Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: The next time you see the media portray illicit relationships as attractive, remember this from Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, Satan has such a way of promising so much but delivering so little. People are buying into his lies and saying, "This is good. This will make you feel better. This will satisfy you." But oh, the things that people write and share once they’ve tasted and found that Satan didn’t deliver.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss, co-author of the book coming next spring, Lies Young Women Believe. You might want to steer your younger children away from the radio today as we talk about a much-needed topic. All week Nancy’s showing us the peace that comes from sexual purity. It’s part of a series called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: It seems that everywhere you turn today, everywhere you look, the world is offering inducements, enticements to commit sexual immorality. The world makes it look so appealing, so glamorous, so fulfilling, so satisfying, so tempting. People wouldn’t be indulging in sexual activity outside of marriage if the enemy hadn’t made them think this was something really desirable. Just like the fruit that Satan tempted Eve to eat in Genesis chapter 3.

Now when it’s made to look so alluring, I think we have to ask the question and be ready to answer the question as believers: If all that sexual activity is so wonderful, why would we choose not to go that way? Why would we choose to be pure, to be holy, to be sexually chaste? The Scripture has answers for us. It has reasons.

Let me ask you to turn in your Bible to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. We started into this passage yesterday, and I want to look at it in a little bit more detail today. The Scripture gives us several reasons why, as believers, we should choose the pathway of holiness, of sexual purity.

Paul says in verse 1, “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.”

I’ll tell you, that’s one great reason for startersthis pleases God. I don’t know about you, but when I come to stand before the Lord on the final judgment day, He’s the one I’m going to care about having pleased.

Verses 2-4, “For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” As we saw yesterday, here’s another reason. This is the will of God for your life, to be sexually pure.

That you should live, verse 5, “not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles [or the unbelievers] who do not know God.” There’s another reason. We should be morally pure because we know God. God is holy. He is pure. He is faithful. We know Him.

Now, it’s not surprising, as we said yesterday, that people who don’t know God would be unfaithful, would be immoral, but people who do know God should be pure and faithful.

Verse 6, “That no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter.” That no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter. This gives me another reason for being morally pure and that is that our immorality is a sin against other people. It’s a sin against someone else. It’s not only a sin against God and it’s not just against any someone else. These others that immorality wrongs, they are our brothers. We’re part of a family.

Then verse 6 goes on to say, “because [here’s another reason] the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.” That’s why we warn people. Because God will avenge immorality. Not some immorality, but all. Not just the immorality that comes out into the open while you’re living down here on earth, but the secret things, the secret sins, the things you thought no one else knew about.

Sometimes that happens in the short run. By the short run, I don’t mean this week necessarily, but in this lifetime. Sometimes we reap the consequences of sexual sin. Sexually transmitted diseases. Where do they come from? Illicit sexual activity.

Satan has such a way of promising so much but delivering so little. People are buying into his lies and saying this is good. This will make you feel better. This will satisfy you. But oh, the things that people write and share once they’ve tasted and found that Satan didn’t deliver.

I read an article in Today’s Christian Woman called “The Dirty Little Secret of Today’s Christian Women.” It has to do with women in immorality. Some of the people they interviewed, here’s what they had to say about how they felt after committing sexual immorality.

One woman said,

I thought this would be an answer to my loneliness, but it only made it worse. I was so ashamed of what I was doing that I isolated myself.

Another woman said,

I felt very removed from church and my girlfriends. I felt like I wasn’t human.

Then this one that so many women have felt, a lady said,

I thought the Lord would never forgive me.

Do you think if these women had anticipated those kinds of feelings of shame and guilt and isolation on the front end that they might have acted differently? Scripture says over and over again that sexual sin brings pain and consequences and devastation.

Let me just read a couple passages to you. Proverbs chapter 5, beginning at verse 11. This is in the context of a whole passage cautioning, warning young men against adultery and immorality.

The father says to his son if you don’t listen to my counsel, “At the end of your life, you will groan, when your flesh and your body are spent. You will say, ‘How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. I have come to the brink of utter ruin [where?] in the midst of the whole assembly’” (verses 11-14, NIV).

At church! With God’s people! He said if you don’t take my counsel now, son, daughter, at the end of your life, you will groan. You'll say, “Why didn’t I listen?”

In Proverbs chapter 6, verses 32-33, it couldn’t be any clearer than this. “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.” Listen, the person who commits adultery destroys himself or herself. “He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.”

There are consequences. Some of them here and now in the short run. I want to tell you if you manage somehow to escape all the consequences in the here and now, God is still the avenger of all immorality, and there will be consequences. As the old preacher used to say, “Pay day someday.” Always, always in the long run. Judgment is promised.

Many times in the Scripture where Scripture talks about eternal judgment, it lists sexual sin, immorality, as one of the causes that provokes God’s righteous eternal judgment. Sexual sin in those lists is a characteristic of people who reject God. People who call themselves Christians today and are practicing sexual sin need to read those passages and say to themselves, “Am I even a believer?”

Revelation chapter 22, the very last chapter of the Bible, promises a reward for those who are pure. Verse 14, “Blessed are those who wash their robes.” That happens just through the blood of Jesus Christ. “That they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by gates. But, verse 15, “Outside [this holy city] are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murders and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

Ladies, there are consequences. They are as sure as the fact that there is a God. That’s why anyone who practices sexual activity outside of marriage is foolish. He lacks sense. He destroys himself. It’s asking for the judgment of God. Now thankfully mercy can triumph over judgment.

I know I’m looking into the eyes of some women who have sinned sexually and that’s why I love that passage in 1 Corinthians 6. I read the first part that says none of these sexually immoral people will enter the kingdom of heaven, but it goes on to say, “such were some of you” (verse 11).

You were washed. You were cleansed. You were sanctified by the blood of Christ by the Spirit of God. There is grace. There is mercy. There is forgiveness. But not until there is repentance, turning from sin to holiness.

So Paul concludes here in 1 Thessalonians 4, verse 7, “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” Then verse 8, “Therefore whoever disregards this [standard] disregards not man [Paul said this isn’t us saying this] but God.”

You set God aside. You despise God, some of your translations say. “Whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” That’s why you want to be pure because God has given you the gift of His Holy Spirit to live inside of you.

Something’s out of synch when somebody who has the Holy Spirit living in his temple gives that temple over to immorality, to sexual sin. There’s something wrong with that picture. But God has given His Holy Spirit to you. Not only should that motivate us to be sexually pure, that’s what enables us to live sexually pure, chaste lives, whether you’re married or whether you’re single.

I know I’m speaking to women in all different seasons of life. We have some young girls here who are on the front end of making some important life choices about how you will conduct yourselves morally.

Then we have women who are in the throes of an affair. I don’t know why they call it an affair. That sounds so fun, so pleasant. I think we need to start calling it what it is. It’s an adulterous relationship.

I’m not saying that to be harsh. I asked the Lord as I was preparing this series to give me both passion and compassion. I do feel compassion for and with those woman who are caught in the vice of sexual sins, so let me speak to those first. If you are involved in sexual sin of any sort, I want to just remind you that you can be forgiven. You can be clean.

A woman said to me recently, “I guess that’s just the way I’ll always be. I seem to just keep falling into these illicit relationships.” She wasn’t justifying it. She was weeping. She was saying I just don’t think I can be any other way.

I said, “Satan has you believing a lie.” You do not have to be that way. You may have been for years of your life, but you can be free from the bondage of sexual sin. But before you can get free, you’ve got to confess it. You’ve got to repent of it to get God’s forgiveness.

You need to get honest. You need to get honest first with the Lord. That’s what confession is, agreeing with God about what He already knows is true in your life, not covering it up, not whitewashing it, not trying to make it look better than it is, but just agreeing with God about what it is that you’re doing, what it is that you’re involved in that’s sinful.

Then let me say when it comes to sexual sin, I think it’s often very important, sometimes necessary, that you come out into the light with another believer and confess it to them. Now, don’t go confess it to the person that you’re struggling with lustful thoughts toward. I know that sounds like, “Duh,” but I’m hearing women do these kinds of things today.

You need to confess it to your husband. If you’re one flesh and you have sinned against him, you may need to get a godly third party involved to help you walk through that tough situation, but if you need to talk to another person, come out into the light with a mature, godly woman who will hold your feet to the fire, who will hold you accountable, who will help you walk through this.

Secrecy is part of what keeps people in bondage. You need to tell someone. You need to break the secrecy. You need to break the bondage of pride that’s keeping you hiding under that rock and come into the light. Then not just come out into the light, but I wrote two words in my notes: STOP! NOW. It’s all in caps.

I don’t know how else to say it except: STOP! Whatever it is you’re doing, whatever it is that’s playing with fire, whatever could be leading to illicit sexual activity, stop it! Get somebody to help you. Attack this as if you were attacking a vicious enemy. You got to fight. I’m not saying it’s easy to stop. I’ll tell you it will be the biggest war potentially of your life.

We’re going to talk next week about how the power of the Holy Spirit can help you stop. But make a decision now. If you’re entangled in sexual sin. We have some resources available that will help you in that pilgrimage.

Then again, I’ve said this this week. I’m going to say it again. Vow to be morally pure. Young people, women, grown women, middle-aged women, older women, vow to be morally pure. That means not even a hint of immorality.

Not only do we need personally to make some tough choices and right choices and holy choices, but corporately. As a church what can we do?

  • Well, one, we need to be pursuing Christ and fueling and cultivating a love for Jesus that is so rich, so deep, so sincere, so intimate that it will surpass our love for things that are lesser delights, to learn to find in Him the satisfaction that our souls long for.
  • Then as the people of God, we’ve got to begin to model faithfulness and a love for purity to our children, to our teenagers, to the next generation.

That means upholding the sanctity of marriage. Modeling, illustrating what it means to be a covenant-keeper, to be faithful through thick and thin to the finish.

Let me say something that will probably result in some letters coming our direction. I don’t have time to develop it. I will in a series someday, Lord willing. I think we’ve got to do everything we can corporately to stop the scourge of immorality in our churches, including divorce and remarriage.

You say, what’s that have to do with immorality? Jesus said to them, Mark 10:11, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.” That’s immorality. If she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.

Now, someday we’ll do a whole series on divorce and remarriage and what the Bible has to say about it. There are many aspects of it that I can’t cover in these few moments, but the Church has become one of the biggest promoters and endorsers today of divorce and remarriage. As a result, we are fostering immorality.

It’s possible that you’ve done all you could to keep your marriage together, that you were divorced by an unbelieving partner. Then according to 1 Corinthians 7, you are not bound. That means you don’t have to live in shame or guilt. But we’ve got to stop tiptoeing around on this issue and ignoring these marriages falling apart often because of another person involved. We can’t stand by and let that happen and not get involved.

Purity in the Body is everyone’s responsibility. That’s why I’m doing a series like this this week. That means, by the way, that we need to return to the practice of church discipline in our churches. Sexual immorality in the Body of Christ needs to be dealt with decisively and sometimes that calls for engaging in a process of corporate church discipline for the purpose of seeing those fallen brothers and sisters restored to fellowship with God and fellowship with the body of Christ.

Why does it matter so much, not just personally that we be sexually pure, but why does it matter that the church be characterized by sexual purity? It’s because sexual purity models, symbolizes, pictures the purity of the Bride of Christ ready for her Beloved to return. Ready to face Christ.

So Paul says in Ephesians, chapter 5, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (verses 25-27).

The bride being presented to her bridegroom, pure, holy, wholesome. That’s why Paul said in 2 Corinthians chapter 11, verse 2, “I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” I want to be pure to face Christ, but I want to see the Bride of Christ, the Church, be pure to face her Beloved.

Then we read in the last book of the Bible, Revelation chapter 19, verses 6-8, “I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.”

Then he goes on to say in chapter 21, verse 1, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” Then he said in verse 2, “I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Ladies, we are the bride. The Church. The bride of Christ. That’s why Paul said, “I betrothed you to one husband [the Lord Jesus], to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.”

My dad used to tell us that he wanted to be and he wanted us to be pure as the driven snow. That’s the life I want to live. I think that’s the life you want to live. If you’re a child of God, it is.

I want to see the day when together we are presented to Christ as a pure, spotless, radiant, kept-for-Christ virgin presented to Him. Sexual purity in your life and in mine and in our lives corporately pictures to the world, pictures to God, pictures to our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, the kind of purity we want to present to Him in eternity.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss reminding us why sexual purity is so important. Today’s program is part of a week-long emphasis on sexual purity. You can get a copy of this week’s programs on two CDs or order them as part of a longer series called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. You can order the entire series on CD or as two MP3 CDs or get the video version on DVD.

If you specifically want to learn more about sexual purity, I hope you’ll get a copy of Dannah Gresh’s book, And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity. We’ll send it to you when you make a donation to Revive Our Hearts. We’ll include a booklet Nancy wrote called Personal Hedges. Read about the hedges she’s placed in her life to help guard sexual purity. These are helpful, wise ideas you might want to implement.

Ask for Personal Hedges and And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh when you make a donation by phone. The number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

It’s crucial that you talk about issues like sexual purity with the next generation. Dannah Gresh and Nancy want to help you deal with tough issues teens face and are in the process of working on a book called Lies Young Women Believe. It’s a follow-up to Nancy’s book, Lies Women Believe. Be on the lookout for this book, coming in February 2008.

Tomorrow get more practical advice from Nancy on maintaining purity. How much detail should you confess to your husband? What role does the church play in confronting those in sin? Nancy will address these issues tomorrow and she’ll pray with us now.

Nancy: Lord, how I pray that we would become that pure bride. Oh, Lord, thank you that there’s purpose in Your commands, that they’re for our good and for Your pleasure and for Your glory.

Lord, our hearts long individually and corporately to see the Lord Jesus smile as His bride comes down the aisle to meet Him clothed in pure linen, bright and clean, cleansed by His blood. Lord Jesus, You who gave Your life for your bride, forbid, O God, that we should be defiled, we should not keep ourselves pure in anticipation of Your coming to take us to live with You forever.

Thank You for that holy, eternal marriage of the Lamb to His bride. May our lives and our marriages picture that, of being faithful and pure all the way to the finish line. I pray it for Jesus’ sake, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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