Sermon Transcript


Well, I’ve titled this morning’s message “Making Wise Choices about Sex, Part 2.”  If you have only been at Atlantic Shores Baptist Church last week and this week, you’re gonna think all the pastor talks about is sex, and that’s not true.  I’m taking one for the team these two weeks and addressing this subject.  Any of you who want to come up here and do it, I’d be glad to hand off just for a week or two.  No, we’re in a study of the book of Proverbs, and in particular Proverbs 1-9 where we’ve been looking at some divine guidance for everyday life.  And Proverbs is part of the Old Testament wisdom literature.  It is intensely practical.  It deals with our horizontal relationships and how to live life skillfully and with wisdom.  We defined, in week one, wisdom as the ability to apply truth skillfully.  And we also said in week two and the weeks that followed that we’re gonna bump into all kinds of situations in life as we go through and book of Proverbs.  And it shouldn’t surprise us that Proverbs addresses how we manage our sexual integrity.  In Proverbs 1-9 it’s written as a conversation between Solomon and his son.  Sometimes he’s having a one-on-one conversation, at other times he has other members of his children, his sons plural that join in the conversation.  And as I said last week, 25% of the content from Proverbs 1-9, 25% of it is about sex.  It’s a reminder, guys, yes, we need to have that conversation, the talk, with our kids.  But it’s not a talk about the birds and the bees.  It’s about the blessings and the curses or the consequences.  It’s about the blessings of this gift that God has given to us called sex within the marriage relationship.  And, yes, it’s about the curses or the consequences, we might say, of mismanaging our sexual integrity and taking that gift, as it were, outside the context for which it was made, which is the marriage relationship, and using it and abusing it in that way.



We said last week that sex is kind of like playing with fire.  When that fire is in your fireplace at home in the context for which it was created, it’s a wonderful thing.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It will warm your home.  You can snuggle up next to fire.  You take the fire outside of the context for which it was created, and it will burn your house down.  And sex is the same way.  And so Solomon is having a very candid conversation with his son about making wise choices about sex.  We live in a society that is saturated with sexual seduction, aren’t we?  Everything is sold by sex in one way or another.  Just all the advertisers use it.  And it used to be that you could fall into this trap…well, you’d have to travel to a certain place in the city, a certain street corner perhaps.  Or you’d have to have the courage to ask for that little magazine behind the candy counter that’s wrapped in a brown paper bag.  Today it’s digitally at our fingertips, which means all the more we need to put protective barriers around this area of our life, both men and women.  And we’re gonna find that something that was written 3000 years ago is up to date to where we’re living today.  You know, we live in a time of immense change.  Some are saying that there is political change going on, a political revolution going on in America.  I don’t know about that, but some people are saying that.  Change is inevitable in life.  If you have any doubts about it, just look a picture of yourself 25 years ago, and then look in the mirror today.  Things are changing, aren’t they?



But some things remain the same, like biblical truth.  Like human nature when it comes to who we are as sexual human beings and how we manage our sexual integrity.  Solomon is gonna speak directly to his son about how a woman seduces a man and how to guard yourself against that.  Now, we could turn the genders around and how a man might seduce a woman.  But in the context here, Solomon is having a conversation with his son.  And he kind of slows down the steps of seduction.  We’re not gonna linger long on this.  We don’t need to.  We kind of get it.  But what I’m impressed with is something that was written 3000 years ago, yes, understand the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is as applicable today as it was back when Solomon shared these thoughts with his sons.  Some things about human nature have never changed.



I want to lay out for you, as Solomon does for his son, the steps toward seduction.  I primarily want to spend my time though this morning talking about ways to avoid sexual seduction in a society like ours that is saturated with it everywhere you go.  How do you protect your sexual integrity?  That’s where we’re gonna end up today.  But let’s walk through the conversation as Solomon does with his son.



The first step in seduction I see is what I call exhibition.  Look at it in verse 10.  Solomon says, “And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.”  She is, let’s just say, advertising something for this young, naïve man that Solomon sees.  As he’s looking out his window, Solomon says to his son, “I see some young naïve men going to places they shouldn’t go.  And they arrive at a place, and behold, this woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.”  This is a reminder, ladies, that men are visual.  They’re visual.  Ladies don’t understand how a guy can see a scantily clad woman walking across the street and want to have sex with her.  Women don’t understand that.  Guys do. Guys understand it all the time.  I mean, we’re wired to respond visually.  That’s why the culture in which we live, which is saturated with sexual images right at our digital fingertips, is so dangerous for men today.  You used to have to go to a place that was tucked over here, had red lights around it and all that.  No, it’s right there.  It’s delivered to your digital doorstep.  And we’re visually attracted.  That’s why the first step in seduction here is exhibition.  She’s advertising something to this young man.  By the way, ladies, the culture will say if you got it, flaunt it.  Well, the better and more biblical way is if you got it, protect it.  Don’t flaunt it.  Protect it.  And that’s a conversation that every day needs to have with his daughter, every husband and wife need to have with their children.  If you’ve got it, then protect that gift that God has given to you and save it for the marriage relationship.



So the first step is exhibition, the first step in seduction.  The second step is excitement.  Read on verse 11 with me.  “She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.”  To me this describes a young lady who is full of excitement.  She’s here; she’s there.  She’s not boring and sitting at home and baking cookies, as it were.  No, she is in the street and in the market, at every corner.  She’s loud. She’s wayward.  She provides some level of excitement for this guy.  And it’s a reminder to me that couples, husbands and wives, yeah, your relationship will go through seasons of…can I just say boredom?  Maybe after 5 years or 10 years or 15 or 20 years you’ve kind of hit a skid in the road.  And that’s just not as exciting and as spontaneous.  And where’s the spark?  And, you know, you’re living life, and you’re raising kids.  And you're trying to, you know, put two nickels together.  And you’re tired, and you’re worn out.  And, well, you’re just kind of bored.  Okay.  Everybody goes through that.  That’s the time not to look outside the relationship to find something exciting again.  It’s the time to look inside the relationship and maybe take these steps in seduction and apply them within the marriage relationship.  That’s okay.  You can do that.  That’s wonderful and appropriate within the context for which it was made.  You take these steps of seduction and apply them outside of the marriage relationship, and you’re playing with fire.  But every relationship needs spark.  It needs spontaneity.  It needs excitement.  And as a marriage continues on years and decades, you have to reintroduce that.  You have to find ways to get back to that spark and that excitement.  Or else maybe something else exciting will come along, and you start playing with fire.



So there’s exhibition.  There’s excitement.  Thirdly, there’s flirtation.  Do you see it in verse 13?  “She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, ‘I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows;’” She’s been to church, and now she’s going to do this.  “‘So now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.’”  You see the repetition of the word “you”?  She’s all about him in a flirtatious kind of way.  And she’s bold in her physical gestures toward him.  She seizes him.  She kisses him.  With a bold face, she is speaking these flirtatious words to him.  Flirtation is not communication; it’s manipulation.  And she’s good at it.  She’s good at it.  And as we said last time, a woman can seduce her way into a man’s heart just by speaking to him flirtatiously and telling him how wonderful he is and how great he is, especially when he never hears it from home.



So there’s exhibition.  There’s excitement.  There’s flirtation.  Number four, there is anticipation.  Verse 16 and 17.  “I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.”  She is prepared.  And she is communicating this to him.  And it’s building his sense of excitement and anticipation.  And did you notice how all the five senses are mentioned here?  There is sight- the colored linens. There is smell- the perfumed linens.  There is sound- she is speaking to him.  There is touch- Egyptian linens, that fine whatever that is.  I don’t know.  I get my sheets at Target, all right.  She mentions cinnamon, not only the smell but perhaps the taste.  The anticipation is heightened by all the five senses here.



Number five comes the invitation.  Verse 18, “Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.”  The invitation to get just get away and indulge yourself.  By the way, the Christian life is lived this way.  It’s to take up your cross daily and to deny yourself and to follow Christ.  The world says indulge yourself.  Accept the invitation.  Indulge yourself and enjoy yourself.  But Jesus says, no, to live the Christian life successfully you’re gonna have to learn how to deny yourself.  Oh, enjoy yourself within the context of the marriage relationship.  Let’s never get far from that.  Outside of it, boy, you’ve got to practice the discipline of self-control and self-denial in the power of the Holy Spirit and say no to such a bold, bold invitation.



The next step is rationalization.  Verse 19, “For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.”  It’s her way of rationalizing the relationship and of saying, “We won’t get caught.  He’s on a long trip.  It’s gonna be a long time before he is home.  We can do this in secret.  Nobody will know.”  Remember, a secret sin on earth is an open scandal in heaven because the eyes of the Lord see everything.  And then the final step is consummation.  Verse 22, “All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.”  Beside the word “consummation” you can also put “consequences.”  Because Solomon is not afraid to say, “Son, what is exciting and flirtatious and builds a sense of excitement and is a pleasurable invitation full of all kinds of rationalizations will eventually cost you something.”



Now, again, if your relationship has kind of hit the skids and you're kind of bored and the spark isn’t there like it used to be and you need some spontaneity, hey, take these seven steps and do them with your spouse.  That’s perfectly legal, perfectly okay.  In fact, you probably need to do it, okay, just to keep the relationship alive and exciting.  It’s not gonna be that every day.  Don’t have that kind of a crazy expectation.  Life is life, and routine is good.  But sometimes you’ve got to…but you take these seven steps outside of the context, you’re playing with fire, and it will cost you something.  This is the point where it’s important for every one of us, men and women alike, to make a list of the things it would cost us if we lost our sexual integrity.  And I can make my list.  You can make your list.  But that list would be very similar, I’m sure.  The reason I say make the list is because C. S. Lewis said that when it comes to sexual sin and lust, in the heat of the moment—this is C. S. Lewis saying this—in the heat of the moment God becomes very unreal.  And He does.  I mean, when lust and that invitation and opportunity to indulge yourself becomes the hottest and it’s right there, you don’t have the human power to say no to that.  That’s pulsating, especially guys, it’s pulsating through your veins at a level you cannot resist that.  God becomes very unreal.  Oh, you can intellectualize this at another time when the temptation isn’t so hot and so real.  Yeah, you can quote all the right verses, say all the right things.  But in that moment, you need something that’s gonna provide a fortification against you taking that deadly step.  And part of that is making a list of the things that it will cost you if you lose your sexual integrity, and keeping that list right in front of you.



Well, let’s take some time to talk about ways to avoid sexual seduction aside from just making a list.  And here is where I just want to get intensely practical.  These are things for the pastor to put into practice as much as it is for any of you in the pews.  So even if you weren’t here this morning, I’d be preaching to myself.  Because these are things for all of us to keep in mind.



Number one, renew your mind with the Word of God.  I’m gonna give you some “R”s, four or five of them.  The first word is “renew.”  Renew your mind with the Word of God.  Let’s go back to Proverbs 7.  And let’s look at how Solomon begins this conversation and actually continues this part of the conversation with his son, verses 1-5.  This has become very familiar to us because this is how Solomon kind of gets started in any conversation with his son.  He says, “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.  Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call insight your intimate friend.”  We could stop right there and that could apply to any area of life where we need divine guidance for everyday life.  But then he transitions into verse 5.  He says all of this, “to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.”  The first step in avoiding the sexually seductive society in which we live is to renew your mind daily with the Word of God.



Paul says it this way in his letter to the Romans.  He says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  And if you haven’t already figured it out, boy, this culture in which we life is doing its best to try to conform our understanding of human sexuality to the world’s value system.  It assumes that you and I are like Jell-O and they can just pour us into the mold of this world.  Paul says, “Do not be conformed,” like Jell-O, we might say.  Don’t be conformed like Jell-O to this world, but be transformed, changed from the inside out.  Transformed how?  By the renewing of your mind.  Remember last week I said adultery starts in the head before it ever starts in the bed.  So you’ve got to start building some fortifications in your mind to protect you against the onslaught of the enemy in this area.  I’m talking about Bible reading, Bible (0:19:00.0) study.  I’m talking about meditating upon the scriptures.  I’m talking about scripture memorization, all right.  Because Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 we’re in a spiritual battle.  “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and power, against the rulers of darkness of this world.”  And then he goes on to give us spiritual armor we’re to fight with.  And part of that armor that he says to take up every day and to put on is what he calls the sword of the Spirit.  It’s like a little dagger, okay.  A double-edged sword.  He says the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  One of the primary pieces of armor we do battle with in the spiritual realm is the Bible itself.  And you’ve got to get serious about building those mental walls of fortification and renew your mind daily.  (0:20:00.0) Renew your mind daily with the Word of God.



If this is an area where you particularly struggle in—sexual identity and sexual integrity and all that—then you need to scour the scriptures and find all those places in the Bible that give us wise, divine instruction.  And you need to do the hard work of committing it to memory.  Why?  Because as Lewis says, in the moment of temptation, God becomes unreal.  You’re probably not gonna run back to your Sunday school lesson at the time.  I mean, you’re right there.  The temptation is hot and heavy.  That’s when the Holy Spirit is gonna reach into something that is hidden deeply into your heart and into your mind and pull out that sword and fight the spiritual battle with you.  In other words, you can’t be lazy about the spiritual armor when it comes to the Word of God.  You have to read it.  You have to study it.  You have to saturate your heart and your mind with the truth.  You have to meditate upon it.  That means think about it, and then think about it again.  And then think about it over and over again.  And then at 2:00 in the afternoon when you have a five-minute break, think about it again and chew it on like a cow chews his cud.  That is scriptural meditation.  Eastern meditation is the emptying of the mind.  Biblical meditation is when you fill your mind with God’s truth and saturate and cleanse it.  And you commit it to memory.  Just like David said in Psalm 119:9-11, “How can a young man keep his way pure?”  How can a young man, a middle-aged man, and an older man keep his way pure?  He says, “By guarding it according to your word.”  Building those fortifications in the mind.  He goes on to say in verse 11, “I have stored up your word; I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  Okay.  Again, talking about scripture memorization and meditation and reading and Bible study focused on the topic of discussion today.



So how do avoid sexual seduction?  Number one, renew your mind with the Word of God.  It’s gonna take some work to do that and to build those fortifying walls.  Number two, run from every form of sexual temptation.  1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee, flee sexual immorality.”  Run from it.  Guys, a real man runs from sexual temptation.  He doesn't say, “Well, I got this handled.  I’m older and wiser.  I can take care of this.”  You’re a fool if you say that.  Run from it. Somebody once said that the best thing to have when you’re handling sexual temptation is a pair of track shoes.  You know, “Run, Forrest, run.”  Remember Forrest Gump?  Just “run, Forrest, fun.”  Just run.  Run.  Flee from it.  Look what Solomon says to his son, verses 6 and following.  He’s picturing himself at the window of his own house seeing wise and naïve young men fall into these seductive traps.  He says, “For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.”  And the question you want to put at the end of verse 9 is, why is he there?  This young, naïve, simple lad is in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And he doesn't know the trap that he’s walking into.  No, the better thing is to flee, to run from sexual immorality.



Joseph in the Bible is a positive example of this.  You remember Joseph in the book of Genesis?  Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.  And he ends up in Egypt working for a guy named Potiphar, who was second in command.  And Joseph would go to work every day…actually, he was kind of under house arrest in Potiphar’s house.  But he would work in Potiphar’s house, and he was doing a good job, a faithful job.  But Mrs. Potiphar was one of these seductresses.  Maybe some boredom had set in between the relationship between Potiphar and Mrs. Potiphar.  But she saw this young, handsome, Hebrew man, and she stared him down day after day after day.  Made suggestions to him.  Even one day grabbed him and said, “Lay with me.”  And do you remember what Joseph did?  The Bible said Joseph ran out of there.  And she is reaching toward him.  And she has such a tight grip on his clothing that she tears a little bit of his clothing as she walks away.  She uses that to falsely accuse him later and to frame him.  And he later is sent to prison.  But Joseph says to her, “How can I do this against my god, let alone against my boss?”  And I think what a wonderful conscience Joseph had that was shaped by his relationship with God.  He ran.  He put on his Nike track shoes or his Nike sandals or whatever they were, and he ran out of there.  That’s how a real man handles sexual temptation.  You just don’t go to the place, whether physical or digital, that might cause you to stumble.  Don’t go there.  Just don’t be in the vicinity.  Don’t be in the place.  Solomon says, “I’m looking out my window, and I’m seeing these boys walking down to this district over here.  And they’re just walking into a trap.”  Run from that.  You walk the other way.



So Joseph is a positive example.  King David in the Bible is a negative example.  And do you remember his liaison between himself and Bathsheba?  That section of scripture begins this way.  “It was springtime, a time when kings were out on the battlefield, and David stayed home.”  He was in the place he shouldn’t have been.  And when you’re in the place you shouldn’t be, bad things happen.  And that’s when he gazed and he looked at Bathsheba.  And the rest is history.



So renew your mind with the Word of God.  Run from every form of sexual temptation.  Number three, get radical about protecting your spiritual integrity.  Go with me to Matthew 5.  And I want us to look at the words of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount.  I love the way He raises the bar on righteousness through the Sermon on the Mount.  And in Matthew 5 beginning in verse 27 He says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Okay.  Remember, adultery starts in the head or the heart before it ever starts in the bed.  And lust is looking at another person and imagining the sexual possibilities.  Jesus said that breaks the seventh commandment as much as everything else does.  Now, right on the heels of that He gives some instruction on how to avoid this kind of temptation and seduction.  He says in verse 29 of Matthew 5, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away, for it is better that you lose one of your members than your whole body be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away, for it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”  You say, “What in the world is Jesus talking about there?  He wants me gouge out my eyes and cut off my right hand?  I mean, how crazy and how radical is that?”  Well, when I was in seminary many years ago, I learned that one of the first steps in Bible study is to understand and identify the literary form of the text.  The Bible contains all forms of literature, from historic narrative to parables and poetry, and, well, here Jesus is using what we call hyperbole.  It’s exaggeration to make a point. He’s saying if you want to maintain sexual integrity and not fall into sexual sin, you’re gonna have to get radical because sin dealt with radically is sin dealt with effectively.  And He says if your right hand offends you, cut it off.  If that thing that’s in your hand, that digital thing in your hand is causing you to stumble, then call up Verizon or Cox or whatever your internet provider is and cut it off.  If you can’t handle unfiltered and unaccountable media inside your house when you’re alone and private, then cut it off or find an accountability partner who sees everywhere you go on the internet.  If you're a traveling businessman or in some form of work where you’re traveling a lot, be careful of your surroundings.  Let somebody who you’re accountable to—certainly your spouse, but maybe somebody else—know everywhere you are.  I remember reading years ago that Billy Graham during his ministry never traveled alone.  And he never counseled a woman alone in his office.  I’ve maintained that policy for more than 25 years in ministry.  Not because I don’t trust her.  I may not trust myself.  I don’t want to put either of us in an awkward position, right?  So you just put those kinds of boundaries.  You get radical, radical about protecting your sexual integrity, and particularly if this is an area where you stumble in.  Oh, the world may say, “Wow, that’s just strange.”  No, you’re just serious about protecting it, right?  Not “if you’ve got it, flaunt it,” but “if you’ve got, protect it.”  And Jesus tells us to do that, to get radical about it.  Sin dealt with radically is sin dealt with effectively.



And then, number four, get real about your personal vulnerability.  1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Let him who thinks he stand take heed lest he fall.”  I can’t look inside your heart this morning.  Only God can.  But I do worry about that person here who is saying, “You know, this really applies to the person three chairs down from me.  I got this thing licked.  This is not an area of struggle for me.”  Especially when a guy says that.  Come on, now.  “Let him who thinks he stand take heed lest he fall.”  We’ve said in the book of Proverbs that proverbs are general principles that, more often than not, this is the way life works.  The fool in Proverbs is the person who says, “I’m the exception to the rule, and this really doesn't apply to me.”  So be careful of that.



The fifth R that I would give to you I want to say to those who have stumbled in this area.  And remember the standard that Jesus raised, adultery to the standard of just a lustful glance.  So as I said last week, that includes everybody in this room including your pastor.  None of us has been perfect in this area.  And we can all feel times of shame and just…well, shame in this area.  And so if you’ve stumbled in this area, whether it was 10 years ago or 10 hours ago, the last R…and it’s not in your notes.  It’s not on the screen.  It’s just right up here, okay.  This is bonus, okay.  This doesn’t cost you anything this morning.  Toss it in free of charge.  It’s the word “repent.”  Confession and repentance is a daily spiritual discipline that we all need to practice as believers in Jesus Christ.  1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Isn’t that good news?  We never have to kneel at the foot of the cross in shame when we know that our Savior died for us and shed His blood to cleanse us from all sin.  Yes, that happens at the moment of salvation, that confession and repentance.  And you’re born into the family of God.  But we’re still sinners, but saved by the grace of God as followers of Jesus.  And we’re in a world where there is great spiritual battles going on.  And living this thing called the Christian life successfully, yes, does involve the daily confession and repentance of our sins.  And you can find grace at the foot of the cross every day as you say, “Lord, I blew it today.  But help me to deny myself, to take up my cross, and to follow You from this day forward.”  Oh, never abuse the grace of God, but know that His grace is sufficient for you wherever you are today.  Whether you say, “I don’t struggle in this area,” or whether you’ve had great struggled in this area, His grace is more than sufficient.  There is plenty of room at the foot of the cross.  And in that confession and repentance, you may need to find an accountability partner that you can share that with.  Because the Bible says there is great strength when we confess our sins to one another.  Now, I know the implications of that and the difficulty with that.  Jesus had 12 disciples, but only three trusted prayer partners.  He brought them in a little bit closer in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Remember Peter, James and John?  It was Peter, James, and John who went with Him to the Mount of Transfiguration, okay.  He had His disciples.  He had the 70 out there.  He had the larger crowds.  But He had three guys who could go to the mat with Him, and they all failed Him.  They fell asleep in the garden.  And so I always say if you can find one, maybe two really trusted people that you can be accountable to that are not gonna judge you, that are gonna encourage you, that are gonna hold you accountable, that are never gonna share information about you on social media…you find one or two of those people that are not your spouse, you are a very blessed person.  They are hard to find.  But that may be what you need in that discipline of confession and repentance, that vertical confession and repentance, and somebody to share your struggle with even in a highly, highly confidential kind of way.  I pray that the Lord gives you somebody like that.  Let’s pray together.



Father, thank You so much for the opportunity to be here in Your house this morning.  You have given us tremendous guidance and divine wisdom for every area of life and, Father, in this area that is, oh, so sensitive for all of us to talk about and, oh, so difficult to manage in the sniper-infested world in which we live with fiery darts of the devil coming at us from so many different directions.  Lord, help us to be those people who are pure in heart.  For blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.  Help us to see You in fresh ways today because we run to the cross of Christ for cleansing.  I pray for the soul this morning who has maybe gone off in a direction trying to seek satisfaction in all the wrong places and have felt used and abused and, at the end of the day, unsatisfied.  I pray that they might find their way to the cross this morning as we all have, as a sinner who needs a Savior.  Restore integrity.  Cleanse us and wash us.  Lift our heads high because we are children of God.  “For by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.”  What and gift you’ve given to us, not only of salvation, but also this wonderful gift of sexual intimacy in marriage.  Father, I just pray that today would be a day of salvation for some.  A day when they come and find the grace of God sufficient, more than sufficient to cleanse them from whatever dark past the might have been a part of.  May we be a grace-filled community of believers- a place where it’s safe for broken people to come where we don’t walk around with a spiritual haughtiness that says, “Hey, I got it all together.”  No, maybe this be a safe place, Father; a refuge where we can fight spiritual battles with our spiritual battle buddies, arm in arm.  Help us, Father, to take up that armor of God, including the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Help us to remember that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.  Oh, the enemy is strong and he’s had many, many generations to perfect his schemes, but not stronger than our Savior and from the power of the Holy Spirit that flows through a life that is yielded to Him.  Help us to be those kinds of people this morning, and we’ll thank You for it in Jesus’s name and for His sake, amen.



“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG