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POSSESSING YOUR VESSEL

POSSESSING YOUR VESSEL


I Thessalonians 4: 3-8

INTRODUCTION:
Paul reveals in this passage that God's will for us is that we be sanctified. The word sanctified means to be set apart for a holy use. When God saved us, it was his will that our bodies be set apart as a temple in which His Holy Spirit would reside. Paul tells us in I Corinthians 3: 16, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you." Just like God's presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament, so His Spirit dwells in the heart of the believer today. Our body is to be set apart for His purpose. It is to be holy, clean and dedicated to Him. To live a life to where we open our heart to sin is to resist the leading of the Spirit. His desire is to lead us to live a life of righteousness and holiness. When we resist His leadership, we end up quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit. That will then deprive us of the joy that only the Holy Spirit can give. It will also end up depriving us of the power that only he can give. Â
Sanctification therefore calls for us to live a holy and pure life. The sanctified life is a life that resists and overcomes temptation. Because we have an Adamic nature bent toward sin, temptation is an ongoing, inward struggle that we never fight a final battle with. But, if we don't fight these daily battles with temptation, sin can eventually overcome us and leave us addicted to habits and overcome with strongholds. The sin that overcomes and becomes a stronghold doesn't have to be a scandalous sin-- it can be a respectable sin. There are many who have been overtaken with pride, greed, sins of the tongue and sinful attitudes. Â
However, Paul uses this passage to deal with scandalous sin-- sexual immorality. Let's understand something. Believers can commit such sin or Paul wouldn't have given us this warning. He says, don't act like the Gentiles v. 5. Also remember, David, a man after God's own heart committed adultery. If he could fall, let us not think that we are above falling. Believers can be tempted by the pleasures of sin as much as an unbeliever. Â
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WHY SEXUAL IMMORALITY IS WRONG
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Sexual immorality is wrong because it violates God's purpose for the family. One of the reasons God ordained the family is because of the need for human companionship. God saw man in the garden of Eden and He said that it was not good that man should be alone. Because of man's need of a companion, a mate, God made the woman for the man. God then brought the woman to the man and gave her away to the man. God also ordained that the man and woman become one flesh. Certainly, this is an allusion to the sexual aspect of marriage. In the marriage relationship, sex was to be used to express love, oneness and intimacy. It was also intended to bring mutual pleasure to each partner. Sex was also to be used to bring forth children as a result of a loving relationship between a husband and wife. This is why Hebrews 13: 4 says, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled." To have sex outside marriage undermines God's purpose for marriage, which by the way, is one man for one woman until death do us part. Â
Sexual sin is wrong because it is a sin against others. In verse six, Paul states that sexual immorality defrauds. First, sexual immorality is a sin against our mate. It destroys the trust in our mate that is needed for a healthy marriage to survive. I realize that the offended party may be asked to forgive and that that forgiveness may be readily given. But, there is a difference between forgiving and having trust restored. It could take years for a broken trust to be restored. Sexual immorality also destroys the self esteem of the innocent party. Many an innocent victim of an unfaithful partner is left asking a question that shouldn't be asked, "What was it about me that fell short in satisfying my mate?" Satan likes it when the innocent party blames themselves for the sin committed by an unfaithful partner. Sexual immorality also defrauds our mate by giving something to someone else that should only belong to our mate. The Bible teaches that the husband's body belongs to the wife and the wife's body belongs to the husband. Sexual immorality takes something precious away from our spouse and gives it to someone who is underserving. Â
Sexual immorality is also a sin against the other guilty party. It is a sin against the one who's body has been used for selfish gratification. Let's face it. Most immoral relationships have nothing to do with love-- only for selfish physical gratification. It is a time when two people simply use one another. Sexual immorality is also a sin against the guilty party's mate. That person has been defrauded just as much as the offender's mate. This is why Proverbs 6: 30-35 states that there is no restitution that an adulterer can pay that will undo the sin and satisfied the offended parties. Sexual immorality is also a sin against our own bodies. I Corinthians 6: 18, "Every sin that a man does is outside his body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body."
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GOD HIMSELF WILL DEAL WITH ONE WHO COMMITS SEXUAL IMMORALITY V. 6
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God will deal with such because this sin is a rejection of His commands and as such is a rejection of His Person. Notice how God deals with a sexually immoral person. A sexually immoral person will receive dishonor and a reproach that will never be wiped away-- Proverbs 6: 33. This was certainly true of King David. We remember him as a man after God's own heart. But aside from his fight with Goliath, what we remember most about David was his affair with Bathsheba. David's dishonor has never been wiped away or forgotten. Even in our day, people don't remember the good that Jimmy Swaggart or Jim Bakker did. They remember the immoral behavior. That same thing can even be said of politicians. Presidents Kennedy and Clinton both left tarnished legacies because of their womanizing. A sexually immoral person will receive dishonor and a reproach that will never be wiped away.
A sexually immoral person can be judged by disease and death. No one ever has to worry about a Sexually Transmitted Disease if they follow God's plan. Abstinence before married and faithfulness to our marriage partner take care of the problem of disease. Disease and death follow the immoral.
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CONCLUSION:
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How do we avoid sexual immorality? First, realize that all of us can be tempted. Even a man after God's own heart fell. Second, avoid things which might tempt us. TV and radio promote immoral lifestyles. Be careful what you allow inside your thought process. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Also, avoid pornography. Jesus said if we look at a woman to lust after her we have committed adultery. Pornography will fill the mind with such images that sexual immorality is seen to be normal. Pornography will destroy a marriage. It is also addictive. To aid in this battle www.xxxchurch.com has some accountability software that should be on every man's computer. This is free software, so no one has an excuse as to not be accountable. Finally, to avoid sexual immorality, stay in love with your spouse. Don't allow a moment of pleasure to bring you a lifetime of guilt, shame and reproach.




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