Asking for a Friend
What Does the Bible Have to Say about Sex Before Marriage?
Jonathan Pokluda | 07.24.18
When it comes to sex, we have a lot of questions. Does the Bible say sex before marriage is wrong? How far is too far? What do I do if I’ve already gone too far? Let’s talk about sex, baby, and what the Bible has to say about it.
What's up, Porch? How are we doing? If we haven't met, my name is Jonathan Pokluda. It is a privilege to be with you here tonight, to teach from God's Word.
Yesterday, I was online, and there was an article that caught my eye. It said "15 Things You're Doing Wrong Every Day." That's clickbait, right? "15 Things You're Doing Wrong Every Day." That's like, "Hey, click on me and waste seven minutes of your life so you can see what somebody…" So what did I do? I clicked on it and wasted seven minutes of my life.
It was these 15 things. It was actually pretty interesting and fairly compelling. It just started out a little bit lame. It was talking about pronunciation. So these 15 things you're doing wrong, one was pronunciation. It gave some specific examples of words. This didn't surprise me. I know there are words we pronounce wrong.
Here is one of them, for example. So what word is that? Okay. Sherbet. There is no "r" here. The right way to say that word is sherbet, like you're English. Sherbet. I always say "sherbert," you know, give me the rainbow "sherbert," but it's sherbet. Now you know.
Here is another word. What is this word? You all got that one wrong. It's bruschetta. The "sch" sounds like "sk." Okay, you got it right. Everyone else got it wrong. "Bru-sketta," not "bru‑shetta," which I've always said. You have been ordering your appetizers at Italian restaurants wrong all your life, and now you know.
Here is another one they said. What is this word? GIF. All right, let's solve this mystery right now. I don't want it to go any further. We're done with this. Right now. If you think it's "gif," rhyming with Jif peanut butter, raise your hand. Okay. Some of you are just real sure. Yeah, I hear you. You're angry. Stop it. If you think it's "jif", raise your hand.
If you just kind of glaze over it real fast because you don't know what it is, raise your hand. It is... Are you ready? Drumroll, please. It's "Jif." Oh no! I see you saying I'm wrong, shaking your head. You're wrong. This was a question on Jeopardy, and they went back to the founder of the word and he said it's "jif." So now we know. Everyone for the rest of your life can say that word correctly.
This is just how the article starts. We're still on the first one. It was pronunciation. I'm not going to tell you or go into detail on the other ones, but here's what they were: breathing. I'm like, "I'm breathing wrong? Are you sure?" Showering. Working out. Going to the bathroom. Washing hands. Sleeping. Eating. Brushing your teeth. Shaving. There are 15 of them. Those are some of them. All of these things you're doing wrong.
As I was reading it yesterday, I was thinking about there's something I'm certain we're doing wrong that didn't make the list. The article went on to talk about some of the consequences to doing these things wrong, like sleeping and eating and breathing have real, physical consequences. This particular thing that didn't make the list I think has one of the greatest consequences most relevant to us.
We're in this series Asking for a Friend: Questions You Wish the Church Would Answer. Tonight we're going to look at…What does the Bible have to say about sex? What does it actually have to say about sex? You've probably heard some murmurings here and there, but what does it actually have to say about sex? Even more specifically, sex before marriage.
As I said, I think this is the thing that is going to cause some of the greatest regrets in our lives. Let's just say fast forward the tape to when you're 40, 45. Let me just say this from personal experience. This is the thing that has caused the greatest regrets in my own life. This has had a bigger impact on my own marriage than anything.
Just in case you're a guest with us and you're like, "Oh, great. Another pastor telling me I can't have sex before I'm married. What does he know? I'm sure he saved himself." No. I have a scandalous past. Sexual addiction is a huge part of my story. Pornography is a tremendous part of my story. I have traveled and had the privilege and the honor of speaking on this topic in a lot of different places. I'm really grateful to be home tonight to talk with you about it.
It's not something that… I'm not trying to scare you. I'm not putting things up here just to kind of condemn you. I don't want you to leave feeling guilty or full of shame. I want you to know I found forgiveness, the same forgiveness that is available to you. There's tremendous hope. The Scripture is really clear. I'm not trying to pull anything over your eyes.
I want to show you what God's Word has to say. Because the way you find out how to pronounce GIF is you go to the creator. The way you find out how to have sex is you go to the inventor, the Creator of sex. You can go into the grocery store to the tabloids in the aisle, and there will be a lot of people who tell you 13 tips and tricks to how to have an amazing sex life. They've dumbed it down to penetration. They've dumbed it down to something dogs do on the side of the road.
The Creator of the heavens and the earth has said it's so much more, and you're missing out on it if you would just look at why he created this. God loves sex. It's his brainchild. He thought of it. He invented it. I've said it many times. He made the parts. He made them function the way they do, fit together the way they do. That a man would take his seed and place it inside a woman and life would be born.
This is beautiful and amazing and one of the greatest miracles of our lives, but we don't think about it that way. Most of the time when we're thinking about sex, we're thinking about pleasure. Stripping away what we would call the consequences. How do we enjoy a moment of pleasure? This is something I think we've come so far on that I need you to have an open mind tonight.
Start from the place, "What if we've gotten this really, really, really wrong? What if the consequences are so grave that we're just swimming in them and we don't even realize it?" They have tremendous impact on the world we live in, and we don't even realize it.
We're going to look at three questions tonight. The first one is, "What does the Bible really say about sex and why it's wrong? Why isn't it more obvious?" The second one is, "How far is too far?" Before you leave here this morning, I want to address the question, "What do I do if I've already gone too far and the temptation I face is just to give up and to say, 'Who cares? Let's just go all in'?"
1._ Where does the Bible explicitly say that sex before marriage is wrong?_ Let me tell you a story. I was one of these kids, and I'm sure you've heard about these boys. I was one of these boys… I went to a Bible study. It was actually at my high school girlfriend's parents' house. You have the setting. We're sitting there in the living room. There's a Bible school teacher. They're talking about this and telling us how we shouldn't have sex.
I just kind of raised my hand and said, "Hey. I've read the Bible. It's not in there. It doesn't say, 'Don't have sex before marriage.' You can't show me, and there's some things going on. You don't understand the Greek word I've looked into." Because every boy who wants to get his girlfriend naked all of a sudden becomes a Greek scholar. That's just how that works.
Keep in mind where I'm at. My girlfriend's dad walks in and he is like, "Wait. Who is asking this question? What's he saying?" I'm like, "I don't know. Who is?" He is like, "That dude is not going anywhere near my daughter." Here's what you need to know. I was wrong. If that's you here tonight, I empathize with your stance. I understand why you're there. You're trying to justify what you want to do. You're also wrong. We'll get to look at what God's Word actually says.
One of the first things Satan says to humanity is this, "Did God really say…?" If you're one of those people, as it comes to sex, who is saying, "Did God really say…?" Here's what you need to know. You're getting duped by the Enemy. He is eating your lunch. You're getting sold by Satan. You are believing his lie, and he is getting the best of you.
Let's just walk through the Bible and talk about different areas that talk about different kinds of sex really quick. The first one is the Old Testament. The Old Testament is about 75 percent of the Bible. As we get to the first five books, it has a lot to say about sex. You have the invention of man and woman right at the beginning. God says, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…"
It says this in Deuteronomy 22… The context of this verse is if someone gets married, and someone raises the point that who he married was not a virgin, then he has to prove she was a virgin. The way he would prove she was a virgin is he would have to present the bedsheet from their honeymoon and have to show there was blood on the bedsheet from their honeymoon to prove she was a virgin.
I know that's graphic. If you have kids here tonight, we typically don't let children in the Porch. Just know I'm speaking to adults tonight. I know that's really graphic. This is Deuteronomy 22:20, "If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death."
Ouch. That's crazy. Here's what I just said. If someone gets married, and someone raises the case they are not a virgin, they literally had the right, according to the Bible, according to the law at that time, to kill them by rocks. This is really graphic and really heavy, but you need to know this is how the Bible starts out, that God really, really cares about this.
I know where your mind is going, a thousand different places. You're like, "What about the guy?" Here's what it says about the guy in Exodus 22. It says, "If he has sex with a girl, if he convinces a girl to have sex with him, then they are married. They cannot get divorced." I'm not talking about married in God's eyes. I'm talking about they are married. He can't marry anyone else. They have to stay married forever. He has to pay to be married to her. He has to pay her father a dowry.
This is how the Scripture just kind of starts out saying, "Hey, sex is a really, really big deal." You're like, "Man, this is crazy." Keep in mind a couple of things. First, that was written 3,000 years ago into a cultural context very different than the one we live in. In this cultural context, sex was held in the highest regard. Purity wasn't even something you questioned. No one would wonder, "Can I have sex before marriage or not?" No way. You would die. It would cost you your life. No one is even thinking about that.
You just say, "Man, that's still crazy." Let me tell you a story from my hometown. In my hometown, a dad walked up on a man having sex with his underage daughter. True story. That dad beat that man to death. He killed him right there on the spot. He appeared before the judge, and the judge in a matter of minutes let him off. He said, "You're free. I hold nothing against you. You've committed no crime here. I understand why you did what you did."
I remember reading that article and thinking, "Yeah. We're human beings. He is filled with passion and rage. He sees this happening. Of course." Now consider every young lady who has ever been born and created is the creation of God. God brought her into existence and formed her body and knows everything about her and loves her more than her father does. When you take advantage of that girl, men, the Scripture in 1 Thessalonians 4 says, "God is the avenger of these matters." It really, really matters to him.
I'm not trying to scare you. I'm just reading the Scripture to you. You're like, "But wait. I thought we were talking about sex being wrong. The Old Testament, like, we don't follow the Old Testament, right? We eat shellfish and pork, so we're not following those rules. I've heard something about there being moral laws and ceremonial laws. What does this mean? How does this matter?
Let's move to the New Testament, but let's agree that 75 percent of the Bible says sex before marriage is explicitly wrong. Seventy-five percent. That's the Old Testament. Absolutely. You could get killed for doing that. Let's move into the New Testament, and let's just look at different kinds of sex. We'll start with sex with prostitutes. Can I have sex with prostitutes? First Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never!"
Okay, so I can't have sex with prostitutes. That is out. Old Testament is out. Sex with prostitutes also out. That is not allowed. You say, "Well why does that matter?" Here's why it matters. Because there are only certain labels girls carried in the New Testament. When you think about categories, there is no girlfriend category. It did not exist in the New Testament.
You had mom, sister, adulterer, prostitute, or wife. Those were the labels you'd have. You could be a relative, you could be an adulterer, you could be a prostitute, or you could be a wife. There was no girlfriend. There was no dating category. Let's talk about something you know the Bible condemns. It's adultery.
We're going to talk about adultery, married people. This is having sex with a married person or going outside of your marriage to have sex. Romans 7:3 says, "So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man."
The Bible says you cannot go outside of your marriage to have sex. You cannot have sex with someone who is married to someone else. We say, "Absolutely. We know that." The Bible is really explicit about this. In the New Testament is says this seven times, that you cannot do this. This is condemned seven times in the New Testament. When something is important, it is repeated in the Scripture. We see this is wrong.
It's like God is saying something. He is saying, "Hey, marriage is a really sacred fence. Sex is for marriage. You can't go outside of that marriage to have sex with anyone else. You don't want to have sex with anyone who is in that fence with somebody else." He is about to tell us, "And you don't have sex before you get in that fence." You say, "Where?"
Before I go there, Hebrews 13:4, just as I did that marriage is a sacred fence, "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." There are two terms there. Adulterer and then another term, the sexually immoral. This word is really important in understanding what the Scripture says.
Let's talk about sexual immorality. First Thessalonians 4:3-5, "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: That you should avoid sexual immorality; 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…" Whatever sexual immorality is, it is forbidden.
It says we are to learn to control our own body. Here is a word that encompasses sex before marriage. You say, "Well, why doesn't it say sex before marriage?" Keep in mind the context it is written in is that people aren't… T hey know. They know you can't have sex before marriage. Remember the woman who was caught in sexual sin in John, chapter 8?
They come around her, and they pick up rocks. They're about to kill her right there. Jesus intervenes. That's them living out the law in Deuteronomy 22. This is the context this is written in. Everybody comes up… This is where you become a Greek scholar. "Well, that's the word porneia, and porneia can mean, you know, all of these different things."
No, porneia means any sexual activity outside of the context of a man and a woman who are married together. That's what porneia means. You can look up the definition anywhere you want. It's like, "Well, how do you know what it means?" How do I know what up means? How do I know what down means? How do I know what any word means? I can look it up.
We know, without a doubt, without any question, what porneia means. Sex outside of God's covenant of marriage. Sexual activity, any kind of sex. The problem is we all want to decide what this word means. We all agree there is some forbidden sex. I'm just going to go on a limb, and I'm going to assume everyone here would say sex with children…that's wrong, that's forbidden. Let's just assume we all agree that that's wrong.
You know there are people who don't agree with you, right? There's NAMBLA, which stands for North American Man/Boy Love Association. It's as outrageous as it sounds. They advocate pedophilia. They say it should be legal. We would say, "No, that's forbidden." Why would you say that? Where does that come from? "Well, just a feeling I have." Or we could listen to the One who created sex. This is what sex is for. We don't get to decide what is right and what is wrong. He does, and he has made it really clear.
Remember I said adultery was condemned seven times? Porneia, fornication is how it's translated in some Bibles, which is a more direct sex before marriage, is condemned 26 times in the New Testament. Twenty-six times. So you think, "But why does he not say, 'Thou shalt not have sex before marriage'?"
It's like this. It's like there's a building and God says, "Hey, don't go on the roof. Under any circumstance, don't go on the roof." That's this word, porneia. It's all encompassing. It's all kinds of sexual immorality, which includes sex before marriage. When God says, "Don't go on the roof. Whatever you do, don't go on the roof. Let me tell you 26 times do not under any circumstance go on the roof." We show up, and we say, "God didn't say, 'Don't jump off the roof.'"
Why did he never say, "Don't jump off the roof?" He is like, "No. No. No." He put the line way before that. He said, "Don't even go up on the roof." I'm like, "Yeah, but he never said, 'Don't jump off the roof.' Did he? Really? Because there's a Greek word. It's like God didn't say, 'Don't shoot someone at point-blank range 16 times in the chest with an AR-15 .223 caliber.' Where did he say that?" He said, "Don't murder." "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, but I mean where does he say?"
No. No. His rule is even bigger than that. "But does it include…" Absolutely. Right in the middle of that. Of course it includes that. You say, "Well, I'm not convinced. First Corinthians 7:2, "But since sexual immorality is occurring, [the only thing I know to do is that] each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband." This is the only place that this should occur. The only solution to sexual immorality is abstinence or marriage, if someone's seeking release.
You say, "Well, I'm not convinced yet." Let's just go one more. We have the topic of lust. Lust, in Matthew 5, these are the words of Jesus now, he says, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Jesus says, "Hey, I know you've heard adultery condemned, but I'm condemning you looking at someone and desiring her."
Lust is sexual desire. That's what this is. So he says, "Even that, even to have sexual desire for someone who you are not married to, that is not allowed." You say, "Well, that's not a reality, right? That's not anything I can do." I would say, "You're absolutely right unless the entire trajectory of your life and your heart and your mind is to pursue Jesus with all you can, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength."
That is actually the goal. That you're not just trying to not have sex; you're trying to love God. In fact, you're problem is not that you love sex too much, it's you don't love God enough. That he would be the biggest thing about you. That anybody you would even think about dating or spending time with or desiring a marriage that right at the center of that relationship would be Jesus.
Anywhere you go with her or him would be the Holy Spirit. What it would be marked by is not just purity, but holiness. That the world would look on and say, "Man, what they have for each other, it's holy. It's godly. It's God-honoring. The Bible says sex is for marriage. In 1 Corinthians 7:9, "But if they cannot control themselves,they should masturbate." Oh, no. That's not what it says.
It says, "But if they cannot control themselves, they should have oral sex." That's not what it says. "But if they cannot control themselves, they should make out." That's not what it says. "But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry…" That's really their only option. Exclusively their only option. "…for it is better to marry than to burn with passion." What we see is sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong. That's oral sex, anal sex, sexting. Any kind of sex you would have outside of marriage is wrong.
2._ How far is too far?_ Let's just acknowledge up front this question is asked by someone wanting to cross the line. We all have a desire to go too far. Inside of us is in an urge to go too far. If someone comes to me while on a building, and they say, "How close to the edge of the building can I get?" The first thing I'm going to ask them, "Well, let me ask you a question. Do you desire to jump off the building? Because if you desire to jump off the building, stay on the ground. Don't even get on the elevator."
When it comes to sex, we all need to acknowledge there is a desire in us, especially if we're spending time with someone we're attracted to, to jump off the building. Matthew 5 goes on to say this, "If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell."
Talking about in the context of lust, Jesus is using a hyperbole, an exaggeration. He doesn't literally want you to gouge out your eye or cut off your hand, but he is trying to say to the religious people there, "You need to do whatever it takes to abstain from sexual immorality and to not lust."
It's interesting that when he talks about lust, he is saying, "Hey, your eye causes you to lust because you look at something." He says, "Your right hand also causes you to lust." I believe that is a reference to masturbation. If you want to "Hey, how far is too far," lusting is too far. Masturbation is too far. Let me break it down very clearly for you, because I know how this works, right?
"Hey, you want to come over to my apartment and watch a movie?"
"Sure. Is there going to be popcorn there?"
You go over and hang out and watch this romantic comedy. "Ha, ha. That's so funny. That's Jennifer Aniston. I love her." We're just having a good time.
"Oh, I'm tired. You okay if I lay down?"
"Yeah. I'll lay down, too."
Now we just went horizontal. It's cool, because we're just watching a movie, right? And then one hand touches the other hand, sparks start flying, move closer, bodies up against each other, there's some rubbing going on. You uncomfortable yet? Then all of a sudden, the hands start going places. Somebody turns over. You're making out now. This is how this goes, right? But we're going to stop. We're just enjoying each other.
Here's what you just did. You just got on a moving sidewalk. You've seen these things in the airport, moving sidewalks? You get on them. They take you places. I got on a moving sidewalk once. It was one that went all the way down the terminal. I got halfway there with my suitcase. It was full of people, and I realized it wasn't the right terminal. I wasn't going to the right gate, and I needed to get off. It's just slowly moving me down.
I start thinking I'm going to climb over the side. There was actually two of them right beside each other. I'm thinking, "Okay. I have to get them to move, climb over that one, then climb over the next, and somehow, 'Hey, will you hand me my bags.' How am I going to do this?" Because it's just taking me somewhere. It just keeps moving me on.
That's what you did. It's leading to two destinations. One full of regret and the other full of regret. You either finish or you leave really, really frustrated. But it ain't going anywhere good. You stepped on that sidewalk, and it just started taking you. One thing leads to another, and you just keep going. How far is too far? Here's the really clear answer. You ready? It's really clear. It's transferrable. You can tell your friends.
Here's how far is too far. When your body begins to prepare itself for sex, you've gone too far. Now do I need to get some pictures up here to explain what I mean by this? That's not what I was talking about. Let me just say this really clearly. When your body, in the way God designed it to work and operate and function, and it's an amazing design, whether you're male or female it's an incredible design. When your body begins to prepare itself for sex, you've already crossed the line.
You say, "JP, man, gosh. Then I can't even be in the same room with her." Then you can't be in the same room with her. At least not alone. For some of you, that's going to be like, "Well, we can't even hold hands." Then you can't even hold hands. Because your body was made to prepare itself for sex. That's a great thing. That's your body working the way it is supposed to work. Why would you start your body only to shut it off in a way it is not supposed to work? Why would you train your body to do something it wasn't wired to do? It wasn't meant to do?
Do you see God's incredibly genius design here? It's an amazing design. First Corinthians 6:18 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… Therefore honor God with your bodies." We flee sexual immorality.
The way we flee sexual immorality is we run toward Christ. If you're running toward Christ, you're running from sexual immorality. If you're running toward Christ as fast as you can, sexual immorality, I promise you, is going to be behind you. Jesus and sexual immorality will never be side by side. You will never be pursuing Jesus and be sexually immoral. It will not happen.
You can stop playing defense. Don't. Don't. Don't. Thou shalt not. Stop. You can start playing offense. Pursue Jesus with reckless abandon and begin to live out your purpose. When you do that, you will not fall into sexual sin. You will avoid sexual sin. The problem is not that you love sex; it's that you're not pursuing Christ.
Here's what I would tell you. I know some folks are like, "But it's just sex." It's never just sex. You go on Twitter and search #MeToo, and you're going to see it's never just sex. Somebody comes up, and they talk to me every Tuesday, right up here. They can't look me in the eyes. They are broken. Some of the most broken people I have ever met with are people who have sinned sexually or been violated sexually in some way.
It's a sin against the self, the Scripture says. It's a unique sin. I'm not saying them being violated is a sin. I'm saying the person who sinned against them hurt them in a unique way. It was against themselves. The Scripture puts it in its own category. It says, "Hey, this one is unique when you do this." This is why you can't get over your ex. This is why you want to get drunk and have an excuse to call them.
We want to drink too much as an excuse to make a mistake. Because you gave yourself to them in a way you weren't supposed to. Now they have your heart in a unique way. Male or female. I know it's true, and you know it's true. Because the way God made sex, it's the highest levels of dopamine someone can experience naturally. What happens during sexual release is your brain creates a synapse.
A synapse is like a muscle in the brain. It creates a synapse that bonds your five senses to your surroundings. This is where sexual perversions come from. This is where fetishes come from. You think, "Man, why is there foot porn out there?" It's because some dude or some person has bonded themselves to feet. That's what the epitome of sexual attraction is for them. That's what happened.
The reason God made us this way is so that when we would experience sexual release with our spouse for a lifetime, they would remain the epitome of attraction to us. It's an unbelievable, beautiful design. It's why the Scripture says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."
Today, secular psychologists and scientists call this phenomenon sex glue. That people during sex are bonded to each other. What happens when you bond to multiple two-dimensional images in a pornography struggle or addiction is you're rewiring your body not to bond. What happens is when you've been promiscuous with multiple partners is you're teaching your body not to bond, not to stick.
You're training yourself for variety. You are growing an addiction, not to sex, but to variety. You are not training yourself for monogamy but polygamy and adultery. For many of you, you just had a lightbulb moment. Because you look at our world, you see the divorce rate, you see how adultery is at an all-time high. Divorce rate is at an all-time high. Marriage is at an all-time low.
Can I just say something here? We're not getting better at this. We have more tips and tricks and techniques in the grocery store than we've ever had in the history of history, and we stink at this, in the biggest way. Your generation is the worst at sex and the worst at marriage than any other generation that has ever lived.
What's the solution? You. Pursuing Jesus. Being an example of what should be. Displaying the kingdom and redeeming it. I know that right about now, the condemnation is at an all-time high, because you feel like you've blown it in a major way. The Rolodex is spinning. You know that last night you were on your iPhone. You know on Instagram you clicked those hashtags.
You know you went down that path. You know just this past weekend you drank a little too much, you called the ex, and said, "Hey, you want to come over and watch a movie?" I want you to know, the Enemy is real. He hates you. He hates your children. He hates your marriage long before you've ever met your spouse. He hates you. He hates creation.
The reason he hates creation… This is really important. He uniquely targets sex. Here's why. Because the first great commission, God's plan to fill the earth with his followers, was to "…be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…" God literally looks at man and woman and says, "Hey, have lots of sex, and have lots of babies. Raise them up to know me. That's how I'm going to fill the world with my followers."
Satan, who… It's one kingdom after another. He doesn't want God's kingdom to grow. He wants his kingdom to grow. He targets sexuality. He tries to pervert it in a very unique way. The last thing the Enemy wants is for you to be in a healthy marriage where you have children and raise them to know the Lord. That's what he is after. He is targeting you.
3._ What do I do if I've gone too far?_ You need to know there is grace and forgiveness. You do not have to leave here tonight feeling guilty or shameful or condemnation. You think, "I might as well keep on going, right? I've already blown it. What do I do if I've gone too far?" What do you ever do if you've gone too far? Let's just think about this for a minute.
I do this a lot, because sometimes when I drive, I just kind of daydream. My mind wanders. I'm driving, and I'll just miss my turn, especially if my wife is not in the car to tell me, because she is good at directions. I'll just be thinking about a sermon and what I'm going to talk with you guys about. I'll just keep driving. I'll miss my turn, or I'll miss my destination.
I'll get down the road, and I'll realize it. "Oh, it's back that way." What do I do? The first thing I do is I stop. I stop progressing, because I realize I'm going the wrong way, so I don't want to go any further. I stop. Then I turn around, and I reorient myself. I look at the destination I want to be at, and I move toward it.
That's what you do if you've already blown it. You stop. "No more. I'm done. I'm not going to go any further. I'm going to turn around." That's called repentance. I'm moving from my sin, and I'm turning toward Christ. That's repentance. Turning from your sin, turning toward Jesus. Bible study, Community Group, church, that these things would consume your life.
You confess. "Guys, this is what I did. This is where my boyfriend and I are right now. This is where my girlfriend and I are right now. This is what we've done. Hey, I need to say this out loud. Would you all pray for me in a James 5:16 kind of way? So I can experience healing. I want to confess it out loud. All of it. The whole truth. This is what I've done." You confess it.
You bring accountability. "Hey, guys, would you help me? This is a temptation to me. Would you text me at this time? Hey, I'm going here. Would you reach out to me? Hey, would you pray for me at this time? Would you follow up with a question?" You invite accountability into your life.
Some of you, you're in a toxic relationship. What you need to hear tonight is, "Break up." Others of you, you have addictions in your life as it relates to sex. What you need to hear tonight is, "Pursue healing." It's been there since the fifth grade. It's not going to go away until you say, "I need help. I have to pursue healing."
My wife and I, this is a part of our story. We met as non-believers. We trusted Christ together. Our relationship was a train wreck. Manic highs and lows. "I love you. I hate you. Get out of my car. I can't wait to see you again." It was just a mess. We come and Jesus enters our life. We're like, "Whoa. Where have you been all our life?" We realize instantly the conviction of the Holy Spirit is like, "We have to cut this out."
We pulled the parking brake on all things physical, but it was hard. It was very, very difficult. What we needed to do was to create new lines of accountability that had nothing to do with sex. Like how we spent time together. She couldn't stay at my place any more, obviously. We couldn't be alone. We had to change up the rules for us to make it.
You know what happened? You know what I did? Call me crazy, you know what I did? It took me about a month, and I proposed. I bought a ring. We were like, "This isn't any fun. Man, we gotta…" We were married four months later. That's the truth. I didn't get off scot-free. I didn't escape all the consequences. I brought the consequences into my marriage.
It took about two and a half years of serious recovery to take place in my marriage, but God has done such a redemptive work. Such an incredible, redemptive work. Can I be honest with you? It was a lot of work. Some of you, you're going to leave here, and this is my last word of warning for you. You're going to keep moving the wrong direction, and I hate that for you, because I know first-hand how costly that is.
I grew up painting. I'm an artist, I guess. Like some of you guys are football players and athletes and whatnot, art was kind of my thing. I would go to this lady… I grew up in a small town. It was Ms. Talbert's art studio. It was this elderly lady. She has since passed away. She would teach us to paint. There were kids in there. We would paint on glass canvases, if you will. Oil on china. Oil painting.
Whenever you would paint, she would teach you how. If you ever messed up, you just raised your hand. There is no way to like erase oil paint. You just have to raise your hand. This elderly lady, who was an amazing artist, she would come behind you. She put her hand on your hand. She would guide your hand on the canvas to make something beautiful of your mistake.
Some of my favorite paintings were the ones I really messed up, because she was a much better artist than me. When she would get involved, it would always end up beautiful. Either it would be this brushstroke out of bounds that was supposed to be a flower. It was nothing you could see or realize what it was. She would come behind me, put her hand on mine. She'd make the most beautiful flower you could imagine out of that mistake.
This is what God does. You stop. "I'm not going to go any further. I'm going to turn around. God, can you help me? Can you drive from here?" He comes in your life, and he can make something beautiful out of what you've done wrong. He makes amazing fathers out of fornicators. He makes awesome moms out of abortionists. He makes pastors out of pornographers. He makes saints out of the sexually immoral. He makes beauty from ashes. That's what he does.
I give you two examples, and then we'll wrap up. In 1 John, chapter 8, I told you there's this woman. She is caught in sexual sin. All these guys surround her, and they pick up stones. Can you imagine being this woman? She feels guilty. She feels shame, and now she is about to die, because they know Deuteronomy 22. They've read it. They know what they have to do now.
She was sexually immoral, and they have to kill her. To follow the law, they're going to kill her. They're going to throw rocks at her until she stops breathing. Except Jesus shows up. He steps in between the woman and the men holding the rocks. He says, "Hey. Let me ask you guys a question. Which of you hasn't sinned? Whoever hasn't sinned, you throw the first stone, okay?"
What you hear is the sound of rocks hitting the ground and these men walking off. He looks at her, and he says, "No one is here to condemn you, huh?" "No, sir." "Then neither do I. Go and sin no more." He doesn't say, "Neither do I, keep going. Keep moving down the sidewalk. Keep doing your thing, lady." He says, "Stop it. Go and sin no more."
I'll tell you another story, because that one was for the women. There's another story about a guy who goes to his dad and says, "Hey, Dad. I wish you would die. The reason I wish you'd die is because you have some money, and I'd like to have your money. There are lots of things I'd love to do."
His dad says, "Well, you don't have to wait until I die. Here. Why don't you take half your inheritance?" He takes it. He goes to Vegas, and he blows it on prostitutes. He blows all the money on prostitutes. He gets the expensive ones. Has some of the wildest, most crazy best sex you can imagine.
He wakes up from a hangover. Has cocaine hanging out of his nose. He's hungry. He has no more money. The tables weren't good to him. He says, "You know what I'll do? I'll go back to my dad, and I'll ask him if I can be his slave. Because his slaves can eat. I can't. His slaves can eat, so I'll go and ask him if I can be his slave." It says,
"So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate."
If you're here and you're ready to be done with the things you've done and gotten caught up on. You're ready to stop. You say, "I'm done. I realize there's pain in my life. I realize there are hurts and addictions and things I can't stop. I'm calling that boy like I'm crazy. I'm stuck on her like I'm crazy. But I'm done." There's a party that awaits you. That God wants to celebrate with.
He is not like, "Well, hold on. Hey, let's talk about all these things. Tell me about Vegas." He said, "You're back. I've been waiting on you." He saw him from a long way off and ran. Picked up his robe and ran. That's the God who is pursuing you. How do I know he is pursuing me? Where are you right now? On Tuesday? You're hearing this.
In summary, the Bible is clear that sex before marriage is a sin against God, because it is hurtful to his creation and against his design. How far is too far is the wrong question. How holy can you be in your pursuit of a spouse and your pursuit of Christ? There is forgiveness and restoration available to anyone who repents.
The old illustration that is still very appropriate is just that sex is like a fire. The fire is powerful. The fire is helpful. The fire is, arguably, one of the greatest discoveries in humanity. It provides warmth and protection from the cold. It provides light. It provides energy. A fire contained in the right place makes your car go down the road.
Yesterday, I read about a family of four who all died because in the middle of the night a log fell out of the fireplace. It burned their house down, and all of them died. Because the fire moved outside the place it was supposed to be, and it became destructive.
You know there are wildfires that have been going on in Colorado. My buddy sent me this picture. His family's house is right around the corner. That's a Whole Foods you can see right there. In the background you see the wildfire. I would just commend to you that this is our culture right now. Our whole culture is being burnt up on your watch.
Some of you, you've experienced this fire, because you know your house burned down. Your mom and your dad, they couldn't keep sex where it was meant to be. Your house was torn apart, and it was burned down. That's a part of your childhood. You can't tell me it didn't have a tremendous impact on who you are and what you've done.
Some of you, you've already burnt your house down long before you met your spouse. Not because you've done something that is unforgiveable or God can't fix, but because you know you're going to leave here, and you're not going to change anything. Fifty percent of sexually active people will contract an STD before the age of 25. Half. One in two.
The CDC estimates that STDs cause infertility in tens of thousands of women. I told you, Satan hates procreation. Statistics from the CDC would suggest that 1 in 4 people in this room tonight, or in any room listening to this, have a sexually transmitted disease. Nearly half of all births in the United States are to unmarried mothers. Nearly half of the children born here are not born into a family.
This is responsible for over a million abortions. The divorce rate amongst couples who have been sexually active before marriage is significantly higher than those who have waited. If you could put sex anywhere, where would you put it? All of these problems would go away if we just had sex in the context of what it was created for. All of them would go away.
The divorce rate among couples who waited is less than 5 percent. From the Journal of Family Psychology, who studied hundreds of couples who had sex, those who waited and those who didn't, and they found couples who waited, both men and women, said they had better communication than those who didn't wait, they had better sexual quality than those who didn't wait, they had better relationship satisfaction than those who didn't wait, and they had better perceived stability than those who didn't wait.
If you were God, if you were Creator, and you could put sex anywhere, where would you put it? What he did is he put it in the confines of a covenant between a man and woman who say crazy things to each other. They look each other in the eyes. I've been there. I have had a front row seat. Dozens of times.
"I promise to love you for the rest of my life. In sickness and health, for richer or for poorer, until death do us part. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates me from you." God says that's the place. He says in 1 Thessalonians to learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.He says learn to, like it's going to be challenging. It's something you have to learn to.
You're going to have to apply some effort. Discipline yourself for godliness. It's a challenge. You have natural urges. They want to take you down the conveyor belt. The Enemy is going to work with that. God says, "I have something better for you. I'm not trying to rip you off. I'm trying to set you free. I'm trying to give you life so you might have it to the fullest. Your only problem is that you believed a lie."
I pray tonight you believe the truth. If you're not convinced, don't leave. You read some article somewhere your cousin sent you who is a staunch atheist. Come up. We'd love to have the conversation. We'd love to talk with you. I challenge you. If you don't believe, if you're not there yet, you're not convinced, don't leave. Let's have a conversation. Let me pray for you.
Father, thank you for just all of these texts, these Scriptures, these truths that instruct us in the way of life. Father, the Enemy, the Accuser you call him, he speaks lies, and he is after us tonight. As we worship, would you move our hearts toward affection for you? Would you remind us that there is nothing we've done that is going to stop you from loving us, pursuing us, chasing us, and wooing us? Father, would you turn our hearts back to you? In the name of Jesus, amen.