The Path to Destruction

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Week 49, 2002
Our text for this week is Ephesians 5:3

But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints

Immorality is understood to be any form of sex outside of marriage. However, what many people fail to see is that “impurity” is usually listed right along side of immorality. What is impurity? Basically impurity is anything we would do with our bodies that we would not do in the presence of the Lord. As we are told in I Corinthians 6:18-20:

Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and His first name defines His most basic character—He is holy! If we are going to be a host to Him by providing our bodies as His temple, we too must be holy.

The very word “holy” is now often perceived as a form of legalism. It is true that many have turned to legalism in their attempt to be holy, and thereby seek to impose their form of holiness and legalism on others in a way that has done great damage to the very word “holy.” However, true holiness is the way we were created, and it has such dignity, and carries itself with such honor and respect that when we see it we are immediately attracted to it instead of repelled as we are toward legalism.

One of the main things that the Lord said would be a major sign of the last days was, "And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). In Romans 6:19, we are told how this lawlessness begins in a person, “…For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness...” Impurity is one of the primary ways that lawlessness gets a grip on a person’s soul, leading to further lawlessness.

When one starts to compromise in this area they will start to compromise in other basic areas until they are fully in the grip of lawlessness, questioning all sound doctrine and every spiritual discipline. Then their love for God will also grow cold. This is one of the major paths to the apostasy and falling away from the faith that the Scriptures warn us about.

Lately I have been shocked by reports from some youth leaders that there is a doctrine circulating among teenagers and young adults that one can have oral sex and still remain a “technical virgin.” I have been even more grieved when talking to professional athletes who had to stop going to church because their pastors were hitting on their wives. These pastors justified their actions with a doctrine that stated because Kings David and Solomon were so anointed they needed many wives and concubines. These pastors also believed they needed many women because they too were “so anointed.” This is a grievously widespread doctrine in some parts of the church now, and it is causing many to fall into snares from which few will recover. These are “doctrines of demons” that are leading many to the lawlessness and apostasy that the Lord made clear are the very reason for the final judgment of God to come upon the world.

Sex in the relationship of marriage is one of the truly wonderful gifts that God gave to mankind. Sex outside of marriage is one of the more destructive sins and leads to the perversion of soul which is the very lawlessness that will bring the wrath of God upon the world. Galatians 5:19-21 makes this clear:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,

idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,

envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Let me repeat that last sentence one more time—“those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Now let us go back to the verse for this week and notice that “greed” is named right in there with immorality and impurity. Greed in any form opens the door to the perversion of the soul that is lust. Lust can be sexual, or it can be for other things such as money, power, fame, etc. Lust is basic selfishness, and is the primary counter power to the love that we are called to have and live by. This is why all of these lead to our “love growing cold.”

If any of these things have attached themselves to us, we must never try to justify them. That is what leads to deception and destruction. Never try to justify or rationalize the clear Word of God, and flee from any leaders in the church who are prone to do this. If you have fallen into sin, repenting is the only path that can restore your life in God and keep you on the path of life. Turn to the cross, acknowledging your sins and begging for the grace that the Son of God will surely give to you. However, do not fall to the delusion that His grace is the perpetual forgiveness for repeated sins. He will forgive us many times if we are indeed repenting, which is turning away from the sin and sincerely trying to walk uprightly. However, the Scriptures are clear that those who “practice unrighteousness,” and “practice lawlessness” are headed for destruction as Hebrews 10:29 makes clear:

How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

As we are told in Galatians 5:13-14, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself." The primary way that we counter these deeds of the flesh is to walk in love. We have given ourselves to loving the Lord and being a proper host to Him in His temple, our bodies. We give ourselves to loving one another and not doing anything that might cause our brothers or sisters to stumble.

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