I came across a study that I did a few years back for our church on the issue of sexual sin. As I prepared for that, I was shocked over some facts that I discovered. Not only was I shocked by I was scared and sobered. The following story was excerpted from Today’s Christian Preacher, Spring 2001 Vol.8, Number 4. p. 8; by John K. Hutcheson, Sr
I was raised in the church from the time I was a toddler. During the four years that I attended a great Christian college, I was very active in the local church, serving as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and bus captain. Following graduation and marriage, I took a position in a church pastored by a true man of God. A number of years later, the Lord led us to begin a new work. The Lord blessed, and within a dozen years the average attendance was over four hundred. We hired associate pastors and built and remodeled buildings. I worked as a volunteer police chaplain, completed seventy semester hours of work on a master of divinity degree, and preached in other churches. In many ways I had achieved significant successes in the ministry. Yet years earlier, I had begun to make mistakes that will now haunt me for the rest of my life. . . . I never thought it would be me. Who among us does? I was so sure that I would not succumb to moral temptation, and that I had very little sympathy for fallen preachers. I shunned them as many have shunned me. . . .One day a lady in our church, whom I had led to the Lord, said something to me in a counseling situation that should have set off all kinds of alarms, sirens, and warning signs. Instead [I believed] I could handle anything and everything. After all, I had resisted at least three other such temptations in my life and had come through each on pure. ‘This one wouldn’t be any different,’ I said to myself. My weakened marriage and spiritual state wouldn’t be enough to bring me down. I could handle it. But within several months, I committed a sin against my God, my wife, my family, my church, and the cause of Christ.
The sins of the past that were not dealt with had become Satanic strongholds that now would have to be discovered and destroyed. In a twenty-minute period, the ministry God had given me was foolishly thrown away. The adulterous relationship, which lasted several months, ended as quietly as it ad been conducted. Only we two knew. However, God was not about to let me go unpunished.
It is difficult to put into words how hard it is to live a life as a deceiver. At times, I was convinced I was losing my mind. Anxiety problems, the conviction of the Holy Ghost, sleepless nights, the fear of being found out, and the mental battle that is the daily scourge of a hypocrite had all taken their toll of me. At night I as driven to uncontrollable weeping, just thinking about what I had done to my wife and our children.
Through a simple, unexpected circumstance, God got my attention. I couldn’t go on living this way. The game was up. I called my pastor to confess my sin. My world had come crashing down on me, and others soon would feel the same way.
[In a meeting with the church staff and leaders I submitted my resignation.] Ten days later I faced the church I loved in a building I helped to design. I came to confess and say good-bye. . . .
I watched my children cry as I told them what I had done and that we would have to leave the only home they had known. I tried to talk with the older children, but they had no desire to converse with me. I had no idea how much my sin would impact them and how it would drastically erode our relationship. For a long time our youngest daughter would leave the room when I walked in. . . .
Everything changes when you are defrocked by immorality. . . . You’ve [heard] my story. Now consider soberly the things that led to my downfall and the ruin of my ministry. Examine your life. Determine in your heart that this will not become your story. Pray that it won’t. (from Today’s Christian Preacher, Spring 2001 Vol. 8, Number 4.)
Sexual sin and the propensity for sexual sin is all around us. We live in a modern day Sodom and Gommorah—a literal perversion of that which God originally created. More than anything else, sexual sin (adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc) is the tool of choice in the hand of Satan that he is using to destroy lives.
In a recent survey conducted by Leadership Magazine, 1000 pastors were polled. The pastors indicated that 12 percent of them had committed adultery while in the ministry–one out of eight pastors!–and 23 percent had done something that they considered sexually inappropriate.
Christianity Today surveyed a thousand of its subscribers who were not pastors and found the figure to be nearly double, with 23 percent saying they had had extramarital intercourse and 45 percent indicating that they had done something they themselves deemed sexually inappropriate. One in four Christian men are unfaithful, and nearly one half have behaved unbecomingly.
In addition to this “studies have indicated that nearly 25 million Americans visit web sites with sexual content from one to ten hours each week. Sex is now the most searched for topic on the Internet, and 60 percent of all web-site visits are sexual in nature, according to Dr. Robert Weiss, director of the Sexual Recovery Institute of Los Angeles” (quoted in Today’s Christian Preacher, Spring 2001 Vol.8, Number 4. p. 8; by John K. Hutcheson, Sr.).
I suspect that there are many who are reading this right now who are struggling with sexual sin. There is perhaps one, maybe even many, who last night gave in to sexual sin whether it be through pornography, sex outside of marriage, or an illicit sexual relationship with someone other than your husband or wife. And there are many more who have been entertaining the thought of committing a sexual sin. Others still have been absolutely crushed by the presence of sexual sin in their own families and lives.
Proverbs 6:20-35 provides the straightforward teaching of the Scripture as it applies to this issue.
The book of Proverbs, as you well know, is classified as “wisdom literature”. It is in this book that we find wise counsel. Wisdom is the practical application of knowledge leading to submission and action. Therefore, we might say that this book is providing us with the practical application of knowledge for our everyday life.
In Proverbs we are listening in on the wise counsel of a parent to his son. (1:8,10,15; 2:1; 3:1,11; 4:1,10,20;5:1…). That is what the first nine chapters of Proverbs is all about—wise parental counsel. In this section, a father is giving instruction and caution to his son regarding adultery. As we listen in I can hear at least four wise statements that a father makes to his son regarding the issue of sexual sin. These are the things that I’ve learned, not only as a man in the ministry but as a father who seeks to lead his son in the ways of the Word.
- Much sin could be avoided if parents were instructing their children (6:20, “My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother.”)
- The Word of God must be our continual meditation.
- When we love the truth we will be strengthened against flattering and seduction.
- Sexual sin is both dangerous and destructive.