Tony Evans - Reversing Sexual Consequences
We have become a sex-saturated society. TV, music, smart devices all give us access to and permission for this particular sin. It has become the drug of choice within the culture, and as the culture has devolved, increasing in that devolution of the culture has been promiscuity gone crazy. There used to be shame associated with it, guilt associated with it. Now it's become like McDonald's, drive-thru fun, or even worse yet, 24-hour stop-and-go. And it is wreaking havoc in our world: unwanted and unplanned pregnancies creating whole industries that are supported by the government to facilitate the abortions of the children that are not wanted due to the sexual activity, creating a response, even by the church, to promote life and not to abort, but the high cost involved in even doing that as a result of the consequence of the sin.
Diseases have run rampant. STDs are coming in all shapes and sizes as the medical community has to amp up to fight against the consequences of the sexual free-for-all that the culture has endorsed and that far too many within the culture, even Christians, have adopted. When we look at our own struggles, when we look at our own lives, we can see back areas of disobedience in this area that has cost us. There are many who can look back and say with regret, "I wish I hadn't". There are many who've been used, abused, and thrown away when playtime was over. Sex was created by heaven, not by Hollywood. It was God's idea and God's creation, and the Bible says, "And what he created was good".
Satan is an expert at taking what has been created by God for good and to turn it around against us for bad. In Genesis chapter 6, he opens up the chapter with the world having to be destroyed in the first seven verses because demons inhabited men, who had relations with women, giving birth to children in all manner of wickedness, so the whole world had to be destroyed. So, Satan used sex in order to get women pregnant, in order for wickedness to spread so that God has to now send a flood and judge the whole world because it was viewed as irredeemable. International consequence for rebellion in this area, and the problem with this particular area is it is the most natural area to sin in, because it is birthed out of a natural God-given desire. It's not, well, you have to go out there and find something. It's the something is already there. It's built in to our human makeup.
So let's start off with why it was created. God created sex, since it comes from heaven, not Hollywood, to inaugurate and renew a covenant, a marriage covenant. That's why it was created, so it was not merely for entertainment. It was a covenant that was entertaining. What the culture has done is remove the covenant but want to maintain the entertainment, and therefore a major purpose of it, the major purpose of it, has been ripped from the definition of it.
Now, Paul gives an extended discussion of this in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, and I do want you to turn there because he gives a theological understanding of this area that we need to take into account as we move forward here today. We're being somewhat didactic or teaching today because I want you to understand it. I want us to understand it so that we can, no matter where you're starting from, begin to acclimate ourselves in order to recover what God's will will allow and the consequences of our rebellion here. He says in verse 9 of chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, or adulterers, or the effeminate, or homosexuals, or thieves, or covetousness, or drunkards, or revilers, or swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God".
He says this lifestyle blocks you from inheriting the kingdom of God. Now, don't misunderstand that. He doesn't say it stops you from entering the kingdom of God. You enter the kingdom of God based on faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, but you inherit the kingdom of God, that is you accrue the benefits of the kingdom of God, having to do with lifestyle. So, while you may be on your way to heaven, heaven may not be on its way to you, because when you adopt this lifestyle, he says that inheriting, that is receiving the benefits of the kingdom, do not accrue to you. He says in verse 14, "Such were some of you". That's how you rolled in your unsaved days, but you are washed and sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's not who you are now.
Now, it may be how you feel, but that's not who you are. That we've been duped into thinking it's only natural. The desire is natural, the activity is not. He takes it deeper, theologically. He says, "All things," verse 12, "are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I am not mastered by anything". So, whenever anything in your Christian life, my Christian life, our Christian life holds us hostage, it is spiritually illegal. He says, "I will be mastered, or controlled, by nothing, including my passions". I have them, but I'm not gonna let 'em rule me.
He takes it deeper. "Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body," because Corinthians had this problem. They had this problem. They had this sexual-immorality problem. People had come out of that lifestyle, and now they were in church, but that's what they knew. That's how they functioned, that's how they rolled, and they had a philosophy. Their philosophy is food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.
Translation: you have an appetite. When you have an appetite and you're hungry, you go eat, 'cause you got a stomach. Your stomach is growling for food, so you go get the thing that's out there designed to satisfy what your stomach is crying out for in order for your stomach not to cry out for it anymore, 'cause food was made to satisfy the cry of the stomach, 'cause the body is crying out to be relieved and to be satisfied. So, just like the stomach cries out for food and you satisfy the stomach for food, when the body calls for sex, then you go start knocking boots. That's just what you do. They were saying that that is the natural expression of the desire.
God intervenes into this discussion, and he says that is not correct. He says while food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, he says yet your body, verse 13, is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. So, your body is not for anything you wanna do with it just 'cause it's your body, and he explains why. "Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through his power". In other words, if God got Jesus up from the grave, he can get you up from the illegitimate bed, 'cause he's into resurrections.
So, since he's into resurrections, just as he got Jesus up out of the grave, he can get you out of that yielding to that legitimate passion that's being addressed in an illegitimate way. He then goes deeper. "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For he says, 'And the two shall be one.' But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with him". He says when you have sex, you enter into a union. You enter into a union. And you are now, as a Christian, unified with Christ, so wherever you go, you take him with you.
"Flee immorality," verse 18, "for every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body". He says that this sin is unlike any other sin because of the unique internal damage it does to the soul. What he says is this sin is unique because when you disconnect from it, you take some of your soul with it, and it's not hard to testify that that's what happens in scenarios that Paul is describing. He goes deeper. "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God with your body".
You are not your own. You have been purchased. He makes an interesting statement. He says your body is the temple of the living God. A temple is a house of worship, so whenever you have sex, you have church. It was designed to be a worship experience because he says it is a temple. Temple is a place of worship. You are to glorify God, he says, with your temple, because it was designed for the establishment and the renewal of a covenant. And so, he wants us to understand the seriousness, the depth of this matter, so much and so that Hebrews 13:4 says fornicators and adulterers he will judge. Therefore, sex for the believer is not merely a physical thing, nor is it merely an emotional thing. It becomes a spiritual thing.
Now we have a problem, and the problem is that there is the reality of life. There is this reality that we've been through things. We've done things. We've looked at things, been entertained by things. We've denigrated ourself into things, and we pay the price for that. If stories were told across the room of regrets, of mistakes, of sins, of disobedience, of iniquity, of transgressions, of failures, of whatever would be the best word to describe the departure from God and its consequence, economically, spiritually, relationally, psychologically, emotionally. The testimonies would be replete because of all the different background and experiences that are represented in the room.
And so, the question becomes, well, what do we do now? How do we recover? How do we beat back whatever consequences that God has allowed to take place because his standard has been violated at whatever level and for however long that violation has occurred? Because of a situation that happened in John 8. The scribes bring a woman to Jesus while he's teaching in the temple, and they say to him, "Teacher," 'cause you're teaching, Jesus, "we caught this woman in adultery, in the very act". And when they say, "What should we do"? Jesus stooped down, the end of verse 6, and with this finger began writing on the ground. But they kept pressing him, "What are we gonna do with her"?
Verse 7, Jesus says, "He that is without sin cast the first stone," but he stoops down again and he writes again. They said, "The Law of Moses said we should stone her," so they are thinking about the law and talking about the law, and the divine standard is on their minds for the test they're doing. Jesus kneels down and writes once, "He that is without sin cast the first stone". He kneels down and writes a second time. "So, if you're telling me you've never been immoral, if you're telling me you've never done this or that or the other, throw the first stone. You lead the way. So, I can be true to the Law of Moses, but I just want you to know, just so you know, after you've thrown your stone and we call your number, just make sure you understand some rocks are coming your way".
And so, Jesus, as only Jesus could do, threw the same law in their face that they were throwing at him. It says that they began to walk away, so now it's just Jesus and the woman. It's just Jesus and the lady. So, they're standing there, and Jesus, straightening up, says to her in verse 10, "Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you? Where the people at? I don't see 'em. Where, where... Nobody here throwing no stones"? And she says, "No one, Lord". Now, the scribes, they call Jesus "teacher". She calls him "Lord". She affirms the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. "No one, Lord. My accusers are not here". And then, Jesus hits her with the mother lode, a short statement but pregnant with theological truth. "I do not condemn you either. Go. From now, on sin no more. And I want me taking away your condemnation to be the motivation for you to go and sin no more".
The law says, "I'm gonna hurt you because of what you've done". God does not change the law, the standard. It's still sin, but what grace does is shift the motivation. In other words, I want you to respond to me out of the fact that what coulda happened didn't happen. Even when the Lord disciplines us, the Bible says, he disciplines us, "For whom the Lord loves he disciplines," so even consequences of discipline come out of a heart of love. He wants the motivation for the transformation to be the goodness he extends to you, even though you deserve stones.
But what do you do if you already messed up? You already blown it. You're already suffering the consequences. You're hurting from it. You're disappointed at it, but you're saying like she said, "Jesus, Lord, Lord, Lord, I recognize you and I want that grace and whatever the grace and the mercy will allow in terms of me moving forward since I can't change yesterday. Wish I could. If I could, I would, but I can't. But I'm here today, and I wanna go different tomorrow". Most of us do this. We send our clothes to the cleaners when they get dirty, right? We send our clothes to the cleaners 'cause they're stained.
So, you take your clothes to the cleaners, and they begin their process of cleaning it up. You go back, and you pick up your clothes the next week. You know why you send your clothes to the cleaner? 'Cause you wanna wear 'em. See, you wanna wear 'em again. So you want 'em clean and pressed. And 'cause you wanna look good in your clothes, so you take 'em to the cleaner.
So, what I'm trying to tell you is Jesus has a cleaning business. He's got a cleaning business, and he knows you can't get it clean like he can get it clean, so he says, "If you will bring your dirt to me... come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. If you bring your dirt to me and you recognize who I am and what I have to offer... in fact, not only do you bring your clothes to me, but I got a pickup service. I will meet you 'cause I want to get rid of this dirt, and the reason why I want you to bring your dirt to me is 'cause I wanna wear you, and I wanna look good in you. And I want when you say, 'I'm a believer in Jesus Christ,' I want you to be well-dressed. I want you to be well-pressed. I want you to look good so that you can show me off. And if any folk from your past come up wanting to stone you 'cause they remember what you used to be and what you used to do and how you used to act, you can show 'em the new jacket. You can show 'em the new pants. You can show 'em the new shirt. You can show 'em the new tie". You say, "Yeah, I used to be dirty, but I've been to the cleaners, and Jesus Christ has washed me white as snow".
One of the great challenges of life is our sexuality. We've been given it in our humanity, and God has given us parameters for the exercising of it, but when that fire leaves the fireplace, stuff starts to burn down, doesn't it? Our own lives, our own guilt, our own relationships, because it's a fire run wild. It has left the compartment that God has created for it, which is, of course, marriage. But I've got good news for you today. God forgives. Throughout the Bible, you see many sexual failures, but you also see the forgiveness and grace of God, healing those who have disobeyed him in this area. The Bible makes this a unique sin because it's a covenantal sin, and it affects you and your well-being, as well as others who are affected by immorality.
One of the great things that God does in the Bible is that he sanctifies sex. He doesn't make it a bad thing. He doesn't make it a negative thing. He calls it a beautiful thing. In fact, there's a whole book that celebrate sex, Song of Solomon, so God is not against it. He's for it. He wants to promote it. He just wants you to have a high view of marriage for it, but when we have operated outside of it and are bearing the consequences of it, and there are many illustrations of that in the Bible, he has a cleaning service. He can clean us up. He can wash us. He can iron us so that we become spiritually pure again and can go on with our lives having been healed of our moral failures. So, don't give up on yourself or others who are getting right with God, because God knows how to show compassion to the repentant in this area.