The Bible is Right About Sexual Ethics

Listen to Part 1 – Attire

Listen to Part 2 – Abstinence

SUBJECT: Sexuality

TITLE: The Bible and Sexual Ethics

PROPOSITION: The Holy Spirit in the Bible teaches about sexual ethics in respect to: 1) Attire, 2) Abstinence, and 3) Adultery.

OBJECTIVE: That each would understand that God intended the church to be a beautiful oasis from the carnality of the world, and that when we fail to regard his standard we defile her beauty.

AIM: That all would understand God’s high standard of sexual ethics, obey it, and avoid the horrible consequences of sexual promiscuity.


1. Read: Ephesians 5:3

2. About the Text:

1) The book of Ephesians is about the church, the beautiful bride of Christ.

2) It was originally written to the church in Ephesus.

3) The ancient pagan world took great pride in fornication.

4) Prostitution was not only legal, but encouraged.

5) In the midst of such carnal behavior, however, was the church at Ephesus.

6) The apostle Paul tells them, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.”

7) The church is to be the pure bride of Christ (Eph.5:26-27).

8) She is a safe haven against unfettered carnal passions.

9) Fornication, uncleanness, and carnal covetousness have no place within her walls.

3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: The Holy Spirit in the Bible teaches about sexual ethics in respect to . . .

I.   Attire

1. Sexual immorality begins in the heart.

1) James teaches us that sin comes from our own desires: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14).

2) Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt.15:19).

2. Sexual immorality is conveyed by the senses, and specifically, the eyes.

1) John mentions the lust of the eyes in 1 John 2:16.

2) Jesus said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt.5:28).

3. This means that external appearances play an important role in sexual attraction.

1) Proverbs 7:10 teaches that prostitutes have a specific attire that is designed to be sexually attractive.

2) Tamar dressed like a Harlot in Genesis 38:15 to seduce Judah.

4. In consideration of these facts, Christians ought not to dress in a way that is sexually provocative or as the world says, “sexy.”

1) 1 Timothy 2:9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array, But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

2) Men ought to encourage their wives and daughters not to dress provocatively.

3) Teens need to be encouraged not to imitate the dress of the world—to be sexy.

4) “I find the whole concept of being ‘sexy’ embarrassing and confusing. If I do an interview with photographs people desperately want to change me – dye my hair blonder, pluck my eyebrows, give me a fringe. Then there’s the choice of clothes. I know everyone wants a picture of me in a mini-skirt. But that’s not me. I feel uncomfortable. I’d never go out in a mini-skirt…. I wouldn’t do that. Personally, I don’t actually think it’s even that sexy.” – Emma Watson

5. Neither ought Christians to intentionally place immodestly dressed people before their eyes.

1) Pornography is sinful for many reasons, but among those is immodesty.

2) Television and movies are a big part of the problem.

3) “If we define pornography as any message from any communication medium that is intended to arouse sexual excitement, then it is clear that most advertisements are covertly pornographic.” Sociologist Dr. Philip Slater of Harvard.

4) The old mantra “sex sells” is practiced by everyone today.

5) Most young men and women get initial impressions and exposure to the opposite sex on television.

6) But, the church must be a place where sex does not sell.

6. Immodestly dressed men and women perpetuate harmful consequences.

1) They set false and unrealistic standards of beauty to society.

2) Both women and men are hurt by such false standards.

3) It influences husbands and wives to ignore and neglect one another.

4) It leads to fornication and all of the problems associated with that.

7. The church must be a place where men and women may see each other simply as persons made in the image of God.

1) This cannot happen when inappropriate attire is adorned.

2) The church must be that “fortress of solitude” where the attire of the world has no influence.

3) “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints” (Eph.5:3).

4) Women are not sex objects; the world makes them out to be such; the church must not ever.

8. Immodesty is offensive to the Holy Spirit.

1) 1 Corinthians 6:18-20.

2) 1 Thess.4:3-8.

9. The Bible is right for demanding that men and women dress modestly!

II.  Abstinence

1. The Bible teaches that sex is holy when it is practiced between husbands and wives only.

1) Gen.2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

2) 1 Cor.7:1-4 “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”

2. This means that God does not authorize any sexual activity outside of marriage.

1) The Bible calls sexual activity outside of marriage fornication, uncleanness, and lasciviousness (2 Cor.12:21, Gal.5:19, Eph.4:19, Eph.5:3, Col.3:5).

2) Fornication includes sexual activity between any individual, male or female, who are not married to one another.

3) Consider what Paul says in 1 Cor.6:13-20 – Read. According to this passage, we are not to commit fornication because…

a. Our bodies belong to the Lord.

b. We are part of the body of Christ.

c. We become carnal instead of spiritual.

d. We sin against our own body.

e. We defile the temple of God.

f. We reject the notion that we do not belong to the Lord.

g. We were purchased by the blood of Christ to belong to God.

h. We must glorify God in our bodies.

4) Consider what Paul says in 1 Thess.4:3-8 – Read.

a. Personal holiness/sanctification depends upon abstinence from fornication.

b. Our body is to be a vessel that is possessed by our spirit and controlled.

c. It is honorable to abstain from fornication.

d. To commit fornication is to allow physical desires to control us.

e. We commit fraud against the person with whom we commit fornication by taking something that does not belong to us.

f. The Lord personally will punish to those who commit fornication.

5) God takes fornication very personally, and very seriously.

3. When one abstains from fornication one cannot . . .

1) Get pregnant and have a child out of wedlock.

2) Contract venereal disease by fornication.

3) Worry about unforeseen consequences.

4) Be plagued with psychological problems.

5) Think that one needs an abortion.

6) Worry about whether others will learn about one’s fornication.

7) Become estranged from one’s biological children.

8) Worry about paying child support.

4. The church is right for not tolerating fornication, and must continue to be a place where fornication is not tolerated.

1) Consider Paul’s words in 1 Cor.5:11 “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

2) These words are written to keep the church a safe haven inoculated from the evils in the world.

3) These words are written to protect men and women, boys and girls who are members of the church from sexual predators.

4) The church ought to be a place that is so spotless and pure so as to admit none who would dare engage in such activity.

5) When elders fail to protect the church in such a way, they fail in their responsibilities, the church suffers, and they dishonor and disgrace the Lord.

6) We must obey the Lord’s teaching: “Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

7) The church is right to do this!

III. Adultery

1. Adultery is a huge problem in our society today.

1) The golf superstar Tiger Woods lost his luster when it was discovered he had committed adultery with many women.

2) John Edwards, a Presidential candidate, was later found to be committing adultery during his campaign.

3) And in the church, the problem of adultery has plagued elders, deacons, church members, and preachers.

2. The Bible absolutely prohibits adultery.

1) The prohibition is one of the ten commandments, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex.20:14).

2) Adultery is when a person who is married has sex with someone who is not his or her spouse.

a. “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Lev.20:10).

b. “But as a wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband!” (Ezekiel 16:32).

3) Jesus said that those who marry and divorce unscripturally cause adultery.

a. Matt.5:32 “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

b. He said that this is one of the sins that proceed from the heart (Mat.15:19).

4) Adultery is a work of the flesh (Gal.5:9).

3. Those who commit adultery.

1) Risk all of the problems of the fornicator.

2) Put their careers in danger.

3) Destroy families.

4) Psychologically/emotionally hurt their children and spouses.

5) Spread disease to their spouses.

6) Cause violence in those who seek vengeance.

7) Cause economic hardship for their families.

4. Adultery is a horrible thing to do!

1) Shame on people who commit adultery!

2) They should feel guilty for their crime against their families.

5. The church is right for not tolerating or accepting adulterers.

1) 1 Cor.6:9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.”

2) Jesus said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

3) If the church is to be the pure bride of Christ, it cannot allow adulterers to continue within it.


1. The church is right in its sexual ethics regarding . . .

1) Attire

2) Abstinence

3) Adultery

2. Invitation