Young children are known for subtlety in communicating what they want. Usually they just come right out and ask. No beating around the bush.
Welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — thanks for joining me … You’re always welcome here, and I won’t beat around the bush about why I’m here. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better ! If our time together today speaks to your heart, then let me invite you to like, subscribe and share it with a friend!
Today’s verse draws a distinction between the people of the world and the people of Christ in the area of our private desires.
It says, AMONG YOU THERE MUST NOT BE EVEN A HINT OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY, OR ANY KIND OF IMPURITY, OR OF GREED
This relates the instruction directly to the people of God, because Paul is writing to the Church. We who claim His Name are called to a higher standard than the world around us. Light needs to shine brightly in the darkness, it is its defining characteristic.
NOT EVEN A HINT OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY
The world today brazenly engages in sexual sin that wouldn’t even be openly mentioned fifty years ago. Any student of history will easily be able to identify the acceptance of sexual perversion in society as a key element of the downfall the seven great civilizations of the world. It is a path the western world has embarked upon with renewed vigor, as if actions have no consequences. But though many willingly ignore any sexual standard in their own lives, they are quick to appear when some member of clergy crosses the line and engages in a sexual sin.
Even the secular world expresses shock and rightful outrage when clergy sexually abuse youth. So they should!! In so doing they display their knowledge of the inner standard written upon their heart and convict themselves.
Of course we’ve seen the line moved closer and closer to the precipice. Not all that long ago it used to be that a minister caught in an extramarital affair stepped away from the pulpit. It was a matter of shame, and clearly disqualified them from the high office they had held. I remember being saddened and dismayed when the senior pastor of the church our family attended was caught in adultery with the church secretary. He then surprised everyone by proclaiming his own righteousness, divorcing his wife and rather quickly marrying the secretary. But what totally shocked me was that more than half of the congregation left to join him as he and the new “Mrs. B” started a new church just across town. In my heart, even as a younger Christian, I knew that a significant line had been crossed.
We who know and love Christ are supposed to have a higher standard. Much higher.
There’s not even to be a hint of sexual immorality among us, let alone open acceptance.
OR ANY KIND OF IMPURITY
Our standard of holiness ought to extend well beyond sexual ethics. I once had a person described to me as being “a Christian from the waist up,” meaning their faith never got in the way of their sexual exploits. That man may have thought of himself as a “good person” because of the other choices he made, but true personal holiness extends to every area. Though there were a number of good things he did, I knew him well enough to see that many other areas of his life were utterly out of control and ruled by sin. Pollution spreads. Contamination unchecked in one area will always foul others. An unchecked infection will eventually kill the one infected every time.
Perhaps Paul began his list with sexual impurity because it is a doorway to other types. I’m not certain. But this I know, once we accept any type of impurity as unchangeable in our lives it will continue to mar and profane more and more of our inner character. What may initially be hidden within us will eventually be visible to everyone; unchecked darkness will spread. Poison kills.
Our desires must be placed into the hands of Christ for them to be redeemed. It is only when we delight ourselves in the LORD that He will give us the desires of our heart. He changes our hearts, removing our desire for things impure and replacing them with desires that glorify Him. Unless we yield to Him, we end up consumed by the final element of today’s verse.
James warns us that we want what we don’t have, and so we determine to get it by whatever means necessary. We scheme and even kill to get it. Jealous of what others have, we lie, cheat, steal, fight and wage war to take it away from them. Unless we yield to Christ, our addictions and perversions drive us deeper into the abyss. Our greed will destroy us unless we destroy it; and our only hope to win that battle is found by placing our sin into the hands of Christ.
BUT AMONG YOU THERE MUST NOT BE EVEN A HINT OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY, OR ANY KIND OF IMPURITY, OR OF GREED
Darkness or light. We will eventually be consumed by one or the other.
Sin will always take you farther than you ever intended to go. Sin will always cost you more than you ever were willing to pay. Sin will always be more painful than you ever conceived it could be.
Faith will bring you to places of unimagined glory. Growing in faith will allow you to see and appreciate the great price that was paid for your freedom. Living in faith will deliver joy unspeakable and full of glory.
AMONG YOU THERE MUST NOT BE EVEN A HINT OF SEXUAL IMMORALITY, OR ANY KIND OF IMPURITY, OR OF GREED
I know I’ve run long today – so I’ll just close with this.
Someone much wiser than I once said, “I have set before you this day death and life. Therefore, choose life.”