2015-04-10 - Love and Purity
The Love Series - Puddles and Papers, Part 3
This message will continue with the Love series that we've been on for the last couple of devotions. Specifically I want to address love and purity. I want to address morality, innocence and, of course, the subject that often is the ignored as the elephant in the room. I want to start by clearing something up: SEX is good. [Note: from this point forward, to prevent internet filters from picking it up, I will just use the letter S, but as you read it, fill in the word] That's right; I said it. S is good; it is a good thing. I don’t remember ever having “the talk” with my parents, but the gist of what I got that I remember, was that S was bad. While growing up, the only messages I heard from teachers, parents, - and heard from adults in general - was that S was something dirty and horrible. But that is not the truth. It is part of God’s plan from day six, way before sin ever entered the picture.
God created people. He designed things to fit together and work together. He also commanded mankind to make babies, and he made the process good, so that it obedience would have a reward. The Bible is clear that S outside of marriage is a sin. S is reserved for a married man and woman. I have heard it said by multiple preachers, "Don’t have S until you’re married; then make up for lost time." If S is really good, then why would God want to keep you from something so good? After all, he created it, right? If he made us to have sex, and commanded us to reproduce, so what gives?
God's design was perfect; it is a natural part of that plan. However, while S is good, SIN is bad. Sin is bad and when S is corrupted in anyway short of what happens between a man and a woman who are married. Sin distorts and destroys God’s plans and make them into hurtful, damaging things. While a little elementary you can think of intimacy by breaking it into simple words - INTO ME SEE. When you are intimate with another person they get a glimpse of you that can never be taken back. Casual S is a myth – emotions and hormones get involved and then when you break up the hurt begins because the lie that says it was supposed to be meaningless physical pleasure became the truth that when two people become intimate they become vulnerable to one another. They see into each other in a way that few other people have; older translations would say they "know" each other. If I share all my inner thoughts, then you can hurt me with them and, when I share my physical body with someone, they can hurt me too. Sin is bad in so many ways.
The sin of S outside God's plan has emotional consequences. Somewhere inside many of us is a conscience and we just know that having sex with someone we’re not married to is wrong and so that brings some sense of shame and guilt. That shame and guilt can drive us into isolation. What we tried to do to be closer to someone actually drives us further away. There’s also a fear of getting caught. That fear and all the other hormones can really wreak havoc on a relationship. S confuses a relationship. The physical pleasure gets confused with love. Plus because of the sense of fear of getting caught adrenaline gets mixed in. And when the fear goes away (after marriage for example) the same sex isn’t as thrilling. It’s not as good. It’s boring and that makes you wonder if you are still “in love”. People who have premarital sex are actually at a higher risk of divorce partially for this reason.
There are also physical consequences. Sexual sin can result in unplanned pregnancy. God makes every life so I will not say it is accidental or a mistake but definitely it's not part of the “plan” for many teenagers. In 2009 CDC reports 400,000 teen girls from 15-19 gave birth. That doesn’t include the staggering number of abortions had by this same age group. It can also lead to people getting diseases. If you have sex you are taking a gamble; 1 in 4 students having sex wind up with an STD before they become an adult. About 19 million new STD infections are reported each year. 9.1 million (almost half) of them are in the age group 15 to 24. Disease like AIDS lead to death but too often those unplanned pregnancies lead to death – death of a precious child and death of innocence.
Last but not least, there are spiritual consequences. You cannot be living in sin and be living in God’s presence. You cannot worship God and lustful desires. Only one of them is the god of your life.
While Sin is bad, SEPERATION is worse. Sin causes separation. We can’t be honest with parents or with God. It becomes a barrier – scriptures tell us that sexual sin is a sin not merely against others but against ourselves. It tears us apart inside and separates us from God. God cannot dwell with sin – so when our bodies, his temple, is defiled and his presence is not in our lives as clearly as it could be. If we are a Christian we may still be saved but just barely – we are living out of God’s will and trying to run from him.
Please bear with me as I share a couple illustrations that I hope will help you grasp these concepts a little.
The first is about puddles. Whether it’s a hole at the beach, a small wading pool, or a mud puddle. Let’s face it puddles are fun. When it’s the right time and place those puddles are fun. But mud puddles when you have your Sunday clothes on – not such a good idea. And S is the same way. It is a fun puddle to play in when it is the right time and place so God like a good parent tells us to stay out of the puddles until we have wedding clothes on. We should stay far away but we don’t. We try to get close to it but still be away from it. Then curiosity kicks in. We touch the water and then back away. That wasn’t too bad and then we fall in and we're soaked and muddy and in trouble. Oops how did that happen? We were told to stay out of the puddle but what we heard is get as close to it as you want so long as you don’t take that last step and then we accidentally fell in. Sometimes we may even have someone encouraging us saying the water is fine and that we should come in and play with them. Don’t! It is not worth it – I know.
You see our virginity is kind of like a sheet of paper and I want to share that thru a second illustration I have used before. This time a student offered to videotape it so I hope you will watch it as the visual impact is better than any words I could say. (Check out the illustration at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrwhBaHdp18 )
I am glad that I gave my life back to Jesus and over time he has healed me and made me once again whole but it’s not perfect. It still bears the wrinkles and scars of an misused love life. I look back and that is one of the biggest regrets of my life. I can’t undo anything or even erase it from my mind. I struggle with haunting thoughts still. Sin leaves scars – deep scars sometimes. According to CDC stats published on their website for 2013 (the latest year I could find on their site), 46.8% of US high school students have had S. In fact 34% have had S in the last three months. 15% have had S with four or more people in their life. Do you remember that 1 in 4 statistic that I mentioned well they likely had all four.
I hope all of you are still virgins and will commit to purity for God and for yourself. But in a crowd this size it is foolish to think everyone is. So if you aren’t still a virgin what hope is there for you? While sin is bad and separation from God is worse, there is hope because our SAVIOR is greater.
A woman is caught in the act of adultery. She is undeniably busted, and everyone wants to punish her. Jesus speaks, and everyone drops their stones and walks off. Grace comes onto the scene. A woman named Anne Lamott said, "I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us." And when grace found the woman guilty of sexual sin, Jesus said "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." In essence, he says, I accept you as you are, but love you too much to leave you that way. Go and sin no more. Jesus accepts each of us, no matter what our paper looks like. He doesn’t condemn us, but loves us. But being accepted by him, we are compelled by him – no commanded - to sin no more. So if you’re not a virgin, you can commit from this point forward, to stay pure until your wedding day. Go and sin no more…
Avoid puddles, and keep your paper whole and pure, but if that’s too late, then go and sin no more. Protect what you still have, and trust God to restore your heart.
All scripture references from KJV (King James Version) unless otherwise noted