3/7/15 “Sexual Sin – What Is Legal Is Not Always Lawful” – Pastor Shane Idleman


Legal is Not Always Lawful

Matthew 14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus 2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” 3 For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. 4 Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

6 But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. 7 Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.” 9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

  • Herod was “tetrarch” [Governor] of Galilee and Perea for approx. 43 yrs. This isn’t Herod the Great who was “King” over a large area (cf. Luke 1:5).

Defying Gravity – How to survive the storms of pastoral ministry is an awesome resource. The pilot cannot rely solely on their feelings or their perception; they MUST gauge it by the gauge of truth. (More at http://www.moodypublishers.com/978-0-8024-0952-2/)

LEGAL: that which is permitted by law.

LAWFUL: rules give by The Lawgiver – “For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22).

We have a responsibility to both God’s kingdom and the nation’s legal system. God’s eternal principles SHOULD establish the foundation for both.

The question often arises then, “Can we legislate morality?”

  • A sure sign of a culture departing from God – legal it’s often not lawful.

  1. Creation – conviction and conscience (Read Romans 1)

  2. Conviction, Conscience, and Confirmation (10 Commandments)

a] Israel began to depart and embrace things that were not lawful – “everyone is doing it”

b] America – William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765)

Today’s argument: why follow an ancient text or letters from 2,000 years ago:

  • They don’t like God’s Word – they are conforming the Word rather than allowing the Word to conform them.

  1. “Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’.” Jeremiah 6:16

  2. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16

  3. “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97

  4. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Is. 40:8

Matthew 14: Practical Application

Herod, like many today, said, “I DON’T CARE WHAT’S LAWFUL; I WANT IT!”

“The world has lost the power to blush over its vice; the church has lost her power to weep over it.” -Leonard Ravenhill

TITLE: The Dangers of Sexual Sin – what is legal is NOT lawful

[*ESV version below this point]

Adultery “It is not lawful”:  “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14

  1. Mental adultery is doing just as much harm as the physical act.

  2. Singles – it is destroying the foundation of marriage before you even marry.

Pornography “It is not lawful”:  But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28

Abortion “It is not lawful”:  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

  1. We are excusing our actions by eliminating the evidence.

Divorce “It is not lawful”:  And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9

  1. “No fault divorce” has opened the floodgates.

  2. Ironically, may obey this verse but disobey a dozen others. They are miserable.

Same-sex Marriage “It is not lawful”: You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 18:22

  1. When you drift from truth you drift from God … you drift from what is LAWFUL (Same-sex Attraction – Balancing Grace & Truth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYz9jpkqjTs)

Transgender “It is not lawful”: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.” Deut. 22:5

1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

  • Our sex-saturated culture is on their way to hell – “I hope they serve beer in hell.”

James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

  • Its legal but not lawful – there are rarely any immediate consequences. God warns through others, conviction, and the Word. That’s why I love preaching warnings – saved marriages, deep bondages broken, bitterness and anger, depression.

a] excuses

b] temptation is acted upon

c] sin starts to grow

d] nothing good comes from it.

“Prompted by her mother”How many parents are encouraging sexual sin by their silence or by what they allow into their homes. Or by what you’re participating in.

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Sexual Sin resulted in John’s physical death but it also results in many other types of deaths. Death is the sensation of life.

  • From 5 star generals to presidents… From pastors to CEOs… From loyal moms and loving fathers…it will take you down.

Alter call: REPENT before death occurs

Some of you are so bitter and angry…

Some of you have been holding on to unforgiveness and pain…

Some of you have crossed the line in sexual sin …

Some of you need to recapture your zeal for the Lord – you’re dying inside.

Worship Team: I’ll walk through the fire With my head lifted high And my spirit revived in Your story And I’ll look to the cross As my failure is lost In the light of Your glorious grace… Let the ruins come to life In the beauty of Your Name Rising up from the ashes God forever You reign.