19 Sep 2021
Sexual sin is like Covid-19- it's a pandemic. It strikes even the gathered church. But it is more devastating in that people generally do not like to talk about it, much less deal with it. Joseph was however a model of sexual purity. Despite persistent temptations, he feared God and would not sin against God in any sexual compromise. The temptations he faced were difficult, but his deliberations were God-centred, and his response was decisive. This is a sermon that gives you a handle on how you can resist sexual temptation. Whether it be pornography, pre-marital sex, affairs, or adulteries, you can access God's grace as you learn to Flee, Fight Fellowship, Fortify & Fulfil. Find out more in this sermon. But most of all, realize that there is forgiveness in the gospel of Jesus Christ. You do not need to clean up before you can come to Christ (you cannot be clean by yourself anyway), but you can come to Christ and He can clean you up.
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As a church, we have been going through the book of Genesis, and today we come to Genesis, chapter 39 which introduces us to a new segment in this book - the story of Joseph.
Several years ago, my son Shawn was in Primary 3, he told us about a boy in Primary 6, in his school bus that was watching some bad video. I asked him, "What bad video?" He says, "Those bad video with bad stuff with bad words." "What do you mean by bad video with bad stuff, with bad words?" He says, "All the girly stuff." "What do you mean by girly stuff?" He says, "It's a video about sexual immortality."
Well, I don't think he meant sexual 'immortality', he meant 'sexual 'immorality'. Pornography is a problem that strikes not just older grown-up men, but in our day and age, it is pervasive even amongst younger people. These are some statistics on pornography in the United States from some research on people.
It is said that, "90% of children aged between 8 and 16 have viewed pornography." That is the stats in the United States. It says that, "The largest consumers of pornography are 12 to 17- year-old boys." That is again very very shocking! It is also said that, "70% of men aged between 18 to 34 visit a porn site in a typical month." Three quarters up to that do that. And it is said that, "50% of pastors regularly look at porn." I'm a pastor, I'm not sure what I can make out of this, but 50% of pastors regularly look at pornography.
Now, these are stats in the United States, don't have that elaborate detail or research here in Singapore. But nevertheless someone tried to do some statistics. I guess the sample size may not be huge but this is what they have found. "How prevalent is pornography use in the Singapore church". Well, 69% of people in the church have viewed pornography and 39% have viewed pornography in the past 12 months.
Well, the issue that we are looking at today is not just pornography, because the story before us is a temptation to sexual immorality. It includes premarital sex, affairs and adulteries. And the story we are told of is from the perspective of Joseph, who ran from Potiphar's wife, who tempted him to immorality.
Now, this is a problem that is not just on the video, it's not just in the United States, it's not just in Singapore, but it is a problem in the church.
Some years ago, I received an email from a lady in China. She wrote to me and says, "Dear Pastor Jason, I'm someone in China, I live in Beijing. I got to know this man from Singapore, he's 45-years-old, single man, and we had been in a relationship for about a year. He would come to Beijing to visit me and we will regularly study the Bible together. But whenever I asked him about going to Singapore, visit Singapore together with him, he would be evasive about the question ..."
"... Until recently I found out that he's not a 45-year-old single man, but he's actually a 54-year-old married man with three kids. And the relationship I'm with, he is with it ... with me, he's in with me, is actually the fourth relationship he has. I write to you because this man worships at Gospel Light Christian Church. I've decided to honor God and break off this relationship but I thought I should let you know, so that God's Name will not be shamed." I immediately tried to contact this man and this man refused to respond and he kept away from church there after.
I know of another lady, young lady in our church. She is a sweet lady whom ... who was very active in church, people know about her and so on, and we would have thought that she was a godly young lady. But as it turned out, she was living a double life, she had premarital sex, and when it was all discovered, she decided to leave the church, and I think leave the faith.
Then I think about another friend I had, years ago we will go on mission trips together, we will be preaching together, but he did not have a happy marriage. And he soon entered into an affair, and then for these many years I've not seen him, I have not heard that he's in church anymore.
Oh, how about another friend I know! He visited prostitutes before he was married. And after he was married, he went into affairs, and likewise this professing Christian has since left the church, left the faith.
I can give you example after example. This is not something that is in Hollywood, or in some media circles. This is real amongst us! And maybe today even as I'm preaching, I'm looking at you and you may be online, this might be something you will need to hear about.
Well, Potiphar's wife would call out to Joseph and say, "Come, lie with me." That may be a temptation that you face regularly. How do we do with sexual immorality? What are the lessons we can learn?
Well, the story goes ... the last time we saw Joseph was when he was thrown into a pit by his own brothers. He was then sold to the Ishmaelite traders, who then sold him to the captain of the guards in the Egyptian kingdom. He was sold to this man called Potiphar. So Potiphar took him in, put him to work and the Bible tells us that, "God was with Joseph, and made him succeed in everything that he does."
So he got the notice, or he caught the notice of Potiphar. Potiphar noticed him and then put him in charge, put him as the overseer of everything that Potiphar did. So Joseph was a successful man. The Bible also tells us that, "Joseph was a well built and a handsome man." Now, the Bible does not say every man is handsome, there are only a few in the Bible who are said to be handsome. You have Daniel, you have David, you have Absalom and then you have Joseph.
So he was a well-built, muscular, good-looking guy, and the Bible tells us Potiphar's first wife began to cast eyes at him. You know that, okay, you can't see me that clear, but she was making eyes with him, she had set his ... her eyes upon Joseph. She eyed him from that day. So she would regularly called to Joseph, "Come, lie with me! Come, sleep with me! Potiphar's not around, we can do this!"
But Joseph would refuse her. Now, she will not give up, she would badger him day after day, but Joseph stood his ground. One day however, when there was no guards around, Potiphar's wife decided to take things into her own hands literally, she grabbed him, she held on to him, and said to him, "Lie with me." But Joseph would not, he immediately fled from her presence, and she was left with just a piece of garment in her hands.
But the Bible, not the Bible, but we know of this phrase, 'hell have no fury like a woman scorned'. So when she was kind of rejected in such an open blatant way, she was really upset. She cried, she says, "Joseph assaulted me!" This got to Potiphar's ears and Potiphar, of course was furious and send Joseph into prison.
So, that is a story in a nutshell. What do you learn from this story?
Well, when I was sharing this story some time ago, I can't remember when with my kids. Matthias, my youngest son said, "I know the lesson, it is to give her a good punch." That's his character wants to take out at her. But that's not the lesson we're going to look at today, not revenge certainly. But we're going to see sexual immorality and how Joseph faces it.
 The Difficulty of the Temptation
I want you to first notice with me - the difficulty of the temptation.
Now, it's not easy to resist temptation. You say, "It's easy to resist temptation in this case because Potiphar's wife is so ugly." I have no idea why they drew her to be so ugly. I don't know why, alright, but for all intents and purposes, I would suggest that maybe she's not that ugly, alright?
She is the wife of the captain of the guards of Pharaoh, probably someone beautiful. I mean he would have some options to choose, in those days you could do that. And I would say, "Maybe we should think of her as someone who is attractive, and who would present a real temptation to Joseph."
After all, Joseph is a single young man. People have estimated Joseph to be at about 20-years-old. Hormones are raging! He's lonely! He's all alone! And he must have felt flattered that Potiphar's wife would want to be with him. This must have been a real temptation.
There's a Chinese saying 男追女隔座山，女最难隔成纱 [nán zhuī nǚ gé zuò shān ，nǚ zuì nán gé chéng shā]. You say, "What in the world is this?" So, a very literal translation is - guy chase girl separated by mountain, girl chase guy separated by a veil. In other words, for you to get to a girl, very hard, got to climb mountain everything, alright. But girl chase guy, generally very easy.
So in this case, she is the one who took the initiative. She is the one who says, "You know, come lie with me, just a one-night stand, no strings attached, just lie with me." It must have been a difficult temptation!
You see, I think it's worth highlighting this because to a lot of us, we justify our sins, we justify our indulgences when we say, "You know what, the temptation is just too hard! I'm a single man! I'm all alone! I do not have a wife! I have my needs! Surely it will be quite alright, because you know what, I have no way I can fight or resist this temptation!" And that's the reasoning many people have.
Or how about that married man, who would say, "Well, I may in a ... I'm married, but I'm in an unhappy and boring marriage. And my wife never seeks to meet my needs, So you can't blame me, I have my needs, and I can have ... I must have my needs met elsewhere! It's too difficult a temptation you see!"
And we legitimize our failures, our falls by saying, "The temptation is just too difficult!" But the Bible tells us, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to men. God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." [1 Cor 10:13]
So I think it is very dangerous for us to say, "Oh, the temptation is so difficult! It is impossible to resist, so just let me fall into sin." Well, Joseph had a difficult temptation. It's not just once, it's every day! The wife was 死灿烂打 [sǐ càn làn dǎ], she was just badgering him day after day, but he stood his ground and he remained pure before God. There is no excuse in saying, “The temptation is just too difficult!”
 The Deliberations in the Temptations.
Secondly, I'd like you to maybe imagine what it would have been like if you were in Joseph's shoes. So, let's see - the deliberations in the temptation.
I'm not saying, "Joseph actually thought these thoughts, because the Bible doesn't tell us he thought these thoughts." But if we were in his shoes, we could have and we would have had all these thoughts, possibilities floating across our minds.
For example, if Potiphar's wife were to seduce you, you might probably say, "We are all alone, No one else would know, so let's do it. After all, I'm a single young man with raging hormones with needs unmet. I ... I feel lonely. I've been betrayed and since you are one who asked, we are all alone, no one else would know. Let's do this!" Could have! Could have been our thoughts! Could have been Joseph's thoughts, for all we know!
Or maybe we could have said, "She started it first, you can't blame me! Huh, she took the initiative, or she's in a bad marriage anyway." Or, or we could have said, "Others do it too, this is not unique! There are many people who fall into pornography and masturbation and affairs and premarital sex and cohabitation and adulteries. Everybody else does it, so what's so big deal for me to do it!"
These are real deliberations and excuses people have. Or we may say, "God will understand." Or maybe some would say, "Just this once, I promise! Just let me do this once and I will not sin again." All these deliberations, I think do not need any explanation but maybe the next one might need some ... "I deserve this!" "I deserve this," Joseph could have said. "I've been betrayed, I've suffered so much. I've been faithful to God, I deserve this!" You don't understand the logic, you say.
Well, I can understand why, so let me give you an example, this is not a nice example, and unpleasant one, a sad one. But again, it refers to the ... the allegations and the tragedy with regards to a preacher, Ravi Zacharias. There was a report that was given in February this year that detailed investigations done by third parties, with regards to his misconduct sexually.
And in one of the segments, one of the findings, a witness was brought up. "According to this witness, Mr. Zacharias used religious expressions to ... to gain compliance, as she was raised to be a person of faith. So she reported that he made her pray with him to thank God for the "opportunity" they both received. She said he called her his "reward" for living a life of service to God, and he referenced the "godly men" in the Bible with more than one wife."
This tryst he has with her, he calls a "reward" for living a life of service to God, a "reward" for his ministry in preaching the word.
"She said he warned her not to ever speak out against him or she would be responsible for the "millions of souls" whose salvation would be lost if his reputation was damaged."
So in essence Ravi Zacharias is thinking to himself, "I deserve this! I have served God! I've preached the Gospel to millions of people! What's wrong with having a little tryst, an affair like this!"
You know, maybe you have suffered in life, or maybe you have served God in life, it can be two extremes, you know? There are people who say, "I've served God in my life and therefore it's quite alright for me to have this sin, and allow this little indiscretion." Or maybe there are those who are on the opposite extreme, "I've suffered so much, it's quite alright for me to have some pleasure, elicit pleasure here."
And so it's very easy for us to think, "I deserve this," either as a faithful martyr concept or a victim concept. But Joseph never had any of these as the foremost thoughts in his mind. He could have, but he did not! The Bible only tells us that in Genesis 39:8-9, he said, "He has put everything, Potiphar has put everything that he has in my charge. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?"
You know Eve fell into sin, because she was all caught up with the attractiveness of the fruit, But Joseph did not sin, because he was all caught up about God and about grieving his God. That's the difference! Joseph was a God-fearing man, he did not say, "Let's not do this in case we will be caught, in case I'll be thrown into prison." He would not do this, not because of the punishment, if he should be caught. He did not do this because he feared God, and I think he loved his God and would not grief his God.
So again, just to remind you, if chapter 38, the story of Judah and Tamar is a story of sad, sin and wickedness, chapter 39 shows us the impeccability of Joseph. He faced a difficult temptation, but he had a spot-on God-centered deliberation - How can I commit this wickedness against my God?
 The Decisiveness in the Temptation
Thirdly, finally, we see - the decisiveness in the temptation.
He dealt with this decisively. Isn't it? Imagine, if Potiphar's wife said to him, "Come lie with me." He says, "Hmm, okay lah!, Okay lah! I sit with you lah!" "Hah, I talked to you first lah! I talk to you, I want to get to know you more." Imagine he had done that on day one! He said, "No, no, no, let me keep ... let's, let's not do this, but let me just get to know you and maybe if our love really blossom, then we see how lah! Then you divorce then marry me or whatever, But let's 'cham siong' [negotiate in Hokkien dialect]."
Imagine he had done this, he will be in deep trouble! Isn't it? You know the story will not end up like this. So Joseph did not hang around, stay around, flirt around. He did not play with fire. He dealt with this decisively; firmly; swiftly. He said, "No!" Even if she should come to him every day, he said, "No!" And even if she should grab him, he said, "No!" And he fled.
He took off, even if his garment was left behind. He didn't say "Eh wait hah, let me come back! Don't like that lah! Give me back my clothes lah!" He just ran. That was his decisive action in full display. It reminds me of what Jesus, Himself said when it comes to sexual immorality. Jesus, likewise teaches us the importance of decisiveness in dealing with sexual temptation.
He said, "You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members then that your whole body go into hell." [Matt 5:27-30]
What does this teach you? Radical; decisive; drastic action needs to be taken, even if it is painful, even if it costs you a lot. That's what it is conveying! Decisiveness in temptation is needed against sexual temptation.
Now, there are some people who say, "Ah pastor, you mean gospeligthers have to be 独眼龙 [dú yǎn lóng, one eyed person in Chinese], or don't have one hand. Is this what Jesus is saying? Well, let me say, "It was alleged, I'm not sure that no one can be conclusive, it was alleged that there was a supposed Christian man, named Origen of Alexandria who actually castrated himself. He says, "If Jesus says, tells me to take out my right eye, cut off my right hand, I will castrate myself."
Now, not sure if this was true, it is something that some people say is, some people say no, but I guess it presents an interesting point. Is Jesus really telling you to go to your ophthalmologist to take out your eye and go to your orthopedic surgeon and chop off your hand? Is He teaching that?
I would say from the evidence of Scripture, "Definitely, definitely no!" Because none of His disciples ever did that, I think church history does not confirm that. And I think most importantly, this is not what I think will solve the problem, anyway. You can never take out your right eye, and right hand and say you're immune from sexual immorality. You still have your left eye, enough right? And left hand enough right? You can still commit sin.
And Jesus did tell us the problem is not about the eye, the problem is not about the hand, the problem is your ...? Heart. So if you really want to deal with this sin, you got to take out your heart, then you cease to live. So Jesus said this in Matthew 5, and then we are told in Matthew 15:19, "The source of sin is in the heart, anyway." So, I don't think Jesus is teaching, take out your right eye, take out your right hand in a literal way. But these are word pictures to convey the necessity of drastic; radical; decisive action, otherwise you have no chance against sexual immorality.
I remember there was ... you know in the good old days, we used to have lunch downstairs at Level 1. And our people, volunteers gospeligthers would prepare the food and they will place it on warmers to keep the food warm when you come for to take your food. And I remember when it was pretty much done, somehow one of the candles toppled, and the tablecloth caught fire. There was kind of fire raging. And immediately, I thought to myself, "Take out jacket and ..." Well, thankfully someone smarter than I was, Ee Kwang, he came and he took a fire extinguisher, psst, dealt with it.
I didn't think of that, but all I thought was, "Whatever it takes, even if it's a jacket, you have to put out the fire." That's the same in dealing with sexual immorality. Now, that's the concept! That's the principle!
But what do you actually do to fight sexual immorality? "Yes, I know, I get you, Jason. You, I got to be decisive, I got to be radical, I got to be firm but what can I really do?" Let me suggest to you five things you can do, decisively deal with immorality each time.
[A] Suggestion 1: Flee
Number one, I suggest to you, you need to flee.
This is a very simple principle, decisively run, 'zhao' [Hokkien dialect]. The Bible doesn't tell you to kind of stand there and fight it, the Bible tells you to run from it. There are some things that you stand and you face and you fight. There are some things that you just run away from, sexual immorality is one in point. Flee from sexual immorality. [1 Cor 6:18]
I read about a pastor, who was giving a counseling session to one of the members. His name is Eric. So Eric came, spoke to the pastor, and he complained, "You know Pastor, I've been praying that God will keep me from sexual immorality, but He's not answering my prayer. I'm still with this lady. It's so sad, I don't know why God doesn't hear my prayer." The pastor then asked him, "Eric, when you pray those prayers, what do you do besides praying?"
"Well, nothing very much, except that I'm having lunch with this woman I'm interested in every day." "What?" "I'm having lunch with her every day." Well, the pastor then says, "Okay, look at this!" He takes a big thick book, places it on the table, and he pushes the book across the table, slowly but surely, ever so close to the edge of the table. And along the way, he keeps praying, "Lord, keep this book from falling! Lord, keep this book from falling!"
But he pushes and he pushes and he pushes until the book tips over the edge of the table, and falls on the ground, and with the loud thud, the pastor says, "Eric, this is your life! You keep praying, "God keep me from sinning, keep me from sinning," but you are edging closer and closer to the cliff."' And Eric, subsequently did not heed the pastor's advice, continued to meet with her, and eventually had an affair and left the church.
You know if you want to fight sin, you've got to flee from immorality. You've got to flee from this thing. And what it means, maybe that you will stop seeing this person that you have an attraction towards. It may mean that you stop communicating, stop WhatsApp, stop Facebook Messenger. It may mean that for those who are struggling with pornography, flee from it. You might have to bring your computer into the living room, not hide in your room, so that everyone may see, so everyone will know. Maybe you need to set filters in your computer, but you say, "Pastor, very 麻烦 [má fán], very troublesome, very painful."
Exactly! Well, I don't think certain these things are to the extreme, or to the extent of chopping off your right hand and taking out your right eye, right? I mean, that will be what you need to do it this needed to be done, otherwise your whole soul burns in hell. What would you prefer?
So we got to flee! But not just here, I think Proverbs 5:8 tell us, "Keep your way far from her," this is with regards to the adulterous, "... and do not go near the door of her house. "Oh, you know why we sin? We like to flit around, we like to hang around. We ... we don't really dare to look, but we don't mind hanging around somewhere - some websites, some people, someone of an opposite gender, some colleague in the office, some old classmate. And that's why you fall!
Swift decisive action. Flee!
[B] Suggestion 2: Fight
Number two, I'd say not just flee, in the sense that you try to avoid all these temptations, as far as it be possible, but sometimes the temptations do come, it hits you. What do you do then? Then I say, "Number two, you've got to fight. There and then, you've got to fight!"
Now, when I say, "fight, I'm not saying fight the woman, or fight the man, but I'm saying fight that temptation on your knees in prayer." I've learned that resisting temptation is not a function of willpower. Because if you say, "Ah, this is a sexual sin and I must not sin, and therefore I'll say, "No, I won't fall into it. I won't! I won't!."' And you tell yourself you won't, after a while you will fall because will power is not strong enough.
What you need is God's power, the power of the Holy Spirit. And I think the power of the Holy Spirit is available to those who are willing to turn to God in prayer. So, what I'm saying here is, "We fight temptation by prayer on our knees, calling upon the power of the Holy Spirit." The mortification of sin, victory over sin, is possible only by the Spirit's help.
I think that's why Jesus would teach us to pray this way, "Lead us not into temptation". [Matt 6:13] I think if you could refer to the sermon preached earlier in Matthew 6, it talks about how Jesus is praying not that, "We will not face temptation, but that we will not fall into temptation." Let us, er and, "Lead us not into temptation," meaning, "Lord, do not allow us to fall into temptation, but deliver us from evil." [Matt 6:13]
I think it teaches you that the Christian fight for purity is on our knees, in prayer, calling upon the Spirit's help. And if you remember J I Packer, and what he taught about the mortification of sin based on what he has read from John Owen, and from Scripture. He's saying, "You pray not just once, but you pray until the grip of that desire loosens from your heart."
So it's not, "Oh, oh, interesting image! Lord helped me to fight this sin." And then you continue to look at it, and you say, "I won't do it!" But you continue to click on and click on and click on. It is coming to God and say, "Lord, let this desire loosen its grip. Help me to know Your love." And ... and you go into Scriptural texts in prayer so that you would eventually have victory over it.
Well, a lot of these things about mortification of prayer, if you really want to find out more, please again check out the sermon in Matthew chapter 6 and verse 13. But I'll say in kind of a quick form, "You've got to fight!"
[C] Suggestion 3: Fellowship
Then number three, let me suggest to you, not only must you flee and fight, you might need to have fellowship.
I ... I think this is important. The Bible tells us that, "We need one another, so that we are not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." [Heb 3:13] Call a friend, or get a group of brothers to be your accountability partners. I think that's so important in a Christian's life. It might be your care group, it might be your discipleship group, but I think a Christian who lives alone with no accountability, who is very comfortable living in the dark, is an ideal environment for sin to fester and grow.
Now, we've got to admit this, we've got to understand this. The Bible does not say that, "Christians have got their lives all sorted out." The ... the Bible does not say that, "Christians are so holy, they are never tempted to sin." The opposite is actually true. The Bible is actually telling us that, "There is a flesh in us, and whether you like it or not we are all sin addicts."
I am a sin addict, I'm sure you are. You may pretend that you are not. You may tell people that you are not, but I know that you are. And the only way you can really be help is when you admit that you are. It's like "Alcoholics Anonymous" in the United States. There are many people who may struggle with alcoholism. And the way for them to be helped is that they go to this group called the "AA Group, Alcoholics Anonymous Group". And when they get there they say, "Hi, my name is John and I am an alcoholic." Because if you're not willing to admit that, you will not find help.
And I think accountability, openness, transparency, shining light into this heart of sin is essential to kill sin. Keep it in the dark, and it will fester and grow. If you're serious about getting out of pornography and adultery and lust, then you've got to be willing to open up to a group of brothers, or a group of sisters. Otherwise, you have no chance.
[D] Suggestion 4: Fortify
Number four, I said five things, number four, I'll give you the word, fortify.
I think I take this from Psalm 119:11, "I've stored up Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You." Now, this is more for peace time. The first two or three are for wartime scenario. What do you mean by wartime scenarios? When temptation comes, you've got to flee, you've got to fight, you've got to call a friend, a fellowship, kind of a response that protects you for that hour.
But then, fortify is what you need to do during peace time. Maybe when you are not facing that temptation, you're reminding yourself, "I need to grow in my faith. I need to be fortified in my soul. I need to have God's Word in my heart that I might not sin against Him."
So, Bible study is not pure academic pursuit. Hearing God's Word preach on Sunday morning is not just to fulfil a ritual. But you are intentionally saying, "Lord, I am a sin addict. I need strength to fight against sin. I want to study Your Word daily in a Bible studies, in a worship services, so that I may be able to live a holy life." Fortifying yourself is critical!
[E] Suggestion 5: Fulfill
And number five ... let me rush through this, and it is to fulfill. What do you mean fulfill?
Well, fulfill your spouse's sexual needs. Now, this is not from a psychologist in the world, it's from the Apostle Paul. He said in 1st Corinthians, chapter 7:1-5, "Now concerning the matters about which he wrote, "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." Now, Paul is saying, "It is good that people can be celibate for the cause of Christ. Let me put it this way, the Bible does not say, "Marriage is better than celibacy, or that celibacy is to be exalted over marriage, as if either one is bad." No, I think the Bible says, "Marriage is good." The Bible also tells us, "Celibacy is also good." Please don't think that one is superior or inferior to the other.
So Paul here says, "There are good reasons why it is good. Someone can remain celibate if he's given the gift of celibacy. But if because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband." So if you know that you're not gifted with celibacy, then to avoid sexual temptation, find a wife, find a husband.
Now, certainly that should not be the only reason you marry. But it is one of the reasons, the Bible gives for Biblical marriage.
He goes on to say, "The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, her relations or things pertaining to marriage. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband."
You say, "Why?" "Because the wife does not have authority over her own body but the husband does." Listen to this, well, I can't go too much in depth, but we will go into depth when we come to 1st Corinthians, after we are done with Genesis. So in a few months' time, you have a full sermon here. But this is amazing, isn't it? It's so often that the spouse may say, "Ah, I'm too tired, I do not want," and so on. But ... but the Bible is saying, "The wife does not have authority over her own body but the husband. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body but the wife does." And this is with regards to sexual relationships in a marriage.
"Do not deprive one, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time that you may devote yourself to prayer." This must be by agreement, for a limited time, for the purpose of prayer. Otherwise, "And even so, then come back together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
So one of the essential fights against sexual immorality is to have a fulfilling marriage. And that is your goal for your spouse, you've got to help your spouse. And that's why you do not have authority over your own body. It is not just about yourself. It's about purity, for both yourself and your spouse.
And I think, Proverbs 5:18-20 also tell us the same principle, "Let your fountain be blessed ..." This is talking about having a lot of children, "... rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in a love. Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?"
So, "Fulfill, rejoice in the wife of your youth." [Prov 5:18] So what am I saying here? What I'm saying, "From Joseph's story, I see the need for decisive; firm; drastic; radical action to fight against sexual sin." If he had lingered any longer, if he had stayed on any longer, he would be dead meat, spiritually speaking.
But we have to be decisive, we have to be radical. Like switch off your computer, throw your computer, kick out your TV screen. Whatever that may be! Do whatever it takes, even if it is painful. So, if that is the principle you can embrace, then these are the practices you can be mindful about: flee, fight, fellowship, fortify and to fulfill your spouse' needs.
Let me end off with a verse in 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, "Do you not know ..." Paul says, "... neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor man who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God."
Don't you know that people who are living in these sins habitually, they do not inherit the Kingdom of God? "Aah pastor, are you saying that if I avoid these things, I will be saved as a Christian?" No no no, no, no, don't get me wrong! Because the Bible continues to say, "And such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." [1 Cor 6:11]
So, the Bible does not say, "Clean up your act, and then you can be saved." But the Bible is saying, "Be saved and you will clean up your act." There's a whole world of difference! Religion out there is saying, "Be a good person, and then God will save you. Clean up your sexual sin and then God will save you." The Bible is saying, "You can never clean up your act by yourself, because you have no power to do so and you have no desire to do so."
The Bible is saying, "You come to Jesus Christ and then He will wash you, sanctify you, justify you." [1 Cor 6:11] So come to Christ, be saved, and let Him clean you up because He will then give you a new heart, He will write His laws in your heart. He will put His Spirit within you, and now you have truly the desire and the power to fight sin.
So if you're here today, you're listening in, this is not a sermon, the Bible is not saying, "Oh, quit sinning so that God will accept you." But this is a message that says, "Have you been stuck in sin for a long long while? But let me tell you that, "It just proves to you, you can never save yourself. So humble yourself and come to Jesus Christ." He does not accept good people, because there is none, but He accepts all sinners, all adulterers, all immoral people. Come to Christ, repent of your sin, believe in Him and let Him wash you and clean you up.
And my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, take His Word seriously. Do not flirt with sexual immorality, it has ruined enough people in our church, don't let that ruin yours. Cut off your right hand! Cut off your right eye!
Well, That's the story of Joseph in chapter 39. He faced temptation, he resisted it. A little picture a glimpse of the impeccability of Jesus Christ when He faced the temptations, as well.
But maybe the question is, what will happen to Joseph after he resisted temptation? Is he going to be rewarded by God? Well, yes in a sense, but before that he's going to be thrown into prison. How is that a blessing? How is he being thrown into prison, going to work out God's promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? That question and more will be resolved next week when we gather.
But till then, may the words of Jesus Christ linger in your mind, may you come to Christ, may you be saved, may you live a pure and holy life for His glory. How can we sin against our God?
Let's come to Him in a word of prayer together.
Father, we thank You this morning for Your Word, because I believe You have given this to us, to warn us in Your love that perhaps some here today might be humbled, and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation and life. Please do that in all their hearts.
This is a world steeped in sexual sin. Maybe the statistics we saw are not even true and reflective, but they only reflect the tip of the iceberg. And so we pray for truth, salvation, for those who would be willing this morning.
We also want to pray for Your Church. It's so easy to act as if everything is nice and rosy, hunky dory on the outside, but how many are secretly committing sexual sins. I pray for Your people, whose hearts have been changed, who has the indwelling Spirit that we will respond in joyful obedience. Help us to know Your love and may that love, push out the love for the things of this world. So bless Your people, we thank You in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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