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Overcoming Sexual Immorality In The Last Days PDF Print E-mail
Written by Buddy Sheets   
Thursday, 31 July 2008
One of the greatest (and most effective) assaults of the enemy against the Western Church at the end of the age is sexual immorality and perversion. In a recent poll 82% of American pastors admit to being "addicted" to pornography. What is to be done?

buddysheets.jpg Make no mistake about it; this is not "just the way things are," or just something directed at or coming from the unregenerate masses.  This is an attempted spiritual rape of our minds; it will almost always occur like a physical seduction, softly and steadily. Remember that this assault is part of a focused satanic plan aimed at disempowering and conquering the saints. The enemy isn't after the unregenerate - they are already his (1 John 5:19); he only uses them to help orchestrate his strategy against the people of God.

Sexual immorality almost always clothes itself in silky nightwear, appealing to our most primitive needs and desires (our fleshly nature). That's why the Apostle Peter warns us to abstain from the passions of our flesh (1 Peter 2:11). If we give in to the flesh - even just a little now and then - it violates us; it does violence to the core of our humanity. And eventually it WILL compel us to violate others.

Sexual immorality is one of the four major strongholds of wickedness that the enemy will attempt to use to captivate humanity (especially redeemed humanity) in the last days: murder, sorcery, and theft being the other three listed in Revelation 9:21. Sexual immorality is provoked by satanic rage and scorn towards humanity (as the image-bearers (Genesis 1:26)), and in the end will incur God’s righteous and eternal judgment.

The good news: Beloved, we do not need to be disempowered, violated and conquered by the flood of filth that is being released against the people of God. In truth, our inheritance as saints of God is to walk wisely and humbly before God and our fellow humanity (Ephesians 1:18; Micah 6:8; Philippians 2:3-4), protected by His righteousness (Ephesians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 1:30) , possessing the authority of Truth (John 17:17, 19) . Having pronounced judgment upon a Church in moral compromise, Jesus said:

“The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations…even as I myself have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26-27)


God desires to give us His authority to overcome: this authority can be ours. But even though Abba desires to release His divine authority to and through us, we have to be aware that there are many dark forces at work seeking to seduce us, and to exploit the vulnerabilities that each of possess in our flesh to being seduced.

Over the last year we have seen two examples that demonstrate the dichotomy of the USA's paradoxical moral and spiritual attitudes: we are the biggest exporter of Jesus and, at the same time, the world's leading exporter of moral filth. We saw Mel Gibson's “Passion” make an unbelievable impact in the box-offices in the USA and then subsequently around the world; and then in the same year we have seen the rise of one of the most spiritually degenerate programs “Desperate Housewives” become one of the most popular television programs in the nation. Unfortunately most Americans, even Christian Americans, demonstrate regularly that what most believe, they do not live.

Beloved, we must take ever so seriously the subtle impact of beautiful, clever perversion upon our souls, especially in the isolated state of disconnectedness that characterizes much of American life generally and church-life specifically. People of God - wake up! We have a glorious calling and opportunity to overcome the spirit of the age - not just for our well-being - but also so that we can partner with God to deliver our brothers and sisters in the Lord (John 17:19), and then together reach out to snatch the unregenerate from the clutches of the evil one ( 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). But our authority begins with knowing what it means to represent the Creator of the Universe in our human, and divinely sanctioned, sexuality!

KNOWING OUR AUTHORITY

First of all we have to understand that as part of God's creation we are partakers of the One God and Father of the Universe. We are His own, His treasured possession and as human creatures (the image-bearers), we are the highest expression of all of His creation. We bear His image! (Gen. 1:26-27) God, our Creator and loving Father, calls us through our sexuality to participate with Him in creation — to be co-creators in partnership with, and under, Him by joining with a member of the opposite sex and bringing forth new life. Our sexuality is at the core, the essence of our creativity (and ultimately His); and it is good!

Bearing His image in our spirits is what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom; our urge to merge is elevated by the inspired fact of our humanity. We alone of all of God's creation possess the mind and the will to exercise our sexuality in a way that satisfies and dignifies all involved. Unlike the animals, we can know the will of God concerning our bodies, and we can do the will of God concerning our sexuality.

What that means is that "holy love" must always prevail in how we relate to each other. Physical desire for another creature, even as good and right as it is, must always be mastered by another desire - a greater desire - to bless and build him or her up in "holy love". So, as the highest of God's creation - as the image-bearers -  we celebrate the good and troublesome gift of our urge to merge — and we temper it and bind it with sexuality’s highest mandate: to build another up according to his or her own good. But what in the world does that mean, practically?

What that means is that good, "godly sex" requires a responsible, totally committed relationship with a person of the opposite sex. "Holy love" demands it: whereas romantic, erotic desires rise and fall, come and go, but "holy love" requires and demands that we temper our sexual desires with the truth of our authority as the image-bearers: the authority to love in like manner as the Father loves. As the image bearers, we can choose to engage with others while withholding our bodies from them until "holy love" matures. Mature love, sealed by marriage, then becomes the only acceptable basis for sexual expression resulting in our satisfaction as well as our satisfying and glorifying our God.

Beloved, we please Him most when we put another’s best interest ahead of our own (Philippians 2:3-4). When we exercise this type of Spirit empowered self-control, we demonstrate that we are His own. We are born of God, a holy people who demonstrate our position of holiness by seeking to ever mature in love - with our clothes on! Only in this way can we demonstrate the God-given authority that pleases God, dignifies others and prepares a safe and secure, godly home for new life when that time comes.

The road to spiritual maturity in love is a long one. Don't get the wrong idea. Understand the road of spiritual maturity and selfless, consecrated love may or may not result in marriage. Yet we are all called as human beings - as the image-bearers - to mature in "holy love" with our fellow humanity - male AND female. Our primary means to the end of relational maturity is to first mature in love with the Glorious Man - Christ Jesus, to discover the wonders of our one-Spirit union with Him. United with Him and growing in passionate and extravagant devotion to Him, we, among other things, secure the foundational base on which genuine partnership with the opposite gender is both holy and fruitful. Imagine if you will - nakedness without shame!!

THE POWER OF HOLY IDENTITY

In the realm of the spirit, the basis for all authority lies in union with Christ. Only in full identification with Him can we know the truth and then walking in the light of the truth avoid sexual immorality. Rightfully, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul implores us to do just that.

“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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6)


God, our Father, calls us in verse 3 to be sanctified, or set apart by the Holy Spirit, and as one of many expressions of that holiness, to avoid sexual immorality. Paul is giving us here a key to our spiritual authority to overcome: we can know Him and His Holiness; and as we know Him and His holiness, Jesus gives us the honor that the Father gave to Him. And flowing out of that honor, we can act honorably as sons and daughters of the Most High God in these bodies (v. 4). Beloved, we can be clothed with a new dignity, we can become secure in the truth that we are good gifts - God's gift - to others, and as a result, we can righteously refuse what is dishonorable in all of our relationships.

So you see, the key to all overcoming lies in identity: who He is and who we are as His beloved - who we are in Him and who He is in and through us - a sanctified, set apart (peculiar - 1 Peter 2:9 KJV) people. Catch this - this is important! Sexual purity is a mark of the believer. Paul defines the unregenerate in this passage as those defined and controlled by compulsive fleshly passions: a people who do not know God and thus act dishonorably in their relationships. They wrong their fellow humanity and take advantage of them. (1 Thessalonians 4:6) Paul rightfully cites the violent fruit of sexual immorality: another is wronged, and violated when we use him or her to satisfy our own desires. What a costly act: it costs other human beings their dignity!

Paul here underscores a huge, major difference between believers and unbelievers: a Christian has authority to know who he is and as a result of that knowledge has the ability (Spirit empowered ability) to treat others honorably; united with extravagant passion for Jesus, he can control all other desires and so mature in "holy love". A pagan - an unbeliever - doesn't have, nay cannot have, any real sense of identity, doesn't know God, is separated from God - is spiritually dead - and as a result of this spiritual separation (Ephesians 2:1-3) has no access to any real and lasting power to feel or live righteously - and thus is compelled by bodily passion and uses others to satisfy his or her self.

So now we can easily understand why Paul is so adamant about sexual purity. It is one of the key elements that defines us as Christians - as the image-bearers—it is among the first fruits of genuine holiness. That means we are living out the truth that we are no longer orphans, tossed about by anyone who appeals to our needs and desires. We are first and foremost His, and in knowing whose we are, we then zealously guard not only our personal dignity but that of others as well. Our life together is marked by the aim of spiritually mature love. We have divine authority, as a result of our union with Him, to not take advantage of our brother or our sister. (1 Thessalonians 4:6) The Bride bears witness of her Bridegroom, representing Him well in her relationships as we eagerly await His blessed return.

FALSE TEACHING AND IMMORALITY IN THE END-TIMES

Tragically, the Western Church does not always heed this clarion call to spiritually mature "holy love". We are capable of great compromise in our sexuality, aren't we? The enemy delights and rejoices in such compromise. He loves to mangle and distort the identity and witness of the Bride. He does so by looking for the opportunity to empower false teachers, who persuade Christians to tolerate, even bless sexual immorality and perversion.

In getting us to "agree" with him and his assessment of who we are, how we feel and how we act, the enemy defiles and masks the true identity of believers: he slowly and methodically breaks down our defenses so that the Church becomes weak and subject to dishonor. Like a human body with failing immunities, the Church becomes subject to all manner of indignities; the Bride is unprotected, subject to prostituting herself. Instead of embracing and submitting herself to the "royal law of love", she begins to live under the laws of dishonor and defilement that govern this fallen and darkened world. She becomes unsafe; a deadly mixture of holiness and seduction.

False Compassion at Thyatira

A good example of this from Scripture is recorded through the example of the Church at Thyatira. As in many churches in the USA today, and as will be the case for many more in the days to come, not only in America but world wide, the Church there began to "tolerate" sexual immorality. What was the seductive hook? Compassion for those having a hard time; those struggling with that weaknesses. The Church did not openly promote immorality per se, but avoided dealing with it squarely, leaving room for false teachers to step into the gap and to quietly lead those struggling astray.

Church history tells us that the Church at Thyatira included many new Christians coming out of intense sexual immorality. The pagans there regularly worshipped idols, false gods and goddesses, through sexual orgies. Multiple sexual partnerships were common to the citizens of that culture. It was part of their regular devotional life!

Calling people out of those compulsive habits and lifestyles was tough! It went totally against the grain of the culture in which they lived. And how many can testify with me that the road to "real" purity can be rough, marked by many prayers and confessions: it requires a willingness of the whole Church community to stand together for weaker ones seeking holiness. For their Church, and for our own, it was a constant, ongoing temptation to avoid the hard call, the tough call, to believers to live out their new identity in relationships ruled by "holy love" and honor.

So one leader arose, her name - Jezebel, a prominent woman in the Church. She offered this advice: “Let’s not be so hard on these poor strugglers. Isn’t Christianity based on grace? The power of the Holy Spirit is far more powerful than our flesh. Even if we sin with our bodies, the Spirit will prevail in our lives according to God’s grace. We just have to let go and let God - we have to just trust in God and His goodness - after all God wants only the best for us and would never allow one of His children to fall. Let’s not diminish the powerful grace of God by making a big deal of this.”

Jezebel was spreading a false compassion that became known in the early Church as Gnosticism. That occurs when we split the things of the Spirit off from what we do in our daily lives, especially with our uniquely human parts, e.g. our affections, desires and bodies. Because Gnostics were often bound by severe sexual immorality and thus were instinctively guilty, they sought to overcome their guilt by reducing the severity of their compromise. They sought to resolve their conflict with a false spirituality.

Gnostics believe that the spirit is one thing—nay, the higher thing. On the other hand, the flesh is weak and wicked and can exist on a tract all of its own without interfering with the higher spiritual part of our lives. Gnosticism is a grave deception that is cloaked in  false, ungodly “compassion”. It is nothing less than a rationalization - initiated and empowered by demons - for continuing to live a life of dishonor, defiling others while using the name of Jesus as a "false" stamp of approval.

God’s Wrath

Jezebel’s deception smacked God's holiness in the face, as it were. Her teaching flies in the face of what we now know: in Christ, our spirituality and our sexuality cannot be separated. Out of extravagant passion for Him, He calls us to reveal Him to our Christian brothers and sisters - as well as to the world - in holy and mature relationships with one another! When we defile ourselves and others with sexual immorality, we cast a shadow on His face and upon our own God-bought birthright.

Like many today, and sad to say many more tomorrow, Jezebel was leading Christians - those called to be the image-bearers of God - into destruction. Her form of grace was as cruel as death, as she dug a false gulf between Spirit and sexuality. The Church was vulnerable to her. Lacking zeal for doctrine and discipline - personal and corporate - it desired to please men more than to please God. Thus the Church at Thyatira was fertile "good" ground for tolerating Jezebel.

Make no mistake about it - Jesus was mad! He judges her and all who in the Church partnered (came into agreement) with her according to Rev. 2:20-27:

“But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve...” (Revelation 2:20-23)


He then urges the saints to break their agreement with the prince of darkness, to come back into agreement with God and then to stand in His Father’s authority and refuse sexual immorality:

“The one who conquers… I will give authority over the nations… even as I myself have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26-27)


Beloved, we will need extraordinary discernment in the days ahead to discern false tolerance and sexual immorality in the Church of Jesus Christ. We must heed the severe judgment upon Jezebel as a warning for all Christians in the End-Times. The days are growing darker as even anointed leaders are falling under the seduction of Gnosticism: false compassion cloaking sexual immorality. We must discern in our churches “…ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality (Jude 1:4) as their number will multiply in the days ahead.

Jezebel is a forerunner to the greater seduction that awaits the worldly Church. Blasphemies in the form of sexual immorality and perversion will multiply faster, their influence upon the earth will go deeper, than at any other time in all of human history. Jezebel rouses us: she is a wake up call for us to hold fast to our inheritance as a holy, undivided people. But she will be surpassed in wickedness by the “great prostitute” described in Rev. 14:8; 17:2, 4, and 18:3, 9.

THE GREAT PROSTITUTE AND GLOBAL IMMORALITY

Entitled by the Holy Spirit "Babylon the Great", the prostitute will possess a huge global influence: “with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk." (Revelation 17:2) She is the essence of seduction: sophisticated, subtle, able to entice the unaware. This figure is a discreet call girl in designer gowns, not an obvious woman of the streets.

Deadly Mixture and Strategy

God has said through His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7) that to the Church without mixture He will give the Spirit without measure. In contrast, her description in Revelation 17:4 portrays a beautiful woman bearing an offering for all who want to partake of her:

“The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. (Revelation 17:4)

This cup is a blasphemous counterfeit to the cup of Christ. It holds a deadly mixture of worldly riches, false spirituality, and sexual immorality. She extends her own meal for the hungry, food and drink that will poison those who dine with her.

Her demonic cup will flow out over all the earth, a huge network of waterways that will sicken the citizens of the world. According to Revelation 17:15,

“And the angel said to me, "The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages.” (Revelation 17:15)

She represents a vast spiritual network that stands for everything that God hates. She is strategic and intent upon bringing millions, nay billions, under spiritual and sexual bondage.

One must refuse the body and blood of Jesus Christ in order to partake of her cup. Sadly, many believers will opt for her pleasures and privileges. They will not be struck down by the sword, but by the violence of her spiritual seduction. Scorned by the demons that empower her, her converts are destined for hell.

Signs of the Prostitute

The great prostitute has yet to come into her full ascendancy. Yet we see glimmers of her reign in many things, including national confirmation of gay marriages, and increasingly raw sewage flowing from Hollywood.

Yet her most powerful offering is already at work; she is uniting the globe in spiritual idolatry and sexual immorality. Her vehicle is the global world wide web, her offering - internet pornography. Thousands are being converted, even as we discuss this subject, to the numerous virtual meals she offers to the spiritually and sexually hungry. No tongue, no tribe, no language is excluded. Nor any brand of sexual immorality or perversion.

This demonic waterway is becoming more vast, more varied, and more freely accessible daily. Pornographers are investing billions of dollars into technological advancements in order to advance their profits. The great prostitute’s waterways are pumping sewage faster and further into the souls of the earth, especially the young.

There was a magazine article a couple of years ago about the many technological advances being made in communication and in compact and portable receivers. Satellites and satellite systems, cable systems, broadcast television, mini TVs, computers, watch TVs, etc were all being funded - in the tune of billions of dollars annually - with the sole purpose od increasing their potential audience and thus their profits. Their philosophy? If we provide the pornography and give people the tools to access it - they will. And they do. This last year it was reported that profits from the pornography industry more than doubles that of any other "service" or product in the world.. 

Some facts you should be aware of;

The largest users of internet pornography are between the ages of 12-17 years-olds. And unlike in days of old, it is no longer just males who are addicted to porn. One-third of all internet pornography viewers are teenage girls. The average age for first exposure to internet porn is at 11-years, while 80% of 16-year-olds have viewed hard core porn multiple times.

Unlimited sexually immoral and perverse images and connections are available on the internet for today’s youth. In the comfort of one’s home! One need not experience any social shame; no face-to-face interaction occurs. Sitting alone before the screen, one yields him or herself to the great prostitute by exploring all manner of immorality, seemingly without great cost or consequence.

And through chat rooms, one can feign "meaningful" communication and relationship with someone who shares one’s interests (lusts). One can leave the Christian self behind for a while, and become whatever the new faceless friend wants you to be. Or whatever the prostitute wants you to be. Or whatever the enemy of your soul beckons you to be! Be warned. This community of darkness has a leader - it isn't just happenstance. And though she offers you a meal without cost and restraints, she is keeping a tab. She wants your soul. She wants blood.

Internet porn and chat-room devotion is a religion. Just as we saw at Thyatira how pagan idolatry gave rise to sexual immorality, so does sexual immorality give rise to pagan worship. When you bow down to internet images and unreal relationships, you make a sacrifice to demons. And to the prostitute who oversees such devotion.

In the past when one had to slink around to have access to smut, the percentage of society was much smaller. But though it was small it was significant. Almost without exception, most violent and/or sexual crimes included the fact that the perpetrator was a regular partaker of pornography's sour fruit.

As the accessibility of pornography has become easier and easier, what used to be limited to older "degenerates" of society, is now becoming a normal thing for younger more "normal" people. And where before only a few older people had delved into the depths of depravity, not we have young boys and girls, young men and women, who have been corrupted and perverted from an earlier age and thus have went to deeper levels much quicker.

The result? Turn on the evening news or open the local newspaper. Nary a day goes by where there are not many violent and sexual crimes in the news. So many in fact, that the average news report only reports a few token ones, because they are so many. And the facts are the same as they were years ago; almost without exception all of the perpetrators are regularly involved with pornography - and almost always it is found that they started at a young age. And it will only increase.

In the next few years we will see new depths of depravity in regards to violent and sexual crimes. They will become more and more common and will become a bane to society - a seemingly unstoppable problem. And the sad fact? Many, many of the victims who themselves victimize profess to be Christians.

George Barna's latest research shows that at 60% of professing Christian men actively seek out pornography; 65% of Christian men who admit to being sexual addicts are professionals with a college and or graduate degree; 83 percent also have another type of chemical or behavioral addiction. At most of the Promise Keeper events, it has been reported that at least half of those in attendance said they had checked out pornographic material within the past week. And in a Christianity Today poll, one third of Christian pastors surveyed said that they visit sexually explicit websites regularly. A poll done among members of local and national ministerial associations show that 65% or more of pastors that have Bible School or Seminary degrees admit to regularly viewing internet pornography. An estimated 15% of all internet users have visited sex chat rooms or pornographic sites, according to the latest research.

 
OVERCOMING SEXUAL IMMORALITY

Such devotion to darkness, over time, renders Christians divided and disempowered in spirit. Many give up the fight altogether, resigning themselves to the greater power of the prostitute. Many resign themselves to a second-class form of Christianity - one where Jesus loves them, but because of their own bad choices - they feel that maybe they will go to heaven - and maybe there they will be free - but down here they are doomed to live as second-class citizens, in bondage with no hope for deliverance. Hear the Word of the Lord:

“The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations…even as I myself have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26-27)


Beloved - there is a real Savior - with real power to deliver - for real and for good! It doesn't matter where you have been or what you have done. There is grace and mercy freely offered in the name of Jesus. The blood of Jesus is still more than enough to cleanse and to free the human soul.

"...Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:14-21)


Christians - Wake Up - We need to cry out for that powerful blend of prophetic fire and real relationships, born of repentance (changing our minds - breaking agreement with darkness and coming into agreement with the Light). We need the fire of God to burn off the dross and to free us from the demons that have tied us to our sin, and we need help from each other as to how to rightfully engage our mind and will. We need to be impassioned by Jesus (John 17:26)! And we also must mature in "holy love", seeking not just freedom from sin, but freedom for relationships in which we are learning to steward the good and God given gift of our sexuality.

In summary, the power of Gnosticism and cheap grace, sloppy agape, and the rise of sexual immorality and perversion are end-time realities that will only intensify in the days to come. They are the enemies last thrust to keep the image-bearers from encountering the Bridegroom God (Isaiah 62:5; Revelation 22:7) They can either seduce and shame us, or sharpen us. We all will be tempted to bow down to the prostitute. Let the Truth temper us instead. Let us arise in the power of the Spirit (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 5:18) with fresh discernment and wisdom. Our loving Father gives all of these things freely. He is preparing a Bride for His Son who is radiant and washed, she who has refused the overtures of all spiritual and sexual prostitution through extravagant devotion to her Bridegroom. She is us: we who have persevered in His power and have remained true.

Playtime is over. It is time for us all to getting real - let us take stock of the vulnerable areas in our own lives. Rather than refuse to see the unseen areas of the heart in which we are drawn to the world’s offerings, let us all offer them to Jesus and to each other. Let us commit ourselves even now to be among those who persevere in "holy love" unto the end.

“The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations…even as I myself have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26-27)

 

Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:10)

“But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord…” (Malachi 3:2-3)

“…save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” (Jude 1:23)

“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)