Sunday, June 5, 2016 am                                                            Others 2016 Index

NOTE:  This outline includes material not presented in the audio sermon.  Adultery and uncleanness will be addressed in another lesson to follow.

Sins of Society (4)
Sexual sins - Fornication

 This morning we want to continue our study of sins of society and how they relate to others.    This will be the final lesson in the subseries (for now).  There are other moral topics to discuss (dancing, smoking, homosexuality, overall worldliness, etc.).  Perhaps at a later time we will address them.   Beginning in July, we are going to take our study in a different direction.  We are going to focus on our relationship to ONE ANOTHER as brethren. 

Today we want to address sexual sins.  Our primary focus is going to be to address fornication, but we also want to notice some other words in scripture that deal with our sexuality. 

I realize this is an uncomfortable subject and will try to handle it as delicately and respectful as possible.   But, even if what we are discussing makes you uncomfortable, it is a subject that we CANNOT ignore. 

It is no secret that we are living in times where sex outside of marriage is common and even encouraged.   The attitude of our society over the past several decades has changed to think that cohabitation and fornication are perfectly acceptable behaviors.   And no wonder considering the way we see it portrayed everywhere.   Much of what is said in our society has a sensual tone to it.  The media shows little to no regard for what God’s word says about intimacy in relationships.  Everywhere we turn we see sexualized pictures.   Every show has to introduce someone that is in a non-traditional relationship.   In the news we are hearing much about “gender confusion” and other related subjects.  I wonder how much of this is the product of introducing such subjects to children too young to understand the concepts.  But in many places it is being forced upon the public.
    A CDC report concerning youth risk behavior, noted that in 2013, 46.8% of students had had sexual relations in their life.  34% were active.[1]  Among adults, recent studies have shown that more than half of adults cohabit before marrying.  Further studies show that cohabitation before marriage increases the likelihood of divorce and permanent separation. 

Like our previous subjects, fornication has done its damage – unwanted pregnancies (and abortions), unstable homes, STDs, welfare dependency, destroyed homes, marriages, and lives.  It has also destroyed many a reputation, one’s influence, at times churches, and ultimately, precious souls.   In spite of Paul’s example in 1 Corinthians 5:1ff, churches have divided over how to deal with fornicators – especially adultery.

But again, our concern is not so much about the public’s perception of these issues, but what does God have to say in His word?  In this lesson we will examine some of what the scriptures teach about these topics. 

 I.                    Fornication

a.        What is fornication?
The Greek word translated fornication (or “sexual immorality”) is πορνεία, (porneia) the word from which we get our word pornography. 
Defined, the term means, “illicit sexual intercourse.” (Vine’s) 
It is a broad term that describes any form of unlawful sexual relations, which is probably why any newer translations (NKJV, ESV, etc.  The NASB in 1 Cor. 6:18 is even worse using only the word “immorality”) often translate it as “sexual immorality” instead of “fornication” (though the NKJV also uses that word), a term I am concerned with because it is too vague (for example – one who exposes himself is committing sexual immorality, but his has not committed fornication.  Viewing pornography is sexual immorality, but is it fornication?).   IN preparing this lesson, I consulted several sources that seek to justify premarital sex, and most of them are critical of the word “fornication” because “sexual immorality” can be manipulated to include only certain acts (of their choosing, of course) (i.e. prostitution – maybe even only when associated with idolatry; adultery, or whatever they feel like it includes). 
HOWEVER, the word when properly defined means MORE than some say.  It includes homosexuality, bestiality, pre-marital or unmarried relations, prostitution, incest, extra-marital sexual relations (aka – adultery – Matthew 19:9, 1 Cor. 5:1), etc.
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary defines the word as, “Sexual intercourse performed outside of the bonds of marriage, considered an immoral work of the flesh.

b.       Fornication is a sin.
1 Corinthians 6:9 – fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of God.  In this list Paul also includes, adultery, as well as both partners in a homosexual relationship.
Galatians 5:19-21 describes it as a work of the flesh.
Ephesians 5:3 – But fornication and all uncleanness, let it not even be named among you
Colossians 3:5 – we are to put fornication, uncleanness, passion and evil desires to death.

1 Thessalonians 4:3, abstain from sexual immorality
Revelation 21:8 tells us that fornicators will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (and notice who their company will be). 

c.        Fornication is against God’s intent.
Marriage is how God sanctioned that we satisfy our sexual desires. When God determined that it was not good for man to be alone, He created woman for him (Genesis 2:18, 21-24).  In this text we find the law of marriage, which Jesus would later appeal to, to show that it is for life. 
Everything in scripture points toward this - 1 Corinthians 7:1-2. This comes after addressing fornication as a sin against one’s own body (1 Cor. 6:12-20), including the command to “flee fornication” (6:18)
Hebrews 13:4 tells us that the marriage bed is undefiled.  But fornicators and adulterers, God will judge!  NOTE: This passage implies that relations are good and even honorable, when within their proper context.

d.       Thoughts about fornication –
1) It originates in the heart – Matthew 15:19. Jesus earlier had warned that men looking at women to lust were committing adultery in their hearts (Matthew 5:27-30).   Most fornication begins with lust.
2) It is described as a sin against one’s own body – 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.  The idea is that this act is reserved for a sacred bond (namely marriage) and when one fornicates, he has made himself impure (not unpardonable, but he has sacrificed a part of himself).  
Paul illustrates this by describing one who has relations with a harlot the way he would his wife.  He is taking what is intended to be a pure act of love and sacred lifelong union and making it nothing more than an act of passionate lust.
3) It is described as a sin against God – cf. Genesis 39:9 – Joseph realized this when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him.  Also 1 Cor. 6:19-20 – our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit in us.  We are to glorify God in our bodies, which means honoring Him through obedience.
4) It can be resisted – like Joseph, we must run away from it!  Gen. 39:12-13

e.        If you are involved in this behavior, you are influencing others. 
By its very definition you are involved in a sin with someone else.  In addition to that, your moral influence is damaged.   Consider 1 Cor. 5:1 – the sin described was such that it was not even named among the Gentiles (and that in a city whose name was known for loose morals). 

f.        Some argue that as long as it is consensual and/or a loving relationship, it is acceptable. 
1) It STILL violates what is said about the marriage bed. 
2) 1 Corinthians 7:2 clearly identifies fornication in contrast to marriage.  Also vs. 8-9.  This text alone shows that fornication is sinful. 

 II.                 Adultery –

a.        There are passages that make a distinction between fornication and adultery (Matthew 19:9, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Heb. 13:4, 1 Cor. 6:9, Galatians 5:19, etc.).  
Adultery is a type of fornication which involves illicit sexual relations with one other than your spouse.  But it receives special attention because of the sacredness of marriage vows, the bond intended to be present in marriage and the violence it does to that relationship.  

b.       Under the Old Law, adultery carried the penalty of death!  (Leviticus 20:10).  It was one of the 10 commandments (Exodus 20:14).

c.        It is the terms of adultery and fornication that God used to describe the unfaithfulness of Israel (His people) to idolatry that caused Him to put them away (cf. Jeremiah 3:8).

d.       Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:8-9 - Jesus excepted the lifelong covenant of marriage with fornication as the only cause for putting away one’s spouse and remarriage. 

e.        He also noted that for one to divorce and remarry for any other cause, was to commit adultery. 
This demonstrates that unless God severs the marriage, it is binding for life.  We cannot make up our own rules and interpretations and reason that all is fine and we are the exception.

f.        Think of the damage that is done by adultery in a marriage.  Truly, it is a sin to be avoided.

 III.               Lust in the heart –

a.        The final sexual sin I want to briefly address is lust in the heart.  It deserves greater attention as it is AT THE HEART of sexual sin.

b.       In Galatians 5:19 – uncleanness, lewdness…  (Colossians 3:5, Ephesians 5:3) – the term uncleanness is defined as the state of moral impurity, especially sexual sins.   We sometimes use the word “filthiness”.    As we began this lesson we noted one reason our society is so corrupt in these matters is because we see the filth everywhere.  Television and movies treat filth as the norm and even prestigious.  And it’s not just in their works, but in their lives as well.   The lives of many celebrities are a cesspool.  Yet these starts are worshipped by the masses, with their filthy, unclean behavior addressed with only a passing concern, if at all.   Friends, this is WHERE fornication and adultery begin!

c.        Pornography is a scourge upon our society. It too is sinful behavior.
Jesus in Matthew 5:27-30 warned men not to look upon women with lust.  He described it as committing adultery in the heart. 
One of the description Peter gives for the conduct of false teachers who prey on others is, “having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls.” (2 Peter 2:14)

d.       Christians are to live pure lives – that is what it means to be holy!
Matthew 5:8 says the pure in heart will see God! What does that say of the impure of heart?
1 Peter 1:15-16 calls for us to be holy following the example of the Father.   We cannot do this if we are living lustful lives.
Job 31:1, like Job, let us make a covenant with our eyes not to look upon a young woman.


Truly, we must be concerned about sexual sins and ALL sins that we are tempted by.   And just because something has become accepted without our society and culture, does not make it something that we can participate in.  As noted in the introduction, there are many other sins we could address.  In the sins we have studied today and the past few weeks, let it be clearly understood that what we do has an influence on others, for good or bad.  Let us choose to be lights for Christ and not manifesting the darkness of Satan.  Think about it!