HOW TO TEACH MORAL PURITY
I THESSALONIANS 4:3 (PHILLIPS) “God’s plan is to make you holy, and that means a
clean cut with sexual immorality”.
I. MORAL PURITY . . . THE PROBLEM AND THE NEED
Every teenager will face very real decisions concerning their moral purity, especially sexual temptation. It is so important that the church provide practical teaching in this area. The problem of moral impurity and the need for moral purity are issues which must be addressed. Most young people in our churches want to be pure, but in an impure society, it is difficult to maintain true Godliness. We must help them face this very difficult area of their life experience.
A. THE PROBLEM . . . MORAL IMPURITY
1. Statistics show that the question of moral purity which we are concerned
with is no longer much of a question in our society. (When we speak of
moral impurity, we will basically be discussing the issue of ‘sexuality.)
-Sexual activity has tripled among teenage girls in the last two decades. (In the 1960’s, 10% of teenage girls were sexually active; now, over 50% are.)
-By age nineteen (19), 70% of girls have had at least one sexual experience.
-Four (4) out of ten (10) teenage (sexually active) girls will become pregnant before marriage.
-Virginity is scoffed at (both male and female) by the supposed teen role models in popular movies, music and books.
-Even though “everybody isn’t doing it”, the media and other humanistic entities would like to make it seem that only weirdos aren’t. All secular music insinuates “everybody is doing it”. What teenage television star would stand in defense of purity? We live in a rotten, impure society. Morality is hardly discussed anymore. Now we have them ‘speak of protection, etc., but certainly not in advocation of abstinence.
2. The more serious problem is the effect ‘society’s demoralization has had on the church. As much as we would like to ignore it, the salt has lost some ‘savor. (And wherewith ‘shall the earth then be salted?)
-Which youth leader has not been wounded to hear fornication is in his or her youth group?
-Which church, regardless of stature, has not been wounded when a teenage girl acknowledges pregnancy from wedlock?
a. We who are to salt the earth must remain pure! Sadly enough, society has seemed to influence us more with impurity than we have with purity. (We can change that! We will change that!)
b. This problem is not new. The Apostle Paul dealt with it several times in his writings. He seems to sum his teaching up in I Thessalonians 4:3 . . . “God’s plan is to make you holy, and that means a clean cut with sexual immorality”. (PHILLIPS)
B. THE NEED . . . MORAL PURITY
1. God’s plan is to make us holy. (I THESSALONIANS 4:3) This is central to the issue of moral purity.
a. All the attributes of God center around the fact that He is holy. There is nothing impure or unclean about Him. Holiness is almost indefinable, but it has much to do with God’s spotless, sinless character.
Sin seperates us from a holy God. It was God’s divine intention in the beginning for man to have fellowship with Him. But, of course, because man sinned, he could no longer be in the presence of a Holy God.
b. Thank God for His own sacrifice at Calvary. Because a holy, sinless God died for an unholy, sinful world. Those who believe and obey His gospel have the sin question resolved. We identify with His death in repentance, we are baptized in His name and have our sins remitted. And we receive His Holy Spirit and enter into His Kingdom–a place of restored fellowship.
In salvation we are justified. It is “just as I had never sinned”. Legally we are dead to sins. Legally His holiness is imputed to us. He makes us holy. But, in practical experience we know that holiness is a continual quest. Experientually, we still
must stay away from sin, and we do sin, repent, confess and receive forgiveness.
c. God is calling for a holy people. He made provision for this through Calvary. But we still must allow Him to continually make us holy. Why? So we can stand in His presence in purity.
-EPHESIANS 4:22-24 (22) “That ye put concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (23)And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (24)And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
– The question of moral purity is not so much one of heaven and hell as it is a desire to be holy. To be in a spiritual position of purity wherein He can “make us holy”. We must repent of our sins and strive for purity. God longs for a holy people.
II. TEACHING MORAL PURITY TO YOUNG PEOPLE
A. THE BASIC NEED . . . A RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS
1. We must lead young people to a relationship of Loving Jesus Christ. They need to experience His love to such an extent that they love Him more than a momentary fling in the backseat of a car. They need to love Him to the point that they want to be holy, and they long for purity, not just in the issue sexuality, but in every aspect of life, attitude and actions.
2. Fear is the beginning of wisdom. A healthy respect for a holy, awesome and “terrible” God is necessary. But fear motivation only lasts so long. We must teach the beauty of an intimate relationship with this God that is made possible because He make us holy. (Holiness can only be imputed to those who are truly repentant . . . which is an attitude away from sin and towards God followed by a turning away from and to God.)
a. How many times can we yell about the judgment of God without it wearing out? Hell is difficult for a young person to comprehend. But if they know Jesus in the beauty of relationship, they will not want to do anything to separate themselves from Him.
b. Young people do need to be reminded of judgment at times. But perfect love will cast out the need for fear. I JOHN 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” A relationship with Christ should be the basis our teaching of moral purity. When you then speak at times of judgment, love will make it more meanful and effective.
B. SOME PRACTICAL TIPS
1. Don’t flinch! Don’t compromise! Be straight!
-Young people need to be told right from wrong. A good youth leader will not vacillate on the issue moral purity. Tell it straight!
-Most of us will feel awkward and even embarrassed teaching on this subject. You can do this using scriptural terms in practical settings that will not cheapen the issue, but will be straight forward.
2. BE HONEST
-Youth leaders are human. We were tempted (even Jesus was). Perhaps some of us have even made mistakes. We must share the reality of our humanity by being human. Don’t compromise your integrity by doing this, but don’t be someone who can’t relate to their teenage situation.
3. BE TOUGH . . . WITH LOVE
-Love your kids enough to be tough. If you hear that there is some “hanky-panky” going on, get “angry and sin not”.
-“This is a serious matter. You are messing up your relationship with God. You need to decide what you want, a physical thrill or Jesus.” Let those kids sense our resolve. You are serious about this.
4. GET THE KIDS SAYING THE RIGHT THINGS
-A great way to lay some general rules that stick are to get them established with input from the kids. Closely monitored group discussions are especially good for this.
-For instance: Set up a panel with three respected girls and three respected boys. (it would help if they were popular in the group.) Have the kids write in questions. You screen them and read them to the panel. Question . . . “Should I kiss on the first date?” What do you think those kids will say in front of you? Their answer will be correct most all the time, and when the group hears it from them, it sticks. This will leave the door open for you to comment on physical affection, the dangers, how far is too far, etc…
C. AN EXAMPLE LESSON ON “MORAL PURITY”
There are many way to approach this subject. There are a lot of books being written, etc. This is an example of a point in one youth pastor’s most used lesson on dating.
D. MORAL PURITY . . . FOR YOUR OWN GOOD .
-God created sex. Attraction for the opposite sex is perfectly normal. But God created sex only for marriage. In fact, some have begun to refer to sex as the “act of marriage” because this is the only place for it. God is not against the act of marriage, but He is very much against sex outside of the marriage.
-It is not always easy to be morally pure. Most young people will admit that they have faced sexual temptation. You might as well accept the fact that if you’re a normal young person you will face this temptation sometime in your dating experience. You need to decide now that you are going to please God and say no to sexual temptation.
1. Why not? Here are a few reasons:
a. You are God’s property I CORINTHIANS 6:18-20
-Your body is God’s temple.
-His or her body is not yours, it is God’s.
b. You are dating someone’s future wife or husband.
-You probably will date several “wrong-ones” before you find the “right one”. Don’t forget . . . that wrong one will someday be someone’s right one.
-Your future mate may be on a date with someone right now. How would
you want them to act? Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
2. God says no!
NO! -abstain from fornication I THESSALONIANS 4:3
NO! -let it not be once named among you . . . fornication
NO! -body is not for fornication . . . but for the Lord
I CORINTHIANS 6:13
NO! -flee fornication (because your bodies are His Temple!)
1 CORINTHIANS 6:18
NO! -abstain from . . . fornication ACTS 15:20
3. How far is too far?
-Fornication in the New Testament implies sexual intercourse outside of marriage.
But, how far is too far?
Q. 1. Do you obey the guidelines taught by your pastor and parents?
Q. 2. Does your conscience condemn you? I JOHN 3:21 “Beware, your conscience can become hardened and ineffective if not listened to.” Ask yourself . . . is my moral standard as pure as it was six (6) month’s ago? one (1) year ago? two (2) years ago?
Q. 3. Do you lose control? II TIMOTHY 1:7
A. 1. No? – Too Far / 2. Yes? – Too Far / 3. Yes? – Too Far
4. Some of the consequences of moral impurity.
a. Your relationship with God is seriously injured.
– Sin separates us from God.
– Sin will ultimately bring judgment.
b. Your dating relationship is seriously injured.
-Moral impurity will ultimately destroy your relationship, not draw you closer as some think.
-You will face these consequences in your relationship.
1. Breakdown of communication.
-Being involved physically seems to overshadow every other part your relationship.
– “Who else has he or she done this with?”
3. Loss of respect.
-For yourself for lowering your moral standard. For the other for being a part of it.
-You become bitter at each other for violating your moral standard.
5. Loss of spiritual fellowship together.
-You no longer feel comfortable discussing spiritual matters together.
c. Physical consequences.
– Pre-marital pregnancy is becoming more common even in the Church. One (1) out of every six (6) teenage un-married girls become pregnant. God forgives and forgets, but those involved will live with it forever.
-And, just for the record, V.D., Herpes and other sexual diseases are spread by moral impurity.
5. Seven known facts
Science has established seven known facts concerning the probable effect of premarital sex on a marriage.
Fact 1: Premarital sex tends to break up couples.
Fact 2: Many men do not want to marry a woman who has had sexual intercourse with someone else.
Fact 3: Those who have premarital sex tend to have less happy marriages.
Fact 4: Those who have premarital sex are more likely to have their marriage end in divorce.
Fact 5: 1 Persons who have had premarital sex are more likely to have extra-marital affairs (especially women).
Fact 6: Having premarital sex may fool you into marrying a person who is not right for you.
Fact 7: Premarital sex will cause a couple to be less satisfied with the act of marriage overall.
III. A CALL TO REPENTANCE . . . AND REVIVAL
A. A CALL TO REPENTANCE . . . AND FORGIVENESS . .
1. Some will fail. This is sad but true. When they do, we who are spiritual must restore the weak. (GALATIONS 6) We must teach them to repent. Repentance will allow God to make them holy. Holiness can only be imputed to those who have changed their mind toward their sin, and their ways. Repentance will cause them to confess, and therefore we are promised forgiveness.
-I JOHN 1:7-10 (7) “But we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”. (8) “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”. (9) “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. (10) “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”.
I JOHN 2:1-2 (1) “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous”: (2) “And he is the propitiation sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world”.
-The consequences of moral impurity will be felt, perhaps forever in the flesh. (The Bibles says fornication is a sin against the body.) But God has provided forgiveness through His blood.
2. It would do all of us well to walk in continual repentance. “All of us
have sinned and come short of the glory God”. (ROMANS 3:23) In fact, it seems that God is calling the entire church to rid itself, by His grace, from all our impurity. God have mercy on us.
B. A CALL TO REVIVAL . . . AND HARVEST
1. We are the salt of the earth. Young people need to be made conscious of their responsibility to a lost generation. How can we expect this generation to be pure if we are not? To change their ways if we flirt with theirs? We can’t expect to reap a harvest unless we have a true revival . . . a revival of true holiness.
a. MATTHEW 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have
lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
c. II CHRONICLES 7:14 “1f my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their Land.
2. We need to influence and change our generation. We have been influenced by the world too much. We need our righteous influence to change our world. We can win the battle against sin and its’ influence, but we must win this battle in ourselves, youth groups, and churches first. A truly holy people will change the world! PROVERBS 14:34 “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”.
The above article, “How To Teach Moral Purity,” is written by Terry Smith. The article is pages 9-16, retrieved form the YouthQuake Seminar Notebook of 1983.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study and research purposes.