Confessions of a Church: Purge the Sin

The Psalm writer wrote:  Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.  
Deuteronomy 22:13-30
 “13 “If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her, 14 and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’ 15 then the girl’s father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. 16 The girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her; 17 and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, “I did not find your daughter a virgin.” But this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. 18 So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, 19 and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl’s father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days. 20 “But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, 21 then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 22 “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel. 23 “If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man, and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24 then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death; the girl, because she did not cry out in the city, and the man, because he has violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 25 “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. 26 But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. 27 When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her. 28 “If a man finds a girl who is a virgin, who is not engaged, and seizes her and lies with her and they are discovered, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife because he has violated her; he cannot divorce her all his days. 30 “A man shall not take his father’s wife so that he will not uncover his father’s skirt.

This chapter of Deuteronomy reads like the script of some sleazy soap opera. We hear this read and think "how horrible", "how shameful!", quickly bypassing the fact that what is being described, warned about, and commanded against, is being spoken to God's Covenant people.

"Surely there is no one named among us guilty of such vile sins".
That is a dangerous, naive presumption.
 It has been said by the now retired Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church, Tim Bayly, that if the Pastors of your Church are not counseling members of your Church in regards to deviant sexual sin along the lines of incest, then your Pastors do not know the sheep very well. In other words, as abhorrent as sexual sins are, they are more common among the people of God than you may think. We are after all, frequently, whitewashed tombs as the Pastor has been pointing out the last few weeks.

"Well, anyone engaging in that CAN'T be one of God's people!" you might retort.
When you get to heaven you may want to ask the Apostle Paul why it is he referred to the folks at the Church of Corinth, whom he was rebuking for their sexually deviant lifestyles, as "Saints" (1 Corinthians 1:2). But let's not get sidetracked here.

The point I want to make is, three times in this passage we see the command to "Purge the evil from among you."
Purge, purge,purge!

The word purge, the english rendering of the Hebrew word ba'ar as used here means to burn up. It is sometimes used to refer to God's wrath.

Burn up this evil from among you or you will die.

Other uses of the word are translated as destroy, consume, or in the case of 1 Kings 14:10 "therefore behold, I am bringing calamity on the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam every male person, both bond and free in Israel, and I will make a clean sweep (ba'ar) of the house of Jeroboam, as one sweeps away dung until it is all gone."

That is your sexual immorality, hidden, or otherwise.
It is likened to dung.

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler⁠—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.
— 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Purge the pornography from your homes.

Purge away the immodest living.

Destroy the lust within your heart.

Sweep away the lack of contentment and satisfaction which drives your insatiable lusts.

Kindle your anger against the laziness which dwells in your heart: laziness of a kind which led King David to stay home when it was time for Kings to go off to war. Laziness which led to coveting, lust, stealing, adultery, lying, murder, and hatred of God.

Purge the evil from among you. This purge must begin in your heart. Let us repent.

If you are able, let us kneel and confess how we have allowed sexual sin to have free reign in our lives, and ask God to strengthen us for this fight.

Heavenly Father,
Your Word commands us to flee sexual immorality, yet we invite it into our hearts, homes, and by extension, Your Church, in a myriad of ways. Rather than chopping this sin to pieces, we hide it, make excuses for it, feed it, and allow it to grow.  Please forgive us for these sins against You alone Father. Forgive us for perverting the picture of Christ's relationship to the Church through our immorality.  Help us to repent Father. Please give strength to those who have fought this fight and have grown weary. Please prick the conscience of those who have grown callous and indifferent to this sin in their lives. Please save those trapped in this sin who call upon Your Name. In Jesus's Name we pray, Amen.

Please stand and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:  

Hebrews 4:15-16 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!