How To Get Free From Sexual Immorality

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How To Get Free From Sexual Immorality


Today, we are going to tear down the altar of the idol of sexual immorality.

If you are struggling with sexual sin in your life— or if you have sexual sin in your life and you didn’t ever really struggle with it before, but now you are entering in this discipleship journey with Jesus, and you’re learning that you have to cleanse yourself of these things— wherever you are in your walk, God is coming to speak to you today on the subject.

What we are going to look at today is the connection between worship and sex: why God considers sex to be a holy thing when it’s done the right way, and the most detestable thing when it’s done the wrong way.

We are also going to look at the consequences for you if you refuse to cleanse your house of sexual immorality.

We’re going to start out by looking at Genesis 2:21. It says,

“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” [Caption: Genesis 2:21-25 (NIV)]

So here we see where this relationship was started; this proper and holy relationship between a husband and a wife. And we see that this relationship is actually a shadow for us as the church of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are going to see this in Ephesians 1:4 where it says,

“For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight. In love.” [Caption: Ephesians 1:4 (NIV)]

Just as Eve came out of Adam— she was inside of Adam, and God took her out of Adam’s side, and then they came back together to become one flesh— in the same way, it says that he chose us, the Church, in Christ, before the foundation of the world. And why did he choose us? So that we could be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.

It’s important to God that we honor marriage and the marriage bed because he wants us to understand the holiness of the relationship that we have with Jesus Christ, and the nature of that relationship. As it says in Hebrews 13:4,

“Marriage must be honored among all and the marriage bed kept undefiled or pure, for God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers.”. [Caption: Hebrews 13:4 (NET)]

Here we see that God considers sex between a man and a wife to be a holy and a pure thing. There’s nothing shameful about it when it’s done in the way that God ordains. It’s a holy thing, and we see that with Adam and Eve, the pure innocence that they had with one another; that they were naked, and they didn’t even know it – they didn’t even notice because there was no shame for them.

We can really understand that because within the confines of a marriage, that kind of relationship, there’s no shame in it. It’s absolutely beautiful, it’s holy, and it is ordained by God.

You can see that not only was their relationship with one another completely pure, but their relationship with God was also pure, because they were not conscience of their nakedness before God either.

What God is showing you today is what happens when you allow an outside influence to come into that holy relationship and defile it: that pure and holy and innocent thing is turned into shame.

With Adam and Eve, they noticed that they were naked before God, because they had allowed another spiritual being, namely Satan, to come in and master them. When Adam and Eve chose to obey Satan instead of God by doing Satan’s will, they introduced idolatry into the world.

What we see in scripture is that to God, idolatry is adultery. And I’m going to read that to you in Ezekiel 23:39. You can find this all throughout the scriptures where God compares idolatry and to adultery. It says,

“Then confront them with their detestable practices, for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them. They have also done this to me: At that same time, they defiled my sanctuary and desecrated my sabbaths. On the very day they sacrificed their children to their idols, they entered my sanctuary and desecrated it. That is what they did in my house.”. [Caption: Ezekiel 23:36b-39 (NIV)]

In order to understand what God is saying here, first of all, you have to understand that his relationship with us is the same as the relationship [between] Adam and Eve, in that God has always called his people his wife. And God has told us, as the church, we are Christ’s wife.

So whenever we allow another entity to come in and control us or master us, we are allowing that entity to take his place. It’s the same to him as cheating on your husband – you’re cheating on God, you are committing adultery against God.

Here he talks about his sabbaths and his temple, and you’ll notice that he said “they defiled my sanctuary.” So when we are talking about sexual immorality, as it said, you have to keep the marriage bed undefiled or pure. What you need to understand is that in such an exclusive relationship, even the thought of allowing another person or entity to come in and be included in [it] any way— even the thought of it, Jesus said, if you even lust after another woman— that you have committed adultery.

Even the thought of it is impure, it’s adultery, it is sin.

If you love somebody, you understand that’s a jealous love. You’re not going to share that person. You’re not going to say, “Oh ya, go ahead, sleep with whoever you want.” Okay? That’s not love.

You can have more than one friend, right? You have brothers and sisters, you can have more than one of them.

But when it comes to the husband-wife relationship and the marriage bed, there is no room for anybody else.

And that is what God says about his relationship with us. He said he will not share his glory with another. He will not allow his own wife to bow down to other gods or idols. He won’t allow his people to do that. He said “You shall not do this. You shall not bow down to any idols. You shall have no other gods before me.” He said his love is a jealous love.

You can see this in marriage, that all it takes for that marriage bed to be defiled is for the exclusive nature of it to be broken. When it is not respected, when it is not treated as holy, it actually becomes the most depraved thing.

Whenever people give themselves over to sexual immorality, what comes to them is shame. Just like we see with Adam and Eve. They realized with one another that they were naked, but they also realized before God that they were naked. Understand, that’s because their relationship with him had been defiled. The innocence had been robbed from their relationship because they allowed something else to come in and break the exclusive nature of [it]. They didn’t even know that there was any shame in their nakedness… until their nakedness was exposed to somebody that it was not supposed to be exposed to.

So understand there’s a safe place for these behaviors; there’s a safe place for us to worship. If we worship God, it’s a pure thing, it’s an innocent thing, it’s a holy thing. BUT if we take that worship, and we allow somebody else to come in and break the exclusive nature of that relationship by bowing down to something else— by worshiping something else— then to God, it’s adultery.

What it does is defiles what he calls his sanctuary, his sabbaths, and his temple.

From the beginning, we see that it has been God’s heart to make a place among his people that he could dwell. He wants to dwell within his city, as he calls it, or his temple. And we see now that through Christ, we have become the temple of God. As it says in 1 Corinthians 3,

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.”. [Caption: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NIV)]

You are the place that God has chosen to find his rest. He wants to make his dwelling place inside of you. We see this in the Song of Solomon, in this beautiful prophetic song about the relationship between Christ and his bride. The bridegroom calls his bride his “garden’, and he says he’s going to come into his garden.

God pictures his wife, his counterpart, as the place where he makes his home, and the place where he dwells. In the story of Israel, and in our own stories as we walk this out with the Lord, we see that wherever there has been idolatry, God’s temple becomes defiled. We know that we are his temple. So we understand this is the place that God wants to live. But it is a place that has exclusive rules. And they are not rules so that we can’t have any fun. There are rules because this is a holy relationship.

It’s an exclusive relationship.

It’s one that we are privileged to be in with God, the King. He is the maker of the universe and yet he wants to be intimately acquainted with us— but he requires that we respect the fact that it is exclusive.

Understanding that you are God’s temple, I want to show you what happens to a temple whenever something else is allowed to come in and defile it.

This is found in Ezekiel chapter 8. Ezekiel is having a vision from the Lord and the spirit of the Lord has taken him up to Jerusalem, to the temple of God. And verse 5 says,

“Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, look toward the north.’ So I looked, and in the entrance north of the gate of the altar, I saw this idol of jealousy…”

Some translations call it the idol that provokes to jealousy. Verse 6,

“…And then he said to me, ‘You see what they are doing – the utterly detestable things that the house of Israel is doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary. But you will see things that are even more detestable.’”

Okay, stop there. What I want you to notice is that when they brought an idol into their temple, God said it was going to drive him far from his sanctuary. Understand that he said he is not going to share his glory.

“Then he brought be to the entrance to the court. I looked, and I saw a hole in the wall. He said to me, ‘Son of man now dig into the wall.’ So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there. And he said to me, ‘Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here.’ So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things, detestable animals and all of the idols of the house of Israel. In front of them stood 70 elders of the house of Israel. And Jaazaniah of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising. He said to me, ‘Son of man, you have seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol. They say, ‘the Lord doesn’t not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ Again he said, ‘You will see them doing things that are even more detestable.’ Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord, and I saw women sitting there mourning for Tammuz. He said to me, ‘Do you see this, son of man? You will see things even more detestable than this.’ Then he brought me into inner court of the house of the Lord, and there at the entrance of the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about 25 men. With their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east. He said to me, ‘Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.’” [Caption: Ezekiel 8:5-18 (NIV)]

And then it goes on to talk about God’s judgment on the temple; how God’s glory departs from the temple and it’s actually a very violent judgment.

That’s the scripture that I read to you at the beginning, Proverbs 6:34. It says,

“For jealousy kindles a husband’s rage, and he will not show mercy when he takes revenge.” [Caption: Proverbs 6:34 (NIV)]

So these are the two things you need to understand.

First of all, you are God’s temple. If you set up an idol in this temple, you will drive him far from his sanctuary. As I read to you in that scripture in Ezekiel 23, if you go and offer sacrifices to God— you go to church, you go to Bible study, you do these spiritual things, or have these spiritual conversations, and act like you are a Christian on the one hand— but then you continue to worship your idols on the other hand, that’s just what they were doing.

He said, you sacrifice your children to your idols then you come to my temple, and you try to bring gifts to me. That doesn’t work. He’s not impressed because we are doing something religious. Understand he looks at our heart, and if we are violating the exclusive nature of our relationship with him (where we worship him as the only true God) then our marriage is defiled with him. That temple, this temple, becomes completely defiled.

So #1: Bring in an idol, and he’s going to leave. Okay? You can pretend all day long that you have a relationship, but it says it’s going to drive him far from his sanctuary.

And #2: It is going kindle that jealous anger and there are going to be consequences. We see this in Deuteronomy chapter 32 verse 16, where it says,

“They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. They sacrificed to demons, which are not God – gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your fathers did not fear. You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.” [Caption: Deuteronomy 32:16-18 (NIV)]

We do not want to kindle God’s jealous anger.

And something that I want you to notice here is that whenever they were bowing down to idols, it says they were bowing down to demons. And it tells us in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 that you can’t do that. If you want to have a relationship with God you cannot have it both ways. It says,

“Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” [Caption: 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 (NIV)]

This is what the Lord is saying to you today. This is where the rubber meets the road in your life. Idolatry is adultery to God, and understand that the way you use your body is an expression of the way that you worship God – especially when it comes to sex.

If you do it with the way that God prescribed within the covenant of a marriage, then it is a pure and holy and innocent and beautiful thing, and it is a reflection of the pure worship that we have towards God.

But whenever you do it in a way that is not prescribed by God— whenever you break that exclusive nature of the relationship and expose yourself to someone you’re not in that relationship with—then you expose yourself, and it becomes shame. And you become defiled.

We don’t want to defile God’s temple. We don’t want him to go far from us do we?

So we are making a decision to purify ourselves, to ask God to forgive us, to ask God to cleanse us of all of our sin and to no longer remember those adulteries, but to wash us with the pure water of the word. To make us a pure and spotless bride.

“Put to death, therefore, 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. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” [Caption: Colossians 3:5-10 (NIV)]

The reason that God wants you to lay down your sexual immorality is because he wants to have a pure and intimate and satisfying relationship with you. It’s not because he doesn’t want you to do anything enjoyable; it’s because he wants to give you ultimate satisfaction. He wants to get that satisfaction from you as well. But he knows, and you need to know, just like with a husband and a wife, the only way that that relationship is going to work is if it is a completely exclusive relationship. You’ve got to get rid of the idolatry in your life, especially sexual immorality.

Because it says in 1 Corinthians chapter 6,

“The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power, God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 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! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who unites with the Lord is one with him in spirit. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he sins sexually, sins against his own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” [Caption: 1 Corinthians 6:13b-20 (NIV)]

So if you are struggling with sexual immorality in your life, if you have sexual immorality in your life, this is what God is requiring of you today.

If you’re not married, then you need to abstain from sexual relationships until you are.

Then when you are married, you need to keep that relationship pure and undefiled, and not go outside that relationship, understanding that whatever you do, you are a part of Christ.

You can’t take the members of Christ’s body and go do these detestable things, because you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:9, it’s a little earlier in that chapter, tells us what the consequences will be because it says,

“Do you not know that wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” [Caption: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV)]

If you want to go to Heaven, if you want to escape the wrath of God, if you want to inherit the kingdom of heaven, then there’s only one way: you have to be washed of these things. If you keep these things in your life, you will not inherit the kingdom of God. It says do not be deceived. Don’t be tricked. You can’t have it both ways.

I’m going to pray for those who are struggling with sexual immorality today, but any of you who have been convicted of any idolatry in your heart – any of these things on this list – I want you to pray with me as well, and God is going to wash you today.

Father, I thank you for this promise that you will justify us when we come to you; that you will purify us when we come to you, because it’s a very difficult thing when you have committed adultery against your spouse to let them know that you have committed this horrible sin against them. It is hard for us as well, Lord God, to bear our souls to you and to really admit that our idolatry is as detestable as it is, to identify it for what it is: unfaithfulness towards you.

And Lord God, we want to be free of these things. And I want to pray for each of the people who are listening today. First of all, whatever idolatry is in their hearts, I pray that you would flush it out. I pray that you would refine us all, Lord God, and that you would get rid of these things in our lives today.

As the church, I also pray specifically for those who are struggling with sexual immorality today. I pray that you would show them the wisdom that you give in saying that we should flee from sexual immorality. You said in your Word that no temptation has come to us that is too great for us. You’re not going to allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle, but every time there’s a temptation, you have given us a way out. We know that way out is written in your Word, if we will follow the instructions in your Word, we will be saved from these traps and these snares.

We are also promised that if we resist those temptations, and we will submit to you and do what you tell us to do, then Satan is going to flee from us— even if it is something that has held us in bondage for years. This is the promise that we have from you, Lord God.

I pray for each and every person here, that you would help them to submit to your will today to flee from sexual immorality— to take that way out that you have given to them.

And also I pray that you would deliver them from the demonic forces that have moved into that temple as a result of opening up their temple to other things besides you, Lord God. I pray that you would wash them clean, and I cast out every unclean spirit that has taken up habitation in each of these dear people of God. I rebuke [those spirits] in the name of Jesus. I demand [those spirits] to come out of them. And you are not to come back to this house again. You will not inhabit that temple again. This temple is set apart as holy and sanctified and is being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit right now with a strong man that is going to guard it. That strong man is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit and God the Father. They have promised that they are coming in to inhabit these people right now; these people’s lives.

Lord God, I pray that you would guard them as your holy temple. As we know that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, Lord God. We know that in our own power that we can’t break these addictions; we can’t break these bad behavior patterns that we have in our relationships with people, or the addiction that to pornography.

We can’t do these things on our own Lord God, we don’t have the strength to do it. Our willpower isn’t enough.

But we are exerting all of our willpower in order to resist the Devil.

Even though we know from experience that it isn’t strong enough, in and of itself, to [free us], we know it’s the first step to having victory, because you said that we resist the Devil before he will flee from us. So I pray that you would help them to resist sexual immorality.

I pray that you’d help them submit to your Word; that you would bring your Word to them, and show them where you want them to obey. Help them to understand every step of obedience that they take; that is a step that is leading them to victory over all these other areas— even if they don’t see the connection. Because whenever we bow our knee to you, then there’s no room for any other god in our lives, and any other master is going to have to leave.

So I pray that you would break these addictions in the name of Jesus and these places of idolatry – any bondage that’s there.

And I thank you, Lord God, that you are cleansing your temple today; that you are raising up a church that is a bride without spot or wrinkle. I pray that you’d help us to continue to allow you to reveal these things in our lives so that we may be acceptable to you on the day that we are presented to you. We want to be pleasing in your sight, Lord God.

And I praise you in the victories you are bringing in people’s lives right now, today, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Thank you so much for joining me. If you need prayer today, please click on the Prayer and Decision buttons.

If you’re making a decision to tear down the altar of an idol in your life today, let us know. As the scriptures say, we should confess our sins to one another. We want you to have a place to come and say, “Hey I am making this decision; I am making this commitment to God today.” We want to hear about what God is doing in your life.

And until I see you next time, remember to read your Bible and do what it says.




This video is edited from a live broadcast from Kansas City on September 22, 2011.




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