The Purpose of Purity | Jonathan "J.P." Pokluda

Jonathan Pokluda // Apr 2, 2024

We’re called to be holy and set apart from the world in all areas of life. This week, guest speaker and Lead Pastor of Harris Creek Baptist Church Jonathan “J.P.” Pokluda reminded us through 1 Thessalonians 4 that when we act on sexual desires outside of God’s design we end up in places we never meant to go. This isn’t about purity culture; it’s about living a life that is holy and set apart in every area. This week, guest speaker and Lead Pastor of Harris Creek Baptist Church Jonathan “J.P.” Pokluda reminded us through 1 Thessalonians 4 that when we act on sexual desires outside of God’s design we end up in places we never meant to go.

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Porch, how are we doing? It's so good to be with you. When I was in high school, I got invited to this youth group. I was Catholic. I was going to Catholic school. I was an altar boy…the whole deal. There was a church in town. It was a Baptist church. They had the youth group. My mom's friend was like, "Hey, Jonathan should come. We're doing this theme on sexuality and whatnot."

I had heard that if you went through it you got a ring, and it was a gold ring. So, my questions were like, "Is the ring real gold? What kind of ring am I going to get?" It was called True Love Waits. This isn't where I hate on purity culture, because, honestly, they said some helpful things. I just didn't listen. I went through it. I made it through. I got the ring, and I was pretty committed. Like, "I'm saving myself for marriage, for sure."

As the high school years progressed, my best friend was in this relationship, and they broke up. I had heard that his girlfriend had a crush on me. I was pretty lonely, so we started talking. One thing led to the next, and we had sex. I didn't want to, and I was embarrassed that I didn't want to. This isn't me blaming her at all. I'm totally culpable for my own decisions.

I remember getting home and being really sad about it. I walked up to my dresser, and that ring was sitting on the dresser. I picked it up and put it in the drawer, and I just thought, "Game on. Game on." You know, it was like, "Nothing to save for now." It just became sport. Like, "Let's go." I went into my senior year, and I kind of tried to… "All right. I'm going to get right. I'm going to get right with God. I'm going to college. I need to be grown up."

So, I created these rules for myself. "I'm going to go to college. No sex. No getting drunk. No doing drugs." My parents dropped me off at the on-campus apartment and left, and I remember this sense of freedom overwhelming me. In the first two weeks, I broke every single rule I had created for myself in epic proportion.

I didn't know what to do, but I was a good Catholic boy. Every night, I would say my prayers. There, I was in my twin-sized bed in my apartment on campus, praying to God, and I just started weeping. Like, by myself, just violently weeping, thinking, "He doesn't hear me. My prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Nobody is listening." I didn't know what to do, so I reached out to someone who was a little older and supposedly wiser than I was.

I just confessed all my junk to them. I was like, "Here's what's going on. I've been here for two weeks, and I've done this, I've done this, I've done this, I went here, and I did this." I just started pouring out my heart to them. They said, "That's just college. That's just what you do." I was like, "Yeah, but what about faith?" They were like, "You know, when you come out you kind of get right with God." It was the worst advice in the world.

When I got out of college, I just continued in that theme. I moved to Dallas and lived in Uptown, the penthouse condo. I had the car and the job. I was like, "I want to be a millionaire before I'm 30. Let's go." At this moment in my life, I was still kind of like, "Hey, there's a God, big guy in the sky. I talk to him when I need something." You know, "Please don't let her be pregnant" kind of thing.

So, here I was in this place, and I wanted to know some things. There were three big questions I had. I was searching God's will, and I was like, "Where do you want me to live? Do you want me to stay here? Is it Dallas? Is this where I need to be? Why don't I move to one of the coasts? Why don't I move closer to the ocean? Why don't I move to the mountains? I mean, are you sure it's Dallas? Where do you want me to be?"

Then it was, "What do you want me to do? How do you want me to earn money? God, what is it that I'm supposed to do? Am I doing the right thing? Should I take another job, move jobs? Should I make more money?" Then it was, "Who do you want me to marry? God, who am I going to spend the rest of my life with?" Those were my three big questions. "God, what is your will for me?"

If I was God and was talking to me in that moment, this is my response to me in that moment: "Why should I tell you? You haven't listened to anything I've asked of you. You want to know my will? You have 66 books of my will. I've explicitly communicated it to you in here, and you've continued to do what you wanted to do, so why am I going to make known my mysterious will if you've forsaken my revealed will?

Why am I going to show it to you and say, 'Oh, man. Let me write it on the wall. Let me send you an email. Let me send you a letter. Let me tell you in an audible voice or a burning bush, "This is my will for you, JP,"' when everything I've asked you to do you haven't listened to; you've just done what you've wanted to do?"

So, I want to talk with you for the few minutes we have about God's will for you and sex. It is going to be completely clear. I'm going to read to you a verse that says, "This is God's will for you." It's going to be that kind of clear. I think if we hear that tonight… In some ways, we're culpable just because of the geographic space we take up tonight, where we're at and the words you're hearing. You're going to leave here with tremendous clarity. "This is God's will."

I think you have to ask the question, "Why would he make known to me his mysterious will if I have forsaken his revealed will?" because it's going to be clear from the Scriptures. In fact, there's a warning in this passage. I'm just going to read to you the last verse I'm going to teach tonight. It says in verse 8, "Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit." That's the punctuation of the text we're in this evening.

I'm going to be in 1 Thessalonians. The sexual landscape of Thessalonica is crazy. You think Dallas… "JP, you don't understand. Like, Tinder and the hookup culture. We go out, and it's crazy, man. There's so much sexual confusion." Thessalonica 2,000 years ago was even worse. It had a Roman culture, so pedophilia was completely normative there. You could have an underage lover, and it was totally fine.

There were really no sexual boundaries in this culture whatsoever. Homosexuality was rampant here. There was a lot of gender confusion in this culture. That's not a new thing, by the way. It was really big in Thessalonica where he wrote this letter to. So, as we read it, we can think, "Okay. This is applicable to us today. There's something about this."

In fact, as the church is born, the sexual culture and landscape is changing, but the church is undergoing extreme persecution, so much so that the leaders of the church have to flee for their lives. That's what's happening around this letter I'm going to read to you. By the way, it is a letter preserved by the Holy Spirit for thousands of years so we could apply it to The Porch tonight.

The sexual landscape here in Dallas, or if you're at another Porch.Live location, I'm sure in your culture in the United States of America, if that's where you're at, or if you're overseas… I'll just read to you some stats. Ninety-one and a half percent of men and 60.2 percent of women report consuming porn in the past month. This place is not an exception, and you know that. You're just thinking, "No, it was, like, seven or eight… Oh, yeah. It was within the past month."

Your generation is actually having less sex because they've grown addicted to the counterfeit version of it, the shortcut. "I have it on my phone. I can just go here and watch this video. It's just me in the shower." You've actually grown an appetite for a counterfeit version of sex. So much so that marriage rates are down. Sexual satisfaction rates are down. Your generation is having less sex, but it's not good news. It's not like, "Oh, we're having less sex because we're going to church." It's "We're addicted to the fake stuff. We've grown our appetite for the fake stuff."

What I want you to know right now… I don't want to delay this message anymore. I'm going to hit on it later, but I want to make sure you understand this in case you leave or you have to go to the bathroom or you get a phone call or something. You can be forgiven. You can be clean. You can find freedom. It's available to you. Tonight can be a turning point. If you came with your sexually active boyfriend or girlfriend, I'm sorry that I'm not sorry. It's going to be uncomfortable, and I'm so glad you're here. It's not by accident. God knew what he was doing.

Let's go. First Thessalonians, chapter 4. We'll start in verse 2. "For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus." That's a big deal. "Hey, hey. You know what we said." "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality…" There it is right there. "This is God's will for you: that you should be sanctified, that you should avoid sexual immorality."

1. God's will is that we would become holy and stay pure. We say it on the podcast that I get to be a part of every week. You're becoming something. Every moment is training for a future moment. Right now, you are training for a future version of yourself. No one here is like, "Man! When I get married, I can't wait to commit adultery," yet it happens all the time. "When I get married, I can't wait to be a drunk, addicted to gambling. I'm going to be enslaved to pornography."

You're going to become a bigger future version of yourself right now. That's kind of how life works. You're training for that moment right now. He says, "Be holy." He doesn't just say, "Avoid sexual immorality." He says, "Pursue this. Set your aim on this." What? Becoming holy. You don't need to be a normal Dallas young adult, a normal young adult in Houston, or in any other part of this country.

That sanctified means to be set apart, that you would be different. Right now, you could commit in your heart. "No, I'm going to be different." Be different…how? In the way I remain pure. Become holy and stay pure. If you're ever like, "But, dude, everybody is doing it," that right there should tell you that then you're not set apart if you take part, because you're called to be different. First Corinthians 6:18-20 says:

"Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

You honor God with your body. You're different. So, when it comes to sexual immorality, you're not like, "Oh, let me see how close I can get. How far is too far?" He says you turn around 180 degrees, and you run as fast as you can. That's not "Well, just one look. Just one click. Let me just watch the first 30 seconds." No, you stop, turn, and run.

If you're like, "Oh, man. But what is sexual immorality?" no one in Thessalonica was asking that. The Greek word is porneia, and it's very clear. It includes all kinds of sex. It includes regular sex, anal sex, sexting, and oral sex. It includes make-out sessions. All of that's included in this word. When your body begins to prepare itself for sex and you are thinking lustfully, you've crossed that line. That's this word. That's what he's talking about here.

I know some of you are fighting for purity and are finding victory, and I'm so proud of you. Some of you have crossed major lines, and I want you to know it's not too late. I did too. I have the privilege of reading God's Word. The edge you hear in my voice is not anger at you; it's frustration with the Enemy that seeks to drag us all to hell. He wants to rob us of life. Jesus came so we might have life and have it to the fullest, and he has come to steal, kill, and destroy.

What I want you to understand at a deep heart level is sex was God's idea. I mean, I know that's not a "Mind blown" moment. It's like, "Yeah." But think of it. He invented it. He made the parts the way they are. On the guy he gave that part, and on the girl he made it fit. If you watch this diagram… No, I'm just kidding. No diagram. No drawings. No images. But let me just say this. He put the nerve endings where he did, and he made it feel the way it does. That was all God's idea. You know, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He's like, "I've got an idea," and he's like, "What? Are you serious?"




"Oh, cool."

It didn't happen that way, because they're one in community, but anyway, it was their idea. That's my point. So, what Elon is to the Tesla, God is to sex. What Steve Jobs is to the iPhone, God is to sex. He's the inventor, the creator, the genius behind it. There's this commercial. It was originally in Sweden. This woman gave her father an iPad for Christmas. He's in the kitchen, and they're talking. He's cutting up vegetables. You just see him making something in the kitchen.

He's cutting up vegetables, and she's talking to him. She's like, "Dad, how did you like the iPad?" He's like, "The what?" She goes, "You know, the iPad I gave you for Christmas." He's like, "Oh, I like it quite nicely." It zooms out, and you see he's cutting the vegetables on the iPad. He takes it and runs it under the sink, and then he puts it in the dishwasher. As you watch the video, the cry of your heart is like, "No, no, no! That's not what that's for."

That must be how God and the angels and the saints who have gone before us watch us. We're trying to create ways to pursue pleasure for ourselves. Like, "No! That's not what that's for. No, we invented that for procreation and to bond a husband to his wife." What we try to do… We're like, "No, no, no. We want the pleasure." The pleasure serves a purpose. If it didn't feel good, we wouldn't have babies. If it felt like a spinal tap, if it hurt, humanity would cease to exist. God was like, "No, I'm going to incentivize them to procreate so they fill the world with my people."

And it bonds. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." Fast-forward the tape a few thousand years, and now our brilliant scientists say, "You know what? This is crazy. We've discovered something called sex glue. Whenever you experience orgasm or sexual release, your brain creates a synapse, which is like a muscle, that bonds you to your surroundings. This is fascinating." We turn back to Genesis 2, and we're like, "Yeah, that's what God said, that they would be bonded."

We want to separate the pleasure and prevent the procreation and prevent the bonding so we can keep the pleasure to ourselves. It's like when you take all the nutrition out of something you eat and you're left with something that rots you and makes you unhealthy. That's what we do with sex. That's what you're seeing in your culture. A God who loves you says, "I want you to avoid it because I don't want you depressed or anxious. I want you to experience true sustaining joy, so I made a place for it."

When we lived in Dallas, there was a house here that burned down, and it killed everyone inside. As you understood the story, it was wintertime, and they had a fire going in the fireplace. Well, a log rolled out of the fireplace onto the carpet, and while everybody slept, the house went up ablaze and killed everyone inside of it. In the fireplace, the fire produces warmth and beauty. People gather around it. It's awesome. Out of the fireplace it's destructive.

This is a picture of sex. God is like, "Hey, I created a spot for it, and it's not in a dating relationship, and it's not in the shower by yourself. It's in marriage." If you take it out of that context, you will experience destruction, without exception. Verse 4: "…that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God…" He says the way we battle sexual immorality as we're being sanctified is we practice self-control.

2. Self-control is possible. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control." It's something the Holy Spirit produces in us when we surrender to him. What this means (and this will be helpful to you) is you should not go through life and do everything you want to do.

You're going to have desires that are harmful to you. In Philippians it says, "Their god is their stomach. Their destiny is destruction. They're enemies of the cross of Christ." Meaning, they have appetites they feed to their own demise. You have desires you shouldn't act out on. This is an essence of maturity. Immature children do whatever they feel like.

I'm a dad of three, and when they were little… I am so confident they walked into a room and said, "What's the dumbest thing I can do right now? I'm going to color on the wall. Why not? Oh, here's a knife, and here's the couch. Why not?" It's like, "What?" I remember when Weston was 4 years old, he had a cup of milk, and he was holding it like this. He was like, "I wonder what will happen when I turn it upside down on the table." There was milk everywhere.

I was like, "What are you doing? Buddy, why did you do that?" "I don't know. Because I felt like it." That's what children do. As we grow in maturity… It's cute when you're 4. It's not cute when you're 24 or 34. At some point, you have to say, "Oh, this is what I want to do, but it's not what I'm going to do, because it's not holy and honorable. So, instead of doing that, I'm going to practice self-control."

What he's saying is you'll never have to sin. Even when you wake up at 2:00 a.m. and can't sleep, it's not like now you have to sin. No, you don't have to sin. First Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Meaning, never in your life will the options be a) sin or b) sin. There's always going to be a c) a way out that you can stand up under it. It may be difficult, but we can do hard things. Right? We can endure… I mean, Paul was in prison. He got whipped. Jesus was on the cross. We can be like, "Yeah. You know what? I just may not sleep very well tonight." We can endure hard things.

"Man, I'm really lonely tonight. It's okay to be lonely one night. Let me call some friends and ask them to pray for me. No, I'm not going to call the ex-boyfriend. It's okay. I can endure a moment of loneliness, even a season of loneliness. I can do hard things." He says in 1 Peter 2, "Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul." You have sinful desires that you are to abstain from. This is the point.

I do this deal every Friday. I'm taking a break right now, but Friday Q&A. You know, all the time… "Is masturbation a sin? What does this look like?" I travel and speak on sexual sin. At this stage right here, I have had this conversation hundreds and hundreds of times. Let me tell you what it looks like.

"Hey, man."


"Man, so, my struggle is… My story is like yours, man."

"What's your story? What is it?"

"Oh, no, man. We just have similar struggles, similar background."

"Yeah. Like, what? What is it?"

"You know, just similar struggles."

"Oh, pornography? You're looking at porn? You're struggling with porn?"

"Yeah, man. I'm struggling with porn…struggling. I am struggling with porn, man."

"Okay. Man, I got you. Hey, how do you access pornography?"

"What do you mean?"

"How do you access porn?"

"Oh, you know, my phone."

"Where's your phone?"

"It's in my pocket."

"Oh, cool. I thought you said you were struggling. You're just carrying it around with you everywhere you go. You're not struggling. You haven't even started to fight. You haven't even gotten in the ring. You haven't even put the gloves on or anything. Man, you're talking about struggling. No, no. You're just like, 'Come with me everywhere I go. Come on, porn. Let's go.'"

"What do you want me to do, man? Pastor, you want me to get rid of my phone?"

"Sure. Yeah. Get rid of your phone. I mean, get a brick phone. I don't know. Get a Motorola Razr. I mean, some other kind of phone. It's all grainy. You're not going to look at porn on that. Get some other kind of phone. Why have a phone that tempts you every single time you're by yourself? You're like, 'Oh, it's a gateway to all kinds of explicit images, but I'm really struggling.' No, no, no. You are like lunch to some demon. You're like, 'Come and get me, demons. Here I am. I like porn, and I've got it with me in my pocket.'"

That's what's happening. That's not struggling. Let's be honest. I can deal with anybody if you're honest. If you come up and are like, "Man, let me be honest with you," great. We can talk about a path to healing. But if you're like, "I want to play games so I can struggle…" I'm like, "How long have you been struggling?" "Since the fifth grade." Do you know how old you are? I mean, porn and masturbation since the fifth grade? You're going to take that into marriage? "Oh, but now I'm going to be faithful." No. No, you're not. That's not how that works.

Guess who that has worked for: no one in the history of the world. An addiction to porn is not an addiction to sex; it's an addiction to variety. It's not like all of a sudden you get in this monogamous relationship and it's like, "No. I know I went to university for adultery, but now I'm going to be faithful. I'm going to be totally satisfied with your body even when it changes and even as you grow old. Even as gravity takes its toll on you, you're still going to be the one for me, even though I have fed my mind with thousands of images that are very different than that."

Listen. I'm just talking logic, guys. I am just appealing to your logic right now. That's not how it works for anyone. We don't think it's that big of a deal. Yes, I understand with the invention of AI the game just changed. With VR, the game just changed. You'd better suit up for battle. And, ladies, you're not off the hook. We do a ministry for people addicted to pornography right now, and half of them are female. You guys aren't talking about it, and you've got to start talking about it. You've got to help your sisters out. Especially if you've found freedom, you've got to tell your story. They need you. They need you to tell your story.

Jesus said in Matthew 5, "If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off." He's like, "Hey, take extreme steps to get well from this." Don't compromise. As we talk about sex, if you're like, "Well, I feel like I'm left behind, and everybody is getting ahead, and that's a way to find a husband…" No. It's a way to find a really bad marriage. You would be much better off single.

Verse 6: "…and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister." I need you to feel the weight on this one. I'm just reading the Bible. "The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit." God's warning. This whole idea of "safe sex" is a lie. Someone always dies. Sex outside of marriage is never safe.

3. Sex outside his design is never safe. It says in the Greek, literally, "God is the avenger of such things." Some of you are here, and you know sex is a big deal because at some point in your past you've experienced some sort of abuse. I want you to know I hate that. I won't even be able to do it justice in a one-to-many communication, but we're here for you. This church, like no other church I know of on earth… The leadership here are helping people find freedom. There is an amazing ministry here. There are several ministries here.

If you don't have a church you call home, I beg you to check this place out. I honor Kylen. I'm so grateful for his leadership over this ministry. TA and the elders of Watermark Community Church… I've been so encouraged by everything I've seen God do here. So, if you're like, "I don't know what to do," just show up and say, "I need help," and we'll take it from there. We've got you.

You know what a big deal this is. There's a part of it you can find… It's not like somebody is going to get away with it, but I want you to know the craziest thing, and it's not even fair. If you're here, and you're like, "Man, I've done some things, and I feel dirty. I feel unclean. I feel re-traumatized. I'm thinking about prom night, and I'm thinking about everything thereafter. I'm thinking about how I, too, just thought, 'Hey, game on…'" There's a reset for you.

We just celebrated Easter. Jesus took all of that on himself. He satisfied God's anger toward you. He took it all on himself so that God looks at you and is just free to love you. If you need a verse, 2 Corinthians 5:19. It says he's no longer counting your sins against you. Romans 8:1: "For there is now no condemnation…" That's consequence or punishment. "…for those of you who are in Christ Jesus." That's crazy!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." God can make you clean. There's this scene in Redeeming Love where she's trying to scrub off this sin, and she's scrubbing her arm so hard it begins to bleed. Maybe you've felt that way. I'm telling you from experience and by trusting in the Word it's only Jesus who can make you clean like that. Only Christ. It says God is the avenger of such things.

When my daughter was 4 years old, we were at this camp. She's a really big personality, and she's cute and sweet. She has her little pigtails. She goes up to this boy about her age, and she's like, "Hi! I'm Presley." He looks at her, takes a step back, and just throws her to the ground. I'm back here watching. She hits the ground, and she does that silent cry where she's screaming but nothing is coming out. She's like, "What just happened to me?"

I'm thinking, "Oh, no. There's going to be a homicide right here. This is about to be a crime scene." I look at this little boy. I'm like, "Where is your mama? Because I am about to see how far I can kick you. Like, what in the world just happened? What were you thinking?" I was telling my friend that, and he was like, "Yeah, that must be how God felt about you."

I was like, "Wait. What?" He was like, "Yeah, man. I read 1 Thessalonians 4. You were out there with his daughter. That must be how he felt about you." What a harsh warning. But Christ, so I can be up here and repent of those actions and ask for forgiveness to those I've hurt and say, "Hey, let me tell you my story, just in case it's your story, so you can find the same freedom that was available to me."

I was here. I was at this place 20 years ago, and somebody asked me two questions. They said, "Between 1 and 10…10 being certain and 1 being not so sure…if you died today, how certain are you that you'd go to heaven?" Let me give it to you again. They said, "Between 1 and 10…10 being certain and 1 being not so sure…if you died today, how certain are you that you would go to heaven?"

Just think of a number. Y'all may ask this every week. I have no idea. I want you to think of your number. Ten: "I'm 100 percent positive." One: "I'm pretty sure I wouldn't." Five: "It's kind of a coin toss right now. I've got some things going on." Where are you at? What's your number between 1 and 10? Get your number. Think of a number between 1 and 10…10 being "I'm certain I'm going to heaven" and 1 being "I'm pretty sure I'm not." Where are you on that scale?

If you're cool with it, let me just ask you… Does everybody have a number? Give me a head nod if you have a number. Okay. Just do this if you would. Everybody, close your eyes for a second. Close your eyes or I'll call you up here and say, "Come help me." All right. Does everybody have their eyes closed? I'm looking. Okay. Everybody has their eyes closed. All right.

As you think through that question, if your number is 1, 2, or 3, would you raise your hand? Okay. A lot of hands. I see you. If you're 4, 5, or 6, would you raise your hand? Okay. A lot of fours, fives, and sixes. I see you. If you're 7, 8, or 9, would you raise your hand? Okay. All right. You can open your eyes.

Ten seems arrogant. Anything else would be arrogant. Anything else, like a 9, would be "There's a part of it that's up to me." An 8… "There's a part of it that's up to me." A 7… "Well, I've done some…" Oh, it's up to you? Oh, you getting to heaven has something to do with what you do? I thought it was Good Friday and Easter. I thought it was he died for your sins.

"Yeah, but, God, you had to allow your Son to die, and I've got to be good." Right? That's the gospel? "Trust in Jesus, his death and forgiveness for your sins, his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of your sins, and be a good person." That's the gospel? That's the good news? Why did Jesus die? Because you're a pervert. Why did Jesus die? Prom night. Why did Jesus die? Sixth date on Tinder. "Yeah, we went too far." Why did he die?

"JP, it seems like if I could know, the Bible would tell me I could know." Well, that's 1 John 5:13. "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." You can be certain. You can be 100 percent sure, and it has nothing to do with what you do and everything to do with what he did for you on the cross.

All of your sins went on him. The wrath of God, his anger at your sins, was satisfied on Jesus. They go in the grave, and he comes out without them. That's the good news. The good news is that you don't have to pay for your sins. "So, how do I get to heaven?" You believe fully that Jesus Christ died for your sins and that God raised him from the dead. When you believe upon that, everything begins to change.

"I'm going to believe, but I want to get clean first." No, no, no. You can't get clean; he has to clean you. That's the way this works. In summary, God's will is sanctification through sexual purity, God's way is avoiding sexual immorality through self-control, and God's warning is the serious consequences of sexual sin.

What happened to me? I moved to Dallas. I was at a club in Lower Greenville. Twenty years ago, somebody said, "Hey, come check out this church with me." I came to this place, hungover, smelling like smoke from the night before. I sat in the back row and started wrestling with "What do I really believe about God?" I heard the gospel. I had heard the gospel before, but something changed because somebody asked me these two questions.

I said, "A 7." They said, "If God said, 'Why should I let you in?' what would you say?" I said, "Because I've been a good person and I've tried hard." They said, "Uh-huh. That's interesting. I thought you get to heaven by trusting that Jesus Christ died for your sins and God raised him from the dead." See, there's only one thing you can do in hell, and that's pay for your sins forever. The only person who doesn't go to hell is the person who has been forgiven. Every sin has been paid for either in hell or on the cross.

They said, "JP, do you want to believe that your sins have been paid for on the cross forever and ever and ever?" I said, "Yeah, man. I'm in on that. I need to be clean like that." I trusted in Christ. I went from here to here, and everything changed. I was dating this girl, and we were sexually active. I said, "Hey, I don't think we should have sex anymore." She was like, "Man, I agree. I've been telling you that." I was like, "All right." So we tried that for, like, two months.

I was like, "Man, this is really hard. We should get married." So we did. We went to this chapel. I was dressed in a tux. She was in a white dress. We said some crazy things. "For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part." You know, "You may kiss your bride." We went to the foyer, and I held her in my arms, my new bride, and I said this prayer. I said, "Lord, thank you so much for allowing me to escape the consequences of my sin."

The consequences of my sin I thought were, like, "I don't have an STD, and we haven't had a child out of wedlock. There's no abortion." I know some of you are sitting in those consequences. What I want you to know is I said that prayer, "Thank you for allowing me to escape my consequences," and I got a year into marriage and realized I hadn't escaped the consequences. They just came in a different form.

I had no idea how to love this woman. I had trained myself for variety, and I didn't know how to be stuck in a marriage or committed in a marriage. I wanted out. We both wanted a divorce. We had to bring people in to help us. If you don't think that's a very bad consequence, I would have much rather have had to take some pill to control an STD or to support a child. I would have chosen the other consequences over the one I had.

But God's grace and the body of Christ rushed in, and he changed us. He helped us. We've been married 20 years. We have three kids, and now we tell this story. I'm going to pray. I beg you, if you raised your hand earlier, don't leave before you have a conversation with an amazing Porch volunteer. You say, "I want to be a 10. How do I be a 10? I don't need just head knowledge. I want to fully understand how I can be a 10." We would love to let you know.

God, would you help us in that? Thank you for your Word that does not return void. Thank you for this place and the leadership here. Thank you for the grace in going long, and thank you for the gospel that makes us clean, for new life, and for second chances. Thank you for imputing your righteousness on us as we believe fully upon your Son, his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins. In Jesus' name, amen.

If right now you're in this place and you're like, "Man, I want to go from an 8 to a 10, a 9 to a 10, a 1 to a 10," I just invite you forward. Everybody is going to be looking at you, but there will be other people, and that will be the step you'll look back on for the rest of your life and say, "I did something hard because I believed in God, because I trusted in Jesus." You may not want to. There were a lot of hands. It's game time. It's time to say, "I'm all in with this Jesus." Just come forward. Let us pray over you. I love you guys.