Is It Courageous to Address Sexual Sin?
Virgil Stokes is a pastor and teacher, serving churches since 1980 in Oklahoma, New York, and Arizona. He and his wife, Judy, pioneered Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson in 2004. Prior to entering ministry, Virgil worked as a registered nurse in the field of mental health and addictions treatment. A recovering addict himself, Virgil has written and spoken extensively on Christian recovery. He is the author of several books and is the founder of Faith Ministry Training Institute, a training program empowering local pastors to equip ministers in their own churches. Pastor Virgil is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Rhema Bible Training Center. His passion is getting people out of the pews and into the harvest. “Thank you for being courageous, Pastor.” I was taken a bit off guard when one of my parishioners, a long-time Christian and a very bright man, made this comment after my sermon. The topic of the day was the power, the purpose, and the pitfalls of sex.
I knew that some of the material might be challenging to a few members of our congregation, but it never occurred to me that it was “courageous” to broach the subject of sexual sin. I plead guilty to being naïve, maybe even foolhardy, but courageous? The fact that it would be thought so seemed more depressing than the subject itself.
Just for your information, here are the main points that were considered “courageous” for a Christian minister to talk about:
- Sex is a powerful drive that leads otherwise intelligent and godly people to do really reckless things. David, Solomon, Clinton, etc., (Hebrews 12:16).
- Marriage is given by God as a protection against sexual sin (1 Corinthians 7:2-5).
- Sex is sacred for believers. It is confined to the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4).
- God will judge those who ignore these admonitions (Hebrews 13:4).
- The Bible encourages us to run from sexual sin, and from all the things that woo us in that direction, including movies, TV, and Internet filth (1 Corinthians 6:18 / 2 Timothy 2:22).
- It is the will of God for us to live holy and avoid sexual sin (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
Somebody said: “Men tell us in these days that sin is what you think it is. Well, it is not. Sin is what God thinks it is. You may think according to your own conscience. God thinks according to His” – John G. Lake.
Scripture Reading: (3) God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. (4) Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—(5) not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and His ways (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NLT).
That decrying sin and encouraging holiness would be considered somehow outside the pastoral norm is, to me, a chilling indictment of the condition of our culture and the Church. The culture is awash in problems that have sexual sin at their root. It seems beyond coincidence that the death of the founder of Playboy coincided with the release of a Centers for Disease Control report that sexually transmitted diseases are at record highs. Cohabitation is the norm, single parenthood is esteemed and subsidized, you can solicit anonymous sexual partners on your phone, and folks are kissing others of the same sex on TV.
My question is, what keeps us all from taking a bold and loving stand on these issues? I love my people, and my primary charge is to help them navigate the pathway to Heaven. God forbid that I fail to tell them that there is a biblical standard for managing their sexual impulses.