‘Fight the good fight’ (1 Tim.

6:12) … the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. (1 Sam. 17:2-3) Because you’re reading this book I presume you want to fight against sexual temptations. Sexual sin, like all types of sin, is drawn up in front of us (and all around us, for that matter!) in battle array. Perhaps it might seem like a battle that’s too long or difficult for us to win. That’s how the battle seemed to the people in the passage quoted above. Goliath was a massive, ugly, and offensive opponent, armed to the teeth with weapons and pride. This can be what sin is like. And it can seem too hard to fight against. But, with God on our side, this battle can be won. With God on our side we can say the following to sin: "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." (1 Sam. 17:45-47) The battle can be won because our commander, the Powerful One of the armies of Israel, is the Lord Almighty Himself. In a battle, the soldiers have to know what the plan of the commanders is, and what they are fighting for. If they don’t know the plan of the commander then they can't follow out the plan. And if they don’t know what they are fighting for then they will have no motivation to fight. In Neh. 4 God’s people are surrounded by vicious enemies who wanted to destroy them. Understandably, the Israelites were frightened. But Nehemiah, the commander of the people, encouraged the Israelites in their fight by reminding them what they were fighting for; in Neh. 4:14 he says: "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." Here the people knew what they were fighting for. The people had a purpose in their battle, so they were motivated to fight. Likewise, for us in our battle against sexual sin it is helpful to know our Commander’s will, and what we are fighting for. In the fight against sin sometimes it is useful enough to know what God’s will is concerning a topic (like what God’s will is concerning stealing, or lying, etc.): when we see things God’s way we can often be stronger against the temptations that make us want to do things our way. If we do not know God’s will then how can we even begin to fight for it, hold fast to it and benefit from it? As the apostle Paul says, ‘if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?’ (1 Cor. 14:8). We cannot fight the battle if we do not know what the battle is about. With this in mind, in this chapter we hope to get some clarity on the topic of sexual

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relationships so we know what we are fighting for and against, and so that we can get ready for the battle against temptations. In this chapter we are going to see that the World has corrupted God’s direction on sexual relationships. We are going to see how the World presents its twisted corruption as truth. And we are also going to see God’s original plan for sex, too. This will help us know where to stand, and in itself it might help us in our resolve to stick with God’s way. There’s a rather unpleasant term used today to describe how paedophiles try to develop a relationship with children for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities with them. The term is “grooming.” When the paedophile grooms the child they try to convince the child that the relationship between them is normal. According to an encyclopaedia, “grooming” ‘may include illegal acts, such as showing pornography to the child, by which the groomer may seek to … persuade the child that sexual activity is normal and healthy among friends, or among strangers, or between adults and children.’ When a paedophile grooms a child they try to get the child to think that something terrible and harmful and disgusting is in fact normal and good and fine. It’s such a corruption of how things should be. This horrible process the young people in that horrible things World’s been trying following: is exactly what the World has done, or is doing, to us and to our community. This is sick. The World tries to convince us are in fact normal and lovely. This is nothing new – the to do it for centuries! Back in Isaiah’s day, God said the

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20) The World has always been trying to pretend that crooked things are actually normal and alright. Unfortunately for me, even though this is something that has been happening for centuries, it’s only something that I am just coming to realise. Perhaps this is the same for you, too. There is a horrid example in the Bible of the effects the World has on us when it “grooms” us and makes us think that its putrid ways are actually normal. In Gen. 19 Lot and his daughters have escaped from the destruction of Sodom. Sodom had been so evil that God had destroyed it completely. But Sodom had had a terrible, terrible lasting effect on Lot’s daughters. In Gen. 19:30-38 Lot’s daughters make their father drunk and then have sex with him. Even though their father was a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7), his two daughters had been severely affected by the World; they thought that having children – and, therefore, sex – was something that everyone in the World did: in v31 they say: ‘… there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth.’ They thought that it was normal to have sex just to get what you wanted (here they wanted sex to have children; most often, though, people want sex just to get pleasure). The World – i.e. their time in Sodom – had made Lot’s daughters think that this was what the ‘custom all over the World’ was, and that this ‘custom’ was find and acceptable. The World had “groomed” them into thinking that having sex with anyone was fine as long as they got what they wanted. We can be (and have been!) influenced by the World in this way.

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How the World presents sex to us is so utterly vile. And it presents it to us as if it is normal. The World, like Sodom, has corrupted how God first made things. The Lord Jesus said the following thing about how the World had corrupted God’s ways: ‘… it was not this way from the beginning.’ (Mat. 19:8) Originally – in ‘the beginning’ - God made sexual relationships lovely and beautiful and special, and the World turns it into sickness. The World promotes casual sex, homosexuality, and even adultery, along with many other perversions. But, as the Lord Jesus says, it was not this way from the beginning. The ways of the World now are not God’s ways. What are God’s ways, then? What are we, God’s people, fighting for? What was it like in the beginning? The Lord Jesus gives us the answer in Mat. 19:4-6 when he quotes from Gen. 1:27 & 2:24: "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. … Here we are told how God intended things. Here we see the beauty that the Creator established. This is how God made things in the beginning, in Eden, before man could get his wicked hands on God’s ways and corrupt them. Just so we know that part of what the Lord Jesus is talk about here is sex, take note of the phrase ‘the two will become one flesh’. In the Bible this phrase talks about two people becoming one loving unit in all their lives, but this unity also includes sex. For example, in 1 Cor. 6:13-17 the apostle Paul forbids sexual promiscuity (i.e. “sleeping around”) and he quotes ‘the two will become one flesh’ from Mat. 19:6 and Gen. 2:24 in relation to sex. So in Mat. 19 the Lord Jesus is talking about sex at least in part (and it is sex between a husband and wife, one man and one woman who are married, not between anybody else: this is how God intended sexual relationships from the beginning). Back in Mat. 19:4-6, then, we can see a few things about sex and relationships as God intended them to be. In the next paragraph we are going to see the positive things this passage teaches us about sex and relationships, and then, in brackets afterwards, we are going to see the negative things that these positive things exclude.

In Mat. 19:4-6 we see that from the beginning God intended a sexual relationship to be between a male and a female – it says, He made them ‘male and female’. (This excludes same-sex/gay/homosexual relationships). We also see that sexual relationships are to be between a man and a woman when they are married, when they have left their father and mother and been united to their spouse: notice how it says the man leaves his parents to be united with his wife: he’s not uniting with just any person, but with his wife – a marriage is involved here. (This, therefore, excludes sexual relationships outside of marriage, whether adultery or sex before marriage). We can also see that the husband and wife become ‘one flesh’ – not two or three, etc., but one: this shows sexual relationships are between only a

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husband and a wife; no one else is involved (this, therefore, also excludes adultery, or any other sexual relationships that include more people than the husband and wife). This is how God first established sexual relationships. ‘But why did God establish things this way?’ you might ask. Why didn’t He make things differently? Why didn’t He say we could have sex with as many people as we like? Is He just spoiling our fun?? The answer to that last question is that, no, He is not spoiling our fun. Rather, God is doing this for our benefit. He’s not spoiling our fun, He’s helping us out. Mat. 19:4 also tells us about God’s “qualifications” in this matter; it gives us one of the reasons why God can tell us what to do in our sex lives. Some people are “experts” in something because they study it at university; Mat. 19:4 tells us that God is THE Expert because He is the Creator of the world – the Creator of sex even – and because of this He knows how things work best. … at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' … Imagine someone who designs a new car engine than runs so efficiently and is so fast; this person knows exactly how to make the engine run at its optimum, with the best oil and fuel. It purrs wonderfully, accelerates amazingly, and breaks smoothly. And then someone else comes along (us!) and fills it with jam and gravel! The engine is going to be under immense strain, and it’s incredible that it hasn’t exploded yet! That’s exactly like the way we treat what God has created. He, the Creator, knows best how the world works – He knows best how sex works! – and we come along and abuse it. Sexual relationships work best how God made them. Imagine, for example, how different the world would be if everybody treated sex as God intended it to be treated: for example, there would be less broken homes because families wouldn’t be split by adultery; there would be less single parent families because only married couples would have children; there would be less unwanted pregnancies because nobody would get pregnant by “casual” sex; there would be less disease because sexually transmitted diseases would be at a minimum (the drop in the number of people killed by AIDS would itself be worth following God’s ways for!). God really does know best. The benefits would be phenomenal if the World followed God’s ways. But these aren’t the only benefits gained from following God’s Word when it comes to sex. There are incredible personal benefits, too. I’ve never had sex, but I know this: Sex shared with the one person you love is incredible. Don’t just take my word for it; listen to how God describes sex with your spouse (Song of Solomon 7:1-2, 6-12): Husband: How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince's daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman's hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. […]

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How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, "I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit." May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. Wife replies: May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth. I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me. Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages. Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloomthere I will give you my love. Although the language might sometimes sound odd to our ears, there’s no mistake in the passage above that the husband and wife are wonderfully in love with each other. You can see how much pleasure the husband has in just looking at the wife he loves, let alone when the couple finally make love. Many parts of the Song of Solomon tell us in this way how wonderfully exquisite sex is when it is shared with the person you have given your life to in marriage. You cannot experience this if you are not experiencing it with someone who you have given your life to forever. You cannot experience this if you are not experiencing it with the person whom you have also been bound to emotionally and spiritually. To have sex with someone outside of a Godly marriage is a pale shadow of true sex as God intended (and, remember, to have sex with someone outside of a marriage at all is also a sin). The World’s idea of sex misses out on a unity and oneness that sex inside a Godly marriage has where a husband and wife our bound together emotionally, physically, and spiritually in love for the other. That is how God first established marriage and sex in all its beauty. And the World has corrupted it, grooming us to think that what it presents as sex is normal when in fact it is rotten to the core. Sex is incredible inside of a Godly marriage. Let’s not throw away such an amazing gift from God. If we are married, let’s keep sex within our marriage. If we are not married, let’s save sex for marriage. This is the wonderful thing we are fighting for. Let’s get excited about this. And let’s not settle for anything less.

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