Pre-Marital Sex? No!

Title: Pre-Marital Sex? No!

Text: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Time: August 26, 2008

It’s nearly impossible to watch a movie today at the theater or on television without seeing single people in some form or another engaging in pre-marital sex. It’s so common today, it’s so normal, it’s so typical that when it occurs on the screen nobody really thinks anything of it. That’s because of the sexual revolution that occurred in the 1960s. We live on this side of that secular, sexual revolution, and so we hardly even notice when single adults engage in pre-marital sex. What was once considered a scandalous sin in former times is now considered perfectly normal. In fact, we’ve gone so far in the opposite direction that to not see singles today having pre-marital sex is now odd! Now the opinions, values and practices of people have certainly changed in the last 50 years, but the moral absolute commands of God have not. God’s Word is clear about the matter of pre-marital sex – God’s forbids it, no question. There are so many passages in the Word of God, the Bible, that command against pre-marital sex that if we examined them all we’d be here all day long and still wouldn’t be finished. It’s just so clear in both the Old Testament and the New Testament that it is against the will of God. But let me point out just a few passages from the Apostle Paul to illustrate God’s opposition to pre-marital sex – or sexual relations outside of the marriage covenant. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkard nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” The Greek word “porneia” used in this passage is a common word found in the New Testament and is almost always translated “sexually immoral.” It covers pretty much all classes of sexually immoral behavior – pre-marital sex or fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc. Really any form of sexual immorality is covered by the Greek word “porneia.” Now you may recognize something familiar sounding in the Greek word “porneia” – it’s the root word from which we get the English word pornography or porno. And what is pornography? Pictures of people engaged in various forms of sexual immorality! So we can understand what the Apostle Paul is communicating in this passage. He’s not saying that sexual immorality is the only sin, or even that it’s the worst kind of sin; but he is saying that it is sin, and includes it in a long list of other sins of various kinds. And he’s also saying that it is a very serious sin because he called it wicked and says that people who practice it will not inherit the kingdom of God. So far from the casual attitude that people have towards pre-marital sex today, it’s a very grave and serious matter to God. And it should be to us today as well. Let me cover a few more examples of how God’s Word commands against pre-marital sex.

First, God’s Word tells us to flee from pre-marital sex. 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside of his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” The very same Greek word “porneia” is used again here in this passage, meaning sexual immorality including pre-marital sex. It says we are to flee pre-marital sex, not flirt with it, not tolerate it, not play with it, not see how close we can come to it, but flee from it. It’s now hardly a profound observation that we live in a sex saturated culture today in the modern 21st century world. Sex is everywhere. Pictures of it are everywhere. It’s on television, it’s in movie theaters, it’s in popular music on the radio, it’s on the internet – whether you want to see it or not it’s there! I think anyone who has ever used the internet has had the experience of logging on and starting to go to some web site and then all of a sudden some pornography, some sexually explicit image just pops up on the screen without warning. Or some risqué advertisement pops up trying to get your attention as you go about minding your own business. Sex sells, as they say. Researchers say that a large percentage of internet traffic is people looking at pornography. I know of a person who got hooked on pornography on the internet and then got drawn into sexual immorality – and this was a married pastor! He had a loving and beautiful wife at home. If pornography tempts and hooks married men into adultery, think of how many single men are tempted and drawn into pre-marital sex through pornography. Yes, we live in a sexually explicit society and the temptations for singles are tremendous. That’s why the Apostle Paul says, “Flee from sexual immorality.” That is the only response that will keep us away from the sin of fornication. Now that word, fornication, isn’t used much today, but it means pre-marital sex. The only way to avoid pre-marital sex or fornication is to flee from it, to be actively walking away from it. The word actually communicates something stronger than walking away for it, it literally communicates the image of running away from it. But that isn’t what singles usually do today is it. Instead, most singles today not only don’t walk or run away from it, they usually walk or run towards it because of its allure. Why do you think movies typically include the obligatory “love” or sex scene? Because people are attracted to those images. Sex is attractive, no question, which is all the more reason we need to heed the warning of God in the Bible to flee from illicit sex because it is so attractive. God knows human nature, he knows how weak we all are, how vulnerable at times towards the power of sexual attraction. That’s why he warns us to flee all forms of sexual immorality, and for singles, that means fleeing from pre-marital sex.

Second, God’s Word tells us that sex is preserved for the marriage relationship alone. 1 Corinthians 6:16, “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’” A while back, there was this big scandal here in New York because the married Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught using a high-priced Prostitute for sex. Now in biblical terms, that’s adultery. But whether a single is engaging in pre-marital sex or a married man is engaging in adultery, the result is the same – a “one flesh” relationship is formed. That’s what the Apostle Paul is saying when he quotes from Genesis 2:24, “For this reason (marriage) a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” The “one flesh” relationship is supposed to be exclusive to the marriage relationship; that’s God’s design for marriage. Even Jesus Christ weighs in on this same topic in Matthew 19:4-6, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” So what happens when a person has sexual intercourse is that he forms a “one flesh” union or relationship with the other person. They are actually forming a union that is only supposed to be formed within a marriage relationship. They are bonded to the other person as if that person were their spouse. Now having sex with a person doesn’t automatically make for a marriage; sex doesn’t equal a marriage, but it approximates a marriage bond, it elevates a relationship to an intimacy level equaled only in marriage. In other words, pre-marital sex brings two people together in a bond that comes close to the marriage bond. It forms an emotional, spiritual, and psychological connection that is supposed to be preserved only for married couples. That’s why pre-marital sex is so dangerous as well as sinful, because it links two people together intimately and then pulls them apart crudely as in a type of separation or divorce. It is not God’s design for singles to go from person to person having sex and forming soul ties and psychological connections at that deep a level. It is not God’s will and purpose for singles to expose themselves casually to the same type of bonding married couples experience. It’s psychologically harmful, it’s emotionally damaging, it’s spiritually deadly. The Apostle Paul says that those who practice pre-marital sex, those who make it their lifestyle, will not inherit eternal life. All persons, but especially Christian singles are to never engage in pre-marital sex. They are to keep themselves for sex within marriage only.

Third, God’s Word says that we are not to tolerate pre-marital sex, in our own lives nor in the lives of other single Christians. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11, “I have written to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” Not only are we not to tolerate sexual immorality in our own lives – whether single or married – but we must not tolerate it in the lives of other Christians in the church. One of the biggest sins of the Christian church today is its toleration of sexual immorality. Yes, the toleration of sin by Christians is a sin. Here’s the Lord’s attitude on the church tolerating sexual immorality in its midst: “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality,” Revelation 2:20. We don’t have time to unpack that passage, but the only point I want to make with it is that the Lord rebukes the church for it’s toleration of sexual immorality. Well, the church today is guilty of that same sin. If you visit the average Christian church today, even the average evangelical, bible-believing church, you’ll find a sinful tolerance for sexual immorality, especially among singles, but also among married persons as well. Pre-marital sex and adultery are rampant in the evangelical church today. Why? Because churches are not teaching and enforcing the biblical standards of morality among members. Many pastors and church leaders consider what people do in their own private lives off-limits to the church. Many churches refuse to practice even the most basic forms of church discipline, but instead turn a blind eye towards reports of pre-marital sex and adultery in the church. But the Apostle Paul’s instructions are clear – do not associate with Christians who engage in pre-marital and extra-marital sex. What then are Christians to do with such persons? The answer is clear from the Bible: persons within the church who engage in pre-marital or extra-marital sex are to be confronted and called to confess and repent of their sins, given time to do so, and restored back to full fellowship if they recommit themselves to God and God’s will, and disciplined and even dismissed if they don’t. Dismissed as in removed from church membership and fellowship. This is tough love, but it’s needed today in order to help people understand the seriousness of preserving the sanctity of the “one flesh” relationship of marriage. As Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure.” One of the best ways to honor marriage and keep the marriage bed pure is to take the prohibitions against pre-marital sex seriously in the church.

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