Lesson Key: God’s intention for His children is that they walk in sexual purity and victory. As holy people who have dedicated ourselves completely to God, we follow the directives of Scripture to flee temptation. We ask the Spirit of God to help us establish appropriate boundaries and guidelines for behavior, knowing that in Christ and through Christ, we have all we need to maintain moral purity.
As holy people whose lives are dedicated to God, we have accepted that God establishes the standards for sexual purity; we are not guided by the mindset of the world regarding what is appropriate or acceptable behavior. Our bodies are for the Lord; they have been dedicated to Him to be instruments of righteousness. We are to be clean, as vessels fit for our Master’s use.
God’s intention is for His children to walk in moral purity, and in His Word, He gives many principles of boundaries to help us accomplish this. These boundaries are meant to keep us from approaching temptation. Romans 13:14 instructs us to “make not provision for the flesh,” meaning that we must not willfully put ourselves in a place where we are likely to be exposed to a temptation to sin.
The influences of promiscuous attitudes and self-serving desires in today’s society can impress themselves upon our thinking. Biblical standards will be challenged and even mocked as being outmoded and outdated. But God’s standards of morality are unchanging, and He blesses those who obey His wise rules set up for our preservation and welfare. In Christ, and through Christ, we have all that we need to maintain sexual purity.
Bring to class a caramel-covered onion on a stick. Discuss how delicious it looks and suggest that perhaps you could share it. Then cut it apart and let your students observe that it is an onion rather than an apple. Point out the obvious fact that what is disguised as good would actually be disgusting to eat. We must examine our decisions closely to be sure that Satan is not deceiving us by disguising something evil under the pretext of making it look desirable.
Hollow out a maple bar, fill it with sand, smooth the glaze over, and set it on fancy cake pedestal. Add a high, but not excessive, price tag. Discuss with your class how delicious the donut looks and so on. Talk about how Satan makes things look appealing and tries to convince us that it will be worth the cost. Then, pretend the object lesson is over and you are ready to move on to your next activity. Offhandedly ask if someone would like to eat the donut—after all, it’s going to get stale sitting out. You will get quite a reaction when your volunteer takes his second or third bite! Then read Proverbs 20:17, “Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” It is an unforgettable object lesson—although you might bring an extra donut or some other treat for your unwitting volunteer.
Show your group a picture or poster of a fence or barrier. Discuss why a fence is erected. You might amplify this point by showing a variety of building materials—some that would make a good, solid fence and other materials that would be inadequate for a good fence (for example, a fencing board and some thin sticks, a piece of chain link fence and some wire). The point could be made that we must be sure to erect durable, strong and appropriate boundaries when it comes to protecting our moral purity.
1. In the light of contemporary society’s sexual permissiveness, what are some steps we can take to maintain moral purity? 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Peter 1:13-16; 2 Timothy 2:22
Start your class discussion by focusing on the three verses given. These should lead your class to conclude that we must practice self-control in all areas of life (1 Corinthians 9:27), have a purpose to do right (1 Peter 1:13-16), and avoid situations that provoke temptation (2 Timothy 2:22).
While these key Scriptures provide a strong basis for maintaining moral purity, there are many other concepts given in the Word of God. Ask your students to amplify the discussion with some further suggestions. They may bring up such thoughts as:
o Ask God to help you.
o Be sure to read your Bible and pray every day.
o Exemplify holiness in dress (be modest), speaking, and reaction to others.
o Be cautious about being alone with someone of the opposite sex in places where others cannot see you.
o Be careful about your jokes and what you talk about.
2. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13), indicating that temptation will come our way. Why is it important to set boundaries or establish guidelines for our behavior before we find ourselves in a tempting situation?
It is easier to avoid a tempting situation than to be in one and try to get out of it. We tend to lose perspective once we are in a tempting situation. We need to pray ahead of time that God will “deliver us from temptation,” which might help us stay out of some situations. Sexual desires can quickly go out of control.
3. What are some specific ways we can follow the admonition in our key verse, Romans 13:14?
We put on the Lord by reading His Word, praying, and meditating on Him. We provide for the flesh and its desires when we think/see/hear/read about things that provoke improper desires.
4. In Proverbs 6:27-28, we find the questions “Can a man take fi re in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” What point is made by these verses with regard to purity?
You could light a match and ask your students what would happen if you put it inside your hand or next to your skin. The point is that if we purposefully put ourselves in a tempting situation, we are in grave danger of falling spiritually. It is an obvious fact that if we expose ourselves to stimulants, we will be stimulated.
We should flee immoral or even questionable stimuli, and make sure we keep our minds pure. If we fail to do so, we can get into a lot of trouble that could have a terrible impact on our lives.
5. God told the children of Israel to put a blue ribbon in the hems of their clothes to remind them of His commandments and to help them obey those commandments (Numbers 15:37-40). What can we do today to remind us to be holy when we make decisions about boundaries in our relationships?
This might be a good question to list class answers on the board. Your students’ answers may include:
6. What impact will our moral boundaries have upon our Christian testimony? Philippians 2:15
A blameless, holy life will shine out as a light in this darkened world. The people we come into close contact with can tell our moral principles by the way we live our lives. Our moral boundaries could make or break the credibility of our testimonies. A moral failure could cause anything we have said to be of no account or even a reproach.
If we are saved, we have already decided to forsake sin and obey God. What, then, is the purpose of having boundaries?
Boundaries keep us out of situations in which we might be tempted to sin, eliminating the opportunity to make a poor decision.
How do we go about setting boundaries for our actions/activities? What are boundaries based on and how do we know what is too strict or not strict enough?
Study of God’s Word (and today’s texts) will help us know God’s standards. Then cultivating a heart that is sensitive to God’s Spirit is vital. We need to be listening for and immediately obedient to any check of the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul asked, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Compare our responsibilities regarding our bodies to tenants in a rented apartment.
The point is that we belong to God, not ourselves. The world’s attitude is that they have the right to do what they want with their bodies. But when you rent an apartment, you are given certain policies and directions. If you do not follow those, there will be consequences. Similarly, because God created us and we belong to Him, we are responsible for living as He has directed. Furthermore, He will give us the power to do so, if we will ask Him.
The phrase, “bought with a price” would have been understood by the Romans to whom Paul was writing because it made reference to purchasing slaves at an auction.
What do you think are the most powerful motives for maintaining proper moral boundaries? Why?
As holy and dedicated people, our most powerful motive should be to please God and conform to His Word. We have dedicated and set ourselves apart for Him, so we desire to do all we can to live by His standards. Also, we will keep an eternal perspective in view, realizing that the choices we make in this area will impact our spiritual destiny.
What do our eyes and ears have to do with moral purity?
Our eyes and ears are the gateway to our minds, and the enemy of our souls tempts us through our minds. We will do ourselves a big service and greatly reduce our temptations if we control what we look at and listen to.
What can we learn from Joseph when Pharaoh’s wife attempted to lure him into sexual sin? Genesis 39:7-12
He ran! Even though Joseph was later accused of evil, he knew in his soul that he had not done wrong and he was right before God. Such an assurance is more valuable than anything we can imagine, and sometimes we might need to change locations (“run”) to keep our hearts right.