It’s going to be difficult to teach your children what the Bible teaches about sexual purity, if you yourself are not really serious about what the Bible teaches about sexual purity.
I am just trying to give you some foundational thoughts now.
As we are talking to our children about the radical change the new birth should make, we need to take a step back and ask, am I really thinking and living myself, the way someone who is born again should? Because, if you look at Paul’s actual command in Ephesians 5:3, you’ll see a lot of people who say they are believers, aren’t.
“But sexual immorality and all impurity and covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among the saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”
I mean, not even named.
We are talking about things like pornography.
Not even named.
The term Paul uses for sexual immorality is actually the Greek word ‘porneo.’ In his day, porneo would have referred to all kinds of sexual activity outside of the bounds God has laid for us in Scripture. Then he talks about impurity, which means literally unclean and maybe the difference with this word is that immorality emphasizes the actions, and impurity the thoughts and sins going on in the heart. Whether that’s true, ‘covetousness’ certainly gets to the heart. While we normally think of covetousness as greed for material things Paul is bringing it up in connection with sexual activity here, meaning, an overwhelming desire in your heart for more than you are actually allowed by God. It’s out of control wants. And finally, he writes, verse 4, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place,” which have to do basically with sexually explicit speech, minimizing sexual sins, trying to get other people to laugh by making jokes about sexual matters.
And I guess what weighs heavy on me is the fact that the world we are living in is doing everything it can to promote each of these sins, to market them, to make them look attractive and as a result I think we’re constantly tempted to treat these sins as if they were not serious, as if they weren’t even really sins at all and as a result, it is easy for us to compromise ourselves spiritually by not taking these kinds of sins seriously as believers either.
And I really think a lot of us don’t.
Not the way Paul’s talking about here.
I mean, not even named.
And I think, before we talk to our kids about sexual purity, we probably need to talk to ourselves about sexual purity. I heard recently that something like 60 percent of professing Christian men are regularly looking at porn. 50 percent of pastors in a certain survey said looked at porn within the last year.
This is craziness.
Not even named.
We were talking to someone recently who when we first began to talk to him, he said, “Do you know what? I am a really good Christian,” and do you know what he was waiting there to do? He went on to say? To fornicate with his girlfriend; he was meeting his girlfriend so that he could go and have sexual relations with her and there was no breakdown in his mind. “I am a really good Christian,” and yet for some reason, he did not take sexual sin seriously at all.
We live in a city where sleeping with someone before you’re married is happening all the time.
I almost always have to ask as I go to people’s homes, they say, “This is my wife.” I almost always have to ask, “Do you really mean it’s your wife? Is she your wife or is she your girlfriend?” “Oh yeah, we’re not quite married yet.” And people have all kinds of excuses for that and they have no problem with engaging in that and allowing that to continue. There is no struggle in their heart about that while they’re going to church week after week after week after week, living the same way as the world.
We are bombarded by sexual temptation constantly.
It’s difficult for us to get on the internet, a regular internet search engine, without seeing pictures that we would never want to see, pictures that are almost pornographic. And we turn on our television. We don’t have TV channels anymore. We don’t have the ability to watch just TV channels, we can only watch DVDs at our house and yet every time, once in a while I’ll go away and we’ll go on holiday and we’ll go to a place where there is television and so I’ll think, “Maybe this time we should watch some television. Maybe that would be a fun thing,” and I’ll turn the television on at 8 o’clock and I’ll stop watching for 5 minutes and, honestly, I cannot believe what I see. And you know, for a long time I had a television. I’m not talking about television so much but I watched it all the time and some of those things didn’t bother me until I walked away from that and came back and realized, “No way! That’s not normal that I can watch these kinds of things.”
We’re swimming in this kind of temptation. You go to the mall and you have billboards which really should be, honestly they should be considered pornographic up there like I would say 10 feet tall, 2 meters tall billboards that are really pornographic billboards. We’re swimming in this and so it’s easy for us as individuals, as part of a church, to not take these sins seriously anymore.
It becomes normal to us and that’s why I want you to see what Paul says here. Because I love how seriously Paul takes this.
He says, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or greed must not even be named among you….”
Which obviously, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to say the word “sexual immorality.”
He’s not saying, “Don’t ever say the word sex.” If somebody says sex, you say, “You’re not allowed to say that in this family!” Instead, he’s saying we must take these sins so seriously there shouldn’t even be a hint of these kinds of sins among us.
Which I think is an important place for us to start as we talk about teaching our children, and I really want us to be honest:
How seriously do you take this kind of stuff?
You say, “How seriously should I take it?”
Well, I like the way Jesus put it.
“If your right eye leads you into sexual temptation, do you know what you should do?”
He says, “It’s obvious: pluck it out.”
The day you pluck out your right eye is, pretty much the worst day of your life.
If you pluck out your right eye not to do something, you take it pretty seriously, right? You don’t just go around plucking out your right eye. If you’re going to pluck out your eye, that means that you really don’t want to do it and obviously Jesus didn’t mean we’re to literally pluck out our eye or there would have been a whole lot of one-eyed disciples going around the world. But instead what Jesus meant was, “This is how serious you must be toward these kind of temptations.” And listen, when it comes to parenting, I want my children to know that I am that serious in my fight against these kinds of sins and I want them to see me taking radical measures in my fight against it.
And the question is are we?
I am not trying to be funny, but would you watch the stuff you watch, with Jesus sitting right next to you?
If not, then stop watching it.
The kinds of things you laugh at and talk about, are they the kinds of things Jesus died for?
I think many of us we have got this whole long list of things we are doing that we excuse as normal, but it’s not normal, and I am telling you, if we as parents aren’t serious about sexual purity, we are seriously spiritually immature Christians, and it’s not going to be surprising then that it is very difficult for us to have mature conversations with our children about sexual holiness.
I can’t help you have a good conversation with your child about sexual purity if you are not serious about sexual purity. There isn’t like this specific script you are supposed to follow which works like magic without you actually fighting against sexually immorality yourself.