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Pure Sex #2--Safe sex for singles

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March 4, 2007

Pure Sex

Part 2: Safe sex for singles!

Introduction:  God wants the very best for you!

1. What are God’s standards?

          A.  No ______________________________________________________.

                Exodus 20:14, Hebrews 13:4

          B.  No ______________________________________________________.

Leviticus 18; Matthew 15:19, 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3, Colossians 3:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

C.  No ______________________________________________________.

Ephesians 5:3, Colossians 3:5


                D.  No ______________________________________________________.

Matthew 5:28, Colossians 3:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:5

2. Why did God give these standards?  Because _________________________!

          A. God wants us to experience ___________________________________.

                   1 Corinthians 6:13

          B. God wants us to avoid  _______________________________________.

                   1. ___________________________________.

                   2. ___________________________________.

                   3. ___________________________________.

                   4. ___________________________________.

3. How can I keep God’s standards?

          A.  Give yourself unreservedly ___________________________________.

          B.  Set _______________________________________________ together.

March 4, 2007

Pure Sex

Part 2: Safe sex for singles!


          How many parents want to buy a trunk monkey chaperone for your teenager?  I love that…but I’m glad Noel didn’t have one of those when I was dating Laina!

          Today is part 2 of our series, Pure Sex, and we’re talking about “Safe Sex for Singles.”  We’re going to look at God’s sexual standards for singles, what they are and why He gave them, and finish with some practical ideas on how to keep them.  At the top of your outline I wrote that God wants the very best for you.  Would you say that with me?  God wants the very best for you.  Would you say that to someone next to you?  God wants the very best for you. 

Offering and announcements:

          Reminder: If you have small children, you may want to take them to their classes or be prepared to answer their questions on the way home.  If you want to talk about this with your kids, by all means, make sure they’re here!

41 great things to do on a date

Conspiracy of Hope (back of tear-off tab) – can be involved as a volunteer or by donating supplies

Women’s retreat: sign up deadline is today!

Justin McRoberts/Christopher Williams concert (right column) – free concert on Tuesday night in the Multi-Purpose Room.

          New parking lot!

Introduction: God wants the very best for you!

          How many of you can relate with that sketch?  I've been married over 31 years, but I can still remember very clearly what it was like to be single with raging hormones!  I can remember the desire I felt every time I was around Laina--and the frustration.  My wife is gorgeous, and I am crazy about her, and it was hard to keep my hands off her!  Grrr!

          Before I start, how many are single?  Being single and Christian is a tough combination.  God created us as sexual creatures; your sex drive is from God, and it is good.  Sex is God's good gift.  And God intends sex for marriage: one man, one woman, one flesh for a lifetime.  So being a single Christian is tough,especially in our culture which has lifted all restrictions on sexual behavior

and declared any and all sexual behavior as permissible, even healthy.  It's tough!  One new believer said, "As I see it, God only had one bad idea.  Chastity for singles.  Bad idea."   C.S. Lewis said “Chastity is the most unpopular of Christian virtues.”

          It is common for people, when confronted with God's high standards, to simply dismiss them.  "No sex before marriage--He can't be serious!  Doesn't God know that everybody is doing it?  Doesn't He realize that it can be psychologically damaging to repress your sexual urges?  Doesn't He know that couples need to experiment to discover if they are sexually compatible?  It must be one of those mistakes in the Bible." 

          It's no mistake!  God's standards are very high.  And they are high because God wants the very best for you.  What are God’s standards?  Why do they make sense?  And how can we keep them?  Those are the questions I want to answer with you today.

1. What are God's standards?

          Sex is for marriage.  One man, one woman, one flesh for a lifetime.  Here are four very clear and challenging Biblical standards.

          A. No adultery.  Almost everyone understands the wisdom of this prohibition.  Adultery is sexual intercourse between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. Adultery violates the marriage covenant of fidelity, and often ends the marriage.  The Bible has many prohibitions against it, beginning with the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.” 

One New Testament example:

Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

From cover to cover, the Bible warns against adultery.  In two weeks, we'll look at how people fall into adultery, and what you can do to make your marriage affair-proof.

          You might be thinking, “What does adultery have to do with me as a single?”  If you are single and have sex with a married person, you have committed adultery, and God says it’s wrong.  Again, most people understand and accept this.  Next:

          B. No sexual immorality.  While adultery involves at least one married person, anyone, married or single, can commit sexual immorality.  The Greek word that is translated “sexual immorality” is porneia—we get “pornography” from it—and it means any kind of unlawful sexual intercourse.  What would be unlawful sexual intercourse?  It’s referring to God’s law.  The Old Testament law was clear that sex was for marriage, and clearly forbids all other kinds of sexual activity, including adultery, premarital sex, prostitution, rape, incest, homosexuality, and bestiality.  (For example, see Leviticus 18.)  All of these are unlawful sexual activity and are included in this word porneia, sexual immorality.

          Sexual immorality includes premarital sex, and the Bible repeatedly forbids it.  I meet many people who are surprised by this.  They don't think that the Bible forbids premarital sex as long as it doesn't involve someone who is already married.  But it does.  Often and clearly.  Every time the word porneia is used—26 times in the New Testament.  Here are just 6 of those references.

Matthew 15:19 Jesus said "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what make a man unclean." 

Where does sexual immorality come from?  The heart…remember that, because you’ll see that God wants us to be pure in our hearts as well as our behavior.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

What should you do when you are tempted sexually?  Run!  Flee!  Remember the story of Joseph in the Old Testament, when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him?  What did Joseph do?  He skeedaddled!  He ran. He fled.  Don’t try to negotiate with sexual temptation; run!  And notice that your body is not your own; it belongs to God.  Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so honor God with your bod! 

Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:3 Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.

Not even a hint…We not only don’t do it, we don’t even get close…not a hint.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these the wrath of God is coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

It is God’s will that you be holy, specifically, that you avoid sexual immorality.  Occasionally I meet a dating couple who are having sex and tell me it’s God’s will.  Nope.  This is pretty clear what God’s will is: that you avoid sexual immorality.

          Sexual immorality is sex outside of marriage, and includes premarital sex, and the Bible tells us not to go there.  So no premarital sex.  And God’s standards go higher.  In several of the passages we just read, more than sexual immorality is forbidden.  Sexual impurity is too.

          C. No impurity. 

Ephesians 5:3 Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. 

Colossians 3:5 Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these the wrath of God is coming.

Impurity literally means “unclean, dirty” and refers to moral purity before God.  Let me describe it this way: are you doing anything that would make you feel dirty before God?  Are you doing anything that would make you blush in God’s presence?  That’s impurity. 

ILL: I’ll never forget when God first got my attention on this subject.  I had been a Christian only a few months and was at my girlfriend’s house one summer afternoon, and we were making out.  Her parents were gone at work—they needed a trunk monkey!  Fortunately God was there, and I can’t explain how, but suddenly I was aware that He was in the room, watching what I was doing.  I jumped up, said I had to go, and started walking home.  I fled!  Run Forrest run!  And as I did, I sensed God saying, “My kids don’t do what you were doing.”  I broke up with my girlfriend, and promised God I’d be pure.  It was a defining moment in my life…a huge change.

Impurity: are you doing anything that would make you feel dirty before God?  I believe that impurity includes all the inappropriate sexual activity that leads to intercourse outside of marriage.  It includes the foreplay that is the prelude to intercourse. 

          Sexual intercourse is more than the penetration of the vagina by the penis.  It includes all of foreplay, which prepares both people for the final act of penetration and orgasm.  The kisses and caresses of foreplay are all part of the sex act.   To deliberately engage in foreplay, in prolonged and passionate kissing, in fondling each other in ways that are designed to arouse, when you know God has forbidden intercourse, is impurity…and it’s pretty stupid. 

          ILL: A couple who were dating came to see me because they were struggling with their sexual desire for each other; it seemed overwhelming at times.  So I asked them when it seemed most overwhelming, thinking that I might help them identify the point of temptation so they could avoid it.  "Well, it is hardest for us when we're in bed together with just our underwear on."  Yeah...I can see how that would be hard!

They had the mistaken notion that as long as they didn't actually have intercourse, they were ok, they hadn't violated God's standards.  This is pretty shallow thinking.  For example, if they had been married and their spouse was doing this with someone else, would they think, "Well, at least they aren't having intercourse, so I guess it's ok."  You wouldn’t buy that for a second!  Foreplay is part of the package of sexual intercourse, and to engage in it outside of marriage is impurity.

          ILL: I told you last week about our youth group discussions when I was in high school.  We were forever trying to answer the question, "How far can a Christian go?"  I'm afraid we were asking the wrong question.  It felt like we were asking, "What can we get away with and still be Christians?" We should have been asking, "What is God's will, God's best for us in this area?"  None of us understood that the Bible forbids sexual impurity; we all knew that intercourse was out, but we honestly thought the rest was up for grabs.  So we debated and discussed and decided that you should keep your hands off of the other person’s private parts.  Some students thought that kissing was ok as long as you kept your tongue in your own mouth; others thought that kisses should be limited to a certain length: maybe 15 seconds.  One Roman Catholic writer distinguished innocent kisses, venial sin kisses and mortal sin kisses by the number of seconds the lips touched!  What I always wanted to know was: who's counting?  (act it out)  We were mistaken in our conclusions because we were mistaken in our premise. 

Let me say it again.  Sexual intercourse doesn't begin when a penis penetrates a vagina (and a husband who thinks it does has lots to learn--we'll talk about that next week!).  Sexual intercourse begins with foreplay; and all of foreplay, kissing, touching, caressing, prepares the body for intercourse.  They are parts of a whole. 

·        You don't warm up your car unless you plan to drive it. 

·        You don't pack your suitcase unless you are planning to travel. 

·        You don't prepare a meal unless you are planning to eat. 

·        So don't engage in foreplay until you are ready to have intercourse…when you’re married. 

To do so is to engage is sexual impurity and the Bible forbids impurity.

          D.  No lust.  Jesus took this issue of purity even deeper than the level of behavior, to the level of our imagination, our heart. 

Matthew 5:27-28 You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Jesus took the outward commandments and made them inward.  “You’ve heard it said, ‘don’t murder’, but I say to you don’t be angry.”  And here He takes the commandment against adultery deeper: don’t lust.  There are many other passages that forbid lust, such as Colossians 3:5 and 1 Thessalonians 4:5, cited earlier.  The purity that God wants is a thorough going purity of heart and mind as well as body.  Jesus knew that wrong acts start with wrong thoughts; sex starts in the mind. 

          Many people struggle with sexual fantasies.  Often they are stimulated by pornography and result in masturbation. 

ILL: I became a Christian when I was 13, and I struggled with pornography and masturbation.  I talked about it with a buddy who loved the Lord, and we decided to see what the Bible had to say.  The Bible says nothing about masturbation; the word is not in the Bible. 

If the Bible doesn't say masturbation is wrong, why did I feel so guilty? Because the Bible clearly calls for purity of heart and thought, and you can't masturbate without fantasizing.  I recognized that my sin wasn't one of the flesh, but of the heart, and that the battle ground was my mind.  That was where the war had to be won. 

I conquered my habit by replacing it with a new one.  I ruthlessly eliminated pornography—threw it all away and never got any more.  And I decided that whenever sexual thoughts came, rather than entertaining them and allowing them to grow into full-blown fantasies of sexual experiences, I would replace them with pure thoughts. So at night, when a thought came, I would get out of bed, turn on my lamp, get on my knees, open my Bible and begin to read and pray.   Some nights, I got out of bed several times and spent a lot of time on my knees.  But gradually I overcame my habit, and replaced it with a new and beneficial one!

God's standard is sexual purity, a purity that begins in our hearts and minds, and works its way out in our behavior.

          Sex is for marriage.  Therefore, no adultery, no sexual immorality (including premarital sex), no impurity, and no lust.  Those are God's sexual standards.

2. Why did God give these standards?  Because He loves you. 

          God is not a cosmic killjoy, looking for ways to short-circuit our fun and make us miserable.  There are good reasons behind every command God gives.  The first reason to obey God's standards is that God wants you to experience the best!

          A.  God wants you to experience the best.

          ILL: I have a friend who got a new car.  He was reading over the owner's manual that comes with the car.  It gives all kinds of specific steps that should be taken to maintain the car and keep it operating at peak performance.  The people that designed and built the car wrote the book, and the instructions in it are not arbitrary.  They didn't set down one day and say, "Let's write a book that will make the people who buy our cars miserable!  Ha-ha-ha!  Let's tell them to do all sorts of stupid things that don't make any sense!  Ha-ha-ha!"  There is a good reason that they told you to put oil in the crankcase, and unleaded fuel in the gas tank.  But my friend is a free man--he doesn't let anyone tell him what to do—he does whatever he feel like.  So he tosses this stupid book, and he puts water in the crankcase and diesel in the gas tank.  What happens?  His engine blows up in short order!

God designed and created you as a sexual creature, and His instructions in the Bible are given so that you can operate at peak performance, so that you can experience the maximum benefit in life.  These aren't arbitrary instructions; they are given for your benefit. 

1 Corinthians 6:13 "The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." 

God designed you for himself, not for immorality.  You are only truly free and fulfilled when you do what you were designed to do.  You don't set a fish free by taking him out of the water.  Fish were designed to swim, and they are free when they are doing what they were created to do.  God designed you for Himself; you will only be free and fulfilled when you follow His instructions.   God wants the best for you…and next Sunday we’re going to talk about the best sex ever!

          People have said to me, "But you said that God designed us as sexual creatures, and that sex is good.  So why shouldn't I take every chance I can to experience God's good gift.  God created sex, so why shouldn't I enjoy it?"  God created poison oak; why don't you roll in it?  God created the Grand Canyon; why don't you jump off?  Yes, God created sex, but for the context of marriage.  Fire is good in my fireplace, but when it gets in the walls of my house, it's destructive.  Dynamite, in the hands of an expert can be used for many beneficial purposes; in the hands of a novice, it is deadly.  God created sex for marriage and said it is good; outside marriage, it can be disastrous.  Keep the fire in the fireplace!

          God wants you to experience the best, and…

          B.  God wants you to avoid the worst.

          There are consequences to every behavior, including sexual behavior.  Here are some of the consequences of violating God's sexual standards, consequences that God would like you to avoid. 

          1.  Physical.  Like unwanted pregnancies.  More than half of the 6 million pregnancies in the US each year are unintended, and 1.3 million of those are terminated by abortion. This year, over 750,000 teenage girls will get pregnant.  Nearly one third of them will abort their babies.  80% of these pregnant girls will drop out school.  70% of the unwed mothers will go on welfare.  85% of them will raise their children alone because the boy who impregnated them will eventually abandon them. 

          Like sexually transmitted diseases.  There are more than 25 known STD's including AIDS.  Approximately 19 million new cases of STD’s are diagnosed each year.  That means 52,000 people a day.  Those 19 million new cases a year are up from 12 million a year 10 years ago, and up from 4 million in 1980.  Anyone who has sex outside of marriage is at risk.  The only truly safe sex is a monogamous man with a monogamous woman in a monogamous lifelong marriage.  Even an honest answer to an intimate question is no guarantee that a person is safe, for an STD can be transmitted even while it is dormant. 

          2.  Emotional.  The most ridiculous buzzword in our culture is "safe sex".  Many people mistakenly view sex as a purely biological or physical activity, and are ignoring the incredibly complex emotional and spiritual consequences. Seattle Weekly columnist Kathryn Robinson wrote "Even the kid armed to the teeth with contraceptive gear can't strap on anything strong enough to protect him or her from the various emotional residues of sex."  To give yourself unreservedly to another person in an act of intimacy and vulnerability, and then be rejected, is devastating. 

          ILL: one woman said, "I dated this man for 2 years and I finally gave in to his persistence.  I gave all of myself to him.  And I wanted to.  I want to show him how much I loved him.  And now he's dating and sleeping with my best friend.  Do you know how that makes me feel?"

Yes.  It demolishes your self-esteem, it makes you feel used, betrayed, cheap and abused.  There is no safe sex outside of a permanent, monogamous marriage. There is no contraceptive ever made that can protect your heart.

          3.  Social.  Once a dating couple becomes sexually active, it is easier to make love than to make sense.  Communication often slows to a standstill because it is easier to pant than talk.  Many friendships have been undermined by premature sexual involvement.  Can’t think of anything to do besides go to a movie or have sex?  We’ve provided a list of 41 great things to do on a date

          And there are consequences for marriage too.  Many couples who have sex before marriage are hurting their chances for marital happiness.  They are sowing the seeds of mistrust.  I've had spouses tell me, "He/she compromised with me before we were married; how do I know he/she won't compromise with someone else now?"  By the way, studies have repeatedly shown that living together before marriage actually decreases your chance of a successful marriage.

          4.  Spiritual.  Sexual sin clouds your relationship with God with guilt, and often people end up running away from God to escape the guilt (which of course doesn't work, and only makes things worse).  I have known many people who vanished from church, and when I tracked them down, found out that they were involved in sexual sin.  When we disobey God sexually; it affects us spiritually.  Another price we pay is the loss of our influence.  Most Christians want their lives to count for God, want to make a difference for Christ.  But sexual sin compromises our influence.  Ted Haggard is the most recent example of that.

          God has some pretty good reasons for telling us to save sex for marriage.  He wants us to experience the best, and avoid the worst.  So how can we do it?

3. How can I keep God's standards?

          Let me recommend 2 things:

          A.  Give yourself unreservedly to Jesus.  To keep God's standards I need God's power.  I can't do it on my own, and neither can you.  If you have not surrendered your life to Christ, that is the first and most important step. 

          Becoming a Christian means that you repent and believe.  Repentance is turning from my sin to God.  I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that I have not done what God expects, and then I turn to Him to help and forgive me.  Repentance is doing a 180 degree turn: from darkness to light, from the old life to the new, from my sin to God.  And when you repent, you are forgiven…completely!

          Repent, and believe.  To believe in Jesus Christ means that I trust Him completely with my life.  I am betting my life that He can save me.  I can't do it myself, but I'm trusting Him to do for me what I can't do for myself.  I understand that I can't make myself good enough to qualify for heaven, so I have to trust Him to forgive me, change me and take me there. 

          Laina and I married as virgins, and we have a fabulous relationship today.  I'm not stupid enough to think that is because we are such totally together people!  If it were not for the presence of Jesus in my life, and the power of His Spirit within me, I could never have made it to the wedding altar before the marriage bed!  Having Jesus in your life, and loving Him with all your heart is the first and best step toward sexual purity and fulfillment.



          B.  Set wise standards together.  Remember my youth group trying to decide where to draw the line sexually before marriage?  Laina and I, understanding that foreplay was part of intercourse decided that sexual arousal was the line.  It is always appropriate to express affection--holding hands, a kiss, a hug may do that--but we all know when affection becomes arousal.  We decided that we would not purposely arouse each other, and if we got aroused, it was time to do something else.  This means that you have to be honest with each other. 

          ILL: some nights I could hug Laina.  Other nights, just sitting beside her sent me into orbit.  She'd reach over and put her hand on my leg and I'd go ballistic--it was off to the showers!  There were times when we'd kiss and one of us would have to say, "I'd love to keep doing this, but I'm starting to feel a little frisky, so maybe we'd better do something else."  I wish I could tell you that we succeeded every time.  There were some times when we crossed the line, and got more hot and bothered than we should have--sorry, Noel--and when that happened, the trunk monkey would pop out!  No, we'd stop and apologize to each other and to the Lord. 

I know this sounds extreme to some people who are used to our culture's standards.  But Laina and I have never regretted saving ourselves for marriage, where our physical relationship has been a joy without any shame or regrets.  I believe that this standard, agreeing not to arouse, is both Biblical and wise. 

          ILL: when I taught teenagers on this subject, I always likened their bodies to race cars.  Imagine being 15 and having a race car sitting in your driveway.  It's sitting out there with 400 horses under the hood, an overhead cam, 64-valve, fuel-injected, gas sucking monster that can go zero to 60 in 5 flat.  It's hot!  But you can't drive it--you don't have a license.  So you go out every Friday and Saturday night, parked there in your driveway, and rev that engine from about 10 to midnight.  Rrrrmmmm....rrrrrmmmmm!!! It's not good for that finely tuned racing engine, and it's awfully frustrating for you.

                   Sex before marriage is like that.  You can't drive until you get your license, the marriage license, so until then, it's best not to start your engines!  You've got racing equipment under the hood, so save it for the race!!

Set wise standards: avoid arousal  And be smart!  Stay out of compromising situations.  Laina and I discovered that her house, with her dad and family there, was a good place for us, but my apartment wasn't.  Being in my apartment alone stirred up all kinds of domestic and sexual desires.  I plead with singles who are dating: use some wisdom, and stay out of each others' homes, unless you are there in a group.  Find safe places for quiet conversation, like a restaurant, and avoid isolation.  Don't park at the lake at sunset and watch the submarine races.  Be smart!

          Did you notice that I said "set wise standards together"?  You'll have a terrible time if the person you are dating doesn't share your standards.  So first, I encourage you to know what your standards are before you begin the relationship.  Those ought to be firmly established between you and God and aren't open for debate.  If you wait until the passion starts to think about your standards, you've waited too long.  Then second, I encourage you to let the other person know what your standards are early on, and if they don't agree, or at least agree to respect them, find another date.  You'll be happiest if the two of you can talk and agree on God's standards for your relationship. 

          One very important last thing: what if you've failed?  It's not too late for you.  Jesus can forgive you, and give you a new start and help you, beginning right now, to live a life of sexual purity.  Start over…right now.  Jesus can make you as clean as though you had never sinned, and give you the power to live like you really want to.  It's not too late, not if you're willing to pray and confess and ask for His help.  Let's pray.

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