re:{relate} 6 not even a hint
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The Gospel is changing lives within our community of faith.

As we determine to let it seep down into every aspect of our living, we're forced to deal with some haunting places within our hearts. For the past six main Connection classes we've been walking through a series entitled re:{relate}.

We began with Eden, where we saw God's original purpose for men, women, relationships with Him, and relationships with each other. We've been keeping before us the truth that God is a good God. God looked over what He had made, formed, and fashioned and said, "It is very good!"

Yet, the willful disobedience of our first parents ushered in the perversion of all things relationships. The gender roles of men, women, and how we relate with one another have all be skewed. Even more alarming, our relationship with the one who breathed life into us has been marred.

How do we, as men and women, get back to being an image bearer of Jesus Christ when it comes to our sexuality?

Below is a brief summary of our time together (I apologize for the technical difficulties with the podcast) followed by some practical tips and resources.

With the understanding that God is a good God and the giver of good gifts, we recognized the importance of realizing that His desire for our sexual purity is based out of His goodness. This, of course is radically different than viewing God as the cosmic killjoy in the sky who doesn't want His creation to have any pleasure at all.

I Thessalonians 4:1-8 is pretty clear on God's intent for us as His children. God's will for us to be sanctified, conformed to the image of Christ, especially in regards to our sexuality. As a child of God, we've been called to holiness and honor when it comes to our sexuality. There is to be a marked difference as the Gospel seeps down to our core. We asked the hard question: When it comes to your sin, are you more committed to your sin or to God?

We've determined that we need to actively apply Romans 12:1-2 everyday. We can't be conformed to the pattern of this world when it comes to it's preoccupation with sex. We must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. If we're involved in sexual sin, we must get past the action to the deep seated issue of the heart. We've got to get past the symptom and get to the cancer. We must realize that actions reveal the heart. We must stop believing the lie that something else besides Jesus will bring us satisfaction.

Again, the gospel is penetrating to the deep places of our heart. How do we, as a generation inundated with sexual propaganda everyday, develop a battle plan?

1. The Gospel is Key.

One dealing with sexual sin must come to grips with the Gospel of Grace. A heart transplant, within the new covenant of grace, must take place. You, my friend, cannot defeat this sin on your own. You can try every form of will power, but apart from the gospel your flesh can't fight flesh. If you're dealing with sexual sin, you must rehearse the Gospel--God's holiness, your sin, God's mercy and grace in Christ Jesus who became sin for so that we might be the righteousness of God. Obedience flows from heart that responds to the gospel in gratitude. You must be motivated by the Gospel in order to make war against sin.

2. The Word of God is key.

If you have a sin problem you have a word problem. You've got to build the arsenal. You've got to put the fighter verses all around you, chew on them, and use them in combat. You can't just memorize, you've got to believe by faith in the heat of the battle for mind. You've got to kill sin, as Romans 6 talks about, with the word of God and the Spirit of God. Here are some fighter verses:

Romans 6 (Yep, the whole chapter)

Philippians 4:8 (the 48 Magnum)

II Corinthians 10:5

2 Timothy 2:22 -note that it isn't enough to just flee, but you've got to be pursuing something else. Not that the battle isn't one of isolation, but you're fighting it with others who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.

I Corinthians 6:13-20--What is your motivation? The gospel. You are not your own, you've been bought with a price. Therefore... as a result of this great price that was paid, honor God with your body.

Galatians 5:16--What beast are you feeding? If you've been feeding the beast of lust, then accept the gospel and starve the beast of lust. Starve it and it will become less of a force in your life. Feed the beast of the Spirit of God through prayer, the word, the gospel, and biblical community and that beast will win.

Galatians 5:22-25

Rehearse stories like Joseph and Potiphar's wife (Genesis 37) and David and Bathsheba (1 Samuel 11) and Nathan's confrontation of David in the following chapter. Meditate on Psalm 51 and I John 1:9.

All of these force us to ask these questions:

-have you ever been frightened by your sin? Not scared that you'd get caught, but frightened? When? How did you react?

-in what way does lust, pornography, and masturbation make a mockery of God's design for sex?

-Do you, as a child of God, believe that Jesus alone satisfies? Do you believe that God has given you everything you need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus?

-As Jesus said to the lame man, "Do you want to get well?"-we have guys within the group who've decided not to have internet at their house; they check their email at the library. We've had intervention type meetings in apartments and dorm rooms as guys have rallied the troops around them to pray for them and hold the accountable. The Gospel is powerful. The Spirit is powerful. The Word of God is powerful, but do you want it to do what it is capable of doing?

Resources:

Sex is not the problem (Lust is) - a Gospel driven look on how to confront sexual sin with the truth of God's word.

XXXChurch.com--Stories, testimonies, free Internet software for your computer, podcasts, and an interactive online Bible study.

Covenant Eyes--An Internet accountability software that send a record of the Internet sites visited to several accountability partners.

Pure Life Ministries--More DVDs, testimonies, counseling

Celebrate Recovery--meets every Wed night before theGATHERING

Men's Bible study is a place where men are getting intentional about using the word of God and the Spirit of God to fight to be God's men.

On January 3rd, we'll reveal a new study for guys that need a battle plan. 9:15 connection class where you're getting to the nitty gritty about the gospel and temptation.