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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Chris Hodges » Chris Hodges - My Body Belongs to God

Chris Hodges - My Body Belongs to God

Chris Hodges - My Body Belongs to God
TOPICS: Purity

All right, so good to see all of you here today. Who's glad to be in church today, anybody? I know, me too. I'm so excited to be here on this absolutely beautiful spring day. God bless you guys that are watching at one of our other locations around the state of Alabama and two locations in the state of Georgia. Always what an incredible honor it is to bring this service and then ministry all throughout the week into more than 21 of Alabama's Department of Corrections facilities. Love you guys so much. Pray for you every day. And then there's a bunch of people that probably are already on spring break. We're jealous. God bless you guys that are watching church online. Good job for doing that or maybe you're watching our service somewhere around the world or on demand later throughout the week. We're so glad that you're here. Grants Mill, say hello like you've never done it before. C'mon, everybody. That's awesome. Good job.

We are in week number five and the conclusion of the series that we're calling "Extraordinary Relationships," and I'll tell you more about that in just a second. But I wanted to give you a preview of where we're going. Actually, next Sunday, we're gonna start a brand-new four-part series called "Jesus Is," and we're gonna look at the life of Jesus as we prepare ourselves up to Easter Sunday, which is in five weeks and I'm so excited about it. Our team is working on an amazing service that's fit for a risen King. How many of you are glad we serve a risen King, amen, everybody? And it's gonna be great. We've got some incredible music. We're gonna be adding services so, like, here at Grants Mill there will be a Friday night, two Saturday, along with our four Sunday services, and a lot of the locations are gonna be adding services as well because we always have a lot of people that come to church.

In fact, it's the most attended Sunday of the year. And it's the best Sunday for you to get a Yes to an invitation. And right now, thanks be to God, there is a hunger for God going on in our world right now, like we haven't seen, yeah, praise God for that. I mean, statistically, there's never been this level of spiritual hunger in America for the past 30 years. And God's doing something. I really believe the first drops of revival are falling and I'm so excited about that. And so, we're excited to invite people to church. Research studies say that more than 84% of your invitations will get a Yes if it's on Easter Sunday, so maybe think about one of those services that you can attend and let them, let the friend you're gonna bring, let them determine which service you go to, all right? You just give 'em all the options and have someone far from God sitting next to you in church, and I'll promise you it'll be your favorite Easter that you've ever experienced for yourself when you have someone there.

So we'll tell you more about that in the coming weeks. I just want you to get prepped for it. I'm so excited about it. I wanna finish the series today, going back to the verse that I read in week number one of the series, because we're calling it "Extraordinary Relationships," and that almost sounds like a bar too high to set, that you can actually live at this fullest level, but I want you to break down the word with me. It's "extra-ordinary". Ordinary's not working. And today we're gonna talk about the area of sex and sexuality, okay? And there's gonna be a lot of nervous laughter in the room today. You're not gonna know if you should laugh, all right? But we're gonna help you out with this. Gonna be okay.

So, everybody, put your seat backs in the upright locked position, store your tray tables, seatbelts on, here we go, all right? The Bible says: "Don't become so well adjusted to culture that you actually start looking like culture". And culture's really putting a lot of pressure on all of us to follow their ways, right now, in a lot of areas, not just in the area of sexuality. "Instead, fix your attention on God". One translation says: "Allow God to change your mind," or go ahead, and you make a decision that I'm gonna follow God's way and if you'll do that what he'll do is he'll change you inside out. You're gonna see something happening on the inside. "Readily recognize what God wants from you, and quickly respond to it," meaning you may not feel it, but if you'll quickly respond to it, then you'll feel it. Choices lead, feelings follow. Choices lead, feelings follow. "Unlike the culture around us, which will drag you down to its level of immaturity".

Now, that will happen. It always does. I never get nervous about preaching something that it is direct opposition to what culture is currently saying. I never get nervous about it, and I never fight people about it, because it will teach itself. Everything that's not God's way leads you to a pigpen, every time. And then every time, you'll come to your senses and go, "Oh my goodness, I need to go back to God". It'll happen every time, so I'm not nervous about this at all. "It'll drag you down to its level of immaturity," but God has every desire to bring the best out of you including in your area of sexuality. So there's a lot of misunderstandings about this area that if you follow God's way, it'll be boring, lifeless, just not any fun. No, no, no, "He brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you".

So today, I do wanna talk about God's view and God's way of sexuality because I believe we are in a sexual revolution right now that is not new. This has happened many times in culture. It even happens about every 50 years where they push the extremes. This happened in the 1960s, it's happened in the Bible. In fact, Jesus talked about a generation in the last days that would look like Sodom and Gomorrah. They'd look like the days of Noah where they were just marrying anybody they wanted to marry, they were just doing whatever they wanted to do and, of course, that's when destruction happens. And right now, there is a redefining of relationships going on in culture. I have to tell you that culture changes, but God doesn't, c'mon, everybody, right? I'm just telling you. And even pastors, right now, are nervous to talk about it so the church in some cases have gotten pretty silent and, honestly, they take a lot of different viewpoints of it.

Some are very mad about it and they'll just scream at everybody and tell 'em they're all going to hell. I don't think that's helpful, personally. But I also don't think being silent about it is helpful either. We shouldn't avoid the struggles that culture is going through right now. My church that I grew up in was very afraid to talk about sex. In fact, it avoided it at all cost. I only heard "Thou shall not," and "Don't stop". That's all I heard, right? And in fact, they said sex is dirty, bad, and ugly. Save it for the one you love, you know, so like... okay? So, and then the church can be guilty of even shaming people and making people feel bad so they'll actually pick on one particular area of fallenness and not even mention all the others and we're all fallen creatures. We all have this struggle with sin. We all have... I have my own struggles with sin. I have my own issues.

In fact, pretty much every time I read the Bible, it's given me a standard and it's given me something that doesn't look like me, in my patience, in my anger, in my feelings, including in the area of sexuality. It's gonna call us out, but it doesn't shame us; it invites us. It causes to come to this place of grace, allow God to change us. Listen to me. God has a standard. Jesus died for the violation of it. The Bible will remind you where to go, and then the Holy Spirit comes inside you and gives you the ability to live it out. This is the gospel, okay, everybody? In fact, I had a girl stop me in church not too long ago and she said, "Hey, if I start coming to this church, are you gonna try to change me"? And I said, "Oh, yes". That's what we're all in that process. We're all in that process, right? Yes, I'm asking God to change me every single time that I pray. So if we don't do that, the world will embrace and affirm, and that's happened, so we just wanna be careful.

So I wanna read you a verse here out of Romans chapter 1 and I just wanna just kind of break it down and I'm gonna talk about some sex lies and I'm gonna give you some, hopefully, some new thoughts out of God's Word today that maybe you've never seen before, and then I'ma close the service by giving you a way for you to respond, some possible responses. But it says that there will be a generation that say they know God, so they say they're Christian but they wouldn't worship him. Now, I don't know if you know what worship is. Worship is not your singing in church. Worship is your posture toward God. So, worship means I bow, he's right. So worship means I submit my life to the will of God. My feelings have nothing to do with it. He's God, everybody. So that's what... if you wanna be a worshiper of God, that's what worship is. It's the moment we say, "Holy is the Lord. I lift my hands to you". That's why we lift our hands in church. It's the sign of surrender. It's the sign of "I give up. I'm gonna follow your way, not my way".

So but they wouldn't do that or even thank him. "And they began to think up foolish things of what God is actually like". And that's happening right now, unfortunately. Not a lot in the church, but it's happening in some places where they're actually embracing things that they know that are in direct contradiction to Scripture, but they're actually almost delivering it in a way as if they love, they love people more than God does. When really, one of the most loving thing that God does is call us out of our sin, everybody. It's okay. It's okay, everybody, okay? "And as a result," when they do that, "their minds became dark and confused". And again, that's why I'm not nervous that I'm ever preaching this, because life will preach it to you. You will end up dark and confused. It happens every time. "Claiming to be wise, they actually became fools".

So they've even put words to it, like "progressive," like there's new thoughts here, there's new ways. We're gonna advance this old archaic thing called the Bible. No, you're not. What's gonna happen is, "as a result, you're gonna do vile and degrading things with each other's bodies". And that's happening right now. I mean, and we know it. I don't have to rehearse it with you, from drag queens in libraries with little kids to, I mean, it's just a case, it's shocking, almost. It's become common. We've got to be careful here. "They're trading the truth about God for a," say it out loud, "for a", it's a lie. So I wanna expose some lies today out of God's Word, but I wanna begin with the truth, okay? And the truth is, is that God created you. And God created your body. And God, not the devil, created sex, all right? And with this message today, our campus pastor told you, is PG-13. It would have to be PG-13 for the verses that I could read, that I'm not gonna read, about what God has to say about sex, 'cause it's spicy.

I mean, go to Proverbs chapter 5 and it says: "May you enjoy the wife of your youth. May her breasts satisfy you always. May you be captivated," the Hebrew word is bow-chick-a-wow-wow. No, I'm sorry. That's not the word. If you look deep, it's there. But anyway, but it literally means to be intoxicated. It's whoa! That's your God, okay? So everything that the devil tell you that if you follow God's way you're gonna be sterilized to boredom is a lie, okay? And by the way, my kids went to another church today. Anyway, I wanted to point that out. But look at me. God created you, God knows what's best for you. And he has no intention of destroying your life. He wants you to enjoy your life. And he does say that sex is exclusively reserved between one man and one woman in marriage. That is God's standard and you say, "Well, what if somebody else has a different predisposition"?

I would argue that all of us have a predisposition to something that is contrary to Scripture. That's the struggle we are all in. Whenever I read it and it tells me to be patient, I'll look at my life and, y'all, my goodness. And it tells me to forgive somebody that doesn't deserve it. It's almost like, "Well, how dare you, Bible"? But God knows what's best for me. He's not telling me that so they can be let off the hook. He's telling me so I can have peace in my soul. Can I hear a good "Amen," everybody? God knows what's best for you. And I know there's a lot of, you know, argument about it, all of that. Listen to me, God's calling us to a higher standard to be extraordinary. I'll show it to you another place in 1 Thessalonians: "It is God's will that you be sanctified". Some places use the word "holy" there, and when you see that word, you think, "Well, I could never live up to that".

Holy does not mean perfect. Holy means set apart. I am gonna make a decision to step out of this thinking, this mindset, and these actions. I don't always get it right, but I am consciously saying, "I am not that. I am this". That's what the word means. And you can do that. "That you should avoid sexual immorality". Those two words, we have two words in the English, but it's one word in the Greek, and it's porneia, where we get the word "pornography," which, by the way, porneia doesn't just mean pictures of naked people. Porneia means any sexual act outside of one man and one woman in marriage. "And that each of you should learn to control their body". Well, that means our bodies don't wanna do it. So we have a generation that says, "No, no, listen to it. You can trust your feelings. You can trust your bodies". And the Bible's going, "No, don't trust it. Control your body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust," and we all have those feelings. I have it too. I'm no different than you. We all have these desires to be pulled away and let our bodies lead. But the Bible says, "Don't be someone like that, like the pagans, who do not know God. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life".

Now, I said, you know the truth. I told you the truth. The truth's very simple and God hadn't changed, okay. But if we can address some of the lies and there are a bunch of 'em out there, and I wanna address four. I mean, I could give you a bunch, but let me just give you four sex lies. And the first is, is that the world's trying to tell us that sex is just this animalistic action because you're an animal. And you can't control it. We even have a phrase for the sex talk. It's called the birds and the bees. And we're just, and they're, and basically, it's saying, "Look, you're just like all the other creatures that whenever, you know, that someone's in heat, you're just, you have no choice. You must mate. You must". And that's just not true. They wanna make you think like you're like that white-tailed, I know we've got some hunters out here. There's nothing more beautiful and majestic and smart as the white-tailed buck. I mean, and there's those little fawns. They don't know no better. They're so young, they're stupid, they just come, jumping out in the field, "What's up, everybody"?

You know, they just jump on out there and I've watched it many times, you know? And even the does kind of walk out there. They kind of prance out second and, you know, they kind of know they're okay. But that buck, he's on the edge of the field, rarely comes out, rarely, and just... Got that head up, looking around. He knows something's not right here, not right. Smart. And every once in a while, he'll just grab him something to eat and he puts the head right back up and looks around. Every once in a while, he'll step out in the middle of that field until the rut. Hear the low laughter? Hoh, hoh, hoh, hoh, 'cause the guys know what I'm talking about. And that's when those does are in heat and he's the stupidest thing in the world. That smart animal is now, "Where's she at? Where's she at? Where's she at"? I mean, he's looking around. Bam! Got eight of 'em on my wall, everybody. Eight dumb deer, okay.

In a couple of weeks is my favorite hunting season of all, and that is turkeys. Those turkeys are under my skin, man. I just love 'em so much. They're beautiful, and they're just amazing and they're smart. And an Eastern turkey can see your eye blink from 50 yards and you're up against that tree and you're just dead still, you're camo'ed head to toe, and they're just smart, smart, smart, smart, until you make that girl sound: "Where you at, baby girl, where you at? Where you at"? Bam! In my belly. They're just, okay. Okay, now the world's trying to tell you, you're no different. And I'll tell you the moral of that story is if you follow the world's way, you're gonna end up on the devil's wall, right, everybody? You're gonna be the devil's trophy. And I'm trying to save you from that. Can I hear a good "Amen," everybody?

Second lie is that sex is just innocent fun. And I'll address everybody that maybe is on spring break or is going, that, yeah, till the guy or girl says, "Look, I didn't even know his name". "I didn't even know her name. It was just innocent fun". No, God designed sex to actually do something deep, to actually bond you with that person, and it was a risk because a lot of us live with the damaging effects of that bonding with people or pictures that we never were intending to bond with and we don't... that leave you. Actually, in reality, it hollows out your soul. The more you do it, the more you feel this emptiness on the inside and, honestly, it's what makes a lot of people have no ability to be intimate. And so we have a whole generation that's drugging themselves to do something that you weren't supposed to have to drug yourself to do. Well, it's because we continually hollowed out our souls because we just thought it was an innocent fun, it didn't really matter. Well, it absolutely does matter.

In fact, here's another lie, and that is that sex is an isolated event to be held within the context of that moment and when that moment goes away, that you can walk away from it. And the culture even spends marketing dollars to tell you this lie. Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. No, it doesn't. It comes home with you. And it becomes a part of our soul makeup and our history and that's why... look, I've been doing this 40 years. As we talk to people all the time, and they go back to a moment where they were abused or raped or hurt by someone and, why? 'Cause it comes with us. And by the way, you can be healed in Jesus's name. Here's the fourth lie and I've never really even taught this one and, unfortunately, the current culture's forcing me to. But here, and that is that sex is who I am. So now, we have a whole generation that identifies themselves by their sexuality. You are not your sexuality. So we have gay/straight, heterosexual/homosexual, binary/non-binary. You should never label yourself by what you do. You are not your attractions.

And so, even the concept of "my sexuality" is not even biblical. So I don't have that luxury. Why? Because I belong to God and I belong to Tammy. So I'm not heterosexual or homosexual, I'm Tammysexual. You got it? Because real love isn't a feeling, it's a commitment to a person. It's a covenant relationship. Are you all following me, everybody? Now, if you're not a follower of Jesus, you're thinking, "This is the dumbest man I've ever heard in my life". And that's because you have the belief that you belong to you. And if you think that, and culture believes that, "I can do what I want". Well, let me just be clear: then you are your own god. And if you wanna try that, let's see how good you are at being your own god. I instead, have decided that I belong to God and my body and my sexuality belongs to Tammy.

I don't have... go read 1 Corinthians chapter 7. I don't have time to show it to you, but it literally says that Tammy has authority over my body, and me over hers. And that we were supposed to have this beautiful relationship where intimacy can be achieved because we've kept this beautiful thing that God created. God created sex, everybody. He didn't look in the Garden of Eden, there was Adam and Eve over in the bushes, and go, "Oh my... oh, I, God," you know? He didn't do that. Are you all with me? So let me show it to you. Let me set it up first. I'm gonna show you a passage of Scripture that the apostle Paul wrote to a generation that had no idea what real sexuality was all about 'cause the Bible, of course, Jesus lived in Israel, right, in that part of the country, among the Jewish people, but the apostle Paul wanted to bring the gospel outside of the Jewish regions, to the Gentiles.

So he evangelized, like, Italy or Rome and Greece and where today, modern-day Turkey is. We're getting ready to read a letter that Paul wrote to an area that's in modern-day Turkey and in those areas, the Greeks and the Romans, they actually had gods, Venus and Diana, that were sexual gods. So just so you know the context, they would have gone to temple on a Sunday or whenever they worship and there would have been prostitutes in the temple and you worshiped God through temple prostitution. So it was very perverted. They had no concept. Paul's now planting churches and these are believers now, but they've never been taught. They still have their own cultures and systems and Paul's trying to help 'em out. So he says, "Do you not know," to which they'd have said, "No, we don't". "Do you not know that your bodies are actually members of Christ himself".

Now, they're basically saying, "You didn't know this, but God is not in the room you walked in today. God is in you". And you ever noticed how people when they come to church, they act different. We dress a little better and we act a little different, and then talk a little lower and we kind of put it all on, right? Why? 'Cause this is a sanctuary. No, it's not. You're the sanctuary of God. You're the temple of the Holy Spirit, right? So it's in you. And if you understood that, you would act differently. When I was a youth pastor back in the day, we used to have honor, we honored one dating couple a month. So we'd just call 'em out. They didn't know it was gonna happen. "Oh, Johnny and Sarah, y'all come on up here".

And they'd come up together, arm in arm. She's got the Letterman jacket on, c'mon, Yale people, remember that? The Letterman jacket, and the senior ring on her finger. And they come together, kind of cozying up to each other. And I had bought a caseful of these giant white family Bibles. Do you remember the big one your grandma had? They're just like this big, and it's heavy, you know... And I'd present it to 'em. "Hey, I have a gift for you. Johnny and Sarah, I want you to have this Bible, and Johnny, you're gonna be the keeper of the Bible. And your responsibility is to bring it with you on every date and put it right between you, right there, right there". 'Cause they used to always ask me, "How far is too far"? And I'd say, "Just put that right there and I'll promise you the Holy Spirit will show you, right"? 'Cause it gave them a consciousness that God was always with them. God is actually in them. This is what Paul is saying.

"So shall I then take the members of Christ," my body, "and unite". And he used the word that's not gonna shock you, and a shock to them: kalao, in the Greek. And it literally means "shall I fuse together at the deepest level"? That's what, it's literally that Kodak moment that psychology will tell you is true that something happens in your brain, the endorphins and the hormones that are released during orgasms, actually brand that moment into your brain. And God did that. God created us that way 'cause he was trying to achieve intimacy in something very special between you and your spouse. So he said, "Look, you didn't know that but you're actually fusing together at the deepest level with that prostitute. Should we do that"? To which, everybody would have said, "No". "Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her," that's the reference to Genesis chapter 2. He says, "The two will become one flesh".

That's Genesis chapter 2 when he put Adam and Eve together, the two shall become one flesh. You hear this at weddings, and they're not talking about physical relationship. They're talking about the two actually become bonded together, soul and spirit. "And so whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit". So Paul's saying, "Don't do it with every person that walks around and have multiple partners and all these", no, no, no, that, "unite yourself," be fused together at the deepest level, "with the Lord". Follow his way. To which they'd all said, "Yes, I get it," because they would have been hollowed out of their years of mistakes that they'd made in the area of sexuality. So then he gives them advice. He says, "So here's what you do. You're not gonna feel like doing it at first, so don't follow your feelings. Choices lead, feelings follow. Run from it first".

Just agree that God is right and flee porneia. Flee everything outside the bounds of marriage between one man and one woman that God created. "All other sins a person commits are outside the body". So now, Paul's saying it's in a category all its own. Like, there's really no ranking of sins, but this one's different because it does something to the deepest part of you, "but whoever sins sexually," you're not making God mad. You're hurting yourself. And then he says it again. "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you received from God"? And then here's the message title that I have for you today: "You are not your own; you've been bought with a price". Therefore don't follow feelings, don't follow culture. "Honor God with your body". I've entitled this message today, "My Body Doesn't Belong to Me. My Body Belongs to God".

My body belongs to Tammy. And when you keep it that simple, that beautiful, you get the beauty of what God always intended. So I had to say, like I said, this great relationship with the students that I pastored back in the day, and I used to tell them, I said, "Now, listen to me. You're gonna fight this your whole life. That doesn't make you a bad person". I said, "So if you ever get in a situation, you're out on a date and you're getting close, just call me. I don't care how late it is, call me". And Tammy will tell you, the phone would ring, like, at 1 o'clock in the morning. "Pastor Chris"? "Yeah"? "I'm close". And I'd tell 'em the same thing. I said, "Run, flee, run". "You serious"? "Yeah, she'll be... just get out the car, run, run. Run"! And they'd run, and they'd run. Like, "Okay". "Call me back when after your run". They come back and like, 10 minutes later, "What... how you doing now"? He says, "Well, I don't think it's gonna happen. So, you're right".

And it just helped them through this struggle. And I'm gonna help you. Now, I wanna say something right here. I'm sorry. I really am. I'm sorry for what you've been through and for some of you, for the things that happened to you that you didn't even do. Somebody else did it to you. And I'm sorry. I had my own set of pasts that I wish I could go back and undo too. I'm so sorry how I'm trying to make this light and fun but to you, you're going, "This is not funny to me, 'cause this has impacted my life at the deepest level," and I really do realize that. And I would wanna say to you, as your pastor, that God brings you into a great place and I'm mindful of this verse in Lamentations chapter 3 where Jeremiah said, "All I can think about is my past, my bitterness, and my goal". He says, "But then I said to myself, 'I'm gonna remember the mercies of God for they are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.'"

And I would say to every one of you who this is just difficult to even listen to, that God makes all things new and he doesn't just forgive you. He doesn't say, "Okay, I can let you into my heaven". He says, "I will cleanse you". He can actually make you virgin again, if you will. And he can make your heart brand-new, and then he remembers it no more. So if you ever bring it up, he goes, "Have no idea what you're talking about". And that's why I say to you today that if the world's way has gotten confusing for you, and you listened to the lies or have maybe even stepped into areas that you knew you weren't supposed to do, that you really are now faced, and these decisions that I'm gonna give you, I'm faced with these three decisions too, and I'll give them to you. Here's the first one and that is I can be defensive so I can just say, "I don't like you. I don't like this. I think you're wrong".

And you would need to know my response to you would be, "That's okay with me". I would say to you that, "Go try it". And I mean this from the depth of my soul. I'm not trying to be sassy or smart alec with this. If you decide you get out there and it didn't work out for you, I really wanna be the first phone call you make. I love the picture of the prodigal son... the prodigal's father, who the prodigal son left. He ends up in a pigpen, but the Bible says when the son came back, the father was on the front porch waiting. He never burned the bridge that that son could cross again. And I say to every person who disagrees with me or God's Word, the bridge will never be burnt. And if you decide to come back, we would never even talk to you about it. We, just arms open wide, say, "Welcome home," and we're gonna all continue our own journey to God healing our souls, him calling us to his standard, and letting him change our lives.

The Bible says there is a way that seems right, appears to be right, and it probably does to you, and that's fine, but I just wanna prophetically say to you that it does lead to a bad place. The Bible calls it death, and it doesn't have to be a physical death. It can be an emotional death, a relational death. And if that happens, we welcome you. We welcome you back, no questions asked. But be clear, if you're making this choice to a way that's different from what God says, you are your own god. Just know that. But I would wanna say to you that if you chose God's way, that God's way isn't just right. It's better. It's better, it's better. Second response is that I can be remorseful.

So I think you're right, P.C., but I'm just, I can't believe what I did. I can't believe what I allowed. And I have so much shame. That's one thing I hate about sexual sin. Again, God took this great risk, wanting to create this beautiful, beautiful bond, intimacy, with your... in my case, my wife, that now there are a lot of people whose souls are hurting and when they come to churches, unfortunately the church can be a little mean sometimes. And they put this standard up, just telling everybody, "You're wrong, you gonna go to hell". That is not how God would treat you. That is now how Jesus treated people. In fact, the Bible says: "There is no condemnation". So if you messed up, when you mess up, God doesn't go, "Are you serious? Again"? No, he goes, "I get it. I lived there". In fact, Hebrews 4 says he understands 'cause he was tempted in every way, yet was without sin. So he goes, "I get it. Oh, I remember how hard that was".

In fact, it's the devil who condemns. If you've ever heard that in a church, that wasn't God or the Bible. Condemnation says: "That was wrong and there's no way out". You're just a bad person. God never condemns. He convicts. If you feel conviction, that's good, 'cause conviction says: "That was wrong and here's the way out". Third response is the one I'm gonna recommend for all of us, not just in the area of sexuality, but in every area, with your patience, with your anger, with your mind, with your... like, again, the Bible continually shows me something that looks different from me and calls me to it. And the response is that I can be repentant. And this doesn't just happen on the day you get saved and become a Christian. For me, it happens every morning. Every day I repent. Every day I say, "Lord, I'm turning towards you".

That's what the word means, by the way. That word has a bad rap because of the people at the football games with the megaphone, the horn: "Repent". They're out there screaming at everybody. No, it's metanoia in the Greek and it means simply change your direction, turn around, make a choice, repent in every area. Lord, I don't look like this and I want to so badly. 'Cause the truth be known, none of us are different from anybody else, but what makes us different is that we call it sin and we turn. And that's the difference. So the Bible says it this way: When you stand at a crossroad, a decision-making point, and you're trying to figure out what you should do, don't go for the new set thought, the new thing that everybody's talking about today.

Ask for the ancient paths. Go old school, 'cause culture changes, God doesn't. "Ask where the good way is, walk in it," and by the way, you won't need me to preach to you. This will happen: "You will find rest for your souls". You have no idea how bad I want that for you. I'm not trying to be right today. I want rest for your souls, and I'm telling you, look in my eyes. It's possible. You can have it. I'll close with this final thought: That God's way isn't restrictive. It's restful. And that's what I want for you, and that's what God wants for you. And all God's people said a good, "Amen". Let's pray.

So, Lord, I pray, God, for every person here today who are reminded of their shame and their pasts, and that's me too. And God, we're so grateful you don't condemn us but you convict us and you say to us, "Here's the standard". And Jesus paid for the violation of it. And the Bible continually calling it to us and, Lord, then you embrace us and wrap us in your Holy Spirit so that we're healed and we're changed and we're given the power to live the life you've always intended for us. (And so, today, join me if you want to) I worship you and I bow my life before you. I readily accept every standard, every principle, every command, every way, Lord. You're right. And I know you only want what's best for me. And so, God, I join with the chorus of believers in this room who are in this earthly struggle with our human nature. And God, we just make a fresh commitment and we say to you, "We don't belong to ourselves. We've been bought with a price". Jesus, thank you for paying for me. I gladly now offer you every part of my life and I give it to you, Lord.

With heads bowed and your eyes closed, you're here today and you're not in a right place with God and you've wandered. You know, the soul is prone to wander. I'm a wanderer. We all tend to wander, and if you've found yourself just away, now you're just out there so far from God. Maybe you've never become a Christian, maybe you are a Christian but you've wandered, and today you wanna come back, you wanna turn to God. It's very simple: repent. Ask him to forgive you. He will immediately. He'll cleanse you, not just forgive you but cleanse you. He makes a home for you in heaven and then his Holy Spirit is there now for you to live a brand-new life. And if that's what you want today, I'm not gonna have anybody raise their hand today. This is too personal of a subject, but you know it. You know it. "This is my day. I'm making this decision today". Whisper this with me right there, every word of it, say it. Say:

Jesus, forgive me. I've gone my own way and I'm ready to come home. Today I repent and I say, 'You're right, and I will follow your way. My body and my life belong to you.' So, take my life, use it for your will, your purpose. Holy Spirit, live inside of me. Give me the power to be the person you always intended for me. Thank you for removing the shame and the stain and the wrinkle and all the junk. Take my hollowed soul and fill it with your love and your grace and your mercy. And from this day forward, I'm gonna live for you. Thank you for setting me free. In your name I pray, amen.

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