River Church NOLA
Wednesday Dec 1 Maintaining Moral Purity
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  • Friend Of God
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  • As Americans, we are very concerned about purity in some areas while in other areas we could not care less. For instance, when it comes to clean air and water, people are very concerned. Our culture is overly concerned to the point of forcing battery cars… trying to limit automobiles etc… to clean up the air.
    Others are paying attention to the purity of our food… not fertilizers or insecticides.
    But we are not really concerned with having pure minds… or having mental or moral purity in our lives. As a matter of fact, we will allow anything into our minds.
    We watch TV shows or movies regardless of how perverted the show is… no matter how immoral it is…
    It used to be that you had to go to an adult bookstore to look at porn… now it’s on TV and your phone.
    As a result of this immoral bombardment, we have babies born out of wedlock … abortions… kids growing up without parental supervision. Millions of Americans … about 20% have some STDs...
    The Bible says something totally different than our culture.
    1 Thessalonians 4:3–7 The Living Bible
    3 For God wants you to be holy and pure and to keep clear of all sexual sin so that each of you will marry in holiness and honor—5 not in lustful passion as the heathen do, in their ignorance of God and his ways. 6 And this also is God’s will: that you never cheat in this matter by taking another man’s wife because the Lord will punish you terribly for this, as we have solemnly told you before. 7 For God has not called us to be dirty-minded and full of lust but to be holy and clean.
    As I read this, I wonder, is this even possible in today’s culture? When I talk to people, especially young people, I wonder if this is possible or something that is out of reach for our society. Is it possible to maintain a pure thought life in a sex saturated society?
    It may be. Here is why it is possible...
    Fishing - if you catch a fish that’s been in salt water all of it’s life. It’s lived in a culture where salt and brine are around it all the time… so salty you could not drink it, but when you catch a fish that’s lived it’s entire life surrounded by salt and cook it, you have to put salt on it.
    The same God that can protect that fish from the salt can protect yours and my minds and lives from the corruption of our culture.
    God can keep our minds pure in a polluted world. Now, the answer is not to leave the world. God saved us in this world for a reason and that’s to help other people find the Lord, so we don’t need to isolate from the world… we do need to insulate from the world.

    How to Stay Pure in a Polluted Culture

    How can you be pure and remain pure in a culture that is absolutely polluted?
    6 Steps

    1. Make a commitment to God’s standards

    Psalm 119:9 NIV84
    9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
    You must answer the question… Am I more committed to what God says will meet my needs or doing what I think will meet my needs? What is going to be your standard of authority? Will I base my life on God’s standards or just make up my own standards.
    God says a lot in his Word that are not easy. God’s standard about sex is very clear and has never changed. Why does he say these things about sex? Because he loves you and knows what’s good for you. So we have to decide that when we feel differently or we don’t understand, are we going to base our lives on what God says or on how we feel? He has a plan for our lives and knows that when we misuse sex, it prevents us from being able to fulfill his purpose.
    So we have to decide that we are going to commit to do wha the Bible says even if we don’t understand it, even if it’s not popular… that we are committed to doing what it says.
    Sex is God’s idea. He invented it and designed it for a purpose… marriage.
    He put some parameters around it… here they are.
    Sex is more than a physical act. That’s why is has profound consequences. It’s a spiritual act and it has spiritual consequences… emotional consequences… social consequences… and legal consequences. If sex were just physical, it would be like a handshake… it would not matter, but it’s more than physical.
    Sex is exclusively for a husband and wife committed to marriage… pleasure… procreation and spiritual bonding.
    ANY use outside these boundaries (before/outside marriage) causes all sorts of spiritual, emotional and even physical consequences.
    Why does God say these things about sex? Because he knows what is good and good for us and wants to protect us. Remember, God’s word always protects us from something that will harm us and provides something much better.
    Off Ramp - Do Not Enter … How do you feel about that sign? Is it restricting your freedom or protecting your life? It’s not to punish, but to protect you.
    God has laid out rules for living for our own good! When you play by them, you win. When you don’t you suffer.
    Sex is God’s gift to you, but all gifts must be controlled. water - satisfy you or drown you… fire - warm you or burn you Can you get burned by sex? You bet you can. Sex is not bad nor is it dirty, it’s a gift God gave us. It’s spiritual and holy and is to be used as God said it’s to be used… husband and wife.
    I think each person needs to draw a line in the sand by making your commitment to moral purity… to living by God’s rules public. Once you do this, no matter what your past has been, you can move to step 2.

    2. Manage your thoughts

    Every temptation begins in your mind. The battle is either won or lost there.
    Proverbs 4:23 NCV
    23 Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.
    Proverbs 23:19 NCV
    19 Listen, my child, and be wise. Keep your mind on what is right.
    People may say you don’t have an open mind. Open minds get filled with garbage.

    How does Immorality Happen?

    Anytime you see someone messing up their life, it didn’t begin with the actions you see. They were thinking dumb thoughts before they began making dumb choices. Thoughts produce emotions… the way you think determines the way you feel. You feel a certain way because you are thinking a certain way. Emotions produce actions. Long before you act wrong, you are thinking wrong.
    If you want to break a habit… or change your actions, you don’t work on the habit, you work on the root… the thoughts that causes the feelings and the actions.
    God says Control your Thoughts control your life.
    Affairs don’t just happen, There is a process. A husband doesn’t just come home and say he fell into an affair. Things were happening long before that happened. It began with thoughts and small decisions and ended up with actions. Here is how it happens.

    1st- You accept sinful thoughts in your mind

    You think about being with someone… would it really be wrong? did God really say… What would it be like to be married to that person. Remember you see them at their best, not at anything close to reality. You may think that’s harmless but thoughts produce feelings and feelings produce actions.

    2nd- You have emotional, non-physical involvement

    Flirting… to let the person know you are available.

    3rd- You begin physical involvement

    You go from flirting to physical involvement.

    4th- You rationalize your actions

    You think… everybody’s doing it… we are adults… it’s not wrong...
    2 Timothy 2:22 NLT
    22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
    Paul says to turn away and run from temptation. Long before you act wrong, you were thinking wrong. Paul says to turn your back and if he is telling us to turn our back, it means we have a choice. You don’t have to keep giving into temptation. It’s not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to give into it.
    How do you break a temptation? You don’t break it by resisting… you will always lose. You break a habit or a temptation by replacing and refocusing. Say, you want to lose some weight and there is a giant banana split right in front of you. Do you just resist it and hope to stay strong? No. that won’t work. Whatever gets your attention, gets you. The key to breaking a temptation is to just turn away from it and focus on something else. You have to focus on something else. You may have to run away like Joseph did when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him.
    One practical way to do this is to…

    3. Monitor your media intake

    You should not just let anything to come into your mind…
    Proverbs 15:14 NLT
    14 A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash.
    What you feed your mind is as important as what you feed your body. You can’t be healthy on junk physically and you will not be healthy mentally, spiritually or emotionally on junk either. Are you allowing junk into your mind? Or do you only allow godly material into your mind?
    The average American watches about 7 hours of TV per day and probably more than that spent on social media. By the time a kid finishes High School, he would have spent 18,000 hours with the TV and only 12,000 hours at school… been exposed to visual input of 14,000 sexual encounters each year. By the time a person reaches 18, they would have seen over 100,000 sexual liaisons portrayed on TV and movies.
    TV Guide: Over the course of a year You will see on TV
    14,313 incidents of sex
    23,566 uses of profanity
    8,333 incidents of violence
    Clincher - 91% of all sexual encounters portrayed are outside marriage.
    TV and Social Media are the greatest sources of sex mis-education … it never shows the consequences. This is called brain washing… It’s amazing what we will allow into our lives through media.
    Bed hopping is portrayed as a popular indoor sport in the movies & TV… just look at the soap operas. And we wonder why there are so many abortions and babies born to un-wed mothers in our country.
    TV Movies lower your resistance to sin… How?
    By glamorizing sin.
    By implying everyone is doing it.
    By failing to show the consequences.
    By getting you to laugh at sin.
    Regardless of your past, you can say that you want to be pure from this time on… What do you need to do? Make a commitment to God’s standards, manage your thoughts, monitor your media intake.
    Two great verses that will help…
    Psalm 119:37 GNB
    37 Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless; be good to me, as you have promised.
    Psalm 101:3 NLT
    3 I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them.

    4. Minimize the opportunity for temptation

    That means don’t place yourself in a situation where you could be tempted. If you don’t want to be stung, stay away from the bees. If I have a problem with alcohol, don’t go to a bar. 3 ways to do this…

    1. Recognize the kind of situations that tempt you.

    Recognize what stimulates you… that get you thinking in the wrong manner.
    1 Corinthians 10:12 The Living Bible
    12 So be careful. If you are thinking, “Oh, I would never behave like that”—let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin.
    Be alert… Be Wise… Be aware… BEES! Fire!
    Know the early warning signs of temptation so you can bail out early.
    Myth: I would never give into anything immoral… Who are you kidding?
    Truth: No one is immune given the right circumstances. The Bible says that our hearts are deceptive… We are all capable of sin given the right circumstances.
    ILL - Business travel is a great threat. Satan works overtime when you are away from home… who would know?

    2. Choose your friends carefully

    1 Corinthians 15:33 NLT
    33 Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”
    Bad company always drags someone down… rarely the other way.
    If I reach down and take your hand, is it easier for me to pull you up, or you to pull me down? It’s easier for you to pull me down.
    Your best friends better be people that pull you up.
    It’s well known that Most affairs occur between couples who are friends. Make sure your closest friends are commited to the Lord and to their marriage.

    3. Establish guard rails

    Protective guidelines. These are common sense rules about what you will and will not do with a person of the opposite sex.
    Ephesians 5:3 NIV84
    3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.
    Set yourself some practical standards or guard rails that you do not cross. Not riding with someone of the opposite sex… no meetings alone… no lunches alone …
    If you are married,

    5. Maintain your marriage

    A healthy relationship with your spouse it the best protection to an affair because it reduces any temptation or attraction of adultery.
    Ecclesiastes 9:9 NIV84
    9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun— all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.
    God wants you to enjoy life with your wife. God wants you to enjoy each other, not endure each others. People open themselves up to temptation because they stop dating when they get married. Don’t stop dating. That’s one of the biggest problems people have.
    Hunter… he will do things like read poetry… watch pride and prejudice … stuff no man would do so we can win her over. Then when he marries hers, it’s...
    mission accomplishedSo now that he’s accomplished his mission he is off to the next hunt… usually to provide. So he takes all the energy he was using to win the girl over and focuses it on the job.
    It’s a bait and switch… What happened? The wife wondering what happened to the man who listened fours, read poetry and watch pride and prejudice… Now he is thinking the same thing… before the kids came along, she couldn’t keep her hands off of me, now she has a headache.
    Do you enjoy your spouse? Are you fun to live with?
    Husbands… get better at showing non-sexual affection.
    God is very specific and practical…
    1 Corinthians 7:3 NLT
    3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.
    1 Corinthians 7:5 NLT
    5 Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
    Here are some tips from marriage counselors.
    Kiss every day.
    Keep open by sharing every day.
    Keep committed to sex in-spite of the distractions. Your marriage and your sexual relationship should be a priority.
    Keep physically fit and well groomed.
    Keep your sexual feelings turned toward home. If a temptation is triggered, you bring that desire home…
    Keep it scheduled. Everyone wants spontaneous, but with kids, jobs, careers, etc, you need to schedule it.
    Keep sex positive. Keep learning how to enjoy each other.
    That’s what it meant to maintain your marriage. The grass is NOT greener on the other side of the fence. The grass might not be too green on your side fence, but if water it it will be greener. If you will maintain your marriage, the grass will never look greener anywhere else.
    Here is another one…

    6. Magnify the consequences of sin

    I have heard many times about the heartache of sexual unfaithfulness and illicit relationships. I have seen hearts and lives ripped apart… children devastated.
    Listen to me. Nothing will damage your emotions like sexual sin. God created you to be men and women and your sexuality impacts every area of your life. Since your sexuality impacts every area of your life, it’s not just a physical act.
    Proverbs 6:32 GNB
    32 But a man who commits adultery hasn’t any sense. He is just destroying himself.
    The scars are permanent. The shame will not go away.
    The sense of loss affects everyone involved. I wish I could roll back the clock
    It’s stupid to throw away your future for a single moment of pleasure.
    Denver Post Survey
    Asked if you have had intercourse outsider of marriage, what were the results:
    57% - it caused tremendous guilt… 63% of women
    50% of men… it led to the breakup of the relationship
    42% - felt used.
    Proverbs 6:26 NLT
    26 For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, but sleeping with another man’s wife will cost you your life.
    Movies have sensationalized illicit sex. It rarely shows the consequences of the sin and the lives it destroys. Sex when it is mis-used is the source of all sorts of pain and scars. Everyone loses in sexual sin. God wants to spare you this pain.
    Regardless of what’s happened in your past, God will give you a new start today. I’ve been married to Kathy for 14 years and
    I stay faithful because
    I love the Lord. He is #1 and I want to one day hear, Well done…
    I love my wife. I love Kathy and I’m in love with Kathy.
    I fear God’s judgement. One day You and I will all stand before God.
    Hebrews 13:4 NIV84
    4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
    He is serious… Don’t kid yourself. You will not get away from the consequences. God will judge sin. This is why God sent Jesus to pay the price for your’s and my sins.
    God will never change his standard. He hasn’t changed it so far and he will not change it in the future.
    Premarital or extra marital sex is not acceptable to God and always will be.
    Live in arrangements …
    Adultery
    Homosexuality is not acceptable to God and always will be.
    Pornography is not acceptable to God and always will be...
    Now, if you are engaging in any of these, you are in the right place for healing and forgiveness. That’s what we are all about. River Church is a community of sinners who are trying our best to follow Jesus together. I want to give you a chance to come clean with God and receive a new start.
    So I want to close with …

    The Path Back to Purity

    If you have violated God’s standards - whether premarital… extra marital… God is offering a brand new start… a restart. Here is what you need to do.

    1. Repent

    It means to change your mind. Agree with God on His standard and that you have been wrong. Stop rationalizing and confess it as sin. A good example is David in
    Psalm 51:1–10 NLT
    1 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. 2 Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. 3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. 5 For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. 6 But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. 7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me— now let me rejoice. 9 Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
    Do it right now… don’t wait. Come back to God and where he wants you quickly… do it now. If you are in an affair right now… end it right now. When you do, you will receive ...

    2. Receive God’s forgiveness

    God is waiting for you to turn to him. He wants to forgive you and take away the guilt and shame and give you are fresh start.
    Psalm 32:1–5 NLT
    1 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! 2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! 3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude 5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude
    Ghe good news is that when God forgives you, you are set free from the guilt and shame of sin.
    You can be released from guilt and shame… from past regrets… then you can forgive yourself.

    3. Refocus & Replace

    Romans 13:13–14 The Message
    13 We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. 14 Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
    Make a commitment to live morally pure for the rest of your life. That means having sex with only the person you are married to.

    4. Request help every day.

    Commit your life to Jesus and ask him to help you manage this powerful drive that he gave you.
    1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
    13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
    Philippians 2:13 NLT
    13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
    altar time - heads bowed
    BOW
    God gave you your sex drive
    Used properly it bonds a husband and wife together
    Used improperly- it destroys marriages & families, damages self-esteem creates misery, guilt, shame, and depression not mentioning all the diseases promiscuity has given us.
    GOD’S WAY IS ALWAYS THE BEST WAY.
    You can get back on track today:
    1. Maybe you’ve realized you need to get serious about your thoughts. You’ve thought they were harmless. They aren’t
    2. Maybe you’ve developed an emotional attachment to someone who is not your spouse. You need to nip it in the bud now!
    3. Maybe your marriage has been shaken by an affair
    THE GOOD NEWS: You can do something about it. “ Haul your marriage into dry dock for refitting and repairing. Once refitted it will sail farther and faster than at any previous time.
    PRAYER
    Father, you gave us our sexuality. Made men to be men & women to be women. Help those who carry guilt and shame because of failure in this area to find forgiveness and cleansing. May we leave here with a new resolve in our lives to live pure before you.
      • 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7TLB

      • Psalm 119:9TLB

      • Proverbs 4:23TLB

      • Proverbs 23:19TLB

      • 2 Timothy 2:22TLB

      • Proverbs 15:14TLB

      • Psalm 119:37TLB

      • Psalm 101:3TLB

      • 1 Corinthians 10:12TLB

      • 1 Corinthians 15:33TLB

      • Ephesians 5:3TLB

      • Ecclesiastes 9:9TLB

      • 1 Corinthians 7:3TLB

      • 1 Corinthians 7:5TLB

      • Proverbs 6:32TLB

      • Proverbs 6:26TLB

      • Hebrews 13:4TLB

      • Psalm 51:1–10TLB

      • Psalm 32:1–5TLB

      • Romans 13:13–14TLB

      • 1 Corinthians 10:13TLB

      • Philippians 2:13TLB

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