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August 12, 2007 AM

1 COR 7:1,2

INTRO: Among the topics found prominently in virtually every medium of communication is that of "sex". A line advertising the television series "Sex And The City" make the bold statement that who you are is how you are in bed. (I apologize for being so forward with such thoughts, but it is hard to emphasize my concern without being very open.) While we may say to ourselves that this is just a mindless television program, the fact remains that this is a subject and a attitude pervading American society and culture. Interestingly, however, such attitudes have been part of the great societies of the past ... and have contributed to the moral decay and downfall of those societies. My greatest concern, though, is not the downfall of society ... it is for the eternal consequences for the people around me.

    1. The so-called "gay" lobby is receiving incredible media attention
      1. TV/motion picture productions have numbers of "gay" portrayals
      2. political/entertainment personalities are "coming out"
      3. even religious personalities are acknowledging "gay" lifestyle choice
      4. such exposure over time "desensitizes" us to this sin!
      5. "orientation" vs. "preference" - "I can't help it" vs. "it's my choice"
    2. What the Bible says?
      1. Lev 18:22 - Rom 1:26,27 - 1 Cor 6:9,10
      2. God does not declare something to be sin that which is genetic
      3. for example, the color of ones skin, hair - physical defects
      4. "orientation" attempts to promote genetic homosexuality - if, however, it is genetic, God would not have declared homosexuals excluded from kingdom of God!
      5. don't be deceived - claims to the contrary, homosexuality is a choice!
    1. There is the problem of "changing definitions"
      1. "I did not have sex with that woman" - so, what was done is o.k.???
      2. it's "experimentation" - not sin!
      3. changing definitions has doubtless contributed to open sexual attitudes
    2. The exposure to TV/motion picture portrayals and values
      1. prom night - the night for alcohol, DUI, hotel rooms, losing virginity
      2. living together in lieu of marriage - from one partner to another, etc.
      3. TV commercials extolling shapely bodies (mostly of women) clad scantily (lingerie & diet ads)  - "my husband thinks my new body is....." (sex sells!)
    3. Peer pressure and temptation
      1. "casual sex" is accepted behavior ... almost expected behavior
      2. in the workplace, in the school "every one is doing it" (we're told)
      3. to insist on sexual purity may make one the "odd" person - and it's not easy to keep being (and being told) the odd person
    1. First, remember what the scriptures teach us
      1. 1 Cor 6:9 - fornication, adultery keeps one from kingdom of God
      2. 1 Cor 7:2,9 - sexual intimacy belongs only in marriage
      3. Eph 5:3 - illicit sex cannot be part of the life of saints
  1. 1 Thes 4:3-5 - illicit sex harms sanctification - each must learn self-control in such matters and not be given to passionate lust
  2. both testaments insist on sexual purity and place sexual intimacy inside of the marriage relationship - outside of it is sin
  1. Second, we must remember that we are dealing with personal choices
    1. while it's true sexual pervasiveness is reality, what I. do is my choice
    2. the pressures of our time are great - but I can still say, "No"
    3. 2 Pet 1:6 - we are called to be "self controlled" people
    4. 2 Tim 1:7 - "sound mind" is "discipline" or "self control" - in the matter of sexual purity we can be self controlled - the choice is ours
    5. we are in an environment which seems to encourage and reward promiscuity - I'd remind ofRom 8:5-8 ... the choice is ours!

CLOSE: There is so much more which could be said. I understand that. But I hope I have said enough to cause all of us to have concerns about today's sexual mores ... and to determine that we are going to remain pure in the face of the ongoing "sexual revolution".

Cecil A. Hutson

12 August 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)