As we grow in our relationship with God, He reveals His character and will; the Holy Spirit enables us to live a life which reflects both.
A father will tell his son not to touch a hot stove top. He does so not because he wants to squelch his son’s curiosity or take away his fun. Rather, he gives the prohibition because he knows that the stove will burn his child. His motivation is to protect his son from harm as well as provide safety.
WHY WAIT FOR SEX? BECAUSE GOD SAYS TO WAIT.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that 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. 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, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
The apostle Paul was complimenting the Thessalonians on their walk with God. Because their desire was to walk with and please God, Paul was encouraging them “to excel still more.” His emphasis was in the area of purity in relationships and, specifically, the sexual area.
By whose authority is this commandment given?
What is God's will?
God desires our comprehensive sanctification. In other words, it is His will that we develop His character in every area of our lives. Purity and holiness are part of God’s character.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality…”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:3
God desires Christians not to defraud each other in relationships. We defraud someone when we cause them to step outside the boundaries God has established.
“…See that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter…” - 1 Thessalonians 4:6
On the surface, the Bible appears to be full of negative commandments which seem imposing and dreary. However, we need to remember that God has only one motivation – love. When we understand that He always seeks what is best for us, these commandments become positive.
GOD'S COMMANDS: BOTH TO PROTECT YOU AND TO PROVIDE FOR YOU
Behind every negative command are two positive principles. One is to protect us, the other is to provide for us. In other words, when God says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” He is not being a cosmic killjoy, as we will see.
God’s command to wait for sex until marriage is given in order to:
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Why do you think God wants to protect and provide for you?
Look at the following verses and answer in your own words: Romans 8:38, 39; Psalm 103:17, 18; Deuteronomy 10:12.
God protects us by giving us boundaries and limitations to our activities. They are an expression of His love and wisdom and they keep us from doing ourselves harm. Not only do His commands keep us safe from harm but they are also targeted to provide for us in specific ways.
A CLEAN HEART FOR A NEW START
One of the greatest mistakes people can make is to assume that since they have failed to keep God's command regarding sex, God wants nothing to do with them. This is simply not true. God is well aware of our sinful tendencies – that is why Jesus Christ came.
For King David, what began with a stare, led not only to adultery and an unwanted pregnancy, but also to a murder. David really blew it. But consider what happened next.
Read Psalms 51:1-17.
David admitted his sin and asked God for forgiveness. Like David, we can receive God’s complete forgiveness and make a clean start.
Here are several important steps to take:
- Confess the sin.
Specifically name your sin before God and ask His forgiveness. 1 John 1:9
- Forgive yourself.
If you are not willing to forgive yourself, you are saying two things to God:
(A) Christ’s death was not enough for your sins; and (B) you are a higher judge of what can be forgiven than God is. God’s grace is extended to you out of His heart of love. When you do not forgive yourself, you throw God’s grace right back into His face. If God’s grace can’t cover your sin, it can’t cover any sin. Romans 8:1
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Allow God’s Spirit to fill you with His power to say no to future temptation. Ephesians 5:18
- Show fruits of repentance.
Repentance means turning around, changing one’s mind. Matthew 3:8 says, “bear fruits worthy of repentance.” This might mean breaking off a relationship or perhaps making a decision not to be alone together. It might be something else. Whatever it is, your actions should show you have changed. The individual who professes to be a Christian but who continues to practice sin should realize that he or she may not be a Christian at all. John 14:21; 1 John 2:3
God’s complete love and forgiveness enable us to make a clean start and to live a life pleasing to Him.
YOUR NEW LIFE IN RELATIONSHIPS
Our new life in relationships begins with a decision to live a life pleasing to Him.
Read Daniel 1:8:
"But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself."
Defile: To become impure.
What was Daniel's decision?
What was the result? (Daniel 1:9-13)
Read Hebrews 13:4:
"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."
Starting today, is it your desire not to defile yourself and remain pure until marriage?
Yes Date: __ / __ / __
No Date: __ / __ / __
The following will help us maintain relationships that please God:
- Prayer and Bible Study
Regularly spending time with God will help us understand and live out His priorities for our lives. Psalms 1:1-3; Ephesians 5:8-10; Jeremiah 9:23, 24
- Spirit-Filled Life
The Holy Spirit empowers us to live a life pleasing to God. Galatians 5:16
Our accountability to another person helps maintain our accountability to God. Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10; Proverbs 27:17; Ephesians 5:21
Seek fellowship with godly people who support and strengthen our convictions. Hebrews 10:24, 25; 2 Timothy 2:22
As we grow in Christ, we will see how God’s commandments are given with our best interest in mind. Because this is true, choosing to wait is the most rewarding decision we can make.