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Friday, November 12, 2010 | Comments (18)

In terms of its depravity, America is beginning to look like ancient Rome as it plunges into new depths of sexual immorality. Here are a few examples of how pervasive our perversions have become:

In the last 50 years, public opinion on fornication has changed dramatically. Educational institutions used to discourage premarital sex. Now they begin preparing children as early as grade-school for safe-sex courses in junior high school, warning them about STDs and handing out free condoms.

In the same amount of time, the nation has shifted from condemning homosexual behavior to accepting, condoning, encouraging, and protecting it legally. Homosexual “marriage” is on the rise, and those who criticize homosexuality are labeled bigots, guilty of “hate speech.”

Pornography is now a billion dollar industry. Like typical drug-dealers, pornographers offer your first taste free-of-charge. All it takes is the click of the mouse.

If the recent Amazon controversy is any indication, it would seem even pedophilia has a market these days. (I can’t believe I’m even writing about this!)

And let’s not forget the old, commonplace sin of adultery. Blushing over that sin is definitely a thing of the past. Truth be told, adultery is one of the most insidious of them all. It has decimated families and is the likely culprit that has given rise to much of the aforementioned perversion.

So, what does all that have to do with God’s will? Lots.

As Christians living in a sexually-saturated culture, the Bible commands us to live sanctified lives. That is God’s will, clearly revealed.

If that seems impossible to you, if the pervasiveness of depravity seems like an insurmountable problem, remember this: there’s nothing new under the sun. First-century Christians lived in a similar culture—in some ways it was even worse—and God still expected the pursuit of sexual purity (1 Thess. 4:3-8). It’s no different for you and me today.

This is the will of God—your sanctification. Here’s John to talk more about it…

To review, here’s what John said about being sanctified: Stay away from sex sins. Keep your body pure. Don’t act like the world. Don’t defraud others sexually.

Those are some of the most critical problems of our day, problems that touch every local church. Here’s the question as it relates to following God’s will: How does sexual immorality hinder us in recognizing and following God’s will? Or, to state it positively, how does sexual purity help us recognize and follow God’s will?


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#1  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, November 12, 2010at 5:25 PM

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#2  Posted by Mike Anderson  |  Saturday, November 13, 2010at 2:08 PM

What sermon did this come from?

#3  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Saturday, November 13, 2010at 4:59 PM

Mike:

The message is titled, "Taking the Mystery Out of Knowing God's Will." Below is a link where you can listen, read, or watch the entire sermon:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/80-310_Taking-the-Mystery-Out-of-Knowing-Gods-Will

#4  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, November 15, 2010at 10:49 AM

Comment deleted by administrator.
#5  Posted by Ernesto Blanco  |  Tuesday, November 16, 2010at 12:14 PM

I suffer because of my sins. I so identify with the apostle Paul. I do what I don't want to do and don't do what I ought to do. I hate it when I sin but sometimes don't have the power to fight it. I hate it because I know how much it grieves the Lord. I often disgust myself. I do not wish to tarnish Christ in any way. I do not desire to displease Him. My desire is to be obedient and please God but there are times when I know I don't. May God forgive me and be merciful to me. May His grace abound and cover all my inequities. May His power dwell within me and sanctify me. May it be for His honor and His glory. I am done with myself. May it be so.
#8  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Thursday, November 18, 2010at 2:16 PM

I was just wondering, we are commanded to be sanctified. Well does God give us special tools, other than reading the bible and our own will power, because i've read in the bible numerous times that the Spirit of God dwells inside of us Christians, and I'm just wondering should we let the Spirit control us...As in quit trying to fight it ourselves, and let the Spirit work..because our will power is extremely weak and i'll get in situations where my will power is too weak, and i'll fall into that sin. But ever since i've had the understanding of the Spirit and how it dwells inside of me, i quit trying to fight the temptation off and let the Spirit work. And the Spirit has been victorious every time!

#9  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, November 18, 2010at 4:31 PM

Cristian,

That is an excellent question! I'm having difficulty understanding what you mean by quit trying and let the Spirit work. I'm not sure how one does that or what that looks like.

You are quite correct that the Spirit dwells in believers and I'm convinced Ephesians 5:18 is a command to be controlled by the Spirit (as opposed to seeking additional filling like a soda refill). So the question, then, is how does the Spirit control us?

I would say the Spirit controls us the same way the government controls us, namely, as we obey the laws established we are allowing ourselves to be controlled by the establishment--be it the government or the Spirit. In other words, I believe that being controlled by the Spirit simply means to act in obedience to Scripture.

According to 2 Peter 3:18 we have all that we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. In other words, the more we know Jesus Christ (His character, will, plan, nature, etc.), the more we have what we need to be godly. The more we understand what God requires of us, the more ability we have to live like Christ.

Since the Spirit is dwelling within us, we don't need more of God, we have God dwelling in us, we are alive in the Spirit, and have spiritual strength through the Spirit. Therefore we need content to add to that strength. We need direction to apply that strength. So a person struggling with sin doesn't need more of the Spirit, they need more knowledge of Scripture and practice obeying Scripture.

Does that make sense? How would you explain "quit trying to fight temptation off and let the Spirit work"? Perhaps this is a better question, if someone asked you how to overcome temptation, what would you tell them to do?

#10  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Thursday, November 18, 2010at 4:44 PM

Must keep fighting temptations so we can grow. Jesus is there to catch us when we fall for He endured the temptations and never sinned cause

Jesus our Lord God is without sin. Jesus is our King.

#11  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Thursday, November 18, 2010at 9:49 PM

Oh well i was just like saying what if i don't have that will power to quit, like i know very well what Scripture say's but somehow i always seem to fail, like say i have an addiction which i have never been able to come. Does God give us a certain Spirit to overcome? I mean Galatians 5.17 says "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh." I understand we are given the Holy Spirit which dwells inside us, but what i dont understand is this. It basically says the flesh is fighting the Spirit and the Spirit is fighting the flesh, It doesn't say My will power is fighting the flesh. and the flesh is fighting My will power...it says the Spirit is doing the fighting. I wonder if the battle is not mine, but if there is a Spirit inside of me that's there to fight my battles.

#13  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 9:54 AM

# 11, Cristian.

"a Spirit"?

As in all things, we are not excused of our responsability in our Christian life. It's by being Spirit-filled (through the knowledge of Him, as Gabriel explains it) that you are capable of overcoming the flesh and keep on walking on the path of sanctification.

E.

#14  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 10:32 AM

Yea good point. We have to fight our own battles. But i was just reading a book by Watchmen Nee called "The Normal Christian Life" and in one of the chapter, he kind of explains it like that we should surrender and let the Spirit fight for us? So Idk..

#15  Posted by Leslie McClure  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 11:29 AM

God promises that we can kick the hardest sins. The key is loving God more that the sin. Sometimes the sin got started as a survival technique, sometimes it is just a sinful desire. The answer is the same, get to know God and love and value His companionship to the point that the sinful desires no longer have their hold.

Seek God with all our heart (Jer 29:11-13, Heb 11:6) and we do this with prayer, reading and studying Scripture, obeying God, meditating on God’s attributes and Scripture and memorizing His word.

In addition to these, we have to resist temptation. The following is adapted from “Introduction to Biblical Counseling” by John MacArthur and Wayne Mack.

A BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO TEMPTATION:

1 - Recognize and acknowledge in the earliest stages of temptation that you are being tempted; and STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. (Jas 1:13-15)

2 - Quickly ask God for His help to resist (Prov 2:1-7)

3 - If possible, remove yourself immediately from the source of temptation

4 - Identify the unbiblical desire that would be served by yielding to the temptation;

5 - Quote and meditate on appropriate Scripture;

6 - Remind yourself of God’s presence, power and promises;

7 - Mentally and verbally make a commitment to do the godly thing;

8 - Get busy with a min-engaging, godly activity;

9 - Repeat key aspects of this temptation plan until the power of the temptation is reduced.

10 - Plan your life to keep away from temptation. Ps 119:101 “I have kept my feet from every evil path to that I might obey Your word.”

#16  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 11:39 AM

Cristian:

Watchman Nee is good on some fundamental doctrines, but he has a dangerous tendency to be mystical and philosophical on many other points, such as Revelation, hermeneutics (Bible Study), and the Holy Spirit. I’m speaking from my own interaction with his material. Be cautious when reading him.

The way you’re phrasing your comments about achieving victory over temptation is, well, odd. It sounds like the old Keswick movement that took many Christians by storm in the 19th century—the philosophy that says, “Let go and let God.” Remember that? Some call it Quietism, an attitude of “Just relax, and let God’s power take over your life…surrender and let Him do your fighting while you enjoy the victory.” Watchman Nee was heavily influenced by that movement, by the way.

But that’s a fundamentally flawed way of viewing temptation, or the Christian life for that matter. Nowhere does the Word of God advocate that kind of attitude or strategy for battling sin. There is simply no biblical support for such an approach. We are always to engage in the battle with our minds, hearts, and wills. That’s the view Paul gives us in Ephesians 6 with the armor of God. It’s a string of personal commands we are to obey, none of which involve, “surrender.” Rather, it’s a call to arms. He says, “Be strong in the Lord, put on the armor, stand firm, take up the helmet of salvation and the shield of faith…” The Christian life is a battle, and we are soldiers. Indwelt with the Spirit? Yes. Equipped with the Scriptures? Of course. But the responsibility to actively engage in the battle is ours.

Many other Scriptures could be recalled, regarding temptation:

Peter and James both instruct us to “Submit to God” (James 4:7) and “Resist the devil,” (1 Peter 5:9) again commands.

After reminding us, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it,” Paul concludes with this command: “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” Notice the command is active. It’s not passive or directed to any member of the trinity. It’s a personal command to us, from God, to actively flee from sin.

If you’re still unclear about any of that, I think an upcoming post on Sanctification will help. For some practical ways to fight sin, see Leslie's comment above.

-Tommy

#17  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 1:23 PM

Wow that makes a lot of sense! Because God's love is powerful enough to overcome that temptation. So when it means "walk in the Spirit and bear the Spirits fruits", it can be interpreted when walking in the Spirit to read the bible daily, focus on God's love daily, and the bearing of the fruit would be what??

#18  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 1:36 PM

Cristian,

The questions you're asking about a believer bearing “fruit” are answered in the passage you quoted from. Listen to what Paul says in Galatians 5:19-26:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desire. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Cristian, when you walk in the Spirit (v. 16), and crucify your flesh (v. 24), you’ll bear the fruit Paul laid out in that passage. May your harvest be ripe and plentiful, brother.

#19  Posted by Cristian Balint  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 1:45 PM

Haha.. Yea i guess it is pretty silly to think that you can lay back and let the Spirit fight for you. This verse pretty much clears it up, Thanks. Hopefully you guys don't mind my questions, because i have lots of them. and i'll ask them, so prewarning; don't get annoyed. Lol. Tks Again.

#20  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 2:08 PM

Thanks for sharing your blog. I appreciate it. Smiles.

Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. God prunes us

as we grow. When we allow Him. Many blessings.

#21  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, November 19, 2010at 2:56 PM

Not at all, Cristian. Your zeal and humility are encouraging, and your questions are never annoying. Keep em coming. That's what the blog is all about. Blessings to you in your pursuit of Christ.