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Monday, April 23, 2007
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"It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality" (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
My pastor, Bob Verno, is preaching a series concerning the Biblical standards of sexuality. He's tackled the subject with candor and forthrightness and my, have I noticed an exceptional level of attentiveness from all ages in the congregation (although the younger children are in children's church.)
Yesterday's message was about chastity and was based on Paul's words to the Thessalonian believers. He defined "chaste" as being "sexually pure in conduct and character."
He shared an interesting story illustrating the absence of moral standards. Mother Teresa was at Harvard to receive an honorary degree and speak at a graduation. When she rose to speak to the assembled graduates, many who had been aided by alcohol in their enjoyment of the ceremonies, she launched her speech with, "Young people, there is nothing more important than for you to be chaste." The graduates sat for a moment in befuddled silence, unsure of what she was talking about. "You must be chaste; your body is a temple," she continued. Some audience members brightened and said to one another, "Yeah, I want to be chased! Sure, chase me all you want!" Hoots and shouts accompanied the rest of Mother Teresa's speech. What a sad, foolish response to such wise counsel.
The daily verse is a clear command from God's Word. It's amongst the clearest commands in the entire Bible and is found abundantly throughout the Scriptures. Yet the world's "system" screams at us to violate this command.
This "system" diligently seeks to obscure the consequences of disobedience. Probably one of the most familiar phrases to the young people of our time is "safe sex". Many may not have the slightest notion of how to balance a checkbook but they know the various methods of contraception. The "system" is no less relentless on adults resulting in scores of broken marriages, shipwrecked lives, confused children, and ruined ministries bear ample witness to this.
But as earnest believers we desire to do the will of God! At times the will of God is difficult to determine, but in many other instances God's will is abundantly clear. The Scriptures forthrightly declare, "It is God's will that you should be sanctified." Sanctify means to be "set apart, holy."
The Scriptures goes on to specify one area of how our sanctification is demonstrated: "That you should avoid sexual immorality." Today, I encourage all readers to heed the Scriptures in this regard particularly. The attacks will continue as the old adversary continues his quest to steal and kill and destroy. Let us, armed with God's Spirit and His holy Word, "resist him, standing firm in the faith" (1 Peter 5:9).
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, I long for a pure heart that is set apart, holy and undivided, completely devoted to You and Your wise instruction. You warn us to resist the tempting lure of sexual immorality by remaining sexually pure before marriage and to remain sexually pure in our marriage relationship. It is in the sacred sanctity of marriage that we seek to bless our partner and do that which brings continual good and not lasting harm to the relationship established within the marital covenant. Help me in doing my part to build trust, respect and interdependence with my partner. Amen.
Many years ago I discovered an article in regard to this issue that I have found very helpful in my own life. It's from a 1988 "Leadership" magazine article by Randy Alcorn. I have personalized it and added several additional points. I keep it before me as a solemn reminder of the consequences of moral failure. Here's an online version. Randy leads a ministry called Eternal Perspectives. I really appreciate a video introduction he has on his website.
We also suggest these online booklets from RBC for those who may want to explore today's topic further.
"Resisting The Lure: Recognizing The Dangers Of Sexual Temptation"
"Building Blocks To A Strong Marriage"
A song of consecration that we enjoy is called "Holiness" and expresses an aspiration to please the Lord. This audio clip is from a live worship service at the Covenant Community Church in Lake Mary, Florida.
Yesterday Dan Fry joined the worship team with his banjo. Here's a song we recorded here in our home several years ago. I even found this short video clip I recorded with my camera at a Men's Retreat several years ago!
Jeff Worrall is a long-time friend we met in northern Pennsylvania in the mid-eighties. In the early nineties he moved to upstate New York where he met his wife Lois. Jeff came into our church as a "seeker" and gave his life to the Lord within a short time and has been serving Him ever since. Friday evening we enjoyed dinner with them as they were down our way visiting Lois' mother in Myerstown, PA.
Finally today: The story of the graduation ceremony at Harvard caused me to reflect on our graduation from Central Bible College. We didn't have a famous speaker, but Mark Ryder, a fellow senior, gave the message and I still remember it, a tremendous challenge from Joshua 1. I called Mark this morning and he is still in ministry for Christ, pastoring a church in Ohio!
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
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