Talking with Your Children about Sexual Purity, part seven

25 Nov

If you are going to send your children into battle you need to prepare them to fight.

It’s not just enough to have a one time talk with them where you say, ‘This is really bad. Don’t do that.’ You need to be helping them develop the habits and practices which will enable them to actually fight against the enemy.

We saw, one of those habits is a sacrificial lifestyle.

Another is thanksgiving.

In Ephesians 5:4, Paul says, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place,” but now this is interesting, “but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

Though specifically Paul’s speaking about filthy talk, I think this phrase “let there be thanksgiving” actually refers to both verses and so basically Paul is talking to people who struggle with sexual sin and do you know what his advice is? Be thankful.

Think about that.

Imagine going to someone and saying,  “I’m struggling with lust.”

Only to have them say, “Okay, here’s how you fight it: be thankful.”

What is going on there? Why does thanksgiving come into Paul’s mind?

Well, why do we so often struggle with greed and sexual lust and things like that?

It’s because we’re dissatisfied.

We want more, more, more.

Discontentment is at the root and how do you fight that discontentment?

You fight discontentment through a lifestyle of enjoying what God has given you so one of the things that I would say to someone who struggles with sexual lust and is really being beaten by it or greed, covetousness, I would say, “You need to every day make a habit and specifically maybe at a specific time in the day just so you learn to do this better, you need to make a habit of writing down or saying with your mouth a number of different things that you’re thankful for.”

Which of course sounds simple but isn’t for most of us.

We are very poor at being thankful.

With our children we used to say at the end of the day, “What are you thankful for?” And I’m sitting there thinking, “Ah, there must be a million things that you’re thankful for. It was an awesome day.” And my kids are very happy kids and they’ll say, “Yeah, we’re thankful.” And so, I’ll say, “What are you thankful for?” “Mommy. Daddy.” I’m like, “Wow, I’m so glad you’re thankful for us but, man, there was a lot that happened today. Remember, we went to McDonald’s and…” And they say, “Oh yeah, thank you for that.”

But some of us in our spiritual life we’re like children.

If I ask you, “What are you upset about in your life right now?” “I’ve got like 100 things.” That list comes out easy. But what is it that’s causing your heart to just well up and say, “God, you’re good”? And, you know, if you don’t have those things, you’re in a dangerous position because you do have those things. You do have reasons why you should be thankful so if you don’t have thanksgiving come out of your mouth, the problem is not with your circumstances, the problem is with your heart and so what you need to do is develop a discipline of giving thanks to God and noticing how good God has been to you and can I just say that has to be one of the hardest things in the world.

It’s very difficult because, and I think this is important for your children to understand, we are wanting beings.

We are constantly wanting.

We can’t stop wanting.

God made us that way, and I am thankful, I know, that He did. I am glad I have desires. It’s just that those wants got messed up back at the fall. It’s like because of the fall, the wanting part of me is broken, which means sometimes I want the wrong thing, sometimes I want the right thing the wrong way, and sometimes I just keep wanting, when I should be satisfied, and so, because this is true, because I am always wanting, and because my wants are broken, it’s foolish to think that I can overcome my wants simply by getting what I want, you see what I am saying, it doesn’t work that way, if I get what I want, I won’t really be thankful, I will want more, because my wants are not working properly, which is why, as I work with my children, I am so big on thanksgiving, because it’s this habit of noticing and being grateful for what you do have and what you have been given, that is one of the best ways of dealing with broken desires.

The more discontent and whining and grumbling your children are, the more likely they are going to have significant struggles with sexual temptation.

It just goes together.

We need to talk to our children about sexual purity.

What can we learn from Paul?

You need to talk with your children about sexual purity.

While you obviously want to be wise and not give them too much information too young, you also don’t want to be foolish and not talk with them about this aspect of their life, because it matters.

For those conversations about sexual purity to make sense, though, you are going to need to talk about more than just sexual purity. We need to help them understand first what it means to be a Christian. And we need to show them what it looks like to live as a Christian, by being especially serious about sexual purity ourselves.

The only way they’ll understand, why we are so serious, is if we are giving them an eternal perspective.

Heaven and hell need to be words that impact our lives, if our children are going to understand why sexual sins are serious.

In all our talk about the seriousness of sin and heaven and hell and being a Christian, we need to make sure we are helping our children understand the nature of their own heart. And we should try to make the future fight against sexual temptation easier for them by helping them developing habits of self-sacrifice, and thanksgiving.



24 Nov

Why did Jesus speak in parables?

Jonathan Edwards notes five reasons:

1.) It was an engaging way of instruction.

He is condescending to our weakness and using easy and familiar ways of speaking to teach us.

2.) It was a very instructive way of teaching.

The reason of something is often seen through comparisons that otherwise would be very difficult to explain.

3.) So that we might have some exercise for our understandings to find out the truth contained in them.

God gives us the gold, but he gives it to us in a mine that we might dig for it and get in a way of our own industry. This makes the discovery of truth even more pleasing. If gold were thrown plentifully before every man’s face, and everyone could have it without any labor or industry, it would not be prized as it now is.

4.) Because many people were not capable of receiving gospel truths plainly declared.

5.) It was that those that had honest hearts and pleasure in the truth and sought it out might understand it, but that others might not understand it.

Talking with Your Children about Sexual Purity, part six

17 Nov

If you want to help your children in their fight for sexual purity you will want to help them work on developing a self-sacrificial lifestyle from a very young age.  

Paul begins talking about sexual purity in Ephesians 5:3 with a word of contrast. “But.”

He’s contrasting what he is saying here with what he has said immediately before.

And what was he talking about in verses 1 and 2?

He was talking about living a life of self-sacrificial love.

A life of self-sacrificial love is the opposite of a life centered on sexual immorality and sin. You might say a life of self-sacrificial love is the put on. Sexual immorality, filthy talk, greed is the put off. And so if you struggle with sexual sins, realize that sexual sins tend to be the fruit of a self-centered lifestyle. Sexual sins tend to flow out of a root and the root is a self-centered lifestyle.

In a sense a struggle with sexual temptation is like a warning sign. As someone is struggling with say, lustful thoughts, that should be like a ding, ding, ding, ding, where they say, “What’s going on in my heart?” and what they’ll probably see going on in their heart is that their are becoming more and more self-centered.

Or, another way to put it I suppose, is they are worshiping themselves.

This is part of what makes sexual sin so serious. This is what is at the heart of it, ultimately. As you can see by the way Paul puts it, in verse 5.

Covetousness is idolatry.

And what is idolatry?

It’s worshiping someone other than God.

And usually that someone other is yourself. At the root of sexual sin is self-worship and so your children need to know, what’s happening when they are tempted with this overwhelming desire for more, more, more, when they feel like they have to sin against God to get what they want that’s really because they want to be on the throne of the universe.

I mean, what is masturbation?

Masturbation is total self-centeredness, self-worship.

It’s taking this good gift that God has given and making it all about me and my pleasure and that is really what all what sexual sin does.

It turns you in on yourself.

So I sometimes say to someone who is wanting to overcome sexual sin, and who is telling me, “I don’t know where to start,” here’s where you can start: pursue a life of self-sacrificial love. Put off the worship of self, and put on the worship of God, and practically takes steps towards that, by looking out for the needs of others, above your own.

I mean, I am just talking practically.

When you’re struggling with these thoughts, here’s what you can do, recognize the temptation to worship yourself, and start looking around for someone who you can serve. If someone is struggling with these thoughts towards others, that’s like warning sign, ding, ding, ding, and they can fight against that sexual temptation through sacrificial service.

The more self-centered you are, the more you’ll struggle with sexual temptation.

And I really believe that, which means as a parent, I want to be helping my children from like, a very young age, fight against this deep-rooted tendency to act as if everything in the world existed first and foremost for them and obviously for them to really live that out they have to be saved and changed but, certainly one of the most important things you can be doing in the meantime is giving them a consistent example of what it looks like to put God and others first and helping them developing outward looking habits which will make obedience easier in the future.

Obviously, when it comes to raising your children, grace is the strongest of all principles. J.C. Ryle once said, grace can do anything. Then after that, nature is a very strong principle as well. There’s stuff that is deep in us, that is very hard to change. And then, besides nature and grace, though, and this is the point, there’s hardly anything more powerful than education, parental training, in other words.

If our children, are not yet saved, we don’t just sit back and say, well, let them be selfish, no we seek to help them, develop habits of looking out for the needs of others, and those habits, when empowered by grace, are going to help them later turn from sexual temptation.

Talking with Your Children about Sexual Purity, part five

9 Nov

As we have been thinking through how to talk with our children about sexual purity, we have noted:

1.) We need to talk about sexual purity.

2.) We need to talk about more than sexual purity.

3.) We need to be serious about sexual purity ourselves.

4.) We need to be giving our children an eternal perspective.

Which means we are coming to number 5, though really, I probably should have said this one earlier.

But obviously we need to be explaining to our children the reason Paul has to give these warnings and commands.

I mean, having talked about this great change that has taken place in our life and as we are trying to show our children an example of being serious about sexual holiness, we need to be careful that we don’t give them the wrong idea, which would be that, Christians don’t struggle in serious ways with sexual temptation.

If we give our children the impression that Christians never struggle with temptation, we’re totally missing the point.

Because if temptation wasn’t tempting to Christians, Paul wouldn’t have to do all the pleading and warning he’s doing in these verses, there wouldn’t even need to be these verses in Ephesians 5.

And I am stressing this, because I just don’t want my children to be surprised about the depth of corruption in their hearts, even if they’ve become believers. As parents it’s vital we sit down with our children and explain that it’s very likely they at some point are going to struggle with perverted thoughts. They shouldn’t think somehow that just because they are Christians their sinful desires are going to be less sinful and gross than that of unbelievers.

It’s easy for children who’ve grown up in Christian homes to be somewhat naïve and as a result really surprised as they grow up and discover how broken they really are. It’s actually probably easy for us as parents to be a little naïve about our children as well.

We don’t like to think of them as struggling with sin, especially some of these kinds of sins.

But the reality is, it would be shocking if they didn’t. It would be shocking because as Jonathan Edwards once said, “There is the same corruption in the heart of a godly man as there is in the heart of an ungodly man and all the same corruption.” It’s not like you have this one group of people over here who somehow are less broken than these other people over here by nature, and they are the Christians.

What’s in the heart of an unconverted is also in the heart of converted.

“The difference is that in the heart of the saints there is also a contrary principle that is a bitter enemy to this corruption and resists and struggles against it and makes warfare in their hearts and makes them hate it and loathe it and choose against it and reject it and renounce it and lament it and long to be rid of it and strive against it.”

Do you see what I am saying?

I want my children to know that even some of the most godly people that have ever lived were discouraged by the stuff they saw going on in their hearts. I mean, even Paul cried out, “O most wretched man that I am.”

Sometimes people think, if a person grew up in a Christian home and became a Christian at an early age, they are not going to struggle and when they do struggle, they get so discouraged and I am like that’s part of being a Christian, the struggle, this is a fight, and it’s a fight, not just with nice, sweet stuff, but with real, actual, gross temptation and sin.

As a parent you want to create an atmosphere in your home that takes sin really seriously, while at the same time, and this is what is difficult, is also very realistic about how challenging it can be to say no to sin, an atmosphere where your children can share, the actual struggles they are having.

Now, that’s difficult, because, in the world they only do two things with sexual sin basically.

They either treat sexual sins like they are no big deal or they crucify a person for struggling with it. They either laugh at it, and treat it like it’s no big deal or, they attack, “Oh, we found out you what you did. You deserve to be scorned and despised and mistreated.” Those are basically the two options in the world.

But not in our families, as Christians.

Because we’ve been saved by grace and because we know what Jesus Christ has done and because we know about hell, we take sexual sin very seriously. Yeah, we hate this. This is something that destroys and we don’t want to have anything to do with it but at the same time, because we’ve been saved by grace and because we know what Jesus Christ has done, we’re very loving and gracious and kind to those who struggle with sexual sin.

There’s no one who believes in the importance of change more than Christians, there’s no one who understands the difficulty of change more than Christians, and there’s no one who realizes how dependent we are on God’s grace for change than Christians, and all that should impact the way we think and talk about sexual sins in our families.

Talking with Your Children about Sexual Purity, part four

5 Nov

How do we talk to our children about sexual purity?

Over the past several posts, we have suggested:

  1. We need to talk about sexual purity.
  2. We need to talk about more than sexual purity.
  3. We need to be serious about sexual purity ourselves.

Now, number four.

We need to be giving our children an eternal perspective.

I hope you don’t think I am being impractical because I actually think this is the most practical kind of stuff there is. There is this place called heaven and there is this place called hell and the fact those places both exist should radically impact the way we think about absolutely everything.

Even sex.

A lot of what Christianity has to say about how to live in this world doesn’t make sense, unless this world isn’t all there is.

I mean, that’s one of Paul’s primary motivations in this text.

One of the ways he motivates the Ephesians to pursue holiness is by reminding them of the consequences they will experience if they don’t.

Like, first, they won’t go to heaven.

He writes,

“For you may be sure of this that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater) has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

There’s this time coming when God is going to rule in a visible way over the new heavens and the new earth and where every one who is really, truly saved will receive a beautiful, glorious inheritance from God that is too big for us to describe with words.

God’s people are going to be in God’s place living under God’s rule experiencing God’s presence and enjoying God’s blessings forever.

That’s what we’re waiting for as holy ones.

The Kingdom of God.

It’s coming and yet Paul says, “there’s no one who is committed to sexual immorality, who is habitually sinning and impure and greedy and unrepentant about it who will enjoy this inheritance.”

Which, I am saying is significant.

Our children should feel the weight of that.

If you think about heaven.

It’s hard for us to even conceive how good we are going to have it in heaven. The happiest person on earth feels more sorrow in one minute than believers will feel in heaven for all eternity. And yet we still sometimes get so focused on the pleasure we think we are missing right now that we forget the indescribable pleasure we’re waiting for as Christians.

That’s crazy immaturity.

And, really, that’s a child’s life, I must have everything now, which is part of why they have us as parents, to help them learn to live for what really matters, and yet, I mean, it’s going to be hard for us to teach them that, if we ourselves are not really living and longing for heaven.

One of the ways I teach my children to wait for marriage is by showing them what it looks like to live waiting for heaven.

And really if you have no desire for heaven, if in pretty much every other area of your life, you are living for now, making choices mostly based on the now, because heaven doesn’t seem real or desirable to you, it’s going to be difficult for you to teach your children much about saying no to sexual temptation, because one of the whole motivations we have for obedience in this area, is the hope of eternal life.

Talking to your children about saying no to sexual temptation is a sentence in a paragraph, and the paragraph, is about learning to say no to certain things I want to do now, because of what I am looking forward to later.

If all our children hear is the sentence, learn to say no to sexual temptation, without the paragraph about what I am looking forward to later, that sentence won’t make much sense to them, and what’s more that paragraph has to be set in a chapter, that has something to do with how sweet heaven’s going to be, or that paragraph about saying no to certain things I want to do now because of what I am looking forward to later, isn’t going to make much sense either.

It’s not just the sexually immoral won’t go to heaven.


If we look down at Ephesians 5.

It’s that those who refuse to repent of sexual immorality will experience the wrath of God.

Paul says,

“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

As you can see, Paul’s concerned that we not fall for the lies people are telling us.

That’s why he says let no one deceive you with empty words. And he has to say that, because, it’s very common for the world to treat sexual sin as if it weren’t a very big issue at all. Even back in Paul’s day, he’s having to say, don’t be deceived.

What the world’s saying about sexual sin is just empty words and your children need to know it.

The world is constantly saying sexual sin isn’t even sin, God doesn’t care, and your children need to know the world is going to minimize the seriousness of sexual sin, because sexual sins have a special tendency to lead people towards hell.

Hear me now.

I think that’s the point.

Obviously, all sins deserve the wrath of God.

But Satan seems to use sexual sins especially to lead people towards eternal death.

You see this, all throughout Scripture.


It’s like God’s put this big warning sign on sexual sin. You better seriously watch where you are going, because if you close your eyes for a second, you could end up in hell.

That’s kind of how Solomon warned his son.

About the adulterous woman.

Proverbs 7:22,

“With seductive speech she persuades him, with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver, as a bird rushes into the snare, he does not know that it will cost him his life.”

The writer of Hebrews uses the judgment of God as a motivation for purity as well.

He says, Hebrews 13:4,

“Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexual immoral and adulterous.”

In 2 Peter 2, Peter sees those who engage in these sins as particularly exposed to the wrath of God on judgment day.

“God knows how to…keep the unrighteous under punishment till the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion…”

And you know, God’s given us all kinds of examples of his anger against these kinds of sins throughout the Scriptures. I think of 1 Corinthians 10:8, “We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty three thousand fell in a single day.”

And while I guess I could go on and on, I think it’s pretty obvious we need to talk to our children about God’s anger about sexual sin.

Because this is a big deal.

You want your children to be scared of sinning against God in general of course, but they should especially be scared of sinning in this way, because God so obviously takes it so seriously, and because there is an especially great temptation for them not to.

This is a particularly blinding and deadly sin.

If our children are going to enjoy sexual purity, we need to help our children by giving them an eternal perspective, showing them as best as we can the beauty of heaven and the horror of hell.

Talking with Your Children about Sexual Purity, part three

3 Nov

It’s going to be difficult to teach your children what the Bible teaches about sexual purity, if you yourself are not really serious about what the Bible teaches about sexual purity.

I am just trying to give you some foundational thoughts now.

As we are talking to our children about the radical change the new birth should make, we need to take a step back and ask, am I really thinking and living myself, the way someone who is born again should? Because, if you look at Paul’s actual command in Ephesians 5:3, you’ll see a lot of people who say they are believers, aren’t.

He writes,

“But sexual immorality and all impurity and covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among the saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”

I mean, not even named.

We are talking about things like pornography.

Not even named.

The term Paul uses for sexual immorality is actually the Greek word ‘porneo.’ In his day, porneo would have referred to all kinds of sexual activity outside of the bounds God has laid for us in Scripture. Then he talks about impurity, which means literally unclean and maybe the difference with this word is that immorality emphasizes the actions, and impurity the thoughts and sins going on in the heart. Whether that’s true, ‘covetousness’ certainly gets to the heart. While we normally think of covetousness as greed for material things Paul is bringing it up in connection with sexual activity here, meaning, an overwhelming desire in your heart for more than you are actually allowed by God. It’s out of control wants. And finally, he writes, verse 4, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place,” which have to do basically with sexually explicit speech, minimizing sexual sins, trying to get other people to laugh by making jokes about sexual matters.

And I guess what weighs heavy on me is the fact that the world we are living in is doing everything it can to promote each of these sins, to market them, to make them look attractive and as a result I think we’re constantly tempted to treat these sins as if they were not serious, as if they weren’t even really sins at all and as a result, it is easy for us to compromise ourselves spiritually by not taking these kinds of sins seriously as believers either.

And I really think a lot of us don’t.

Not the way Paul’s talking about here.

I mean, not even named.

And I think, before we talk to our kids about sexual purity, we probably need to talk to ourselves about sexual purity. I heard recently that something like 60 percent of professing Christian men are regularly looking at porn. 50 percent of pastors in a certain survey said looked at porn within the last year.

This is craziness.

Not even named.

We were talking to someone recently who when we first began to talk to him, he said, “Do you know what? I am a really good Christian,” and do you know what he was waiting there to do? He went on to say? To fornicate with his girlfriend; he was meeting his girlfriend so that he could go and have sexual relations with her and there was no breakdown in his mind. “I am a really good Christian,” and yet for some reason, he did not take sexual sin seriously at all.

We live in a city where sleeping with someone before you’re married is happening all the time.

I almost always have to ask as I go to people’s homes, they say, “This is my wife.” I almost always have to ask, “Do you really mean it’s your wife? Is she your wife or is she your girlfriend?” “Oh yeah, we’re not quite married yet.” And people have all kinds of excuses for that and they have no problem with engaging in that and allowing that to continue. There is no struggle in their heart about that while they’re going to church week after week after week after week, living the same way as the world.

We are bombarded by sexual temptation constantly.

It’s difficult for us to get on the internet, a regular internet search engine, without seeing pictures that we would never want to see, pictures that are almost pornographic. And we turn on our television. We don’t have TV channels anymore. We don’t have the ability to watch just TV channels, we can only watch DVDs at our house and yet every time, once in a while I’ll go away and we’ll go on holiday and we’ll go to a place where there is television and so I’ll think, “Maybe this time we should watch some television. Maybe that would be a fun thing,” and I’ll turn the television on at 8 o’clock and I’ll stop watching for 5 minutes and, honestly, I cannot believe what I see. And you know, for a long time I had a television. I’m not talking about television so much but I watched it all the time and some of those things didn’t bother me until I walked away from that and came back and realized, “No way! That’s not normal that I can watch these kinds of things.”

We’re swimming in this kind of temptation. You go to the mall and you have billboards which really should be, honestly they should be considered pornographic up there like I would say 10 feet tall, 2 meters tall billboards that are really pornographic billboards. We’re swimming in this and so it’s easy for us as individuals, as part of a church, to not take these sins seriously anymore.

It becomes normal to us and that’s why I want you to see what Paul says here. Because I love how seriously Paul takes this.

He says, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or greed must not even be named among you….”

Which obviously, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to say the word “sexual immorality.”

He’s not saying, “Don’t ever say the word sex.” If somebody says sex, you say, “You’re not allowed to say that in this family!” Instead, he’s saying we must take these sins so seriously there shouldn’t even be a hint of these kinds of sins among us.

Which I think is an important place for us to start as we talk about teaching our children, and I really want us to be honest:

How seriously do you take this kind of stuff?

You say, “How seriously should I take it?”

Well, I like the way Jesus put it.

“If your right eye leads you into sexual temptation, do you know what you should do?”

He says, “It’s obvious: pluck it out.”

The day you pluck out your right eye is, pretty much the worst day of your life.

If you pluck out your right eye not to do something, you take it pretty seriously, right? You don’t just go around plucking out your right eye. If you’re going to pluck out your eye, that means that you really don’t want to do it and obviously Jesus didn’t mean we’re to literally pluck out our eye or there would have been a whole lot of one-eyed disciples going around the world. But instead what Jesus meant was, “This is how serious you must be toward these kind of temptations.” And listen, when it comes to parenting, I want my children to know that I am that serious in my fight against these kinds of sins and I want them to see me taking radical measures in my fight against it.

And the question is are we?

I am not trying to be funny, but would you watch the stuff you watch, with Jesus sitting right next to you?

If not, then stop watching it.

The kinds of things you laugh at and talk about, are they the kinds of things Jesus died for?

I think many of us we have got this whole long list of things we are doing that we excuse as normal, but it’s not normal, and I am telling you, if we as parents aren’t serious about sexual purity, we are seriously spiritually immature Christians, and it’s not going to be surprising then that it is very difficult for us to have mature conversations with our children about sexual holiness.

I can’t help you have a good conversation with your child about sexual purity if you are not serious about sexual purity. There isn’t like this specific script you are supposed to follow which works like magic without you actually fighting against sexually immorality yourself.

Talking about Sexual Purity with Your Children, part 2

28 Oct

Talking with your kids about sexual purity doesn’t begin with talking to them about sexual purity.

We are looking at what we can learn from the way Paul teaches on sexual purity that we can apply to our own conversations with our children. We saw first, that we need to talk about it.

Now, second.

As we look at Ephesians, we see Paul talks about sexual purity in the context of talking to the church about the gospel and specifically about the transformation Christ has made in their lives.

In other words, He doesn’t just talk about sex and sexual purity.

Before we even get to Ephesians 5.

We want to at least note that what we are going to look at comes after Ephesians 1,2,3 and 4, which is pretty basic, I know you don’t have to go to seminary to figure that out, but it’s also important, to remember there’s more to teaching our children about sexual purity than teaching our children about sexual purity.

In fact, if you think the only thing involved teaching your children about sexual purity is the talk you are going to have with them at a certain age, then you are really missing it.

It’s kind of like at school, I suppose.

With any difficult subject. We don’t begin by teaching algebra or calculus. We first give children the information they need to understand those courses later. So, while you are not technically teaching them algebra in grade one, you know, if they don’t receive certain knowledge very early on, it is going to be difficult for them to understand what you are talking about later.

And really one of the most basic concepts our children need to understand in order to appreciate what the Bible teaches about sexual purity is what it actually means to be a Christian.

Like Paul does here with the Ephesians.

Because this discussion of sexual purity is not disconnected from his discussion of the Christian life. It’s an overflow of it. What’s he’s saying about sexual purity is based on what he’s already said so far.

It’s a specific outworking of the exhortation he made way back in chapter 4, verse 17.

“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

As you can see, the way Paul challenges these believers not to live as unbelievers is by reminding them that they are not unbelievers anymore.

Something substantial happened when they got saved.

It’s not just that they believed a new set of facts. They have been transformed. They have put off their old self and they have put on a new one, and therefore they must learn to live in a way that matches up with who they are.

They are to live differently, because they are different.

And that’s something honestly I want to begin teaching my children as soon as I can. It’s not enough for me to assume that they get that because as I look back on church history, I see that thousands and thousands of people have grown up in Christian homes, assuming they are Christians, without really ever understanding what it means to be a Christian, and obviously, if they are assuming they are a Christian without really understanding what it means to be a Christian, any specific talk I might have with them about sexual purity is going to be very difficult for them to understand.

Like, impossible.

If the basic idea of Christianity we are giving our children is just be a good person and go to church and don’t have sex until you get married they are not going to be able to live out what the Bible actually is teaching about sexual holiness. Either they’ll end up hating it and rebelling against it or they’ll pervert it into a means of trying to establish their own self-righteousness. Those are the two options for unconverted people when it comes to sexual purity.

And so, really practically, one of the places for us to start as parents is by thinking of those early years we have with our children as an opportunity to lay a foundation for having meaningful discussions later. Like for example, I am saying, the fact that genuine salvation is something really big. That, when God saves a person, He changes a person, and then calls on that person to live differently in light of the great change that He, God has accomplished in their life.

Because, that’s Paul’s basic argument.

I don’t know how to talk about sexual purity without my children understanding that, because what we talk about when we talk about sexual purity is going to just be so different than anything they are hearing anywhere else.

It just won’t make sense without those basic concepts.

It’s too different, obviously, from those who are just like whatever, do what you want, but also you know, what I am teaching my children is going to even be different from people who are just like be a good person and don’t have sex before you are married.

Which is why this groundwork is so essential.

I mean, as a parent, I think, any parent, I obviously want to help my child not be an idiot and do things that are going to harm them, but listen, as a Christian parent, my goal is a little bigger than just helping my child not be an idiot when it comes to sexual purity, I want to help them know Christ, and know what it means to be a Christian.

And how their life should be different as a result of that.

And so if I have a non-Christian child I might talk to them about purity, of course, just like I would tell them not to lie down in the middle of a freeway, but I am not content with leaving it at that, I want them ultimately to see the connection to the gospel, and if I have a Christian child, I definitely have to ground what I teach them in what God has done in saving them, because man if they don’t know that, really know that, they are not going to appreciate the motivation for fighting as hard as they have to for sexual purity.

It’s going to be like I am speaking another language.


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