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Sexual Immorality

            1. General: This can take on many forms and can affect almost anyone. Men are quite vulnerable to sexual immorality; particularly pornography since it is so easily obtained and carries apparent anonymity (Prov. 7:6-9). Sexual sin is particularly habituating in that (1) mimics a good; (2) is peculiarly supported by male neurology and physiology (see, Wired for Intimacy); (3) is profoundly connected to shame and despair (which give it peculiar strength to return; Rom. 6:21-22); (4) tied to many powerful emotions; and (5) provides an apparent solace for a great many other aspects of unhappiness (thus, it is typically entwined with other sins which give this sin more support and depth).

            Due to its nature it can strike even the most mature and godly man at any time (David, 2 Sam. 11). Due to the instruction and prevalence in the culture, almost every man will have been exposed to tremendous amounts of sexual immorality and only the most careful from their childhood will arrive at adulthood unscathed. One of principle protections for sexual immorality is marriage (Prov. 5:15-19; 1 Cor. 7:1-9). However, due to cultural constraints and structures, marriage is typically delayed until a decade or more after puberty (see, Mohler article, 2/18/10) which increases the probability of sexual immorality.

            2. Instruction/homework: The general instruction above “All things for good”, “No new temptation” and “Means of Mortification” will all be necessary here.[1]

            a. Particular instruction: There will be instruction on the nature and avoidance of temptation as well as true biblical nature of sexuality. First, on the nature of temptation: Sexual immorality appeals to the senses: note the progression in Proverbs 7, the seductress appeals to each of the young man’s senses (Prov. 7:13-18). The physiology of sexual desire and habituation is such that a single sight or smell can launch a cascade of chemical events that the soul can feel compelled by the body. Solomon describes the young man on his way to seduction as if a senseless animal (Prov. 7:21-23). Like wine, sexual temptation is best protected against by avoiding even the hint of the seduction. Prov. 23:31.

            Help the man to understand practically how powerful the temptation of sexual sin can be. For homework require the man listen to broadcasts and read the following articles from Albert Mohler: http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/02/01/hijacking-the-brain-how-pornography-works/

http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/01/11/sanctifying-the-male-brain-the-fight-against-pornography/

            Make certain that the man understands the spiritual nature and progression of temptation: teach James 1:14-15. Teach through the progression leading from the hint of sin and proceeding through to the end of death. As a follow up, have the counselee make a temptation journal to determine what precisely constitutes the temptation (stress, boredom, anger, frustration, et cetera) in order to build useful strategies to avoid the temptation (Prov. 5:8).

            Following up on the statement sin leads to ruin (James 1:15), show the arc of engaging in sexual immorality and the resulting ruin which stems from sexual immorality (Proverbs 5). Having taught through the chapter, give the following homework: (1) memorize Proverbs 5:1-6. Explain that he has taken enormous efforts to follow after his sin and he will need to give similar effort to putting his sin to death. (2) Require the counselee to make a list of the damage that will be done as the result of continuing to engage in sexual immorality (Prov. 5:9-14; 7:21-23). (3) If the counselee is married, direct the counselee to cultivate a proper relationship with his wife (Prov. 5:15-19). Likely the relationship with the wife will be damaged in some particular. Explore this and map out strategy to work on that relationship. Be careful here to not merely substitute the wife for a pornographic object, which would be an unbiblical understanding of sexuality.

            Proverbs teaches that a cultivation of wisdom will protect against sexual immorality. Prov. 2:16-19. Wisdom itself is premised upon the fear of the Lord (Prov. 1:5, 9:10). The fear of the Lord is the result of diligently seeking wisdom in Scripture. Using the material http://calvarybiblechurch.org/teaching.aspx/mens_retreat_2008  (Jim Newheiser teaching on wisdom, with particular emphasis on sexuality) require the counselee to cover the three sessions during the week in-between counseling sessions and then discuss what has been learned. Add sermons: http://calvarybiblechurch.org/Sermons.aspx/audio/sermon/2009/20090308 &

http://calvarybiblechurch.org/Sermons.aspx/audio/sermon/2009/20090517. As a follow-up use the Proverbs study worksheets (currently for Proverbs 1-3).  Protection from sexual immorality requires protection of the heart. Teach on keeping the heart. Use the re-write of “A Christian Indeed” (Flavel on Prov. 4:23) with worksheets to teach on training the counselee to protect their heart.

            b. Instruction on biblical sexuality: (1) Sexual immorality is strictly forbidden. Have counselee memorize 1 Thess. 4:3-5. Note that sexual immorality is a defect in knowing God. (2) Require counselee to listen through conference on Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, particularly session 1 by Piper on the knowledge of God and sexual immorality. (3) Sexual union in marriage is good: it is commanded by God (Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 7:1-5) and is praised (Canticles). (4) However, sexual congress outside of marriage is forbidden (Heb. 13:4). (5) Require listening and note taking on these talks on sexuality (session 4, option on homosexuality): http://www.capitolhillbaptist.org/?s=harvest. (see also http://www.harvestusa.org/) (6) Direct counselee to July lesson: http://calvarybiblechurch.org/teaching.aspx/mens_breakfast_2010.

            c. Daily Homework: Setting Captives Free has a daily homework assignment with emailed responses which can be used as the basis for counseling sessions.

            d. Practical steps: Accountability software; have it installed (it does not sanctify, but it does help shock the counselee to his senses). There are multiple sources for such material. Often stronger measures are needed to limit access (Matt. 5:29-30).

            e. Directions to Cure Lust (adopted from Baxter’s A Christian Directory):

1. Keep at a safe distance from that thing which is attracting your attention. 2. Do not overvalue vain things: think about such things in light of eternity. What will the value of this thing be in the resurrection? Train yourself to value everything in this manner – not just matters of sexual temptation. 3. Take every thought captive: don’t let the idle thought which wanders into your head be your master.  4. Don’t be idle: “An idle, fleshly mind is the carcass where the vermin of lust doth crawl, and the nest where the Devil hatcheth both this and many other pernicious sins.”

5. Don’t forget the state of your soul. “Look oft by faith into heaven and hell, and keep conscience tender; and then, I warrant you, you will find something else to mind [think about] than lust, and greater matters than a sill carcass to take up your thoughts; and you will feel that heavenly love within you, which will extinguish earthly, carnal love.”


[1] Multiple potential homework assignments are listed herein. Choose the application according to the temperament and abilities of counselee. In addition, sexual sin is so habituating, it may take substantial effort to train the counselee in godliness. Multiple lines of instruction may be necessary. Where sin is persistent, review “Life Dominating Sins”  and “Sexual Deviancy” sections in BC521s & HMBL, vol. 1, pp. 105-106.