with something that is pleasurable. He says, “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil.”
Now, notice what Solomon says here and what he doesn't say. He mentions her lips. He mentions her speech. He says nothing about the way she looks or her body. Because, in one sense—and, ladies, you need to hear this—one of the most seductive things for a man is when an attractive woman tells him, “You’re gifted. You’re great. You’re one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met.” He says be careful of the woman whose lips drip with honey and whose speech is smoother than oil. It’s not about the eyes yet. It’s about what he hears. You see, ladies, if all your husband ever hears is, “Why didn’t you do that? Why did I marry such a fool like you,” if that’s all he hears, it won’t be long before a sweet-talking, honey-dripping thing comes and whispers some sweet nothing in his ear about how great he is and how gifted he is and how talented he is. “What a great job you did on that project at the office.” And it fills a vacuum and a void that is missing at home. If he doesn't hear…I mean, here this is empty flattery from the forbidden woman. But if he doesn’t hear that ego-boosting language at home, it may be a matter of time before he hears it someplace else. Because here is the mistake we make. We think a man’s greatest need is for sex. No, that’s a close second. Man’s greatest need is for significance. And if he doesn't feel significant inside the four walls of his own home, ladies, he might…well, let me just put it this way. It takes a lot of resistance not to find it outside of the home as time goes on. Now, that’s not to point a finger of blame at the wife or to make an excuse for the husband. I’m not doing either of those.
And we can flip it around too. While a man’s greatest need is for signifance, a woman’s greatest need is for security. And, guys, if you're not providing that security within the home—if you’re just a rolling ball from job to job, and you can’t keep down a job, and you can’t spend less money than what you make, and you’re not providing—it may just be a matter of time before some smooth-talking guy comes along and provides the security for her that you’re not providing. Again, I’m not pointing a finger of blame. I’m not making an excuse. What I see is that Solomon understands how a guy is wired. And if all a guy hears is, “You’re just a rotten fool that I married. My mother told me a long time I shouldn’t have married you,” if that’s all he hears at home, then there may be somebody whose lips drip like honey and whose speech is as smooth as oil and fills that emptiness in his heart. And one thing leads to another. The reason sexual sin is so tempting is because there is something pleasurable and delightful about it. And it goes to core of who we are as male and female and the unique needs that we have.
But Solomon is quick to say to his son it moves quickly from delight to disappointment. Because her lips may drip honey and her speech may be smoother than oil, but sin is pleasurable for a season. Right? That’s what the Bible says. And he says on the heels of that, “She is as bitter as wormwood.” Now, wormwood in the ancient Near Eastern culture was a bitter root plant that you’d find in the desert. If you ate it, it was really, really bitter. And in the Bible, wormwood is an emblem or a symbol of calamity. If you go to the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, John’s vision end times and end times prophecy, he is right in the middle of this time in Bible prophecy known as the Great Tribulation, still future in Bible prophecy. I call it the worst of times on earth. And in Revelation 8:11 it says that all the rivers and the seas and the oceans will turn bitter like wormwood. And people will drink them and masses of numbers of people on earth will die as a result. And then C. S. Lewis in his classic book on spiritual warfare called The Screwtape Letters. And it’s this conversation between the devil, Satan, and this junior demon that he’s trying to train up in his diabolical ways. Well, that junior demon, C. C. Lewis names him, you guessed it, Wormwood. Solomon says sexual sin goes from delight…here’s the path. Delight- it’s pleasurable. She’s whispering sweet nothings. It’s like honey from her lips. It’s like smooth oil. She’s telling you things you’ve never heard. “You’re wonderful. You’re great. You did a fabulous job on that project. You’re the brightest, smartest guy in the room.” But she’s as bitter as wormwood. It goes from delight to disappointment, then to destruction. She is sharp as a two-edged sword. Guys, gals, sexual sin will skewer you. It’s like eventually somebody taking a sharp, two-edged sword and plunging it into your midsection. And then “her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol.” The path to sexual ruin, Solomon lays it out in no uncertain terms to his son. He’s holding nothing back. He isn’t sugarcoating this. He’s saying sexual sin will destroy and ruin a life.
Number two, sexual sin leaves you with painful regret. Let’s read on beginning in verse 7. “And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, ‘How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.’” Here Solomon anticipates that maybe his son or, now, his sons…by the way, did you notice it’s plural in verse 7. Verse 1, “my son;” verse 7, “and now, O sons.” As soon as Solomon starts talking about sex in the household, he’s got a crowd, all right. Now all of his sons are leaning into the conversation here. And he anticipates that maybe, just maybe as life goes on, they reject his wise counsel. Maybe they’re sitting there shrugging their shoulders, rolling their eyes, saying, “Come on, Dad. I mean, get with the times. It’s the 21st century. I just came back from Sex Week at whatever college. Live and let live. If it feels good, do it, Dad.” You know, he’s anticipating they might reject it. And if doing so, then he verbalizes their painful regret. “How I hated discipline. How my heart despised reproof, and I did not listen to the voice of my teachers.” He’s saying, “You’re gonna get to that point if you reject the teaching that I share with you.” He says here are some of the consequences. “Lest you give you honor others, your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength.” Your strength.
When I read that I thought of Samson in the Old Testament. You remember Samson? Samson was the strong man of the Old Testament. You know, he was the guy, you know, posing at those muscle man places. I mean, he was just a big, strong man. He was He-man, we might say. He was a He-man with a she-weakness. And everywhere Solomon went, his eyes were scanning for the pretty ladies. And Solomon strength was tied to the fact that he took a Nazarite vow to the Lord. He gave himself to the Lord at an early age. Part of that was that he couldn’t cut his hair. That was part of the Nazarite vow. And it wasn’t until this sweet-talking, honey-dripping gal named Delilah came along and whispered sweet nothings in Samson’s ear that she figured out the secret to his strength had something to do with his hair. And while he was sleeping she cut his strength away. And Samson woke up, and he couldn’t do the things that he was once able to do. And the Bible says these haunting words. “He didn’t know that the spirit of the Lord had departed.” And we find Samson in this horrible state at the end of his life. His eyes are gouged out. The enemy has conquered him. And he is the mule, as it were, that’s just pushing around this grinding thing in the mill, grinding grain just round and round and round. Just a sad, (0:19:00.1) pitiful, you know, ending to Solomon’s life.
Sexual sin leaves you with painful regret and possibly even public disgrace. Verse 14, “I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.” That may be just the nucleus of your own family. It may be family and friends. It may be church family. It may be a politician who disgraces himself or herself on a national stage. But sexual sin…oh, it may start as delight. But as somebody once said, “Honey drips and honey is sweet, but the bee stings.” The bee stings. You may be here this morning and you may find yourself in that stage of painful regret. And I understand in a message like this and in a church this size there are people who are dealing with all kinds of things. Maybe you can point to a time when you lost your sexual integrity. (0:20:00.0) It could have been last night. It could have been a week ago. It could have been six years ago. Just know that the best place to come is to the foot of the cross, because it’s there at the cross of Christ where the Bible says if any man or woman is in Christ, “old things are passed away and all things have become new.” God has an amazing way…can’t restore physical virginity, but can restore sexual integrity from this day forward to live a holy and pure life. And that’s His intention. That’s His desire is to pick us up and all the brokenness of our life and to lead us forward. Atlantic Shores Baptist Church I pray is a safe place for broken people, broken by sin in a lot of different ways. That we don’t have to wear our Sunday masks. And when you think about all the different ways we can lose our sexual integrity, the Bible here speaks of adultery. And in the Ten Commandments, you know, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Adultery is kind of the big category of sin, but everything underneath that from adultery…fornication is sex between two consenting single adults, right. That’s sex outside of marriage. There is pornography. There is lust. Jesus raised the bar on righteousness in Matthew 5 in His Sermon on the Mount. And He said, “If any man lusts after another woman, he has already committed adultery in his heart.” Lust is when you look at another person and imagine the sexual possibilities. And that’s a man lusting after a woman. It’s a woman lusting after a man. We even have to say in our society today a man lusting after another man and a woman lusting after another woman. So there’s really not…you know, when you see Jesus’s standard for sexual integrity, there’s not a one of us in this room that has not failed at some level. And adultery always starts in the head before it ever reaches the bed. And it may just stay there. So all of us feel this sense of shame and the sense that, “I haven’t got it perfect here,” and this painful regret at some level or another. God’s grace is sufficient for that, friends. And we’ll talk more about that as time goes on.
Number three, sexual sin is like drinking polluted water. Let’s read on in verse 15. “Drink water from your own cistern,” Solomon says to his son. “Flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delights; be intoxicated always in her love. Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?” There’s a lot going on in that text, and some scholars are divided as to whether the mention of springs and streams of water and cisterns describes his immorality or hers. I think the best way of looking at this is that the springs and the streams of water that are mentioned here are a description of the husband’s sexual affection. The cistern, which was a place to store pure water back in ancient times…everybody kind of had their own cistern carved out of stone and lined in limestone. And it was a place to keep pure drinking water. In the imagery here the cistern here is the wife’s sexual affection. And they are to drink from and satisfy one another from each other’s pure drinking source, is the idea. And there is the picture here in these words of that pure drinking water spilling out into the streets, okay. What happens when a pure drinking water system spills out into the streets? Well, it becomes polluted. It becomes contaminated. And nobody can or should or desires to drink from it.
So years ago I heard this story. I think it was about a city in Minnesota perhaps. And there was this young college student that got drunk one night, and he made his way over to the city water purification plant and somehow got behind the fences there and urinated in the city’s water system. And if that wasn’t bad enough, you know, he was too drunk to realize there were cameras there, security cameras. So he was in a whole heap of trouble with city officials the next day, probably spent some time in prison. But what do they do? I mean, he contaminated hundreds of thousands of gallons of pure drinking water. And the city had no choice but to flush it all out of the system and start over again. And this is the picture that Solomon gives to us here. He says when we have sex outside of the context of the marriage relationship, it’s like polluting the pure watering system and the refreshment that a husband and wife enjoy to one another. It’s like drinking polluted water. But he is very quick to go on to celebrate the pleasure and the delight that a husband and wife have inside the marriage relationship. He says, verse 18, “Let your fountain be blessed.” He uses the word “rejoice,” the word “delight.” He pictures here a delightful and pleasurable intoxicated love, as it were, as you’re drinking and satisfying one another in marital love. The Bible isn’t down on sex. God doesn’t blush when He talks about sex. We don’t need to talk about it in hushed tones. We need to celebrate it within the context that God gave to us and give fair warning to all of us that we not lose our sexual integrity by spilling the pure water system and contaminating it through sexual immorality. Sex is not only intended for procreation, but the Bible is clear here. It was intended for pleasure as well between a husband and a wife. And it’s exclusive their right to enjoy each other.
Number four, sexual sin enslaves you. Solomon goes on to say in verse 21, “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” They ensnare him. Sexual sin is addicting. A lot of studies out there that give testimony to this. And the Bible certainly tells us that sexual sin enslaves us. Romans 6:16, turn with me there for a moment. Romans 6:16 the apostle Paul says, “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin which leads to death or of obedience which leads to righteousness.” In other words, something is going to master you, either right choices or wrong choices. Whatever you give yourself to, whatever you present yourself to on a regular basis, that will become your master. And what he is saying in the context here is let Jesus and His righteousness master you. He will help you make right choices. If you continue to give yourself to sin, say, to sexual immorality, that sexual immorality will also master you. It will enslave you.
In his letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 6:18, the apostle Paul says, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” I take this to mean there is something very unique about sexual sin. It’s why it’s one of the hardest addictions to break for men and for women who are enslaved to immoral and illicit sexual things, whether it’s pornography or the act itself. And we just need to be aware of this. You’re dancing in very dangerous places and may find yourself so enslaved to it you don’t know how to get out of it. By the way, in verse 21 Solomon says, “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.” Just a reminder to his young boys. You may think this is all a secret and nobody sees your sexual immorality, the pornography you're looking at or whatever it might be. Maybe you have that relationship, you know, you’ve just kind of agreed to one another, “We’ve got this just as a secret between us.” Well, a secret sin on earth is an open scandal in heaven. Because the eyes of the Lord scan and seize all that we do. “A man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.” Don’t ever think that, you know, what you’ve tucked away in a secret compartment over here is not open and on the big screens in heaven. God sees every bit of it and eventually it comes out for all to see.
Number five, sexual sin will burn you. Let’s go to chapter 6:27. “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished,” Solomon says to his sons. It’s a great analogy here. Sex is like a fire. It’s like a fire. Think of the fire you have in your home, in your fireplace. It’s a great thing on a really cold day like today to just strike up the fire. It’s Valentine’s Day. You snuggle up with your spouse, and that fire in the fireplace is a wonderful thing. And you’ve got a fire, you know, in the stove in your kitchen. You can cook up a nice meal and share a meal together. But if you take that fire outside the context for which it was made, the fireplace, you take it outside that context it’ll burn your house down. And that’s the idea with sex. Sex is something beautiful God created, but context is everything. It’s made for the marriage relationship. You take it outside the context for which it was made, it will burn you every time. It’ll scorch your soul. And that’s why some of us walk around, perhaps, with shame and regret and painful memories. And, yes, we know the forgiveness and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, but, boy, the devil loves to replay those tapes. He loves to say to us, “What are you doing sitting in church this morning? You know, you’re just putting on a show here. You don’t belong in that place.” That’s why I’m always quick to remind people that a place like Atlantic Shores is a safe place for broken people. And the devil and his whispering in our ears that we don’t belong here because of this, that or the other thing where we’ve messed up, listen, just kick him right out the door. All right. But we do need to hear the wise counsel of scripture that sex is like a fire. We’ve got to keep it within the context for which it was made.
Suppose you were building a home, and it came to that place in the building of your home where the mason guy comes in. And he’s putting bricks and mortar up, and he’s building the fireplace. You wouldn’t look at him and say, “Come on, man. Get with the times. This is the 21st century. You’re just spoiling all my fun. I love to play with fire.” Nah, you wouldn’t say that. He’s doing a good thing by building a fireplace where you can put a warm fire to warm your house and snuggle up with your honey on Valentine’s Day. And so it is when God gives us boundaries for our sexual behavior. Ten Commandments, the seventh commandment says, “You shall not commit adultery.” Again, adultery being the big sin there, the big category of sin. But we can list, you know, all the other categories or the other sins in that category all the way down to lust- imagining the sexual possibilities with another person. And I know a lot of people say, “Oh, you know, the Ten Commandments are just out of step with the times. Come on, this is Sex Week on college campuses. You’ve got to get with the times. And especially those ‘Thou shalt nots.’ They’re just so negative.” But I want you to think about something. Suppose you were sitting in your home, and you’re over here in the den somewhere. And your child or your grandchild reaches up for a hot stove. And you just see this kind of happening in slow motion. Well, what are you gonna say to that child? You don’t have time to rush over there. What are you gonna say? Are you gonna say in whispered, hushed tones, “Now, honey, don’t do that.” No, you’re gonna shout at the top of your lungs, “Don’t go there!” hoping that the child reacts and jumps back. Because if you don’t, they’re gonna put their hand on that hot burner and burn their hand, right? Well, that’s how I understand the “Thou shalt nots” in the Ten Commandments. There are certain things God knows that if we go there and cross those boundaries, we’re gonna get burned. And sexual immorality is one of them. So as loudly as He can, He says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” because some of us are maybe that close to doing it. We’re reaching for that hot stove. He knows we’re gonna get burned. The problem is we have largely silenced that moral conscience and that moral alarm system in our culture. And we’ve gone so far the opposite direction of biblical norms, we don’t hear the alarms going off anymore. But the Ten Commandments are meant to be loud alarms and warning signals. Don’t steal. Don’t commit adultery. And on and on and on to preserve us and to protect us, because our heavenly Father loves us just like a father or a mother loves a child who might be reaching for that hot stove. And He says, “Don’t go there. Don’t go there, because it will burn you. It will burn you badly.” God created sex for the marriage relationship. I said it earlier, but I’ll say it again. Context is everything. Enjoy it to your intoxicated pleasurable delight within the context of marriage. And be forewarned about the consequences outside of marriage.
Number six, sexual sin is stealing. Verse 30 of chapter 6, “People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold; he will give all the goods of his house.” It’s interesting. In our culture today, many people say that, well, the human sexual desire is kind of like our desire for food. And if you get hungry, go satisfy yourself. You know, go to the refrigerator, eat anything you want to satisfy that hunger. You know, Snickers satisfies, right? You’re not you until you’ve gobbled down a Snickers and satisfy yourself. And they apply that same logic to sex. Well, you do that, and you’re gonna end up in a very unhealthy place. If you just satisfy the hunger in your belly in any old way and any old time you want, you’re gonna put on weight. You’re not gonna be healthy. You’re gonna eat a bunch of junk food. The same is true with our sexual desires. There is a time and a place to satisfy those. And, in fact, if we take it out of the context for which it was created, the marriage relationship, we not only, you know, pollute the pure drinking system, as Solomon says, we not only burn ourselves, but satisfaction goes down. Satisfaction goes down. And God knows this. And so, again, He doesn’t put boundaries around our sexual behavior to spoil our fun. No, He wants to increase the pleasure and keep us from experiencing pain. He wants to preserve us and to protect us.
Solomon uses the analogy of a thief here, and he does it very intentionally, because sexual immorality is stealing. It’s somebody else’s daughter or son. It’s somebody else’s future husband or wife or present husband and wife and doesn’t belong to you. It’s interesting, in the Bible to believers Paul writes, I think in his letter to the Corinthians, “Your body is not your own. It was bought with a price. It is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” And all this garbage in our culture today about how it’s a woman’s choice or it’s a man’s choice or…you know, because, well, what did the college student say at the University of Utah? “The goal is for everybody to exercise their complete autonomy.” No, your body and my body, it doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the Lord. I’m just renting this facility. And He is the owner, and the Holy Spirit dwells here. And in the marriage relationship the Bible is clear that the wife’s body belongs to the husband, and the husband’s body belongs to the wife. There is a mutual duty to satisfy there. So that runs so contrary to this idea of complete autonomy in our culture today. It runs contrary to the biblical standard that we find in scripture.
I know a message like this hits people in a lot of different places. And I just want to end reminding us all of a story in the Gospels. There were a group of kind of persnickety, uppity religious people—they called them Pharisees—who caught a woman in the very act of adultery. They must have been kind of watching her, because they knew the time and the place. They went into her home. Boom, there she was right in the act. They drug her out into the streets. They threw her down in public shame in front of everybody, and then brought Jesus in and said, “What are you gonna do?” You remember the story? Bible says Jesus kneeled down. Didn’t say anything, just kneeled down. And He, with His finger, started writing something in the dirt. We don’t know what He wrote. There is speculation that He might have written the Ten Commandments. What we do know is that He didn’t speak anything to the Pharisees, but you did hear the sound of, one by one, the rocks they were holding in their hands, the stones that they were gonna throw at her, dropping to the ground. Thud, thud, thud. And the shuffling of sandals in the dirt as they walked away. Eventually all of her accusers were gone. And Jesus turns to her and says, “Where are your accusers?” And He says these gracious words to her. “Neither do I condemn you.” But He didn’t stop there. He also told her, “Go and sin no more.” And that’s a beautiful illustration of what the gospel writers say about Jesus that He was full of grace and truth at the same time. Think of it like a teeter totter. Grace on one side, truth on the other. Too much grace, you know, leads to what we used to call “sloppy agape.” You know, we just love everybody. Just love everybody. Too much truth and not enough grace is like a hard hammer. That was the Pharisees, just hammering people. Perfect balance of grace and truth. That is Jesus Christ. And that’s the balance I desire as a pastor here at Atlantic Shores. Again, safe place for broken people. There is no one of us that has a perfect score card when it comes to sexual integrity, okay. Remember, lust, just imagining. Not a one of us that has a perfect score card. But God’s grace is sufficient. Lack of sexual integrity is not the unpardonable sin. But if it’s got you by the scruff of your neck and it’s pulling you here and pulling you there and you can’t seem to get free, just know, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” And at the cross you’re gonna find cleansing and forgiveness and a Jesus who is still full of grace and truth. The Bible says to believers in Jesus Christ, Romans 8:1, “There is no condemnation, no condemnation to those who are in Christ.” Are you in Christ today? Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? Are you in the family of God? Have you been born again and born anew into the family of God? If not, today is a great day to do that. “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ.” But that same Jesus who is full of grace is also full of the kind of truth that says, “Go and sin no more.” If you're in an immoral relationship today, on the authority of this scripture and as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, I’m gonna tell you to stop it today for your own good. For your own good. For all the reasons we talked about. Go and sin no more. And from this day forward walk in sexual integrity by the grace of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen? Let’s pray together.
Father, thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for the opportunity to speak directly because You’ve spoken directly to us from Your Word. And, Father, we are men and women and young people today who need the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You for just an amazing, amazing amount of grace that You shower onto all of our lives here. Thank You for the truth. Thank You for telling us the truth when the culture says so many untruthful things to us about a gift that You and You alone know best how to operate and how to manage. Father, as we come to the table this morning, the communion table, I’m reminded of the cross of Christ. I pray that it would be a place of healing, a place of cleansing, a place where, if any man or woman is in Christ Jesus, old things are passed away and all things have become new. And we pray this in Jesus’s name and for His sake, amen.